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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 135,828

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In El Salvador, 17 Women Imprisoned for Miscarriage Await Pardon

In El Salvador, 17 Women Imprisoned for Miscarriage Await Pardon
Friday, 19 December 2014 10:11
By Danica Jorden, Truthout | News Analysis

Seventeen women, ages 19 to 30 years old at their sentencing, remain in prison in El Salvador as international pressure rises to exonerate them.

The women were all convicted on the charge of "aggravated homicide" of a newborn. At least one of them underwent a psychiatric evaluation and exhibited intellectual disabilities. Most of them suffered miscarriages, premature births or stillbirths; all of them were poor and without access to prenatal care or obstetrical services; and the majority of them have been sentenced to - and are serving - 30 years in prison.

According to Julia Evelyn Martínez, university professor of economics in El Salvador and social advocate, these women have been wrongly accused and convicted of the crime of murder.

"One needs to understand that all of these cases deal with women who have lived and continue to live in situations of extreme financial need, without social support networks or access to quality health services," Martinez said. "Most of them had obstetrical problems during their pregnancies and suffered miscarriages or went through childbirth without either health or medical care. They arrived at public hospitals unconscious, bleeding, in search of assistance, at which point, in flagrant violation of professional ethics, they were reported, tried and sentenced, first for abortion and then for aggravated homicide, forcing them out of hospital and into prison."

More:
http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/28092-in-el-salvador-17-women-imprisoned-for-miscarriage-await-pardon

How Panama changed history in the Americas

How Panama changed history in the Americas

To go to Panama or not to go to Panama — that was the question. After all, Cuba’s president would be there. Now U.S. President Barack Obama will be there, too.

By: Oakland Ross Feature Writer, Published on Fri Dec 19 2014

Thank Washington. Thank Havana. But also thank Panama City.

Jorge Dominguez does.

The Harvard University Latin America scholar says it was a bold but largely unacknowledged master stroke by newly elected Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela that sparked this week’s stunning announcement that Cuba and the United States mean to restore diplomatic relations, after more than five decades of bitter hostility.

“Panama said, ‘We’re going to do it — and tough luck,’ ” says Dominguez.

He is referring to Varela’s decision this past October to invite Cuban President Raul Castro to attend a hemispheric summit scheduled for next April in the Central American country.
That move put the ricocheting ball of regional diplomacy firmly in Washington’s court.

There have been several previous such meetings, known as Summits of the Americas, but the host leaders in every case have bowed to U.S. wishes and kept Cuba off the guest list.

Varela chose a more daring course.

“Panama decided to invite Cuba as a full participant,” says Dominguez. “The White House had to reach a decision, to accept or not.”

More:
http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2014/12/19/how_panama_changed_history_in_the_americas.html

The Invasion of Panama and the Proclamation of a Lone Superpower Above the Law

The Invasion of Panama and the Proclamation of a Lone Superpower Above the Law
Saturday, 20 December 2014 09:46
By Matt Peppe, Just the Facts Blog | Op-Ed

Twenty five years ago, before dawn on December 20, 1989, U.S. forces descended on Panama City and unleashed one of the most violent, destructive terror attacks of the century. U.S. soldiers killed more people than were killed on 9/11. They systematically burned apartment buildings and shot people indiscriminately in the streets. Dead bodies were piled on top of each other; many were burned before identification. The aggression was condemned internationally, but the message was clear: the United States military was free to do whatever it wanted, whenever it wanted, and they would not be bound by ethics or laws.

The invasion and ensuing occupation produced gruesome scenes: "People burning to death in the incinerated dwellings, leaping from windows, running in panic through the streets, cut down in cross fire, crushed by tanks, human fragments everywhere," writes William Blum. [1]

Years later the New York Times interviewed a survivor of the invasion, Sayira Marín, whose "hands still tremble" when she remembers the destruction of her neighborhood.
"I take pills to calm down," Marín told the paper. "It has gotten worse in recent days. There are nights when I jump out of bed screaming. Sometimes I have dreams of murder. Ugly things."

In the spring of 1989, a wave of revolutions had swept across the Eastern bloc. In November, the Berlin Wall fell. The Cold War was over. No country was even a fraction as powerful as the United States. Rather than ushering in an era of peace and demilitarization, U.S. military planners intensified their expansion of global hegemony. They were pathological about preventing any rival to their complete military and economic domination.

More:
http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/28123-the-invasion-of-panama-and-the-proclamation-of-a-lone-superpower-above-the-law

Better bananas: Chiquita settles lawsuit over green marketing, but the legal battle isn't over

Better bananas: Chiquita settles lawsuit over green marketing, but the legal battle isn't over

A Seattle nonprofit alleges that Chiquita banana suppliers – certified sustainable by the Rainforest Alliance – pollute water supplies in Guatemala, but the banana giant stands by its record

Sarah Shemkus
Friday 19 December 2014 16.10 EST

Chiquita has reached a settlement in a lawsuit over its claims of environmentally friendly production, which a Seattle nonprofit alleges amounts to deceptive marketing. Now the group – Water and Sanitation Health, or Wash – has filed an additional lawsuit against the Rainforest Alliance, claiming that the environmental organization is also responsible for unfair marketing because it certified Chiquita farms as sustainable.

In a statement, the Rainforest Alliance called Wash’s allegations untrue and said it stands by its auditing practices. The environmental group also objected to the lawsuit’s charges that the alliance sells its endorsement. Businesses that receive certifications must meet rigorous sustainability standards, the statement said.

Wash sued the Chiquita at the end of last year, saying that the North Carolina-based fruit distributor’s partner farms in southern Guatemala have contaminated drinking water with fertilizers and fungicides – and have air-dropped pesticides perilously close to schools and homes.

Wash unknowingly and unintentionally helped fund “significant environmental harm to ecosystems” when it bought Chiquita bananas, the now-settled suit alleges. The new suit, filed Wednesday, claims the Rainforest Alliance is also complicit, because the group certified Chiquita farms and advertised its collaboration with the fruit company.

More:
http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2014/dec/19/chiquita-lawsuit-green-marketing-bananas-water-pollution

Venezuelan President Calls Obama’s Outreach to Cuba ‘Courageous’

Venezuelan President Calls Obama’s Outreach to Cuba ‘Courageous’
David Stout @david_m_stout
2:01 AM ET

Cuba’s staunch Latin American ally approves of the renewal of diplomatic relations between the old foes

U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision to normalize relations with Cuba was nothing short of “courageous,” according to Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

Following dual announcements in Washington and Havana on Wednesday, the Venezuelan head of state openly lauded the new chapter in American-Cuba relations during a trade summit in Argentina’s southern city of Paraná.

“You have to recognize the gesture of Barack Obama, a gesture that is courageous and necessary,” said Maduro, according to Reuters.

Caracas has been one of the most outspoken supporters of Cuba since late President Hugo Chávez first rose to power in the country during the late 1990s.

http://time.com/3639485/venezuela-cuba-obama-diplomatic-relations/

(Short article, no more at link.)

Cuban Five at Heart of US / Cuba Deal

December 18, 2014
A Door Opens

Cuban Five at Heart of US / Cuba Deal

by MARJORIE COHN


In the course of delivering his historic speech dramatically altering US Cuba policy, President Barack Obama briefly mentioned that the United States released three Cuban agents. These men are members of the “Cuban Five,” who were imprisoned for gathering information on US-based Cuban exile groups planning terrorist actions against Cuba. Without their release, Cuba would never have freed Alan Gross. And Obama could not have undertaken what ten presidents before him refused to do: normalize relations between the United States and Cuba.

Fighting Terrorism Against Cuba

On June 8, 2001, Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labanino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez and Rene Gonzalez were convicted of criminal charges, including conspiracy to commit espionage, and conspiracy to commit murder, in a trial in US district court in Miami. They were sentenced to four life terms and 75 years collectively.

In a 93-page decision, a three-judge panel of the Eleventh Circuit US Court of Appeals unanimously reversed their convictions in 2005, because the anti-Cuba atmosphere in Miami, extensive publicity, and prosecutorial misconduct denied them the right to a fair trial. The decision of the three-judge panel was later overturned by a decision of all the Eleventh Circuit Judges, sitting en banc, so the convictions stood.

But the Cuban Five have steadfastly maintained their innocence and there has been a worldwide campaign to free them. In Cuba, the five men are considered national heroes.

Since the Cuban revolution in 1959, anti-Cuba terrorist organizations based in Miami have engaged in countless terrorist activities against Cuba and anyone who advocated normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba. Terrorist groups including Alpha 66, Commandos F4, Cuban American National Foundation, Independent and Democratic Cuba, and Brothers to the Rescue, have operated with impunity in the United States – with the knowledge and support of the FBI and CIA.

More:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/12/18/cuban-five-at-heart-of-us-cuba-deal/

Media Erroneously Claim Obama Overstepped His Authority By Restoring Diplomatic Relations With Cuba

Media Erroneously Claim Obama Overstepped His Authority By Restoring Diplomatic Relations With Cuba

Research 57 minutes ago ››› MEAGAN HATCHER-MAYS

Media figures are criticizing President Obama for the current diplomatic re-engagement with Cuba by falsely suggesting that taking executive action to ease some travel and trade restrictions is legally questionable. In reality, the embargo is a result of decades of executive actions under both Republican and Democratic administrations, and Congress has explicitly reaffirmed executive discretion of the type the president is taking to modify U.S. relations with Cuba.

[font color=blue]Obama Announces Restoration Of Diplomatic Relations Between The U.S. And Cuba[/font]

New York Times: "U.S. To Restore Full Relations With Cuba, Erasing A Last Trace of Cold War Hostility." On December 17, Obama announced that he would take steps to improve ties with Cuba by lifting some travel and trade restrictions as well as reopening the U.S. Embassy in Havana. As the Times reported, the "historic deal" brokered between Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro "broke an enduring stalemate between two countries" that has lasted for decades:

President Obama on Wednesday ordered the restoration of full diplomatic relations with Cuba and the opening of an embassy in Havana for the first time in more than a half-century as he vowed to "cut loose the shackles of the past" and sweep aside one of the last vestiges of the Cold War.

More:
http://mediamatters.org/research/2014/12/18/media-erroneously-claim-obama-overstepped-his-a/201953

Colombia’s FARC fighters call unlimited truce and say it’s “now or never” for a full peace deal

Colombia’s FARC fighters call unlimited truce and say it’s “now or never” for a full peace deal
18/12 08:52 CET

The Colombian guerrilla organisation the FARC has announced an open-ended truce, the first time it has put no time limit on a cessation of hostilities.

The FARC has also for the first time appealed for monitoring by either the UN, Red Cross, intergovernmental regional bodies, or the Catholic church.

“This unilateral ceasefire, which we hope will be prolonged in time, will only end if it is
determined that our guerrilla structures have been the object of an attack by the military,” said FARC representative Ivan Marquez.

At peace talks in Cuba, which have been ongoing since 2012, FARC and government delegates were joined by victims of the conflict, which has raged since the 1960s, to plant a symbolic tree of reconciliation.

More:
http://www.euronews.com/2014/12/18/colombia-s-farc-fighters-call-unlimited-truce-and-say-it-s-now-or-never-for-a-/

America's Man in Havana

Nuevo Mundo
Eleanor Clift
12.18.14

America's Man in Havana

Meet the measured, skillful diplomat who will likely be our first ambassador to Cuba in five decades. No more gratuitous Frank Zappa quotes.

Resuming diplomatic relations with Cuba means a promotion for Jeffrey DeLaurentis, the career foreign service officer currently serving as chief of mission in the U.S. interest section in Havana. He will become charge d’affaires, which confers much the same status as ambassador. Once President Obama’s critics quiet down, and concede however grudgingly that he’s acting in the country’s best interest by taking this great leap forward with Cuba, DeLaurentis could well be the president’s choice for the historic posting of a U.S. ambassador to the island nation after a 54-year hiatus.

The Senate confirmed him once before, in 2011, for a posting to the UN. And he has served in Havana twice before, once in the early nineties, soon after beginning his career after graduating from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, and again from 1998 to 2002. He’s a highly regarded professional, says Ted Piccone, a senior fellow at Brookings and a Latin scholar, who was in Cuba Wednesday for the simultaneous historic announcements from the presidents in Havana and Washington.

“He is exceptionally well qualified to manage this historic and positive change in relations for the foreseeable future,” Piccone said in an e-mail that praised Obama’s actions and noted that Secretary of State John Kerry’s announcement that he intends to visit Cuba in 2015 is “another very strong sign of the deep commitment to move this agenda forward, with or without congressional support.”

Implementing Obama’s decision to normalize relations is not for the faint-hearted. “This will take a lot of solid negotiating,” says Mark Schneider of the International Crisis Group. He cited among other factors narcotics, environmental issues, and counter-terrorism, areas that require the skill of a career foreign service officer like DeLaurentis. “He’s a smart guy, very committed, always concerned about issues of democracy, and he’s very professional, level-headed. He thinks through issues.” Schneider points out that DeLaurentis has been in his post in Cuba since the summer, so he’s been in on all the pre-planning that’s gone on unbeknownst to much of Washington for some time. “He’s smart, he’s serious, he’ll do an exceptional job,” says Schneider, a former Director of the Peace Corps and a veteran of many international aid and development programs.

More:
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/12/18/our-man-in-havana-for-real.html

[center]

Jeffrey DeLaurentis[/center]

Addressing the Cuban Five Injustice

Addressing the Cuban Five Injustice
December 17, 2014


America’s hypocrisy on terrorism included the U.S. government prosecuting and imprisoning five Cuban agents who were actually trying to thwart terrorist operations in Miami. President Obama’s prisoner swap with Cuba finally addressed that upside-down justice, as Marjorie Cohn reports.

By Marjorie Cohn

In the course of delivering his historic speech dramatically altering U.S.-Cuba policy, President Barack Obama briefly mentioned that the United States released three Cuban agents. These men are members of the “Cuban Five,” who were imprisoned for gathering information on U.S.-based Cuban exile groups planning terrorist actions against Cuba.

Without their release, Cuba would never have freed Alan Gross. And Obama could not have undertaken what ten presidents before him refused to do: normalize relations between the United States and Cuba.

On June 8, 2001, Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labanino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez and Rene Gonzalez were convicted of criminal charges, including conspiracy to commit espionage, and conspiracy to commit murder, in a trial in U.S. District Court in Miami. They were sentenced to four life terms and 75 years collectively.

In a 93-page decision, a three-judge panel of the Eleventh Circuit US Court of Appeals unanimously reversed their convictions in 2005, because the anti-Cuba atmosphere in Miami, extensive publicity, and prosecutorial misconduct denied them the right to a fair trial. The decision of the three-judge panel was later overturned by a decision of all the Eleventh Circuit Judges, sitting en banc, so the convictions stood.

More:
https://consortiumnews.com/2014/12/17/addressing-the-cuban-five-injustice/
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