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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 147,252

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Guardian LTTE: Hypocrisy over Cuba’s human rights record

Hypocrisy over Cuba’s human rights record
Tuesday 22 March 2016 15.25 EDT

Your front-page report on Obama’s visit to Cuba (22 March) ends with the claim that Cuba has “challenges” in the area of democratic and human rights, noting that “police arrested dozens of pro-democracy protesters”. Dozens, and we are not sure if these were peaceful protesters or not. How much more of a challenge do our supposedly democratic countries have, then, when they routinely kettle and arrest hundreds of peaceful protesters?

I still remember the shameful caging in inhuman conditions of more than 1,000 protesters arrested at the Toronto G8/G20 meetings in 2010. The city had been put into lockdown to try and prevent protest, and a massive warehouse was hired and equipped in advance with stacked cages to hold arrested protesters. Police and military outnumbered the protesters by two to one, and used rubber bullets and pepper spray against the demonstration. The hypocrisy of Washington and its ilk defies belief.
Professor Helen Colley
Honorary professorial research fellow, Institute of Education, University of Manchester

• You report that there is “virtually no evidence of American culture” (apart from 1950s cars) in Cuba, advancing as evidence that “there are no fast-food chains, no Starbucks and no Coca-Cola”. If that’s your idea of American culture, Cuba has done supremely well to keep it – and the mafia, who ran the country in US-supported dictator Batista’s time – out of the country since 1959.
Dr Richard Carter

• “Cuba’s dismal human rights record … Cuba’s repressive internal policies … the president will meet dissidents today” (Editorial, 22 March). This is an outrageously unfair slant – and without any comparative basis. Cuba’s Central American neighbours enjoy favourable political and economic relations with the US despite their devastating murder rates and gangster economies. Nor is this anything to do with human rights or democratic values, as US relations with Egypt, China and Saudi Arabia make crystal clear.

Cuban education and public health policies put those of the US to shame and even the US Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council grudgingly reports that “violent crime is not common” in Cuba. Nevertheless, the blatantly illegal US trade embargo is still in place – and so is Guantánamo Bay. No – it is not yet “Havana’s turn”.
Kevin Bannon


The Crusade in Favor of GMO: Falsehoods and Vilification Will Not Fool the Public

March 22, 2016
The Crusade in Favor of GMO: Falsehoods and Vilification Will Not Fool the Public

by Colin Todhunter

Pro-GMO campaigners often attack critics of the technology by claiming their negative views of it emanate from well-funded environmentalist groups or commercial interests in the organic food sector. The assertion is that such bodies promote falsehoods and scaremongering about GM to protect their own interests and that the GMO agritech sector has fallen victim to this.

Another claim is that critics rely on quackery on the internet or on some form of discredited science that is only carried out by those whom the ‘scientific community’ has seen fit to marginalise due to ‘bad’ science and a perceived political agenda.

The gist of the argument is that pseudo-science and a powerful ideologically motivated group are holding the world to ransom by conspiring to mislead the public and prevent the spread of GM, which according to pro-GMO activists, is denying the poor and hungry of the world access to food.

In a recent piece on Huffington Post, Jon Entine followed a similar line of attack to denigrate Rachel Parent, her family’s business interests and the campaign which she heads, Kids Right To Know (KRTK). He calls Parent a well-polished ‘crusader’ against GM food. He also argues that on the KRTK website, there is a stream of studies cited that raise concerns about GM, but which, according to Entine, are predictably and conveniently labelled as being mostly a combination of fringe research and a collection of discredited, misconstrued and biased studies.


Gustavo Castro Soto and the Rigged Investigation into Berta Cáceres’ Assassination

March 22, 2016
Gustavo Castro Soto and the Rigged Investigation into Berta Cáceres’ Assassination

by Beverly Bell

The sole eyewitness to Honduran social movement leader Berta Cáceres’ assassination on March 3, 2016 has gone from being wounded victim to, effectively, political prisoner. Now Gustavo Castro Soto may also be framed as the murderer of his long-time friend.

Both the Mexican Ambassador, Dolores Jiménez, and Castro himself are worried that he will be charged by the government for the killing, they told the National Commission of Human Rights of Honduras on March 16.

A writer and organizer for environmental and economic justice, Castro has been forbidden by local authorities from leaving the country to return to his native Mexico until April 6, at least. Since being released from several days in Honduran government custody, he has been forced to take refuge in the Mexican Embassy in Tegucigalpa. The protection of the Mexican Embassy “does not mean that my life is no longer in danger,” Castro wrote to some friends and colleagues on March 4. As long as he is on Honduran soil, he remains in peril. Ambassador Jiménez called the risk he is running “an objective fact.”

Castro – who is able to identify Cáceres’ killer – is an impediment to the plan that the Honduran government is clearly advancing, which is to pin the murder on members of the group which Cáceres founded and ran, the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations (COPINH). It could help the strategy of the fraudulently elected regime to dispense with Castro by charging and arresting him.


Multinationals abandon operations in Colombia amid economic slowdown

Multinationals abandon operations in Colombia amid economic slowdown
Posted by Stephen Gill on Mar 22, 2016

Several multi-nationals have terminated operations in Colombia since 2015 amid an ongoing economic downturn in the South American country. Changes in their market strategies and the rise in the cost of raw materials for the manufacture of products were specified by some companies as the reasons for abandoning the country.

The general slowdown in the economy of the country however is said to be a major factor for the multi-nationals’ withdrawals, according to Colombian news agency Colprensa.

During 2015, the multinational Apex Tool Group Colombia, PayPal, and banks Lloyds TSB Bank and Banistmo decided to withdraw their services from the Colombian market.

In addition, the high costs of raw materials to manufacture its products forced Mondelez, the maker of Chiclets Adams, Trident, Sparkies, Certs and Bubbaloo, to move to Mexico, from where their products are now being shipped to Colombia.


Cuba-US Relations: the View from the Other Side

Cuba-US Relations: the View from the Other Side
March 21, 2016
by John Kirk – Stephen Kimber

On Dec. 17, 2014, President Barack Obama went on television to declare the United States was unilaterally ending America’s “outdated approach (to Cuba) that, for decades, has failed to advance our interests.”
So why do so many American politicians and commentators still persist in arguing the U.S. has been “giving and giving” in dealings with Cuba, and insisting the Cubans reciprocate by… well, changing their government to suit American demands?

Let’s start with simple truths. Cuban did not impose a stifling, 55-year economic embargo on the United States that has failed to advance anyone’s interests. Cuba did not put the United States on a list of state sponsors of terrorism. Cuba did not try to assassinate American presidents. Cuba did not attempt to overthrow the U.S. government.

During President Obama’s historic visit to Cuba this week, Americans need to at least consider the perspective from the Cuban side of the Florida Straits divide.

The U.S. embargo — the Cubans call it a blockade — is still the law of the American land. According to the United Nations, the embargo, which has been virtually universally condemned internationally, has cost the Cuban economy over $116 billion.


Leaked Diplomatic Cable Shows that Argentine Presidential Candidate Mauricio Macri Asked US Governme

Leaked Diplomatic Cable Shows that Argentine Presidential Candidate Mauricio Macri Asked US Government for Help Against Kirchners

Accused US Officials of Being “Too Soft” on Argentine Government, Encouraging their ??Misbehavior” and “Abuse” of the United States

November 19, 2015

Washington, D.C. - A leaked diplomatic cable from the U.S. Embassy in Argentina states that current presidential candidate Mauricio Macri accused U.S. officials of being “too soft” on the government of Argentina.

Reporting on a meeting between the U.S. Ambassador and Macri in November 2009, the cable, published by WikiLeaks, and previously analyzed in the book "Argenleaks: Los cables de Wikileaks sobre la Argentina, de la A a la Z" by Santiago O'Donnell, states:

Macri reprised an earlier conversation with [the then Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere, Thomas Shannon, the State Department’s top official for Latin America] regarding the need to set limits on the Kirchners' misbehavior and the USG's supposed "softness" on the Kirchners. He argued that the USG's "silence" on the abusive mistreatment it suffered at the hands of the Kirchners (such as at the 2005 Mar del Plata Summit of the Americas) had encouraged more of the same.

The leaked conversations are likely to be noticed in a heated presidential race where Argentina’s national sovereignty, especially with regard to Washington, has been raised as an issue. The Argentine economy was restructured in the 1990s and fell into a deep depression from 1998–2002, under the tutelage of the Washington-dominated International Monetary Fund. And last year a New York judge ruled in favor of “vulture funds,” blocking Argentina from paying its creditors. Many Argentines have become wary of U.S. influence as a result of these and other interventions from Washington that had negative outcomes.


New Right-Wing Government Cedes Argentina’s Sovereignty to Wall Street

New Right-Wing Government Cedes Argentina’s Sovereignty to Wall Street
March 18, 2016
by Pete Dolack

Argentina’s new right-wing president, Mauricio Macri, pledged to put an end to the country’s sovereignty, and on that he has been true to this word. The capitalist principal that windfall profits for speculators is the raison d’état for the world’s governments has been upheld.

Or, to put it in a different way, the government of Argentina will again be allowed to borrow on international financial markets — so that it can borrow money for the sole purpose of paying billions of dollars to speculators.

Argentina had been one of the few countries that refused to bleed its population to pay off odious debt under the 12-year husband and wife rule of Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández. Their left-wing populism has been overstated — they left capitalist relations untouched and at best merely tolerated the movement of recovered factories — but they did consistently put the interests of Argentine working people ahead of international financiers. The election of the right-wing President Macri has put an end to that, along with his introducing the repression that austerity requires.

Argentina’s difficulties have a long history. The fascistic military dictatorship of 1976 to 1983 laid waste to the Argentine economy while unleashing horrific human rights abuses, and subsequent civilian governments sold off state enterprises at fire-sale prices while imposing austerity until the economy crashed at the end of 2001. Upon assuming office, President Kirchner suspended debt payments that would have impoverished the country. He offered to negotiate with bond holders, 93 percent of whom ultimately agreed to accept 30 percent of their bonds’ face value.


Human Rights Hypocrisy: US Criticizes Cuba

Human Rights Hypocrisy: US Criticizes Cuba
March 18, 2016

by Marjorie Cohn

In advance of President Barack Obama’s historic visit to Cuba on March 20, there is speculation about whether he can pressure Cuba to improve its human rights. But a comparison of Cuba’s human rights record with that of the United States shows that the US should be taking lessons from Cuba.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights contains two different categories of human rights – civil and political rights on the one hand; and economic, social and cultural rights on the other.

Civil and political rights include the rights to life, free expression, freedom of religion, fair trial, self-determination; and to be free from torture, cruel treatment, and arbitrary detention.

Economic, social and cultural rights comprise the rights to education, healthcare, social security, unemployment insurance, paid maternity leave, equal pay for equal work, reduction of infant mortality; prevention, treatment and control of diseases; and to form and join unions and strike.


Shine the Light of Truth on Poor Honduras

OpEdNews Op Eds 3/20/2016 at 13:12:31
Shine the Light of Truth on Poor Honduras

By John Grant

[font size=1]
Murder victim Berta Caceres, co-founder of COPINH, fought for the rights of the poor
(image by unknown) DMCA

Since the coup, Honduras has become one of the most dangerous places in the world.

- Amy Goodman

Since a June 2009 coup in Honduras, violence beneficial to rightist power brokers and international corporations -- violence directed against activists for the poor and indigenous -- has skyrocketed. News of this rarely reaches mainstream America. The real story is that the US government, as in the past, talks pretty but is an accessory in Honduras' descent into murder. "The NGO Global Witness declared Honduras the 'worst country to be an ecologist,' having 'a climate of near total impunity' that contributed to the killing of 109 environmental activists between 2010 and 2015, the highest per capita rate in the world," according to Andrea Lobo, one of many out-of-the-mainstream observers of Honduras' decent into oppressive violence.

On March 3rd, Berta Caceres, 44, co-founder of COPINH, the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, and winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize was assassinated by killers who broke into her home in La Esperanza (in English, Hope) at 1AM. Gustavo Castro Soto, a Mexican environmental activist who witnessed the murder and was himself shot twice, has been refused permission to return to Mexico and is hiding out in the Mexican embassy in Tegucigalpa. The financial officer of COPINH has been interrogated four times at length by police; she told Amy Goodman it's an effort to suggest the murder was due to internal COPINH politics. A COPINH member was briefly arrested by the police as a suspect, then released. Then, another COPINH activist, Nelson Garca, was killed last week. Police say Garcia's killing was an "isolated" act.

"Hundreds of activists have been killed. It's just a nightmare in Honduras," says Greg Grandin, a history professor at New York University, referring to the period since the 2009 coup. "The NGO Global Witness declared Honduras the 'worst country to be an ecologist,' having 'a climate of near total impunity' that contributed to the killing of 109 environmental activists between 2010 and 2015, the highest per capita rate in the world," says Andrea Lobo, one of many out-of-the-mainstream observers of Honduras' decent into oppressive violence. (See Amy Goodman and Democracy Now for more on the story.)

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was President Obama's secretary of state at the time of the 2009 coup. At dawn on June 28th, a military unit invaded the home of duly elected President Manuel Zelaya, a timber baron, woke him from his bed at gunpoint and flew him to Costa Rica. Ms Clinton and President Obama expressed obligatory regret over the coup, then did absolutely nothing to turn it around. Rumors spread of secret US involvement on a direct or indirect basis. After a brief hiatus, military aid was reinstated in full to the Honduran military. Secretary Clinton publicly called for nations around the world to support the government installed by the coup and pushed preparations for new elections. Ms. Clinton is very skilled at working this kind of political knife-in-the-kidney operation with a bright PR smile, all the time counting on the American people to have little interest in the comings and goings of a place like Honduras. Unlike the SNAFU in Benghazi, her Republican enemies have no interest in criticizing her for running cover for a coup that removed a left-leaning president in Honduras.


Venezuela gov't says miners' massacre due to disputes among paramilitaries

Venezuela gov't says miners' massacre due to disputes among paramilitaries

Published March 19, 2016/

Venezuela's Interior Minister Gustavo Gonzalez Lopez said that the massacre of a number of miners in the southeastern town of Tumeremo was sparked by disputes among paramilitary units attempting to exercise political and economic control over the mining region.

"The collection of criminal evidence allows us to associate the people responsible for the murders with paramilitary-style attacks, aimed at taking economic and political control of the mining region," Gonzalez said in reporting the results of security forces' investigations into the mass murder since last March 4, when the miners were first reported missing.

Venezuelan Attorney General Luisa Ortega said the 17 missing miners' bodies were discovered last Monday in a common grave.

Interior Minister Gonzalez also announced the capture Friday of Francisco David Carache Zambrano, alias "Goliat," one of the operators closest to the mafia headed by Ecuador's Jamilton Andres Ulloa Suarez, alias "El Topo," whom the authorities identify as leader of the group that killed the miners.


This article, reprinted by Fox "News" was published by Spain's E.F.E.
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