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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 147,066

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Oaxaca's revolutionary street art


A renaissance of political printmaking seeks to counter cultural domination and give voice to the disenfranchised.

bySam Cossar-Gilbert
Sam Cossar-Gilbert is economic justice and resisting neoliberalism coordinator at Friends of the Earth International.

byMichael Graham de La Rosa

Oaxaca, Mexico - This past October at Espacia Zapata, a print shop on a colourful city street in Oaxaca, Mexico, a group of artists from the art collective Assembly of Revolutionary Artists of Oaxaca (ASARO) gathered, surrounded by large hand-cranked presses and stacks of ink covered printing screens.

That night they took to the streets, illegally pasting politically charged screen prints on the walls of Oaxaca City, one of Mexico's premier tourist destinations, a UNESCO world heritage site and - for the past 10 years - the centre of a burgeoning political street art movement that has arisen from the political turmoil in the southern state.

"The simple act of sticking something out on the street means now you are a criminal," said Ivan Michel, one of the artists.

"Our art counters and is subversive. It is social and, in some cases, it's political," added Mario Guzman, another ASARO artist, speaking about the collective's mission to provide alternative commentary to the state-driven narrative which permeates Oaxacan society and silences dissent, often violently.


Sao Paulo street art debate over what makes cities livable

Sao Paulo street art debate over what makes cities livable
Sarah Dilorenzo, Associated Press Updated 12:47 pm, Friday, March 24, 2017

SAO PAULO (AP) — When completed in 2015, the mayor's office hailed the graffiti panels along Avenida 23 de Maio as Latin America's largest open-air mural — 70 works of street art stretching for more than 3 miles (5 kilometers) along a boulevard connecting a well-to-do district with the city center.

Then this January, they were painted over.

It wasn't done by vandals or other graffiti artists, as often happens with street art, but by sanitation workers acting on the orders of Sao Paulo's new mayor, Joao Doria, a millionaire businessman and former host of "The Apprentice Brazil." The mayor even donned a pair of orange coveralls and wielded a spray gun to put a thin layer of gray paint over the murals — angering people who considered the paintings part of the city's cultural heritage and sparking a debate about what is art and what should be protected.

Removal of the murals was among the first acts of Doria's "Pretty City" campaign: a traveling circus of street cleaners and maintenance workers who install new trash cans, plant trees, pick up garbage and cover up graffiti around Sao Paulo every weekend. Doria says the goal is not just to clean up Sao Paulo but to restore Paulistanos' pride in their hometown.


Drone Captures Leatherback Sea Turtle Returning to Ocean, Swimming Away

Posted by The Leatherback Trust in Ocean Views on March 22, 2017

By Jenell Black and Christian Díaz Chuquisengo

This year, as Field Manager at The Leatherback Trust, I was lucky enough to witness an extraordinary event in Las Baulas National Park (Parque Nacional Marino Las Baulas) on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. Leatherbacks typically nest under the cover of darkness, but once in a rare while our team out conducting a morning survey happens upon a sea turtle that is up late enough she may still be on the beach as the sun rises. Since light disrupts nesting sea turtles, photographs may not be taken of nesting sea turtles at night, but sea turtles that are up under the bright morning light are free game to take photos of respectfully and without the use of flash. Our project has been making large efforts to be at the lead of exciting new research methods conducted with drones, and I was lucky enough to remember to bring one out with me so you could witness this exciting event of a leatherback returning to the sea after completing her nesting process. What is so very exciting about using the drone is that we are able to not only see how the leatherback moves on land, but how graceful she is once she’s in the water clear of the shore.

Parque Nacional Marino Las Baulas remains the largest nesting location for the Eastern Pacific leatherback, a population that has declined by more than 98% since 1990. Organizations such as The Leatherback Trust, MINAE (Ministerio Ambiente y Energía, or Ministry of Environment and Energy)’s rangers, schools and universities, and even local restaurants are working tirelessly to prevent further decline of this population. Threats to these animals include climate change – where increased temperatures can cause nest mortality, pollution with plastics – which get lodged in digestive systems and nasal passages causing mortality, fisheries – where turtles are accidentally caught on long lines or in shrimp trawling traps and drown, known as bycatch, and habitat loss – leaving our girls with no place to lay their eggs. Fortunately there are many ways you can help save this species, and all other flora and fauna protected found in our national park.

Playa Grande, the largest of the beaches in Las Baulas National Park, is not only well known for surf breaks and stunning sunsets but also for visits from nesting turtles like critically endangered East Pacific leatherbacks.

Every year, during the leatherback nesting season (between October and March), leatherbacks come ashore to lay their eggs at night; up to 60 days later, the eggs hatch and the hatchlings start their race to the ocean. Black and olive ridley turtles also nest here, and portions of their nesting seasons overlap with the leatherback nesting season.


Chile sentences 33 over Pinochet-era disappearances

Chile sentences 33 over Pinochet-era disappearances
23 March 2017

The High Court in Chile has sentenced 33 former intelligence agents for the disappearance of five political activists in 1987.

The court said that the five had been abducted and killed, and their bodies thrown into the sea.

Investigators said they were killed in revenge for the abduction of an army colonel by left-wing guerrillas.

The five are believed to have been the last people kidnapped under the rule of Gen Augusto Pinochet from 1973 to 1990.


10 photos that will make you want to travel to Chiles incredible marble caves

10 photos that will make you want to travel to Chile’s incredible marble caves
Talia Lakritz, INSIDER

marble caves chile
The Marble Caves change color depending on the time of year.Flickr/Javier Vieras

Nestled within unassuming rock islands are glowing treasure troves of colors so bright they seem painted on. Lake General Carrera in Chile reflects seafoam greens, sapphire blues, and frosty grays onto rounded rock walls smoothed out from centuries of waves crashing against them.

While they may look artificial, the Marble Caves are just a perfect combination of sunlight, sparkling turquoise water, and a blank canvas.


US relations with Cuba could become a bargaining chip in the healthcare debate

US relations with Cuba could become a bargaining chip in the healthcare debate

Christopher Woody


President Donald Trump took a hardline on thawing US relations with Cuba during the final weeks of his campaign, likely in a move to shore up his support with some segments of the electorate.

In the two months since he took office, though, Trump's Cuba policy — to the extent that it exists — has been far from clear, especially because of Trump's past vacillations on the issue.

A New York Times report about wrangling on Capitol Hill over the Republican healthcare bill indicates that at least one Florida Republican sees the debate as a way to gauge Trump's stance on Cuba.

According to The Times:

As part of the discussions, Representative Mario Diaz-Balart, Republican of Florida, made it clear to White House officials that he wanted assurances that the president would hold to his pledge to consider reversing President Barack Obama’s opening with Cuba, the White House official said. Mr. Diaz-Balart backed the measure in the Budget Committee last week, although the official said there had been no explicit discussion of trading his vote for a promise on Cuba.


Protesters in DC confront Honduran president over Berta Cceres murder

Supporters and family demand independent investigation into activist’s killing after current and former military officers arrested

Lauren Gambino in Washington
Tuesday 21 March 2017 16.27 EDT

Supporters and family members of Berta Cáceres, the Honduran environmental and indigenous rights activist who was assassinated last year, have confronted the country’s president in Washington to demand an independent investigation of her murder.

President Juan Orlando Hernández traveled to Washington to meet with lawmakers on Tuesday and was greeted by protesters carrying signs with photographs of murdered activists and chants of “asesino” – Spanish for murderer.

Cáceres was one of more than 120 land and environmental campaigners murdered since a military-backed coup d’état ousted the democratically elected president Manuel Zelaya in 2009, according to the anti-corruption NGO Global Witness. Eight men have been arrested in connection with her murder, including one serving and two retired military officers.

. . .

The Honduran government has denied any role in Cáceres’s killing, but records obtained by the Guardian show that one of the suspects had been appointed chief of intelligence for elite special forces and that he and another suspect received military training in the US.

During the meeting, Mark Pocan, a Democratic congressman from Wisconsin, raised concerns that some of the suspects in the murder had received US training, according to an aide in the congressman’s office. The congressman asked the president how to ensure that US aid money was not being used to abet human rights violations.


Why paramilitary groups still exist in Colombia

Why paramilitary groups still exist in Colombia
written by Adriaan Alsema March 20, 2017

Colombia’s government denies the existence of paramilitary groups in the country, ignoring the fact that these extreme-right drug trafficking groups have existed (and whose existence has been denied) since the 1980s.

. . .

Both the late “Cuchillo” and the imprisoned “Don Mario,” the respective founders of ERPAC and the AGC, started their clandestine career in the Medellin cartel, before switching to “Los Pepes,” the anti-Escobar paramilitary group that helped Colombian and United States authorities kill Escobar in 1993.

. . .

In spite its unprecedented cruelty, the AUC received active support from both the Colombian military, the private sector and elements within the government, all of whom were unable to counter the increasingly powerful guerrillas.

. . .

Ahead of a 2005 peace deal, the AUC began demobilizing its blocs in 2003, confiding that their long time ideological ally Uribe would cut them a good deal, which he did.


It wasn't just Greece: Archaeologists find early democratic societies in the Americas

Public plazas were scattered through every neighborhood in the republic of Tlaxcallan. Some had modest temples like this one built off to one side.

It wasn't just Greece: Archaeologists find early democratic societies in the Americas
By Lizzie Wade Mar. 15, 2017 , 9:00 AM

The candidate for political office stood in a plaza, naked, bracing himself against the punches and kicks. The crowd roared, pulsing around him like a beating heart. People for whom he had risked his life in war after war hurled blows and insults from all directions. The candidate breathed deeply. Trained as a warrior, he knew he had to stay calm to reach the next phase of his candidacy.

This ordeal, documented by a Spanish priest in the 1500s, was merely the beginning of the long process of joining the government of the Mesoamerican city of Tlaxcallan, built around 1250 C.E. in the hills surrounding the modern city of Tlaxcala, Mexico. After this trial ended, the candidate would enter the temple on the edge of the plaza and stay for up to 2 years, while priests drilled him in Tlaxcallan's moral and legal code. He would be starved, beaten with spiked whips when he fell asleep, and required to cut himself in bloodletting rituals. But when he walked out of the temple, he would be more than a warrior: He would be a member of Tlaxcallan's senate, one of the 100 or so men who made the city's most important military and economic decisions.

"I'd like to see modern politicians do all that, just to prove they can govern," says archaeologist Lane Fargher, standing in the shadow of one of Tlaxcallan's recently restored elevated plazas. Fargher has led surveys and excavations here since 2007, studying the urban plan and material culture of a type of society many archaeologists once believed they'd never find in Mesoamerica: a republic. "Twenty or 25 years ago, no one would have accepted it was organized this way," says Fargher, who works at the research institute Cinvestav in Mérida, Mexico.

Now, thanks in part to work led by Fargher's mentor Richard Blanton, an anthropologist at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, Tlaxcallan is one of several premodern societies around the world that archaeologists believe were organized collectively, where rulers shared power and commoners had a say in the government that presided over their lives.accepted it was organized this way," says Fargher, who works at the research institute Cinvestav in Mérida, Mexico.


Balam Ajp: Mayan Hip-Hops Political Agenda

March 19, 2017
Balam Ajpú: Mayan Hip-Hop’s Political Agenda
"When people feel our passion, they offer theirs.”
By Jose Garcia

The first time I saw the members of Balam Ajpú perform together was in 2012, in Guatemala City, for the ZONA M’s closing show. They put on an unforgettable show.

Tzutu, Nativo, and MChe walked onto the stage slowly, like a gentle mist, while shaking their sonajas and blowing incense. People watched silently, as though in a daze. White fog covered the steps. When the smoke cleared, Tzutu was kneeling down, lighting a small fire while reciting Mayan poetry. Soon that spiritual opening turned into a furious hip-hop concert.

Despite the language difference—Tzutu was rapping in Tz’utujil—his fiery, speedy rapping infected the crowd, which began dancing, bobbing their heads, and clapping along. Tzutu howled, screamed, and strained his voice. It was powerful and hypnotizing; larger than life. There were handmade shakers, empty turtle shells, wooden drums, songs in Spanish, Mayan, Tz’utujil. So unlike what we were used to at a rap concert.

All of Balam Ajpú’s shows are that memorable. Far from a typical hip-hop recital, theirs is a ceremony, a rebellious spiritual gathering. Their lyrics are sincere tributes to the Mayan culture, Mother Nature, the forefathers and foremothers, the creators, the Earth, the stars, life. Their music: a fermented rendering of contemporary sounds. Marimbas, sonajas, turtle shells, hand-made drums, and birds chirping meet with acoustic guitars, basses, and violins to form slippery reggaes, smooth cumbias, and explosive Mayan raps.



Balam Ajpu – Maltooj (ofrenda y agradecimiento) con Ta Pedro Cruz

Balam Ajpu

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