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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 147,224

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Holy War: Latin America's Far Right

Old arguments about morality, Christianity, and the essential correctness of postcolonial racial and social stratification have proven a tremendous asset to the reaction against the Pink Tide.

Kirsten Weld ▪ Spring 2020

Soldiers at Bolsonaro’s inauguration, where he proclaimed a crusade against crime, corruption, and leftism
(Carl De Souza/AFP via Getty Images)

By any measure, the extreme right is ascendant in Latin America. In Brazil, president Jair Bolsonaro boasts of being a proud homophobe, promises to banish “red outlaws,” insists that his country is a “Christian nation,” and sings the praises of the Cold War–era military dictatorship, his only critique being that it tended to torture dissidents instead of killing them outright. In Chile, billionaire president Sebastián Piñera responded to anti-austerity demonstrations by sending the army into the streets, part of a supposed “war against a powerful enemy,” recycling Augusto Pinochet’s language in effectively giving carte blanche to security forces as they blinded hundreds of demonstrators with rubber bullets. And in Bolivia, where neo-fascist paramilitaries based in the Santa Cruz lowlands co-opted the electoral unrest that led to president Evo Morales’s ouster, thugs burned indigenous flags, police massacred protesters, and ministers of the new interim government called Morales and his followers “savages and terrorists.” Self-declared president Jeanine Áñez triumphantly pronounced, “God has allowed the Bible to return to the palace,” as her followers stormed the legislature.

A decade ago, the regional panorama looked very different, with the center-left governments of the so-called Pink Tide working gamely against sobering structural constraints to try and dismantle entrenched economic, racial, and gender inequalities. The results were uneven, but the successes real. What happened?

In one sense, Latin America’s right-wing resurgence parallels dynamics playing out elsewhere in the world, from India to Turkey to the United States. Conservatives, fringe and mainstream alike, are alluding to the Crusades, decrying the influence of “gender ideology” and “cultural Marxism,” and hardening borders both figurative and physical between “us” and “them.” The movements driven by these constellations of ideas complement one another, and regularly collaborate, in their attempts to roll back democratization on a global scale.

Yet while the dynamics have global resonances, many characteristics of the Latin American right are specific to the region’s postcolonial history. The far right’s exaltation of Christianity, patriarchy, “Hispanic” whiteness, and authoritarianism—and its violent rejection of secularism, homosexuality, indigeneity, blackness, and liberalism—reflect how Latin America’s decolonization unfolded, and the nature of its relationships with its former colonizers, Spain and Portugal. Only recently in the United States have the Middle Ages been invoked in right-wing political discourse, used to bolster Islamophobia since 9/11. In Latin America, though, such rhetoric is part of a long-standing right-wing intellectual current characterized by a racist identification with European imperialism; since the 1930s, it has also bolstered religious justifications for campaigns of violence against “communists.”


Brazil's President Bolsonaro Sacks Coronavirus Health Minister

|Apr 16, 2020,05:17pm EDT

Kenneth Rapoza Senior Contributor

t took a week longer than expected, but Brazil’s Health Minister, Luiz Enrique Mandetta, was fired on Thursday in the middle of Brazil’s worse public health scare since the zika virus outbreak in 2015-16 that infected more than 300,000 people in that period.

President Jair Bolsonaro had been locking horns with Mandetta ever since the new SARS coronavirus began claiming new victims. Brazil is the most infected country in Latin America thus far with 30,425 case, based on data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Over 1,920 people have died. Brazil is yet to reach peak infection curve.

Mandetta wanted a coordinated national lockdown. Bolsonaro did not. Some states were taking matters into their own hands, canceling school and even going so far as to ban interstate transit for commercial vehicles.

Truckers delivering food were banned from crossing state lines between Sao Paulo and Rio. On Brazil’s Whatsapp, people were sharing images of truckers actually dumping fruits and vegetables on the side of the road in a sign of protest against the crazy interstate commercial travel restrictions late last month.


Cuba accuses the United States of preventing its purchases of medicines and respirators Internatio

Cuba accuses the United States of preventing its purchases of medicines and respirators | International
April 14, 2020 04

More information
Cuba denounces that the United States embargo policy is preventing its purchases of medicines and respirators, while continuing to send medical brigades abroad to collaborate in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. As the Cuban Chancellery reported on Monday, two medical companies that habitually supplied the island with artificial ventilation equipment, essential for the treatment of serious cases of coronavirus, suspended their commercial relations with the island after being acquired by an American corporation.

According to the official press, it is the Swiss manufacturer IMT Medical and the company Acutronic. These companies became part of the American corporation Vyaire Medical in 2018, and after the merger they expressed their inability to continue doing business with Cuba. “Unfortunately, the corporate guideline we have today is to suspend the entire commercial relationship with Medicuba; the only way we can resume joint work is through a license from OFAC [Oficina de Controle de Ativos Estrangeiros] issued by the United States Department of the Treasury and which we do not yet have, “the companies notified the Cuban state company responsible for importing medical supplies, said Eugenio Martínez, former ambassador for Latin America and the Caribbean at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. from Cuba in Spain.

The Havana government accuses Washington of systematically hampering access to medicines and medical supplies the island needs, which forces it to acquire them in much more distant markets, such as China, by paying for transportation and suffering unnecessary delays. “There is a group of resources that we have acquired and that if we could buy in the USA it would favor us, because it is a much closer market”, stated the vice president of Medicuba, Lázaro Silva.

According to the newspaper Granma, a donation of masks, detection kits and respirators by Chinese businessman Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba company – who has donated large quantities of these products to countries in Europe, Asia, the USA and Latin America, affected by Covid-19 – could not reach the island. The North American transport company hired to carry out the shipment “gave up on doing so at the last moment,” says Havana, saying that the current embargo prohibits the service. The authorities say that last year losses to the health system through sanctions reached $ 160 million (816 million reais), so they call for an immediate lifting of the embargo to better face the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, Cuba continues with its policy of medical diplomacy. On Monday a second health brigade arrived in Italy, made up of 21 doctors and 17 nurses who will work in Turin, a city severely affected by the pandemic. The team, made up of intensive care specialists, epidemiologists, pulmonologists and comprehensive doctors, adds to the contingent of 53 health professionals who are part of the brigade sent to Lombardy at the end of March. Most of the brigade’s doctors and health professionals have previously served in disaster situations and international health crises, including the Ebola outbreak in Africa.


US blocks sale of ventilators to Cuba after acquiring medical companies.

Source: Morning Star


Cuban doctors form up during a farewell ceremony as they get ready to leave for Italy to help with the new coronavirus pandemic, in Havana, Cuba, last Sunday

WASHINGTON has been accused of showing “contempt for life and hatred of the Cuban people” after it bought up companies making ventilators and immediately banned them from exporting the machines to Cuba and Venezuela.

Cuba said it had tried to obtain medical supplies from 60 US companies for the treatment of coronavirus patients but had been ignored by all but two, with the US blockade restricting even emergency material.

The Cuban government said that in “another twist of this genocidal, inhumane policy,” US firm Vyaire Medical had acquired ventilator manufacturers IMTMedical and Acutronic, which immediately announced and end to all dealings with the socialist island.

“Unfortunately, the corporate guideline we have today is to suspend all commercial relations with Medicuba,” the companies said in a statement.

Read more: https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/w/us-blocks-sale-ventilators-cuba-after-acquiring-medical-companies

Logistical Hurdles Leave COVID-19 Test Kits Unused

Scientists at academic labs equipped to test for SARS-CoV-2 report that multiple barriers are preventing from them from operating at full capacity.

Amy Schleunes
Apr 10, 2020

University labs in the US that have been certified to test for the coronavirus and are ready to collaborate with clinics and hospitals are facing regulatory and logistical obstacles to distributing their tests, reports Nature. As a result, some labs are operating at half capacity or less, despite the demands for COVID-19 tests.

Human geneticist Stacey Gabriel of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard says that her lab could be analyzing 2,000 tests per day. “But we aren’t doing that many,” she tells Nature. “Yesterday was around 1,000. What is holding us back? That is the question.”

Several academic laboratories, including the Broad Institute, have invested in adapting their facilities so that they can use PCR to test for SARS-CoV-2, rapidly changing their scientific protocols and meeting federal regulations, as it became clear in late February that tests issued by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were in short supply, according to Nature.

Scientists report that the barriers to making those tests available are formidable. “There is a misconception that you only need a PCR machine and a PhD—that is 10% of what you need,” says Fyodor Urnov of the Innovative Genomics Institute at the University of California, Berkeley, in remarks to Nature. On March 30, Urnov’s facility launched its testing operation after facing weeks of challenges. “My life is waking up at 3 in the morning, and thinking of the 24 things that will go wrong today,” he says.


No pandemic will stop mass killings of Colombia's human rights defenders

by Adriaan Alsema April 10, 2020

The mass killing of Colombia’s human rights defenders continued unabated in the first quarter of 2020, according to the United Nations and social organizations.

According to UN human rights chief Alberto Brunori, his office received 56 reports of assassinated social leaders, but has only been able to verify 14 of them.

Social organizations echo UN concern

Human rights organization Somos Defensores reported a similar problem. They received 62 reports, but have only been able to verify if the homicides corresponded to social leaders in 36 cases.

Because of a nationwide quarantine that took force on March 25, the human rights leaders have been unable to travel to the often rural areas to verify if the victims belonged to any kind of social organization.


This is a recurring situation throughout Colombia's dreadful history of hard-right government.

Colombia's VP breaks down in interview over business ties to narco

by Adriaan Alsema April 9, 2020

Colombia’s vice-president broke down in tears on Wednesday during an interview over her businesses ties to a drug trafficker.

In an interview with W Radio, VP Marta Lucia Ramirez (Conservative Party) was fiercely defending her integrity and honor until the shame got the best of her and the VP burst into tears.

“What I have achieved in life I have done working with integrity, and honestly with the utmost clarity that serving the country is always done by setting an example of integrity,” Ramirez said weeping.

Unlike the dynasty politicians and narco-elites who dominate Colombia’s politics, Remirez actually worked her way up from a middle class family and made history in 2018 when she became the country’s first female VP.

While often criticized over her cunning use of her leverage in the financial sector to gain political power, last week’s revelation she and her husband teamed up with “Memo Fantasma” in a construction project was the first time she was ever linked to narcos.


The Vice President chose to be sponsored by a sweetheart of a death squad drug lord:

"Macaco" Carlos Mario Jiménez

The Dark Side of Plan Colombia

. . .

Macaco, whose real name is Carlos Mario Jiménez, was one of the bloodiest paramilitary commanders in Colombia’s long-running civil war and has confessed to the murder of 4,000 civilians. He and his cohorts are also largely responsible for forcing 4.3 million Colombians into internal refugee status, the largest internally displaced population in the world after Sudan’s. In May 2008, Macaco was extradited to the United States on drug trafficking and “narco-terrorism” charges. He is awaiting trial in a jail cell in Washington, DC.

Macaco turned himself in to authorities in late 2005 as part of a government amnesty program that requires paramilitary commanders to surrender their ill-gotten assets—including lands obtained through violent displacement. Macaco offered up Coproagrosur as part of the deal.

But the attorney general’s notice made no mention that Coproagrosur had received a grant in 2004 from the US Agency for International Development (USAID). That grant—paid for through Plan Colombia, the multibillion-dollar US aid package aimed at fighting the drug trade—appears to have put drug-war dollars into the hands of a notorious paramilitary narco-trafficker, in possible violation of federal law. Colombia’s paramilitaries are on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations. USAID’s due diligence process “did not fail,” according to an official response from the US embassy there, because Macaco was not officially listed among Coproagrosur’s owners.

. . .


Colombia's hospitals unprepared for coronavirus, personnel working under threat: federation

by Adriaan Alsema April 8, 2020

Colombia’s hospitals are grossly unprepared to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. Medical personnel who have wanted to expose this have been threatened or fired, according the country’s medical federation.

In an online press conference, the Colombian Medical Federation said that hospitals are not just unequipped to deal with the pandemic, but that medical personnel is working under conditions that threaten their health, and that of their families and patients, according to a poll among more than 900 doctors and nurses.

There is expression of anguish, anxiety, sadness, lack of desire to go to work and a feeling of abandonment by the state. There are layoffs, deterioration of contractual conditions, decreased income, greater instability, and a feeling of frustration due to the indifference of Colombian society to which the efforts of health personnel are dedicated, in conditions that put the health and life of this human talent at risk.

Colombian Medical Federation

In some cases, doctors and nurses were threatened with terrorism charges if they revealed the situation in the hospitals, according to FMC director Sergio Isaza.


Open Letter to Condemn Trump Administration's Hypocritical Indictment on Drug Charges of Venezuelan

Open Letter to Condemn Trump Administration’s Hypocritical Indictment on Drug Charges of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and High-Ranking Venezuelan Officials
by Stansfield Smith / April 8th, 2020

We, the undersigned organizations and prominent individuals, condemn the false claims of criminal charges by the US government against the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and other high-ranking officials with the pretext of their alleged involvement in international drug trafficking.

. . .

This decision of the US constitutes a further escalation in coercive measures against a sovereign country, which has included sanctions so extreme as to create a blockade, costing Venezuela 40,000 lives in a period of just over a year and $116 billion in lost revenue.

It is well-documented that two close and long-time US allies in Latin America, the governments of Colombia and Honduras, have been heavily involved in narco trafficking. The last Latin American leader the US charged with drug trafficking was Panama’s Manuel Noriega (who was running drugs with the CIA). The US then invaded his country and later imprisoned him in Miami.

Actual evidence of Venezuela involvement in drug trafficking

The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), which is unfriendly to the Venezuelan government, finds: “CCDB [US interagency Consolidated Counterdrug Database] data does not justify many of the claims made by those who advance the ‘narcostate’ narrative to describe organized crime in Venezuela today and to argue against efforts to achieve a negotiated path to democratic governance in Venezuela. As noted, US authorities estimate that 93 percent of US-bound cocaine is trafficked through Western Caribbean and Eastern Pacific routes, not through Venezuela’s Eastern Caribbean coast.”


Also posted in Editorials and other articles:

Colombia's ambassador to Uruguay resigns after 'surprise' criminal probe into cocaine lab on family

by Adriaan Alsema April 7, 2020

Colombia’s ambassador to Uruguay resigned on Monday after expressing surprise he was being investigated over a cocaine laboratory found on one of his family’s estates.

The office of President Ivan Duque confirmed that Fernando Sanclemente had resigned after chief prosecutor Francisco Barbosa told newspaper El Tiempo that the dynasty politician had been tied to the drug trafficking investigation.

Sanclemente, the former director of Colombia’s civil aviation agency, said in a press release he was “surprised” by the investigation that began in February after US authorities traced cocaine found in American airports to the lab on his family’s estate in Guasca, a town near Bogota.

. . .

In an interview published on Sunday, the chief prosecutor told El Tiempo that the ambassador will have to explain how a cocaine lab could be producing at least one ton of cocaine per month on his family’s property without his knowledge.


~ ~ ~

Internet translation to English:

Why does Uribismo protect Ambassador Fernando Sanclemente?

Several data denotes that there is fabric to cut in the case of Ambassador Sanclemente , who found 3 Cocaine laboratories on his farm.

He was the one who prepared the Aerocivil report in which it was ruled that Pedro Juan Moreno's HK-2496 helicopter fell as an accident and not as a homicide.

Pedro Juan Moreno was a businessman very close to Álvaro Uribe Velez . Which according to Don Berna was a frequent visitor to paramilitary camps, and said that the accident had been a sabotage.


~ ~ ~

Internet translated from Spanish:

February 22, 2020

Did the country shake with the discovery of a drug laboratory on the farm of the Colombian ambassador to Uruguay Fernando San clemente? Was there enough media coverage and coverage in public media for society to know fully what kind of official is the Lord?

Little noise made such a serious event that a public official of such category owns a drug laboratory on his property should be a reason for the entire government to investigate, but the investigations will not take place because Ambassador San Clemente is one of his own.

Mr. San Clemente has been close to Uribe, his name was heard when he was director of the Aero Civil in 2006, the year in which drugs were allegedly sent to El Gupo with the complicity of that body, the government and the same Republic President.

. . .

The government of the day awarded an alleged drug trafficker with an embassy, ​​but, despite the seriousness of the accusations, not enough investigations have been given, NEITHER WILL THEY GIVE.

Why? the new attorney general Francisco Barbosa apart from being close to the government and President Duque has within his cabinet in one of the high positions the wife of the comptroller Felipe Córdoba who in turn has Francisco Barbosa's wife as delegated comptroller of the environment. Many companies prohibit having close family or affinity ties because this would hinder the exercise of their functions and authority, but this is not the case with the government, where "trusted" friends and relatives are appointed to high and important positions, therefore, the comptroller's office and the public prosecutor's office will be silenced by the serious events that dot the government and its ambassador.

But it does not end here, the Ambassador San Clemente was also the one who washed the blame of former President Uribe in the named assassination of Pedro Juan Moreno, when he prepared a report from the Aero Civil to describe the shooting down of the helicopter where Moreno died as an accident.

. . .

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