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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 146,998

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The Survival of the Species: From Indigenous Struggle to Ecosocialism

May 19, 2015

The Survival of the Species

From Indigenous Struggle to Ecosocialism


The epic life of Hugo Blanco requires an epic introduction. None could do better than Eduardo Galeano:

“Hugo Blanco was born for the first time in Cuzco, 1934. He arrived in Peru, a country divided in two. He was born in the middle. He was white, but he was raised in Huanoquite, a town where his friends in games and adventures all spoke Quechua. He went to school in Cuzco, where the Indios couldn’t walk on the sidewalks, which were reserved for decent people. Hugo was born for the second time when he was ten years old. He received news from his town, and learned that Bartolome Paz had branded an indigenous peasant with a hot iron. This owner of land and people had branded his initials with fire on the buttocks of a peasant, named Francisco Zamata, because he hadn’t tended well to the cows on his property. This wasn’t so unusual in fact, but that brand marked Hugo forever. And as the years passed, this man who wasn’t Indio started becoming one; he organized campesino unions and paid with beatings, tortures, prisons, harassment and exile his chosen disgrace. . . Hugo Blanco has walked his country backwards and forwards, from the snowy mountains to the dry coasts, passing through the humid jungles where the natives are hunted like beasts. And wherever he has gone, has has helped the fallen to get up, the silenced to speak. The authorities accused him of being a terrorist. They were right. He sowed terror among the owners of lands and peoples. He slept under the stars and in cells occupied by rats. He went on fourteen hunger strikes. . . More than once, the prosecutors demanded the death penalty, and more than once the news was published that Hugo had died. And when a drill opened up his skull, because a vein had burst, Hugo awoke in panic that the surgeons may have changed his ideas. But no. He continued to be, with his skull sewed up, the same Hugo as always. His friends are sure that no transplant of ideas would work. But we did fear that that Hugo would wake up sane. But here he is – he continues to be that beautiful madman who decided to be Indio, even though he wasn’t, and wound up being more Indio than anyone.”

— Eduardo Galeano, excerpts from passages quoted in Lucha Indiegna #105, May 2015

Quincy Saul: We read in Lucha Indigena and other publications that in Peru today roughly 20% of the national territory has been ceded to foreign mining interests. We read also about the Guardians of Lakes, and the people resisting mining in Cajamarca. What are the lessons for the world that are emerging from these struggles?

Hugo Blanco: We all learn from the struggles in Peru and in the rest of the world. From the 4th to the 8th of August of 2014, we were gathered in Cajamarca weaving international alliances. The dominant system’s means of communication hide our struggles or lie about them. They are spokespeople for the enemies of humanity and nature. So one of our great tasks is to broadcast what is really happening.


The key to ending Colombia's seven-decade civil war could be the US

The key to ending Colombia's seven-decade civil war could be the US

Despite animosity between the Farc and the US, which considers the rebel group ‘narco-terrorists’, envoy Bernard Aronson is seen as a critical voice at peace talks

Sibylla Brodzinsky in Bogotá
Tuesday 19 May 2015 13.42 EDT

When Washington appointed a special envoy to peace talks between the Colombian government and the leftwing rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc), it was billed as a show of support for the process and for President Juan Manuel Santos.

There is no love lost between the Farc and the US: Washington put the guerrilla group on its list of terrorist organizations in 1997 and poured billions of dollars of military aid into a campaign to defeat them. The rebels accuse the United States of imperialist meddling, and consider Americans among their most prized hostages.

. . .

Even if they aren’t shipped off to a US prison, the Farc worry about the security of their members in Colombia once they give up their guns.

And with good reason. As part of an attempted peace process in the 1980s the Farc created a small leftwing party called the Patriotic Union (UP). Those talks soon fell apart, and more than 3,000 members of the party, including two presidential candidates, were murdered during the 1980s and 1990s by rightwing paramilitaries linked to the armed forces. Many of those who escaped death went into hiding or exile.


Experts doubt FARC is giving military training to Mexican cartels

May 19, 2015
Experts doubt FARC is giving military training to Mexican cartels
posted by Adriaan Alsema

Independent experts disagree with reported US intelligence about whether Colombia’s largest rebel group, the FARC, is providing military training to Mexican drug cartels.

The Mexican weekly Proceso last week reported that the FARC had been training members of drug trafficking organizations New Generation Jalisco and Los Cuinis in the southern Colombian jungles.

The magazine said to base its claims on a US intelligence source who claimed some 50 members of the Mexican cartels had traveled to Colombia to receive military training.

However, several Mexican experts told Spanish news agency EFE that this is very unlikely, and that the FARC’s relationship with Mexican cartels is most likely restricted to cocaine and arms trafficking.


Driest Place on Earth Hosts Life

Driest Place on Earth Hosts Life
By Andrew Williams - May 18, 2015

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María Elena South: Mars on Earth in the Atacama Desert, Chile. Photo courtesy: Armando Azua-Bustos - See more at: http://www.astrobio.net/topic/origins/extreme-life/driest-place-on-earth-hosts-life/#sthash.0aLwfZ8k.dpuf
Researchers have pinpointed the driest location on Earth in the Atacama Desert, a region in Chile already recognised as the most arid in the world. They have also found evidence of life at the site, a discovery that could have far-reaching implications for the search for life on Mars.

For more than a decade, the Yungay region has been established as the driest area of the hyper-arid Atacama desert, with conditions close to the so-called “dry limit” for life on Earth. Several academic papers have been published reporting on the extraordinary characteristics of the site and its relevance to astrobiologists as an analogue of conditions on Mars. However, following a more systematic search of the desert, a Chilean research team has now found a new site, María Elena South (MES), which it describes as “much drier” than Yungay.

Lead author Armando Azua-Bustos, an environmental biologist and research scientist at the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science in Seattle, says the team discovered that MES has a mean atmospheric relative humidity (RH) of 17.3 percent and a soil RH of a constant 14 percent at a depth of one meter. This soil value matches the lowest RH measurements taken by the Mars Science Laboratory at Gale Crater on Mars, establishing the fact that conditions at the site are as dry as those found recently on the Martian surface.

“Remarkably, we found a number of viable bacterial species in the soil profile at MES using a combination of molecular dependent and independent methods, unveiling the presence of life in the driest place on the Atacama Desert reported to date,” Azua-Bustos says.


4 Pinochet-Era Military Officers Sentenced to Prison in Chile

4 Pinochet-Era Military Officers Sentenced to Prison in Chile
Published 18 May 2015 (4 hours 31 minutes ago)

Four former secret police agents in Chile were sentenced to prison terms, among them Gen. Manuel Contreras, who ran the country's secret police.

​Four high-ranking Chilean army officials during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet were sentenced to five years in prison Sunday for their role in the murder of two young activists in 1976.
Among those sentenced was Gen. Manuel Contreras, who was in charge of Chile’s notorious secret police of the military government, the DINA. The DINA functioned as an intelligence entity that operated outside the traditional jurisdiction of the military hierarchy in Pinochet’s dictatorship.

This is only the latest sentence for Contreras, who has been found guilty in numerous other cases of human rights violations. He has been sentenced to serve a total of 400 years for his crimes.



Henchman Manuel Contreras, raptly
listening to his boss, Gen. Pinochet


Juan Manuel Guillermo Contreras Sepúlveda (born May 4, 1929) is a Chilean military officer and the former head of DINA, Chile's secret police during the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet. As head of DINA he was the most powerful and feared man in the country, after Pinochet. He is currently serving 25 sentences totaling 289 years in prison for kidnapping, forced disappearance and assassination.[1]

Operation Condor[edit]

Further information: Operation Condor

From 1973 to 1977, Contreras led the agency on an international hunt to track down and murder the political opponents of the dictatorship, particularly members of the Communist and Socialist parties and the former guerrilla group and political party Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR). According to the report "CIA activities in Chile" released on September 19, 2000, the US government policy community approved CIA's contact with Contreras from 1974 to 1977 to accomplish the CIA's mission in Chile in spite of his role in human rights abuses. By 1975 American intelligence reporting had concluded that Contreras was the principal obstacle to a reasonable human rights policy within the Pinochet's government, but the CIA was directed to continue its relationship with Contreras, even giving Contreras a one-time payment in 1975.[2][3] The CIA became concerned with Contrera's role in the assassination of former Salvador Allende cabinet member and ambassador to Washington Orlando Letelier and his American assistant, Ronni Karpen Moffit in Washington, DC, on September 21, 1976. The CIA gathered specific, detailed intelligence reporting concerning Contrera's involvement in ordering the Letelier assassination, but some of the material remains classified and another portion has been withheld at the request of the US Department of Justice (CIA, 2000) CIA contacts with Contreras continued until 1977.[3]

After Orlando Letelier's assassination, tensions between Contreras and Pinochet grew over the course of his tenure, and the DINA was closed down in 1977 and replaced with a new apparatus, the National Intelligence Center (CNI). By 1979, Contreras was out of the army after a short time at the rank of General.


Unseen Cuba: First aerial photographs reveal island's spectacular beauty

Unseen Cuba: First aerial photographs reveal island's spectacular beauty
David Sim
By David Sim May 18, 2015 13:43 BST

Here's Cuba as you've never seen it before. Lithuanian aerial photographer and publisher Marius Jovaiša is the first artist to receive government permission to fly over the country and photograph it from above.

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Towering mogotes, cone-shaped limestone mountains covered in vegetation, are the signature geological feature in Valle de Viñales.(Unseen Cuba / Marius Jovaisa)
More images:

Monsanto and the Damage Done

Weekend Edition May 15-17, 2015

Neil Young Targets Monsanto

Monsanto and the Damage Done


Neil Young is reportedly about to release a new album called, ‘The Monsanto Years’. Don’t expect the lyrics to be music to the ears of the company’s executives over in St Louis, however. With falling profits and glyphosate being reclassified by the WHO as ‘probably’ causing cancer, Monsanto needs Neil Young like it needs a hole in the head.

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, which was primarily responsible $5.1 billion of Monsanto’s revenues in 2014. But that’s not all. The herbicide is used to support Monsanto’s Roundup Ready crops, which comprise a significant proportion of its revenue stream.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, herbicide-tolerant biotech plants were grown on virtually all (94 percent) soybean fields in the US last year and on 89 percent of all cornfields. Food & Water Watch found the volume of glyphosate applied to those crops increased almost 1,000 percent between 1996 and 2012, from 15 million pounds to 159 million pounds.

But perhaps the WHO’s reclassification presents just another hurdle to be pushed aside by this science-denying company that has such immense influence within the US Environmental Protection Agency so as to have its fraudulent science accepted and studies showing the carcinogenic impact of glyphosate sidelined.


Immigration reform and the Cuban Adjustment Act

Immigration reform and the Cuban Adjustment Act

Keith Bolender • August 11, 2014

Immigration reform and the Cuban Adjustment Act

While desperate children cross the American border from troubled Central American countries, leaders in the United States continue to demonstrate that no issue, no matter how emotionally charged or morally clear, is beyond politics. And there is one group that is particularly adept at duplicity when determining which immigrants deserve to be treated better than others.

The crisis has brought to the forefront a set of Congressmen who believe that children sent by their parents from Honduras, Guatemala and Salvador to the United States in the hopes of a better life have to be sent back unequivocally, less these unfortunates get away with flaunting the laws and take advantage of American generosity – which they apparently do not deserve.

Politicians, in large part from the Republican Party, have made it clear these children should not receive special consideration, regardless of the physical dangers or economic depravations they left in their home countries. Two from the Grand Old Party have been particularly vociferous in their determination to keep the immigration door closed for certain Latinos. Senators Ted Cruz from Texas and Florida’s Marco Rubio represent the hardest opponents of leniency towards these refugees. Wielding a great deal of influence, despite last year’s confusion when Rubio presented but then rejected his own more moderate legislation on the matter, the pair have been particularly effective in blocking any attempt at resolving the crisis or showing concern for the children crossing the border. Cruz led other Senate conservatives in urging rejection of the recently proposed House border security package based on the irritation that it excluded language prohibiting expansion of President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals, an administrative change Obama made in 2012 to halt the deportation of some young immigrants.

~ snip ~

The pair consistently speak out against the Castro revolution and remain fully supportive of the special treatment those with the same heritage receive when it comes to immigration. Cubans who make it to the USA are not only welcomed, but accepted with open arms full of economic and political benefits. Regardless of their age, condition or reason for leaving the island. This is made possible under the decades old Cuban Adjustment Act, implemented in 1966 as part of America’s political weaponry against the revolution. The Act was designed to encourage Cubans to leave the island, providing incentives such as permanent residence status after one year. Cubans simply have to show up at any American border, no questions asked, and they are allowed entry after a cursory examination. Immediately they can apply for social assistance programs, claim various financial benefits and be provided with considerations such as free English lessons.

The Act encourages Cubans to claim political refugee status, with the person only having to assert some ill-treatment at the hands of the revolutionary government to ensure there would be no complications upon entry. It helped establish the exile community to set up its base in Miami and become the voice of anti-revolution and the energy behind keeping the American embargo against Cuba unchanged. Critics of the Act state it encourages Cubans to leave the island on flimsy rafts, risking life in order to gain benefits no other immigrant can. Consistently the American government has used the Act to score political points, pointing to the arrivals as proof as how desperate the Cubans are to get out of the country – without mentioning the Act or the immediate advantages it provides them. Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989 and the continuing struggles of the Cuban economy, even the U.S. side admits the Act now has little to do with politics, and simply as a way for Cubans to escape their economic difficulties. The same reason most Central America immigrants cite.


The embarrassing flight of the three hawks

The embarrassing flight of the three hawks

Jane Franklin • April 28, 2014

All three Cuban-American members of the U.S. Senate – Robert Menéndez, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz – wish they could say truthfully that their parents “fled Castro’s Cuba”. The embarrassing reality is that their parents left Cuba while General Fulgencio Batista was running the country after the 1952 coup that overthrew an elected government and canceled an election in which Fidel Castro was running for office.

All three Cuban-American members of the U.S. Senate – Robert Menéndez, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz – wish they could say truthfully that their parents “fled Castro’s Cuba”. The embarrassing reality is that their parents left Cuba while General Fulgencio Batista was running the country after the 1952 coup that overthrew an elected government and canceled an election in which Fidel Castro was running for office.

•Flees Castro

•Flees Castro’s Cuba

•Escapes the Castros

•Escapes Cuba’s communist government

•Flees communism for freedom on our shores.

His parents become the oppressed victims of “Castro’s Revolution” and Menéndez takes on the mantle of a son of immigrants who found freedom in the United States that he is defending against the villainous Castro his parents fled.

For decades he has profited politically from that identity, raising prodigious campaign funds among wealthy right-wing Cuban-Americans in both New Jersey and Florida. Now this Cuban-American hawk oversees U.S. policy toward Cuba from his perch as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.


Our man in Havana (back in ’59)

Our man in Havana (back in ’59)
Emilio Paz • May 16, 2015

Many Americans may already be wondering who will be nominated as U.S. ambassador to Cuba once formal relations are reestablished between the two countries.

Will it be a career diplomat with experience in Latin America or some wealthy industrialist (preferably Spanish-speaking) who contributed munificently to political party coffers? Will it be a Mr. Ambassador or a Madame Ambassador?

What will be the criteria for the selection? And are names being vetted now or is there already a short list?

For those few Americans who wonder who was the United States’ envoy to Havana in 1959, when Fulgencio Batista fled the island and Fidel Castro took over, the answer is Earl Edward Tailer Smith, an investment broker and sportsman with no previous diplomatic background who was appointed ambassador to Cuba by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. He was confirmed by the Senate in May 1957 at the age of 54.

The fact that he was on the board of directors of the United States Sugar Corporation may have had a bearing on his appointment, since the company had a major presence in sugar-producing Cuba at the time.

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