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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
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The Americans studying medicine in Cuba

The Americans studying medicine in Cuba

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Lillian Burnett walks to class through a Havana neighborhood.
By Sam Laird
17 hours ago

HAVANA, Cuba — After Hurricane Katrina devastated parts of Louisiana and Mississippi in August 2005, Cuba offered a cadre of doctors and medical supplies to help treat injured and displaced Americans. Cuba is renowned around the world for the quality of its doctors — but the United States government declined the offer.

Of course, that's not exactly surprising given the two countries' decades of animosity. Tension between Cuba and the U.S. is most visibly epitomized by a still-in-place trade embargo imposed by the U.S. in 1960, one year after Fidel Castro and Ernesto "Che" Guevara led a revolution to turn Cuba into a communist state.

Given the frosty relations and how the U.S. declined Cuban medical aid in 2005, one might reasonably assume the island just 90 miles south of Florida is the last place an American would go for medical school.

One would be wrong.

Lillian Burnett, who is from Oakland, is proof — and she's not alone.


Cycles of Oppression, Cycles of Liberation: The Nasa People of Colombia Are Dispossessed Once Again

Cycles of Oppression, Cycles of Liberation: The Nasa People of Colombia Are Dispossessed Once Again
Details Written by Natalia Fajardo Published: 08 June 2015

An intense struggle for dignity and the right to land is being waged right now in the green mountains of south western Colombia, and chances are, you haven´t heard of it. While the scant mainstream media coverage of the country focuses on soccer or peace talks between government and armed guerrilla groups, it ignores that same government’s attacks against communities defending their territory.

On May 28th, one thousand riot police officers entered a sugar cane plantation called La Emperatriz in the municipality of Caloto, in the state of Cauca, to evict nearly 300 members of the Nasa indigenous people. The indigenous community members had peacefully replaced the sugar monocrop for beans and corn, as part of the process they call the Liberation of Mother Earth. This follows other recent evictions in the nearby town of Corinto, which left many civilians wounded, and clashes since February that resulted in the killing of Nasa youth Guillermo Pavi.

These confrontations occur in the midst of the community’s historic effort to defend their right to a dignified life by recovering land stolen from them – land which has been falsely promised to be returned.

Why Liberation? Why These Lands?

The Nasa people inhabited a large portion of southwestern Colombia long before the Spanish invasion. However, over decades of deceit and violence, the most fertile areas were taken over by wealthy landowners and the Nasa were displaced to higher elevations. Seferino Zapata, an elder from Caloto, explains, “We were taken to the mountain, but we fought. I took part in the struggles in the 80s, when we had to pay to work the land for food. We recovered this very land where I now sit.”


Police brutality toward Latinos is unacceptable

Police brutality toward Latinos is unacceptable

By Raul A. Reyes
Updated 4:04 PM ET, Tue June 9, 2015

- Video at link -

(CNN)—Last week, The Guardian took a sobering look at the shootings of Latinos by police. Their reporters investigated the case of Amilcar Perez-Lopez, 20, an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala whom two plainclothed, San Francisco police officers shot and killed on February 26. Police allege that Perez-Lopez lunged at them with a knife, while The Guardian's reporting and other eyewitness testimony suggest the young man was running away from the officers when they shot him.

While the details surrounding Perez-Lopez's death remain in dispute, the reality is that killings of Latinos by police seem to occur in a vacuum. They do not tend to generate widespread outrage among the public, nor do they seem to draw ongoing national media coverage. Despite the public's apparent lack of awareness, there is no shortage of such killings. So the question is: Do Latino lives matter?

The use of lethal force by police is a prevalent issue in Latino communities. Last year, the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice noted that the number of Latino victims of police killings is 30% above average, and at 1.9 times the rate of whites. The Guardian also found that 25% of the Latinos whom police killed in 2015 were unarmed.

Fear of the police among Hispanics is an issue, too. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation reported in November that 68% of Latinos worried that law enforcement would use excessive force against them.


Does Cuba Hold the Cure for America’s Doctor Shortage?

Does Cuba Hold the Cure for America’s Doctor Shortage?

by Mark Hay

Ever since Barack Obama and Raúl Castro announced their intention to normalize relations between America and Cuba last December, the world has been abuzz with speculation as to what the long-awaited opening will bring the two nations. American businessmen and officials have already launched trade delegations to the island, exploring new import-export markets and avenues for development. But besides all the chatter about American tractor exports and Cuban cigar imports, one of the most exciting new deals has been a plan by a Buffalo, New York-based biotech firm to import, test, and distribute a Cuban lung cancer vaccine, Cimavax. Already widely used in countries with better economic relations to Havana, the drug (which is far cheaper and less toxic than chemotherapy) seems capable of extending the lives of critical patients by four to six months, buying them some much needed time.

The excitement over Cimavax is just the beginning of Cuba’s potential in the biomedical field. Thanks to its long isolation from major medical markets and intense poverty, the island nation has long prioritized innovation and technology. They currently hold about 1,200 international medical patents and market their goods to over 50 nations—Cuba is especially well known for its top-notch meningitis and hepatitis B vaccines, anti-tumor drugs, wound-healing accelerants, ulcer treatments, and cheap, non-invasive brain mapping procedures (used to treat patients in rural, poor clinics without access to bulky and expensive MRI machines). Imagine the potential of Cuban medical innovation, the popular narrative runs, when it gets an infusion of American cash and access to U.S. research facilities.

Yet while much hype has been focused on biomedical collaboration, there’s actually something far more basic, vital, and immediate that Cuba can offer the U.S. medical market. They have the power to potentially solve America’s chronic and growing doctor shortage, as they just happen to have a surplus of exactly the kind of doctors the United States needs, working in conditions similar to our most underserved and economically disadvantaged regions.

As of March 2015, an association of North American medical schools predicted that within a decade America would suffer from a deficit of 46,100 to 90,000 physicians. That’s actually better than their 2010 projection of a 130,600-doctor shortage by 2025, but it’s still a fairly grim assessment. This shortage already affects and will increasingly hurt poor and rural communities, where there’s not just a lack of specialists but also a lack of primary care physicians. Primary care doctors make up about a third of the US medical shortfall predictions, and are necessary to provide preventative treatment and offer regular check-ups to chronically ill or elderly patients. And as we’ve come to understand in the healthcare debates of recent years, failing to provide early and regular medical attention in such communities can have cascading effects of illness, poverty, and medical costs for already overburdened locales.


Assassinated Left-Wing Candidate Wins Local Election in Mexico

Assassinated Left-Wing Candidate Wins Local Election in Mexico

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Hernandez was gunned down during a rally in central Yurecuaro on May 14, while campaigning for the elections
| Photo: Milenio Archive

Published 10 June 2015 [/font]

A Morena candidate killed in pre-election violence has won a municipal vote in the troubled Mexican state of Michoacan.

Deceased leftist candidate Enrique Hernandez won the local elections in the municipality of Yurecuaro, in Mexico’s Michoacan state, according to results released Wednesday.

Representing the National Regeneration Movement (commonly referred to as Morena), Hernandez received 39 percent of the vote in the municipality during Sunday's elections. Both his photograph and name appeared on the ballot, even though he was killed three weeks earlier.

Hernandez was gunned down during a rally in central Yurecuaro on May 14 while campaigning for the elections. He was one of eight electoral candidates killed nationwide, in what was described by many Mexicans as the most violent vote in years. Dozens of ordinary Mexicans were killed or kidnapped in political violence, with 21 campaign-related killings, as armed groups battled to sway the results of the vote.


Chimpanzees found to drink alcoholic plant sap in wild

Chimpanzees found to drink alcoholic plant sap in wild

By Victoria Gill
Science reporter, BBC News

3 hours ago

They have shown an understanding of language and a sense of fairness, and now humans' closest primate cousins have even been found to share a taste for alcohol.

Scientists studying chimpanzees in the Republic of Guinea have seen evidence of long-term and recurrent ingestion of ethanol by apes.

The 17-year study recorded chimps using leaves to drink fermented palm sap.

Some drank enough alcohol to produce "visible signs of inebriation".

The study - published in the journal Royal Society Open Science - revealed their tipple of choice is naturally fermented palm wine, produced by raffia palm trees.


Forensic anthropologist says new approach needed to investigate – and stop – femicide

Forensic anthropologist says new approach needed to investigate – and stop – femicide

Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Jun. 09, 2015 5:27PM EDT
Last updated Tuesday, Jun. 09, 2015 7:23PM EDT

This story is part of an ongoing Globe and Mail investigation into the hundreds of missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada.
Luis Fondebrider lives among the dead and the vanished. A forensic anthropologist, he grew up in Argentina under the shadow of military rule and its Dirty War, in which thousands of people were killed during state-sponsored violence.

Victims, called desaparecidos or the disappeared ones, were buried in mass graves, or their bodies thrown into the ocean to wash up on the beaches of Argentina and Uruguay.

Today, Mr. Fondebrider works with the group he founded more than three decades ago: the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team, also known by its Spanish acronym, EAAF. The non-governmental organization is a team of about 60 people who apply a multidisciplinary forensic method to aid with finding and identifying bodies – some long dead.

The scientific approaches Mr. Fondebrider pioneered have now been used in post-conflict zones around the world, such as Bosnia, Libya and Angola. In recent years, he and his team have applied them to another type of massacre: feminicidio or femicide, the targeted murder of women specifically because they are female, which has reached epidemic levels in places like Mexico’s notorious city of Ciudad Juarez and among aboriginal women in Canada.


Indian Killers: Police Violence Against Native People

June 09, 2015

Indian Killers

Police Violence Against Native People


In April 1974, three white high school students from Farmington, New Mexico murdered three Navajo men, Benjamin Benally, John Harvey, and David Ignacio. The teenagers bludgeoned the faces of the three men, and caved in their chests with basketball-sized rocks. They exploded firecrackers on their bodies and tried to burn off their genitalia. When authorities found the men, they were burned and beaten beyond recognition.

The brutal murders were nothing new in Farmington, where white high school students had been known to sever the fingers of inebriated Navajo men and display them proudly in their lockers at school. Murdering and torturing Navajo men and women in the border towns that surround the reservation even has its own name: Indian Rolling.

Protests erupted in the wake of the murders and lasted for months. One of the protest leaders, John Redhouse, explained Indian Rolling as a kind of blood sport:

“We didn’t see the murders as the act of three crazy kids. We saw it as a part of a whole racist picture. For years it has been almost a sport, a sort of sick, perverted tradition among Anglo youth of Farmington High School, to go into the Indian section of town and physically assault and rob elderly and sometimes intoxicated Navajo men and women of whatever possession they had, for no apparent reason, other than that they were Indians.”


EXCLUSIVE: Hillary Clinton sold out Honduras: Lanny Davis, corporate cash, and the real story about

Monday, Jun 8, 2015 04:58 AM CDT

EXCLUSIVE: Hillary Clinton sold out Honduras: Lanny Davis, corporate cash, and the real story about the death of a Latin America democracy

Want to know why Clinton's State Dept. failed to help an electe leader? Follow the money and stench of Lanny Davis
Matthew Pulver

Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, considered by some to be the only real threat to Hillary Clinton, has joined Sen. Bernie Sanders to be the only two challengers to the former secretary of state. Republicans, whose seemingly limitless field seems poised for a “Hunger Games”-esque cage match, worry that a Clinton cakewalk through the primaries will leave her relatively unscathed in the general election against a beaten and beleaguered GOP nominee whose every foible will have been exposed.

And yet for some reason, GOP candidates lob tired Benghazi charges at the presumptive Democratic nominee during the short breaks in infighting. The issue only really excites the GOP base, and it’s highly unlikely that after almost three years of pounding the issue the tactic will work. Plus, House Republicans’ own two-year investigation into the attack absolved Clinton’s State Department of the worst GOP allegations, giving her something of her own “please proceed, Governor” arrow in the quiver if she is attacked from that angle. It’s the SCUD missile of political attacks when there are laser-guided Tomahawks in the arsenal.

Republicans really hit on something when they started making noise about the Clintons’ relationship with foreign governments, CEOs and corporations, following the lead set by Peter Schweizer’s bestselling “Clinton Cash.” Cross-ideological ears perked up to rumored quid pro quos arranged while Hillary was atop State and Bill was out glad-handing global elites. Even liberals and progressives paid attention when the discussion turned to the Clintons and international elites making backroom, under-the-table deals at what Schweizer calls “the ‘wild west’ fringe of the global economy.”

Though it’s less sexy than Benghazi, the crisis following a coup in Honduras in 2009 has Hillary Clinton’s fingerprints all over it, and her alleged cooperation with oligarchic elites during the affair does much to expose Clinton’s newfound, campaign-season progressive rhetoric as hollow. Moreover, the Honduran coup is something of a radioactive issue with fallout that touches many on Team Clinton, including husband Bill, once put into a full context.


Mexico’s governing party retains power after mid-term election

Mexico’s governing party retains power after mid-term election
By Catherine Hardy | With AFP
08/06 08:58 CET

The governing party of President Enrique Pena Nieto has held on to power after a mid-term election in Mexico.

With an average of 30% support, the Institutional Revolutionary Party has a clear majority and looks set to keep control of Congress.

Mr Pena Nieto’s tenure has been marked by poliitical scandals and civil unrest. Pessimism and resignation are palpable in Mexico. Protesters burned ballot slips on the streets, saying angrily that their votes don’t count.

In Guerrero, teachers angry at education reforms were joined by the parents of 43 students who disappeared last year in circumstances that have never been clarified.

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