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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 135,890

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Paraguay's Curuguaty Massacre: A Pretext for a Coup

Paraguay's Curuguaty Massacre: A Pretext for a Coup


Published 14 June 2016

Four years ago, a violent land conflict was used to unseat a left-wing president who shook up the country's political status quo.

Paraguay's largely right-wing Congress exploited a violent confrontation between police forces and landless campesinos in 2012 that resulted in 17 deaths in order to oust the first progressive president in the country's modern history, and immediately implement measures that favored the agribusiness industry that had long-ruled the South American nation.

Four years ago, 300 heavily-armed police officers stormed into Marina Kue in the Curuguaty district of Paraguay in an attempt to evict 70 rural farmworkers who had occupied the land. The landless workers asserted that the land belonged to the state after former dictator Alfredo Stroessner passed it to its new owner, Blas Riquelme.

The conflict, which swiftly turned violent, resulted in the deaths of 17 people, 11 campesinos and six policemen. The youngest of the campesinos was 18-year-old Luciano Ortega.

Venezuela: Crisis and Propaganda


Venezuela: Crisis and Propaganda

by José L. Flores
June 14, 2016

The political and economic crisis in Venezuela is showing little signs of easing up. Similarly, the propagandistic reporting of this crisis is showing little signs of easing up. How did Venezuela find itself in this dire situation? The U.S. media maintains that this crisis is a result to Hugo Chavez’s Bolivarian Revolution and the communist redistribution policies, which are implemented and maintained by President Nicolas Maduro. However, this is a multi-faceted situation with several contributing factors. One cannot blame every woe of Venezuela’s economy on Maduro, nor could one blame every woe on Maduro’s right wing rivals. One thing is for sure Venezuela’s economy is unmixed and is much too dependent on oil revenues. This dependence on oil, along with the U.S. hatred for Venezuela and its people, has made Venezuela’s economy venerable to foreign manipulation.

It is unanimous, between the left and right, that Venezuela’s economy is much too dependent on oil and must be diversified. However, the conclusion of how this economic situation occurred is much more contested. For instance; why doesn’t Venezuela have a vibrant agricultural sector? Venezuela imports most of its food and the industry has been on decline since the 1950s. The importation of food would be a fact with or without the Bolivarian Revolution. This can be concluded by simply following the statistical trends. Venezuela’s traditional home grown foods include corn, rise, coffee, sugarcane, vegetables, beef, pork and fish all of which are the perfect ingredients for a nation to have a thriving agricultural industry. However, Venezuela cannot compete in the international market, or in its own market with respect to agriculture. This is due to the United States’ highly protectionist and highly subsidized agricultural sector, which is solidified by the so called trade deals passed around the globe. While the world must submit to neo-liberal and laissez faire policies, the U.S relies on subsidized market interference. Since Venezuela cannot compete agriculturally, Venezuela imports food and pays for it with its oil. Unfortunately, the government has staked their entire future on oil revenues and the economy is completely subject to how well that commodity does on the market.

The United States has doubled its domestic production of oil in the last decade. Since Russia is in a similar situation as Venezuela, with respect to an oil economy, they are pumping out huge amounts of oil to keep up with the price of their economy. It is also known that Saudi Arabia is pumping its domestic oil at capacity. Supply is up and demand is low, due to alternative energy industries and the popularity of environment friendly cars. Furthermore, low demand has led to a decline in investment. These contributing factors have led to low oil prices and for low revenues for Venezuela. Recently, Iran, Venezuela and Ecuador have all urged the OPEC cartel to cut worldwide oil production in order to bring prices back up. OPEC refused and this decision was mostly supported by Saudi Arabia and its Persian Gulf allies. It just so happens that the dictators of the Middle East are proxies of the U.S. and Iran, Venezuela and Ecuador are targets of the U.S. economic policies.

Suppose institutions like Wall Street, the Defense Department, the State Department, the Department of Agriculture and Energy were all just watching this turmoil from its periphery. Given the United States involvement in Latin America would not this situation seem remarkable? Consider the past two decades of Venezuelan and United States relations. The U.S. has been exposed for financing and fomenting, through it intelligence apparatus, the massive protests in Venezuela. What would the U.S. government do if Venezuela was proved to be funding and fomenting the Black Lives Matter movement in the Ferguson riots? The U.S. staged a coup d’etat against Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, which luckily only lasted a couple of days. Suppose Maduro was working with the Republicans and the U.S. Military in order to oust President Obama; how would we react? Currently, the U.S. and its allies at the Organization of American States are trying to kick Venezuela out of the hemisphere by revoking its membership in the OAS. Suppose Venezuela was working with its allies to kick the U.S. out of the United Nations or the OAS; how would the U.S. government react?

Investors pull funding from contested Honduran hydro project

Investors pull funding from contested Honduran hydro project

by: Sarah S. Forth
June 14 2016

European investors announced late last month they have pulled funding from the contested Agua Zarca hydroelectric project in western Honduras.

Finnish and Dutch development finance companies, FinnFund and FMO respectively, had suspended activities in Honduras following the March assassination of Berta Cáceres, an Indigenous Lenca woman and founder of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras: COPINH).

COPINH has been at the forefront of a multi-year campaign to stop the Agua Zarca project on Río Gualcarque, which they consider sacred and vital to Lenca survival. In 2015, Cáceres was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize for leading that struggle.

Early in May, five men were arrested for Cáceres' murder. Two had direct ties to DESA, the Honduran development firm behind the hydroelectric project: Sergio Rodríguez, DESA's social issues manager, and Douglas Bustillo, retired military officer and DESA's former deputy chief of security. Two other military officers, one active and one retired, also were arrested, along with a gang member accused of being the hit man hired for $2,200.


Bill to punish Colombia’s chronically absent congressman fails because of absent congressmen

Source: Colombia Reports

Bill to punish Colombia’s chronically absent congressman fails because of absent congressmen

written by Adriaan Alsema June 14, 2016

A bill that sought to punish chronic absenteeism in Colombia’s Congress failed to make it through the first debate because too many lawmakers were absent and the session was canceled.

The bill had been proposed by opposition party Democratic Center to curb the almost systematic absence of large numbers of members of the Senate and House of Representatives.

This widespread absenteeism is one of the reasons Congress is Colombia’s least approved public institution and the cause of the failure of many proposals.

Debates are frequently canceled at the last minutes because the not even the legal minimum number of lawmakers show up. Consequently, the passing of bills is delayed and sometimes fails because lawmakers are unable to finish the legislative cycle on time.

Read more: http://colombiareports.com/bill-punish-absent-congressman-fails-absent-congressmen/

The U.S. taxpayers have been required to pour over $10 billion into Colombia since 2000, while many Colombian politicians and military personnel have been arrested for corruption, and far worse, Colombians are dying of malnutrion, and Colombia still has one of the world's largest displaced populations driven violently from their own homes.

Argentina’s honeymoon with Macri is over

Argentina’s honeymoon with Macri is over
Roberto Lampa 13 June 2016

In an article last October, published by DemocraciaAbierta, I analysed the Argentine presidential elections, highlighting how, in the case of a victory for Mauricio Macri, his economic relations agenda both neoliberal and restorative of pre-kirchnerismo, on the one hand, and the resilience of political, social and trade union actors, on the other, would represent two central aspects when evaluating the start of his mandate.

The PRO party's first six months in office seem to confirm the validity of this reading.

First, it is indisputable that the economic policies implemented since last 11th of December have an explicitly classist character and are working to restore the neoliberal orthodoxy of the 1990s: an almost 60% appreciation of the exchange rate; an elimination of state subsidies for electricity, water, gas and public transport; mass layoffs in the public sector; the closure of the Pro.Cre.Ar aid programme for first home-buyers; the closure of the Progres.Ar and Pro.For scholarship programmes for secondary and university study; austerity policies and inflation-targeting policies from the central bank, among others. And from the other side: an (almost) complete elimination of export taxes for agriculture and mega-mining; a removal of foreign currency purchase restrictions and an increase to a five million dollar monthly individual purchase limit; lump sum payments to vulture funds (including huge commissions for the banks involved in the operation); transfers to the banking sector both via differential interest rates (fixing deposit and lending rates is now completely deregulated) and by dollar futures (the strong increase in the exchange rate decided in December triggered the payment of securities linked to dollar futures issued by the Central Bank during the previous administration).

The predictable results of such "shock therapy" have been a tremendous transfer of wealth to the richest sectors of the country, and a catastrophic setback for salaried workers and low-income sectors. Despite the difficulties that we economists encounter because of statistical lockout imposed by the government on the National Institute of Statistics and Census (Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos, INDEC) and the Ministry of Labour, various points have been observed: a significant increase in inflation (8% in April, the highest in the last 13 years); a sharp rise in unemployment (up until the 30th of April, there were 60,024 layoffs in the public sector and 64,762 in the private) and a huge increase in poverty (in which, according to a report from the private Universidad Católica Argentina, 29% of the population found themselves in 2015, a proportion which then increased to 34.5% in the first quarter of 2016, an increase of 1.4 million people).

If economic policies implemented by the government and its results were predictable, the initial reaction of other political actors (the parliamentary opposition - which has its own quorum in both houses - unions and social movements) during the first months of government has been a surprise. Not only have the actions of Macri not been criticised, but they have been justified, often defined as a necessary readjustment or the country's economy.


Maradona hits out at Argentinian president over job cuts

Maradona hits out at Argentinian president over job cuts


Mr Macri came to power in December promising to cut bloated government spending and tame one of the world's highest inflation rates.

Argentines have taken to the streets in protest against his unpopular decisions to eliminate subsidies and cut thousands of state jobs.

"Logically, I'd like for Macri to turn things around and give some joy to the people, but for now all I see is firings," Maradona told La Red radio station. "I keep getting info that he's vetoing this and that, and while people struggle to put food on the table, the rich keep getting richer."

. . .

Maradona said he is on the "opposite side" of Mr Macri and described himself as "Cristinista", a reference to former president Cristina Fernandez, the fiery populist who dominated the political landscape during eight years in office before leaving in December.


Imminent forced eviction of Indigenous Peoples in Brazil flagrantly unjust

Imminent forced eviction of Indigenous Peoples in Brazil flagrantly unjust

June 13, 2016

The planned forced eviction of nine families of the Guarani Kaiowá Apika’y Indigenous Peoples from their ancestral lands in Mato Grosso do Sul state is another example of the authorities riding rough-shod over human rights to make way for landowners and profit, said Amnesty International today.

According to Amnesty International’s local partner Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI), a judge has now notified the community that it will be forcibly evicted any day between June 13 and 15.

In 2013, Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General and Atila Roque, the organization’s Executive Director of Brazil, visited Apika’y and met with indigenous leaders.

“The news that Apika’y, the most vulnerable Guarani Kaiowá community, is at risk of imminent forced eviction is extremely worrying. The responsible authorities must urgently reverse this unjust decision which clearly violates Indigenous Peoples’ rights,” said Salil Shetty.

“The imminent forced eviction of Apika’y is an emblematic case which manifests long-term violations of Indigenous Peoples’ rights across the country, including death threats, killings, evictions and risks of backlash in legislation in favour of their territorial rights,” said Roque.


What It Means to Reclaim Indigenous Knowledge in a University Setting in Bolivia

What It Means to Reclaim Indigenous Knowledge in a University Setting in Bolivia

Translation posted 13 June 2016 20:33 GMT

In classrooms, they speak about decolonization and respect for Mother Earth. They study food engineering, veterinary medicine, agronomy or textile engineering, while recovering ancient technology and innovating with new natural products. They go on to support the creation of community businesses.

Welcome to the Aymara Indigenous University of Bolivia “Túpac Katari”, also known as Unibol, based in the town of Warisata near La Paz, which brings together indigenous students from Bolivia with the aim of combining formal academic education with traditional knowledge of the indigenous communities.

In the following testimonies, some Indigenous University students share their impressions, experiences, and what it has meant for their personal growth to belong to this educational project. For many of them, studying at the Unibol means recovering ancestral knowledge, enriching a decolonial thinking and developing an inclusive and intercultural mode of knowledge production.

An inclusive education for all

Noemí Campos Yarari, a textile engineering student, says about the university:

Original Quote

I am from the Muñecas province of La Paz, in the second section Ayata, of the Huancarani community […] I think this is a very good [university] that welcomes students who mostly come from the provinces, the countryside, and the households with few resources.


Article written in Aymara. Fascinating:


Colombia’s Urabeños: If you can’t beat them, rename them

Colombia’s Urabeños: If you can’t beat them, rename them

written by Adriaan Alsema June 13, 2016

Colombia’s Defense Ministry on Monday changed the official name of the country’s largest paramilitary successor group, “Los Urabeños,” for the second time in two years.

Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas announced that the Urabeños no longer will be called “Clan Usuga” but the “Gulf Clan.”
While the group has officially called itself the “Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces of Colombia” since its annunciation in 2008, the groups has popularly been referred to as “Los Urabeños” since the late 1990s.

The leadership of the Urabeños was then still part of the paramilitary group AUC, but became known outside their region as the Urabeños because of their urabeño accent.

When Urabeños founder “Don Mario” and many of his fellow paramilitaries refused to demobilize with the AUC between 2003 and 2006, they initially operated without a name while trying to maintain control over the AUC’s fruitful drug trafficking business. Popularly they continued to be referred to as Urabeños or the Aguilas Negras.



Urabeños founder Daniel Rendon, alias "Don Mario" (T-shirt) [/center]

Environmental activist from Honduras wins 2016 Front Line Defenders Award

Environmental activist from Honduras wins 2016 Front Line Defenders Award

Ana Mirian Romero was presented with the award at a ceremony in Dublin's City Hall this morning

9:38 10 Jun 2016
1 day ago

An environmental activist from Honduras has won the 2016 Front Line Defenders Award.

Ana Mirian Romero had her home burned down and was beaten by police for protesting in her native country.

Romero has been active in opposing the installation of the Los Encinos hydro-electric dam on indigenous land in Honduras.

She was presented with the award at a ceremony in Dublin's City Hall this morning.

Director of Front Line Defenders Mary Lawlor said Ana Mirian has been through a lot for her cause.

"Her house was burned down in January, and her children she's had to take out of school because they've been intimidated," she explained.

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