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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 139,760

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Colombia to Create New Congressional Seats Under FARC Peace Deal

Source: Bloomberg News

Colombia to Create New Congressional Seats Under FARC Peace Deal
By Andrew Willis Sep 24, 2014 4:25 PM CT

Colombia will create new seats in its House of Representatives for war-torn regions of the country, according to the text of a draft agreement between the government and Marxist rebels published today.

President Juan Manuel Santos said the government was publishing the texts, which had hitherto been secret, to counter misinformation from opponents of the talks. The texts show that the government isn’t discussing its economic model with the rebels, Santos said.

“This should end all the misinformed speculation that people who aren’t friends of the process have been spreading,” Santos said today in New York. “The whole world will understand that there we are not negotiating our democratic system, our economic model, our development or our institutions.”

Government negotiators have held talks in Cuba since 2012 with guerrillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, seeking a deal to end a 50-year conflict that has left more than 200,000 dead. Former President Alvaro Uribe and his allies have attacked the process, accusing the government of giving away too much in the talks, and of backsliding on security.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-09-24/colombia-to-create-new-congressional-seats-under-farc-peace-deal.html

Obama’s Sanctimonious Human Rights Argument Against Cuba

September 23, 2014

Unbalanced Law?

Obama’s Sanctimonious Human Rights Argument Against Cuba


Raúl Castro, President of Cuba, said that he wants to start relations with the U.S., but first the U.S. must provide health insurance to all 46 million people who lack it; stop extrajudicial assassinations in sovereign countries through drone attacks; make higher education affordable for all; reform the prison system which has by far the highest incarceration rate in the entire world, with a drastically disproportionate amount of prisoners being minorities; grant Puerto Rico its sovereignty as required by the U.N. Charter, U.N. Declaration on Decolonization, and the popular referendum in Puerto Rico in 2012; halt the economic blockade, which has been ruled illegal for 22 straight years in the U.N.; close the Guantánamo Bay detention facility and return the land to Cuba; turn overterrorists living freely in Miami who have bombed Cuban civilian airplanes, hotels and fishing boats; and free the three political prisoners who were investigating these groups to prevent further attacks.

Actually, he said: “We don’t demand that the U.S. change its political or social system and we don’t accept negotiations over ours. If we really want to move our bilateral relations forward, we’ll have to learn to respect our differences, if not, we’re ready to take another 55 years in the same situation.”

President Barack Obama has said Cuba: ”Has not yet observed basic human rights … I and the American people will welcome the time when the Cuban people have the freedom to live their lives, choose their leaders, and fully participate in this global economy and international institutions.” But he added: “We haven’t gotten there yet.”

Presumably Obama means when Cuba agrees to relinquish their right to self-determination, as guaranteed in the U.N. Charter, to join the U.S.-imposed neoliberal order. When Cuba to gives up state control over industries like banking and telecommunications and opens them up to foreign investment, so more money can be shipped off the island instead of staying in the local economy and invested in the Cuban people. When Cuba agrees to “free trade” agreements, which would prevent labor and environmental safeguards while forcing local businesses to compete on an uneven playing field with multinational corporations that receive government subsidies, allowing them to undercut the price of local products. In short, when Cuba decides to respect private profit over the social welfare of its population.


Torture Relations - US surreptitious involvement in Uruguay, etc. (U.S. torturer Dan Mitrione)

Torture Relations
By Matt Ford
September 23, 2014

On rare occasions, our present and historical realities entangle to make a story that is better than fiction. One such occasion came in late March 2014 when Uruguayan President Jose “Pepe” Mujica agreed to allow at least five Guantanamo Bay prisoners to “make their nests in Uruguay.” This gesture is quite significant, partly because Mujica himself is a victim of 12 years of U.S.-sponsored torture. He was also among the “key prisoners” that U.S. Secretary of State William Rogers recommended to be murdered early in 1970. By offering his country to Guantanamo Bay prisoners—which are likely also victims of U.S. torture—Mujica has illuminated a history which has been consistently ignored in public discourse. Although Mujica has recently become popular for supporting the legalization of gay marriage and marijuana, the history from which he grew and the role of the United States government has been often overlooked.

While Mujica’s offer gained short-lived publicity in the western media, it has not sparked a wider conversation on the hundreds of Uruguayan victims of U.S.-sponsored assassination and torture. These ranks include the current President and First Lady, as well as the world-famous literary figure Mauricio Rosencof. Unlike other Latin American nations plagued with histories of dictatorships that have made great strides in seeking justice for the victims of dictatorial repression (Argentina, Chile, Guatemala, etc), Uruguay struggles to deal with the crimes of their dictatorship (1973-1985). Although the pursuit of justice continues today, it was unfortunately dealt a huge setback in February 2013 when the Uruguayan Supreme Court reinstated an amnesty for those who carried out the brutality. The eerie silence in the western media in the wake of Mujica’s offer to Guantanamo Bay prisoners reveals a missed opportunity for the construction of an honest and informed collective memory about U.S-Uruguay relations.

Another missed opportunity came with the AP report on USAID’s “Cuban Twitter” program. Many were surprised that USAID, a supposedly humanitarian institution, would be involved in subverting a foreign government. Perhaps this surprise—if it was in fact genuine—is simply another effect of information monopoly or maybe a sign of the narrow scope of collective memory. In any case, the historical record reveals that USAID has a rich legacy of subverting foreign governments and, in fact, training and equipping brutal and torturous police forces. Thus, the apparent surprise of USAID’s Cuban Twitter program itself seems a bit surprising.

By examining newly released U.S. government documents—many obtained through the valiant efforts of the National Security Archive’s Southern Cone Documentation Project—I will trace the involvement of the United States government, through USAID, in the manifestation of the Uruguayan dictatorship.


86% of Colombia’s ethnic minority children lack access to adequate education

86% of Colombia’s ethnic minority children lack access to adequate education
Sep 24, 2014 posted by Craig Corbett

A Colombian children’s rights group reported on Monday that recent Ministry of Education figures show that 86% of children from ethnic minority groups have no access to adequate education.

The dooming report claims that people from Indigenous groups, afro-Colombians and gypsies are not being provided with education centers for their children which can teach them in a culturally appropriate manner.

NGO PANDI reported that 10,674,609 Colombians were enrolled in public education in 2012. Only 1.9% (212,953) attended an ethno-educative center, in which education was molded to be culturally appropriate to their needs.

According to the Ministry of Culture, some 5.8 million people belong to ethnic minority groups in Colombia. Of the total population of 47 million, 10.6% are Afro-Colombian, 3.4% Indians and 0.01% Gypsies.


Venezuela Opens Gold Vaults to Improptu Inspection

Venezuela Opens Gold Vaults to Improptu Inspection
By Isabella Cota Sep 23, 2014 7:00 PM CT

Francisco Rodriguez, an economist with Bank of America Corp., was at a routine meeting with Venezuelan central bank officials last week when he sprung an unusual question on them: Can you show me your gold?

He’d been itching to take a peek for years and now was the time to ask. With the government’s bonds sinking toward prices that indicate investors are bracing for the possibility of default, the country’s $15 billion of gold bars are crucial to ensuring debt payments are met. His first impression once inside the vaults? Those bars don’t take up a lot of room.

“You picture that amount of money requiring a lot of space when, in reality, it all fits in five small cells that were not even full to the top,” Rodriguez, a Venezuela native who covers Andean economies for Bank of America Corp. in New York, said in a telephone interview yesterday. He said he started counting frantically in his head, summing up figures scrawled out on signs near each pile of the metal. By his quick math, the gold was all there.

Rodriguez said that while he’s remained optimistic about Venezuela’s ability to keep servicing its debts, he’s been getting nervous phone calls from investors amid the rout that sent the country’s benchmark bonds to as low as 67 cents on the dollar last week. One client was even worried that the gold might have vanished from the vaults, a concern that Rodriguez said helped push him to ask to see the stockpile last week.



Smooth move, Sherlock Rodriguez. [/center]

Poor supports Brazil's president in re-election

Poor supports Brazil's president in re-election
By STAN LEHMAN, Associated Press | September 23, 2014 | Updated: September 23, 2014 11:08pm

SAO PAULO (AP) — Life may still be tough for millions of poor Brazilians — but it's also never been better.

And that's the key for President Dilma Rousseff's re-election bid.

Although Rousseff and top rival Marina Silva are locked in a virtual tie among those in the middle class, the biggest group of voters, the president has a wide edge with Brazil's poorest people because of generous welfare programs that have helped slash hunger and extreme poverty under the watch of her Workers Party.

Between 2001 and 2012, Brazil reduced extreme poverty from 14 percent of the population to 3.5 percent, according to the United Nations annual report on global food insecurity released last week. The number of malnourished people dropped from 19 percent to below 5 percent, removing Brazil from the U.N. World Hunger Map.

Tens of millions of poor people have also been lifted into the lower middle class over the past decade.


U.S. judge restores federal protections to wolves in Wyoming

Source: Reuters

U.S. judge restores federal protections to wolves in Wyoming
By Laura Zuckerman
Tue Sep 23, 2014 11:58pm EDT

(Reuters) - A U.S. judge restored federal protections to wolves in Wyoming, at least temporarily, in a victory for wildlife conservationists that was sure to draw criticism from ranchers and hunters who see wolves as a threat to livestock and big-game animals.

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead said the state would ask a higher court to block the judge's order and allow the state to keep its wolf management policies intact, including licensed hunting of the animals and rules permitting some to be shot on sight.

Wyoming assumed control over its wolves from the federal government in 2012 after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that their numbers had rebounded sufficiently to justify taking them off the endangered species list.

The wolf population inside Wyoming at the time was estimated at 350 but has declined to about 300 animals since losing its protected status.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/24/us-usa-wolves-wyoming-idUSKCN0HI2LL20140924?rpc=401

Walking the Line of Death

Walking the Line of Death
By Virgil Grandfield

Americans call it the Rio Grande — the Big River. Mexicans call it el Rio Bravo, the Angry River. To the millions who secretly defy its deadly currents and quicksand — refugees and dreamers from as far away as Brazil, Russia or China — it is "la Línea de la Muerte" — the Line of Death.

Antonio Zenon Urgia rests on a sheetless mattress and wonders aloud how he should cross the river when his time at this crowded migrant hostel in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, runs out. He has three days.

The 39-year-old Honduran construction worker cannot swim and has no money for even the cheapest smugglers under the bridge, where submerged, jagged bars of crumbled old bridge footings devour lives like iron crocodiles.

A Mexican Red Cross paramedic has just given him more bad news: crossing the polluted river will further infect the wound on his swollen left leg and perhaps leave Antonio stranded to die in the immense southern Texas mesquite and cactus thickets across the river.

Antonio burrows under his blanket. "You suffer so much on the journey," he says. "It is hard to recall any of it."

Antonio's three travelling companions gather around his bed and gently help him tell the story of what a person — someone like themselves and millions of other undocumented migrants crossing rivers or fences, deserts, continents or oceans — will endure for a simple dream.


Photographer Looks Down at Ocean from Boat, Discover Massive Swarm of Devil Rays

Photographer Looks Down at Ocean from Boat, Discover Massive Swarm of Devil Rays


Honduras: mine opponents report new threats

Honduras: mine opponents report new threats

Submitted by Weekly News Update... on Tue, 09/23/2014 - 15:58

Members of Honduras' Tolupan indigenous group in the community of San Francisco Locomapa in the northern department of Yoro have been threatened by armed men linked to organized crime, some residents charged in a video posted on YouTube on Sept. 10. There have been protests for more than a year against illegal logging in the area and against an antimony mine which the protesters say is operating without a permit. Locomapa residents María Enriqueta Matute, Armando Fúnez Medina and Ricardo Soto were killed by two mine employees during a protest on Aug. 23, 2013. The Honduran Black Fraternal Organization (OFRANEH) and other Honduran organizations say the government has failed to arrest the killers or take other actions required by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR, or CIDH in Spanish), the human rights agency of the Organization of American States (OAS). The CID ordered protective measures for 38 community members last year on Dec. 19. (Adital, Brazil, Sept.18)


(Short article, no more at link.)
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