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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
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14 Facts about Torture in Mexico

October 22, 2014

14 Facts about Torture in Mexico

For years Amnesty International has been investigating and recording evidence of torture in Mexico. The latest report, Out of Control: Torture and other ill-treatment in Mexico, is full of shocking facts about just how widespread and toxic the problem is. We found:

1. Torture and other ill-treatment is out of control in Mexico – the number of reported complaints in 2013 (1,505) was 600 per cent higher compared to 2003, according to the National Human Rights Commission. Even that increase is probably an underestimate of the true figures.

2. Between 2010 and the end of 2013 the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) received more than 7,000 complaints for torture and other ill-treatment. The CNDH has seen a recent reported drop in complaints in 2014, but rates are still far higher than a decade ago.

3. Fear of torture is widespread. 64 per cent of Mexicans are scared of being tortured if taken into custody, according to a recent survey commissioned by Amnesty International.

4. Reports of torture and other ill-treatment increased as violence spiralled in Mexico after 2006, as a result of the government’s “war on drugs”.


[center]~ ~ ~[/center]
Looking for answers for what happened in 2006 when the violence exploded in Mexico regarding drug trafficking:

The Mérida Initiative (also called Plan Mexico by critics, in reference to Plan Colombia) is a security cooperation agreement between the United States and the government of Mexico and the countries of Central America, with the declared aim of combating the threats of drug trafficking, transnational organized crime and money laundering. The assistance includes training, equipment and intelligence.

In seeking partnership with the United States, Mexican officials point out that the illicit drug trade is a shared problem in need of a shared solution, and remark that most of the financing for the Mexican traffickers comes from American drug consumers. U.S. law enforcement officials estimate that US$12 to 15 billion per year flows from the United States to the Mexican traffickers, and that is just in cash, i.e., not including the money sent by wire transfers.[1] Other government agencies, including the Government Accountability Office and the National Drug Intelligence Center, have estimated that Mexico's cartels earn upwards of $23 billion per year in illicit drug revenue from the United States.[2][3]

U.S. State Department officials were aware that former Mexican President Felipe Calderón’s willingness to work with the United States was unprecedented on issues of security, crime and drugs,[4] so the U.S. Congress passed legislation in late June 2008 to provide Mexico with $400 million and Central American countries with $65 million that year for the Mérida Initiative. The initiative was announced on 22 October 2007 and signed into law on June 30, 2008.

Mexico remains a transit and not a cocaine production country. Marijuana and methamphetamine production do take place in Mexico and are responsible for an estimated 80% of the methamphetamine on the streets in the United States,[5] while 1100 metric tons of marijuana are smuggled each year from Mexico.[6]

In 1990, just over half the cocaine imported into the U.S. came through Mexico. By 2007, that had risen to more than 90 percent, according to U.S. State Department estimates.[7] Although violence between drug cartels has been occurring long before the war began, the government used its police forces in the 1990s and early 2000s with little effect. That changed on December 11, 2006, when newly elected President Felipe Calderón sent 6,500 federal troops to the state of Michoacán to put an end to drug violence there. This action is regarded as the first major retaliation made against cartel operations, and is generally viewed as the starting point of the war between the government and the drug cartels. [8] As time progressed, Calderón continued to escalate his anti-drug campaign, in which there are now well over 25,000 troops involved.


Uribe rejects President’s invitation to discuss peace

Uribe rejects President’s invitation to discuss peace
Oct 22, 2014 posted by Emil Foget

Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has rejected the invitation he received from President Juan Manuel Santos to discuss the current peace talks, calling it a “false gesture,” local radio station Santa Fe reported Wednesday.

The invitation was an apparent attempt to ease now-Senator Uribe’s opposition to peace negotiations in Havana between the government and the FARC, Colombia’s largest rebel group, which began in 2012.

MORE: Santos invites Uribe to talk peace

After being confronted and asked for an answer multiple times, Uribe finally rejected the invitation, claiming it was insincere. Ex-president Uribe has been outspoken in his opposition to the ongoing peace talks, a point of contention between Uribe and the current president.

The former president himself has received fierce criticism for bashing his successor’s peace talks after recently leaked documents exposed that Uribe had been attempting similar peace talks during his second presidential term (2006 and 2010).


What’s So New About Cuba’s Medical Internationalism?

What’s So New About Cuba’s Medical Internationalism?

by Mateo Pimentel / October 21st, 2014

Fidel Castro, 88-year-old revolutionary hero and anti-imperialist icon, recently published in the Cuban daily Granma that his island nation would readily cooperate with the US to wrestle Ebola. This is not the first gesture of goodwill that Cuba has made toward the US regarding cooperation, either; rather, it is one of many invitations to solidarity that happen to echo across an icy political tundra spanning years of embargo. Perhaps the newest aspect of Cuba’s long-lived medical internationalism is that, in 2014, it yet defies decades of imperial embargo. Cuba’s international medical mission yet survives Yankee economic terrorism, and does so with an outstretched hand for partnership! Other than Cuba’s remarkable magnanimity that persists well into the 21st century, there is little new about Cuba’s maverick ethos of serving the Third World and its public health.

Despite unimaginable economic hardship, Cuba has had no qualms with proffering (and actually sending) America its vital resource: human capital. Facts amassed within the last few years are worth revisiting, especially given that the size of the Cuban population is a decimal of US numbers, and that Cuba’s financial capability does not compare with America’s. Consider the following:

◾For more than 40 years, Cuban doctors have worked abroad, and Cuban hospitals have received patients from around the world.
◾Cuba has had more than 30,000 health care personnel (19,000 physicians) in over 100 countries.
◾Cuba has sent medical teams to Chile, Nicaragua, and Iran, responding to devastating death tolls and destruction caused by earthquakes.
◾An emergency medical team of almost 2,500 Cubans treated 1.7 million people affected by the 2005 Pakistan earthquake alone.
◾Cuba has sent medical personnel to El Salvador to assuage the outbreak of dengue fever, donating more than 1,000,000 doses of meningitis vaccinations to Uruguay after an outbreak there.
◾Cuba sent medical task forces to Iraq during the Gulf War (which remained there after international relief organizations left); it sent medical crews to the beleaguered peoples of Kosovo, too.
◾Cuban medical personnel went to Guyana in 2005, to aid in flooding, and also to Paraguay so as to work with infectious diseases and epidemiology.
◾Nearly 100 Cuban doctors worked in Botswana in 2005, combating the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
◾Cuba has also offered thousands in medical staff to work with HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa.

The foregoing list in no way exhausts Cuba’s extensive history of medical internationalism. Again, it goes without saying that Cuba’s medical endeavors are decades old. It has been an enduring, if unofficial, pillar of the Cuban Revolution.


Cuba sends 91 more doctors to fight Ebola

Cuba sends 91 more doctors to fight Ebola
By MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN, Associated Press | October 21, 2014 | Updated: October 21, 2014 4:14pm

HAVANA (AP) — Every few years Dr. Leonardo Fernandez flies to a nation shaken by natural disaster, political turmoil or disease, leaving his hospital in eastern Cuba for countries that have included Pakistan, Nicaragua and East Timor.

On Tuesday, the intensive care specialist was headed to the epicenter of the Ebola epidemic along with 90 other Cuban medical workers as part of a half-century-old strategy that puts doctors on the front lines of the country's foreign policy.

The 91 nurses and doctors going to Guinea and Liberia join 165 already in Sierra Leone — making this island of 11 million people one of the largest global contributors of medical workers to the fight against Ebola.

The commitment has drawn rare praise from the U.S. and focused worldwide attention on Cuba's unique program of medical diplomacy, which deploys armies of doctors to win friends abroad and earn more than $6 billion a year in desperately needed foreign exchange.


Bolivians Demand Justice for 2003 Gas War Massacre

October 21, 2014

Thousands March in El Alto

Bolivians Demand Justice for 2003 Gas War Massacre


Thousands of people marched in El Alto, Bolivia on Friday, October 17th to demand justice for the 2003 massacre of over 60 people during the country’s Gas War under the Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada (Goni) administration. Sanchez de Lozada is currently living freely in the US, and marchers demanded he and others in his government be brought to Bolivia to be tried for ordering the violence. October marks the anniversary of that assault on the city, and people mobilized on Friday to remember and to demand justice.

“Today we’re marching to remember on the 11th anniversary of the Gas War, which was aimed at getting rid of the neoliberal government of Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada,” El Alto neighborhood council member Daniel Cama said while marching down the streets of the city. “We demand justice, and we demand the extradition of Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada and (former Defense Minister) Carlos Sanchez de Berzain, because they were the ones that led the massacre against the people of El Alto. This violence left many widows, orphans and injured people that are still demanding justice. Today we are marching to celebrate and remember the dead who fought for our natural resources.”

Bolivia’s Gas War is largely credited for ushering in a period of progressive change marked by policies led by President Evo Morales, who was re-elected on October 12th for a third term in office. The “Martyrs of the Gas War” are often recalled as the protagonists that led to the nationalization of sectors of Bolivia’s gas industry, a move which has generated funding for many popular social programs the Morales’ administration has developed to alleviate poverty. (For more information, see this article on the ten year anniversary of the Gas War and this article on the case against Goni.)

On Friday, thousands of El Alto residents marched from different points in the city, converging for a rally in the city center, where social movement leaders and victims of the Gas War spoke to a large crowd. Cheers regularly broke out, including the angry cry, “We Want Goni’s Head!” Many activists in the Gas War itself were present, such as the prominent participation by the city’s Fejuve neighborhood organizations. In a march meant to remember those days of repression and struggle, many veterans of the conflict marched down the same streets, and under the same bridges, where the army led their attack.



Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada and [sub]George W. Bush.[/sub][/center]

El Salvador’s fight against gold mine will be decided in D.C.

El Salvador’s fight against gold mine will be decided in D.C.
By Tim Johnson
McClatchy Foreign Staff
October 21, 2014

SAN ISIDRO, El Salvador — Somewhere trapped in the earth below Francisco Pineda’s feet are an estimated 1.4 million ounces of gold, and he wants the ore to remain there. He doesn’t want an Australian mining company to extract the metal.

“What will happen with the water? To separate the gold and silver, they’ll use cyanide. This will either filter into the water table or go into the river,” said Pineda, a stocky agronomist and environmental activist.
Those who share Pineda’s views don’t care if El Salvador remains the proverbial beggar seated on a bench of gold. They say their densely populated nation cannot absorb environmental distress from mining. Yet the choice is not theirs.

The fate of the El Dorado gold mine won’t be resolved anywhere near this tiny Central American country. Rather, it’s being weighed by a three-judge tribunal on the fourth floor of the World Bank headquarters in Washington.

Last month, the obscure court heard eight days of arguments over whether an Australian firm, OceanaGold Corp., will get a green light for the El Dorado project, or in its lieu receive $301 million in compensation. Sometime early in 2015, the tribunal, known formally as the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes, will issue its ruling.

The unusual jurisdiction is a sign of how international investment laws are empowering corporations to act against foreign governments that curtail their future profits, sometimes through policy flip-flops. Critics say it’s giving trade tribunals leverage over sovereign nations and elected leaders who presumably reflect the will of their people.


BBC News: Calling time on America's blockade of Cuba

19 October 2014 Last updated at 01:09 ET
Calling time on America's blockade of Cuba
By Will Grant

BBC News, Havana

On 19 October 1960, less than two years after Fidel Castro swept into Havana, the United States announced its economic embargo of Cuba. It has been in place ever since but now it is under scrutiny again.

In a recent editorial, the New York Times called for the embargo to be lifted. The newspaper outlined a host of ways in which it says the measure had been counter-productive to US interests and those of the long-suffering Cuban people.

"Over the decades, it became clear to many American policy makers that the embargo was an utter failure," the editorial said.

Among the legislation through which the measure is enforced is the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917 as well as the inclusion of Cuba on a US state department list of state sponsors of terrorism, alongside Syria, Iran and Sudan.

Although the embargo cannot be ended without the backing of Congress, the newspaper argued there was much President Barack Obama could do unilaterally - from removing Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism to lifting caps on remittances.

"Mr Obama should seize this opportunity to end a long era of enmity and help a population that has suffered enormously since Washington ended diplomatic relations in 1961," it said.


Chile ex-mayor arrested for Pinochet-era human rights crimes

Chile ex-mayor arrested for Pinochet-era human rights crimes
Mon Oct 20, 2014 3:07pm EDT

By Anthony Esposito

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - The ex-mayor of an upscale Santiago neighborhood was arrested on Monday in connection with an investigation into human rights crimes committed during General Augusto Pinochet's 1973-1990 dictatorship of Chile.

Cristian Labbe, a retired colonel who later served as mayor of the capital's Providencia district, is a subject of the probe into human rights violations, government spokesman Alvaro Elizalde said to reporters on Monday.

"We hope this can be cleared up and it's the courts that have to determine any responsibilities (in the case)," he said.

Elizalde did not give details but a source close to the matter, who was not authorized to speak to the media, said Judge Marianela Cifuentes is prosecuting 10 former military members, adding that Labbe is being prosecuted for unlawful association as a member of Pinochet's notorious DINA secret police.

"Cifuentes determined that the DINA had become an unlawful organization for committing crimes against humanity, and as such has prosecuted Labbe as a member of that unlawful organization," the source said.


Peruvian radio host's wife killed in attack on station

Peruvian radio host's wife killed in attack on station
October 20, 2014 3:40 PM ET.

Bogotá, Colombia, October 20, 2014--Peruvian authorities must conduct an efficient and thorough investigation into Friday's attack on a radio station in which assailants killed the wife of a journalist, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

On the pretext of purchasing ads, a man entered Radio Rumba, in the town of Pichanaki in central Junín department, at about 5:30 am on Friday. He was followed into the station by a second man who was armed with a pistol, according to news reports.

When the men entered, Gerson Fabián Cuba was hosting his morning radio program, according to reports. The gunman began insulting and beating him with their gun. When the journalist's son protested, Fabián Cuba's wife, Gloria Limas Calle, tried to drive the men away with a broomstick. The assailants shot Limas Calle in the chest and fled the premises. Limas Calle died before reaching a Pichanaki hospital, according to news reports.

Limas Calle wrote ad copy for Fabián Cuba and often cleaned the radio station's studio.

"We condemn the attack on Gerson Fabían Cuba that killed his wife, and we call on Peruvian authorities to work quickly to ensure that local journalists and their families and associates do not have to fear violent reprisal for their reporting," said Carlos Lauría, CPJ's senior program coordinator for the Americas, from New York. "Only finding those responsible and bringing them to justice will prevent further attacks on, and harassment of, the local media."


AP PHOTOS: New gloss on Cuba's classic cars

AP PHOTOS: New gloss on Cuba's classic cars
| October 19, 2014 | Updated: October 19, 2014 11:21pm

[font size=1]
Photo By Franklin Reyes/AP

In this Oct. 15, 2014 photo, a man drives a classic American car on The Malecon in Havana, Cuba. This
classic still running on the streets of Havana is part of a fleet of classic cars that have become an icon of
tourism in the socialist nation.

[font size=1]
In this Oct. 15, 2014 photo, tourists ride in a classic American car on the Malecon in Havana, Cuba. Officials in
recent years have eased state control over the economy by allowing limited self-employment. So those lucky
enough to have a pre-revolutionary car can earn money legally by ferrying tourists _ or Cubans celebrating
weddings _ along Havana’s waterfront Malecon boulevard. Photo: Franklin Reyes, AP / AP
HAVANA (AP) — When Martin Viera's Chevrolet rolled out of the dealer's lot, Harry Truman was president of the United States, gasoline cost 27 cents a gallon and a 24-year-old lefty named Tommy Lasorda was pitching for Almendares in the Cuban winter baseball league.

That world is long gone, but the Chevy's still running on the streets of Havana — part of a fleet of classic cars that have become an icon of tourism in the socialist nation.

For decades, the cars slowly decayed. But officials in recent years have eased state control over the economy by allowing limited self-employment. So those lucky enough to have a pre-revolutionary car can earn money legally by ferrying tourists — or Cubans celebrating weddings — along Havana's waterfront Malecon boulevard.

That's allowed many to paint and polish their aging vehicles.

Viera's 1951 Chevrolet and Osmani Rodriguez's 1954 Ford are now part of Havana's tourist draw.

Rodriguez, who has three daughters, said the opening to self-employment "was a great benefit for me. I bought an apartment to live in and really it improved my standard of living a lot."

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