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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 145,002

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Colombia assisting in extermination of community leaders: Inspector General

written by Adriaan Alsema February 1, 2018

Colombia’s ombudsman urged the government on Monday to prioritize the protection of community leaders, claiming they face “extermination.”

Inspector General Fernando Carrillo said the government was ordered to protect social leaders and human rights defenders by the Constitutional Court.

“We keep assisting in the extermination of the social leaders in this country without, apparently, anyone caring,” said the inspector general in a statement.

Carrillo called the ongoing wave of killings “barbaric.”


Exclusive: Laser Scans Reveal Maya "Megalopolis" Below Guatemalan Jungle

A vast, interconnected network of ancient cities was home to millions more people than previously thought.

Laser technology known as LiDAR digitally removes the forest canopy to reveal
ancient ruins below, showing that Maya cities such as Tikal were much larger
than ground-based research had suggested.

By Tom Clynes

In what’s being hailed as a “major breakthrough” in Maya archaeology, researchers have identified the ruins of more than 60,000 houses, palaces, elevated highways, and other human-made features that have been hidden for centuries under the jungles of northern Guatemala.

Laser scans revealed more than 60,000 previously unknown Maya structures
that were part of a vast network of cities, fortifications, farms, and highways.

Using a revolutionary technology known as LiDAR (short for “Light Detection And Ranging”), scholars digitally removed the tree canopy from aerial images of the now-unpopulated landscape, revealing the ruins of a sprawling pre-Columbian civilization that was far more complex and interconnected than most Maya specialists had supposed.

“The LiDAR images make it clear that this entire region was a settlement system whose scale and population density had been grossly underestimated,” said Thomas Garrison, an Ithaca College archaeologist and National Geographic Explorer who specializes in using digital technology for archaeological research.

Garrison is part of a consortium of researchers who are participating in the project, which was spearheaded by the PACUNAM Foundation, a Guatemalan nonprofit that fosters scientific research, sustainable development, and cultural heritage preservation.


One of History's Foremost Anti-Slavery Organizers Is Often Left Out of the Black History Month Story

One of History's Foremost Anti-Slavery Organizers Is Often Left Out of the Black History Month Story

By PAUL ORTIZ January 31, 2018

Today, the Reverend Dr. Henry Highland Garnet is the most famous African American you never learned about during Black History Month. In the 19th century however, Garnet, who lived from 1815 to 1882, was recognized as one of the foremost anti-slavery organizers in the world. He was the founding president of the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, an organization that waged international campaigns against human trafficking and Cuban patriot José Martí called him America’s “Moses.”

And, though he is often left out of the popular story of abolition, Rev. Garnet’s work of building bridges of solidarity offers a unique perspective on what it means for the U.S. to value human rights in an international context in the 21st century.

Born a slave in Maryland, Garnet was carried by his parents to freedom in the North at the age of 9. As a teenager, Garnet attended Noyes Academy in New Hampshire, an integrated institution of higher learning founded by anti-slavery advocates. Suffering from an ailment that would eventually cost him his leg, the enterprising student discovered one day that area white farmers were plotting to destroy the school. Garnet’s biographer noted that he “spent most of the day in casting bullets in anticipation of the attack, and when the whites finally came he replied to their fire with a double-barreled shot-gun, blazing from his window, and soon drove the cowards away.” Though the mob eventually destroyed the school, Garnet’s covering fire allowed his fellow students to escape under the cover of darkness.

. . .

At the end of the Civil War, Henry Garnet expressed his disappointment at what he considered to be premature celebrations of the end of slavery. Rev. Garnet urged abolitionists to retool their anti-slavery organizations to fight slavery’s continuing existence in nations such as Cuba and Brazil. At the height of Reconstruction, Garnet insisted that African Americans tie their struggles for the passage of equal-rights legislation with the Cuban liberation struggle against Spanish rule. In 1872, the popular minister helped to organize the Cuban Anti-Slavery Committee, which formed branches throughout Florida, Louisiana, New York, California and other states. The committee launched a national movement to demand that the United States extend support to the Cuban patriots fighting for independence from the Spanish Empire.


Florida Judges Are Turning Their Backs on Abused Young Immigrants

It's nearly impossible for undocumented minors in Florida who have been “abused, abandoned, or neglected” to apply for the green cards that they are legally entitled to.

By Ashley Cleek YESTERDAY 1:07 PM

In October 2015, Lucia, 13, was raped and impregnated. When she told her parents, they called her a “cualquiera,” or “slut,” and tried to send her from their home in Florida back to Guatemala. A case worker had to inform Lucia’s parents that they couldn’t dispatch their daughter against her wishes to another country. Unable to discard her, Lucia’s parents forbade her from reporting her rape to the local police. Instead, they demanded that she extort her rapist. But ICE deported him before he could be blackmailed. Finally, when she was four or five months pregnant, Lucia’s parents told her she needed to pay her “debts,” so Lucia dropped out of high school and got a job at a plant nursery. At that time, her parents began to charge her $350 a month in rent.

To Lucia’s attorney, Rina Gil, her story was an obvious example of parental neglect and abuse, and Lucia, an undocumented minor, should therefore be eligible to apply for a green card under a program called Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). (Because she is a minor and victim of abuse, Lucia’s name has been changed to protect her identity.)

In September 2017, Gil, a staff attorney at Catholic Legal Services in Miami, filed a private petition for dependency, asking the Miami juvenile court to declare Lucia dependent on the state of Florida and therefore not eligible for deportation. Gil knew that for the past few years juvenile judges in Florida had been skeptical of dependency petitions filed by immigrant minors, but she thought that, since the abuse happened in Florida, Judge Cindy Lederman would look compassionately at Lucia’s case. Gil had even heard that Lederman was more understanding than other Florida judges “when it comes to immigrant cases.”

“I figured—this is a child. She was raped… She’s not in school. She has no one taking care of her. There’s no way that you can say that this child was not neglected or abused or abandoned,” Gil said.


Tourism booming in Cuba despite tougher new Trump policy

Andrea Rodriguez, Associated Press
Updated 3:00 pm, Friday, January 19, 2018

HAVANA (AP) — On a sweltering early summer afternoon in Miami's Little Havana, President Donald Trump told a cheering Cuban-American crowd that he was rolling back some of Barack Obama's opening to Cuba in order to starve the island's military-run economy of U.S. tourism dollars and ratchet up pressure for regime change.

That doesn't appear to be happening. Travel to Cuba is booming from dozens of countries, including the U.S. And the tourism dollars from big-spending Americans seem to be heading into Cuba's state sector and away from private business, according to Cuban state figures, experts and private business people themselves.

The government figures show that 2017 was a record year for tourism, with 4.7 million visitors pumping more than $3 billion into the island's otherwise struggling economy. The number of American travelers rose to 619,000, more than six times the pre-Obama level. But amid the boom — an 18 percent increase over 2016 — owners of private restaurants and bed-and-breakfasts are reporting a sharp drop-off.

"There was an explosion of tourists in the months after President Obama's detente announcement. They were everywhere!" said Rodolfo Morales, a retired government worker who rents two rooms in his home for about $30 a night. "Since then, it's fallen off."


Cuban Doctors to Help Patients in South Side Chicago

Published 17 January 2018

Cuba's infant mortality rate is significantly lower than some of the poorest parts of the United States.

With no solution in sight regarding infant mortalities, residents of Chicago's South Side, home to numerous predominantly Black neighborhoods, have resorted to mentors from the Cuban Ministry of Public Health for help.

Why? The small socialist island, though it has endured a half-century economic blockade imposed by the United States, has an infant mortality rate (4.3 per 1,000 people) lower than its neighbor to the north (5.7 per 1,000 people), according to the World Health Organization.

In fact, Cuba's infant mortality rate is significantly lower than some of the poorest parts of the United States. A good example is the neighborhood of Englewood. With an infant mortality rate of 14.5 babies per 1,000, its statistics mirrors that of war-torn Syria.


Eleven Years of the Process of Change in Evo Morales Bolivia

by Stansfield Smith / January 11th, 2018

Evo Morales will soon have been the president of Bolivia for 12 years, heralding the ascent of the indigenous social movements to governmental power. This ended the apartheid system against the indigenous that existed for 500 years in Bolivia. Morales won in 2005 with 53.7% of the vote, followed by re-elections in 2009 with 64.2% and 2014 with 61.3%.

The country has made great strides in economic development, national sovereignty, women’s and Original Peoples’ rights, respect for Mother Earth, raising the people’s standard of living, level of education, and health care.

His presidency, which has brought an era of relative social peace and economic growth, has been the longest in Bolivia’s history. Since 1825, Bolivia has had 83 presidents with 37, almost half, by means of coup d’etat.

Previous presidents typically lacked social legitimacy, representing a political system that excluded participation of the indigenous peoples, plagued by social and economic inequality, subjugated to foreign interests, and complicit with the looting of natural resources. By 2002, after years of neoliberal regimes serving foreign — mostly U.S. — corporations, the proportion of the rural population living in extreme poverty had risen to 75%.


Bamboo social housing in rural Mexico can be built by residents in a week

Eleanor Gibson | 1 hour ago

Mexico City studio Comunal Taller de Arquitectura has completed a prototype for social housing in a mountain town, using a prefabricated bamboo frame that residents can use to replicate the structure in just seven days.

Comunal Taller de Arquitectura, which translates to Communal Architecture Workshop, completed the residence in Cuetzalan del Progreso – a town in the south-central state of Puebla – as an example of social housing that could be quickly and easily built across the region.

The studio previously designed a similar proposal for social housing in 2013 in a town named Tepetzintan, after it found a backlog in the provision of government funded housing. It worked with residents to develop an alternative self-build scheme that utilised local bamboo to make a modular and prefabricated frame, along with local wood and stone.

However in 2016, Mexico's National Housing Commission reviewed its conditions for funding, and banned self-build projects that employed these materials and construction techniques.


Pardon of Former Peruvian President Fujimori Deals Blow to Fight Against Gender Violence

By Mariela Jara

LIMA, Jan 15 2018 (IPS) - The political crisis triggered in Peru by the presidential pardon of former president Alberto Fujimori granted on Christmas Eve casts a shadow of doubt over what actions will be taken to curb violence against women in this country, where 116 femicides were registered in 2017, and which ranks eighth with respect to gender-related murders in Latin America and the Caribbean.

“The pardon devalues the actions that the government may undertake to achieve a life without violence, because it has released one of the worst violators of the human rights of women,” said Liz Meléndez, director of the non-governmental Flora Tristán Women’s Centre.

Meléndez pointed out that in the 1990s, Fujimori was responsible for a public policy that forcibly sterilised more than 200,000 Andean indigenous peasant women, a crime for which he will not be investigated or penalised since he was granted a presidential pardon.

“This impunity is outrageous,” she said, since due to problems of access to justice, poverty and discrimination, it was only possible to put together a file of 2,074 cases.


Brazil's far-right presidential contender gets soft drink named after him

Drinks company names new energy drink ‘Bolsomito’ after Jair Bolsonaro
‘Trump is doing an excellent job. That is the job we want in Brazil’

Dom Phillips in Rio de Janeiro

Sun 14 Jan 2018 05.00 EST

Brazil’s extreme rightwing presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro might not seem an obvious mascot for a fizzy drink: he has praised the country’s military dictatorship, said his children could never have been gay because they were too well-educated, and told a leftist lawmaker congresswoman that she was “too ugly to be raped”.

But a Brazilian company has named a new energy drink the “Bolsomyth” – “Bolsomito” in Portuguese – after the controversial Rio de Janeiro lawmaker.

Bolsonaro, a former army officer, is polling second after former president Luiz Inácio da Silva before October’s election.

. . .

The military dictatorship he defends imprisoned and tortured thousands of its opponents, including Dilma Rousseff, a former Marxist guerrilla and Lula’s successor as Workers’ party president. Hundreds more were executed or disappeared.

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