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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 147,304

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Latin American media: under control of families, economic and political elites

December 4, 2019

Media Ownership Monitor (MOM) "Who controls the media in Latin America?" will be launched in December in Brazil by the Reporters Without Borders and Intervozes organizations

In Latin America, the media are under the control of the corporate sector and business families who are linked to economic and political elites and use their ability to influence public opinion as capital. This is what concludes the research "Who controls the media in Latin America?", which will be launched by Intervozes - Coletivo Brasil de Comunicação Social and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in Sao Paulo and Fortaleza, on December 3 and 5, with a round table with experts. The study analyzed media concentration in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Peru.

In Argentina, for example, the 52 mainstream media are in the hands of 22 companies. In Colombia, the three media groups control 57 percent of the content that society can access on radio, TV, online, and print media. In Peru, unparalleled data: 68% of the estimated online news audience in the country is in the hands of a single group. While media power in Mexico goes hand in hand with politics, half of the public budget for advertising money is allocated to only 10 of the media groups analyzed in this study.

Despite all the regional diversity in Brazil and the continental dimensions of its territory, the top four media groups concentrate an outrageous national audience on each segment analyzed (TV, radio, print and online), surpassing 70% in the case of open television, the most consumed means of communication in the country.

The Media Ownership Monitor (MOM), is a mapping methodology that generates a publicly accessible and continously updated database hat lists owners of all relevant mass media outlets. The aim is to shed light on the risks posed by concentration of ownership to media pluralism and diversity. MOM also qualitatively assesses market conditions and the regulatory environment.


U.S. Plan on Killing Birds in New York

DECEMBER 2, 2019

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services arm has put together a plan titled “Reducing Bird Damage in the State of New York” which includes a “preferred alternative” that involves continuing its both “nonlethal and lethal bird management techniques.” The “lethal techniques…may include the use of shooting, live capture and euthanasia, avicides” and “nest/egg destruction.”

Wildlife Services’ “Environmental Assessment” for its plan is online at https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=APHIS-2019-0070-0001

Many bird species are involved. The “Environmental Assessment” lists nearly 150 species for which in doing “bird damage management” Wildlife Services received requests “for assistance” between 2013 and 2017 “or anticipates receiving requests” in the future.

Starting with A, the list includes: American black duck, American coot, American golden plover, American goldfinch, American kestrel, American oystercatcher, American robin, American wigeon, American woodcock and goes on to bald eagle, barn owl, barn swallow, barred owl, belted kingfisher, black-bellied plover, black-crowned night-heron, black tern and continues to Bonaparte’s gull, the brown-headed cowbird and on to clapper rail, cliff swallow, common goldeneye, common loon, common merganser, common raven, common tern.


US Again Complicit in an Illegal Coup, This Time in Bolivia

December 3, 2019

Washington is upholding a sordid tradition of meddling in the political and economic affairs of Latin American countries, writes Marjorie Cohn.

Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni (or Salar de Tunupa) is the world’s largest salt flat and it covers a pool of brine, which is exceptionally rich in lithium. (Anouchka Unel /Wikimedia Commons)

By Marjorie Cohn

Once again, the United States is complicit in an illegal coup d’état in Latin America, this time in Bolivia. On Nov. 10, a right-wing, anti-indigenous group seized power after the Bolivian military’s removal of President Evo Morales, who had declared victory in the Oct. 20 presidential election.

The United States’ fingerprints are all over the coup. Advisers from the U.S. Southern Command have been stationed on Bolivia’s border with Argentina, Ivanka Trump made a surprising visit to an Argentine province near the Bolivian border in September, the pro-U.S. Organization of American States (OAS) cast unfounded doubt on Morales’s election victory, and the U.S.’s National Endowment for Democracy provided suspicious grants to Bolivia.

At least 32 people have been killed and hundreds injured since the coup began. Sacha Llorenti, Bolivian ambassador to the United Nations, told Democracy Now!, “We are going through not just a coup d’état, but a violent one.” Indeed, it has resulted in “the rise of a far-right regime of terror,” professor Gabriel Hetland wrote in The Washington Post.

Morales — Bolivia’s first indigenous leader in a country where 65 percent of the people are indigenous — received 10 percent more votes than Carlos Mesa, the second-place candidate who has close ties to the U.S. government. Mesa was in regular communication with U.S. officials who were trying to destabilize Morales, U.S. government cables published by WikiLeaks reveal.


Bolivia has been promised elections. But will they be fair?

Linda Farthing
There is little faith – especially among indigenous Bolivians – in the elections called by interim president Jeanine Áñez

Mon 2 Dec 2019 10.36 ESTLast modified on Mon 2 Dec 2019 15.33 EST

As the dust begins to settle following weeks of upheaval in Bolivia, fresh elections are being promised in the new year by the self-appointed interim president, Jeanine Áñez. They offer a glimmer of hope for the restoration of the country’s badly battered democracy – but only if they are free and fair. Meanwhile, her possible successors are beginning to jockey for position. Carlos Mesa, Evo Morales’ chief rival in the 20 October elections, has announced he is running, while Morales’ party Movement for Socialism (Mas) has said it will put forward “young candidates” in the place of the former president.

Mesa’s opposition on the right will be an upstart contender who only burst on to Bolivia’s national scene in the past month. Luis Camacho is the president of the powerful civic organisation in the city of Santa Cruz, Bolivia’s “economic powerhouse”. He emerged as a key player in the deposition of Morales and the subsequent installation of Áñez.

Camacho is an ardent Roman Catholic conservative who openly bribed the police to mutiny against the Morales government, with promises of increased retirement pay. In doing so, he pushed aside both Mesa and the Organization of American States, which urged a democratic transition that would have allowed Morales to complete his term. Instead, Camacho and his followers forced Morales’ immediate resignation.

Widespread protests rocked the country for 10 days after Áñez’s takeover. Several cities faced shortages of food and gas because of the many roadblocks. “We think her government will bring back the racism we suffered in the past,” said an indigenous demonstrator who didn’t want his name used. “We denounce the coup she has carried out without any authority whatsoever.”


Berta Caceres murder: seven convicted men sentenced to up to 54 years

Sentencing in environmental activist’s death comes more than a year after guilty verdict

Nina Lakhani
Mon 2 Dec 2019 18.25 ESTLast modified on Mon 2 Dec 2019 18.39 EST

The seven men found guilty of killing the Honduran indigenous environmentalist Berta Cáceres have been sentenced to 30 to 54 years.

Cáceres, a winner of the Goldman prize for environmental defenders, was shot dead late at night on 2 March 2016 – two days before her 45th birthday – after a long battle to stop construction of an internationally financed hydroelectric dam on the Gualcarque River.

In November 2018, the court ruled the murder was ordered by executives of the Agua Zarca dam company, Desa, because of delays and financial losses linked to protests led by Cáceres.

On Monday, more than a year after the guilty verdict, the four paid hitmen – Elvin Rapalo, Edilson Duarte Meza, Óscar Torres, and Henry Javier Hernández – were each given 34 years for the murder. They were also sentenced to 16 years and four months for the attempted murder of Gustavo Castro, a Mexican environmentalist who was shot in the same attack but survived by playing dead.


 If only the court will not be bought and will bring the executives  Desa, the Zarca dam company to justice without fail. Of course they are as guilty for the murder.

Prompted by Local Activists, Congressman McGovern Condemns the Coup in Bolivia

NOVEMBER 28, 2019
Prompted by Local Activists, Congressman McGovern Condemns the Coup in Bolivia

. . .

The Tentacles of the United States in Bolivia’s Coup

As noted by Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, the ousting of Morales fits within a much longer history of coups in Bolivia (1964, 1970, 1980, and—most recently—2019) and of U.S. intervention.

Bolivia has been a source of enrichment for the West for centuries; the silver that flowed from its veins funded the development and expansion of industrialized nations, and today it holds up to 70 percent of the world’s lithium, a key material in batteries for hybrid cars, cell phones, and other electronics. The most recent coup in Bolivia fits neatly within the continuation of centuries of pillage and the struggle for geopolitical control over the country and its resources.

As Kevin Young, assistant professor of Latin American studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst who studies Bolivia, explained to Congressman McGovern at the November 13 delegation, “We don’t have the details of what exactly the United States has been doing. We do know that Trump, [Senator Marco] Rubio, and others have come out and publicly praised the coup. … Behind the scenes, they may be doing other things. We know that they are funding the right-wing opposition. We don’t know all of the diplomatic machinations that are taking place behind the scenes. Our concern first and foremost is the role of the United States.”

McGovern remains among a small handful of U.S. representatives to condemn the coup—a group that includes Rep. Ilhan Omar (MN), Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY), Rep. Ro Khanna (CA), and Rep. Adriano Espaillat (NY). On November 22, Congressman McGovern was among 14 House members who signed a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo firmly stating that the “developments in Bolivia … bear the hallmarks of a military coup d’état” and imploring Pompeo and the Trump administration to “consider an immediate change in course and to take action to support democracy and human rights in Bolivia.”


Bolivia: Anatomy of a Coup

NOVEMBER 29, 2019
Bolivia: Anatomy of a Coup

On Sunday, October 20 Evo Morales was re-elected president of Bolivia with 46.85 per cent of the vote against his nearest competitor, Carlos Mesa, who received 36.74 percent. In anticipation of a Morales victory the U.S. corporate media launched a fake news disinformation barrage nine days earlier aimed at discrediting the result and setting the stage for a well-orchestrated fascist-led coup. Presented to the world as a popular democratic revolution against a dictator, the coup was led by fascist groups in alliance with Bolivia’s defecting police and army. The relentless media watchdog, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), aptly reported: “The New York Times’ editorial (11/11/19) accused Morales of “brazenly abusing the power and institutions put in his care by the electorate. The Washington Post (11/11/19) alleged that ‘a majority of Bolivians wanted [Morales] to leave office’ –a claim for which they provided no evidence – while asserting that he had ‘grown increasingly autocratic’ and that ‘his downfall was his insatiable appetite for power.’ The Wall Street Journal (11/11/19) argued that Morales ‘is a victim of his own efforts to steal another election,’ saying that Morales ‘has rigged the rules time and again to stay in power.’” FAIR’s corporate media accounting goes on to list several major media outlets in the country that dutifully sang the same song. Not a single major daily challenged these baseless accusations. These “manufacturing consent” specialists were unanimous in denouncing Morales and his re-election long before the votes were tallied. The Bolivian coup was conceived as a relatively quiet U.S.-supported regime change endeavor in comparison to the overt and monstrous full court failed coup that U.S. imperialism conducted against the Venezuelan government of Nicholas Maduro several months earlier.

On November 10, twenty-one days after his election victory Morales, in the name of “peace” and to avoid “violence and bloodshed,” resigned the presidency and fled to Mexico at the invitation of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. On November 22 Morales told a New York Times reporter in Mexico that the coup leaders had placed a $50,000 “wanted dead or alive” price tag on his capture. Mexico’s air force jet sent for the rescue operation arrived via a circuitous route including a stop in Paraguay after several nations – including U.S.-allied Peru and Ecuador – denied flyover or refueling rights. Mexico’s Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, who greeted Morales upon his arrival, denounced the coup as well as the concerted interference with Mexico’s effort to retrieve Morales. No doubt the U.S.-backed coup makers had informed their allies of Morales’s departure plans, while evaluating the merits and demerits of arresting, if not murdering him by the still-undeclared formal coup leaders.

While Morales’s political party, Movement Toward Socialism (MAS), held a majority in Bolivia’s congress, right wing Senator Jeanine Añez Chavez declared herself interim president in violation of Bolivian succession laws and via a meeting conducted without a required quorum. Senators and congressional representatives from MAS, which holds a majority in congress, were physically excluded from the meeting. With nobody from the Morales’ ruling party present to object Añez promoted herself to the head of the Senate, a position that she said put her in line to be the country’s interim president since both Morales and his vice president had resigned. Appearing later at the presidential residence wearing the presidential sash, Añez hoisted a Bible as she appeared on the balcony to signify Bolivia’s return to its white racist Christian conqueror past. “This Bible is very important to us,” said Añez. “Our strength is God. Power is God.” The fascist coup leader Luis Fernando Camacho (See below.) was more explicit stating, “The Bible returns to the presidential palace. The Pachamama (Mother Earth in the Quechua language) will never be back to the government. Bolivia belongs to Jesus Christ,” not to the heathen natives, me might have added.

Invoking a Christian god as the source of political power was aimed at repudiating Morales and his Aymara indigenous roots in a nation where 62 percent of the population are of indigenous origin, mostly Aymara, Quechuan and Guarani, with indigenous peoples speaking 37 native languages, all formally recognized by the 2009 constitution approved during the Morales presidency. Another 20 percent of the population are Mestizos – people with mixed ancestry (indigenous and white Europeans). An estimated 10-15 percent are white. Bolivia’s 2009 constitution changed the country’s name from the Republic of Bolivia to the Plurinational State of Bolivia in recognition of the multi-ethnic nature of the country and the enhanced position of Bolivia’s indigenous peoples.


"We want justice": Chilean protesters with police-caused eye injuries organize

November 29, 2019 Sandra Cuffe Americas, Story

Eliecer Flores has been out in the streets of Santiago protesting Chile’s political and economic model since day one. He had to take a break, though, after one of the pellet projectiles fired by police hit him in the right eye.

“My eyeball burst,” Flores, 30, told Toward Freedom. “I got to keep the eye, but not any vision.”

A father of a nine-month-old baby and proud stepdad of a 13-year-old, Flores is originally from Cañete, a city of 34,000 in the Biobio region, 400 miles south of the capital. Growing up in poverty, Flores witnessed injustice and theft by the government, he said.

“I always promised myself that if I had the chance to do something about it, I would,” he said.

Flores got his chance last month. Secondary students in Santiago engaged in mass fare evasion and other actions to protest a metro fare increase. Within 24 hours the whole country erupted in protests against inequality, education and health care privatizations, low pensions and wages, and the neoliberal model itself.


Cuba and EU discuss imposition of unilateral coercive measures

Havana, Nov 29 (Prensa Latina) Cuba and the European Union (EU) are discussing the imposition of unilateral coercive measures on Friday, giving continuity to a meeting on that issue held in Brussels, Belgium, in November 2018.

The meeting is taking place as the administration of US President Donald Trump is tightening the blockade against Cuba, including threats and sanctions against third countries, even European Union companies and interests, one of the major investors in Cuba.

Representatives of Cuba and the EU are meeting at Havana's Hotel Nacional to discuss the imposition of these unilateral coercive measures as a means to exert political and economic pressure on States.

They will also debate the legal and practical frameworks of the European Union's legislation to counter the extraterritorial enforcement of laws imposed by third countries.


'20 students missing', 1 injured after US endorsement triggers brutal repression of Colombia's peace

’20 students missing’, 1 injured after US endorsement triggers brutal repression of Colombia’s peaceful protest
by Adriaan Alsema November 27, 2019

Colombia’s police returned to brutal repression on Wednesday after the US government expressed its support for President Ivan Duque, who has been facing mass anti-government protests for a week.

According to the District University Human Rights Network, police arrested approximately 20 students near three bus terminals in Bogota. At least one student was seriously injured.

. . .

Attacks follow day of peaceful protests and US endorsement
The sudden outbreak of violence and wave of arrests followed hours after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted his support for Duque, who has been under fire over violent attempts to repress peaceful protests.

The top US official said he supported Duque’s “National Conversation.” The talks have been rejected by strike leaders, however, because the president allegedly refused to attend concerns on which they have been trying to negotiate since a month prior to the beginning of last week’s national strike.

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