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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
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Will Washington's favored candidate prevail in tight Colombia race?


Conservative Fico Gutiérrez’s popularity with the U.S. may not help him against popular leftist Gustavo Petro.

APRIL 22, 2022
Written by
Adam Isacson

Both the Trump and Biden administrations had an easy relationship with the deeply conservative government that has ruled Colombia since 2018.

U.S. officials, who call Iván Duque’s Colombia “a keystone of the region,” have been more content with the 45-year-old president’s performance than most Colombians, who give him a mere 20-percent approval rating. Duque’s four years come to an end in August, and Colombia will elect a new president on May 29, with a second, run-off round on June 19.

This will be one of the most consequential and contested elections ever for Latin America’s third-largest country. The result will have major implications for the U.S. government, which has given Colombia more than $13 billion in assistance so far this century, far more than for any other country in the hemisphere.

Head-to-head second-round scenario polling shows a razor-thin margin between the two leading candidates, who represent dramatically different visions of government. Federico “Fico” Gutiérrez, a former Medellín mayor, offers continuity with Duque’s conservative politics, which the Biden administration might find reassuring. It would, however, mean continuity with a model of which most Colombians appear to disapprove after four years of worsening violence and economic insecurity.

More:
https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2022/04/22/how-the-upcoming-elections-in-colombia-will-impact-us-regional-policy/

Exclusive-U.S., Cuba to hold high-level migration talks in Washington

Matt Spetalnick
Mon, April 18, 2022, 4:20 PM·4 min read

By Matt Spetalnick

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - American and Cuban officials are due to meet in Washington on Thursday to discuss migration concerns, people familiar with the matter said, in the highest-level formal U.S. talks with Havana since President Joe Biden took office last year.

. . .

Even as the United States and Cuba prepare to re-engage on migration, Biden administration officials are mindful that any easing of restrictions on Cuba could lead to political fallout from conservative Cuban Americans, a key voting bloc in south Florida.

Former President Donald Trump rolled back a historic rapprochement that his predecessor Barack Obama oversaw between the United States and its old Cold War foe.

Biden, who served as Obama's vice president, promised during the 2020 U.S. election campaign against Trump to re-engage with Cuba, and many in both countries expected he would reverse some Trump-era restrictions. Biden instead imposed fresh sanctions on Cuban officials in response to Havana's crackdown on protesters following widespread marches on the island last July.

More:
https://www.yahoo.com/news/exclusive-u-cuba-hold-high-212018194.html

The Venezuelan Coup: 20 Years Later

APRIL 15, 2022

BY DAN BEETON

On April 11, 2002, Venezuela’s democratically elected government, headed by Hugo Chávez Frías, was ousted in a military coup d’etat. Then, dramatically, two days later, the coup was overturned by a mass mobilization of Venezuelans. They demanded the restoration of democracy and the return of a government that appeared to be making good on its commitment to redistribute Venezuela’s oil wealth to benefit the country’s most marginalized sectors. These events led to lasting ramifications not just for Venezuela, but for Latin America and the Caribbean as a whole, paving the way for a “pink tide” of progressive movements that took power democratically throughout the region. In many cases, similar power struggles ensued, pitting left-leaning governments supporting economic and social gains for the poor, the working class, and marginalized communities, against powerful factions of society seeking, generally, to maintain a status quo that has served to benefit mostly a small number of elites and foreign interests while exploiting and repressing the majority population.

The coup itself was not novel, of course, but it was the first Latin American coup in the twenty-first century, and showed that the US government would continue to prioritize its perceived geopolitical interests — and those of multinational corporations — in the region over democracy. The US would go on to support coups, and other sorts of undemocratic political transitions, in Haiti (2004), Honduras (2009), Paraguay (2012), Brazil (2016), and Bolivia (2019) — and would show support for attempted coups in Bolivia (2008), Ecuador (2010), and Venezuela (2019). Elements of the 2002 Venezuela coup playbook would also be repeated in many cases.

Much has since been written about the trajectory the Chávez government took following its survival of the coup, for better and for worse. The experiences of late 2002 and early 2003 (in which many of the same opposition forces continued their attempt to topple the government through a crippling months-long managerial strike that paralyzed the oil industry), and 2004, when Chávez handily survived a recall referendum, demonstrated both that Chávez had nothing to lose by turning farther left (he would proclaim his government’s goal of working toward “socialism for the twenty-first century” in 2005), and that he would need to take firm action if he were to gain control of the Venezuelan economy and be able to carry out his agenda. Chávez sacked PDVSA’s striking managers, which subsequently allowed Venezuela to achieve some of the strongest economic growth in the region for several years after. This was accompanied by impressive poverty reduction and the launching of the many misiones — programs designed to provide low-income Venezuelans with food, health care, education, and other needs.

The “self-proclaimed socialist” President Chávez (as international media loved to call him) that we remember now is really the post-coup Chávez. More than 20 years after he was first elected, it is easy to forget that he originally campaigned on a “third way” platform, calling to mind Tony Blair and Bill Clinton. So what did Chávez do in his first years that so upset his opponents, foreign and domestic, that they overthrew him?

More:
https://www.counterpunch.org/2022/04/15/239879/

Disguised in dance: the secret history of Capoeira

11.04.2022 [20:38]
Baku, April 11, AZERTAC



Capoeira, the martial art-infused dance thought to have originated in 16th-century Brazil, draws attention for having an acrobatic, athletic style. Discover the story of this 500-year-old art form and explore the best places to experience capoeira in Brazil.

Sometimes referred to as a martial art, sometimes a dance and sometimes even a game, capoeira is a unique phenomenon that has caught the attention of the world in recent years. It’s instantly recognizable thanks to a singular, eye-catching style, but the exact origins of the art have been lost due to a scarcity of historical evidence, stemming from the secretive nature of its beginnings.

It has been suggested capoeira was created during the 16th century by enslaved people who were taken from West Africa to Brazil by Portuguese colonists. Prohibited from celebrating their cultural customs and forbidden from practicing martial arts, it’s thought capoeira emerged as a way to bypass these two imposing laws.

Hidden in the musical and rhythmic elements of the form, violent kicks were disguised as passionate dance movements and its combination of West African cultures saved it from being identified as an attempt to preserve any specific tradition. As such, capoeira came to life as a survival tool, not only of self-defence, but also of cultural identity.

More:
https://azertag.az/en/xeber/Disguised_in_dance_the_secret_history_of_Capoeira-2089070

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A History of Brazilian Capoeira



Attack and dodge moves |© Turismo Bahia/WikiCommons

Sarah Brown
24 January 2017

017
View

A mesmerizing blend of acrobatics, dance, martial arts, and hypnotizing music, capoeira is deeply embedded in Brazilian culture, its influence apparent throughout Brazil’s history and in its ever-increasing popularity today. Developed in Brazil mainly by West Africans over 500 years ago, it’s known for its quick and complex series of movements that combine speed and power into a variety of sharp kicks and agile techniques.

History Of Capoeira
Capoeira began with the start of slavery in Brazil in the 16th century, when the Portuguese exported huge numbers of slaves to populate and work the vast lands of recently colonized Brazil. These slaves came mostly from Angola and Congo and were put to work growing and harvesting sugar cane, which was Brazil’s main economic source.



The Slaves That Got Away

Some slaves managed to flee from the sugar cane farms and settle into quilombos, which were small, primitive settlements that were difficult to locate and reach. These settlements began to grow in size, attracting increasing numbers of escaped slaves as well as Brazilian natives and Europeans fleeing Christian extremism. It was in these communities that capoeira began to evolve as a means of defense against the colonial troops.

The largest quilombo was known as Quilombo dos Palmares, and it managed to ward off numerous attacks from Portuguese soldiers. The latter were caught off guard by the unpredictability of the fights and the ‘strangely moving fighting techniques’ of the quilombo residents.



More:
https://theculturetrip.com/south-america/brazil/articles/a-history-of-brazilian-capoeira/






Unfair trade is at the root of poverty

10 April 2022 | Julia Barnes, Marketing Assistant

Forced to leave home

Olga Alvarado was just 18 years old when she immigrated to the US to work and save money to buy her own land for coffee farming back in Honduras. At the time, coffee prices in Honduras were very low and turned little profit for farmers, making it nearly impossible for Olga to stay in her home country and still earn a living wage to support her family as a single mother.

For eight years, Olga worked at a McDonalds in Devon, New Jersey and saved as much money as possible. In 2015, Olga’s hard work paid off. She bought six acres of farmland, returned home to Honduras, and joined the COAQUIL Coffee Collaborative, where Olga is now paid a sustainable price for her coffee. Her story is far from uncommon. Once she joined the COAQUIL co-op, she learned that about half of her fellow members had also previously immigrated to the US to earn more money.

While Olga’s story is inspirational, we believe that people shouldn’t have to leave their homes simply to earn a decent income. For people like Olga and the millions of other smallholder farmers across the world, they did not have a choice. Poverty is what forces folks to leave their homes in search of a better life. And ultimately, unfair trade practices are a root cause of poverty.

More:
https://www.fairtradeamerica.org/news-insights/unfair-trade-is-at-the-root-of-poverty/

El Salvador leader says he wants to 'cut off food in the prisons'

By: The Associated Press & Scripps NationalPosted at 5:07 PM, Apr 05, 2022 and last updated 7:37 PM, Apr 05, 2022

El Salvador's president has threatened to stop providing food for imprisoned members of street gangs.

President Nayib Bukele said on Tuesday that if the gangs "unleash a wave of crimes, we are going to cut off food in the prisons." Following a wave of homicides in late March, Bukele has already declared a state of emergency, rounded up thousands of street gang members Bukele also ordered food for gang members held in Salvadoran prisons to be reduced to two meals per day, seized inmates' mattresses and posted a video of prisoners being frog-marched through corridors and down stairs.

“There are rumors that they [gang members] want to start taking revenge on random, honest people,” Bukele said. “If they do that, there won’t even be one meal in prisons. I swear to God they won’t eat a grain of rice, and let’s see how long they last.”

“They should stay calm and let themselves be arrested; at least on the inside they will continue to live and have two meals a day,” Bukele said in a translation reported on by the Associated Press.

“I don’t care what the international organizations say. Let them come here and protect our people,” the president said. “They can take their gang members if they want; we’ll give them all of them.”

More:
https://www.10news.com/news/national/el-salvador-leader-says-he-wants-to-cut-off-food-in-the-prisons




President Nayib Bukele

















Early bright idea from President Bukele on proper treatment of prisoners.









Greenwald's Bombshell Brazil Scoops Have Curious Blindspot for US Involvement

APRIL 3, 2022

Review: Securing Democracy: My Fight for Press Freedom and Justice in Bolsonaro’s Brazil, by Glenn Greenwald. 2021. Chicago: Haymarket Books.

SEAN T. MITCHELL

Glenn Greenwald’s book, Securing Democracy: My Fight for Press Freedom and Justice in Bolsonaro’s Brazil, opens with his recollection of a conversation in which Carl Bernstein, the US journalist of Watergate fame, told him that he’d never get another scoop as “big or impactful” as the Snowden archive (p. viii), for which Greenwald was the principal journalistic source.

Not so. On Mother’s Day 2019, just a few months into the administration of Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, Greenwald, the US-born, Rio de Janeiro–based journalist (and endless source of Twitter controversy), would receive his second “once-in-a-lifetime scoop” (p. vii). The scoop arrived from a source who had hacked a massive archive of leaks that would go on to transform Brazilian politics. The archive contained years of conversation on the Telegram app by the key prosecutors and judge of the Brazilian “anti-corruption” task force known as Lava Jato (Portuguese for “Car Wash”). Securing Democracy tells the story of the reporting on those leaks by Greenwald and his colleagues at the Intercept.

It’s hard to overstate the importance of all this for Brazil. While the massive, multi-year Lava Jato investigation was receiving rapturous praise in Brazilian and foreign media (FAIR.org, 3/8/21), it was releasing illegally obtained and misleading wiretaps to the media that created the conditions for the soft coup that unseated President Dilma Rousseff of the PT (Workers’ Party) in 2016. And then Lava Jato put the PT’s 2018 presidential frontrunner, former President Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva, behind bars, securing Bolsonaro’s election. The work done by Greenwald and his colleagues (and, later, by Lula’s defense team, once they got the archive) showed all this to be deliberate and farcical: Lava Jato was operating illegally with a key goal of destroying the electorally successful left.

Explosive revelations

Working in secrecy, Greenwald and his colleagues simultaneously released three articles at the Intercept in June 2019, all based on those Telegram conversations. Cleverly named “Vaza Jato” (vaza means “leak” in Portuguese), the series in its first installments showed that Sergio Moro, the key judge involved in Lava Jato (who by then was Bolsonaro’s security minister), had been acting unlawfully as “clandestine chief of the prosecution” (p. xiv).

More:
https://fair.org/home/greenwalds-bombshell-brazil-scoops-have-curious-blindspot-for-us-involvement/

Panama Gets New National Holiday: Honoring Victims of 1989 US Invasion

A truth commission that was set up years ago documented about 20 disappearances from the U.S. military action which toppled strongman Manuel Noriega

Published April 1, 2022



File photo: U.S. Army helicopters patrol Panama City during “Operation Just Cause,” on December 29, 1989. The US army invaded the country to remove Panama’s General Manuel Antonio Noriega from power and bring him to the U.S. for trial on drug charges.


The president of Panama on Thursday declared an annual national holiday to commemorate Panamanians who died during the 1989 U.S. invasion of the country.

The decree signed by President Laurentino Cortizo establishes Dec. 20, the date of the invasion, as a national day of mourning. People in Panama will have the day off.

“By enacting this law, we settle a debt with the nation, with those who died in that tragic event, who we remember with respect,” Cortizo said.

A truth commission that was set up years ago documented about 20 disappearances from the U.S. military action which toppled strongman Manuel Noriega.

More:
https://www.necn.com/news/national-international/panama-gets-new-national-holiday-honoring-victims-of-1989-us-invasion/2709333/

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(Click the "Watch on YouTube" banner on the trailer and the 2nd video.)



The Panama Deception is a documentary film that won the 1992 Academy
Award for Documentary Feature




From 1992, this documents what can only be described as State sponsored terrorism.

This scenario has been continually repeated as we seem to be involved in every thing, everywhere, with over 900 military bases in 140 different countries or so. Innocent blood requires justice, pretending this stuff doesn't happen is not helping. The ending says it all as the congress cheers a 'Liberated Panama". I saw this on VCR tape originally over 20 years ago, it is must see material, a real eye opener for the uninitiated. For educational purposes only.............

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