[Translation of an article from Carta Maior of São Paulo for March 2, 2014. See original here.]
By Beto Almeida
“The Bolivarian Revolution is peaceful but armed”
Twenty-five years ago, on February 27, 1989, the president of Venezuela at the time, Carlos Andrés Pérez, launched an explosive neoliberal package that drastically increased the prices of gasoline and food. The people of Caracas rebelled, took to the streets, looted supermarkets, clothing stores, butchers’ shops. Pérez ordered the army to repress them harshly. Hundreds of citizens were killed. The exact number is yet to be calculated, since many were buried in common graves or thrown onto the city garbage dump.
When I had the opportunity to interview President Chávez in the Miraflores Palace, he told me he was in the service then and knew when the order to repress was given and when the troops left for the poor neighborhoods, crushing the rebellion that came to be known as the Caracazo, without pity or remorse. Chávez said that the Caracazo was the fuse, the avalanche, the fundamental encouragement for the Bolivarian military movement, the building of which he led in barracks throughout the nation, to spring into action. That repression had provoked the progressive and nationalist ranks of the military. Read the rest of this entry »
((Martelly and Duvalier))
[Translation of an article from Haïti Liberté of Port-au-Prince for February 12, 2014. See original here and related articles here, here, here, here and here.]
By Francklyn B. Geffrard
Last February 7 was the 28th anniversary of the fall of the Duvalier dictatorship. Targeted by a popular revolt and abandoned by the Americans, Jean Claude (Baby Doc) Duvalier and his associates had to flee the country early in the morning. For close to three decades, François Duvalier (from 1957 to 1971), then his son Jean Claude (from 1971 to 1986), had ruled the country with an iron fist. To facilitate the departure of Jean Claude Duvalier and his associates, a U.S. Air Force plane had been placed at their disposal by the administration of President Ronald Reagan.
During the long years that Haiti was ruled by the Duvaliers, the country faced serious economic, political and social crises. Arbitrary arrests and assassinations carried out against thousands by the Tontons Macoutes sowed fear, in its most basic form, in the hearts of the people. No opposition was tolerated. Every opponent of the regime was condemned either to imprisonment in the regime’s numerous torture centers, to disappearance, pure and simple, or, for the lucky ones, to exile. This explains, furthermore, why it is outside the country that Haitian exiles tried to create a movement in opposition to the regime, which had enjoyed the unfailing support of France and the United States. Read the rest of this entry »
((Salvador Sánchez Cerén))
[Translation of an article from Proceso of Mexico City for February 11, 2014. See original here and related articles here, here and here.]
By Juan José Dalton
San Salvador – The Salvadoran Right, joined together as the Alianza Republicana Nacionalista (ARENA), is in a crisis following its disastrous electoral failure in the first round of the presidential election of February 2.
This does not come as a surprise; their arch-enemy since the civil war (1980-1992), the governing leftist Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional (FMLN), won by ten percentage points, an advantage hard to overcome in the contest scheduled for next March 9.
As of a year ago, the outlook was different for ARENA and its presidential candidate, the current mayor of San Salvador, Norman Quijano, a staunch anti-communist in the McCarthyite tradition. The polls and the analyses were then giving Quijano the leading position as the sure winner in the first or second round over the FMLN, whose candidate was professor and former rebel commander Salvador Sánchez Cerén. Read the rest of this entry »
[Translation of an article from El Clarín of Santiago, Chile, for December 26, 2013. See original here and related articles here, here and here.]
By Paula Correa
Before the presidential runoff, the students made it clear that neither of the two candidates represented them and that, beyond who won the election, the only guarantee they could see for going forward as a movement lay in mobilization and the pressure they could generate.
Melissa Sepúlveda, president of the Federación de Estudiantes de la Universidad de Chile (FECH), stressed the differences between president elect Michelle Bachelet’s platform and the demands the students have been making since 2011. “We have been emphatic in revealing the existence of profound differences, at a programatic level, with the Nueva Mayoría. We see that they mention only the end of profit making in institutions that receive resources from the state and, for us, since it is a social right, there can be no room at all for profit in education. Profiting has to end at all levels of education. What we want is a response on our own terms to the demands that the student movement has made,” she said. Read the rest of this entry »
((Juan Presentación Marroquín – La Jornada photo by Blanche Petrich))
Central Americans say Mexican government does not do enough to fight crimes against migrants
[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for December 22, 2013. See original here and related articles here, here, here and here.]
by Blanche Petrich
Tapachula, Chiapas, December 21 – Anita Zelaya, from El Salvador, walks with determination into the men’s dormitory at the Buen Pastor Shelter, a unique place in the country where sick or injured migrants are taken in. In a bed in the back lies a countryman of hers, Juan Presentación Marroquín. “How are you, hijo? We came to say hello and to see how we can help you.” The boy, with both his legs amputated at the hip, turns toward the wall in annoyance. “Or rather, you help me. Look, this is my son, who is missing. Do you recognize him?”
The possibility of being useful stirs Juan from his lethargy. Ana and Juan talk; it turns out they are from the same place, Soyapango. And, no, Juan has not seen Anita’s son, Rafael Rolín Zelaya, kidnapped by extortionists in 2002, anywhere on the train known as La Bestia, which he has ridden five times. But he hastens to tell his story. Read the rest of this entry »
“Small changes with nothing changed”
[Translation of an article from Página/12 of Buenos Aires for December 20, 2013. See original here.]
There is more and more activism on the streets of Chile. Analyst José Gabriel Palma wonders how long president elect Bachelet can “continue to appease the demands with this ‘gatopardismo .’”
By Marcelo Justo
The runoff was the easy, predictable part. Now Michelle Bachelet’s problems begin. Surveys show that an overwhelming majority of the people want deep changes to a model that for a while was the wonder of the world but that is now a disappointment to Chileans themselves. The constitutional legacy of dictator Augusto Pinochet is hampering their aspirations decisively. Despite her sizable victory at the polls, she does not have the majority in the Senate she needs to bring about a profound transformation. Página/12 spoke by telephone with José Gabriel Palma, a Chilean professor of economics at the University of Cambridge, who is in his country keeping track of political developments. Read the rest of this entry »
Attorney general is accused of persecuting leftists while sparing the Right
[Translation of an article from Opera Mundi of São Paulo, Brazil, for December 14, 2013. See original here.]
((Gustavo Petro — Opera Mundi photo))
by Simone Bruno
“And in spite of it, I am the mayor of Bogotá,” Gustavo Petro shouted during his speech, perhaps the last during his tenure, to thousands of supporters in the Plaza de Bolívar, in the center of the Colombian capital. On Monday, December 9, the attorney general of the nation, who is in charge of conducting administrative trials of public servants, removed him from office and made him ineligible for public office for the next 15 years.
Only two years earlier, the former member of M-19, an urban guerrilla force originating in the 1970s, won the election for the most important position in the capital, the second most important in the country, after the presidency. In his speech, Petro recounted the history of the violence the Left of Colombia has been subjected to in the past few decades, from the extermination of the Unión Patriótica, the party born of a peace accord with the FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) guerrillas, when more than 5,000 people were assassinated in seven years, up to the homicides and attacks on former members of M-19 after they signed the peace accord and returned to civilian life. Read the rest of this entry »
Economist Miguel Ceara-Hatton speaks on the Constitutional Tribunal ruling
[Translation of comments by Dominican economist Miguel Ceara-Hatton to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights as published in Espacinsular of Santo Domingo on December 8, 2013. See original here. Ceara-Hatton is a member of the Comité de Solidaridad con los Desnacionalizados, the Committee in Solidarity with the Denationalized.]
Almost from the beginning of the 16th century, the island of Santo Domingo was abandoned by Spain; their abandonment turned into depopulation in the 17th century, which gave rise to the French occupation of the northwestern part of the island and eventually to the establishment of the French colony of Saint Domingue, which became the wealthiest French colony during the 18th century.
Its wealth was created on the basis of sugar production, organized on the plantation system, which was based on an intense and cruel slavery. The cruelty was an integral part of the plantation system because it was the only possible way for a few thousand white landowners to live in the midst of almost 500,000 slaves. Read the rest of this entry »
[Translation of an article from Espacinsular of Santo Domingo for December 6, 2013. See original here. The court ruling in question, number 168/13, would deny Dominican nationality to those born in the country since 1929 of undocumented immigrant parents. It would affect primarily the approximately 250,000 Haitian-Dominicans living there who, without a cédula, the national identification card, would be unable to vote, be hired for any job except in the informal sector, open a bank account, enroll in college, receive social security, obtain a passport or be issued birth certificates for their children.]
By Luis M. Rodríguez
New York, December 6 – A committee of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is in the Dominican Republic. The purpose of their visit is to monitor and watch over the results of ruling 168/13 by the Constitutional Tribunal and to determine whether the ruling violates the human rights of thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent, as has been charged.
The Commission traveled to the country at the invitation of the Dominican government. Even so, sectors of the government and the parasitic party apparatus, who live off the crumbs that fall from the heights of power, have unleashed a campaign to discredit the IACHR committee, arguing that it violates national sovereignty and its very presence is an act of interference in the internal affairs of the Dominican Republic. Read the rest of this entry »
[Translation of an article from Clarín of Santiago, Chile, for November 28, 2013. See original here.]
By Ángel Guerra Cabrera
The scandalous theft of the November 24 election in Honduras confirms the high degree of coordination and planning in the offensive being conducted by the United States and the oligarchies against the popular forces and governments of our region. Who knows what Secretary Kerry had been smoking when he proclaimed to the OAS the end of the Monroe Doctrine.
The offensive works in several directions. On the one hand, incessant media and economic assault and destabilization plans against the progressive forces that have come to govern, as can be seen in Venezuela in a very aggressive way in the past few months, but which also occur with different degrees of intensity in Argentina, Ecuador and Brazil. Read the rest of this entry »
[Translation of a column from Carta Maior of São Paulo for November 21, 2013. See original here.]
by Emir Sader
As soon as he was elected in 2007, Rafael Correa declared that Ecuador was joining the departure from the long dark night of neoliberalism and that it was a matter not just of an epoch of change but of a change of epochs. After having five successive presidents brought down by popular mobilizations, Ecuador, with the support of immense popular mobilizations, was choosing a young economist to lead the country.
“Policies that could be sustained on the basis of deceit and anti-democratic attitudes on the part of their beneficiaries, with the total support of multilateral organizations, who disguised a simple ideology as science,” thus Correa characterized the neoliberal politics that had dominated the entire continent for three decades. In effect, what characterized these policies was that “they benefited big capital and above all finance capital.” Read the rest of this entry »
[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for Novembr 12, 2013. See original here.]
By Elizabeth Velasco C.
Mexico City – The privatization of the Mexican energy sector serves the interests of the United States government, which, for national security reasons, requires an assured supply of oil, gas and water during the course of the first half of the 21st century, according to Josefina Morales and Carlos Fazio, professors at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and José Antonio Almazán, a representative of retirees of the Sindicato Mexicano de Electricistas (Mexican Electrician’s Union), and Jesús Ramírez of the executive committee of the Movimiento de Regeneración Nacional (MORENA – Movement for National Regeneration).
The panelists concurred on the description of Enrique Peña Nieto’s energy reform as “the outcome of 30 years of neoliberal reforms imposed since Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign,” which have already brought to Mexico “a war of plunder of its strategic resources and the social gains bequeathed by the Mexican revolution.” Read the rest of this entry »