Brazil: Impeachment, coup d’état and the dictatorship of the market

impeachment ja[Translation of an article from Carta Maior of São Paulo for March 6, 2015. See original here and related articles here, here and here.]

By Samuel Pinheiro Guimarães

Impeachment is the effort to annul, by legislative means, by the votes of 513 congress members and 81 senators, the results of the November, 2014, election, which reflected the will of the majority of the Brazilian people when they elected President Dilma Rousseff by 53 million votes.

Since 2003, the television networks, especially TV Globo, the major newspapers, like O Estado de São Paulo, A Folha de São Paulo and O Globo, and the principal magazines, whether A Veja, Isto É or Época, have dedicated themselves to a systematic campaign to demoralize the Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT ─ Workers’ Party) and the progressive parties and to attempt to prove the inefficiency, the disarray and the corruption of the PT administrations, including their social programs, which have brought 40 million Brazilians out of destitution and poverty.

Now the communications media, their candidate having lost the election, are attempting, with the providential aid of members of the judicial branch, the Public Ministry and the Federal Police, to create a political climate and public opinion that would bring down or immobilize the president and thus annul the will of the majority of the Brazilian people.

Read the rest of this entry »

Soft coups: A textbook case in Argentina

cristina_fernandez_0801[Translation of an article from El Clarín de Chile of Santiago for February 22, 2015. See original here.]

By Guillermo Almeyra

The new kind of coups d’état don’t use armies but are formally institutional. President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras was ousted by parliament, as was Bishop Fernando Lugo, the president of Paraguay. Rafael Correa in Ecuador experienced an attempted coup by the police; Evo Morales in Bolivia was subjected to one by the oligarchies that ruled the eastern regions; Hugo Chávez, one by the bureaucrats and technocrats who controlled the petroleum company PDVSA, the country’s source of currency, and his successor, Nicolás Maduro, an attempt by big business, organizers of the hoarding of essential goods and illegal capital flight.

Dilma Rousseff, in turn, is currently facing a campaign for impeachment and Cristina Fernández in Argentina has faced, successively, speculation against the peso to force devaluation, a judicial attack in the United States by the vulture funds to provoke a wave of collections that would force Argentina into bankruptcy and, since January, preparations for a judicial coup based on the dubious suicide of prosecutor Alberto Nisman. In an incoherent proceeding lacking any proof and refuted by Interpol, the latter had charged the president and her foreign affairs minister with covering up for the Iranians, who had supposedly organized the July 18, 1994, attack on the Asociación Israelita Argentina (AMIA – Argentine Jewish Association), which resulted in 85 deaths and 300 injuries. Read the rest of this entry »

Mexico: Anger and justice in Ayotzinapa

x ayotzinapa-march[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for February 14, 2015. See original here and related articles here, here and here.]

By Tanalis Padilla

Four and a half months after the murders of three normal school students and the disappearance of 43 of their classmates, the Ayotzinapa students, the parents and a considerable portion of the national and international community are still in struggle. While the government tries to have the investigation over and done with and its apologists have tried to blame the students themselves for the violence of which they were the victims, the demonstrations for the disappeared still express anger and seek justice.

With a total of 100,000 dead and 20,000 disappeared since former President Felipe Calderón declared his war on drugs, it would seem that we have gotten used to (or worse yet accepted) the absurd level of violence his initiative, carried on by President Enrique Peña Nieto, has engendered. That is why it seemed obvious at first for the government to dismiss the attacks of September 26 and 27 as just another half a hundred victims. They have tried to portray it as a merely local matter, as fights between criminal gangs, like an exceptional case that has nothing to do with structural injustice, like anything except what it is: a state crime. Read the rest of this entry »

Honduras: Re-election or constituent assembly?

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[Translation of an article from Contralínea of Mexico City for February 6, 2015. See original here and related articles here and here.]

by Daniel Urbino

Honduras is being visited by ghosts from the recent past. Some political sectors are moving pieces on the chess board and sparking debate on the need for a constituent assembly, for allowing re-election or for maintaining the status quo.

The dispute gained strength on December 8, 2014, when more than a dozen congress members from the ruling Partido Nacional (PN) and one from the Unificación Democrática submitted an appeal to the supreme court on the constitutionality of an article of the Honduran constitution. The article, number 239, declares that a citizen who has held the position of head of the executive branch cannot become president again. Anyone violating this provision or proposing its reform, as well as those who support [its reform], directly or indirectly, will immediately surrender their respective positions and will remain ineligible for any public function for ten years, the provision further states.

This is not the first time the topic has been taken up in Honduras. In 2009, then President Manuel Zelaya promoted what was known as the “fourth ballot,” a non-binding survey to determine if the people were in favor of a constitutional reform or not. This would take place on the same day as the elections of the president, congress members and mayors, for which reason it was called the “fourth ballot.” Read the rest of this entry »

Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico: Families’ perseverance forces authorities to act

((La Jornada photo))

((La Jornada photo))

They have their own methods and tools for finding remains

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for January 24, 2015. See original here.]

by Arturo Cano

Iguala, Guerrero — The families of the other disappeared understand the pain of Ayotzinapa because they feel it in their own flesh. And in their short history of struggle, they also know that only their stubbornness has forced federal authorities to undertake a search that the tragedy of the normalistas made possible.

The Vergaras, who declare themselves to be “apolitical,” participated in a march on October 22. “Is there justice only for the massive disappearances?” asked one of the signs they carried. Four other families joined them there and a committee was born, thanks to which there is now a registry of 235 disappeared and the remains of 39 people have been found (without counting, of course, the 28 found in the first mass graves dug up by the state government, where two more bodies that the Guerrero experts hadn’t seen were later found.)

“They were going to skip La Laguna,” says the quiet voice of Mario Vergara, who, along with other family members, leads the very sad hunt for the other disappeared from Iguala. He is looking for his brother Tomás, who disappeared in 2008. Read the rest of this entry »

Piedad Córdoba: “No turning back in the Colombian peace process”

x piedad cordoba 2“They took away my political rights to get me out of the way”

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for December 16, 2014. See original here and related articles here and here.]

By Gabriel Díaz

Piedad Córdoba, Colombian lawyer and politician, declares that there is no turning back in the peace process with the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) despite the the fact that it has been “very poorly conducted educationally” by the Juan Manuel Santos administration. “Society should take ownership of this process,” she states. She talks in an interview about the Colombian economic model, about the business of war and about what is at stake in the Havana talks. As for her being disqualified from holding government positions, she states, “All my rights were violated.”


You support and work for the peace talks in Havana to come to a good end. The talks have all failed since 1984. What is it about this process in particular that makes you believe in it?

I believe that it lies in the political determination of the government and the FARC not to let the process fail at any point. That is demonstrated by the significant advances made so far and by the quality of the guarantors who are supporting the process, the unwavering support of the Cuban government and, above all, of countries like Venezuela and Chile, which, without being directly involved in the decisions, guarantee that the process can continue. That is why I think it has gotten this far. For example, the subcommittee on gender has been established, the committee on de-escalating the conflict, and the victims’ traveling to Havana and FARC itself recognizing them. Furthermore, there are advances concerning political participation, the question of agrarian reform and the question of drugs. Read the rest of this entry »

How the oligarchy of the world attacks Brazilian democracy

((El Clarín photo)) ((El Clarín photo))

((El Clarín photo))

[Translation of an article from El Clarín of Santiago, Chile, for December 10, 2014. See original here.]

by Felipe Cabello

The availability of the internet facilitates access to information from diverse countries of the world and through it we can follow the paths of the news and identify its origin, its distortions and emphases, and often its deceptions or its incessant repetitions for clearly political and economic purposes. Identifying the origin of the news through the internet also allows us to recognize those centers and media that are the creators and originators, especially in international news, and others that are at most translators, repeaters and simple echo chambers.

What is deplorable and tragic about this is that in Chile, for example, a country with interests similar to those of other Latin American countries, the newspapers with the greatest circulation repeat, without the slightest hint of analysis, reasoning or criticism, news that attacks the relations between countries with common origins and with problems similar to those of the rest of continent. A recent clear demonstration of this was the major campaign against Brazil and the re-election of President Dilma Rousseff, concerning which there was no sparing of insults, lies and calumnies to sabotage her administration and to hinder her re-election. This negative propaganda campaign, which began about two years ago and was to continue without interruption until her re-election, began in Europe and the United States on the pages of media that answer to the interests of the one percent of the world’s population, like The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Economist, The Financial Times and The Guardian. Read the rest of this entry »

Mexico: Revolution and passive revolution

[Translations of two articles from La Jornada of Mexico City, the first, which has been abridged, from November 23, 2014, the second, a rebuttal of the first,  from November 30. See originals here and here.]

Enrique Semo: Mexico’s passive revolution

by Ericka Montaño Garfias

What we are living through in Mexico is what Antonio Gramsci called a “passive revolution,” the results of which have not yet been written. These are the words of historian Enrique Semo, who, together with researcher and anthropologist Néstor García Canclini, will receive this year the Premio Nacional de Ciencias y Artes in the field of history, social sciences and philosophy. That is the reason for this interview.

There are many things that history can teach us in the crisis the country is living through. “It offers us endless lessons, as long as it is understood that there are no two identical situations, that there are always differences, but in essence there are many lessons, and those who cannot accept them commit many errors,” Semo Calev stated.

Read the rest of this entry »

Brazil: Divisions left and right

[Translations of two articles, from Brasil de Fato for November 14, 2014, and Carta Maior for November 11, 2014. See originals here and here and related articles here, here and here.]

SakamotoDemonstration in São Paulo sends messages to the federal government and to the ultra-conservatives

By Leonardo Sakamoto

Called by the Homeless Workers’ Movement [MTST], a march in São Paulo on November 13 to demand popular reforms and to criticize ultra-conservative rhetoric began at the Museum of Art on Paulista Avenue, passed through the wealthy Jardins neighborhood and ended at the Praça Roosevelt.

With the participation of social organizations, labor unions and leftist political parties (both pro-administration and in the opposition), the action sent a message to Dilma: if there is a reduction in resources for social programs and if the demands of the financial market are prioritized to the detriment of programs that guarantee the dignity of workers, the social movements will close down the country. The action also attacked the demands for impeachment by groups unhappy with the results of the elections. Read the rest of this entry »

The consolidation of the Latin American Left

[Translation of an article from Carta Maior of São Paulo, Brazil, for October 29, 2014. See original here and related articles here and here.]

by Emir Sader

There has been much talk recently of an eventual end to the cycle of progressive government in Latin America. Real difficulties in countries like Venezuela and Argentina, added to a slowing of the pace of expansion of the region’s economies, have fed these speculations.

This year’s electoral calendar could be a test of the vigor of these governments. The year began with the inauguration of Michele Bachelet in Chile, who defeated Sebastián Piñera. Soon afterward, the Frente Farabundo Martí elected the president of El Salvador. In October Evo Morales was re-elected in the first round of voting. Now Dilma is re-elected and Tabaré Vázquez’s performance in the first round has made him the favorite for continuation of Frente Amplio administrations in Uruguay. Read the rest of this entry »

Colombia: Fixing the blame

[Translations of two articles, the first from Semana of Bogotá, Colombia, for October 30, 2014, the second from La República of Montevideo, Uruguay, for the same date. See originals here and here and related articles here, here, here, here and here.]

FARC acknowledges damage it has caused to civilian population

By Victoria Sandino

For the first time in its history, the FARC guerrilla force admitted on Thursday in Havana that its actions have affected the civilian population throughout the armed conflict despite their not being “the principal or secondary target” of the guerrilla and stressed that they accept their responsibility.

“We are aware that the results of our actions have not always been what were predicted or hoped for by FARC and we accept the consequences, since it could not be otherwise. FARC will accept the appropriate responsibility,” states a communiqué released by the guerrilla group’s peace delegation.

The statement, read to the press by guerrilla fighter “Pablo Atrato,” holds that it “is clear” that as a guerrilla force FARC has “intervened in an active way” and “had an impact on the adversary and in some ways has affected the population living immersed in war.” Read the rest of this entry »

Colombia: Uribe, paramilitarism and imperialist intervention in Latin America

((Álvaro Uribe))

((Álvaro Uribe))

[Translation of an article from Brasil de Fato of São Paulo for October 16, 2014. See original here and related articles here, here and here. The author is an activist in the Brazilian chapter of the Marcha Patriótica movement.]

By Javier D. Rodríguez

A few weeks ago a debate was held in the national congress of the Republic of Colombia on the connections between former President and now Senator Álvaro Uribe Vélez and paramilitary groups and narcotraffickers. The debate, initiated by Senator Iván Cepeda of the Polo Democrático Alternativo, sought to ask the Justice Department for results of the investigation into criminal acts allegedly carried out by Uribe, described in detail by Cepeda and other participants during the discussion, which lasted more than eight hours.

The history of Uribe’s involvement in public office is long, as is the history of his corruption scandals and his ties to the paramilitary and drug trafficking. At the time of his first public office as director of civil aviation in 1980, there were charges that he granted permits to planes used by drug trafficking cartels; afterward, as national congressman in 1989, the same Uribe would be one of the main critics of the deportation of drug traffickers; and in his term as governor of the department of Antioquia he was responsible for the birth and growth of paramilitarism through the creation of armed civilian groups called “Convivir” [Asociaciones Comunitarias de Vigilancia Rural]. Read the rest of this entry »