“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 »
((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 »
[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 »
[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.]
Demonstration 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 »
[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 »
[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 »
[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 »
In Guerrero more than in any other state in Mexico, the army rules more than the elected governor
[Translation of an article from Más por Más of Mexico City for October 13, 2014. See original here.]
by Diego Enrique Osorno
In the early ‘70s the Mexican government, under pressure from the United States, carried out an ostentatious operation to eradicate the production of illegal drugs in Sinaloa, Durango and Chihuahua, which for a while left United States consumers with no marijuana or opiates. Nevertheless, just as this was happening, drug baron Alberto Sicilia Falcón and a group of military chiefs brought to Guerrero, for the first time, the massive cultivation of marijuana and opium poppies. So Sicilia, the drug trafficker, benefited from the production and sale of drugs, filling the void in the market left by Operation Condor in the Golden Triangle, while the maneuver aided the generals in Guerrero in their dirty war against the movement led by teachers’ college professor and guerrilla Lucio Cabañas, since the campesinos growing marijuana and poppies with their consent were turning into informers and collaborators with the army.
This is the origin of the famous marijuana known as Acapulco Gold, which could be a brand of the Mexican army. Testimony, documents and analysis of this reality can be read in a chapter of the book El Cártel de Sinaloa: Una historia del uso político del narco (Grijalbo, 2009). Read the rest of this entry »
[Translation of an article from Proceso of Mexico City for September 24, 2014. See original here.]
by Jorge Carrasco Araizaga
Mexico City – The presidential announcement that the armed forces will participate in United Nations peace-keeping operations shatters the Mexican military’s traditional isolation in international questions. But basically it is a measure that contradicts the soldiers’ and marines’ activities inside the country.
If the army and the navy want to show the world that they are prepared to participate in humanitarian actions by joining the UN blue helmets, they would first have to demonstrate to Mexicans that they are capable of respecting human rights.
Just when the Mexican army is in the midst of a serious controversy over its probable responsibility for the summary execution of civilians in Tlatlaya, in the state of Mexico, President Enrique Peña Nieto has announced before the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York that Mexican civilian and military personnel will take part in humanitarian missions when requested by the UN and when the intervention has the consent of the country affected. Read the rest of this entry »
((Photo by Miguel Romero))
Ecuadorian president calls for limits on for-profit communications media
[Abridged translation of an interview from Brasil de Fato of São Paulo for July 22, 2014. See original here and related article here.]
by Beto Almeida, Emir Sader and Valter Xéu
On a recent trip through Brazil, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa granted an exclusive interview to Brasil de Fato. In addition to journalist Beto Almeida, representing newspaper and television show “Cidade Livre” of Brasília, journalist Valter Xéu of the web page Pátria Latina and sociologist Emir Sader also took part.
Correa, who has presided over Ecuador since 2007 and intends to run for re-election in 2017, was in Brazil to take part in a meeting of Unasur (Unión de Naciones Suramericanas), made up of South American countries, with BRICS, consisting of China, Russia, Brazil, South Africa and India. Read the rest of this entry »
[Translation of an article from Carta Maior of São Paulo, Brazil, for September 20, 2014. See original here and related article here.]
By Emir Sader
Originally, environmentalist demands sprang from within leftist parties, thus enriching and expanding their platforms. Leaving behind the narrow vision that a resolution of the contradiction between capital and labor would resolve all others, demands about gender, about ethnicity, about the environment, came to rejuvenate the Left.
But this process also affected the traditional leftist parties. Some, like the social democrats or the nationalists, supported variants on neoliberalism; others,in particular the communist parties, were directly affected by the fall of the USSR. Within this context, social movements and even NGOs participated actively in resistance against ascendant neoliberalism. Read the rest of this entry »
((Luis Lacalle Pou))
[Translation of an article from Tiempo Argentino of Buenos Aires for September 7, 2014. See original here and related article here.]
By Juan Manuel Karg
Next October 26, Uruguay will hold new presidential elections. The Frente Amplio (FA) will try for another term in office, this time with the combination Tabaré Vázquez / Raúl Sendic to replace Mujica / Astori, current president and vice president. According to the polls released so far, the ticket headed by the former president [Vázquez] will win, although, like it or not, there will probably be a runoff with the young Luis Lacalle Pou, the surprise on Uruguay’s new political map. What are the main points of the Frente Amplio’s current campaign? What are the proposals of their opponents, represented principally by the candidacy of Lacalle and the Partido Nacional?
The Frente Amplio platform for the 2015-2020 term as published is striking in its review of conditions in Uruguay before 2004, when Tabaré Vázquez first won the presidential election for the FA. “We were handed the government of a country with one of the highest levels of per capita debt in the world, with a stagnant productive apparatus and with poverty and destitution at the highest levels in history,” the introduction reminds us, in a portrayal that was quite similar to every other country in the region. Then, before moving on to specific proposals for the new term, it points out the achievements by the two consecutive administrations: sustained growth of the gross domestic product, real increases in salaries and retirement pay, decreases in the rate of unemployment and an expansion of social policies to attack poverty and destitution. Read the rest of this entry »