Archive for June, 2010

Talk of institutional normality falls flat in Honduras

Monday, June 28th, 2010

US embassy announces plans for “military cooperation”

Revistazo photo

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for June 28, 2010.]

by Arturo Cano

Tegucigalpa, June 27 – So much time spent saying that nothing is happening just to end up with a headline that admits, “A year later, Honduras is still polarized.” The news agencies spread the word but, with no apologies, the news media take it back, the same media that for a year have marketed the idea of “institutional normality,” even at the most critical times after the coup d’état of June 28, 2009, when President José Manuel Zelaya was abducted from his home, still in his pajamas, and was expatriated. (more…)

Honduras is still polarized

Monday, June 28th, 2010

“365 Days of Resistance” — Tiempo photo

[Translation of an article from Tiempo of San Pedro Sula, Honduras, for June 28, based on an Agence France Presse dispatch.]

Tegucigalpa – As of Monday, a year after the coup d’état in Honduras, the country is still polarized between proponents of the overthrow of President Manuel Zelaya and his supporters, who have been holding demonstrations since yesterday to demand a constituent assembly.

“Everything is the same here. I have two daughters, one is a golpista [a supporter of the coup], the other is with the resistance, and they are both medical students,” says Carlos Hernández, a 51-year-old cab driver. (more…)

Mexican state of Tamaulipas will sue British Petroleum

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

[Translation of an article from El Universal of Mexico City for June 25.]

Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, June 25 – The government of Tamaulipas is performing a survey of damage caused by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in order to file suit in US courts against British Petroleum within the next ten days.

Horacio del Ángel Castillo, director for inspections and vigilance of the Environmental Agency for Sustainable Development, stated that “the government of Tamaulipas will not wait until the black tide reaches the coast, since there is already damage that is being taken into account.” (more…)

Alagoas and Haiti — two faces of the same tragedy

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Port-au-Prince — LA Times photo by Carolyn Cole

With practically equal land areas, Alagoas and Haiti also have some historical similarities

[Translation of an article from Brasil de Fato of São Paulo for June 23, 2010.]

by Thalles Gomes

Ti Rivye Latibonit, Haiti – The number of those affected by the heavy rains that fell on Alagoas last Friday, June 19, is astounding . According to data released on June 21 by the state civil defense office, flooding of the Mundaú and Paraíba Rivers affected 177,282 people, leaving more than 600 missing and 26 dead. All told, 26 towns were damaged by the floods. These are alarming figures, but it would be insane, to say the least, to compare them with the 300,000 dead and more than one million homeless as a result of the earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12. In this case, there is a valid comparison not because of the quantities but because of the quality. (more…)

Chile: University protest ends with eight student leaders arrested

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

La Tercera photo

Police disperse students demonstrating against president’s visit

[Translation of an article from La Tercera of Santiago, Chile, for June 23, 2010. The Federación de Estudiantes de la Universidad de Chile, FECh, founded in 1906, is the oldest student organization in Chile. It has played a significant role in the political life of the country, participating in the changes brought about during the Allende government, for example, and opposing the Pinochet dictatorship.]

by Oriana Fernández

A student demonstration greeted President Sebastián Piñera during his visit to the central buildings of the University of Chile. In allusion to a process of privatization of education begun by Piñera, a group of students shouted harsh slogans against the head of state, arguing that the university “is not for sale.” (more…)

Peru: Oil spill leaves 28 indigenous communities without water or food

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Brack guarantees sanctions and prosecutor warns of penalties of up to 20 years in prison

[Translation of an article from La Razón of Lima for June 23.]

Residents of 28 indigenous communities in the Parinari and Urarinas distrricts, in the province of Loreto, are without water and are prevented from fishing, their principal source of food, after waters of the Marañón River were contaminated by a spill of more than 400 barrels of petroleum, severely affecting the ecosystem of the region.

Residents of the area told local media that “everybody is desperate because they don’t know what is going to happen in the next few hours due to the lack of commitment by Pluspetrol and the authorities. Two children have already suffered stomach problems because they drank water from the river. We have managed to take pictures of contaminated fish, with their fins coated in oil.” (more…)

Obama ignores weapons trafficking to Mexico

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

An interview with Harvard Professor Jorge Domínguez

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for June 21.]

By Gerardo Arreola

Havana, June 20 – “It is really a shame” that Barack Obama sits on his hands on the subject of arms trafficking to Mexico, Jorge Domínguez, veteran researcher at Harvard University and one of the most prestigiuos students of Latin America, told La Jornada.

It is no longer only a problem of drug consumption in the United States but in some ways that country is assuming the responsibility for “arming organized crime in Mexico,” says the Vice Provost for International Affairs at Harvard and teacher of generations of politicians and academicians in the region. (more…)

Haiti: Is the reconstruction commission finally working?

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

The CIRH, beset by concerns about its effectiveness, will have its first working meeting on Thursday, June 17.

[Translation of an article from Le Nouvelliste for June 16.]

by Roberson Alphonse

Barring further mishaps, the Commission Intérimaire pour la Reconstruction d’Haïti (CIRH – Interim Commission for the Reconstruction of Haiti) will hold its first working meeting in Port-au-Prince on Thursday, June 17, 2010. The meeting will allow for the drafting of directives for disbursing funds, Prime Minister Jean Max Bellerive, co-president of the Commission, told Reuters. “We have a program and a plan that have been accepted by everybody. Now we need the financial resources, the equipment, the know-how and the support,” he added.

At the Conference on the Future of Haiti in Punta Cana on June 2, Bellerive had declared, “The government and the CIRH will decide how the fiduciary funds will be distributed. President Clinton explained it very clearly and very firmly to the World Bank,” he continued, leaving to speculation fears about the difficulties of co-ordinating activities by different international financial institutions. (more…)

Honduras holds third place in deaths of union activists

Saturday, June 19th, 2010

[Translation of an article from the Honduran web site for June 16.]

With 12 trade unionists killed in 2009, out of a total of 101 for the world, Honduras is in third place in the number of killings of union activists and leaders, according to a report by the Confederación Sindical Internacional (CSI – International Trade Union Confederation).

Tegucigalpa – The document shows that in the previous year the murders of union activists increased by 30 percent, a fact attributable to pressure exerted by unions to demand workers’ fundamental rights to job recovery, made more pressing during the global economic crisis.

The report adds that of the 101 victims, Honduras is surpassed only by Colombia, with 48 unionists murdered, and Guatemala with 16. The CSI describes this as “an escalation of violence against union leader that has developed in the past few years.” (more…)

Brazil: José Serra, Iran, Israel and Bolivia

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

[Translation of an article from Correio da Cidadania for June 15, 2010.]

José Serra — ABC Photo

By Duarte Pereira

Presidential candidate José Serra, of the PSDB-DEM-PPS coalition [Partido da Social Democracia Brasileiro – Demócratas – Partido Popular Socialista], has not made any statement about the act of piracy by the state of Israel in its assault, in international waters, on a Turkish merchant ship involved in carrying humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip. As is known, Israeli military forces boarded the Turkish ship, killed nine and wounded hundreds of crew members and passengers, and captured all the cargo, the ships, the crews and the passengers making up the peaceful convoy. Condemned in words, Israel has still not suffered any sanction on the part of the United Nations nor has it so far allowed any international investigation of this serious incident. Candidate José Serra has kept silent on the episode and on Brazil’s justified position condemning Israel’s criminal and intimidating action.

Yesterday, however, during a visit to Campo Grande, the capital of Mato Grosso do Sul, candidate José Serra found it necessary to criticize Brazil’s diplomatic intervention on behalf of Iran, which has just been subjected to new sanctions by the United Nations Security Council for insisting on keeping its nuclear program. The state of Israel developed its own nuclear program and became a mid-sized nuclear power without being challenged . The PSDB candidate, supported by the DEM and the PPS, justified his position by charging that “Iran is not trustworthy, they have a violent government that sends all its opponents to the gallows, with no mercy.” (more…)

Colombia: “False Positives” scandal weighs heavily on presidential candidate Santos

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Military killed between 2,000 and 3,000 youths, claiming they were rebels

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for June 16, 2010.]

By Blanche Petrich

Soacha, Cundinamarca, Colombia, June 15 – A 21-year-old man who said he was “addicted to video games” joined a Colombian prosecutor’s witness-protection program in the trial over the extrajudicial executions of 13 young men from Soacha, a suburb of the capital. He confessed to the judges that for every man he “contacted” he collected 300,000 pesos (a little more than 150 dollars). Los Paisas, a bar with a bad reputation, was his center of operations.

The recruits, Alexander Carreteros and John Jairo Muñoz, now in jail, received twice that much for transporting the deceived youths, considered human merchandise, to the vicinity of the 15th infantry batallion in the city of Ocaña, in the department of Santander, 800 kilometers away. A 20-hour trip by bus. (more…)

Chile: President’s brother defends Pinochet dictatorship

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

[Translation of an article from El Mostrador of Santiago, Chile, for June 14, 2010. José Piñera, brother of current Chilean President Sebastián Piñera, was secretary of labor and social security and secretary of mining in the regime of Augusto Pinochet and is now considered internationally a leading advocate of the privatization of pensions. The Accord of August 22, 1973, mentioned below, which was approved by 81 members of the Chilean congress, about 63 percent, accused the government of Salvador Allende of violating the constitution and paved the way for the coup d’état of September 11.]

José Piñera, former minister to Augusto Pinochet and brother of President Sebastián Piñera, has spoken of reasons leading to the 1973 coup d’état.

“Anyone who, from a position of power, violates a country’s constitution is the one who delivers a blow to the democratic system and turns into a tyrant,” he declared when asked by the Argentine newspaper Perfil. (more…)