Archive for August, 2010

Fidel Castro: “I am responsible for the persecution of homosexuals in Cuba”

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for August 31, 2010. See original article here.]

Cubadebate photo by Alex Castro

by Carmen Lira Saade

Havana – Although he shows no signs of discomfort, I think Fidel is not going to like what I am about to say to him.

“Comandante, all the allure of the Cuban Revolution, the recognition, the solidarity of a large part of the intellectual community of the world, the great achievements of the people in the face of the blockade, in the end, everything, everything went down the drain because of the persecution of homosexuals in Cuba.”

Fidel does not avoid the topic. Nor does he deny or reject the assertion. He only asks for time, he says, to remember how and when prejudice sprang up in the ranks of the revolution. Five decades ago, and because of homophobia, homosexuals were marginalized in Cuba and many, accused of being “counter-revolutionaries,” were sent to military-agricultural work camps. (more…)

Central America: See you at the next massacre

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

[Translation of an article from El Faro of El Salvador for August 26, 2010. See the original here .] 

By Óscar Martínez

I don’t understand the uproar over the 72 migrants Los Zetas assassinated in Mexico. I guess it was because of the number of bodies piled up together, in plain view in the picture from the ranch in San Fernando, Tamaulipas, just across the border from Brownsville, Texas. It’s a worm of corpses rolled up against the wall of a dilapidated shed in that wilderness in the middle of nowhere, out there at the end of the little dirt road. Some of the corpses had their hands tied behind their backs. Others were lying piled on top of each other, in the parts of the worm that were swollen. I don’t understand the uproar over the massacre of so many migrants.

The big news media, of Mexico, of El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, even of the United States, of Spain and South America, have used their front pages, their important sections, their top news spots, to cover the massacre of migrants in Mexico. I don’t understand the uproar in such big media.

The politicians, the ones from Mexico, from Central America, from Brazil, Ecuador, have rushed to sit in their press conference chairs in front of those media and to appear later on the front pages. It’s true, not just any politicians. They are the heads of departments, of institutions, of organizations. They are even the presidents themselves of those countries, who have said, as the one from Mexico said, that the perpetrators of the massacre in San Fernando are “animals.” I don’t understand such an uproar by so many important politicians. (more…)

Dominican Republic: Worker protests continue at Barrick Gold mine

Friday, August 27th, 2010

[Translations of two articles from Listín Diario of Santo Domingo for August 26. The Canadian company Barrick Gold, the largest gold mining company in the world, with operations in a number of countries, is, since 2007, the majority owner of the oldest European gold mining operation in the Americas, near Cotuí, in the Cibao region of the Dominican Republic, which Spaniards began exploiting in 1505. The operation has been the target of determined protests by miners, area farmers and their supporters as well as environmentalists. See also “Barrick Gold mine workers begin protest” posted here on June 9.]

Barrick Gold workers strike for wages due

By Andrés Vásquez

Pueblo Viejo, Cotuí – Workers injured by birdshot, burning tires, trees overturned and traffic at a standstill were the results of protests by employees of the Barrick Gold mining enterprise demanding payment in full of wages to dismissed fellow workers.

During the protests Apolinar Reinoso, Rafael Antonio Ramírez and Serafín Felipe de los Santos were injured with birdshot to several parts of their bodies fired by Cotuí police officers trying to restore vehicular traffic to the mine and to Santo Domingo via Cotuí. (more…)

United States launches “humanitarian mission” in Costa Rica

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

USS Iwo Jima arrives with marines, medics and engineers

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for August 23.]

Limón, August 22 – In the midst of controversy over permission the Costa Rican congress granted six weeks ago for a fleet of 46 United States warships to dock in this country for the purpose of combatting drug trafficking, the USS Iwo Jima today launched a “humanitarian mission” in one of the poorest areas of the country as the first leg of a tour including Haiti, Colombia, Guatemala, Guyana, Nicaragua, Panama and Suriname.

The Iwo Jima, a 257-meter-long helicopter carrier belonging to the United States navy and under the command of Thomas Negus, will serve as the base of operations to aid the civilian population in a program termed “Continuing Promise 2010,” which will end on August 30.

The ship carries a crew of 1,000, as well as 500 marines, 150 medics, 50 engineers and 100 volunteers, who will carry out 300 operations to relieve the work of the Limón hospital, provide outside consultations to1,200 patients a day and set up mobile clinics in Bribrí and Siquirres to attend to 250 people a day. (more…)

Brazilian election: Poll shows Dilma has 17-point lead over Serra

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

Dilma Rousseff

[Translation of an article from Jornal de Brasilia for August 21, 2010.]

A poll by the Datafolha Polling Institute sponsored by the newspaper Folha de São Paulo and released on Saturday, August 21, shows the Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT – Workers’ Party) candidate for the presidency Dilma Rousseff leading with 47 percent of the intended votes. The Partido da Social Democracia Brasiliera (PSDB – Brazilian Social Democratic Party) candidate, José Serra, is in second place with 30 percent. Marina Silva of the Partido Verde (PV – Green Party) holds third place with nine percent, while none of the remaining candidates received one percent of voters’ preferences. Voters who have not decided how they will vote or who did not respond totalled eight percent, and blank or null votes, four percent.

This is the first Datafolha poll conducted since radio and television campaigning began. Those who report they have seen campaign ads at least once make up 34 percent of those interviewed…

If only valid votes are taken into account, the poll numbers indicate that the PT cantidate would win the election on the first vote. In a previous Datafolha poll released on August 13, Dilma received 41 percent of the intended votes, Serra had 33 percent and Marina Silva ten percent.

Guanajuato, Mexico: More than 25 years in prison for having an abortion

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

“No more women dead from secret abortions” — Jezebel photo

[Translation of a guest editorial from the Spanish publication La Nueva Tribuna for August 21, 2010. The writer is a Mexican political scientist.]

By César Morales Oyarvide

Guanajuato is a state in central Mexico, in the region known as El Bajío. Famous as the birthplace of independence – it was in the small town of Dolores that the armed struggle against the crown began – it has also been the birthplace of several movements of a reactionary nature, like sinarquismo, a proto-fascist political movement which developed from the cristero rebellion (1) and that was the enemy of the government that resulted from the Mexican revolution. (more…)

Mexican archbishop charges bribery in gay marriage ruling

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Cardinal says high-stakes international interests financed legal change

Juan Sandoval Iniguez – Catholic Press photo

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for August 16. In response to a constitutional challenge by the federal government, the Mexican Supreme Court ruled in early August by a vote of eight to two that a law passed in December by the government of the Federal District giving full marital rights to same-sex couples was constitutional. A week later, the court ruled that same-sex marriages performed in the Federal District should be recognized in other Mexican states. The court is now considering the question of whether provisions in the law allowing adoption by lesbian and gay couples violates the constitution. The Federal District had approved civil unions, with limited rights, in 2006, the newer law extending the provisions of the earlier one. A similar civil-union law was passed in the northern state of Coahuila in 2007. In July, 2010, Argentina became the first country in Latin America to approve same-sex marriage thoughout the nation.]

By Claudio Bañuelos, Andrés Timoteo Morales and Gabriel León

The archbishop of Guadalajara, Juan Sandoval Íñiguez, has lashed out against the justices of the nation’s Supreme Court who, he says, were bribed to produce the “bucket of spittle” permitting same-sex couples to marry, and are now considering allowing non-heterosexual couples to adopt children. (more…)

Colombian President Santos rejects peace talks with FARC

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for August 14, 2010, based on Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Agence France Presse and Reuters dispatches. See also “Colombia: FARC proposes dialogue with Santos” posted here on August 1.]

Bogotá, August 13 – A day after the explosion of a car bomb for which no organization has claimed responsibility, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos rejected the possibiliity of peace talks with guerrilla forces because “the conditions are not right” and prohibited any gesture leading to such talks.

“We haven’t thrown the key to dialogues into the sea but the door is closed and will stay closed until those who want a dialogue on peace show their real motives in a clear and credible way,” Santos said in Popayán, capital of the department of Cauca, the scene of clashes between soldiers and combatants of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC).

“Until we have a very clear demonstration of the real intentions for a dialogue for peace, with concrete steps like those we have mentioned, that they free the hostages, that they give up terrorism, that they release the children they have recruited by force, that they give up extortion, that they stop acting like terrorists, until we see that, the key will be carefully hidden away,” he said. (more…)

Haiti: The university in the North — Dominican sub-imperialism revealed

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

[Translation of an article from Haïti Liberté for August 4.]

Haiti Liberte photo

by Hervé Jean Michel

Presidents Leonel Fernández, of the Dominican Republic, and René Préval, of Haiti, on July 31 resumed the work of the Haitian-Dominican mixed commission, an inter-state body whose mission is to identify, reflect on and discuss problems with the aim of reaching consensual solutions. The revitalization of that mixed commission, in the current framework of asymmetrical relations between the two countries, will, without a doubt, facilitate and prepare a sphere of influence, permitting the Dominican Republic to exercise its hegemony over Haiti. (more…)

Colombia: Uribe’s “seguridad democrática” strategy a matter of social perception

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for August 6, 2010.]

by Blanche Petrich

Bogotá, August 5 – In the view of a wide sector of Colombian society – 70 percent according to the polls – President Álvaro Uribe, who will move out of the Casa de Nariño [the presidential residence] this Saturday, is practically a hero, who defeated “narco-terrorism,” eliminated insecurity in the major cities and restored the citizens’ ability to travel on the South American country’s highways without the risk of kidnapping or extortion, with which the guerrillas and the paramilitaries had ravaged the country until just a few years ago.

An aura of legendary proportions built up around Uribe moved his former adviser, José Obdulio Gaviria – known as his “musketeer” – to express himself in exalted language in his article in El Tiempo last Wednesday: “Heaven has granted us a superior intellect, a guide to lead his people across the desert,” he declares. (more…)

Honduras: Disturbances at the National Autonomous University

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

[Translation of an article from Tiempo of San Pedro Sula, Honduras, for July 4. By tradition, an “autonomous” university in Latin America is one that provides protection and sanctuary for political dissidents by excluding the police and the military from campus.]

by Ivan Rosales

Tiempo photo

Tegucigalpa – A confrontation yesterday at the main entrance to the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras (UNAH – National Autonomous University of Honduras) left at least ten injured, including students and police, several arrested and a storm of rocks and tear gas grenades.

Occupation of the main gates to the country’s leading center of higher education by members of the Sindicato de Trabajadores de la UNAH (Sitraunah – Union of UNAH Workers) degenerated a few minutes after noon when police officers entered the university campus, thus provoking the demonstrators.

The union protest began about 8:00 in the morning as a means of pressuring university authorities to reinstate 134 employees fired in April. (more…)

Colombia: FARC proposes dialogue with Santos

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

FARC leader Cano says US military presence is “an indignity”

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for July 31, 2010.]

Alfonso Cano

Bogotá, July 30 – In a 30-minute video posted Friday on its web site, the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), the oldest guerrilla force in the country, has proposed to President-elect Juan Manuel Santos that a dialogue be initiated to seek a political solution to the internal armed conflict.

Meanwhile, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez announced last night that his country has deployed military units on the border in response to “a threat of war” by Colombia because outgoing President Álvaro Uribe is “capable of anything.”

“What we are proposing, once again, is that we talk. We are still determined to seek political solutions. We are hoping for the new government to reflect and not to deceive the country any longer,” said Guillermo Sáenz, known as Alfonso Cano, leader of the insurgency, in a video recorded in July in the Colombian mountains. (more…)