Archive for September, 2010

Workers against workers: Haitian migrants in the Dominican Republic

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

[Translations of two articles from September 26, 2010, the first from El Nacional of Santo Domingo, the second from Haïti Libre of Port-au-Prince.  See original articles here and here.]

El Nacional photo

Haitians said to displace Dominicans
Most street venders and construction workers are Haitians

by Santiago González

Santiago – The Federación Nacional Unitaria de Sindicatos de Trabajadores de la Construcción (FENUSTRACON — National Unified Federation of Construction Workers’ Unions) warned yesterday that the sector is passing through a deep crisis because Haitians are displacing Dominicans in the construction work force and in agricultural work.

“The government must pay greater attention to the domestic sector of the  work force in the projects going up all over the country, since we are being displaced by Haitians and this is very dangerous,” the organization declared…

Rodríguez stated that many construction workers, principally those organized in the union he leads, have no work because engineers in charge of the jobs prefer to hire Haitians because they can pay them less for a day’s work. (more…)

Colombia: Opposition Senator Piedad Córdoba removed from office for alleged ties with FARC

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for September 27, 2010.  See original article here.]

Piedad Córdoba at the negotiating table — AP photo

Bogotá – The attorney general of Colombia on Monday removed opposition Senator Piedad Córdoba from office and barred her from holding any public position for 18 years because of her alleged ties with the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC).

The ruling was announced by the public ministry on Monday after confirmation of reports that the opposition legislator maintained a relation with the FARC, the largest and oldest guerrilla force operating in the South American country.

The ruling, which renders the Colombian senator politically powerless, can be appealed on petition by the accused, judicial sources stated on Monday. (more…)

Chile: Indigenous group continues hunger strike

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

Three articles

UN urged to take action on Mapuche hunger strike
National Human Rights Commission concerned with health of comuneros

[Translation of an article from El Mercurio of Valparaíso, Chile, for September 22, 2010. Comuneros are residents of traditional communal lands and activists for communal rights. See original article here.]

The Chilean Human Rights Commission yesterday urged UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon to take “urgent personal action” against the government of Chile, which it holds responsible for the “serious condition” of 35 Mapuche prisoners on hunger strike since last July 12.

In a letter sent to Ban ki-Moon through the UN High Commission on Human Rights, the Commission urges the secretary general to form a committee to visit Chile to pressure national authorities to respect international norms and to contribute to the search for solutions. (more…)

Castro’s mea culpa for gay oppression opens old wounds in Cuba

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

Men who had been imprisoned for sexual orientation applaud admission of injustice

[Translation of an Agence France Presse article from La Jornada of Mexico City for September 16, 2010. See original article here and original interview here.  Or go here for some history.]

Havana – Fidel Castro’s mea culpa for marginalizing homosexuals in the ‘60s has re-opened a dark chapter of the Cuban revolution. “Sisi” can now pluck her eyebrows without being arrested and the daughter of the president is supporting gay marriage, but in those years homosexuals were shoved aside, sent to work camps or into exile.

The recent inteview with the Mexican newspaper La Jornada, in which Castro recognized that era for its “great injustice,” surprised his supporters and his detractors, generated strong reactions in the gay community and stirred debate about tolerance on the communist island. (more…)

Repression against independence day march leaves one dead in Honduras

Friday, September 17th, 2010

Diario Tiempo photo

[Translation of an article from TeleSUR of Venezuela for September 16. See original article here.]

One dead and an undetermined number of injured is the result of repression by security forces of the government of Porfirio Lobo against a peaceful march in San Pedro Sula, in the north of Honduras, a demonstration called by the Frente Nacional de Resistencia Popular to celebrate the 189th anniversary of the independence of the Central American country.

This was the announcement by the president of the Comité para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos en Honduras, Andrés Pavón, who identified the deceased as Efraín López.

“The death resulted from asphyxiation because of the tear gas fired at the participants in the march,” Pavón told the local press. (more…)

Death of Haitian youth sparks new protests against MINUSTAH

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Sixteen-year-old Gerald Jean Gilles suffocated to death at Formed Police Units base

[Translation of an article from Brasil de Fato of São Paulo for September 14. See original article here.]

by Thalles Gomes

“They are suffocating me,” was the cry heard on August 17 by employees of the Henri Cristophe Hotel, in Cap-Haïtien, capital of the Nord department of Haiti. The call for help came from the Formed Police Units base belonging to MINUSTAH, the United Nations Mission for the Stabilization of Haiti. On that same day, Nepalese United Nations soldiers reported that Haitian Gerald Jean Gilles had entered their military base and had hanged himself.

The report issued by the UN did not explain how the young Gerald had managed to get into the military base, tie a rope on the patio and hang himself without any soldiers noticing.

Their version is contested vehemently by Gerald’s family and friends. According to them, the young man had been doing odd jobs for the Nepalese soldiers for some time in exchange for money or food. And the suspicion that Gerald had stolen 200 dollars from one of the soldiers was the reason the Nepalese soldiers tortured and suffocated him to death. (more…)

Honduran resistance surpasses goal in petition for constituent assembly

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

[Translation of an article from the Venezuelan website TeleSur for September 13, 2010. See original article here.]

The Frente Nacional de Resistencia Popular (FNRP – National Popular Resistance Front) of Honduras has surpassed by almost 20,000 signatures the goal it set for calling a national constituent assembly. The original goal of 1,250,000 was reached three days before the deadline.

According to the latest count, made on Sunday, the resistance gathered almost 1,270,000 signatures*. The deadline was next September 15.

The Frente announced last August a goal of collecting 1,250,000 signatures by mid-September calling for a constituent assembly and for the safe return of former President Manuel Zelaya, as well as some 200 other Hondurans exiled after the military coup d’état. (more…)

Haiti: Noticeable increase in acute malnutrition in l’Artibonite

Monday, September 13th, 2010

[Translation of an article from AlterPresse of Haiti for September 13. See the original article here.]

Port-au-Prince, September 13 – The number of children suffering from acute malnutrition has increased noticeably in the department of l’Artibonite (1), where thousands of displaced persons still live eight months after the earthquake, a local branch of the international organization Action contre la Faim (AcF – Action against Hunger) reports.

Without specifiying the total number of cases, the international NGO confirms in a report furnished to AlterPresse that 166 new cases were registered between June and September of 2010 in Gonaïves, Ennery, Anse-Rouge and Terre-Neuve.

The presence of displaced persons in differenct municipalities increases the pressure on prices in the public markets, with an increase of between 10 and 15 percent, AcF reports.

In addition to that reality, vulnerable families who have provided shelter to displaced persons have contracted “heavy debts to supply their nutritional needs, as well as the basic needs of their children and of those they have taken in.”

AcF teams, which work in support of the Ministry of Health and Population to control acute malnutrition in Gonaïves, 171 kilometers north of the capital, and in rural areas in the department of l’Artibonite, fear that floods during the present hurricane season, from June 1 to November 30, will aggravate even more the nutritional situation in the region.

A significant number of families in l’Artibonite have not yet recovered from the hurricanes that struck l’Artibonite hard in 2008, surveys AcF took in 2009 show.

Despite its vulnerability and the weakness of its infrastructure, the department of l’Artibonite gave shelter to around 140,000 displaced persons in the few day after the earthquake of January 12, which resulted in 300,000 deaths and more than a million homeless in the departments of l’Ouest, Sud-Est and Nippes, in southwestern Haiti.


(1) L’Artibonite is the largest of Haiti’s ten departments, or states. On the western coast, it is an important agricultural region. The capital is Gonaïves.

Mauricio Funes, president of El Salvador

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

“People will keep going to the US despite massacres”

Mauricio Funes — Reuters photo

[Translation of an article from El País of Madrid, Spain, for September 12, 2010. See original article here.]

by Pablo Ordaz

Fifty-year-old Mauricio Funes speaks without holding back. He assails equally the Right that ruled his country for two decades and the radical Left that raised him to the presidency of El Salvador a year ago. Despite the fact that his country continues to be mired in the deepest poverty and inequality, 74 percent of Salvadorans still trust him. This interview was conducted Friday in Mexico City, where he had gone to secure from President Felipe Calderón a commitment to fight together against organized crime.


Question: After the killings in Tamaulipas, in which 13 of the 72 murdered immigrants were Salvadoran, you sent a letter to the president of Mexico, Felipe Calderón. What did you say? (more…)

Mexico: State of Guanajuato releases seven women jailed for abortions

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Yolanda Martínez Montoya, with fist raised, and her sister, María de los Angeles — La Jornada photo

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for September 8, 2010. See original article here. See also “More than 25 years in prison for having an abortion” posted here on August 22.]

by Carlos García

Guanajuato, Guanajuato, September 7 – “I am free because I am innocent. Justice has been served,” said Yolanda Martínez Montoya when she and six other women who had had miscarriages left the Guanajuato and Valle de Santiago prisons, where they were serving sentences of more than 25 years on murder charges.

On Tuesday a revision of the law on homicide of a family member went into effect, reducing to eight years the prison sentences of women convicted of killing a newly born infant. Because of this reform to the Penal Code, campesinas María Araceli Camargo Juárez, Ofelia Segura Frías, Yolanda Martínez Montoya, Liliana Morales Moreno, Ana Rosa Padrón Alarcón, Bonifacia Andrade and Susana Dueñas Rocha were released one by one, beginning at 5:30pm. (more…)

Peru: García would accept military aid from US for anti-drug effort

Monday, September 6th, 2010

Alan García — La República photo

[Translation of an article from La República of Lima for September 5. See original article here.]

President Alan García has said he is prepared to accept military aid from the United States to help combat drug trafficking as long as it is on the level of logistics and training.

“In all matters that are human and universal, I don’t make an issue of sovereignty and patriotism. That is to say, if the Americans wanted to put troops here for training, since they have helicopters, since they have satelite training, that’s fine,” García declared.

The statements were made during an interview given to CNN en Español which will be broadcast next Tuesday.

The president also referred to US President Barack Obama and to the economic aid that country contributes to the struggle against narcotrafficking in Peru, which García considers insufficient.

“President Obama asked me the same question and I told him, ‘It is your fault because you have sent all the money to Colombia, with Plan Colombia, and nothing to Peru,’” García said.

In the past few years, the production of coca leaf and the manufacture of cocaine have increased in Peru to the point of making it the greatest cultivator in the world of the plant, the principal ingredient of the illegal substance.

At the same time, as explained by the executive president of the Comisión Nacional para el Desarrollo y Vida sin Drogas, Rómulo Pizarro, United States economic aid has been decreasing year by year, since the country considers that the Peruvian drug is destined principally for Europe and not for their country.

During the interview, García recognized that “not everything necessary is being done to close the new European and Asian markets, which are demanding more drugs.”

The war in Colombia goes on

Monday, September 6th, 2010

[Abridged translations of two articles, the first from the Venezuelan website TeleSUR, the second from El Nuevo Siglo of Bogotá, both from September 3, 2010.  See the original articles here and here.]

TeleSUR photo

TeleSUR photo

New outbreak of armed conflict in Colombia aggravates human rights situation

The renewal of the armed conflict Colombia is living through has aggravated the human rights situation in the country, the Consultoría para los Derechos Humanos y los Desplazamientos of the country declared on Friday.

“The Colombian tragedy really consists of the fact that the war continues, we are not in any post-conflict state,” Marcos Romero, a member of the Consultoría, affirmed during an exclusive interview with TeleSUR.

According to Romero, despite the iron-fisted policy imposed by the Colombian government for eight years, there are still remnants of paramilitary groups in almost all regions of the country.

“We have had eight years of an iron-fisted policy and this policy has resulted in the cornering of the guerrillas but there are heirs to the paramilitary groups in almost all regions of the country,” he stated… (more…)