Archive for October, 2010

Ecuador: Rafael Correa since the attempted coup

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Tribuna Latina photo

“All the intelligence cadres in the country were working for the CIA.”

[Abridged translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for October 25. See original article here and related article here.]

By Blanche Petrich

Quito, October 24 – President Rafael Correa is a little late getting to his office in the Palacio de Carondelet, where he has arranged a meeting with La Jornada, because he has gone to the children’s hospital to visit an 11-year-old boy who, amid the chaos and violence of September 30, was wounded in the leg by an expanding bullet. The boy suffered two cardiac arrests but at last, almost a month afterward, is recovering satisfactorily.

During the interview, Correa expresses himself with a frankness unusual in chiefs of state: “We are blind, at the zero level, in matters of intelligence for internal security.” Angered by those who took part in the conspiracy, including the indigenous organizations that now perform political acts in alliance with the rightist opposition. Wary of recognizing the loyalty of his government’s armed forces: “They acted very professionally. Not all of them, but in general. There is infiltration there too.” (more…)

Mexico: Federal police open fire on students demonstrating for peace in Juárez

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

Students say they heard at least three shots

[Translation of an article from El Universal of Mexico City for October 30. See original article here.]

Federal police shot and injured a student after an exchange of insults with a group of university students who were marching and demonstrating for peace in front of the Instituto de Ciencias Biomédicas (ICB – Institute for Biomedical Sciences) of the Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez (UACJ – Autonomous University of Ciudad Juárez).

Students report that at least three shots were heard. The event sparked panic among the youths, who rushed into the ICB, located between Hermanos Escobar and Plutarco Elías Calles Streets.

The UACJ repudiated the aggression, suspended classes and evacuated the premises as a precaution.

According to early reports, the students were holding a “Kaminata contra la Muerte” [“March against Death”] on their way to the Foro Internacional contra la Militarización y Violencia [International Forum against Militarization and Violence] being held at the ICB. On the way they came across federal agents and insults were exchanged until the dispute intensified and soon shots were heard. One of the bullets struck José Darío Álvarez Orrantia, a first-semester sociology student, who was reported to be in serious but stable condition after undergoing surgical intervention.

Accounts by students accuse agents of Unit 12428 of firing shots and drivers of other patrols of taking aim at the student as well, one of them carrying the number 20401. The federal police involved told their superiors that “a shot got away from” [“salió un tiro”] one of the policemen.

Brazil: The Pope gets involved in the presidential campaign

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Benedict XVI tries to exert influence on questions of abortion and gay marriage

Benedict XVI – Nueva Tribuna photo

[Translation of an article from El País of Madrid, Spain, for October 28, 2010. See original article here.]

By Juan Arias

Three days before the Brazilian presidential election to choose a successor to President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, in a campaign strongly dominated by debate of a religious nature, Pope Benedict XVI has thrown fuel on the flames with an address at the Vatican in which he asks the bishops to influence the faithful “with a moral judgement in politial questions.” His message could influence the vote on Sunday.

The theme of decriminalization of abortion has been a thorn in the side for both candidates, who were charged by Catholics and evangelicals alike with being in favor of abortion. Out of fear of losing the votes of Christians (60 percent of them Catholics, 30 percent evangelicals), Lula’s candidate, Dilma Rousseff, had to back down and with a letter to Catholics and evangelicals promised solemnly that if she becomes president she will not allow legislation on the questions of abortion and same-sex marriage. Rousseff had begun the campaign arguing for the decrimininaliztion of abortion as a question of public health. (more…)

Chile: Union leader says government knew of danger in mine

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

[Translation of an article from El Mostrador of Santiago, Chile, for October 24, 2010. See original article here.]

The president of the Central Unitaria de Trabajadores (United Workers’ Center) of the province of Copiapó, Javier Castillo, has declared that the government knew of the risks in the San José mine, where 33 miners were trapped.

“We had a meeting with Labor Minister (Camila) Merino, in which we talked about the risks in that mine and the fact that despite the number of accidents, deaths and landslides, keeping jobs was always in consideration, at the price of the workers’ lives,” Castillo said.

“That was discussed with Minister Merino,” the leader stressed in statements distributed on the Radio Cooperativa web page [available here]. (more…)

Dominican government authorizes reopening of markets on Haitian border

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

[Translation of an article from Listín Diario of Santo Domingo for October 26. See original article here and related article here.]

Santo Domingo – Minister of Public Health Bautista Rojas Gómez today authorized the resumption of normal functioning of the binational markets in the five border provinces with the provision that established hygienic measures and controls be observed to avoid cholera in the Dominican Republic.

Rojas Gómez said the cancellation yesterday of the market in Dajabón resulted from Dominican authorities’ analyzing of actions to be taken in the face of the cholera edpidemic in Haiti.

The minister of health, the president of the Dominican Medical College, Senén Caba, and the representative in the country of the Panamerican Health Organization, Lilian Renau, travelled to the border, where they observed measures for controlling the disease.

Rojas Gómez explained that sanitary control measures have been established along the entire length of the border, made up of the provinces of Pedernales, Independencia, Elías Piña, Dajabón and Montecristi.

The government has made the logistics available to guarantee hygiene and sanitary controls around the markets, with driniking water, soap and chlorine…

He affirmed that the Dominican Republic is still free of cholera and stated that strict vigilance is being observed to avoid its entry into Dominican territory…

Dominicans react to cholera outbreak in Haiti

Monday, October 25th, 2010

[Translations of two articles, the first from La Jornada of Mexico City, the second from Listín Diario of Santo Domingo, both from October 25. See original articles here and here.]

Dominican Republic closes border with Haiti

Santo Domingo – Thousands of Haitians who had planned to participate today in a binational market in the Dominican city of Dajabón were prevented from crossing the border by members of the armed forces of the Dominican Republic out of fear of the spread of cholera, official sources have confirmed.

The Dominican ministry of health ordered that Haitians be blocked from entering the coutry as part of an effort to avoid the spread of the cholera epidemic in the country.

An unkown number of Haitians nevertheless entered Dominican territory by way of the Masacre river, which divides the two countries. Members of the Cuerpo Especializado de Seguridad Fronteriza (CESFRONT – Specialized Border Security Corps) were searching the streets of Dajabón today for those who had flaunted the measure, while thousands of persons were left stranded at the Haitian border, according to accounts by local media. (more…)

Haiti: Demonstration held at funeral for teacher killed by police

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

[Translation of an article from Alterpresse for October 22. See original article here and related article here.  Note that several variations of the teacher’s name have appeared in news stories.]

Port-au-Prince – The funeral for teacher Louis Jean Filbert, mortally wounded by the police, gave rise on Friday, October 22, to a demonstration in the capital by dozens of members of the Union Nationale des Normaliens Haïtiens (UNOH – National Union of Haitian College Teachers), close family members and friends of the deceased.

“Justice and compensation for Professor Jean Filbert Louis,” chanted the demonstrators, who made their way along several streets in Port-au-Prince. (more…)

Chile: Bosses ignored miners’ warnings

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Workers had asked to leave mine three hours before collapse

[Translation of an article from La Tercera of Santiago, Chile, for October 19, 2010. See original article here.]

by Carlos Verguera and Ivonne Toro

To speak of coincidence and surprises does not fit well with this story. One of the 33 miners, military veteran Juan Illanes, from Chillán, has declared that at 11 in the morning of Thursday, August 5, three hours before the collapse that burried him and his workmates alive for almost 70 days, they notified those in charge at Minera San Esteban that the rumbling in the mine was louder than usual.

And further, according to Illanes they asked for permission to be taken to the surface, which was denied them, specifically by the mine’s manager of operations, Carlos Pinilla.

Illanes’s accusations, made to Congressman Carlos Vilches, a member of the chamber of deputies investigating committee, convinced him to contact several other members of the group to ask that they testify before congress. (more…)

Dominican National Police: A deadly tradition

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

by David Holmes Morris

Despite a national and international outcry, the Dominican National Police are continuing their tradition of violent repression of dissidents at a time when protests are becoming more common across the country. Some recent incidents in El Cibao, the agricultural and mining region in the north, have resulted in the arrests of many demonstrators, a number of injuries by tear gas and gunshot, and one death.

((Diario Libre photo))

A delegation from Amnesty International met with the Distrito Nacional prosecuting attorney as recently as early October seeking information on the large number of deaths of citizens at the hands of the National Police throughout the country and in the capital in particular. At least 226 unlawful killings by the police occurred in the country between January and August of 2009.  Thirty percent of the homicides in the Distrito Nacional during the same period were reportedly committed by the police.

In the most dramatic recent incident in El Cibao, a university student taking part in protests on October 12 against government neglect of poor neighborhoods in the area of Santiago de los Caballeros, the country’s second largest city, was shot to death when police fired into the crowd of demonstrators, and at least four others were injured. The demonstrators were demanding that roads be paved and reliable water and electrical power be provided. (more…)

Mexico: Labor leader calls for punishment for “corporate murder” of miners

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

Gómez Urrutia says rescue of Pasta de Concho miners would have been easier than

rescue in Chile

Napoleón Gómez Urrutia

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for October 15.  See original article here and related article here.  Following an explosion in February, 2006, that killed 65 miners in the Pasta de Conchos coal mine in Coahuila, in northern Mexico, the Mexican secretary of labor withdrew official recognition of miners’ union president Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, who had been sharply critical of the government and of the mine owners, Grupo México, over safety violations.  Gómez, who had also been criminally charged with misappropriation of union funds, fled the country for Canada, where he has lived ever since.  With strong support from inside and outside the country, the union and family members have campaigned vigorously for retrieval of the miners’ remains and compensation for the families.]

By Patricia Muñoz Ríos

The explosion in the Pasta de Conchos mine in Coahuila, in which 65 workers were killed, was an industrial homicide for which no one has yet been punished. No criminal charges have been lodged against the guilty parties nor has the owner of the Grupo México consortium, Germán Larrea,  faced a jail sentence, for which reasons the case, now stalled in the federal courts,  should be re-opened.

This is the opinion expressed in a telephone interview by miners’ union leader Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, who added that “the lesson Chile taught Mexico” with the rescue of the 33 miners forces us to point out that behind the disaster that occurred in Pasta de Conchos in February, 2006, the company, with the complicity of the Secretaría del Trabajo y Previsión Social (STPS – Secretariat of Labor and Social Security), evaded the demands of family members that the workers or their remains be retrieved.

Nor did Grupo México give  just compensation to the widows and orphans of the deceased, even though it brought in profits of 2.6 billion dollars during that year. (more…)

Haiti: Police kill professor at demonstration

Friday, October 15th, 2010

[Translation of an article from Haïti Liberté for October 13. See original article here.]

by Yves Pierre-Louis

On Friday, October 7, during a demonstration by a coalition of social organizations, a professor of mathematics and physics, Jean Philibert Louis, was killed by a police woman identified as badge number UD-0210, who was traveling in a Mazda vehicle registered as 1-450, assigned to the Unité Départementale de Maintien d’Order (UDMO – Departmental Unit for the Maintenance of Order). This criminal act occurred in front of the Ministère de l’Éducation Nationale et la Formation Professionnelle (MENFP – National Ministry of Education and Professional Development), in the center of the capital, as the crowd of demonstrators was approaching to voice their demands.

The UDMO agent fired teargas grenades to disperse the crowd, which resulted in injuries to two persons. Thirty-five-year-old Jean Philibert Louis was seriously injured with a bullet in the head. Taken to the Hôpital de l’Université d’État d’Haïti (HUEH – Hospital of the State University of Haiti), he died several hours later, on Saturday morning. Another slightly injured man named Jean Pierre Edouard, who was not one of the demonstrators, was also struck in the head. He was at the ministry to claim a certificate of completion of studies. In shock, he stated, “I did not participate in the demonstration. I was wounded in the head by the police.” (more…)

Nicaragua: Ortega’s re-election by brute force

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

[Translation of an article from Contrapunto of El Salvador for October 6. See original article here and related article here.]

By Carlos F. Chamorro

Managua – On the basis of the serious events that occurred in Ecuador last week, President Daniel Ortega has denounced a consipracy to stage a coup d’état against his government.

His claim provoked an immediate denial from the United States embassy in Managua and from spokesmen for the Episcopal Conference, but it would be fitting for Ortega to offer evidence to substantiate his denunciation. Only thus can we know if there is any truth to it or if it is yet another campaign to fabricate artificial enemies and keep his bases mobilized.

To date the only documented coup, for which there is abundant evidence, is the one the president of the republic himself has promoted against our country’s democratic institutions. It is clearly not a military coup like the one that took place in Honduras but is a coup orchestrated from above and is equally grave in its consequences. (more…)