Archive for November, 2010

Humanitarian aid for Colombia from Venezuela and Brazil

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Vanguardia Liberal photo

[Three articles. Under newly elected President Juan Manuel Santos, Colombia renewed diplomatic relations with Venezuela last August after ties had been broken over accusations by former President Álvaro Uribe that Venezuela was harboring guerrillas of the FARC, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, and Santos and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez have since made a show of harmony. In the meantime, Colombia has been hit with serious flooding in recent weeks, resulting in some 138 people dead, 208 injured, 22 missing and 1.3 million homeless. The United States has pledged $150,000 in relief funds, in sharp contrast to the seven billion dollars the US has spent on Plan Colombia in the ten years since the US began participating in the effort, most of it directed to financing the Colombian military in its pursuit of the FARC.]

Venezuela and Brazil to send aid after winter storms

[Translation of an article from Vanguardia Liberal of Bucaramanga, Colombia, for November 28, 2010. See original here.]

The president of the republic, Juan Manuel Santos, reported yesterday that his counterparts in Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, and in Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, have made a commitment to provide aid in response to the harsh winter weather the country is experiencing, as they informed him during the UNASUR (Union of South American States) heads of state summit held last Friday in Georgetown, Guyana. (more…)

Dominican Republic: More reaction to cholera in Haiti

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

A CESFRONT soldier at the border — Karl Grobl photo

[Translations of excerpts from five recent articles in the Dominican press. See related article here.]

Army deploys military cordon along length of border
Measure follows meeting with president on Wednesday

[From Listin Diario for November 25. See original here.]

A military cordon made up of 1,500 members of the National Army and hundreds of public health profesionals and workers has been posted in the most vulnerable areas of the border with Haiti to prevent the spread of cholera, which has caused almost 2,000 deaths in the neighboring country.

The military guard is under the command of the head of the National Army, Major General Carlos Alberto Rivera Portes, who arrived last night at the Third Infantry Brigade in this city at the head of a military supply convoy. (more…)

Defense ministers of America confer in Bolivia

Friday, November 26th, 2010

Evo Morales – Los Tiempos photo

[Translations of articles from the Bolivian government news agency Agencia Boliviana de Información for November 25, 2010,  and Opinión of Cochabamba for November 23, 2010 . See original articles here and here.]

America concludes forum on cooperation, defense and security

by Adalid Cabrera Lemuz and Daniel Espinoza

Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia
– After four days of deliberation in the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz, the defense ministers of the Americas reached agreements to strengthen regional security, devise programs to respond to natural disasters and increase transparency in weapons expenditures.

The Ninth Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas was held from November 22 to 25 with the participation of ministers and high officials of the defense departments of 30 American countries… (more…)

Honduras: Lobo government labels campesinos as “guerrillas”

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

La Prensa photo

[Translations of articles from of Tegucigalpa for November 23 and Diario Tiempo of San Pedro Sula for November 24. See original articles here and here and related article here.]

Military and police raid National Agrarian Institute in Aguán

by Germán Reyes

The facilities of the Instituto Nacional Agrario (INA – National Agrarian Institute) in the community of Sinaloa, in the Tocoa jurisdiction of Colón, were the scene in the early morning of a raid by a contingent of more than a hundred members of the police and national army. The military raid resulted from a claim that firearms intended for the destabilization of the government were being stored in the offices. (more…)

Chile: Defense minister defends sending soldiers to School of the Americas

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

El Mostrador photo

[Translation of an article from El Mostrador of Santiago, Chile, for November 20, 2010. See original article here.]

Despite criticism by dissidents from human rights organizations, Minister of Defense Jaime Ravinet on Saturday defended sending the military to the School of the Americas.

The minister said that “the School of the Americas is not what it once was; there has been a great evolution in this matter and many people are unfortunately tied to the ghosts of the past.”

“We believe the participation of Chilean soldiers in United States training programs is very important and we are going to continue doing it,” he explained.

His declaration follows a decision by the government to send the military to the school in question, known currently as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (Whinsec), which during the cold war period trained the armies of Latin American dictatorships in the techniques of anti-subversive operations. (more…)

OAS confident path is clear for Haitian elections

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

Cholera and disturbances pose challenge

[Translation of an article from El Pais of Madrid, Spain, for November 19. See original article here. The OAS and the article fail to mention that the most widely supported Haitian political party in the country, Fanmi Lavalas, has been consistently excluded from past and upcoming elections despite massive protests against its exclusion and for the return of Jean Bertrand Aristide, Lavalas founder, who has lived in forced exile in South Africa since he was ousted from the presidency in a coup d’état in 2004. See interview with Lavalas coordinator Maryse Narcisse here and recent interview with Jean-Bertrand Aristide here.]

The Organization of American States (OAS) on Friday offered assurances that preparations for Haitian elections next November 28 “are on a clear path” even though there are still challenges to be faced. The OAS and Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Joint Electoral Observation Mission (JEOM) indicated in a press release that electoral planning in the impoverished country has become consolidated to the degree that the process had advanced. It has emphasized the efforts of the Provisional Electoral Council, charged with organizing the elections, “in confronting the numerous challenges it has been faced with on a technical, political and humanitarian level.” (more…)

Barring Haitians from entering Dominican workforce would have serious consequences

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

[Translation of an article from Haïti Liberté for November 19, 2010. See original article here and related article here. Of the three cases of cholera reported in the Dominican Republic so far in the current epidemic, the first involved a Haitian migrant construction worker who had made a recent trip to his homeland.]

Since the confirmation of the first case of cholera in the Dominican Republic, the government of that country has strengthened preventive measures considerabely, among which is the ban on hiring new Haitian employees in the construction industry and in tourism without authorization from the Ministry of Health.

The construction industry

The construction sector has described these new measures as “unreasonable.” To prohibit the hiring of Haitian workers will create greater insecurity in the country, declared Jaime González, president of the Asociación Dominicana de Constructores y Promotores de Viviendas (Acoprovi – Dominican Association of Housing Promoters and
Constructers). He holds that such a measure would also result in a significant slowdown in the real estate sector. “What will these people do on the streets if they don’t have other jobs and can no longer earn money?” Jaime González recalls the importance of the Haitian work force in the construction field, citing as examples Bávaro, Samaná, where 95 percent of the construction workers are Haitians, or Santo Domingo, where they make up close to 75 percent. (more…)

Rightists from Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecuador meet with Republicans in Washington

Friday, November 19th, 2010

Bolivian says they are conspiring against democratic process in ALBA countries

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for November 19, 2010, based on Prensa Latina and Agence France Presse material. See original article here.]

La Paz, November 18 – In separate statements, the governments of Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecuador today charged that representatives of the far right of their countries met with Republican legislators in the United States congress to conspire against the countries making up the Alianza Bolivariana de los Pueblos de Nuestra América (ALBA – Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Our America).

“The right and the far right are meeting to evaluate and analyze and to see how they can conspire against the democratic process our country is living through,” Iván Canelas, spokesman for the Bolivian government, said in a press conference.

“This is an exteme right that has the support of political sectors” of the United States and of the media, “and is destabilizing,” warned Bernardo Álvarez, the Venezuelan ambassador in Washington.

Honduras: Four more campesinos killed in Aguán

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Revistazo photo

[Translations of two articles, the first from of Tegucigalpa for November 15, the second from Diario Tiempo of San Pedro Sula for November 16. See original articles here and here. Businessman and landowner Miguel Facussé Barjum, one of the wealthiest men in Honduras, is owner of Grupo Dinant, which produces biodiesel fuel from palm and jatropha oils, among other enterprises. He and other members of his family are widely thought to have been instrumental in the coup d’état that ousted Manuel Zelaya from the presidency on June 28, 2009. César Ham of the leftist Unidad Democrática party is currently director of the Instituto Nacional Agrario, the National Agrarian Institute, in the administration of de facto president Porfirio Lobo Sosa. A supporter of Zelaya and of the drive for a Constituent Assembly, Ham was widely criticized by other leftists for accepting a position in the Lobo administration, which apparently offered it to him in an attempt to co-opt the resistance.]

Four campesinos killed in confrontation with Facussé security guards

by Germán Reyes

The deaths of four campesinos and the injuries and disappearances of several others have been reported as the result of a confrontation between security guards working for landowner Miguel Facussé and members of the Movimiento Campesino de Aguán (MCA – Aguán Campesino Movement). The event took place in the community of El Tumbador, in the jurisdiction of Trujillo, Colón. (more…)

Mexico: Two thirds in capital live in marginalized areas

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

La Jornada photo by Yazmín Ortega Cortés

They lack infrastructure and services like electric power, transportation, sewers and potable water

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for November 14. See original article here.]

By Gabriela Romero Sánchez

More than three million people in Mexico City live in 550 colonias (neighborhoods) in areas categorized as highly or very hightly marginalized. They lack drainage, potable water, paved streets, lighting and public transportation and live on less than the minimum wage.

Due to the lack of sewers, they dig septic tanks in their yards. They go to the nearest well for water, in many cases more than a kilometer away, or they buy 20-liter jugs for 15 pesos to fill jars or tanks. (more…)

Colombia: Indigenous communities seize control of lands

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

El Liberal photo

Land owners seek government protection

[Translation of an article from El Liberal of Popayán, Colombia, for November 13, 2010. See original article here. Silvia is a small town in the mountains of southwestern Colombia, a few kilometers northeast of Popayán, the capital of the department of Cauca. The Guambiano indigenous people of the region, including the Kisgó, have largely resisted assimilation for over 500 years despite having most of their lands taken from them by the Spaniards.]

by Mery Johana Tutalchá T.

At least 300 indigenous residents of the municipality of Silvia seized control of part of the Puerta de Hierro ranch belonging to Eduardo Estela Garrido, who complained that the police and the army of the jurisdiction could not intervene to protect his lands.

“We raise fighting bulls on the ranch, a business that is totally legal but which at the moment does not receive the backing and protection of the national government,” Garrido said. (more…)

Mexico leads in migration, holds third place in remittances

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

[Translation of an article from El Universal of Mexico City for November 9. See original article here and World Bank report here.]

By José Manuel Arteaga

Mexico will be the country with the greatest migration in the world in 2010, with 11.9 million residents leaving the country in search of a better future, the World Bank reports.

Our country will surpass India, which will end 2010 with 11.4 million people leaving its territory.

Mexico will furthermore see more migration than Russia or China, which are predicted to end the year with 11.1 million and 8.3 million migrants respectively. (more…)