Archive for December, 2010

Diplomat in Haiti to be dismissed for criticizing OAS, NGOs

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Ricardo Seitenfus claims coup against Préval was suggested

[Abridged translation of an interview by BBC Brazil as published in Folha for December 29, 2010. See original here and related article here.]

By Fabrícia Peixoto

The representative of the Organization of American States in Haiti for two years, Brazilian Ricardo Seitenfus is due to be fired from his position soon, a development he himself interprets as a response to his “critical position” on the role of the international community in the Caribbean nation’s recovery…

BBC Brazil – Have you been notified officially of your dismissal from your position?

Ricardo Seitenfus – No, not yet. I had decided not to take a vacation in December so I could be in Haiti during this delicate phase of the election. But the secretary general (José Miguel Insulza) asked me to take a vacation. I conclude that for the two months, February and March, that I was supposed to remain in Haiti I would no longer be there. But that is not the problem. The most serious thing is what is happening now: the OAS representative is not in Haiti during an electoral crisis. And I have an ability for dialogue with the Haitian government that no one else in the OAS has and that few in the international community have. (more…)

OAS representative in Haiti sharply critical of foreign aid and occupation

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Ricardo Seitenfus – Le Temps photo

Ricardo Seitenfus: “Haiti is proof of the failure of international aid”

[Translation of an interview from Le Temps of Geneva, Switzerland, for December 20, 2010. See original here and related articles here and here. Several sources reported immediately after the Le Temps interview that Seitenfus had been fired but in an interview in the December 29 Folha of Brazil (here) Seitenfus said he had received no official word on his status.]

By Arnaud Robert

A graduate of the Institut de Hautes Études Internationales (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies) of Geneva, Brazilian Ricardo Seitenfus is 62 years old. He has represented the Organization of American States in Haiti since 2008. He makes a genuine indictiment of international presence in the country.

–Le Temps: Ten thousand Blue Helmets in Haiti. In your opinion, a counterproductive presence…

–Ricardo Seitenfus: The system of dispute prevention within the framework of the UN system is not suitable for the Haitian context. Haiti is not an international threat. We are not in a state of civil war. Haiti is neither Iraq nor Afghanistan. And nevertheless the Security Council, lacking any alternative, has imposed the Blue Helmets since 2004, since the departure of President Aristide. We are here on our eighth UN mission since 1990. Since 1986 and the departure of Jean-Claude Duvalier, Haiti has been in what I call a low-intensity conflict. We are faced with power struggles by political actors who do not respect the democratic process. But it seems to me that essentially, on the international scene, Haiti is paying for its close proximity to the United States. Haiti has been the object of negative attention on the part of the international system. For the UN it was a question of blocking power and turning Haitians into prisoners on their own island. For many, the anxiety of the boat people explains the international community’s decisions concerning Haiti. One wants them, at all costs, to stay home. (more…)

From Mexico to the United States: The exodus of the wealthy

Monday, December 27th, 2010

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for December 26. See original here.]

By Sanjuana Martínez

San Antonio, Texas, December 26 – The phenomenon of de luxe migrants or the so-called golden migration to Texas cities is leaving in its wake abandoned houses, financial crises and an exodus of students from Mexico, particularly from the north of the country, and in turn benefits the United States economically.

“It is a selective migration of moneyed people from Mexico. If our neighboring country could choose, it would select this golden migration, which turns out fantastic. These are people who are creating businesses, enterprises; people who invest, consume, buy and rent houses,” says Séverine Durin, director of the Northeastern Program of the Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social (CIESAS – Center for Research and Higher Studies in Social Anthropology). (more…)

The continuing dangers of migration through Mexico

Sunday, December 26th, 2010

Los Angeles Times photo by Don Bartletti

[Translations of two articles from La Jornada of Mexico City for December 24, 2010.  See originals here and here.]

Human Rights Commission documents kidnapping of 20,000 migrants in 2010

Mexico City, December 23 – The Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos (CNDH – National Human Rights Commission) of Mexico has documented more than 10,000 kidnappings of illegal migrants during a six-month period of this year, an official of the organization announced on Thursday.

The CNDH has recently investigated at the scene the abduction of some 50 immigrants who were travelling on a freight train through Oaxaca, in southern Mexico, as charged by Central American governments. (more…)

Palestinians confident Chile will recognize Palestinian state

Friday, December 24th, 2010

[Translation of an article from El Mostrador of Santiago, Chile, for December 23, 2010. See original article here and related article here.  Brazil, Argentina and Bolivia have recently granted diplomatic recognition to the Palestinian state within the borders existing before the Six-Days War of 1967 and Uruguay has pledged to do so as well.  Ecuador announced on December 24 that it too now recognizes Palestine.]

Palestinians living in Chile have expressed confidence the government of Chile will recognize the Palestinian state soon.

“We believe that recognition is coming,” Mauricio Abu-Ghosh, president of the Federación Palestina de Chile, which includes some 400,000 members of the largest Palestinian community outside the Arab world, declared on Radio Cooperativa. (more…)

Panama remembers the invasion

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Panamá América photo by Mauricio Valenzuela

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for December 21. See original here.]

Panama, December 20 – With a demonstration in front of the former embassy of the aggressor country, Panama today paid homage to the 5,000 who died as a result of the military invasion by the United States 21 years ago.

Organizations and institutions, among them the Asociación de Familiares de Caídos (Association of the Families of the Fallen) and the Frente Nacional por la Defensa de los Derechos Económicos y Sociales (National Front for the Defense of Economic and Social Rights), gathered to demand that the government declare December 20 a day of national mourning.

In the first moments of December 20, 1989, a total of 27,000 United States soldiers invaded the isthmus after their planes had attacked and bombed the capital, and particulaly El Chorrillo [one of the poorest areas of the country], the neighborhood most severely damaged, as well as other cities. (more…)

Brazil: Seminar denounces penal state

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

Reuters photo by Sergio Moraes

[Abridged translation of an article from Correio da Cidadania of São Paulo for December 17, 2010. See original here.]

by Luciana Araujo

At a seminar held December 7 through 9 in a lecture hall at the law school of the University of São Paulo, dozens of human rights organizations denounced the existence of a penal state in Brazil. The close to 450 participants in the event approved a statement of repudiation of police violence against the poor population of Rio de Janeiro and called for the establishment of a people’s tribunal in the Complexo do Alemão [a group of favelas in northern Rio de Janeiro] in January of next year.


Argentina: Occupations by homeless continue

Friday, December 17th, 2010

“No trespassing. Private property.” – La Razón photo

[Translation of an article from El Día of La Plata, Argentina, for December 16, 2010. See original article here and related article here.]

The Buenos Aires neighborhood of Villa Lugano, the partido of Lomas de Zamora in the province of Buenos Aires (1) and the city of Rosario in Santa Fe Province (2) were the sites of tension today over the occupation of land in circumstances requiring police presence.

In Lomas de Zamora, residents of the Campo Tongui neighborhood used burning tires to block traffic on the Camino Negro at Villa Fiorito for several hours to demand that water and electicity be cut off, although the situation was resolved shortly before noon. (more…)

Argentina: Key points and chronology of a complex battle

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

La Nación photo by Ricardo Pristupluk

The housing problem and the controversy over immigration

[Translation of an article from La Nación of Buenos Aires for December 10, 2010. See original here.]

by Maia Jastreblansky

The origins of the conflict. The violent incidents in Villa Soldati, which have resulted in three deaths so far, have their origins in the serious housing shortage, which has worsened in the southern area of the national capital.

According to the Instituto de la Vivienda de la Ciudad (IVC – City Housing Institute), some 500,000 people in the city are in need of housing assistance. There is a housing emergency resulting from the marked growth of makeshift dwellings.

In the area surrounding the Indoamericano Park, an important green area for the city and the epicenter of the occupations, are Villa 20 and Los Piletones. It is in the context of a housing crisis that the residents of those surrounding areas decided to cross over into the park and begin dividing it up into lots for the construction of new dwellings. (more…)

Bolivia: Morales signs law which reduces retirement age

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

Efe photo

[Translation of an article from the Venezuelan website TeleSUR for December 10, 2010. See original here.]

Bolivian President Evo Morales on Friday signed the Law on Pensions, the content of which, for the first time in the history of the country, was drawn up by the workers and representatives of social movements. The president declared that the enactment is evidence of the strengthening of democracy the country is experiencing.

“What’s most important to emphasize is that when we workers get together, with our experience and our know-how, our ministers, it is possible to draw up, to propose, to develop a law for the benefit of the Bolivian people,” Morales said in a speech at the Central Obrera Boliviana (COB – Bolivian Workers’ Center) on Friday. (more…)

Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay recognize Palestine

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Three articles

Brazil recognizes state of Palestine

[Translation of an article from Estadão of São Paulo for December 4, 2010. See original here.]

In a note from the Minister of Foreign Relations, Brazil announced yesterday its recognition of a Palestinian state within the borders existing before the Six-Day War of 1967. The note states that the decision was made in response to a request made in November by the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas.

In Mar del Plata, Argentina, where he is particdipating in the Ibero-American Summit, Brazilian Chancellor Celso Amorim declared that the recognition should not alter Brazil’s relations with Israel and “the decision does not imply an abandonment of the conviction that negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians are esssential, with the goal of reaching mutual concessions on questions central to the conflict.” (more…)

Honduras: Thirty-five campesinos killed in Aguán

Monday, December 6th, 2010

[Translation of an article from Diario Tiempo of San Pedro Sula for December 2.  See original article here and related article here.]

San Pedro Sula – Campesino leaders in Bajo Aguán charged yesterday that an army of Colombian mercenaries has been organized to assassinate citizens who defend the lands granted to them by the Instituto Nacional Agragio (INA – National Agrarian Institute).

Vitalino Álvarez, Yoselyn Avilez and Adolfo Cruz, members of the Movimiento Unificado Campesino de Aguán (MUCA – United Campesino Movement of Aguán), and José Mario López, general secretary of the Sindicato de Trabajadores del INA del Bajo Aguán (Union of INA Workers of Bajo Aguán), traveled to San Pedro Sula to hold a press conference on Tercera Avenida in the Guamiliti neighborhood, to “denounce the repression and to refute the media campaign” being waged by some newspapers. (more…)