Archive for May, 2011

Honduras: FNRP opposes immediate readmission into OAS

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

[Translation of an artricle from TeleSur of Venezuela for May 31. See original here and related article here.]

The Frente Nacional de Resistencia Popular (FNRP) of Honduras announced on Monday that it opposes the immediate readmission of the country into the Organization of American States (OAS) because, although the return of Manuel Zelaya is an advance toward the restoration of democracy, it does not demonstrate compliance with all the guarantees in the national conciliation accord signed in Cartagena, Colombia.

This was confirmed on Monday by Juan Barahona, spokesman for the FNRP, who, in an exclusive interview with TeleSur stated, “Honduras should not return to the OAS yet” because not all of the conditions agreed to have been met. (more…)

Honduras: Campesinos in Aguán fear resurgence of violence despite accord

Monday, May 30th, 2011

Revistazo photo


Thirty-six killed so far during Lobo administration

[Translation of an article from of Tegucigalpa for May 26. See original here and related articles here, here and here.]

By Germán Reyes

In a press conference held in Tegucigalpa, leaders of campesino organizations of the Aguán Valley charge that as a result of systematic violence and the repression of human rights, 36 campesinos have been assassinated in the area so far during the present administration.

They declare that despite the fact that the administration of Porfirio Lobo Sosa has spent almost two years seeking reintegration into the Organization of American States, in the past two months alone six more campesinos have lost their lives through violence and they expressed fear of a resurgence of repression once international organizations cease observing the country. (more…)

Salvadoran foreign minister on Honduras’ reintegration into OAS

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

An interview with Hugo Martínez

[Abridged translation of an interview from ContraPunto of San Salvador for May 23. See original here and related articles here and here.]

By Fernando de Dios and Magdalena Flores

San Salvador – It was learned on Sunday that the current president of Honduras, Porfirio Lobo, and former President Manuel Zelaya, overthrown in a coup d’état on June 28, 2009, had reached an agreement for the latter’s return to his country and, consequently, for the reintegration of Honduras into the Organization of American States (OAS).

The decision, backed by a mediation process initiated by the presidents of Venezuela and Colombia, Hugo Chávez and Juan Manuel Santos, was recognized by the Minister of Foreign Relations of El Salvador in a statement in which he indicates that “the conditions established by the accord pave the way as well for the return of Honduras to the Organization of American States (OAS), a step El Salvador, along with other countries of the region, has advocated.” (more…)

Chile: Massive demonstrations against Piñera

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

La Nación photo

State of the union address sparks protests

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for May 22, 2011. See original here and related articles here and here.  For a petition against the HidroAysén project, go here.]

By Enrique Gutiérrez

Valparaíso, May 21 – In the midst of massive protests and acts of government repression, rightist Chilean President Sebastián Piñera today delivered to the Congress his second report on the government, in which he defended his policies and warned that he will not give up plans for the HidorAysén hydroelectric plants that have stirred indignation in the population.

It is estimated that some 100,000 Chileans in 35 cities demonstrated, 50,000 in Santiago, in marches called by groups of university students and professors, the Central Unitaria de Trabajadores, government employees, environmentalist groups and hundreds of indigenous Mapuche who are demanding the release of Mapuche prisoners. (more…)

Uruguayan legislature fails to repeal “Ley de Caducidad”

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

El País photo


One representative causes tie by breaking ranks with party

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

By Stella Calloni

Buenos Aires, May 20 – A tense 14-hour debate failed to end in repeal of the Uruguayan Ley de Caducidad de la Pretensión Punitiva del Estado [Law of Expiry on Punitive Claims by the State], passed in 1986 and known in this country as the “law of impunity,” which has left unpunished those responsible for the military dictatorship of 1973 to 1985, when the vote ended in a tie after the desertion of one representative belonging to the governing Frente Amplio (FA), which provoked loud boos and indignation among the hundreds of demonstators surrounding Congress. (more…)

Human rights organizations oppose reintegration of Honduras into OAS

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

[Translation of an article from ContraPunto of San Salvador, El Salvador, for May 18. See original here and related article here.]

San Salvador – Some 20 human rights organizations with international stature have requested that Honduras’ suspension from the Organization of American States (OAS) be continued because of flaws in Honduran state institutions and respect for human rights, a statement from the Centro para la Justicia y el Derecho Internacional (CEJIL) says.

CEJIL states that “the recommendation was made in a letter sent on May 16 to the 35 ambassadors of the permanent missions of the OAS member countries, in which they are reminded that the Honduran state still has serious flaws in its democratic institutions, the rule of law and human rights. (more…)

Colombian foreign minister in Honduras to fine-tune accord for return to OAS

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

[Translation of an article from Diario Tiempo of San Pedro Sula for May 18. See original here and related article here, here and here.]

Tegucigalpa – President Porfirio Lobo Sosa and Colombian Foreign Minister María Angela Holguín met yesterday to fine-tune details of the accord permitting the reintegration of Honduras into the Organization of American States (OAS) and the return to the country of former President Manuel Zelaya.

The Colombian diplomat arrived in the country by surprise to meet for some six hours with President Lobo, members of the Truth Commission, Foreign Minister Mario Canahuati and other state officials to deal with reintegration into the OAS and Zelaya’s return. (more…)

Haiti: The strange silence of Jean-Bertrand Aristide

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

Haïti Libre photo

[Translation of an article from Haïti Libre for May 14. See original here.]

On March 18, 2011, thousands of Hatians welcomed former President Aristide back from his seven-year exile in South Africa. After a short speech at the airport, Jean-Bertrand Aristide went directly to his residence, greeting the crowd waiting for him there before disappearing behind the high walls around his property, to shut himself up in a silence he has never left.

Since his return, he has given no speech nor granted any interview, he has not been briefed on the damages from the earthquake of January, 2010, no one has seen him in a restaurant. “It is rare for the former president to leave his house to say ‘Good morning,’” said a mason who is working to increase the height of the walls that surround M. Aristide’s house. “He always stays inside.” (more…)

Uruguay: Crisis on the left over ending impunity for the military

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

José Mujica – Nueva Tribuna photo

[Translation of an article from Nueva Tribuna of Madrid, Spain, for May 12. See original here and related article here.]

Crimes committed by the Uruguayan military during the dictatorship of 1973 to 1985 have until now gone unpunished because of the so-called Ley de Caducidad de la Pretensión Punitiva del Estado [Law of Expiry on Punitive Claims by the State], passed in 1986 by the government of Julio María Sanguinetti and ratified in two referenda, in 1989 and 2009. Now a sector of the governing Frente Amplio party intends to repeal the law, but has met with the opposition of President José Mujica, Vice President Danilo Astori and former president, and likely presidential candidate for 2014, Tabaré Vázquez. (more…)

Chile: Students march for more access to education, an end to privatization

Friday, May 13th, 2011

[Translations of articles from La Jornada of Mexico City and El Mostrador of Santiago, Chile, for May 12, 2011. See originals here and here.]

La Jornada

El Mostrador photo

Thousands of youths reject privatization of education

By Enrique Gutiérrez

Santiago, May 12 – Some 25,000 Chilean students took to the streets of Santiago on Thursday and thousands more marched in other parts of the country to demand a strengthening of public higher education and rejection of privatization of education, and gave the rightist government of Sebastián Piñera until May 21 to repond to their demands.

After a peaceful beginning, the response of the police was to begin suddently to repress them with water cannons and tear gas, using the repressive measures of the ministry of the interior, which sparked encounters with the students that lasted for hours. (more…)

Haiti: Forgetfulness and impunity

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

President-elect invites Duvalier to inauguration

[Translation of an article from AlterPresse Haïti for May 11. See original here and related article here.]

Statement by the Réseau National de Défense des Droits Humains

The Réseau National de Défense des Droits Humains (RNDDH – National Network for the Defense of Human Rights) has received with indignation the news that an invitation has been sent to former dictator and president Jean-Claude Duvalier to take part in the ceremony to inaugurate the new head of state, Michel Joseph Martelly, on May 14.

The RNDDH points out that former president-for-life Jean-Claude Duvalier, back in the country since January 16, has been charged with numerous crimes committed during his rule, for which he is accountable. However, because of his refusal to respond to summonses by the examining magistrate on the pretext that his state of health is precarious, measures restricting his freedom have been taken against him.

The RNDDH stresses that president-elect Michel Joseph Martelly has on several occasions shown his fondness for Duvalier’s totalitarian regime, characterized during its 29 years by reprehensible acts like torture, rape, gang rape, murder, disappearances, forced exile, inhuman and degrading treatment, illegal arrests, arbitrary detention, summary executions, assaults on property and on the freedom of expression, theft and pillage. Considering that the former dictator and the torturers of the Haitian people have always enjoyed official impunity, the indictment of Jean-Claude Duvalier offers the Haitian people, through a fair and equitable trial, a unique opportunity for shedding light on the numerous crimes committed during his regime.

Does the president-elect by sending such an invitation to former president Jean-Claude Duvalier, in total contempt for the tens of thousands of victims, intend to begin his term under the banner of forgetfulness and impunity? That invitation sent to the former president-for-life and dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier represents an obstruction of justice, a blow to the memory of the tens of thousands of people killed or disappeared. In any case, that invitation does not foster independence of judicial power and runs counter to the resolution of the criminal investigation opened against former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier.

The image of a governing power preaching change and aligning itself with those who have plundered the state coffers and installed terror as a method of wielding political power is troubling and calls for vigilance.

Chile: Marches and legal action to oppose HidroAysén dams

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

La Tercera photo

[Translation of an article from El Mostrador of Santiago for May 10, 2011. See original here. The Aysén region, in Chilean Patagonia, is the least populated and most inaccessible in the country and its most pristine. Plans to construct hydroelectric plants there and long transmission lines to supply power to more populous regions have been met with strong protests by area residents, environmentalists and others.]

Social and environmental movements and opposition parliamentary groups announced on Tuesday plans for marches and legal actions, in both domestic and international courts, to halt the construction of five dams in Patagonia.

Opponents of the project have also denounced police repression against demonstrations held yesterday after the approval of an environmental impact study on HidroAysén, as well as alleged conflicts of interest on the part of officials involved in the project. (more…)