Archive for July, 2011

Peru: Ollanta Humala assumes the office of president

Friday, July 29th, 2011

He forms an inclusive cabinet of both leftists and rightists

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for July 28, 2011. See original here.]

Lima – The president-elect of Peru, Ollanta Humala, will today introduce an administration with a moderate cabinet, although he will remain faithful to his pledge of greater social inclusion to calm the numerous conflicts involving demands for benefits from the current domestic economic boom.

Humala a few days ago chose a cabinet that largely excluded his supporters from the left, a more conservative selection than that of his political mentor, former Brazilian President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva.

The president-elect surprised investors when he named two economists admired by Wall Street to lead the Ministry of the Economy and the Central Bank, Luis Miguel Castilla and Julio Velarde, respectively. (more…)

Argentina: Indigenous peoples of the northwest reject lithium mining

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

[Translation of an article from Página/12 of Buenos Aires for July 22, 2011. See original here.]

By Darío Aranda

“The gold of the future” the mining companies call it. It’s “a strategic resource” for government authorities. But it’s “our life” for the 86 indigenous communities who yesterday blocked National Highway 52 to oppose the lithium mining now spreading across their ancestral lands despite being covered by national and international laws that spell out indigenous peoples’ rights to the land. Lithium is a coveted mineral, used in batteries for cell phones and computers and needed by the automobile industry, which is experiencing the gradual replacement of hydorcarbons with electric vehicles. “We are expressing our rejection of lithium mining projects and we demand the titles to the commuity lands that belong to us,” the community members declared. Last November the spread of lithium mining reached the supreme court of the nation and arrived last week at the United Nations.

Venezuela: The Bolivarian revolution and dependence on Chávez

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

[Translation of an article from Brasil de Fato of São Paulo for July 21. See original here.]

By Manuela Sisa

After Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez’s surprise return to the country, the political future is still fraught with uncertainty: will the Venezuelan leader’s health allow him to take on the campaign for the presidential election of 2012?

Chávez had to undergo emergency surgery for the removal of a cancerous tumor in the pelvic area. He was in the intensive care unit of a Cuban hospital for four days and in treatment on the island for almost a month. During this period, the government and the opposition lost their way, revealing the dependence on Chávez that is predominant in Venezuelan politics.

The illness that attacked the president’s health, assumed by allies and adversaries to be incurable, revealed the degree of dependence of the Venezuelan political process on the presidential figure. “The dependence of a revolutionary process on a single person is in itself a contradictory element,” sociologist Nicmer Evans, a professor at the Universidad Central de Venezuela, declared to Brasil de Fato. “The revolutionary process had not bothered to think, in the medium and long term. about the future of the revolution in a post-Chávez era,” he stressed. (more…)

Honduras: From outcasts to unsung heroes, migrants support the national economy

Thursday, July 21st, 2011


Revistazo photo

[Translation of an article from Revistazo of Tegucigalpa for July 18. See original here.]

By Germán Reyes

They were excluded from society. They dreamed of improving their lives and with no other choice than to leave the country, they lifted to their shoulders old back packs holding mostly remembrances of their loved ones. Now, although society does not recognize them, they are the heroes of Honduras’ economic equilibrium.

They are the more than one million migrants who, fleeing from poverty, took to the road with no heed for the danger, even of losing their lives. Labeled as illegal, they defied the imperialist authorities and, after much sacrifice, arrived in the United States. Their remittances, beyond being a help for their families, are basic to the national economy. (more…)

Chile: Student demonstrations continue as repression escalates

Sunday, July 17th, 2011


El Mostrador photo

Demonstration in capital draws 50,000

[Translation of an article from El Mostrador of Santiago for July 14, 2011. See original here and related articles here, here and here.]

According to early counts, more than 50,000 people gathered in the center of the capital city on Thursday [July 14] for another march called by the Colegio de Profesores and the Confederación de Estudiantes Universitarios (Confech) to oppose proposals on university funding offered by the executive and to insist on ending profit making in education.

Although the city government had not authorized the demonstration to gather in the Plaza Italia area, it was from there that the column of people, carrying signs and poster, began to move west on the Alameda. (more…)

Dominican Republic: Human rights group says 260 have been shot to death by police so far this year

Friday, July 15th, 2011

[Translation of an article from Listín Diario of Santo Doming for April 14. See original article here and related article here. The population of the Dominican Republic is approximately ten million, about the same as Los Angeles or New York.]

by Juan Eduardo Thomas

According to a report issued by the Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos (CNDH – National Human Rights Commission), at least 260 people have died so far this year at the hands of the National Police in so-called “exchanges of gunfire.”

The figure includes  recent deaths in Boca Chica, where two youths lost their lives, as well as the youth who was shot to death by a police officer in Villa Faro on Monday, during the labor stoppage called by a group of social organizations.

According to Manuel María Mercedes, president of CNDH, some 429 people had been killed through August 16 of last year, during the tenure of former National Police chief Rafael Guillermo Guzmán Fermín. That same year some 2,155 people died in acts of violence.

Mercedes stated that there is a tendency in the country that should be corrected immediately, in which there are more and more incidents of several people being killed in what could be considered executions.

He cited the cases of Boca Chica, which took place last Sunday, and the supposed attack on a bar in the country in which four individuals lost their lives.

Mercedes reported also that of every five such instances in which a person is killed, a police agent is involved in four of them.

Dominican Republic: One-day general strike termed a success

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

July 11 Protest against government economic policies involved the whole country

[Translations of three articles from El Nuevo Diario of Santo Domingo for July 11 and 12, 2011. See originals here, here and here.]

In Capotillo — Listin Diario photo

Three killed during strike

Santo Domingo, July 12 – According to figures released today by authorities, three people were killed during the general strike held yesterday in the Dominican Republic, which was called by social organizations to demand reductions in the prices of food, medicine and fuel. Two of the deaths were in Santiago, the country’s second-largest city, where 12 people were injured as well and some 20 were arrested, official sources report. Those killed were identified as 24-year-old Edwin Manuel Felipe Abreu and Carlos Luis Alonso Filión, 22 years of age, according the the National Police, who say the latter died last night in a gun fight with police.

According to the police report, Filión died when demonstrators attacked police officers with gunshots and rocks in the Rafey section of Santiago and police responded. (more…)

Chile: Copper miners strike against looming privatization

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

One-day stoppage falls on 40th anniversary of nationalization law

[Translation of an article from El Mostrador of Santiago, Chile, for July 11, 2011. See original here.]

Workers in Codelco [Corporación Nacional del Cobre de Chile – National Copper Corporation of Chile] began a 24-hour strike this morning as a warning against the eventual privatization of the mining company.

Some 15,000 regular workers and another 30,000 contract workers are called on to participate in the strike, which the company says will entail a loss of 41 million dollars.

The president of the Federación de Trabajadores del Cobre [Federation of Copper Workers], Raimundo Espinoza, said on the 24 Horas television channel, “We have in effect a complete shutdown of Codelco; there is no production. After 24 hours we will go back into production, because this strike is a warning in the face of questions we have already presented to Codelco, in the face of the question of privatization, of the participation of this government, which has invested a minimum level of resources into the company.”

According to the leader, the stoppage includes the Chuquicamata, Andina, Teniente, Ventanas and El Salvador divisions and the central office.

“We are undertaking this stoppage because we have concrete evidence of an effort not just by Codelco but by the government to begin a secret privatization of this great state enterprise. We are going to make a presentation to the comptroller and we sent letters to the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies and to the presidents of all the political parties, giving them background on our vision of the company,” he said.

In an interview with Radio Cooperativa, the leader asserted that they will send information on this “secret privatization” to the comptroller general of the republic and to Congress.

The mobilization coincides with the 40th anniversary of the law nationalizing copper that led to the founding of Codelco. The enterprise has decided to postpone celebrating the anniversary.

Argentina: Rightist incumbent Mauricio Macri leads in Buenos Aires elections

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Voters also chose members of newly formed communal councils

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for July 11, 2011. See original here. Buenos Aires is an autonomous city ruled by a Chief of Government, a Deputy Chief of Government and a 60-member Legislature. All elected official serve four-year terms. The Communal Councils, discussed in the article, are a new feature.]

By Stella Calloni

Buenos Aires – As predicted in the polls, the current head of government of this city, Mauricio Macri, of the rightist Propuesta Republicana (PRO) party, won the election tonight but is to stand in a runoff on July 31 in which he will compete with former Education Minister Daniel Filmus, candidate of the country’s ruling Frente para la Victoria (FPV), as occurred in 2007 but with a stronger challenge by the latter this time. Most important was the election of comuneros to the communal councils in Buenos Aires.

Initial data from the 26 percent of polling places counted show more than 45 percent for Macri, 30 percent for Filmus and, in third place, Fernando Pino Solana of Proyecto Sur, who received 13 percent of the vote, half of what he received in 2007. (more…)

Haiti: Martelly’s second try stirs up parliament

Friday, July 8th, 2011

Bernard Gousse not likely to be confirmed as prime minister

[Translation of an article from AlterPresse Haïti for July 7. See original here and related articles here and here, the latter by Wadner Pierre.]

Port-au-Prince, July 7 – President Martelly’s official nomination on Wednesday, July 6, of Bernard H. Gousse to be prime minister has created a stir in Parliament.

Most of the representatives and senators have shown surprise and dissatisfaction at the announcement and may decide to disapprove Michel Martelly’s choice, as they did on June 21 in the case of businessman Daniel Gérard Rouzier. (more…)

Decree offers chance to prosecute Uruguayan military

Sunday, July 3rd, 2011

"Where...?" -- Nueva Tribuna photo

Eighty cases may be reopened after international court ruling

[Translation of an article from Nueva Tribuna of Madrid, Spain, for June 30. See original here and related articles here and here.]

By Javier González in Buenos Aires

Thirty-eight years to the day after the last coup d’état in Uruguay, the government announced a decree that will permit the re-opening of cases of human rights violations during the dictatorship (1973-1985) which had previously been sheltered by the so-called Ley de Caducidad (de la Pretensión Punitiva del Estado). A ruling against Uruguay by the Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH — Inter-American Court of Human Rights), which forms the basis of the government initiative, can definitively open up cases involving serious human rights violations. (more…)

Haitian organizations demand that money spent on MINUSTAH be used instead to compensate victims of cholera

Saturday, July 2nd, 2011

[Translation of an article from Agence Haïtienne de Presse for June 30. See original here.]

Port-au-Prince, June 30 – Several social organizations, including the Plateforme Haïtienne de Plaidoyer pour un Développement Alternatif (Papda – Haitian Platform to Plead for Alternative Development) and Solidarité des Femmes Haïtiennes (Sofa – Haitian Women’s Solidarity), on Wednesday appealed to the United Nations to compensate the Haitian people, and in particular victims of cholera, because the virus (sic) causing it was introduced into Haiti by soldiers of the UN Mission for the Stabilization of Haiti (MINUSTAH).

The organizations hold that the more than 850 million dollars allocated every year to the UN mission in the country should be used to compensate the victims and to launch an intense mobilization against the epidemic with the aim of eradicating it.