Archive for February, 2012

Haiti: Vandalism by Martelly’s troublemakers

Monday, February 27th, 2012


((Le Nouvelliste photo))

[Translation of an article from Haïti Liberté for February 24. See original here. Most universities in Latin America, including Haiti, are considered “autonomous” and thus protected from police and military intervention.]

By Thomas Péralte

It was around three in the afternoon on February 17, 2012, when Michel Joseph Martelly, at the head of a group of rowdy individuals, tried to force his way into the School of Ethnology (Faculté d’Ethnologie), which is on Magloire Ambroise Street, in Champ de Mars. In the company of his wife, Sophia Martelly, with no invitation of any kind, he wanted to attend an international symposium in progress on the theme “Ethnology and the Construction of the Political Nation, the People, the Citizen in Haiti,” conducted by foreign and Haitian professors. (more…)

Elections in the Dominican Republic: Corruption closes in on President Fernández

Sunday, February 26th, 2012


((Leonel Fernández - Cambio16 photo))

[Translation of an article from the Spanish magazine Cambio16 for February 26. See original here.]

The Dominican electoral campaign, which began officially on February 15, moves along a furrow well sown, and thoroughly irrigated, with reports that affect the government and President Leonel Fernández’s immediate environment. While his wife, Margarita Cedeño, vice presidential candidate for the PLD [Partido de la Liberación Dominicana], has been accused of having bank accounts in Denmark and Switzerland, now the US State Department has revoked the visas of four presidential officials because of their alleged links with drug trafficking and organized crime, repeated human rights violations and illicit enrichment and influence peddling. Involved is Leonel Fernández’s bodyguard, Víctor Manuel Crispín Zorrilla; the chief of military aids, General Héctor Belisario Medina y Medina; police adviser and former chief of the National Police, Rafael Guillermo Guzmán Fermín; and the director of border development, General Manuel de Jesús Florentino y Florentino. (more…)

Chile: New outbreaks of police violence in Aysén

Saturday, February 25th, 2012


((El Clarín photo))

[Translation of an article from El Clarín for Feburary 24, 2012. See original here and related article here. Aysén, in southern Chile, is one of the 15 administrative subdivisions, or regions, into which Chile is divided. Each region is headed by an intendant appointed by the president. Regions are further divided into provinces, of which there are 54, which are headed by governors, also appointed by the president. Puerto Aysén, the site of recent demonstrations, is a city in the region of Aysén. The sparsely inhabited region is physically isolated from the rest of the country, making the cost of living high and resulting in neglect by the national government and poorly developed infrastructure. Plans to build hydroelectric plants and transmission lines in the pristine region have in recent times met determined opposition from environmentalists and residents of the area.]

New confrontations were seen Wednesday evening at the  Ibáñez bridge in [Puerto] Aysén, where demonstrators are demanding better living conditions in the region. The confrontations are in addition to barricades set up by people in several other towns in favor of the demands of the citizen movement. (more…)

Dominican Republic: US meddling in 1966 elections documented

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012


((Juan Bosch and Joaquín Balaguer meet – Listín Diario photo))

US agencies spied on Bosch, supported Balaguer

[Translation of an article from Listín Diario of Santo Domingo for February 17. 2012. See original here and related articles here and here. US troops landed in Santo Domingo on April 28, 1965, four days after an uprising against the coup government that had ruled the country since September, 1963, when Juan Bosch was deposed. The country was still under heavy military occupation in June, 1966, when presidential elections were held.]

By María Isabel Soldevila

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) spied on and intercepted telephone calls of deposed Dominican President Juan Bosch between April and September of 1965, at a time when Bosch was in exile in Puerto Rico, and used its influence to put Joaquín Balaguer in office, according to revelations in a recently published book, Enemies: A History of the FBI, by Pulitzer-prize winner Tim Weiner, a 511-page account based, the author says, on more than 70,000 pages of declassified documents, with no anonymous sources. (more…)

Floods leave Haitians stranded on the Peruvian-Brazilian border

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

[Translation of an article by the Spanish news agency Efe as published on February 17, 2012, by the Dominican web site Noticias Sin. See original here and related articles here, here, here and here.]

Lima, Perú – The 274 Haitian immigrants stranded in the Peruvian town of Iñapari find themselves among the victims of recent flooding in the area as they try to cross the border illegally into Brazil.

As the local parish priest, René Salízar, told Efe in a telephone conversation on Fiday, the Haitians arrived in Iñapari, in the southeast of the country, after following a route they consider the most economical, with the least migratory procedures to go through to get into Brazil.

The immigrants were evacuated to a college on high ground after spending more than a month in the Iñapari parish church. (more…)

Brazil: Adolescents found working as slaves in Pará

Thursday, February 16th, 2012


((The 13- and 14-year-old boys. Brasil de Fato photo.))

[Translation of an article from Brasil de Fato for February 8, 2012. See original here.]

by Daniel Santini,

Four adolescents were found among the 52 workers rescued from a situation analogous to slavery during an inspection conducted in late January in a rural area of the municipality of Tailândia, Pará, according to the Ministério do Trabalho e Emprego (MTE – Ministry of Labor and Employment). Two of them, who were 13 and 14 years old, were performing dangerous work, handling axes in the extraction and processing of wood, work that is among the worst forms of the exploitation of children, according to the International Labor Organization’s Convention 182 and Brazilian law. Another, who was 16 years old, was working with a scythe to open a path for the transport of logs. And a 15-year-old girl was working as a cook at one of the work sites. Ronaldo de Araújo Costa, owner of the farm where the offenses occurred, denies having exploited slave or child labor, saying that the adolescents were not working but were “opportunists” who happened across the inspection. (more…)

Brazil: Feminists support new minister and expect debate on abortion

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Rousseff selects Eleonora Menicucci to head women’s ministry

[Translation of an article from Carta Maior of São Paulo for Feburary 8, 2012. See original here and related articles here and here. Newly appointed head of the Women’s Policy Secretariat, sociologist Eleonora Menicucci, is a former guerrilla fighter who spent time in prison together with President Dilma Rousseff during the military dictatorship. An outspoken feminist, she says she is bisexual and has had two abortions. Brazilian law makes abortion illegal unless the woman’s life is in danger or the pregnancy results from rape. A woman who terminates her pregnancy illegally can be imprisoned for one to three years.]  

By Najla Passos

Brasilia – The feminist movement has celebrated the choice of activist Eleonora Menicucci de Oliveira to head the Secretaria de Políticas para as Mulheres (SPM –Women’s Policy Secretariat). Aware of the limits inherent in leadership by any individual, activists for the cause believe that the new minister, who will assume office on Friday, January 10, will succeed in advancing the controversial debate on the legalization of abortion in Brazil. And they point out many other challenges Eleonora will face as head of the ministry. (more…)

Haiti: Maneuvers by former soldiers are cause for concern

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

[Translation of an article from AlterPresse Haïti for February 10.  See original here.]

Port au Prince, February 10 – Citizens are wondering about maneuvers, with weapons, that have been carried out for several weeks in different parts of the country by groups of former members of the military, wearing uniforms, who have taken over  camps of the disbanded armed forces of Haiti.

The training exercises have been observed particularly in the municipality of Carrefour, in the Ouest department south of the capital, in Gonaïves in the department of Artibonite to the north, and in the central plateau, in the northeast.

No relevant information has been released on the source of financing or on the sponsorship of these groups, who, since 2011, with no discussion or administrative orders, have assumed the position of “demobilized former soldiers” in order to resume military training exercises. (more…)

Day labor grows in Mexico

Monday, February 6th, 2012


((La Jornada photo by Sanjuana Martinez))

What is common practice in US violates Mexican labor laws

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for February 5. See original here.]

By Sanjuana Martínez

It is 6:30 in the morning and workers are arriving at the corner of Gómez Morín and Roberto Garza Sada Streets. It is a place known for hiring temporary workers. There are bricklayers, drywall workers, plasterers, tile setters… Most of them are contracted by the day to work on construction projects for mansions in the city of San Pedro Garza García, Nuevo León.

Don Gregorio Saldaña, 68 years old, is sitting on a wheelbarrow. He is wearing a baseball cap that hides his gray hair. His hands are covered with calluses and they look like stone, a result of working as a bricklayer, which has also given him hernias from carrying heavy loads. He has been unemployed for two months but a few days ago “an engineer” finally hired him for one of his projects . “We are hired by the day. It is slow. Sometimes you don’t know if they are going to pay you or not but what else can we do? That’s what we live on,” he says. (more…)

Brazil prepared to accept Haitian families, Rousseff says, but not traffickers

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

[Translation of an article from AlterPresse Haïti for January 2, 2012. See original here and related articles here, here and here.]

Port-au-Prince, February 2 – “We are ready to accept Haitian citizens who would choose to seek new opportunities in Brazil,” Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff told the press during a brief visit to Port-au-Prince on February 1.

Brazil, which desires to be sensitive to Haitian social, economic and humanitarian difficulties, has created a category of permanent visa exclusively for Haitians.

The country can “admit under that type of visa as many as 1,200 Haitian families a year… for a period of five years,” the head of state specified. (more…)

Honduras: Death threats continue for journalist Gilda Silvestruchi

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

((Gilda Silvestruchi - Revistazo photo))

[Translation of an article from of Tegucigalpa for January 31. See original here and related articles here and here. The El Patriota web site, mentioned below, is here.]

A week after filing a complaint of death threats with the Interior Ministry and several days after seeking injunctive relief from the Public Attorney for Human Rights and the Ministry of Public Safety, journalist Gilda Silvestruchi declares that she is still being harassed.

“I filed the complaint last week and on Friday I went to the public attorney for human rights to seek injunctive relief. They just started the investigation and so far there is nothing. The last call was at 5:30 this morning but I didn’t answer it,” the journalist said when asked about progress of the investigation of the case. (more…)

Haiti: Judge dismisses charges of crimes against humanity against Jean Claude Duvalier

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

((Michel Martelly, Jean Claude Duvalier))

Lesser charges of corruption remain

[Translation of an article by Agence Haïtienne de Presse for January 31. See original here.]

Port-au-Prince, January 30, 2012 – Carves Jean, the examining magistrate in charge of the case of former dictator Jean Claude Duvalier, has sent to the Port au Prince prosecutor’s office an order of closure in the Duvalier case, “sending the former president for life” to the criminal court on charges of corruption and misappropriation of public funds.

Besides the cases of corruption and misappropriation of public funds, Baby Doc is accused above all of crimes against humanity and violations of human rights committed during his regime.

Judge Carves Jean acknowledges handing down the ruling in the name of the republic, about which he chose not to comment, after hearing testimony from some 30 persons, he said. (more…)