Archive for April, 2012

Honduras: Campesinos doubt that prosecutor will charge those responsible for assassinations in Aguán

Sunday, April 29th, 2012


((Revistazo photo))

[Translation of an article from Revistazo of Tegucigalpa for April 20. See original here  and related articles here, here and here.]

Tegucigalpa – The Ministry of the Interior has announced the issuing of warrants for police, military and civilians involved in human rights violations and the assassinations of more than 50 people in the Bajo Aguán region. The campesino leadership considers it necessary to punish those responsible but has no confidence in any actions the prosecutor may take.

Although he did not disclose the names of those involved, Special Prosecutor for Human Rights Germán Enamorado told the press that the prosecutor’s office has succeeded in gathering the evidence needed to initiate prosecutions, which in the case of public employees will involve charges for abuse of authority, dereliction of duty, personal injury and attempted homicide. (more…)

Dominicans on the defensive after priest says treatment of Haitian workers violates DR-CAFTA

Thursday, April 26th, 2012


((Hartley with two Haitian sugar cane workers.))

[Translations of three articles, one by the Spanish news agency EFE as published in El Nuevo Diario of Santo Domingo on April 24, 2012, two from Listín Diario of Santo Domingo for April 24 and 25. See originals here, here and here. Christopher Hartley is featured in the film “The Price of Sugar;” for more information, go here.]

US investigates priest’s claims of slave labor

Santo Domingo – The United States Department of Labor has opened an investigation in the Dominican Republic into charges by the priest Christopher Hartley, who claims sugar producers are subjecting workers in the industry to conditions of slavery, the US embassy reports. Hartley is currently outside the Dominican Republic but from 1997 to 2006 he worked in the bateyes, workers’ villages set up on sugar plantations, in the San José de los Llanos parish, in the eastern province of San Pedro de Macorís.

The Anglo-Spanish priest has for years made denunciations on the treatment of workers who cut sugar cane, most of whom are Haitian, by large companies.

He has accused them of human trafficking, child labor, racial discrimination and failure to provide health care, as well as of exploitation, fraud and labor abuse. (more…)

Argentina: Repsol YPF awakens the beast of colonialism

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

[Translation of an article from El Clarín of Santiago, Chile, for April 21, 2012. See original here.]

By Marcos Roitmann Rosenmann

Measures taken to nationalize and to recuperate basic riches in Latin America or Africa or Asia have always suffered the ire of colonial centers and the enterprises affected. There is no shortage of examples: Lázaro Cárdenas, Jacobo Arbenz, Fidel Castro, Omar Torrijos, Velasco Alvarado, Salvador Allende, Evo Morales, Hugo Chávez; the list is long.

Accustomed to ordering and to being in charge, arrogant empires are unfamiliar with the concepts of independence and sovereignty. They are reluctant to deal as equals. Paternalism, based on positions of strength, shapes the discourse of imperial haughtiness. To declare oneself opposed to paternal authority and the established order usually brings on exemplary punishment: blockades, destabilizing processes, economic strangulation, assassinations of leaders or coups d’état. These days, the expropriation of a private company, Repsol YPF, whose interests are those only of their stockholders and whose objective is to obtain profits at the cost of any ethical, judicial or environmental consideration, awakens the ire of the hegemonic powers, their institutions and principal political leaders. (more…)

Haiti: National police, international community hold meeting on disbanded army

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

Former soldiers had marched on parliament

[Translation of an article from Agence Haïtienne de Presse for April 20, 2012. See original here and related articles here and here.]

Port-au-Prince, April 20 – A meeting was held Thursday evening between representatives of the Conseil Supérieur de la Police Nationale (CSPN) and the international community, 48 hours after the incursion into the parliament, then in full session, by a group of dozens of armed individuals in military fatigues at a time when the legislators were forming a committee to study the case of Laurent Lamothe, nominated as prime minister.

Without supplying details, the minister of justice, as well as the spokesman for MINUSTAH (United Nations Mission for the Stabilization of Haiti), have confirmed the meeting was held. Minister Pierre-Michel Brunache stated in a telephone conversation with Radio Solidarité that nothing concrete had come from the meeting. (more…)

El Salvador: Vice president accuses Funes of ignoring the interests of the FMLN

Friday, April 20th, 2012


((Muricio Funes, Salvador Sánchez Cerén))

[Translation of an article from El Faro of San Salvador for April 16, 2012. See original here.]

by Jimena Aguilar

Shortly before the third anniversary of the first Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional government, Vice President Salvador Sánchez Cerén on Monday made statements concerning the administration to which he was elected in 2009, admitting that the administration has failed to comply with what it offered the voters and holding President Mauricio Funes responsible for this. “The country still believes that change is not possible because it has not seen any,” he told journalists in an impromptu press conference in the Legislative Assembly.

Sánchez Cerén, one of the three top leaders of the leftist party, appeared as an opponent in his first public statements dissenting from Funes, declaring that the failure of the government to comply is because the president has not concerned himself with supporting what suits the party that put him in power. (more…)

Haiti: Campaign financing and the Bautista scandal

Monday, April 16th, 2012

[Translation of an article from the Dominican/Haitian website for April 10, 2012. See original here and related articles here and here.]

Port-au-Prince, April 10 – Without a doubt, this is not the first time Dominican politicians and businessmen have financed electoral campaigns in foreign countries. The best known case in Dominican-Haitian relations is that of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo and Elie Lescot, whom the Dominican dictator managed to bribe, according to [Dominican historian] Bernardo Vega, from the time he was minister of the interior under President Stenio Vincent in 1932 until he helped him become president in May, 1941.

Even more recently, during the last two decades, both Haitian and Dominican candidates, as a result of their connections in social and business circles, have benefited from donations coming from sources on the other side of the island and from the diaspora of both countries. This applies as much to the presidential level as in legislative and municipal elections. (more…)

Chile: Barrick Gold mine threatens water supply

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

((Pascua Lama – El Mostrador photo))

The Cerro Casale mine, the next Pascua Lama

[Translation of an article from El Mostrador of Santiago, Chile, for April 9, 2012. See original here. Like the Cerro Casale project, Pascua Lama is an open-pit gold, silver and copper mine being developed by Barrick Gold of Canada. High in the Andes, on the border between Chile and Argentina, it has sparked considerable protest, in part because of its proximity to glaciers.]

by Alejandra Carmona

Rosa Ahumada says everything was different at one time. That at least the first 35 of her 46 years were different.

“I know a farmer who had an 80-meter well to water his vegetables, but it went dry. He had lettuce, potatoes, tomatoes and onions. He used to plant more than 50 hectares. Now he has only enough for 18,” says Rosa as she rushes through the story because, she warns, this is only one of the stories that burden a region that is going dry. (more…)

Dominican and Haitian governments denounce plot against Martelly

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

[Translation of an article by the Spanish news agency Efe as published in El Nuevo Diario of Santo Domingo on April 12. See original here and related articles here and here.]

Santo Domingo, April 12 – The governments of the Dominican Republic and Haiti today denounced a plot organized by a former Dominican colonel to destabilize the presidency of Michel Martelly. The plan was denounced by Dominican Foreign Minister Carlos Morales Troncoso, Haitian Minister of Justice Michel Brunache and Dominican Attorney General Radhamés Jiménez, who attribute the plot to former Colonel Pedro Julio Goico Guerrero, known as “Pepe Goico,” one of the closest collaborators of former Dominican President and current presidential candidate Hipólito Mejía.

“This campaign is based on a false and baseless accusation against the integrity and honor of President Michel Martelly,” the officials said in a brief document read by spokesman for the Dominican presidency Rafael Núñez in a meeting with journalists in which questions were not allowed. (more…)

Uruguayan President Mujica interviewed: “socialism itself”

Monday, April 9th, 2012

[Translation of an article from Montevideo Portal for April 9, 2012. See original here.]

In an interview on CNN, President Mujica said he “admires” ALBA-style socialism [Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América – Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America] but he declared that it is not the path he would prefer. The president praised the social achievements of Lula and Chávez but made it clear that “this is not building socialism.”

In an interview broadcast on Sunday on the CNN news network, Mujica referred to the changing conditions of the left over time and to the future of socialism in Latin America. (more…)

Haitian president, Dominican senator implicated in serious corruption scandal

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

[Translation of an article from the Dominican/Haitian web site for April 2, 2012. See original here and related article here.]

Port au Prince, April 2 – Just days after receiving the Dominican government’s highest decoration, the Haitian head of state finds himself implicated in one of the most serious cases of corruption known in the Dominican Republic, the central figure of which is Dominican Senator Félix Bautista.

The results of an investigation made public on the eve of Palm Sunday by prize-winning veteran journalist Nuria Piera on her program “Nuria en el 9,” confirm as facts charges widely circulated in Haiti since last year on the radio program of analyst Michel Soukar and involving leaders in both countries within the framework of the reconstruction of Haiti, devastated in the earthquake of 2010. (more…)

Argentina: The Malvinas are a white elephant

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

London admits that the conflict is clear-cut

[Translation of a column from Página/12 of Buenos Aires for March 29, 2012. See original here and related articles here and here. April 2 marks the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the war between Argentina and England over the Malvinas Islands, known in Great Britain as the Falklands. The British won the war but Argentina still claims sovereignty over the islands. And here Atahualpa Yupanqui reads “La Hermanita Perdida.”]

By Martín Granovsky

Unless all its functionaries have a command of the language worthy of Winston Churchill, but not his political acumen, the British foreign service admitted yesterday that the question of the Malvinas is “a white elephant.” In an Asian tradition that the foreign office knows well, a white elephant is something difficult to care for, at a cost disproportionate to the advantages it offers.

According to diplomats in the region consulted by this newspaper, the expression was used by Jeremy Browne, Foreign Office Minister, a position equivalent to that of vice-chancellor, representing in this case several areas, one of them Latin America. Browne, a member of the administration of the conservative David Cameron, spoke during a working breakfast with all the Latin American diplomats only five days before April 2, the 30th anniversary of a maneuver by the Argentine dictatorship that consolidated the power of Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative Party. (more…)