Archive for May, 2012

Haiti: Former soldiers arrested after Flag Day march

Monday, May 21st, 2012

[Translations of two articles from AlterPresse Haïti for May 18 and 20, 2012. See originals here and here and related articles here, here, and here.]

Former soldiers march on flag day

Port au Prince, May 18 – More than a hundred people dressed in military fatigues claiming to be former members of the disbanded army marched in Port au Prince on May 18, the 209th anniversary of the Haitian flag, AlterPresse has learned.

With no announcement of their plans, the marchers, some of them armed, marched from Carrefour, at the southern edge of the capital, toward the center of Port au Prince.

“It is my heart that brings me here today, that is, the constitution of the country,” Serge Jean Guerrier, who claims he was part of the army disbanded in 1995, told AlterPresse. (more…)

US establishes new military bases in South America

Saturday, May 19th, 2012

[Translation of an article from Brasil de Fato of São Paulo for May 15, 2012. See original here.]

by Indira Carpio Olivo and Ernesto J. Navarro

On March 24, 2012, the web site published a story from four days earlier, taken from, stating that the governor of the province of El Chaco was granting permission for installation by the [United States] Southern Command of a military base in that Argentine territory.

The story reads, “The building, which will be inaugurated this month, is located on the grounds of the airport in Resistencia, the capital of the northern province of El Chaco, is in the final stage of construction and will be the first such operations center in Argentina. All that is lacking is to equip it with information technology and then to turn over the facility and to finish with the training of personnel,” says Colonel Edwin Passmore of the Southern Command, who had met weeks earlier with Governor Jorge Capitanich.” (more…)

Resurgence of gold fever endangers forests and peoples of Latin America

Monday, May 14th, 2012


((Construction of a road leading to deposits of gold, silver and copper in Trou du Nord, Haiti — AP photo))

[Translation of an article by Agence France Presse as published in La Jornada of Mexico City on May 13.  See original here.]

A resurgent gold fever has put Latin America at risk: tropical forests devastated by illegal operations where the law of the jungle rules, local communities at war against investment projects by large international mining companies.

The appetite for gold and other metals has generated a boom for informal mining, especially in Peru, Colombia and Bolivia, and put the formal industry at a peak, with projected investments of 300 billion dollars by 2020, according to the Sociedad Interamericana de Minería.

Regardless, 162 conflicts over mining have broken out all over the region because of the opposition of local communities to projects they see as threats, especially because of their great consumption of water, according to the Observatorio de Conflictos Mineros de América Latina. (more…)

Slave labor persists in Brazil 124 years after abolition

Sunday, May 13th, 2012


((Carta Maior photo))

[Translation of an article from Carta Maior for May 13, 2012. See original here.]

By Najla Passos

Brasilia – On the 124th anniversary of the Lei Áurea [the “Golden Law” of May 13, 1888, that abolished slavery in Brazil], the commemoration has lost its splendor. Once again, the Chamber of Deputies has postponed a vote on the Proposta de Emenda Constitucional (PEC – Proposal to Amend the Constitution) No. 438, the so-called Slave Labor PEC, which has been in the works in the house for 11 years. The intense mobilization of civil society, the efforts of the administration and the commitment of the more progressive parliamentarians were not enough. It was the ruralista caucus [legislators representing the interests of large landowners], which holds the majority of votes in the house, which had the last word, following the example of what happened with the new Código Florestal [Forest Code]. (more…)

Case of alleged sexual abuse by UN troops in Haiti moves forward

Saturday, May 12th, 2012


((Johny Jean in Montevideo — El Mostrador photo))

[Translations of two articles, the first by Spanish news agency Efe as published in El Observador of Montevideo on May 9, 2012, the second from El País of Montevideo for May 11. See originals here and here and related articles here, here, here and here.]

Haitian youth who denounced rape by Uruguayan marines to testify in Montevideo

Haitian Johny Jean, who accused five Uruguayan blue helmets of abusing him sexually last year in Haiti, will travel to Uruguay on Tuesday to testify before the judge in charge of the case.

The director of the [Haitian] Reseau National de Défense des Droits Humains (RNDDH – National Network for the Defense of Human Rights), Pierre Espérance, confirmed the trip, in which a member of that organization will take part in order to observe Jean’s testimony before the Uruguayan court, planned for Thursday afternoon. (more…)

Honduras: Anger over killing of Erick Martínez, journalist and spokesman for homosexuals

Thursday, May 10th, 2012


((FNRP photo))

[Translation of an article by Agence France Presse as published in Diario Tiempo of San Pedro Sula on May 8. See original here.]

Tegucigalpa – The assassination in Honduras of journalist Erick Martínez, who was a spokesman for homosexual groups and a congressional candidate for the Left, has reawakened anger in the most violent country in the world, where 18 other murders of journalists remain unpunished.

The body of the 32-year-old journalist, an activist with the Libertad y Refundación party (Libre, the leftist party of former President Manual Zelaya [and the electoral arm of the Frente Nacional de Resistencia Popular]), was found on a highway outside the capital on Monday night with indications he had been strangled.

“The results of the criminal investigations are blank pages; there is no interest in investigating, there is an institutional weakness and a lack of responsibility in the exercise of public duty,” government Human Rights Commissioner Ramón Custodio told AFP. (more…)

After Cartagena scandal, sex workers demand rights

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

[Translations of two articles from May 8, 2012, one by the Spanish news agency Efe as published in Crítica of Panama, the other by Agence France Presse as it appeared in La Prensa of Panama. See originals here and here.]

Persecution of prostitutes denounced

After the scandal involving United States Secret Service agents and sex workers, Colombian authorities have unleashed a witch hunt against sex workers, a regional organization defending their rights charged today in Panama.

On the eve of the Summit of the Americas held in Cartagena de Indias in April, Secret Service agents hired prostitutes but then refused to pay what they had agreed to for their services, Elena Reinaga, president of the Red de Trabajadoras Sexuales de Latinoamérica y el Caribe (Redtrasex – Network of Sex Workers of Latin America and the Caribbean) declared on Tuesday.

“The girls did nothing more than denounce the abuse and a witch hunt started… not only against them (those directly involved) but the police came out persecuting many others,” Reinaga stated in a press conference. (more…)

Dominican Republic: New book details major corruption scandal

Sunday, May 6th, 2012


((Leonel Fernández, Félix Bautista))

Author Aristy Escuder says Senator Félix Bautista used funds for personal and political expenses

[Translation of an article from Diario Digital of Santo Domingo for May 4, 2012. See original here and related articles here, here and here.]

Santo Domingo – Economist Jaime Aristy Escuder has released his long awaited book El Lado Oscuro de la Sun Land [The Dark Side of Sun Land], which reveals previously unknown details about the loan of 130 million dollars attained in a questionable manner for the construction of a series of projects at the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (UASD) but which vanished, with no public explanation of the destination or use of the funds.

The 258-page work explains how the project was developed and how the bureaucratic procedure, which included approval by the president of the republic, Leonel Fernández, was carried out so that then director of the Oficina Supervisora de Obras del Estado [Supervising Office for Public Works], Félix Bautista, could arrange the loan without involvement of the national congress. (more…)

Mexico: Three more journalists found murdered in Veracruz

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Four journalist killed in the state in the week preceding UN Press Freedom Day

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for May 4, 2012. See original here.]

by Luz María Rivera

Boca del Río, Veracruz, May 3 – The lifeless bodies of photojournalists Gabriel Huge, Guillermo Luna Varela and Esteban Rodríguez Rodríguez were discovered on Friday morning in the La Zamorana channel, which belongs to the Las Vegas II housing development north of this city, together with that of Irasema Becerra, a secretary at another newspaper and the girlfriend of one of the men. All the bodies had been dismembered and showed signs of torture. (more…)