Archive for June, 2012

Paraguay, another Honduras?

Monday, June 25th, 2012

[Translation of an article from El Clarín of Santiago, Chile, for June 25. See original here and related articles here and here.]

by Guillermo Almeyra

The conspiracy against the Paraguayan president, former bishop Fernando Lugo, began the day he won the presidential election, since he could only assume office thanks to a popular mobilization. Without a party of his own, without a parliamentary caucus of any importance to back him, with a vast but dispersed and disorganized supportive base in the peasantry, forced to face opposition in the hierarchy of his own church, he has always depended on a fragile alliance with the party of Vice President Federico Franco, the Liberal Radical party, which is extremely conservative and represents a sector of the landowners.

Partisans of the Stroessner dictatorship, meanwhile, were and still are embedded in the public administration, the police forces, the so-called justice system and the Supreme Court. Lugo tried too late to form a party/front, the Frente Guasú (“broad” in Guaraní), which is just now taking its first steps and is far from being homogeneous. But all the Paraguayan Rights, backed in the shadows by the United States, wanted to leave no room for the center-left to organize and to try to hold on to power, even though there is more than a year to go before the end of Lugo’s term and ten months before the elections, in which in any case the president cannot be re-elected. (more…)

Ecuador: Rafael Correa interviewed

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012


((Aline Sasahara photo))

On Wikileaks, on the Mexican student movement, on freedom of the press

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for June 22. See original here.]

by Stella Calloni

Rio de Janeiro, June 21 – The president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, said on Thursday that countries should struggle to achieve real freedom of the press, as part of a broader concept, as well as the right of all citizens to freedom of expression, which the powerful media are intent on privatizing with the goal of making profits. In this respect, he pointed hopefully to the rebellion of the university students of Mexico in the face of the power of the media, which he described as at some times dictatorial. (more…)

Paraguay: Landowners want to bring down the Lugo administration

Thursday, June 21st, 2012


((Fernando Lugo))

[Translation of an article from the Brazilian website Carta Maior for June 20. See original here and related article here.]

by Dario Pignotti

“This killing of campesinos occurred as a result of a process of police violence instigated by landowners who are unhappy with President Lugo; he is not wanted by the Right or by the Brazilian farmers. Brazilian landowners like Tranquilo Favero, the richest soy producer in Paraguay, are interested in destabilizing the government, they want Lugo to fall,” declared Martín Almada, the most important representative of the Paraguayan human rights movement.

Eleven landless campesinos were killed last Friday on a farm near the border with Brazil, where tension is mounting along with demands and direct actions for agrarian reform. The confrontation between the police and the workers left seven officers dead, among them the chiefs of the Special Operations Group, a kind of Paraguayan BOPE [Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais], except that its job is not to repress favela dwellers, as in Rio de Janeiro, but the rural peasants who, since Lugo came to office in 2008, have increased their level of organization and determination to struggle, after decades of submission to the yoke of the dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner. (more…)

Paraguay: Violent confrontation between police and campesinos during eviction

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

[Translations of two articles from the Venezuelan website TeleSur for June 15 and 18. See originals here and here.]

At least 17 killed during eviction of campesinos

At least 17 dead, ten of them campesinos and seven police agents, was the result of a confrontation between police and campesinos during a violent eviction from rural land [in Curuguaty, in the southeastern department of Canindeyú] belonging to a Paraguayan businessman.

According to local authorities, the confrontations between the police and the campesinos also resulted in at least 80 people with injuries, some minor and others serious. Among those injured is a two-year-old girl, the TeleSur correspondent reports… (more…)

Dominican Republic: National Police respond with deadly force to protest in Salcedo

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

[Translations of two articles from El Nuevo Diario of Santo Domingo for June 14 and 16, 2012. See originals here and here and related articles here, here, and here. Salcedo, a city of about 45,000 inhabitants, is the capital of the northern province of Hermanas Mirabal.]

Salcedo becomes a battlefield between demonstrators and police

by Miguel Cruz Tejada

Salcedo – The main streets of this city, especially those in the marginal neighborhoods, were turned into chaotic battle fields when demonstrators supporting an indefinite strike called by the Frente Amplio de Lucha Popular (FALPO – Broad Front for Popular Struggle) and other organizations joining the stoppage clashed with agents of the Black Helmet SWAT team, units of the elite “Linces” of the National Police and soldiers of the National Army, who were reinforcing the police, with gunshots, bombs, rocks, bottles and other objects, while more than 90 percent of businesses responded to the call for a strike. Beginning Wednesday morning, the strikers, led by FALPO, have taken to the streets, blocking commercial lanes, stopping the flow of vehicles, throwing stones and confronting the public forces, with the support of thousands of residents who see their protests as justified. (more…)

Chile: Mine supervisors oppose privatization of lithium production

Friday, June 15th, 2012


((El Mostrador photo))

[Translations of two articles, the first from El Clarín for June 13, 2012, the second from El Mostrador for June 14. See originals here and here and related articles here and here. Copper mining in Chile, nationalized in 1971, is under the control of CODELCO, Corporación Nacional del Cobre de Chile, the National Copper Corporation of Chile.]

Government plans to hand lithium mining over to private corporations

The government yesterday opened domestic and international public bidding for the exploitation of the country’s lithium mines, which has until now been in the hands of two state enterprises. The winning bidders will be able to extract as much as 100,000 tons of the metal for a period 20 years and will have to pay the state seven percent of the monthly profits as royalties.

Lithium, also known as “white gold,” is used in automobile, cell-phone and computer batteries but also in glass making and medicines. (more…)

Chile: Amid angry protests, rightists honor Pinochet

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012


((El Clarín photo))

[Translations of two articles, the first by the Spanish news agency Efe as published in El Mostrador on June 9, 2012, the second from El Clarín for June 12. See originals here and here.]

Homage to Pinochet uncovers support for the dictatorship among influential groups

The homage to Augusto Pinochet planned for this Sunday reveals the support that a minority in Chilean society, but a significant and influential group, continues giving the dictatorship, whose crimes they minimize in favor of an institutional and economic structure that continues in effect.

Just five years after the death of the dictator, under whose rule, from 1973 to 1990, 3,200 people were killed and 38,000 suffered torture or political prison, two little known organizations have organized this event in a theater in the capital. (more…)

Argentina: Petroleum workers speak out on Repsol management and the current outlook

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

[Translation of an article from Página/12 of Buenos Aires for June 8, 2012. See original here and related article here.]

by Sebastián Premici

“I never understood why they privatized it. What they did with the oil fields was terrible, we could see that, but we did not know the whole of it. The business had very good economic results, you could see it on the books, but none of it stayed here.” Omar Stocco is a chemical engineer and plant manager of the YPF refinery in Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza. He has worked for the company for 25 years and was a witness to the whole process of privatization. Now, at 52, he will be in charge of security at the refinery, which currently produces 13,000 cubic meters of fuel. But he will also be a witness to the new managerial and political change in the petroleum company. “Everything is in place for things to be done well,” he declared. (more…)

El Salvador: Leading feminist interviewed on relations with the government and the party

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012


((Morena Herrera – ContraPunto photo))

Morena Herrera charges FMLN has more interest in government positions than in social change

[Abridged translation of an article from ContraPunto of San Salvador for May 28, 2012. See original here and related articles here and here.]

by Gerardo Arbaiza

San Salvador – Morena Herrera, founder of the emblematic feminist organization Las Dignas and of the Colectiva Feminista para el Desarrollo Local, speaks with authority on the outlook for the social Left in El Salvador 20 years after the end of the armed conflict this small nation lived through from 1980 to 1992.

Herrera, who was also a guerrilla fighter, considers the feminist movement to have had a very hard struggle adapting at certain specific junctures due to the diverse opinions and the constant debate within the movement.

Herrera states that despite this diversity of opinions, an effort has been made to join together in a position of independence in the face of resolute adherence to the party. (more…)

Mexico: A thermometer of the young

Friday, June 1st, 2012

((José Carlo González photo))

The youth vote could change the election results

[Translation of an article from Página/12 of Buenos Aires, Argentina, for May 31, ,2012, by writers from La Jornada of Mexico City. See original here.]

by Alonso Urrutia and Claudia Herrera

With a potential that could equal 30 percent of the electorate (if those up to 29 years of age are included), the uprising of the young in the midst of the electoral campaign could reverse the trends. The participation of the young is not only a criticism of Enrique Peña Nieto, the PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucional) candidate, favored to win, but what he represents: corruption and impunity. Thus warns Enrique Cuna, a researcher for the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (UAM) who conducted a study financed by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on youth participation in elections . (more…)