Archive for January, 2013

Dominican Republic: Sociologist calls for government response to Haitian workers

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

[Translation of an article from Espacinsular of Santo Domingo for January 15, 2013. See original here and related article here.]

Santo Domingo, January 14 – The continuing presence of the more than 100 Haitian workers in front of the Ministry of Labor represents a conflict with international repercussions to which the government should respond in order to avoid damaging the country’s image abroad, sociologist Max Puig has declared.

Also a former minister of labor, he expressed surprise at statements by authorities that it is a problem affecting exclusively the justice system, “when the workers labored more than ten years in businesses that were not legally registered,” for which he wondered, “where were the Migration inspectors, where were the Labor inspectors, where was the national police?”

The one-time presidential candidate believes that what is being denounced basically goes well beyond a simple labor demand. “It is a matter of a business that has caused Haitian citizens to come from Haiti to a country that has been accused frequently of human trafficking,” he added.

Puig, president of the Alianza por la Democracia party, insists “it cannot be that the Ministry (of Labor) says it has no jurisdiction and that nobody in the government has jurisdiction.”

The approximately 112 Haitian workers, who have held a picket line for more than a month in front of the Ministry of Labor, some together with their spouses and young children, worked for the [coconut producing businesses] Coquera Rea and Coquera del Kilómetro 5, in the southern province of San Cristóbal.

Rafael Emilio Luna Alonzo, owner of the businesses in question, refuses to pay the workers’ wages on the grounds that only five of the workers were legally registered.

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The peculiarities of Peruvian politics

Sunday, January 13th, 2013

((Héctor Béjar))

Héctor Béjar believes Peru lacks a cohesive social movement to confront the dominant economic powers

[Translation of an interview from Brasil de Fato of São Paulo for January 10, 2013. See original here.]

By Marcio Zonta

The Peruvian political scene, from the revolutionary military government of General Juan Velasco Alvarado, through the armed conflicts between the military and the senderistas (members of the armed Sendero Luminoso group), to the mafiosi governments of Fujimori and Alan García, then the appearance of Ollanta Humala, have always embodied elements different from other Latin American political processes.

In a frank and revealing conversation with Brasil de Fato, former combatant from the ranks of Che Guevara’s guerrillas and now professor in the sociology department of the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos in Lima, Héctor Béjar offers a thoughtful account of the course of Peruvian politics. (more…)

Brazil: Ten years with the Workers’ Party in office

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

[Translation of an article from Página/12 of Buenos Aires, Argentina, for January 7, 2013. See original here.]

By Eric Nepomuceno

Last Tuesday, the first day of 2013, besides marking the first two anniversaries of the Dilma Rousseff administration, marked as well ten years in power for the Workers’ Party (PT — Partido dos Trabalhadores). The first party declaring itself leftist to elect a president of Brazil, the PT elected, then re-elected, the first unionist, Lula da Silva, and the first woman, Dilma Rousseff, in the most populous country in Latin America and the country with the strongest economy.

It is certainly a very different party from what it was ten years ago. And much more different from twenty-some years ago, when radical discourse kept a wilfull Lula from attaining the right to occupy the presidency. It has been its more moderate phase and, principally, the strategy put in place by the then president of the party, José Dirceu, that allowed the PT to win the 2002 elections and to begin a stage that may in the end add up to a total of 16 years in power. According to the most recent polls, the party is the clear favorite for the 2014 elections, whether Dilma runs for re-election or Lula chooses to return. (more…)

Dominican Republic: Christmas dinner offered to protesting migrants

Friday, January 4th, 2013

Haitian workers are holding a vigil at the Ministry of Labor

[Translation of an article from Espacinsular of Santo Domingo for December 27, 2012.  See original here.]

Santo Domingo, December 27 – Leaders of the Haitian diaspora offered a Christmas dinner on December 24 to 112 of their compatriots, workers who have been camped out in front of the Ministry of Labor since Friday, December 14, because of a labor dispute. Lawyers representing the undocumented workers also attended the event.

In contrast with the way they have spent their days so far, with tables arranged on the sidewalk at the government agency and under police surveillance, the workers and their families, including small children, shared Christmas eve dinner thanks to a gesture of solidarity by leaders of several Haitian community organizations in the Dominican Republic, under the coordination of the Fundación Zile. (more…)

Uruguay: Another year in Haiti for the troops

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

[Translation of an article from Brecha of Montevideo, Uruguay, for December 28, 2012.  See original here.]

The United Nations Security Council resolved and Uruguay approved the extension of MINUSTAH in the Caribbean country.  The executive’s resolution, approved by the parliament, brought about discontent in the ranks of the frenteamplistas because, in addition to other factors, the law does not take into account the UNASUR decision to reduce the number of soldiers.  The FA [Frente Amplio] is proposing to debate the country’s participation in peace missions next year as well as the overall role of the armed forces and possible accords with the United States.

The Chamber of Deputies yesterday gave final approval to the law that extends the presence of Uruguayan military forces in Haiti.  The text submitted by the executive branch, which at the outset could count on unanimous approval by the Senate, says in its main paragraphs that, considering “the request by the Haitian government to extend the MINUSTAH mandate and United Nations Security Council resolution 2070, which calls for the extension, our country, as a promoter of peace and the strengthening of cooperation among countries, in accordance with international law, deems it appropriate to continue our participation in MINUSTAH.”  So the Uruguayan contingent will stay in the Caribbean country for another year.  And as has always happened in the eight years the troops have been in Haiti, the PE’s [the executive branch’s] decision brought on debate within the Frente Amplio [the governing coalition of parties], although the different positions were accommodated through party discipline. (more…)