Archive for February, 2013

Ecuador: Opposition leader Alberto Acosta interviewed

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for February 22, 2013. See original here.]

by Blanche Petrich

Quito, February 21 – Viewed from other latitudes in Latin America, dominated as they are by backwardness and conflicts, Ecuador these days is a model. And it is better than under any of its previous governments. Opposition leader Alberto Acosta recognizes that. “But if we make an objective review of what is being done and what we set out to do in the original project of the citizen revolution, and what the constitution requires us to do,” he warns, “we have gotten off track.”

This is the implacable criticism of Alberto Acosta, who was Rafael Correa’s mentor in his university days and the days of citizen activism. It was he who convinced him to run for the presidency in 2006. This is how he describes him now: “He is a driver who sets his turn signal for a left turn and then turns right.” (more…)

Ecuador: The parties of the bankers, the banana merchants and the generals are wiped off the electoral map

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for February 19, 2013. See original here.]

By Blanche Petrich

Quito, February 18 – The elections on Sunday buried the old political class that had governed Ecuador during the 20th century. As the official vote count by the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE) of the races for members of the national and provincial assemblies goes on, a new map is being drawn: the parties of the bankers, the banana merchants and the portions of the military that shaped the destiny of the country between coups d’état, conspiracies, uprisings and plunder have disappeared from the national geography.

Legislating during the new term of the [unicameral] Assembly, with a total of 137 members, will be the ruling party, the Alianza Patria Altiva y Soberana (PAIS), with between 91 and 94 seats. The exact count is not yet certain. As a very diminished second electoral power comes Creando Oportunidades (CREO) with between 20 and 25 seats.

PAIS was only formed as a party in 2006 for Rafael Correa’s first electoral campaign. CREO appeared last year to champion the conservative Guillermo Lasso. (more…)

Colombia: FARC in Havana

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

The truth and the lies about a heroic guerrilla movement

[Translation of an article from Brasil de Fato of São Paulo for February 8, 2013. See original here and related articles here and here.]

By Miguel Urbano Rodrigues

There is no hiding the fact these days that the Juan Manuel Santos administration is not interested in having the Havana peace talks attain the objective of the agreement sketched out in Oslo with the sponsorship of Norway and Cuba. On the contrary, it makes an effort to prevent their leading to an end of the conflict and to the peace that the Colombian people want.

The head of the Bogotá delegation, Humberto de la Calle, repeatedly finds pretexts for threatening to end the talks, preventing the discussion of items on the agenda from moving forward.

The capture of two police officers in the Valle department, supposedly by the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) and the Ejército Popular (EP), is the latest of these pretexts. (more…)

Haitian construction workers in Dominican Republic denounce exploitation

Saturday, February 9th, 2013

[Translation of an article from Espacinsular of Santo Domingo for February 6, 2013. See original here and related articles here and here. The study referred to, “Haitian Construction Workers in the Dominican Republic: An Exploratory Study on Indicators of Forced Labor,” is here.]

Santo Domingo, February 6 – Dangerous working conditions, long hours, months with no pay, threats and physical abuse are reality for many of the Haitians working in the construction industry in the Dominican Republic, according to a study carried out by ICF International and published last September

In the past two decades, the Dominican construction industry has come to depend to a great extent on the work of Haitian migrant workers, the largest migrant community in the country. In interviews with 135 Haitian construction workers, the researchers have found many indications of forced labor. For example, there are practices like confining workers in their workplaces to prevent their claiming their rights from construction business owners. There is also evidence that the police, in cooperation with the employers, have been heavily involved in covering up accidents and abuse. (more…)

Chile: The invisible Mapuche

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

[Translation of an article from Clarín of Santiago, Chile, for January 30, 2013. See original here and related articles here and here.]

By Ricardo Candia Cares

There is nothing new about the militarization of Mapuche lands. The army was in charge of the first version of these pacification efforts in the 1860s, when the state decided that the lands deserved other owners and that the Indians were a nuisance that had to be gotten rid of.

The minister of war at the time, Federico Errázuriz, instructed General Pinto, the hero who led the operation, “Use your weapons and harass them in whatever way you find most prudent in order to punish their rebellion, to strip them of their resources and to weaken them to the point of leaving them powerless…” (more…)