Archive for April, 2013

Paraguay: A millionaire, a winner, a president and… a drug dealer?

Monday, April 29th, 2013

x  cartes_horacio[Translation of an article from El Clarín of Santiago, Chile, for April 26, 2013. See original here and related articles here, here and here.]

By Jorge Saenz

The life of Horacio Manuel Cartes Jara (born in Asunción on July 5, 1956) could be used as the script of any successful Latin American soap opera. As an adolescent he had the good fortune to enroll in the best educational institutions of the city: Goethe, Internacional and Cristo Rey; then he traveled to the United States where, by a stroke of luck, he made friendly ties with the Cessna aviation company, which gave him economic security. (more…)

Haitian migrants in South America: A hardening of migration policies

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

[Translation of an article from AlterPresse of Port-au-Prince for April 12, 2013. See original here. The writer is communications coordinator for the Jesuit Refugee Service for Latin America and the Caribbean.]

By Wooldy Edson Louidor

Bogota, Colombia, April 12 – Several South American governments are showing a clear tendency toward a hardening of their migration policies in regard to Haitian migrants who reach their border or are already in their territory.

From Ecuador to French Guiana (an overseas territory of France), Haitian migrants face an ever more complex series of difficult situations like the closing of borders, threats of deportation, increases in requirements for entering their territories and humanitarian crises. (more…)

Venezuela: What is the opposition’s game?

Saturday, April 20th, 2013


((A worker walks past opposition graffiti.))

((A worker walks past opposition graffiti.))

[Translation of an article from Opera Mundi of São Paulo, Brazil, for April 19, 2013. See original here.]

by Breno Altman

The script being followed by Henrique Capriles, the defeated candidate in Sunday’s elections, should be watched closely. Beyond revealing the nature of the local Right, the events taking place help to understand the package of efforts already being made against leftist governments in Latin America.

Taking advantage of the narrow margins by which Nicolás Maduro won the contest, the conservative camp yells “Fraud.” So far, no serious evidence of any kind that this actually took place has been offered. On the contrary, the overwhelming majority of international observers attest to the integrity of the electoral process. But the relative weakening of the Chavista base is taken as an opportunity to escalate the confrontation. (more…)

Dominican Republic: Is the government promoting illegality among Haitian immigrants?

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

x refugees[Translation of an article from Espacinsular of Santo Domingo for April 10, 2013. See original here.]

by Griselda Liberato

Santo Domingo, April 10 – Although it is not state policy, events suggest that government agencies are supporting violations of the migration laws. Taking into account the legal mechanisms the country has for the control and registration of immigration and reviewing the repeated occasions in which Haitians have charged that authorities do not process applications for documents or for renewal of them, it can be confirmed that the state carries out policies that increase the percentage of persons living in Dominican territory indefinitely under irregular conditions. (more…)

El Salvador: Mining companies want their share

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Environmental contamination and sickness are the result of years of mining in La Unión

[Translation of an article from ContraPunto of El Salvador for April 13, 2013. See original here.]

By Gerardo Arbaiza

San Salvador – In the extreme east of the country, in the canton of San Sebastián in the Santa Rosa de Lima municipality of La Unión, is a good example of extreme neglect by government authorities, despite its being beside the most profitable gold mine in the country, a mine worked from 1968 to the beginning of the ‘80s by the United States company Commerce Group, from which a total of seven billion dollars is said to have been extracted, from which no benefit for the community is to be seen.

The list of tribulations in San Sebastián is long: the sulphurous color of the water in the San Sebastián River extends a depressing welcome to a community that, its inhabitants say, is visited by officials only when legislative and mayoral candidates are looking for votes. The acidity of this water (pH between four and five) makes it impossible to drink, comments Cidia Cortez, a researcher with the Centro de Investigación sobre Inversión y Comercio (CEICOM – Center for Research into Investment and Commerce). (more…)

Thatcher, the legacy

Friday, April 12th, 2013

x thatcherpinochet[Translation of an article from El Clarín of Santiago, Chile, for April 9, 2013. See original here.]

by Pedro Miguel

The first instance of Thatcherism took place six years before Margaret Thatcher arrived at the head of the British government; specifically, it began on September 11, 1973, when a group of military men — urged on by Richard Nixon, his secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, then Vice President Gerald Ford and George Bush, senior, who was serving as Washington’s representative to the UN — destroyed Chilean democracy, assassinated thousands of citizens, kidnapped, jailed and tortured tens of thousands. Tens of thousands more were to leave in exile. Once installed, the dictatorship headed by Augusto Pinochet dissolved Congress, declared political parties illegal and, a couple of years later, handed economic management over to a small group of post-graduates from the University of Chicago, where Milton Friedman was teaching, hence the name Chicago Boys: Sergio de Castro, José Piñera, Jorge Cauas, Pablo Barahona… (more…)

Colombia: The historical roots of the armed conflict

Friday, April 12th, 2013

x farc[Translation of an article from El Clarín of Santiago, Chile, for April 9, 2013. See original here.]

by Juan Diego García

In February, 1948, a leader of the people, Jorge Eliecer Gaitán, led a massive demonstration that moved in complete silence through the center of the capital city and ended with the reading of the “Prayer for Peace,” a call for the conservative government of the time to put an end to the civil war that was bleeding the country dry and was being orchestrated directly from government offices. A little less than two months later, on April 9, a gunman shot him to death, sparking a popular uprising throughout the country which by tradition has been known ever since as “El Bogotazo.” Lacking in guidance and leaders, the uprising was snuffed out without its ever being known for certain how many humble men and women were shot down by the armed forces. (more…)

Paraguay: Federico Franco, golpista

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

x franco[Translation of an op-ed from the website of Radio La Nueva República of Mexico for April 7, 2013. See original here.]

By Atilio A. Boron

Paraguay’s rotten luck. A country of such noble people subjected to the insatiable voracity of foreigners and of its own. Punished savagely by its neighbors during the War of the Triple Alliance [1864-1870, between Paraguay on one side and Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay on the other] and looted beyond words by its own dominant class ever since, it has now, as the pinnacle of its misfortunes, to deal with a person like Federico Franco, usurper of the country’s presidency. This personage, petty and insignificant, installed as president through a criminal conspiracy created as a pretext for removing Fernando Lugo, declared during his visit to Spain days later that “it is a blessing that Mr. Chávez disappeared from the face of the earth, because he did a lot of damage to my country.” He also said in his verbal spewings that Chávez gave “protection” to members of the Ejército Paraguayo del Pueblo and thereby held the deceased president responsible for the “kidnappings and death” committed by the guerrilla group. In keeping with his status as simple errand boy for the empire and for the mafia of drug dealers and smugglers who gained control of his country, Franco invited Spanish entrepreneurs to invest in Paraguay, guaranteeing them that if they did so their profits would be so phenomenal they would have to “carry the money away in wheelbarrows.” That must be why Mariano Rajoy, president of the government of Spain and a man who seems not to have many worries, considered it completely appropriate to post a photo of his meeting with Franco on his Twitter account. (more…)

Brazil: New constitutional amendment broadens protection for domestic workers

Friday, April 5th, 2013


((Celebration in the Senate chamber as amendment is approved))

((Celebration in the Senate chamber as amendment is approved))

[Translations of two articles from O Estado de São Paulo for April 2 and January 9, 2013, respectively. See originals here and here.]

Congress approves amendment

By Ricardo Brito

Brasilia – In a ceremony on Tuesday night, April 2, that lasted close to 50 minutes, in the presence of representatives of the three branches of government, the full National Congress officially proclaimed passage of a constitutional amendment that guarantees 17 new rights for domestic workers, giving them an equal standing with other urban and rural workers.

The measure, which had been approved by the plenary Senate in a final vote last week, establishes new rules, including an eight-hour work day and a 44-hour week, in addition to payment of overtime of at least 50 percent above normal rates. The rights are in addition to those already in effect, like the 13º salário [“the 13th paycheck,” an annual bonus equivalent to one month’s salary], weekly breaks, annual vacations and pregnancy leave. (more…)

Paraguay: A conversation with Aníbal Carrillo, Frente Guasú presidential candidate

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013


((Fernando Lugo, Aníbal Carrillo))

((Fernando Lugo, Aníbal Carrillo))

[Translation of an article from Punto Final of Santiago, Chile, for March 8, 2013.  See original here and related articles here, here , here and here.]

by Claudia Korol

Elections will be held in Paraguay on April 21, the first since the parliamentary coup of June 22, 2012, that deposed legitimately elected  President Fernando Lugo.

The Left is divided into three slates: the Frente Guasú, which promotes the candidacy of pediatric physician Aníbal Carrillo for the presidency of the country and Fernando Lugo for senator, is the majority party in this race.  It is made up of the groups País Solidario, Tekojoja, Movimiento Patriótico Popular, Frente Amplio, Partido Comunista Paraguayo, Partido de la Unidad Popular, Convergencia Popular Socialista and Participación Ciudadana. (more…)