Archive for July, 2013

Dominican Republic: Anti-Haitian marches a threat to peace on the island

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

wxyzz[Translation of an article from AlterPresse of Port-au-Prince for July 26, 2013. See original here and related articles here, here, here and here. The writer is an Anglican priest, a former Haitian diplomat in the Dominican Republic and, currently, director of the Fondation Zile.]

By Edwin Paraison

A year after a similar demonstration, a minority group made up of representatives of neighborhood groups organized an anti-Haitian march on July 17 in the second city of the Dominican Republic, Santiago de los Caballeros, which was widely covered in the mass media, with the slogan, “Nosotros aquí, ellos allá” (“This for us, that for them”). The purpose: to demand the repatriation of the undocumented and to denounce the organizations that come to their aid, notably the Centro de Formación y Acción Social y Agraria (CEFASA) and the Centro Bono, both Catholic [Jesuit] NGOs. (more…)

Honduras: No decrease in poverty seen in six years

Friday, July 26th, 2013

x hondurasAround 1.8 million are unemployed

[Translation of an article from Diario Tiempo of San Pedro Sula for July 23, 2013. See original here.]

Honduras has devoted billions of lempiras to the fight against the poverty that extends throughout the country but the level of poverty has not fallen.

According to the [United Nations] Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, Honduras is one of the countries in the region where poverty has increased, even though the state and international organizations have invested more than 1.8 billion lempiras in the past ten years to fight this problem.

According to the European Union Chief of Cooperation, Laurent Sillano, “The level of poverty in Honduras has been stagnant since 2006 because the Central American country has not reached the levels of international competitiveness needed to generate economic growth and employment.” (more…)

The Colombian peace talks: Political reform

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

[Translation of an article from El Turbión of Bogotá for July 11, 2013. See original here and related articles here, here and here.]

By Juan Diego García

In the Havana talks between the government of Colombia and the FARC [Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia],  debate over the second item on the agenda, political reform, is beginning. And, just as happened at the outset, the government is attempting to reduce the scope of the accords to a minimum while the guerrilla tries to give them the greatest reach possible. Santos advances a very restricted interpretation of political reform that reduces it in practice to guaranteeing electoral participation for the guerrilla without changing the rules of the game, while the guerrilla proposes taking advantage of the occasion to bring about much more far-reaching changes.

This is in reality a repetition of the initial scenario, when the first item on the agenda was dealt with from very contrary positions, which in the end did not stand in the way of a basic agreement on the rural question, as everything seems to indicate. Perfectly normal conduct that nevertheless has a greater reference point that is impossible to ignore: for now, at least, neither side is in a position to defeat the other. This is doubtless the basis that gives meaning to the dialogues and determines the real extent that the possible accords can reach. (more…)

Honduras: Thousands of families depend on child labor

Saturday, July 20th, 2013

[Translation of an article from Revistazo of Tegucigalpa for July 1, 2013. See original here.]

By Daniela A. Galindo

It is five in the morning and Juan begins to rouse himself while his alarm clock goes off. He gets up calmly to begin another work day. The day also begins for Pedro; only eight years old, the boy gets up to leave for work together with his uncle, who is a skilled construction worker. Rosita, who is old enough to go sell tortillas without adult supervision, is also waking up. The girl has to go grind the corn, make the tortillas, draw the water and clean the house. Both Pedro and Rosita know that these big steps have consequences: neither of them will be able to go to school; but the most important thing for them is that there will be a little more money coming into their homes and, maybe, their younger sisters and brothers can eat not only tortillas with beans but can put something more into their mouths. (more…)

Case of Chilean girl sparks international debate on pregnancy in childhood

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Experts warn of physical complications and disrupted emotional development

[Translation of an article by BBC World as published in El Mostrador of Santiago on July 12, 2013. See original here.]

The case of a pregnant 11-year-old Chilean girl has stirred a profound debate nationally and internationally on the circumstances that led to her condition and on the reactions the case has generated. This occurs in the same week that the United Nations observes World Population Day [on July 11], bringing to light the problem of pregnancy among adolescent girls.

Abortion under any circumstances is prohibited in Chile, which has divided the country, since it prevents termination of her pregnancy, putting at risk the lives of both the girl, known as Belén, and of the fetus. Belén’s is not an isolated case; according to a report by the United Nations Population Fund, some 16 million girls under the age of 18 give birth every year, mostly in the developing world, and three of every 100 of them are girls younger than 15. (more…)

Brazil: The return of the social movement

Saturday, July 13th, 2013

protest[Translation of an article from El Clarín of Santiago, Chile, for July 12, 2013. See original here and related article here.]

By Raúl Zibechi

The mobilizations in Brazil in June may mark a turning point and have long-lasting results. They were the first large demonstrations in 20 years, since those of 1992 against then President Fernando Collor de Melo, who was forced to resign. Now things are different: the movement is much broader, covering hundreds of cities, the more organized sectors have set goals with more far-reaching consequences and with an anti-capitalist orientation and we are witnessing not a sudden explosion but rather the spreading of an extensive discontent.

The above allows us to guess that we are probably witnessing the beginning of a new cycle of struggles driven by different organizations from those of the earlier period. But what were the earlier movements? (more…)

US strengthens military in Central America, starting in Honduras

Thursday, July 4th, 2013
((US and Honduran troops in Tegucigalpa))

((US and Honduran troops in Tegucigalpa))

Increase in US military presence began after coup

[Translation of an article from Opera Mundi of São Paulo, Brazil, for June 29, 2013. See original here and related articles here and here.]

by Giorgio Trucchi

The United States foresees for fiscal year 2014 a moderate decrease in spending for the “war on drugs” in Mexico and Colombia in exchange for an increase for CARSI (Central America Regional Security Initiative), for which the State Department requested 162 million dollars, 26 million more than was budgeted for 2012. Although it is not easy to determine exactly how much of that will reach Honduras through different means and programs, it is logical to assume that that country will enjoy a privileged status.

The Honduran National Congress recently approved the creation of 1,000 new positions in the army and the formation of the elite Tigres corps (Tropa de Inteligencia y Grupos de Respuesta Especial de Seguridad). “They want to make the military power grow at the expense of public safety,” Marvin Ponce, vice president of the Congress, told the local press. (more…)