Archive for August, 2013

The calvary of Central American migrants

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

The massacre at San Fernando leaves its mark on migrants’ route through Mexico

[Translation of an article from ContraPunto of San Salvador for August 13, 2013. See original here and related articles here, here, here and here.]

by Marcia San Juan

Mexico City – Between August 22 and 23, 2010, members of the Los Zetas cartel murdered 72 migrants in San Fernando, Tamaulipas, after they refused to become paid assassins. It was the first massacre of its type carried out in Mexico by organized crime but it was not the last or the only one and almost three years later, conditions for Central Americans crossing this country in hopes of reaching the United States remain the same, marked by extortion, harassment, rape, kidnapping and murder.

The news reached the pages of the leading Mexican newspapers on August 25, two days later, after a survivor of the killings managed to arrive at an army control post and give details of the massacre.

The undocumented migrants – 58 men and 14 women, coming from El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Brazil, Ecuador and Costa Rica – were traveling on a bus toward the United States when, as they reached San Fernando, in the north of the country, they were intercepted by members of Los Zetas, who proposed that they work for the cartel as paid killers, at a salary of about 1,000 dollars every two weeks. (more…)

CIA had agents in Brazilian Catholic church

Friday, August 16th, 2013

[Translation of an article from Carta Maior of São Paulo for August 15, 2013. See original here.]

by Sermi Azevedo

The Central Intelligence Agency of the United States has spied on all the activities of the Roman Catholic Church of Brazil since the ‘60s by means of direct and indirect collaborators. The direct collaborators are members of the church who volunteer their services. And the indirect are advisers to Catholic clergy infiltrated by the US secret agency into ecclesiastic activities.

This information comes to this reporter from several sources in the church who asked that their names not be revealed.

The peak of this collaboration occurred between the years 1960 and 1985, that is, the period preceding the 1964 military coup, and throughout the rule of the dictatorship. The monitoring went on as well during the transition to democracy and continues today, with Brasilia as its principal base of spying operations. (more…)

Chile: Prosecutor closes investigation into 2010 San José mine cave-in

Saturday, August 10th, 2013

x mineros“One of us would have to be dead for there to be justice,” one of the 33 rescued miners said

[Translation of an article by BBC World as published in El Mostrador of Santiago, Chile, for August 2, 2013. See original here and related articles here, here and here.]

“Many people think we are fools, but we aren’t. We are humble.” From the other end of the telephone line, the voice of Mario Sepúlveda sounds full of anger and impotence. He speaks slowly but strongly. Mario is one of the 33 miners who were trapped underground for 70 days after a cave-in at the San José mine in Copiapó, in northern Chile, in 2010. He is also the most outgoing and cheerful of them. Known since the rescue as “Super Mario,” he was one of the leaders recognized by his companions and a key figure when it came to keeping up morale in order to assure that the 33 came out of the disaster practically unscathed. But now Mario’s cheer is running out, he says.

The decision by the Public Ministry to close the investigation into the cave-in at the San José mine, with no charges being filed against those presumed responsible, has sparked anger and surprise. “We learned about it on the news,” Sepúlveda tells BBC. (more…)

Guatemala: Let the judgment of Ríos Montt continue

Monday, August 5th, 2013


((La Jornada photo by Blanche Petrich))

((La Jornada photo by Blanche Petrich))

Iris Yassmín Barrios interviewed

[Translation of an interview from La Jornada of Mexico City for July 31, 2013. See original here.]

By Blanche Petrich

In a middle-class neighborhood in Guatemala, the capital city, three National Police patrol cars are parked permanently across from a black metal entrance. They are guarding a judge, Iris Yassmín Barrios, whose task it was last May 10 to deliver the following ruling in a courtroom, before the traditional sounding of the gavel:

“That the accused, José Efraín Ríos Montt, is guilty of being the perpetrator of crimes against humanity and of genocide against the lives and the integrity of the civilian inhabitants of villages and settlements located in Santa María Nebaj, San Juan Cotzal and San Gaspar Chajul. For this crime, he is to be sentenced to 30 years in prison with no chance of parole.” (more…)

Peru’s economy grows but support for the government declines

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

x Ollanta HumalaA bittersweet reckoning for Humala

[Translation of an article from Página/12 of Buenos Aires for July 29, 2013. See original here and related articles here, here and here.]

By Carlos Noriega

In the midst of protests on the streets and a significant fall in the polls, President Ollanta Humala yesterday celebrated the second year of his five-year term in office. Humala comes to his second year with 32% support, which represents a troubling decline of 20 points in three months. While Humala was delivering his address to the nation from Congress, the unions, the universities and the citizen movements were demonstrating against his administration, but also against the political class as a whole. The streets of downtown Lima were heavily guarded by more than 5,000 police officers and the area was cordoned off to keep the demonstrators away from the Government Palace and Congress. More than 10,000 people demonstrated in Lima on Saturday and Sunday, and thousands more demonstrated in cities in the interior of the country. The mobilizations were repressed by the police. (more…)