Archive for September, 2013

“Time to listen” to calls for change in drug policies, report says

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

United States military relations with Latin America grow less and less transparent

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for September 19, 2013. See original here and report in question here, in English, and here, in Spanish.]

by David Brooks

United States Special Forces are ever more present in Latin America for jobs of training and intelligence gathering and for other military missions that, along with other US aid programs to the region, are carried out under the heading of the old war on drugs scheme, despite calls for a change in anti-drug policies, a new report on United States security assistance in the hemisphere concludes.

The report, published today by three centers for research and analysis – the Latin America Working Group Education Fund (LAWGEF), the Center for International Policy (CIP) and the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), which maintain a joint data bank on United States assistance programs for Latin America – shows that although the level of US assistance has been reduced to one of the lowest in a decade, what is of concern is a greater emphasis on less transparent military relations and deafness to the growing chorus throughout the hemisphere in favor of a rethinking prohibitionist drug policies. (more…)

In Brazil, a new political culture

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

x zibechiAn interview with Raúl Zibechi

[Translation of an interview from Brasil de Fato of São Paulo for September 16, 2013. See original here and related article here.]

By Waldo Lao

“The old needs to learn from the new.” That is the opinion that Uruguayan writer and journalist Raúl Zibechi, a specialist in the organizing processes of Latin American social movements, expressed in reference to the current state of the popular struggle in Brazil since the demonstrations in June.

Present at the Escuelita Zapatista in Chiapas, Mexico, he believes that in a large part of the social struggle there is a strong rejection of the alliance between the country’s bourgeoisie and the union elite. “The lives of the poor have changed but not their place in the structure,” he emphasizes.

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Brasil de Fato – Raúl, you are going to be introducing your latest book, Brasil Potencia, in several universities in Mexico City. How do you view the demonstrations that have been occurring in Brazil since June?

Raúl Zibechi – They are wonderful. It seems to me that for the first time since 1989, Brazil is witnessing a great urban mobilization, in a much greater way than the demonstrations against Fernando Collor de Mello in 1992. I have the impression that the center of resistance is moving from the countryside to the city. I think that there is a change, a great political change in Brazil, and that this is a combination of the resistance against the construction of the Belo Monte plant and the Movimento Passe Livre (MPL – The Free Fare Movement for free public transportation), which are organized in dozens of cities. (more…)

El Salvador: More than 40 women jailed for abortion

Monday, September 16th, 2013

Some 129 women tried and 49 sent to prison for unintentional abortions

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

By Gloria Morán

Cristina Quintanilla is a 27-year-old woman who in 2004 had the misfortune of going from the hospital to the jail. She was charged with having inflicted on herself an abortion when she was five months pregnant. Cristina says that she did not cause it and that almost ten years later she still does not know why she lost her child.

“I was pregnant. I was with my partner. I was happy. All I have left are the little clothes because I was excited about celebrating my baby shower. But I lost my baby on October 26, 2004. I was dying of anguish, I was repeating to myself, ‘My god, I think it is enough that I lost my baby, but now they are trying to charge me with something that never was,’” the young mother of two said. (more…)

Chile: An economic plan drawn up 40 years ago

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

x chile copperNeoliberalism in the extreme

[Translation of an article from Punto Final for September 6, 2013, as republished in Clarín of Santiago on September 8. See original here.]

By Paul Walder

It’s been 40 years since the coup d’état. A period that has passed with the slowness of social paralysis, of frozen consciences. A period that has allowed for the installation by force of the most unbridled capitalism on the planet, a model that was later to be adjusted and perfected until its consolidation.

It has been four decades divided into two great stages, the first under the harshness of dictatorial violence, the second marked by the seductive pleasures of consumption. If in other places and other epochs those 40 years were long enough for several wars and revolutions, Chile after the coup and the repression fell into a heavy sleep that left the way clear for counter-revolution and the collapse of all its social and labor conquests. Chile, which at the beginning of the ‘70s of the last century passed through a singular revolutionary process without a shot being fired, began the next century with an economic and social structure more fitting to the 19th century. The oligarchy, made up of a few traditional families and other more recent arrivals, took possession of the country, of its natural resources and of the lives of millions of workers and consumers. (more…)

Dominican Government signs agreement with Barrick Gold

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

State will receive 51.3% of profits from Pueblo Viejo mine

[Translation of an article from Listín Diario of Santo Domingo for September 6, 2013. See original here and related articles here and here.]

by Adriana Peguero

The government and the Barrick Gold mining company reached an agreement yesterday by which the Dominican state will receive revenue of around US$11.615 billion during the life of the project, assuming an average price of US$1,600 per ounce of gold.

The agreement was announced during an act in the Green Room of the National Palace by the minister of the presidency, Gustavo Montalvo, who stated that the contract signed by Barrick Gold [Pueblo Viejo affiliate] president Manuel Rocha will be sent to the national congress in the next few days for approval. (more…)

Paraguay: President Cartes can now use armed forces against any threat

Monday, September 2nd, 2013
((Cartes reviews the troops -- AP photo by César Olmedo))

((Cartes reviews the troops — AP photo by César Olmedo))

Militarization is now the law

[Translation of an article from Página/12 of Buenos Aires, Argentina, for August 23, 2013. See original here and related article here.]

By Diego Brom

Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes will be able to use the military to fight against armed groups, by the provisions of a bill that was passed by Congress yesterday. The [leftist opposition party] Frente Guasú is against the measure because it believes it gives the president extraordinary powers.

Cartes will be able to send in the armed forces “to take on any form of foreign or domestic aggression that endangers the sovereignty, the independence or the territorial integrity of the country,” according to the legislation approved in record time by both chambers after the killing of five people on Saturday at a farm in the Tacuatí district, some 350 kilometers north of Asunción, which was attributed to the so-called Ejército Popular Paraguayo (EPP). (more…)