Archive for October, 2013

Mexico: Cyber espionage and the hypocrisy of the presidents

Monday, October 28th, 2013

[Translation of an article from Proceso of Mexico City for October 22, 2013. See original here.]

By Jenaro Villamil

Mexico City – United States interference in the country’s fundamental decisions was never a problem of state for Felipe Calderón. The PAN [Partido Acción Nacional] president opened to the North Americans the doorways, the archives, the intelligence files on energy matters, on national security and on big business in Mexico.

The problem for him was that others learned of Washington’s lack of esteem for his bold and failed “war on drugs.” Or that, in fact, they saw him as a weak and sham president and, therefore, more vulnerable to pressure from the empire.

Calderón became angry with ambassador Carlos Pascual when Wikileaks disclosed State Department cables in which the diplomat, perhaps the most astute in recent years, sent a hard-hitting file describing Calderón’s war as a failure, all the while smiling at the president in Los Pinos. (more…)

The case of Haiti brings to light weaknesses in Brazilian foreign policy

Saturday, October 26th, 2013

Despite the Defense Ministry’s favoring more involvement in peace missions, Brazil has proven to be unprepared to deal with the consequences

[Translation of an article from Carta Maior of São Paulo for October 17, 2013. See original here and related articles here and here.]

By João Fernando Finazzi

At the time of renewal for one more year of the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Stabilization of Haiti (MINUSTAH), which would have ended this week, Brazil remains in military command of the multilateral mission after more than nine years as the country with the most troops in Haitian territory. If there were reasonable arguments for its existence initially, its continuation is looked upon currently with ever more doubt.

Haitian activist Colette Lespinasse of the Groupement d’Appui aux Rapatriés et Réfugiés (GARR — Support Group for Repatriates and Refugees) believes the MINUSTAH intervention “makes no sense” once the goals expressed for its creation, like the restoration of order and the disarming of groups that threatened internal stability,were achieved. Lepinasse also points out that “given that direct occupation by a country like the United States was not possible,” the UN’s multilateralism made it possible for “emerging countries, like Brazil,” to take on that function. (more…)

Mexico: Storms bring deepening of poverty to La Montaña

Sunday, October 20th, 2013

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for October 17, 2013. See original here.]

By Angélica Enciso L.

In La Montaña, Guerrero, the poorest region of the country, the disasters brought on by the storms in September have caused poverty in many communities to revert to the levels of 50 years ago or earlier.

People sleep outdoors on mats and under tarps held up by poles; they no longer have even their wooden houses and they flee to the agricultural fields of other states. The economy is stagnant and the corn crops have been lost, researchers Sergio Silva and Araceli Damián say.

On the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (October 17), this is the scenario faced in the region of La Montaña, where Cochoapa el Grande is located, the poorest municipality in Mexico, according to the Consejo Nacional de Evaluación de la Política de Desarrollo Social. Instead of advances, the area has moved backwards, according to the experts. To be found there as well are the five municipalities with the lowest index of human development in Mexico, according to data that the United Nations Development Program will release in a few days.

(more…)

Guatemala, free trade and the campesinos

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

hernandez1[Translation of an article from Carta Maior of São Paulo, Brazil, for October 12, 2013. See original here and related articles here, here and here.]

By Leonardo Wexell Severo

In an interview with Carta Maior, Daniel Pascual Hernández, coordinator general of the Comité de Unidad Campesina (CUC) of Guatemala, explains the motives that drive about one of every nine Guatemalans to migrate to the United States and points out the effects of the Free Trade Agreements, of embassies being turned into business offices for multinational corporations in the Caribbean. “The spoils of war are in the presidency, the business center for concessions, for the privatization of the national heritage,” he declares.
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Carta Maior: How does the Comité de Unidad Campesina analyze the present clashes in the Guatemalan countryside?

Daniel Pascual Hernández: We have a high level of concentration of land ownership, which makes the struggle over land in Guatemala quite similar to those in Brazil and Latin America as a whole. From the agrarian point of view, capitalism was instituted in 1871, with coffee, cotton and later with bananas, raw materials for export. That monoculture brought with it a peculiarity: the concentration of land together with the oppression of the indigenous. The law on land began by handing the territory over to the invaders, the colonialists, leaving aside belts so the indigenous would not revolt. There was a period of advances from 1944 to 1954, the decade of democracy, under the governments of Juan José Arévalo and Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán, but then came the United States invasion. (more…)

Venezuela: A familiar recipe for destabilization

Friday, October 11th, 2013

[Translation of an article from El Clarín of Santiago, Chile, for October 6, 2013. See original here and related articles here and here.]

By Frida Modak

There has been a change in the past few months in the Venezuelan opposition’s strategy. They no longer stress the supposed electoral fraud, as they did right after the presidential elections.

As far as is known, no change has been announced resulting from the reviews electoral authorities have made, so we should wonder what has brought about this new attitude and when.

And if we look for an answer, we find that this new attitude coincides with the trip defeated candidate Enrique Capriles made to Chile, where he met with the leaders of some political parties for whom he has a certain affinity. (more…)

Venezuela: Between disenchantment and patience

Sunday, October 6th, 2013
((El Faro photo))

((El Faro photo))

Nicolás Maduro is not Hugo Chávez

[Translation of an article from El Faro of San Salvador, El Salvador, for October 4, 2013. See original here and related articles here and here.]

By Valeria Pacheco

Caracas, Venezuela – “I can’t get rice, flour, oil or butter. You have to search for food from one supermarket to another and everything is more expensive, I barely have enough money,” says Isabel Sánchez at the exit of an informal market in the populous district of Petare, in eastern Caracas.

Six months after the start of the administration of President Nicolás Maduro, who assumed office on April 19, Venezuelans face a cumulative inflation through August of 32.9 percent (the highest in Latin America) and a cyclical shortage of goods that has gotten worse in the past few weeks. (more…)