Archive for June, 2014

Colombia: What is the opposition going to do?

Sunday, June 29th, 2014
 ((Álvaro Uribe  -- Semana photo by Diana Acosta))

((Álvaro Uribe — Semana photo by Diana Acosta))

After failing to remove Juan Manuel Santos from the Casa de Nariño, former president Uribe’s opposition will move from Twitter to the Senate

[Translation of an unsigned article from Semana of Bogotá for June 16, 2014. See original here and related articles here, here and here.]

For two years Álvaro Uribe, the most popular politician in the recent history of Colombia, set for himself the goal of preventing the re-election of his immediate successor and heir, Juan Manuel Santos. He turned his Twitter account, with its more than three million followers, into an anti-administration platform; he created the Centro Democrático party, the main opposition block in the new congress, with him in the lead; and with its backing he carried Óscar Iván Zuluaga to within a few percentage points of the Casa de Nariño [seat of the executive branch].

Beyond defeating the Uribista candidate, Santos defeated his mentor, transformed for more than half his first term into his Nemesis. The main reason the re-election campaign did not turn out to be a leisurely exercise, like other recent experiences in Latin America, was Uribe’s determined opposition. The former president was also responsible for exposing and exploiting the current president’s mistakes, in one of the most intense, litigious and aggressive electoral contests in recent history. The relative weakness with which Santos will begin his second term compared with his first is due almost entirely to the attacks by Uribe and his followers. (more…)

Brazil: Hostility against Dilma has a color and a class

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

The Brazil that cheers for the team at home and in public places reacts to the elite who paid high prices to curse President Dilma Rousseff

[Translation of an article from Carta Maior of São Paulo for June 15, 2014. See original here and related articles here,  here and here.]

By Najla Passos

Brasilia – President Dilma Rousseff reacted on Friday to the curses she heard from the privileged fans who could afford the admission prices set by FIFA for the opening match of the World Cup in Itaquerão, in São Paulo.

During the inauguration of the first stage of the southern line of the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) in the Federal District, one more of the “World Cup projects,” which they kept telling us would never be ready, she recalled that not even the physical assaults she suffered during the dictatorship intimidated her to the point of diverting her from her path and that of her companions. (more…)

Two years after Curuguaty massacre, Paraguayan campesinos denounce persecution

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

03-Hugo-ValienteLeaders claim landless workers are prevented from even growing food for their families

[Translation of an article from Opera Mundi of São Paulo for June 16, 2014. See original here and go here for more articles on the Curuguaty massacre and its consequences.]

By Vanessa Martina Silva

“One day we decided to plant cassava, corn and beans to feed the families displaced in the Curuguaty massacre. A week later, we got a notice. They accused us of trespassing on private property.” This story was told to Opera Mundi by Martina Paredes, a member of the committee of victims of the massacre, which occurred two years ago this Sunday, June 15. In her defense, she says that the families needed the crops in order to survive.

Martina lost two brothers, Fermín and Luis Paredes, in the confrontation, which resulted in 17 deaths, eleven of them campesinos and six of them policemen. Four of her 11 siblings were living on the settlement. She was not at the scene of the tragedy but in a neighboring settlement. “But that June 15 changed my life,” she says. (more…)

Brazil: If the Right should win

Saturday, June 7th, 2014

[Translation of an op-ed from Brasil de Fato of São Paulo for June 5, 2014. See original here.]

by Igor Fuser

In this year’s presidential elections [on October 5], Brazil is facing the risk of a brutal political regression, with the eventual return to the federal government of the forces of the Right, represented principally by tucano [of the centrist Social Democracy Party] candidate Aécio Neves. If that happens we will have a change of direction toward a more unequal, more authoritarian, more conservative country. It is self-deception to imagine a simple return to the times of FHC [Fernando Henrique Cardoso, tucano, president from 1995 to 2003]. In order to understand what may lie ahead, it is better to think of the United States Tea Party, Colombian uribismo [policies of rightist former president Álvaro Uribe], the Ukrainian Right. (more…)

Peace in Latin America at stake in Colombian election

Sunday, June 1st, 2014
((Zuluaga and Uribe -- El Clarín photo))

((Zuluaga and Uribe — El Clarín photo))

[Translation of an article from El Clarín of Santiago, Chile, for May 29, 2014. See original here.]

By Ángel Guerra Cabrera

The runoff in the Colombian presidential elections on June 15 will be of exceptional importance for Latin America and the Caribbean.

If Uribista candidate Óscar Iván Zuluaga, whose dirty war campaign was managed by [former President Álvaro] Uribe, should prevail, the peace process in Havana between the FARC and the Colombian government would cease and the country would fall into a bloody intensification of the hostilities with this guerrilla and with the ELN [Ejército de Liberación Nacional].

Zuluaga based his campaign on an iron fist against the guerrilla and declared the day after his winning the first round that he would suspend the peace talks in Havana provisionally until the FARC, which he describes as the largest drug cartel in the world, agrees to a unilateral ceasefire and other onerous conditions. This is the equivalent of asking the guerrilla to surrender unconditionally, which would put an end to the promising peace process. (more…)