Archive for February, 2015

Soft coups: A textbook case in Argentina

Saturday, February 28th, 2015

cristina_fernandez_0801[Translation of an article from El Clarín de Chile of Santiago for February 22, 2015. See original here.]

By Guillermo Almeyra

The new kind of coups d’état don’t use armies but are formally institutional. President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras was ousted by parliament, as was Bishop Fernando Lugo, the president of Paraguay. Rafael Correa in Ecuador experienced an attempted coup by the police; Evo Morales in Bolivia was subjected to one by the oligarchies that ruled the eastern regions; Hugo Chávez, one by the bureaucrats and technocrats who controlled the petroleum company PDVSA, the country’s source of currency, and his successor, Nicolás Maduro, an attempt by big business, organizers of the hoarding of essential goods and illegal capital flight.

Dilma Rousseff, in turn, is currently facing a campaign for impeachment and Cristina Fernández in Argentina has faced, successively, speculation against the peso to force devaluation, a judicial attack in the United States by the vulture funds to provoke a wave of collections that would force Argentina into bankruptcy and, since January, preparations for a judicial coup based on the dubious suicide of prosecutor Alberto Nisman. In an incoherent proceeding lacking any proof and refuted by Interpol, the latter had charged the president and her foreign affairs minister with covering up for the Iranians, who had supposedly organized the July 18, 1994, attack on the Asociación Israelita Argentina (AMIA – Argentine Jewish Association), which resulted in 85 deaths and 300 injuries. (more…)

Mexico: Anger and justice in Ayotzinapa

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

x ayotzinapa-march[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for February 14, 2015. See original here and related articles here, here and here.]

By Tanalis Padilla

Four and a half months after the murders of three normal school students and the disappearance of 43 of their classmates, the Ayotzinapa students, the parents and a considerable portion of the national and international community are still in struggle. While the government tries to have the investigation over and done with and its apologists have tried to blame the students themselves for the violence of which they were the victims, the demonstrations for the disappeared still express anger and seek justice.

With a total of 100,000 dead and 20,000 disappeared since former President Felipe Calderón declared his war on drugs, it would seem that we have gotten used to (or worse yet accepted) the absurd level of violence his initiative, carried on by President Enrique Peña Nieto, has engendered. That is why it seemed obvious at first for the government to dismiss the attacks of September 26 and 27 as just another half a hundred victims. They have tried to portray it as a merely local matter, as fights between criminal gangs, like an exceptional case that has nothing to do with structural injustice, like anything except what it is: a state crime. (more…)

Honduras: Re-election or constituent assembly?

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

[Translation of an article from Contralínea of Mexico City for February 6, 2015. See original here and related articles here and here.]

by Daniel Urbino

Honduras is being visited by ghosts from the recent past. Some political sectors are moving pieces on the chess board and sparking debate on the need for a constituent assembly, for allowing re-election or for maintaining the status quo.

The dispute gained strength on December 8, 2014, when more than a dozen congress members from the ruling Partido Nacional (PN) and one from the Unificación Democrática submitted an appeal to the supreme court on the constitutionality of an article of the Honduran constitution. The article, number 239, declares that a citizen who has held the position of head of the executive branch cannot become president again. Anyone violating this provision or proposing its reform, as well as those who support [its reform], directly or indirectly, will immediately surrender their respective positions and will remain ineligible for any public function for ten years, the provision further states.

This is not the first time the topic has been taken up in Honduras. In 2009, then President Manuel Zelaya promoted what was known as the “fourth ballot,” a non-binding survey to determine if the people were in favor of a constitutional reform or not. This would take place on the same day as the elections of the president, congress members and mayors, for which reason it was called the “fourth ballot.” (more…)