Archive for the ‘Latin America’ Category

The consolidation of the Latin American Left

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

[Translation of an article from Carta Maior of São Paulo, Brazil, for October 29, 2014. See original here and related articles here and here.]

by Emir Sader

There has been much talk recently of an eventual end to the cycle of progressive government in Latin America. Real difficulties in countries like Venezuela and Argentina, added to a slowing of the pace of expansion of the region’s economies, have fed these speculations.

This year’s electoral calendar could be a test of the vigor of these governments. The year began with the inauguration of Michele Bachelet in Chile, who defeated Sebastián Piñera. Soon afterward, the Frente Farabundo Martí elected the president of El Salvador. In October Evo Morales was re-elected in the first round of voting. Now Dilma is re-elected and Tabaré Vázquez’s performance in the first round has made him the favorite for continuation of Frente Amplio administrations in Uruguay. (more…)

The conservative restoration in Latin America

Monday, September 8th, 2014

[Translation of an editorial from Página12 of Buenos Aires for September 6, 2014. See original here.]

By Emir Sader

The failure of the military coup against the government of Hugo Chávez in 2002 left the Latin American Right practically disarmed in the face of the proliferating progressive governments of the continent. Since then, it has managed to regain only two governments through bloodless coups – those of Honduras and Paraguay – where the processes of change had not yet managed to gain strength.

But there are signs of a rebuilding of conservative forces in countries on the continent with progressive governments. The threats to continuity in countries like Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina, as well as the problems faced in Venezuela, and, in a different way, even in Ecuador, indicate a phenomenon of this kind.

What do these conservative attacks consist of and how are they carried out? (more…)

Power, and Barrick Gold, corrupt: they take the gold and leave the cyanide

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

gold_barrick[Translation of an article from El Clarín of Santiago, Chile, for August 25, 2014. See original here and go here for more information.]

By Alicia Gariazzo

Eighty percent of the gold produced in the world is for jewelry. Supplying the gold for a wedding ring takes 18 tons of earth and leaves 12 cubic meters of waste. The low-grade mineral that is dug up is sprayed with a solution of cyanide, which releases tiny particles of gold as it lixiviates, or filters through. The waste cyanide is carried away in water through pipes to the tailings dams. The dams are left uncovered so the cyanide can disintegrate and the water can evaporate. Close to 100 toxic chemicals and heavy metals are released as the cyanide breaks down.

They remain intact after the process and they cannot be removed from an area several kilometers in diameter. One teaspoon of a two-percent solution can kill an adult. The method of lixiviation, banned in Canada and throughout the industrialized world, requires 180 tons of cyanide a month, which, since it is imported, has to be transported over land from the ports of entry. Another method, used less often, is amalgamation based on mercury. Modern dentistry now prohibits the use of the amalgam in teeth because of the secondary effect the mercury produces, even in small quantities. (more…)

“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…)

The governments of Latin America after Chávez

Monday, May 6th, 2013

[Translation of an opinion piece from La Jornada of Mexico City for May 5, 2013. See original here.]

By Guillermo Almeyra

From the point of view of governments and institutions, the changes in Latin America brought about by the death of Hugo Chávez are important but not fundamental. The Venezuelan revolutionary process is weaker and its adversaries are therefore stronger, but if the leadership of the state and of the PSUV (Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela) are determined, with the support of their bases, to radicalize and deepen transformation of the country, if they reduce waste and improve somewhat the distribution of food and goods, social change could take a new leap forward, since the current moderate recovery in consumption and production in the United States, Venezuela’s principal market, gives certain stability to the price of oil.

This is the basis, on the other hand, of the security offered by the Maduro administration to Cuba, ALBA (Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América — Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America) and the Caribbean against the uproar of the Venezuelan Right about the “giveaway” of oil and financial support to Venezuela’s allies and against the same concessions of this kind that the right-wing Chavistas want to make to the anti-Chavista Right. At the same time, in Brazil, with next year’s elections impending, the Right does not seem to have either a clear candidate or the possibility of winning; the economy is somewhat better and the government enjoys the support of the transnationals, agribusiness and domestic large-scale capital, to which it has made considerable concessions, and it does not face strong social protests. (more…)

Thatcher, the legacy

Friday, April 12th, 2013

x thatcherpinochet[Translation of an article from El Clarín of Santiago, Chile, for April 9, 2013. See original here.]

by Pedro Miguel

The first instance of Thatcherism took place six years before Margaret Thatcher arrived at the head of the British government; specifically, it began on September 11, 1973, when a group of military men — urged on by Richard Nixon, his secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, then Vice President Gerald Ford and George Bush, senior, who was serving as Washington’s representative to the UN — destroyed Chilean democracy, assassinated thousands of citizens, kidnapped, jailed and tortured tens of thousands. Tens of thousands more were to leave in exile. Once installed, the dictatorship headed by Augusto Pinochet dissolved Congress, declared political parties illegal and, a couple of years later, handed economic management over to a small group of post-graduates from the University of Chicago, where Milton Friedman was teaching, hence the name Chicago Boys: Sergio de Castro, José Piñera, Jorge Cauas, Pablo Barahona… (more…)

Marta Harnecker: activist, writer, teacher

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Her views on the Latin American Left today

[Translation of an interview from Folha de São Paulo for August 28, 2012. See original here.]

by Eleonora de Lucena

She defines herself as a Marxist-Leninist “popular educator.” A Chilean, she was a student of philosopher Louis Althusser, a Catholic student leader and a member of the socialist government of Salvador Allende. She married one of the commanders of the Cuban revolution, Manuel Piñeiro or “Barba Roja,” and in the 2000s she became an adviser to Hugo Chávez.

Marta Harnecker says she has written more than 80 books. The best known, Conceptos Elementales del Materialismo Histórico (The Basic Concepts of Historical Materialism), from the 1960s, has sold more than a million copies and is in its 67th edition. At 75, she travels throughout Latin America and says she is optimistic; the United States no longer does what it wants in the region and the concept of sovereignty has spread. (more…)

A conversation with Eduardo Galeano

Friday, July 27th, 2012

((El Mostrador photo))

“Two centuries of workers’ gains thrown into the garbage can”

[Translation of an interview by BBC World as published in El Mostrador of Santiago, Chile, for July 24, 2012. See original here.]

“This is a violent and deceitful world but we cannot lose hope and enthusiasm for changing it,” Eduardo Galeano declares.

The Uruguayan writer, his continent’s literary historian in works like The Open Veins of Latin America and the trilogy Memories of Fire, spoke with BBC World on the latest events in Latin America and the world economic crisis.

From his usual table in the centrally located Café Brasilero, leaving the cold of the southern hemisphere winter outside, he insists,“The greatness of humanity is in the small things that are done every day, day in, day out, that nameless people do without knowing they are doing them.” (more…)

A serious threat, from the Río Bravo to Patagonia

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

[Translation of an article from El Clarín of Santiago, Chile, for July 5, 2012. See original here.]

By Ángel Guerra Cabrera

The coup d’état against the president of Paraguay, Fernando Lugo, calls for a revision of strategy and tactics by the progressive governments and popular forces of Latin America.

It should be remembered that the United States has at its disposal a large runway in Mariscal Estigarribia, in the Paraguayan Chaco, ready for Galaxy transport planes and B-52 bombers. It was constructed in agreement with the very oligarchical parties that staged the parliamentary coup against Lugo, who have also approved beforehand the incursion of United States troops into the country, recent signs indicating that their presence will be made permanent. (more…)

Resurgence of gold fever endangers forests and peoples of Latin America

Monday, May 14th, 2012

 

((Construction of a road leading to deposits of gold, silver and copper in Trou du Nord, Haiti — AP photo))

[Translation of an article by Agence France Presse as published in La Jornada of Mexico City on May 13.  See original here.]

A resurgent gold fever has put Latin America at risk: tropical forests devastated by illegal operations where the law of the jungle rules, local communities at war against investment projects by large international mining companies.

The appetite for gold and other metals has generated a boom for informal mining, especially in Peru, Colombia and Bolivia, and put the formal industry at a peak, with projected investments of 300 billion dollars by 2020, according to the Sociedad Interamericana de Minería.

Regardless, 162 conflicts over mining have broken out all over the region because of the opposition of local communities to projects they see as threats, especially because of their great consumption of water, according to the Observatorio de Conflictos Mineros de América Latina. (more…)

After Cartagena scandal, sex workers demand rights

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

[Translations of two articles from May 8, 2012, one by the Spanish news agency Efe as published in Crítica of Panama, the other by Agence France Presse as it appeared in La Prensa of Panama. See originals here and here.]

Persecution of prostitutes denounced

After the scandal involving United States Secret Service agents and sex workers, Colombian authorities have unleashed a witch hunt against sex workers, a regional organization defending their rights charged today in Panama.

On the eve of the Summit of the Americas held in Cartagena de Indias in April, Secret Service agents hired prostitutes but then refused to pay what they had agreed to for their services, Elena Reinaga, president of the Red de Trabajadoras Sexuales de Latinoamérica y el Caribe (Redtrasex – Network of Sex Workers of Latin America and the Caribbean) declared on Tuesday.

“The girls did nothing more than denounce the abuse and a witch hunt started… not only against them (those directly involved) but the police came out persecuting many others,” Reinaga stated in a press conference. (more…)

Left movements and the end of capitalism

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

[Translation of an essay from La Jornada of Mexico City for January 13, 2012. See original here and the article by Immanuel Wallerstein referred to here.]

by Raúl Zibechi

The current world crisis is breaking the planet up into regions in such a way that the world system is approaching an accelerating disarticulation. One of the effects of this growing regionalization of the planet is that political, social and economic processes do not manifest themselves in the same way in all parts of the world and divergences are produced – bifurcations perhaps, in the future – between the center and the periphery.

For anti-system forces this global disarticulation renders the design of a single and unique planetary strategy impossible and makes attempts to establish universal tactics useless. Although there are inspirations in common and shared general objectives, the different paces shown in the transition toward post-capitalism and the notable differences between anti-systemic subjects work against generalizations. (more…)