« July 2010 »
S M T W T F S
1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31
You are not logged in. Log in
Joe Anybody Latin America Solidarity
Wednesday, 7 July 2010
Janet Napolitano and Salvadoran Foreign Minister Hugo Martinez today forged an agreement
Mood:  loud
Now Playing: El Salvador and US - Be Aware of the Spin of this collaberation
Topic: USA IMPERIALISM

Readout of Today's Meeting Between Secretary Napolitano and Minister Martinez

Release Date: June 23, 2010

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary

Department of Homeland Security
Contact: 202-282-8010

http://www.dhs.gov/ynews/releases/pr_1277325381132.shtm

Washington, D.C.—Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

Secretary Janet Napolitano and Salvadoran Foreign Minister Hugo Martinez today forged an agreement between the United States and El Salvador that will strengthen the capabilities of both countries to share information about criminal nationals repatriated to El Salvador or to the United States—bolstering efforts to combat transnational crime and safeguard public safety.

“The United States and El Salvador share a strong commitment to working together to protect the safety of our citizens,” said Secretary Napolitano. “Today’s agreement will help ensure that we are able to easily share information about criminals who may pose a threat to public safety in either of our nations.”

“The signing of this letter is extremely important for El Salvador, as this will allow us to advance in the exchange of information of Salvadorans returnees with criminal records, critical to our homeland security,” said Minister Martinez. “We are pleased to have this kind of agreement with the United States, and which is indicative of the excellent bilateral relations between our countries.”

During the meeting, Secretary Napolitano and Minister Martinez discussed the ongoing and vital collaboration between their two countries—and highlighted ways to further increase cooperation and information-sharing in the future.


Posted by Joe Anybody at 8:46 AM
Saturday, 5 June 2010
Bmedia Collective Portland Oregon
Mood:  bright
Now Playing: Bmedia Collective Portland Oregon Website is Recomended
Topic: Organizing-Activism-Info

Bmedia collective

out of Portland Oregon is engaged

and covering the Venezuela

and Bolvarian Revolution.

They have a website link here:

http://bmediacollective.org/?page_id=16

 

 

 


Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:24 PM
Updated: Saturday, 5 June 2010 12:30 PM
Podcast #10 "The Imperfect Revolution"
Mood:  chatty
Now Playing: Eva Golinger writes it, Joe Anybody reads it
Topic: Venezuela Solidarity

My podcast of Eva Golingers recent post to Venezuela Analysis .com

 

To listen just right click the link then "save Target as" 

 click here to download PODCAST #10

 


On May 25th 2010 I read for my podcast #10
The article which is titled
"Venezuela: The Imperfect Revolution"

By Eva Golinger - (The Chavez Code)

The original article that was read for podcast 10 was found at this link:

http://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/5384

(quote)

If you come to Venezuela with glistening eyes, expecting to see the revolution of a romantic and passionate novel, don’t be disappointed when the complexities of reality burst your bubble. While revolution does withhold a sense of romanticism, it’s also full of human error and the grit of everyday life in a society – a nation – undertaking the difficult and tumultuous process of total transformation.

Nothing is perfect here, in the country sitting on the world’s largest oil reserves. But everything is fascinating and intriguing, and the changes from past to present become more visible and tangible every day.

(end quote)


Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:16 PM
Updated: Saturday, 5 June 2010 12:22 PM
Another Mrder In Broad Daylight In Honduras
Mood:  don't ask
Now Playing: Murder and oppresion in Honduras Continues
Topic: Honduras Solidarity

 

 

 

ORIGINAL ARTICLE IS HERE:

http://www.rel-uita.org/internacional/honduras/democradura/una_caceria_humana-eng.htm


 

A little after noon on Wednesday, Feb. 24, in the city of San Pedro Sula, there was a knock on the door at Claudia Larissa Brizuela's house, where she was celebrating her 36th birthday. As soon as she opened the door she was gunned down, with three shots to the head that killed instantly. Claudia was an active member of the trade union of employees of the Mayor's Office, where she worked. She was also the daughter of Pedro Brizuela, a prominent local leader of the National Popular Resistance Front (FNRP).

 

This new terrorist killing occurred just before a large mobilization planned by FNRP for the capital, Tegucigalpa, to protest against the Truth Commission, which is seen as a way of guaranteeing that all the criminals involved in the coup and the ensuing savage repression will not be punished.

 

Claudia is the third deadly victim of the government of Porfirio Lobo, who's only been in office one month. Vanessa Zepeda and Julio Funes had already been slain this past month in similar circumstances.

 

Pedro Brizuela, Claudia's father, linked the murder to his FNRP activities and to an attempt to terrorize anyone who dares to fight for democracy in Honduras.

 

The repression is now targeting women in particular, as several women have reported that they've been receiving threat calls and are being harassed, also by phone, by unidentified callers who announce the death of their children or of somebody close to them. One woman was followed by a car and another was brutally beaten, losing an eye and several teeth and suffering back injuries.

 

This selective violence against low-ranking FNRP, trade union and social organization leaders has intensified since Jan. 28, when Porfirio Lobo took office. His security minister, Oscar Álvarez, has stated publicly that the resistance must be eradicated because "there's no longer any reason for it to exist."

 

The strategy deployed by Honduras' Intelligence Services consists of sowing terror through highly public, almost televised, killings of low-ranking leaders, sparing, for the time being, the more prominent leaders of the opposition. This strategy has apparently a double aim: intimidating the people with a state-terrorism-type "low-intensity hunt" while, supposedly, avoiding major national and international scandals that would be triggered by the killing of more well-known figures.

 

This regime is not governing democratically; it is not a democracy. And already there are people who have paid with their lives, demonstrating the true nature of the government. It's not by chance that Porfirio Lobo's leading security advisor is José Félix Ramajo, an ISA (International Security Academy) instructor, with connections to the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service.

 

Honduras is seeing the reemergence of the state terrorism it suffered in the 1980s, but with a slight difference: the perpetration of selective killings targeting low-rankings activists. There are no massacres, no mutilated or dismembered bodies dumped in the suburbs; there are no high-profile assassination as of yet. The form of repression carried out now is much more perverse, because it uses the media to broadcast the killings and convey a clear message: "You could be the next victim; or your children, or your relatives, or your friends." Anyone can be next. It spreads a terror magnified by impunity to an almost universal scale.

 

What mind is capable of conceiving this kind of strategy? Just putting it into words is repugnant.

 

Rel-UITA, the IUF's Latin American Office, once again holds President Porfirio Lobo responsible for these murders, along with all the governments that supported the process that led to the ousting of Manuel Zelaya and the establishment of this terrorist dictatorship disguised as a democracy.

 

The blood of Claudia, of Vanessa, of Julio and of all the other victims of state terrorism in Honduras should stain the spotless offices of the White House. The inconsolable cries of eight-year-old Eduard and two-year-old Said, Claudia's orphans, should resound in the broad and elegant halls of the U.S. presidency and fill its war-spreading peace-talking President with shame.

 

Rel-UITA condemns this and all other murders committed against the Honduran people as they fought for their rights, for their democracy, and it will go on denouncing without pause the true perpetrators of these crimes against humanity.

 

The international community must react quickly and forcefully to condemn the governments that support these inhumane regime.

 


 

 

Il 24 febbraio, poco dopo mezzogiorno, nella città di San Pedro Sula, qualcuno ha bussato alla porta di Claudia Larissa Brizuela, che stava compiendo 36 anni. Aprendo ha ricevuto tre pallottole alla testa, morendo sul colpo. Claudia era militante nel sindacato del Comune dove lavorava e figlia di Pedro Brizuela, connotato dirigente locale del Fronte Nazionale di Resistenza Popolare (FNRP). 

 

Questo nuovo omicidio terroristico è accaduto alla vigilia di una grande mobilitazione organizzata dal FNRP nella capitale, Tegucigalpa, in rifiuto alla Commissione della Verità, considerata come la via d’uscita verso l'impunità per tutti i criminali coinvolti nel colpo di Stato e nella selvaggia repressione che è seguita. 

 

Claudia è la terza vittima mortale in questo primo mese di governo di Porfirio Lobo. Sono già stati assassinati in circostanze abbastanza simili Vanessa Zepeda e Julio Funes

 

Pedro Brizuela, padre di Claudia, ha relazionato l’omicidio di sua figlia con la sua partecipazione alle attività del FNRP e al tentativo di terrorizzare chi continua a sostenere la lotta per la democrazia in Honduras

 

La repressione sembra ora essere diretta soprattutto contro le donne, poiché sono varie quelle che hanno denunciato di avere ricevuto in questi giorni minacce telefoniche, come per esempio essere perseguitate da telefonate di persone che non si identificano e che annunciano la morte dei loro figli o di altri parenti. Una di esse è stata inseguita da un’auto, mentre un’altra è stata assalita e colpita ripetutamente, provocandole gravi ferite a un occhio, la perdita di vari denti e una lesione alla colonna vertebrale. 

 

La violenza selettiva contro dirigenti di base del FNRP, sindacati ed organizzazioni sociali si è incrementata a partire dallo scorso 28 gennaio, giorno successivo all’insediamento di Porfirio Lobo. Il suo ministro della Sicurezza, Óscar Álvarez, ha espresso pubblicamente che è necessario sradicare la resistenza in quanto “non ha più ragione di esistere” 

 

La strategia implementata dai Servizi Segreti honduregni consiste nel seminare il terrore mediante l’omicidio pubblico, quasi mediatico, dei e delle dirigenti di base, evitando –per adesso– le personalità più conosciute dell'opposizione. Questa strategia avrebbe il doppio effetto di installare una vera e propria “caccia all’uomo” di bassa intensità, con caratteristiche proprie del terrorismo di Stato per intimorire la popolazione e, allo stesso tempo, evitare maggiori scandali nazionali ed internazionali che provocherebbero gli omicidi di personalità conosciute. 

 

Questo regime non governa in democrazia, non è una democrazia. E sono già molte le persone che hanno pagato con la loro vita questa evidenza. Non è un caso, quindi, che il principale assessore del servizio di sicurezza di Porfirio Lobo sia José Félix Ramajo, istruttore dell'ISA (International Security Academy), con risaputi vincoli con i servizi segreti israeliani del Mossad

 

In Honduras si sta implementando una riedizione del terrorismo di Stato degli anni 80, ma con una variante: la selettività nel colpire la base. Non ci sono massacri collettivi, corpi mutilati, spezzati, abbandonati nelle periferie; non ci sono ancora “magnicidi”. Il concetto di repressione che si applica adesso è molto più perverso, perché utilizza la diffusione mediatica delle morti con un messaggio ben chiaro: “Il prossimo puoi essere tu, o tu, o i tuoi figli, parenti, amici o amiche". È la disseminazione di un terrore che l'impunità amplifica su scala quasi universale. 

 

Che genere di mente può produrre questo tipo di strategia? Solo enunciarlo fa venire la nausea. 

 

La Rel-UITA segnala nuovamente la responsabilità del presidente Porfirio Lobo in questi omicidi, così come quella dei governi che hanno sostenuto il processo che ha defenestrato Manuel Zelaya ed ha istaurato questa democratura terroristica. 

 

Il sangue di Claudia, di Vanessa, di Julio e di tutte le vittime del terrorismo di Stato in Honduras deve arrivare fino agli incontaminati uffici della Casa Bianca. Il pianto sconsolato di Eduard e Said, di otto e due anni rispettivamente, orfani di Claudia, deve rimbombare nei suoi ampi saloni e sui suoi ingioiellati muri e riempire di vergogna questo Presidente afroamericano che sparge la guerra e la morte parlando di pace. 

 

La Rel-UITA condanna questo e tutti gli omicidi perpetrati contro il popolo honduregno che lotta per la difesa dei suoi diritti, per la sua democrazia, e continuerà a denunciare permanentemente i veri responsabili di questi crimini di lesa umanità. 

 

La comunità internazionale deve reagire rapidamente ed energicamente, e condannare i governi che sostengono questo regime inumano.

 


Posted by Joe Anybody at 11:56 AM
Updated: Saturday, 5 June 2010 12:00 PM
Saturday, 15 May 2010
We will also speak with Eva Golinger on 4.7.10
Mood:  chatty
Now Playing: U.S. relations with Venezuela: Eva Golinger, a Venezuelan-American attorney explains..

Venezuela Bilateral Relations with the U.S.

Has the U.S. relations with Venezuela really changed with the Obama administration? Or is it more of the same as with Bush?



April 7 2010 Show -(DOWNLOAD LINK):

 http://dc.indymedia.org/usermedia/audio/10/lmc2010-04-07usmediaperceptiononvenezuela.mp3

 


7:42 /Andrew Willis Garces, of Save Our Safety Net - saveoursafetynet.com, raises concerns about $100 million in cuts in safety net programs by Mayor Fenty. Garces pointed out that people who make $40,000/year are paying the same DC taxes as those making millions in income, and the Mayor needs to collect more taxes from those with higher income.

The main focus of the show is correcting the mainstream media portrayal on Venezuela, specifically addressing these issues: Has the U.S. relations with Venezuela really changed with the Obama administration? Or is it more of the same as with Bush? Livia Suarez, press attache of Venezuela Embassy, and Eva Golinger, Venezuelan-American attorney speak

 

14:40 Livia Suarez (Embassy of Venezuela)

 

29.45 We will also speak with Eva Golinger, a Venezuelan-American attorney based in New York who has been referred to as La Novia de Venezuela" by Hugo Chavez.

And Livia Suarez, the press attache for the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

The Latino Media Collective can be heard every Wednesday from 7 to 8pm EST coast time on WPFW 89.3fm Washington DC and live online at wpfw.org.
The Latino Media Collective is a collective of Latino Americans producing progressive public affairs programs with in depth analysis affecting Latin Americans and communities in search of justice and equality around the world.

 

(recommended /more) - http://venezuela-us.org/


Posted by Joe Anybody at 5:43 PM
Wednesday, 14 April 2010
HUMAN RIGHTS DELEGATION TO HONDURAS, June 26-July 4, 2010
Mood:  energetic
Now Playing: consider joining this delegation - information is below
Topic: Honduras Solidarity

RIGHTS ACTION invites you to join a …

HUMAN RIGHTS DELEGATION TO HONDURAS, June 26-July 4, 2010

Since the June 28th oligarchic-military coup against the government of President Zelaya, Rights Action – along with other North American activist and solidarity groups – have been working hard to support the extraordinary anti-coup, pro-democracy movement.

Now that the illegal November 29th “elections” are over, now that the January 27, 2010 “transfer of power” to the new regime of Pepe Lobo, is over, this delegation will overlap with the first anniversary of the June 28, 2009, oligarchic-military coup that ousted the democratic government of President Zelaya.

Not just an educational delegation, this will be a human rights accompaniment and observation delegation.

Participants will learn about the background context that led to the June 28, 2009 oligarchic-military coup, about the courage and spirit of Honduras’ peaceful pro-democracy movement, about the repression being used by the oligarchic-military regime, about the long-term goals of the people’s movement to establish a National Constituent Assembly and to refound the Honduran State and society.

If you are considering joining this delegation, we urge you to read through our series of Honduras Coup Alerts, found at www.rightsaction.org.

THE PLAN:  Arrive in Tegucigalpa, Saturday, June 26th.  Depart from Tegucigalpa on Sunday July 4th.  There will be no activities on these travel days.  Over the 7 days in Honduras, the delegation group will meet with Hondurans and North Americans involved in the pro-democracy struggle and/or reporting on it; involved in human rights defense work; involved in the pro-democracy movement and the National Front Against the Coup.  The delegation may participate, as human rights observers, in pro-democracy marches or gatherings; the delegation may visit, as human rights observers, people illegally detained in jail.  Closer to the actual dates, Rights Action will set out a 7-day itinerary.

TYPE OF PARTICIPANT: There are no specific requirements for participation.  What we ask of interested people is that you accept that this is not some sort of “impartial”, “objective” investigation.  Rights Action is clearly critical of the illegal coup of June 2009 – effectively backed and legitimized by the governments of the USA and Canada – and of the repression and policies of the post-coup regimes since then.

This is an activist-oriented delegation.  We focus considerable discussion and debate on the policies and actions ‘the north’ – the governments of the USA and Canada, our companies, investors, banks, etc.  It is not a question of whether you agree or not with our vision of these issues, but that you are open to the critical debate and discussions that will occur.

Moreover, this is a serious human rights trip.  Members of the group will have to be flexible in terms of the itinerary we set up – that is likely to change as the days go by.  We encourage participants to do educational outreach and fund-raising work when they return home.  Group members will have to commit to abide by general guidelines as to how to act/ how not to act as a member of this international human rights delegation.  Spanish speaking ability is not necessary, but a bonus.  During the 7 days, Rights Action will provide translation for key meetings; but there will be times (during possible participation in marches and gatherings) when translation will not be possible.

COST: US$750, that includes 8 nights lodging and 2 meals/ day, over 7 days; delegation set-up, translation, in-country guiding and planning, etc; honorariums for some invited speakers.  Delegates are responsible for their travel to and from Honduras. 

RISK: We will have discussions with interested persons about the possible risks involved with this delegation, before people decide to join or not.  Having said this, a good number of international human rights delegations have visited Honduras sincce the June 28 coup.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Annie Bird, annie@rightsaction.org,

1-202-680-3002

* Please re-distribute this information *

 

 


Posted by Joe Anybody at 6:48 AM
Updated: Saturday, 5 June 2010 11:52 AM
Saturday, 10 April 2010
Great Speech by Chavez in Copenhagen
Mood:  energetic
Now Playing: Speech by Hugo Chavez at COP15 on Dec 18 2009
Topic: CHAVEZ

Posted by Joe Anybody at 8:01 PM
Tuesday, 6 April 2010
Internet - Media - The Truth - Venezuela - Blogs, twitter, and more
Mood:  energetic
Now Playing: Media and the Truth about it in Venezuela
Topic: Venezuela News

Internet Revolution in Venezuela

Despite critics’ exaggerated outcries and accusations in the international media alleging Internet censorship, President Chavez announced a new government-sponsored program to promote Internet usage and cyber communication throughout Venezuela.

Venezuela has made headlines recently in international media for alleged threats to freedom of expression, this time directed at the Internet. But as in the past, many of these accusations against the Chavez administration that spread contagiously throughout mass media outlets and are tweeted and blogged in cyberspace at the speed of light, are just not true.

Press agencies and major world newspapers, such as the New York Times, El País and The Guardian, were quick to react to statements made by President Hugo Chavez two weeks ago regarding a website that had maliciously reported the murders of two prominent government figures. “Venezuela’s Chavez calls for internet controls”, headlined a Reuters release, which went on to claim that “Chavez is angry with Venezuelan political opinion and gossip website NoticieroDigital, which he said had falsely written that Diosdado Cabello, a senior minister and close aide, had been assassinated”.

By referring to Chavez’s reaction to the website’s dangerous and false reporting as a personal issue, i.e. “Chavez is angry”, Reuters downplayed and ridiculed very serious crimes: inciting violence and knowingly and maliciously reporting false information to further criminal acts. Additionally, contrary to Reuters’ brushing aside the content of the posts as something that President Chavez “said”, and therefore questioning the veracity of the charge, the Venezuelan website NoticieroDigital actually had posted false reports on Diosdado Cabello’s assassination by armed attackers, alongside another post claiming that pro-Chavez television host Mario Silva had been “gunned down” the following day. Both stories remained on the website for at least two days, and were only taken down after government supporters publicly denounced the website for the malicious posts.

The Internet Is Not A Free-for-All

President Chavez did state that “the Internet cannot be something open where anything is said and done”, a notion shared by governments and societies around the world. In the United States, controls on Internet content are frequent. Content such as pornography is strictly regulated, and criminal acts or incitement to commit such acts is outright prohibited, even on blogs, chats and informal, anonymous forums. In early 2009, Steven Joseph Cristopher, a 42 year-old resident of Wisconsin, was arrested by the US Secret Service for threatening to assassinate President Obama in a chat forum on a website about UFOs and aliens. Christopher was charged with violating a US law that prohibits threatening to kill a president or president-elect of the United States, carrying a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 USD fine.

In late December 2009, President Obama named Howard Schmidt, a former White House security advisor to George W. Bush, as Cybersecurity Chief, to oversee Washington’s Internet policies and regulations, as well as aid in the protection of US cyber assets. The US Congress has also debated a law that would give the US President emergency control over the Internet and permit a seizure of “private-sector networks” during a so-called cybersecurity emergency.

That type of regulation goes well beyond what is presently being discussed in Venezuela. At most, the Venezuelan government – legislative and executive branches alike – are debating extending current penal codes to cyberspace. Rumors spread internationally, probably via twitter, which is used by more than 160,000 Venezuelan residents, that Venezuela’s National Assembly was debating a law to regulate Internet content. But members of the Venezuelan legislature were quick to deny those rumors and clarify that current laws should merely be applied to crimes committed over the Internet, as is common in most countries.

Germany has also been considering creating a government agency to specifically regulate and create policy regarding cyberspace, one of the most rapidly growing industries and business fields around the world.

Free, Universal Access to Internet

Dispelling critics and so-called international defenders of freedom of expression who claimed President Chavez was shutting down Venezuelans’ access to Internet, the Venezuelan head of state declared on television on Sunday, “A false rumor is spreading, and it’s wrong, saying that we are going to limit Internet access, that we are going to control it. It’s false. We have a central strategy and it’s none other than transferring power to the people, and the first and most important power is knowledge”.

In that context, President Chavez inaugurated twenty-four new infocenters last Sunday during his program, Alo Presidente, bringing the total to 668 nationwide. He also approved more than $10 million USD for the creation of 200 more of these community-based free cybercenters to be built during 2010. Infocenters are a project of the Ministry of Science and Technology, and are government-sponsored and funded computer centers built in communities throughout the nation that provide free Internet and technological access and services to all Venezuelans. Twenty-seven mobile Infocenters were also launched this week, which will travel across the nation to remote areas in the Amazon, Andean and rural regions, guaranteeing free Internet services and computer training to citizens with little or no access to technology.

At present, the infocenters have the capacity to provide Internet and computer services to more than 2.5 million permanent users and up to 10 million visitors annually. The government’s goal is to transfer the operations and administration of the infocenters to organized community groups, such as Community Councils, that can collectively determine the use and technological needs of their residents, neighborhoods and regions. “The transfer of the management and administration of the infocenters and technological spaces built by the Revolution will permit organized communities to collectively make decisions regarding the use of these spaces. Our strategic objective is to advance the technological growth and communications access to aid in the creation of the communal state”, explained President Chavez.

“Technology will be assumed as a form of communication of the People’s Power, to capacitate and articulate communities”, added Chavez. “The people should have the responsibility to maintain and operate the infocenters and to conserve their equipment, as well as guarantee the functioning of each center” said the Venezuelan President, emphasizing that the Internet is a “tool of the Revolution” and should aid in the creation and expansion of Venezuela’s alternative press.

“Each community can create a network and we can communicate with one another to inform each other of developments”, exclaimed Chavez, also announcing the creation of his own blog. “I am starting my own battleground in the Internet with a blog. It’s going to be full of different information, and we will be ready for the bombardment of responses we will surely receive. Even from the enemy, they will attack me with fire and I will respond. Battle is battle, assault is assault”, he warned.

Technology for the People

President Chavez also announced that in Venezuela, only 273,537 Internet subscribers existed in the year 2000. But by the first trimester of 2009, more than 1,585,497 Internet subscribers were registered, an increase of 600%. “And the number of Internet users in 2000 was only 820,000 in Venezuela. Nine years later, that number has risen to 7,552,570 users, an increase of more than 900%”, indicated President Chavez.

In the year 2000, only 3.4% of the Venezuelan population had access to Internet, while statistics show that by the end of 2009, 30% of Venezuelans had Internet access, a huge increase in large part made possible by government programs. The Infocenter project not only provides computers and Internet access to communities nationwide, but also trains users in computer literacy. Brigades of computer and Internet educators, sponsored by the Science and Technology Ministry, have trained thousands of Venezuelans in the basics of computer usage, ranging from simply how to use a computer to advanced Internet searches and blogging.

Media Battleground – Internet as A Weapon

While the Venezuelan state has been empowering its own citizens to enter the world of cyberspace in a conscientious and responsible way, another government has been training and funding a select group of Venezuelans to destabilize their nation and promote regime change using the Internet as a weapon.

During the last few years, more than $7 million USD have been channeled from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to anti-Chavez youth and student groups in Venezuela to “strengthen new media tools that can improve access to information and allow open and productive debate on the Internet”. Since 2002, USAID has funded hundreds of opposition organizations and political parties in Venezuela with over $50 million USD in an ongoing effort to promote the overthrow of the Chavez administration.

Twitter Revolution

The millions invested in Internet “strengthening” for opposition youth groups have accounted for the proliferation of anti-Chavez websites, blogs and propaganda online, aiding in the mass media offensive against the Venezuelan government. New media tools such as Twitter and Facebook are also overridden with anti-Chavez users. And it’s no surprise. In October 2009, the US State Department sponsored the 2nd Annual Summit of the Alliance of Youth Movements (AYM) in Mexico City, bringing together the founders and representatives of new media companies, such as Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Myspace, Google, Meetup and others, along with a selection of handpicked student and youth leaders from around the world. Representatives from US government agencies, including the State Department, USAID, Freedom House, International Republican Institute (IRI), National Endowment for Democracy (NED), Cato Institute, Cuba Development Initiative, and others, were also present at the event, which included a welcome speech from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Forty-three young political activists funded by the State Department were brought to the AYM Summit from nations such as Sri Lanka, Colombia, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Turkey, Moldovia, Malaysia, Mexico, Ecuador and Venezuela. The Venezuelan attendees were Yon Goicochea, current leader of the ultra-conservative Primero Justicia party, and winner of Cato Institute’s Milton Friedman Award for promoting neoliberal politics; Geraldine Alvarez, member of Goicochea’s foundation Futuro Presente, created with funding from US agencies; and Rafael Delgado, another former student leader associated with the opposition.

The goal of the State Department event was to capacitate selected youth with the knowledge, technology and funding to promote “Twitter Revolutions” in their countries, citing the examples of Iran, Moldovia and the anti-FARC and anti-Chavez marches promoted in Colombia via Facebook and Twitter.

Balancing the Battleground

Nevertheless, pro-Chavez groups and activists in Venezuela are now flooding those same new media technologies used by Washington to promote the imperial agenda. Facebook and Twitter accounts have recently been opened by prominent figures connected to the Bolivarian Revolution, and new blogs, websites and email lists are growing fast, in an attempt to gain ground in the information battlefield in cyberspace.

While the Internet is still dominated by those forces working to destabilize and discredit the Chavez administration and the Bolivarian Revolution, chavistas are catching up fast. The hundreds of new infocenters throughout the nation, guaranteeing free access to all Venezuelans, will enable millions to share their stories and voices – previously ignored and invisible – with the international community. A blog written by President Hugo Chavez himself will surely serve as major ammunition for the Bolivarian Revolution and counteract many of the lies and myths spread about him and his government around the world.


Posted by Joe Anybody at 7:09 AM
Friday, 2 April 2010
COLOMBIA NO BASES
Mood:  caffeinated
Now Playing: COLOMBIA - US MILITARY BASES - Organizing (english)
Topic: Latin America Solidarity

http://www.colombianobases.org/

COLOMBIA NO BASES
LAUNCHING OF THE COALITION COLOMBIA NO BASES    
  
Saturday, 07 July 2007 09:54

To commemorate 200 years of independence from Colombia, our republic is a victim of the worst forms of foreign aggression.

The government of Alvaro Uribe Velez ceded control of seven military bases to U.S. troops, the largest surrender of national sovereignty since the country stopped being a Spanish colony.

 


 

MORE to read here --> http://www.colombianobases.org/


Posted by Joe Anybody at 10:04 AM
Updated: Friday, 2 April 2010 10:26 AM
Wednesday, 10 March 2010
Venezuela Speaks Book Review
Mood:  incredulous
Now Playing: Venezuela Speaks! Voices from the Grassroots, By Carlos Martinez, Michael Fox, and JoJo Farrell (
Topic: Venezuela Solidarity

Reviewed: Venezuela Speaks! Voices from the Grassroots, By Carlos Martinez, Michael Fox, and JoJo Farrell (PM Press, 2010)

http://upsidedownworld.org/main/venezuela-archives-35/2329-voices-of-participatory-democracy-in-venezuela-a-review-of-venezuela-speaks-voices-from-the-grassroots 

Two video interview with co-author Carlos Martinez:

(1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqlkpGZP1zM

(2) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVdS54G48H8


There are many different ways that the corporate media continues to misrepresent the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela. Many critics of this biased media coverage have directly challenged the demonization of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, but very few critics, if any, have exposed the media’s virtual erasure of the vibrant and growing participatory democracy in Venezuela. Alas, the new book entitled Venezuela Speaks! Voices from the Grassroots (PM Press, 2010) offers a powerful correction to this misrepresentation by spotlighting a wide range of people and movements that are actively governing themselves with official governmental structures created since the 1998 election of President Chavez, and the growing non-governmental social movements that have existed for several decades.

Venezuela Speaks embodies this non-hierarchical philosophy by presenting the voices of the people themselves in interviews from practically every sector of society, including community organizers, educators, journalists, cultural workers, farmers, women, students, and Indigenous & Afro-Venezuelans.  Co-authors Carlos Martinez, Michael Fox, and JoJo Farrell argue persuasively that this untold story of democracy from the bottom-up is key to understanding the complexity of the present-day political situation in Venezuela. They write that “by failing to see beyond Chavez and the government’s anti-neoliberal policies, one of the most significant political dynamics in Venezuela has gone ignored and underappreciated—the dynamic between a government that has committed itself to a discourse of grassroots political participation, and the response of ordinary Venezuelans to this call, often in ways that go beyond the expectations of the government, occasionally even challenging it.”

Authors Martinez, Fox, and Farrell explain that “the idea of participatory democracy, as opposed to representative democracy has been a pillar of Chavez’s political movement since his successful run for office in 1998.” The most well-known example of participatory democracy in Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution is the system of communal councils, which have “provided Venezuelans with a legal mechanism to locally organize themselves into democratic structures of between 200-400 families, with the greater goal of determining the way that government funds get used for development and infrastructure projects in their communities.”

However, the authors argue that the community councils are just the “tip of the iceberg of the construction of popular power in Venezuela. Over the course of the Bolivarian Revolution, Venezuelans have created cooperatives; taken over factories; occupied urban and rural lands; launched community radio and television stations; built centers for culture and popular education; participated in creating national legislation and found numerous other ways of bringing the government’s discourse of popular power into reality. Many of these actions have been motivated by the words of President Chavez or have been facilitated by government initiatives. Meanwhile, many people behind these actions continue to pressure the government in order to survive or succeed.”

While the revolution has opened up new possibilities for popular participation, many of the participants interviewed explain how they are actively pressuring the governmental bureaucracy to follow through on the revolution’s goals. Looking at this tension between social movements and the state, the authors write that “while much of the blame has been attributed to corrupt or right-wing elements still functioning within the government’s bureaucracy, many social movements also argue that an overly ‘institutionalized’ approach to revolutionary change has not taken their independent initiatives sufficiently into account.” Indeed, “many social movements recognize the reality that although government leadership may have changed, radical transformation will often still demand confrontation with those in political power.”

The authors recognize the interviewees “conflict and frustration” with the government, but they argue that “rather than let their criticisms of Venezuela’s political process fill us with disillusionment, these testimonies should provide us with inspiration in knowing that so many people are actively engaged in constructing their new society, regardless of setbacks.” This point is clearly the dominant theme throughout the book, with the authors boldly asserting that “beyond the social programs, economic projects, and anti-neoliberal policies promoted by the national government, truly profound change will only come from the active debate and dialogue between organized peoples and the government. It is this debate and dialogue that has set Venezuela apart from many national liberation struggles of the past, and if Venezuela is to succeed where others have failed, then it must continue to strengthen this relationship.”

Yanahir Reyes Joins Book Tour

Marking the release of Venezuela Speaks, co-authors Michael Fox and Carlos Martinez are joining photographer Sylvia Leindecker on a book tour around the US. The tour began in San Francisco’s Mission District on January 14 and on the East Coast on January 20, in Arlington, Virginia.

For the East Coast segment, they will also be joined by Yanahir Reyes, who works with Women’s First Steps Civil Association and is the founder of Millennium Women’s Word, a feminist radio program broadcasted on a community radio station in her neighborhood of Caricuao. The 28-year old Reyes is featured in Venezuela Speaks, as part of the chapter focusing on women and sexual diversity movements. Her powerful account is just one of the many interviews featured, but it shows the complexity of how the Bolivarian Revolution has impacted women’s liberation.

Reyes explains that her earliest feminist consciousness came from home, as she saw that her father, a former member of a leftist guerrilla movement, “could go out and do whatever he wanted. He was freer, while my mother stayed at home, taking care of us—the girls—ironing, washing, scrubbing, and cleaning the house.” After discovering that he was having an extra-marital affair, she saw her father as “a coward, a chauvinist,” who “had the power to dominate the situation.” According to Reyes, this type of sexual inequality is compounded by the poverty because “housing is very hard to come by in Caracas and sadly some women are forced to remain in demeaning situations because of it…I want to have my own apartment, alone. I want to travel, to do a lot of things without depending on a man.”

Reyes talks about her involvement in the local ludoteca, which serves as an educational, family, and community center that is flexible and “responds to the needs of the people…the ludotecas are different from traditional schools, because they can take place anywhere in a community…under a mango tree, a room in a barrio, on a closed-off street. The ludoteca isn’t managed by the teacher or an institution, it’s managed by the people. Mothers and fathers participate in the space,” and it “has the objective of strengthening the emotional bonds within the family and using play as a means of education—but an education for transformation.”

Along with working towards a healthy family, the ludoteca has been an important tool for women’s education. As mothers brought their children in, they would gradually become more involved with their children’s education by volunteering at the ludoteca. Reyes explains that “the women were not trained in workshops or anything like that. They began by observing what [co-worker] Milda and I did. But when the women began to participate as volunteers, they started learning children’s songs, how to play the children’s games, how to work with pregnant women. It wasn’t about us teaching the mothers. They learned through practice.” Even further, “the school pushes the community to organize, to solve serious human rights issues, like the right to water, education, security, recreation, nutrition, and other necessities. The ludoteca functions as a safe space, preventing the violence generated by the nature of survival and the vicious cycle of patriarchy and capitalism.”

Illustrating the Bolivarian Revolution’s contradictions and tensions, their ludoteca had trouble getting financial support from the government’s Ministry of Education, which Reyes attributes to The Ministry’s “conservative and bourgeois education policies.” However, “we were able to receive support from Fundayacucho, which is a foundation under the Ministry of Education. These are the contradictions we have in the government. The people inside Fundayacucho understand this project, but the people working directly in the Ministry don’t.”

Reyes concludes her interview by arguing that the Bolivarian Revolution has opened doors for women, but “our concern goes beyond the language of gender inclusion and the political participation of women. The larger struggle is to change the culture.” Reyes cites several important government initiatives for women, including the National Women’s Institute and the 2007 Law on the Right of Women to a Life Free of Violence, which “actually examined the different forms of violence established by patriarchy and machismo as a cultural and ideological system. The creation of The Ministry of Women and Gender Equality in March of 2009 was another very significant step. But I have to say that the bureaucracy swallows good intentions. I think it is a mistake to keep strengthening the institutions. The communities are ready to make the changes. The struggle continues to be the divide between institutions and popular power.”

Interview with Venezuela Speaks! co-author Carlos Martinez:


Posted by Joe Anybody at 4:54 PM
Updated: Saturday, 5 June 2010 11:53 AM
184 socialist communes in construction in Venezuela
Mood:  lyrical
Now Playing: Venezuela Analysis - Communes and how it works
Topic: Socialism
184 Communes Currently in Formation in Venezuela PDF Print E-mail
Written by Tamara Pearson   
Tuesday, 09 February 2010 23:54

 

 

 

Source: Venezuela Analysis

With 184 socialist communes in construction in Venezuela, yesterday, during his weekly TV show Alo Presidente, president Hugo Chavez emphasised the need for “production independent of the capitalist market” in these communes and in general, and also directed Caracas mayor Jorge Rodriguez to expropriate buildings in plaza Bolivar in order to rescue the city’s history.

Chavez highlighted the importance of the communal councils, neighbourhood based organisations of up to 400 families which aim to solve local problems and develop and implement local projects, saying they are the nucleus of the current “change process” in the country and are where “socialism will be constructed”.

A spokesperson for the Communal Council Colinas de la Dignidad (hills of dignity), Morelbis Aguiar, explained that a commune, which is made up of several communal councils, is local, community self-government, “where we, the people, we are the ones who decide what our community wants and what the improvements are that we want to work on in our area.”

“It’s not the state that comes and decides; its us who decides which street we need, where to locate the university or high school… We decide what we’re going to do with the financing and resources that the revolutionary government gives us,” Aguiar continued.

The minister for communes, Erika Farias, said there are 184 communes in construction, 93 in rural areas, 65 in urban areas, and 26 mixed. According to the minister, the communes together have so far carried out 706 projects, involving an investment of over BsF 100 million (US$ 23 million).

During the television program, Chavez visited the commune Paraiso del Tuy via satellite link. Richardo Sanches, the minister for communes in Miranda, where the commune is located, explained that 32 communal councils had “united their efforts” to construct the commune, whose main projects are “social-productive”. The commune has 62 “productive gardens” that grow their own vegetables and medicinal plants as a method of self-supply.

Members of the commune told ABN press, “The communes aren’t something you decree, they are born out of the needs of the people and the communal councils.” The commune incorporates 5,900 families.

In order to counteract the rise in prices in the capitalist market, Chavez encouraged communes to create new systems of distribution and consumption. He gave the example of the Socialist Arepa shop in Caracas that sells the popular Venezuelan food at about half of the normal price, and makes the arepas from corn meal that was precooked in “socialist centres”, and purchased at a non-profit price.

The National Assembly is currently working on the Law of Popular Power, which will give more strength to the councils. Dario Vivas, first vice-president of the National Assembly, explained that the law aims to outline the communes and the various other aspects of revolutionary social organisation. Currently, while there is a law of communal councils, there is no law that governs, defines or gives legal recognition to the communes.

“The topic of the communes is very important because we are already constructing popular power, and we’ll make the law that defines the communes from this experience,” Vivas said.

“While the communes keep growing, more ways of relating to each other and of producing as brothers, without exploiting each other, are unlocked,” Chavez said.

Rescuing the historic city centre

During the program Chavez also directed the mayor of the municipality of Libertador in Caracas, Jorge Rodriguez, to expropriate buildings around the main plaza, Plaza Bolivar, among them a range of jewellery businesses, in order to help with the transformation of the area into a historic centre.

“It’s not right that these buildings, with so much history, with so much legacy of our leaders, are used by businesses. They belong to all Venezuelans, it’s a historic area that we should rescue,” he said.


Posted by Joe Anybody at 4:48 PM
Honduars
Mood:  down
Now Playing: Detention and Disappearances
Topic: HUMAN RIGHTS
Interview: Tortured, Exiled Honduran Journalist Recalls His Experiences
Written by Tamar Sharabi   
Sunday, 14 February 2010 13:04

"It is impossible to separate being a journalist and being a human being. As a reporter I was interested in taking pictures, and I took the first ones because I thought that Isis Murillo Obed was dead. Then I approached him and saw that he was breathing and moving in the density of all the tear gas. People were shouting that he was dead, but when I took him in my arms he opened his eyes and tried to say something that molded into a moan of pain," said Cesar Silva.

History Repeats: Committee of Relatives of the Detained-Disappeared of Honduras
Written by James Rodriguez   
Thursday, 11 February 2010 16:28

“A forced disappearance can be defined as: The illegal detention of a person by a State security agent or a force acquiesced by it, without the appropriate legal procedure, and in which the act is denied without any further information regarding the location or well-being of the detainee.”


Posted by Joe Anybody at 4:36 PM
Updated: Wednesday, 10 March 2010 4:39 PM
Fraudulent info on Chavez ... he has no ties to FRAC & ETA
Mood:  a-ok
Now Playing: Chávez ETA and the FARC

Axis of Logic comment: The following article was translated and expanded for Axis of Logic from Aporrea, a Spanish language newspaper by Arturo Rosales, an Axis columnist. The news broke in English in a somewhat obscure periodical on March 1st, followed by a corporate media barrage around the world on March 2nd. We investigated the corporate media this morning and found the news in various forms with various titles in 16 different major US and European websites, powered by the engines of Associated Press and Reuters news agencies. The Aporrea writer provides a fine analysis and debunking of these spurious claims by the Spanish judge. We only wish to add something about the motivation behind this new onslaught against Venezuela and President Chávez himself. For several years, the United States, Spain and other European countries have been pushing to implicate President Chávez with terrorism and to charge Venezuela with "state-sponsored terrorism". One thing can be said about them - they lay foundations for their plans, years in advance. In this case, they are attempting to create cause for future sanctions against Venezuela and possible military action in the future. These charges also come at a time when the U.S. is ramping up its aggressive campaign to discredit the Chávez administration as we approach the national elections in September.

- Les Blough in Venezuela assisted by General Joe

Defend Venezuela. Please spread widely.


The Accusation that links Chávez

with ETA and the FARC

is Fraudulent

"The computer in the hands of the Colombian authorities survived a missile attack which killed several people in the encampment and, by chance, confirmed all the arguments of President Alvaro Uribe to enable him to increase his bellicose internal campaign. Strange as it may sound, the “magic bomb resistant” computer has never been shown in public."
The Accusation that Links Chávez with ETA and the FARC is Fraudulent

March 4th 2010, by Gonzalo Sánchez - Tercera Información, Axis of Logic
In an impressive and well coordinated smear campaign, the Spanish corporate media has launched a preemptive strike against President Hugo Chávez. The print media included Público, El País, ABC, El Mundo, La Razón, Cadena Ser, COPE, Libertad Digital as well as the TV Channels.

The media campaign then spread world-wide to the BBC, CNN, Fox News and of course the internet was flooded with this explosive story. As usual, the finger of guilt was pointed at Venezuela and President Chávez in particular.

The devil is in the details and the following text shows how the media as well as the Spanish Judge concerned, have worked up yet another attack on the Bolivarian revolution with virtually no real evidence to support such accusations.

The first question one must ask is that if the judge indicted 13 members of ETA and FARC in absentia and Venezuela was involved in a criminal conspiracy, why are there no members of the Venezuelan government named or indicted? Read the following text and you will discover why this is the case.

Acting like a well-oiled machine the media published information in unison cut from the same cloth which formed the basis of the indictment of the judge of the Spanish Supreme Court, Eloy Velasco. Without any credible proof, Velasco accuses the Venezuelan government of cooperating in alleged joint actions of the FARC and ETA. The “evidence” comes from the computer of FARC leader, Raúl Reyes, who was assassinated during the violent Colombian incursion into Ecuador almost two years ago.

The computer in the hands of the Colombian authorities survived a missile attack which killed several people in the encampment and, by chance, confirmed all the arguments of President Alvaro Uribe to enable him to increase his bellicose internal campaign. Strange as it may sound, the “magic bomb resistant” computer has never been shown in public.

In July 2006 IT experts from Ecuador’s Polytechnic University determined that the computer had been manipulatedwhen the Colombian military stole it from Ecuadorian territory. “When accessing the information in the computer between March 1 -3 2008, the legal procedures were not adhered to”. In addition, and according to a statement by the National IT Director of the Ecuadorean Attorney General’s Office, Santiago Acuario, “from a legal and technical standpoint the information contained in the computer of “Raúl Reyes” does not have any judicial weight since it was obtained in violation of legal norms applicable in Ecuador”.

The possibility that the computer in the hands of the Colombians did not belong to the assassinated guerrilla commander is great since not even Interpol could confirm to whom the computer belonged.

Following this line of “proof” the Supreme Court Judge tries to tie the Venezuelan government with the alleged collaboration between the two armed groups. The result has been that the media, en masse, have used the situation to point at Chávez as a protector of ETA and a supporter of the FARC.

Velasco speaks about cooperation between the parties’ names but is incapable of demonstrating it or proving it in the entire 26 page document. He only manages to point at the Basque, Arturo Cubillas Fontán, a presumed member of ETA, as having links with the Venezuelan government and with the FARC based on Raúl Reyes emails. In December 2008 the Colombian Scientific Police confirmed that there were no emails in the alleged computer of Reyes.

Cubillas Fontán has lived in Venezuela since 1989 when an agreement signed between then Venezuelan President Carlos Andrés Pérez and ex President of Spain, Felipe González asked Venezuela to take in various ETA members. The agreement also specified that none of the Spanish deportees to Venezuela could be extradited if the alleged crimes committed had exceeded the statute of limitations of either country.

According to the Venezuelan Foreign Minister all the Basques related with ETA who live in Venezuela on the basis of this agreement. In the case of Venezuelan justice such people are not handed over to Spain due to the bilateral agreement but in some cases ETA members are extradited to Spain if they are wanted by the Spanish authorities and the statute of limitations has not been exceeded.

A year after arriving in Venezuela as a guest under surveillance, Arturo Cubillas married the Venezuelan Goizeder Odriozola Lataillade. This was permitted since Cubillas did not have a criminal record in Venezuela and was not wanted by the Spanish Supreme Court. On this basis was he was able to obtain Venezuelan nationality before Chávez came to power in 1999. This general right was suspended by Venezuelan authorities in 2006 at the request of the Spanish government. At that time all the mass media pointed at Chávez as a protector of presumed terrorists. The Venezuelan President has expressed on several occasions his repudiation of ETA and has called it a terrorist organization.

Cubillas Fontán, as a Venezuelan with no criminal record or arrest warrants outstanding against him worked in the Venezuelan government in the Ministry of Land and Agriculture, according to Judge Velasco.

This argument could indeed implicate several private companies in Venezuela where tens of Basques related to ETA now work. These people are resident in Venezuela due to Spain’s request at the end of the 1980’s and it is in this way that the judge has tried to establish a relationship between the Venezuelan government, ETA and the FARC.

The fact that Cubillas Fontán worked in Venezuela’s public administration 16 years after having arrived in the country and 15 years after marrying a Venezuelan citizen, having no criminal record and no arrest warrant issued against him by the Spanish Supreme Court is just a result of the agreement signed between Venezuela and Spain in 1989.

The judge has not been able to demonstrate any proof except for a manipulated and possibly false computer which in no way shows that the Venezuelan government was implicated in alleged FARC-ETA operations.

The fact that Arturo Cubillas works for a Venezuelan Ministry just means that the Venezuelan government is respecting the agreement signed with Spain in 1989 by Carlos Andrés Pérez and Felipe González. At the same time this is living proof that nationalized Venezuelan also have their rights guaranteed according to the 1999 Bolivarian Constitution.

Translated and expanded by Arturo Rosales for Axis of Logic

Posted by Joe Anybody at 4:03 PM
Monday, 8 March 2010
More US Impearlism as Clinton spins the web of US policies for Latin America on 3.5.10
Mood:  irritated
Now Playing: Clinton Snide Talk About Latin American
Topic: Latin America Solidarity

March 05 2010

Clinton Bombs in Latin American

 

Offensive remarks on Honduras, gratuitous insults in Brazil – Hillary Clinton's Latin American tour has not been a success
http://votersforpeace.us/press/index.php?itemid=4096&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+PeacePerspectives+%28Voters+For+Peace+Perspectives%29

By Mark Weisbrot
The Guardian

Hillary Clinton's Latin America tour is turning out to be about as successful as George W Bush's visit in 2005, when he ended up leaving Argentina a day ahead of schedule just to get the hell out of town. The main difference is that she is not being greeted with protests and riots. For that she can thank the positive media image that her boss, President Obama, has managed to maintain in the region, despite his continuation of his predecessor's policies.

But she has been even more diplomatically clumsy that Bush, who at least recognised that there were serious problems and knew what not to say. "The Honduras crisis has been managed to a successful conclusion," Clinton said in Buenos Aires, adding that "it was done without violence."

This is rubbing salt into her hosts' wounds, as they see the military overthrow of President Mel Zelaya last June, and subsequent efforts by the US to legitimise the dictatorship there as not only a failure but a threat to democracy throughout the region.

It is also an outrageous thing to say, given the political killings, beatings, mass arrests, and torture that the coup government used in order to maintain power and repress the pro-democracy movement. The worst part is that they are still committing these crimes.

Today nine members of the US Congress – including some Democrats in Congressional leadership positions – wrote to Clinton and to the White House about this violence. They wrote:

"Since President Lobo's inauguration, several prominent opponents of the coup have been attacked. On 3 February, Vanessa Zepeda, a nurse and union organiser who had previously received death threats linked to her activism in the resistance movement, was strangled and her body dumped from a vehicle in Tegucigalpa. On 15 February, Julio Funes Benitez, a member of the [water and sewage workers] trade union and an active member of the national resistance movement, was shot and killed by unknown gunmen on a motorcycle outside his home. Most recently, Claudia Brizuela, an opposition activist, was murdered in her home on 24 February. Unfortunately these are only three of the numerous attacks against activists and their families … "

Clinton will meet on Friday with "Pepe" Lobo of Honduras, who was elected president after a campaign marked by media shutdowns and police repression of dissent. The Organisation of American States and European Union refused to send official observers to the election.

The members of Congress also asked that Clinton, in her meeting with Lobo, "send a strong unambiguous message that the human rights situation in Honduras will be a critical component of upcoming decisions regarding the further normalisations of relations, as well as the resumption of financial assistance."

This was the third letter that Clinton received from Congress on human rights in Honduras. On 7 August and 25 September members of Congress from Hillary Clinton's own Democratic party wrote to her to complain of the ongoing human rights abuses in Honduras and impossibility of holding free elections under these conditions. They did not even get a perfunctory reply until 28 January, more than four months after the second letter was sent. This is an unusual level of disrespect for the elected representatives of one's own political party.

For these New Cold Warriors, it seems that all that has mattered is that they got rid of one social democratic president of one small, poor country.

In Brazil, Clinton continued her cold war strategy by throwing in some gratuitous insults toward Venezuela. This is a bit like going to a party and telling the host how much you don't like his friends. After ritual denunciations of Venezuela, Clinton said "We wish Venezuela were looking more to its south and looking at Brazil and looking at Chile and other models of a successful country."

Brazilian foreign minister Celso Amorim responded with diplomacy, but there was no mistaking his strong rebuff to her insults: he said that he agreed with "one point" that Clinton made, "that Venezuela should look southwards more … that is why we have invited Venezuela to join MERCOSUR as a full member country." Clinton's rightwing allies in Paraguay's legislature – the remnants of that country's dictatorship and 60 years of one-party rule – are currently holding up Venezuela's membership in the South American trade block. This is not what she wanted to hear from Brazil.

The Brazilians also rejected Clinton's rather undiplomatic efforts to pressure them to join Washington in calling for new sanctions against Iran. "It is not prudent to push Iran against a wall," said Brazilian president Lula da Silva." The prudent thing is to establish negotiations."

"We will not simply bow down to an evolving consensus if we do not agree," Amorim said at a press conference with Clinton.

Secretary Clinton made one concession to Argentina, calling for the UK to sit down with the Argentine government and discuss their dispute over the Malvinas (Falklands) Islands. But it seems unlikely that Washington will do anything to make this happen.

For now, the next crucial test will be Honduras: will Clinton continue Washington's efforts to whitewash the Honduran government's repression? Or will she listen to the rest of the hemisphere as well as her own Democratic members of Congress and insist on some concessions regarding human rights, including the return of Mel Zelaya to his country (as the Brazilians also emphasised)? This story may not get much US media attention, but Latin America will be watching.

Source: The Guardian

Posted by Joe Anybody at 7:18 AM

Newer | Latest | Older