the_future_modernes: (Default)
[personal profile] the_future_modernes
Venezuela Launches School for Human Rights & People’s Power


Last week, the Venezuelan Public Defender’s Office launched a school for human rights education that will be run by the state-funded Juan Vives Suria Foundation in Caracas and will carry out seminars in twelve of the country’s 23 states.

The new school will aim to “dismantle the liberal, reductionist, and individualist vision of human rights”, said Gabriela Ramirez, Venezuela’s chief public defender, during a press conference at the foundation, which is named after a Catholic Priest famed for his activism in defense of human rights.

“Our vision is not just to train the staff of the Public Defender’s Office, but rather to build an enduring culture of human rights, just as our constitution calls for, and that it be the communities themselves that have the capacity and the competence to defend their rights”, said Ramirez.

Social workers and community activists who have already been leading human rights campaigns or who have denounced human rights violations will be the initial participants in the school. While enrolment is free of charge, aspirant students must submit a proposal outlining a social problem in their community and how their human rights education will help them solve it. The school will also offer a certificate of training in the new Anti-Corruption Law for local advocates who can vigil the behaviour of government institutions and of their own communal councils.MORE


Venezuela has got issues but I am really curious as to what comes out of this.
the_future_modernes: (FAIL-set-on-fire)
[personal profile] the_future_modernes
Secret Cables: Big Pharma's Prints Cover US Foreign Policy


Among the hundreds of thousands of secret US State Department cables recently released by WikiLeaks, the controversial whistleblower website, a cache reveals US diplomats defending the interests of big pharmaceutical companies, even at the risk of the hosting nation’s own public health priorities. The memos dutifully detail the many embassy meetings with local Big Pharma reps, during which US officials are presented with laundry lists of issues to raise with one or another local government ministry. Invariably the goal of the exercise is for pharma to pressure the US to pressure the host country to give favorable treatment to expensive brand name drugs, typically by preventing in-country manufacturing or marketing of far cheaper generic versions.

Separate cables show such industry profiteering tactics threatening to taint US diplomatic relations in emerging nations such as Hong Kong, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, Turkey, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, and India. Overall, a familiar picture emerges of a diplomatic corps if not held hostage by, at least a captive audience to, the financial interests of the biggest American pharma companies as they come into covert conflict with developing nations that quite naturally prioritize the health care of their people over the high margins that Big Pharma has come to expect. With several hundred drugs and vaccines in development to treat addiction, the scourge of hundreds of millions worldwide, the affordability and accessibility of these innovative (and, no doubt, expensive) medicines will become a pitched battle in global public health over the next decade. The outcome of the skirmishes sketched in the WikiLeaks cables will help decide whether profits or people prove victorious.

The cables by no means paint a uniform portrait of government lackeys doing industry's bidding. Many memos betray a between-the-lines irritation at pharma's monomaniacal self-interest. Still, there is a disturbing silence on the obvious moral or ethical objections to industry demands for high price, long patents, and other protections despite the cost in human lives. Only a single cable—from the outgoing US ambassador to Poland in 2009—lays bare the vast greed that drives these complex, highly technical negotiations.

The developing nations, contrary to what you might expect, in many ways hold the best cards in this political game. Emerging nations have the fastest-growing economies, the most upwardly mobile middle classes, and the biggest untapped markets in the world. And in their impressive pushback against Big Pharma, India has been the 800-pound gorilla over the past decade. A democracy with well-educated but relatively inexpensive brain power, the pharma industry views India not merely as a market but as a potential new hub of drug development and testing.

Aware of its advantage, India has played hardball, starting with its approval of local generic HIV drugs for its hundreds of thousands of citizens with the virus—a defiant challenge to Big Pharma, which had refused to discount its own brand-name AIDS drugs to affordable levels. (In the US, HIV treatment costs as much as $15,000 a year; the Indian generic knocked out knockoffs with a $350 price tag.) In addition, India’s supreme court has been fearless in shooting down foreign pharmas when they sue for patent infringement by Indian generic companies. When an emerging nation's entire legal and legislative apparatus unite to oppose industry interests, the company can either fold its hand or fold up its tent. When drug companies retaliated by boycotting India and refusing to sell new drugs there, they attracted universal opprobrium for denying sick people medicines.


MORE
the_future_modernes: (Default)
[personal profile] the_future_modernes
Venezuela: Debates on laws and Identities

May, the month of “Afro-Venezuelan” culture, ended this year with a new law against racial discrimination and a proposal to create a ministry for African descent. The news shot up largely in the Venezuelan blogosphere, as some shared opinions regarding one of the most complex and confusing aspects of the country: identity.
In the last few years, Hugo Chávez's government and his standard for inclusion has brought back profound discussions regarding equality and social justice. Historically, the process of interracial mixing and immigration has made Venezuelan society look at itself as tolerant and egalitarian before different ethnicities, particularly in comparison to other countries, in which coexistence has resulted in significantly more unstable consequences.

Wikipedia article, “Immigration to Venezuela,” [es] presents an introduction to understand this phenomenon [es]:

...

La Inmigración en Venezuela, ha sido constante desde la independencia del país en 1830. Con anterioridad, al inicio de la época colonial la población predominante era de origen indígena, española y africana. Con el tiempo aumentaron los mestizos de las tres razas, los cuales se convirtieron en la población mayoritaria en el siglo XVIII. La población indígena disminuyó en el siglo XVI, el siglo de la conquista por parte de España, no solamente a consecuencia de la propia conquista sino por la introducción de enfermedades.
Venezuela recibió una gran cantidad de inmigrantes entre 1948 y 1961 cuando aún era un país de apenas 5 millones de habitantes por lo tanto el proceso de mestizaje ha sido muy intenso.


Immigration to Venezuela has been constant since the country's independence in 1830. Previously, upon the start of the colonial era, the population predominantly was of indigenous, Spanish and African origins. With time, mestizos of three races emerged, and formed a majority in the population in the 18th century. The indigenous population diminished in the 16th century, the century of Spanish conquest, not only as a result of the conquest but also due to the introduction of diseases.


Venezuela received a large quantity of immigrants between 1948 and 1961 when it was still a country of barely 5 million people and, as such, the process of interracial mixing has been quite intense.
Nevertheless, the social inequalities that separate the different ethnicities have been signaled more diligently in recent years. It remains despite the fact that many think that Venezuelan society does not suffer from these problems, there are discriminatory practices very present in the country's daily life, though they may not necessarily be openly acknowledged.Juandemaro explains it further in his post “A los negros les llegó su día” [es] (The day for blacks has arrived):MORE
the_future_modernes: (Default)
[personal profile] the_future_modernes
This is a documentary that explores the concept of democracy. One of the main features of the idea of democracy is elections. In fact, I think that I would not be wrong in saying that this is the most trumpeted way in which the masses are encouraged to participate in democracy. And of course, we protest en masse if we get pissed off enough at whatever is going on, and if we somehow manage to overthrow the offending party, we go back to elections as the way to get what we want done. But suppose there were more powerful ways for the masses to affect the directions of their lives? What if there was more to democracy than elections? This documentary profiles of these methods...

Beyond Elections Documentary Part 1- Introduction


From Venezuela's Communal Councils, to Brazil's Participatory Budgeting; from Constitutional Assemblies to grassroots movements, recuperated factories to cooperatives across the hemisphere- This documentary is a journey, which takes us across the Americas, to attempt to answer one of the most important questions of our time: What is Democracy? Directed by Sílvia Leindecker & Michael Fox. Estreito Meios Productions, 2008. Distributed by PM Press. WWW.BEYONDELECTIONS.COM



Beyond Elections Documentary Part 2 (Participatory Budgeting I)

Beyond Elections Documentary Part 3 (Participatory Budgeting II)

Beyond Elections Documentary Part 4 (Participatory Budgeting III)

Beyond Elections Documentary Part 5 (Venezuelan Communal Councils I)

Beyond Elections Documentary Part 6 (Venezuelan Communal Councils II)

Beyond Elections Documentary Part 7 (Venezuelan Communal Councils III)

Beyond Elections Documentary Part 8 (Cooperatives I)

Beyond Elections Documentary Part 9 (Cooperatives II)

Beyond Elections Documentary Part 10 (Social Movements)

Beyond Elections Documentary Part 11 (Constitutional Assemblies)

Beyond Elections Documentary Part 12 (In the Name of Democracy I)

Beyond Elections Documentary Part 13 (In the Name of Democracy II)

Beyond Elections Documentary Part 14 (International Organizations)

Beyond Elections Documentary Part 15 (Democratizing Democracy I)

Beyond Elections Documentary Part 16 (Democratizing Democracy II)
the_future_modernes: (Default)
[personal profile] the_future_modernes
CôTE D'IVOIR. (guys? how do I get that punctuation mark on the "o" in Côte d'Ivoire?)

Côte d'Ivoire: The Difficult Legacy of Houphouët-Boigny

In order to better understand the origins of the current political crisis in Côte d'Ivoire, it is necessary to place recent events within the context of the post-colonial era.

Post-Colonial Politics

Félix Houphouët-Boigny was the first president of Côte d'Ivoire from its independence in 1960 to his death in 1993. Henri Konan Bédié, president of the national assembly succeeded the deceased president in accordance with the Ivorian constitution. In 1995, Henri Konan Bédié remained in power, having been elected with 96.44% of the vote.

Politician Laurent Koudou Gbagbo called a boycott of this presidential election due to reforms that had been implemented to the electoral code. He was elected as a member of parliament in his constituency after his party, the FPI (Ivorian Popular Front), won five of the eight seats in the elections.

General Robert Guéï overthrew President Bédié on December 24, 1999, after the latter attempted to change the constitution in his favor.

Presidential elections were then held in 2000 and Guéï was beaten by Laurent Koudou Gbagbo. The elections were marred however, by the elimination of several candidates by the Supreme Court including former president Bédié and politican Alassane Ouattarabecause of ”dubious nationality”, forgery and use of a false identity. During Ouattara's prime ministerial rule under President Houphouët-Boigny, Gbagbo was imprisoned as a political opponent in1992 and sentenced to two years in jail, although he was released after seven months.

The result of the contest was strongly contested by Guéï and some clashes marred this period; he eventually recognized the legitimacy of Gbagbo, thus winning FPI a majority of 91 seats in parliament (against 70 and 16 to the opposition).

While Gbagbo was abroad in September 2002, soldiers made an attempt to overthrow him. During the coup, several assassination attempts took place against political figures including Alassane Ouattara, and several difficult years in Ivorian politics ensued.

Bitter Context for 2010 Elections

It is within this context that elections were organized by the international community in December 2010.

MORE



Read more... )
the_future_modernes: (Default)
[personal profile] the_future_modernes
Cost of Living: Venezuela


The Central Bank of Venezuela has announced that produce prices went up nearly 70 per cent in 2010.

Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president, blames the jump on vendors. However, they say they have no choice but to raise prices.

Al Jazeera's Craig Mauro reports from the capital, Caracas.


Read more... )
the_future_modernes: (Default)
[personal profile] the_future_modernes
So recently Nicolas Kristof, New York Times columnist who has set himself up as a women's rights crusader, was tackled on the fact that he hinged his stories on whiote poeple who were helping the natives of the various brown citizen majority countries that he reports from: Texas in Africa has the story in white man's burden

Back in May, @viewfromthecave tweeted that The Kristof was taking questions from readers to be answered via YouTube. This is the question I asked:


Your columns about Africa almost always feature black Africans as victims, and white foreigners as their saviors.



There was more to it than that, but I can't find the original post. At any rate, the gist of the question was, "Why not feature more of the work that Africans are doing to solve their countries' problems?"


And, lo and behold, Kristof answered. NYT Picker thankfully has the transcript for those of us on dial-up connections:
This is a really important issue for a journalist. And it's one I've thought a lot about.


I should, first of all, from my defensive crouch, say that I think you're a little bit exaggerating the way I have reported. Indeed, recently, for example, among the Africans who I have emphasized, the people who are doing fantastic work are the extraordinary Dr. Dennis Mukwege in the Congo, Edna Adan in Somaliland, Valentino Deng in Sudan, Manute Bol in Sudan, and there are a lot of others.


But I do take your point. That very often I do go to developing countries where local people are doing extraordinary work, and instead I tend to focus on some foreigner, often some American, who’s doing something there.


And let me tell you why I do that. The problem that I face -- my challenge as a writer -- in trying to get readers to care about something like Eastern Congo, is that frankly, the moment a reader sees that I'm writing about Central Africa, for an awful lot of them, that's the moment to turn the page. It's very hard to get people to care about distant crises like that.


One way of getting people to read at least a few grafs in is to have some kind of a foreign protagonist, some American who they can identify with as a bridge character.


And so if this is a way I can get people to care about foreign countries, to read about them, ideally, to get a little bit more involved, then I plead guilty.



As NYT Picker aptly notes, the persons to whom Kristof refers have either not been mentioned in his print columns or are typically only mentioned briefly.Texas in Africa proceeds to fisk this white liberal racist BS as it deserves



I am extremely pissed at this BS meself, so have a linkspam of women in their own countries, being all awesome without some white saviours anywhere near them.

INDIAN OCEAN ISLANDS Women Join Forces for Political Equality


PORT-LOUIS , Jul 14, 2010 (IPS) - "Instead of moaning all the time, why don’t you create your own (political) party?" some men asked Brigitte Rabemanantsoa Rasamoelina, a female politician from Madagascar. She accepted the challenge and in February formed Ampela Mano Politika, a political party which started with only 22 female members and now has over 5,000 female members ... and 10 men.


With female political representation standing at only 3.75 percent in Madagascar, a women’s lot is very precarious, says Rasamoelina.


And so too is the situation for many women in most of the Indian Ocean Islands. Female political representation is a mere three percent in Comoros, 18 percent in Mauritius and 23.5 percent in the Seychelles.


It is one of the reasons why Rasamoelina and 30 other women from the Indian Ocean Islands, gathered recently in Mauritius to identify ways to attain parity among men and women in politics in an event organised by the Indian Ocean Commission and Women in Politics (WIP).MORE




Read more... )

Sigh.

Oct. 20th, 2009 09:26 pm
the_future_modernes: (Default)
[personal profile] the_future_modernes
Venezuelan Yukpa Indigenous Community Attacked, Two Murdered Following Land Grants

Mérida, Venezuela -- On Tuesday, the day after the national government granted more than 40,000 hectares of land to Yukpa indigenous communities in northwestern Venezuela, assassins attacked the community of Yukpa chief and indigenous rights activist Sabino Romero, killing two and injuring at least four.

Yukpa chief Sabino Romero (Aporrea)

Romero's son in law, Ever Garcia, and a young, pregnant Yukpa woman were shot dead in the attack. Romero received three bullet wounds and is currently in the hospital in stable condition, according to reports from the community. Romero's daughter, grand daughter, and nephew were also hospitalized with bullet wounds, and are now in the hospital in stable condition.

Romero was one of several Yukpa chiefs who led land occupations last year to demand that the government pay indemnity to the private estate owners and transfer the land to the Yukpa in the form of collective property, in accordance with the Venezuelan Constitution and indigenous rights laws passed by the government of President Hugo Chavez.

MORE

Profile

Discussion of All Things Political

January 2013

S M T W T F S
  12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728 293031  

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags