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Bogota appoints first transgender public official.

The department in which she is taking up her position is described as responsible for the development and implementation of social policies which guarantee citizens of Bogota "the ability to exercise their rights, in conditions of equality."


In the interview Piñero -- who has 13 years experience of managing public resources at district and national levels -- also outlined her priorities as newly-appointed director. They include addressing the needs of children and the elderly in the city, and setting up control points within the department to prevent corruption.
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We didn't have our sons and daughters for war:Indigenous Peoples From Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Paraguay, Peru and Mexico Meet in Cauca, Colombia

North Cauca, Colombia, June 24, 2011: The first meeting of indigenous women in resistance for the survival and autonomy of their peoples concluded on Friday, after taking place at a shelter in Huellas Caloto in the Bodega Alta district in the Cauca department of Colombia. For four days, women and men from northern Cauca, joined with around 26 national and international organizations, discussed “weaving a memory with words,” and finished the event with a march to the town of Santander de Quilichao.

At the meeting, attendees discussed the need for autonomy with their food, and resistance from women. Seeds and traditional agricultural products were exchanged to reflect truth, justice, reparation and law for both indigenous women and a peace proposal. They also denounced and discussed the armed conflict that the country is living in.

In 1971, indigenous people from northern Cauca formed the Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca, which was made up of nine chapters. Currently there are 19 chapters. They fight for their land, food, education, work opportunities and to live in harmony with mother earth. Nelson Lemus Consejero de Paz, with the Association of Indigenous Councils of Northern Cauca (ACIN in Spanish initials), said that “the multinational corporations want to dispossess us of our land through war.”

The people have organized cooperatives, including a trout hatchery, yogurt business, crafts market, and more. They are nonviolent, but for many years they have lived with harassment from soldiers. On May 28, 2001, they decided to organize and create what they call the Indigenous Guard, or, Kiwe Thegnas in the Nasa Yuwe indigenous language. The three goals of the group are to “care for, protect, and defend the people,” said Don Germán Valencia and Luis Alberto Mensa, coordinators with the Guard. MORE
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Colombia Moves Past Reconciliation and Revives the Idea of Reparation

When unspeakable crimes have been committed, justice often falls silent, too. That’s why half a century after Colombia plunged into bloody conflict and oppression, the healing has barely begun. But a new law is trying to make victims of the violence whole in a country still fractured by brutal violence. In the process, it has revived an old debate over reparations, and how society should confront past injustices that still shape life today.
Colombia’s so-called “victims’ law” is the product of years of negotiation between the government and militia groups. The law centers on punishment as well as restitution. Many will be compelled to confess their crimes and, unlike many previous efforts at what’s been dubbed restorative justice, survivors will be allowed to petition for compensation.

One survivor’s testimony from a recent hearing in Colombia highlights how challenging this kind of conciliatory justice can be:

The modern idea of reparations as a human rights enforcement tool toes the line between accountability and mercy. In cases of genocide, ethnic cleansing or mass displacement—from Nazi Germany to Apartheid South Africa to Rwanda—there’s always tension between the desire to correct the wrongs of the past and the need for society to move forward. Sometimes it means suppressing residual animosities—and having to live next door to your brothers’ murderer, or the parents of the dissident you tortured.


A backgrounder by the advocacy group Redress, explains how Colombia’s law will work:

The law contains two main parts, the first refers to the judicial process and the conditions under which the members of illegal armed groups (either paramilitary of guerrilla) can benefit from an alternative punishment. That is among others to fully confess their crimes, depose their weapons, enter into a peace agreement, and stop their interference in public affairs, release the people they have kidnapped, contribute to finding the victims of forced disappearance.
The second part of the law refers to the rights of the victims to truth, justice and reparation.
For the first time in Colombia’s history victims came to the center of the attention as it was understood that they were they hinge between justice and peace. Beneficiaries will only be entitled to an alternative punishment if, and only if, they confessed all their crimes, were subject to a criminal procedure by independent prosecutors and judges and, most important of all, if they repaired the victims of their atrocities.
This model of restorative justice parallels similar systems in other countries devastated by conflict. But it takes an unprecedented, perhaps precarious, step toward both symbolic and material recompense.MORE

via the restorative justice online blog

via [profile] jeopardymaze X-men First Class by the "Asking the Wrong Questions blog has a critique of the film based on what we teh people are being fed re: the notion of forgievness and how we should react to being wronged.
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2005 The Housewife theory of History

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Reflections from Detroit: Reflections On An Opening: Disability Justice and Creating Collective Access in Detroit

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Sins Invalid: An Unshamed Claim to Beauty in the Face of Invisibility

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2010: Domestic Workers Organize for Workers Bill of Rights; MUA 20th Anniversary in San Francisco, May 27th

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PDF - Immigrant Women Organizing for Change:Integration and Community Development
by Immigrant Women in the Maritimes

DisAbled Women Network: DAWN ONTARIO Herstory


March 21, 2011 Australia: Lake Tyers Women Holding Blockade Against the Government

For the past two weeks, Indigenous women from the community of Lake Tyers, in East Gippsland, Victoria, have been holding a blockade against the state government's self-imposed rule over their community.

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Jan 2011 Bolivia: People with Disabilities Demanding Rights and Payment

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We Women Warriors

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Maori Women's Welfare League

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2007 New Zealand’s Maori Women’s Welfare League: Working Toward Women’s Rights in Saving Maori Culture

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Arab Women: The powers that be

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Grameen vs Bangladesh

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Q&A: Ela Bhatt on SEWA, Harvard Award

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Survivors of Mumbai Bombings Trained to Recover

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Dalit Women Organize Against Caste, Gender Discrimination

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Vandana Shiva: Environmentalist and founder of Diverse Women for Diversity

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ANF demands release of jailed striking nurses in West Papua

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War declared against domestic worker abuse

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Welcome to Mujeres Libres; a celebration of the struggle of the Zapatista Women (Website)

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1994 Chiapas and the women? free electronic book

2007 Zapatista Women: 'We Are What Holds the Community Together': A Year After the Passing of Comandanta Ramona, Civilian and Insurgent Women Tell of Their Movement Within a Movement

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Zapatismo, a feminine movement

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Indigenous Feminism in Southern Mexico

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2008 The First Zapatista Women's Encuentro: A Collective Voice of Resistance

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2010 Censored Story, Nigerian women act against abuses of Big Oil, Sign on letter to Secretary Clinton

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Nigeria: Niger Delta Demands for Justice Undaunted By Decades of Violence

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2003Hands up or we strip!

Six hundred Nigerian women held a US oil giant to ransom armed with a simple weapon - the threat of taking all their clothes off. And it worked. Tania Branigan and John Vidal explain

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The Guardian: Top 100 Women Campaigners and Activists Ongoing series

Sweatshop Warriors By Miriam Chin Yoon Louie

The Global Women's Movement by Peggy Antrobus Interview with Grenadian Peggy Antrobus 2003
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We Have Everything And Lack Everything: In Mexico, Community Police Resist Mining Companies

The southern Mexican state of Guerrero in the 1980's and 90's saw rising violence and insecurity due to government neglect, and in some cases involvement, and a corrupt judicial system. The problem came to a head in 1995 when state police massacred 39 campesinos at Aguas Blancas.

That same year, a series of regional assemblies were held in the Costa Chica and Montaña area in southeast Guerrero leading to the decision that the communities would start their own police force comprised of volunteers. In 1998, in addition to patrolling and detaining suspected criminals, the communities began their own justice and community reeducation program to deal with offenders. The CRAC (Regional Coordinator of Community Authorities), as this effort was christened, is now comprised of over 60 communities and around 100,000 people, and counts on the assistance of 750 volunteer police from the communities themselves. It acts as a parallel authority to state and local government, dealing with almost all aspects of community life through traditional assemblies and consensus.And then came the mining companies...

ATF’s PR Gun Busts Perpetuate Drug-War Fairy Tale

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Women Human Rights Defenders Risk Death, Discrimination

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Meet the 41 Narco News Authentic Journalism Scholars, Class of 2011 :These Talents of Social Conscience Will Come Together for Ten Days of Intensive Training in Mexico in May

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From Red October to Evo Morales: The Politics of Rebellion and Reform in Bolivia

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Bolivian President Uses Former DEA Agent’s Book to Send Message to the World

Bolivian President Evo Morales earlier this week held up a book, titled “La Guerra Falsa,” for the world to see.


Celebrating Popular Struggle in Cauca, Colombia

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Colombia Students talk about sexual diversity

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[personal profile] azuirehas links and commentary including ways to help.

Massive tsunami devastates Japan

Coastline swamped and hundreds dead as biggest quake in centuries sends wave crashing ashore and puts Pacific on alert.

Hundreds of people are dead after one of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded struck Japan, triggering a devastating 10-metre-high tsunami along parts of the country's northeastern coastline.

The massive 8.9-magnitude earthquake struck on Friday afternoon local time, creating gigantic waves which swept away cars, boats, homes and people as the surging water overwhelmed coastal barriers.

Widespread fires burned out of control and Japan's nuclear industry was on alert as reactors shut down automatically as a safety precaution. Millions are reported to be without electricity, airports are closed and public transport in Tokyo and other cities has come to a halt as Japan reels amid the twin devastations.

Police said 200 to 300 bodies have been found in the northeastern coastal city of Sendai where hundreds of buildings have collapsed. Japan's NHK television said the victims appeared to have drowned. Police said another 88 were confirmed killed and 349 were missing.

Thousands of people living near a nuclear plant in Fukushima prefecture were ordered to evacuate after the reactor developing a cooling fault. Officials said the move was a precaution and there was no evidence of leaking radiation.

Meanwhile, countries around the Pacific basin are on tsunami alert amid warnings that a wall of water could completely wash over low-lying islands.MORE

Why Japan is prone to earthquakes

Al Jazeera's senior meteorologist Steff Gaulter gives insight into why earthquakes and tsunamis strike the island nation of Japan:

To put the effects of the latest earthquake in Japan in context, it could help to compare it to other recent quakes: the Haiti earthquake was 7.0 magnitude; the Chile one was 8.8 and the New Zealand one was 6.3.

"So, this as an 8.9, bigger than any of those. It is the seventh-most powerful earthquake that has ever been recorded. So we are talking about a massive earthquake there.

The reason for this activity is because of where Japan is situated, on the joint of four different plates.

"So we have got the Pacific plate and the Philippine plate to the east; and to the west, we have got the North America plate and the Eurasian plate. And what is happening is that the Philippine plate and the Pacific plate are heading towards the west; they are going underneath the other two plates and that is what is causing all the problems.MORE
Video too at link

From California to Chile, residents prepare for waves

Nicaragua: The government issued a green alert for the Pacific area, which makes up 427 coastal kilometers and is home to 100,000 people early this morning. The Chief of Civil Defense, Mario Perezcassar mobilized units to the area, though he has not yet ordered evacuation.

(More on See stunning video of the Japan quake)

Ecuador: President Rafael Correa declared a national emergency and ordered evacuation of the entire coastal region as well as the Galápagos Islands, taking a “better safe than sorry” approach. “If nothing happens, then that's great, but we can't take any risks,” Correa told reporters. Ecuador's heavy crude oil pipeline operator suspended oil shipments.

Colombia: Issued an alert, though no evacuation was ordered. Luz Amanda Pulido, the director of the National System for Disaster Attention and Prevention had a higher alert for the four Pacific coastal regions of Chocó, Valle del Cauca, Cauca and Nariño.

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Disabled Women Activists are Loud, Proud and Passionate!

Mobility International USA (MIUSA) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower people with disabilities around the world to achieve their human rights through international exchange and international development. As part of their 30th anniversary celebration, they created this "Loud, Proud and Passionate!" video. They filmed it during their 5th International Women's Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD) - here's how they describe it:Signing and singing with passion in Arabic, Spanish and English, 54 disabled women activists from 43 countries celebrate the achievements, pride and solidarity of women with disabilities around the world. These leaders are revolutionizing the status of women and girls worldwide. MORE


2009 article:Women with disabilities in Bangladesh marching forward

Women with disabilities (WWD) have been marching forward with capabilities and commendable role in different arenas of development in Bangladesh. They are gaining prominence day by day and lighting the way forward.

Ranjana selected as International Bridge Builder of Harvard University
Umme Kulsum Ranjana, has been prestigiously selected as one among ten International BridgeBuilders of Harvard University for her contribution in organizing women with disabilities’ rights movement in Bangladesh. Ranjana is a woman with physical disability and the President of Protibondhi Narider Jatio Parishad (National Council of Disabled Women-NCDW) a nation-wide network of organizations working with the women with disabilities in Bangladesh. Now Ranjona is participating in the International Conference of Bridge Builders at Harvard University, USA to deliver her speech on Experiences of Mobilizing Women with Disabilities in Rural Bangladesh held on 6-10 April 2009. Ranjona is the first Bangladeshi woman who has been selected for this award.


Masuma’s 13th Solo Painting Exhibition is going on

13th Solo Painting Exhibition ‘My Dream’ of Masuma Khan started at Gallery Zoom of Alliance Francaise de Dhaka on 3April 2009 and will continue until 17 April 2009. Masuma Khan, a woman with severe physical disability, who has been recognized as a renowned painter in Bangladesh. She started painting at her very childhood at the age of three. Previously she was awarded President’s Medal as a talented child artist; Jaycees Prize; Anonna Award as the recognition of one among ten best women personalities in Bangladesh. Masuma got her graduation degree from the Institute of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka.MORE

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Multinational Banana Corporation Displaces Afro-Colombian Peace Communities.

According to documents released by the Colombian human rights organization, Intereclesial Comisión de Justicia y Paz (Justicia y Paz) , Banacol workers are displacing vulnerable Afro-Colombian peace communities, thus enabling the corporation to occupy sections of communal, resource rich land. This violates the sovereignty of the long-standing communities, and puts them at risk for complete displacement from their collective territory in a country with almost 5 million internally displaced people. They are also bulldozing the subsistence farmers’ crops, destroying natural habitats and contaminating waterways.

Flyers posted in poor neighborhoods and communities across the northwestern part of the country lured the squatters into Curvaradó in the Urabá region of Chocó, Colombia. The flyers assured three months of paid living expenses, titles to 2.5-hectare plots, materials and pay to build settlements, and a contract with Banacol Inc. to grow bananas.

What the flyers didn’t include is that the Curvaradó territory is already inhabited by Afro-descendent communities, committed to maintain their collective territories, granted to them under law 70 of Colombia (1993), which recognizes and protects Afro-Colombians’ right to collectively own and occupy their ancestral territory.
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Hello! [personal profile] the_future_modernes asked me to repost this:

* The flooding in Australia is still bad, bad, bad. Both the Australian Red Cross and the Queensland Government homepage are good places to donate (via [personal profile] copperbadge).

* There's also flooding in Brazil, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Sri Lanka. And Columbia is still recovering from flooding in early December. Googling gets me the Brazilian Red Cross (in Portuguese), the Philippine Red Cross, the Malaysian Red Crescent, the Thai Red Cross, the Sri Lanka Red Cross, and the Columbian Red Cross (in Spanish). Anyone know of other repudiable organizations?
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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

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BRASIL:More than 200 ways of being a mother

RIO DE JANEIRO, Jul 13, 2010 (IPS) - "You can only have one mother," as the saying goes, but in Brazil there are 215 ways of becoming a mother, one for each of the ethnic groups in this South American country. Promoting maternal health while respecting cultural traditions is a major health challenge.

Silvia Angelice de Almeida, who works at the state National Health Foundation's (FUNASA) Department of Indigenous Health, knows all about it from her nursing experience.

Some indigenous peoples believe the placenta must be returned to the community after birth. Others regard it as important that people should be born, and die, on their own land. In some native villages, special care is given to pregnant women, including particular haircuts and body painting.

"We have general guidelines for infant and maternal health, but we found we needed others, specifically for indigenous peoples," Almeida told IPS.

One of these, on "inter-cultural healthcare," includes respect for native healers or "pajés," shamans, traditional midwives and natural medicine.

"The concept of pregnancy is different among native peoples. Field staff have to undertake training in order to be able to address these issues," Almeida stressed.

According to the state National Indian Foundation (FUNAI), Brazil has 460,000 indigenous people divided into 215 ethnic groups, making up 0.25 percent of the national population of over 193 million.

There may be between 100,000 and 190,000 more native people living outside the indigenous territories, some of them in urban areas, and an unknown number have not yet been contacted, according to FUNAI.

The known native population is spread over 24 of the country's 26 states, 336 administrative centres, 4,413 villages and 615 indigenous territories comprising 107 million hectares, equivalent to 12.6 percent of the area of Brazil. MORE

Midwives Seek Legal Recognition, Respect

BOGOTÁ, Jul 13, 2010 (IPS) - In Colombia, western medicine has nearly succeeded in pushing midwives -- "parteras" or "comadronas," as they are known in Spanish -- out of existence. But some tenacious practitioners are pushing for a law to formalise the role of midwife as a health worker.

"Through 2009 and so far in 2010, there have been no deaths of women attended by a member of the United Midwives of the Pacific Association," said Liceth Quiñones, 22, who works as a midwife in Buenaventura, the principal Colombian port on the Pacific coast.

Daughter of 60-year-old midwife Rosmilda Quiñones, Liceth was three in 1991 when her mother founded the association, which she still heads. With the acronym ASOPARUPA, it has 250 members in the western departments (provinces) of Chocó, Valle, Cauca and Nariño.MORE

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Mexico drug war cartels join forces

The Mexican government says nearly 23,000 people have died in drug-related violence since a military crackdown on cartels began in 2006.

That announcement comes as officials face a new front in their war against the drug gangs.

Two of Mexico's most powerful cartels have joined forces to battle government security forces as well as a third cartel seeking its own slice of the cross-border drug trade.

Al Jazeera's Mariana Sanchez reports from Mexico City (14 April 2010).

Drug wars haunt Colombian city Medellin

The Colombian city of Medellin has seen a resurgence of deadly violence that has brought back memories of its notorious drug kingpin, Pablo Escobar.

Since the beginning of last year, more than a thousand people have been killed in confrontations between street gangs working for rival drug cartels.

Sadly, most of the victims fit the same profile - young men between the ages of 18 and 26.

From Medellin, Al Jazeera's Teresa Bo has this report.
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via: Vivir Latino

Why Washington Cares about Countries like Haiti and Honduras
When I write about U.S. foreign policy in places like Haiti or Honduras, I often get responses from people who find it difficult to believe that the U.S. government would care enough about these countries to try and control or topple their governments. These are small, poor countries with little in the way of resources or markets. Why should Washington policy-makers care who runs them?


Why do they care so much about who runs these poor countries? As any good chess player knows, pawns matter. The loss of a couple of pawns at the beginning of the game can often make a difference between a win or a loss. They are looking at these countries mostly in straight power terms. Governments that are in agreement with maximizing U.S. power in the world, they like. Those who have other goals -- not necessarily antagonistic to the United States -- they don't like.

Not surprisingly, the Obama Administration's closest allies in the hemisphere are right-wing governments such as Colombia or Panama, even though President Obama himself is not a right-wing politician. This highlights the continuity of the politics of control. The victory of the Right in Chile last week, the first time that it has won an election in half a century, was a significant victory for the U.S. government. If Lula de Silva's Workers' Party were to lose the presidential election in Brazil this fall, that would really be a huge win for the State Department. While U.S. officials under both Bush and Obama have maintained a friendly posture toward Brazil, it is obvious that they deeply resent the changes in Brazilian foreign policy that have allied it with other social democratic governments in the hemisphere, and its independent foreign policy stances with regard to the Middle East, Iran, and elsewhere.Read on for a taste of what teh US has been getting up to in Latin America and teh Caribbean recentlyMORE

Seven "Corporations of Interest" in Selling Surveillance Tools to China

The "Corporations of Interest"

Drawing from published news articles, EFF has compiled a list of seven corporations that are reportedly selling surveillance technology to the Chinese government and related entities. We're designating them "corporations of interest".
  1. Cisco: Cisco's deep involvement in the building of China's Golden Shield Project has been admitted by the company. Cisco's involvement has even already been raised before Congress, including the fact that Cisco engineers gave a presentation acknowledging the repressive uses for their technology that quoted their Chinese government buyers as saying that Cisco's products could be used to "combat 'Falun Gong' evil religion and other hostiles." The UK's Guardian reports that Cisco provides over 60% of all routers, switches, and network gear to China and estimates that Cisco makes $500 million annually from China.

  2. Nortel: Rolling Stone and The Guardian report that Nortel has sold hardware to aid the Golden Shield Project for surveillance and censorship purposes, including working with Tsinghua University to develop speech recognition software to monitor telephone conversations.

Colombia: Doctors obstruct legal abortions

Nearly four years since the Constitutional Court decriminalized abortion in certain cases, women still face challenges to receive the procedure as many doctors and even judges have improperly declared themselves conscientious objectors.

In May 2006, the court lifted a ban on abortion in the case that the mother´s life or mental or physical health is in jeopardy, if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, or if the child has fetal malformations.

Ariadna Tovar, a lawyer with Women´s Link Worldwide, a gender equality advocacy group, says doctors or the health care providers they work for have collectively declared themselves conscientious objectors to the procedure.

Judges are doing the same, she says.

Q&A: ''There's a Limit to Fish Harvesting':David Cronin interviews ISABELLA LÖVIN, Swedish fisheries policy activist>a?

ETHIOPIA: Dam Critics Won't Go Away

PAKISTAN: Community Midwives Gain Recognition But Concerns Remain

Costa Rica: Laura Chinchilla Elected First Woman President

Ukraine: Back full Circle

DRC (democratic Republic of Congo)'s Magic Dust: Who benefits?

The new American imperialism in Africa Apparently this essay is a reprint, was first published 4 years ago. But is still relevant.

Mozambique: First woman speaker a step for equality
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Remember the Goldstone Report? Remeber Abbas' incomprehensible request to avoid voting on the report as soon as it was released in the UN? Well then.

Diskin to Abbas: Defer UN vote on Goldstone or face 'second Gaza

The request by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the United Nations Human Rights Council last year to postpone the vote on the Goldstone report followed a particularly tense meeting with the head of the Shin Bet security service, Haaretz has learned. At the October meeting in Ramallah, Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin told Abbas that if he did not ask for a deferral of the vote on the critical report on last year's military operation, Israel would turn the West Bank into a "second Gaza."MORE

Also: MIDEAST: Israel Jails Palestinian Peace Activists and MIDEAST: Sale of Land to Israel Threatens to Split Church

This is going to end well.

HAITI-DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Sisters in Catastrophe

BRAZIL: 'Colonisation Made Us Poor,' Say Indigenous Peoples

U.S.: 200,000 undocumented Haitians to seek legal status

Haiti hit by another earthquake

Millions view solar eclipse

Azerbaijan: 20th anniversary of Baku pogrom and Black January

Camara backs Guinea's interim ruler

Clashes near Nigerian city of Jos

Kenya protest turns deadly

Caucasus: Society, sex and the dating game

Poland Has Three Preliminary LOT Bids, May Get More

Frost has killing effects on Colombia's Rose Exports

Huge link list of stories about Muslim women
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COLOMBIA:Neutrality Impossible for Indigenous Groups

BOGOTA, Sep 10 (IPS) - The latest killings of Awá Indians in southern Colombia – 12 members of a family, including four children and three teenagers –, the forced displacement of hundreds of native villagers, and death threats against indigenous leaders and teachers are signs indicating that their demand to be considered neutral in the armed conflict is still being ignored.

The Aug. 26 murders were preceded by the killings of at least 17 members of the Awá community in February by the left-wing FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) guerrillas, and by death threats against Indigenous Unity of the Awá People (UNIPA) leaders.

Some become obstacles for the armed groups, as awkward witnesses. That was the case of Tulia García, one of the Aug. 26 victims, who had seen armed men detain her husband Gonzalo Rodríguez on Aug. 23 and later found his body, with shots to the head.

According to a statement by Human Rights Watch, "Colombia: Investigate Massacre in Southern Region; Possible Army Involvement and Effort to Eliminate Witnesses in Killings of 12 Indigenous People", García had accused the army of killing her husband.

The Awá collectively own the land and rivers in the Gran Rosario reservation or "resguardo" in the southwestern province of Nariño, a place of strategic value for the armed groups. They also have strong boys and young men that the armed groups recruit, against the wishes and cultural values of their families.

The Awá are intimately familiar with the region, but refuse to serve as guides for any group that carries weapons. Like other indigenous communities, "they are opposed to any form of violence," as missionary Antonio Baraín explains.

CHILE:Preserving the Kaweshkar Language – In the Nick of Time

SANTIAGO, Sep 30 (IPS) - Sound files containing recordings of spoken Kaweshkar - a nearly extinct indigenous language of southern Chile – have been put together thanks to the work of ethnolinguist Óscar Aguilera and anthropologist José Tonko, and donated to national and foreign institutions with the aim of preserving the culture of one of Chile’s nine native groups.

Kaweshkar is on the verge of joining hundreds of native languages that have disappeared over the past 500 years in South America, a process many blame on colonialism and the imposition of a dominant language, while others attribute it to the natural evolution of languages.

Whatever the reason, the reality is that the vast majority of the 600 to 800 languages that were spoken when the Europeans arrived in the continent have disappeared.

In recent years international agencies and language experts have agreed on the need to work towards preserving languages regardless of the number of speakers, because of their importance to cultural identity and diversity, and a series of legal instruments have been adopted towards that end.

The Kaweshkar - also known as Alacaluf - are one of the nine indigenous ethnic groups legally recognised by the Chilean government.

A nomadic sea-faring people, in the early twentieth century they finally settled down on the Island of Wellington, some 3,000 kilometres south of Santiago, in the Chilean fjords.

Today, only seven speakers of Kaweshkar are left in Puerto Edén, the island’s small port village, which is considered one of the country's most isolated inhabited places.

RIGHTS-MALAYSIA: Win Some, Lose Some for Beleaguered Penan Tribe

KUALA LUMPUR, Sep 21 (IPS) - In wealthy Malaysia that employs over four million Asians to service its high- rolling lifestyle, a tiny indigenous tribe is fighting for its survival against state inaction and bureaucratic apathy, as well as marauding giant multinationals and timber loggers.

It is an increasingly losing battle for the Penan, a tribe of about 12,000 semi- nomadic people fighting against destruction of their home in the jungles of Sarawak state in East Malaysia, home to the world’s oldest rain forest and a complex ecosystem.

The state’s wildlife and unique tropical ecosystem are equally under threat from loggers who swing into the forest felling the best trees, leaving giant oil palm plantations while clearing the logged forest to grow more palm oil.

In recent months about 3,000 Penan in the Bakun area in upper Rejang River – the second longest river in the country – faced severe food shortage for various reasons, including drought sparked by deforestation. Food supplies had to be airlifted after church groups raised the alarm.

Exacerbating their already harsh living condition is that Penan women and children are being raped by loggers and their workers, according to a long- delayed government report that concluded in mid-September what human rights activists and non-governmental organisations had been saying for at least a decade.

But despite evidence of sexual assaults, Malaysian police are dragging their feet in investigating the cases and bringing the culprits to justice.



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January 2013

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