Human rights groups have condemned a decision not to try Jean-Claude Duvalier, Haiti's former ruler, on crimes against humanity.
A Haitian judge decided this week that Duvalier, known as Baby Doc, should not stand trial for crimes against humanity.
He is accused of the torture and murder of thousands of his own people during his 15 year rule in the seventies and eighties.
A year ago, Duvalier made a surprise return to the country after 25 years in exile.
The judge ruled that his alleged crimes fell outside Haiti's statute of limitations. The judge, however, did say that Duvalier should stand trial on corruption charges. He is accused of embezzling hundreds of millions of dollars during his rule.
n heavily criticising the decision, human rights groups say they gave prosecutors hundreds of documents detailing cases of abuse.
Human Rights Watch called it the most important criminal case in Haitian history.
Duvalier was only 19 when he was named Haiti's president for life in 1971 after the death of his father Francois – known as Papa Doc.
Human rights groups say the Duvaliers used paramilitary group Tonton Macoutes to torture opponents and kill 30,000 people during their combined 29-year rule.
"We cannot have reconciliation without justice. Those people who have committed the crime including Duvalier ought to be tried, and the nation ought to find out exactly what happened. We owe it to all those people who died. … I don't things are going to change anytime soon because the institutions in the country are not working ... the US policy has always been to have a weak government in the country."
- Jean-Yves Point-du-Jour, Haitian American radio host
Africa losing billions in tax evasion by corporations.
Billions are being lost, not collected in taxes due to corporate tax evasion throughout Africa. A Study by a Swedish agency, Forum Syd suggests that Money taken illegally from the developing world is worth 10 times annual global aid budgets, according to a recent study.Tax evasions by multinational companies in Africa is so vast that tax analysts believe that if the money were paid, most of the continent would be “developed” by now. But, lacking a sophisticated tax code, or the people qualified to enforce tax laws, many African countries continue to lose money that could solve most of its financial problems.
This all goes back to weak governing, the state not having competent officials to handle the work in enforcing the tax laws. Just blaming corporations shouldn’t be enough. Some blame has to be directed toward government officials who in many cases allow this to take place. We all know that nothing talks louder than money and bribery is common towards government officials.
The article talk about weak governing, but corps are the big evaders here. So I guess we should put the blame on them. There is some talk about "modernizing tax codes for a globalized world" that kinda makes me cynical, specially when corruption has a lot to do here. But to be honest, I have no idea what he proposes because I'm not familiarized with how "tax codes" work in these different places. The proposal of a "business friendly environment" when talking about taxes evasion... is weird.
SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Hundreds of Yemeni women have set fire to a pile of female face and body veils on a main street in Sanaa to protest the government's brutal crackdown against the country's popular uprising.
The act of women burning their clothing is a symbolic Bedouin tribal gesture signifying an appeal for help to tribesmen.
Wednesday's protest comes as clashes intensify between forces loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh and renegade fighters who have sided with the opposition in demands that the president step down.
Medical and local officials say up to 25 civilians, tribal fighters and government soldiers died overnight in Sanaa and the city of Taiz despite Saleh's ceasefire announcement late Tuesday.
Saleh has clung to power in the face of more than nine months of massive protests against his rule.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemen's president on Tuesday called in the U.S. ambassador and told him he would sign a deal to step down, a U.S. official said. The embattled leader, who has made that pledge several times before, spoke as violence shook his capital.
President Ali Abdullah Saleh informed Ambassador Gerald Feierstein of a new cease-fire, but clashes on the streets threw that into doubt. Activists said seven protesters were killed and 10 wounded.MORE
The Annihilating Language of the Left Meets the Language of Humanity of Drug War Victims
This month’s journey by Javier Sicilia, family members of drug war victims and the Caravan of Peace provided a closer look at how different sectors of the Mexican left are receiving the emergence of the country’s first explicitly nonviolent movement on a national scale. The difference between Sicilia’s Gandhian strategy and discourse and those of more strident and militant traditions was especially magnified in the state of Oaxaca, where the caravan traveled September 11, 12 and 13, a majority-indigenous state which has its own deep history of struggle. ...
Oaxaca’s history of popular struggle is among the deepest in the hemisphere. We’ve learned a lot from it, particularly from the Zapotec communities of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, who in the 1980s launched the first resistance against the one-party rule of Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI, in its Spanish initials). Much of my own early formation in Mexico came learning from my late friend, the exceptional community organizer and labor lawyer Carlos Sanchez, assassinated in 2003 in Juchitán, at the age of 49, while returning from his daughter’s 15th birthday celebration.
It is not easy to work or live in Oaxaca with a social conscience and not become overwhelmed at times with grief over the sheer volume of political assassination, unjust imprisonment and violence inflicted on good people who have worked to right wrongs and injustices. One day your friend and neighbor are there, fighting the good fight. The next day he and she are gone, forever. Then you watch helplessly as their children are raised fatherless or motherless. You see and feel the gaping holes left in communities throughout the state’s seven regions, and the long term consequences of such political violence, compounded today by the economic violence of the prohibitionist drug policy and its escalating consequences on all of Mexico, including Oaxaca, a key south-to-north funnel in the routes of South American cocaine.MORE
Camila Vallejo's call for better and cheaper education has seen student protests transform into a two-day nationwide shutdown
( Read more... )
In Chile, Dissent Has A Woman’s Face
( Read more... )
Ya know? Yes, she's beautiful. And the fact that the media are falling all over themselves to note that, ignoring that they would have ignored her if she wasn't? PISSES ME OFF. Also, teh GUardian keeps going "protests turned violent" completely erasing who turns the protests violent ...THE FUCKING POLICE.
We are prepared to give our lives for education High school kids on hunger strike
SANTIAGO, Aug 25, 2011 (IPS) - As students and teachers continue their massive protests in the streets of Chile's cities, one of the most extreme methods of demanding higher-quality, free public education is the hunger strike being undertaken by 28 youngsters at secondary schools across the country, four of whom have not taken food for nearly 40 days. One teenage girl in the south of Chile had to be urgently admitted to hospital on Tuesday, Aug. 24 in unstable condition, and last week another young woman in Santiago required medical attention. Several of the hunger strikers have lost 10 kg or more.
The government of rightwing President Sebastián Piñera, under heavy pressure from the ongoing demonstrations, is attempting to pass on responsibility for solving the crisis to Congress. Its proposals have so far been characterised as insufficient by the teachers and students fighting for radical changes to the education system. To cap Piñera's problem, social grievances have expanded beyond the issue of education, and Thursday was the second, and last, day of a nationwide general strike called by the Central Unitaria de Trabajadores, the main union federation, to demand structural changes in the political and economic system, that was also joined by 80 other social organisations and opposition parties. The protest by students and teachers has lasted over three months so far, making it the longest demonstration since 1990, which marked the end of a 17-year dictatorship that in its dying days imposed the present education structure, which subsequent democratic administrations have left unmodified.
Education Minister Felipe Bulnes was particularly critical of the hunger strike, saying it "does not solve any of our problems; in fact, it only complicates the situation." Francia Gárate, an 18-year-old in her final year of secondary school, joined the hunger strike over a week ago and told IPS they were fasting "so that they take us seriously." "I would ask (Piñera) to realise that we are not playing games; he should wake up, because what we are doing is not a game, and we are prepared to give our lives for education," Gárate emphasised. MORE
Proposals to radically re-formulate the constitution of Honduras need to incorporate the experiences and perspectives of indigenous and Afro-Honduran women, declared Berta Cáceres, a longtime feminist indigenous activist and an organizer of the Constitutional Assembly Self-Organized by Indigenous and Afro-Honduran Women. The historic event, which is taking place July 10-14, 2011 in Copán Ruinas, will include indigenous and Afro women delegates from all over Honduras, said Cáceres, who is also coordinator of COPINH (Civic Council of Indigenous and Popular Organizations in Honduras).
Many of these women have been front and center in the popular resistance movement against the repression following the coup d’etat in their country in June, 2009, struggling against assaults on their lands, sovereignty, natural resources and cultures. Likewise, many have been specifically targeted as leaders in these struggles with aggressive and violent assaults and detentions by police and private security forces.
Along the northern coast of Honduras, there are 48 Garifuna communities “who are suffering an accelerated expulsion from our territories that we have inhabited for 214 years,” said Miriam Miranda of OFRANEH (National Fraternal Organization of Black Hondurans) in a public letter she released after being violently detained and assaulted by security forces in March, 2011 for her role as a leader in the resistance. Communal lands of the Garifuna have been subject to widespread privatization as part of massive development plans by the government and World Bank to create big tourist resorts and “model cities.” The Garifuna are matrilocal, meaning the land has been traditionally passed along matrilineal lines, so this massive assault on communal lands has hit women particularly hard (Vacanti Brondo, 2007).MORE
Indigenous and Afro-Honduran Women: Autonomy and an End to Violence Against Us
Final Declaration of Constituent Assembly Self-Organized by Indigenous and Afro-Honduran Women
From the rhythmic beat of powerful drums and ancient spiritual songs that echoed through the sacred ruins of the Mayan Chortí in Copan in western Honduras, the three-day event ended with hundreds of indigenous and Afro- Honduran women demanding autonomy and an end to the colonization of their lands, their bodies, their lives, and ways of doing politics.
The Final Declaration of Copán Galel of the Self-Organized Constituent Assembly of Indigenous and Afro-Honduran women denounced the “violence, repression and domination of women operating through capitalism, patriarchy and racism,” said Berta Caceres, coordinator the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), in an interview with Escribana.
Caceres was also one of the organizers of the Assembly, which took place July 11 to 13, 2011 in Copan Ruinas, Honduras. The Assembly involved an intensive dialogue on the realities of life of the 300 participating women whose cultures, lands, natural resources and the country have been under siege that intensified since the military coup in June 2009.
Since then, the government, the powerful elites and transnational corporations have been using the “Shock Doctrine” (Naomi Klein) to promote a rapid re-engineering of business, economic policies and all policies before people have opportunity to react. (Http://www.naomiklein.org/shock-
For Honduras, this has meant immediate and aggressive plans for mass-tourism projects, mega-projects such as hydroelectric dams and the expansion of mining, agribusiness and forestry, all involving the confiscation of indigenous and Afro lands.
Israel Daphne Leef:How a woman in a tent became Israel's Top Story
Until recently nobody had heard of Daphni Leef. Now, everybody in Israel knows the 25-year-old's face and her cause. Just a few weeks ago, Leef was waiting tables. Now, her schedule has become such that she cannot help keeping people waiting. This interview was meant to take place at 11am but did not start until 5pm. Among things that might have distracted her was the small matter of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu putting everything on hold to respond to her demands.
Even after the interview started, we were interrupted by well-wishers, delighted to see her in the flesh sitting outside a Tel Aviv café. A young man wanted a hug; a little old lady wanted to have her picture taken with Leef. And upon hearing her voice a blind woman halted her guide dog and chatted excitedly.
So what did Leef do to bring her such national attention? She got chucked out of her flat. And then wrote on Facebook. Just over a month ago she was told that she needed to leave her Tel Aviv apartment because the building was slated for redevelopment. She started looking for a new home, and was shocked to find how expensive rents had become.
"I called up a friend and said, 'I'm setting up a tent'," she recalls. "He said I should calm down." But she did not calm down - instead she opened a Facebook "event", inviting people to erect tents in central Tel Aviv to protest against high housing prices.MORE
Dude. They profiled the originator of a protest that has seen up to 300,000 people participate....in the lifestyle section. God. DAMN.
Tunisia Tunisian women fear the Algerian way
TUNIS, Aug 5, 2011 (IPS) - A women’s group begins campaigning near La Marsa beach in Tunis to convince more women to come up and register in the electoral lists, in time for the deadline now pushed back to Aug. 14. Most of the women watching the proceedings are veiled.
The veils present more a question than a suggestion at present. One survey among veiled women conduced by journalists here claims that four in five of these women will not vote for Ennahda, the Islamist party surging ahead in popularity ahead of elections for a constituent assembly due in October.
Veils in such numbers are an unusual sight in Tunisia where women visit the beach just as comfortably in a bikini as wearing a headscarf, and just as comfortable sipping wine as a soft drink, listening to rap or traditional music.
Looks may be deceptive, one way or another. "Look around," says Khadija, an activist with the Modernist Democratic Front - a coalition of local Tunisian democratic parties - on another beachfront near the fashionable La Goulette. "Can you see these people living under Islamic law? Tunisia is not Algeria. I am sure it will never happen here."
Women have had successes they want to hold on to: half the candidates in the electoral lists must now be women. A strong presence of women in the constituent assembly could be crucial to women’s rights.
Women also want to consolidate the position taken by the High Commission charged to verify that the goals of the revolution are respected - namely that religion and politics will be kept separate. Ennahda has opposed this move in the transitional period. It has also opposed the transitional government’s decision that parties cannot receive funds from outside.
On another front women are fighting the undemocratic influence of former president Zine el Abidine Ben Ali in institutions such as the media. The media gives little space to women, even though they are politically active, and many will be candidates. MORE
Students demand the end of the school voucher system in pre-school, primary and secondary levels and the end of the current public university financing policy, that mixes deliberate underfinancing, a shadow toll called "Indirect State Payment" (Aporte Fiscal Indirecto, in Spanish), high parents' payments even in public universities (tuition fees in private and state universities are about the same), and a state-guaranteed loan scheme that allow private banks to finance already high tuition fees. The Chilean system, although defended by researchers linked to the Heritage Foundation, is criticized by researchers like Martin Carnoy, blaming on it the tremendous inequalities across all the Chilean educational system, measured by OECD's standards. Chile only spends 4.4% of GDP on education, compared to the 7% of GDP recommended by the UN for developed nations.
The students want those systems replaced by a true publicly financed and managed education system, covering from pre-school to tertiary education.Some segments of the student movement have called for other changes, such as a new constitution or the renationalization of Chile's copper resources in order to fund public education.MORE
Chilean Students Lock Lips for Love of Schools and use other varied and different methods of protest.
In Chile, months of student demonstrations across the country have given way to mass protests in the capital of Santiago. Nearly 900 protesters have been arrested today in the crackdown against the demonstrations, the New York Times reported.
Tens of thousands of the nation’s high school and college students have been demonstrating for two months against a higher education system that was largely privatized under General Pinochet and since left students in serious debt. Students have called on President Sebastián Piñera to support reforms promising high-quality and free compulsory education and an overhaul of the university system.
But in Chile, protests are not limited to walkouts and marches and hunger strikes, though there have beenplenty of those too. The New York Times reports that at any one time two to three protesters can be seen jogging outside the presidential palace. They’re attempting to reach 1,800 laps to symbolize the $1.8 billion that they want the country to invest in the education system. They have dressed up as superheroes and choreographed dance routines. They’ve staged collective suicides, with lines of people collapsing into the streets at once.
They’ve also staged kiss-ins. Protesters have paired off and started kissing marathons, smooching in the streets to bring attention to their cause.MORE
I am irritated with the way that a lot of mainstream American and European media has been characterizing the protests (when they haven't been ignoring them) and the whole zomg they are so surreal bit is irritating the fuck out of me in this article. The protesters gave reasons for the fucking things they do. Tell us what they are and stop going OMG what are those crazy ppl doing?!?!?! Chile student protests explode into violence Riot police clash with protesters calling for education reform as anger with Sebastiàn Piñera's government boils over
But on Thursday these surreal protests exploded into violence as school and university students clashed with police and seized a TV station, demanding the right to a live broadcast in order to express their demands.
The Chilean winter, as it is being called, appears to have captured the public mood, just as the Arab spring did six months ago.
After a day of street clashes, 874 people had been arrested and department store in the capital was smouldering after being attacked by protesters. Outrage against the rightwing government of Sebastiàn Piñera boiled over, with polls showing he is more unpopular than any leader since the fall of former dictator Augusto Pinochet.
Striking school students led the charge as they tried to march on the presidential palace early on Thursday, only to be thwarted by hundreds of police in riot gear and clouds of teargas. Tucapel Jiménez, a member of the Chilean congress, called for sanctions against government authorities who authorised what he called "brutal repression" by riot police.
"This is unacceptable, the centre of Santiago is a state of siege," said university student leader Camila Vallejo, tears rolling down her face after being doused in teargas. "The right to congregate has been violated."
"I don't see any other solution than a general referendum," said Giorgio Jackson, president of the Catholic University student union as he described the distance between student demands and the government offer. "There are some points of agrement, but clearly there are other points that are very relevant and in which we have grand differences." News coverage of students being gassed and hauled off buses by police squads led Vallejo to call for the resignation of Rodrigo Hinzpeter, Chile's interior minister. Government officials insisted the students did not have a permit to march and defended the police reaction as necessary to maintain business as usual in Santiago. Government spokesman Andrés Chadwick estimated vandalism damage at $2m.MORE
Dude. FUCK you and your "business as usual". And FUCK your "permit to march" BULLSHIt too. The point, you specious ass; is that the people are rejecting business as usual. And democracy and the right to air one's grievances are not dependent on a fucking PERMIT. The government serves the people, NOT the other way around.
'Indignant' Demonstrators Marching to Brussels to Protest Effects of Crisis
MADRID, Jul 30, 2011 (IPS) - Protesters from several European Union cities have begun to follow the example of hundreds of demonstrators from Spain who are marching from Madrid to Brussels, the bloc's de facto capital, in a growing protest against the effects of the economic crisis and the fiscal adjustment policies adopted to combat it.
The march - literally, on foot - began Tuesday Jul. 26 with half a dozen people at the Puerta del Sol, in Madrid, the "kilometre zero" point from which all distances in the country are measured. The "'Indignant' People's March" aims to cover the 1,550 km to Brussels by Oct. 8, one week ahead of the global demonstration planned for Oct. 15 by Democracia Real YA (Real Democracy Now!)
Marchers from other European cities will stop in Paris on the way to Brussels, to support the Occupy Wall Street initiative, aimed at occupying and disrupting what they call the "financial Gomorrah" of the United States.
Adbusters, a counter-cultural Canadian magazine, quoted Professor Raimundo Viejo of the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona as saying: "The anti-globalisation movement was the first step. Back then our model was to attack the system like a pack of wolves. There was an alpha male, a wolf leading the pack, and others who followed behind. Now the model has evolved. Today we are one big swarm of people."
The Adbusters article calls on U.S. President Barack Obama to set up a presidential commission tasked with "ending the influence money has over (the country's) representatives in Washington."
It also proposes "dismantling half the 1,000 military bases (the United States) has around the world," among other pro-democracy measures.
But the May 15 Movement (15M), which emerged on that date with large demonstrations in the main squares of cities across Spain held to protest the political, economic and social system, is also drawing attention to issues not prominently covered by the international press, such as repossessions of the homes of those who fall behind on their mortgage payments. MORE
I wish them all good luck and will follow their shenanigans with interest!
The recent approval of Zimbabwean diamonds mined from the $800bn Marange fields by the Kimberley Process (KP) chair, the DRC's Mathieu Yamba Lapfa Lambang, has prompted a global "human rights" outcry with KP members such as Canada, the EU, and the US claiming there was "no consensus".
Meanwhile, other countries like China (the world's fastest growing diamond consumer market), and India (which cuts and polishes 11 of 12 stones) have all given the green light to Zimbabwe, removing any potential problems of surplus minerals from Marange, which has been described by Zimbabwean Finance Minister Tendai Biti as "the biggest find of alluvial diamonds in the history of mankind".
With potential revenues pegged at $1-1.7bn annually, the support of neighbouring governments like South Africa, another major diamond producer, and "host" country to 3 million Zimbabwean political and economic "refugees", is not surprising. Nor is the potential KP rupture being shaped as a battle between politically "interfering" Western nations and cash-starved developing nations.
That Zimbabwe's diamonds are mined under the direct surveillance of the country's vicious military and controlled by brutal lifetime dictator Robert Mugabe is not in question. Since the discovery of Marange's diamonds in 2006, the military has largely supervised mining; mass looting by political, corporate and military elites has occurred, accompanied by violent displacement and human rights violations; companies based in secret jurisdictions such as Mauritius and Hong Kong have been granted "due diligence" approval; and there exists complete opacity over volumes extracted, exported and sold.
But to what extent does the vehement opposition stem from political objections to a nation controlled by the blatantly anti-Western Mugabe? More broadly, was the KP system - propagating that less than one per cent of global diamonds constitute "blood" minerals - built for the purposes of eliminating corporate and state-sanctioned exploitation, or normalising and sanitising it?MORE
At this point, personally, I really don't see any reason I should be wearing what are in reality simply pretty colored stones. The value of these things is entirely created, and the blood and exploitation that comes in the wake of that value is not worth a damn thing.
Rupert Murdoch has met his match. For years now, the News Corp. head has seemed bulletproof, or at least Teflon-coated; scandal has seemingly slid right off him. But suddenly the ongoing furor over phone hacking in the U.K. has put his media empire in real peril. His News of the World has been closed down. His $12 billion deal to take over all of British Sky Broadcasting has been scrapped. Some of his closest associates—even his son James—are at serious risk. And none of that would have happened were it not for the fierce, dogged persistence of Alan Rusbridger and The Guardian, the newspaper he runs.
Rusbridger has been at The Guardian for decades; he's been editor since 1995. And he's had plenty of success in that time. (Rusbridger and The Guardian have, for instance, played a pivotal role in the Wikileaks saga.) But none of it compares to this. By the time the dust settles, the paper may well have brought down, virtually single-handedly, not just a media giant but an entire government. But this moment in the sun for Rusbridger and The Guardian comes at a time when the paper itself is facing an uncertain future. A trust that has kept the paper alive is drying up, the parent company's losses totaled $53 million last year alone, and layoffs are imminent. But as his recent coup shows, though the walls may sometimes be crumbling around him, Rusbridger is committed to forging ahead, to pursuing major investigations even when no one else is paying attention.
“I had lots of conversations with people who appeared not to want to listen to what we were saying, including the future Prime Minister [David Cameron],” Rusbridger said. “That went for the police, that went for the MPs, it went for the regulator, and it went for other journalists. So we said, 'If we’re going to do this, we’re going to have to do it alone.'”
Like many of his employees, Rusbridger is practically a lifelong Guardian man. He joined the paper as a reporter in 1979 and has been there ever since. “Alan has spent almost all of his professional life at The Guardian, and has been editor for 16 years,” New York Times executive editor Bill Keller observed in an email to Adweek, “which means it is Alan's Guardian in a sense that few other papers are creatures of their editor.”
That's true. But if you had to pick a man for this role from Central Casting, you almost certainly wouldn't pick Rusbridger. Ben Bradlee, The Washington Post editor who ran that other legendary investigation once upon a time, was a man who looked the part—the kind of man who, his own reporters once said, would "grind his cigarettes out in a demitasse cup during a formal dinner party." Rusbridger, 57, is different—he looks more like Harry Potter's lonely uncle than the kind of man capable of bringing down Rupert Murdoch.
But he was willing to stick with the phone hacking scandal even when it seemed like no one outside The Guardian cared at all. All told, the paper has been on this story for five years now. Though it looks like a wise investment in retrospect, those were five years during which Rusbridger was sacrificing not only money but the time and efforts of some of his best reporters for a story that could very well have gone nowhere.MORE
The impending fire sale of historic treasures of the people of Greece to pay the billionaires bar bill at Club Euro has infuriated a broad cross section of the Greek people. People from as far away as the outer isles of Greece are converging at Syntagma square in front of the Greek Parliament to protest tomorrow and Wednesday.
Spiros Avramiotis. a local olive oil producer is furious at the idea of losing one of Corfu’s prime locations and angrily stated. “We have to stand up and send a message to the politicians in Athens that Corfu is not for sale, not one inch of it. Full stop.” He added, “Greece may be on the verge of bankruptcy, but surely it’s not a good idea to sell off the family silver,” a belief that is held by a great number of citizens in Greece. Behind Spiros Avramiotis stands hoardes of islanders who are preparing to join mainland workers in protests against the government in their bid to raise €50 billion from the auctioning of state assets. The Palace is one of several state-owned properties said to be up for sale. Other locations are beaches, casinos, airports and marinas around Greece.MORE
Greek general strike and austerity debate - Tuesday 28 June
Here's a summary of events today:
• Tens of thousands of Greeks have taken to the streets to voice their opposition to a new wave of austerity measures which will be subject to a vote in parliament on Wednesday and Thursday. A two-day strike called by unions began today. Transport, schools and other services as well as many private businesses were shut as a result of the strike called by ADEDY, the union representing half a million civil servants and GSEE, which represents 2 million private sector workers. Hundreds of flights have been cancelled or rescheduled and protesters have blockaded the port of Piraeus.
• A minority of protesters were involved in running battles with the police. Many of them wore crash helmets or bandanas over their faces. They brandished wooden staves, hurled missiles including bricks and molotov cocktails and started fires. Two communications trucks were set on fire and shops were vandalised. The troublemakers, believed to consist mainly of anarchists, also threw smoke grenades and firecrackers. Police fired rounds of teargas leaving the air in central Athens acrid. Police said 18 people were detained, with formal arrest charges laid against five of them, and that four policemen were injured and transferred to a military hospital. There were reports of dozens of people being treated for the effects of teargas in Syntagma Square, which has been the focal point of the protests.MORE
Showdown in Greece: Interview with Panos Petrou
THE MEDIA analysis of the crisis in Greece claims the same thing that we hear in this country--that working people have been living beyond their means, and now they have to sacrifice. Is this really the source of the crisis?
THIS CLAIM is a total inversion of reality. During the recent past, the economy was booming, and gross domestic product was growing. But working people, the ones who created this wealth, have been living in a state of constant austerity since 1985--with governments implementing one austerity plan after another, while capitalists keep the whole pie for themselves.
( Read more... )
Sicilia: “We Are Taking the First Steps in this Great Crusade to Dignify Our Country”
Before the Caravan of Solace, many of the families who had lost their own to the war on drugs remembered them in the privacy of their living rooms. They lived below a yoke of fear imposed by the government’s criminalization of the victims and they didn’t dare raise their voices in a cry for justice. Now, as a result of the caravan, many know each other and recognize each other. They dare to go out into the street and say that their son, daughter, husband, wife, father or mother was not a criminal. Families that beforehand did not know each other began to share their pain, hugging each other, in the street, to appeal for justice, peace and dignity.
The recognition between them, the sharing of stories of life and death, the pain and solace, the love, the desires for justice, helped them to dignify the names of their fallen family members, friends and neighbors. This is what unites María Elena Herrera Magdalena of Morelia, Michoacán, whose four children were disappeared, with the parents of Juan Martín Ayala and of Sarahy Méndez Salazar, murdered in San Luís Potosí. This is what joins María América Nava of Ecatepec, in the state of Mexico, whose brother, a community organizer, was assassinated, in a hug with Nepomuceno Moreno, from Sonora, who joined the caravan to continue seeking justice for his son. Estela Ángeles Mondragón, of the Rarámuri, (also known as Tarahumara) indigenous community, shares with them the constant pilgrimage she makes from the mountains to the courtrooms to claim justice for her daughter, gunned down, and her assassinated husband. MORE
Mexican Community Uses Barricades to Drive Out Organized Crime and Political Parties
Armed with machetes, sticks, and farm tools, residents of Cherán, Michoacan, covered their faces with bandanas and set up barricades around their community on April 15. It is a scene reminiscent of Oaxaca in 2006, except this time, the barricades aren't meant to keep out paramilitary death squads; they keep out organized crime.
( Read more... )
A Mexican Movement at a Crossroads: A Paper Pact or an Organized Community?
While the Media and Some Activists Obsess Upon the “National Pact,” a Deeper History Unfolds Among Drug War Victims
“Invention,” Javier Sicilia reminded this week, is “the daughter of necessity,” and a venture as ambitious as ending a war that has taken 40,000 Mexican lives in half a decade, by definition, requires a lot of creativity and innovation.
( Read more... )
( Read more... )
Massive Turnout for Zelaya Launches New Chapter of Honduran Struggle
'Largest gathering in Honduran history' receives deposed leader's return, but where to now for Honduran resistance movement?
Produced by Jesse Freeston.
For More Visit therealnews.com
( Read more... )
While “Europe’s slow-motion financial collapse” – as Mother Jones magazine described it in a June 6tharticle – continues to unravel, Spain, like other European states continues to implement anti-social-neo-liberal policies with strong opposition from the citizenry.
It has been one month since the country’s ‘Indignados’ (Indignant Ones) movement claimed nonviolently sixty city-squares in cities across the country, calling for economic democracy, political justice and peace. Since then, much has happened within Spanish borders, and what is happening there is clearly spreading across Europe, where we have already witnessed social movements making similar demands. We have seen the Bastille in Paris, taken nonviolently by French ‘Indignados’ only to be quickly reclaimed by the country’s police force. We have observed the rise of a parallel movement in Portugal where most city squares have also been camped on by ‘Indignados’, and where only hours before the country’s general elections protestors in Lisbon were attacked and beaten by police. We have witnessed how on that same night, in Athens, Greece, 80,000 protestors congregated in the city’s main square in opposition to the country’s ‘austerity measures’, waving banners in solidarity with the ‘Indignados’ of Spain and of other European country’s. MORE
May 28th 2011 'Democracia Real Ya': When the People in Spain Remind the Government Who They Work for
Anyone who was there during the protest would tell you that they didn’t see it coming. As a matter of fact, how can we explain this movement? Perhaps a little context is necessary for us to understand, even though one does not always find clear answers to that.
On September 29th 2010, thousands of people were asked by the main labor unions to join a protest in the streets of Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and all the other major cities, in protest for the austerity measures anounced by the Zapatero government. However, this general strike, deemed a failure by many, left most people disenchanted with traditional politics and the general atmosphere was one of frustration, defeat and a growing sense of individualism, palpable in the streets of Madrid, and also a general mistrust, conveyed in public opinion polls regarding banks, social groups and the political class across the spectrum, as well as a pessimistic view of their future.
So, in other words, nothing at the time would make any observer anticipate what was to happen, nor its magnitude. So the question is, what happened in between? What are the main causes that could explain this phenomenon? MORE
Protests Evolve But Tensions Continue
The mobilizations that started on May 15 in Spain have gradually evolved into local meetings, gatherings and different kinds of initiatives all over the country. Most activists are not focusing on the camps any more. Campers have decided to leave the Madrid square “Puerta del Sol” on June 12, 2011. It became the physical symbol of the people's unease with their political representatives. Netizens are calling this shift “Sol se mueve” (Sol is moving), and using the tag #solsemueve on Twitter.
This does not mean that the movement has died. Assemblies and reunions co-exist with specific actions, like the marches towards city councils on June 11 to protest against the investiture of politicians charged with corruption. In Madrid, the capital city, a sit-in ended up with police charging against demonstrators, which can be seen on the videos widely shared online, like this one by journalist Juan Luis Sánchez of Periodismo Humano [es]:MORE
A corruption scandal rocking one of Argentina's leading human rights organisation is now tainting the country's president, Christina Kirchner.
Al Jazeera's Lucia Newman reports.
Mothers of Plaza de Mayo Scandal 'Toxic' for President
BUENOS AIRES, Jun 17, 2011 (IPS) - Above and beyond the impact it might have on Argentina's Oct. 23 general elections, few doubt that the government of Cristina Fernández will feel the effects of the fraud scandal involving the alleged misuse of public funds by the former right-hand man of the head of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo Association.
The latest survey by pollster Enrique Zuleta found that nearly 53 percent of respondents believe the scandal is a serious problem that will have far-reaching consequences for politics and the country's institutions, and that the effects are not merely limited to the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo.
The Mothers, a world-renowned human rights group, emerged 34 years ago during the 1976-1983 dictatorship to protest the forced disappearance of their children.
The scandal involves Sergio Schoklender, who was the chief adviser to activist Hebe de Bonafini – the head of the Mothers Association – and the financial manager of the foundation set up by the human rights group.
Early this month the Association fired Schoklender and several of his associates after legal charges were brought against them for fraud, illegal enrichment and money laundering in relation to government funds that went to the foundation for the purpose of building low-income housing to replace slums.MORE
Inside Story with presenter Teymoor Nabili discusses with guests: Vagelis Agapitos, independent economist; Yanis Varoufakis, professor of economics at the University of Athens; and Fotis Boblas, an activist and protester.
The Economy of Greece (Wikipedia)
Analysis: In Greece, it's all about 'solidarity'
Solidarity is probably a word that you would not associate with Greece following the events of the past few days.
( Read more... )
Millions strike in Greece over austerity plans
( Read more... )
June 13 The crisis in Greece intensifies
( Read more... )
June 16 Greece reaches the brink: Eric Ruder explains the issues underlying the massive protests shaking Greece.
( Read more... )
HUMALA INHERITS a country that is extremely polarized. The vast majority of the population struggles just to survive, sometimes literally. Accoring to Peruvian sociologist Jorge Lora Cam, only 20 percent of the country's gross domestic product comes from wages, and the informal sector has mushroomed. This year, the poverty rate "went down" to 36 percent.
In Lima, over 1 million people lived without running water as of 2008. In the city of Ayacucho, 25 percent of the population faces the same lack.
The signing of bilateral free trade agreements, not only with the U.S. but also with China, has lead to increased sweatshop exploitation in the cities and to an exponential rise in multinational and foreign investment in metal and fuel mining, which in turn displaces peasant and indigenous communities and pollutes the ecosystem, whose land the government now claims the right to sell off.
Those fighting the conglomerates have been at the forefront of struggle in recent years. As the elections took place, the border between Peru and Bolivia was being blocked by indigenous people taking on mining companies. In Cocachacra, Arequipa and the area around these two southern towns, protesters against the Tía María mining project have been shot and killed, but have refused to accept a truce until after the elections take place.
Left candidate wins election in Peru
The victory of left-populist candidate Ollanta Humala in Peru's election is a "big fucking deal", as Vice President Joe Biden famously whispered to Obama on national TV in another context. With respect to US influence in the hemisphere, this knocks out one of only two allies that Washington could count on, leaving only the rightwing government of Chile. Left governments that are more independent of the United States than Europe is now run Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay and Peru. And Colombia under President Manuel Santos is now siding with these governments more than with the United States.
This means that regional political and economic integration will proceed more smoothly, although it is still a long-term project. On 5 July, for example, heads of state from the whole hemisphere will meet in Caracas, Venezuela, to proceed with the formation of Celac (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States). This is a regional organisation that includes all countries except the United States and Canada, and which – no matter what anyone says for diplomatic purposes – is intended to displace the Organisation of American States. The new organisation is a response to the abuse of the OAS by the United States (which controls most of the bureaucracy) for anti-democratic purposes, most recently in the cases of Honduras and Haiti.
These institutional changes, including the vastly expanded role of Unasur (Union of South American Nations) are changing the norms and customs of diplomatic relations in the hemisphere. The Obama administration, which has continued the policies of "containment" and "rollback" of its predecessor, has been slow to accept the new reality. As a result, it does not have ambassadors in Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecuador.MORE
Hope in the Andes: What Ollanta Humala’s Victory Means for Peru
Fried pork rinds, fish, potatoes and eggs were sold by street vendors outside polling stations on election day in Lima, Peru. By nightfall, thousands of people gathered in a central plaza waving the white flags of Ollanta Humala’s political party.
Ollanta is an Incan name meaning “the warrior everyone looks to.” Indeed, all eyes were on the leftist president-elect as he greeted the crowd just before midnight with the words, “We won the elections!”
Humala, a former military officer who led a failed military uprising in 2000, lost the elections in 2006 to Alan Garcia. On the June 5th presidential elections this year, he narrowly defeated Kieko Fujimori, the daughter of ex-president Alberto Fujimori, who was jailed in 2007 for corruption and crimes against humanity. If elected, Kieko would have likely worked to release her father from jail, and carry on his administration’s capitalist and repressive policies.
This election puts Humala among a growing number of leftist presidents in Latin America and offers hope to the poorest sectors of Peruvian society.
The poverty rate in Peru is just over 31 percent; in the countryside, two in three people live under the poverty line. In Sunday’s elections, it was the impoverished rural areas that went for Humala over Kieko Fujimori.
"You cannot speak of Peru advancing if so many Peruvians live in poverty,” Humala said in his victory speech, explaining that he would work to make sure that the government functioned “above all for the poorest people in the country.”MORE
June 2 Peru's Presidential Election: A Battle Over Memory and Justice
When Peruvian presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori arrived at a plaza in the city of Cajamarca for a recent campaign speech, she was met by a barrage of eggs thrown by activists who opposed her candidacy and called her a “murderer and thief.”
The activists were referring to the legacy of her father, Alberto Fujimori, who was Peru’s president from 1990-2000 and jailed in 2007 for a quarter century sentence after being found guilty of corruption and ‘crimes against humanity’.
( Read more... )
Ppl, the free market reforms that Fujimori did were not separate from the massacres and other fuckery he got up to. it was part and parcel of it, to make sure his opponents would stfu and stfd while he got on with capitalism. This thing is from The Economist and I'm linking for the info that it provides, but...jsyk k?
Victory for the Andean chameleon: Having reinvented himself as a moderate, Ollanta Humala has an extraordinary opportunity to marry economic growth with social progress
( Read more... )
I mean to say there! Taxing mining companies!!! Allowing Amerindian nations to have veto power on mining on their own LANDS!!!! What IS this world coming to!!!
MALAGA, Spain, Jun 9, 2011 (IPS) - The May 15 Movement (15-M) which sprang up as huge rallies in public squares in Spain's largest cities to protest against the political, economic and social system, is multiplying as assemblies in local neighbourhoods in provincial capitals and other municipalities.
"The idea is for the movement to decentralise and carry on working in the neighbourhoods and small towns," Laura Rueda, a 29-year-old unemployed journalist and one of the spokespersons for the movement, told IPS in the southern city of Málaga, where they are still debating whether to continue camping in the central Constitution square. MORE
As if we needed any more evidence that the United States is fast becoming a Corporate Police State (i.e., systematically deploying police power to protect narrow corporate interests), make sure to check out this jaw-dropping story that broke in Canada late Friday. It details how the British Columbia Supreme Court uncovered what it says is a massive collusion between computer giant Cisco and U.S. law enforcement -- a collusion that seems designed to use criminal prosecution to stop a whistle-blower's antitrust case against a powerful politically connected corporation.
The machinations in this case are complicated, but the basics go like this: Ex-Cisco exec Peter Alfred-Adekeye filed a whistle-blower suit against his former employer Cisco in civil court -- a suit that could compel the company to pay millions in damages for allegedly "forcing customers to buy maintenance contracts," according to the Vancouver Sun.MORE
Indeed, America. Indeed.
The New Republic: Facebook Fight
Inside the cult of Elizabeth Warren.
May 28, 2011
On Tuesday, Representative Patrick McHenry called Elizabeth Warren a liar. Twice. As Obama’s advisor for the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Warren has grown accustomed to conservative ire. But this grew personal. First, while chairing a House subcommittee hearing, the North Carolina Republican accused Warren of misleading testimony. Then, after she testified, she asked to be excused for another meeting, which she claimed to have previously discussed with the congressman’s staff. McHenry snapped, “You’re making this up.” As Warren’s mouth fell agape, Democrat Elijah Cummings jumped to her defense: “Mr. Chairman … I’m trying to be cordial here, but you just accused the lady of lying.”
McHenry, whatever his motive, could not have prepared for what was coming next. Within hours, hundreds of Warren supporters took to the congressman’s Facebook “fan” page to chide his bad manners. “You kiss your mother with that mouth? Apologize to Elizabeth Warren,” wrote one. Others called him “classless,” “undignified,” and accused him of blatant sexism: “What a pathetic display of pig-headed machismo.” By Wednesday afternoon, just twenty-four hours later, the negative comments numbered into the thousands, with diatribes from Warren defenders unspooling every five to ten seconds like clockwork. A nascent Facebook group—Citizens Against Patrick McHenry—sprung up to maintain the momentum: “We’re starting to get noticed. More posts, people, more posts.” The insults ranged from the political—“Hiding behind your Republican Agenda is not good enough”—to the petty: “You’re ugly and your mama dresses you funny.”
It seems safe to say that, under normal circumstances, government officials—those culled from the ranks of dull bureaucrats, policy wonks, and lawyers—rarely inspire this kind of fealty, much less passion. And on paper, at least, Elizabeth Warren appears to fit this uninspiring mold: She’s a lawyer, an academic, and one from Harvard to boot. Yet Warren commands a legion of loyalists apparently willing to rush, at a moment’s notice, to her defense. The whole episode was strange enough for me to decide to find out more about her devotees and ask a basic question: Just who are these people, this de-facto Elizabeth Warren Fan Club, and why would they go to such great lengths?
Who are these people? A lot of them are Facebook fans of Coffee Party USA, which has been running a Facebook fan page in favor of nominating Elizabeth Warren and posted a call to action on their website to "go to McHenry's Facebook page and remind him that a conflict of interest does not give him the right to behave like a bully." Tiffany Stanley didn't uncover that as part of her investigation.
Full disclosure: Not only am I the maintainer of coffeepartyusa but I'm a member of Coffee Party USA's Management and Administration.
( Read more... )
The death toll from the protests so far is apparently between 400-500 people depending on the news sources you read. As a result:
Syria crackdown: hundreds resign from Ba'ath party
( Read more... )
EU to respond as death toll rises
( Read more... )
Being hauled up before courts and jailed just because you have chosen to walk to work as a form of protest is something unimaginable in many countries. But in Uganda it happens.
Security forces are harassing and have been locking up opposition politicians and their supporters who are taking part in a protest against spiralling food and fuel prices by walking to work.
The walk-to-work protest, as it is called, began on April 11. A group calling itself Activists for Change (A4C) organised the demonstration and opposition politicians - keen to show they are concerned about people's discontent over rising prices - heeded the call to take part.
But the protest got off to a stuttering start as the leading opposition figure, Kizza Besigye, was promptly intercepted by security forces when he was leaving his home in Kasangati near Kampala, the capital. Another politician, Nobert Mao, head of the Democratic Party, and an opposition MP were also picked up.
Besigye, who was arrested for a fourth time on Thursday a day after he was freed on bail on condition that he does not stage more protests, had been given three options: To return to his house or be driven to work in a police vehicle or send for his personal car and drive to work. He chose none.The tense standoff that ensued and resulted in Besigye getting shot in the right hand - as supporters who were dispersed by police amid plumes of tear gas joined him - shows no sign of easing and has led to more protests.
Purchase of fighter jets
It is not hard to see the source of the discontent. The government is planning to buy eight fighter jets for $740m when its people cannot afford food. Government officials justify this spending by saying Uganda needs to beef up its defence systems, if it is to protect its newfound oil near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).MORE
Uganda rebellion gathers pace despite bloody government crackdown
Riots have swept across the Ugandan capital, Kampala, in the biggest anti-government protest in sub-Saharan Africa so far this year.
Security forces have launched a brutal crackdown, opening fire on unarmed civilians with live rounds, rubber bullets and teargas. Two people have been killed, more than 120 wounded and around 360 arrested. Women and girls have been among those beaten, according to witnesses.
Two weeks of growing unrest – sparked by rising food and fuel prices – have gained fresh impetus after the violent arrest of the opposition leader Kizza Besigye on Thursday. Critics say President Yoweri Museveni, in power for 25 years, is losing his grip. They claim his wildly disproportionate crackdown on Besigye's "walk to work" protests smacks of panic and is sowing the seeds of popular revolt.
"I thought the police were going to kill me," said Andrew Kibwka, 18, after police with heavy sticks rained blows on him. "I was telling them I'm harmless but they just carried on. I did nothing to provoke them. They beat me because I was running away."MORE
Women struggle for unity in Bahrain
( Read more... )
The Bahraini and Saudi governments are going out of their way to make that work very hard to do:
BAHRAIN McCarthyism in Manama?
( Read more... )
Arab Spring Stalls as U.S. Defers to Saudi 'Counter-revolution'
( Read more... )
Bahrain denies mass sackings over protests
( Read more... )
Bahrain: Below the radar: The Arab uprising that has failed to capture the international media's attention.
( Read more... )
Bahrain cracks down on protesting footballers
Bahrain arrests righst lawyers and doctors
April 13 Fourth confirmed opposition figure dies in police custody
Why Bahrain is trying civilians in front of a military court (Doesn't that sound familiar)
Bahraini protester woman ends hunger strike
( Read more... )
Bahraini poet Ayat al-Germezi raped to death, Shia mosques under attack by extremist Wahabi Saudi Arabian forces and the Bahraini police
( Read more... )
Bahrain crackdown on health workers
( Read more... )