News from the Americas, June 26

The Headlines

Honduran President Manuel Zelaya defies Supreme Court to push forward referrendums this weekend

Honduran President Manuel Zelaya defies Supreme Court to push forward referrendums this weekend

Honduras: Congress forbid President Zelaya from appealing to the population by passing the Ley Especial que Regula el Referéndum y el Plebiscito, restricting executive powers after firing his defense minister, declared illegal by the Supreme Court. Zelaya, in spite of protests, will continue to defy the courts and attempt to change the constitution on Sunday.

Peru: It has come to light that the United States holds deeper ties to the massacres in the Peruvian Amazon with US War on Drugs dollars going to the training and methods of soldiers’ handling on indigenous protest. The resurgence of Shining Path will only complicate genuine protest, clouding the issues involved, and could lead to more violence as Shining Path becomes the new enemy – again.

Colombia: The Colombian military and FARC clashed in Cauca resulting in twenty-five deaths, seven police. Including two soldiers killed by mines. This after scandals involving false positives and word from Venezuela of operations in that country. Violence has now brought the death of guerrilla Diego Jose Martinez and Marino Mestizo, an indigenous leader, killed in Caloto.

Free Trade: Economic liberalization is still the key to US foreign/economic policy, reaffirmed Wednesday by Craig Kelly. Does the Obama administration read the papers?

El Salvador: Political intimidation is still the norm in El Salvador. On Monday, three bodies were dumped outside of the public prosecutors office near San Salvador.

United States: Immigration subcommittee chair Charles Schumer (D – NY) has called on Democrats to ally with and support a national ID card, secured with biometric data.

Ecuador: President Rafael Carrera has said, “a new system is required,” when referring to capitalism, also suggesting that the IMF and World Bank be dismantled. It was just this week that Ecuador joined ALBA, the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas.

West Virginia: Going to school on the Virginia/West Virginia border, I have a soft spot for the recent arrests of anti-coal activists, most of whom oppose the devastation of Appalachian mountaintops.

Uruguay: Roughly 3,2000 victims of the 1975-1983 military dictatorship have been paid $42 million in compensation.

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The Stories You Need to Read

argentina palestine

Argentina case threatens to criminalize criticism of Israel by Hugh Harkin

In what Nobel Peace laureate Adolfo Perez Esquivel has termed “a witch hunt and an attack on democratic freedoms,” nine pro-Palestinian protesters in Argentina have been detained following a demonstration at an event celebrating Israel’s 61st anniversary. The activists have been vilified as violent anti-Semites by politicians and the television and print media, and now face up to 12 years in prison for “ideological arrogance,” under revived Juan Peron-era anti-terrorism legislation of dubious constitutionality.

The furor erupted on 17 May 2009 when violence broke out between protesters and supporters of Israel at a city center event organized by the City of Buenos Aires to mark Israel’s 61st anniversary, resulting in the arrest and detention of the protesters. The Israeli ambassador and the country’s major Jewish organizations immediately denounced the incident as an “anti-Semitic attack,” an interpretation repeated with little reflection, amid much sensationalism, by almost all of the media in Argentina…

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Solidarity with the movement of the Iranian masses – Statement of the Revolutionary Marxist Current (Venezuela)

In Iran we have a situation in which the opposition denounces electoral fraud, in which this allegation gets support from the imperialist powers and in which there are street demonstrations against the election results. It is understandable that many revolutionaries in Venezuela will draw parallels between what is happening in Iran and situations we have lived through during the Bolivarian revolution. In Venezuela, more than once, the reactionary and oligarchic counter-revolution, with the support of imperialism, has attempted to create a situation of chaos in the streets with the excuse of an alleged “electoral fraud” in order to de-legitimise the election victories of the revolution (during the recall referendum, in the 2006 presidential elections, during the constitutional reform referendum in 2007, etc).

However these parallels do not correspond to reality…

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GUATEMALA: Journalists in Jeopardy by Danilo Valladares

Four journalists were killed in this Central American country in 2008, according to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights office in Colombia, which also documented 68 violations of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of media workers, double the number of abuses registered in 2007.

The abuses included death threats, assaults, discrimination and limits on free access to information.

“It is definitely dangerous to work as a journalist in Guatemala,” said María Teresa López, the Emisoras Unidas radio station’s correspondent in the central province of Sacatepéquez….

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Border activists fight to save immigrant lives by Jake Olzen

The House of Representatives began hearing arguments on the Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill (HR 2892) yesterday. There are three proposed amendments to this bill that would require the construction of an even more inhumane border wall.

With the current death toll nearing 100, the work of groups like No More Deaths to engage one’s adversary in conversation is a trademark of Gandhian nonviolence. Hopefully BANWAR officials will recognize it is also in their best interest to come to the table so that the inexcusable human suffering in the desert can come to an end.

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Q&A: “Participatory Socialist Democracy Is Essential” / Dalia Acosta interviews MARIELA CASTRO, Cuban activist for sexual diversity rights

Renowned for her work for the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transvestite and transgender people, Mariela Castro advocates a fairer, more inclusive, and above all more participatory socialism in Cuba.

In this interview with IPS, Castro, who on May 16 led the first street conga dance against homophobia in the history of this Caribbean island nation, talks about the experiences that marked her life and made her what she is today, about socialist participation and her hopes for a Cuba free of the U.S. embargo.

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~ by Daniel on June 26, 2009.

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