latin america

(Updated Oct. 6) On the spot in Honduras: The people are still on the streets!

Honduras, September 30, 2009.

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October 6, 2009 -- Latin Radical -- Democracy Now! reporter Andres Corteris, inside the Brazil embassy with President Manuel Zelaya, says there may be a ``light at the end of the tunnel''. Elements within the military and business community that originally backed the coup are putting pressure on the Micheletti coup regime to negotiate. Zelaya and his supporters are in good spirits, having just celebrated the birthday of the president's grandchild. He sends a gruff ``Saludos'' to community radio in Australia. But for the people of Honduras the issue now goes far further than reinstating Zelaya. They are demanding the constitutional reform and determined to defy the suspension of constitutional guarantees that has unleashed a wave of repression.

Mexico's leftist 'La Jornada': 25 years of rabble rousing

By John Ross, Mexico City

September 27, 2009 -- Rag Blog -- Seven mornings a week, Vicente Ramirez's battered aluminium kiosk on Cinco de Mayo Street in this city's old quarter is plastered with the front pages of 22 daily newspapers. All day handfuls of pedestrians pause to gawk at the incendiary headlines slapped to the siding, often engaging in animated debate about the nature of the news.

"This country is going down the toilet", sneers one elderly gentleman studying a story about a particularly cruel kidnapping. "Ay Mamacita", another old gaffer exclaims, ogling a bare-breasted senorita.

Fully a quarter of the score of dailies on view at Vicente's kiosk are dedicated to the "nota roja" or "red note". Tabloids like La Prensa (reputedly Mexico's biggest seller but circulation figures are elusive) and Impacto are all blood and tits, spotlighting brutal beheadings, sensational crimes of passion and bevies of topless lasses.

Photo essay: Guatemalan Indigenous communities resist violent eviction by Canadian mining company

Adolfo Ich Xaman (in middle) murdered by company goons.

Story and photo essay by James Rodríguez, Barrio La Union, El Estor, Izabal, Guatemala

September 28, 2009 -- MiMundo.org -- (Unless indicated, all photographs were taken in June 2009.) As a result of a frustrated eviction attempt in the community of Las Nubes in El Estor, Izabal, Adolfo Ich Xaman (middle in photograph above) was brutally shot and killed by private security guards subcontracted by the Guatemalan Nickel Company (CGN), local subsidiary of HudBay Minerals Inc., a Canadian mining company.

Mr. Ich Xaman was chairperson of the Community Committee for Development (COCODE) of the nearby Barrio La Union community, a primary school teacher, and brother-in-law of Ramiro Choc, a high-profile imprisoned Indigenous and peasant leader. During the attack, the following men were also shot and injured: Samuel Coc, Ricardo Tec, Alfredo Xi, Haroldo Cucul (left in the photograph), Alejandro Acté, Luciano Choc, Hector Choc and Guzman Chub.

(Updated October 2) Honduras: Dictatorship steps up reign of terror, resistance pushes on

Democracy Now! September 29, 2009.

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By Fred Fuentes, Caracas

October 1, 2009 — Green Left Weekly — The dictatorship in Honduras, which overthrew the elected government of Manuel Zelaya in a military coup on June 28, has stepped up its reign of terror. A state of siege remains in place. The most recent targets of the repression have been Radio Globo and Channel 36 — the two main media outlets opposed the coup and giving the popular resistance movement in the Central American country a voice. The continual repression has affected the size of anti-coup protests.

However, the ongoing resistance has caused further cracks to open within the pro-coup forces as support for the resistance spreads.

“They have just attacked our comrades from the resistance who had been protesting at the offices of Radio Globo”, Dirian Pereira from the National Resistance Front Against the Coup in Honduras (FNRG) told Green Left Weekly over the phone from the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa.

Fidel Castro on Honduras: A revolution in the making

Fidel Castro’s reflections on current political developments are available at Reflexiones del compañero Fidel. This article was published on September 24. The translation is by Socialist Voice, Canada.

By Fidel Castro

September 24, 2009 -- Last July 16, I said that the coup d’état in Honduras “was conceived and organised by unscrupulous characters on the far-right – officials who had been in the confidence of George W. Bush and were promoted by him”.

I mentioned the names of Hugo Llorens, Robert Blau, Stephen McFarland and Robert Callahan, Yankee ambassadors to Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua appointed by Bush in July and August 2008. The four pursued the line of John Negroponte and Otto Reich, two characters with murky histories.

I then indicated that the Yankee base at Soto Cano [Honduras] had provided the main backup to the coup and that “the idea of a peace initiative from Costa Rica was transmitted to the president of that country [Oscar Arias] from the State Department when Obama was in Moscow and was declaring at a Russian university that the only president of Honduras was Manuel Zelaya.” I added,

(Updated Sept. 28) International solidarity with the Honduran people's struggle for democracy

Solidarity demonstration, Sydney, September 24, 2009.

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal below is publishing various solidarity statements and reports of actions in solidarity with the democracy struggle of the people of Honduras. More will be posted as they come to hand.

Socialist Alliance: `Australia must act for democracy in Honduras'

Below is an open letter from the Socialist Alliance to Australia's foreign affairs minister, Stephen Smith, calling on the Australian Labor government to act for the immediate and unconditional reinstatement of President Manuel Zelaya, and the restoration of democracy in Honduras.

Los! Hau Bele! -- `Yo! Si Puedo' comes to Timor Leste: Cuba assists the eradication of illiteracy

By Bob Boughton

In Timor Leste [East Timor], which is one of the world’s newest countries and Australia’s poorest Asia-Pacific neighbour, Cuba is delivering an educational aid program which aims to eradicate illiteracy, currently affecting nearly 50% of the adult population, within a period of less than 10 years. The Timor Leste national literacy campaign, utilising the Cuban-developed Yo! Si Puedo (Yes! I can) audiovisual teaching method, opened its first classes in the capital Dili in June 2007.

Eighteen months later, by December 2008, nearly 18,000 adults had completed a course of 65 lessons, led by local village monitors who work under the close supervision of 36 Cuban education advisers deployed throughout the country. If it continues at this rate, the literacy campaign can be expected to have a major impact on the stabilisation and development of Timor Leste, providing a model for other Pacific countries struggling to overcome their educational disadvantage.

(Updated Sept. 27) Insurrection in Honduras: Resistance Front says ‘we won't rest until victory’

Residents of Hato de Enmedio, Tegucigalpa, take control of their barrio. September 22, 2009.

By Federico Fuentes, Caracas

September 25Green Left Weekly“The whole world knows that what we have here in Honduras is a coup regime”, Armando Licona, a leader from the Revolutionary University Student Front said. Green Left Weekly spoke with Licona, whose organisation is part of the National Resistance Front Against the Coup (FNRG), on the phone from the Honduran capital, Tegucilgalpa.

(Updated Sept. 25) Honduras: Zelaya returns — Resistance prepares more action; coup regime reacts with repression

Democracy Now! report, September 22, 2009. Click HERE for program transcript.

[Follow the latest developments live (in Spanish) on Telesur and Radio Globo Honduras.]

By Federico Fuentes, Caracas

September 22, 2009 — Green Left Weekly -- The dictatorship in Honduras, which overthrew the elected government of President Manuel Zelaya on June 28, has unleashed a wave of repression against the masses of people who have taken to the streets following Zelaya's dramatic return on September 21.

HIV/AIDS treatment in Cuba: a rights-based analysis; Lessons and challenges

One of Cuba's many neighbourhood health clinics, centrepieces of Cuba's health system.

By Tim Anderson

Cuba has achieved the lowest rate of HIV infection and the highest level of AIDS treatment in the Caribbean region. Yet the Cuban HIV program — part of its famous health system — has been subjected to many criticisms, usually linked to the themes of “freedom” and “rights.” These criticisms must be seen in the broader context of demands for economic “freedoms” in Cuba and in the context of US demands for the dismantling of Cuban socialism and for widespread privatisation, including privatisation of the public health system. Outside understandings of the Cuban health system are further undermined by the US economic blockade of Cuba, roundly condemned each year by the United Nations General Assembly, which prevents normal scientific and cultural exchange between the US and Cuba.

Claudio Katz on Latin America, the right and imperialism: `The solution to the crisis of capitalism has to be political'

Claudio Katz.

Claudio Katz interviewed by Fernando Arellano Ortiz. Translated by John Mage for IIRE.

July 10, 2009 -- The exit from the systemic crisis of capitalism needs to be political and "a socialist project can mature in this turbulence". So says the Argentine economist, philosopher and sociologist Claudio Katz, who also warns that the "global economic situation is very serious and is going to have to hit bottom, and now we are but in the first moment of crisis".

Honduras: Resistance front calls international solidarity conference

Hypocrisy over Cuba’s `political prisoners'

By Tim Anderson

September 13, 2009 -- Political prisoners and Cuba can be a confusing mix, in our times of mass propaganda. Three groups have attracted international attention, over the past decade.

The first group, 70 or so (the ``dissidents''), were arrested in March 2003 by the Cuban government and charged with taking money from a US program which aims to overthrow the Cuban constitution. Amnesty International and many European states, along with the US government, immediately declared them ``prisoners of conscience''. A number have since been released.

The second group of several hundred (``enemy combatants'') were collected by the US government in Afghanistan and Pakistan over 2001-2002 and held for many years in concentration camps at a US military base carved out of the island of Cuba. International protest built up more slowly, and eight years on many are still held without charge or trial.

The third group of five men (``the Cuban Five'’) were arrested in the US in 1998 and accused of being spies, for passing on information about groups in south Florida that were preparing terrorist attacks on Cuba. The US courts have rubber-stamped their convictions. On September 12, 2009, they completed 11 years in US jails.

The other September 11: US backed coup in Chile, 1973

An excerpt from John Pilger's documentary The War on Democracy, which recounts the involvement of the United States government in the brutal 1973 military coup that overthrew the democratic socialist government of President Salvador Allende -- paradoxically on September 11. It ushered in a regime of torture and tyranny. [Click HERE to watch Pilger's full film.]

Below, see director Ken Loach's moving contribution to the 11"9'01 project.

Bolivia's vice-president defends MAS government’s record

Interview with with Álvaro García Linera, vice-president of Bolivia, by Maristella Svampa, Pablo Stefanoni and Ricardo Bajo, from August 2009 Bolivian edition of Le Monde Diplomatique. English translation and notes by Richard Fidler for the Bolivia Rising blog. Available in Spanish at http://tinyurl.com/kle4vt.

September 11, 2009 --  What is the explanation for the weakening of the opposition after more than two years of confrontations?

For President Evo Morale’s government the Constituent Assembly offered the possibility of arming a broad collective ensemble of all the country’s social forces. We placed ourselves at the head of this effort to build a new constitutional consensus. Internally, within the people, we had to pull together the popular bloc — not an easy task, because there was a lot of corporate diversity — and then we had to follow this up with the opening to the other social sectors, who are an important opposition albeit a minority.

Interview with Honduras resistance leader: `The US is sustaining the coup'

International solidarity can boost the Honduran people's morale. Photo by James Rodriguez.

During an August 17-19, 2009, international seminar on the economic crisis hosted by the Party of Liberty and Socialism in Sao Paolo, Brazil, Green Left Weekly/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal journalists Kiraz Janicke and Federico Fuentes, together with journalists from Marea Socialista (Venezuela) and Alternativa Socialista (Argentina), were able to interview Gilberto Rios from the international relations commission of the National Popular Resistance Front against the Coup about the growing resistance movement against the US backed coup which ousted the democratically elected president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, on June 28.

Eyewitness to Cuba: Report by the Scottish Socialist Party's delegation to Cuba

Che memorial statue, Santa Clara. Photo by Gerry Corbett.

In February 2009 for two weeks, a nine-strong delegation from the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) visited Cuba at the invitation of the Communist Party of Cuba (CPC). Bill Bonnar reports on the visit.

The delegation had a number of purposes: to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution, to cement relations between the two parties and to allow the delegation an insight into the development of socialism in Cuba in the first years of the 21st century. The invitation to send a delegation followed a meeting in Edinburgh between the SSP and Teresita Trujillo, a political officer attached to the Cuban embassy. They were keen to re-establish contact with the SSP following the split with Solidarity and, with that, the removal of elements from the SSP who were hostile to the Cuban Revolution. The delegation, when assembled, represented a cross-section of the party with members from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Fife. Two of the nine delegates were women.

The program organised by the CPC was both demanding and insightful. It involved stays in Havana, Santa Clara and Pinar del Rio and involved travel of more than 700 miles.

Young Venezuelan revolutionary and environmentalist: `Tomorrow is too late’

August 23, 2009 -- Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network national co-convenor Frederico Fuentes spoke to Heryck Rangel (pictured), an environmental activist and leader of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela Youth (JPSUV), about the challenges that the global environment crisis poses for Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution, and the planet. He also discussed the role of young people in Venezuela's revolution.

“More than just an economic crisis, what humanity faces today is a systemic crisis”, Rangel said. “We can see this if we look at the energy crisis, and the social crisis that is generating a lot of poverty and misery. But above all, we can see this in the ecological crisis. There is a grand ecological crisis in the world today and I believe we are at a pivotal point, a moment when we need to make tough decisions. The current mode of development is incompatible with life.”

Rangel explained that this is why, “in Venezuela, we believe in a model for life and sustainable development where we can generate the greatest possible sum of happiness, not only for this generation, but for future generations”.

Paraguay: Change is still to come; The first year of Fernando Lugo’s government

Fernando Lugo.

By Adolfo Giméne, translated by Federico Fuentes for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

August 14, 2009 – Asunción -- The anniversary of the first year of Fernando Lugo’s government coincided with a five-day national protest (August 10-15) organised by the United Popular Space (Espacio Unitario Popular, EUP), a coming together of many social organisations and left parties [1], with the support of figures from diverse political sectors, including the governor of the department of San Pedro, Jose Pakova Ledesma, from the Authentic Radical Liberal Party (Partido Liberal Radical Auténtico, PLRA). [Lugo was elected president on April 20, 2008, but did not formally take office until August 15.]

Honduras: Al Giordano -- `The people are organising creatively to topple the coup'


More at The Real News

August 26, 2009, marks 60 days since Honduras' oligarchy overthrew the elected president of the country. As protests against the coup continue without let up, Western governments have refused to do anything concrete to support democracy, or as in the case of the US administration of President Barack Obama, been complicit.

The international corporate mass media has shunned providing coverage of the mass opposition in the streets of Tegucigalpa. This news blackout, and the resulting heightened state repression, has done little to deter the ongoing resistance to the coup inside Honduras.

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