Published on 29 August 2014 by Granma
Presidential elections will be held during the month of October in Brazil (October 5) Bolivia (October 12) and Uruguay (October 26). These elections will add to those already held this year in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Panama and Colombia – the results of which, in general terms, allow for the continuation of trends seen in Latin America since the beginning of the century. The advance of the left and center-left, specifically in El Salvador and Costa Rica (but with relatively weak presidents given the composition of their respective congresses and limitations inherited from a neo-liberal model imposed 30 years ago); and in Panama and Colombia the ongoing predominance of right-wing groups divided among themselves, a result of their own contradictions and disputes, as evidenced in the case of President Juan Manuel Santos’ victory over Álvaro Uribe Vélez’s candidate.
From this perspective, the October elections are important since projected results from opinion polls, especially in Brazil and Uruguay, indicate the possibility that the progressive South American leadership, which has predominated over the last 10 years, may be threatened, or even split, by right-wing or center-right forces, or by pragmatic alliances - as for example, in Brazil, with the alliance between the "Greens" and agri-business companies in favor of Marina Silva’s candidacy.
Iván Márquez, spokesman of the Peace Delegation of the FARC-EP, stated that concepts like "transition", "demobilization" and "surrender of arms" don't exist in the General Agreement of Havana or in the ranks of the insurgency.
This was the loud and clear answer to the announcement by the government these days, of creating a 'Strategic Command of Transition', which would be in charge of the transition, of the enemy's demobilization and of controlling the surrender of arms.
Márquez said that the FARC won't ever accept a military hierarchy to resolve problems that are of a political nature, and that fundamental aspects like abandonment of arms also implies demilitarization of society and state.
With these announcements, the government is creating false expectations, when it should be realistic and explain to the people that
"in spite of the progress that has been made on different aspects, it will still take time to define what hasn't been resolved yet, like for example institutional transformations".
The insurgency also expressed its irritation about the government not taking into account the opinions of the counterpart at the Table. The state continues trying to impose its legality (the so-called legal framework) as instrument of transitional justice, while the FARC has said many times that this unilateral imposition is unacceptable.
"The only legal framework we accept is the General Agreement of Havana in which state and insurgency are equal parts. Remeber that item 3, numeral 5 on the End of Conflict, states that "the National Government will review and implement the necessary institutional reforms and adjustments to face the challenge of the construction of peace".
The FARC-EP called for an emergency meeting with the government, to re-establish the bilaterality of the peace process and read the content of what has been agreed. At the same time, the guerrilla movement invites Juan Fernando Cristo, Government Minister, to come to Havana and discuss the different viewpoints that might exist, as well as explain the real content of the agreements made so far.
The peace talks in Havana have entered the 28th round of conversations, which at the same time is the 2nd round on the fifth item on the Agenda: victims. Since the start of the conversations, the FARC-EP on a number of occasions, has made clear that the peace process shouldn't be deflected by third party's wishful thinking or theinterpretations of mainstream media.
"There is only one Agenda, in the context is the Agreement made on August 26, 2012. The rest is fantasy".
Published on 3 September by Presna Latina
Hundreds of Palestinians raised photos of the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, and Venezuelans Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro, during a march held yesterday in Gaza to express gratitude for Latin American solidarity.
Convened by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the rally held on Tuesday, Sep. 2, included several areas in Gaza Strip, while protesters marched and chanted slogans of support for Latin America, repudiating the deadly Israeli military aggression that lasted 50 days.
In addition to posters carrying photos of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who broke immediately broke relations with Israel when it launched its last aggression to Gaza, and current President Nicolas Maduro, PFLP members and supporters also raised photos of Ghassam Ben Jeddou.
Ben Jeddou is the president of the Pan-Arab Al-Mayadeen media corporation, and was being recognized for the way his network covered the bombing by Zionist forces, and the strong resistance of the Palestinian people.
Posters with the image of Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, general secretary of the Shiite-Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah (Party of God), whose support for the Palestinian counterpart organizations was fundamental, were among the participants in the popular mobilization.
The march was conceived to celebrate the victory reached by the Palestinian people and, particularly, the Hamas and Islamic Jihad resistance movements, achieving Israel's acceptance of an indefinite truce with certain exigencies, which came into force on August 26, organizers of that rally told Prensa Latina.
Published on 22 August 2014 by Big Story
The Costa Rican government will investigate undercover U.S. programs operated from the Central American country and using its citizens in a ploy to destabilize the government in Cuba, the director of intelligence and security said Friday.
Mariano Figueres told The Associated Press that the new administration, which took office May 8, has found no records or information from their predecessors about the U.S. Agency for International Development project, which starting in 2009 sent young Venezuelans, Costa Ricans and Peruvians to Cuba in hopes of stirring opposition to the island's communist government.
Figueres said Costa Rica's only information came from an 4 Aug Associated Press article, which said USAID and a contractor, Creative Associates International, used the cover of health and civic programs, some operating out of Costa Rica, in hopes of provoking political change in Cuba. The AP found the program continued even as U.S. officials privately told contractors to consider suspending travel to Cuba after the arrest there of contractor Alan Gross, who remains imprisoned after smuggling in sensitive technology.
"If we can confirm all this, of course we're not going to agree that our national territory be used to attack a friendly government, regardless of what ideological side you're on," Figueres said. "It's a matter of sovereignty and respect ... and we're very alarmed that they used Costa Rican citizens and put them at risk."
Published on 11 August 2014 by Granma International
Bolivia’s President presents 12-point government program to his party and leaders of principal social organizations
Bolivia has experienced sustained growth under the leadership of President Evo Morales, who is running for reelection this coming October 12, with a new 12-point programmatic agenda, which could allow the country to become one of South America’s most developed economies, devoted to the goal of buen vivir, a good life for all with social justice and equality. President Evo Morales is currently supported by 60% of voters, going into the October elections.
When Morales assumed office for the first time in 2005, capitalist technocrats and the regional right wing thought he wouldn’t last long, lacking, they believed, the knowledge needed to carry out the anti-neoliberal policies proposed in his campaign, with the goal of creating a new nation.
The President, however, not only outwitted enemies who attempted to overthrow him, but ensured that Bolivia’s economy maintained a steady growth rate over the last 13 years, generating earnings which were used to meet social needs, thanks to new policies not based on market laws.
This past year, the country’s economy grew at a rate of 6.8%, and its reserves went from eight billion dollars in 2006, to 33 billion currently. According to estimates by the International Monetary Fund, this trend should continue, with a growth rate of 5.1% forecast for this year, and 6.8% in 2015.
The Morales government nationalized the economy’s most important sectors – oil and gas – and promoted industrialization of these, along with that of lithium, and has to its credit a transparent system of administration, which has not, to date, allowed for incidents of corruption, or the misappropriation of funds, ills afflicting some other Latin American nations.
Published on 19 August 2014 by Presna Latina
In addition of ensuring security of computer specialist and journalist Julian Assange as a political refugee, the Ecuadorian government is seeking an appropriate legal resolution to his case, said Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño.
At his Twitter account, the minister stressed yesterday the many nuances in Assange's legal case, saying: "The principle of effective judiciary protection says we have the right to trials without undue delays, something Julian Assange has not been allowed."
At a news conference in London along with the founder of the Wikileaks organization, Patiño said the British Parliament had passed a law to prevent extradition of people who have not been accused by a judge, as in the case of the computer specialist.
According to the foreign minister's statements with the press, this formal change opens new possibilities of understanding on the matter with the U.K. government, which has so far refused a safe-conduct pass to transfer Assange to Ecuador.
The days when U.S.-backed armed forces overthrew constitutional, democratically elected governments are long gone.
“In this country, they apply what the left used to call a ‘combination of all forms of struggle’. And if you make a list of the people involved, they have remained the same since the start; it’s the same organisations ... What changes, every time, is the method.”
Venezuelan interior minister Miguel Rodríguez Torres
On 23 September 2010 the former Ecuadorian president Lucio Gutiérrez (deposed by a popular uprising in 2005) gave a talk to the InterAmerican Institute for Democracy in Miami, criticising his nation’s socialists for their mysticism, incoherent Marxism and dangerous populism. He told his listeners that to end 21st-century socialism in Ecuador (the subject of his talk), it would be necessary to get rid of President Rafael Correa.
His speech is on record; there’s a video that captures the thunderous applause it received. In the audience were Mario Ribadeneira, a minister in the government of Sixto Durán-Ballén (president 1992-96), when Ecuadorian neoliberalism was at its height; Roberto Isaías, wanted for fraud after the collapse of Filanbanco, Ecuador’s largest bank, of which he was part-owner; and Mario Pazmiño, a former head of army intelligence, sacked by Correa in 2008 for having too close a relationship with the CIA.
Published on 20 July by www.venezuelanalysis.com
Several multilateral meetings were held in the city of Fortaleza, including the 6th BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Summit, and meetings between China and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).
During the BRICS summit, the five emerging economies created a new development bank and a multilateral reserve fund, each of which will potentially hold US $100 billion of pooled capital. The reserve fund will be used to support members of the bloc against adverse economic conditions or external impacts.
The creation of the new institutions is partly motivated by dissatisfaction with the terms of the financial hegemony exercised by the U.S. and its European allies through the IMF and World Bank.
“The strength of our project has positive potential: we want the global [financial] system to be fairer and more equal,” said Brazilian president Dilma Roussef to media.
Cuban doctors at the Jose Marti Eye Hospital in Montevideo, Uruguay, have administered 50,000 surgeries as part of the program known as Operation Miracle.
Sixto Amaro, a directive with the Social Prevention Bank, told reporters that the achievement will be publicly acknowledged next week and that Operation Miracle has allowed a saving of 100 million dollars in seven years.
The health program has been implemented in Uruguay since 2005 following a bilateral accord between Havana and Montevideo, said Amaro and added that out of the 50,000 eye surgeries, 38 were done on cataracts, which benefited retired persons.
The rest of the surgeries were administered on other eye conditions, PL news agency reported on Wednesday from the Uruguayan capital. Sources at the hospital said that over 70,000 patients are assisted at the center every year, with an average 250 consultations a day and more than 4,000 a month