Published on 31 January byFight Racism! Fight Imperialism!
In a further attempt to halt the bloodshed in Colombia the communist-inspired Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) declared an indefinite cessation of hostilities with the Colombian state on 18 December 2014.
'We have resolved to declare a unilateral cessation of fire and of hostilities for an indefinite period, which should transform itself into an armistice. ... This unilateral ceasefire, which we hope to prolong over time, would end only if it is proven that our guerrilla structures have been the object of attacks from the security forces.'
A month later, on 15 January 2015, President Santos announced that he was prepared to start talks on a bilateral ceasefire ‘as soon as possible’. He has delayed this for the nearly two and half years of negotiations with the FARC, having rejected FARC’s two other recent attempts to strengthen the road to social justice. The most bloodthirsty of the Colombian bourgeoisie have provided cover for Santos as he has slowed negotiations to a crawl. Senator Ernesto Macías, from Former President Álvaro Uribe’s Democratic Centre Party, has called President Santos 'a puppet of the FARC'.
FARC negotiators welcomed Santos’s announcement, whilst questioning his sincerity as he has continued attacks on the FARC over more than two years of discussions. FARC guerrilla leader Timoleón Jiménez warned that an accord remains far off as Santos aims to demobilise FARC without any examination of the causes of the conflict or the reforms necessary to end it. FARC’s declaration sets the scene for the negotiations which resume on 26 January. It again raises the question of Santos' refusal to respond to the demands of Colombia’s second largest guerrilla group, the National Liberation Army (ELN), to enter negotiations for the end of the 50-year Colombian civil war.
Published on 25 January by TeleSur English
The Ecuadorean National Secretariat for Planning and Development announced Friday that between 2007 and 2014, more than 1.5 million people had been lifted out of poverty in the South American country.
These years coincide with Presdient Rafael Correa’s time in office and the policies of what is known as the Citizens’ Revolution, which recently celebrated eight years of government.
“The model of government has radically changed,” said Pabel Muñoz, the national secretary for planning and development. The Correa administration has also dramatically reduced inequality in the country. In 2007, the country’s wealthiest earned 42 times that of the poorest, while in 2014 that was reduced to only 22 times.
The 1.5 million lifted out of poverty represents a drop of 14 percent in the poverty rate in the country, with extreme poverty dropping 8 points from 16.5 percent to 8.6 percent.
“Ecuador is a successful country because while reducing poverty, it reduces the gap between the rich and the poor. It has allowed for an increase in consumption and has not registered drops in social indicators. Instead people have climbed the social ladder,” said Muñoz.
Published on 26 January 2015 by TeleSur English
Authorities from Mexico's Veracruz state announced Sunday that they had found the body of missing local journalist José Moisés Sanchez Cerezo and accused the mayor of Medellín de Bravo, Omar Cruz Reyes, of masterminding Sanchez’s abduction and murder.
Veracruz state’s attorney general, Luis Angel Bravo released a statement on Sunday stating that that former municipal police confessed to participating in Sanchez's murder along with five other people at the instructions of the deputy director of the town's police force allegedly at the request of Cruz. Sanchez was abducted by armed men three weeks ago.
Bravo also issued formal murder charges against Cruz and requested the state congress to remove the mayor’s immunity so that he may be prosecuted.
According to a 2011 report by Journalists Without Borders, Veracruz was among the 10 most dangerous cities in the world to practice journalism.
Published on 08 January 2015 by TeleSUR English
Chinese President Xi Jinping opened a historic meeting between his nation and the countries of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) Thursday.
“During the meeting, China and the CELAC member states will have an in-depth discussion on collective cooperation,” Xi said in his opening address to the forum.
The two-day meeting is the first of its kind between CELAC and Beijing. The Chinese leader said the talks mark a “new beginning and new opportunity” for both Beijing and CELAC.
“China is willing to work with the Latin American and Caribbean states with a long-term and strategic perspective, to build the new platform of collective cooperation between the two sides. Let's take the meeting as a new starting point, seize the new opportunity of collective cooperation, and work for a new phase of the China-CELAC comprehensive partnership of cooperation and promote new development of bilateral ties based on a higher level,” he said.
The summit is expected to lead to close to US$50 billion in new investment between China and CELAC nations, in areas ranging from energy to scientific research.
Representatives will also agree on a four-year plan to deepen trade and other political and economic ties. CELAC, which unites all 33 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, launched in Venezuela in 2011 when representatives of each country signed the Declaration of Caracas.
The declaration seeks to consolidate regional integration and reduce the influence of the United States in the Americas.
Published on 26 November by TeleSUR English
A tragic milestone went virtually unreported in the English-speaking press in November, as Colombia's Victims Unit released its report indicating that the number of victims of Colombia's civil war has now surpassed 7 million. This number includes those who have been killed, disappeared or displaced since 1956. For a country of under 50 million citizens, these numbers are staggering, and certainly newsworthy, but apparently not for our mainstream media.
Of course, the violence and human rights abuses in Colombia have constituted inconvenient truths for the Western media as the U.S. has been a major sponsor of the violence and abuses in that country.
Indeed, a notable fact in the Victims Unit report is that "that the majority of victimization occurred after 2000, peaking in 2002 at 744,799 victims." It is not coincidental that "Plan Colombia," or "Plan Washington" as many Colombians have called it, was inaugurated by President Bill Clinton in 2000, thus escalating the conflict to new heights and new levels of barbarity. Plan Colombia is the plan pursuant to which the U.S. has given Colombia over $8 billion of mostly military and police assistance.
As Amnesty International has explained, these monies have only fueled the human rights crisis in Colombia:
Published 11 December 2014 by TeleSUR English
British army officers trained Brazilian police in torture methods, perfected in Northern Ireland against people opposing British rule there, a report into human rights abuses during the dictatorship revealed.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who was tortured herself by the regime in the 1970s, wept as she presented the 2,000 page Truth Commission documentWednesday, which confirmed that 191 were killed and 243 disappeared.
Not only did Brazilian officials travel to the UK to learn the “English System,” but the study also shows that British officers returned the visit, teaching extreme interrogation at Brazilian police headquarters.
“At the end of 1970 we sent a group of army officers to England to learn the English system of interrogation. This consists of putting the prisoner in a cell incommunicado, a method known as the ‘refrigerator’,” the report quotes former general Hugo de Andrade Abreu.
Psychological torture techniques were adopted that the British mastered in Northern Ireland, designed to destabilize the suspect to the point of admitting to a crime.
Published on 1 December 2014 by TeleSur English
The election of Vazquez closes the electoral cycle in Latin America for 2014, where progressive governments were returned to power.
Latin American leaders have sent celebratory messages to Tabare Vazquez,winner of Sunday's presidential elections in Uruguay.
Vazquez, candidate for the left-wing Broad Front coalition, won with 53.6 percent support and is the first person in Uruguay to win two presidential terms. He also received the greatest amount of support for a presidential candidate in 70 years.
Outgoing Uruguayan president, Jose Mujica, was the first to congratulate Vazquez, meeting face to face shortly after the results were known.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro also sent his greetings of support via Twitter, saying, “Congratulations Comrade Tabare Vazquez, president-elect of Uruguay, for this victory of the Broad Front, our brothers from the south...”
Cristina Kirchner said via Twitter, “Congratulations to the president-elect Tabare Vazquez, with whom I spoke with a moment ago to send him greetings from the Argentine people.”
Ernesto Samper, Secretary General of UNASUR, stated on his Twitter account, “The election results in Uruguay confirm the maturity of Uruguyan democracy. Congratulations to the President.”
Published on 30 November 2014 by the Peace-Delegation of the FARC-EP
General Rubén Darío Alzate, Lance Corporal José Rodríguez and lawyer Gloria Urrego, have been released by the block Iván Ríos of the FARC in the village of Vegaez, on the banks of the Arquía River in the north of Quibdó.
Surrounded by the humble people of the area, the general and his companions were handed over personally by Comandante Pastor Alape to a humanitarian mission, composed of representatives of Cuba and Norway - guarantor countries of the peace process, and the ICRC. The insurgent leader traveled from Havana to the jungles of Chocó, mandated by Timoleón Jiménez, comandante of the FARC, to ensure a prompt and smooth prisoner release, mission which was successfully accomplished.
Likewise, we inform the Colombians that in the performance of the Special Humanitarian Agreement, which led to the successful release of the professional soldiers Paulo Cesar Rivera and Jonathan Andrés Diaz in the savannas of Arauca on the 25th of November, directly and actively participated Comandante Carlos Antonio Losada.
Gratitude to the governments of Cuba and Norway and the International Committee of the Red Cross, for their humanitarian dedication and because their participation in the releases somehow saves a peace process that was progressing amid hope.
Now we have to redesign the game, for a peace process that has reached the level where it is right now, and which is preparing to discuss the most critical issues of peace, can not be subject to any hasty and thoughtless attitudes that postpone the advent of our reconciliation.
We invite President Santos, with our heart in our hands and our minds full of common sense, to consider that we can no longer permit the absurd situation of carrying out dialogues of peace in the midst of war. It's time for a bilateral ceasefire, an armistice, so that no military event can serve to justify the interruption of such a beautiful and historic task of making peace for a nation that longs for it. Let’s shake off the incoherence to speak of reconciliation and recognition of victims, without silencing the fire of the rifles and without stopping the neoliberal economic policies of misery, that fuel the war and the victimization of a people that deserve justice.
Peace Delegation of the FARC-EP