Tuesday, April 15, 2014

WNU #1216 : Chilean Water Activist to Be Jailed for “Slander”

Issue #1216, April 13, 2014

1. Chile: Water Activist to Be Jailed for “Slander”
2. Argentina: General Strike Targets Fernández Policies
3. Mexico: HP Fined in Latest PEMEX Scandal
4. Cuba: Did USAID KO Deal for Gross Release?
5. Links to alternative sources on: Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Guatemala, Mexico, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, US/immigration

ISSN#: 1084 922X. Weekly News Update on the Americas covers news from Latin America and the Caribbean, compiled and written from a progressive perspective. It has been published weekly by the
Nicaragua Solidarity Network of Greater New York since 1990. It is archived at http://weeklynewsupdate.blogspot.com. For a subscription, write to weeklynewsupdate@gmail.com. Follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/WeeklyNewsUpdat.

*1. Chile: Water Activist to Be Jailed for “Slander”
On Apr. 7 a court in La Ligua, in Chile’s Petorca province, Valparaíso region, convicted agronomist Rodrigo Mundaca of slander and sentenced him to 541 days in prison for accusing former government minister Edmundo Pérez Yoma of water usurpation. Mundaca, the secretary of the Movement in Defense of Water, Land and the Environment (Modatima), also faces a fine. According to current Modatima spokesperson Luis Soto, the court’s decision won’t stop the group’s activist work. He said Modatima would take the case “to the Valparaíso Appeals Court, and if we aren’t successful there, we’ll go to the Supreme Court.”

Pérez Yoma is a Christian Democratic Party (PDC) politician who served twice as defense minister under former president Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle (1994-2000) and then as interior minister in the first term (2006-2010) of current president Michelle Bachelet. He owns 90% of an agricultural firm, Sociedad Agrícola El Cóndor Ltda. Modatima says the company has taken water illegally from the Los Ángeles estuary for its crops, depriving local farmers and small businesses of the resource, which is scarce in much of Chile. The group has made the same accusation against Agrícola San Ignacio, owned by Ignacio Alamos, and Agrícola Iguana, owned by Marcelo Trivelli. Apparently Pérez Yoma sued for slander after Mondaca aired the charges on CNN Chile during a 2012 interview. (El Ciudadano (Chile) 4/5/14; Radio Universidad de Chile 4/8/14; Modatima communiqué 4/9/14)

In other news, after a year and a half of imprisonment on charges filed under Chile’s “antiterrorist law” [see Update #1161], six indigenous Mapuche have been cleared by the Oral Criminal Court in Temuco, the capital of Araucanía region. José Antonio Ñirripil, Eliseo Ñirripil Cayupán, Elvis Millán Colicheu, Jorge Cayupán Ñirripil, Cristian Alexis Cayupán Morales and Daniel Canio Tralcal were accused of setting a fire at the Brasil estate in Vilcún community in September 2009; several of them were also charged with robbery with intimidation. At one point they held a hunger strike to demand their release.

Three other Mapuche prisoners began a hunger strike in the Angol prison on Apr. 10 to push for a review of their sentences and a pardon for a fourth prisoner, José Mariano Llanca, who is terminally ill. The three strikers, Cristian Pablo Levinao Melinao, Luis Humberto Marileo Cariqueo and Leonardo Eusebio Quijón Pereira, were sentenced to 10 years in prison for homicide and robbery with intimidation. They previously held a hunger strike in October 2012 [see Update #1147]. (Adital (Brazil) 4/11/14)

The Argentina-based organization Peace and Justice Service (SERPAJ) and Argentine human rights activist Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, winner of the 1980 Nobel peace price, have sent a letter to Chilean president Bachelet expressing their concern about the threat to Mapuche communities from what they called “the multiplication of investment projects of an industrial character, such as hydroelectric plants and the salmon industry’s fish farming.” SERPAJ and Pérez Esquivel praised the changes Bachelet promised as she started her new term in office on Mar. 11, and they predicted “an historic significance for your government if you encourage the application of the Mapuche communities’ right to [their] territories.” (MapuExpress (Chile) 4/8/14)

*2. Argentina: General Strike Targets Fernández Policies
A large part of Argentina’s labor movement participated a 24-hour general strike on Apr. 10 to demand increases in wages and pensions and to protest the economic policies of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. With support from the Automatic Tramways Union (UTA) and three airline workers’ unions, the strike shut down surface trains, subways, air service, schools and businesses in many parts of the country. Union leaders said the action was 90% effective, and the Argentine business consulting firm Orlando Ferreres & Asociados S.A. set the losses for the day at almost $1 billion. Government officials and Fernández supporters downplayed the significance of the strike, charging that relatively few workers actively participated and that people stayed home only because transportation was cut off by the UTA and by roadblocks that leftist parties and groups had set up.

The Apr. 10 action was the second major strike against the Fernández government in a year and a half, following nearly a decade of labor support for the president and her late husband, Néstor Kirchner, who was president from 2003 to 2007 [see Update #1153]. Hugo Moyano--the longtime leader of the truck drivers’ union who heads the General Confederation of Labor (CGT) dissident faction and was a strong ally of Fernández until 2012--is now spearheading the labor attacks on her government. The current strike was backed by two other labor federations: the section of the left-leaning Federation of Argentine Workers (CTA) headed by Pablo Micheli and the more conservative CGT White and Blue faction, which is led by Tourism, Hotel and Restaurant Workers Union (Uthgra) head Luis Barrionuevo. Also supporting the strike was the Workers' Left Front, an alliance of three Trotskyist parties: the Workers' Party (PO), the Socialist Workers' Party (PTS), and Socialist Left (IS).

The strike reaffirmed the strength of Argentina’s labor movement, which represents 8 million workers, nearly half the labor force. At the same time the strike highlighted the movement’s divisions: it was strongly opposed by a section of the CTA and by the large CGT faction headed by Antonio Caló. (Wall Street Journal 4/9/14; InfoBAE (Argentina) 4/11/14; La Jornada 4/11/14 from correspondent)

*3. Mexico: HP Fined in Latest PEMEX Scandal
On Apr. 9 the California-based technology company Hewlett-Packard (HP) announced that it was paying a $108 million fine to the US Justice Department and the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to end an investigation into subsidiaries in Poland, Russia and Mexico that allegedly paid bribes to officials. The HP subsidiaries “created a slush fund for bribe payments, set up an intricate web of shell companies and bank accounts to launder money, employed two sets of books to track bribe recipients, and used anonymous email accounts and prepaid mobile telephones to arrange covert meetings to hand over bags of cash,” according to a statement by the Justice Department. HP said the corruption “was limited to a small number of people who are no longer employed by the company.”

In Mexico the bribery was aimed at winning contracts worth some $6 million “to sell hardware, software, and licenses” to Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX), the giant state-owned oil monopoly, the Justice Department said. “HP Mexico understood that it had to retain a certain third-party consultant with close ties to senior executives of PEMEX. HP agreed to pay a $1.41 million ‘commission’ to the consultant.” The consultant then paid about $125,000 to a PEMEX official, according to the Justice Department statement. (San Jose (California) Mercury News 4/9/14; La Jornada (Mexico) 4/10/14 from AFP, Reuters)

This is the second revelation in less than two months of corruption involving PEMEX and a US corporation. At the end of February the US banking corporation Citigroup Inc. announced that its Mexican subsidiary, Banco Nacional de Mexico (Banamex), had lent some $400 million to a major PEMEX contractor, Oceanografía SA de CV, based on falsified invoices that Oceanografía claimed it had issued to PEMEX [see Update #1212]. According to initial reports, some PEMEX employees and one Banamex employee had collaborated in this scheme. But on Apr. 2 the New York Times reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the US attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York had started a criminal inquiry into the possibility that Citigroup employees in the US were involved. The investigators are also looking to see whether the bank ignored warning signs, according to the article. In addition, the US attorney’s office in Massachusetts has issued subpoenas in connection with suspicions that Citigroup may have failed to maintain proper safeguards against money laundering. (NYT 4/2/14)

In addition to corruption scandals, PEMEX faces complaints about environmental damage. As of Apr. 9 some 75 communities in Nacajuca and Jalpa de Méndez municipalities in the southern Mexican state of Tabasco had blocked roads to oil installations for a week to demand that representatives of PEMEX and the state return to discussions with local residents. The communities want to be compensated for damages caused by the escape of gas from the Terra 123 oil well starting on Oct. 19; the problems continued into December. The discussions broke off on Mar. 25 when PEMEX announced it wouldn’t pay for damages. According to Verónica Pérez Rojas, a legislative deputy from the center-left Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), about 50,000 families were affected by the leak, which she said contaminated crops and bodies of water and caused the deaths of farm animals. (LJ 4/9/14)

*4. Cuba: Did USAID KO Deal for Gross Release?
US citizen Alan Gross, who is serving a 15-year prison sentence in Cuba for his work there as a contractor for the US Agency for International Development (USAID), held a liquids-only hunger strike from Apr. 3 to Apr. 11 to protest his treatment by both the Cuban and the US governments. According to Scott Gilbert, Gross’s Washington, DC-based lawyer, the prisoner started his hunger strike after he learned about an Apr. 3 Associated Press report on ZunZuneo, the “Cuban Twitter” service that USAID launched after his arrest in December 2009. Gross was charged with seeking to subvert the Cuban government by supplying dissidents with internet technology, and the ZunZuneo had the potential to damage his legal case [see Update #1215].

A statement released by a public relations firm hired by Gross’s family said he had called off the fast at the request of his 91-year-old mother but that he planned to continue protesting. “There will be no cause for further intense protest when both governments show more concern for human beings and less malice and derision toward each other,” Gross added, according to the statement. (Miami Herald 4/13/14)

Actions by USAID officials and contractors may in fact have directly sabotaged efforts to arrange an early release for Gross, an Apr. 9 article by Newsweek reporter Jeff Stein suggested, citing Fulton Armstrong, a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and National Security Council (NSC) Latin America specialist who worked as an aide to then-senator John Kerry (D-MA) in 2010. According to Armstrong, the Cuban government was willing to consider freeing Gross if the US rolled back some of its “regime change” programs in Cuba. Armstrong said he and an aide to then-representative Howard Berman (D-CA) got an agreement from top USAID and State Department officials for the rollback.

Cuban officials “responded very positively and said that the cleanup—which they understood would be done in phases—would certainly help them make the case for expedited procedures for Gross’s release,” Armstrong told Newsweek. But some USAID officials refused to go along with the plan. “They reassured their contractors and grantees that, despite rumors of change, business would continue as usual—information that would surely reach Cuban ears—and they later leaked to the press that, in fact, program funding remained unchanged and the reforms were not being implemented,” Armstrong said. “At that point, the discussions about program reforms to gain Gross’s release ended.” (Newsweek 4/9/14)

Another article by Jeff Stein raises questions about the quality of USAID’s Cuba contacts and contractors. One of Gross’s contacts was José Manuel Collera Vento, the grand master of the Grand Lodge of Cuba’s Freemasons; on Apr. 1, 2011, the Cuban government revealed that Collera Vento was a Cuban agent. One of USAID’s contractors for Cuban operations was DC-based public relations entrepreneur Akram Elias, who worked with both Gross and Collera Vento. Elias has contracts with 18 US government agencies, according to his Capital Communications Group website, but his business interests aren’t limited to the US. In November 2010 he flew to Damascus to offer his services to the Syrian government; he proposed to work for $22,000 a month at improving Syria’s image in Washington and possibly ending sanctions the US had imposed. (Newsweek 4/7/14)

Daniel Ramos, who heads operations for Cuba’s state-owned telecommunications company, Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba SA (Etecsa), in effect admitted at an Apr. 9 press conference in Havana that Cubans’ limited access to the internet has contributed to the success of operations like ZunZuneo. “[One] of our desires and our intentions this year is to succeed in bringing the internet to the population,” he said. (Radio Rebelde (Cuba) 4/9/14; La Jornada (Mexico) 4/10/14 from AP, Reuters, Prensa Latina, Xinhua)

*5. Links to alternative sources on: Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Guatemala, Mexico, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, US/immigration

“Because we remember, we sow justice” (Argentina)
http://www.cipamericas.org/archives/11858

Defending the Earth in Argentina: From Direct Action to Autonomy
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/argentina-archives-32/4783-defending-the-earth-in-argentina-from-direct-action-to-autonomy

Paraguay: imprisoned campesinos on hunger strike
http://ww4report.com/node/13136

Paraguay: indigenous Aché people charge genocide
http://ww4report.com/node/13135

Paraguay: guerilla attacks escalate
http://ww4report.com/node/12567#comment-452045

Brazil’s World Cup Security Turns Repressive
http://alainet.org/active/72855

Brazil: Police Close ‘Private Militia’ Firm Following Guarani Murders
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/news-briefs-archives-68/4792-brazil-police-close-private-militia-firm-following-guarani-murders-

Police close 'militia' following Guarani murders (Brazil)
http://ww4report.com/node/13149

Bolivia: new mining minister sworn in
http://ww4report.com/node/13123#comment-452043

Bolivia: cocaleros clash with eradication force
http://ww4report.com/node/13149

Peru: 24 arrested on Shining Path links
http://ww4report.com/node/13137

Peru: Cajamarca repression sparks protests
http://ww4report.com/node/13145

Peru: Shawi indigenous leader assassinated
http://ww4report.com/node/13144

A Rebirth of Hope in Colombia
http://ww4report.com/node/13142

Colombia: land rights activist assassinated
http://ww4report.com/node/13138

Colombia: ‘That is How Dead Guerillas are Made’, Through False Positives
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/colombia-archives-61/4786-colombia-that-is-how-dead-guerillas-are-made-through-false-positives

Colombia Approaches a Point of No Return in Loss of Biodiversity
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/colombia-archives-61/4793-colombia-approaches-a-point-of-no-return-in-loss-of-biodiversity

U.S.-Colombia Labour Rights Plan Falls Short
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/news-briefs-archives-68/4790-us-colombia-labour-rights-plan-falls-short

Chavistas Debate the Pace of Change in Venezuela
http://nacla.org/news/2014/4/9/chavistas-debate-pace-change-venezuela

Human Rights Watch Should Stick to the Facts on Venezuela
http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/the-americas-blog/human-rights-watch-should-stick-to-the-facts-on-venezuela

Venezuelan Government and Opposition Sit Down to Talks
http://venezuelanalysis.com/news/10605

Guatemala - Interview with Judge Yassmín Barrios: “The Door to Impunity and Corruption is Being Opened”
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/news-briefs-archives-68/4787-guatemala-interview-with-judge-yassmin-barrios-the-door-to-impunity-and-corruption-is-being-opened

Femicide Courts in Guatemala: A Beacon of Light in the Fight against Impunity
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/news-briefs-archives-68/4785-femicide-courts-in-guatemala-a-beacon-of-light-in-the-fight-against-impunity

Mexican Workers in the Continental Crucible
http://nacla.org/news/2014/4/8/mexican-workers-continental-crucible

Behind the Scenes: What the Fans of Wirikuta Fest Bought With Their Tickets
http://intercontinentalcry.org/behind-scenes-fans-wirikuta-fest-bought-tickets-22679/

Mexico Armed
http://fnsnews.nmsu.edu/mexico-armed/

Michoacán: 'community police' out of control —already? (Mexico)
http://ww4report.com/node/13133

Big Banks Back Mobsters and Murder in Mexico (Audio)
http://nacla.org/blog/2014/4/10/big-banks-back-mobsters-and-murder-mexico-audio

Three years after a murder, Mexican movement demands justice
http://wagingnonviolence.org/2014/04/three-years-murder-mexican-movement-demands-justice/

Bocafloja's Latest Release: Alambre (Mexico)
http://nacla.org/news/2014/4/11/bocaflojas-latest-release-alambre

Migrant Shelter Sees Growing Number of Minors Heading North (Mexico)
http://www.cipamericas.org/archives/11860

A Little Girl Named Nohemi: Martyr of Migration (Mexico)
http://fnsnews.nmsu.edu/a-little-girl-named-nohemi-martyr-of-migration/

Transparently Untransparent – USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives (haiti)
http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/relief-and-reconstruction-watch/transparently-untransparent-usaids-office-of-transition-initiatives

Canadian Corporation Plans Tar Sands Strip Mining in Trinidad and Tobago
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/caribbean-archives-45/4791-canadian-corporation-plans-tar-sands-strip-mining-in-trinidad-and-tobago

Immigrant Labor, Immigrant Right (US/immigration)
http://nacla.org/news/2014/4/10/immigrant-labor-immigrant-rights

For more Latin America news stories from mainstream and alternative sources:
http://www.cipamericas.org/
http://org.salsalabs.com/o/967/blastContent.jsp
http://fnsnews.nmsu.edu/
http://intercontinentalcry.org/
http://www.ueinternational.org/MLNA/index.php
http://nacla.org/
http://upsidedownworld.org/
http://venezuelanalysis.com/
http://wagingnonviolence.org/
http://ww4report.com/node/

For immigration updates and events:
http://thepoliticsofimmigration.blogspot.com/

END

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Order The Politics of Immigration: Questions & Answers, from Monthly Review Press, by Update editors Jane Guskin and David Wilson:
http://thepoliticsofimmigration.org/

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

WNU #1215 : Kennedy Backed Plan for 1964 Brazil Coup

Issue #1215, April 6, 2014

1. Brazil: Kennedy Backed Plan for 1964 Coup
2. Cuba: USAID’s “Cuban Twitter” Flops
3. Mexico: Four Die in Chiapas Land Dispute
4. Honduras: Three Convicted in Reporter's Murder
5. Links to alternative sources on: Latin Amercia, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, US/policy

ISSN#: 1084 922X. Weekly News Update on the Americas covers news from Latin America and the Caribbean, compiled and written from a progressive perspective. It has been published weekly by the Nicaragua Solidarity Network of Greater New York since 1990. It is archived at http://weeklynewsupdate.blogspot.com. For a subscription, write to weeklynewsupdate@gmail.com. Follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/WeeklyNewsUpdat.

*1. Brazil: Kennedy Backed Plan for 1964 Coup
On Apr. 1, the 50th anniversary of the military coup that removed left-leaning Brazilian president João Goulart (1961-64) from office, the Washington, DC-based research group National Security Archive posted 16 Brazil-related documents from the administration of US president John Kennedy (1961-1963) on its website. The documents—which include declassified National Security Council (NSC) records and recently transcribed tapes of White House conversations—detail the administration’s efforts to bring President Goulart into line, and its plans for dealing with him if he continued to implement social reforms and to oppose US policy on Cuba.

President Kennedy and his advisers were considering a military coup as early as July 1962, according to a tape Kennedy made secretly of a July 30 meeting in the Oval Office. “We may very well want [the Brazilian military] to take over at the end of the year, if they can,” then-deputy assistant secretary of state for inter-American affairs Richard Goodwin advised. Lincoln Gordon, the US ambassador to Brazil, said that “one of our important jobs is to strengthen the spine of the military. To make clear, discreetly, that we are not necessarily hostile to any kind of military action whatsoever if it’s clear that the reason for the military action is…[Goulart’s] giving the country away to the...” “Communists,” Kennedy interrupted, finishing the sentence.

On Dec. 11, 1962, a meeting of the NSC’s Executive Committee considered three options on Brazil: “do nothing and allow the present drift to continue”; “collaborate with Brazilian elements hostile to Goulart with a view to bringing about his overthrow”; and “seek to change the political and economic orientation of Goulart and his government.” The committee decided on the third option, saying that Goulart’s opponents lacked the “capacity and will to overthrow” him and that there wasn’t “a near-future US capability to stimulate [a coup] operation successfully.” But the NSC felt that the coup option “must be kept under active and continuous consideration.”

President Kennedy sent his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, to talk to Goulart on Dec. 17, but the Brazilian president continued with his reforms and his independent foreign policy. By October 1963 the US president felt he’d had enough. “Do you see a situation where we might be—find it desirable to intervene militarily ourselves?” he asked at an Oct. 7 meeting. “I would not want us to close our minds to the possibility of some kind of discreet intervention which would help see the right side win,” Ambassador Gordon said, and called for contingency plans to get ammunition or fuel to pro-US factions of the military. After the meeting, Gordon returned to Brazil and supervised the preparation of these plans at the US embassy. The plans had what a Nov. 22 transmission memorandum described as “a heavy emphasis on armed intervention.”

Kennedy never read the Nov. 22 memo; he was assassinated that day. It was left to the administration of his successor, President Lyndon Johnson (1963-1969), to back the Brazilian military when it overthrew Goulart in April 1964. (National Security Archive 4/2/14; La Jornada (Mexico) 4/3/14 from correspondent)

As the center-left government of current Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff marked the coup anniversary this month, a grassroots organization, the Xingu Alive Forever Movement (MXVPS), charged that old policies of spying on activists were continuing despite the restoration of democracy in 1985. MXVPS coordinator Antonia Melo has filed a complaint against the Brazilian Intelligence Agency (ABIN) and the Belo Monte Construction Consortium (CCBM) charging that they spied on the group during its annual planning meeting in February 2013. The MXVPS is a collective of organizations opposing the building of the giant Belo Monte dam in Vitória do Xingu municipality in the northern Brazilian state of Pará [see Update #1189]. (Adital (Brazil) 4/3/14)

*2. Cuba: USAID’s “Cuban Twitter” Flops
The US Agency for International Development (USAID), a US government foreign aid agency, secretly ran a cell phone-based imitation of the Twitter social networking service in Cuba from 2010 to 2012, according to an Apr. 3 report by the Associated Press (AP) wire service. The service—named “ZunZuneo,” Cuban slang for a hummingbird’s tweet—was developed in conjunction with two private contractors, the Washington, DC-based Creative Associates International and the Denver-based Mobile Accord. ZunZuneo was popular with young Cubans, who were unaware of its origin; by 2012 the service had some 40,000 subscribers.

The Cuban government restricts internet access but encourages the use of cell phones, provided by the state-owned enterprise Cubacel. Starting in 2009 and using 500,000 phone numbers supplied secretly by a “key contact” at Cubacel, USAID and Creative Associates began constructing a messaging service similar to Twitter but based on cell phone text messages rather than the internet. ZunZuneo went public in February 2010, with nonpolitical messages on subjects like music and sports.

But providing Cubans with a social network was apparently not USAID’s main goal. The agency eventually planned to use ZunZuneo to create what it called “smart mobs” in “critical/opportunistic situations,” according to USAID documents, with the strategic objective of “push[ing Cuba] out of a stalemate through tactical and temporary initiatives, and get[ting] the transition process going again towards democratic change.” Planning for ZunZuneo started about a year after USAID officials discussed “between five to seven different transition plans” for “hastening a peaceful transition to a democratic, market-oriented society” in Cuba, according to documents filed in federal court in Washington in January 2013 [see Update #1160]. USAID also used the service to construct what AP described as “a vast database about the Cuban subscribers, including gender, age, ‘receptiveness’ and ‘political tendencies’”; the agency said it could use this information to “maximize our possibilities to extend our reach.”

The “Cuban Twitter” project eventually unraveled because of the difficulty of keeping ZunZuneo’s origins secret and the cost of running it—including the large payments USAID’s front companies had to make to Cubacel for the text messages. By the end of 2012 ZunZuneo had collapsed--to the disappointment of many Cuban users—without ever being used to promote “smart mobs.” (AP 4/3/14)

The Cuban government quickly denounced the project after the AP story’s publication. “The US should respect international law and the intentions and principles of the United Nation’s Charter,” Cuban Foreign Ministry North American division director Josefina Vidal said on Apr. 4. She called for the US to “end its illegal and covert actions against Cuba.” (La Jornada (Mexico) 4/5/14 from AFP, DPA) Reaction was not much more favorable in Washington, where USAID head Rajiv Shah is scheduled to testify on Apr. 8 before the Senate Appropriations Committee’s State Department and Foreign Operations Subcommittee. In a television appearance on Apr. 3, the subcommittee’s chair, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), described the project as “dumb, dumb, dumb.” (AP 4/4/14)

*3. Mexico: Four Die in Chiapas Land Dispute
Four people died the morning of Apr. 5 in a confrontation between indigenous Mexicans over land in Chilón municipality in the highland region of the southeastern state of Chiapas. The violence broke out when some 25 people tried to remove members of the Regional Organization of Autonomous Ocosingo Coffee Growers (ORCAO) from a 84-hectare ranch; sources differ on whether the ranch is called San Luis or Luis Irineo. The attackers were apparently egged on by the former owner of the ranch, which a group of ORCAO members took over in 1994. On Apr. 6 the state attorney general’s office announced that four people had been arrested in the incident. (La Jornada (Mexico) 4/6/14; SDP Noticias (Mexico) 4/6/14)

The Jan. 1, 1994 uprising of the Chiapas-based Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) sparked land occupations throughout the state’s highlands, but not all the occupying groups were sympathetic to the Zapatistas; disputes continue to this day. Zapatista supporters in the Apr. 10 Ejido (communal farm), located between Altamirano and Las Margaritas in the highlands, say ORCAO members joined some 300 people from the “Democratic faction” of the Independent Central of Agrarian Workers and Campesinos (CIOAC) in a Jan. 30 attack on the ejido with stones, clubs and machetes that left six people injured [see World War 4 Report 2/19/14]. Medical workers from Altamirano’s San Carlos Hospital were reportedly attacked when they attempted to help the injured. EZLN supporters accuse the Las Margaritas municipal government as well as the state and federal governments of inciting the violence. (Proceso (Mexico) 2/19/14)

Zapatista sympathizers report that Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano, the regional coordinator of the pro-EZLN Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, was murdered on Mar. 21 while in Chilón municipality, a little less than one year after the murder of another member of the ejido, Juan Vázquez Guzmán. The sources are not clear on the motives for the killings, but they point to Chilón mayor Leonardo Guirao Aguilar, of the small centrist Ecological Green Party of Mexico (PVEM), and mention a possible connection of the violence to the Florida-based Norton Consulting real estate company and plans for the development of tourism in the region, which includes the Palenque archeological site. (Koman Ilel (Mexico) 3/22/14; Enlace Zapatista (Mexico) 4/2/14)

*4. Honduras: Three Convicted in Reporter's Murder
On Mar. 25 a Tegucigalpa court convicted three men in the May 2012 murder of Honduran journalist Angel Alfredo Villatoro Rivera [see Update #1130]. Marvin Alonso Gómez and the brothers Osman Fernando and Edgar Francisco Osorio Argujo are scheduled to be sentenced on Apr. 25; prison terms could range from 40 years to life. At least 40 Honduran journalists have been murdered in the past decade, with few convictions. Cases include the July 2013 kidnapping and murder of television journalist Aníbal Barrow [see Update #1184] and the October 2013 shooting death of Globo TV camera operator Manuel Murillo Varela [see Update #1199]. The French-based organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF) ranks Honduras 129th out of 180 countries in its 2014 press freedom index. (Thomas Reuters Foundation 3/28/14; IFEX 3/31/14)

In related news, there have still been no arrests in the August 2013 shooting deaths of three members of the Tolupan indigenous group near an anti-mining and anti-logging protest in the community of Locomapa in the northern department of Yoro [see Update #1190]. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR, or CIDH in Spansh), an agency of the Organization of American States (OAS), issued precautionary measures for the protection of 38 Locomapa residents on Dec. 19, but the suspects in the killings remain free. On Mar. 27 Selvin Matute, one of the two main suspects, warned an anti-mining activist that if the protesters continued to make declarations on Radio Progreso, they would be dragged from their houses and their tongues would be cut off. (América Latina en Movimiento (ALAI) 4/4/14)

*5. Links to alternative sources on: Latin Amercia, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, US/policy

Natural Resources as the dynamic axis of UNASUR strategy (Latin America)
http://alainet.org/active/72475

Are Brazil’s Dams to Blame for Record Floods in Bolivia?
http://nacla.org/blog/2014/3/31/are-brazil%E2%80%99s-dams-blame-record-floods-bolivia

Bolivia: three dead in miners' protests
http://ww4report.com/node/13123

In Bolivia, Being a Journalist and Organizer go Together
http://wagingnonviolence.org/feature/cochabamba-bolivia-communicator-organizer-go-together/

Colombia: gains against Buenaventura butchers?
http://ww4report.com/node/13125

Venezuela: A Call for Peace
http://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/10565

Where is Venezuela’s Political Violence Coming From? A Complete List of Fatalities from the Disturbances
http://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/10580

Lessons from the Costa Rican Elections
http://www.cipamericas.org/archives/11776

One Year Later: Rio Blanco Still Holds Strong Against Damming and Death (Honduras)
http://intercontinentalcry.org/one-year-later-rio-blanco-still-holds-strong-22592/

One Year of Resistance in Rio Blanco (Honduras)
http://nacla.org/news/2014/4/2/one-year-resistance-rio-blanc

Tolupan Land Defenders Subject to More Threats in Honduras
http://www.alainet.org/active/72712&lang=es

Where Does the Left Stand in Guatemala?
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/guatemala-archives-33/4771-where-does-the-left-stand-in-guatemala-

Tell Secretary Kerry: No US Funds to the Guatemalan Army!
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/news-briefs-archives-68/4778-tell-secretary-kerry-no-us-funds-to-the-guatemalan-army

On Mexican Isthmus, Indigenous Communities Oppose Massive Energy Projects
http://www.cipamericas.org/archives/11751

Fracking, Seismic Activity Grow Hand in Hand in Mexico
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/news-briefs-archives-68/4776-fracking-seismic-activity-grow-hand-in-hand-in-mexico

Mexican Peace Activist Says Focus Must Be More on Justice than Peace
http://www.cipamericas.org/archives/11739

Va Por Kuy: Deadly "Non-Lethal" Weapons and Disappearance Under Peña-Nieto's Reign (Mexico)
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/mexico-archives-79/4779-va-por-kuy-deadly-qnon-lethalq-weapons-and-disappearance-under-pena-nietos-reign

NAFTA Linked to Massive Human Rights Violations in Mexico
http://www.cipamericas.org/archives/11779

Canada Arms Mexico
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/mexico-archives-79/4772-canada-arms-mexico

USAID Subversion in Latin America Not Limited to Cuba (US/policy)
http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/the-americas-blog/usaid-subversion-in-latin-america-not-limited-to-cuba

For more Latin America news stories from mainstream and alternative sources:
http://www.cipamericas.org/
http://org.salsalabs.com/o/967/blastContent.jsp
http://fnsnews.nmsu.edu/
http://intercontinentalcry.org/
http://www.ueinternational.org/MLNA/index.php
http://nacla.org/
http://upsidedownworld.org/
http://venezuelanalysis.com/
http://wagingnonviolence.org/
http://ww4report.com/node/

For immigration updates and events:
http://thepoliticsofimmigration.blogspot.com/

END

Your support is appreciated. Back issues and source materials are available on request. Feel free to reproduce these updates, or reprint or re-post any information from them, but please credit us as “Weekly News Update on the Americas” and include a link.

Order The Politics of Immigration: Questions & Answers, from Monthly Review Press, by Update editors Jane Guskin and David Wilson:
http://thepoliticsofimmigration.org/

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

WNU #1214: Paraguayans Hold First General Strike in 20 Years

Issue #1214, March 30, 2014

1. Paraguay: Workers and Campesinos Hold General Strike
2. Panama: Ngöbe-Buglé Step Up Fight Against Dam
3. Mexico: Bidding Set to Start on Energy Sector
4. Cuba: New Law Expands Foreign Investment
5. Links to alternative sources on: Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Honduras, Mexico, US/immigration

ISSN#: 1084 922X. Weekly News Update on the Americas covers news from Latin America and the Caribbean, compiled and written from a progressive perspective. It has been published weekly by the Nicaragua Solidarity Network of Greater New York since 1990. It is archived at http://weeklynewsupdate.blogspot.com. For a subscription, write to weeklynewsupdate@gmail.com. Follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/WeeklyNewsUpdat.

*1. Paraguay: Workers and Campesinos Hold General Strike
Starting on the evening of Mar. 25, thousands of Paraguayan unionists, campesinos and students participated in a 24-hour general strike to protest the economic policies of President Horacio Manuel Cartes Jara. Union sources said the action shut down transportation, schools and most businesses in Asunción. This was the country’s first general strike in 20 years, and the first major demonstration against the government since President Cartes’ inauguration last August. Cartes, a member of the rightwing Colorado Party, was elected in April 2013; the previous elected president, the left-leaning former Catholic bishop Fernando Lugo, was removed from office by Congress in a de facto coup on June 22, 2012, one year before the end of his term [see Update #1135].

The general strike was sponsored by a broad range of organizations, including the Classist Union Current (CSC), the Organization of Education Workers of Paraguay-National Union (OTEP-SN), the National Campesino Federation (FNC) and the leftist Paraguay Pyahurã Party (PPP). It was scheduled to coincide with the Poor Campesinos’ March, an event campesino groups have held for 21 years to press for agrarian reform. The campesinos were also demanding controls over the prices of staple products and an end to an agricultural system based on large estates. Unionists were calling for a 25% increase in the minimum wage and were protesting the Public-Private Alliance Law, a proposal by Cartes that opponents see as a way to privatize public infrastructure, such as water treatment plants, Asunción’s international airport and toll highways from the capital to Brazil, Argentina and Bolivia. Cartes had raised the minimum wage by 10% in February, from 1,658,232 to 1,824,005 guaranís a month (about US$373 to about US$410), but he acted without consulting union leaders, who dismissed the raise as inadequate.

The general strike opened with a music festival at the Plaza de la Democracia in Asunción the evening of Mar. 25 and a gathering of campesinos in front of the city’s cathedral. The government mobilized 26,000 agents of the National Police to monitor the strike and guard presidential offices and the Congress building, but there appeared to be no reports of violence. (Adital (Brazil) 3/26/14; InfoBAE (Argentina) 3/26/14; Mercopress (Uruguay) 3/27/14)

*2. Panama: Ngöbe-Buglé Step Up Fight Against Dam
Silvia Carrera, the traditional leader (cacica) of Panama’s indigenous Ngöbe-Buglé, announced on Mar. 30 that she would present an appeal the next day to the Supreme Court of Justice concerning land expropriated for the controversial Barro Blanco dam [see Update #1180]. She said this would be part of a legal action against Law 18. Passed on Mar. 26, 2013, the law allows the Public Services Authority (ASEP) to expropriate, evict and indemnify the population living beside the Tabasará river in the western province of Chiriquí, where the dam is being built. According to Ngöbe-Buglé activists, some 3,000 people will be relocated because of the project, which is now said to be 64% complete.

The Ngöbe-Buglé have been protesting the construction of the dam for the past two years. They insist that since the project is in their own designated territory (comarca), construction should not have been started without first holding a referendum of the indigenous group’s members. In a television interview on Feb. 11, Silvia Carrera charged that the government of rightwing Panamanian president Ricardo Martinelli had failed to respond to indigenous concerns because it has interests in common with Generadora del Istmo, S.A. (GENISA), the Honduran-owned company building the dam. Martinelli responded by charging that the Ngöbe-Buglé were playing electoral politics.

Meanwhile, protesters have set up barricades and a camp at the dam’s construction site in an effort to block the work. The Apr. 10 Movement, an indigenous community group that is independent of the traditional leadership, announced it would publicize information on attacks on human rights and environmental damage in the territory with the goal of stopping the dam. (Adital (Brazil) 3/27/14; Prensa Latina 3/30/14)

*3. Mexico: Bidding Set to Start on Energy Sector
After 75 years of state control over oil and gas production, the Mexican government is planning to open up about two-thirds of its reserves to bidding by private companies, according to information that Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX), Mexico’s state-owned oil monopoly, passed on to potential bidders on Mar. 28. This is the first indication of what can be expected from President Enrique Peña Nieto’s controversial “energy reform” program. Changes to the Constitution enabling the program were passed by Congress and a majority of states in December, over strong opposition from grassroots organizations and parties on the left; doubts about contracting out oil and gas exploitation increased following fraud allegations against a major PEMEX contractor, Oceanografía SA de CV [see Update #1212].

PEMEX estimates that Mexico has reserves of oil and gas totaling some 112.8 billion barrels, but more than half (about 60.2 billion barrels) is in unconventional sources such as shale gas. PEMEX is asking for control over about 31% of the total, but most of this would be in proven reserves that can be exploited by conventional means. Outside contractors would be bidding largely for shale deposits and oil reserves deep in the Gulf of Mexico; PEMEX is seeking just 15% of the shale reserves, for example. However, private contractors will continue to be involved in PEMEX’s operations, as they are now.

The government claims that the program will increase production from 2.5 million to 6 million barrels a day. Martí Batres, president of the newly formed center-left National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) party, called the production goal irrational. “This will also produce more greenhouse gases, global warming and other environmental consequences,” he said. (Reuters 3/26/14; La Jornada (Mexico) 3/29/14; Mexican Labor News & Analysis, March 2014)

In other news, two activists, Ignacio García Maldonado and Emanuel López Martínez, were shot dead on the early morning of Mar. 29 while they were driving near Ciudad de las Canteras in the southern state of Oaxaca. García Maldonado belonged to the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO), a leading force in a movement that paralyzed much of the state for months in 2006 [see Update #1054]. The two men had been involved in peace talks between two communities in the Sierra Sur region, Santiago Amoltepec and San Mateo Yucutindoo, and they were traveling in a vehicle borrowed from the Human Rights Advocacy of the Human Rights of the Peoples of Oaxaca (DDHPO), apparently as part of this work. Oaxaca attorney general Joaquín Carrillo Ruiz promised a speedy investigation of the double murder. (LJ 3/30/14)

*4. Cuba: New Law Expands Foreign Investment
In a four-hour extraordinary session on Mar. 29 attended by President Raúl Castro Ruz, the 612 deputies in Cuba’s unicameral National Assembly of Popular Power voted unanimously to approve a new law governing foreign investment. Replacing a measure put in place in 1995 under then-president Fidel Castro, the Foreign Investment Law will allow foreign companies to operate in Cuba independently, rather than in joint ventures with state enterprises, according to a report in the Cuban daily Juventud Rebelde published shortly before the legislation was passed. Most foreign companies will be required to pay a 15% tax on profits, half the current rate, the article said, and they will enjoy a tax moratorium for the first eight years of their operations in Cuba. Rates may be higher for companies that exploit natural resources, such as nickel or fossil fuel.

The new policy includes guarantees that foreign property won’t be nationalized, as happened after the 1959 Revolution, except when national interests are involved, and in these cases the owners will receive compensation.

Vice President Marino Murillo, who is in charge of the economic sector, told the National Assembly that the country needs to have its gross domestic product (GDP) reach a 7% annual rate of growth, with accumulation or investment rates of 20%, and that this will only be possible with outside investment. The new investment will be oriented toward priority sectors, such as agriculture, forestry, wholesale trade, industry, tourism, construction, energy, mines and transportation, according to Foreign Trade Minister Rodrigo Malmierca. The law will allow investment by Cubans living abroad, but Malmierca noted that the Cuban American community based in Miami would still be restricted from investing because of the US government’s trade embargo against Cuba.

The new law is to go into effect in 90 days. It follows other moves by the Cuban government since September 2010 to build up the private sector at the expense of state enterprises [see Update #1128]. (La Jornada (Mexico) 3/29/14 from AP, AFP, DPA, 3/30/14 from Reuters, AP, AFP, DPA)

Correction: Following our source, in Update #1212 identified, Catholic University of Chile assistant professor Juan Luis García as “García Juan Luis.”

*5. Links to alternative sources on: Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Honduras, Mexico, US/immigration

Argentina’s Desaparecidos on the 1976 Coup Anniversary (Interview With Camilo Juárez)
http://nacla.org/blog/2014/3/29/argentina%E2%80%99s-desaparecidos-1976-coup-anniversary-interview-camilo-ju%C3%A1rez

The Bolivian Transportation Sector, Regional Integration and the Environment
http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/the-americas-blog/the-bolivian-transportation-sector-regional-integration-and-the-environment

Peru: Senselessness in the VRAE Region
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/peru-archives-76/4763-peru-senselessness-in-the-vrae-region

Peru to loosen oversight on energy projects
http://ww4report.com/node/13103

Peru: artisanal miners block highways again
http://ww4report.com/node/13102

COP Out? Peru Pulling the Plug on Environmental Oversight in View of COP 20
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/news-briefs-archives-68/4765-cop-out-peru-pulling-the-plug-on-environmental-oversight-in-view-of-cop-20

Colombia: Peace Talks Fail to Stop Human Rights Abuses Ahead of UN Review
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/colombia-archives-61/4769-colombia-peace-talks-fail-to-stop-human-rights-abuses-ahead-of-un-review

One-Third of Colombia’s Newly-Elected Senators Have Paramilitary Ties
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/news-briefs-archives-68/4762-one-third-of-colombias-newly-elected-senators-have-paramilitary-ties

UNASUR Urges Peace in Venezuela, US “Prepared” to Use Sanctions
http://venezuelanalysis.com/news/10546

Venezuela: Wayúu protest militarization
http://ww4report.com/node/13104

Venezuela arrests generals accused in coup plot
http://ww4report.com/node/13101

Venezuelan Human Rights Experts Call for End to “Media Distortion” of Protests and State Response
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/news-briefs-archives-68/4767-venezuelan-human-rights-experts-call-for-end-to-media-distortion-of-protests-and-state-response

The “Cubanization” of U.S. Policy Towards Venezuela
http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/the-americas-blog/the-cubanization-of-us-policy-towards-venezuela

Venezuela: When Some of the Most Important News Comes in the Form of Corrections
http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/the-americas-blog/venezuela-when-some-of-the-most-important-news-comes-in-the-form-of-corrections

Honduras: Is it possible to defend human rights where rights have died?
http://alainet.org/active/72447

Death, Child Deportation Continue on the Migrant Trail (Mexico)
http://fnsnews.nmsu.edu/death-child-deportation-continue-on-the-migrant-trail/

Mexican President Praises, but Many Protest Energy Reform on Anniversary of Expropriation of the Foreign Oil Industry
http://www.ueinternational.org/MLNA/mlna_articles.php?id=222#1688

Impact of Energy Reform Now Clear: Two-thirds of Oil Reserves Auctioned Off
http://www.ueinternational.org/MLNA/mlna_articles.php?id=222#1689

A New Gas Pipeline for Texas-Tamaulipas (Mexico)
http://fnsnews.nmsu.edu/a-new-gas-pipeline-for-texas-tamaulipas/

U.S. Radiation Leak Concerns Mexicans
http://fnsnews.nmsu.edu/u-s-radiation-leak-concerns-mexicans/

Living Legacy of Machismo: Rape Victim Charged for Self-Defense in Mexico
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/mexico-archives-79/4761-living-legacy-of-machismo-rape-victim-charged-for-self-defense-in-mexico

Michoacán cartel boss 'killed' —again! (Mexico)
http://ww4report.com/node/13098

Michoacán: cannibalization of 'community police'? (Mexico)
http://ww4report.com/node/13106

Border crossings refocus immigration debate on families (US/immigration)
http://wagingnonviolence.org/feature/border-crossings-refocus-immigration-debate-families/

Turning the tide: inside a Texas city’s struggle to stop deportations (US/immigration)
http://wagingnonviolence.org/feature/turning-tide-inside-texas-citys-struggle-stop-deportations/

For more Latin America news stories from mainstream and alternative sources:
http://www.cipamericas.org/
http://org.salsalabs.com/o/967/blastContent.jsp
http://fnsnews.nmsu.edu/
http://intercontinentalcry.org/
http://www.ueinternational.org/MLNA/index.php
http://nacla.org/
http://venezuelanalysis.com/
http://upsidedownworld.org/
http://wagingnonviolence.org/
http://ww4report.com/node/

For immigration updates and events:
http://thepoliticsofimmigration.blogspot.com/

END

Your support is appreciated. Back issues and source materials are available on request. Feel free to reproduce these updates, or reprint or re-post any information from them, but please credit us as “Weekly News Update on the Americas” and include a link.

Order The Politics of Immigration: Questions & Answers, from Monthly Review Press, by Update editors Jane Guskin and David Wilson:
http://thepoliticsofimmigration.org/

Monday, March 24, 2014

Links but No Update for March 23, 2014

[There is no Update this week; we'll be back next week. Below are links to stories from other sources.]

A Step Toward Justice in the Long “War on Terror”: Uruguay Offers to Welcome Guantanamo Detainees
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/uruguay-archives-48/4757-a-step-toward-justice-in-the-long-war-on-terror-uruguay-offers-to-welcome-guantanamo-detainees

Uruguay agrees to take five Guantánamo prisoners
http://ww4report.com/node/13090

Repsol sells Amazon oil stake (Peru)
http://ww4report.com/node/12537#comment-452029

Peru: new repression at Conga mine site
http://ww4report.com/node/13088

Chevron seeks $32 million in Ecuador case
http://ww4report.com/node/13091

HRW documents mass displacement in Colombia
http://ww4report.com/node/13092

Displaced and Duty-Free in El Tamarindo, Colombia
http://nacla.org/blog/2014/3/24/displaced-and-duty-free-el-tamarindo-colombia

Colombian president orders removal of Bogotá mayor
http://ww4report.com/node/12954#comment-452028

Should the Media Report on Who is Killing Whom In Venezuela, When Death Tolls are Reported?
http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/the-americas-blog/should-the-media-report-on-who-is-killing-whom-in-venezuela-when-death-tolls-are-reported

The Truth about Venezuela: A Revolt of the Well-off, Not a 'Terror Campaign'
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/news-briefs-archives-68/4750-the-truth-about-venezuela-a-revolt-of-the-well-off-not-a-terror-campaign

OAS Votes Not to “Turn Itself Into a Circus” (Venezuela)
http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/the-americas-blog/oas-votes-not-to-turn-itself-into-a-circus-earlier-this-week-in-a-highly-irregular-move-panama-offered-its-seat-at-the-regular-meeting-of-the-oas-permanent-council-today-to-venezuelan-opposition-lawmaker-maria-corina-machado-machad

Several More Die in Venezuela’s Disturbances, Opposition Reject Dialogue Call
http://venezuelanalysis.com/news/10530

Venezuela’s Black Market Dollar Plummets on News of New Exchange Rate Mechanism
http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/the-americas-blog/venezuelas-black-market-dollar-plummets-on-news-of-new-exchange-rate-mechanism

Native Lines - La Trocha de Platanares (Panama)
http://intercontinentalcry.org/native-lines-la-trocha-de-platanares/

A Precarious Victory in El Salvador
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/news-briefs-archives-68/4754-a-precarious-victory-in-el-salvador

Radicalized Right Grasps for Reins of Power in El Salvador
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/news-briefs-archives-68/4753-radicalized-right-grasps-for-reins-of-power-in-el-salvador

Canadian Aid, Honduran Oil
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/news-briefs-archives-68/4759-canadian-aid-honduran-oil

Honduras: Who Should Really Be On Trial For the Rio Blanco Dam?
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/honduras-archives-46/4748-honduras-who-should-really-be-on-trial-for-the-rio-blanco-dam

Honduras: New Colonel for Operation Xatruch, More of the Same for Lower Aguan?
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/honduras-archives-46/4741-honduras-new-colonel-for-operation-xatruch-more-of-the-same-for-lower-aguan

Ecocide in Guatemala: Call for International Solidarity
http://intercontinentalcry.org/ecocide-in-guatemala-call-for-international-solidarity-22541/

Guatemala's ex-prez took bribes from Taiwan
http://ww4report.com/node/13087

Fashion Faux Pas? Free Trade and Sweatshop Labor in Guatemala
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/guatemala-archives-33/4745-fashion-faux-pas-free-trade-and-sweatshop-labor-in-guatemala

Mexico’s Oil Belongs to Its Citizens, Not the Global 1%
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/mexico-archives-79/4749-mexicos-oil-belongs-to-its-citizens-not-the-global-1

Assault case highlights gender bias in Mexican courts
http://www.cipamericas.org/archives/11708

Michoacán crackdown on narco-mineral nexus (Mexico)
http://ww4report.com/node/13097

Free Zapatista Textbook Now Available in English (Mexico)
http://intercontinentalcry.org/free-zapatista-textbook-now-available-english/

The Zapatistas at 20: Building Autonomous Community (Mexico)
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/mexico-archives-79/4758-the-zapatistas-at-20-building-autonomous-community

In Southeastern U.S., Poultry and Migration Booms Change the Face of Rural America (US/immigration)
http://www.cipamericas.org/archives/11699

"Bring Them Home" Undocumented Activism: Week One in Otay (US/immigration)
http://nacla.org/news/2014/3/15/bring-them-home-undocumented-activism-week-one-otay

#BringThemHome Campaign Reunites Families at the Border (Photo Essay) (US/immigration)
http://nacla.org/bringthemhome-campaign-reunites-families-border-photo-essay

Why are so many migrants here in the first place? (US/immigration)
http://wagingnonviolence.org/feature/power-asking-simple-question-many-migrants-first-place/

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

WNU #1213: Brazilian Street Sweepers Win With Wildcat

Issue #1213, March 16, 2014

1. Brazil: Rio Street Sweepers Win With Wildcat
2. Mexico: Community Radio Announcers Imprisoned
3. Dominican Republic: Haitian Descendants Continue Protests
4. Links to alternative sources on: Chile, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Haiti, US/immigration

ISSN#: 1084 922X. Weekly News Update on the Americas covers news from Latin America and the Caribbean, compiled and written from a progressive perspective. It has been published weekly by the Nicaragua Solidarity Network of Greater New York since 1990. It is archived at http://weeklynewsupdate.blogspot.com. For a subscription, write to weeklynewsupdate@gmail.com. Follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/WeeklyNewsUpdat.

*1. Brazil: Rio Street Sweepers Win With Wildcat
Opposed by the media, the city government and their own union, street sweepers in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s second largest city, won a 37% raise and an increase in benefits on Mar. 8 after an eight-day wildcat strike that left streets littered during Rio’s famous Carnaval celebrations. The settlement reached by the municipal government and the strikers’ committee increased the sweepers’ base monthly pay from 802 to 1,100 reais (US$338.61 to US$466.64). The sweepers also gained an increase in their daily meal tickets from 12 to 20 reais (US$5.09 to US$8.49), payment for extra hours, and increases for medical and dental care. The settlement included a guarantee that no workers would be fired for taking part in the strike.

The Union of Employees of Cleaning and Conservation Companies of Rio de Janeiro Municipality (SEEACRMJ) had previously made a settlement with the city for a 9% pay raise, but a group of workers walked out on Mar. 1 to demand an increase of 50%. According to the strike committee, 6,000 of the city’s 15,000 sweepers participated in the wildcat, but Rio mayor Eduardo Paes, from the centrist Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB) dismissed the strike and its supporters, calling them “marginal and criminal.” The city's Municipal Company of Urban Cleaning (Comlurb) at first tried to squelch the walkout by firing 300 strikers; later Paes threatened to lay off 1,100-1,200 strikers, in effect admitting that participation was more than marginal. The government also claimed that the strikers were using the threat of violence to get other sweepers to join them. Under this pretext, police “escorts” accompanied the sweepers who continued to work; strike supporters said these agents were in fact sent to keep the sweepers from participating in the walkout.

The strikers claimed they had broad support from the public, despite constant hostility in the media and the problems the strike caused for Carnaval, which ran from Feb. 28 to Mar. 4 this year. There was similar support for a lengthy strike by Rio teachers last summer and fall, reflecting the public’s anger over police brutality and inadequate health and education services, which led to massive protests throughout the country in June 2013 [see Update #1195]. After the settlement was announced, strike committee member Bruno Lima said the movement had motivated the sweepers to follow up with more grassroots organizing. “We’re very happy,” he said, “but we’re aware that this is a process that isn’t ending here.” (Agencia Púlsar 3/10/14; Adital (Brazil) 3/10/14, 3/13/14; Global Voices 3/11/14)

The national government has been trying to contain the recent upsurge in protests, with the Senate considering a bill that would designate some types of violence at demonstrations as terrorism [see Update #1210]. The São Paulo State Department of Criminal Investigations (Deic) has been carrying out an inquiry since Oct. 9 that supposedly targets the anarchist Black Bloc tendency, which the police consider responsible for acts of vandalism by masked youths at demonstrations. The investigation has been very broad. For example, 40 youths were given summonses to testify on Feb. 22; they were asked questions about their political beliefs and even how they voted in the previous election. Summonses were also given to 10 members of the Free Pass Movement (MPL), a group whose protests against high transit costs helped spark last year’s demonstrations. The Deic decree authorizing the investigation indicates that the department plans to charge protesters with “criminal association” under Article 288 of the Criminal Code; the crime carries a prison sentence of one to three years. (Adital 3/10/14)

*2. Mexico: Community Radio Announcers Imprisoned
Alma Delia Olivares Castro, an announcer on the La Cabina community radio station in Omealca municipality in the eastern Mexican state of Veracruz, was arrested on Feb. 28 and was held in a federal prison in Nayarit state for five days on charges of “auditory contamination.” The authorities released Olivares Castro on Mar. 4 after her family put up 25,000 pesos (about US$1,893) in bail, but she still faces criminal charges. After realizing that “auditory contamination” is not an offense under Mexican law, the authorities changed the charge to “undue use of a national good” (the airwaves). The station has already been closed and fined 29,000 pesos (about US$2,199) under the Federal Radio and Television Law, which regulates the licensing of radio and television stations.

Olivares Castro and some friends started La Cabina to meet the lack of local news in the area. According to supporters, the station quickly became a forum for the community where people could debate political issues and even question the mayor’s decisions. Mexican activists say the government is slow to grant licenses to community radio stations, so many operate without authorization. The Mexican section of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) denounced the government’s penalization of La Cabina and Olivares Castro as an attack on freedom of speech.

In a similar case, Paola Ochoa Tlapanco, an announcer on Radio Identidad in Paso del Macho, Veracruz, was arrested in 2009 along with two other employees, José Maza and Juan José Hernández. According to one report, this year she was sentenced to two years in prison, the payment of a fine and the loss of civil and political rights for the unauthorized use of the airwaves. (elgolfo.info (Veracruz) 2/25/14; Ifex 3/13/14; Adital (Brazil) 3/13/14)

*3. Dominican Republic: Haitian Descendants Continue Protests
Chanting “We’re Dominicans and we’re staying here,” hundreds of people of Haitian descent and their supporters gathered in front of the Congress building in Santo Domingo on Mar. 12 in the latest protest against Decision 168-13, a ruling by the Constitutional Tribunal (TC) last September declaring that no one born to undocumented immigrants since 1929 was a citizen [see Update #1208]. Among the groups participating in the “Day of Fasting and Prayer” were the Bonó Center, a Catholic human rights organization, and Reconoci.do, a youth movement that has been organizing demonstrations for two years on the 12th day of the month to demand papers for the Dominican-born children of immigrants [see Update #1184]. Manuel María Mercedes and other members of the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) joined the protest, as did legislative deputies Hugo Tolentino Dipp and Guadalupe Valdez and former labor minister Max Puig.

The protesters focused on a legislative proposal that President Danilo Medina had said he would introduce to Congress on Feb. 27 to regularize the status of the tens of thousands of Dominicans who had been deprived of their citizenship by Decision 168-13. “We’re still consulting the sectors” involved, Medina said on Mar. 12 to explain why he hadn’t presented the legislation. “We’re going to look for the most suitable form.” (7días.com.do (Santo Domingo) 3/12/14; Associated Press 3/12/14 via Terra Argentina)

Groups in Haiti joined in the criticism of Medina, whose government has been holding talks with the Haitian government on the treatment of Haitian descendants. Dominican representatives had indicated during the bi-national dialogue’s February meeting that the regularization bill would be introduced that month. On Mar. 12 the Haitian section of the Jesuit Service for Refugees and Migrants (SJRM) and the Haitian nonprofit Support Group for the Repatriated and Refugees (GARR) said Medina’s failure to act had jeopardized the talks, which are scheduled to continue on Mar. 20. “Dialogue is bringing nothing for Haiti,” GARR’s Jean Baptiste Azolin said. “Nothing for migration. Nothing has been done yet, and nothing has changed.” (AlterPresse (Haiti) 3/12/14)

In other news, GARR reported that a Haitian worker was killed and at least 27 were wounded by bullets and knives during a demonstration they were holding on Mar. 1 in the Boca de Cachon neighborhood of Jimaní, a city in the southwestern province of Independencia at the border with Haiti. The workers organized the protest to demand more than three months of wages they said Dominican authorities owed them for work on the construction of a village for the relocation of 560 families who are threatened by flooding from Lake Enriquillo. (GARR 3/4/14)

*4. Links to alternative sources on: Chile, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Haiti, US/immigration

Resurgent Chilean Social Movements Advance Cross-Border Solidarity
http://nacla.org/blog/2014/3/14/resurgent-chilean-social-movements-advance-cross-border-solidarity

Chile’s Student Movement Leads the Way: Progressive Prospects for Michelle Bachelet’s Second Term
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/chile-archives-34/4743-chiles-student-movement-leads-the-way-progressive-prospects-for-michelle-bachelets-second-term

Repsol Sells Oil Stake in ‘Isolated’ Indigenous Peoples’ Territory in Peruvian Amazon
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/peru-archives-76/4744-repsol-sells-oil-stake-in-isolated-indigenous-peoples-territory-in-peruvian-amazon

US Oil and Gas Firm Hunt Urged to Suspend Amazon Exploration (Peru)
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/news-briefs-archives-68/4732-us-oil-and-gas-firm-hunt-urged-to-suspend-amazon-exploratio

The Quimbo Hydroelectric Project Moves Ahead without Complying with its Environmental License (Colombia)
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/news-briefs-archives-68/4738-the-quimbo-hydroelectric-project-moves-ahead-without-complying-with-its-environmental-license

Understanding the Facts on Violence and Human Rights in Venezuela's Unrest
http://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/10474

Venezuela: Who You Gonna Believe, the New York Times or Your Lying Eyes?
http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/the-americas-blog/venezuela-who-you-gonna-believe-the-new-york-times-or-your-lying-eyes

Lula Sends Letter of Support to Maduro (Venezuela)
http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/the-americas-blog/lula-sends-letter-of-support-to-maduro

Venezuelan Attorney General Meets with Human Rights Group and Holds Members of the Security Forces Responsible for Their Actions
http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/the-americas-blog/venezuelan-attorney-general-meets-with-human-rights-group-and-holds-members-of-the-security-forces-responsible-for-their-actions

Venezuela's Polarizations and Maduro’s Next Steps
http://nacla.org/news/2014/3/11/venezuelas-polarizations-and-maduro%E2%80%99s-next-steps

Venezuelan Community Pie Del Tiro Explains Opposition Violence (Video)
http://nacla.org/news/2014/3/14/venezuelan-community-pie-del-tiro-explains-opposition-violence-video

Fair FMLN Presidential Victory in El Salvador (Interview with Election Observer Richard Hobbs)
http://nacla.org/blog/2014/3/14/fair-fmln-presidential-victory-el-salvador-interview-election-observer-richard-hobbs

In the Face of an Expected Election Defeat, El Salvador’s Right-wing ARENA Party ‘Prepared for War’
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/el-salvador-archives-74/4739-in-the-face-of-an-expected-election-defeat-el-salvadors-right-wing-arena-party-prepared-for-war

Honduras: Indigenous Tolupanes Return to Their Territory with IACHR Orders of Protection
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/honduras-archives-46/4734-honduras-indigenous-tolupanes-return-to-their-territory-with-iachr-orders-of-protection

Guatemala: The Peaceful Anti-Mining Resistance at "La Puya" Celebrates Two Years of Struggle
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/guatemala-archives-33/4742-the-peaceful-anti-mining-resistance-at-qla-puyaq-celebrates-two-years-of-struggle

My Life in Juarez: Women Speak Out (Mexico)
http://fnsnews.nmsu.edu/my-life-in-juarez-women-speak-out/

Lime, Gangsters and the Yellow Dragon (Mexico)
http://fnsnews.nmsu.edu/lime-gangsters-and-the-yellow-dragon/

Border Patrol Agents Train for War on the U.S.-Mexico Border (US/immigration)
http://nacla.org/blog/2014/3/12/border-patrol-agents-train-war-us-mexico-border

Immigration crisis disrupts Boehner’s breakfast, again (US/immigration)
http://wagingnonviolence.org/2014/03/immigration-crisis-disrupts-boehners-breakfast/

Hunger strike in Tacoma detention center enters second week (US/immigration)
http://wagingnonviolence.org/feature/hunger-strike-tahoma-detention-center-enters-second-week/

For more Latin America news stories from mainstream and alternative sources:
http://www.cipamericas.org/
http://org.salsalabs.com/o/967/blastContent.jsp
http://fnsnews.nmsu.edu/
http://intercontinentalcry.org/
http://www.ueinternational.org/MLNA/index.php
http://nacla.org/
http://upsidedownworld.org/
http://venezuelanalysis.com/
http://wagingnonviolence.org/
http://ww4report.com/node/

For immigration updates and events:
http://thepoliticsofimmigration.blogspot.com/

END

Your support is appreciated. Back issues and source materials are available on request. Feel free to reproduce these updates, or reprint or re-post any information from them, but please credit us as “Weekly News Update on the Americas” and include a link.

Order The Politics of Immigration: Questions & Answers, from Monthly Review Press, by Update editors Jane Guskin and David Wilson:
http://thepoliticsofimmigration.org/

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

WNU #1212: US Dockworkers Walk Out to Back Honduran Unionists

Issue #1212, March 9, 2014

1. Honduras: Solidarity Action Hits US Port
2. Mexico: Citigroup, PEMEX Embroiled in Fraud Scandal
3. Chile: Environmentalists Declare “Glacier Republic”
4. Links to alternative sources on: Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Central America, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago

ISSN#: 1084 922X. Weekly News Update on the Americas covers news from Latin America and the Caribbean, compiled and written from a progressive perspective. It has been published weekly by the Nicaragua Solidarity Network of Greater New York since 1990. It is archived at http://weeklynewsupdate.blogspot.com. For a subscription, write to weeklynewsupdate@gmail.com. Follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/WeeklyNewsUpdat.

*1. Honduras: Solidarity Action Hits US Port
Dockworkers at the Port of Portland in Oregon walked off their jobs at the container yard on Mar. 4 to honor a picket line set up by a small group of Honduran dockworkers protesting what they said were labor abuses at the Puerto Cortés port in northern Honduras. The picketers were members of the Dockworkers Labor Union (SGTM), which has been in a dispute since last year with Operadora Portuaria Centroamericana (OPC), the Honduran subsidiary of the Philippines-based International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) [see Update #1193]. A US subsidiary of ICTSI operates Terminal 6 in the Oregon port, and the dockworkers there, who are represented by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), have had their own disputes with the company.

The job action in Portland only lasted from the morning to the evening of Mar. 4. A labor arbitrator ordered the ILWU members back to work, ruling that while the walkout was not illegal, it was unjustified because the Honduran workers weren’t employees of the US subsidiary. The ILWU workers returned to the job in the evening, but about 100 ILWU members and supporters protested at the Honduran consulate in San Francisco on Mar. 7, charging that the company had identified two Honduran workers who were part of the picket line, Carlos Alvarado and Glen Galdames, to the Honduran government. As a result the police had sought the two men after their return to Honduras on Mar. 6, the ILWU said. The Solidarity Center—the foreign policy arm of the US AFL-CIO labor federation, which the ILWU recently left--wrote to US ambassador to Honduras Lisa Kubiske on Mar. 6 urging her to demand that the Honduran government stop trying to arrest Alvarado and Galdames. ICTSI Oregon chief executive Elvis Ganda responded that the unions were “making baseless allegations about events in Honduras.” (Associated Press 3/4/14 via SFGate; ILWU press release 3/4/14 via Longshore & Shipping News; The Oregonian 3/4/14, 3/7/14)

OPC won a 29-year concession in February 2013 to operate and modernize the Puerto Cortés seaport. According to the SGTM, the company signed a labor agreement with the government without consulting the workers. The union’s general secretary, Víctor Crespo, began receiving death threats, and on Sept. 14 armed men tried to break down the door at his home; they fled after Crespo’s neighbors woke up and became potential witnesses. Crespo relocated to an undisclosed country, but his father, Víctor Manuel Crespo Puerto, died on Jan. 28 of injuries he received when he and other family members were run down by an armed man in a stolen car.

In December OPC began laying off a large number of unionized workers. A protest by the dockworkers broke out at the port on Feb. 26, and it was joined by truckers angry at poor service at the terminal and OPC’s decision to increase the fees. “The Honduran military responded to the protest by invading the port and arresting approximately 129 workers, who were charged with ‘terrorism’ and ‘damaging the national economy,’” according to the ILWU. (La Prensa (San Pedro Sula) 2/27/14; Rebanadas de Realidad 1/18/14 from International Transport Workers Federation (ITF); ILWU press release 3/4/14)

*2. Mexico: Citigroup, PEMEX Embroiled in Fraud Scandal
Some 1,200 employees of the Mexican oil company Oceanografía SA de CV began blocking the four entrances to the Laguna Azul industrial dock in Ciudad del Carmen in the eastern state of Campeche early on the morning of Mar. 7, disrupting the operations of at least 40 companies that provide services to Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX), the government’s giant oil monopoly. The workers were demanding payment of wages that have been held up since the government’s Finance Secretariat took over the bankrupt company at the end of February after it became mired in allegations of fraud.

Oceanografía is a private company that has contracted with PEMEX and its main exploration and production subsidiary, Exploración y Producción (PEP), for some 40 years. The company was PEMEX’s main contractor under the administrations of presidents Vicente Fox Quesada (2000-2006) and Felipe Calderón Hinojosa (2006-2012), who are both members of the center-right National Action Party (PAN). From 2003 to 2013 Oceanografía won some 100 contracts worth a total of nearly $3 billion for services to PEMEX such as the maintenance of equipment and the installation of oil extraction structures in the Gulf of Mexico. But on Jan. 15 of this year Oceanografía CEO Amado Yáñez told investors that the company wouldn’t be able to meet its debt obligations, and on Feb. 11 the government issued a fine of about $1.9 million and blocked the company from bidding on government contracts for 21 months.

Oceanografía had borrowed some $585 million from Banco Nacional de Mexico (Banamex), Mexico’s second largest bank, which was bought in 2001 by Citigroup Inc., the third largest banking group in the US. As Oceanografía’s money problems mounted, Citigroup began reviewing the loans, for which the oil company had offered invoices to PEMEX as collateral. On Feb. 28 Citigroup announced that it had worked with PEMEX and found that only $185 million of the collateral could be verified. Apparently Oceanografía had falsified invoices to PEMEX, possibly with collaboration from Banamex and PEMEX employees. The Mexican government quickly took control of Oceanografía so that services to PEMEX would be maintained, while Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office (PGR), the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the US Attorney’s office in Massachusetts all began inquiries. On Mar. 4 Mexican attorney general Jesús Murillo Karam suggested that money laundering might also be involved. “Money laundering can start with the initial crime of fraud, but it does not stop there,” he said.

The Oceanografía collapse has resulted in a number of embarrassments in both Mexico and the US. Citigroup had to write down its profits for 2013 by $235 million, while PEMEX and the Mexican government will need to explain their over-reliance on Oceanografía. There have also been suggestions that two of the children of former president Fox’s wife, Marta Sahagún de Fox, were involved. In 2005 a Chamber of Deputies commission found indications that Sahagún's sons Manuel and Jorge Alberto Bribiesca and their uncle, Guillermo Sahagún, arranged PEMEX contracts worth 5.929 billion pesos (nearly US$448 million) for Oceanografía from 2002 and 2006. As of Mar. 5 Mexican investigators said they had no indications that the Bribiesca brothers were involved in the fraud. (Reuters 2/28/14; Bloomberg News 2/28/14; ADNPolítico.com (Mexico) 3/5/14; La Jornada (Mexico) 3/8/14, 3/8/14)

The scandal broke just three months after Mexico approved constitutional amendments laying the groundwork for President Enrique Peña Nieto’s “energy reform” program, which would open up PEMEX to extensive contracting with Mexican and foreign oil companies [see Update #1203].

*3. Chile: Environmentalists Declare “Glacier Republic”
Greenpeace Chile announced on Mar. 5 that it had established a new country in the glacial regions of southern Chile, the “Glacier Republic.” The group said the country will remain independent until the Chilean government passes laws to protect Chile’s glaciers. Greenpeace based its claim to the territory on a loophole in Chile’s laws, which include no claim to sovereignty over the glaciers. In the past the loophole has made the glacial regions vulnerable to environmental damage by mining companies, but Greenpeace now hopes to use it as a way of bringing attention to projects such as the mammoth Pascua Lama mine that the Toronto-based Barrick Gold Corporation has been building high the mountains on both sides of the border with Argentina [see Update #1198]. Greenpeace is also targeting what it calls “an even greater danger”—the Andina 244 project of the state-owned copper company Corporación Nacional del Cobre de Chile (Codelco), which Greenpeace says “provides for the destruction of 5,000 hectares of glaciers, directly affecting water reserves for Chile’s entire central zone.”

Setting up a capital city of tents on the ice, Greenpeace announced the new country with a video and a full-page ad in the New York Times. The idea was met with enthusiasm by some Chileans. Juan Luis García, an assistant professor of glacial geology at the Catholic University of Chile, called the project “a great initiative and a beautiful way of protesting.” On Mar. 6 the 99-year-old poet, mathematician and physicist Nicanor Parra, who won Spain’s prestigious Cervantes prize for literature in 2011, applied for a passport and sent a letter of support to the Glacier Republic’s embassy in Santiago. (BioBioChile 3/5/14; Santiago Times 3/6/14; Adital (Brazil) 3/6/14)

In related news, late on Mar. 3, a Chilean environmental court revoked a $16 million fine that environmental regulator Juan Carlos Monckeberg imposed on Barrick’s Pascua Lama project last May [see Update #1179]. But the ruling may increase Barrick’s penalties. The court held that Monckeberg erred in grouping the mining company’s 23 environmental infringements in five categories; instead, he will now have to impose a separate fine for each of the infringements. The court’s decision doesn’t affect the project’s suspension, which remains in effect. (Mining.com 3/4/14)

Correction: following our source, we originally gave Juan Luis García's name incorrectly.

*4. Links to alternative sources on: Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Central America, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago

A struggle against the growing hegemony of agribusiness (Brazil)
http://alainet.org/active/71797

Team Klamazon Returns: Klamath River Indigenous Youth and River Activists Bring a Message From the Amazon (Brazil)
http://intercontinentalcry.org/team-klamazon-returns-klamath-river-indigenous-youth-river-activists-bring-message-amazon/

For Abortion Rights in Bolivia, A Modest Gain
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/news-briefs-archives-68/4729-for-abortion-rights-in-bolivia-a-modest-gain

US Oil and Gas Firm Hunt Urged to Suspend Amazon Exploration (Peru)
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/news-briefs-archives-68/4732-us-oil-and-gas-firm-hunt-urged-to-suspend-amazon-exploration

What Do the Local Ecuadorian Elections Tell Us about Alianza PAIS?
http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/the-americas-blog/what-do-the-local-ecuadorian-elections-tell-us-about-alianza-pais

Ecuador's President Correa Suffers Political Setback in Local Elections
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/ecuador-archives-49/4727-ecuadors-president-correa-suffers-political-setback-in-local-elections

Chevron Wins Latest Round in Ecuador Pollution Case
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/ecuador-archives-49/4731-chevron-wins-latest-round-in-ecuador-pollution-case

US judge blocks enforcement of Chevron judgment (Ecuador)
http://ww4report.com/node/13063

Venezuelan Barrio Organization Calls for Peace to Deepen the Revolution
http://nacla.org/news/2014/3/3/venezuelan-barrio-organization-calls-peace-deepen-revolution

NYT Violates Standards of Basic Economics and Journalistic Procedures in Reporting on Venezuela Inflation
http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/the-americas-blog/nyt-violates-standards-of-basic-economics-and-journalistic-procedures-in-reporting-on-venezuela-inflation

The Legacy of Hugo Chávez One Year After His Death (Audio) (Venezuela)
http://nacla.org/news/2014/3/5/legacy-hugo-chavez-one-year-after-his-death-audio

Manufacturing Contempt for Venezuela
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/venezuela-archives-35/4728-manufacturing-contempt-for-venezuela

Venezuela’s Opposition Is United Against Maduro, But Internally Divided
http://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/10459

Violence Against Women in Mexico and Central America and the Impact of U.S. Policy
http://www.cipamericas.org/archives/11630

Nicaragua: electoral violence on Caribbean coast?
http://ww4report.com/node/13052

El Salvador, Costa Rica Elections 2014: Tests for Social Democracy in Central America
http://nacla.org/blog/2014/3/7/el-salvador-costa-rica-elections-2014-tests-social-democracy-central-america

Presidential Elections in El Salvador: The Lion vs. The Dentist
http://nacla.org/news/2014/3/7/presidential-elections-el-salvador-lion-vs-dentist

Salvadoran Youth, Facing Big Challenges, Mobilize for Mar. 9 Election
http://www.cipamericas.org/archives/11613

Honduras: Indigenous Tolupanes Return to Their Territory with IACHR Orders of Protection
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/honduras-archives-46/4734-honduras-indigenous-tolupanes-return-to-their-territory-with-iachr-orders-of-protection

In Mexico, Hate Continues to Kill Women
http://www.cipamericas.org/archives/11624

Midwives, givers of life in rural communities, in danger of disappearing (Mexico)
http://www.cipamericas.org/archives/11597

A Line under the Parrot’s Nest (Mexico)
http://fnsnews.nmsu.edu/a-line-under-the-parrots-nest/

NAFTA’s Bad Apples (Mexico)
http://fnsnews.nmsu.edu/naftas-bad-apples/

Mexico Truth Commision Prepares Final Report
http://fnsnews.nmsu.edu/mexico-truth-commision-prepares-final-report/

UN Official Calls for Cholera Compensation; UN Cholera Coordinator is Interviewed; Insider Tells of UN Cholera Cover-up (Haiti)
http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/relief-and-reconstruction-watch/un-official-calls-for-cholera-compensation-un-cholera-coordinator-is-interviewed-insider-tells-of-un-cholera-cover-up

Trinidad and Tobago: Battling the Resource Curse
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/news-briefs-archives-68/4726-trinidad-and-tobago-battling-the-resource-curse

For more Latin America news stories from mainstream and alternative sources:
http://www.cipamericas.org/
http://org.salsalabs.com/o/967/blastContent.jsp
http://fnsnews.nmsu.edu/
http://intercontinentalcry.org/
http://www.ueinternational.org/MLNA/index.php
http://nacla.org/
http://upsidedownworld.org/
http://venezuelanalysis.com/
http://wagingnonviolence.org/
http://ww4report.com/node/

For immigration updates and events:
http://thepoliticsofimmigration.blogspot.com/

END

Your support is appreciated. Back issues and source materials are available on request. Feel free to reproduce these updates, or reprint or re-post any information from them, but please credit us as “Weekly News Update on the Americas” and include a link.

Order The Politics of Immigration: Questions & Answers, from Monthly Review Press, by Update editors Jane Guskin and David Wilson:
http://thepoliticsofimmigration.org/