Sunday, January 31, 2010

Helping Haiti: Our Dollars Aren't Enough

by David L. Wilson

On January 14, two days after the Port-au-Prince earthquake, I finally got a chance to look over my email, courtesy of a small Haitian NGO in a quiet, relatively undamaged neighborhood in the south of the city. After reading and answering personal messages, I noticed that a lot of my mail consisted of appeals for earthquake relief. Some messages were from people asking me to recommend ways to donate to grassroots Haitian groups.

I was moved to see how many people were eager to help, and I certainly knew how desperately Haiti needed help. Although I was in no position then to make up a list of recommendations, by the next day my colleague Jane Guskin had posted some good information. I strongly encourage people to donate to these and many other Haiti-based organizations.

At same time, I got a funny feeling reading all these notes and appeals. I found myself wondering if people would think that their dollars were enough, that making a donation meant they didn't need to do any more to help. Because if that was the case, I thought it would almost be better not to contribute to the relief effort. [...]

Read the full article on World War 4 Report:
or Monthly Review's MRZine:

Monday, January 25, 2010

Links but No Update for January 24, 2010

[We are again unable to send out an Update, but we hope to be back on schedule next week. Below are links to stories from other sources.]

German court issues arrest warrant for Argentine "Dirty War" junta leader

Who Lost Chile? Conservative Multi-Millionaire is President Elect

For Chile’s Wealthy President-Elect, Victory Spells Huge Payoff

Rio de Janeiro: Control of the Poor Seen as Crucial for the Olympics

Brazil’s World Cup Development Debacle

Peru: indigenous leaders reject Bagua massacre report; García intransigent

The Commission of Inquiry's Report on the Violent Events in Bagua, Peru: A Truth Commission with Little Truth

Ecuador: Politics Closes Indigenous Shuar Radio

Venezuela: protests as cable TV stations ordered closed

Venezuela: stores raided for price gouging following devaluation

Voices of Participatory Democracy in Venezuela: A Review of Venezuela Speaks! Voices from the Grassroots

Panama: Supreme Court declines to hear Noriega extradition appeal

Costa-Rica: Last-Ditch Leftwing Alliance to 'Save' the Country

A Nicaraguan Farce

El Salvador: Fallen Anti-Mining Activists Honored with Vigil

An Electoral Defeat for Democracy: The Regional Implications of the Honduran Vote

Honduras: whither amnesty?

Honduras: prosecutors charge military officials for Zelaya ouster

Honduras: arson attack on Garifuna community radio station

Canada, Honduras and the Coup d’Etat

Honduras: Entrenched Corruption Stymies Hope

Honduras: Zelaya's Safety Ensured by Ban on Pen Deliveries to Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa

Honduras: Why Do Garifuna Community Radios Burn?

Guatemala: murdered lawyer planned his own death

Assassinations Continue in Guatemala

US seeks extradition of Guatemalan ex-president on money laundering

Angels in Guatemala: Confronting a Legacy of Official Terror

Mexico: 23 dead in Durango prison riot

Mexico: 860 more army troops to Tijuana

Mexico: body of kidnapped journalist found

Mexico: more hideous narco-violence

Mexico: Corporate Hit Men Find New Ways to Turn a Profit

Cuban Musicians Resuming U.S. Performances

New airline passenger screening unconstitutional: rights groups

Haiti earthquake refugees may not migrate to US: Napolitano

Haiti: US, UN beef up troop strength

Doctors Without Borders plane repeatedly diverted from landing in Haiti

Haiti: reports of violence, fears of "undercover occupation"

Nicaragua's Ortega raises specter of US occupation in Haiti

Haiti: eye-witness to devastation

Singing and praying at night in Port-au-Prince

Day Two in Port-au-Prince: "Young men with crowbars"

Day Three in Port-au-Prince: "A difficult situation"

Profiting From Haiti’s Crisis

US puts removal of undocumented Haitians on hold

Haitian earthquake refugees to Guantánamo?

Emergency earthquake relief for Haiti

Support Victims of the Earthquake in Haiti

Haiti: anger rises as food aid mired in bureaucracy

Israel exploits Haiti for propaganda ...and Sri Lanka?

UN report: indigenous peoples threatened worldwide

Muscling Latin America

Canada's Long Road to Mining Reform

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Day Three in Port-au-Prince: "A difficult situation"

David L. Wilson of Weekly News Update on the Americas was in Port-au-Prince with a delegation when the Jan. 12 earthquake struck the city. Because of limited electricity and internet access, he was unable to send this report out until after he got back to New York the morning of Jan. 18.:

PORT-AU-PRINCE — Wednesday night, January 13, the second night after a giant earthquake shattered this city, was filled with strange sounds.

At one point a hundred or more people rushed along the Avenue Henri Christophe in front of the Hotel Oloffson in the southwestern part of the city. They were shouting in Creole: "Dlo! dlo!" ("Water! Water!") and claiming, improbably, that a tsunami was coming from the hills to the southeast. Later a vehicle stopped at the intersection by the hotel so a man could make an announcement over a booming loudspeaker. Apparently he was looking for volunteers for something; a few young men climbed on to the back of his vehicle. All I understood was the phrase "gen yon sitiyasyon difisil," repeated over and over—literally, "there's a difficult situation." [...]

Read the full article at World War 4 Report:

* * *

Friday, Jan. 22, NYC: Press Conference on Haiti


For more information, contact Marty Goodman Phone: (646) 898-7328 E-mail:

WHAT: Press conference including an eyewitness to the earthquake.
WHEN: Friday, January 22 at 12:00 p.m. (Noon). Rally at 4 pm at same location.
WHERE: Outside the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, 140 East 45th Street, Manhattan (between 3rd Avenue and Lexington)
Contact:Tel: 646-898-7328 or

On Friday, January 22, 2010 at 12 noon, the Haiti Emergency Committee will hold a press conference in front of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, at 140 E. 45th St. The press conference will feature members of the newly formed Haiti Emergency Committee and a member of a delegation who has just returned to the U.S. from the ravaged Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, as well as other speakers.

Hundreds of thousands of Haitians are feared dead under the rubble following the January 12th earthquake. Haiti needs robust Emergency Assistance. The first 48 hours in the aftermath of the earthquake were very critical. Right from the first few moments after the earthquake, the Haitian people have been digging people out with their bare hands and household tools, with no assistance from the U.S. government.

People throughout the world are striving to support the Haitian people any way they can. Yet, the U.S. military has taken total control of the ports and the main airport in Port-Au-Prince (as well as throughout the country) and is refusing to allow cargo planes from different countries such as Turkey, Iran, Venezuela and Cuba, and from such crucial non-profit agencies as Doctors Without Borders, to bring urgently needed medical supplies, water, food, and medicine to the people in Port-au-Prince and elsewhere.

For days, US and UN officials on the ground stopped volunteers from distributing supplies to the people in the hardest hit places. There is a real Humanitarian crisis in Haiti and the US/UN must stop preventing the aid from reaching the people. This is mass genocide.

Haitians living in Port-au-Prince did the best they could in mobilizing themselves and their scant resources to deal collectively with their situation. Yet as occurred during the Katrina aftermath, the US media has portrayed the people as animals, looters and criminals, providing the rationale for the US government to send over 11,000 heavily armed troops into Haiti and seizing control of the airport, ports and facilities. But the media's portrayal is not true. It is NOT what is happening on the ground in Haiti. The US/UN officials and military personnel must stop preventing the distribution of aid provided by other countries and by not-for-profit agencies from around the globe.

The United States, instead of providing the immediate aid necessary in the first critical hours, mobilized an arsenal of military hardware and personnel with at least 11,000 soldiers to militarily occupy Port-au-Prince and the rest of Haiti, adding to the 9,000-strong UN military force in the country. The Haitian people need humanitarian assistance – water, medicine, medical supplies, healthcare workers -- not a military arsenal. The Haiti Emergency Committee says NO to this military deployment in Haiti. We oppose the occupation of Haiti.
We demand:

1) Let the aid get through to Haiti! Stop preventing the Haitian People from organizing their own relief efforts. Stop U.S. Military interference with international rescue & humanitarian aid. Yes to solidarity, No to militarization.
2) Stop denying Humanitarian entry into the US for Haitians whose lives are at risk.
3) END U.S./U.N. occupation of Haiti.
4) Stop the cruel and unjust IMF/World Bank/USAID structural adjustment program in Haiti.5) Cancel Haiti's debt to foreign banks, countries and to the International Monetary Fund.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Day 2 in Port-au-Prince: "Young Men with Crowbars"

by David L. Wilson

[The author was in Port-au-Prince with a delegation when the January 12 earthquake struck the city. Because of limited electricity and internet connection, he was unable to send this report out until he got back to New York the morning of January 18. For an earlier report, see "Singing and Praying at Night in Port-au-Prince."]

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Jan. 15 -- I finally saw uniformed Haitian police on the street here at about 9 am two days ago, on Wednesday, more than 16 hours after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake destroyed much of the Haitian capital.

I'd gone out with photojournalist Tequila Minsky to survey damaged neighborhoods and the wrecked National Palace, and we'd just gone a few blocks back towards our hotel when Tequila spotted the agents. Four were sitting on chairs in front of a small building; another seemed to be getting something out of a patrol car.

Read the full article on Monthly Review's MRZine:
or World War 4 Report:


Thursday, Jan. 21: NYC Area Haiti Teach-In

We Are Haiti: A Teach In on the Crisis
Thursday, January 21, 2010
7:30pm - 10:00pm
The Brecht Forum
451 West Street (Between Bank and Bethune)

Ray Laforest, a Haitian American labor leader
Christian Lemoine, a Haitian American activist
David L. Wilson, a US based activist who was present during the Haiti earthquake

While the earthquake in Haiti has revealed the faultlines of United States intervention in the country since its founding in 1804, the relief efforts led by grassroots activists and organizations have opened up new political space for a lasting international solidarity with the Haitian people at their time of need.

Join us for an emergency teach in on the Haitian crisis as we hear first hand accounts of the earthquake, relief efforts, US policy and the prospects for a new solidarity movement with the people of Haiti.

Friday, January 15, 2010

No Update on 1/17; Update Editor Files Article from Haiti

There will be no Weekly News Update published on January 17, 2010. Update editor David L. Wilson remains in Port-au-Prince; he was on a delegation in Haiti when the earthquake took place on Tuesday, January 12. He has had limited internet access but managed to file this report yesterday, written the previous evening:

Singing and Praying at Night in Port-au-Prince
by David L. Wilson

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Jan. 13 -- Several hundred people had gathered to sing, clap, and pray in an intersection here by 9 o'clock last night, a little more than four hours after an earthquake had devastated much of the Haitian capital. Another group was singing a block away, on the other side of the Hotel Oloffson, where I was camping out. [...]

Read the full article on World War 4 Report:
or Monthly Review's MRZine:

Following are some
links to other alternative news sources on Haiti and quake relief efforts. If you would like to recommend other sources, please submit them as comments to this post.

Haiti Smashed, Diaspora Shaken, Deportations Frozen
Michelle Chen, Racewire Blog

What You're Not Hearing about Haiti (But Should Be)
Carl Lindskoog, Common Dreams

Our role in Haiti's plight
Peter Hallward, Guardian (UK)

Ten Things the US Can and Should Do for Haiti
Bill Quigley, posted at

Haitian Earthquake: Made in the USA - Why the Blood Is on Our Hands
Ted Rall, Common Dreams

Relief efforts:

Call for Solidarity and Funds for the Working People of Haiti! Donate now to Batay Ouvriye- Haitian Worker and Peasant’s Organization

Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees, Lakou New York, and MUDHA (Movement of Dominican Haitian Women) are organizing an immediate delivery of first aid relief:
For more info:
To donate online: (designate "IFCO/Haiti Relief")

Bassin Zim Education & Development Fund works with partners in Haiti including KOSMIKA( a farmers cooperative), ASTRAL (a food transportation co-op) and the Peasant Movement of Papaye (MPP):

Lambi Fund of Haiti

Grassroots International Earthquake Emergency Response Fund for Haiti

Haiti Emergency Relief Fund
c/o East Bay Sanctuary Covenant

Help Haiti: Drop the Debt

Monday, January 4, 2010

WNU #1019: Uphold 25-Year Jail Term for Peru’s Fujimori

Weekly News Update on the Americas
Issue #1019, January 3, 2010

1. Peru: Uphold 25-Year Jail Term for Ex-President
2. Guatemala: 2 Charged as “Authors” of Lawyer’s Murder
3. Mexico: Activist Cleared in Journalist’s Murder--Again
4. Links to alternative sources on: Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Guatemala, Mexico, Cuba, US, Canada

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. For a subscription, write to . It is archived at

Note: There will be no Update on January 10, 2010. Publication will resume the following week.

*1. Peru: Uphold 25-Year Jail Term for Ex-President
On Jan. 3 a five-member panel of the Peruvian Supreme Court unanimously upheld a 25-year prison sentence for former president Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000) for deaths and serious injuries caused by a paramilitary unit during his administration; Supreme Court justice César San Martín Castro had handed down the sentence on Apr. 7, 2009 [see Update #993]. The panel also voted 4-1 to confirm Fujimori’s conviction for two kidnappings. The ex-president, who is 71, could remain in prison until 2032; the two years since he was arrested in Chile in 2007 count as time served. He would be eligible for parole in 2025.

The homicide and injury convictions stem from two massacres of unarmed civilians carried out by the Colina Group, a death squad organized by military intelligence and allegedly reporting to the president: the November 1991 killing of 15 people at a family barbecue in the Barrios Altos neighborhood of Lima, and the July 1992 abduction and murder of nine university students and a professor from the Enrique Guzmán y Valle (La Cantuta) university [see Update #784]. The group also kidnapped journalist Gustavo Gorriti [see Update #394] and business owner Samuel Dyer in 1992; both were subsequently released. The kidnapping conviction is significant because presidential pardons are not allowed in kidnapping cases. According to opinion polls, Fujimori’s daughter, Congress member Keiko Fujimori, is the second most popular candidate for the 2011 presidential race; she has said she would free her father if elected. (El País (Spain) 1/3/10 from correspondent; Prensa Latina 1/3/10)

Many Peruvians supported Fujimori in his campaign of repression against rebel groups, and random interviews by the daily El Comercio in the streets of Lima on Jan. 3 found a sizeable minority opposing the Supreme Court decision. But the paper reported that a clear majority approved of the sentence. “The crimes were real,” one person said. “There had to be a guilty party, and everything starts from the head. I don’t believe he wasn’t informed on the subject.” (El Comercio (Peru) 1/3/10)

Meanwhile, US activist Lori Berenson, arrested by Fujimori’s government in 1995, continues to serve a 20-year sentence for allegedly collaborating with the rebels of the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) [see Update # 775]. In 2003 she married a fellow prisoner, former MRTA member Anibal Apari, who was released from prison that year and is now a lawyer in Lima; the couple had their first child in May 2009. Berenson, who insists on her innocence, becomes eligible for parole in November of this year. (Huffington Post 5/6/09)

*2. Guatemala: 2 Charged as “Authors” of Lawyer’s Murder
According to local media, on Dec. 10 a Guatemalan court issued arrest warrants for the brothers Francisco José and José Estuardo Valdez Paiz in the May 10, 2009 murder of attorney Rodrigo Rosenberg Marzano. The Valdez brothers, who own pharmaceutical businesses and are reportedly distant relations of Rosenberg, are charged as the “intellectual authors” of the crime. Three of 11 people arrested in the case told the authorities that the brothers had contracted them to kill an alleged extortionist, who turned out to be Rosenberg. The suspects are thought to be out of the country.

Shortly before his death, Rosenberg made a video in which he said: “If you are reading this message, it is because I, Rodrigo Rosenberg Marzano, have been murdered by the private Presidency secretary Gustavo Alejos and his colleague Gregorio Valdez, with the approval of Mr. Álvaro Colom [the Guatemalan president] and Sandra de Colom [his wife]." The release of the video after Rosenberg’s death led to a political crisis, with the opposition demanding that President Colom step down. Colom refused, insisting on his innocence.

The investigation is being conducted by the UN-sponsored International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) [see Update # 1004]. (EFE 12/31/09; Prensa Latina 12/31/09)

*3. Mexico: Activist Cleared in Journalist’s Murder--Again
Mexican district judge Rosa Ileana Ortega Pérez in Oaxaca city issued an order on Dec. 30 giving the federal government 10 days to release activist Juan Manuel Martínez Moreno, who has been held since Oct. 16, 2008 for the murder of New York-based independent journalist Brad Will. Martínez Moreno, a member of the leftist Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO), had already been cleared of the murder charges on Nov. 9 by magistrate judge Javier Leonel Santiago Martínez, who asked Judge Ortega Pérez to release the prisoner within 48 hours [see Update #1012, where we reported incorrectly that the magistrate judge “ordered” the district judge, his superior, to release the activist]. However, the federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) appealed, as it is expected to do again with Judge Ortega Pérez’s decision.

Will, who was openly sympathetic to the APPO, was shot dead while covering an APPO-sponsored demonstration against Oaxaca state governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz on Oct. 27, 2006; the government failed to produce any witnesses claiming to have seen Martínez Moreno shoot Will. The defendant’s lawyer, Alba Cruz Ramos, said Section 22 of the National Education Workers Union (SNTE) and organizations in APPO may hold a sit-in in early January in front of the local PGR office to demand Martínez Moreno’s immediate release. (La Jornada (Mexico) 12/31/09)

In other news, as of Jan. 3 the semi-governmental National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) had issued a recommendation to Zeferino Torreblanca, center-left governor of the southern state of Guerrero, in the unsolved case of two indigenous leaders kidnapped by three armed men on Feb. 13, 2009 in Ayutla de los Libres municipality, Guerrero, and found dead on Feb. 20 in Tecoanapa municipality. The CNDH noted irregularities in the state’s investigation, and asked Torreblanca to correct them and to offer protection to witnesses and to the families of the victims, who were leaders in the Organization for the Development of the Mixteco Méphaa Peoples. (LJ 1/3/2010)

Although media reports failed to identify the victims, presumably they were Raúl Lucas Lucía and Manuel Ponce Rosas, Guerrero indigenous leaders whose bodies were found on Feb. 20, 2009 “with visible signs of torture and in an advanced state of decomposition,” according to the Tlachinollan Human Rights Center. (El Universal (Mexico City) 2/21/09 from AP)

*4. Links to alternative sources on: Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Guatemala, Mexico, Cuba, US, Canada

Argentina: First Same-Sex Marriage in Latin America

Brazil: Guarani leaders murdered, tortured

An Independent Candidate Jolts Chile's Center-Left Coalition

Bolivia Debates Media Law Reform

Report on Massacre of Native Protesters in Peru Biased, Says Head of Inquiry

Peru: hostage crisis follows Huancas prison revolt

Colombians Refuse to Be Displaced: Over 5,000 Occupy the Piñuña Negro Police Inspectors Office in Putumayo

Mary O’Grady Incites Violence in Colombian Peace Community

Venezuela and China Consolidate “Strategic Alliance,” Expand Bilateral Trade

Guatemala: The Incessant Search for the Disappeared: Exhumation in Villalobos

Mexican Editor Detained, Interrogated

Cuba-US: Stuck at a Standstill

Militarizing Latin America

Canadian Mining in Latin America: Paramilitaries, Assassinations, and Impunity

For more Latin America news stories from mainstream and alternative sources:

For immigration updates and events:


Your support is appreciated. Back issues and source materials are available on request. Update subscribers also receive, as a supplement, our own weekly Immigration News Briefs.

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