Saturday, September 23, 2006

Latin America Solidarity News September 20th 2006

Events, actions, trade and more news

Web blogg -
Voz Latinoamericana Wellington Access Radio 783AM Mondays 5-6pm
(radio streaming -


Mexican Embassy Protest October 2nd

Protest against Felipe Calderon assuming the Mexican presidency.
and commemorate the Tlatelolco massacre of 1968

Next Zapatista hui Monday 25th September 6pm
If you are interested in joining the Zapatista solidarity fundraising group, the next meeting is on:
Monday 25 September at 6pm at 128 Abel-Smith St, Te Aro, Wellington. Contact:
For inspiration check out “Walking, We Ask Questions” The Other Campaign in Spanish Harlem

Peña Cultural Latina 6th October, Friday 6pm
Films, live music, food and conversation from 6pm
128 Abel-Smith St, Wellington. All welcome. Please come along and bring your friends

"Eyes of the Rainbow" film screening Monday 9 October.
128 Abel-Smith St, Wellington

Auckland 27th September–11th October 2006
Wellington 10th–14th October 2006
Hamilton 5th–7th October
Raglan 8th October

The Festival features a tantalising programme of films – shorts, features and documentaries - that will captivate and entertain, including the first feature film directed by a Cuban woman, De Cierta Manera, and a short documentary about women in Cuban cinema, Cualquier Mujer

GLORIA ROLANDO WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEWS FROM 21 September. For press enquires and to arrange an interview with director Gloria Rolando (Gloria’s English is good), please contact:

AUCKLAND: Rebecca Russell, 0211 700 792,
WELLINGTON: Bronwyn Wilson , 021 33 23 93 or (04) 970 2217,
HAMILTON: Helen Ritchie 07 8257470,


Melbourne Latin American & Asia Pacific Solidarity October Gathering
Visit LASNET site and find info about the Latin American & Asia Pacific
Solidarity Gathering to be held in Melbourne-Australia on October 21-22 October 2006

Main Speakers from: Mapuche Communities from Chile-Argentina, MST (Movimiento sin Tierra-Landless Movement) representative form Brazil, Coalition in Defense of Water and Gas from Bolivia and a representative from Simon Ridriguez Trainning Centre from Venezuela....more updates later on during September...
LASNET, Melbourne-Australia

The Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network is organising its fourth Brigade to Venezuela, to coincide with the Presidential elections in December 2006. The Brigade is currently
scheduled to start on November 23 and end on the election date December
3 [Running for 10 days], and will also be facilitating the participation of Brigadistas as international election observers.

Visit Cuba and see for youself. Dec 26, 2006 -23 January 2007. An
Australasian brigade spends a month in Cuba visiting historic sights,
having discussions with unions and womenâ•˙s groups, staying with
families ∑ and doing a little agricultural labour to express your
support and solidarity with Cuba in the face of the US blockade. Total
costs are about $5000 for fares, accommodation and meals. And there is
also time to lie on a beach, walk along the Malecon and dance in a Havana nightclub.
Contact Ina for info and registration details 09 3031755;



Hundreds of thousands of Mexicans marked Independence Day on
Sept. 16 by holding a massive meeting, which they called the
"Democratic National Convention" (CND), in Mexico City's main
plaza, the Zocalo. The crowd voted up plans to carry on a
nonviolent struggle against Felipe Calderon Hinojosa, official
winner of the July 2 presidential election, who is to start his
six-year term on Dec. 1. The convention declared center-left
candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador the "legitimate president"
of Mexico and announced that he will be inaugurated on Nov. 20,
the 96th anniversary of the start of the 1910 Mexican Revolution.

The CND also laid out plans for disruptions of official events,
for an election for a constituent assembly to rewrite the
Constitution and for a boycott of companies that had financed
Calderon's campaign, including the US firms Coca-Cola and Wal-
Mart, and the Banco Nacional de Mexico (Banamex), which is owned
by the New York-based Citigroup. CND sources said slightly more
than 1 million "delegates" had registered to be part of the
convention, which set up permanent committees and made plans to
meet again on Mar. 21, 2007. [La Jornada (Mexico) 9/17/06;
Univision website 9/16/06 from EFE]

The CND followed complex negotiations over Independence Day
ceremonies between Lopez Obrador's representatives and the
government of outgoing president Vicente Fox Quesada, which
strongly supported Calderon, a member of center-right National
Action Party (PAN).

The custom is for the president to go to the Zocalo shortly
before midnight on Sept. 15 and give the Grito, the "cry" of
"Mexicans, long live Mexico!" with which Rev. Miguel Hidalgo is
said to have started the 1810 war for independence from Spain.
The next day, on Sept. 16, the military holds a massive parade in
the plaza. Lopez Obrador and his supporters agreed to end the
occupation of the Zocalo which they started on July 30, while
Fox--who had been prevented by protesters from giving his state
of the union report on Sept. 1--agreed to give the Grito in
Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato state, the site of the original
Grito, instead of Mexico City. Federal District (DF, Mexico City)
head of government Alejandro Encinas Rodriguez, a member of Lopez
Obrador's Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), gave the
Grito in the Zocalo, with Lopez Obrador standing beside him. The
military held its parade in the plaza in the morning, and the CND
took over the Zocalo for the rest of the day. [Notimex 9/15/06;
LJ 9/17/06]

Traditional Independence Day ceremonies were also suspended in
the southern state of Oaxaca, where striking teachers and their
allies have been occupying much of the state capital since May.
The strikers organized the celebrations, and a teacher gave the
Grito. [LJ 9/17/06]

Mexican leftist says will never accept rival's win:
Mexico's leftist opposition leader said he will never recognize his right-wing rival as president and vowed a "radical transformation" of the country by setting up a parallel government.

By Diego Enrique Osornoâ?¨Special to The Narco News Bulletin
Following the CIA's "Psychological Operations" Manual for the Nicaraguan Contras, the State Government Has Unleashed a Bloody Counterinsurgency Strategy to Eliminate the Social Movement
.......they are part of the armed convoy that the Oaxaca state government has sent to try to eliminate the dissident Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca (APPO in its Spanish initials) once and for all.....

"Capitalism Has Only Hurt Latin America",1518,434272,00.html
Bolivia's President Evo Morales, 46, talks to DER
SPIEGEL about reform plans for his country, socialism
in Latin America, and the often tense relations of the
region's leftists with the United States.

US warns Nicaraguans not to back Ortega
The US ambassador to Nicaragua has issued a vigorous warning to this small Central American country’s electors against supporting Daniel Ortega, the veteran leftwing Sandinista leader and the frontrunner in November’s presidential election.

In a frank interview with the FT, Paul Trivelli said Mr Ortega was “undemocratic” and would roll back much of the advances made in recent years. And, underlining the concern felt in Washington about the regional influence of President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, the ambassador said he had no doubt that Venezuela was playing an important role in the election.....
The ambassador said that an Ortega victory – while vague on many issues, the 60-year-old former rebel leader has talked of increasing the role of the state and renegotiating Cafta, the trade agreement between the US and Central America – would force Washington to “re-evaluate” relations.

What is the U.S. Military Doing in Paraguay?:

The U.S. military is conducting secretive operations in Paraguay and reportedly building a new base there. Human rights groups and military analysts in the region believe trouble is brewing. However, the U.S. embassy in Paraguay denies the base exists and describes the military activity as routine


On Sept. 6, Chile's Senate voted 20-13 with two abstentions
against a bill introduced by Socialist senator Alejandro Navarro
which would have granted conditional release to jailed Mapuche
activists. In May, four Mapuche political prisoners ended a 70-
day hunger strike on the promise that the bill would be approved
[see Updates #847, 850, 851, 853]. Navarro said the bill sought
to "correct an injustice" imposed on the Mapuche activists when
they were given harsh sentences under a widely criticized anti-
terrorism law. [Adital 9/11/06; La Nacion 9/6/06; El Mostrador

Carbon credits and the green desert
By Heidi Bachram
As the struggle for land and water resources in Brazil intensifies,
Heidi Bachram discovers that the new carbon market is an added burden
For vulnerable communities.

Please do not sponsor this tree
We need to kick the fossil-fuel habit, and that won’t happen if people
And corporations are led to believe that it is OK to pollute because we
Can ‘offset’ those emissions.

Author of Lancet article on Haiti investigated

The Lancet, a prestigious British medical journal, is investigating complaints about a potential conflict of interest involving the author of a recent article that found systemic human-rights violations in Haiti despite the presence of a Canadian-led United Nations police force and peacekeeping mission.

The study, co-authored by Athena Kolbe, found that 8,000 Haitians have been slain and 35,000 women and girls raped since the ouster of president Jean-Bertrand Aristide in early 2004. Ms. Kolbe said that according to local Haitians, Canadian peacekeepers made death threats against them during house raids, and sexual advances against women while the peacekeepers were drunk and off duty.

However, Ms. Kolbe herself is now the subject of controversy after revelations that the 30-year-old master's degree student at Wayne State University's school of social work in Detroit used to be an advocacy journalist who wrote under the name Lyn Duff and worked at a Haitian orphanage founded by Mr. Aristide.

"How can Kolbe/Duff's research into the issues of human-rights violations be regarded as objective when she herself states that for 3.5 years she worked with the Lafanmi Selavi centre for street children, where she befriended Aristide himself and presumably some of the boys who later left the centre . . . [who] then acted as armed enforcers?" Charles Arthur, co-ordinator of the British-based Haiti Support Group, wrote this week in a letter of complaint to The Lancet.

"There is a concerted international campaign to distort news and manipulate information about Haiti with the apparent aim of repairing the reputation of Aristide. I am concerned The Lancet has unwittingly been used as part of the pro-Aristide propaganda campaign."

Nobody from The Lancet was available to comment yesterday, but Ms. Kolbe said the magazine is investigating, and she is confident it will find no conflict of interest.

"The Lancet would have appreciated hearing it from me and not from an outsider," she said in an interview. "But it's not like they wouldn't have published the article. The findings aren't at issue."

Ms. Kolbe said she used to write articles under the name Lyn Duff -- an old nickname and her mother's surname -- but wanted to go by her father's surname and her real first name once she entered academia.

She also said that from 1994-1997, she worked at an orphanage founded by Mr. Aristide, met him several times, and was an admirer of the then-president. Some of the children at the orphanage maintained links with him. "I am not a supporter of Lavalas [Aristide's political party]. I have warm feelings toward Aristide, but I am critical of some of his decisions."

She and her co-author, assistant professor Royce Hutson, defended the results of their survey, which has prompted some groups to call for a parliamentary inquiry into Canada's role in Haiti.

Mr. Aristide's first term in office was interrupted by a 1991 military coup and his second ended abruptly on Feb. 29, 2004, after a rebellion of thugs and ex-soldiers forced him out. He argues the United States forced him into exile.

Canada sent 450 soldiers to Haiti in March, 2004, part of a UN peacekeeping mission of 6,700 soldiers and 1,600 police. The soldiers left in August that year, and there are currently 66 police officers in Haiti leading the UN police force.

The Lancet peer-reviewed study of 5,720 randomly selected Haitians living in the capital found that in the 22-month period since Mr. Aristide's ouster, 97 had received death threats, 232 had been threatened physically and 86 sexually. According to survey respondents, one-third of those who issued death threats were criminals, 18 per cent were Haitian National Police and other government security agents and another 17 per cent were foreign soldiers. Only 6 per cent were Lavalas.

Mr. Arthur said these findings contradict independent human-rights investigators who report that many of the violations have been committed by criminals, Haitian police and anti-Aristide groups -- as well as Lavalas supporters. "My concern is that either the conduct or interpretation of the research was skewed or biased in order to exonerate Fanmi Lavalas/Aristide supporters from accusation of involvement in human-rights violations," he said in his letter.

Nicholas Galletti, with Rights and Democracy, a Montreal non-governmental organization, said the author's background further calls into question a study "based on flawed methodology" whereby responsibility for crimes is attributed to groups without a proper criminal investigation or trial.

However, Prof. Hutson says the study acknowledges the limitations of having to rely on subject recall.

"The charges of bias are baseless. We were aware Athena had written under another name and found no conflict. Our concern is the way UN soldiers are interacting with Haitians."
Montreal Muslim News Network -

US Press Well Paid to Harm Cuba
Havana, Sep 9, 2006 (Prensa Latina) At least ten influential journalists in southern Florida, including three from the New Herald (Spanish edition), received thousands of dollars over the last few years from the US government for broadcasting anti-Cuba propaganda through radio-TV programs.

Veteran reporters Pablo Alfonso and Wilfredo Cancio and Olga Connor, a collaborator of the New Herald, were the best paid for attacking Cuba through the so called Radio and TV Marti, with sums reaching almost 175,000 dollars, Granma daily, the official organ of Cuba s Communist Party, reads today.

Alfonso and Cancio were immediately fired after The Miami Herald, the main headquarters of the New Herald, learned of the payments.

The list of US media mercenaries also include Helen Aguirre Ferre, from Las Americas daily, Miguel Cossio, news director of Channel 41, and columnist Carlos Alberto Montaner.

The news was no surprise in Cuba, where journalists have repeatedly denounced, even with names, the ethics of reporters paid by the US government to attack the Cuban Revolution, the daily stressed.

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