Thursday, October 12, 2006

Latin America Solidarity News October 12th 2006

Latin America Solidarity Committee
Lac Email
LAC website
LAC blogg
Zapatista email
Zapatista blogg
Peña Cultural Latina Alternative Mondays from 6th October 6pm 128 Abel Smith St

Listen to Voz Latinoamericana Wellington Access Radio 783AM
Mondays 5-6pm Ph 021 548 985 or
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Protest in Solidarity with the people of Oaxaca, Mexico
Friday, 13th October, 1pm outside the Mexican Embassy
corner Lambton Quay and Willis st (outside Old Bank Arcade)
There will be a pinata and an opportunity to share information about
what's happening in Mexico.
All welcome!
more information:

Peña Cultural Latina 20th 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

Wellington 10th–14th October 2006


* Tentative Deal Reached to End Mexico Oaxaca Crisis *

Leaders of protests trying to bring down a Mexican state governor they say is corrupt tentatively agreed late on Monday to scale back a months-old occupation of the tourist city of Oaxaca.

After thousands of protesters marched for days to get to Mexico City, the government and leaders of a teachers union said they made a deal that could see the protesters cede control of most of downtown Oaxaca to local police under federal supervision.

Leftist activists and striking teachers have shut down the colonial center of Oaxaca for four months, hoping to force the resignation of Gov. Ulises Ruiz, who they accuse of corruption, heavy-handed tactics and ignoring widespread poverty.

Tensions High in Oaxaca as Fox Warns Force Might Be Used to Crush Uprising:
In Oaxaca, Mexico, tensions remain high over concerns that the government is planning to use force to crush a populist uprising there. Over the weekend, military aircraft began flying over Oaxaca City and additional troops were deployed to nearby army posts.... more information pasted below

Crisis Escalates as Marines Land in Oaxaca
Governor's Departure Now a National Demand,
as Political Figures Pledge to Travel to the State as
"Human Shields" in the Event of an Attack

Latin America Declares Independence
By Noam Chomsky

Five centuries after the European conquests, Latin America is reasserting its independence. In the southern cone especially, from Venezuela to Argentina, the region is rising to overthrow the legacy of external domination of the past centuries and the cruel and destructive social forms that they have helped to establish.

Paraguay hardens U.S. military stance:

Paraguay's decision to refuse diplomatic immunity for U.S. troops and not to renew a military cooperation pact sparked debate Tuesday, with analysts calling the developments a blow to U.S. attempts to improve regional ties.

Here's why Chávez is so mad:

A quick glance at recent U.S. policy and posture toward Venezuela gives us some clues as to why people in Venezuela are getting set to reelect a president who calls the United States an empire.

U.S. must be more relevant in Latin America: experts:

Venezuela's Hugo Chavez has had sway over Latin America's smaller economies but could now eclipse the United States' influence over the third-largest economy, Argentina, two top former U.S. diplomats said on Tuesday.
Chavez denies being anti-US:

What we are against is the imperial elite and that is very different. : Aljazeera Interviews President Chavez of Venezuela

Stephen Lendman : Alvaro Vargas Llosa Sends Hugo Chavez to Dante's Inferno:

Since 1999, Hugo Chavez not only reduced poverty in Venezuela, he's greatly improved the living standards of his people from the non-cash benefits these programs provide.

Terror tactics return in Argentina :

A wave of threats against court officials and the disappearance of a key witness in a human rights trial have led to fears among some Argentinians that the terror tactics of the military dictatorship of the 1970s may have returned.,,1887683,00.html

Terrorists On No-Fly List: List Includes President Of Bolivia, Dead 9/11 Hijackers :

The National Security News Service, has obtained the secret list used to screen airline passengers for terrorists and discovered it includes names of people not likely to cause terror, including the president of Bolivia, people who are dead and names so common, they are shared by thousands of innocent fliers.

Attack on the people of Oaxaca.
The borderlands Hacklab, Electronic Disturbance Theater and Rising Tide NorthAmerica call for a virtual sit-in against the websites of the G8+5 and the Mexican government during the G8+5 meetings on October 3-4th, 2006 in Mexico.

While the Mexican government tries to play host to the G8+5 Gleneagles Dialogue on Climate Change, it is mounting a massive violent attack on the people of Oaxaca. Apparently the Mexican government thinks it can cleanse the country of its growing pro-democracy rebellion while laying out a red carpet to world politicians including the G8 Energy Ministers. The neoliberal project of corporate globalization and fossil-fuel-based "energy security" that causes global warming is built on massive violence, from armies to riot police to militarized borders, to turn the global south into its sweatshop and repress the uprisings for justice, democracy, and sustainable livelihood of the people in Mexico and other countries.

While the neoliberal model of industrial "development" sees the remaining indigenous and "undeveloped" lands of the Earth as territories for capitalist exploitation of natural resources and human labor, the schoolteachers leading Oaxaca's popular pro-democracy strike have a different vision. By taking direct action to shut down the tyrannical rule of their state governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, the people of Oaxaca are teaching that another world is possible.

On Sunday, October 1, 2006, a headline in the Mexico City daily Milenio proclaimed, "Preparations for war in Oaxaca," while Mexico City's El Universal newspaper reported that helicopters, planes and 15 troop trucks had assembled in Huatulco, a Pacific tourist getaway and military hub a short flight — but a long and difficult drive — from Oaxaca city.
According to the independent news website, which has been
covering the Other Campaign of the Zapatistas, on Sunday, October1, 2006:

"The Mexican Navy carried out a reconnaissance operation over the buildings and public spaces occupied by the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO in its Spanish initials). Two MI-17 helicopters and one CASA C212 Navy airplane with registration number AMP-118 flew over the streets of the city – where opponents of Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz have maintained several encampments over the past 130 days – for about 40 minutes."

"The zocalo, or central city square, the Oro and La Ley radio stations, the state government building, the Brenamiel and El Rosario radio antennas, as well as the Department of Finance building – all places where the rebels have installed protest camps – were reconnoitered by low-level flights of military aircraft. As they passed over the Radio Oro facilities, the two helicopters were fruitlessly "attacked" with fireworks that teachers of the National Education Workers' Union local Section 22 launched from Conzatti Garden. The airplane then made four more passes over the areas around the zocalo and returned to the airport, where five other military aircraft were stationed. At 5:30 that afternoon, the naval surveillance plane and two AMHT-202 and AMHT-205 helicopters landed on a city airstrip and let out 18 soldiers in black-and-grey camouflage, bulletproof vests, helmets and firearms."

"Lino Celaya Luría, state secretary of Citizen Protection, confirmed that the objective of the military flights was to "reconnoiter" the scene of the conflict, but claimed not to know if this was the prelude to an eventual federal operation to remove the protesters. The state official limited himself to saying: "We were informed that a flight would occur over the areas where the dissidents are present. We believe this is to obtain field information on the situation."

"Meanwhile, from the occupied radio stations, the rebels again declared a maximum alert in the face of what they imagine could be the beginning of a removal/eviction operation against the popular and teachers' movement."

Over half of the Oaxaca's 3.2 million people, most of whom are indigenous, live in poverty, and 21.5 percent of those over 15 are illiterate, while the average number of years of schooling is 5.6 years -- almost two less than Mexico's national average. Many students in Oaxaca's rural schools lack books and desks. In May, tens of thousands of teachers seized the capital's leafy central plaza to demand wage increases and improved school conditions. The following month, Governor Ulises Ruiz sent police to attempt to retake the heart of the city. Since then, radical social movements of workers, peasants, students, women and others have joined the striking teachers, building street barricades and taking over radio and television stations. They demand that Ruiz resign, alleging that he rigged the 2004 election and uses paramilitary gangs to attack dissidents. A total of five "megamarches" were organized with the largest reaching the astonishing number of around 300,000 people, or one out of ten people who live in the state.

During the protests, as many as six people have been killed in violent incidents which apparently involved irregular armed groups linked to the Ruiz administration and the police, according to human rights organisations. A number of demonstrators have also been arrested and injured, and further assaults perpetrated against them by organized, unidentified gangs of thugs have been reported.

One example of neoliberal "development" in Mexico with major implications for Oaxaca is Plan Puebla Panama (PPP), a transnational "mega-infrastructure" project that would transform the region's geography and economy if implemented. While claiming that one of its main goals is to improve the conditions for the people of the region, PPP is stealing land from indigenous people for infrastructure projects to move resources more quickly into the hands of multinational corporations and commodifying their culture for the tourist industry. One of the projects affecting Oaxaca is the creation of a super highway at Mexico's skinniest point, the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, in order to move resources more readily across the land from the Atlantic to the Pacific. This transportation corridor will be surrounded with sweatshops, maquiladoras, operating without labor and environmental protections. For all of these objectives, neoliberal control over the government of Oaxaca is key to the realization of the PPP project.

Mexico has an ugly history of military repression that coincides with major world gatherings occurring inside the country. 38 years ago today, October 2nd, the Mexican military massacred hundreds of student protesters at Tlatelolco, just days before the 1968 Olympic Games began in Mexico City. If military violence against the pro-democracy protesters of Oaxaca occurs before, during or after the G8 meeting in Mexico, the G8 leaders as well as the Mexican military must be held accountable for the injuries and death. To prevent this, we demand that the G8 officials who are meeting this week in Mexico must publicly speak out to condemn the possibility of another Mexican massacre at Oaxaca.

We demand that the G8 end its support of destructive "carbon trading." The G8 is composed of the leaders of the richest 8 countries in the world, who are responsible for the policies of war, criminalization of cross-border human migration, and massive environmental destruction. While they claim to be meeting to solve the climate change crisis, they are in fact discussing carbon trading agreements that will allow corporations to profit while exporting their pollution to the global south. Carbon trading threatens to turn countries like Brazil into a "carbon sink" for the global north while ignoring the underlying capitalist ideology of endless growth and boundless consumption that is creating massive climate change.

Help us stop the G8 by slowing the propaganda systems that the G8+5 and the Mexican Government will be using during the meetings and the attacks to spread disinformation about their actions. As in our previous actions, people from all around the world will make their virtual presence manifest on the doorstep of the G8+5 and the Mexican Government.

More news and updates about the unfolding situation in Oaxaca at
More information on resistance to the G8+5 meeting in Mexico City at

Chavez ally surges in Ecuadorean race

PUJILI, Ecuador

A U.S.-trained economist has suddenly become the front-
runner in Oct. 15 presidential elections by pledging to
"give the lash" to his nation's corrupt political class
and delivering an anti-U.S. message similar to that of
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

On a recent afternoon, Rafael Correa spoke to thousands
of Indians in their native Quichua, reminding them that
he lived among them two decades ago as a volunteer
teacher and development worker, and brandishing a belt
as he spoke out against the politicians who have long
oppressed them.

"Dale Correa!" - "Give them the belt!" - the crowd
responded, a play on the candidate's name.

Correa, 43, pledges to cut foreign debt payments and
re-negotiate contracts with foreign oil firms to
benefit Ecuador's poor majority. A relative political
newcomer, he has risen suddenly in the polls in the
last two weeks, alarming Washington and Wall Street -
not to mention Ecuador's political establishment.

Correa's rhetoric echoes that of other Chavez allies,
including President Evo Morales of Bolivia and Ollanta
Humala, the nationalist who came close to winning
Peru's presidency this year. Last week, Chavez called
President Bush "the devil" in a speech to the U.N.
General Assembly.

"Calling Bush the devil is offending the devil," Correa
told Channel 8 television Wednesday. "The devil is
evil, but intelligent."

"I believe Bush is a tremendously dimwitted president
who has done great damage to his country and to the
world," Correa said.

Tall, dark-skinned with blue eyes and exuding
confidence, Correa has about 27 percent backing in the
polls, 7 points ahead of his closest challenger, Leon
Roldos, a center-left former vice president.
Conservative former Rep. Cynthia Viteri trails a
distant third among 13 candidates.

If no candidate wins more than half the vote - or at
least 40 percent with a 10-percentage point advantage
over the nearest challenger - a runoff will be held on
Nov. 26.

In this small Andean nation notorious for its unstable,
corrupt politics - Ecuador has had seven presidents in
the last 10 years, three of whom were forced from
office - Correa is seen as something of an outsider.

Correa "is new, with a dynamic spirit, and I like
that," said Franklin Almachi, a 40-year-old Indian
merchant from the village of Guaytambo. "He doesn't
come off like the rest of the same old" politicians.

Until recently a professor at Quito's San Francisco
University, Correa earned his doctorate from the
University of Illinois in 2001.

He was a political unknown in April 2005, when he was
appointed economy minister. He was forced to resign
after four months when he failed to consult the
president before publicly lambasting the World Bank for
denying Ecuador a $100 million loan.

Since then, Correa has cozied up to Chavez, Latin
America's outspoken anti-U.S. crusader. Correa says
that in August he dined with Chavez and spent the night
at the home of the Venezuelan president's parents.

Chavez - who has been accused of meddling in elections
this year in Peru, Mexico and Nicaragua to boost
leftist candidates - has made no public statement about
Correa or his presidential bid. Correa denies
allegations that Chavez is financing his campaign.

Correa describes himself as a man of "Christian
leftist" ideals, telling foreign correspondents on
Monday that "my political, economic and social thinking
is nourished by the sacred writings and social doctrine
of the church."

He opposes resuming stalled free-trade talks with
Washington and says he would not extend a treaty
scheduled to expire in 2009 that lets the U.S. military
use Manta air base for drug-surveillance flights.

Correa also says he will cut ties to international
lending institutions, including the World Bank and the
International Monetary Fund, and has threatened a
moratorium on foreign debt payments unless foreign
bondholders agree to lower Ecuador's debt service by

Correa is even tougher on Ecuador's political class,
pledging to hold a constituent assembly to rewrite the
constitution to increase the executive branch's power.

His political foes say Correa would ruin the economy.
But not everyone familiar with his background agrees.

"My guess is that some of the posture he's taking now
is because that's the way he hopes to get elected and
win votes," said University of Illinois economics
professor Werner Baer, who sat on the committee that
approved Correa's doctorate. "Once in power, I doubt
that he would be virulently anti-American like Chavez."

Baer described Correa as a top-notch economist, and
said he would more likely follow the lead of President
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil, who spooked
investors with radical discourse as candidate, but once
in office "became extremely orthodox in his economic

Latin America Solidarity Committee
Lac Email
LAC website
LAC blogg
Zapatista email
Zapatista blogg
Peña Cultural Latina Alternative Mondays from 6th October 6pm 128 Abel Smith St

Listen to Voz Latinoamericana Wellington Access Radio 783AM
Mondays 5-6pm Ph 021 548 985 or
Radio streaming -

Subscribe to our Email lists:
LAC News:
LAC Organise:
Zapatista list:

Subscribe hard copy Latin America Report:
A bi-annual publication providing up todate information and analysis on developments in Latin America,
as well as news on solidarity activities in this country.
Subscriptions $15 per year, Supporter $30 Cheques/donations payable to
Latin America Committee, Box 6083, Wellington. Contact:

Other NZ links
Casalatina Auckland:
University of Auckland hispanic club:
Human Rights Portal
Global Peace & Justice Auckland:
Cuba Friendship Society:
Lea – Lengua Espanola en Aotearoa:

Overseas Links
News from Brazil
Mexico Solidarity Network:

LASNET Latin American Solidarity Network
CISLAC - Latin America Solidarity Australia
Network Opposed to the Plan Puebla Panama (NoPPP);
ACERCA - Plan Puebla Panama, Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA),
Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA).
Latin American Solidarity Coalition:
Latin American Agenda project team of the Social Justice Committee