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June 2, 2010 Foreign Policy

Underground Diplomacy

Canada’s transnational mining industry implicated in abuses

May 11, 2010 Food

Clinton Apology to Haiti Surprises NS Activists

Former US president calls dumping cheap rice "a mistake"

April 4, 2010 Labour

NB Port Workers Said NO CANDU

Argentina honours Saint John longshoremen for 1979 act of solidarity

March 21, 2010 Business

Guatemalan Coffee a Complex Blend

Threats, exile a bitter part of coffee farmers' work

El Salvador's gold fight goes international

Five representatives of five organizations in El Salvador that form part of the National Coalition Against Mining, known as La Mesa, were in Washington, DC last month to accept the Letelier-Moffitt International Human Rights Award. The recognition comes at an interesting time as the group's successes in blocking mining exploitation in their small country, have brought about a unique legal situation. Namely, a Canadian mining company is suing the government of El Salvador for $100 million, through a US subsidiary under the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). The Real News followed the group of activists around Washington, DC, and interviewed the CEO and president of the company behind the suit, Pacific Rim. Produced by Jesse Freeston.

March 17, 2010 Mar 17 by Jesse Freeston, RNN

Goldcorp shows little respect for local population

In the surroundings of San Marcos, Guatemala, the gold and silver mine of the Canadian Goldcorp Inc. which operates in Guatemala under the name Montana Explorada, has been ready for extraction since 2004. This is yet another blow for the environment and health of the communities of San Miguel and surroundings.

March 17, 2010 Mar 17 by LaRuta.nu
March 7, 2010 Media Analysis

Writing Off Sovereignty

Quebec media on Haiti since the earthquake

Demonstrators condemn US relief and reconstruction plans in Haiti

On Monday January 25, Montreal played host to a major international conference to discuss the continuing relief efforts in Haiti. In attendance were Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive as well as foreign ministers from Canada, US, France, and Brazil, international banks, as well as relief organizations and UN representatives. Demonstrators outside the conference expressed skepticism that the international powers who have coordinated humanitarian efforts will respect Haitian sovereignty and interests during reconstruction.

February 25, 2010 Feb 25 by Martin Lukacs, Dominion Newspaper
February 23, 2010 Weblog:

Canada Excluded from New South American Regional Body

As reported in the BBC:

Latin American and Caribbean nations have agreed to set up a new regional body without the US and Canada. The new bloc would be an alternative to the Organisation of American States (OAS), the main forum for regional affairs in the past 50 years.

The new bloc is called Community of Latin American and Caribbean States. It joins a number of new regional bodies in Latin America which have recently been developed including the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), Petrocaribe S.A., and the Union of South American Nations, all of which have been promoting regional integration. A regional currency similar to the EURO, called the SUCRE is also being planned.

February 19, 2010 Foreign Policy

Murders in Mining Country

Canadian mining companies at the scene of the crimes

January 27, 2010 Features

Canada in Haiti, Part I (video)

Demonstrators condemn US relief and reconstruction plans at Montreal conference

January 25, 2010 Foreign Policy

Canada in Haiti, Haiti in Canada

Earthquake does little to shake Canada's stance on Haiti

January 8, 2010 Foreign Policy

Canada, Honduras and the Coup d’Etat

A look at Canadian diplomacy, aid, and trade in Honduras

December 17, 2009 Weblog:

Honduras: Two Detained and Fear of Evictions by Coup Security Forces in Land Recuperations in Colon

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Honduras: Two Detained and Fear of Evictions by Coup Security Forces in Land Recuperations in Colón

by Sandra Cuffe
December 17, 2009

Two active members of the Aguan Farmworkers Unification Movement (MUCA) were detained at approximately 11am yesterday, December 16th when they left a land recuperation in the department of Colon, in northeastern Honduras.

Osman Alexis Ulloa Flores and Mario René Ayala were taken to the police station in Tocoa and remain in detention in the city. Local police authorities refused to comment via telephone on the arrest or charges. However, the local district attorney was able to confirm that the men have been charged with land usurpation, while resistance lawyers in the region confirmed that the accusing party is the Cressida Corporation owned by powerful businessman and landowner Miguel Facussé Barjum.

One week prior to the detentions, approximately one thousand families belonging to MUCA staged two simultaneous recuperations of contested lands in Colon. Claimed by Miguel Facussé, the La Confianza Cooperative in the municipality of Tocoa includes a producing African palm plantation. The San Esteban Cooperative in the municipality of Trujillo, meanwhile, is claimed by Nicaraguan landowner René Morales. Prior to the mid-1990s, a period commonly referred to as the 'agrarian counter-reform' of Honduras, the lands in question belonged to agricultural cooperatives co-owned by many of the very same farmworkers now involved in the MUCA actions.

» continue reading "Honduras: Two Detained and Fear of Evictions by Coup Security Forces in Land Recuperations in Colon"

December 17, 2009 Weblog:

Reading La Prensa in Honduras

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Since I've been in Honduras, I've been hearing a constant refrain about the "medios golpistas," which is to say the pro-coup media. I avoided the papers for a while, preferring to listen to the radio, read online, and talk to Hondurans about the situation in the country (I generally do the same at home anyways).

That said, I caved and bought the paper today, and even though I was planning to spend the day transcribing, I feel compelled to write a post about flipping through La Prensa this morning over coffee.

"Government proposes break with ALBA" screams the headline on A1, with another story below on the assassination of the daughter of a pro-coup journalist.

The next three pages of the paper are dedicated to "The Keys of 2009," an ongoing series of unsigned opinion pieces presented as factual, objective reporting on the events that defined 2009.

Second of today's 12 "Keys" is a blurb titled "External aid pulled, commerce closed because of political crisis." I'm going to translate part of it here in an effort to get across the editorial perspective (again, masquerading as fact) in the paper.

The substitution of José Manuel Zelaya Rosales was like a bucket of icy water for the depressed national economy... The Internaional Monetary Fund - with who Zelaya had broken relations and had negated to sign a new memorandum of understanding with, was one of the first to distance itself from Honduras after June 28.

Not only is this a Non Sequitur, it's not true.

» continue reading "Reading La Prensa in Honduras"

December 16, 2009 Weblog:

Honduran LGBTT activist and coup resistor Walter Tróchez killed

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Prominant LGBTT activist Walter Tróchez was assassinated by gunmen in Tegucigalpa on Sunday, marking the 10th murder of a gay or trans activist since the June 28 military coup.

According to journalist Dina Meza, police did not visit the scene of the killing until more than 12 hours after Tróchez was killed. Meza wrote that his murder is "being managed with all the negligence possible by police investigators."

Tróchez was kidnapped and beaten on December 4, but managed to escape. According to sources close to Tróchez, police did not investigate the kidnapping.

From a letter Tróchez wrote less than a month before his death:

» continue reading "Honduran LGBTT activist and coup resistor Walter Tróchez killed "

Honduran election fraud exposed

Honduran coup regime's claims about 60 percent turnout at free and fair elections is revealed as fraud. Also implicated in the video are the wide array of media outlets and governments that have unquestioningly accepted the electoral data of a regime that overthrew the last elected president.

December 9, 2009 Dec 9 by Jesse Freeston

Honduran election fraud exposed

Honduran coup regime's claims about 60 percent turnout at free and fair elections is revealed as fraud. Also implicated in the video are the wide array of media outlets and governments that have unquestioningly accepted the electoral data of a regime that overthrew the last elected president.

December 9, 2009 Dec 9 by Jesse Freeston
December 7, 2009 International News

Justice: Transparency or Incarceration?

150 years for forced disappearance a precedent, families not satisfied

November 28, 2009 Weblog:

Anti-Mining Activist Mariano Abarca Assassinated in Chiapas

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Mariano Abarca, a community activist known for his opposition to mining was assassinated last night in Chicomuselo, a town in Chiapas, Mexico.

Abarca was shot in the head and chest by a man on a motorcycle. He had been abducted in August, and again received death threats in the week prior to his death.

In a November 28 email to supporters, Gustavo Castro, an organizer with Otros Mundos AC in Chiapas, wrote:

[Mariano was] a dear friend, admired for his struggle against the Canadian mining company Blackfire, and a member of the Mexican Network of People Affected by Mining (REMA-Chiapas). Yesterday we spoke to him on the phone and he told us he had filed a complaint against the company. Today he's dead.

It is with great sadness that I write these words. I will continue to update here as more news becomes available.

Update: Here is the English translation of an article about the assassination from La Jornada.

November 26, 2009 Media Analysis

Media Pie

Argentina’s bold new law and the future of the press

November 7, 2009 Weblog:

Popular Resistance in Honduras tells the World: Support us in Self Defense

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The US-backed deal meant to restore a "government of national unity" in Honduras is dead. How dead depends on your taste for dictators.

Totally Dead, if you ask ousted president Manuel Zelaya, who is still holed up in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa.

"No, it's not dead, but maybe sleeping for the time being," if you doubted the US State Department's position on the deal.

Popular organizations around Honduras, after expressing an initial support for the reinstatement of Zelaya, have since denounced the deal.

"Once again, history has shown us that the United States is not anyone's friend; we were once again betrayed when we endorsed an agreement full of gaps and capricious interpretations," Indigenous activist Salvador Zúñiga told IPS.

The Civil Council of Popular and Inidigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) released a statement denouncing the coup and the negotiations on November 4.

In their statement, they "urge the National Front of Popular Resistance to raise an initiative of dialogue and negotiation towards more dignified agreements," call for a popular constituent assembly, and give the following message to international supporters:

» continue reading "Popular Resistance in Honduras tells the World: Support us in Self Defense"

October 31, 2009 Weblog:

Honduras: "After 125 Days of Struggle, Nobody Gives Up"

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The AP is reporting that Honduran legislators have the final say over a US backed deal that would see the restoration of Manuel Zelaya to power in Honduras.

However, Bloomberg reports that "opposition lawmakers could filibuster Zelaya’s return until after the elections, Antonio Rivera, the second highest ranking lawmaker for the National Party, said in an interview."

According to AP, which posted their most recent update at 0:00 PDT on October 31, the negotiations "drew praise from figures as diverse as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez." TeleSUR noted that while supportive, Chavez has not yet seen the agreement.

The negotiated solution comes as Zelaya and his supporters exhausted the last remaining poses for photographers in the Brazilian embassy. (Just kidding).

Seriously though, the negotiated solutions go along with what was laid out in the San José Accord back in July.

During a United Nations session in September, Zelaya expressed his disagreement with the San José Accord.

» continue reading "Honduras: "After 125 Days of Struggle, Nobody Gives Up""

October 16, 2009 Features

Who Killed Marcelo Rivera?

Prominent anti-mining activist murdered in El Salvador

September 21, 2009 Weblog:

Honduras Coup Regime Forces 26 Hour Curfew, Zelaya Remains in Tegucigalpa

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"They are sending a message of peace, but they're repressing the Honduran people."

Thousands of people have surrounded the Brazilian Embassy, where it is confirmed that President Manuel Zelaya is located. They are violating a curfew imposed by the military government, originally set from 4pm to 7am, which, according to Radio Globo, was just extended from 4pm today until 6pm tomorrow.

Those traveling towards Tegucigalpa from various routes are being detained by the police and army.

This is the latest on Radio Globo, one of the few radio stations in Tegucigalpa that has not lost all power. Radio Globo is using a generator to power the radio station, and can't receive calls or emails from the outside.

"Honduras is isolated from the rest of the world, because of the coup regime," said a radio host, calling on the world to intervene in Honduras in support of democracy and the restoration of Manuel Zelaya.

"They have converted the entire country into a jail, where there is no free movement, a curfew in the whole country," according to one radio commentator on Radio Globo. He explained that this curfew and the resulting detentions has made Hondurans from other places scared to come to the capital and take the capital.

UPDATE 19:39 PDT: Micheletti coup regime has canceled all flights tomorrow. Zelaya live on Radio Globo orders army back to barracks, says the people lead in Honduras. UN, OAS expected tomorrow. Zelaya calling on Hondurans to converge in Tegucigalpa.

Alternative URL for Radio Globo: http://96.9.147.21:8213

» continue reading "Honduras Coup Regime Forces 26 Hour Curfew, Zelaya Remains in Tegucigalpa"

September 20, 2009 Weblog:

Reuters gets it wrong on Guatemala Mining Project

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Reuters reported Thursday that there is no start date planned for the Hudbay (formerly Skye Resources) nickel mining project in eastern Guatemala.

Can't say this is much of a newsflash. I reported extensively on the unlikelihood of the project moving forward over a year ago.

But Reuters correspondent Sarah Grainger really gets it wrong when she writes:

Skye Resources, which acquired the project in 2004, came up against local opposition to the reopening of the mine, with squatters occupying company land and burning down a hospital and community relations office built by Skye.

I guess Ms. Grainger missed the part about company goons burning people's homes during violent evictions. The evictions were widely documented. There is no excuse for such a serious error.

Members of the army provide back-up to Guatemalan police during the eviction of Maya Qeqchi people, carried out on behalf of Skye Resources. January, 2007. Photo by James Rodriguez.

September 13, 2009 International News

Disappeared Activist is Back Fighting

Anti-mining campaigner Mariano Abarca goes on the record

September 10, 2009 Weblog:

Elites execute plan in Honduras, first world activists stymied

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As the coup regime in Honduras mocks the "rule of law" behind a veil of tear gas, automatic weapons and riot shields, it's business as usual for Canada's junior foreign minister, Peter Kent.

Kent refuses to call for sanctions or to demand the return of President Manuel Zelaya, who was removed after a military coup on June 28, 2009.

I'd like to point readers to a July 5 letter by Colombian doctor and activist Manuel Rozental.

This is how Rozental predicted things would shake down on the day Zelaya was blocked from landing at the airport in Tegucigalpa:

Today Zelaya returns and it would be useful to inform people as there will likely be a staged performance from the media that will go something like:

"There are 2 governments and two Presidents. Both have solid reasons behind them. This is a deadlock that will lead to or has lead to bloodshed. The US and the 'international community' are in a difficult position to intervene. Most countries and governments support Zelaya. The US promotes dialogue."

As we've seen in the months since, Rozental's letter was accurate, to a T. The plan of the transnational elites is being executed.

Rozental's question, "How can we today, invite the defence of social movements?" Is a much more difficult one, which remains to be answered in a meaningful way by activists in North America.

» continue reading "Elites execute plan in Honduras, first world activists stymied"

September 9, 2009 International News

Guatemalan Court Sets Precendent in the Case of Israel Carias

Community remembers a leader who gave his life for the struggle

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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