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September 4, 2009 Weblog:

Oliver Stone: New Movie on Hugo Chavez

A trailer for Oliver Stone's new movie, South of the Border.



September 2, 2009 Weblog:

IMF bails out Honduras Coup Regime with $150 million

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Reuters' Spanish service and Venezeuala's Telesur are reporting that the IMF granted US$150 million to the defacto regime in Honduras, which is now into into its third month.

Both reports stem from a press release by the Honduran Central Bank (BCH).

The BCH release reads (in part):

"At the initiative of the twenty industrialized and emerging countries (G-20), presided by the Prime Minister of England, Gordon Brown, the International Monetary Fund injects liquidity into the world economy and Honduras augments it's international reserves by $150.1 million."

The CBH release goes on to state that the money was received on August 28th. Telesur is reporting that the IMF will give another $13.8 million to the coup regime next week.

The IMF does not have an update on their Honduras page since before the coup happened. The BCH has not posted a press release in English since last year.

The only report on the payment in English thus far is posted on Iran's PressTV.

Photo of anti-coup protesters in Honduras by Sandra Cuffe. All translations above are unofficial.

August 27, 2009 Weblog:

Activist Accused of Affecting Canadian Company Freed in Chiapas

by Isain Mandujano, published on Proceso.com.mx

Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, August 26th. - After eight days of detention, the State Judicial system's Attorney General's Office (PGJE, for its Spanish acronym) freed activist Mariano Abarca Roblero, who was accused by Canadian corporation Blackfire Exploration Ltd of affecting the company's economic interests, due to the highway blockades led by Abarca Roblero.

According to the court document #033/FS10/2009 in the case taken up by the State Attorney for Relevant Issues of the PGJE, Abarca Roblero was accused of attacks against public roadways, criminal association, organized criminal activity, offences against the peace and the physical and public integrity of the collective and of the State.

Mariano Abarca was detained on August 17th by state police agents when he was leaving a primary school, where he left a letter requesting permission for the school premises to be used this weekend for the second national gathering of the Mexican Network of those Affected by Mining (Red Mexicana de Afectados por la Mineria, REMA).

According to his lawyer, Miguel Angel de los Santos Cruz, the police were supposedly in possession of an "order to appear," which they never revealed.

"In theory, this order does not imply detention. However, when he was taken to the State Attorney's office and gave his declaration, his detention was ordered immediately thereafter. Because detention only permits the judicial system to hold someone for 48 hours, the order was requested for 30 days," he said.

De los Santos added that Abarca was detained for eight days in the PGJE detention center.

» continue reading "Activist Accused of Affecting Canadian Company Freed in Chiapas"

August 18, 2009 Weblog:

[DETAINED] : Mariano Abarca, Mexican Community Leader organizing against Canadian Mining

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Photo: Landholder Mariano Abarca speaking about an ongoing blockade in his community in Chiapas against Canadian mining corporation Blackfire. Abarca, a well-known opponent of Canadian mining corporations in his municipality, was [detained] on August 17, 2009. REMA.

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UPDATE POSTED AUGUST 19th by MiningWatch.ca:

Update (August 19, 2009): Mariano Abarca is safe and sound. Thank you to all who responded to the urgent action.

According to the latest reports, Mariano Abarca is being held by the Public Ministry in Tuxtla Gutiérrez; the armed men who abducted him seem to have been undercover police. He was not injured and is reportedly being held on charges of disturbing the peace, blocking public roads, organized crime, criminal association, and 200,000 pesos in damages, all relating to a blockade that Abarca and other residents have maintained against Blackfire Resources' mining operations since June of this year.

According to the Mexican Network of People Affected by Mining (REMA), Mariano's abduction and arrest, and the overblown charges, are clear attempts to criminalise legitimate protest, intimidate local people, and disrupt the group's planned August 29-30 meeting in Chicomuselo. REMA spokespeople say they are working to secure Abarca's release, and that the meeting will go ahead regardless.

Clearly the immediate local and international response have been very helpful in assuring Abarca's security. We are awaiting word from REMA as to what further actions are needed.

[update posted by MiningWatch Canada @ http://www.miningwatch.ca/index.php?/blackfire/ua_mariano_abarca]

# # # # #

ORIGINAL DOMINION BLOG RE-POST:

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Reposting of a REMA (Mexican Network of Communities Affected by Mining) urgent action:

» continue reading "[DETAINED] : Mariano Abarca, Mexican Community Leader organizing against Canadian Mining"

August 16, 2009 Weblog:

"The Only Crime": Testimony of Marcial Hernandez, beaten, detained and hospitalized in Honduras

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"The Only Crime": Testimony of Marcial Hernandez, beaten, detained, and hospitalized in Honduras

Text, translation and photos by Sandra Cuffe

San Pedro Sula, Honduras, August 15th, 2009.

Repression against the national movement against the military coup in Honduras has become a daily occurrence. All over the country, police and the army are using tactics of terror and violence to disperse protests and illegally detain demonstrators.

Nevertheless, the resistance actions coordinated by the National Front of Resistance to the Military Coup in Honduras (FNRCGE, for its acronym in Spanish) continue to grow across the nation.

On August 14th, organizations and citizens in resistance from the northwestern region of the country mobilized in Choloma, blocking vehicle traffic along the highway between San Pedro Sula and Puerto Cortés. It was a very strategic choice of location, along the main highway leading to the country's main port. Puerto Cortés has a great volume of exports, principally to the United States, of textile goods from the maquila factories in the northwestern region, as well as the fruits of the Tela Railroad Company, subsidiary of the transnational banana company Chiquita.

Soon after the highway blockade began, there was a negotiation between resistance leaders and police officials, supposedly in order to avoid yet another violent eviction. According to witnesses, a verbal agreement was made between the two parties to allow the protest to continue for another hour and peacefully disperse.

» continue reading ""The Only Crime": Testimony of Marcial Hernandez, beaten, detained and hospitalized in Honduras"

August 15, 2009 Foreign Policy

Boycott Shuts Down Haiti Elections

Leading political party excluded from polls again

August 14, 2009 Weblog:

just another day [of indiscriminate police violence] in Honduras...

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Police brutality, militarization, torture, political murders, disappearances, injuries, tear gas, illegal detentions, State forces' use of sexual and gender violence, intimidation, paramilitary activity, death threats, censorship...

...are all becoming DAILY OCCURRENCES IN HONDURAS.

Ongoing international solidarity needed. Now.

Sandra Cuffe
sandra.m.cuffe@gmail.com
http://HondurasSolidarity.wordpress.com
http://flickr.com/photos/lavagabunda

August 2, 2009 Weblog:

Rights Action in Response to Mr. Peter Kent: Canada's Increasingly Complicit Role in Honduras

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[The communities in the Siria Valley, gravely affected by Goldcorp's San Martin mine in Honduras, would argue with Canadian Minister of State of Foreign Affairs for the Americas, Peter Kent, who stated to CBC that "Canadians should be proud of Goldcorp..." Photo: Siria Valley Environmental Committee.]

***********************************************

[re-posted from www.RIGHTSACTION.org email list]:

IN RESPONSE TO MR. PETER KENT:
CANADA’S INCREASINGLY COMPLICIT ROLE IN HONDURAS

Day 36 of Honduran Coup Resistance, August 2, 2009
(Alert#41)

On July 29, The Current radio program, of the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), aired a 2-part discussion about “Canada’s role in Honduras”: part one with Grahame Russell of Rights Action; part two with Peter Kent, Canada’s Minister of State of Foreign Affairs for the Americas.

To listen: http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/2009/200907/20090729.html

As Peter Kent spoke second, and responded to points Grahame made, we publish this in response to comments made by Mr. Kent.

GENERAL COMMENT: BODY COUNT RISING

Honduran teacher Roger Abraham Vallejo died in hospital on Saturday, August 1, two days after he was shot point-blank in the head by a police officer during a peaceful protest.

As one listens to the 2-part CBC interview and reads the comments below, keep in mind that Mr. Kent represents the government of Canada. He is not speaking in his personal capacity. Keep in mind, also, that the OAS (Organization of American States), one month ago, unequivocally called for the “the immediate and unconditional return” of President Zelaya and his government – “immediate” and “unconditional”.

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» continue reading "Rights Action in Response to Mr. Peter Kent: Canada's Increasingly Complicit Role in Honduras"

July 15, 2009 Weblog:

Tune in!: Online radio show on media battles in Honduras

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LISTEN ONLINE TO THE SHOW!

Political upheaval continues in Honduras, after liberal leader Manuel Zelaya was ousted in a military coup in late June. It is a battle that has played out not only in the streets of Honduras, but also on television screens and over radio waves across the world.

Some, including U.S. President Barack Obama and the Organization of American States, have condemned the ouster of the democratically-elected president, saying it was unconstitutional, illegal and a threat to democracy.

Others point out that Zelaya was pushing ahead with a referendum on term limits that Honduras’ Supreme Court had ruled unconstitutional, and consider his removal the result of healthy checks and balances.

The Honduran military has clamped down on pro-Zelaya channels in the country and blocked the signal of Telesur, a left-leaning television network based in Venezuela. Other state-run media across Latin America have broadcast programs in support of Zelaya.

Worldfocus.org’s weekly radio show on explored the coup in Honduras and how Latin America’s media industry — from state-run stations to independent websites — has become a political battleground.

Worldfocus anchor Martin Savidge hosts the following panel of guests:

Sandra Cuffe is an independent journalist and photographer from Montréal, Canada­. Sandra has reported from Latin America for several years and is the Honduras correspondent for UpsideDownWorld.org.

» continue reading "Tune in!: Online radio show on media battles in Honduras"

July 4, 2009 Weblog:

DominionPaper.ca & MediCoop.ca contributing member reporting from the streets of Tegucigalpa, Honduras!

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to see the other 99 photos of the July 3 2009 march against the coup through the streets of Tegucigalpa: http://flickr.com/photos/lavagabunda

please feel free to re-post, forward, etc my info... will be posting regularly to this blog, the MediaCoop.ca & all other media below & available to write articles of various lengths and focuses on short notice. get in touch!

grassroots reporting from the streets of Tegucigalpa, Honduras...

Sandra Cuffe

Freelance journalist, photographer, contributing member of DominionPaper.ca & MediaCoop.ca, and Honduras correspondent for UpsideDownWorld.org

Honduran cell = (504) 9525-6778
Canadian cell = (514) 5... [while in Honduras, voicemail & text messages only!]
public email = sandra.m.cuffe@gmail.com
twitter = SandraCuffeHN
facebook = Sandra Cuffe
photos = http://flickr.com/photos/lavagabunda
video [content up soon!] = http://www.youtube.com/user/lavagabunda27
Honduras blog [content up soon!] = http://hondurassolidarity.wordpress.com
Dominion blog = http://www.dominionpaper.ca/weblogs/sandra
Akwesasne blog = http://akwesasnecounterspin.wordpress.com

June 30, 2009 Weblog:

Gildan Activewear, from Haiti to Honduras

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Following a media blip after the 2004 coup in Haiti, Montreal's Gildan Activewear has again scored media attention in Canada, this time for its operations in post-coup Honduras.

The National Post reported today that:

While the day-to-day operations of Gildan’s manufacturing facilities are unlikely to be affected, an estimated 60% of its activewear and more than 50% of its socks are made in Honduras.

So after 30 years of peaceful democracy, [Desjardins Securities analyst Martin Landry] now believes investors will apply a geopolitical risk discount to Gildan. The analyst sees little risk that the country’s assets will be nationalized and suggested the coup may turn out to be a positive for Gildan if it brings back a more business-friendly government.

(Emphasis mine). I think it's time to set the Canada Haiti Action Network's team of intrepid researchers on Honduras, following the scent of a sweatshop-made t-shirt.

[Photo of street fighting in Tegucigalpa immediately following the coup by Oswaldo Rivas.]

June 19, 2009 Weblog:

UN Guns Down One, Opens Fire on Crowd at Funeral of Revered Haitian Priest

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From the Haiti Information Project
Photos: UN arrests unidentified protestor minutes before opening fire on crowd during funeral for Father Gerard Jean-Juste

HIP - Port au Prince, Haiti -One protestor was killed as UN forces opened fire during a funeral for Catholic priest Father Gerard Jean-Juste. A human rights advocate and well-known supporter of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his Lavalas movement, Jean-Juste died on May 27 in a Miami hospital from complications following a stroke and long respiratory illness.

Eyewitnesses report today's shooting incident involving the UN began after mourners began chanting slogans for the return of ousted president Jean-Bertrand Aristide outside of Haiti's national cathedral.

One of the protestors was seen inadvertently passing through a security barrier erected by UN forces and was detained. As the UN arrested him hundreds more rushed past the barrier and resumed chants for Lavalas and Aristide.

According to witnesses, UN troops on the scene began shooting indiscriminately at the crowd killing a young man identified only as "Junior" from the neighborhood of Solino.

Hundreds more protestors then took the body of the victim to the front of Haiti's National Palace where they began chanting, "Down with Preval" and "Long live Aristide."

» continue reading "UN Guns Down One, Opens Fire on Crowd at Funeral of Revered Haitian Priest"

» view more photos in"UN Guns Down One, Opens Fire on Crowd at Funeral of Revered Haitian Priest"

May 8, 2009 International News

Police Raid Communities around Trinidad Mine

Oaxacan civilians blockade road, occupy mine to keep Fortuna off their land

April 16, 2009 Weblog:

Toronto, April 26: An examination of the Canadian mining industry

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WHAT: 1 day conference about mining issues within Canada and abroad

WHEN: Sunday, April 26, 2009, 10:00am - 7:30pm

WHERE: Earth Sciences, Room 1050 (ES 1050), University of Toronto, 5 Bancroft Avenue

Moderated by Judy Rebick

$10 (sliding scale) to cover cost of meals; free for students. No registration required. Donations gladly accepted (available seating for 400 in auditorium).

Hosts: UTERN, Science for Peace, Students Against Climate Change / Toronto Mining Support Group, Aboriginal Students Association of York University

With the intention of building a movement for change within Canada we are hosting a conference on mining issues at the University of Toronto. This conference will provide the space for people within Canada to interact with affected communities and each other, and the conference format prioritizes facilitating conversations focused on solutions to ending corporate impunity.

“The Question of Sustainability” is a conference dedicated to examining the Canadian mining industry through the lens of sustainability within ecosystems, human rights, culture, and economics.

Featuring speakers from Papua New Guinea, Chile, the Congo, Guatemala, Tanzania and Peru, as well as many First Nations speakers and academics from Canada. This conference brings together indigenous people from the global south and the global north, and serves to address some of the complex social, political and environmental issues that relate to the imposition of extractive industries on traditional cultures.

Major issues include water use and contamination, human rights violations by Canadian companies operating abroad, the question of corporate social responsibility, and the autonomy and preservation of traditional cultures.

» continue reading "Toronto, April 26: An examination of the Canadian mining industry"

April 5, 2009 International News

Not With Bullets or Machetes

Popular resistance to Xalala Dam finds international law on its side

March 29, 2009 Weblog:

Book Review: Zapatismo Beyond Borders

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For artists, songwriters, storytellers, and dreamers that are reading this, you are in luck. Creativity has won out against the darkness and monotony of neoliberalism. Imagination is revolutionary. The world has good reason to hope. The affirmative and liberatory project of the Zapatistas has spread its message around the globe: un otro mundo es posible. This credo can guide our imaginations onto new terrains, but the work of building and constructing worlds remains in front of us, daunting and formidable. How do we move forward, and what weapons will our creativity arm us with? Alex Khasnabish gives us some guidance in his book, but choices remain to be taken, and we will measure our success only from the viewpoint of the end of a lifetime of imaginative struggle.

Zapatismo Beyond Borders: New Imaginations of Political Possibility (Alex Khasnabish, University of Toronto Press, 2008) explores the transnational resonance of Zapatismo - the guiding principles, tactics and beliefs of the Zapatistas - that has invigorated and inspired social activism and anti-capitalist struggles in North America. Khasnabish is a professor of sociology and anthropology at Mount St. Vincent University and Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The book comes on the heels of his recent papers “A Tear in the Fabric of the Present” in the Journal for the Study of Radicalism (2009) and “Insurgent Imaginations” in Ephemera: Theory and Politics in Organization (2007), among other essays. Khasnabish's style reads like an academic thesis: rigorously documented, lengthy citations, and careful argumentation. Most accessible to academics, readers may find themselves wishing for a more palatable and digestible read.

» continue reading "Book Review: Zapatismo Beyond Borders"

March 6, 2009 Weblog:

The war against the people continues in Colombia: new threats against journalists and activists

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Emails from the magic laptops found in a FARC camp that was bombed in Ecuador last March have surfaced yet again.

Accusations linking Hollman Morris, one of Colombia's top investigative journalists, to the FARC were published in Cambio Magazine* yesterday.

"In October, "Sara" says to "Reyes" that "Aníbal" - the apparent leader of the front - is worried because the ELN is taking his territory and because some of his recruits are touring around with [Hollman] Morris and Manuel Rozenthal [sic], a friend of [Morris]. In these moments, the FARC and the ELN are waging a bloody battle for territorial control in Cauca and Arauca."

The alleged emails from the magic laptops have led to threats against Morris which put him and his colleagues in danger.

Manuel Rozental, named in the above passage in Cambio, is active with Indigenous movements in Northern Cauca, and has played a high profile role in opposing the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement.

» continue reading "The war against the people continues in Colombia: new threats against journalists and activists"

February 24, 2009 Weblog:

Cuba at 50 - In Photos

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Photos by Gwalgen Geordie Dent and Sharmeen Khan

1. The backdrop to the Cuban anniversary celebration in Havana.

2-4. The 50th anniversary celebration. Reported in The Miami Herald the next day: "No big celebrations in Havana Cuba on the 50th anniversary of the Revolution."

5. Cuban cars. The economy has picked up with more petrol, automobiles and consumer goods.

6. A "Cuban 5" sympathy banner in Havana.

7. Quotes by Fidel on a wall in Santiago de Cuba

8. Cuban oil fields. Cuba recently found major deposits of tar-sands-like oil off the coast.

9. Pastors for Peace Caravan

10-11. 50th anniversary billboards in Santiago de Cuba near the Moncada: a major revolutionary-historical monument. Cuba has little to no commercial advertising.

12. The square in Santiago de Cuba where the revolution was officially launched 50 years ago. Raul Castro spoke here 2 days later for the anniversary.

» view more photos in"Cuba at 50 - In Photos"

February 22, 2009 Weblog:

John Ross on Subcomandante Marcos

In Chiapas Under Siege by Global Industries, a new article published in NACLA, John Ross expounds on the commodification of the Zapatista movement, and the threats to Chiapas posed by mega projects.

The real juice, however, is towards the end of the piece:

The Subcomandante's shameful performance at the Digna Rabia Fiesta is an embarrassment to long-time Zapatista supporters such as this writer who has authored four books chronicling the rebel movement. This writer offers his profound apologies for misleading readers about Marcos's exalted status. In recent years, the Sup has transformed himself into a vituperative, narcissistic charlatan who is single-handedly responsible for the depreciation of the Zapatista movement as a national and international player on the Left.

I was in Mexico in December of 2008, and it was headline news in La Jornada that John Berger (who Ross mentions in the article) and Naomi Klein were in Chiapas for an Encuentro. I'd be curious to read Klein's response to Ross' piece, which finishes so:

While the EZLN eschews the public spotlight and has auto-marginalized itself from participation in national and international political activism, autonomous Zapatista communities in southeastern Chiapas continue to be living proof that another world is possible.

January 17, 2009 Weblog:

Peter Kent calls fraud in Nicaraguan elections, cites "credible evidence"

It's been a whirlwind workweek for Peter Kent, who on Monday kicked off his first field trip as Canada's minister of state for the Americas. The junior minister post is a new position created by the Conservatives in order to fulfill their plan to re-engage in Latin America.

Kent started off his week in a meeting with President Daniel Ortega in Managua, Nicaragua.

But he didn't make the local news until he expressed "serious concern" about "credible evidence" pointing to fraud in municipal elections in the country last November. Among the critics of the fairness of the elections are the opposition, the US, and the Organization of American States.

OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza said in a press release that the organization was "very concerned" about the "difficulties unfolding in Nicaragua as votes [were] being counted." The same press release duly noted that "Insulza remarked that since the organization had not been invited to observe any of the latest elections in that country, it is not in a position to comment on them." Ummm... ¿Perdon?

» continue reading "Peter Kent calls fraud in Nicaraguan elections, cites "credible evidence" "

January 9, 2009 Accounts

Disappeared Before the Courts

Internationals accompany witnesses to forced disappearance in Guatemala

January 9, 2009 Weblog:

Juan Manuel Santos on Plan Colombia

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The LA Times published an excellent interview with Colombia's defense minister Juan Manuel Santos today.

The interview focuses on Plan Colombia, which has failed in terms of coca crop eradication, but which has, as Santos states, allowed the Colombian military to "retake control of our territory."

Many simply call that military occupation.

Santos continues to explain that he's not worried about the fact that Obama has never been to Colombia, because "Vice President-elect Joseph Biden was one of the fathers of Plan Colombia and he promoted it a lot."

Another gem from Santos: "I have no doubt that the Colombian army is receiving more human rights training than any army on Earth."

Now that's a scary thought.

A Colombian military parade in Medellín. Photo by Michael von Bergen.

December 28, 2008 Weblog:

If things were the way they should be: Army, Police replaced by Indigenous Guard in Colombia

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Semana, a popular magazine in Colombia, ran a spoof article today titled Army and Police to be replaced by Indigenous Guard. The article describes the capacities of the Indigenous Guard, like their recent rescue of seven hostages in Jambaló. The article states that the Indigenous Guard would relieve police and army of their functions throughout the national territory.

The photo above is a photomontage done by the magazine, in which President Uribe and other members of his government traveled to Jambaló in a chiva with the Indigenous Guard to make the announcement.

Oh, if only it were true!

December 27, 2008 Opinion

Mining the Island: An International Perspective

Struggles in Guatemala harken back to Cape Breton's mining boom

December 26, 2008 Weblog:

On the sugar cane cutters in Colombia

The first article I wrote about sugar cane cutters in Colombia was published today. It's called Working today with the hope of a brighter future.

There is also a photo gallery here.

Saludos!

December 23, 2008 Weblog:

Breaking the Propaganda Model: Colombia, Venezuela and Canada

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A couple of new pieces up recently by the North American Congress on Latin America shine a necessary light on political happenings in Colombia and Venezuela.

Colombia and Venezuela: Testing the Propaganda Model looks at the two countries vis-a-vis coverage in the NY Times and Washington Post, and effectively advances the hypothesis put forth by Chomsky and Herman in their classic Manufacturing Consent.

In Free Trade, the Good Cop, and Other Myths, Pablo Vivanco examines the Canada - Colombia Free Trade Agreement through a critical lens.

Finally, NACLA has published the full text of an excellent open letter to Human Rights Watch criticizing HRW's recent report on Venezuela. "By publishing such a grossly flawed report, and acknowledging a political motivation in doing so, [Jose Miguel Vivanco, the lead author of the report] has undermined the credibility of an important human rights organization," reads the letter.

Image: "Parodia de propaganda militar en la novela de ficción 1984" by Jaume d'Urgell.

December 19, 2008 Weblog:

More details on the killing of Edwin Legarda in Cauca, Colombia

Constanza Vieira, IPS's Colombia correspondent, has written a couple of excellent pieces that explain the circumstances surrounding the assassination of Edwin Legarda last Tuesday.

The first, "There Was No Checkpoint" Where Army Shooting Took Place, explains in detail how the vehicle Legarda was traveling in was ambushed by the army.

The second, Q&A: Killing of Native Leader’s Husband "Was a Planned Operation" gives voice to the feelings of many people in this region regarding the killing.

December 17, 2008 Weblog:

A targeted killing in Cauca, Colombia

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Yesterday at four in the morning, Edwin Legarda Vázquez was killed by the Colombian Army. He was driving a vehicle that belongs to the Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca (CRIC), in which his partner, Aida Quilcué often traveled in.

Aida Quilcué is the maximum leader of the CRIC, and gained national and international notoriety for her powerful words and actions during the Indigenous and popular movement, part of the Minga, which mobilized thousands of people throughout Colombia this fall.

The Minister of Defense has admitted that soldiers killed Legarda. They shot 17 bullets into the car. There is no doubt among Indigenous organizations here that the killing was politically motivated.

Senator Alexander Lopez denounced the killing as a state crime.

Mario Murillo has done an excellent job documenting yesterday's events, as well as putting them in historical context, since December 16th is also the anniversary of the massacre at El Nilo.

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