Despite being found guilty for genocide and crimes against humanity — a verdict hailed around the world as striking a decisive blow against the impunity of elites in Guatemala — former dictator José Efraín Ríos Montt appears likely to live out his days in the comfort of his home.
Ríos Montt’s conviction in May was a watershed for human rights law. It was the first time a former head of state was convicted of genocide in a national court. The short-lived celebration, however, was extinguished 10 days later when Guatemala’s Constitutional Court annulled the verdict.
Two recent developments in the case’s protracted legal maneuvering cast further doubt on Guatemala’s political will to reconcile with its bloody past. Originally scheduled to resume in April 2014, the trial was postponed again until January 2015, due allegedly to the court’s busy docket. Survivors and their attorneys, who continue to weather threats and harassment, are determined to push forward, but delay will strain their emotional and financial resources. In late October, the Constitutional Court directed the lower court to reconsider its prior holding that the country’s amnesty law did not bar Ríos Montt’s prosecution.
Author: Lauren Carasik
Read more here…
Why it is Time to Revolt Against the Worst “Trade Agreement” in History
Odds are that you have not have heard of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. While the TPP has been under negotiation since 2008, talks have largely been done in secret and not covered by the mass media.
The media black-out is quite impressive since this is the largest corporate trade agreement to be negotiated since the World Trade Organization got underway in 1995. Commonly called a global corporate coup, the TPP makes transnational corporations more powerful than governments. Others call it “NAFTA on steroids” because it will multiply the failures of NAFTA. Continue reading
Monday, May 27, 2013 Federico Fuentes
Green Left Weekly http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/54166
An important summit of global significance, held in Brazil May 16-20, has largely passed below the radar of most media outlets, including many left and progressive sources. This summit was not the usual type, involving heads of states and business leaders.
Instead, it was a gathering of social movement representatives from across Latin America and the Caribbean — the site of some of the most intense struggles and popular rebellions of the past few decades.
This region also remains the only one where an alternative to neoliberal capitalism has emerged. Pushing this alternative is the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA). Spearheaded by the radical governments of Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Cuba, it has eight member states, but seeks to relate to people’s movements, not just governments. Continue reading
And A Story About The Relentless, Collective Work Of Ants By Grahame Russell, May 23, 2013
Hope and spirit persist, even when the struggle for truth, justice, fairness and equality is so hard, suffers so many setbacks and takes so many years to achieve even small steps forward. When confronted with yet another set-back in the work and struggle for truth and justice, people often ask how does one keep their hopes and spirits up?
This article is about people suffering, surviving and living in the aftermath of the genocides in Guatemala, and how they keep their sights on truth and justice, beyond the cruelty and oppression that so devastated them. It includes a short story about a tenacious and collective struggle of red ants in Chichipate, Guatemala. Continue reading
Posted: 06 Mar 2013 08:11 AM PST Pan-American Post
After 14 years in power and a two-year battle with cancer, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez died yesterday at 4:25pm Caracas time. There are a number of good overviews of his legacy in the press today, both positive and negative.
In The Atlantic, The Caracas Chronicles’ Francisco Toro blasts Chavez for “craft[ing] a state where his will wasn’t just unchecked, but where he would never suffer the indignity of having to account for his decisions.” The New Yorker’s Jon Lee Anderson, who met with the Venezuelan leader several times, offers a more personal look at Chavez’s characteristically frank leadership style, referring to him as a “warm and amiable showman.” Simon Romero’s obituary of Chavez in the New York Times is a well-written portrayal of a complex, divisive figure, and is definitely worth reading in full. Also in the NYT, Guardian correspondent Rory Carroll excoriates Chavez not for his ideology or authoritarian government, but for poor management. Continue reading
By David Bacon Truth-Out oped, February 15, 2013 http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/14569-lets-stop-making-migration-a-crime
We need an immigration policy based on human, civil and labor rights, which looks at the reasons why people come to the U.S., and how we can end the criminalization of their status and work. While proposals from Congress and the administration have started the debate over the need for change in our immigration policy, they are not only too limited and ignore the global nature of migration, but they will actually make the problem of criminalization much worse. We need a better alternative. Continue reading
(Max Fisher — The Washington Post)
Read the Whole Story: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/14629-why-latin-america-didnt-join-washingtons-counterterrorism-posse
Monday, 18 February 2013 11:05 By Greg Grandin and Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch | News Analysis ….What’s most striking about the Post’s map is that no part of its wine-dark horror touches Latin America; that is, not one country in what used to be called Washington’s “backyard” participated in rendition or Washington-directed or supported torture and abuse of “terror suspects.” Not even Colombia, which throughout the last two decades was as close to a U.S.-client state as existed in the area. It’s true that a fleck of red should show up on Cuba, but that would only underscore the point: Teddy Roosevelt took Guantánamo Bay Naval Base for the U.S. in 1903 “in perpetuity.”….
Obama Signals Four More Years of Bad Relations with Latin America [with video]
Dec 19th 2012, by Mark Weisbrot – Al Jazeera
Many in Latin America pray for a healthy recovery for Venezuela’s Chavez, who is undergoing cancer treatment [EPA]
President Obama went too far in throwing gratuitous insults at President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela on Friday, in an interview in Miami. By doing so, he not only offended the majority of Venezuelans, who voted to re-elect their president on October 7, but even many who did not. Chavez is fighting for his life, recovering from a difficult cancer operation; in Latin America, as in most of the world, this wholly unnecessary vilification of Chavez by Obama is a breach not only of diplomatic protocol but also of ordinary standards of civility. Continue reading
Mariano Andrade. AFP. December 12, 2012
Energy, education and freedom of expression in Latin America are “specific challenges” that U.S. President Barack Obama plans on addressing during his second term in the White House, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson said on Tuesday.
In a presentation to the New York-based Council of the Americas, Jacobson declined to address the future of Venezuela, although she expressed hope for a quick recovery of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez, who flew to Cuba this week for emergency cancer treatment.
December 12, 2012 5:53 PM
Andrew Biraj/Reuters A scarf of a garment worker in the burnt interior of the Tazreen garment factory in Bangladesh.
Recent factory fires in Pakistan and Bangladesh have killed more than 400 people. Yet, the stricken garment manufacturers had apparently passed inspection — despite bars on windows and locked exits — and been deemed safe.