Why Argentina Is Better Than The US & UK

They tried and sentenced former leader Reynaldo Bignone for crimes against humanity,

Reynaldo Bignone, 82, was convicted along with five other former military officers for 56 cases involving torture, illegal detentions and other crimes in one of Argentina’s largest torture centres, the Campo de Mayo military base.

He was appointed president by the military junta in the waning years of the dictatorship and it fell to him to protect the military as Argentina returned to democracy. He granted amnesty to human rights violators and ordered the destruction of documents related to torture and disappearances of political opponents before agreeing to transfer power to the democratically elected Raul Alfonsin.

Argentina’s courts and congress eventually overturned the amnesty, and President Cristina Fernandez has made a priority of prosecuting leaders of the dictatorship.

At present there is ample evidence to justify a criminal investigation of George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld & associates; Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Alastair Campbell & associates. Even without such an investigation there is a great deal of evidence of a torture program and an international conspiracy  in order to enable them to perpetrate the supreme crime of a war of aggression that all of them were party to. Subsequent behaviour by the Obama government strongly suggests he and associates are also engaged in criminal activities -torture, summary execution, destruction of evidence/covering up of previous administrations’ crimes.

Now admittedly it took Argentina 27 years to nail their former leader so I’m willing to be a little patient… a little. Also see Otto @ IKN, Uruguay also shows some impressive moves-

Uruguay has just slapped down one of its dictator-era scum today. Ex Chancellor in the dictator era Juan Carlos Blanco was this morning sentenced to 20 years behind bars. The guilty verdict was for his involvement in the disappearance of schoolteacher Elena Quinteros in 1976 and was determined to be a “very specially aggravated murder”.

There is still a way to go, about 30,000 people were ‘disappeared’ in Argentina’s dirty war there are many culprits, political and military figures who used the state apparatus to perpetrate the worst crimes imaginable.

murder, rape, torture, extortion, looting and other serious crimes went unpunished, as long as they were carried out within the framework of the political and ideological persecution

That ideological and political framework was in large part Neoliberal Shock Treatment, a political movement that now retains its h0ld on all the major parties of the US & UK making elections a mockery of actual democracy. Predictably the USA supported and cooperated with the regimes, a slight cooling off during Carter’s term was overturned by St. Ronnie who loved some Latin American blood on his hands, an aspect completely censored from the mainstream hagiographic necrophilia the Empire has for the late senile bad actor & bigot I think people, he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.”

The Anglosphere & North really thinks it is the bees knees, I think the rest of the world is disabusing us of that delusion, and not a moment too soon. Lead, follow or get out of the way; well our leadership is clearly a load of shit, so take note-

Prensa Latina April 20, 2010 — Cochabamba, Bolivia — Bolivia’s President Evo Morales Ayma condemned the capitalist system in the opening session of the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth today.

Morales, speaking at the April 20 conference inauguration, started his speech with a slogan, “Planet or death, we shall overcome”. He said that harmony with nature could not exist while 1 per cent of the world’s population concentrates more than 50 per cent of the world’s riches. Capitalism is the main enemy of the Earth, only looking for profits, to the detriment of nature, and capitalism is a bridge for social  inequality.

More than 15,000 representatives from five continents were present at the Esteban Ramirez Ecological Stadium in Tuquipaya when Morales read a letter to future generations to alert of the danger the planet faces.

The letter, written by Morales, said the Earth is giving signals by means of earthquakes, seaquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, droughts and typhoons, so there is a great need to protect the planet.

In his letter, Morales called the attention to climate migrants, 50 million people going from one place to another, a number that could increase to up to 200 million in 2050, because of negative environmental impacts.

Bolivia’s president called on the peoples of the world to join together to face those who kill people and purchase weapons. If capitalism is not changed or eliminated, measures adopted to defend Mother Earth will be precarious and temporary.

Morales criticised the 15th UN climate summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, as a place where the voices of entire peoples and social organisations were not heard. “It is necessary that the UN member countries listen and respect the will of the peoples of the world”, he said.

He confirmed the creation of an alternative organisation of the peoples of the world in defence of nature.

The World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth will conclude on April 22 with the celebration of International Day for the Mother Earth at the Felix Capriles Stadium in Cochabamba, Bolivia. This is a Bolivian proposal approved by the UN General Assembly in 2009.

According to the Bolivarian Information Agency, taking part in the summit are the presidents of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez; Ecuador, Rafael Correa; Paraguay, Fernando Lugo; Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega; and Bolivia, Evo Morales. Also present are two Nobel laureates: Argentinean Adolfo Perez Esquivel and Guatemalan Rigoberta Menchu, among other personalities.

More than 50 scientists, social movement leaders, researchers, academics and artists have agreed to speak on 14 panels, including NASA scientist Jim Hansen; Bill McKibben, environmental journalist and leader of 350.org; Indian environmentalist Vandana Shiva; best-selling author Naomi Klein; Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano; Miguel D’Escoto, former president of the UN General Assembly; Lumumba Di-Aping, former lead negotiator for the G77; along with leaders from leading environmental organisations and communities at the frontline of climate change.

Evo Wins

Otto further documents the English speaking media atrocities. It’s amazing, he has won by an overwhelming majority far greater than any mandate a UK or US politician could manage yet because he is pursuing a different path to promote the wellbeing of his people (ie a path to wellbeing as opposed to profit for the few) they have to find ways to sneer at the win. Also I guess it is jealousy, most of the people he governs like and support him, not something the middle-management-for-corporations breed of neoliberal politician we have ever experiences, there may be a clue there…

Viva Morales!

Head over to Abiding in Bolivia for a lowdown on what our wonderful English speaking media are up to, hint- not what could be called journalism.

Posted in Eco-Socialism, New Latin Left. Tags: , . Comments Off on Viva Morales!

Alien Flower Heralds Summer’s Arrival!

30mayflowerAs Stephen Fry in an early routine said, I stooped to pick a Buttercup (although why buttock’s had been left lying around I don’t know…) and lo! This strange, wind activated, alien flower announced summer. And dig what Evo Morales wrote to the 4th Continental Summit of Indigenous Peoples of the Abya Yala (thanks to translation by Otto @ Inca Kola News)-

“For thousands of years we lived with nature, in constant balance with her and inside her. Today we feel the devastating effects of the neoliberal, transnational capitalist system that is quickly detroying our planet.

“From outside and above, they still try to impose upon us economic policies that attack our rights as people, the rights of other living creatures and the rights of planet earth. They still try to sell us trinkets for gold. They told us there was a discovery when there was in fact an invasion. They told us there was a conquest when there was a genocide. And now they say that they want integration and to include us in the world economy when all they really want is to steal our riches, keep the profits and ignore solidarity.”

I like that “For thousands of years we lived with nature, in constant balance with her and inside her.” and today the weather makes clear we are but one small part of this living entity and we should pause and reflect on how we continue to live here without wrecking it. Can we reorder the seasons, or stop the sun beating down on us? We (men!) are not masters of nature, we are part of it. Indeed we should listen to the feminine, that nature gives life, that women give life, that there are cycles better understood by women than men. That if we are to survive we need to stop trying to dominate, we need to share, use our intelligence not our greed, realise that competition has a place but co-operation and nurturing is how life is made good and most importantly, the future has to be equality for all of us. At the moment the system the rich and powerful are inflicting will not lead to that, it has been around for long enough to amply demonstrate it leads to a small rich ruling class and varying degrees of terror for the rest of us. And because of how the odds have been rigged by the house, voting is the least way of making change (for now), that also needs to be changed. As if I need to tell anyone in Britain our elected representatives have fallen far short of even a basic moral standard, pity the outrage is over money though, not the murder of Iraqis and Afghans, not the torture, not the imprisonment of migrants. Anyways, change, what did that remind me of-

‘On [the robot’s] world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people.’

 ‘Odd,’ said Arthur, ‘I thought you said it was a democracy?’

 ‘I did,’ said Ford, ‘It is.’

 ‘So,’ said Arthur, hoping he wasn’t sounding ridiculously obtuse, ‘why don’t the people get rid of the lizards?’

 ‘It honestly doesn’t occur to them,’ said Ford. ‘They’ve all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they’ve voted in more or less approximates to the government they want.’

 ‘You mean they actually vote for the lizards?’

 ‘Oh yes,’ said Ford with a shrug, ‘of course.’

 ‘But,’ said Arthur, going for the big one again, ‘why?’

 ‘Because if they didn’t vote for a lizard,’ said Ford, ‘the wrong lizard might get in.’

Rafael Correa Romps To Victory

(Reuters) – Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa cruised to a re-election victory on Sunday as voters ignored a sputtering economy to make the charismatic socialist the OPEC nation’s most powerful leader in a generation.

Correa won 51 percent of the vote and had a 20 point lead over his nearest rival, a quick count authorized by electoral authorities showed. He is the first president to avoid a run-off election since Ecuador returned to democracy in 1979.

Supporters packed Correa’s party headquarters in Quito waving green flags and shouting “Just one round, Ecuador.”

“This revolution is on the march, and nobody and nothing can stop us,” the 46-year-old president said in his home town of Guayaquil. “The people … have given us the most splendorous victory of probably the last 50 years.”

He vowed to protect the poor from the global financial crisis in his second, four-year term and said Ecuador’s economy, which depends heavily on oil exports and is the world’s largest banana exporter, was healthier than most.

Posted in New Latin Left. Tags: , . Comments Off on Rafael Correa Romps To Victory

Obama’s Memory Problem

He’s done it again-

“I didn’t come here to debate the past, I came here to deal with the future.”

Is it possible America elected a man who should have been the lead in Memento? If he wanted to actually show he was interested in a different future between the Empire and Latin America he could close WHINSEC/SOA and stop the War on Drugs as cover for imperial brutality & control. Neither of which he has or looks likely to be doing, so this ‘look forward’ schtick? Looks a little backward after all.

Evo Doing It Again

Despite fasicts and racists and their US support (natch) the New Constitution vote in Bolivia is again showing a majority for Evo Morales. Early exit polling is-

“yes” at between 60% and 62% of the total vote, (“no” at 39% to 40%)

And of course the nutjob Santa Cruz-ers are claiming fraud, which is predictable despite-

Amidst charges of fraud from Morales opponents, the OAS, which has 68 election observers out in the field today, has issued its first statement.

The OAS says it looks to it that the voting took place with full regularity. But that preliminary analysis is based simply on a finding that most all of the nation’s polling places has the required equipment and materials so that people could vote. It is doubtful that MAS opponents, especially if they lose as expected, will drop their charges of pressure on voters. But if they believe that Morales support in the rural areas of the country is manufactured rather than valid, they haven’t spent much time talking to people in the countryside.

The efforts to fight Evo included -try to act shocked- right wing religious institutions (like for example a Catholic church also currently readmitting Holocaust deniers, whoever could have seen that happening) and the ads in typical conservative fashion operate on the level of spite, fear and obedience while projecting a sugary image wildly at variance with the reality of their far right elimnationist attacks. Corporatist media will not like this further approval of Morales governance, but really they are running out of bullshit as Abiding in Bolivia documents. It’s remarkable to have countries where neoliberal governments claim massive support with barely above 50% of the vote (if that) in low turnout elections painting Morales as dangerously undemocratic, which is a clue to the real regard for democracy in the minds of our elites.

PS. Via Otto @ Inca Kola News check out El Gaviero blogging from the belly of the beast- Santa Cruz, reports with 60% votes in, a lower number- 51 % vote in favour. At this early stage I don’t know if that shows a discrepancy with exit polls giving results that are kinder (but still mean they lose) to rightists, like that could ever happen!

Exits Polls- Left Win in Paraguay

Update: Ap sez

Ruling-party candidate Blanca Ovelar has conceded defeat to former bishop Fernando Lugo in Paraguay’s presidential election

Exit polls, remember them? Before Bush’s Florida escapades made the media pretend they weren’t to be trusted but adjusted polls were. Anyway they show Lugo is winning and worth mentioning in case y’know, the conservative is proclaimed the winner and America rushes to congratulate them (not that I’m saying that will happen -ahem Mexico, cough *Felipe Calderón*- but just in case).

Lucia Newman, Al Jazeera’s Latin America editor, said that three exit polls had given Lugo a lead of between four and six per cent over Blanca Ovelar, Colorado’s candidate. “This roughly confirms what the polls had said before the elections took place,” she said.

A count of 16% of votes cast has given the former Catholic bishop a lead of about 6% over the governing Colorado Party’s candidate, Blanca Ovelar. Five media exit polls have also pointed to victory for Mr Lugo. If the results are confirmed, it would mean the end of the Colorado Party’s 61-year domination. The BBC’s Gary Duffy in Paraguay said while the usual caution around media exit polls should be exercised, there is consistency between them.

You see the BBC do the exit poll mistrust (yes they are not absolute but they have been reduced in significance by media since 2000 because they can indicate electoral mischief by the powerful, so reality based polls are adjusted to favour the manufactured reality), post-Bush electoral media where leftists might be winning- ain’t it grand? Good job Lugo stresses his difference to Chavez otherwise this would be being played as- polls fixed as leftwing militants seize power!

Paraguay Rejecting 61 Years of Rightists

Could be, which casts Bush’s purchase of land there in a different light, mistake or hotbed of future right wing coup plotters (after all Alfredo Stroessner was a straight up Nazi, he loved ’em). Anyway Lugo is careful to distance himself from other New Latin Left figures and hopefully his catholicism remains of the liberation kind, not the sex obsessed elite church. Nonetheless it is an advance on the 61 years of rightists, any rule that long will engender complete corruption particularly with the ideology of self underpinning the right. The vote is going to be close and the rightists already are making accusations against election monitors [His opponents have warned that he will imitate radical leftists elsewhere. This week, President Nicanor Duarte Frutos claimed that Venezuelan and Ecuadorean agitators, posing as election observers, were planning a wave of violence on Sunday.] which flags up their intention to cheat, but with a good turnout Lugo should win-

According to the polling firm COIN, in a survey published in the newspaper Ultima Hora, Lugo leads by six points – assuming a 65-percent voter turnout. His lead slips as turnout lowers.

Lugo has touted himself as the candidate to fight corruption in this landlocked nation that suffered 35 years of dictatorship under Gen. Alfredo Stroessner and where, according to government figures, the percentage of those living in extreme poverty [ Some 43 percent of its 6.5 million citizens live in poverty] rose from 15 to 21 percent in 2006.

Inspired by the social activism of liberation theology that swept across Latin America in the 1960s, Lugo was ordained in 1977. For 10 years, he served as bishop of San Pedro, a hardscrabble town in the heart of Paraguay. Upon resigning from the priesthood, he said: “From today on, my cathedral will be the nation.

“I feel at ease. I know what I would like to do and who I am,” he told the BBC. ” I am not Hugo Chavez, I am Fernando Lugo. I am not Evo Morales. I am not Correa and I am not Fidel….I have always said this has to be a Paraguayan process achieved by our own abilities. I believe the process of consolidating democracy here will be different from other countries.”

He says his objectives are clear: “No more exclusion in Paraguay, especially with the forgotten and marginalised sections of our communities.”

After 12 years in charge of a diocese in one of the poorest parts of the country, Fernando Lugo apparently felt he was getting nowhere. He stepped down from his post and later defied the Vatican to enter politics.

In a country faced with enormous poverty, and where land ownership is concentrated in the hands of a small percentage of the population, he wants to see agrarian reform. He is also calling on Brazil to pay more for the hydro-electric energy it gets from the huge Itaipu dam which lies between the two counties.

(ht2 leftchick @ Progressive Independent)

Update: And thanks to Korova of Máscara de la Anarquía! (as Babel fish claims Mask of Anarchy is, Rafael help!) here is a fine piece by Richard Gott on Lugo and his campaign blog here.

Say Hello To My Little Friend: SATO

Via The Fanonite

The governments of Brazil and Venezuela are leading efforts to create a NATO-style South American Defense Council, which could be formed by the end of the year. The regional body would coordinate defense policies, deal with internal conflicts and presumably wane Washington’s influence in its “backyard.” The idea gained traction after Colombia illegally launched a military operation in Ecuador to assassinate members of Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP). The governments of Ecuador and Venezuela responded by sending troops to their countries’ Colombian border, causing fear that a larger conflict could ensue.

Washington, at least in public, has supported the idea of the South American initiative. “I not only have no problem with it, I trust Brazil’s leadership and look forward to coordination with it,” said U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.

Brazilian Defense Minister Nelson Jobim reportedly told Rice and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley that the U.S. should “watch from the outside and keep its distance. This is a South American council and we have no obligation to ask for a license from the United States to do it,” said Jobim during a visit to Caracas on Monday.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez had previously championed the idea for members of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) to create a coordinated defense council, but believes that the two bodies can co-exist. “I once said that if NATO exists – the North Atlantic Treaty Organization – why couldn’t SATO exist? The South Atlantic Treaty Organization,” said Chavez. “We’ve placed it on the table for Latin America once again.”

Yes of course Rice & Hadley (of torture implementation meetings fame) were fine with it, right after they probably skipped through the corridors of power singing the Internationale. And of course why is it any of their business, why does the press conflate imperialism with a moral right to have a say in every nation’s affairs? Hmmm.