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Published on 6 March by FARC-EP Peace delegation

 

On March 6, two days before International Women's Day, the third (and last) meeting between the Gender sub-Commission (a joint commission of FARC delegates and government delegates, mostly women) and six representatives of women's organizations from Colombia took place.

The official meeting (with plenipotenciaries, guarantor and accompanying countries and UN) lasted until one o'clock, but after lunch the sub-Commission sessioned alone with the representatives for two more hours, to gather ideas and proposals that will help to guarantee a gender perspective in the partial agreements. The five women and one man (representative of the LGTBI community) held a press conference at 4 o'clock. Victoria Sandino, head of the Gender sub-Commission of the FARC-EP, read a document to welcome the representatives:

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Published on 24 February by CounterPunch Written by W.T. Whitney Jr

chiquita

Colombia is seemingly a “no-go” zone for most U. S. media and even for many critics of U.S. overseas misadventures. Yet the United States was in the thick of things in Colombia while hundreds of thousands were being killed, millions were forced off land, and political repression was the rule.

Bogota university professor and historian Renán Vega Cantor hasauthored a study of U.S. involvement in Colombia. He records words and deeds delineating U.S. intervention there over the past century. The impact of Vega’s historical report, released on February 11, stems from a detailing of facts. Communicating them to English-language readers will perhaps stir some to learn more and to act.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Colombian government have been at war for half a century. Vega’s study appears within the context of negotiations in Cuba to end that conflict. Negotiators on both sides agreed in August, 2014 to form a “Historical Commission on Conflict and its Victims” to enhance discussions on victims of conflict. The Commission explored “multiple causes” of the conflict, “the principal factors and conditions facilitating or contributing to its persistence,” and consequences. Commission members sought “clarification of the truth” and establishment of responsibilities. On February 11 the Commission released an 809 – page report offering a diversity of wide-ranging conclusions. Vega was one of 12 analysts contributing individual studies to the report.

Having looked into “links between imperialist meddling and both counterinsurgency and state terrorism,” he claims the United States “is no mere outside influence, but is a direct actor in the conflict owing to prolonged involvement.” And, “U. S. actions exist in a framework of a relationship of subordination. … [T]he block in power had an active role in reproducing subordination, because, (Vega quotes Colombia Internacional, vol 65), ‘there existed for more than 100 years a pact among the national elites for whom subordination led to economic and political gains.’” As a result, “Not only in the international sphere, but in the domestic one too, the United States, generally, has the last word.”

In 1903, after 50 years of minor interventions, the United States secured Panama’s independence from Colombia as a prelude to building its canal there. As a sop to wounded Colombian feelings and to secure oil- extraction rights, the United States paid $25 million to Colombia under the Urrutia-Thompson Treaty of 1921. Colombia that year sent 72 percent of its exports to the United States, thanks mostly to U.S. banana and oil producers and U.S. lenders.

Vega highlights Colombia’s “native” brand of counterinsurgency. Under the flag of anti-communism, the Colombian Army violently suppressed striking oil, dock and railroad workers. On December 6, 1929 at the behest of the U.S. United Fruit Company, that Army murdered well over 1000 striking banana workers near Santa Marta.

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Published on 31 January byFight Racism! Fight Imperialism!

farc ep

In a further attempt to halt the bloodshed in Colombia the communist-inspired Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) declared an indefinite cessation of hostilities with the Colombian state on 18 December 2014.

'We have resolved to declare a unilateral cessation of fire and of hostilities for an indefinite period, which should transform itself into an armistice. ... This unilateral ceasefire, which we hope to prolong over time, would end only if it is proven that our guerrilla structures have been the object of attacks from the security forces.'

A month later, on 15 January 2015, President Santos announced that he was prepared to start talks on a bilateral ceasefire ‘as soon as possible’. He has delayed this for the nearly two and half years of negotiations with the FARC, having rejected FARC’s two other recent attempts to strengthen the road to social justice. The most bloodthirsty of the Colombian bourgeoisie have provided cover for Santos as he has slowed negotiations to a crawl. Senator Ernesto Macías, from Former President Álvaro Uribe’s Democratic Centre Party, has called President Santos 'a puppet of the FARC'.

FARC negotiators welcomed Santos’s announcement, whilst questioning his sincerity as he has continued attacks on the FARC over more than two years of discussions. FARC guerrilla leader Timoleón Jiménez warned that an accord remains far off as Santos aims to demobilise FARC without any examination of the causes of the conflict or the reforms necessary to end it. FARC’s declaration sets the scene for the negotiations which resume on 26 January. It again raises the question of Santos' refusal to respond to the demands of Colombia’s second largest guerrilla group, the National Liberation Army (ELN), to enter negotiations for the end of the 50-year Colombian civil war.

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Published on 30 January 2015 by Venezuela Analysis
Celac
The US is seeing its role in Latin America increasingly challenged, as the 33 member states of CELAC (the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) vehemently rejected North American intervention in the continent, and particularly the US-led blockade of Cuba and recently enacted sanctions against Venezuela. 
 
The comments were part of the "Belen Declaration," approved during the CELAC's third annual presidential summit, held on January 28th and 29th in Belen, Costa Rica. Formed in 2011, the CELAC was a political initiative proposed by former Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, who aimed to reconstruct Simon Bolivar's dream of a united Latin American continent. 
 
"We reiterate our most profound rejection of the implementation of all coercive and unilateral measures and once more call on the US to end the economic, commercial and financial blockade which it has imposed on its sister nation for over five decades," reads the 22 page document. 
 
The declaration includes 94 different points and is characterised by an emphasis on regional cooperation, social inclusion, the sovereignty and right to self determination of member states, as well as a commitment to tackling poverty and inequality.

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Published on 25 January by TeleSur English

citizens revolution

The Ecuadorean National Secretariat for Planning and Development announced Friday that between 2007 and 2014, more than 1.5 million people had been lifted out of poverty in the South American country.

These years coincide with Presdient Rafael Correa’s time in office and the policies of what is known as the Citizens’ Revolution, which recently celebrated eight years of government.

“The model of government has radically changed,” said Pabel Muñoz, the national secretary for planning and development. The Correa administration has also dramatically reduced inequality in the country. In 2007, the country’s wealthiest earned 42 times that of the poorest, while in 2014 that was reduced to only 22 times.

The 1.5 million lifted out of poverty represents a drop of 14 percent in the poverty rate in the country, with extreme poverty dropping 8 points from 16.5 percent to 8.6 percent.

“Ecuador is a successful country because while reducing poverty, it reduces the gap between the rich and the poor. It has allowed for an increase in consumption and has not registered drops in social indicators. Instead people have climbed the social ladder,” said Muñoz.

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Published on 26 January 2015 by TeleSur English

Moises Sanchez

Authorities from Mexico's Veracruz state announced Sunday that they had found the body of missing local journalist José Moisés Sanchez Cerezo and accused the mayor of Medellín de Bravo, Omar Cruz Reyes, of masterminding Sanchez’s abduction and murder.

Veracruz state’s attorney general, Luis Angel Bravo released a statement on Sunday stating that that former municipal police confessed to participating in Sanchez's murder along with five other people at the instructions of the deputy director of the town's police force allegedly at the request of Cruz. Sanchez was abducted by armed men three weeks ago.

Bravo also issued formal murder charges against Cruz and requested the state congress to remove the mayor’s immunity so that he may be prosecuted.

According to a 2011 report by Journalists Without Borders, Veracruz was among the 10 most dangerous cities in the world to practice journalism. 

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Published on 08 January 2015 by TeleSUR English

China Celac

Chinese President Xi Jinping opened a historic meeting between his nation and the countries of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) Thursday.

“During the meeting, China and the CELAC member states will have an in-depth discussion on collective cooperation,” Xi said in his opening address to the forum.

The two-day meeting is the first of its kind between CELAC and Beijing. The Chinese leader said the talks mark a “new beginning and new opportunity” for both Beijing and CELAC.

“China is willing to work with the Latin American and Caribbean states with a long-term and strategic perspective, to build the new platform of collective cooperation between the two sides. Let's take the meeting as a new starting point, seize the new opportunity of collective cooperation, and work for a new phase of the China-CELAC comprehensive partnership of cooperation and promote new development of bilateral ties based on a higher level,” he said.

The summit is expected to lead to close to US$50 billion in new investment between China and CELAC nations, in areas ranging from energy to scientific research.

Representatives will also agree on a four-year plan to deepen trade and other political and economic ties. CELAC, which unites all 33 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, launched in Venezuela in 2011 when representatives of each country signed the Declaration of Caracas.

The declaration seeks to consolidate regional integration and reduce the influence of the United States in the Americas.

Published on 26 November by TeleSUR English

Plan Colombia

A tragic milestone went virtually unreported in the English-speaking press in November, as Colombia's Victims Unit released its report indicating that the number of victims of Colombia's civil war has now surpassed 7 million. This number includes those who have been killed, disappeared or displaced since 1956. For a country of under 50 million citizens, these numbers are staggering, and certainly newsworthy, but apparently not for our mainstream media.

Of course, the violence and human rights abuses in Colombia have constituted inconvenient truths for the Western media as the U.S. has been a major sponsor of the violence and abuses in that country.

Indeed, a notable fact in the Victims Unit report is that "that the majority of victimization occurred after 2000, peaking in 2002 at 744,799 victims." It is not coincidental that "Plan Colombia," or "Plan Washington" as many Colombians have called it, was inaugurated by President Bill Clinton in 2000, thus escalating the conflict to new heights and new levels of barbarity. Plan Colombia is the plan pursuant to which the U.S. has given Colombia over $8 billion of mostly military and police assistance.

As Amnesty International has explained, these monies have only fueled the human rights crisis in Colombia:

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Published 11 December 2014 by TeleSUR English

northern ireland.jpg 1718483346

British army officers trained Brazilian police in torture methods, perfected in Northern Ireland against people opposing British rule there, a report into human rights abuses during the dictatorship revealed.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who was tortured herself by the regime in the 1970s, wept as she presented the 2,000 page Truth Commission documentWednesday, which confirmed that 191 were killed and 243 disappeared.

Not only did Brazilian officials travel to the UK to learn the “English System,” but the study also shows that British officers returned the visit, teaching extreme interrogation at Brazilian police headquarters.

“At the end of 1970 we sent a group of army officers to England to learn the English system of interrogation. This consists of putting the prisoner in a cell incommunicado, a method known as the ‘refrigerator’,” the report quotes former general Hugo de Andrade Abreu.

Psychological torture techniques were adopted that the British mastered in Northern Ireland, designed to destabilize the suspect to the point of admitting to a crime.

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