teleSUR English ES Thu, 24 Sep 2020 09:51:07 -04:00 teleSUR English <![CDATA[Uruguay: The Broad Front Leads the Montevideo Elections Polls]]> Thu, 24 Sep 2020 09:51:04 -04:00 Less than a week before the departmental elections in Uruguay, two public opinion companies predict the victory of Carolina Cosse, the leftist Broad Front (FA) party's candidate for mayor of Montevideo, a city that concentrates 53 percent of the country's population.


Uruguay: Broad Front Closes Its Campaign With Massive Caravan

According to the pollster Cifra, 53 percent of citizens will vote for the left-wing candidate and 39 percent for the Multicolor Coalition candidate Laura Raffo, who is linked to the elites closest to the right-wing President Luis Lacalle.

For the polling company Equipos, the intention to vote in favor of Cosse is 54 percent and 40 percent in favor of Raffo, with a margin of error of 4 percent.

"Seen in historical perspective, these results should not sound strange... the Broad Front had a vote close to 50 percent in the country's capital," Equipos director Ignacio Zuasnabar said.

If the Uruguayans confirm their intention to vote in favor of Cosse, the Broad Front will remain in the government of Montevideo for 30 consecutive years.

"I will not be a mayor from the desk. I will work with the municipalities, the neighborhoods, the university, and the workers," Cosse vowed.

She also invited those who did not vote for the Broad Front in the 2019 presidential elections to join in a collective effort to stop the loss of social rights prompted by Lacalle and his neoliberal policies.

"They are living this backward path that seems implacable but that is not irresistible. We have to resist and advance," said Cosse, as reported by local outlet Montevideo Portal.

]]> <![CDATA[Trump Refuses To Commit To Peaceful Power Transfer If He Loses]]> Thu, 24 Sep 2020 08:14:12 -04:00 U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power should he lose this year's presidential race, while suggesting that the election will be challenged in the Supreme Court.


US: Leaked Chats Reveal Pro-Trump Militia Plots Against BLM

"We're going to have to see what happens," Trump said during a press briefing at the White House when asked if he would make sure there is "a peaceful transferal of power" after the election in November.

He went after mail-in ballots, which many parts of the country have expanded to allow people to vote safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I've been complaining very strongly about the ballots. And the ballots are a disaster," said Trump, who has claimed that a wider use of mail-in ballots would lead to massive voter fraud, while U.S. election experts and media have argued there is no evidence of meaningful fraud in vote by mail.

The president went on suggesting he would win the election if there is no expansion of mail-in voting.

"Get rid of the ballots and you'll have a very peaceful -- there won't be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation," he added.

During a White House event earlier on Wednesday, Trump said he believes the country's highest court would have to weigh in on the election.

"I think this will end up in the Supreme Court," the president said. "And I think it's very important that we have nine justices."

Trump is considering candidates to fill the seat vacated by the death of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last week. He will announce the Supreme Court nominee on Saturday and has said he wants a full Senate vote before Election Day.

Republicans, who have a 53-47 advantage in the Senate, appear to have enough votes to confirm the pick that would cement a 6-3 conservative majority on the nine-justice bench.

"I think we should go very quickly. You see the Republicans are very united," Trump said. "I think it's better if you go before the election because I think this — this scam that the Democrats are pulling — it's a scam — this scam will be before the U.S. Supreme Court. And I think having a 4-4 situation is not a good situation."

In 2000, the Supreme Court decided in a disputed recount of votes in Florida with a 5-4 ruling, handing that presidential election to Republican candidate George W. Bush, who won 271 electoral votes, one more than a majority. However, Bush lost the popular vote to Al Gore.

]]> <![CDATA[PAHO: COVID-19 Pregnant Women Infections Rise in the Americas]]> Wed, 23 Sep 2020 22:56:22 -04:00 The Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) warned on Tuesday about the increasing number of COVID-19 infections among pregnant women in the region.


Cuba's COVID-19 Vaccine to Benefit Latin America, PAHO Says

PAHO's latest report reveals that 60.458 cases have been reported thus far since the beginning of the pandemic in the continent. Moreover, 458 pregnant women have died because of the virus.

Mexico has the highest figures, with 140 deaths among 5.574 cases in pregnant and postpartum women. Brazil registers the second-largest death toll as 135 out of 2.256 infected expecting mothers have died.

Colombia, Peru, Panama, and the U.S. also report increments of COVID-19 infections in pregnant women. In particular, Panama has the highest maternal mortality ration of 10.1 of the countries reporting. The Central American nation reported eight deaths among 525 expecting mothers.


PAHO pointed out that "recently published results and studies based on COVID-19 surveillance data have indicated an increased risk among pregnant women of presenting with severe forms of COVID-19 and, therefore, of being hospitalized and admitted to intensive care units."

In this sense, the organization urged governments in the region to "step up efforts to ensure access to prenatal care services for pregnant women."

 As of September 13, 2020, 155 confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported among pregnant and postpartum women in the indigenous populations, including three deaths. PAHO explained that 23 percent of these cases were identified in the state of Yucatán, and five percent are hospitalized in severe clinical conditions.

According to PAHO's epidemiological update, the average age of pregnant women who died of COVID-19 is 30 years old in a range from 19 to 42 years old.


]]> <![CDATA[Colombia: Two New Massacres Not Even 24 Hours Apart]]> Wed, 23 Sep 2020 22:53:48 -04:00 The municipal authorities of Algeciras, in the department of Huila in southern Colombia, confirmed Wednesday that a massacre occurred on a farm in the region on Tuesday night when unknown shooters killed three men.

The information indicates that at least three armed men came to a house in the village of Quebradón Sur and murdered both Jimmy Betancourt Ortiz, 43, and Alejandro Betancourt, 25, father and son. The third person killed was an employee of a property belonging to an ex-combatant of the FARC-EP, who has not yet been identified.


Colombia: Massacre in Nariño Is Posted on Social Media

Police authorities and the Attorney General's Office are in the area to collect the bodies and carry out the respective investigations that could shed more light on this new massacre—which is not the first in this territory—some 200 km southwest of Bogotá.

This massacre took place less than 24 hours after another one recorded in the department of Córdoba in northern Colombia when a group of men killed four people in the rural area known as Versalles, in the jurisdiction of the village of Batatal.


These two massacres occurred in the context of a recent complaint by the FARC party, which reported that ex-combatant Nelson David Sánchez Segura died Tuesday after being a victim of an attack in the municipality of Tumaco, in Nariño department, in the southwest of the country.

A recent massacre on July 16, also in the municipality of Algeciras, Huila, saw six heavily armed individuals kill four other people and wound two more, which generated a series of forced displacements of hundreds of residents.

According to figures from the Institute for Peace and Development Studies, Indepaz, some 246 people have died in the 61 massacres recorded in Colombia this year, in a trend that has not stopped and only increased since the signing of the 2016 peace accords.

]]> <![CDATA[UN Assembly: "It Is a Battle for Peace," President Maduro Says]]> Wed, 23 Sep 2020 22:51:11 -04:00 More than 30 billion dollars have been snatched, frozen, and kidnapped from accounts in the United States and Europe. Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro denounced this practice on Wednesday during his speech to the 75th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations (U.N.).


Venezuela Presents Its Own Report in Response To Lima Group's

"Venezuela has prepared to overcome the U.S. blockade; it is a battle for peace, for the homeland, for the region, for humanity, where our heroic people have assumed, as in the past, their historical role in the face of the ignominy of the most dangerous empire in universal history," Maduro assured.

The President also thanked the U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres and the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, for their request to lift immediately the coercive and unilateral measures taken against the country. These measures not only violate the Charter of the United Nations but difficult access to vital raw materials for Venezuelans.

"We ratify that Venezuela is preparing to resist this offensive of criminal and inhuman aggression. We have prepared ourselves to overcome this U.S. blockade; it is a battle for our people, peace, and our region," Maduro confirmed.

The leader also recalled the failed coup attempt of May 3, 2020, organized by the U.S. with the support of Colombia. More recently, Venezuela's intelligence captured a U.S. spy with weaponry and documents linked to the oil and electricity industry. "It is a permanent siege," the President pointed out.

On the other hand, Maduro proposed the creation of a revolving fund as well as a bank of free technologies for countries, especially developing ones, to support each other amid the COVID-19 pandemic.


"From Venezuela, we call to deepen the achievements made in the U.N. to advance towards new objectives. Let us generate its renewal that allows the world to face the complex crisis of the pandemic, climate change, and the need to advance towards sustainable development."

"We propose the creation of a revolving fund for public purchases in the United Nations system to guarantee access to food and medicine financed with public resources, this will allow us to face discrimination and the economic blockade against countries," the President said.

"The role of the U.N. must be an example of multilateralism that we must reinforce, and the World Health Organization (WHO) must act and speak faithfully, without bending to pressure and extortion from the powerful," Maduro added.

Regarding the December 6 legislative elections, the President invited international observers once more to participate in the process and verify its legitimacy. "In Venezuela, there are guarantees to hold the elections; we already invited the world to join us," the leader recalled.

Maduro also explained that "in the interests of reconciliation and the achievements made in the Dialogue Table with the political forces, measures were taken in favor of democracy. Recently, 110 citizens belonging to right-wing groups were pardoned and prosecuted for crimes related to crimes of aggression. against our country."

As the country has allocated most of its resources to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the President highlighted that hundreds of migrants are voluntarily returning from countries like Colombia; Ecuador, Peru; Chile, and Brazil, looking for safe living conditions.


"In faithful compliance with the Constitution and our right to self-determination, next December # 6, we will renew the Legislative Power. A democratic process that has all the guarantees for the people to exercise their sovereignty and elect their new deputies."

Those migrants have endured the systematic violation of human rights, anachronistic and xenophobic policies even from branches of some governments; discrimination; mistreatment; lack of socio-economic conditions; semi-slavery situation; human trafficking, and more. Hence, the President urged the U.N. to review the role organizations such as the U.N. Refugee Agency and the International Organization for Migrations have been playing. 

Maduro pointed out that "Venezuela is one of the few countries to apply free and differentiated treatments for detected, mild, moderate, severe, and asymptomatic cases."

"We have avoided the worst, despite the catastrophic plans and wishes of those who attack us. Neither the illegal blockade nor the attacks against our Government have prevented us from meeting our goals. We have applied close to 1,900,000 free tests per million inhabitants; we are the country that has done the most tests to its people," Maduro explained.

The President also condemned the criminal U.S. blockade against Cuba and warned that "the U.S. stopped taking a propositional position to lead erratically under an intransigent and estranged government with diplomacy and high policy that despises multilateralism or any kind of pre-existing global rule." 



]]> <![CDATA[US: Television Shows Misrepresent Immigrants, Study]]> Wed, 23 Sep 2020 22:39:31 -04:00 USCA Annenberg Norman Lear Center’s Media Impact Project said U.S. television over emphasizes criminality representations of immigrants, reinforcing xenophobia and negative stereotypes.


ILO: Americas Had Largest Labor Income Loss From April To June

The study titled “Change the Narrative, Change the World: How immigrant representation on television moves audiences to action” assessed the storyline of 129 immigrant characters from 97 episodes of 59 TV shows that were broadcasted between August 2018 and July 2019.

Shows as Orange Is the New Black, Madam Secretary, and The Conners, which included immigrant characters, called for viewers focusing on massive deportations, illegal and dangerous arrivals, as well as penitentiary treatment to the undocumented.

The analysis found the shows reinforced several criminality stereotypes about immigrants by representing about 22% of them as law-breachers and 11% as convicts, in total disproportion with real-life statistics. According to the Cato Institute and the Marshall Project, in 2018, native-born U.S. citizens committed more crimes than immigrants. 


The study also revealed that TV over-represented undocumented immigrants, as 63 % of the characters were under that position, and only 24% had legal status.  Besides, fictional ICE and other authorities detained about 25% of immigrant characters, mainly in Orange Is the New Black and Madam Secretary.

Half of the represented characters were Latino, a figure matching real-life figures. However, Asia and Pacific Island’s migration made up 12% of the represented migration, while being 26% of real-life asylum seekers. 

Also, black immigrants representation was coherent with real-life numbers. They are under 10% of total migrants but missed representing them as undocumented, considering there are 600,000 undocumented black immigrants in the US.

Other migration-intersectional communities remain almost invisible for the audiences, transgender and gender non-conformist migrants, despite TV shows include several gay immigrant characters in their plots.


]]> <![CDATA[Amazon: World's Largest Meatpacker Joins Deforestation Fight]]> Wed, 23 Sep 2020 22:19:40 -04:00 Brazil's JBS, the world's largest meatpacker, announced on Wednesday that it would monitor its entire supply chain by 2025 alongside a broad set of measures to fight deforestation in the Amazon. This as pressure grows from environmentalists and consumers to take more radical actions amid ravaging fires in the rainforest.


European Countries Urge Brazil's Gov't on Amazon Deforestation

The company launched today its Together for the Amazon program, which includes funding of $182 million over the first five years allocated to forest conservation and deforestation, socioeconomic development of the communities, and scientific and technological development.

For years, the company has been criticized by several environmental organizations over receiving cattle that were raised in illegally deforested Amazon lands. These ranchers act as a third party by offering cattle to JBS's direct suppliers. Cattle ranching is considered to trigger most of Amazon's deforestation.

"Currently, the company does not monitor indirect suppliers, and no company does so. But we plan to close this gap using technology," explained the CEO of JBS Gilberto Tomazoni as assured that the company's 50.000 direct suppliers are already monitored.


"#SomosTodosAmazônia: 110 families benefited from Santarém, nessa terça-feira (22), for the delivery of food acquired from small family farmers of the Associação de Mulheres Trabalhadoras Rurais (Amabela)."

The company said that its current monitoring scheme has "enabled commercial embargoes on 9,000 ranches, whose status is non-compliance with the JBS's procurement policies."

However, for the first time, the corporation will commit to "share its supplier monitoring technology with livestock farmers, financial institutions, and other companies seeking to adopt socioenvironmental criteria vis-a-vis their value chain."

Amazon's deforestation crisis has raised preoccupations among JBS investors, which forced the company to take a more proactive stance. In July 2020, Nordea Asset Management decided to eliminate JBS's funds from its shares over environmental concerns.

The program will start in Mato Grosso state, primarily affected by ongoing fires in the Pantanal wetland.


]]> <![CDATA[Louisville Erupts in Protest As No Officers Charged with Murder]]> Wed, 23 Sep 2020 22:07:06 -04:00 Despite consistent calls by Breonna Taylor's family, nationwide protesters, and high-profile celebrities to arrest and charge all four police officers involved with Breonna Taylor's murder on March 13, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced Wednesday that three of the officers would face no charges. One of them, Brett Hankison, would face three counts of "first-degree wanton endangerment" for the raid that claimed Taylor's life. 

Cameron, a 34-year-old African-American Republican on President Trump's short-list of candidates to replace recently deceased Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg, has received heavy criticism for his investigation, which racial justice activists categorically reject. 


Louisville Will Pay $12 Million to Breonna Taylor's Family

Hankison's charge is not even in response to Taylor's death, but rather due to the bullets that went into other apartments. His cash bond was set at a relatively low figure of $15,000. 

In anticipation of the unpopular announcement, the US district courthouse in Louisville and nearby US Citizen and Immigration field offices was shuttered for the entire week, per orders from a federal judge. The Kentucky National Guard was activated around noon Wednesday, shortly before Cameron's announcement.


The murder of Breonna Taylor—a 26-year-old Black woman murdered by the police in a botched raid on her apartment—has become a rallying call for racial justice, police abolition, and anti-militarism in the United States and abroad in the six months since her death.
The night of her death, the police were looking for Taylor's former boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, who had already been arrested the same evening 10 miles away on suspected drug trafficking charges; instead, they blindly fired into Taylor's apartment, using flawed information to obtain the "no-knock warrant" to enter her home. Cameron's investigation found that a witness testified that officers knocked and announced themselves before entering the apartment, after which Taylor's boyfriend fired on them. The officers' returning fire, Cameron found, was therefore justified.
Massive protests in Louisville, Washington, New York, Atlanta, and other major US cities have already commenced in response to the decision, with arrests and violent clashes between police, right-wing militia, and racial justice protesters already reported. Numerous celebrities, politicians, and prominent activists have denounced the investigation on social media, calling for ongoing justice for Taylor, her family, and all victims of police brutality and racist violence in the United States.
]]> <![CDATA[ILO: Americas Had Largest Labor Income Loss From April To June]]> Wed, 23 Sep 2020 19:52:59 -04:00 Latin America was the region hardest-hit by unemployment in the second quarter of 2020, the International Labor Organization (ILO) revealed on Wednesday.


Millions of Migrant Workers Face Uncertainty Amid COVID-19: ILO

The ILO's latest report shows that confinement measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic caused a loss of working hours equivalent to 80 million jobs from April to June alone, representing 33.5 percent of all jobs in the region.

"As we redouble our efforts to defeat the virus, we must take action at scale as soon as possible to mitigate its effects on the economic, social, and labor levels. In particular, promote employment and entrepreneurship and ensure income," said ILO's Director-General Guy Ryder.

Moreover, the Americas reported the most massive labor income loss during the first three quarters of 2020, amounting to $1235 billion. The index surpassed Africa, the Arab States, Asia, and the Pacific and Europe and Central Asia.


On the other hand, the global labor income "is estimated to have declined by 10.7 percent
during the first three quarters of 2020 compared with the corresponding period in 2019," the report points out.

Furthermore, the ILO forecast that Latin American countries will continue to report a massive unemployment crisis in the third quarter of 2020. The year-on-year decline is estimated at 25.6 percent, which means that 60 million jobs can disappear this period.

Peru shows the worse unemployment crisis since at least 50 percent of jobs were lost during the second quarter of 2020. Also, Mexico, Chile, Ecuador, Colombia, and Costa Rica report a loss of 20 percent.

The ILO's estimations confirmed other international organizations' reports highlighting that women's employment has been the most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, while informal workers worldwide are the hardest-hit. These trends reinforce the need for governmental financial stimulus packages both for individuals and businesses, the organization remarks.

Overall, the ILO foresees that by the end of the year, another 245 million full-time jobs will be lost worldwide.


]]> <![CDATA[Venezuela Presents Its Own Report in Response To Lima Group's]]> Wed, 23 Sep 2020 19:22:55 -04:00 Representatives of the Venezuelan State presented to national and international public opinion a report called "Venezuela's truth against the Lima Group's infamy," which systematizes the violations of human rights committed by those who promote violence against the Bolivarian nation.

Presenting the document to the press were Attorney General Tarek William Saab, Ombudsman Alfredo Ruiz, Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, and Executive Secretary of the National Council on Human Rights, Larry Devoe.

The officials denounced that the commission that carried out the alleged investigation sponsored by the Lima Group did not request a single piece of information from Venezuela's national authorities. As there is no official data included, the report presented to the UN cannot have any validity whatsoever.



Venezuela Rejects False Human Rights Report Promoted by Lima Group

The head of the Public Ministry explained that the objective of the report financed by the Lima Group is to delegitimize and implode the work that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has been carrying out in Venezuela. 

Likewise, he recalled that international institutions have a subsidiary character and do not substitute national entities. "It is the Venezuelan organs competent in matters of justice that are empowered to provide relevant information on human rights," he said.

For his part, Foreign Minister Arreaza stressed that the report sponsored by the Lima Group is not a United Nations (UN) report and that the so-called "experts" who prepared it have lost their authority.

The head of Venezuela's diplomacy said that 85 percent of the sources used by the alleged mission are secondary—that is, social networks, digital media, press, and third party publications. These deficiencies delegitimize the report elaborated by Venezuela's enemies, according to Arreaza's statement.


Report: Venezuela's truth against the Lima Group's infamy


In fact, Arreaza pointed out that no international body voted to approve the said report, so it is not a UN document, as presented by the hegemonic media, but rather a unilateral report financed by a well-defined entity: the Lima Group.

In contrast, the report Venezuela presented this Wednesday is based on exclusively official data, judicial sources, processes, sentences, and resolutions, which are verifiable according to the procedures of social and scientific investigation that govern the work of the UN's human rights observatories.

The Venezuelan Foreign Minister expressed that the report "Venezuela's truth against the Lima Group's infamy" will be presented to the President of the Republic, Nicolás Maduro Moros, this Wednesday will deliver it to the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, on Thursday.

]]> <![CDATA[US: Leaked Chats Reveal Pro-Trump Militia Plots Against BLM]]> Wed, 23 Sep 2020 19:07:17 -04:00 U.S. antifascist group Eugene Antifa revealed several leaked chats between Pro-Trump far-right militia members that plotted in advance violent attacks against Black Lives Matter and other activists in Portland protests.


The Spanish Justice To Process Requests for Pardons for Catalans

Patriots Coalition members used the GroupMe app to plan how to make paintballs more harmful. When one of the members suggested freezing the projectiles, militia member Davis Willis recommended using pepper balls or rubber covered metal bullets instead of frozen paintballs and said it makes them “wildly inaccurate.” 

Before the August 22 protest, 41-years-old pro-Trump Mark Melchi and member of “1776 2.0,” a violent right-wing group, told fellow militia members to ignore weapons statutes and warned they might be caught in “crossed fire.” 

“I saw someone say bats, mace, and stun guns are illegal downtown. If you’re going to play by the books tomorrow night, we already lost. We are here to make a change, laws will be broken, people will get hurt… It’s lawlessness downtown, and people need to be prepared for bad things,” Melchi wrote.


Both Willis and Melchi face prior charges for carrying out violent confrontations. Authorities filed evidence that shows Melchi leading violent attacks against BLM demonstrators, even during the events of August 22. They were using bats and gas.

“My Group 1776 2.0 has been fighting Antifa in Seattle, Portland, for months. This won’t be a simple fistfight. People will get shot, stabbed, and beat,” Melchi texted.

In the leaked conversations, the pro-Trump groups also show confidence in police overseeing their actions, while confronting BLM and leftist leaders. Violent plotting escalated, and some of the chat members even suggested going after political figures and authorities, claiming their entitlement to carry out "justice" by their hand. 


]]> <![CDATA[US Tells Kenya to Support Israel or Forget Free Trade Deal]]> Wed, 23 Sep 2020 18:36:20 -04:00 Although Kenya has often recognized Israel, it rarely makes public statements endorsing either Israel or Palestine, supports the two-state solution, and allows Palestine to operate a representative office in Nairobi. 

This condition, among others in the ongoing free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations between Washington and Nairobi, is seen as a way to "entrap" Kenya into the Israel-Palestine conflict, requiring that the country does not openly show support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) global campaign.


Trump Propose Cut to More Than Half of US Aid to Kenya

The deal, as seen by The East African newspaper, prohibits actions that prejudice or discourage business between the U.S. and Israel, arguing the FTA should "discourage politically motivated actions to boycott, divest from or sanction Israel." The U.S. further wants the: "elimination of politically-motivated, non-tariff barriers on Israeli goods, services or other commerce imposed on Israel; and the elimination of state-sponsored, unsanctioned foreign boycotts of Israel, or compliance with the Arab League Boycott of Israel."

Raising a petition opposing the negotiations under these conditions, the coordinator of the East African Tax and Governance Network and vice-president of the International Relations Society of Kenya, Leonard Wanyama, said: "Due to Kenya's own special relationship with Israel and its pragmatic approach in dealing with tensions in the Middle East, U.S. demands for such political connotations in the USTFA would undercut the country's reputation."

Palestine's BDS movement against Israel, for which Washington seeks to end all international support, seeks to have Israel meet all obligations under international law, including, not limited to, withdrawing Israel from the occupied territories; removing the separation barrier from the West Bank; recognizing full equality for Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel; and "respecting, promoting and protecting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties," according to a bulletin by the BDS committee.
Nairobi's own published objectives for the negotiations include not only that the agreement must be discussed within East African Community (EAC) and WTO regulations, but that it takes into consideration "special and differential treatment applicable to Kenya as a developing country." This includes, among other elements, allowing Kenya duty-free market access without expecting reciprocal treatment, a preferential statute established under WTO guidelines.
]]> <![CDATA[Spanish Justice To Process Requests for Pardons for Catalans]]> Wed, 23 Sep 2020 15:49:13 -04:00 Spain’s Justice Minister Juan Carlos Campo announced this Wednesday that his institution will process the petitions for pardon requested in favor of nine Catalan leaders who were convicted of sedition due to their participation in the 2017 pro-independence referendum.


Catalonia's Pro-Independence Leader Cheered at Vic University

He also mentioned that the administration of President Pedro Sanchez intends to reform the Penal Code to adapt the definitions of crimes related to rebellion and sedition to the new prevailing social realities and regulations in force in other countries.

The Spanish government's decision was criticized by the far-right Popular Party (PP), which argued that the Catalan issue flourishes every time public budgets are being negotiated.

Local outlet Comunicacion Politica reported that the PP and other conservative political groups threatened to go to court if the pardons are processed because denying them is "fully justified."

Six out of nine Catalan political prisoners were members of the regional government. In October 2019, they were sentenced to up to 13 years in prison for having taken part in the referendum in which most Catalans approved their country separation from Spain.

Because of the political persecution against him, the Catalan government's former president Carles Puigdemont sought refuge in Belgium where he lives until now.

“A year has gone by since nine members of Catalonia's pro-independence movement were arrested by paramilitary Guardia Civil police, which has found NO proof whatsoever! One year of fabrication by Spain's top Nacional court,” Catalan citizen Jordi Vilanova tweeted.

]]> <![CDATA[Russia To Invest $13 Billion for Environment Protection]]> Wed, 23 Sep 2020 15:15:32 -04:00 Russia's President Vladimir Putin stated that his country will increase funds for environmental protection with an injection of US$13 billion over the next three years.


Russia: Up To 80% of the Population To Be Vaccinated in a Year

"Investment for the national project in ecology will increase by 50 percent in 2021. And, over the next three years, US$1.3 billion will be allocated from the federal budget to protect the environment," he said.

These resources will be used for infrastructure development, solid-waste processing, air pollution reduction, reforestation, and cleaning of rivers and lakes.

Putin also stressed that his government will continue working to eradicate garbage dumps in urban areas and clean up spaces with severe "accumulated" ecological damage.

"Ecological well-being means health and longevity. It is a mandatory condition to guarantee comfortable and modern human life," the Russian president said.

Putin called for guaranteeing a "balanced, harmonious and comprehensive development of Russia", which he defined as "equal conditions for citizens, regardless of where they live and work."

At the same time, he demanded support for the development program of rural areas, which is currently at a disadvantage compared to the one focused on large urban centers.

Russia has faced several ecological disasters that have forced the authorities to take action. The most recent was the spill of some 21,000 tons of diesel fuel that occurred at a thermoelectric plant in Norilsk, in the Arctic Circle.

]]> <![CDATA[President Trump Bans US Citizens From Staying in Cuban Hotels]]> Wed, 23 Sep 2020 14:09:29 -04:00 President Donald Trump announced new sanctions against Cuba that prohibit U.S. tourists from staying in 433 hotels on the island and returning to their country with Cuban tobacco or alcoholic beverages.


President Diaz-Canel: 'Cuba Will Keep Saving Lives Worldwide'

"The Treasury Department will prohibit U.S. travelers from staying in properties owned by the Cuban government," he said during a White House meeting with Bay-of-Pigs mercenaries who tried to invade Cuba in 1961.

From now on, U.S. citizens could only stay in private homes given that Trump's new sanction affects all hotels that are linked in some way to the Cuban state or its officials.

Over the last three years, U.S. travelers could only stay in very few Cuban hotels because the Trump administration prohibited transactions with companies related to the Cuban public sector. This provision even affected hotels in which the Cuban army had some degree of administrative participation.

The new ban on importing Cuban alcoholic beverages or tobacco cancels a directive from former President Barack Obama (2009-2017), which allowed travelers to import those products up to a value of US$100 in their luggage.

The Trump administration also removed the authorization that allowed U.S. citizens to attend or organize professional meetings or conferences in Cuba. Until now, this possibility could be approved upon express request and in exceptional cases.

As the November 3 elections approach, the Republican president actively seeks the support of Cuban-descent citizens in Florida by hardening his position against the Cuban revolution.

"We will not lift sanctions until all political prisoners are freed, freedoms of assembly and expression are respected, all political parties are legalized, and free elections are scheduled," Trump stressed, echoing the right-wing rhetoric that has prevailed for decades.

“Today, we proclaim that America will never be a socialist or communist country,” he added, as reported by The Hill.

]]> <![CDATA[Mexico: The AMLO Govt. Denounces 70 Officials for Tax Evasion]]> Wed, 23 Sep 2020 12:53:41 -04:00 The administration of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) filed complaints against 70 officials for tax evasion with the Attorney General.


Mexico: Migrant Women Sterilization "Unacceptable" Gov't Says

Since January, 39 complaints were filed against public servants, 45 percent of whom work in the customs service, the Tax Administration System (SAT) Director Raquel Buenrrostro said.

She also recalled that 165 complaints of corruption against 497 officials were presented to the Secretary of the Public Function.

Currently, the SAT is investigating 42 private companies that issued false invoices to lower their true income and pay fewer taxes. Due to this form of fraud, the Mexican state has lost about US$2.4 billion.

Since the AMLO administration does not condone taxes on business groups, Mexico has prevented the economic downturn from generating an important drop in tax revenues.

"Despite the pandemic, we have avoided a decrease in our income. Although productive activity decreased, we did not have major damage," President AMLO said.

He also pointed out that his country has healthy public finances, which has allowed his government to avoid taking on additional debt.

"Debts are losses that are passed down to future generations," he explained.

]]> <![CDATA[US: COVID-19 Has Killed More People Than Last 5 Wars]]> Wed, 23 Sep 2020 12:23:04 -04:00 With 205,799 deaths from COVID-19 so far, the death toll in the United States exceeds the number of deaths caused by the last five wars in which the country has fought.


US Surpasses 200,000 COVID-19 Deaths

The pandemic has killed more people than the Vietnam war (1955-1975), the Korean war (1950-1953), Iraq (2003- 2011), Afghanistan (2001-present), and the Gulf war (1990-1991).

These five conflicts claimed 86,658 lives, although Vietnam was the bloodiest with 47,434 deaths, according to the Congressional Research Service.

The current death toll from COVID-19 is also nearly double the number of U.S. soldiers who died during World War I (1914-1918), in which 116,516 people died.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, U.S. President Donald Trump has continued to minimize the COVID-19 disease.

Just before the pandemic claimed 200,000 deaths, for example, he stated that the virus "does not affect practically anyone" under 18 years old. His claim, however, is not supported by epidemiological data.

The United States is the country with the highest number of deaths from COVID-19, ahead of Brazil (137,272), India (88,935), and Mexico (73,697).

Inside the U.S. territory, the states with the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths are New York (33,184), New Jersey (16,194), Texas (15,361), and California (15,208).

]]> <![CDATA[Bolsonaro Blames Indigenous Peoples, NGOs, Press for Disasters]]> Wed, 23 Sep 2020 10:59:22 -04:00 During his speech at the United Nations General Assembly's virtual meeting on Tuesday, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro blamed Indigenous peoples, the press, and NGOs for the forest fires and the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Bolsonaro To Decide on 5G After Consulting With the US Govt.

He complained of being the victim of a "disinformation" campaign in which the press turned the new coronavirus into a political issue and sowed panic by asking the population to quarantine at home.

Besides downplaying the severity of the pandemic in the country with the world's third-highest number of COVID-19 cases (4,595,335) and deaths (138,159), the far-right politician swore that he did warn the public about the virus "from the very beginning".

During a speech riddled with misrepresentations of reality, Bolsonaro boasted that his country is a "benchmark in environmental preservation."

Then, using as an argument that Brazilian forests do not catch fire because they are wet, the former captain blamed Indigenous communities for fueling the Amazon fires.

“Our forest is humid and does not allow a fire to spread inside. The fires occur in practically the same places where Indigenous people and mixed-race farmers burn their gardens in already deforested areas,” he said.

The meme reads, “The Smoke Screen project found that large- and medium-size rural properties caused 72 percent of the fires that occurred in the Amazon's four largest critical areas in 2019.”

On Tuesday, human rights defenders and environmental activists immediately responded to Bolsonaro's claims, stressing that his speech is an embarrassment to Brazil and the world.

“His speech was described as delusional, irresponsible and unfounded by organizations such as Greenpeace, the Climate Observatory, and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), which do not understand how the Brazilian president can ignore the seriousness of the wildfires that are devastating the Amazon since 2019,” outlet El Desconcierto reported.

In international politics, Bolsonaro praised President Donald Trump and the agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, which is considered a betrayal of the Palestinian cause.

Assuming as his own the U.S. agenda against the Venezuelan government led by President Nicolas Maduro, Bolsonaro vowed that his country is also "an international landmark" in the defense of human rights thanks to its host program for migrants.

At the end of his speech, the far-right politician called for the "phobia" against Christian militants to stop.

"Brazil is a conservative, Christian country, which is based on the family," he pointed out.


]]> <![CDATA[China's Biotech BGI Opens COVID-19 Test Kit Plant in Ethiopia]]> Wed, 23 Sep 2020 09:19:55 -04:00 China's BGI Genomics Co. opened its first plant in Africa, a COVID-19 test kit factory located inside the Bole Lemi industrial park on the outskirts of Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa.


President Xi: 'China Will Not Fight Either Cold War or Hot War'

"We have opened our first factory not only in Ethiopia but also in the whole of Africa. Now, the capacity of production for the COVID-19 test kits is about six million test kits per year," BGI Ethiopia Manager Chen Songheng told Xinhua.  

"We would like to provide localized production in Ethiopia that can also benefit all African countries. Our aim is to make affordable artificial test kits to all African countries to help them in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic," he explained.  

Earlier this month, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali said the factory will also provide laboratory services for three million transit passengers at Addis Ababa International Airport.

With the COVID-19 test kit plant already receiving glowing remarks from high-level Ethiopian government officials, Chen feels confident that the initiative will diversify its engagements in the post-COVID-19 era.

"After the COVID-19 pandemic disappears, we will focus on the artificial test kits production to provide products for the likes of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), malaria and dengue fever," Chen pointed out.

Ethiopian staff at the firm say they have been gaining knowledge and experience through their employment. Hussein Mohammed, a research and development engineer, said his country lacks sufficient medical expertise relating to COVID-19, which the new factory will provide.  

Mohammed returned to Ethiopia after two years of study in China. His last six months in Wuhan had coincided with the outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan city.

"The Chinese government played a great role in protecting us during the pandemic. They were providing free meals for us when we stayed more than six months indoor," Mohammed said.  

The BGI Ethiopia COVID-19 test kit factory is expected to help save much-needed foreign currency that the Ethiopian government spends towards importing test kits.  

The importation of a big number of COVID-19 test kits from abroad has been also causing financial and logistical challenges to Ethiopia, which has so far confirmed 69,709 COVID-19 cases and 1,108 COVID-19 related deaths.

]]> <![CDATA[Venezuela Strengthens Security Plans Prior To Elections]]> Wed, 23 Sep 2020 08:27:36 -04:00 Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro announced on Tuesday that his country is strengthening its security plans due to threats from a sector of the political opposition that intends to generate violent actions prior to the parliamentary elections to be held in December.


Venezuela Denounces New Aggressions from the US

He activated the "Operations Command Post", a national plan in which state and municipal command posts, as well as 2,361 subnational security areas called "peace quadrants", are permanently involved.

“Keep maximum alert, poise, and serenity. Keep maximum confidence in combat, battle, and victory,” Maduro said, emphasizing that the U.S. President Donald Trump or Colombia’s President Ivan Duque “cannot disturb the peace.”

Previously, on Monday, the Bolivarian leader held a meeting with the Venezuelan political and military high command to define the actions to be taken in the last quarter of the year, most of which will be focused on guaranteeing the holding of parliamentary elections.

Maduro also rejected the statements that Trump made against China and Venezuela during the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

"The attack on the honor and honesty of the people of China ceases! Enough is enough!" Maduro said and recalled that the Asian country has sent medicines, diagnostic tests, and medical supplies to Venezuela and other countries to face the pandemic.

In response to the actions promoted by the United States and Colombia against Venezuela, the Bolivarian leader recalled the links of the Colombian president with transnational criminal organizations.

"Ivan Duque is directly linked to drug trafficking gangs and has set up criminal groups, which come from places like Guajira and Santander, to train hitmen and mercenaries, who intend to attack Venezuela in the coming weeks."

Regarding this possibility, Maduro recalled that the failed armed incursion attempt in the Venezuelan state of La Guaira in May was led by mercenaries who had the support of the Colombian government and army.

"They are desperate because Venezuela is victorious and is teaching them a lesson in dignity, morals, ethics, sovereignty, and Bolivarianism. They could not, and cannot, beat us!"


]]> <![CDATA[Facebook Blocks Several Climate Activists' Accounts]]> Tue, 22 Sep 2020 22:36:46 -04:00 Facebook blocked the accounts of several environmental organizations instead of a significant investment company involved in fossil energy production.


Worldwide Conservationists Demand Legal Wildlife Trade Cease

The social media suspended the profiles of Greenpeace USA, Climate Hawks Vote and Rainforest Action Network, and other environmentalist organizations. The platform also blocked hundreds of individual accounts of indigenous, climate, and social justice advocators. 

The affected users participated in a Facebook event in May of 2019, which aimed against KKR & Co, one of the endorsers of the Coastal GasLink in Canada. The pipeline construction threatened the ancestral territory of the Wetʼsuwetʼen, a First Nations people.

“Videos of extreme violence, alt-right views and calls for violence by militias in Kenosha, Wisconsin, are allowed to persist on Facebook. Yet we are banned and receive threats for permanent removal, for posting an online petition,” said a Wet’suwet’ activist and community member Delee Nikal.


The accounts blocking also occurred after Facebook announced its climate science information center, supposedly to categorize and avert climate-misinforming posts and to back posts from scientific sources.

“As with all types of claims debunked by our fact-checkers, we reduce the distribution of these posts in News Feed and apply a warning label on top of these posts both on Facebook and Instagram, so people understand that the content has been rated false,” the platform said.

However, activists find that Facebook is failing to comply with that premise, as fact-checkers cannot block some posts about climate change because of the social network policies. In September, fact-checkers could not overturn an article of the CO2 Coalition – an organization that denies the impact of CO2 on our planet- that criticized climate models.

“Actions speak louder than words, and once again, Facebook has taken actions that are in stark contrast to public statements from the company,” said senior corporate campaigner at Greenpeace U.S., Elizabeth Jardim.


]]> <![CDATA[UNICEF Promotes the Reopening of Schools in Southern Africa]]> Tue, 22 Sep 2020 22:32:15 -04:00 The United Nation's Children Fund (UNICEF) warned that nearly 65 million students remain out of school as one in two lack access to any learning opportunity across Eastern and Southern Africa.


UNICEF: Global Education Emergency Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

The UNICEF called on governments to prioritize the opening of schools and provide children with proper education to tackle the increase of violence in almost all countries.

"We see lost learning, rising violence, rising child labor, forced child marriages, teen pregnancies, and diminished nutrition. A generation of children is at risk, and at the most critical time in our continent's history," Regional Director for UNICEF in the region Mohamed Malick Fall said.


In this sense, the UNICEF considers that "greater dangers for children lie by being outside the classroom." 

Although 13 out of the 23 countries have resumed classes, the COVID-19 pandemic has jeopardized the instruction of thousands of teenagers about to enter the workforce. In this sense, the UNICEF warned that the gravity of the crisis means that a generation can be lost.

"If this expanded workforce can receive quality learning at school, the potential for increased production could sustain an economic boom to drastically reduce poverty in Africa – where currently 70 percent of sub-Saharan Africa's people live on less than $2 per day," the official explained.




]]> <![CDATA[US Surpasses 200,000 COVID-19 Deaths]]> Tue, 22 Sep 2020 22:28:22 -04:00 According to Johns Hopkins University data, the United States has reached another tragic landmark, with more than 200,000 deaths due to COVID-19 since the outbreak of the virus in March. 

While White House coronavirus expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday the grim landmark was "very sobering, and in some respects, stunning," U.S. President Donald Trump remarked that the toll would have been higher if not for his actions. 



Trump's Handling of COVID-19 Is Unsuccessful, Survey Says

Many public health experts, however, believe the virus would be under control and the death toll significantly lower had the Trump administration taking a firmer grip on quickly containing it earlier in 2020. "It is completely unfathomable that we've reached this point," said Johns Hopkins public health researcher Jennifer Nuzzo, noting the colossal death toll despite being the world's richest nation, with state-of-the-art laboratories, top-flight scientists, and stockpiles of medical supplies.

The death toll is equivalent to the entire population of Salt Lake City, Utah, or Birmingham, Alabama. It also equals the death toll of the September 11 attacks, nearly 3,000 people, happening every day for 67 days straight.

Averaging about 770 daily deaths in the U.S., the University of Washington predicts the toll to double to 400,000 by the end of December, with schools and universities reopening as well as the cold weather sets in. 

The states with the highest amount of cases are California, Florida, and Texas, although New York and New Jersey, hit hard by the virus during the spring, still have the highest number of gross deaths— 25,428 and 16,069, respectively. The nation's total amount of cases nears 7 million, likely to surpass that mark by the end of the week. 

Trump, who has been widely criticized for his handling of the pandemic, refused to wear a mask until July 11, continues to hold sizeable indoor campaign rallies despite public health warnings, and reportedly knew how deadly the virus was as early as February 7, insisted on  "playing it down" to avoid general panic. 

Telling a Senate panel that it could be over a year before a COVID-19 vaccine becomes generally available to the American public, Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Robert Redfield said that face masks are "the most important, powerful public health tool we have" to combat the virus.



]]> <![CDATA[Bolivia: Disabled People Protest for Financial Aid ]]> Tue, 22 Sep 2020 22:18:22 -04:00 Disabled people in Bolivia on Thursday took to the streets to demand the coup-born government provide financial aid to cope with the economic harm due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Honduras: Gov't Company Committed Fraud in PPE Purchase, Report

About 20 people with disability organizations protested in La Paz and Cochabamba to demand from de facto President Jeanine Añez for a one-off voucher of 144 USD. 

The protesters allege they need to pay rent and buy medicines while being prevented from working during the COVID-19 pandemic. The demonstrators also demanded their labor restitution, as well as for their parents and tutors, as a way to ensure their earnings. 

"We are asking that only for this year and for the only time we are given a bonus, we know that it is not the definitive solution, but it is something momentary, it is a palliative that will take us out of a moment of need," said the Executive Secretary of the National Federation of the Blind of Bolivia, Edwin Díaz.


Cochabamba's protesters conducted a sit-in in wheelchairs and crutches, after other demonstrations last week when they marched to the vicinities of the Justice Ministry facilities. 

The coup-born government offered financial aid to pregnant women, disabled people, and families with children in elementary and pre-school learning levels. For severely handicapped people, La Paz Mayor's Office issued a voucher of 36 USD.

As of Thursday, Bolivia registered 130,986 COVID-19 cases, 7,654 deaths, and 90,240 recoveries from the virus.


]]> <![CDATA[Mexico: Migrant Women Sterilization "Unacceptable" Gov'T Says]]> Tue, 22 Sep 2020 20:17:30 -04:00 Mexico's Foreign Minister Marcelo Brand confirmed that the authorities are interviewing six women involved in a denounce over forced sterilization and sexual abuse at a U.S. immigration detention center in Georgia.


Mexico Asks US for Information on Sterilized Migrant Women

"We already have contact with six of the women who could potentially have been subjected to this type of procedure. I estimate that tomorrow we will finish interviewing everyone who potentially could have had this," the official explained.

Mexican authorities requested information from the U.S. on September 18. This after U.S. advocacy groups Project South and the Government Accountability Project issued a denounce that 17 women were submitted to unauthorized hysterectomies at the Irwin County detention center in Georgia state.


If the information is verified that women went through removing their reproductive organs without their knowledge and consent, it would be "unacceptable" and sanctions will be taken, Mexicos' chancellor stressed. However, authorities consider that more potential cases can appear as the investigation continues. 

"This has to be cleared up. If it is confirmed, it would be a major issue and not only should be punished but also other measures would be taken," Brand added but did not give further details.

On the other hand, 173 members of the U.S. Congress led by Representative Pramila Jayapal demanded on September 16 the immediate opening of a full investigation by the Department of Homeland Security.

"These reports hearken back to a dark time in U.S. history in which 32 states passed eugenic-sterilization laws, resulting in the sterilization of between 60 and 70 thousand people in the early 1900s," the statement recalls.

"This practice continued for incarcerated individuals into recent times, as nearly as 150 incarcerated women in California prisons were sterilized between 2006 and 2010," the senators remarked.


]]> <![CDATA[Worldwide Conservationists Demand Legal Wildlife Trade Cease ]]> Tue, 22 Sep 2020 20:03:24 -04:00 Worldwide environmentalists and Wildlife conservationist groups demand a detailed evaluation of global animal trade because it serves as coverage for illegal commerce.


Honduras: Gov't Company Committed Fraud in PPE Purchase, Report

"Every day, thousands of wild animals are poached from the wild and sold into the global multi-billion-dollar legal, commercial trade. It's as simple as mislabeling or paying off a customs official to look the other way to flout CITES rules and contribute to the demise of populations," said the director of World Animal Protection US, Ben Williamson.

Experts consider that about 200,000 chimpanzees remain in the wild, but forecasts say that the figure would reduce by 80 percent because of habitats loss, slow reproduction rate, poaching, and diseases. 

Under the silent allowances by some governments and the legislative voids of legal trade, poachers kill or withdraw from their habitat to about 3,000 chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans bonobos.  


Ban Animal Trading (BAT) and EMS Foundation, two South African conservation groups, investigated national wildlife trade in May. The organizations found that China is the principal receipt of national illegal species merchants.  

"South Africa's live wild animal trade with China is riddled with irregularities that are exploited by traffickers. There are gaping loopholes in the global permitting, enforcement, and oversight system," the conjunct report says.

The organizations also alleged that the animals are not in better circumstances with legal dealers. They also condemn animals shipping from one zoo to another, alleging that those institutions pay a large amount for the specimens. 

 "Wildlife trade, whether legal or illegal, is one of the major contributors to declines in species, biodiversity, and human and animal health," said the South Africa- based wildlife director for Humane Society International Audrey Delsink.


]]> <![CDATA[Palestine Resigns As Arab League Chair Due To Israel-UAE Deal]]> Tue, 22 Sep 2020 20:42:16 -04:00 Condemning as dishonorable any Arab agreement recognizing and establishing formal ties with Israel, al-Maliki said Tuesday that Palestine had quit its current chairmanship of all Arab League meetings.

The move comes as two Arab nations—the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain—signed a formal agreement with Israel in Washington last week, normalizing and instituting official diplomatic relations. The Palestinian people and authorities see these agreements as a betrayal to their cause and a blow to their quest for an independent state in Israeli-occupied territory.


Arab League Defines West Bank Annexation as War Crime

Speaking to the press in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, Palestine's Foreign Minister said: "Palestine has decided to concede its right to chair the League's council (of foreign ministers) at its current session. There is no honor in seeing Arabs rush towards normalization during its presidency." 

While he did not specifically name the UAE or Bahrain in his remarks, al-Maliki noted that he had informed Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit of his nation's decision.  


Firmly rejecting the two recent normalizations by the Gulf Arab states, Palestine could not convince the Arab League earlier this month to publicly condemn nations breaking rank and normalizing relations with Israel. Palestine continues to call for an independent state based on pre-1967 borders and Israel's withdrawal from illegally occupied land. 

In a surprising move to assuage internal differences within Palestine, officials from President Mahmoud Abbas' West Bank-based Fatah faction held reconciliation talks with the Gaza-based Hamas movement in Ankara, Turkey, on Tuesday. Along with discussing the recent diplomatic moves by Bahrain and the UAE and U.S. President Donald Trump's Middle East plan, the two delegations debated ending their internal divisions and holding general elections.


]]> <![CDATA[Honduras: Gov't Company Committed Fraud in PPE Purchase, Report]]> Tue, 22 Sep 2020 18:21:23 -04:00 Honduras’ National Anti-corruption Council (CNA) on Monday accused the state-run company Honduras’ Strategic Investments (Invest-H) for fraud in the acquisition of Personal Protection Equipment.


President Diaz-Canel: 'Cuba Will Keep Saving Lives Worldwide'

The CNA reported that in April, Invest-H made an advanced payment of about 824,685 USD for NH5 masks. After canceling the transaction, Invest-H delayed the restitution of the public capital. After several requirements, the company refunded the money on May 25.

CNA also found the investors accepted an excessive price for the sanitary equipment without legal justification or a quality report. After auditing the purchase of the masks, the anti-fraud organization found Invest-H paid 649,000 USD over the regulated tariff. 

“Under the above, this inquiry has been explained, which contains a series of very important findings that denote certain inconsistencies around circumstances that leave the process and mechanism of acquisition by Invest-H,” the CNA report said.


In all cases, CAN points the commercial transactions were made to the Trade Society Group GYT. The company restituted the investment in a check, using an intermediary instead of making a direct transaction in cash, as ruled.

“Eventually, this was a fact that exposed the lack of financial and logistics of that company, since in principle and according to the inability to return the money received immediately, it was shown that it needed funding from of the State of Honduras, to deal with the purchase order that was extended by the state institution,” CAN said.  

In June, several Honduran healthcare workers started a strike to demand better Personal protection Equipment, as they had to attend COVID-19 patients using makeshift sanitary shoes, gloves, and masks. Over 160 of them have tested COVID-19 positive.


]]> <![CDATA[Argentine Solidarity Movement Requests Cuban Medical Support]]> Tue, 22 Sep 2020 18:01:55 -04:00 The Argentine Movement of Solidarity with Cuba (MasCuba) delivered Monday to the Government of Alberto Fernández a letter in which it requests medical collaboration with Cuba's Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

The request, delivered to the Casa Rosada, bears the signatures of 200 organizations and personalities such as Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, the Argentine League for Human Rights, as well as several deputies, senators and union leaders.

In the missive addressed to Fernández, MasCuba expresses its concern about the pandemic, recognizes the effort made by the government to avoid the collapse of the health system, and highlights the work of the Argentine doctors.


Argentina to Soon Welcome 200 Cuban Doctors for COVID-19 Fight

Likewise, it underlines that given the current situation, with denunciations about the lack of specialists due to exhaustion, contagion or the expansion of necessary beds, it is an opportune moment to ask the Executive for an urgent agreement with the Cuban Government for medical collaboration and the provision of drugs so as to confront COVID-19.

On the other hand, MasCuba recalls that this Caribbean island, through the Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade, collaborates today in 42 countries with 46 medical teams specialized in disasters and serious epidemics and has a battery of drugs to tackle the new coronavirus. Cuba, the letter points out, applies a series of medicines according to the stage of the disease, reinforcing the immune system with PrevengHO Vir and Biomodulina T, while infected patients are treated with recombinant Interferon Alpha 2B and in more serious stages with Juzvinza CIGB 258, achieving an impressive rate of only 11 deaths per million inhabitants.

"This shows the effectiveness of the treatment that Cuba sustains for those affected by the pandemic, for which we ask you, Mr. President, to make an immediate collaboration agreement to receive their doctors and the necessary medications to stop the increase of the pandemic," the petition adds.

"The Argentine Movement for Solidarity with Cuba (MasCuba) submitted a letter Monday to Alberto Fernandez's government calling for collaboration from Cuba's Henry Reeve International Medical Brigades"

Mascuba points out that Cuba's Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade, with its extraordinary experience, would collaborate with the Argentinean public health professionals, would not compete with them, and would be integrated in a fight of solidarity against a common target.

"There is also no doubt that the country's political right does not care about the permanent increase in the number of deaths of our citizens, which mainly affects the poorest and unprotected sectors of society; indeed, it would seem that this is what they intend to do in order to destabilize the national government that we have sovereignly elected," stresses MasCuba.

Finally, the organization reiterates its support for Fernández and highlights that "the Henry Reeve Cuban Medical Brigade will help save the lives of the Argentine people and recover, with health, the national economy and a better future."

]]> <![CDATA[Venezuela Denounces New Aggressions from the US]]> Tue, 22 Sep 2020 17:32:50 -04:00 The Simon Bolivar Great Patriotic Pole (GPPSB) alerted that plans are being made to generate violence in the country, after the visit of the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, to countries bordering Venezuela.

In a press conference held on Tuesday, the president of the National Constituent Assembly and parliamentary candidate for the GPPSB, Diosdado Cabello, announced that the country's intelligence agencies had detected plans to attack public services.


Pompeo Insists on Overthrowing Venezuela in His Visit to Guyana

Among the objectives of the sabotage would be service stations and institutions, Cabello informed from the Teresa Carreño Theater in Caracas. 

"The instructions given by Pompeo to the lackeys close to us are to generate violence in our country, to bring to Venezuela the violence of Colombia," he detailed.

He called on organized people's power to be on alert between now and the elections next December. "In these 75 days, we must redouble our efforts in each of our streets and communities, and immediately inform of any foreigner or person with a foreign accent," he urged.

Cabello stressed that this call is not to cause terror but to alert. "We know that when our people are activated, it is with courage, with the dignity that we take care of our homeland. Let us not neglect any detail; let us guarantee the peace of Venezuela between now and 6D", he reiterated.

The leader highlighted that a Special Presidential Command would be installed and attentive around the clock to give an immediate response if necessary.


"MAXIMUM ALERT! Cabello urged people to be on alert for any outbreak of violence."

Later on, Diosdado Cabello, who was accompanied by another parliamentary candidate, Jorge Rodríguez, highlighted the widespread participation that has been guaranteed for the elections to renew the National Assembly.

Cabello said that some 14,400 candidates have registered for the elections, of which only 554 are members of the GPPSB. A total of 107 political organizations are participating in the electoral process.

He emphasized that several political orientations have manifested in the country: the democrats, both left and right, who want to go to elections; the citizens he called "unmotivated," who are not interested in voting; and the sector of the right that attempts to remain on the path of violence.

Regarding the latter, Cabello reasoned that a political force that does not want to go to elections is only because it does not have the votes to do so. In that respect, he assured that they expect those who participate in the process to respect the decisions of the final electoral authority, that is, the National Electoral Council (CNE).

He also insisted on the importance of these elections. "This 6D we are playing for more than a parliamentary election, but rather to change that structure that destroyed the institutionality of the National Assembly, for a new one at the service of the people," he expressed.




]]> <![CDATA[President Diaz-Canel: 'Cuba Will Keep Saving Lives Worldwide']]> Tue, 22 Sep 2020 15:15:12 -04:00 Cuba's President Diaz-Canel Tuesday before the United Nations (UN) announced that his country will keep sending doctors and saving lives worldwide as it helps other nations to face the COVID-19 pandemic.


Cuba to Begin Gradual Post-Pandemic Recovery

"While the U.S. government ignores the call to join efforts to contain the pandemic, and it withdraws from the World Health Organization (WHO), Cuba reaffirms its vocation for solidarity," Diaz-Canel recalled.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Cuba has sent over 3,700 doctors to 39 countries affected by COVID-19.

"Cuba's scientific community works tirelessly on one of the first vaccines in the world to be tested in clinical trials," the President said, referring to the Sovereign 01 vaccine.

Cuba follows a strict health protocol to care for the infected people, those who have recovered, and the population at risk. As a result, 80 percent of its COVID-19 cases are recovered as the country's death rate is below the region and world average.

 "The leader of our revolution, Fidel Castro, taught us to be a country of 'doctors, not bombs'. We will keep sharing what we have and defending what we are at the price of any sacrifice," Diaz-Canel assured as he recalled his support for Venezuela's and Nicaragua's governments.

He also urged for "a fair solution to the Middle East conflict. We demand that the Palestinian people's right to build their own state be respected." 

]]> <![CDATA[President Xi: 'China Will Not Fight Either Cold War or Hot War']]> Tue, 22 Sep 2020 13:51:41 -04:00 In his message to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, China’s President Xi Jinping emphasized that his country will not engage in any "hot or cold" war and insisted that his nation seeks a world order based on cooperation and multilateralism.


US Will Restrict Access To Tik Tok and WeChat Sunday

"China is the largest developing country. It is committed to peaceful, open, cooperative, and common development. We will never seek hegemony, expansion, or spheres of influence," he stressed, adding that China will strive to resolve any dispute through dialogue.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump reignited his hostilities against the Asian nation by demanding that China be held accountable for "infecting the world" with COVID-19. He also said that Chinese carbon emissions are "almost double that of US emissions and are growing rapidly."

In contrast to the Republican politician's nationalist rhetoric, President Xi reiterated that China supports the multilateral system and seeks international solidarity.

"We must see ourselves as members of the same great family. We must pursue forms of cooperation through which we all win. We must put ourselves above ideological disputes and not fall into the trap of the war of civilizations," the Chinese leader said.

Regarding the "trade war" unleashed by Trump against his country, Xi insisted that globalization is an incontestable reality and the severing of economic ties between economies is not good. Instead, nations should work to solve common challenges and compete with each other while respecting basic parameters of coexistence.

“We should not dodge the challenges of economic globalization. Instead, we must face up to major issues such as the wealth gap and the development divide,” he added, as reported by local outlet CGTN.

“Countries may engage in competition, but it should be positive and healthy. When in competition, countries should not breach the moral standard and should comply with international norms."

]]> <![CDATA[Ecuador: Electoral Authority Could Reject Leftist Binomial]]> Tue, 22 Sep 2020 14:13:25 -04:00 The Democratic Center (CD) party's binomial led by Andres Arauz could be banned from running in Ecuador's next elections due to the National Electoral Council (CNE) decision to cancel Rafael Correa's candidacy as vice president.


Ecuador: Correa's Candidacy 'Definitively' Nulled in Record Time

"The disqualification of the entire binomial is among the alternatives we have. We haven't ruled out that decision yet," CNE President Diana Atamaint said.

The CNE rejected Correa's pre-candidacy arguing that he did not deliver the acceptance to his nomination personally. However, the former President, who has been in Belgium since 2017, was forbidden to hand it over to Ecuador's embassy in Brussels.

If Correa had traveled to his homeland to accept the vice presidential candidacy, he could have been imprisoned due to his alleged connection to a corruption case.

Last week, the Democratic Center party nominated journalist Carlos Rabascall as Correa's replacement in the vice-presidential candidacy. But the decision has not been formalized before the CNE yet.

"They must deliver the registration documents so we can determine whether they can keep running for the elections or not," Atamaint warned.

The CNE options are to reject the entire binomial, cancel the vice president's pre-candidacy, or disqualify the Democratic Center's candidacy definitively.

Ecuador's elections day will be on February 7, 2021. Over 13 million citizens will attend to the polls. According to the latest opinion poll, which was hired by the country's business sectors, the left-wing Arauz-Rabascall binomial has over 43 percent of support among voters.

]]> <![CDATA[Do Democrats and Republicans Differ on Palestine and Israel?]]> Tue, 22 Sep 2020 14:39:09 -04:00 The polarized nature of U.S. politics often makes it difficult to address fundamental differences between the country’s two main political rivals, Republicans and Democrats. As each side is intent on discrediting the other at every opportunity, unbiased information regarding the two parties’ actual stances on internal and external issues can be difficult to decipher.


Israeli Given 3 Life Sentences for Murder of Palestinian Family

Regarding Palestine and Israel, however, both parties’ establishments are quite clear on offering Israel unlimited and unconditional support. The discrepancies in their positions are, at times, quite negligible, even if Democrats, occasionally, attempt to present themselves as fairer and even-handed.

Judging by statements made by Democrat presidential candidate, Joe Biden, his running mate, Kamala Harris, and people affiliated with their campaign, a future President Biden does not intend to reverse any of the pro-Israel political measures adopted by the Donald Trump Administration.

Moreover, a Democrat administration, as revealed, will not even consider the possibility of conditioning U.S. financial and military support to Israel on the latter’s respect for Palestinian human rights, let alone international law altogether.

“Joe Biden has made it clear... he will not tie U.S. security assistance to Israel to political decisions Israel makes, and I couldn’t agree more,” Harris, who is promoted enthusiastically by some as a ‘progressive’ politician, was quoted as saying in a telephone call on August 26.


France Endorses an Autonomous State Solution for Palestine

The call was made to what Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, termed as “Jewish supporters.” The Jerusalem Post and the Times of Israel referred to this crucial constituency as “Jewish donors.”

Although the view of the party’s rank and file has significantly shifted against Israel in recent years, the Democrat’s upper echelon still caters to the Israel lobby and their rich backers, even if this means continuing to mold U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East so that it serves Israeli interests.

Republicans, on the other hand, have cemented their support for Israel, but no longer around geostrategic issues pertaining to Israel’s ‘security’ or U.S. interests. The speeches made by Republican leaders at the Republican National Convention (RNC), held in  Charlotte, North Carolina last month, were all aimed at reassuring ‘Christian Zionists’, who represent the most powerful pro-Israel constituency in the US.

The once relatively marginal impact of Christian Zionists in directly shaping U.S. foreign policy has morphed, over the years, to define the core values of Republicans.

Regardless of the nature of the discourse through which Republican and Democrat leaders express their love and support for Israel, the two parties are decidedly ‘pro-Israel’. There are many recent examples that corroborate this assertion.

On Nov. 18, 2019, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that Washington would no longer consider Jewish settlements illegal or a violation of international law. That position was later cemented in Trump’s so-called ‘Deal of the Century’, published on January 28.

Democrats, however, continue to perceive illegal Jewish settlements as, indeed, illegal. “This decision harms the cause of diplomacy, takes U.S. further away from the hope of a two-state solution, and will only further inflame tensions in the region,” Joe Biden’s campaign said in a statement, in response to Pompeo’s declaration.

Although markedly different, it is hard to imagine a Democrat administration upholding the above position, while simultaneously refraining from reversing previous decisions made by the Trump administration. It can only be one or the other.

One’s cynicism is fully justified, as we recently learned, that the Democrat establishment has refused to even use the word ‘occupation’, with reference to Israel’s occupation of Palestine, in their party platform released on July 15. According to Foreign Policy, the decision “followed heavy last-minute lobbying by pro-Israel advocacy groups.”

On December 6, 2017, the Trump administration made one of the boldest pro-Israel decisions, when he formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. A few months later, on May 14, 2018, the U.S. embassy was moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a brazen violation of international law.

The legal foundation of Trump’s decision was the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995. This Act was the outcome of bipartisan efforts, bringing together Republicans and Democrats in Congress.

Interestingly, leading Democrats, such as Joe Biden and John Kerry, were the main cheerleaders of the embassy move, back then. Only one Democrat senator, the late Robert Byrd, voted against the Bill. In the House of Representatives, only 30 out of 204 Democrats voted ‘no’.

Even though many Democrats rejected the timing of Trump’s implementation of the Jerusalem Embassy Act, their criticism was largely political, primarily motivated by Democrats' attempts to discredit Trump.


Trump Brokers Diplomatic Relations Between Israel and Bahrain

The fact that the Biden campaign, later on, made it clear that the decision will not be reversed should he become president, is a further illustration highlighting the moral bankruptcy of the Democrat establishment, as well.

The truth is, U.S. unconditional backing for Israel is a common cause among all American administrations, whether Democrat or Republican. What they may differ on, however, is their overall motive and primary target audience during election time.

Political polarization and misinformation aside, both Democrats and Republicans head to the November elections with strong pro-Israel sentiments, if not outright support, while completely ignoring the plight of occupied and oppressed Palestinians.

]]> <![CDATA[Mexico: UNAM To Provide 20,000 Tablets To Low-Income Students]]> Tue, 22 Sep 2020 11:38:09 -04:00 The National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) reported on Tuesday that it will distribute 20,000 tablets to low-income students so they can start their classes remotely.


COVID-19: Mexico Plans To Vaccinate 25 Million People

Latin America's largest university has about 350,000 students, 34 percent of whom do not have a computer and 14 percent do not have the Internet at home.

Therefore, its authorities developed a plan to facilitate and improve the conditions for student learning. Besides anticipating the purchase of 20,000 tablets, their plan will allow the computer centers to be used by university and high school students when epidemiological conditions exist to do so.

Once the contagion risk conditions are moderate, UNAM will install seven centers where students will request tablets and computers on loan and access a thousand computers that will remain connected to the Internet all the time.

The UNAM authorities will also strengthen financial support scholarships to avoid school dropouts as much as possible and will hold training courses on distance education for their 6,500 professors.

On Monday, the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) also announced that it will loan equipment to students and teachers who do not have computers at home.

As of Tuesday morning, Mexico had reported 700,580 COVID-19 cases and 73,697 deaths. In the world ranking of countries with the highest number of cases, this country ranks seventh after United States (7,049,937), India (5,580,286), Brazil (4,560,083), Russia (1,115,810), Peru (772,896), and Colombia (770,435 ).

]]> <![CDATA[The ALBA-TCP Alliance Rejects Human Rights Report on Venezuela]]> Tue, 22 Sep 2020 12:31:14 -04:00 The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-People's Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP) rejected the human rights report presented by a United Nations group against Venezuela.


Venezuela Rejects False Human Rights Report Promoted by Lima Group

"We denounce the lack of objectivity and transparency of the UN Human Rights Council's Independent Fact-Finding Mission to Venezuela. It is a politically motivated document and its arguments are based on false and selective facts," the ALBA-TCP stated.

The regional group explained that preparing a human rights report requires technical rigor, objectivity, and impartiality. All these elements, however, were absent from the report.

"The report, which was sponsored by the U.S.-backed Lima Group, exposes the UN internal institutional contradictions," ALBA-TCP stated alluding to the fact that Venezuela was already working on a report with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights' Office.

Lima Group paid US$5 million for the report's preparation. "This is how they are wasting their money," Venezuela's Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza commented.

"We reaffirm our solidarity with Venezuela's government led by President Nicolas Maduro, who is fighting for his country's rights to self-determination and sovereignty," the regional movement added.

The representatives of ALBA-TCP member states also condemned the growing U.S. hostilities against the Bolivarian revolution.

]]> <![CDATA[China Launches New Satellite To Monitor Ocean Environment]]> Tue, 22 Sep 2020 09:16:16 -04:00 China on Monday sent its third ocean dynamic environment monitoring satellite into orbit from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.


China Launches 9 Satellites Into Space From the Yellow Sea

The Haiyang-2C (HY-2C) satellite can provide all-weather and round-the-clock observation of wave height, sea surface height, wind, and temperature.

Onboard equipment enables it to provide information on the identification of vessels, and to receive, store and transmit buoy measurement data in China's offshore and other marine areas.

Developed by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, the HY-2C will form a network with the previous HY-2B and subsequent HY-2D, scheduled for launch next year, to carry out high-precision maritime environment monitoring.

The planned satellite network will be capable of carrying out 80 percent of the world's sea surface wind monitoring within six hours.

Unlike the previous satellites HY-2A and HY-2B, the HY-2C will be placed in an orbit with a 66-degree inclination, which will enhance its capability to revisit wind fields rapidly, according to the China National Space Administration.

As of August, China has independently developed and launched seven Haiyang satellites, named after the Chinese word for "ocean" and given the "HY" designation for short. The country launched its first ocean monitoring satellite, the HY-1A, on May 15, 2002.

In 2019, China's gross marine products accounted for 9 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP). The follow-up network of HY-2 satellites will provide data support for marine disaster relief, meteorology, transportation, and scientific applications.

They will also help further enhance the country's marine monitoring capabilities, generating more sustainable, predictable benefits, the satellite developer said. Monday's launch was the 347th by the Long March rocket series.

]]> <![CDATA[Chilean Teachers Ask to Keep Remote Learning During 2020]]> Tue, 22 Sep 2020 10:30:07 -04:00 The College of Teachers of Chile (CPC) Monday requested that students do not return to face-to-face classes this year and it urged the Education Minister Paul Figueroa to ensure a safe return to learning activities by 2021.


Chile: Civilians Attack Mapuches With Carabineros' Complicity

"The country does not have the health conditions needed to reopen classrooms," the teachers stated in response to the Education Ministry's intentions to send to the classrooms those students who live in areas without COVID-19 active cases.

Although the number of cases in the country is still on the rise, Figueroa insisted that 40 municipalities do not report new infections. Therefore, "over 46 thousand students can now return to the classrooms," he said.

"The Education Ministry's priority is not to watch over our children's health but to guarantee the continuity of the government's agenda," the CPC President Mario Aguilar said.

"Who will be responsible if there are massive contagions due to the schools' opening? What will happen if a child gets infected and brings the virus home? Who will answer for the death of a family member?" Aguilar said.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Ministry was reluctant to determine the suspension of the face-to-face classes. Pressure from educational communities and municipalities forced the institution to make that decision.

"The return to the classrooms in 2021 must be a safe, voluntary, and gradual decision," the CPC members assured as they recalled that their assessments must be taken into account every moment.


]]> <![CDATA[Russia: Up To 80% of the Population To Be Vaccinated in a Year]]> Tue, 22 Sep 2020 08:20:48 -04:00 The Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology Director Alexander Ginzburg Tuesday stated that up to 80 percent of the Russian population could receive the COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V in less than a year.


Russia's COVID-19 Vaccine Could Be Distributed in Saudi Arabia

"In November we will produce between 5 and 6 million vaccines. This will allow us to reach a vaccination level of 70 or 80 percent between 9 and 12 months," he said and explained that this percentage of vaccination will put an end to the circulation of coronavirus among the population.

Ginszburg also pointed out that the clinical studies of the vaccine are being carried out successfully because "about 2,500 Muscovites have received the first component of the vaccine and do not present any complications."

Industry Minister Denis Manturov announced that his country has reached agreements with over 30 countries for the supply of the Sputnik V vaccine, which could even be produced outside of Russian territory, as local outlet Izvestia reported.

On Tuesday, Health Ministry allowed the clinical trials of the third COVID-19 vaccine that was created by Chumakov Scientific Center for Research and Development of Immune-and-Biological Products of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Over 3,000 volunteers will take part in the new clinical trials, which will take place in the cities of Saint Petersburg, Kirov, and Novosibirsk. They will be isolated for 16 days under medical observation.

So far Russia has registered 1,115,816 COVID-19 cases and ranks fourth in number of infections worldwide. Unlike what happens in the United States, India, and Brazil, however, the lethality of the disease in Russia is lower since only 19,649 deaths have been registered.

]]> <![CDATA[President Maduro Invites the UN To Monitor Upcoming Elections]]> Tue, 22 Sep 2020 09:51:56 -04:00 Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro Monday reaffirmed his invitation to the United Nations to send observers to the parliamentary elections scheduled for December 6.


Brazil: Ex-Foreign Ministers Decry Pompeo's Hatred of Venezuela

"This year we have elections in Venezuela. It is the twenty-fifth election in 20 years. We have invited the Secretary-General of the United Nations to send a technical mission to accompany the election process to constitute a new National Assembly," Maduro said

Besides ratifying that the upcoming elections will be held without foreign interference, the Bolivarian leader assured that Venezuelans will elect their parliamentarians in a sovereign, free, and democratic manner.

Previously, Venezuela also sent a letter to the European Union to take part as an international observer during the electoral process.

Through a videoconference, the Venezuelan president took part in the special session for the 75 years of the United Nations System, which was created at the end of WW2.

During his speech, Maduro emphasized the need to overcome the abusive and arbitrary behavior that the United States displays in its attempt to remain a global power.

"If the world defeated fascism 75 years ago, the world will defeat those who want to impose themselves as the dominant hegemon. It will defeat imperialist ideas and neo-fascism."


]]> <![CDATA[Colombia: Strike Over Police Abuses Ends in Brutal Repression]]> Tue, 22 Sep 2020 08:38:36 -04:00 At least 11 people Monday were injured and 13 others were detained after Colombia's security forces repressed the national strike that took place against police brutality.


Colombia: Protests Against Duque, Massacres, Police Brutality

The protests concentrated in Bogota, where the National Police's Mobile Anti-Riot Squad (ESMAD) injured several young people after throwing a stun bomb.

Videos posted on social networks showed how the agents also used tear gas to dissipate the peaceful demonstrations.

Arbitrary arrests were made during the demonstrations, which were called in rejection of the systematic massacres and murders of young people, social leaders, and former combatants.

Thousands of people also took to the streets to repudiate President Ivan Duque's neoliberal policies and demand social protection, security, work, health, and education.

The national strike called by labor organizations and student associations spread to Cucuta, Barranquilla, Cartagena, Pereira, Medellín, Cali, and other cities.

For the last 15 days, the country has faced a wave of protests that were unleashed after the young Javier Ordoñez's murder in the hands of two police agents. On Monday, the officers were sent to prison for the crimes of torture and murder.

]]> <![CDATA[Egypt: 27 Sarcophagi at Least 2.500 Years Older Unearthed]]> Mon, 21 Sep 2020 21:59:50 -04:00 Archaeologist unhearted 27 sarcophagi that had been buried for more than 2.500 years in the necropolis of Saqqara, Egypt's Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities announced on Monday.


Egypt: Parliament Passes Bill on Behalf of Sex Crime Victims

The authorities reported that 13 coffins were discovered earlier this month in an 11-meter deep well, and 14 more were found last week in another well. However, specialists still have to determine the origins of the coffins, and more excavations are underway.

The sarcophagi have colorful decorations with Egyptian hieroglyphics on it as well as other artifacts. The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities confirmed in a statement that "initial studies indicate that these coffins are completely closed and haven't been opened since they were buried."


Saqqara was declared by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a World Heritage site in the 1970s. The place was the burial ground of ancient Egypt capital Memphis. One of its latest discoveries occurred in 2018  when archaeologists found a cache with hundreds of mummified animals. The pieces were exhibited for the first last year.

Egypt is relying on its tourism industry to recover the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic. On July 1, the authorities opened famous archaeological sites such as Giza's pyramids. The Djoser's Step pyramid at Saqqara had resumed visits in March after a 14-years restoration.

On the other hand, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said that it would reveal further details of the finding in the coming days. Some experts already have branded the discoveries as "one of the largest of its kind."


]]> <![CDATA[Barr Threatens Cutting Federal Funds to NYC, Portland, Seattle]]> Mon, 21 Sep 2020 22:33:14 -04:00 While U.S. Attorney General William Barr said in a statement, "We cannot allow federal tax dollars to be wasted when the safety of the citizenry hands in the balance," the three Democratic mayors responded in a joint statement that the Trump administration is playing politics and that withholding federal funds would be illegal.

"This is thoroughly political and unconstitutional. The president is playing cheap political games with congressionally directed funds. Our cities are bringing communities together; our cities are pushing forward after fighting back a pandemic and facing the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, all despite recklessness and partisanship from the White House," the three mayors said.



US: Police Continue to Repress BLM Protesters in Portland

While many cities in the United States, including these three, have experienced significant unrest since the murder of George Floyd in May, including police-induced violence and property damage, the federal government has mounted a campaign to blame the Democrats for much of the disorder it has engendered through sending in federal agents to cities nationwide and encouraging federal prosecutors to levy draconian charges on protesters.

This latest escalation to curb the nationwide protests comes after Trump's released a memo last month laying out the criteria for when to review funding for states and cities "permitting anarchy, violence, and destruction." Last week, Barr urged federal prosecutors to bring sedition charges against protesters who burned buildings or engaged in violent activity. 

In all three cities, local leadership has prevented federal law enforcement from entering and restoring order during protests. All have furthermore considered proposals to defund the police or prevent the police from intervening in specific scenarios. 
In response to the Justice Department's designation of the three cities as "anarchist jurisdictions," New York City Corporation Counsel Jim Johnson said, "The president does not have the authority to change the will of Congress," promising legal action if the Trump administration decides to cut off the funds.


]]> <![CDATA[El Salvador: Army Averts Judge From Examining El Mozote Files ]]> Mon, 21 Sep 2020 20:14:22 -04:00 Salvadoran soldiers on Monday prevented Judge Jorge Guzman from examining documents filed in the records of the General State of the Armed Forces, in regards to the massacre of about 1000 farmers from El Mozote in 1981.


Dengue Fever Could Produce Covid-19 Immunity, Study Says

Justice Jorge Guzman leads the inquiries on the massacre of El Mozote in 1981, which left 998 casualties, attributed to elite commandos of the Salvadoran Army.  When he arrived at the army general headquarters, a military prohibited him from the entering the building.

"We are going to leave and at least we have tried to comply with the law,” Guzman said to local news media.

Other soldiers also prevented the entrance to prosecutors, victim’s attorneys, and Ombudsman Office representatives. The claimants say the military was following an order form a high-level superior.

"The judicial authority came and has been blocked, and it can only be by orders from the highest level. It is regrettable", said victims’ attorney David Morales.

The investigators added that Justice Guzman would draw a formal report on the events and send it to Public Prosecutors Office to open an inquiry for obstruction to justice. So far, it remains unclear if Defense Minister Rene Merino or President Nayib Bukele emitted the order.

According to a United Nations’ report, an elite command of El Salvador’s Army executed 998 people in El Mozote, leaving only 48 survivors. After the events of December 13 of 1981, 29 people were displaced from their homes and 1,370 are considered victims. In early 2019, Bukele pledged to disclose top-secret documents to determine accountability for crimes against humanity. 


]]> <![CDATA[COVID-19 Vaccine: 156 Nations Commit To WHO Initiative]]> Mon, 21 Sep 2020 21:54:27 -04:00 About 156 countries have joined the COVAX Facility to guarantee a fair distribution of a potential COVID-19 vaccine, the World Health Organization reported on Monday.


Latin America Is Reopening Too Soon, WHO Alerts

"Vaccine nationalism will only perpetuate the disease and prolong the global recovery. Working together through the COVAX Facility is not charity; it's in every country's own best interests to control the pandemic and accelerate the global economic recovery," explained WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom.

The COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX facility) initiative aims at joining governments and manufacturers to ensure maximum production of a COVID-19 vaccine and its allocation worldwide. Already 64 higher-income economies have joined, and the WHO expects the signing of another 38 in the coming days. The scheme is expected to benefit 64 percent of the global population in total.


The WHO expects to deliver 2 billion doses of a vaccine in 2021. The organization released today an Allocation Framework, a guideline to ensure that "no participating economy will be left behind." An initial overall $2 billion in funding is required by the end of 2020.

However, neither the U.S. nor China, the world's largest economies, have subscribed to the COVAX initiative thus far, although WHO authorities have said that they are in dialogue with their Chinese counterparts. 

On the other hand, the Donald Trump administration has said that it will seek to "engage with international partners, but they will not involve in the initiative in part because is led by the WHO." The U.S. President Donald Trump has promoted a confrontation with the WHO since the beginning of the pandemic. Experts warned that Trump's decision might leave the country isolated and at a disadvantage in terms of scientific research.

According to the UN, "the success of COVAX hinges not only on economies signing up to the COVAX Facility and commitments from vaccine manufacturers, but also filling key funding gaps for both COVAX research and development work and the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment to support the participation of lower-income economies in the COVAX Facility."





]]> <![CDATA[Argentina: Fernandez Presents Bold Environmental Policy Plan]]> Mon, 21 Sep 2020 21:50:46 -04:00 Argentine President Alberto Fernandez presented Monday the country's Environmental Policies Plan, referring to the damage caused by large companies' productive systems that ignore protectionist legislation.

Fernandez noted that "sometimes corporations become more important than countries and people's decisions, and it's there where we have to become more firm and realize that we're human beings preserving the place where we live and that no business can be more important than the place where we live." 



Argentina to Freeze Gas and Electricity Rates

The president also questioned the "rogue" actors who light their crops on fire "to achieve better conditions for their production" in the countryside, highlighting the existence of "a market for products such as fruits, vegetables, other foods and even animal protein that respect the environment."

Furthermore, he assured that the global epidemiological situation had taught us to realize how much we prey on the environment, at the same time as he implored not to keep repeating history, noting we do not have the right to keep consuming the earth in a way that is so damaging, to ourselves as well. 


"Argentine President Alberto Fernandez presented the country's Environmental Policies Plan, referring to the damage caused by large companies' productive systems that ignore protectionist legislation."


Fernandez continued by highlighting the importance of "including the environment in our educational curriculum." "Let's commit ourselves to take care of the environment, swearing to preserve life, and stop contaminating," the leader stated.

In the press conference, Fernandez mentioned a variety of bills and pieces of legislation in the national plan, including the Federal Plan to Eradicate Open Dumping, the Environmental Education Bill, the implementation of the Common Home Plan, and the passing of the National Program for Fire Prevention and Management to the Ministry of the Environment. 

]]> <![CDATA[UN Largest Survey Shows Majority Support for Global Cooperation]]> Mon, 21 Sep 2020 20:07:50 -04:00 Over 87 percent of 1 million people interviewed worldwide considers "global cooperation is vital to deal with today's challenges" as "the COVID-19 pandemic has made international cooperation more urgent," according to a United Nations (UN) survey released on Monday to mark its 75th anniversary.


Cuba Rejects Politicization of Human Rights at United Nations

In January 2020, the UN launched the study described as "a massive, unprecedented crowd-sourcing survey of international opinion." People from all of UN's 193 member states participated in the inquiry, and 30 percent of those were under 30 years old as men and women participated in equal amounts.

The study reveals that the main priority for its worldwide population is to have improved access to essential services, including healthcare, water, sanitation, and education.

Moreover, people worldwide are largely aware of the impact of global cooperation as the COVID-19 pandemic has underlined the importance of multilateralism to tackle the crisis and access a vaccine regardless of a country's wealth.


In this sense, six out of ten individuals think that the UN has made the world a better place, and looking forward, 74 percent consider it "essential" to tackle the upcoming challenges. Nonetheless, participants remarked that the organization "has to become more transparent, accountable, and effective."

On the other hand, climate change is the overwhelming medium- and long-term concern of those inquired after other problems such as increased poverty, government corruption, community violence, and unemployment.

Regarding the future, the UN survey reveals that younger participants in many developing countries tend to be more optimistic than those living in developed nations. Hence, the study shows that individuals in central and southern Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa look more hopeful in the future than people in Europe and North America.





]]> <![CDATA[Dengue Fever Could Produce Covid-19 Immunity, Study Says]]> Mon, 21 Sep 2020 17:44:11 -04:00 Scientists from Duke University have found that dengue fever and COVID-19 could have an inversely proportional relationship. The mosquito-transmitted disease might induce some degree of immunity from the respiratory illness.


Brazil's Foreign Minister Called To Declare Over Pompeo’s Visit

The team led by Professor Miguel Nicolelis crossed the information on the geographical distribution of both viruses in Brazil. They found that those locations with high dengue fever rates in 2019 and 2020 outbreaks had the lowest COVID-19 toll.

“This indicates that there is an immunological interaction between two viruses that nobody could have expected because the two viruses are from completely different families,” Nicolelis said.

The preliminary findings are still too uncertain and are part of an unpublished study. However, prior research has found that patients with dengue antibodies can test COVID-19 positive falsely, even if they never contracted the disease.


According to the investigation, the COVID-19 impact was milder in regions like Paraná, Santa Catarina, the Rio Grande do Sul, Mato Grosso do Sul, and Minas Gerais, the states with a harsh dengue impact in 2019 and 2020.  Besides, the experts found low dengue fever rates in the hardest COVID hit states as Amapá, Maranhão, and Pará.

“If proven correct, this hypothesis could mean that dengue infection or immunization with an efficacious and safe dengue vaccine could produce some level of immunological protection” against the coronavirus, the study said.

The scientists found the same crossing pattern between the diseases in other Latin American regions, Asia, and several islands in the Pacific and the Indian Oceans. The unexpected finding could lead to alternative treatments for the virus as experts predict the start of vaccinations for 2021. 


]]> <![CDATA[Colombia: Protests Against Duque, Massacres, Police Brutality]]> Mon, 21 Sep 2020 20:02:54 -04:00 Colombia's major cities Monday have been witness to huge mobilizations against police brutality, the economic package (paquetazo) decreed by president Ivan Duque, and the massacres and assassinations of indigenous leaders and demobilized ex-combatants who signed the 2016 peace acords.

Social organizations, trade unions and mass movements who called for the national strike are mobilizing together with thousands of others in Bogota, Medellin, Barranquilla and Cali, among other cities, against the sysematic violence of the National Police against the Colombian people.


Workers Call Rallies Against Police Brutality in Colombia

On World Peace Day, declared as such by the United Nations in 1981, the National Strike Committee clarified that it will convoke car caravans throughout Colombia's major cities instead of taking to the streets, for numerous security reasons.

The South American nation undergoes another national day of social protest, demoninated 21S, in rejection of the national government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, the recent massacre of social leaders and other grave concerns. 

Diogenes Orjuela, president of the Central Workers Union (CUT) and spokesperson for the strike committee, said that Monday will see car caravans throughout the entire national territory. "We hope to do so in a peaceful and democratic way. We're going to give an exmaple of civility," he said.

Demonstrations are expected to take place in the country's major urban centers, especially where there were recent protests against the murder of Javier Ordoñez in Bogota at the hands of the National Police.

As such, unions, students, Afro-descendants, small farmers, activists, political leaders and women's movements are demanding of President Ivan Duque's government the full compliance and implementation of the 2016 Peace Agreements signed in 2016 by Colombian state and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People's Army (FARC-EP).

Other demands of the Colombian government are to repeal Decree 1174, through which the so-called Social Protection Floor was created, making labor relations even more precarious, as well as to cease the assassination of social leaders and ex-FARC combatants and end police brutality.

Colombia Humana Senator Gustavo Petro invited Colombians on his Twitter page to "make Monday's 21S protests a non-violent protest. Non-violence to reclaim Colombia's history. It's time to transform our country's history. The more people who show up to the protest, the more easily we can guarantee non-violence."

"Since Ivan Duque assumed the presidency, and uribism returned to power, the country has been devastated by the return to war in the territories, in which 177 individuals, social leaders, and human rights defenders have been killed, as well as 148 ex-combatants involved in the reincoporation process, and in 2020 alone we've seen 56 massacres that have cast a shadow over our peoples," the political declaration calling for the protests expressed. 

The police's mobile anti-riot squad disperses protesters in Plaza Bolivar, Bogota, Colombia 

As such, the Colombian National Strike Committee estbalished an agreement with authorities that police would not carry arms during the car caravan and while accompanying the march throughout the different cities in the South American nation.

That said, the National Police has stated it will not allow agglomerations of more than 50 people, due to health and safety measures required because of COVID-19. 

Recent marches in Bogota against police brutality have been met with extreme forces by state security agents, including over a dozen deaths and hundreds more injured. 

]]> <![CDATA[Honduras: COVID-19 Death Toll Rise, Gov't Dismisses Doctors]]> Mon, 21 Sep 2020 17:38:21 -04:00 Honduran health workers denounced on Monday that the government refuses to renew their contracts "because the COVID-19 pandemic is going down."


Honduras: Drivers Go on Strike Over COVID-19 Pandemic Damages

According to an official document published by local media outlet Criterio, on September 17, the National Medical Directorate of the Honduran Institute of Social Security (IHSS) notified several doctors that on September 21, their special temporary contract during the COVID-19 health emergency would expire and the IHSS won't renew it.

"The non-renewal is based on the fact that there is no longer the institutional need to require their services due to the decrease in the number of patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 who require medical attention, determined by a technical opinion issued by the National Medical Directorate of the Honduran Institute of Social Security (IHSS)," the document explains.


"Incredible! They fire doctors who were in the front line in this war against COVID !! And they say they have health personnel for mobile hospitals !!!! !! They continue with their charade! They have nothing! They are desperate for the national outrage of this ROBBERY."


The decision has unleashed several protests across social media as some doctors already confirmed they would take the IHSS to court over the laid offs. 

On Monday, the Medical College of Honduras (CMH) said it would demand the IHSS for the dismissal of 10 doctors in the San Pedro de Sula region over the weekend. The CMH director Carlos Umaña told local media Proceso that the doctors had issued a complaint. If an answer is not given before September 25, they will proceed with the demand that same day.

On the other hand, Dr. Suyapa Sosa, President of El Tórax Medical Association hospital, said via Twitter that it is "incredible" that the government fires "doctors that were in the frontline in this war against the COVID-19." Nevertheless, Sosa argues that the government has claimed to have "health personnel for mobile hospitals."

Honduras's COVID-19 death toll rose to 2.184 on Sunday. However, the Secretariat of Security announced that although the curfew is extended until October 4, more people are allowed to circulate during the day starting on Monday. The country started economic reactivation in mid-July, but 28 out of the 298 municipalities are still in phase cero due to the high rates of COVID-19 infections.



]]> <![CDATA[Cuban-American Judge One of Trump's Top Picks for Supreme Court]]> Mon, 21 Sep 2020 17:31:01 -04:00 Trump's top two picks for the Supreme Court vacancy include supposed frontrunner Amy Coney Barrett, a judge for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, and Barbara Lagoa, a Cuban-American judge born in Hialeah, Florida, currently serving as a judge for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals covering Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.

Lagoa, whose parents fled Cuba in 1966, launched her career twenty years ago by serving on the pro-bono legal team representing the Miami relatives of Elian Gonzalez, the Cuban boy kidnapped to Miami whose return to Cuba was a victorious rallying cry throughout the island for justice up against powerful Cuban-American exile interests.



US: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Supreme Court Justice, Dies at 87

After graduating from Florida International University and Columbia Law School, Lagoa was selected by former Florida governor Jeb Bush to serve on a state appeals court, after which she served as a chief judge for Florida's Third District Court of Appeals, only to then be selected by Governor Ron DeSantis as Florida Supreme Court justice before being confirmed by the Senate in December, with an 80-15 vote, to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Many legal analysts note her nomination to the Supreme Court would strategically serve Trump's re-election bid, especially in the largest swing-state of Florida, by catering to powerful Cuban-American exile interests who have helped launch her career. A "reliably pro-life" conservationist and staunchly conservative juror, Lagoa has opposed local minimum wage increases in Florida, limited recourse for homeowners facing foreclosure, and upheld the law requiring ex-felons to pay public debts before being allowed to vote. 


Trump's strategists also hope that by picking a Latina Supreme Court justice, any Democratic efforts to delay the vote until after the November 3rd presidential elections or denounce her pro-business positions can be framed as racist—part of their goal to win Florida's diverse Latino voters away from Biden and the Democrats, and towards a victory for Trump in Florida. His recent announcement on Friday to release $9.6 billion in federal relief aid to Puerto Rico can be understood in the same vein, an attempt to win over this growing community of voting U.S. citizens displaced throughout Florida after Hurricane Maria. 
Lagoa's husband, Paul Huck Jr., an attorney with Jones Day,  has represented the Trump campaign. Lagoa was a top candidate for Florida's Lieutenant Governor position under Ron DeSantis, which was ultimately given to another Cuban-American, Jeanette Nuñez.
While even prominent Republican senators have urged to let the winner of the presidential election fill the vacant Supreme Court seat, most predict the vote will be expedited to October, with Trump announcing his nominee "some time Friday or Saturday" and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell vowing to confirm whoever Trump nominates. 
]]> <![CDATA[Brazil's Foreign Minister Called To Declare Over Pompeo’s Visit]]> Mon, 21 Sep 2020 15:04:05 -04:00 Brazil's Senate Foreign Relations Committee (CRE) Monday issued a subpoena to Foreign Affairs Minister Ernesto Araujo to explain the visit of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to the Roraima state on the border between Brazil and Venezuela.


Mike Pompeo Drives the US Agenda Against Venezuela From Brazil

On Tuesday, during the hearing, Araujo will have to render account to some senators for whom the minister defied the institution by handing over "national territory to a U.S. agent to threaten a friendly country."

On Sept. 18, Pompeo and Araujo went to the facilities of the Operation Welcome project in Boa Vista. This project receives immigrants from Venezuela, who are outspokenly against President Nicolas Maduro's administration.

Senator Nelson Trad said the Brazilian lawmakers want to know what really happened given that the official statements downplay the consequences of Pompeo's visit.

“They used the national soil for bullying. We are not a U.S. military base in Brazil,” Labor Party Senator Jaques Wagner complained.

Besides hailing Pompeo's visit to Roraima, President Jair Bolsonaro said that the visit represented "how much Brazil and the U.S. are aligned in the pursuit of the common good."

With November elections just around the corner, Washington was seeking to use the visit to reinforce the perception of having a strong foreign policy. Republicans estimate that to repudiate President Maduro's government can help to boost the votes.

Brazil's Foreign Minister Called To Declare Over Pompeo’s Visit
]]> <![CDATA[Witness Implicates the US in Assange's Expulsion From Embassy]]> Mon, 21 Sep 2020 14:41:06 -04:00 The U.S. journalist Cassandra Fairbanks told a British court on Monday that President Donald Trump's administration may have negotiated the expulsion of Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy in London in April 2019.


Julian Assange Is Kept Under Inhumane Conditions, Lawyer Says

As part of the WikiLeaks founder's defense, the Gateway Pundit reporter testified before the Old Bailey criminal court in London. In her affidavit, she admitted to being a supporter of President Donald Trump, although she stated her commitment to press freedom.

Fairbanks explained that she received messages from a chat where there were people close to the Republican leader, such as his ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell and his adviser Arthur Schwartz, who was also a collaborator of Donald Trump Jr.

In October 2018, Schwartz told Fairbanks that the U.S. government "would enter" the Ecuadorian embassy in London "to arrest" Julian Assange, as he hinted that this Andean country's authorities would "let them do it."

“Schwartz informed me that in coordinating for Assange to be removed from the Embassy, Ambassador Grenell had don so on direct orders from the President. I believed this connected President Trump to those who had been reported as having secured the deal to arrest Assange,” the U.S. journalist wrote to the Court.

“I made this information known to an extremely limited number of people. I have had significant concerns, not least because of my previous experiences with Ambassador Grenell which gave me cause for concern: Grenell had personally attempted to get me fired from my job in April 2019,” Fairbanks recalled.

Prosecutor Joel Smith, who is acting on behalf of the U.S. Justice, rejected Fairbanks' testimony on the grounds that he could not know if she was telling the truth. However, the U.S. lawyer ruled out questioning her.

The United States demands Assange to try him for having allegedly conspired with former U.S. soldier Chelsea Manning in 2010 to get and publish secret information on his website.

In this second phase of the process against the Australian journalist, his defense will call witnesses to support the thesis that Washington's accusations are politically motivated.

]]> <![CDATA[Uganda's Main University Catches Fire Twice on the Same Day]]> Mon, 21 Sep 2020 15:13:17 -04:00 The main building of Uganda's Makerere University caught fire twice on Sunday. Research suggests that this was a planned attack.


Uganda on Alert, Fight Locusts Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

“No casualties are reported,” Kamala’s authorities informed as they assured that the fire started at the university’s Ivory Tower at Sunday midnight.

Hours later, a second fire was registered at the Tower’s southern wing, which was not affected by the initial flames. This blaze occurred for the reignition of the first fire's debris.

Authorities believe that this was a planned attack because two suspects were caught on a security camera entering the institution and never exiting. An investigation is underway to determine if those individuals are responsible for the fire.

“The damage to our University is irreparable. Critical documents were destroyed,” Vice-Rector Barnabas Nawangwe tweeted.

The fire, which started on the roof of the Tower, spread over the floors where the Registry and Finance departments are located.

In 1922, Uganda's largest and oldest institution was founded as a technical school. In 1970, it was transformed into an independent national university.
]]> <![CDATA[A Bacteria Killed Hundreds of Elephants in Botswana This Year]]> Mon, 21 Sep 2020 13:13:55 -04:00 After months of investigation, Botswana’s Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) Monday announced that cyanobacteria caused the death of 330 elephants in July.


Uganda Welcomes Rare Baby Boom in Mountain Gorilla Population

These micro-organisms survive in water, can photosynthesize, and produce neurotoxins that poison terrestrial and marine fauna.

"Our latest tests have detected cyanobacterial neurotoxins to be the cause of deaths… We still have many questions to answer, including why only elephants were affected, why it happened in the area involved, and what might trigger the changes we have seen in the zone," the DWNP Principal veterinary officer Mmadi Reuben said.

This expert also mentioned that it has been proven that the deaths ended when the pools of water around the Seronga town dried up.

"From now on we are going to monitor the situation and devise procedures to avoid more deaths in the next season," he added.

The alarms about the death of the Botswana elephants went off in early May when the carcasses of several animals were located in the surrounding area of ​​the Okavango Delta. At that time, however, wildlife experts could not find a cause of death.

Subsequent scans led to the discovery of around 300 dead pachyderms with signs of sudden neurological damage. No other species were affected, not even animals such as hyenas or vultures that could have fed on the carcasses of elephants.

Because of mobility restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, field investigations into the death of elephants were complicated and scientific samples had to be sent to laboratories in other countries.

Botswana has the world's largest elephant population, which is estimated at over 125,000 individuals in the wild. About 10 percent of them live in the area affected by this bacterial outbreak, the Okavango Delta, which is well known internationally for its luxury safari tourism.

]]> <![CDATA[Nepal: First Man To Crown Everest Without Bottled Oxygen Dies]]> Mon, 21 Sep 2020 13:28:59 -04:00 Veteran Nepalese Sherpa guide Ang Rita, the first person to climb Mount Everest 10 times without bottled oxygen, Monday died at age 72 after a long illness.


Nepalese Sherpa Breaks Own Record, Climbs Everest 24 Times

He was born in 1948, in a small village called Yillajung in eastern Nepal, and started working as a Sherpa at a young age to provide for his family. He was living in Kathmandu where he will be cremated this Wednesday in a traditional Sherpa ceremony.

The first time he crowned the top of Everest without using artificial oxygen was in 1983. He was also the first to crown it in winter without using breathing accessories.

Kami Rita, who holds the record for climbing Everest (24), told Spanish outlet EFE that "his courage and dedication can never be described in words. It takes dedication, passion, and courage to climb Everest without the aid of oxygen. He made the country proud, but the government of Nepal knew nothing about him.”

The Guinness World Records (GWR) recognized him in 2017 as the only person to have climbed Everest 10 times without supplemental oxygen. GWR had recognized him before as the first man to climb Everest in winter without supplementary oxygen in December 1987.

Despite his fame, Rita struggled financially and with his health, including liver illness and swelling of the brain. Once, former Nepal Mountaineering Association President Ang Tshering had to hire a helicopter to flew him to a hospital for treatment, because the Sherpa was not able to afford it.

Known as the “Snow Leopard,” Rita was also an activist and joined a non-profit group called The Mountain Institute, committed to helping remote mountain communities to take care of the fragile environments that surround them.

He received the Sir Edmund Hillary Mountain Legacy Medal in 2011 for his efforts towards conservation of the fragile Himalayan ecology.

]]> <![CDATA[US Sanctions Venezuela's President & Iran's Defense Ministry]]> Mon, 21 Sep 2020 12:00:52 -04:00 The United States Monday announced sanctions against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro and Iran's Defense Ministry over United Nations (UN) arms embargo on the Persian country.


Iran Changes Route to Bring Fuel to Venezuela Amid US Sanctions

"Venezuela's previous president Maduro will face new sanctions for defying the UN embargo imposed on Iran," U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo informed with cynicism.

“For nearly two years, corrupt officials in Tehran had worked with the illegitimate regime in Venezuela to flout the UN arms embargo,” he added.

The U.S. decision came two days after Pompeo assured unilaterally that the UN sanctions against the Persian country were back in force. It was allegedly taken under UN authority, but this is widely contested.

Washington argues it is enforcing a UN arms embargo that Iran violated. But the legal argument has been rejected virtually by all nations on the UN Security Council, including U.S. allies.

To enforce the embargo, President Donald Trump's administration is using a UN resolution that issued a nuclear accord with Iran in 2015. But the U.S. pulled out of it in 2018.

Iran has been helping Venezuela to surpass the crisis the country is facing due to previous U.S. unilateral sanctions. Trump is seeking to cut off access to equipment and buyers for the Latin American country's oil.

By 2020, Iran's five ships carrying fuel and chemicals arrived at Venezuelan shores after the signing of a trade agreement between both countries.

]]> <![CDATA[Women Hold Car Caravan Against Femicide in Nicaragua]]> Mon, 21 Sep 2020 13:43:27 -04:00 Nicaragua's Feminist Action Group held a car caravan through the main streets of Managua to demand an end to the killing and rape of girls and women.


Nicaragua: Virtual Reality and Human Rights

"Girls Must Not be Touch, Raped, or Killed" was written in white ink on the windshields of the hundreds of vehicles that took part in the "Caravan for Girls".

"In the last two weeks, several girls have been victims of sexual violence in different municipalities of the capital," Caravan organizers stated as they recalled that three women were killed between Sept. 17 and 18.

So far this year, over 57 femicides have been registered in the country, according to the NGO Catholics for the Right to Decide.

"Feminists held a Caravan for Girls to demand justice for the murders and rapes of girls and women."

"We don't want to be a figure in the statistics. We want everyone to have an equal right to live," feminist Martha Flores said.

One of the latest gender-related crimes was against two girls aged 10 and 12 in Mululuku municipality. The criminal raped and murdered the youngest one and then hacked to death her older sister, who was already been raped by another man four years earlier.

"These crimes are often tolerated as they go unpunished because of our society's ingrained sexism," Flores added.

]]> <![CDATA[British Court To Analyze Appeal on Venezuela's Gold]]> Mon, 21 Sep 2020 10:37:43 -04:00 London’s Court of Appeal Tuesday will analyze the legal recourse filed by President Nicolas Maduro’s administration against the High Court judge Nigel Teare’s ruling that gave Juan Guaido control over gold reserves deposited by the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) in the Bank of England (BoE).


Pompeo Insists on Overthrowing Venezuela in His Visit to Guyana

After hearing from the parties until Thursday, Judges Kim Lewison, Stephen Males, and Stephen Phillips will decide whether to support the previous court decision.

On July 2, Teare ruled that the BCV ad hoc board appointed by Guaido can access monetary reserves valued at about US$1.3 billion. His decision prevents the BCV board headed by Calixto Ortega, who was legitimately appointed by the constitutional government of Venezuela, from accessing these resources.

In arguing his decision, Judge Teare considered that the British government recognized Guaido as Venezuela's interim president and that his board has authority over the reserves.

Simultaneously, however, he said that the English court does not have the power to examine the legality of appointments to the BCV board based on the laws in force in Venezuela, a country where the Supreme Court ruled against that board illegally made up by Guaido.

The lawyer for the BCV board legally formed by the Venezuelan authorities, Nick Vineall, pointed out that the U.K. has maintained in practice uninterrupted diplomatic ties with the Maduro administration since 2019.

The Court of Appeals will have to decide whether the U.K. actually recognizes Guaido for all purposes and whether it has the power to examine acts declared illegal in Venezuela.

The British Justice must establish which of the two boards is the legitimate one to advance the lawsuit filed in May against the BoE by Ortega, who accuses the British central bank of violating a contract by not fulfilling his order to transfer 930 million euros to a United Nations fund, which will finance the fight against COVID-19 in the South American country.

]]> <![CDATA[Mexico: Parents of Missing Students Denounce Corruption]]> Mon, 21 Sep 2020 11:05:32 -04:00 The parents of the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa in September 2014 denounced corruption within the Mexican judicial authorities.


Mexico: OHCHR Supports Families of the Ayotzinapa Disappeared

Their spokesman Felipe De La Cruz said that even though the Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador administration shows a willingness to get to the truth, they still find corruption in the judiciary.

"We know about the bribe received by the judge who released Jose Angel Casarrubias Salgado, one of the defendants in the Ayotzinapa case after he was arrested,” De La Cruz said. “That gives us the certainty that we are still contaminated and it's time to clean up.”

The families demand the authorities disclose some videos used during the trial for they could shed some light on the crime. "These videos show that several young people were taken by police to Huitzuco, in the Guerrero state,” the spokesman said.

On Tuesday, families will protest in front of the Congress in Guerrero to demand lawmakers to fulfill their promise to create a commission to support a new investigation.

The next day, they will demand justice for the victims in Mexico City, where they will demonstrate in front of the Supreme Court and will carry out a march to raise awareness on the case.

According to the controversial official version of former president Enrique Peña Nieto's administration, the Ayotzinapa students were murdered by "Guerreros Unidos", a criminal gang that cremated their remains in a garbage dump.

]]> <![CDATA[Uruguay: Broad Front Closes Its Campaign With Massive Caravan]]> Mon, 21 Sep 2020 11:15:44 -04:00 Uruguay's left-wing party Broad Front (BF) Sunday closed its campaign with a massive caravan through Montevideo a week before the country holds its departmental and municipal elections.


Uruguay: Broad Front Sees Victory Facing Covid-19 Crisis

BF candidates Daniel Martinez, Carolina Cosse, and Alvaro Villar took the streets of the city with a caravan of hundreds of vehicles. The kilometer line reached the America Tribune, in the Centenario Stadium, from where the aspirants spoke to the people.

"We want a country of equals, where it doesn't matter which neighborhood you were born in... Although we lost a battle, we are not destroyed," Martinez said, alluding to the party's defeat before the right-wing Multicolor Coalition in the 2019 presidential elections.

The candidates warned about the social setback the country has experienced since the right-wing President Luis Lacalle took office.

"The setback seems relentless, but it is not irreversible. We will win back the trust of Uruguayans and Montevideo's people, and we will work for them," Cosse added.

Broad Front candidates praised Uruguay's public education system, which is an achievement promoted by this party through its 15 years of government (2009-2019).

"Lacalle is standing on our achievements and our collective effort. To maintain them, and to achieve others, Montevideo needs to support us," Villar urged.

The Broad Front hopes to maintain its mandate over Montevideo, a city that has been governed by the left-wing party uninterruptedly since 1990. During the elections, its candidates will face the Multicolor Right-Wing Coalition candidate Laura Raffo.

The departmental and municipal elections will be held next Sunday and they will be the last stage of Uruguay's electoral calendar, which began in June 2019.

]]> <![CDATA[Venezuelan Army Dismantles Illegal Camps Near Colombian Border]]> Mon, 21 Sep 2020 11:36:01 -04:00 Venezuela's Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino announced the neutralization of three camps near the border with Colombia from which crime groups carried out illegal activities.


Pompeo-Duque Meeting Fixates on Venezuela, Ignores Colombia's Human Rights Record

Padrino said that the operation was carried out by the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) as part of the Bolivarian Shield 2020 - Centaur of the Plains operation.

"The FANB will not rest in its war on all armed groups that attempt to use our sacred territory for drug trafficking and other cross-border crimes to disturb national peace,” he said.

He referred to the fact that many of these illegal operations are derived from the “degenerate process of violence that Colombia is experiencing.”

Previously, Lopez denounced that there is almost no presence of Colombian authorities on the border with Venezuela, where "one can only see drug traffickers and paramilitaries extorting fellow countrymen," and promoting illegal crossings.

FANB announced that they arrested five terrorists and seized several items such as five assault rifles, three automatic pistols, abundant cartridges of different calibers, camouflaged uniforms, audiovisual and telephone equipment, and a variety of combat equipment.

"The military units deployed in the area continue to track and pursue other members of the aforementioned criminal groups,” FANB said.

During the operation, First Lieutenant Augusto David Linares, Lieutenant Miguel Angel Mora García, First Sergeant Major Gabriel Alexander Perez Silva, and Second Sergeant Reiber David Chirinos Reyes died. Also, another four FANB officials were injured.

"They died fulfilling the sacred oath to defend the homeland. In honor of their heroism, President Nicolas Maduro ordered their post-mortem promotion."

]]> <![CDATA[Woman Suspected of Trying To Poison President Trump Is Arrested]]> Mon, 21 Sep 2020 08:46:40 -04:00 U.S. authorities Sunday arrested a woman on suspicion of sending a letter containing ricin poison to U.S. President Donald Trump last week.


US Popularity Lowest in Two Decades -Report

A government official told CNN that the woman was captured carrying a gun at a border crossing in New York state as she was trying to get into U.S. territory from Canada.

Authorities haven't released the woman’s name yet but they said that she was taken into custody by US Customs and Border Protection officers, and most likely will end up facing federal charges.

Last week, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) revealed to CNN that they along with the Secret Service and U.S. Postal Inspection Service partners were "investigating a suspicious letter received at a US government mail facility.”

The package was intercepted by the Secret Service before it reached the White House, and the envelope was smeared with a substance that was later identified as ricin, a very toxic poison found naturally in castor beans.

Canada's Public Safety Minister spokeswoman Mary-Liz Power reported that they were “aware of the concerning reports of packages containing ricin directed toward U.S. federal government sites,"

"Canadian law enforcement is working closely with their U.S. counterparts. As this is an active investigation we cannot comment further," she said, regarding the fact that authorities found similar packages mailed to addresses in Texas, allegedly sent by the same person in Canada.

]]> <![CDATA[Italy: 1,200 Migrants Arrive on Lampedusa Island at the Weekend]]> Mon, 21 Sep 2020 08:25:47 -04:00 Lampedusa island’s migrant reception center is saturated again after over 1,200 migrants arrived this weekend on dozens of barges from North Africa.


Italy Authorizes Open Arms To Disembark 150 Migrants in Palermo

In the early hours of Sunday, about twelve boats with 263 Tunisian and Libyan migrants reached the island with help of the Italian coast guard.

Another 11 small boats carrying some 300 migrants also arrived on this small Italian island, which has become the gateway to Europe because of its proximity to the African coast. They are in the Imbriacola district's reception center, which only can house 192 people.

A few weeks ago, the number of refugee migrants in Lampedusa reached similar levels and the Italian Government chartered several boats to transfer the migrants to other places where they could quarantine.

Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese renegotiated with Tunisia a repatriation agreement to repatriate people to that country. In the coming weeks, Tunisian migrants will leave for their homeland in a series of charter flights, besides two flights that repatriate some 80 people every 15 days since July.

Meanwhile, 133 migrants rescued on Saturday by the humanitarian ship Alan Kurdi, which belongs to the German NGO Sea-Eye, wait off the coast of Lampedusa for a port to disembark. Among them are 61 minors and a 5-month-old baby.

"They must be evacuated quickly and must not become the subject of negotiation between the countries of the European Union," Alan Kurdi Chairman Gordon Isler said.

“The Italian authorities have become very reluctant to support civilian sea rescuers and prefer to keep our ships in their ports for weeks on end. They seem to have no scruples about putting the rescued people and crews in danger through blockades,” he added.

]]> <![CDATA[Colombia: Massacre in Nariño Is Posted on Social Media]]> Mon, 21 Sep 2020 09:04:27 -04:00 Colombia's Army Monday confirmed the murder of four men who were shot to death in a rural area of the Nariño Department as the killers posted the execution on social networks.


Seven Killed in Colombia’s 60th Massacre of 2020

"Colombia hurts. The situation is terrible. There is no respect for the life and dignity of human beings," journalist Carlos Ceron tweeted.

The victims were Cristian and Jose Miranda, Fabian Olave, and Orlindo Cuero. Their bodies arrived at the Mosquera municipality's morgue at 18h00 local time.

The forensic report stated that Jose Miranda was shot in his right arm, thorax, and right side. Meanwhile, Cristian Miranda was shot in the left eye and the shoulder; Fabian Olave was wounded in the abdomen and head, and Orlindo was shot in the left arm, right shoulder, lumbar zone, and neck.

This violent act is the twelfth massacre that took place in Colombia during the last month., according to the Peace and Development Studies Institute (Indepaz).

On Sunday, the first massacre occurred when armed men killed six people in rural Buenos Aires, Cauca, early in the morning. The victims' relatives found their bodies in a mangrove swamp.

Over 240 people have been killed in 61 massacres in Colombia this 2020. From the Peace Agreement signing in 2016 to July 15, 2020, over 970 social leaders and human rights defenders have been assassinated

]]> <![CDATA[Seven Killed in Colombia’s 60th Massacre of 2020]]> Sun, 20 Sep 2020 22:25:55 -04:00 At least seven people were killed today in a massacre in the municipality of Buenos Aires, department of Cauca, Colombia as denounced by the Red por la Vida de los Derechos Humanos de Cauca (Network of Life of Human Rights of Cauca). 


Colombia: Paramilitaries Execute Social Leader in Bolivar

The Network says this is the ninth massacre to occur in Cauca department since the start of the year, bringing the total number of massacre victims to 35. So far in September, there have been 11 massacres around Colombia.

“We do not accept from any point of view, the statements of the National Government and of the Attorney General of the Nation where they classify these massacres as ‘collective murders’, we consider these statements as media distractions in order to not assume political responsibility before a situation that is out of the hands of the national government,” it said in a statement on Sunday.

The human rights network demands that the government and attorney general advance the pertinent investigation processes with the aim of clarifying the acts and demands that victims not be stigmatized in order to justify the massacres as they have been.

According to the Instituto de Estudios Para el Desarrollo y La Paz (Indepaz), the largest number of massacres have taken place in the departments of Antioquia (14), Cauca (9), Nariño (8) and Norte de Santander (6). Some municipalities along the border with Ecuador have even seen three massacres, according to information as of September 18, 2020.

A massacre, or what the government calls “collective murders,” are when three or more people are killed at once. The majority of these crimes have taken place in rural areas.

Social leaders have been among those targeted in rural area violence, as well as former combatants of the demobilized FARC, who gave up their weapons following the 2016 Peace Accords with the Colombian government, only to see Duque abandon the agreements.

On Saturday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a brief visit with President Ivan Duque where they discussed matters in a number of areas, relating nearly all of them back to Venezuela and Washington’s agenda which seeks to oust the democratically elected government led by President Nicolas Maduro.

Despite the talking points on ‘human rights’ in Venezuela, the two made no mention of Colombia’s own human rights crisis, or the attacks on civil liberties in the United States, where anti-racist organizers have been targeted, rounded up by U.S. security forces and jailed for their activism following the killing of Black American George Floyd.

Young Colombians also mobilized in the streets earlier this month in response to the torture and killing, by police, of Javier Ordoñez in Bogota.

The gruesome assault which was captured on video, was widely seen and led to mass protests against police terror in the capital and around the country, resulting in further aggressions by Ivan Duque’s security forces including at least 13 deaths.

Eight of the people killed during protests were young people between 17 and 27 years old, Bogota's Mayor Claudia Lopez explained.

]]> <![CDATA[El Salvador Reopens Airports, Requires PCR Test for Nationals]]> Sun, 20 Sep 2020 18:14:11 -04:00 The international airport in San Salvador reopened on Saturday with limited commercial flight operations, and the requirement of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, despite a ruling by the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court which said that the entry of Salvadorans or permanent residents cannot be denied.


Salvadoran Ex-Colonel Sentenced to Jail Over Priests' Massacre

The government of Nayib Bukele said that airlines must require a negative PCR test from passengers in order to keep the airport open without causing a second wave of infections. Airline crew, diplomats and children under two years of age are exempt.

The judiciary says that health, airport and migration authorities cannot lawfully prevent entry to Salvadoran nationals nor foreigners who have permanent residency if they come without presenting a negative test, and denial of their entry may be a crime.

El Salvador’s government closed airports on March 17th with the exception of cargo flights and limited humanitarian missions, initially taking some of the most strict measures in Latin America.

The San Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez Airport restarted operations with 20 percent of its capacity for flights to 13 destinations in Central America and North America, according to airport authorities. Land border restrictions which began in March will also be lifted on Monday.

The Ministry of Health has reported a downward trend in coronavirus cases following a peak in mid-August and has recorded 27,428 positive cases and 808 total deaths from COVID-19.

Saturday’s reopening was a spectacle with members of Bukele’s cabinet and airline officials participating in the relaunch.

Constant disinfection throughout inspection areas, waiting rooms and boarding bridges will be among the measures being implemented by the Port Commission.

]]> <![CDATA[Venezuela's Electoral Head: Doors Open to Accompany Dec. 6 Vote]]> Sun, 20 Sep 2020 16:19:55 -04:00 Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) is weighing whether to take the unprecedented decision to hold the December 6th National Assembly election vote over a period of two days rather than one, exploring the benefits of the possibility, while undergoing the necessary audits and while working to develop the most optimal and efficient conditions.


Venezuela: 14,400 Candidates Will Run in Parliamentary Elections

As CNE President Indira Alfonzo told Ernesto Villegas Poljak on his weekly interview program, Aqui Con Ernesto, it’s one of many considerations that the electoral authorities will have to make in what are exceptional circumstances amid the pandemic which continues to significantly affect South America.

Several countries of the region have held elections since the coronavirus arrived on the continent including general elections held in Suriname, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica.

In response to the health situation, a number of measures and specific steps have been laid out. For example, no voter, poll worker or authority can enter a polling station without a face mask, the CNE is now deliberating on whether a disinfection cabin/tunnel is possible for 14,000 electoral centers, or whether voters will be subject to disinfecting manually upon entering.

The head of the CNE says that more than 75 communications have been sent to regional and international institutions which have historically been invited by the CNE to accompany the December elections and they’ve also invited technical experts.

Among the invited organizations are the Puebla Group, the European Union, the United Nation and some electoral commissions that have asked to come to Venezuela to observe and llearn from the process, said the President of the CNE.

“The doors are open and I’ve told the Foreign Minister to relay to the diplomatic missions accredited here that the doors of the National Electoral Council are open. We understand that right now air travel in the region or from elsewhere of the world can present difficulties, and so they can be spokespersons, listeners, and some have requested courtesy visits and we have received them. The invitation is for everyone.”

Host Ernesto Villegas P. asked about the naysayers who have voiced skepticism about the vote: "Imagine that there is a person listening who is doubtful over whether or not to vote this December 6th. What would you say to convince them?”

“It’s your right. It’s your country. It’s democracy. Electing the parliament, your congressmen and congresswomen is your most direct protagonistic exercise. Your representative of your region, your state will be there, it’s time to elect, it’s time to consolidate this handsome democracy,” replied Alfonzo.

]]> <![CDATA[Secret Files Show How Criminals Use Big-Name Banks to Move Money]]> Sun, 20 Sep 2020 15:49:30 -04:00 A global investigation Sunday revealed for the first time secret documents that show how the giants of Western big-name Banks move trillions of dollars in suspicious transactions as they expose the ineffective anti-money laundering efforts led by the U.S.


Peru's First Lady Vows to Stop Money Laundering Investigation

The Secret U.S. government files prove how Banks are enriching themselves and their shareholders as they facilitate the work of terrorists, kleptocrats, and drug kingpins. Meanwhile, the U.S. administration fails to stop it.

The U.S. Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) confidential files entered at the local outlet BuzzFeed News, which shared them with the International Consortium for Investigative Journalism (ICIJ).

The over 2,100 reports of suspicious activity made by banks and other financial institutions were investigated by 400 journalists from 108 media outlets in 88 countries for over a year.

The ICIJ found that the banks involved routinely processed transactions without knowing the money's source or final destination. Often, transactions were made to and from shell companies with possible links to money laundering and corruption.

"Profits from deadly drug wars, fortunes embezzled from developing countries, and hard-earned savings stolen in a Ponzi scheme were all allowed to flow into and out of these financial institutions, despite warnings from the banks’ employees," the report assured.

The investigation shows that banks such as JPMorgan Chase, HSBC, Standard Chartered, Deutsche Bank, and Bank of New York Mellon were involved in the money moved by suspected criminals.

The journalists also traced a U.S. drug dealer who transferred money from Rhode Island to a chemical lab in Wuhan, China, as they identified robbers of Buddhist relics graves that were sold to New York galleries.

"Suspicious payments flow around the world and into countless industries. They filter into the companies that make familiar items from people’s lives, from the gas in their car to the granola in their cereal bowl," the report added.

The networks through which dirty money traverse the world "have become vital arteries of the global economy. Banks with household names have helped to make it so," the ICIJ stated.

]]> <![CDATA[Brazil: Ex-Foreign Ministers Decry Pompeo's Hatred of Venezuela]]> Sun, 20 Sep 2020 13:54:38 -04:00 Brazil's Former Foreign Ministries rejected U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit to their country as they described it as a "spurious use of a foreign nation as a platform for provocation and hostility towards a neighboring state."


Mike Pompeo Drives the US Agenda Against Venezuela From Brazil

All the former officials that took office after Brazil's dictatorship period (1964-1985) stood in solidarity with the Chamber of Deputies's President Rodrigo Maia, who He was the first Lawmaker to oppose Pompeo's visit.

Pompeo's priority in Brazil was to visit Operation Acolhida's installations, which are the main point of entrance for Venezuelan migrants in the country. The facilities are located in Boa Vista municipality, Roraima Department, near the border with Venezuela.

Maia stressed out the Brazilian people's feelings when he said that such a visit, "is not in line with good international diplomatic practice."

"We have the obligation to watch for the stability of the borders and the peaceful and respectful coexistence with our neighbors. Those are pillars of our sovereignty and defense," The former Foreign Ministers stated.

The former officials highlighted that Roraima's senator Telmario Mota has repeatedly called for attention for the damages caused to the Brazilian border populations by Itamaraty's extreme actions against Venezuela.

Pompeo traveled to Brazil less than two months before the U.S. goes to the polls to elect a new president. His tour also included Suriname, Guyana, Brazil, and Colombia, which are U.S. strong allies in its hostilities against Caracas.

The Former Ministers who repudiated Pompeo's presence on the border with Venezuela were Fernando Cardoso, Celso Lafer, Celso Amorim and Jose Serra and Aloysio Nunes.

]]> <![CDATA[Over 10 LATAM Ex-Presidents Urge End to Proscriptions in Ecuador]]> Sun, 20 Sep 2020 11:18:35 -04:00 Former Latin American presidents led by Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva (Brazil), Jose Mujica, (Uruguay), Ernesto Samper (Colombia), and Evo Morales (Bolivia), Saturday asked Ecuador's administration to end the proscriptions of candidates ahead of the country's elections in 2021.


State of Exception in Ecuador Amid Strong Protests

"We express our deep concern about the Ecuadorian electoral authorities' decisions to banned the "Citizen's Revolution" political movement, in which former President Rafael Correa participates," the ex-presidents' group stated.

"We urged President Lenin Moreno to respect national and international standards to restore democracy in Ecuador," they added.

On September 15, Ecuador's National Electoral Council (CNE) eliminated from the Registry of Political Parties "Fuerza Compromiso Social", the party in which the "Citizen's Revolution" found a space to participate in the 2021 elections.

"This political grouping has been legally approved for four years, and it has participated in three electoral processes. The elimination came two days before the candidates' registration period," the leaders said.

This last-minute decision violates what it is established in the  United Nations (UN) International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Organization of American States (OAS) Human Rights Convention, and the Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador itself.

"All of these statutes guarantee the right to free association, non-discrimination, and political participation of the citizenry," they assured.

In the last few days, Citizen's Revolution managed to get included at another political organization, "Democratic Center", to allow them a new space for participation.

However, the CNE assured that they would not accept the Democratic Center's registration because of the movement's "non-existent legal precepts."

" Outlawing and persecution continue in Ecuador. An international commitment is essential to fight for the recovery of democracy in that country."

"This would become a breach of democracy and the marginalization of millions of Ecuadorians who have expressed their willingness to support the political project of the Citizen's Revolution", the leader highlighted.

Former presidents such as Manuel Zelaya (Honduras), Alvaro Colom (Guatemala), Tabare Vazquez (Uruguay), Martin Torrijos (Panama), Salvador Sanchez (El Salvador), and Leonel Fernandez (Dominican Republic), joined the claim.

The claim was also signed by Parlasur President Oscar Laborde, and former foreign ministers, such as Celso Amorin, Jorge Taiana, David Choquehucanca, and Jose Miguel Insulsa, who was also OAS Secretary-General.

]]> <![CDATA[Pompeo Declares UN Sanctions on Iran Are Back in Force ]]> Sun, 20 Sep 2020 09:10:47 -04:00 The U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Saturday announced unilaterally that United Nations (UN) sanctions against Iran are back in effect, as he promised to punish those countries who don't comply with them.


Iran Calls on the US to Stop Internal Oppression

"The U.S. is prepared to impose consequences to those UN member states that fail to implement the sanctions," Pompeo said.

According to him, the measures "will be back into effect" as of Sunday, 20h00 pm Washington time.

The U.S. decided unilaterally to resume sanctions against Iran, due to "the Persian country's non-compliance with its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)," Pompeo assured.

The Security Council "failed to extend the UN arms embargo against Iran, which had been in place for 13 years," the Secretary of State added.

On Monday, the Trump administration will issue an executive order explaining how it will implement the UN sanctions. The U.S. Treasury  Department will also explain which foreign individuals and companies will be penalized.

Most members of the UN Security Council, including other permanent members such as Russia, China, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom (U.K.), see the US movement as illegal.

In July 2015, the U.S., U.K., China, France, and Germany signed the so-called Joint Comprehensive Action Plan (JCP), which imposed several constraints on Iran's nuclear program.

In May 2018, Washington broke the pact and activated several sanctions against Iran because the country was "continuing to develop nuclear weapons."

]]> <![CDATA[St. Kitts and Nevis Marks 37 Years of Independence from Britain]]> Sat, 19 Sep 2020 22:45:40 -04:00 The Caribbean nation of St. Kitts and Nevis is celebrating 37 years since the birth of the sovereign nation, when the union jack was lowered for the last time on 19th September 1983.


Pompeo Insists on Overthrowing Venezuela in His Visit to Guyana

Hon. Mark Brantley, Premier of Nevis gave an address on the occasion of the 37th anniversary.

“Today, I pay tribute to our fore parents who toiled incessantly and suffered greatly for the cause of freedom. We today are the beneficiaries of their dreams and aspirations of a free and independent nation. Today we stand proudly on the shoulders of these giants who came before us and who, through their struggle, pain and suffering, continue to inspire us.”

In his Independence Message, Prime Minister Timothy Harris looked ahead saying there is much left to accomplish as a nation.

“We have much to be proud of from where we have come: our heritage, our struggles, our shared sacrifices and our successes, but we have much yet to accomplish. As we look toward the next thirty-seven years, we have much work to do if we are to increase the inheritance for the generation coming after us.”

The government and people of St. Kitts and Nevis received numerous well wishes and congratulatory messages on the date, most notably from the State of Palestine, the People and Government of Reconciliation and National Unity of the Republic of Nicaragua, and the President of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel.

In a letter sent to Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Mark Brantley, Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said, “We praise the exemplary emancipatory process of Saint Christopher and Nevis that in a historic date as today achieved its Independence, guided by its conviction of constituting as a free and sovereign country, whose ideals are still guided by the construction of its development and progress in the present.”

Wishing St. Kitts and Nevis a prosperous future, Minister Arreaza further expressed the will of the Venezuelan Government to continue advancing in the strengthening of bilateral relations “particularly in such difficult times that humanity is facing today during the world pandemic.”

]]> <![CDATA[Bolivia: Violent Pro-Coup Extremists Assault MAS Canvassers]]> Sat, 19 Sep 2020 20:38:39 -04:00 Bolivian coup supporters waged an attack on Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) canvassers, setting fire to campaign tents and destroying materials.


Bolivia’s Regime Mobilizes Far-Right Paramilitary Groups

Videos circulating on social media show what appears to be people in MAS t-shirts being chased down in the area of the 4 de Noviembre plaza in Cochabamba, while posters and other materials were taken down.

Speaking to local news networks, MAS members said they were campaigning for the party’s Arce-Choquehuanca ticket and local candidates in the Plaza, when members of the Resistencia Juvenil Cochala (RJC) appeared and began setting off firecrackers and tear gas, while others were chased, grabbed and beaten.

The attacks have been denounced by frontrunner, and socialist presidential candidate for the MAS, Luis Arce, who demanded respect for the right to carry out peaceful electoral campaign activities.

Former President Evo Morales also denounced the attacks on social media: ”We hold the coup leaders responsible for the attacks by members of the Cochala Youth Resistance against MAS militants who were campaigning in #Cochabamba. The danger of violence, racism and separatism must not return to the country.”

According to Los Tiempos newspaper, the leader of Resistencia Juvenil Cochala (RJC), Yassir Molina claims that his group was not the authors of the eviction of the campaigners from the plaza, and said they already have eight legal proceedings active.

In August, armed shock groups were allowed to wage attacks on anti-coup demonstrations in which broad sectors had mobilized in defense of democratic elections around the country.

The coup regime-linked groups showed up at road blockades to try to impede the right to protest, using violent tactics as police looked on without intervening.

Coup leader and third place presidential candidate Fernando Camacho at the time issued an ‘open letter’ to senator-turned-regime-leader Jeanine Añez, threatening to mobilize violent extremist groups against leftists if the regime failed to crush the protests.

On September 17, Bolivia's Ombudsman released a 300+ page report on events which occurred following the October 20, 2019 general election, stated that ‘parastatal groups’ were formed and implemented under the defacto administration, assuming “internal security functions of exclusive competence of the Bolivian Police, under the permissibility of this institution.”

Given the long list of violations detailed in this Ombudsman report it is unclear to what extent free elections can be held if one party, the Movement Towards Socialism, cannot express itself freely under the violence promoted by the defacto authorities and the right-wing candidates Carlos Mesa and Fernando Camacho.

]]> <![CDATA[Kevin Zeese, Presente! U.S. Activist Remembered in Virtual Vigil]]> Sat, 19 Sep 2020 17:22:37 -04:00 Beloved U.S. activist Kevin Zeese was celebrated in a virtual tribute on Saturday, in which participants heard stories and praise on Kevin’s work from journalist Chris Hedges, former presidential candidate Ralph Nader, Venezuelan Vice Foreign Minister Carlos Ron, international human rights activist Ajamu Baraka and many others.


US Activist and Friend to Venezuela Kevin Zeese Passes Away

Kevin Zeese, a father, public interest attorney, organizer and activist for 40 years who worked on a broad range of issues, passed away suddenly on September 6, 2020.

Due to the pandemic, the family opted to organize the online tribute to him, to bring together Kevin’s friends, family and mentors.

Hundreds of participants joined the live event, while others tuned into the event’s stream.

Writer and journalist Chris Hedges reflected on Kevin, “He was one of those, not just moral but intellectual foundations for me, and has been for over a decade (..) Kevin was one of those very rare figures who understood power, who understood how it worked, he was never fooled by it.”

Ralph Nader made an appeal to keep Kevin's work alive: “We’re gonna miss you Kevin in more ways than one and we hope that all of us will get together for a living legacy that will reflect your sense of multiplying advocacy and connecting advocacy and furthering in a way that persists and maintains itself throughout the years and throughout the future.”

Kevin’s family has launched the ‘Kevin Zeese Emerging Activist Fund’ in his honor, to be coordinated by family members.

“The Kevin Zeese Emerging Activists Fund will provide a small grant to one or more activists or a small grassroots organization each year that is in line with the life work and philosophy of Kevin Zeese. The emphasis for grantees will be on people or frontline grassroots organizations working for economic, racial or environmental justice or peace.”

Partner to Kevin and Co-director Popular Resistance, Margaret Flowers, spoke about the idea behind the fund on Facebook:

“Kevin Zeese mentored and touched the lives of countless numbers of people. He often recognized the importance of issues before others did. He believed strongly that a movement leader had a responsibility to support the development of the next generation of leaders.”

Other participants and speakers of the online event included Medea Benjamin of CodePink, Brian Becker of ANSWER Coalition and featured a performance of the song “Gracias a la Vida.”

]]> <![CDATA[Pompeo-Duque Meeting Fixates on Venezuela, Ignores Colombia's Human Rights Record]]> Sat, 19 Sep 2020 14:40:48 -04:00 U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Colombian President Ivan Duque in a brief visit to Bogota on Saturday morning as part of Pompeo’s four-country South American tour to secure support for Washington’s geopolitical interests in the region, namely, ongoing coup efforts in Venezuela.


Pompeo Insists on Overthrowing Venezuela in His Visit to Guyana

A joint press conference focused largely on the topic of Venezuela, despite that the State Department had framed the visit as focusing on a range of issues, among them, free and fair trade, rural development, defense of democracy, and human rights in the ‘hemisphere’.

Pompeo thanked Duque for supposedly ensuring support for Venezuelan migrants, for supporting opposition puppet figure Juan Guaido as well as for, what Pompeo referred to as, the ‘stage of democratic transition’ in Venezuela.

The Secretary of State also said that the government of Ivan Duque has been an example in the fight against narco-trafficking, despite Colombia's extraordinarily high rate of cocaine production,  a resurgence of irregular groups and lawlessness within its own territory.

Protests have taken over Colombia following a wave of massacres and assassinations of social leaders, largely in the more rural areas of the country, while the killing of Javier Ordonez, a final semester law student, provoked outrage in Bogota and beyond with youth demanding an end to police brutality and impunity.

13 people were killed by security forces in protests, the majority of which were killed on the first night of protest, yet Washington has only spoken of human rights in the context of ousting the government of Venezuela and handing over power to an entity hand-picked by the United States Department of State.

Colombia will be Pompeo’s final South American stop before heading to Texas. The tour began on September 17th and included official visits to Suriname, Guyana, and Brazil before arriving in Colombia.

On Friday, the top U.S. diplomat met with Guyana’s new President Irfaan Ali, with talking points on helping U.S. companies access and have success in Guyana and also on “democracy in Venezuela.”

Guyana and the United States will begin joint maritime and airspace patrols in a new 'security' agreement, which will come into effect by next Monday.

The United States has already militarized the Caribbean, a far distance from its shores, and maintains a permanent military and DEA presence in Colombia yet the country has not lowered drug production or exports, nor has Bogota been able to curb internal violence.

Since the Colombian President’s mandate began two years ago, Ivan Duque has met with Pompeo on four occasions, largely for the purpose of strengthening strategic coordination on efforts to overthrow the democratically-elected government in neighboring Venezuela.

]]> <![CDATA[Venezuela Rejects False Human Rights Report Promoted by Lima Group]]> Sat, 19 Sep 2020 13:25:43 -04:00 Venezuela's Minister of Foreign Affairs Jorge Arreaza and Venezuela's Attorney General Tarek Wiliam Saab Saturday rejected the recent Human Rights report presented by a commission paid by the Lima Group.


Venezuela Announces International Lawsuit Against US

The report issued by the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council's Independent Fact-Finding Mission to Venezuela, "is aggressive, false, and harmful to Venezuelan sovereignty," Arreaza condemned.

Lima Group paid Five million dollars for its preparation. "This shows how the Lima Group's countries money is being wasted," he assured.

At this time there are two resolutions done. The one elaborated by the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights Michele Bachelet, and the one that arises after Lima Group's sponsorship.

Despite the efforts of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Venezuelan government, this parallel commission, which is not ratified by the Latin American country, shows the UN institutional contradictions.

"From day one we told that the Human Rights Council and Venezuela were already working on a resolution," Arreaza added.

"The report presented by the "Fact-finding Mission" accuses Leopoldo Lopez of human rights violations while he was held in Ramo Verde prison. The evidence shows otherwise: he was even allowed to hold family celebrations."

The Fact-finding Mission's report focuses on alleged extrajudicial executions, forced disappearances, arbitrary detentions, torture "and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment committed since 2014".

"Making such a report, which is a monument to war propaganda, is an irresponsible fraud," Arreaza denounced.

This report is a re-edition of the work done by the Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary-General Luis Almagro and coincides with the intimidating tour of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is seeking to win supporters in Florida.

"One of those involved in the false report is  Francisco Cox, who was a defender of Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship in Chile. Notice the double standard of this character," Arreaza recalled.

"The Human Rights Report now becomes an instrument to deny the legitimacy of Venezuela's elections and their political solution."
Venezuela's Attorney General Tarek Wiliam Saab added that "the 'experts' did not come to investigate absolutely nothing. The report was done online, copying and pasting press releases and notes from political actors."
"This report Is totally politically biased, mediocre in legal terms, and with serious errors," Williams explained.
Regarding the human rights violations by national security agencies, Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has always been in favor of investigating and sanctioning officials who commit such crimes.
During the current Attorney General's mandate, over 800 officials and 123 civilians have been charged with the crimes of murder, torture, cruel treatment, inhumane and degrading treatment, unlawful deprivation of liberty, home invasion, and other crimes.
]]> <![CDATA[Peru's Congress Rejects Dismissal of President Vizcarra]]> Sat, 19 Sep 2020 11:24:31 -04:00 Peru's Congress Friday rejected the vacancy motion against President Martin Vizcarra with 87 votes against and only 32 in favor. 


Peru's President Martin Vizcarra to Face Impeachment

The impeachment was promoted by the Congress after the Vizcarra's alleged participation in a corruption scandal.

"I have my head held high and my conscience is clear," President Vizcarra said after the Parliament's decision as he added that we must move forward in the fight against the pandemic in the country.

"Let's continue working altogether for what matters to Peruvians: our health and prosperity," Vizcarra tweeted while he recalled that Peru reports 756,412 COVID-19 cases and 31,283 deaths.

The vacancy motion against the president was promoted by opposition parties after the diffusion of two audios that linked him in an alleged case of corruption.

According to the opposition, the clips revealed that Vizcarra was seeking to get rid of Richard Cisneros, who is a singer that received unjustified wealthy contracts from the government to give motivational talks for Culture Ministry's officials. 

Cisneros also frequented the President's residency at the government palace.
In recent weeks, Vizcarra rejected the vacancy for alleged "moral incapacity". During the impeachment, he urged unity among Peruvians and to set aside any differences to guarantee the country's development and improvement of the citizens' living conditions.

The president insisted that "it is not possible to stop working even one day for the good of the people, our economy, and prosperity.

]]> <![CDATA[Pompeo Insists on Overthrowing Venezuela in His Visit to Guyana]]> Sat, 19 Sep 2020 09:23:02 -04:00 U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Friday made clear that his short visit to Guyana is part of Washington's strategy to overthrow Venezuela’s government.


Venezuelan President Maduro: "Mike Pompeo Stop Your Arrogance"

“Venezuela needs democracy and an end to the illegitimate Nicolas Maduro regime,” Pompeo insisted during his visit to Georgetown.

As part of Pompeo’s agenda in Guyana, he announced the delivery of US$5 million to “assist” the Venezuelan citizens that have emigrated to that territory as he thanked President Irfaan Ali for receiving them in his country.

“I hope that cooperation between Guyana and the U.S. will continue in this regard. Working together great things could be achieved,” he said.

Guyana’s President ratified his country's commitment to the Lima Group, which was created as part of the U.S. anti-Venezuelan strategy.

The U.S. delegation led by Pompeo signed an agreement on financing in energy and infrastructure spheres, as well as a cooperation pact for combating drug trafficking.

Pompeo traveled to this capital less than two months after the inauguration of the new Guyana’s President Irfaan Ali.

Pompeo’s tour includes Suriname, Guyana, Brazil, and Colombia, which are U.S. strong allies in its hostilities against Caracas.

]]> <![CDATA[US: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Supreme Court Justice, Dies at 87]]> Fri, 18 Sep 2020 22:55:41 -04:00 Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the U.S. Supreme Court justice, has died of pancreatic cancer on Friday.


Coordinated Police Arrests Target Denver Antiracist Organizers

"Our nation has lost a justice of historic stature. We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her, a tireless and resolute champion of justice," Chief Justice John Roberts said.

As the court disclosed, Ginsburg was in poor health in July but had an optimal recovery. She was under chemotherapy treatment since May due to cancerous lesions in the liver. She was 87 years old.

Ginsburg, who occupied a bench at the Supreme Court since 1993, was a gender equality advocator and a defender of civil and reproductive rights. She was also a major role model as she overcame sexist stereotypes in the legal guild and was the second woman in the Supreme Court.


Ginsburg decease leaves a vacancy seat that could be filled with a Republican or conservative representative to tilting the ideological balance on behalf of Trump in the eve of the next Presidential Elections. Amy Coney Barrett, 48, is Trump's most likely pick, with a traditional perspective on social issues.

Supreme Court justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh were Trump's nominees and replaced pro-Republican members. By replacing Ginsburg, who was appointed by former president Bill Clinton, many liberal and progressive policies on reproductive and female rights could be overturned.

Several political figures like Hillary Clinton, New York governor Andrew Cuomo and presidential candidate Joe Biden paid tribute to Ginsburg's lifework and values. 


]]> <![CDATA[Nigeria's Kaduna State Enacts Law To Castrate Child Abusers]]> Fri, 18 Sep 2020 22:21:27 -04:00 Nigeria's Kaduna state reformed a law to punish rape convicts with surgical removal of their genitals as the country faces a rape crisis worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Nigeria: 1 Rape Every 5 Hours, Crisis Declared Across Nation

The amendment to the Penal Code establishes that rapists who abuse minors under 14 years old will face the castration of their genitals and the removal of the Fallopian tubes in the case of men and women, respectively. This, in addition to life imprisonment.

On September 16, 2020, Kaduna's governor Nasir El-Rufai enacted the law that aims at radically preventing sex offenders from committing such crimes.

"Death sentences are often commuted in Nigeria to prison sentences, leaving open a chance that a convicted child rapist maybe eventually released after serving several years. Castration removes the possibility of reoffending," said the governor's spokesperson Muyiwa Adekeye via Twitter.


The previous law only carried a maximum penalty of 21 years in prison for the rape of an adult and life imprisonment for the rape of a child.

Following a series of scandals and an increment of events, Nigeria's rape crisis has worsened amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In June, all 36 states declared an emergency over rape and other types of violence against women and children.

During the announcement, the country's Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu reported that between January and May 2020, there were registred 717 rapes, and the situation would turn even more critical because of the lockdown measures.

Although Nigeria already has a legal framework to address gender violence through the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, only 15 out of the 36 states have adopted the legislation that difficulties the conviction of abusers. In this sense, Kaduna's state law reform paves the way to a more severe and preventive gender violence approach nationwide. 



]]> <![CDATA[BioCubaFarma Signs Agreement with Ukraine's Heart Institute]]> Fri, 18 Sep 2020 22:50:14 -04:00 The business group for Cuba's biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, BioCubaFarma, has signed various cooperation agreements since May with Ukrainian scientific entities to strengthen relations between the two countries in science, education, and trade.

According to a press release Friday from the official web site of Cuba's Foreign Relations Ministry, the Cuban state enterprise, a leader in the island's struggle against COVID-19, is currently in conversations with Ukraine's Heart Institute to broaden ties in the cardiological field. 


Cuba and the U.K. Start a Joint Venture to Develop Medicines

This month, BioCubaFarma signed a memorandum of understanding with the V.P. Komisarenko Institute of Endocrinology and Metabolism of Ukraine's Academy of Medical Sciences about the possible use of HEBERPROT-P, a leading medication produced by Cuba's biotechnology sector to treat diabetic foot ulcers.

Similarly, BioCubaFarma signed another two memoranda of understanding with Ukrainian scientific and medical organizations to confront the pandemic provoked by the SARS-Cov-2 virus. 

BioCubaFarma builds relationships with Ukraine's scientific institutions #CubaIsHealth #CubaSaves
The press release adds that oncology is another medical field where future collaborations can also be expected; the R.E. Kavetsky Institute for Experimental Pathology, Oncology, and Radiobiology of Ukraine's National Academy of Sciences, for example, signed an agreement with BioCubaFarma last May 2019.
The signing of these various agreements is the result of previous meetings between both parties, such as the first Medical-Pharmaceutical Forum that took place in Kiev in 2018, organized by both the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Ukraine and the Cuban Chamber of Commerce. 


]]> <![CDATA[Brazil: Indigenous People Demand Land Demarcation Against COVID]]> Fri, 18 Sep 2020 22:16:42 -04:00 Brazil Indigenous Missionary Council (Cimi) said on Friday that the lack of demarcation of Indigenous territory promotes an increase of COVID-19 cases among native communities.


Chile: Mapuche People Reject Sale of Ancestral Territory

"The lack of demarcation weakens rights and makes it difficult for public policies to reach all areas, both in the creation of special indigenous education schools and in the treatment of water and the reform of signaling and road access to community water," said the legal advisor to Cimi, Daniel M. Ribeiro.

The demarcation is a political requirement for indigenous communities to possess their land and decide over it, and be entitled to implement preventive measures coherent with their traditions. 

During the pandemic, several communities entered lockdown to avoid bringing in the virus. The indigenous population is more vulnerable to the virus because of the government's systemic neglect of their medical attention.


"Concerning the Pankará people, the territory is not restricted. It is as if the doors were open, and everyone can enter the territory and leave at their own time. We are not fragile in terms of organization or autonomy. Still, we are fragile in terms of being more exposed to contact with other people and not having the dominion to defend our territory from this contamination," said Pankará cacique Dorinha.

Cimi also stressed the urgency of food and financial aid for indigenous people who depend on the informal trade of food or handcrafts.  The pandemic hit them the hardest as productive activities ceased due to quarantine. 

According to the latest reports, about 30,000 indigenous people in Brasil have tested positive for COVID-19, and over 700 of them died due to the virus. Only the Tuxi, the Kapinawá, and the Pankaiwká people have not reported coronavirus cases.


]]> <![CDATA[Mexico Asks US for Information on Sterilized Migrant Women]]> Fri, 18 Sep 2020 22:05:20 -04:00 Mexico's Secretariat for Foreign Relations (SRE) solicited information from the U.S. government Thursday about the denunciations made this week that multiple women were submitted to sterilization procedures and sexual abuse in immigrant detention centers close to the border between the two nations.

"A formal request has been made to the corresponding authorities to provide a report on the supposed negligent practices in violation of the rights of those in immigrant detention centers...with the goal of clarifying the possible effects on Mexican citizens, as well as information on the procedures performed and the corresponding justification," the SRE underlined in its note.


US: Detainees Subject to Hysterectomies at Private ICE Facility

According to the official document, various women were submitted to unauthorized hysterectomies at the Irwin County detention center (in the state of Georgia), and a migrant woman was sexually abused at another Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility in El Paso, Texas.

Mexican authorities have informed that the Mexican consulate in El Paso is aware of the presumed victim of sexual abuse and in contact with her lawyer, providing the victim all consular support necessary. 


Furthermore, the Mexican diplomatic authorities in Atlanta remain in contact with the organizations that initially denounced the hysterectomies, which may have been carried out without any medical justification and with the full knowledge of the authorities at the privately-run ICE facility. 

In the communiqué, the Mexican government expressed its will to follow-up in a timely manner, through different diplomatic and legal instruments, to fully know what took place. 


]]> <![CDATA[Madrid To Limit Movement Amid COVID-19 Resurge]]> Fri, 18 Sep 2020 18:59:38 -04:00 Madrid will restrict movement to almost a million people in 37 "healthcare zones" from September 21 to fight the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, regional government's authorities announced on Friday.


Spain to Participate in COVID-19 Vaccine Clinical Trial

Madrid Community's president Isabel Díaz Ayuso said during a press conference that gatherings would be limited to six to ten people, and health workers will perform a million tests.

"What we must do is to take measures in very specific areas where the virus has spread much more, and what we need to do now is to apply quarantines and make sure they are complied with, diagnose and follow infected cases," Ayuso explained.

About 13 percent of Madrid's population lives in the region affected, including 26 healthcare zones in the city of Madrid and 11 in the municipalities of Fuenlabrada; Humanes; Moraleja de Enmedio; Parla; Getafe; San Sebastián de Los Reyes, and Alcobendas. According to the authorities, these areas report 24 percent of the active cases detected over the last week.


"The Community of Madrid has issued a new Sanitary Order, with the aim of continuing to contain the coronavirus. The measures are applied in the following basic health areas."

The residents will be allowed to go to work, school, visit the doctor, and take care of the elderly. However, parks will remain close, and shops, bars, and restaurants must close at 10:00 pm.

The measures will last initially for 14 days as these areas have reported over 1.000 infections per 100.000 inhabitants in the last two weeks. Figures released by the Health Ministry on Thursday showed that in the previous 14 days, 43.939 new infections were registered in Spain's capital. 

As nine out the ten hardest-hit municipalities of the country are in the capital, Madrid has become the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, and 64 percent of its intensive care units are already occupied. On Friday alone, 1.613 new infections were reported.


]]> <![CDATA[Chile: Mapuche People Reject Sale of Ancestral Territory ]]> Fri, 18 Sep 2020 18:52:51 -04:00 Chile Indigenous Mapuche people are demanding the government hand over Guajo island, an ancestral fishery territory that is on sale.


Coordinated Police Arrests Target Denver Antiracist Organizers

“We are asking the government to consider returning [the island],” said the leader of Indigenous communities Lafkenche de Quellón, Cristian Chiguay.

Guafo island, with over 70 kilometers of coastline, is the habitat of an unusual congonilla tree and red carrageenan seaweed, as well as marine fauna like sea urchins, blue humpback, sei, and southern right whales, as well as orcas and dolphins.

The landmass also houses fur seals, endangered marine otters, and southern sea lions. The island serves as a refugee to the largest colony of sooty shearwaters and is the nesting territory of Magellanic penguins.


Added to its value as Native communities’ scared territory and reservoir for rare species, the island holds a historical exceptionality. In 1834 Charles Darwin visited Guafo, considered as the “Galapagos of Chile.”

The paradisiac island is the property of Paul Fontaine and Rodrigo Danús, who is the nephew of Pinochet’s former economy minister and ally General Luis Danús Covian.  Environmental activists renewed the debate about the trade of a patrimonial territory after Fontaine and Danús listed the island for sale in 20 million. 

 “We see [the island] as a source of life and spiritual power. For us, it’s not a business, it doesn’t have commercial value,” Chiguay added.


]]> <![CDATA[US Will Restrict Access To Tik Tok and WeChat Sunday]]> Fri, 18 Sep 2020 18:32:02 -04:00 According to an announcement by the Commerce Department, as of Sunday, any action intended to distribute or maintain the applications owned by ByteDance Ltd on online application stores such as the Apple Store or Google Play store will be prohibited.

Restrictions on internet hosting and transit services will similarly hit WeChat starting September 20, effectively rendering the app useless. However, these measures will not take effect for TikTok until November 12—nine days after the U.S. presidential elections.  



China Demands US To Cancel Measures Against TikTok

The Commerce Department will also prohibit any money transfers or payment processing services through WeChat in U.S. territory in a move that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said will "guarantee our national security and protect Americans from the threats of the Chinese Communist Party."

"At the President's direction, we have taken significant action to combat China's malicious collection of American citizens' personal data, while promoting our national values, democratic rules-based norms, and aggressive enforcement of U.S. laws and regulations," the Commerce Department press release states. 

Hinging these and future restrictions on TikTok's potential sale to any one of the United States' multinational tech giants, the press release states: "Should the U.S. Government determine that WeChat's or TikTok's illicit behavior is being replicated by another app somehow outside the scope of these executive orders, the President has the authority to consider whether additional orders may be appropriate to address such activities. The President has provided until November 12 for the national security concerns posed by TikTok to be resolved. If they are, the prohibitions in this order may be lifted."
On August 6, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order against TikTok and its parent company Byte Dance Ltd, arguing that the video-sharing social network service could facilitate Chinese authorities' access to the U.S. users' personal data. The Chinese firm responded by suing the United States government for its politicized prohibition of the widely popular app, a move backed by the Chinese government in defense of the company's legitimate interests and assets in the United States. 


]]> <![CDATA[Guatemala: President Giammattei Tests Positive for COVID-19]]> Fri, 18 Sep 2020 18:24:34 -04:00 Guatemala President Alejandro Giammattei said on Friday that he is COVID-19 positive and in stable health condition with only mild symptoms.


President Maduro: 'Nothing Stops Our Path To Social Justice'

 The 64-years-old mandatary tested negative on five occasions in the last months, but on Thursday, his medical team confirmed his condition.  Giammattei might have contracted COVID-19 during work travel to Huehuetenango, where he met people who tested positive after his visit.

"We've been all over the country, so it was logical that we were going to get it," Giammattei said.

The Minister of Culture and Sports, Felipe Aguilar, also tested positive for COVID-19, according to the government secretary of communication. 


Giammattei is under a dexamethasone treatment to prevent lung damage. The president is working from home and will remain in quarantine for over 12 days. He asked Guatemalan people to pray for him during his suffering and urged them to use masks and hand sanitizer to prevent the virus.

 "My symptoms are very mild so far. I have body pain, but it hurt more yesterday than today. It's a body pain like a good (strong) flu, especially in the back. A mixture of two pills: ibuprofen and paracetamol, which I am taking every eight hours, have given me great relief," he said.

On Friday, Guatemala recorded 83,664 COVID-19 cases, 3,036 deaths, and 73,260 recoveries from the virus.


]]> <![CDATA[Coordinated Police Arrests Target Denver Antiracist Organizers]]> Fri, 18 Sep 2020 17:48:13 -04:00 Organizers and leaders of the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) denounced in an emergency webinar Thursday the coordinated and targeted arrests of several leaders in their Denver branch by local area law enforcement agencies. 

PSL Denver organizers have been consistently in the streets demanding justice for victims of police brutality since the brutal murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25 and the release of footage revealing the brutal murder of 23-year-old Elijah McClain by the Aurora, Colorado police department on August 30. 


US: Police Continue to Repress BLM Protesters in Portland

On Thursday morning, organizer Russell Ruch was arrested in a parking lot at Home Depot, while five police cars surrounded and arrested local antiracist leader Lillian House while she was driving. Later that afternoon, Joel Northam was arrested by S.W.A.T teams at his home, and that evening Eliza Lucero was also arrested.

Others may have been arrested, too, yet the four individuals arrested Thursday were all organizers of large Black Lives Matter demonstrations and leaders with the PSL. The four face severe multiple felony charges and misdemeanors, as well as years in prison, including the bizarre charge of "kidnapping"—amounting to a significant attack on the entire antiracist movement, and on the PSL specifically. 


The four activists have worked closely with other antiracist activists and family members of local police brutality victims to amplify their cases, the reason why, the party states, they were targeted and rounded up Thursday. This type of repression, the PSL asserts, is now being used in every city to put down one of the most massive protest movements in U.S. history, part of a concerted national assault against the Black Lives Matter movement. 
National PSL organizers, including 2020 presidential candidate and Cuba solidarity activist Gloria La Riva, have launched a petition to drop all charges, created a  donation page to provide legal support for the arrested organizers, and announced a protest this Saturday outside of the Colorado State Capitol to demand authorities drop the ludicrous charges. 
]]> <![CDATA[President Maduro: 'Nothing Stops Our Path To Social Justice']]> Fri, 18 Sep 2020 15:24:48 -04:00 Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro Friday highlighted before the United Nations (UN) the social achievements that his country has reached despite the U.S. increasing hostilities.


Venezuela Announces International Lawsuit Against US

"Our people resist the aggressions of the empire to defend our sovereignty, our natural resources, and our right to development," Maduro said.

The Bolivarian model of social inclusion and justice has grown stronger. Over 6 million families are guaranteed permanent food protection as over 3 million decent and comfortable homes have been built.

Despite the U.S. economic blockade and the crisis generated by the pandemic, the Maduro administration has also guaranteed schooling for 6 million children.

Venezuela's public health system has assured free medical care to the people. Ninety-nine percent of the population infected with COVID-19 has received free health care treatment.

This was possible thanks to the investments made in this sector in the last 20 years, according to the Bolivarian leader.

"There will be no imperial aggression, blockade, or sanctions, that will stop Venezuela's path towards social justice and sustainable development," Maduro assured.




]]> <![CDATA[Latin America Is Reopening Too Soon, WHO Alerts]]> Fri, 18 Sep 2020 14:51:09 -04:00 World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director Carissa Etienne alerted that several Latin American countries have started to resume activities while COVID-19 is still extremely dangerous.


Russia to Provide Latam With Over 130 Million Sputnik V Doses

Etienne warned that the pandemic still requires major control interventions, and it is very dangerous to assume that everything is going back to normality.

"We must be clear that opening up too early gives this virus more room to spread and puts our populations at greater risk. Look no further than Europe," she alerted.

The WHO regional director said that cases in Colombia's border area with Venezuela have increased ten-fold in the last two weeks and that death rates are climbing in parts of Mexico, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Bolivia, and Argentina.

She also referred to the decision of many countries to resume social and public life, over reasons she found incomprehensible, such as the need for children to study.

On Friday, for example, even though Brazil has recorded almost four and a half million people infected so far, the far-right President Jair Bolsonaro considered "inadmissible" to lose the school year due to the pandemic.

"Although the entire world is racing to develop new tools to prevent and cure COVID-19, a safe and effective vaccine that can be manufactured and delivered at scale is not around the corner," Etienne warned.

]]> <![CDATA[Pole Vaulter Duplantis Breaks Bubka’s 26-Year-Old World Record]]> Fri, 18 Sep 2020 14:37:23 -04:00 Swedish Armand Duplantis Thursday broke Sergey Bubka's 26-year-old outdoor pole vault world record at the Diamond League in Rome.


Venezuela's Yulimar Rojas Set Triple Jump World Record: 15.43 m

At his second attempt in the Golden Gala Pietro Mennea, the 20-year-old athlete cleared 6.15 meters and beat Bubka's mark of 6.14 meters, which was set also in Italy in July 1994.

"World record — finally! It is so cool," Duplantis said to media right after the jump. "I wanted to get over 6.15 so badly. Everybody kept talking about it, it was a big chip on my shoulder … When I did it, it was more relief than joy."

Duplantis’ record was expected by many, especially because he already broke the indoor world mark twice this season. On 8 February, he overpassed French Renaud Lavillenie's almost 6-year-old mark with a jump of 6.17 m in Torun, Poland. A week later, in Glasgow, he increased the record by another centimeter to 6.18 m.

Even when the World Athletics Federation has not distinguished between indoor and outdoor records in pole vault since 2000, many experts do, and Bubka's outdoor mark was considered as a classic due to its longevity.

"Coming into the season we did not know if we were able to do any competition at all. This world record is unexpected and I am very grateful."

Although Duplantis was born in the U.S., he decided to compete internationally for Sweden, his mother's home country. However, he grew up in Louisiana, and a fun fact is that while growing he had a pole vault pit in his garden.

]]> <![CDATA[Afghanistan: 23 Soldiers, 31 Taliban Militants Killed in Clashes]]> Fri, 18 Sep 2020 14:13:36 -04:00 Afghanistan's authorities Thursday confirmed the deaths of at least 23 Afghan soldiers and 31 Taliban militiamen in clashes in Nangarhar and Badghis provinces. These confrontations occurred amid the peace talks that are taking place in Doha, Qatar.


Afghanistan War: Bloodiest Week In 19 Years

During the attack in Nangarhar, 20 soldiers and 29 militia officers were killed as 15 members of the security forces were injured.

"The clashes occurred after the Taliban militia attacked an Afghan security forces' checkpoint," Nangarhar's governor Attaullah Khogiani informed.

In Badghis, three soldiers and two militiamen were killed as six other soldiers, two civilians, and five Taliban militiamen were injured after the paramilitary group raided several administrative offices in the Qadis district.

"An armored vehicle was set on fire while the police tried to push back the militia who were looking to occupy the province's administrative offices," Badghis' governor Haidar Sharifi said.

In the first semester of 2020, the Taliban caused 43 percent of all civilian casualties in the country, a greater proportion than in 2019, according to Afghanistan's Analyst Network (AAN).

"Since March, the Taliban have launched few 'spectacular' attacks on cities or major military bases and increased their use of abductions. In those attacks, they kill five times more civilians than military," AAN reported.
]]> <![CDATA[President Maduro Rejects EU Request To Delay Elections]]> Fri, 18 Sep 2020 12:52:20 -04:00 President Nicolas Maduro Thursday urged again the European Union (EU) to send a commission to Venezuela to monitor the upcoming parliamentary elections, hours after the International Contact Group (ICG) declared an alleged lack of electoral guarantees.


President Maduro Denounces Campaign To Discredit the Elections

Besides pointing out that Washington prevents Venezuela from maintaining good relations with the EU, the Bolivarian leader recalled that President Donald Trump administration continues to try to overthrow his administration to take control of Venezuela’s oil reserves.

The European Union asked to push back the vote, but Maduro rejected the suggestion and stressed that it is impossible because there is a very clear constitutional mandate.

"If you want to see the truth, send a commission. You will be able to see the whole electoral campaign and the elections. You will be able to see the truth of Venezuela, something that the U.S. government does not allow you to," he said.

Two weeks ago Caracas issued a similar invitation to both the United Nations (UN) and the EU, but the ICG declined the invitation.

The EU argued that it would only deploy electoral observers for the elections if there are "important changes to the conditions for the holding of the vote.”

Supposedly, there are no enough conditions in Venezuela for a transparent, inclusive, and fair electoral process, according to the ICG.

]]> <![CDATA[Italy Authorizes Open Arms To Disembark 150 Migrants in Palermo]]> Fri, 18 Sep 2020 13:58:29 -04:00 Italy Friday allowed the Open Arms rescue vessel to disembark 150 migrants on the Sicily island where they will remain in quarantine.


Malta Denies Port To Dock 278 Migrants Aboard the Open Arms

"Ten days after having rescued 276 people in international waters in the Mediterranean and reaching a limit situation on board, Italy authorized the disembarkation of the 150 migrants who will spend the quarantine period on the ship Allegra, which is moored in the Palermo port," Open Arms Director Oscar Camps tweeted.

Between September 8 and 11, the Spanish humanitarian ship rescued almost three hundred migrants who were sailing through the Mediterranean in boats at risk of sinking.

For weeks, the authorities of Malta and Italy did not offer any concrete solution to the humanitarian emergency that the boat was going through.

The meme reads, “This morning, authorities also asked the SeaWatch4 crew to provide assistance to the 48 people who jumped over the Open Arms. They should be able to disembark immediately."

Over the last two days, as a result of tension and despair, 125 desperate migrants jumped off the Open Arms ship and tried to swim to Palermo.

"The exasperation of the migrants on board was linked to Malta's refusal to grant the Open Arms a safe haven. This forced Italy to become more welcoming," local outlet Libero Quotidiano commented.

"Now, Italy has a more collaborative attitude, but we've been at sea for ten days, anyway. It was heartbreaking," the Open Arms Italy mission chief Riccardo Gatti said.

“The worst of all is that these situations are becoming normal. The rescue system at sea, which should apply to anyone, has been destroyed. It is not guaranteed for those who are labeled as migrants," he added.

]]> <![CDATA[US House Passes Resolution Condemning Anti-Asian Sentiment]]> Fri, 18 Sep 2020 11:13:46 -04:00 The U.S. House on Thursday passed a resolution condemning "all forms of anti-Asian sentiment as related to COVID-19."


Pandemic Shows a More Diverse, Inclusive Leadership Is Needed

The passage of the resolution by a 243-164 vote came as Democratic lawmakers have long been condemning President Donald Trump for referring to the new coronavirus as the "Chinese virus." The lawmakers said the rhetoric has led to escalating discrimination against Asian Americans.

"Sadly this bigotry is being fueled by some in Washington... I thought this would be almost unanimous consent to condemn violence against Asian Americans. Even from the White House itself, which uses dangerous, false, and offensive terms to describe the coronavirus," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said ahead of the vote

Spearheaded by Democratic lawmaker Grace Meng, the resolution argued against connecting the virus with a specific geographic location, citing warnings from epidemiologists that doing so creates a stigma.

"The World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have explicitly warned against linking infectious diseases to specific ethnicities because of the stigmatizing effects," Meng recalled.

"This has serious impacts on health and defeating the virus... Stigma is the enemy of public health," the California Democrat stressed.

Republicans blamed the Democrats for introducing what they said was a nonbinding resolution at a time when political gridlock on Capitol Hill continued to impede the passage of a new coronavirus relief bill.

As of Friday morning, the U.S. had reported 6,880,852 COVID-19 cases and 202,306 deaths.

]]> <![CDATA[Chilean Court Closes Mining Project Over Environmental Impacts]]> Fri, 18 Sep 2020 13:07:50 -04:00 Chile's Environment Tribunal Thursday closed the Pascua Lama mining project, which was owned by the Canadian company Barrick Gold, because of its environmental impacts.


Greenpeace Fights 'Ocean Looters' in Uruguayan Waters

The Tribunal ordered the total and definitive Pascua Lama's closure as it imposed US$9 million fine on Barrick Gold, which is the world's largest gold mining company.

Pascua Lama was at an altitude of 4,500 meters in the Huasco Valley, in the Atacama region, which borders Argentina. From the beginning, the local inhabitants rejected the project and their claim became stronger after the mining labors contaminated their waterways.

"The project will be shut down permanently because of the danger it poses to people's health and the damage it causes to the environment," the Court stated.

Barrick Gold's project violated 33 environmental standards. Besides affecting wildlife species, it discharged acidic water into a river that supplied Diaguita communities.

"This is a great victory for Chile's Indigenous communities after many years of legal struggle," environmental activist Sam Varvastian tweeted.

The Canadian company wanted to make Pascua Lama the largest gold and silver deposit in the world. After an US$8 billion investment, the firm intended to produce 615,000 ounces of gold and 18.2 million ounces of silver.

In 2013, the project was temporarily suspended after the Tribunal considered that Barrick Gold was not making enough efforts to safeguard the waterways surrounding Pascua Lama.

]]> <![CDATA[Julian Assange Is Kept Under Inhumane Conditions, Lawyer Says]]> Fri, 18 Sep 2020 11:28:27 -04:00 Julian Assange's lawyer Stella Moris Wednesday denounced the living conditions of WikiLeaks' founder in the British maximum-security prison where he is awaiting a decision on his possible extradition to the U.S.


UK: Trial Against Julian Assange Resumes In London

"Each day Julian is woken at 5 am, handcuffed, put in holding cells, stripped naked, and x-rayed. He is transported 1.5 hours each way in what feels like a vertical coffin in a claustrophobic van,” Morris said.

The lawyer pointed out that during the criminal hearings Assange is kept in a glass box at the back of court from where he cannot his lawyers properly.

On top of that, the journalist's cohort denounced that his physical condition has deteriorated due to alleged episodes of psychological torture. United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer visited Assange in prison and confirmed the torture suspicions.

“I spoke with him for an hour... then we had a physical examination for an hour by our forensic expert, and then we had the two-hour psychiatric examination,“ he explained.

“We came to the conclusion, that he showed all the symptoms that are typical for a person that has been exposed to psychological torture over an extended period of time.”

Assange faces a 175-year prison sentence over 18 charges, mostly regarding violations under the Espionage Act.

U.S. authorities hope him to be extradited to its territory to stand trial over activities of his WikiLeaks website, in what has been called one of the largest leaks of classified information in the history.

]]> <![CDATA[What Can Be Expected in Bolivia After the Elections?]]> Fri, 18 Sep 2020 09:46:31 -04:00 Washington and its activist Secretary of the Organization of American States (OAS) Luis Almagro are intensifying their interference in Bolivia's internal affairs. Their purpose is to prevent this South American country from having a government capable of pursuing an independent and sovereign development model.


Bolivia: Interim President Añez Withdraws from October Elections

Both the U.S. Secretariat of State and the OAS have strongly criticized social mobilizations against the self-proclaimed President Jeanine Añez, a former senator whose coup-born regime has evidenced its corruption and inability to handle the pandemic.

Almagro himself bare his unrestricted support for the coup-born government leaders by stating that the roadblocks carried out by the population represent "low acts" that are aimed at obtaining political returns from the suffering of the people amidst the pandemic.

"It is immoral and unworthy", said Almagro who, during the coup and the subsequent repression against the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS), used his voice to condemn the protests of the population but not to denounce the deaths caused by the coup plotters. He has condemned those who demand democracy but remain silent about the rampant corruption of Añez and her family.

Her arrival to power, which happened after a U.S.-backed coup that led to the resignation of former President Evo Morales, has allowed certain political groups to gain control of the Executive branch and use its governmental capacities to favor the interests and objectives of the United States and its regional allies.

A few weeks before the presidential elections to be held on October 18, the intention to vote unequivocally favors the Socialist Luis Arce and David Choquehuanca binomial. From outside and inside the country, right-wing groups have taken action to discredit the MAS leaders and ensure that the next president is a politician who represents the pro-U.S. elites. Among them are the white supremacist leader Luis Fernando Camacho and former president Carlos Mesa.

In recent weeks, we have witnessed proposals to postpone the presidential elections, which have already suffered three postponements that were justified on the grounds of the pandemic. This idea emerged from the coup-born regime and its political allies.

In response to this, however, social movements, Indigenous organizations, workers' organizations, and the MAS party took to the streets to demand that the elections would not suffer further delays.

The pressures on Añez led to intensifying the proposal for postponing the date of the presidential elections. Although the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) favored the thesis of the right-wing groups, it has not managed to diminish the support, which emerges from the polls and from the street, for the Arce-Choquehuanca binomial.

It has been proven that the postponement of the elections for October 18 had nothing to do with the COVID-19 issue. The hidden goal was to buy time to implement a smear campaign against the MAS party and former president Evo Morales, who has received accusations of alleged sexual abuse which are aimed at harming his party's candidates.

In this context, the Socialist candidate Arce has repeatedly denounced that the coup-born regime is carrying out a "judicial hunt against worker and farmer leaders."


EU To Deploy an Election Observation Mission in Bolivia

It is unquestionable that if pro-U.S. candidates triumph on October 18, the country will face difficult times. A social outbreak similar to the one that occurred in Chile in October 2019 is a highly probable scenario. And I mention Chile because it has been a country that has had the support and approval of the U.S., as a kind of exemplary student. This, despite the disastrous impact on the population, especially the most deprived sectors.

A foreign policy of subjugation to Washington with clear results of social and economic inequality and structural deficiencies that, after 30 years of post-dictatorship democracy, has exploded with all the force of a Chilean society, which requires profound changes, including the demands of its Indigenous peoples, historically postponed.

If Bolivians do not want a similar social explosion in their multi-ethnic homeland, then choosing their next president is not a minor issue. At this moment, it turns out incontestable that the Socialist Arce-Choquehuanca binomial has a governmental proposal that will benefit the Bolivian population and, especially, millions of women who radically changed their living conditions during the Morales administration (2006-2019).

Luis Arce's victory will improve the position of the Indigenous population as part of his priority plans, which are aimed at solving urgent problems related to political representation. Bolivia’s low-income groups and rural inhabitants are those looking with the greatest hope at the triumph of the Socialist binomial. A longing-laden wait for social welfare and state protection to encompass the different spheres of the lives of these Bolivians.

If this is not the case, this Andean country's reality will be marked by greater U.S. interference, greater internal instability, and greater impoverishment of the population.


]]> <![CDATA[Mike Pompeo Drives the US Agenda Against Venezuela From Brazil]]> Fri, 18 Sep 2020 10:10:21 -04:00 On Friday afternoon, the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will arrive in Brazil as part of a South American tour that has risen strong political reactions due to its intention to prompt a block of countries against Venezuela.


Guyana Human Rights Body Cautions Ahead of Pompeo Visit

"It is the first time that a U.S. Secretary of State has been to Guyana and Suriname or Bela Vista and Manaus," the Federal University of Latin American Integration (UNILA) professor Luciano Wexell Severo told local outlet Brasil de Fato.

"In the current scenario, however, Guyana and Suriname are in the middle of a great international geopolitical dispute, in which Brazil is submitting to the U.S. government's interests," he added.

Pompeo's visit will be brief, about 3 hours and a half, but with a well-marked political intention since the U.S. government admitted that the main topic on the official agenda is to discuss Venezuela. For that reason, he will also meet with the Foreign Affairs Minister Ernesto Araujo.

Early this week the State Department stated that the trip “will highlight the United States’ commitment to defend democracy… and strengthen security against regional threats.”

The tour has been questioned given that Pompeo will visit three countries bordering Venezuela, all of which are in line with Washington’s hostile policy towards Caracas. After visiting Brazil, he will fly to Bogota, Colombia.

With November elections just around the corner, Washington will use the visit to reinforce the perception of having a strong foreign policy. Republicans estimate that to repudiate President Nicolas Maduro's government can help to boost the votes.