teleSUR English ES Sun, 17 Nov 2019 13:04:35 -04:00 teleSUR English <![CDATA[Trump Pardons 3 Soldiers Accused of War Crimes ]]> Sun, 17 Nov 2019 13:04:33 -04:00 U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday pardoned two Army officers accused of war crimes in Afghanistan and restored the rank of a Navy SEAL platoon commander who was demoted for actions in Iraq, a move critics have said would undermine military justice and send a message that battlefield atrocities will be tolerated.


Trump's Ukraine Phone Call 'Unusual, Inappropriate': VP Aide

The White House said in a statement Trump granted full pardons to First Lieutenant Clint Lorance and Major Mathew Golsteyn, and ordered that the rank Edward Gallagher held before he was convicted in a military trial this year be restored.

“For more than two hundred years, presidents have used their authority to offer second chances to deserving individuals, including those in uniform who have served our country. These actions are in keeping with this long history,” the statement said.

A Pentagon spokesperson said the Department of Defense has confidence in the military justice system.

“The President is part of the military justice system as the Commander-in-Chief and has the authority to weigh in on matters of this nature,” the spokesperson said.

In recent weeks, Pentagon officials had spoken with Trump about the cases, provided facts and emphasized the due process built into the military justice system.

In 2013, prosecutors accused Lorance of illegally ordering the fatal shootings of two men on motorcycles while on patrol in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province. He was found guilty of two counts of murder.

Last year, Golsteyn, an Army Green Beret, was charged with murdering an Afghan man during a 2010 deployment to Afghanistan.

Gallagher, a decorated SEAL team platoon leader, was accused of committing various war crimes while deployed in Iraq in 2017.

In July, a military jury acquitted him of murdering a captured Islamic State fighter by stabbing the wounded prisoner in the neck, but it convicted him of illegally posing with the detainee’s corpse. That had led to his rank being reduced.

Golsteyn received word of his pardon from Trump, who spoke with him by telephone for several minutes, Golsteyn’s attorney Phillip Stackhouse said in a statement.

“Our family is profoundly grateful for the president’s action. We have lived in constant fear of this runaway prosecution,” Golsteyn was quoted saying in the statement.

The American Civil Liberties Union criticized the president’s action.

“With this utterly shameful use of presidential powers, Trump has sent a clear message of disrespect for law, morality, the military justice system, and those in the military who abide by the laws of war,” Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU’s National Security Project, said in a statement.

In May, Trump talked about how he was considering pardons for U.S. troops charged with war crimes, a move he acknowledged would be controversial but that he said was justified because they had been treated “unfairly.”

The overwhelming majority of pardons are granted to people who have already been convicted and served time for a federal offense.

]]> <![CDATA['Dictatorship has Returned to Bolivia': Morales to teleSUR ]]> Sun, 17 Nov 2019 10:34:00 -04:00 The legitimiately-elected President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, told teleSUR on Saturday that the dictatorship has returned to the South American country, given the recent events that triggered intense repression exerted by the de-facto government chaired by Senator Jeanine Áñez .


Evo Thanks Alberto Fernandez's Argentina for Its Hospitality

"The Bolivian people and the whole world know that we guarantee political stability. They said 'Evo dictatorship', now what Bolivia is living in is what we call a dictatorship."

The Bolivian President said he was appalled by the recent reports regarding the civilian deaths at the hands of this new dicatorship.

"The people will always be united (...) The Bolivian people have never been taken from my memory. At any moment we will be as always sharing a resistance against economic policies, but for now, for democracy, for life, my dear Bolivia," President Morales said.

On the media censorship imposed by the de-facto government in Bolivia, President Morales said that "now  there is no freedom of expression" in the country. "The de facto communication minister who answers to the dictatorship in Bolivia said that seditious journalists, national and international, will be arrested."

He also highlighted how the integration processes promoted by past governments such as those of Venezuela, Ecuador (by former President Rafael Correa) or Brazil (with former president Lula da Silva) seek to be destroyed by the interests of the U.S. empire.

"Unfortunately, some countries subject to the U.S. empire, destroy the integration processes: Unasur a political instance, Mercosur an economic instance, Celag an integration of all Latin America towards the liberation of the peoples," President Morales continued.

In this sense, the legitimate President of Bolivia stressed that "we, Latin Americans, have the enormous responsibility, regardless of an economic, programmatic or social liberation, to free ourselves from the technological part."

"Those who seek disintegration are not thinking about technological liberation, they are instruments of the capitalist system that will never like us to free ourselves from the technological part to establish sovereignty in our Latin America," he added.

]]> <![CDATA[Lebanon's Safadi Withdraws Candidacy for PM]]> Sun, 17 Nov 2019 08:23:26 -04:00 Former Lebanese finance minister Mohammad Safadi withdrew his candidacy to be the next prime minister on Saturday, saying that he saw that it would have been difficult to form a “harmonious” cabinet supported by all parties.


Lebanon Descends Further into Chaos as Economic Crisis Worsens

Safadi, 75, emerged as a candidate on Thursday when political sources and Lebanese media said three major parties had agreed to support him for the position.

His decision to withdraw throws Lebanon’s push to form a government needed to enact urgent reforms back to square one in the face of unprecedented protests that prompted prime minister Saad al-Hariri to resign last month.

Safadi said in a statement that he had decided to withdraw following consultations with political parties and a meeting on Saturday with Hariri.

“It is difficult to form a harmonious government supported by all political sides that could take the immediate salvation steps needed to halt the country’s economic and financial deterioration and respond to the aspirations of people in the street,” the statement said.

Protesters who took to the streets on Saturday denounced Safadi’s potential nomination, saying it ran counter to nationwide calls to oust a political elite they see him as part and parcel of.

In the statement Safadi, a prominent businessman with ties to Saudi Arabia, thanked President Michel Aoun and Hariri for supporting his candidacy, and said he hoped Hariri would return as premier to form a new government.

Shi’ite group Hezbollah and its Shi’ite ally Amal had agreed to back Safadi following a meeting with Hariri late on Thursday, according to Lebanese media and political sources, but no political party had since formally endorsed his candidacy.


]]> <![CDATA[ Venezuela Rejects Coup-Mongering Calls From the US]]> Sat, 16 Nov 2019 23:41:04 -04:00 The Venezuelan government rejected Saturday a statement from United States Vice President Mike Pence, who called on the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) to carry out a coup d'etat in the country.


'The March Against Fascism' To Defend Venezuela and Latin America

'We urge the Venezuelan military to join the  Venezuelan people, not a despot. The Venezuelan army should be a force of good, the power to change for the better is in your hands," Pence tweeted in his attempt to incite the FANB to revolt against the legitimate authorities of the South American nation.

In response, Venezuela's Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said her country "will not rest in defending its dignified sovereignty. Neither failed lobbies nor the coup impulses will be able with the determination of our people to guarantee democracy, peace, stability, and territorial integrity." 

For his part, Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza affirmed that all of Washington’s attempts to destabilize Venezuela and generate a coup d'état have failed, "assume it with maturity, deal with the impeachments and your internal affairs," the diplomat said in reference to the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump for the alleged attempt to blackmail his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodimir Zelenski.

Arreaza demanded that Pence respect Venezuela at a time when the neighboring country Bolivia is facing a political and social crisis resulting from a coup perpetrated by traditional right-wing groups, in which there are also accusations and evidence that directly blame participation from the United States.

On Saturday, hundreds of Venezuelans marched in Caracas to reject new destabilizing plans from the right-wing opposition, led by the self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido in complicity with the U.S., according to government accusations.

]]> <![CDATA[Bolivia's De Facto Gov’t Grants Impunity to Security Forces]]> Sat, 16 Nov 2019 22:45:08 -04:00 The de facto government of Bolivia issued a decree Saturday exempting Armed Forces and National Police from criminal responsibility when committing acts of repression against protesters who have taken to the streets to reject the coup d'etat.

Bolivia: IACHR, UN Condemn Armed Forces' Killings of Civilians

"The personnel of the Armed Forces, who participate in the operations for the restoration of order and public stability, will be exempt from criminal responsibility when, in compliance with their constitutional functions, they act in legitimate defense or state of necessity," the decree reads.

The document also states that security forces may use firearms to suppress protests, as they are allowed to “frame their actions as established in the approved Force Use Manual, being able to make use of all available means that are proportional to the operational risk,” it adds.

This comes as violent repression from the government escalates against protesters in Bolivia. 

The de facto government that usurped power in Bolivia has conferred the Armed Forces to act without having to answer for their crimes. The number of deaths grows. The Argentinian government is silent. The OAS endorses. Michelle Bachelet and the U.N. must intervene. 

Over the last 24 hours, at least nine Bolivians have died as a result of repressive actions carried out by the security forces that support the coup-based government headed by Senator Jeanine Añez.

"23 people have died since the coup. The most recent victims are four people shot dead in La Paz​​​​​​ and five in Sacaba," La Paz Ombudsman' Office delegate Teresa Zubieta told teleSUR.

While the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemned the “disproportionate use” of police-military force in the repression in the city of Cochabamba where nine coca growers died and dozens were injured.

The IACHR expressed "concern about the actions of the armed forces in the operations carried out in Bolivia since the beginning of the week," and on Saturday the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet also warned on Saturday about the dangerous path that protests are taking in Bolivia after the deaths in Sacaba, as the situation could ”spin out of control.” 

President Evo Morales was forced to resign on Nov. 10 after senior army and police chiefs called on him to do so following weeks of right-wing unrest and violence against his Oct. 20 elections victory, in what his government and world leaders have called a coup by opposition forces in the country. 

]]> <![CDATA[Trump's Ukraine Phone Call 'Unusual, Inappropriate': VP Aide]]> Sat, 16 Nov 2019 21:08:02 -04:00 As public hearings continue part of the Congress’ impeachment inquiry, a foreign policy aide to Vice President Mike Pence told lawmakers, according to a transcript released Saturday that the phone call between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart was “inappropriate.”


Trump's Tweet May Cause Him Charges for Obstruction of Justice

Jennifer Williams, who was listening to the call on July 25, testified that Trump’s insistence that Ukraine carry out politically sensitive investigations “struck me as unusual and inappropriate.”

The Democratic-led House of Representatives also released a transcript of an earlier closed-door deposition by White House aide with the National Security Council focusing on Europe and Russia policy, Tim Morrison.

“I was not comfortable with any idea that President Zelenskiy should allow himself to be involved in our politics,” Morrison stated.

The Ukraine scandal is the result of a whistleblower from within the U.S. intelligence community lodging a complaint with an internal watchdog about Trump’s conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

The July 25 call, which was later released by the White House, confirmed that the U.S. president asked Zelenskiy to investigate his political rival in coordination with the U.S. attorney general and Trump’s personal lawyer,  which in turn occurred after Trump had ordered a freeze of nearly US$400 million in U.S. aid to Ukraine, which the administration only later released.

Trump has denied he did this to get leverage or blackmail Zelenskiy. Federal election law prohibits candidates from accepting foreign help in an election.

US National Security Officials Expressed Concern Over Stopping Ukraine Aid

Meanwhile on Friday, as former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was testifying before the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee Trump tweeted a message mentioning her, which may be considered an act of "witness intimidation" in the context of investigations before a possible impeachment process.

Democrat Rep. Eric Swalwell told reporters this attack could be considered for a separate article of impeachment against Trump for obstruction of justice.

As the impeachment inquiry enters a new phase, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, admitted in a revised version of his earlier testimony that in fact, he told a Ukrainian official the U.S. would withhold aid unless they pursued investigations against Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden demanded by Trump.

The updated version of Sondland’s testimony came as the diplomat, who initially testified in October to the Democratic-led congressional inquiry, offered new details to lawmakers after his memory was “refreshed.”

The details now appear to reinforce the initial whistleblower complaint that led to the investigation by three U.S. House of Representatives committees. The testimony also corroborates other witnesses who said Trump sought to pressure the Ukrainians into conducting investigations that appeared to be aimed at helping his re-election campaign.

]]> <![CDATA[Bolivia: IACHR, UN Condemn Armed Forces' Killings of Civilians]]> Sat, 16 Nov 2019 22:09:05 -04:00 The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemned the “disproportionate use” of police-military force in the repression that took place Friday in the city of Cochabamba where nine coca growers died and dozens were injured.

Bolivia: 9 Corpses in 24 hours Prove Dictatorship's Violence

The IACHR expressed "concern about the actions of the armed forces in the operations carried out in Bolivia since the beginning of the week" and recalled that the "Inter-American standards establish the duty to limit their participation as much as possible in the control of internal disturbances," through its Twitter account.

The international body posted a video circulating on social media that shows five victims lying on the ground and condemned the "excessive use of force," recalling the "State is under an obligation to ensure the right to life and physical integrity of peaceful protesters."

"Firearms must be excluded from the devices used to control social protests," warned the IACHR in its statement.

On Friday, thousands of coca growers tried to enter the city of Cochabamba in protest against the coup d'état against President Evo Morales that took place on Nov. 10. The mobilization was intercepted in the Huayllani River, near the town of Sacaba, where there was a blockade by the military forces resulting in the death of nine people, more than 30 injured and 169 arrested, according to a preliminary report of the Ombudsman's Office.

The human rights body also extended its warnings with a statement from the Office of the Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression regarding the "threats of expulsion of Bolivian authorities, attacks and use of gas tears by the police against journalists covering the protests," such as the repressions suffered by  Argentinean journalists from media such as TN, America 24, Cronica, and Telefe.

On the other hand, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet also warned on Saturday about the dangerous path that protests are taking in Bolivia after the deaths in Sacaba.

"We have information that at least seventeen people have died in the context of the protests, including fourteen only in the last six days," Bachelet said in a statement from Geneva.

The U.N. official expressed concern that in addition to the deaths and the hundreds of injuries left by the crisis in the country, there were multiple arrests and detentions, including more than 600 people arrested since Oct. 21 many of them during the last days since the coup.
"I am really concerned about the situation in Bolivia that can get out of control if the authorities do not handle it carefully, according to international norms and standards that govern the use of force and with full respect for human rights," said the High Commissioner.

]]> <![CDATA[Chicago Teachers Approve Contract Deal That Ended Strike ]]> Sat, 16 Nov 2019 19:32:05 -04:00 United States Chicago teachers approved Friday the contract deal that ended a 14-day strike, which includes pay raises, US$35 million to enforce limits on class sizes and a pledge to supply each school with a nurse and a social worker.

US: Chicago Teachers to Go on Strike Oct.17 If Deal Not Reached

“This contract is a powerful advance for our city and our movement for real equity and educational justice for our school communities and the children we serve,” the union’s president Jesse Sharkey said in a press release.

The agreement comprises a 16 percent pay raise for teachers during the five-year contract, US$35 million to enforce class size limits - which teachers said exceeded 30 to 40 students in some schools - and a commitment to put nurses and social workers in every school by 2023.

The Chicago Teachers Union’s 25,000 members went on strike Oct. 17 following months of unsuccessful negotiations with the school district and Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration.

For 14 days, teachers held marches and rallies across the city; the third-largest U.S. public school district kept school buildings open but canceled two weeks of classes. Union leaders have agreed to make up five of the school days lost to the strike

“Our contract fight was about the larger movement to shift values and priorities in Chicago,” CTU Vice President Stacy Davis Gates said in a union news release adding that “working-class taxpayers in Chicago have paid for skyscrapers that most will never visit - but a school nurse is someone their child in need can see on any day.”

After more than half of the union’s elected delegates tentatively approved the agreement, the CTU suspended the strike on Oct. 31 but on Friday the union tweeted that with 80 percent of schools reporting, 81 percent of members had voted yes to ratify the new contract.

The contract now must be approved by the Chicago Board of Education, which is scheduled to meet Nov. 20. 

]]> <![CDATA[Israel Launches New Air Raids on Gaza Two Days After Ceasefire]]> Sat, 16 Nov 2019 18:54:08 -04:00 Israel launched a fresh round of airstrikes at the besieged Gaza Strip Saturday targeting Hamas outposts, two days after a ceasefire went into effect following a round of air raids that killed 34 Palestinians.

Palestine Mourns 32 Killed in 48 Hrs by Israel’s New Offensive

The Al Aqsa TV channel said Israeli warplanes hit an outpost belonging to Hamas in Beit Lahia in northern Gaza, and a naval police compound in Gaza City early on Saturday, leaving no casualties. There was no immediate comment by Hamas.

The Israeli army said its attacks early on Saturday did not target positions of the Islamic Jihad group but Hamas in response to rocket fire from the besieged enclave.

The new round of attacks come after Israel pounded Gaza for two days in the most violent onslaught in months. The attacks began as Israeli forces killed top Palestinian Islamic Jihad Commander Bahaa Abu al-Ata and his wife on Nov. 12.

In response, rockets were launched from Palestinian groups from Gaza Strip into Israel, which unleashed a new wave of violence against the besieged territory. 

The death toll from the air campaign left 34 dead Palestinians, including eight minors; while at least 70 others including 30 children were wounded, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. 

On Thursday a ceasefire was reached between Palestinian factions including Islamic Jihad and the Israeli government. 

The truce went into effect hours after medical officials said an Israeli bombing had killed eight members of a Palestinian family, including five children, who were sleeping at their family home.

"There is no justification for attacking civilians in Gaza, or elsewhere! Such a tragedy! My heartfelt condolences to the family of al-Sawarkah & I wish a speedy recovery to the injured. I call on Israel to move swiftly with its investigation," U.N. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov said.

Israel's military on Friday said it would investigate "harm caused to civilians" from air raids.

]]> <![CDATA['The March Against Fascism' To Defend Venezuela and Latin America]]> Sat, 16 Nov 2019 15:11:34 -04:00 Chanting along with the “drums of peace” and holding the Bolivarian Revolution flags, thousands of Venezuelans on Saturday took to the streets to reject new destabilization attempts which U.S.-backed opposition lawmaker Juan Guaido promotes against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro.


Ceonfab: New Violation of Venezuelan Airspace By US Plane

Workers, students, artists, and activists departed from three different sites in Caracas to go to the Miraflores Palace, where Maduro was expected to receive the "March Against Fascism."

This massive event is aimed at raising a powerful message against military actions and coups that the U.S. President Donald Trump and the Organization of American States (OAS) are prompting.

The "March Against Fascism" takes place amidst conspiration signs hinting that the Venezuelan opposition believes it can spark further destabilizing actions against Maduro.

This political strategy is fueled by the assumption that the coup d'etat against Bolivia's President Evo Morales has already broken the Latin American peoples' will and resilience.

Mobilized and alert! Today, on Nov. 16, Caracas streets are filled with our people's joy to defend the sacred right to democracy, freedom, coexistence, and happiness. Let's tell the world that Venezuela is standing up and in peace, building the socialist homeland."

Over the last week, two U.S. Army airplanes made unauthorized incursions into Venezuelan airspace.

As soon as this happened, Maduro summoned the Bolivarian people to remain attentive to any violent act against this South American country. The March Against Fascism is embedded in that call.

Opposition lawmaker Guaido, who proclaimed himself as "president" on January 23, also called for demonstrations in Caracas on Saturday, none of which achieved greater magnitude.

Since then, with the support of governments and organizations which respond to the U.S. foreign policy agenda, he has been promoting war-like actions against his own country.

Among these is the U.S.-driven financial blockade against the Venezuelan government, which is an arbitrary unilateral economic warfare sanction that violates international law principles.​​​​​​​

]]> <![CDATA['In Chile They Torture, Rape, Kill', Mon Laferte Says Shameless]]> Sat, 16 Nov 2019 13:17:59 -04:00 At the Latin Grammys ceremony held in Las Vegas on Thursday, singer Mon Laferte uncovered her breasts where she wrote: “In Chile, they torture, rape and kill.” 

This powerful statement was meant to express solidarity with millions who have taken to the streets daily for four weeks now to demand deep political and economic changes.​​​​​​


Chile's Communists on New Constitution: Don't Forget the People

Since then social networks have offered the stage for a symbolic battle in which harsh criticism has been raised against her brave gesture.

She has been attacked for her ideas, for her body and even for her music, although she won her second Latin Grammy in the category of Best Alternative Music Album.​​​​​​​

Subtle forms of censorship were not long in coming. Almost immediately, Instagram prevented Mon Laferte's topless photos from being easily searched and located.​​​​​​

“My free body for a free homeland," the Chilean singer wrote as a reply in her media account.

"If the images were men's breasts, they would not be censored."​​​​​​​

"This is how the Chilean police respond to health volunteers (doctors, nurses, medical students) who provide first aid to the injured. Not even a red cross stops them."

Some social media users also raised their voices frontally in support of the Latin American singer and her message.

"Kendall Jenner and Mon Laferte both with her boobs showing up on a red carpet. One is celebrated. The other is criticized for her nudity," @fineIovers said and added "the truth is men don't care about nudity. They care when woman bodies are not there for their likeness and consume."

Contrary to what some xenophobic and misogynistic comments​​​​​​​ hinted at, Mon Laferte is not a frivolous artist in search of easy fame.​​​​​​​

The meme reads, "if breasts bother you more than the message, then you are part of the problem."

In an interview with the BBC, she talked about her childhood in a country she remembers as a place where social injustice prevails.

"I was born during the dictatorship in a poor neighborhood," she said and recalled that her "house had no floor, no doors or keys." 

Nevertheless, "her mother, father, and sister worked for a long time trying to improve it," outlet En24 reported, adding that her father was bricklayer and carpenter, which meant that her family didn't have enough money to get to the end of the month.

"Sometimes not even for reaching the middle of the month," Mon Laferte ​​​​​​​bounded.

The 36-year-old artist also commented that she began singing at age 14 to get some money to help her family and explained that she considered it "natural" to get involved in protests.

"All Chilean society is furious about inequality," Mon Laferte said and stressed the importance of taking part in collective actions that are aimed at solving problems "affecting the Chilean people."​​​​​​​

"Chile: abortions and premature births. The violence that pregnant women suffer from repression."

Social unrest in Chile began in October with protesters amassing on streets to demand greater social reforms, including free education, better health care, and higher wages and pensions.

Street demonstrations reached unprecedented levels on Oct. 26, when around 1.2 million people gathered for a march in Santiago, to demand the resignation of President Sebastian Piñera and denounce his right-wing austerity policies.

Lawmakers on early Friday agreed to hold a referendum next April on replacing the 1980 constitution drafted by Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship (1973-1990).

Progressive social movements and parties, however, have criticized the agreement reached among political elites, which would seem to be looking for opportunities to perpetuate themselves in power.

People in Chile have not demobilized. They continue in the streets demanding real transformations. 




]]> <![CDATA[Bolivia: 9 Corpses in 24 hours Prove Dictatorship's Violence]]> Sat, 16 Nov 2019 09:51:47 -04:00 Over the last 24 hours, at least nine Bolivians have died as a result of repressive actions carried out by the security forces that support the coup-based government headed by Senator Jeanine Añez.


Evo Thanks Alberto Fernandez's Argentina for Its Hospitality

"23 people have died since the coup. The most recent victims are four people shot dead in La Paz​​​​​​ and five in Sacaba," La Paz Ombudsman' Office delegate Teresa Zubieta told teleSUR.

"They have killed our brothers as if they were animals," Zubieta said and explained that Añez's regime is generating "a setback of more than 30 years with respect to the protection of people."

Judging by the complaints filed before the ​​​​​​​Ombudsman's office, far-right paramilitary groups have been activated to "repress and intimidate people even when they are simply walking home from work."​​​​​​​

Coup in Bolivia: The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemned the Sacaba massacre. Five dead and dozens injured by the repression. After the murder of five protesters, the IACHR reminded the self-proclaimed president of her "obligation to ensure the right to life and physical integrity of those who protest peacefully" and condemned the "disproportionate use of police and military force."

As a consequence of the prevailing institutional chaos, however, the figures on human rights violations vary constantly.​​​​​​​

Until Nov. 14, for example, the Ombudsman's Office maintained that 536 people had been injured and 12 people killed in the midst of intense repression against the people who resist in the streets.

On the other hand, according to the international news agency EFE, the conflict in Bolivia has left at least 18 dead and more than 500 injured since the presidential elections held on October 20.

Despite the evidence on violence against Bolivians, the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom and Colombia recognized the regime of Jeanina Añez as their direct interlocutor.​​​​​​​

While that was happening, however, the governments of Uruguay, China and Russia have joined the voices that forcefully reject the coup in Bolivia.​​​​​

Bolivia: repressive forces at the service of Jeanine Añez killed 7 people. Amid the pain, the people shout: "Añez, murderer!"

In the midst of the political crisis, the Senate on Thursday elected the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) Senator Monica Cota as its new president.

She will replace Ariana Salvatierra, who was forced to resign on the weekend in which the right-wing politicians also managed to press for President Evo Morales' resignation.

By electing a new president, the Senate attempts to rebuild the normal functioning of democratic institutions amid the persecution and repression which the self-proclaimed president Añez is leading.​​​​​​​

]]> <![CDATA[Instagram Eliminates 'The Likes' From Its Platform]]> Sat, 16 Nov 2019 16:20:24 -04:00 Instagram announced that "the number of likes" will no longer be a way to measure the social approval of the contents which users place in their accounts.


Facebook: Child Abuse, Suicide, Terrorism, Drugs

The company made that decision after the success reached in tests carried out in Australia, Brazil, Japan, New Zealand, Italy, and Canada.​​​​​​​

The platform explained that the “I like it” is important for many content creators, for it provides information about the value of their work.

By removing the "I-like-it" counting mechanism, Instagram wants people to share their images without getting obseseed about whether or not those images like other people.

By removing the "I-like-it" counting mechanism, Instagram wants people to share their images without getting obsessed about whether or not those images like other people.

And this is important because the amount of "likes" someone receives may affect that person much more than one could imagine at first glance, especially when the person involved is a teenager.

For some time now psychologists have warned about the negative impact that the "I-like-it" amount has on users' self-esteem.​​​​​​​ Behind Instagram's decision, however, there is also another motivation.

The company wants to make a strategic change in its business model, something in which Facebook has already taken a step forward after the Cambridge Analytica scandal.​​​​​​​.​​​​​​​

]]> <![CDATA[Trump's Tweet May Cause Him Charges for Obstruction of Justice ]]> Sat, 16 Nov 2019 10:46:36 -04:00 As former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was testifying before the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee on Friday, President Donald Trump tweeted a message mentioning her, which may be considered an act of "witness intimidation" in the context of investigations before a possible impeachment process.


'Trump Prioritized His Interests', US Ambassador to Ukraine Says

"Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him. It is a U.S. President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors," Trump said.

When the U.S. President t blasted Yovanovitch, she was describing how she had fought corruption in Ukraine and how Washington abruptly removed her from her post earlier this year.​​​​​​​

Representative Adam Schiff, who chairs the impeachment investigation hearing, asked Yovanovitch for her reaction to Trump's tweet. She said it was “very intimidating.”

“I can’t speak to what the President is trying to do, but I think the effect is to be intimidating,” she said.

Schiff replied: “Well, I want to let you know, Ambassador, that some of us here take witness intimidation very, very seriously.”​​​​​​​

Furthermore, Democrat Rep. Eric Swalwell told reporters this attack could be considered for a separate article of impeachment against Trump for obstruction of justice.

Nevertheless, the U.S. President told reporters he did not think his tweets were intimidating.

“I have the right to speak. I have freedom of speech just as other people do,” Trump replied.​​​​​​​

One of the first officials to come to his rescue was the White House Secretary Stephanie Grisham who hold a similar opinion.

“Te tweet was not 'witness intimidation.' It was simply the President’s opinion, which he is entitled to," Grisman said and added, "this is not a trial, it is a partisan political process.”

On the other hand, Democrat David Cicilline wrote on the platform: “Ambassador Yovanovitch is a patriot. What the President and his cronies did to her is despicable.”

Robert Menendez, another representative of the party leading the impeachment, stated that U.S State Department employees do not deserve retaliation.

“They deserve our thanks, not our scorn. And above all else, they deserve leaders who will defend them, not desert them when it matters most.”​​​​​​​

Marie Yovanovitch was removed from her post as ambassador to Kiev in May after coming under attack by Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

At that time, Giuliani was working to persuade the government of Ukraine to carry out investigations that would allegedly benefit Trump's political career.​​​​​​​

]]> <![CDATA[Hungary's Far-Right Govt Tightens Control on Courts and Schools]]> Fri, 15 Nov 2019 22:03:43 -04:00 The Hungarian government has proposed legislation that would increase its control over the country's courts and independent schools, raising concerns from rights groups.

UN Urges Hungary To Move Children From 'Prison-like' Camps

One measure submitted to parliament this week would strengthen the Constitutional Court, most of whose judges are already elected by the ruling party.

Earlier this month, the government abandoned plans to set up separate administrative courts.

But it vowed to pass legislation to speed up administrative court cases that involve government bodies, and Justice Minister Judit Varga submitted a 200-pages bill this week.

It would allow state bodies to appeal to the Constitutional Court against decisions by lower courts if they think the rulings infringe their constitutional rights or restrict their authority.

Amnesty International said the bill would strengthen the control of the Constitutional Court over lower courts.

The Hungarian Helsinki Committee said the bill would allow the government to channel politically sensitive cases to the Constitutional Court, which had often ruled in the government's favor in the past.

The Constitutional Court has 15 members, elected by a parliament in which Fidesz has a two-thirds majority.

Varga has said the government aimed to provide a "clear framework" for administrative litigation, and speed up appeals.

Orban says Fidesz has won repeated election victories since 2010 and its large majority in parliament entitles it to make changes.

The government also submitted draft legislation to parliament which would force independent schools to re-apply for their licenses from next year, making their future operation conditional on approval by the minister in charge of education.

Alternative schools - whose teaching methods and curricula differ from state schools - would have to apply for a new license by April. Those failing to do so will not be allowed to open for the next school year.

"From now on, it will be up to the whims of the minister to decide which schools will be able to operate and which will not," said Marton Asboth, a lawyer at the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union.

The bill says the changes will ensure compatibility among schools.

The Hungarian Waldorf Alliance, a group of alternative schools, said the bill would end state recognition of alternative teaching methods.

]]> <![CDATA[Evo Thanks Alberto Fernandez's Argentina for Its Hospitality]]> Fri, 15 Nov 2019 22:01:55 -04:00 Bolivian president, Evo Morales, acknowledged from Mexico that he is "analyzing" the invitation that elected president Alberto Fernández made him to travel to Argentina and regretted that the current government of Mauricio Macri has prioritized maintaining "the ideological differences ”instead of“ defending democracy ”.


Alberto Fernandez Offers Argentina as a Home to Evo Morales

“I don't lose hope of returning to Bolivia. And if I approach Bolivia through Argentina, even better. We are analyzing (Fernández's proposal) but we will let a little more time go by, ” the head of Movimiento al Socialismo expressed from Mexico, where he has been given political asylum.

At the same time, Morales thanked the support “of the Argentinian people” and questioned the position of the Macri's administration of not recognizing that there was a coup d'etat in Bolivia.

In a radio interview, he also spoke of understanding their ideological differences “but aside from these ideological and programmatic differences, the first thing must be to defend democracy.”

In addition, Evo denied once more the allegations of fraud in the elections that made him a winner in the first round. “There were some mistakes but there was no fraud. How can I do fraud? I am not a liar, I am not a person who hurts,” he remarked.

The first indigenous president of Bolivia denounced that the right-wing “invented the issue of fraud" to start a process against him. In this sense, he also blamed the United States and the Organization of American States (OAS) for being “responsible” for his fall after being legally reelected for a new term.

Mesa and his coup accomplices lie to the media and repress the people to violate the Constitution. Now they attack our asylum status with fallacies and announce amnesty for their fugitive allies; sure to return Goni, the separatists and Sánchez Berzaín.

“I am very sorry that the OAS is with some in the United States making coups. History will judge,” Morales sentenced and also regretted that “many media outlets” in his country have been part of the coup d'etat. "Its owners are part of the oligarchy and are at the service of this coup," he said.

During the interview, he regretted what is happening in his country and denounced that "oligarchic groups that hold economic power, unfortunately with police and the Armed Forces, did not forgive the social and indigenous movements but we continue with our democratic and cultural revolution."

Morales once again called the opposition candidate Carlos Mesa and the far-right leader Fernando Camacho responsible for “organizing vandalism groups” that after the elections “burned departmental courts to burn both the votes of suffrage.”

The dictatorship of Jeanine Áñez and the coup p​lotters Mesa and Camacho enjoys the complicity of former Albarracín and Villena people to massacre the humble people who march peacefully to return to democracy. They will have to answer for serious crimes against humanity.

He reiterated that his resignation was “so that my brothers' houses were not burned, my sisters are not attacked and that the violence exerted by the right stops” and remarked that the parties and organizations that always supported him “take care of life ”until the last moment.

However, their opponents “do not accept that the social and indigenous movements are ruling. They do not accept our social programs that, under a policy of redistribution of wealth, lowered extreme poverty. They did not forgive us the nationalization of hydrocarbons and natural resources. ”

Then he asked himself “why are they (opposition) so afraid of Evo and social movements?”, and he grieved that “now everyone sees hatred and racism against the indigenous movement” in Bolivia

Finally, he expressed "hopefulness" that "with the United Nations Organization (UN) we will begin a peace dialogue" in the country and that he is willing to "return if the people ask me to."

"We are peace fighters, for social justice, we work to avoid confrontation," he concluded.

]]> <![CDATA[Cuba: Stop Harassment Against Cuban Doctors in Bolivia]]> Fri, 15 Nov 2019 21:25:04 -04:00 The Cuban Government denounced the arbitrary detention of the chief its the Medical Brigade in Bolivia, Yoandra Muro Valle, as well as of Jacinto Alfonso Pérez, in charge of logistics of the group, said Eugenio Martínez Enriquez, General Director for Latin America and the Caribbean of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the island.


Bolivia: Coup-Born Government Threatens Independent Journalists

In a press conference, the diplomat called on the authorities of the Plurinational State to preserve the lives of Cuban collaborators in that nation.

“There has been and we have observed with consternation a manipulative approach that highlights the idea that Cuban collaborators encouraged the protests that are taking place in Bolivia”, Martínez Enriquez stated. Furthermore, he explained that police from Interpol Bolivia went to the home of the head of the medical brigade there and without legal reason arrested her at the moment. "Curiously, a car from the United States embassy was parked near the house."

I strongly denounce the unjustified detention by police #Bolivia of Dr. Yoandra Muro Valle, coordinator Brigada Médica #Cuba and other collaborators at Ave. E Herzog, Achumany, La Paz. I claim immediate release. Remains in the auto place of #EEUU Embassy plate 28-CD-17

Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, Minister of Foreign Affairs, showed in his Twitter account the U.S. owned automovile.

U.S. Embassy vehicle plate 28-CD-17 participates in #Bolivia police operation detained Cuban doctors in Ave Enrique Herzog, Achumany, South Zone, La Paz. US Embassy participates in an instigation of violence against Cuban doctors.

The Cuban representatives also informed that authorities of the Latin American nation have not yet responded to this situation and that the actions of the Cuban embassy do not cease to clarify these facts.

Martínez Enriquez recalled that these incidents have been happening in the last few hours, and recounted what happened the day before in Santa Cruz, “when a coronel in front of television cameras went to the home of one of our collaborators to respond to the alleged complaint of some neighbors of weapons possession ”.

These actions occurred without any court order and the belongings of the collaborators were requisitioned. "They found nothing and so they had to recognize it in front of television cameras that was watching this show against the Cuban collaborators," acknowledged the Cuban diplomat.

Other four collaborator imprisoned unfairly

Before previous information was released, the Government of Cuba demanded the cessation of harassment against the health workers that collaborate in Bolivia, as well as the immediate release of four of them, arrested after the coup against inidigenous leader, Evo Morales, last Sunday November 10th.

In an official statement, the Cuban Foreign Ministry explains that the four members of the Medical Brigade were traveling on November 13th in El Alto, with money taken from the bank to pay for basic services and rentals. However, they were arrested under the alleged argument that the money would be used to finance protests that rejected the coup d'etat.

#Cuba demands that the instigation of violence against health workers in #Bolivia cease Declaration of @CubaMINREX..

"The representatives of the police and the Public Ministry, visited the headquarters of the Medical Brigade in El Alto and La Paz and confirmed, based on documents, payrolls and bank details, that the amount of money coincided with the amount regularly extracted every month," the statement explained.

After the fact, details the Cuban Foreign Ministry, a series of accounts in social networks of doubtful origin began a campaign to incite violence against health personnel. "In the circumstances described, the immediate return to the Homeland of the Cuban collaborators has been decided," the document said.

Despite corroborating the information, the four Cuban citizens remain in prison and in constant communication with representatives of their country's embassy in Bolivia and other members of the health brigade.

Amid the coup against President Evo Morales, right wing groups have persecuted militants and followers of the Movement to Socialism (MAS), as well as Cuban journalists and collaborators.

Cease the exacerbation of irresponsible anti-Cuban expressions and hate, lies, defamations and instigations to violence against Cuban cooperators, who have given their solidarity contribution to the health of that brother Bolivian people.

Last Sunday, the Bolivian president presented his resignation, along with Vice President Álvaro García Linera, with the intention of avoiding a violent onslaught in the nation. However, repression and persecution has not ceased.

Meanwhile, social organizations remain mobilized to reject the coup d'etat and promising that they will not stop their actions until Morales returns to power.

The first indigenous president is in exile in Mexico, from where he calls for a national dialogue that allows the institutionalization of the country to be restored.

]]> <![CDATA[France: 1,000 Yellow Vests Sent To Prison in 1 Year of Protests]]> Fri, 15 Nov 2019 19:26:01 -04:00 More that one thousand French "yellow vests" have been sent to prison between last November and the end of June revealed the lastest official estimate by the Public Ministry, as the movement prepared to celebrate its first anniversary on Saturday.

France: Fresh Protests Against Macron's Pension Reform

Prison sentences go from a few months up to three years, and an extra group of 1,230 protesters have been sentenced to prison on parole, while 900 have been sentenced to other punishments like community service, reported the Ministry of Justice earlier in November, for a total of 3,000 sentences pronounced during that period of time.

The first major protest against the cost of living by people clad in the high-visibility jackets took place on November 17, 2018 in the form of roundabout blockades around the country.

The movement then morphed into a series of protests with heavy presence of militarized police clashing with demonstrators in Paris, especially the iconic Champs Elysees, serving as the main battleground.

The protests went on to rattle President Emmanuel Macron's government, forcing 15 billion euros in tax concessions after months of citizens' consultations.

The movement will celebrate its first birthday on Saturday, and various protest actions are slated to take place around the capital.

From its peak, during which 300,000 people across France took part in their Saturday protests, turnout has shrunk dramatically in recent months, partly because the violent police repression and a new anti-riot bill voted in Congress is detering protesters to take to the streets.

Sociologist Albert Ogien said in an interview with Reuters that the falling numbers are misleading as support for many of the "gilets jaunes'" key demands is still running high in France, and the government is scared of a resurgence.

"Only by seeing how the ghost of the 'yellow vests' are haunting the government today although there is no one in the streets... we see that it leaves a deep mark," Ogien said. "That's one of the foremost effects that we don't emphasize enough - the government's fear."

France's unions are planning a robust response to Macron's plans for major reform to the country's pension system with a strike action planned for December 5 across sectors including transport and energy.

And on Thursday, thousands of health workers, many of whom have been striking for eight months, took to the streets of Paris to demand better working conditions and more investment in a system they say is creaking at the seams.

In the early days, the "yellow vests" never fully managed to join forces with traditional trade unions despite shared concerns about the cost of living. But Ogien said that was changing and that they may well swell the ranks of the protests in the upcoming pensions showdown.

"Little by little, this maturing leads us to understand that the demands that we have were what the unions have been fighting for. Why have two camps?" he said.

From their deliberately apolitical beginnings, some "yellow vests" are also organising into more overtly political structures, Ogien added, and may one day form a popular party reminiscent of Spain's Podemos.

"We need to work on the demands that we have on the table," he said. "We need a political maturity."

A survey by pollster Odoxa published two weeks ago showed nearly one in every two French people believed the “yellow vest” movement might reawaken.

]]> <![CDATA[Cuban Collaborators Return After Ecuador Cancels Agreement]]> Fri, 15 Nov 2019 19:24:43 -04:00 The Government of Ecuador ended the six agreements signed with the Ministry of Public Health of Cuba, which allowed hiring the Caribbean doctors in the Latin American country. The decision was announced by Minister of Government, María Paula Romo, last Tuesday, November 12th, at the Carondelet Palace, in Quito. The representative ratified that there will be no renewal or no new agreements in this modality.


Ecuador: 'Russia Today' Taken Off The Air by State Company

“In the country, there has been talk, about investigations which continue, of the violence and the facts of the first days of October. One of our concerns had to do with foreign people who had entered the country. We are finding out. The Foreign Ministry of Ecuador crossed this information with the Embassy of Cuba regarding a series of people who had entered the country using official passports of the Government of Cuba in recent months,” Romo expressed addressing the press, while establishing a connection between Cuban presence in the nation with the demonstrations that were registered for 11 days in Ecuador against Decree 883 that raised the prices of diesel and extra gasoline.

“The recent campaigns of the government of the United States to discredit and sabotage the international cooperation that Cuba provides in the field of health in dozens of countries, cannot obscure these data that demonstrate the altruistic spirit and the solidarity effort of the Cuban collaborators,” The Ministry of Public Health of the island responded to these allegations in an official statement.

"At all times, Cuban health professionals have strictly adhered to perform the functions entrusted to them by the #Ecuador #health system in strict compliance with the letter of the signed agreements"

The text, backed by the Cuban Chancellery reaffirmed, the will of the Revolutionary Government to continue providing collaboration to this sister nation, which ceases at this time as a result of a decision by the Ecuadorean government.

“The peoples of Our America and the rest of the world know that they can always count on the humanist and solidarity vocation of Cuban professionals,” the document expressed. Currently, the medical brigade in Ecuador is integrated by 382 employees, who are present in 23 of the 24 provinces of that country.

@ CubaMINREX  shares the information published by the Ministry of Public Health of the Republic of Cuba, concerning the decision of the Republic of Ecuador to terminate and not renew the six agreements signed with @MINSAPCuba

The Cuban collaborators will return to their nation, after having made their meritorious contribution to the noble purpose of ensuring medical attention to the Ecuadorean population, in correspondence with the principle of universal health coverage promoted by the World Health Organization, was informed.

The medical cooperation between both countries began in 1992. Later on, in June 2006, “Operation Miracle” began, with the participation of 153 employees. Through this program, 168 thousand 543 surgical interventions were carried out, including 4 thousand 609 cataracts and 118 thousand 575 pterygia ones.

In the same way, Cuba has provided assistance in emergencies and disasters in Ecuador: in 1986 due to heavy rains, in 2001 due to a dengue epidemic, and for the care of the victims of the earthquake that occurred on April 16th, 2016.

The statement of the Cuban Ministry of Public Health reports that since the beginning of the medical collaboration there have been 6 million 749 thousand 666 medical consultations, 212 thousand 360 surgical interventions, attended 3 thousand 548 deliveries and applied 100 thousand 84 doses of vaccination.


]]> <![CDATA[Chile's Communists on New Constitution: Don't Forget the People]]> Fri, 15 Nov 2019 18:45:41 -04:00 Guillermo Teillier, president of the Communist Party of Chile (PC), insisted on Friday that citizens had to play an important role in the process of writing a new Constitution.

Chile To Vote On New Constitution But State Violence Continues

Referring to the agreement signed on Friday by 11 opposition parties and officials, Teillier welcomed a referendum as 'an undeniable step forward' to define the mechanism that will allow drafting a new Constitution.

Although the CP did not sign that agreement, the party is"going to participate in the whole process, undoubtedly, in Parliament, the Chamber of Deputies, the Constitution Commission, and then in the whole process that comes forward. The struggle is not over, the struggle continues," he said in an interview for Radio Nuevo Mundo station.

Teillier stated that the CP maintains a point of difference, because "the two-third quorum agreed so the matters to be discussed were approved and what will be part of the new Constitution, is very high."

He stressed the importance of not only creating the conditions for the referendum, but also responding to the situation of workers, their low wages and pensions, health problems, the elderly and others.

He also insisted that no leftist party political activist could stay away from this process: "We all have to supervise (the process), but above all the social movement, the workers' organizations, which led and forced the government to completely surrendered their positions."

Chile's lawmakers on Friday agreed to hold a referendum next April on replacing the constitution drafted by Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship (1973-1990), bowing to demands of millions who want the country's social and economic model overhauled.

Chileans will be asked whether they approve the idea of a new constitution and whether current lawmakers should serve on the commission that would redraft the document.

]]> <![CDATA[Alberto Fernandez Bolsters Plan To Fight Hunger in Argentina]]> Fri, 15 Nov 2019 18:38:35 -04:00 President-elect Alberto Fernandez met on Friday with a wide range of Argentine sectors and personalities to draft the first steps of his plan to tackle hunger in the South American country.

Argentina: Lower House Extends Food Emergency Until Dec. 2022

"Hunger is a consequence of an economic structure that does not work, where there is a lack of jobs, a lack of investment, where workers face a lot of abuse," Fernandez said, as he will take office on December 10 with the objective of addressing the deepening inequalities in the nation.

Fernandez highlighted that the issue of hunger was also closely linked to the quality of health.

"The State paid no attention to health prevention and diseases that were eliminated have reappeared. We will have to work hard," he urged those present in the meeting, including the President of Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, Estela de Carlotto, and TV host Marcelo Tinelli.

"I hope it is not just a government plan but a social decision, that as a community we stand up to end hunger," Fernandez said, calling for an open round table on the topic since in his opinion there has been a loss of awareness regarding the reality of this phenomenon, turned into a mere statistic.

Argentina’s economy has been in crisis ever since President Macri signed a multibillion-dollar IMF deal, the country has since experienced runaway inflation of over 50 percent, rising unemployment, and negative growth.

Figures show that 36.4 percent of the population is living below the poverty line, equivalent to 16 million citizens and that it has increased by over 8 percent in the last year alone, while 7.7 percent of them are also homeless, equivalent to 3.4 million Argentinians. Child poverty is particularly high, of those under 14, 52 percent are officially poor. 

Around 13 percent of children and adolescents went hungry in 2018, according to data from the Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina, and rising food prices have become a regular target of popular anger in street protests around the country.

Even as soup kitchens flourish, some volunteers say meals are getting more meager amid tight funding conditions and as food donations dry up.

]]> <![CDATA[Ecuador: 'Russia Today' Taken Off The Air by State Company]]> Fri, 15 Nov 2019 16:49:22 -04:00 International news network Russia Today (RT) on Friday denounced that Ecuador's public television operator took it off the air without providing reasons.


Ecuador Ends Agreement to Receive Cuban Doctors

"Without prior notice or explanation, Ecuador's National Telecommunications Corporation (CNT), which is the public provider of television services in the country, has cut off RT signal which was broadcasted through channel 778," Russia Today said. 

In October, during massive protests against President Lenin Moreno's austerity measures, the RT network broadcasted live what was happening in this Andean country.

Meanwhile, local mainstream media created an informative "blockade" against social movements and progressive parties.

On that occasion, Ecuador's Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo blamed Russia for promoting violence in her country and hinted that RT would be the instrument of an ongoing plot against her government.

"It is striking that protests were broadcasted live on the Russian government's public channel," Romo said and specified that RT made coverage of "everything that was happening on the streets."

People mobilized for peace, did we forget Ecuador? Lenin in Ecuador: hired snipers slaughter people in the streets to impose the IMF neoliberal policy package on blood and fire. OAS and Lima Group applaud the killing."

In making these accusations, however, Romo seemed unaware that other international media such as EFE, El Pais or La Vanguardia also made very thorough coverage of the Ecuadorean popular uprising.

The Ecuadorean government's decision to cut the RT off the air surprised even the Russian company's local journalists and anchors. 

"I am capable of understanding either people or governments do not agree with one outlet or another. However, the media exist to generate a public opinion. That is called pluralism and consists of being able to get information from different sources to draw conclusions. Censorship is not the way," Fernando Terranova, the RT anchor in Ecuador, said.

During the October protests, President Lenin Moreno's administration also banned Telesur Spanish Network from its state-controlled media company.

]]> <![CDATA[President Macri's Farewell Gift: $411 Million To Oil Companies]]> Fri, 15 Nov 2019 14:09:39 -04:00 Less than a month before leaving his office, Argentina's President Mauricio Macri on Thursday authorized the disbursement of US$411 million in favor of oil companies, arguing that such a transfer is a "compensation" for the devaluation process which took place between April 2018 and March 2019.


Latin American Youth Demand Gender Equality, Sexual Right

"The government acted as if it were an employee of the oil companies and benefited them to the detriment of the population," a former official of the Energy Ministry Andres Repar commented.

Among the companies benefiting from this policy are YPF, Total Austral, Pampa Energy, Pluspetrol, Tecpetrol, Panamerican Energy, Wintershall, General Fuel Company, and Vista. The big entrepreneurs, however, are not satisfied by the right-wing government's decision.

Energy companies affirm that the amount to be granted, which was calculated by taking into account the Central Bank's passive interest rate, damages them because "it did not consider the evolution of foreign exchange rate and inflation levels," local outlet Pagina12 reported.

"Farewell gift: a few days after leaving power, Macri authorized to pay $24,524 million pesos to the oil companies to 'compensate' them for the 2018 monetary devaluation. The 'debt' arises from his administration's decision to dollarize fuel prices."

On Nov. 2018, natural gas extraction companies and distribution companies announced that gas prices would be adjusted according to the price of the Argentine peso in dollars.

As a consequence of macroeconomic unbalances triggered by Macri's neoliberal policies, however, the Argentine peso underwent a noticeable devaluation, which pushed companies to index gas consumer prices to the U.S. dollar exchange rate.

Then Macri gave green light to what was called a "rate recomposition process." As a result of this "normalization", domestic gas prices increased by more than 1,000 percent between 2016 and 2018.


]]> <![CDATA[Bolivia: Coup-Born Government Threatens Independent Journalists]]> Fri, 15 Nov 2019 12:33:09 -04:00 Independent journalists who are covering protests in Bolivia were accused of carrying out "sedition" by Communications Minister Roxana Lizarraga, who was paradoxically appointed by a US-backed government that emerged from a coup d'etat against the socialist President Evo Morales.


ALBA-TCP Debates Coup in Bolivia

"Law will be fully enforced against those journalists or pseudo-journalists who are seditious, whether they are nationals or foreigners," Lizarraga said and took the opportunity to blame Cuba and Venezuela for the ongoing social unrest in Bolivia.

“They want to put us on their knees,” she added and warned that the Interior Ministry already has a list of the journalists who are stirring up resistance or rebellion against the coup-born regime.

After these announcements, four Cuban officials were arrested and accused of demonstrating against the interim government headed by Senator Jeanine Añez, who self-proclaimed president on Nov. 12.

According to identity documents to which international journalists had access, however, the detainees are cooperating technicians who are part of the Cuban Medical Brigade.

Physician Ramon Emilio, economist Idalberto Delgado and electromedical engineer Amparo Lourdes are currently being held at the Police Operations Tactical Unit (UTOP) in La Paz. The fourth detainee's identity is not yet known.

The Organization of American States (OAS) is a coup plotter and must answer for its complicity in kidnappings, torture, and deaths of Bolivian citizens, who are resisting and denouncing Bolivia's coup d'etat that was executed with interference from the U.S. Enough of media censorship! The United Nations should disseminate information and intervene.

Despite the blockade that mainstream media are making to what is happening in the Andean country, expressions of international solidarity with the Bolivian people are multiplying.

In Mexico City, for instance, human rights defenders and social activists on Friday will hold a rally in front of the U.S. embassy in rejection of the coup d'etat, which is being consummated under the auspices of the Organization of American States (OAS).

"We are all invited to denounce the U.S. empire blatant interference in this country," the rally organizers said and added that the Bolivians will keep a stubborn resistance against the racist oligarchy.

Among the organizations summoning the rally are local solidarity committees with Bolivia, Cuba, and Venezuela, as well as the Metropolitan Compass and the Citizens' Mailbox.

]]> <![CDATA[Chile To Vote On New Constitution But State Violence Continues]]> Fri, 15 Nov 2019 10:33:37 -04:00 Chile's lawmakers on early Friday agreed to hold a referendum next April on replacing the constitution drafted by Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship (1973-1990), ​​​​​​​bowing to demands of millions who want the country's social and economic model overhauled.​​​​​​​


Chile: Protests Continue For the 28th Day in a Row

"The people have achieved a triumph because we are getting closer to consult about a constituent assembly," Communist Party lawmaker Karol Cariola said and warned that the agreement may contain a trap because economic elites want to "hold on to the ashes of the constitution of Pinochet!"

Chileans will be asked whether they approve the idea of a new constitution and whether current lawmakers should serve on the commission that would redraft the document.

The "Agreement for Peace and a New Constitution," which was signed after midnight following intense negotiations, calls for a "commitment to re-establish peace and public order" in the country.

While such an objective could be achieved, the agreement among political elites occurs after the Chilean population has paid a high cost in suffering.

For almost a month, President Sebastian Piñera has kept the Military Police (Carabineros) on the streets exercising "control activities" that have generated obvious human rights violations, of which there are enough citizen's records captured in videos and photographs.​​​​​

Until Thursday night, 22 Chileans died, 2,209 citizens were injured and 209 people had eye trauma as a result of police repression, according to data from the National Institute of Human Rights (NHRI).

New political winds are unmasking to the imperialism's lackeys. When people unite, there is no neoliberal barrier to stop them. Chilean brothers, keep your fight and unity for the new constitution. The meme reads, "A blunt general strike showed that popular rebellion continues in Chile. From very early in the morning, there were hundreds of roadblocks, street closures and barricades all over the country."

Though protesters lack a clear leader or spokesperson, a new constitution emerged quickly as an important demand.

As the population has demonstrated with its presence in massive protests, Chile's current constitution, which was written and approved under General Augusto Pinochet's watch, lacks legitimacy.

While civil lawmakers revised the original 1980 document after Chile returned to democracy in 1990, the Carta Magna still fails to ensure for proper health care, education and citizen participation.

Opponents of an overhaul argue that Pinochet's constitution has allowed the formation of a "stable and investor-friendly" economy, which is how the far-right elites describe their neoliberal model.​​​​​​​​​​​​

The details of the legal reform process will be worked out by a constitutional convention whose composition will be determined in the April referendum.

According to the Nov. 15 agreement, a second vote, in October 2020, will allow voters to select those who will finally serve on the convention. Later, a final vote on the draft itself will be obligatory.​​​​​​​

]]> <![CDATA[Cuba: Spanish Royalty Inaugurated First Exhibition Of A Goya]]> Fri, 15 Nov 2019 09:09:59 -04:00 King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia on Thursday attended the first exhibition of a Francisco Goya's painting at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana, Cuba.


Cuba: Spanish Royalty Attends the 500th Anniversary of Havana

The piece, which was painted around 1815, will be exposed to the public at the Universal Art Building as part of the tributes to the 500 years of the founding of the Havana city.

"Transporting paintings is very difficult and complex, but the anniversary of the city deserved it," the director of the National Museum of Fine Arts of Cuba Jorge Fernandez said.

Goya's work "could have an important dialogue with the museum's own collection," Fernandez said and recalled ​​​​​​​the artist's role in the creation of the San Alejandro Art Academy.

Los Reyes, in the National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana where Goya's self-portrait is exhibited, painted by the author from Zaragoza in 1815, and temporarily assigned by the Museo Nacional del Prado @museodelprado  @maecgob  @embespcuba

The portrait arrived in Cuba from the Prado Museum whose restrictive loan policy has allowed it to keep most of its collection of works of art intact.

Over the last two decades, Goya's self-portrait has been exposed in the Americas three times, one of them was in the United States.​​​​​​​

The Spanish royalty arrived in Cuba on the eve of the celebrations of the five centuries of the foundation of Havana, which was established by the Iberian colonizers on Nov. 16, 1519.

The monarchs, who were received by President Miguel Diaz-Canel, made a courtesy visit to the Communist Party First Secretary Raul Castro.​​​​​​​

Cordial meeting we talked about the positive relations between Cuba and Spain, based on historical, family and cultural ties. We express the mutual will to continue developing them. #SomosCuba #SomosContinuidad via @PresidenciaCuba

Spain's royalty granted the Havana's historian Eusebio Leal with the highest honor of the Crown, the Great Cross of the Royal and Distinguished Spanish Order of Carlos III.

]]> <![CDATA[France: Court To Review Dismissal Of Rape Case Against Minister]]> Fri, 15 Nov 2019 08:36:26 -04:00 A French appeal court must look again at whether a judge’s decision to dismiss an investigation into rape allegations against Finance Minister Gerald Darmanin was valid after prosecutors said they could not establish “absence of consent”.


Spain: Catalan Parliament Presses for Independence

The investigation into the allegations against Darmanin, who is a President Emmanuel Macron's close political ally, was dropped in August 2018. The minister has qualified the allegations as slander. After the news was spread, he could not immediately be reached for comment on Thursday.

A re-opening of the investigation could harm his ambitions to stand next year in municipal elections, which will be important for Macron if he is to anchor his fledgling La Republique en Marche party at the local level.

The alleged victim accused Darmanin of coercing her into having sex in 2009 when she sought his help in having her criminal record cleared. She appealed against last year's decision but the Paris Appeal Court had said she did it too late.

The Cour de Cassation, which does not judge facts but only whether a decision by an appeal court conforms to the law, told the Appeal Court to review the judge’s initial ruling again.

The Darmanin case came at a time of heightened demand for action against predatory sexual behavior, which followed the sex scandal surrounding U.S. movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.​​​​​​​

]]> <![CDATA[ALBA-TCP Debates Coup in Bolivia]]> Thu, 14 Nov 2019 22:28:37 -04:00 The political council of the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Our America-Peoples’ Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP) is debating Thursday in Nicaragua about the coup against President Evo Morales in Bolivia.

Bolivia: United Nations Sends Mediator to Help Overcome Crisis

"The issue of electoral fraud, the run-off vote, the next elections were all a pretext invented by the Bolivian right in order to carry out the coup," Bolivia's Foreign Minister Diego Pary said.

He added that the coup was carried out on Nov.10 after the National Armed Forces and the National Police "suggested" Evo Morales to resign, at a time when the country was already facing a wave of street violence spearheaded by opposition leader Luis Fernando Camacho and presidential candidate Carlos Mesa.

He urged the international community to reject the breach in the constitutional order, as well as senator Jeanine Áñez as the new Interim President. He also asked to respect the life and human rights of people still mobilized in the streets against the coup.

Venezuela's Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza affirmed that the summit will not just end on a formal declaration condemning the coup, but also "a series of diplomatic actions."

"There is no coincidence in the fact that Bolivia posses a sea of lithium in its underground as well as gas reserves, that its resources have been nationalized and since then started a process of economic and political stability, with millions of Bolivians brought out of poverty - an example for the peoples of Our America," said the minister.

Cuba's representative denounced the role of the Organization of American States in the coup, adding that the assault was "not only Bolivia but against the native peoples of our America."

Nicaragua's Foreign Minister repeated his support for Morales and condemned "the constitutional coup" and the wave of violence in the Andean country.

So far, only Brazil has recognized Anez. Other governments in South America, including neighboring Peru and Argentina, have so far held off.

In protests since the October vote, at least 12 people have been killed, the public prosecutor's office said, mostly by projectiles from firearms.

Morales, tweeting from Mexico, has called for dialogue to help "pacify" Bolivia, asking the United Nations and the Roman Catholic Church to help find a solution.

The United Nations said in a statement it was "deeply concerned" about the situation in Bolivia and would send an envoy on Thursday.

]]> <![CDATA[Bolivia: Amid Uncertainty, MAS Lawmaker Is New Senate President]]> Thu, 14 Nov 2019 22:19:55 -04:00 The Chamber of the Bolivia Senate swore on Thursday the legislator of the Movement to Socialism (MAS), Monica Eva Copa as its new president, in the midst of the coup d'état that the country is currently undergoing.

Bolivia: President Evo Morales Resigns Amid Right-Wing Coup

Also, the Chamber of Deputies managed to form a quorum with 74 MPs from the MAS party and an opposition deputy. In the session, they elected parliamentarian Sergio Choque (MAS) as the new president.

In this way, both Chambers return to normal with new leadership after the resignations provoked by the coup d'etat that led to the forced resignation of several officials of the MAS Government, including legitimate president Evo Morales, and vice president Alvaro García Linera.

The first secretary of the senate, Omar Aguilar, opened the session with a minute of silence for the fallen during the last days due to violence and police-military repression in the streets.

"Our only goal is to seek the unity and peace of all Bolivians," Aguilar said.

For her part, the new president of Senate, Copa highlighted in her speech the courageous attitude of the former president, Adriana Salvatierra, who was beaten by police forces before the parliament headquarters, but who managed to open the way for deputies to install this Thursday's session.


]]> <![CDATA[Rio de Janeiro: 5-Year-Old Girl Dies During a Crossfire]]> Thu, 14 Nov 2019 22:24:27 -04:00 A 5-year-old girl Brazilian girl died after been shot in the leg by a stray bullet while she was walking to school with her mother, in the populous Realengo district, west of Rio de Janeiro, local television media reported.


Venezuela Confirms Recovery of Its Embassy in Brazil

Her name was Ketellen Umbelino de Oliveira and after been injured was rushed to the  Albert Schweitzer Municipal Hospital, in a critical satate but did not survive. Investigators believe she was caught in the crossfire of one of the gun battles waged routinely in the city by drug trafficking gangs vying for control of neighborhoods.

According to preliminary information from the Military Police (PM), several shots were fired from a car. An unidentified man was also struck and died at the scene.

The killing comes as police as the Carioca city has intensified operations against drug gangs, a crackdown that has left hundreds of people dead and scrambled turf wars among heavily armed gangs. The television show El Café de la Mañana, station Band News, indicated that, with this case of the girl, the number of victims of bullets lost in 2019 amounts to 145, 35 of whom died.

Brazil recently mourned the death of another girl, Agatha Felix, who on September 20th  was also killed during a police operation in a favela too. According to Fogo Cruzado, an organization that monitors violence in the city, so far this year, at least 21 children have been struck by stray bullets in Rio de Janeiro. Eleven of them were hit during police operations.

The little girl returned home, with her mother, in a collective transport vehicle, when a projectile crossed the van and embedded itself in her body from behind. Without finishing the investigation, the Military Police tried to avoid any responsibility and argued that there is no hint of participation of any agent in the crime. According to that corporation, its members were attacked by drug traffickers and responded with shots.

Contrary to such a version, the relatives expressed themselves, who claimed that the bullet that struck Ágatha came from the police, although they also commented on a fight in a bar. The Rio Public Security Institute indicates that the police have never killed as much as this year. From January to August, 1,249 cases were registered. An average of five deaths per day.

]]> <![CDATA[Chile: Referendum on New Constitution]]> Fri, 15 Nov 2019 01:39:22 -04:00 The agreement for a new Constitution would include a question on a Constituent Convention, not a Constituent Assembly, a notion fought against by right-wing forces in Chile for the last 30 years. While the agreement has the backing of parties that support the current administration of Sebastian Piñera, alongside those of the former "Concertacion", and a sector the Broad Front, it has drawn suspicion from the Communist Party, who along with a sector of the Broad Front, decided not to participate in the negotiations accusing a lack of consultation with social movements. 

The agreement calls for two referendums with a mandatory vote.

]]> <![CDATA[Ceonfab: New Violation of Venezuelan Airspace By US Plane]]> Thu, 14 Nov 2019 21:57:43 -04:00 The Strategic Operational Command of the Armed Forces of Venezuela (Ceofanb) denounced that Washington violated once again Bolivarian airspace with a spy plane of the United States Air Force.


Venezuelan Negotiation Table Appoints New Electoral Commission

"Once again the U.S. violates international aeronautical treaties when entering with a spy plane RC135 of the USAF in the FIR (region of flight information) controlled by the RBV (Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela), without complying with the protocols and putting at risk the safety of aircraft that were in the airspace, " Ceofanb said on Twitter.

This year so far, the Armed Forces of the Caribbean country have accused repeatedly threats to their airspace by Northamerican military aircraft. Back in October 22nd, Ceofanb also reported the overflight of a drone around the facilities of the Paraguana Refining Complex, in the state of Falcón (northwest Venezuela).

Alert | Again, the US violates international aeronautical treaties when entering with a spy plane RC135 of the USAF in the FIR controlled by the RBV, without complying with the protocols and jeopardizing the safety of the aircraft that were in the airspace. #14Nov

Similarly, on July 27th, they also warned that a U.S. plane violated that space again and, with it, aeronautical safety and international treaties.

Also, on July 19, the Comprehensive Aerospace Defense Command (CODAI) detected and intercepted a US-type EP-3E (intelligence and radio-electronic exploration) spacecraft in Venezuelan airspace.

In the middle of this year, the Vice President of Communications of Venezuela, Jorge Rodríguez, explained that American spy planes had made more than 70 incursions into the airspace of his country.

]]> <![CDATA[Chile: Protests Continue For the 28th Day in a Row]]> Thu, 14 Nov 2019 20:05:06 -04:00 Demonstrators in Chile gathered in public squares on Thursday for another round of protests that started over a hike in public transport fares but have broadened to encompass grievances over low wages, the high cost of living and social inequality.

Chile's Piñera Announces Retired Police Can Be Rehired

In the capital Santiago, the protest started in the Italia Square - renamed "Dignity Square" - and the Avenue Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins, better known as Alameda.

Anti-riot police used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons against protesters.

The protests also took place in the cities of Temuco, where thousands of people took to the streets, as well as Concepcion, where people also paid tribute to the anniversary of a young indigenous man who was shot dead by police in circumstances that are still under investigation.

The father of Camilo Catrillanca, a Mapuche man from the southern Araucania region, which has long been in conflict with the state, appealed to people to demonstrate "calmly."

On Thursday, the health ministry announced an alert across six of Chile's 16 regions to release extra funding amid a surge of 10,000 trauma cases and an unspecified increase in people seeking treatment for mental health issues.

The ministry did not link the health issues to the protests, but said they were due to "a situation of high health risk to the population".

The police have been heavily criticized for their handling of the demonstrations, with medical experts saying that more than 200 protesters have suffered eye injuries or been blinded by tear gas canisters and rubber bullets. This week, the police chief said he would fit firearms officers with surveillance cameras and deploy more human rights experts.

Ana Piquer, the executive director of Amnesty International Chile, said Pinera should respond to the many complaints of police excesses.

"We don't want to see any more victims of police violence anywhere in Chile, killed or seriously injured simply for raising their voice on social demands," she said.

Kattya Barrera, 19, of Santiago's low-income La Florida neighborhood said she believed nothing had changed since Catrillanca's death. "When someone goes out to demonstrate, they take out their eyes," she said. "Today isn't just about Catrillanca, it's for everyone."

]]> <![CDATA[Latin American Youth Demand Gender Equality, Sexual Rights]]> Thu, 14 Nov 2019 20:00:42 -04:00 A group of young Latin American activists has called on world leaders to fight for sexual and reproductive health services, for the rights of people with disabilities and the right to abortion at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD25) in Kenya.

Latin American Women Mark International Safe Abortion Day

Working with Kenya and Denmark, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has organized the ICPD25 summit which runs until Thursday with representatives from more than 160 countries to discuss and share proposals to accelerate gender equality in the world.

“The three main challenges young people face today are the issue of gender equality," Guillermo Rafael Santiago Rodriguez, head of the Mexican Youth Institute, told EFE. "We have a historical responsibility to put an end to sexism; the issue of the environment, because it is one of the main concerns, and the issue of work and salaries, as the labor market is astoundingly precarious.”

Nayeli Yoval, 36, also from the same Mexican organization added: “Teen pregnancy ends up fueling poverty cycles,” Yoval continued.

And although this problem is widespread, it is particularly difficult for minorities.

“Sexual and reproductive health (projects) are carried out in languages we do not use,” Laura Dihuignidili Huertas Thompson, a 24-year-old from the Guna Yala region in Panama told EFE. “Indigenous people handle sexuality in a totally different way depending on our indigenous worldview,” she added.

Mariana Camacho, a 29-year-old Costa Rican woman who has a disability shares this view.

“The myth that we are asexual people continues to permeate, that we have no right to have sexual relations or partners. When discussing motherhood, many are not recognized as having that right, there is still a lot of overprotection of families on that issue because ‘how are you going to take care of a child having a disability?’ There is a lot to work and a lot to do,” the activist said.

That is why the issue of disability must be on the agenda, Sofia Savoy a 20-year-old Argentine who lost her sight when she was born, continued.

“First by making people with disabilities visible and breaking the prejudice that physical disability is the only one that exists because there are many more barriers,” Savoy added.

The right to have access to safe abortions is one of the issues that most concerns these women and is a topic that is of special interest in Argentina where abortion is illegal.

“There is a pro-rights movement that does not oblige all women, which opens the possibility of choosing freely and with information if one wants to continue with the pregnancy or one wants to carry out an interruption of the pregnancy,” Brigida Lanzillotto, a 34-year-old who is a member of the Movement We are All in Action (META).

Lanzilloto added that there was a punitive logic concerning a woman’s body whereby everyone wants women to have only one option which is to no be able to abort.

“Young people have been looking on with much disappointment how promises of changes have been devised but in the end, the economic model fails to generate them,” said Yoval. “The important thing is to stop underestimating the ability of young people.”

]]> <![CDATA[Alberto Fernandez Offers Argentina as a Home to Evo Morales]]> Thu, 14 Nov 2019 19:45:19 -04:00 “If I had been president, I would have offered (Evo) political asylum from the first day. Argentina is the house of all Bolivians,” declared Alberto Fernandez in Montevideo, during his visit to support candidate Daniel Martinez from Frente Amplio, in the second round of general elections in Uruguay.


Argentina: Congress Rejects the Coup d'Etat in Bolivia

After meeting his homolog, Tabare Vazquez, Fernandez addressed media to express his solidarity and concerned about the plurinational state after the coup which happened last Sunday. He also said that he had been informed of Morales's situation, throughout the whole process and acknowledged asking Mauricio Macri to accept Evo as a refugee. However, Mexican head of state, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was the one who received him.

When asked about the possibility of welcoming the Bolivian indigenous leader in Argentina, the winning candidate of Frente de Todos answered that he would be pleased with the idea and extended the offer to vice-president Alvaro Garcia Linera. 

I also met my friend @Dmartinez_uy , the candidate of the Frente Amplio in Uruguay. An honest man and always attentive to the demands of the most vulnerable. Let's keep the flame of democracy in Uruguay and throughout the continent.

Alberto Fernandez advocated to let each nation solve its own future throughout votes and without foreign pressures: "There is a continent that is demanding more progressivism. I feel that we are on a continent that is reviewing these times. What needs to be preserved is institutionality, and when democracy is in crisis we have to save it with more democracy, not less."

Furthermore, it was confirmed that Uruguayan head of state Tabaré Vázquez will participate in Fernandez's investiture next December 10th. The president to be expressed that "it is a great joy to see him and we will work together as long as we are both presidents," while referring to their similar political perspectives towards the continent.

With Tabaré Vázquez we have common visions and concerns about our countries and the continent. We both believe in the need to build societies with greater equality and to strengthen democracy in the region, which is the guarantee of our freedom and sovereignty.

The invitation, to participate in the electoral campaign, came from the Vázquez himself and included lunch between Alberto Fernández and Daniel Martínez, along with other leaders of the Frente Amplio. The current mayor of Montevideo had already met with the former chief of Cabinet in early October when the Uruguayan visited him, with Mujica, in his offices on Mexico Street to give his support before the elections of October 27th.

That same date, both candidates won in their respective countries. In Martinez case reached 39.9 percent of the votes, against Luis Alberto Lacalle Pou, of the National Party, 29 percent. However, the difference did not allow candidates from Frente Amplio to be elected first round. On Sunday 24th, Uruguay will define its future for the next five years.

]]> <![CDATA[Rohingyas Turn to Argentinian Justice System over ‘Genocide’]]> Thu, 14 Nov 2019 19:03:35 -04:00 A Rohingya organization has filed a complaint in Argentina over alleged crimes against the Rohingya group in Myanmar, defense sources told EFE on Wednesday.

Myanmar Urged To Release Rohingya Held for Traveling

“With today’s legal case, we are urging Argentina to help us in our struggle, and to investigate those guilty of atrocity crimes,” the Burmese Rohingya Organization UK (Brouk) said in a statement.

The organization said it was being represented in Argentina by the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, Tomas Ojea Quintana.

Tun Khin, the lawyer who filed the complaint in the federal courts of Buenos Aires along with the president of Brouk, said the main goal was for the Rohingyas to have the jurisdiction that would lead to an investigation into the alleged perpetrators.

“The Rohingyas, knowing that in Argentina certain antecedents of universal justice exist have decided from the symbolic and practical point of view to present this denunciation,” Ojea added.

The case presented Wednesday warned of decades of violence and oppression imposed on the Rohingyas in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state.

“In 2016 and 2017, the Myanmar security forces and their proxies launched vicious ‘clearance operations’ against the Rohingya, killing thousands, committing widespread sexual violence, burning whole villages to the ground and driving some 800,000 people to flee into Bangladesh,” the Brouk statement said.

It is also warned that the Rohingyas were “trapped in a virtual open-air prison where they often cannot access basic services such as education and health, are effectively denied citizenship, and face severe restrictions on their freedom of movement.”

Ojea said the complaint, which was being supported by Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, a human rights organization set up to find children who were stolen during Jorge Videla’s dictatorship, and Foundation for Peace and Justice humanitarian organizations in Argentina, seeks to open a judicial process that the Rohingyas say they cannot have in Myanmar.

“There are no independent courts,” he said.

The International Criminal Court opened a preliminary investigation last year into allegations of deportation of Rohingyas to neighboring Bangladesh.

In July, the ICC said the prosecutor was seeking an investigation into alleged crimes against humanity and persecution of the Rohingya people since October 2016.

Myanmar is not a member of the ICC, which complicates matters from a legal standpoint.

On Monday, The Gambia took a lawsuit to the International Court of Justice accusing Myanmar of genocide against the Rohingyas.

If the Rohingya case succeeds, it will be the first time the leaders of the Asian country, including State Councilor Aung San Suu Kyi, are judged on allegations of genocide against the ethnic minority.

]]> <![CDATA[At Least 12 Dead Following Coup in Bolivia]]> Thu, 14 Nov 2019 18:10:52 -04:00 At least 12 Bolivians have been killed and more than 530 injured by the violence that escalated in Bolivia following the coup against constitutional president Evo Morales, denounced the Ombudsman's Office.


 Argentina: Congress Rejects the Coup d'Etat in Bolivia

The human rights agency explained on its official website that among the injured are women, children, adolescents and journalists.

In turn, the institution - created in 1994 by constitutional mandate - posted on its Twitter account that on November 11 and 12, five Bolivians were killed (out of the total).

Of those deaths, four were due to the gunshots fired by the Armed Forces and the Police, and one due to suffocation by strangulation, the Ombudsman's Office explained on its digital platform.

The events that forced Evo Morales's resignation and consummated the coup d'état were unquestionably violent, as reported in an article published on the Mision Verdad webpage.

Opposition gangs attacked numerous politicians of the ruling Movement Towards Socialism, looted Morales' house, and burned the residences of several high-level politicians, detailed the article.

Evo Morales announced his resignation as president on November 10 to stop the bloodshed, however, during a press conference in Mexico a country that granted him political asylum to preserve his life - he acknowledged that his decision did not halt the social upheaval.

In that sense, Morales called on the military to stop the bloodshed and initiate a national dialogue.

]]> <![CDATA[Turkey Wont Give Up Russian Missile System: Erdogan]]> Thu, 14 Nov 2019 14:58:03 -04:00 Turkey’s president Tayyip Erdogan said Washington was not right to propose that Ankara get rid of the Russian S-400 missile defenses it purchased, calling it an infringement of sovereign rights, according to Turkish media.


Turkey's Erdogan Announces Capture of Al-Baghdadi's Wife

In a meeting at the White House on Wednesday, U.S. President Donald Trump urged Erdogan to abandon the S-400 systems that began arriving in Turkey in July despite threats of sanctions from Washington.

Asked after his meeting whether Turkey would consider not activating the S-400s, Erdogan told reporters Ankara cannot harm its relations with Russia. He also again held out the option of buying U.S. Patriot defenses.

“We said, ‘We see the proposal to remove the S-400s completely while buying the Patriots as an infringement of our sovereign right and certainly do not find it right,’” he was quoted as saying by broadcasters.

“This is the most binding element: we have some strategic efforts with Russia,” Erdogan said, adding the Turkstream natural gas pipeline, which begins in Russia and runs through Turkey, will start delivering gas to Europe.

“I cannot abandon the S-400s because of Patriots now. If you are going to give us Patriots, give them,” he was quoted as saying.

Largely thanks to good relations between the two presidents, Turkey has so far avoided U.S. sanctions that by law should be triggered by the S-400s. But the United States has banned sales of F-35 fighter jets to Ankara and removed it from a multinational program to produce the warplane.

Erdogan said that he saw a much more positive approach to the F-35 issue from Trump.

]]> <![CDATA[Bolivia: United Nations Sends Mediator to Help Overcome Crisis]]> Thu, 14 Nov 2019 15:01:21 -04:00 A United Nations envoy is traveling to Bolivia to mediate among different political forces and achieve a peaceful solution to the crisis that the coup d'etat against President Evo Morales triggered.


Argentina: Congress Rejects the Coup d'Etat in Bolivia

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres entrusted this task to Jean Arnault, a French diplomat who will serve as his envoy and meet with all Bolivian actors.

Arnault, who was the UN special representative for Colombia until 2018, has also served as an envoy for Georgia, Afghanistan, Burundi, and Guatemala.

His main goal is "to support efforts to achieve a peaceful solution to the crisis, including transparent, inclusive and credible elections," UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said.

This diplomat also announced that Guterres remains "deeply concerned" about the events and calls on all citizens to "refrain from violence and exercise utmost restraint."

Guterres' decision comes just some hours after Evo Morales asked the United Nations, European countries and the Catholic Church to support a "dialogue to pacify" Bolivia.

According to Dujarric, however, Guterres has not spoken to Morales, who is currently a political asylee in Mexico.

Previously, the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) leader denounced what happened in the Andean country as a coup d'etat, in which the Organization of American States (OAS) performed as an instrument of the U.S. foreign policy.

Since Monday expressions of solidarity with the Bolivian people have been multiplying as a result of the notorious violence that the Army and the Police are exercising against the civilian population.

In that sense, Venezuela's Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza on Thursday arrived in Managua, Nicaragua, to participate in the Meeting of the Political Council of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples (ALBA), which is expected to analyze the coup in Bolivia and its consequences for the region.

]]> <![CDATA[Chile's Mapuche People Mourn the Death of Camillo Catrillanca]]> Thu, 14 Nov 2019 14:19:09 -04:00 November 14 will mark the first anniversary of the death of Camilo Catrillanca, an Indigenous man who was shot to dead by a Military Police (Carabinero) officer in La Araucania. Social movements and progressive parties have called for demonstrations in more than 40 cities.


Interior Minister Responsible for Catrillanca Murder

This crime brought a political crisis for President Sebastian Piñera administration because police officers tried to misrepresent the facts so that his murder appeared as if it had been the consequence of fire exchange between the Mapuches and the Police.

Camilo was shot in the neck while he was traveling on a tractor through his community accompanied by a 15-year-old teenager.

His death was recorded on a video camera that one of the police officers had in his helmet. Images showed that, after receiving the mortal shot, Catrillanca remained motionless for several minutes.

However, once the police officers realized that he was still breathing, they tried to take him to a medical center.

Chile's human rights defenders and social activists come together to remember the murder of Camillo Catrillanca, a Mapuche leader and farmer. His father and family are hopeful that justice will be done after one year of their tragedy.

The murderer is Carlos Alarcon, a Special Operations Group (GOPE) sergeant who faces up to 15 years in jail. Besides being accused of homicide, he faces charges for threats against the teenager witness.

The Chilean sergeant alleges he shot Catrillanca because he believed the Indigenous farmer was one of the alleged car thieves who were in the area.

Another defendant is Raul Avila, who faces charges for having destroyed the camera's memory card that recorded the events.

An expert report ordered by the Chilean Public Prosecutor's Office concluded that Catrillanca changed the trajectory of the tractor after observing that an armored car was approaching.

In their first statements, the police officers said they had been ambushed and opened fire in response to the shots they received.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ The Prosecutor's Office, however, dismissed such a version.

Today thousands of Mapuches and Chileans take to the streets to demand justice for the murder of Camilo Catrillanca. Strength for his family and the Temucuicui community. Never again a Mapuche killed by the State!!!

Later Sergeant Alarcon himself admitted that the lawyer Cristian Inostroza, who is also charged in this case, told them that they should deliver a false account of what happened.

Initially, the Military Police high command denied the existence of a video about the incident. A few weeks later, however, the Chilean media leaked images that dismantled the official lie.

Faced with the impossibility of hiding what happened, Police General Director Hermes Soto and Interior Minister Andres Chadwick, who knew that no Mapuche shot at the officers, resigned.​​​​​​​

Since the 19th century, in the Araucania region in southern Chile, Mapuches face the aggression of businessmen who enter their land in search of wood and other natural resources.

Due to the defense of their traditional ways of life, they have been killed, arrested, prosecuted and convicted under the "anti-terrorism" law.

Currently, Mapuches represent about 10 percent of the Chilean population and live in one of the poorest areas of this South American country.

]]> <![CDATA[Death Toll in Iraq Exceeds 300 Since Start of Protests]]> Thu, 14 Nov 2019 11:52:41 -04:00 At least four protesters were killed and more than 65 wounded on Thursday in clashes with Iraqi security forces who were trying to push them back to their main camp in central Baghdad, police and medical sources said.


Protesters, Iraqi Police Continue Battle on Baghdad Streets

The protests erupted in early October over economic hardship and endemic graft. The government responded with some measures such as handouts for the poor but the protesters are now demanding an overhaul of the entire political system.

After two days of relative calm, three protesters were killed early on Thursday after being struck in the head by tear gas canisters and a fourth person died in hospital from wounds from a stun bomb fired by security forces, the sources said.

The total death toll from the protests now exceeds 300.

Security forces used live rounds, rubber bullets and fired tear gas canisters to disperse hundreds of people near Tahrir Square, epicenter of the protests, a Reuters cameraman said.

At least half of the wounded protesters had sustained injuries from live ammunition, police and medical sources said. Others choked on tear gas or were struck by rubber bullets. Ambulances raced to evacuate those hurt or affected.

Protesters used old cabinets, empty petrol drums and steel sheeting to set up a barricade near Jumhuriya (Republic) Bridge.

“We’re reinforcing in case the security forces make another push later,” said Abbas, a teenage protester who was helping to set up the makeshift barrier.

]]> <![CDATA['Trump Prioritized His Interests', US Ambassador to Ukraine Says]]> Thu, 14 Nov 2019 13:35:34 -04:00 During a House Intelligence Committee impeachment inquiry hearing held on Wednesday, the acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor revealed that President Donald Trump prioritized his interests in the relationship with Ukraine and threatened this country with freezing military aid if its authorities did not initiate an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden's family.


US National Security Officials Expressed Concern Over Stopping Ukraine Aid

The U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine made those statements at the first hearing of an investigation which could lead to a political trial against Trump.

This could happen if it is demonstrated that the U.S. president abused his position by asking foreign rulers to investigate a U.S. politician who could be his rival in the 2020 presidential campaign.

Taylor also revealed that one of his team members heard a phone call between Trump and Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union.

"Sondland responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden, which Giuliani was pressing for," Taylor testified, referring to Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer.

Taylor also said that withholding military aid from Ukraine, which has been locked in conflict with Russia since 2014, undermined U.S. strategic interests.

"It was counterproductive to all of what we had been trying to do," he said and commented that "it was illogical... It was crazy."​​​​​​​

The impeachment investigation hearings will be broadcast on television, which could persuade US citizens that Trump deserves to be removed from office or that he does not deserve their vote.

So far, the political trial against Trump is supported by 75 percent of Democrats and 79 percent of Republicans, according to a Reuters poll conducted in early November.​​​​​​​

Nevertheless, undecided voters would seem to be convinced that the impeachment procedure will not help them change their stances.

"It's just a show," Kurt Zuhlke, a businessman who voted for Trump in 2016, said and admitted that he remains undecided for the 2020 elections.​​​​​​​

]]> <![CDATA[North Korea Not Interested in December Peace Talks with US]]> Thu, 14 Nov 2019 10:07:05 -04:00 North Korea said on Thursday it has been offered a fresh meeting with the United States, but is uninterested in more talks aimed at “appeasing us” ahead of a year-end deadline Pyongyang has set for Washington to show more flexibility in their negotiations.


North Korea Breaks off Nuclear Talks With US in Sweden

Kim Myong Gil, the North’s nuclear negotiator, said in a report carried by state media that Stephen Biegun, his U.S. counterpart who jointly led last month’s failed denuclearization talks in Stockholm, had offered through a third country to meet again.

Kim and Biegun met last month in the Swedish capital for the first time since U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed in June to re-open negotiations that have been stalled since a failed summit in Vietnam in February.

But the meeting fell apart, with Kim saying the U.S. side failed to present a new approach.

“If the negotiated solution of issues is possible, we are ready to meet with the U.S. at any place and any time,” Kim Myong Gil said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.

But he called Biegun’s proposal a “sinister aim of appeasing us in a bid to pass with ease” Pyongyang’s year-end deadline. “We have no willingness to have such negotiations.”

North Korea has been seeking a lifting of punishing sanctions, but the United States has insisted Kim Jong Un must dismantle his nuclear weapons program first.

]]> <![CDATA[Argentina: Congress Rejects the Coup d'Etat in Bolivia]]> Thu, 14 Nov 2019 10:43:07 -04:00 Both chambers of the Argentine parliament on Wednesday passed resolutions to condemn the coup d'etat against Bolivia's President Evo Morales.


Bolivia: Over 4000 Twitter Accounts Created to Legitimize Coup

In the Senate, both the Left and the Right presented draft resolutions to condemn the ongoing political events in the neighboring Andean country.

"Evo Morales was forced to asylum in another country because the army and the police broke their constitutional obligations and that means a coup d'etat," Senator Mario Pais said.

The right-wing block, which supports Argentina's President Mauricio Macri, presented a project to reject the "coup to democracy".

According to the Radical Civic Union (UCR) senator Silvia Giacoppo, however, Evo Morales would have been responsible for what happened because "he tried to perpetuate himself in power."

Despite this sort of ideological resistances, the Argentine senators ended up approving the project presented by the Left, which mentioned the words "coup d'etat."

"Long live Evo! Long live the sister Plurinational Republic of Bolivia! Today, from Argentina's Congress, we repudiate the coup d'etat and defend Latin American democracy; despite Mauricio Macri's complicity with the coup."

​​​​​​In Argentina's Chamber of Deputies, which met on Wednesday for the first time after two months of inactivity, the Front for Victory (FV) and the Justicialist Party (PJ) presented a draft resolution, which was also approved with the votes of most lawmakers.

"The resolution declaring that there is a coup d'etat in Bolivia has been approved," the Chamber of Deputies president Emilio Monzo said.

The deputies' resolution expresses "its repudiation of the coup d'etat perpetrated in Bolivia, which forced President Evo Morales and his vice president to resign to preserve peace."​​​​​​​

"It also appeals to the restoration of the constitutional order and democracy," the FV-PJ bench leader Agustin Rossi said and warned that “the U.S. has a lot to do with the coup."

While both Chambers were discussing their resolution projects on Wednesday, the Macri administration continued to avoid public statements regarding what is happening in Bolivia​​​​​​​.​​​​​​​

The crisis unleashed during the planning and execution of the coup in Bolivia has left 8 dead, 508 injured and 460 detained so far, according to the Bolivian Ombudsman's Office.​​​​​​​

]]> <![CDATA[Palestine Mourns 32 Killed in 48 Hrs by Israel’s New Offensive]]> Wed, 13 Nov 2019 23:36:11 -04:00
Women mourn during Abdullah al-Belbasi's funeral in the northern Gaza Strip November 13, 2019.
A Palestinian boy mourns after learning his relative was killed in Gaza November 13, 2019.
A Palestinian woman reacts as she sits outside her home in the southern Gaza Strip November 12, 2019.
The son of Palestinian Islamic Jihad field commander Baha Abu Al-Atta mourns during his father's funeral in Gaza City November 12, 2019.
Palestinian children collect objects from a house destroyed in an Israeli air strike in the southern Gaza Strip November 13, 2019.
Mourners carry the body of Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant Abdullah al-Belbasi during his funeral in the northern Gaza Strip November 13, 2019.
A Palestinian boy carries belongings retrieved from a house destroyed in an Israeli air strike in the southern Gaza Strip November 13, 2019.
A Palestinian man, stained with the blood of his relative, is comforted as he reacts at Shifa hospital in Gaza City November 13, 2019.1
A Palestinian woman reacts as she looks out of her home in the southern Gaza Strip November 12, 2019.
Palestinian women sit near the remains of a house destroyed in an Israeli air strike in the southern Gaza Strip November 13, 2019.
]]> <![CDATA[US Detained About 70,000 Migrant Children in 2019: Report]]> Wed, 13 Nov 2019 23:47:43 -04:00 In the United States, 69,550 migrant children were held in custody by the Trump administration in 2019, the Associated Press and the PBS series, Frontline reported Tuesday. 


Yale Student Fights To Halt Deportation of His Mother With Stage IV Cancer

The unequaled figure shows that more children were separated from their parents in the U.S. than in any other country in the world; this occurring even if the government recognized that being jailed is highly traumatic for children, and exposes them to the important risk of long-term physical and emotional harm.

Some of the migrant children who were in government custody this year have already been deported, while others have reunited with family in the U.S., where they are trying to go to school and rebuild their lives. About 4,000 children are still in government custody, some in large, impersonal and facilities; yet more children are continuing to arrive every week.

The nearly 70,000 migrant infants, toddlers, kids and teens who were held in government custody this year spent more time in shelters and away from their families than in prior years. 

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration's set of harsh migration policies have increased the time children are held in detention, despite the government's own acknowledgment that it causes physical and emotional damage.

In 2013, Australia held 2,000 children during a surge of maritime arrivals. In Canada, migrant children are separated from their parents only as a last resort; 155 were held back in 2018. And in the United Kingdom, 42 migrant children were put in shelters in 2017, according to officials in those countries.

"Early experiences are literally built into our brains and bodies," said Jack Shonkoff, who directs Harvard University's Center on the Developing Child. Earlier this year, he told Congress that "decades of peer-reviewed research" shows that keeping children away from parents or primary caregivers is bad for their health, adding i  is a brain-wiring issue. 

"Stable and responsive relationships promote healthy brain architecture," Shonkoff said. "If these relationships are disrupted, young children are hit by the double whammy of a brain that is deprived of the positive stimulation it needs and assaulted by a stress response that disrupts its developing circuitry."

Younger children are at greater risk because their biological systems are less developed, he said. Previous harm and the duration of separation are also more likely to lead to trauma.

]]> <![CDATA[Venice Mayor Blames Climate Crisis for Historic Flooding]]> Wed, 13 Nov 2019 23:57:00 -04:00 Mayor of Venice Luigi Brugnaro expressed that the six feet of water that has flooded the city since Tuesday is not just "bad weather" but a climate emergency. 


How Taricaya Turtles Try To Save the Amazon

The record water level, the highest in 50 years, led Brugnaro to ask Italy's government for assistance and to declare a state of emergency in the city after at least two people were reported dead in the flooding.

"These are the effects of climate change," the mayor tweeted.

This week's flooding marked the second-highest water level recorded in Venice since city officials began keeping records in 1923. The first time was in 1966 when three inches of rain covered the place reaching six feet too.

Even today, facing tides that mark negative records. Tomorrow we will declare a state of emergency. We ask the government to help us, the costs will be high. These are the effects of climate change.

The ancient cathedral St. Mark's Basilica flooded for only the sixth time in 1,200 years. However, church officials said four of those times have been in the last two decades as fossil fuel emissions and sea levels have both gone up.

"I usually associate climate change with dramatic catastrophes like hurricanes and forest fires but this is silent and creeping," one local observer wrote. "Residents are adapting by scheduling meetings earlier or later, shops place wooden barriers to block water and there are ramps in low elevation spaces but it is clear that it is getting worse every winter."

Greenpeace cautioned against dismissing the flooding as the result of Venice's location in the Venetian Lagoon. "From north to south, Italy has been impacted by a series of extreme climate events," Greenpeace Italy tweeted. "What's happening in Venice is a powerful example. This is not just 'bad weather,' this is a climate emergency."

Climate experts Katharine Hayhoe, Eric Holthaus, and Bill McKibben added that the climate crisis is worsening weather events' effects on the low-lying city. 




Climate experts, including Katharine Hayhoe, Eric Holthaus, and Bill McKibben, noted that low-lying cities like Venice are becoming increasingly vulnerable to extreme weather and rising seas caused by rising global temperatures.

The Italian government announced earlier this month that school children would be required starting in 2020 to study the climate crisis as part of their curriculum, in an initiative pushed by Education Minister Lorenzo Fioramonti.

]]> <![CDATA[Facebook’s Black Employees Denounce Company's Racism in a Letter]]> Wed, 13 Nov 2019 23:09:38 -04:00 A group of 12 tech workers at Facebook published an open, anonymous letter on Nov. 7 on Medium, accusing the company of racism and bias against black emplyees and allowing a serious deterioration of the workplace culture.

Suicide Attempts Up Among Black Teens, Decreases Among Others

“Racism, discrimination, bias, and aggression do not come from the big moments,” the workers said. “It’s in the small actions that mount up over time and build into a culture where we are only meant to be seen as quotas, but never heard, never acknowledged, never recognized, and never accepted.”

The letter documents and details a variety of discrimination and hostility incidents experienced by non-white staff. The letter was published the same week as Facebook’s annual ‘Black@’ conference.

“All of the incidents are factual, with witnesses corroborating the behaviors, and have been thoroughly documented,” the writers said.

One program manager described being told by two white colleagues to clean up after their breakfast mess and when they reported the incident, their supervisor only responded they should “dress more professionally." Others testified that supervisors and colleagues called them aggressive, arrogant, angry, and abnormal for sharing opinions in the same ways as their white colleagues.

“I spoke at a regular team meeting and gave my opinion about a topic I am a subject matter expert on. I was told after the meeting by the manager that I was disrespectful for speaking at this meeting, that my opinion was not wanted, that I was being arrogant in sharing that opinion, and not to speak at any future meetings unless called upon,” an employee said.

“My manager has directly asked at least two colleagues to provide me negative feedback on my performance review in order to influence my performance rating, which would negatively impact my total compensation. My colleagues refused and instead referred the incident to HR. HR took no action,” another employee stated.

“We are sad. Angry. Oppressed. Depressed. And treated every day through the micro and macro aggressions as if we do not belong here,” the employees wrote.

The letter also included screenshots of an app called Blind, allowing Facebook employees to anonymously post their experiences within the company. The screenshots showed racially degrading and offensive posts against black people.


“These people make it seem like they work for the KKK,” one staff member reportedly wrote, referring to non-white employees, adding that “they should feel privileged that they were diversity hires and got into the company after we lowered our hiring standards. That’s just my opinion, though.” 

The screenshot is also followed by a poll showing that more than 66 percent of respondents felt that black employees “just complain to get attention.”

In a statement sent to reporters on Friday, Facebook’s Vice President of Corporate Communications Bertie Thomson expressed regrets saying that nobody should have to go through such experiences.

“We are sorry. It goes against everything that we stand for as a company. We’re listening and working hard to do better,” Thomson wrote.

Concerns over race relations at Facebook are not something new. In 2013, a diversity report showed that the company’s United States workforce was dominated by white men, while black and Hispanic employees made up just two and four percent of its staff, respectively.

The Medium letter came one year after another black Facebook manager accused the company of having “a black people problem.”

Mark Luckie, the former employee, had already described in a letter that the company’s racism despite its leadership paying strong service to put equitable policies in place and build a diverse staff. However, the stated convictions are not backed up in practice, according to the ex-worker.

“In some buildings, there are more ‘Black Lives Matter’ posters than there are actual black people”, Luckie wrote last year.

]]> <![CDATA[Venezuelan Negotiation Table Appoints New Electoral Commission]]> Wed, 13 Nov 2019 22:37:11 -04:00 Socialist lawmaker Francisco Torrealba confirmed Wednesday that the electoral commission of the negotiation table shared with the opposition sectors appointed a sub-commission in charge of appointing a committee of candidacies for a new National Electoral Council.

Trespassers Forcibly Enter Venezuelan Embassy in Brasilia

"The sub-commission was created and will include the participation of the lawmakers Angel Medina from opposition parties Primero de Justicia, and Luis Moreno for Accion Democratica, while Julio Chavez and William Gil, will represent the United Socialist Party of Venezuela," he said. 

The subcommissioners will draw a chronogram for the appointment of new members of the Electoral Council.

Once the National Assembly ends its period of contempt and new electoral deputies are elected, the legislative commissions will likely be operational again by the third trimester of 2020, the lawmaker explained.

Today we have reached an accomplishment thanks to the National Dialogue Table proposed by President Nicolas Maduro, with setting-up of the preliminary Committee to be appointed by the Nominating Committee of the CNE.

"Elections are not optional, they are happening, because the Constitution says so, and the current mandate of lawmakers is coming to an end next year, so there must be a new National Assembly in 2021," he said.

A total of 21 commissioners will be appointed: 11 lawmakers from the opposition and from the government, as well as 10 members of the civil society.

This is part the deal reached with opposition parties, which in the first instance resulted in the return of the parliamentary bloc of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and the Great Patriotic Pole (GPP)  to the country's National Assembly in September. 

Vice President Delcy Rodriguez recalled that the National Dialogue Roundtable agreed on eight working groups, which will address the following topics: 1. Electoral power and electoral guarantees; 2. Truth commission; 3. Sovereignty and territorial integrity; 4. National Economy; 5. Institutional and political balance; 6. Social rights; 7. Political parties; 8. Social movements.

]]> <![CDATA[Venezuela Confirms Recovery of Its Embassy in Brazil]]> Wed, 13 Nov 2019 22:54:13 -04:00 Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza confirmed Wednesday that irregular groups that violently entered Venezuela'sembassy located in Brasilia, Brazil's capital, left the premises peacefully thanks to authorities and social pressure.


Trespassers Forcibly Enter Venezuelan Embassy in Brasilia

Through his Twitter account, the diplomat expressed his gratitude to the Brazilian social movements that went to the location to defend the diplomatic headquarters and achieve its recovery, adding that all the diplomatic personnel ratified their support for President Nicolas Maduro and the Venezuelan government. 

On Wednesday morning, the Venezuelan Vice-Minister for Europe of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Yvan Gil raised the complaint on social media and emphasized that it was the responsibility of the government of President Jair Bolsonaro to guarantee the safety of its officials.

"The Government of Brazil must give all guarantees and respect to international agreements if this aggression is maintained it will be a serious precedent," he said.


Meanwhile, social movements, which were all day in support of diplomatic officials and denouncing the invasion by supporters of Juan Guaido commemorate at this time the recovery of the diplomatic headquarters and support the government of Nicolas Maduro.

For his part, the head of business of Venezuela in Brasilia Gerardo Delgado Maldonado warned about what was happening at the diplomatic offices and reiterated the support for the government presided by democratically elected Nicolas Maduro.

The interruption and violation of the Venezuelan diplomatic compound by these violent groups represented a latent violation of the Vienna Convention Agreement.

]]> <![CDATA[Barricades Become the Norm in Haiti After 9 Weeks of Protests]]> Wed, 13 Nov 2019 22:10:07 -04:00 A large tree trunk, branches, boulders and wrought iron piled in the middle of Delmas 75 street, not far from the Canadian Embassy, is one of the barricades that have blocked traffic every day for a month and a half in the Haitian capital.

 Haitian Opposition Calls For More Protests Against President

Under constant guard by young people between ages 17-35, mostly men, the barricade turn cars and motorcycles into traffic jams.

“The barricade symbolizes our curriculum vitae, our future and our life," Davidson Veus, coordinator of the Tet Delmas organization, told EFE about the symbolism of the barricades.

"We live in a system that exploits people and of which inequality is part and parcel. We want another system. We want to stop living in a country that is a paradise for a tiny group and hell for the majority,”

A little farther on from Delmas 75 are another two barricades: the first made of rocks and, a short way ahead, another of wrought iron that completely obstructs the street.

The barricades have popped up every morning in Port-au-Prince since the protests broke out last Sept. 16 against President Jovenel Moise, despite the authorities’ repeated attempts to evict them.

“The first of the protesters’ demands is the unconditional resignation of Jovenel Moises," said Veus, who was inspecting the barricades in the suburbs and giving orders to the youths accompanying him.

"We’re not asking him to leave the country, but rather to answer the questions put to him in court. Even after that, the barricades will remain in place to demand a change in the entire system.”

Barricades have appeared between June 6-8, 2018, when the country went through its first “closure,” which in turn led to the resignation of Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant.

Since then, the strategy has been used in Port-au-Prince and some provincial capitals by protesters demanding a "clean slate."

For more than seven weeks, Haiti has gone through a new popular uprising sparked by a fuel shortage in the context of a country plagued by corruption, inequality, insecurity and hunger.

“This is a movement that is getting more popular support every day, to the extent that people are demanding real change," said the sociologist James Beltis, who is also a member of the Nou Pap Domi organization, which demands that the case of PetroCaribe corruption be tried in court..

"If in the past, political parties would take the initiative to shut down the country with the aid of paid activists, we now feel it is the poor neighborhoods that are doing it on their own,”

He sees this as one of the reasons why the government is finding it so incredibly difficult to eliminate the barricades.

“This means that barricading the streets will last a much longer time,” Beltis said. “For me, it’s working. It illustrates the illegitimacy of the current government. It shows that it has no ability to govern the country and that the crisis has gone beyond its ability to do anything about it.”

]]> <![CDATA[Tunisian Parliament Chooses Islamist Party Leader As Speaker ]]> Wed, 13 Nov 2019 21:57:21 -04:00 The new parliament in Tunisia elected Wednesday Rached Ghannouchi, leader of the Islamist Ennahda party, as its speaker after its rival party Heart of Tunisia party backed him; making a possible coalition government between the two parties more likely to happen.


Tunisian Election: Kais Saied Elected New President

It was not immediately clear what price if any, Heart of Tunisia asked for supporting Ghannouchi as a speaker.

“The party decided to vote for Ennahda after an agreement,” said Ridha Charfeddine, a Heart of Tunisia lawmaker.

The party led by media magnate Nabil Karoui and Ennahda have presented themselves as ideological rivals and have both previously rejected the possibility of entering into a coalition.

Ennahda, as the biggest party in parliament, has now until Friday to name its nominee for prime minister, starting the clock on a two-month process for that person to form a government.

Tunisia’s post-revolution constitution splits power between the newly elected President Kais Saied and a government that passes legislation through the parliament.

Wednesday’s election for speaker represented a big test for Ennahda, which was banned before Tunisia’s 2011 revolution but has since played a big role in several coalition governments.

The Islamist party came first in last month’s parliamentary election, but only won 52 of 217 seats in a deeply fragmented parliament, forcing it to negotiate to win majority support for its preferred candidates for speaker and for prime minister.

However, its efforts to build a coalition with several rival parties have so far come to nothing and the North African country continues with a caretaker government under the current prime minister, Youssef Chahed.

Tunisians voted last month for a new parliament but quiet polling stations had given an indication of the economic disillusionment that has emerged since 2011.

The failure of repeated coalition governments that grouped the old secular elite and Ennahda to address a weak economy and declining public services has dismayed many Tunisians.

"After the revolution, we were all optimistic and our hopes were high. But hope has been greatly diminished now as a result of the disastrous performance of the rulers and the former parliament," Basma Zoghbi, a worker for Tunis municipality, had said before last month’s election.

Unemployment, 15 percent nationally and 30 percent in some cities, is higher than it was under the former autocrat, Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, who died earlier this year in exile in Saudi Arabia.

Inflation hit a record 7.8 percent last year and is still high at 6.8 percent. Frequent public sector strikes disrupt services. Financial inequality meanwhile divides Tunisians and the poverty of many areas has become an important political theme.

Any government that would be formed will face the competing demands of improving services and the economy while further reining in Tunisia's high public debt, a message pushed by international lenders.

]]> <![CDATA[As Israel Pounds The Gaza Strip, Death Toll Reaches 32 ]]> Wed, 13 Nov 2019 20:03:00 -04:00 Israel has been heavily bombing the besieged Gaza Strip Wednesday for the second day in the most violent onslaught in months. The death toll from the air campaign increased to 32 Palestinians, including three minors; while at least 70 others including 30 children were wounded, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. 


Israeli Soldier Who Killed Palestinian Teen Gets 1-Month Sentence

In the eastern part of the enclave, Ayyad, a 54-year-old farmer, and Amir, 8, were coming back home from the farm on a motorcycle when they stopped to greet Islam, 25.

Moments later, an Israeli airstrike killed the Ayyad family members in front of their house.

The bodies, along with others of Palestinian victims were brought to hospitals in taxis and ambulances, witnesses recounted; adding that relatives gathered outside the hospitals and many could be seen weeping and screaming.

Ashraf al-Qudra, the spokesman for Gaza's health ministry, said the ministry raised its level of alertness in the emergency and intensive care units since the start of the Israeli military operation.

"Our medical staff has dealt with difficult cases, including severe burns, complex fractures, and deep wounds," he told Middle East Eye, saying that most of the wounded were suffering from moderate to severe injuries.

Qudra accused the Israeli military of using disproportionate force, citing the scorched and torn bodies of several victims.

The new spiral of violence started Tuesday when the Israeli forces pounded the home of top Islamic Jihad commander Bahaa Abu al-Ata, assassinating him and his wife and severely injuring his children.

The targeted assassination had sparked widespread anger in the enclave and provoked the launching of reprisal rockets from the armed group into Israel. 

Israel’s Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu’s administration ordered Wednesday the resumption of bombardments over Gaza in response to the rockets. Israeli fighter jets targetted various areas of the coastal enclave, including the city's center, as well as agricultural lands in the eastern part of the Strip, according to the Maan News Agency.

Netanyahu said Israel was prepared to keep bombarding Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza as long as rocket fire continued, when only two of those killed were Islamic Jihad members; the rest being civilians living in densely populated neighborhoods.

"They have one choice: to stop these attacks or absorb more and more blows. Their choice," Netanyahu said during a cabinet meeting. 

In the same voice, Israel's defense minister Naftali Bennett confirmed his country will not hesitate to target more members of the Islamic Jihad group.

"Over the past 24 hours the Jihad Islamic terrorists shot over 250 rockets and missiles on Israelis," he declared.

"Israeli security forces will hunt down every terrorist until our children are secure and safe," he said adding that more than 80 people have been injured since the fighting began.

For his part, Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, said the "Israeli escalation" must immediately stop, Wafa news agency reported.

He called on the international community to immediately intervene to pressure Israel to stop its "continued aggression", and to respect international law, Wafa added.

Hamas, the organization that governs the Gaza Strip, appeared to be opting for staying out of the fighting for the moment.

On the other hand, Egyptian officials said Nickolay Mladenoy, a United Nations Middle East envoy, arrived Tuesday in Cairo to lead de-escalation efforts.

Islamic Jihad offered conditions for the Egyptian-mediated Gaza ceasefire with Israel, saying if these were not met it could continue cross-border attacks indefinitely.

The conditions laid out by Islamic Jihad leader Zeyad al-Nakhala in an interview with Al-Mayadeen TV included an end to Israel's targeted assassinations of fighters and Gaza border protesters, as well as measures to ease a blockade on the Palestinian enclave. There was no immediate response from Israel.

]]> <![CDATA[Facebook: Child Abuse, Suicide, Terrorism, Drugs]]> Wed, 13 Nov 2019 21:52:42 -04:00 Facebook removed 3.2 billion fake accounts between April and September so far this year, along with millions of posts depicting child abuse and suicide, according to its latest content moderation report released on Wednesday.


Activists To Pressure Facebook After Twitter Bans Political Ads

Reuters informed that these numbers double last year's 1.55 billion accounts taken down in the same period. Also world’s biggest social network disclosed for the first time how many posts it removed from popular photo-sharing app Instagram, which has been identified as a growing area of concern about fake news.

Proactive detection of violating content was lower across all categories on Instagram than on Facebook´s app, where the company initially implemented many of its detection tools. For example, there was content affiliated with terrorist organizations removed proactively 98.5% of the time on Facebook and 92.2%, on Instagram.

Furthermore, it removed more than 11.6 million pieces of content depicting child nudity and sexual exploitation of children on Facebook and 754,000 pieces on Instagram during the third quarter.

Law enforcement is concerned that Facebook’s plans to provide greater privacy to users by encrypting the company’s messaging services will hamper efforts to fight child abuse. FBI Director Christopher Wray said the changes would turn the platform into a “dream come true for predators and child pornographers.”

The company also added data on actions it took around self-harm content for the first time. The report said it had removed about 2.5 million posts in the third quarter that depicted or encouraged suicide or self-injury. They also removed about 4.4 million pieces involving drug sales during the quarter, it said in a blog post.

]]> <![CDATA[FAO: Hunger Rises in Latin America, Affects 42.5 Million People]]> Wed, 13 Nov 2019 19:58:04 -04:00 Hunger in Latin America increased in 2018 and affected 42.5 million people, 6.5 percent of the region’s population, where food insecurity also spread and where obesity continues to be a critical problem, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned this Tuesday.

Rural Colombia and Central America Facing Hunger and Poverty

The 42.5 million Latin Americans who suffered from hunger in 2018 signified an increase of 4.5 million over the 38 million reported in 2014, the FAO said at the regional FAO headquarters in Santiago.

That increase took place almost entirely in South American countries, where the number of the undernourished grew by 4.7 million over four years.

The figures form part of the “2018 Panorama of Food and Nutrition Security” report developed together with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), UNICEF and the World Food Program (WFP).

A country-by-country analysis of the figures shows a great heterogeneity in the war on hunger. Outstanding among the nations conquering this blight is Colombia, which went from 3.6 million to 2.4 million people over the two 3-year periods, along with Mexico, Bolivia and the Dominican Republic.

The countries with the lowest percentage of malnutrition, under 2.5 percent of the population, are Brazil, Cuba and Uruguay. Chile comes close to this group with a percentage of 2.7 percent, the report said.

Besides hunger, in recent years overweight and obesity have become the principal challenges in matters of food security.

According to FAO data, 24 percent of the Latin American population, some 105 million people, suffer from obesity, almost double the world average, which stands at 13.2 percent.

And for every individual suffering from hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean, more than six are overweight or obese, a problem on the rise in all segments of the population from adults to school-age children.

]]> <![CDATA[Bolivia: Over 4000 Twitter Accounts Created to Legitimize Coup]]> Wed, 13 Nov 2019 18:25:55 -04:00 It´s becoming more and more clear the role of social media as yet another political party able to legitimize or remove any Government, especially through social networks. A few days after the consummated coup against Bolivian President Evo Morales, there have been more than 4500 new Twitter accounts created, without almost any followers, with the hashtag #BoliviaNoHayGolpe installed.


'OAS Is a Tool of the US Empire': Bolivia's Evo Morales

Luciano Galup, director of the Menta Communication consultancy, was the one who announced that there were thousands of messages against the figure of Evo Morales from accounts that had almost no followers. He acknowledged that as a result of an effervescent society which in the face of a crisis may want to participate in the debate, some of these accounts could, in fact, be genuine.

However, Galup expressed that the majority had been created to install a sense of democratic disruption in Bolivia worldwide.

"These types of coordinated actions do not have much impact on domestic politics. A Trending Topic has no effectiveness on people who live those experiences and occupy those territories. But worldwide they can function as propaganda," Galup explained to Argentinian media outlet Pagina 12.

Clarification for those who say that many opened accounts to participate in the topic. It is likely that in times of crisis, citizens open accounts to participate in the public debate. However, these are the names of users that are generated. Let's not be naive ...

For the analyst, the campaign in networks against Evo aims to legitimize the coup and wash the face of the incoming illegitimate government. "Dictatorships and coups need to legitimize themselves against the concert of nations because there may be sanctions. It works like a foreign policy, not a domestic one," he said.

Good. This is a scandal . There are 3612 accounts that participated in #BoliviaNoHayGolpe and have between zero and one follower. And the most scandalous thing is there are 4492 accounts that were created between yesterday and today to participate in the HT. They created 4492 accounts in two days.


Since Sunday the images illustrating the coup in Bolivia have flooded the Internet: Evo announcing his resignation to avoid an escalation of violence, Fernando Camacho entering Palacio Quemado with a bible and a rosary, fires and looting of the houses belonging to the leaders of the Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS), mobilizations in the streets for and against of the coup, senator Jeanine Añez demanding the Armed Forces to intervene to "prevent a bloodshed", Peru preventing the plane that took Evo to Mexico from flying over its territory, prisoners rioted in the most important prison in La Paz.

"When countries acquire relevance from their conflicts, their meaning is disputed at the global level. The Bolivian case is particular because it has the characteristics of a traditional coup d'etat, with the Armed Forces asking a president to resign, so it has a lack of legitimacy of origin that forces it to have to defend what is happening internationally," Galup explained.

With hashtags such as #EvoAsesino, #EvoDictador or #EvoEsFraude, the messages of these accounts denounced that the first indigenous president is a corrupt and accused him of having "stolen" the October elections, as well as celebrating the presidency of Jeanine Añez and declaring that the coup finally led to "democracy and freedom" to the Bolivian people.

]]> <![CDATA[Chile's Piñera Announces Retired Police Can Be Rehired ]]> Wed, 13 Nov 2019 17:00:15 -04:00 Amidst the fourth week of mass anti-government demonstrations in Chile, President Sebastian Piñera in a televised speech on Tuesday opened the possibility of rehiring retired police officers.

Massive General Strike in Chile Demands a Constituent Assembly

“We have decided to open the possibility of reintegration to Carabineros [national police] and investigators who have had a recent and prominent retirement [in order] to increase the capabilities of order and security forces,” the head of state said.

The announcement came as at least two million Chileans across the country joined Tuesday’s General Strike in the biggest demonstration since the beginning of the anti-neoliberalism protests.  

"The General Strike stands for the unity of both public and private workers who are seeking structural transformations and a constituent assembly," Chile's National Association of Fiscal Employees (ANEF) said and added that what prevails is a broad effort for "the conquest of social rights."

A wide range of sectors joined the strike as port, agro-industrial, commercial, banking, health, and public services workers, as well as teachers and students,  unified their petition of structural changes through a Constituent Assembly.

A demand also voiced by Chilean opposition political parties which generated a unitary agreement on Tuesday and called on Piñera's government to hold such Constituent Assembly and a plebiscite for a new Constitution. 

Despite the political and social pressure and demands, Piñera did not address the issue during his speech but called for “dialogue” and the restoration of “order.”

About Chile 27 days after the social revolution occurred: There has not been a single day without protests in the country, the increase in subway rates blew up everything but the demand to stop them was immediately exceeded, many more came out given the inequality and misery in Chile.

Meanwhile, after completing an “emergency mission” in Chile, European Parliament Members Miguel Urban and Idoia Villanueva on Wednesday reported that this South American country suffers repression levels similar to those seen in the last three years of the Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship (1973-1990).

"Chile is just another example within a global trend towards the criminalization of social protests and persecution of human rights defenders," Urban said, adding that such problems "are being silenced."

Massive demonstrations against the Chilean government began in Santiago on October 14 due to a 30-cent increase in the subway fare.

While this measure was revoked by Piñera, social unrest increased in magnitude as the Chileans began to question "30 years" of neoliberal policies, which have implied a systematic withdrawal of economic and social rights for millions of people.​​​​​​​

According to the National Institute of Human Rights (NHRI), over the last month, at least 5,629 people have been arrested and 2,009 injured in Chile.

]]> <![CDATA[Bolivian Senate's Leader Attacked By Police and Coup Supporters]]> Wed, 13 Nov 2019 17:10:44 -04:00 The legitimate President of the Senate, Adriana Salvatierra, was violently assaulted by the police as she was trying to enter the Senate on Wednesday in order to comply with the constitutional rule that automatically proclaims the head of the upper chamber the Interim President when the President steps down, after Evo Morales was forced to resign on Sunday.

Soldiers Deployed in La Paz, Racism Rise Against Indigenous

In a press conference that followed the attack, Salvatierra told reporters that she was ready to open the parliament session and assume the presidency of the Plurinational State of Bolivia as mandated by law.

"After the attack, we can observe that we have no guarantee for us to fulfill our legislative mandate," she said from her office at the Legislative Assembly in La Paz, as she suffers from minor injuries from the attack.

She recalled that ousted President Evo Morales's instructions were very clear about avoiding violence and clashes between supporters and opponents of the socialist party.

She lamented the violence of the attack by security forces and condemned the radicalization growing across the country, after Morales' resignation left a political vacuum that the conservative opposition was quick to fill.

On Tuesday, opposition Senator Jeanine Áñez declared herself president of Bolivia.

However, she made the move without meeting with the constitutional requirements, as the Parliament did not reach the legal quorum since the lawmakers of the Movement to Socialism (MAS), who represent the majority in Congress, could not attend the session due to a lack of guarantees for their security. 

]]> <![CDATA[Mexico Proud of Its Foreign Policy Principles]]> Wed, 13 Nov 2019 16:28:09 -04:00 Mexico adheres to the principles of foreign policy, to our diplomatic tradition and that is a source of pride, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador reiterated today regarding the case of Bolivia and the granting of asylum to ousted president Evo Morales.

 Massive Mobilization in Buenos Aires Against Coup in Bolivia

The Mexican president stressed that no country in the world exhibits a history as consistent and worthy in this field, during his daily morning press conference this Wednesday.

He noted that the move follows on from the tradition established in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and stressed that his government will continue this policy, despite the criticism of conservative sectors.

The president congratulated the Foreign and Defense secretaries for the successful operation of transporting former president Evo Morales from Bolivia, where his life was in danger, to Mexican soil. He noted that the joint operation was undertaken with a high level of professionalism.

Lopez Obrador stressed that it was not an easy task, and relied on swift action and coordinated efforts, noting that it served as an example that his government is a good team and everyone is doing their part.


]]> <![CDATA[US: No Work Permits to Asylum Seekers Who Enter 'Illegally']]> Wed, 13 Nov 2019 15:10:04 -04:00 The United States government proposed a new regulation Wednesday that would ban asylum seekers from applying for a work permit if they entered the U.S. without authorization.

Honduras Signs Safe Third Country-Type Deal with US

“Asylum law explicitly permits applications regardless of the manner of entry,” an asylum officer told BuzzFeed, adding that “to single out those asylum seekers who couldn't afford a visa and prohibit them from obtaining lawful employment is cruel and has no basis in the law.”

The proposal comes as an ongoing bid to curve applications and migration mostly from Central America since the Trump administration seeks to discourage and make asylum claims and cases more difficult. 

“These changes would leave more asylum-seekers dependent, vulnerable to exploitation, and in the shadows, which is exactly where the regime wants them,” migration attorney based in Tennessee, Andrew Free said.

The regulation would also allow migration authorities to reject an asylum application or work permit request made by migrants who miss related immigration appointments or if they have been convicted of any federal or state felony and certain other crimes.

“Employment authorization ensures asylum-seekers the ability to support themselves while the government processes their claims. It often means access to a temporary driver's license that has a huge liberating impact in a ton of car-centric places,” the expert told BuzzFeed.

According to the 1951 Refugee Convention, which is a binding document for all the United Nations members, a country like the U.S. can refuse to grant refuge to asylum seekers and send them to a country that is considered "safe" to their lives. Canada struck a pact of those characteristics back in 2002.

President Donald Trump made Guatemala (July 26), El Salvador (Sept. 20) and Honduras (Sept. 25) sign safe-third country-type deals to force asylum-seekers who travel through the country to first seek protection there, effectively creating a barrier along the entire Central American region.

These agreements made with right-wing governments of the three Central American countries will complement Trump's anti-migrant rule that would curtail asylum applications at the U.S.-Mexico border, requiring migrants to first attempt international protection in a safe third country, essentially creating a barrier to curb migration from the area, known as the Northern Triangle.

With these arrangments the North American nation can now shift the burden onto other countries like Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala or Mexico, as asylum hearings can take months or even years. 

In September, the U.S. government rolled out a proposal to eliminate a 30-day deadline for processing work permit requests by asylum seekers. That plan could slow down the timeline to approve or deny an asylum application.

Human rights organizations and migration advocates argue that sending people seeking asylum back to the region where they fled, even if not to their home country, violates international commitments meant to prevent vulnerable migrants from being returned to danger, especially to countries known for drug and gang-related violence. 

To add even more pressure, the administration last week issued a proposed rule that would add a US$50 fee to certain asylum applications, the first time the country has charged for such requests.

]]> <![CDATA['OAS Is a Tool of the US Empire': Bolivia's Evo Morales ]]> Wed, 13 Nov 2019 16:02:14 -04:00 Bolivia's President Evo Morales denounced Wednesday the Organization of American States for being at the service of the United States and contributing to his country's political crisis.


Argentina's Congress to Discuss Texts Rejecting Coup in Bolivia

"The OAS is not at the service of the Latin American peoples and less of its social movements. It is at the service of the U.S. empire," Morales said from Mexico, where he is currently residing as a political refugee after being forced to resign last Sunday.

Meanwhile, due to massive demonstrations that have paralyzed La Paz, the Bolivian Parliament could not meet to formally process the resignation of Evo Morales, who is still the country's president.

Right-wing opposition politicians, however, summoned themselves to a meeting in the former Mining Bank at the Murillo Square, where only people who support the coup are being allowed to enter.

In an absolutely notorious and public way, the Police gathered around the private building to prevent the entry of the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) Senator and First President of the Senate Adriana Salvatierra, who under the Constitution is next in presidential succession line after Morales and ousted Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera.

On Wednesday, Salvatierra said she is willing to install the parliamentary session and assume the presidency of the Plurinational State of Bolivia.

"Farmers who grow coca leaf in the tropics declare themselves in mobilization until Evo returns."

Thousands of Bolivians are demonstrating in rejection of the coup against President Morales, which was orchestrated by opposition leaders Luis Fernando Camacho and Carlos Mesa.

"We are not afraid! We are not afraid!” the Bolivian farmers and workers shouted as Air Force planes flew menacingly over their massive demonstration in downtown La Paz.

To prevent further violations of the Bolivian constitution, progressive social movements have been demanding that the Legislature not be installed in session to consummate the coup d'etat. Parliament suspended the session Tuesday as there was no quorum but Senator Jeanine Añez, proclaimed herself as "Interim President."

This is how the Bolivian fascist coup' armed arm prevented the entry of Adriana Salvatierra, the Senate president, who is from Evo Morales's party. According to the Constitution, the MAS lawmaker is the next in the succession line to become the country's president

Workers and farmers also rejected the racist attitudes of Bolivia's far-right elites, which burned the Whipala, the flag of the Indigenous peoples and the second official flag of Bolivia.

For his part, Argentina's President-elect Alberto Fernandez on Wednesday refused to consider Senator Añez as Bolivia's interim president and questioned his country's foreign policy.

"Our Foreign Affairs Ministry had a hard time seeing the obvious, which is that there was a coup in Bolivia. I hope they don't recognize the outcome of a coup d'etat," Fernandez said after a meeting with social movements held at the Argentine Episcopal Conference in Buenos Aires.

"There was an Army chief who asked for the resignation of a President and a Police that mutinied," he recalled, stressing that those facts are "called a coup d'etat anywhere in the world.”

]]> <![CDATA[Lebanon Descends Further into Chaos as Economic Crisis Worsens]]> Wed, 13 Nov 2019 13:00:48 -04:00 A new wave of protests paralyzed Lebanon on Wednesday after President Michel Aoun enraged demonstrators by urging them to end their revolt against corruption and cronyism in the political establishment.


Students Lead New Wave of Protests In Lebanon

One month after the eruption of nationwide protests, Lebanon is in deep political and economic crisis with no sign of its leaders agreeing on a new government to replace the outgoing cabinet of Saad al-Hariri, who quit as premier on Oct. 29.

Banks, which were shut for half of October, closed again this week over staff security concerns. Most transfers out of the country have been blocked and, with U.S. dollars scarce, the pegged Lebanese pound is weakening on a black market.

Though the protests have been overwhelmingly peaceful, tensions have surfaced since Tuesday evening when Aoun gave a televised interview in which he said Lebanon faced “catastrophe” if the revolt did not stop.

After he spoke, protesters took to the streets across Lebanon and one was shot and killed after an altercation with Lebanese soldiers at a roadblock south of Beirut.

The man was a follower of Walid Jumblatt, a veteran Druze politician and former civil war militia leader, who has urged his supporters to remain calm.

Protesters blocked roads again on Wednesday.

Fights broke out on Wednesday in the predominantly Christian area of Jal al-Dib near Beirut, where protesters faced off with other people including Aoun supporters angered by roadblocks, footage broadcast by the LBC television channel showed.

President Michel Aoun said on Wednesday economic conditions in Lebanon were deteriorating further as a result of the situation in the country but the start of oil and gas exploration would help to gradually improve things.

]]> <![CDATA[Spain: Catalan Parliament Presses for Independence]]> Wed, 13 Nov 2019 15:04:57 -04:00 Catalonia's Parliament approved on Tuesday a motion promoting self-determination which was introduced by the Popular Candidacy Unit (CUP), a pro-independence political organization.


Spain: Socialists Win But Miss Majority, Far-Right Becomes 3rd Political Force

"The Catalonian Parliament's plenary has approved the first point of the motion on self-determination presented by the CUP," the Parliament's authorities published.

This proposal was approved in a session that began before the time initially planned so as to prevent Spain's Constitutional Court from interfering or suspending the process.

The CUP highlighted the intention of the regional lawmakers to carry out the process for independence and self-determination.

"The Parliament of Catalonia expressed concretely its will to exercise the right to self-determination and respect the Catalan people's will," CUP said.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Tsunami movement (TD) and the Defense Committees of the Republic (CDR) blocked an international highway to demand freedom for nine activists convicted of sedition after the 2017 Referendum whereby the Catalans expressed their desire to separate from Spain.

Their demonstration takes place just a few days after a national election in Spain that delivered a deeply fragmented parliament, which offers Catalan pro-independence parties a chance to play a role in unblocking the political stalemate in Madrid.

Catalan’s government president Quim Torra on Wednesday defended the activists' highway blockade and criticized police repression, which became violent nearby cities such as La Jonquera and Salt.

"This country guarantees the right to protest. What proposal does Spain have for Catalonia?" Torra asked and made a tacit reference to the agreement reached between the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) and the left-wing party We Can (Podemos).

"End the repression, make a proposal and let us defend our self-determination."

]]> <![CDATA[Chile: Repression Reaches Levels Similar to Pinochet Era]]> Wed, 13 Nov 2019 12:35:05 -04:00 After completing an “emergency mission” in Chile, European Parliament Members Miguel Urban and Idoia Villanueva on Wednesday reported that this South American country suffers repression levels similar to those seen in the last three years of the Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship (1973-1990).


Chile: Opposition Unites Calling For New Constituent Assembly

Besides preparing a mission report, the leftist MEPs wrote an open letter adressing Federica Mogherini, the European Union (EU) High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

They ask that the EU requires President Sebastian Piñera to halt the repression of citizens and ask for explanations about the actions carried out by the Army and the Police.

Urban and Villanueva recalled that the EU and Chile signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), which contains a "Cause on Democracy".

This binding instrument contemplates that the bilateral trade deal can be suspended if Chile does not respect human rights.

"Chile is just another example within a global trend towards the criminalization of social protests and persecution of human rights defenders," Urban said, adding that such problems "are being silenced."

The MEP indicated that Europe does not want to recognize the "exhaustion" of neoliberalism, which is an unsustainable model that enhances social inequalities.

"Day 26 of protests at the Dignity Square (formerly known as Italy Square). Do not stop spreading that the anger of the Chilean people is still present, despite the dead, the disappeared, the injured, those whose eyes were torn off. They continue, they are still in the streets."

The European Parliament on Wednesday is expected to address the situation of human rights in Chile.

"The EU cannot look the other way," Urban stressed and regretted that some MEPs are just asking for a debate on the Chilean issue which does not imply a final joint resolution.​​​​​​​

Massive demonstrations against the Chilean government began in Santiago on October 14 due to a 30-cent increase in the subway fare.​​​​​​​

While this measure was canceled by Piñera, social unrest increased in magnitude as the Chileans began to question "30 years" of neoliberal policies, which have implied a systematic withdrawal of economic and social rights for millions of people.​​​​​​​

According to the National Institute of Human Rights (NHRI), over the last month at least 5,629 people have been arrested and 2,009 injured in this South American country.​​​​​​​

Chile "is just another example within a global trend of criminalization of social protests and the persecution of human rights defenders," Urban said and added that such problems "are being silenced." The MEP indicated that Europe does not want to recognize the "exhaustion" of neoliberalism, which is an "unsustainable model that generates inequality." On Wednesday it is expected that the plenary of the European Parliament will address in some way the analysis of the situation of human rights in Chile. "The European Union cannot look the other way," Urban said and regretted that some groups of parliamentarians, who refuse to condemn the repression in Chile, ask for a debate on the Chilean issue but that does not imply a final joint resolution. According to data from the National Institute of Human Rights (NHRI), during the last month 5,629 people have been arrested and 2,009 injured due to police repression.
]]> <![CDATA[Trespassers Forcibly Enter Venezuelan Embassy in Brasilia ]]> Wed, 13 Nov 2019 10:41:56 -04:00 A group of trespassers forced their way into the Venezuelan Embassy in Brasilia on Wednesday, resulting in the brief disruption of diplomatic affairs. 


Trump Threatens Venezuela And Nicaragua After Coup in Bolivia

The Deputy Minister for Europe of the Ministry of  Foreign Affairs of Venezuela , Yván Gil, took to Twitter shortly after the incident to denounce the forcibly entry into the headquarters of the Venezuelan Embassy in Brazil by militants from the far-right that oppose the legitimate government of President Nicolas Maduro. 

"Irregular groups invaded areas of our embassy in Brasilia," the Venezuelan vice chancellor published on Twitter.

Yván Gil called on the government of the Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro, to guarantee the respect of international agreements. He also warned about the seriousness of trespassing into this space, which is why he described it as a serious international precedent.

Venezuela's Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza also took to Twitter to denounce the attack on the embassy. "We announce that the facilities of our embassy in Brasilia were invaded by a force in the early morning. We hold the Government of Brazil responsible for the safety of our staff and facilities. We demand respect for the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations."

The interruption and violation of the Venezuelan diplomatic compound by these violent groups represents a latent violation of the Vienna Convention Agreement. 



]]> <![CDATA[Argentina's Congress to Discuss Texts Rejecting Coup in Bolivia]]> Wed, 13 Nov 2019 10:57:57 -04:00 Argentina's Chamber of Deputies and Senate on Wednesday will hold sessions in which lawmakers will urge President Mauricio Macri to reject the coup against Evo Morales, demand the restitution of the constitutional order, condemn human rights violations and provide asylum to deposed officials.


Massive Mobilization in Buenos Aires Against Coup in Bolivia

“As Argentinians who have a deep tradition of peace and respect for the people's will, we urge the executive power to speak out against the civic-military coup which has interrupted the democratic and constitutional order,” says the draft text that will be discussed.

On Tuesday, lawmakers from Victory Front (FPV), Renovator Front (FR), Network for Argentina, Evita Movement, We Are (Somos), Left and Workers Front (FIT), and Republican Proposal (PRO) presented five draft texts related to the political situation in Bolivia.

Among these are pronouncements to halt the coup and the interference of the army, appeal to the restoration of democracy, and reject systematic human rights violations. 

The calls in both houses of the Parliament were motivated by the silence that the Macri administration has maintained so far with regard to the Bolivian events, which Argentinian lawmakers have described as "intolerable facts which cannot be accepted under any circumstances or with any excuse."

The meme reads, “I dream of Bolivia free from indigenous satanic rites. The city is not for indigenous persons. They should go to either the high-elevation plateau (Altiplano) or the lowland plain (Chaco)!!"

Meanwhile, the right-wing, religious fundamentalist senator Jeanine Añez, who proclaimed herself as Bolivas's interim president and received her command from the army, will face her first serious political challenge.

The deadline given by the Bolivian Workers Central (COB) to restore democracy expires on Wednesday, amidst a presidential succession that cannot be easily consolidated because it was carried out by breaking several legal procedures.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

For instance, with the intention of legitimizing an act of succession that occurred without the legally required quorum, Añez cited article 170 of the Bolivian Constitution according to which the President can be dismissed from his duties in case of death, resignation, absence or definitive impediment.​​​​​​​

​​​​​​​If this politically-driven interpretation of the constitutional text does not achieve greater support among citizens, however, the COB could initiate an indefinite strike.

]]> <![CDATA[Bolsonaro Threatens Lula With Activating National Security Law]]> Wed, 13 Nov 2019 00:08:11 -04:00 Brazil's far-right President Jair Bolsonaro decided to continue his campaign of aggression against the recently released Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and threatened Tuesday to use the National Security Law to repress possible demonstrations in favor of the former president.


Brazil: Lula Stands As Opposition To Bolsonaro, Right Wants Him Back In Jail

The law is designed to suppress "insurrections," therefore, for Bolsonaro, any demonstration in favor of the ex-president could be seen as a revolt.

If Lula complies with his announcement to travel the country to generate a new political movement, Bolsonaro would appeal to that controversial rule to break the support that Lula could win.

In this context, Bolsonaro referred to the protest and rebellion movements that are emerging in South America and affirmed that "Brazil is the cherry of the dessert" for the left.

"We have a National Security Law that is about to be used, and some of the pronouncements of this 'element' in reference to Lula, who for now is on the loose, are a clear violation of the law," he added.

In that sense, he pointed out that his government "will act against the Judicial Branch if there is the certainty that Lula will keep his promise to achieve his objectives."

After regaining his freedom, Lula decided to spend this first Sunday as a free man with his family but will devote next week to preparing a series of trips around the country that, according to PT sources, will begin in the northeast region, made up of nine states with center-left spectrum governors.

The first big event in that matter will be on Nov. 17 in the city of Recife, capital of the state of Pernambuco, where Lula was born 74 years ago and whose governor is Paulo Camara, an emerging figure of the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB), who would bow to an opposition front.

]]> <![CDATA[Products From Israeli Settlements Must Be Labeled as Such: EU]]> Wed, 13 Nov 2019 00:02:12 -04:00 The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled Tuesday that food and drink imported from illegal Israeli settlements must be labeled as produced in the occupied Palestinian territories and not as “Made in Israel," a decision welcomed by the Palestinians but condemned by Israel which said it would try to convince European countries not to comply with it.


Israel Kills 10 Palestinians Including Top Commander in Gaza

The Court of Justice said labels must not deceive consumers and imply that the goods they buy are not produced in the territories illegally seized from the Palestinians under international law.

Labels must “prevent consumers from being misled as to the fact that the State of Israel is present in the territories concerned as an occupying power and not as a sovereign entity”, the ECJ explained.

The ruling reaffirmed recommendations made by the European Commission in 2015, which said that grocery produce could not be labeled as "Made in Israel" if it had been made outside Israel's 1967 borders, in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat hailed the ruling and called on all EU countries to “implement what is a legal and political obligation.”

For its part, Israel’s foreign ministry said it “strongly rejects” the ruling “which serves as a tool in the political campaign against Israel.” Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said he would work with foreign ministers of EU countries to prevent its implementation.

Israeli farmers installed on Palestinian lands cultivate and sell a number of food and drink products including wine, herbs, fruits, and vegetables. Many of these products have been exported to the EU and labeled as “Product of Israel.”

The ruling bases itself from the Fourth Geneva Convention, which outlaws the transfer of an occupying power's population into occupied territory - settlements built for Israelis on occupied Palestinian territory precisely fit these criteria and their presence is therefore contrary to international law, the International Court of Justice said in a 2004 advisory opinion.

The court underlined that the occupied Palestinian territories could not be considered "Israel", even though the state of Israel carries some de facto or de jure jurisdiction in some of those areas - and the labeling was necessary "in order to prevent consumers from being misled as to the fact that the State of Israel is present in the territories concerned as an occupying power and not as a sovereign entity."

In similar case, a Canadian Federal Court ruled in July that Wines made and manufactured in illegal Israeli settlements within Palestine will not be sold in Canada under the label “Product of Israel.” 

]]> <![CDATA[Massive Mobilization in Buenos Aires Against Coup in Bolivia]]> Tue, 12 Nov 2019 23:55:55 -04:00 Thousands of demonstrators marched Tuesday along the main avenue in Argentina's capital to reach the Bolivian Embassy in Buenos Aires, condemning the coup that Bolivia is going through and offering full support to the legitimate president Evo Morales.


Roger Waters Sends Message of Support to Evo Morales

A prominent figure of the Bolivian community in that country Iber Mamani thanked the"support offered by the social and political organizations of the popular Argentinian countryside that pronounced themselves against the coup," and demanded the protection of "the lives of the comrades who today are being persecuted, kidnapped and tortured."

The leader of the MST Vilma Ripoll also present at the march, expressed the her "rejection to the coup carried out by the big bosses, the corporations and the armed forces, and endorsed by politicians like Mauricio Macri who until now has not declared anything about it."

In dialogue with Pagina 12, Ripoll added that Evo Morales "had pending tasks in Bolivia, such as the purging of the armed forces."

"We are here to repudiate what has no other qualification than a coup. We are very concerned about Evo's physical integrity, as well as the threat to the region. We have to remember and prevent the return of coups in Latin America," Argentinian Frente de Todos lawmaker Itai Hagman said amid flags and traditional Bolivian dances.

"Jallalla Evo Morales" was the expression most repeated by the Bolivian community installed at the door of the Bolivian Embassy in Argentina, a Quechua Aymara expression that symbolizes the unity of the people, their sense of belonging.

"We will return better, we will fight, we will win and we will return. Long live Evo Morales Ayma," Bolivians living in Argentina chanted in unison. 

Morales was forced to resign Sunday after senior army and police chiefs called on him to do so following weeks of right-wing unrest and violence against his Oct. 20 elections victory, in what his government has called a coup by opposition forces in the country. 

]]> <![CDATA[Students Lead New Wave of Protests In Lebanon]]> Tue, 12 Nov 2019 23:44:21 -04:00 Lebanese university students are beginning to gain greater prominence in the protests that began last Oct. 17 by massively claiming the right to "build" a future without the rulers who have led the nation to the economic collapse.


UN Steps in to Urge Lebanon to Form New Government

Hundreds of them, waving Lebanese flags, have taken on the streets as "Lebanese" and now also as "students" following the main goal of not to rest until every vestige of the regime is eliminated.

The march started today from the Lebanese University, the only public institution in the country, with a vehicle with loudspeakers leading the students and five people leaning out of the windows dressed with accessories that made reference to the different religions within Lebanon.

"We are here to ask our teachers to join us, to go out to the streets, to ask for more funds, because there is no money for laboratories, for research, and we are able to do it," Ocean el Shaar said.

The 22-year-old engineer student also protested the payment of school fees in dollars, a latent concern for most students who demand that it be in the local currency, Lebanese pounds.

Currently, most consumed products in Lebanon are imported and paid for in U.S. currency, but banks have limited availability of dollars due to lack of liquidity.

Also, many of the banking institutions have closed again today, after two weeks with the gates cast at the beginning of the protests.

On the other hand, on Tuesday Parliament suspended a session that would deal with numerous measures aimed at decongesting institutional paralysis and fighting corruption in the country, one of the reasons why Lebanon is one of the most indebted countries in the world.


]]> <![CDATA[Ecuador Ends Agreement to Receive Cuban Doctors]]> Tue, 12 Nov 2019 23:15:03 -04:00 The Ecuadorean government announced Tuesday its decision to put an end to a bilateral cooperation agreement on health between the South American country and Cuba, which enabled the island's doctors to work in Ecuador.


Brazil Struggles To Replace Departed Cuban Doctors, Thousands of Lives at Risk

The announcement was made by Ecuadorean Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo who said the move means "there will be no renewal of agreements or new agreements between Ecuador’s and Cuba’s health ministries."

According to Romo, Cuban doctors will be replaced by Ecuadorean specialists who will be called to apply from tomorrow to fulfill the nearly 400 places that will be free.

Romo also said these agreements are the last ones of this kind to be in force until the end of this year, however she added, the government is hoping to terminate them before that time. "When we started the government, there were many more [doctors] but the agreements were progressively replaced by direct hiring positions,” the official added.

Former Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa had stated at the time of the deals with Cuba that “Ecuador did not lack talent but required more doctors and specialists.”

Cuban doctors had come to Ecuador with extensive experience to take care of patients in public services all over the Andean country. They helped to strengthen the education system of medicine and allowed to better serve the population, especially lower-income citizens.

The agreement between Ecuador and Cuba was part of the Cuban medical missions which are a cornerstone of the island’s international cooperation programs for the world.

In a similar fashion, the departure of Cuban doctors from Brazil earlier this year saw severe consequences for that country’s most vulnerable population as the government of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro struggled to fill up the vacuum left by the physicians; El Salvador is another country that halted the medical programs with Cuba. 

]]> <![CDATA[Roger Waters Sends Message of Support to Evo Morales]]> Tue, 12 Nov 2019 21:43:54 -04:00 Rock ’n’ Roll legend and former frontman of Pink Floyd Roger Waters sent Tuesday a message of support to democratically elected and forced out former Bolivian President Evo Morales.


Jeanine Añez Appoints Herself President of Bolivia: No Quorum

“Evo Morales, if you see this, more power to you. I hope your exile is short, your people need you, they need a leader like you. You’re the first Indigenous leader in the whole of South America, you’ve done a great job, you’ve pulled so many of your people out of poverty and gave them a sense of dignity,”  Waters said in video released on social media, adding that the Bolivian leader, after bringing "the rule of law and democracy" to his country, has been “ripped away from his people by greed.”

“You have right and history on your side and as soon as you are able to come out to your beloved Bolivia, the better it would be for the people and for you [...] but also for the rest of us,” the musician went on.

“I’m not a religious man but if I were I would be praying for that moment,” he concluded, telling Morales that “his heart is with him.”

The British activist is a long-standing supporter of leftist movements worldwide and a staunch opponent of the United States’ imperialistic practices. He publicly criticized the unilateral sanctions against Venezuela, as well as the lawfare strategy and jailing of Brazilian former president Lula. 

Waters’ message of solidarity came as Morales landed Tuesday in Mexico as a political refugee.

The departure of Bolivia's and South America’s first indigenous president who was part of a wave of leftists leaders who dominated Latin America's politics at the start of the century, followed weeks of violent protests by far-right sectors pretexting fraud claims at the Oct. 20 re-election.

Bolivia under Morales was a rare example of stability, had one of the region's strongest economic growth rates and was able to lift millions out of poverty. The Andean country had an economy growing by an annual average of around 4.5 percent, well higher than the regional average.

]]> <![CDATA[Ecuador Recovers 530 Indigenous Artifacts From German Heir]]> Tue, 12 Nov 2019 22:03:44 -04:00 Ecuador has recovered hundreds of historic artifacts after a German man who inherited them voluntarily returned them.

Ecuador: Prison Ordered For Another Leftist Opposition Leader

In 2015, Josef Rettinger contacted the Ecuadorian embassy in Germany to find out where to send a collection of artifacts that his uncle, who lived in the Andean country between 1985-2005, gave to him.

“We cannot determine how, when or where,” the goods came from because it was an “illegal transfer,” Joaquin Moscoso, executive director of the National Institute of Cultural Heritage (INPC), told EFE.

Among the 530 pieces repatriated on Oct. 14, were anthropomorphic figurines, zoomorphs (ancient art resembling an animal), bowls, nose rings and other items made from ceramics, bone, stone, glass, metal and shell.

The haul arrived in Ecuador by plane in two highly protected boxes, a process that cost the Ministry of Culture and Heritage US$5,000, one of the “cheapest” repatriation efforts to date, according to Moscoso.

To reclaim six objects from Germany in previous years, the Ministry paid over US$100,000 in legal proceedings and other costs, while the repatriation of 4,000 pieces from Italy cost half a million.

The repatriation involved various entities, including Velasco’s ministry, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the INPC, the Prosecutor’s Office and the Attorney General’s Office, among others.

According to Velasco, there are still “many” heritage pieces located in other countries, a fact that means the efforts on this front must go on.

“Ecuador has embarked on an immense and relentless fight against the illegal trafficking of cultural and heritage assets” – the third most lucrative activity drug and weapons smuggling, according to Moscoso.

Moscoso said Mexico, Peru, Argentina and Ecuador were the most affected by the loss of historic artifacts in the region.

Ecuador has embarked on the process of signing international agreements – 18 of them to date – in a bid to prevent the illegal trafficking of such pieces.

The authorities do not intend to keep these items hidden away – they will go on display so that the public can appreciate their wealth and history.

Moscoso concluded that recovering these pieces allowed the Ecuadorian people to recover their past so that it can have a present, because cultural heritage is bound up in identity.

]]> <![CDATA[Chile: Opposition Unites Calling For New Constituent Assembly]]> Tue, 12 Nov 2019 21:54:03 -04:00 Chilean opposition political parties generated a unitary agreement on Tuesday and called on Sebastián Piñera's government to hold a Constituent Assembly and a plebiscite for a new Constitution.


Massive General Strike in Chile Demands a Constituent Assembly

Through a communiqué, the political alignments called on the government to reject its own proposal for a Constituent Congress and listen to the "mobilized citizenry.

"The need for a New Constitution, born out of the claims of citizenship, must allow the establishment of a new political, economic and social model.

The text also affirms that, through institutionality, an agenda that combats abuses and inequalities must be urgently implemented to alleviate the situation faced by thousands of families.

"It is a fact that the only possibility of opening a way out of the crisis begins with a New Constitution. The citizens mobilized throughout the national territory have established, through the facts, a "constituent process" throughout the country.

The text also states that the political forces have the duty to make viable a binding Plebiscite for the establishment of a New Magna Carta that governs the destiny of the country.

The opposition points out that the current Constituent Congress proposal "moves away from the popular demand for participation and deliberation in the important task we face.

For public opinion, experts and civil society organizations alike, the Constituent Assembly is the most democratic mechanism to guarantee broad citizen participation that gives full legitimacy to the process.

Finally, the parties point out that "the Government must understand that the citizens mobilized in the streets throughout the country demand and must participate in this historic process.

]]> <![CDATA[Rise in Contraceptive Use Averted 21MN Risky Abortions in 2018]]> Tue, 12 Nov 2019 22:01:59 -04:00 Greater use of modern contraceptives in developing economies prevented 21 million risky abortions and 119 million unwanted pregnancies in 2018, according to data released Monday by the Family Planning 2020 alliance.

El Salvador: Woman Released After Facing Charges for Abortion

Almost 315 million women and girls used modern methods of contraception in 69 low-income countries, an unprecedented figure with nine million new users in the last year and 53 million in the last seven years.

Access to contraception has meant 134,000 maternal deaths were prevented in 2018.

The data collated in the “FP2020: Women in the Center” report was presented by the FP2020 alliances on Monday ahead of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD25) which will take place in Nairobi.

The report revealed that more women and girls had access to family planning than ever before.

“The evidence is clear – when you invest in women and girls, the good deed never ends,” said Beth Schlachter, executive director of FP2020.

“Barriers are broken and opportunities open up that not only lift women out of poverty but can elevate society and bring about economic gains," she added. "No other single change can do more to improve the state of the world.”

There were nine countries – Mozambique, Chad, Cameroon, Kyrgyzstan, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Ghana, Burkina Faso and Sri Lanka – that were on track to achieve FP2020 goals of modern contraceptive use, the organization said.

Progress to put women and girls at the heart of development has been slower in central and eastern regions of Asia where the use of contraceptives had not increased as markedly.

However, some examples of good practice in Asia were championed in the report.

In the Philippines, one of the first countries in the group to commit to the goals laid out by the FP2020 partnership, 2.6 million unwanted pregnancies were averted and 1,200 maternal deaths avoided since 2012.

In Pakistan, the Supreme Court addressed a swelling population by creating a 2019-2024 national action plan for family planning, the report said.

Some 3.5 million unintended pregnancies and 3,400 maternal deaths have been avoided in Pakistan since 2012.

Schlachter did not downplay the challenges and further work that lies ahead.

“25 years on from the first ICPD, the family planning movement has gained huge momentum. Yet big challenges remain,” she said. “With every day that passes, millions are denied the right to choose their own future.  As we look ahead to 2030, we must continue to push for progress, build on what works well, and ensure we leave no woman or girl behind.”

Worldwide, 922 million women of reproductive age used contraception, of which 842 million used modern methods and 80 million continued to prefer traditional methods, according to global data from the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

Modern contraceptive methods use technological advances and include sterilization, oral hormonal pills, the intra-uterine device, condoms, injectables, the implant, vaginal barrier methods and emergency contraception.

Traditional contraception includes withdrawal before ejaculation, the calendar method and abstinence.

Female sterilization remained the most common contraceptive method globally with 219 million sterilized women, according to a UN survey in 195 countries.

The practice occurred mostly in regions such as central and southern Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean, with India leading the world in sterilized women.

It was followed by the male condom, which 189 million people used, and the intrauterine device (IUD), with 159 million users.

]]> <![CDATA[Israel Kills 10 Palestinians Including Top Commander in Gaza]]> Tue, 12 Nov 2019 21:59:13 -04:00 At least 10 Palestinians have been killed since Tuesday morning in Israeli strikes on Gaza, including a top commander from the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad, according to the enclave's health ministry. 


Palestinian Killed, Two Wounded in Israel strikes on Gaza

Palestinian health medicals also reported that more than 40 other people were wounded, saying most of the victims are civilians.

Israel’s initial airstrike that was targetting leader Bahaa Abu al-Atta and his wife in their home, prompted reprisal rocket attacks and caused the most serious escalation between the two sides over the last six months. 

Islamic Jihad's armed wing announced the killing of Abu al-Atta in a statement after Israel confirmed it targeted the 42-year-old leader.

"Our inevitable retaliation will rock the Zionist entity," the group said referring to Israel and promising to take revenge.

Dozens of rockets were launched towards Israel some of them even reaching Tel Aviv, the Israeli military said, adding that most of the rockets had been intercepted while others fell in open areas.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned an extended period of fighting could now take place.

"Israel is not interested in escalation, but we will do everything required to protect ourselves," he said. "This could take time. What is needed is stamina and cool-headedness."

Israel’s armed forces said Netanyahu had signed off on the operation against the Palestinian leader, accusing him of coordinating rocket, drone and sniper attacks, and attempted infiltrations into the Jewish state over the past months.

"Abu al-Atta was responsible for most of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad's activity in the Gaza Strip and was a ticking bomb," it said, accusing al-Atta of planning "imminent terror attacks through various means."

Hamas, the Palestinian political organization that governs the enclave, said Israel "bears full responsibility for all consequences of this escalation", and promised Abu al-Atta's death "will not go unpunished".

Separately, Syrian state media said a missile attack had hit the home of an Islamic Jihad senior figure Akram al-Ajouri in Damascus, killing two people including one of his sons.

Syria said Israel carried out the strike, but unlike for Gaza, Israel did not confirm it.

Netanyahu’s administration’s latest assault is all the more surprising that targeted assassinations of Palestinian leaders, once widely used by Israel, have been abandoned in recent years.

Dubbed the largest open-air prison in the world, the Gaza strip and its 2 million residents have been suffering an illegal blockade for more than 10 years both from Israel and Egypt, restricting the population’s access to food, water, electricity, healthcare services, and severely curtailing their freedom of movement.

]]> <![CDATA[Supreme Court Leans Toward Trump on Ending 'Dreamers' Program]]> Tue, 12 Nov 2019 20:16:39 -04:00 The Supreme Court's conservative majority signaled support on Tuesday for President Donald Trump's bid to kill a program that protects hundreds of thousands of immigrants - dubbed "Dreamers" - who entered the United States undocumented as children, even as liberal justices complained that the move would destroy lives.

Forsaken by Trump, DACA Dreamers Seek US Supreme Court Reprieve

The court's ideological divisions were on full display as it heard the administration's appeal of lower court rulings that blocked the Republican president's 2017 plan to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, created in 2012 by his Democratic predecessor Barack Obama.

Conservative justices questioned whether courts even have the power to review Trump's action and also seemed to reject the views of lower courts that his administration had failed to properly justify ending DACA, a program Obama implemented after Congress failed to pass bipartisan immigration reform.

The court's 5-4 conservative majority includes two Trump appointees - Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh - who both indicated support for the president's action.

Liberal justices emphasized the large number of individuals, businesses and others who have relied on the program and indicated that the administration did not sufficiently weigh those concerns.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor referred to Trump's decision as a "choice to destroy lives" and indicated that his administration had failed to supply the required policy rationale to make the move lawful.

Kavanaugh said he assumed that the administration's analysis of the impact rescinding DACA would have on individuals was a "very considered decision." "I mean, this is a serious decision. We all agree on that," Kavanaugh added.

A ruling is due by the end of June.

Trump has made his hardline immigration policies - cracking down on both documented and undocumented migrants, as well as asylum seekers, and pursuing construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border - a centerpiece of his presidency and 2020 re-election campaign.

The challengers who sued to stop Trump's action included a collection of states such as California and New York, people currently protected by the program and civil rights groups.

Even if Trump were to lose this time, his administration would be free to come up with new reasons to end the program in the future, a point picked up by Gorsuch.

"What good would another five years of litigation over the adequacy of that explanation serve?" Gorsuch asked.

Conservative Chief Justice John Roberts, who could be the pivotal vote in deciding the case, likewise indicated he was satisfied with the administration's rationale.

Roberts, however, had appeared sympathetic to Trump in a case this year on the administration's attempt to add a contentious citizenship question to the 2020 census - a move critics said was intended to deter immigrants from being included in the nation's official population count. Roberts cast the decisive vote against the president in a 5-4 ruling.

The Supreme Court previously handed Trump a major victory on immigration policy last year when it upheld as lawful his travel ban blocking people from several Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, finding that the president has broad discretion to set such policy.

Lower court rulings in California, New York and the District of Columbia left DACA in place, finding that Trump's move to rescind it was likely "arbitrary and capricious" and violated a U.S. law called the Administrative Procedure Act.

The young people protected under DACA, Obama said, were raised and educated in the United States, grew up as Americans and often know little about their countries of origin.

Sotomayor, the first Latin Supreme Court justice, wondered if the court should take into account the fact that Trump has said he would look after "Dreamers."

"He hasn't" taken care of them, she said. "And that, I think, is something to be considered before you rescind a policy."

Trump on Tuesday took to Twitter to attack "many" DACA recipients as "tough, hardened criminals," without offering evidence, and again dangled the possibility of a deal with congressional Democrats to allow people protected under the program to remain in the United States. Trump has never proposed a detailed replacement for DACA.

Several hundred DACA supporters gathered outside the court on a gray and chilly Tuesday morning, chanting, banging drums and carrying signs that read "home is here" and "defend DACA."

]]> <![CDATA[Jeanine Añez Appoints Herself President of Bolivia: No Quorum]]> Tue, 12 Nov 2019 19:07:38 -04:00 Opposition Senator Jeanine Áñez declared herself president of Bolivia on Tuesday, despite not meeting with the constitutional requirements for such a move, as Parliament did not achieve a quorum because the lawmakers of the Movement to Socialism (MAS) could not attend, due to a lack of guarantees for their security. MAS has a majority in Parliament.

 Bolivia's Evo Morales Lands In Mexico As A Political Refugee

"I immediately assume the presidency of the State and I undertake to take all necessary measures to pacify the country," said Áñez, who is the second vice president of the Senate of Bolivia and from the right-wing Social Democratic Movement.

The senator proclaimed herself president only with a minimum presence of deputies, all from the opposition. 

On Tuesday, an extraordinary session of both chambers (Deputies and Senate) of the Plurinational Legislative Assembly (Parliament) was convened, but the representatives of the Movement to Socialism, which are the majority, did not attend because they did not have guarantees for their safety and that of their family members, therefore, Parliament had suspended its session due to the lack of quorum.

Bolivia is going through a political crisis after the forced resignation of President Evo Morales, his vice president Álvaro García Linera, and presidents of the Deputies and Senator's chambers, due to the wave of opposition violence that lashed out at indigenous and peasant population.

The coup was consumed when the Organization of American States (OAS) issued a preliminary report on alleged irregularities in the electoral process of October 20, as well as the "suggestion" of the Armed Forces for Morales to resign.

Violence in the country continues by radical opposition groups that have burned symbols of the indigenous population. Meanwhile, in La Paz, thousands of supporters of Evo Morales are being mobilized in rejection of the coup d'état and its discriminatory and racist acts.


]]> <![CDATA[Saudi Arabia Convicts 38 People on Terrorism-Related Charges]]> Tue, 12 Nov 2019 17:05:00 -04:00 A Saudi Arabian court charged 38 people Tuesday of financing "terrorism" and declaring other Muslims as non-believers, handing out sentences ranging from 30 months to 25 years.

Repression Deepened Under Saudi Crown Prince MBS: Report

The state-run news outlet Al Ekhbariya did not give the nationalities or names of those convicted out of the 41 people in total on trial.

Although it reported one of those sentenced had set up a "terrorist organization" while in prison and others committed takfir - labeling followers as non-believers - against the Saudi government, Muslim scholars and security forces.

As of September 2019, the Kingdom executed 134 people, including six who were kids when they were arrested. At least 58 of those killed were foreign nationals, mainly from Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, and Egypt, and most were accused of spreading Shia Islam, a crime in the Sunni Arab state. 

On April 22,  37 men were beheaded in a mass execution for alleged crimes. One was crucified and another had his head impaled on a spike.

In a report presented at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, The Death Penalty Project revealed a further 24 people are at “imminent risk” of execution, including three children, prominent political opponents of the crown prince, clerics, and human rights campaigners.

Similarly, in a new report published on Nov. 4, Human Rights Watch pointed out all perceived critics of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) and the Saudi regime, faced a deep crackdown since the latter’s rise to power two years ago after the removal of his uncle Muhammad bin Nayef by King Salman.

The report goes on to say that the practices of arbitrary detentions of dissidents, intimidation of their family members, endless summonses for interrogation, and prosecutions in “blatantly unfair trials on spurious charges,” despite not being a new phenomenon within the kingdom, have “accelerated and increased” since 2017. 

The new form of persecution of political activists started in September 2017 - three months after MBS became crown prince - when dozens of clerics, academics, intellectuals, journalists, and human rights activists were arrested in what was widely understood as an attempt to crush down dissent voices.

The report also highlighted a lack of accountability for those responsible for journalist Jamal Khashoggi's murder, a crime Prince Mohammed has sought to distance himself from. A U.N report released in June said there was “credible evidence” MBS and other senior Saudi officials were responsible for Khashoggi’s death.

]]> <![CDATA[Mcdonald's Workers Sue Over Sexual Harassment, 'Toxic' Culture]]> Tue, 12 Nov 2019 18:15:03 -04:00 McDonald’s Corp was sued on Tuesday by workers in Michigan who accused the fast-food chain of allowing pervasive sexual harassment to flourish at its restaurants nationwide.

The proposed class-action lawsuit filed in a Michigan state court accused McDonald’s of lacking policies to address sexual harassment, failing to train managers to prevent it, and retaliating against workers who complain.

 Over 250 Lawsuits Vs Catholic Church Filed over Sex Abuse in NY

It said McDonald’s “creates and permits a toxic work culture from the very top,” citing last week’s firing of Chief Executive Steve Easterbrook for having an improper consensual relationship with an employee.

Easterbrook has said he made a mistake. He has not been accused of sexual harassment.

McDonald’s said in a statement it is implementing safe-workplace training at its corporate-owned restaurants, and encouraging franchisees to do the same.

“There is a deeply important conversation around safe and respectful workplaces in communities throughout the U.S. and around the world,” McDonald’s said, echoing comments made in August by its new chief executive, Chris Kempczinski.

Roughly 95% of McDonald’s U.S. restaurants are franchised, and the plaintiffs’ lawyers said the Chicago-based company does not push hard enough to improve training at the franchised restaurants.

Workers have filed more than 50 similar complaints against McDonald’s and its franchisees in the United States over the last three years.

Tuesday’s lawsuit was among the first brought as a class action, representatives of the plaintiff Jenna Ries said.

Ries, 32, worked for 1-1/2 years at a franchised McDonald’s in Mason, Michigan, near the state capital of Lansing.

She said a restaurant manager there subjected her to repeated sexual epithets and contact, including by pinning her against a wall in a walk-in freezer.

“I constantly lived in fear of losing my job,” Ries told reporters on a conference call. “I needed the money.”

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of women who worked at the Mason restaurant in the last three years. It seeks improved training, added protections for employees, and more than $5 million of damages.

Ries is represented by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, and supported by Fight for $15, which seeks higher wages and better treatment for workers in fast food and other industries.

The plaintiffs could find it difficult to hold McDonald’s responsible for the actions of the Michigan franchisee.

A federal appeals court in San Francisco last month said McDonald’s does not exercise enough control over franchise workers to be considered a “joint employer.”


]]> <![CDATA[Soldiers Deployed in La Paz, Racism Rise Against Indigenous]]> Tue, 12 Nov 2019 21:55:49 -04:00 Police and military patrols are taking over the streets of the Bolivian capital on Tuesday, shortly after ousted President Evo Morales landed in Mexico, where he was granted political asylum.

Bolivia's Evo Morales Lands In Mexico As A Political Refugee

The national police has been reportedly been setting up barricades in the streets in order to block the way for the Indigenous protesters marching in La Paz and Cochabamba.

In a video published by far-right media outlet El Deber, police chief of Cochabamba province Jaime Zurita encouraged the opposition to join the patrols and barricades.

Ayamara Indigenous protesters marched from the neighborhood of El Alto, shouting "Ahora Si Guerra Civil" ("Civil War It Will Be Then"), responding to what they felt were provocative supporters burning the Indigenous whipala flags amid racist slurs.

Violent clashes with indigenous protesters were reported at dawn, with at least six citizens were shot, around 30 people were injured and a girl was rescued by anti-coup protesters.

Policemen have also posted videos on social media where they cut off the whipala flag from their uniforms.

"Entering the Government's Palace with a Bible and a letter in the hand to kneel down before the cameras without any popular vote as legitimacy is a fascist and coup-plotter move," said María Galindo, founder of the feminist collective Mujeres Creando, referring to opposition Luis Fernando Camacho and presidential candidate for the opposition Carlos Mesa.

"Burning the homes of government officials from the cabinet of Evo Morales is fascism, as well as burning the home of the head of public university Waldo Albarracin by Morales' supporters," she added in a column published in Argentine news outlet La Vaca, warning about an atmosphere of vendetta in the country.

In a communique released on Monday, the military High Command announced the beginning of operations meant to "protect essential public services" as well as "to guarantee peace and stability in the country."

Indigenous leaders and social activists denounced that the Police have joined the coup, which is being supported by former commander Yuri Calderon who publicly threatened to arrest MAS supporters.

In Bolivia, military forces have not been deployed for public order tasks since October 2003, when they defended the pro-market President Sánchez de Lozada, resulting in at least 77 deaths and 400 injured.

]]> <![CDATA[Spain's Socialists, Podemos Reach Deal to Form Coalition Gov’t]]> Tue, 12 Nov 2019 16:09:26 -04:00 Spain’s Socialist Worker's Party (PSOE) and the left-wing Unidas Podemos party agreed on the basis of a coalition government Tuesday, just two days after a parliamentary election delivered a highly fragmented parliament and a surge in right-wing MPs.

Spain: Socialists Win But Miss Majority, Far-Right Becomes 3rd Political Force

“It’s a deal for four years,” PSOE leader Pedro Sanchez and acting prime minister said after signing the pact alongside Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias.

The unexpected preliminary agreement is meant to form a “progressive” coalition government joining the PSOE’s 120 seats and the 35 won by Unidas Podemos. However, this will leave them 21-seats short of a majority in the 350-seat parliament.

The two parties, which recently refused to work together, will now have to reach agreements with other smaller parties, that mainly represent secessionists movements in Catalonia and the Vasque country. 


“Spain needs a stable government, a solid government,” Sanchez said, adding that they would start as soon as Tuesday to call on other parties to join the deal.

A task that will prove challenging as Sanchez’s government has been dismissive of the recent protests in the semi-autonomous region of Catalonia, going as far as publicly supporting police forces that used violent repression against protesters. 

The Socialists and Podemos had tried and failed to strike a government deal after the April election, prompting Sanchez to call the repeat ballot. Although if they succeed this time around, it would be Spain’s first coalition government since the country’s return to democracy in the late 1970s.

Meanwhile, Sunday’s elections proved very positive for the right as the conservative Popular Pary managed to gain more seats after the worst defeat in the party’s history in April rising from 66 to 88 and the far-right Vox saw a huge leap from 24 to 52 seats becoming the third-largest political force in Spain. 

]]> <![CDATA[Argentinia's Fernandez Slams US for Morales' Resignation]]> Tue, 12 Nov 2019 14:42:39 -04:00 Argentine President-elect Alberto Fernández on Tuesday criticized the U.S. stance on Bolivia’s political upheaval, which saw long-standing leftist leader Evo Morales resign under pressure and seek asylum in Mexico.


Latin American Progressives to Gather at Puebla Group Meeting

Fernandez, a center-left Peronist, also aimed barbs at the Organization of American States (OAS), which had said in an audit of Bolivia’s October 20 election, won by Morales, that the result should be annulled due to “irregularities.”

“In my opinion, the United States regressed decades. It returned to the bad times of the 70s,” Fernandez told a local radio, adding that it was “guaranteeing military interventions against popular, democratically elected governments.”

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday hailed Morales’ departure as good for democracy, a view that clashed with leftist leaders in the region, including that of Fernandez who has backed Morales and said he was the victim of a coup.

Morales, who was Bolivia’s first indigenous president, had served the Bolivian people faithfully for several years before the recent coup.

He announced his resignation on Sunday after weeks of protests since the October vote, with the OAS report sparking off a dramatic day as allies deserted him and the military eventually urged him to go to help restore calm.

Fernandez is due to take over Latin American’s no. 3 economy in December, taking the reins from the right-wing Mauricio Macri who had a close relationship with Washington and Trump.

Fernandez also claimed the OAS audit was “weak” and its results were manipulated, he told radio station Radio 10.

]]> <![CDATA[Bolivia's Evo Morales Lands In Mexico As A Political Refugee]]> Tue, 12 Nov 2019 13:04:49 -04:00 A Mexican Air Force G550 aircraft landed on Tuesday in Mexico City with Bolivia’s Evo Morales, who was granted political asylum by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) on Monday.


Bolivia: Police Shoot Anti-Coup Protesters in El Alto

During his morning press conference, the Mexican president revealed that the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) leader’s air travel was a real odyssey.

“A journey through different spaces and political decisions”, AMLO commented while listening to the trip's details, which were briefed by Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard.

On Monday morning, Mexico sent an airplane to pick up Evo Morales in anticipation that the Bolivian leader would accept the asylum offered by the Mexican government.

Initially, the Air Force G550 aircraft had planned to land in Lima and wait in Peru's capital until the “competent authorizations” allowed its entry into Bolivia.

"'It is the military who rule. This is a coup, this is a coup,' said an official Mexican source," as outlet El Pais reported, adding that the military authorized Evo's transfer to Mexico on Monday afternoon.

"That's how Evo Morales arrived in Mexico."

"That's why the Mexican plane took off from Lima." Once it arrived in Bolivian airspace, however, the aircraft did not have permission to land and had to return to Lima.

“Waiting hours in Lima seemed endless. The operation is about to go to waste. The refueling operation gets complicated because cash payment is overdue, which further delays the takeoff,” El Pais held.

While these "logistics" problems were resolved, Mexico’s Assistant Secretary for Latin American Affairs continued to work with the Bolivian military.

The Bolivian air force command finally granted definitive permission to pick up Morales, "which says who has the power now in Bolivia," Foreign Minister Ebrard said at the press conference on Tuesday.

The Mexican Air Force aircraft took off at 07:00 pm on Monday from the airport in Chimore, a town located in Cochabamba, where Morales was sheltered after being forced to resign under pressure from the mutinous military and police.

Morales' problems did not end right there and then. While his airplane was flying, Peru revoked its permission to refuel in Lima "due to political evaluations," as the Peruvian Foreign Minister told his Mexican counterpart.

A tense-wait period began and the Mexican plane had to plan an alternative route to return to its country.

Argentina’s President-elect Alberto Fernandez spoke with Paraguay’s President Mario Abdo, asking him to authorize the entry of the Mexican plane to Asuncion to refuel.

A few minutes later, Paraguayan’s Foreign Minister contacted Ebrard to inform him that Evo's plane could land in his country.

Simultaneously, Mexican diplomats made consultations with Ecuador to request that the plane be allowed to land in Guayaquil in case a new fuel refill was necessary.

Initially, President Lenin Moreno's administration authorities accepted such a possibility. Then, however, they changed their minds.

Once again, when the Mexican plane was about to take off from Paraguay, the Bolivian military said the aircraft had no authorization to fly over the Bolivian airspace with Morales on board.

Brazil's ambassador to La Paz, who offered to help, got a permit so that the Mexican plane could fly just over the Bolivia-Brazil borderline, then head to Peru, and finally navigate over international waters.

The Mexican Air Force aircraft took off from Asuncion at approximately 02:00 am on Tuesday. Upon leaving Paraguay, Bolivia's leftist leader expressed his feelings through a tweet.

“Sisters and brothers, I am leaving towards Mexico... It hurts to leave the country for political reasons; however, I will always be watching. Soon I will return with more strength and energy,” Morales said.

]]> <![CDATA[Massive General Strike in Chile Demands a Constituent Assembly]]> Tue, 12 Nov 2019 15:12:36 -04:00 About 129 organizations adhered to the general strike Tuesday, as hundreds of thousands of Chileans across the country took to the streets in the biggest demonstration since the beginning of the anti-neoliberalism protests. 


Chile to Re-Write Pinochet-Era Constitution But With a Catch

"The General Strike stands for the unity of both public and private workers who are seeking structural transformations and a constituent assembly," Chile's National Association of Fiscal Employees (ANEF) said and added that what prevails is a broad effort for "the conquest of social rights."

A wide range of sectors joined the strike as port, agro-industrial, commercial, banking, health, and public services workers, as well as teachers and students,  unified their petition of structural changes through a Constituent Assembly.

“The whole country will be paralyzed. This, in the context of demanding a Constituent Assembly, as a new Chile is being claimed in the streets,” President of the Union of Teachers Mario Aguilar told El Desconcierto.

Although the Chilean government has agreed to replace the 1980 Constitution, which dates back to the Pinochet dictatorship, it will be President Sebastian Piñera, cabinet members and political allies who will lead the process of re-writing the document, according to Interior Minister Gonzalo Blumel. 

Chile's Communist Party said in a statement the Piñera administration had still not gone far enough, demanding a referendum even before the process begins so the "people can determine the mechanism for drafting the new Constitution."

“What the people demand is a New Constitution elaborated in a broadly democratic and participatory process. That path is the constituent assembly. Citizens will not validate a constitution emanating from Congress even if, in a deceptive way, it is assigned the name of ‘constituent’,” the statement reads. 

Since protests began on Oct. 14 due to the rise in the price of the Santiago Metro ticket - a measure later annulled by Piñera - the National Institute of Human Rights has received reports of torture, abuses of power, beatings, and detentions of civilians by military personnel.

So far, the Government's official list of deceased is 23 dead, five of them at the hands of members of the Armed Forces and Carabineros. While more than 2,000 people have been injured in recent weeks according to the President of the Chilean Red Cross Patricio Acosta.

]]> <![CDATA[UN Steps in to Urge Lebanon to Form New Government]]> Tue, 12 Nov 2019 11:18:48 -04:00 Lebanon’s banks and schools were shut on Tuesday in a new wave of disruption as politicians struggled to agree on a new government to steer the country out of its worst economic crisis since the 1975-90 civil war.


Thousands of Lebanese Demonstrate Awaiting a New Government

The top U.N. official in Lebanon called for the urgent formation of a cabinet made up of people known for their competence, which he said would be in a better position to appeal for international support.

“The financial and economic situation is critical, and the government and other authorities cannot wait any longer to start addressing it,” the U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Jan Kubis, said after meeting President Michel Aoun along with a group of foreign ambassadors.

The country urgently needs a new government to enact emergency economic measures. The head of an importers’ syndicate said restrictions on payments abroad were getting worse and further bank closures were not helping.

Aoun said formal consultations with MPs to nominate a new prime minister and form the cabinet would be held soon. Ahead of the formal discussions, politicians have been trying to agree on the composition of the government to replace caretaker Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri’s outgoing cabinet.

Bank branches, which were closed for nearly half of October, shut again on fears for the safety of staff who have felt intimidated by customers demanding access to their money and protesters who have gathered at banks, a union leader said.

The demonstrations have been fuelled by anger at the ruling elite, including several ageing former militia leaders, widely perceived to have overseen rampant state corruption for decades.

The economic crisis stems largely from a slowdown of capital inflows which has led to a scarcity of U.S. dollars and generated a black market where the Lebanese pound has weakened below its official pegged rate.

A foreign exchange dealer said a dollar was costing 1,820 pounds on Tuesday, around the level cited on Friday when banks were last open and around 20% weaker than the official pegged rate of 1,507.5 pounds.

]]> <![CDATA[Cuba: Spanish Royalty Attends the 500th Anniversary of Havana]]> Tue, 12 Nov 2019 12:10:33 -04:00 King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain on Monday arrived in Havana to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the founding of the capital of Cuba, a Caribbean island that remained as a Spanish colony until 1898.


UN Overwhelmingly Votes in Favor of Resolution Ending US Blockade Against Cuba

During their visit, the Spanish monarchs will take part in a public event which includes the strengthening of economic and cultural relations between Spain and Cuba.

Before this occasion, Cuba was the only Latin American country that had not received an official visit from Spanish royalty, although His Majesty Juan Carlos spent some time in Havana while attending a regional summit of government leaders in 1999.

King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia on Tuesday began their visit with the placement of a floral offering in memory of Jose Marti, the most important politician and ideologist of the Cuban independence.

Subsequently, the Spaniard king is expected to hold a meeting with Cuba's President Miguel Diaz-Canel, with whom he will sign a new bilateral cooperation agreement.

"King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia arrived in Cuba on Nov. 11. The antecedent is the visit of Juan Carlos I and Reina Sofía to the 1999 Ibero-American Summit held in Havana and, later, Fidel's funeral honors."

In the afternoon, the Spanish monarchs will preside over the inauguration of the “Spain and Cuba” exhibition and attend a dance performance at the Alicia Alonso Theater​​​​​.

For her part, the Spanish Queen will also visit the San Francisco convent's restoration works, which are funded by the Spanish Cooperation.

King Felipe VI on Wednesday will hold meetings with Spanish businessmen who have investments in Cuba and will receive Cuban personalities such as the Princess of Asturias award-winner Leonardo Padura and actor Jorge Perrugorria.

On Thursday, the Spanish monarchs will attend the Fine Arts Theater to inaugurate an art exhibition that includes Goya's self-portrait, which was temporarily ceded by the Prado Museum.

]]> <![CDATA[Bolivia: Police Shoot Anti-Coup Protesters in El Alto]]> Tue, 12 Nov 2019 10:32:10 -04:00 Bolivian Police on Monday harshly repressed the El Alto people who took to the streets to protest against the coup which forced the resignation of Evo Morales. Images uploaded on social media attest to the existence of several injured; however, there are no official figures on the number of victims.


Trump Threatens Venezuela And Nicaragua After Coup in Bolivia

“The police repress with firearms to cause deaths and injuries in El Alto. My solidarity with those innocent victims, including a girl, and the El Alto's heroic people who is defending democracy,” former president Morales tweeted.​​​​​

Over the last week, far-right groups have staged acts of aggression against the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) authorities and politicians.

Selective burning of houses and beatings against Evo's supporters, however, have not been reported in a timely manner by international and local media.

In this regard, for example, in Argentina, where Mauricio Macri will remain in the presidency until December, the Press Workers Union (SiPREBA) on Monday denounced that the National Radio direction prohibited its journalists from writing or speaking about the existence of a coup in Bolivia.

"Urgent. The Army is in the streets. This is the reaction of El Alto people who is living the coup d'etat in Boliva."

Nevertheless, according to social net videos posted on Monday, it is known that at least six citizens were shot, around 30 people were injured and a girl was rescued by anti-coup protesters in El Alto.

Indigenous leaders and social activists denounced that the Police have joined the coup, which is being supported by former commander Yuri Calderon who publicly threatened to arrest MAS supporters.

“The first thing we should do is organize groups in all cities. We are going to stop all the leaders who are causing anxiety,” Calderón said at the time of submitting his resignation on Sunday, when he “suggested” Evo Morales to leave the presidency.

"Terror in Bolivia. Last night artillery helicopters shot at the indigenous people in La Paz. El Alto communities reported 6 dead and around 30 injured. This is silenced by mainstream media."

Morales’s Defense Minister Javier Zavaleta on Monday presented his resignation and denounced violent actions that the mutinous security forces are carrying out.

"Bullets are neither the answer nor the solution to a problem," Zavaleta said and explained that he never ordered the use of military force against the population.

"We never gave an order for our soldiers to wield a weapon against the people... The State we built was a State in which the military defends the Homeland with the people and never against them."

"A political issue is not resolved by increasing the caliber of repression," said Zavaleta addressing one of the leaders of the Bolivian right, former presidential candidate Carlos Mesa.

On Monday night, Mexico’s President Manuel Andres Lopez Obrador (AMLO) sent a plane to pick Morales, who had been granted political asylum a few hours earlier.

The MAS leader arrived safely to Mexico on Tuesday at 8:30 am (local time).

]]> <![CDATA[Trump Threatens Venezuela And Nicaragua After Coup in Bolivia]]> Mon, 11 Nov 2019 23:54:52 -04:00 United States President Donald Trump has issued threats Monday against the governments of Venezuela and Nicaragua after Sunday’s coup against President Evo Morales in Bolivia.


Sanders 1st Democratic Candidate to Criticize Coup in Bolivia

"The resignation yesterday of Bolivian President Evo Morales is a significant moment for democracy in the Western Hemisphere,” Trump said in a statement published on the Withe House’s website, adding that “these events send a strong signal to the illegitimate regimes in Venezuela and Nicaragua that democracy and the will of the people will always prevail."

The U.S. president also stated his support for the Bolivian military's role in the coup Monday saying that “the United States applauds the Bolivian people for demanding freedom and the Bolivian military for abiding by its oath to protect not just a single person, but Bolivia’s constitution.”

Following Trump's threatening comments, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said his country is prepared to face the imperialist offensive.

"We are going to fight for peace, for the homeland, for sovereignty and for the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela. The victory belongs to us and we will show it on the streets in a military-civic union,” Maduro declared

Venezuela and Nicaragua are currently suffering from harsh economic and commercial sanctions imposed by the U.S., which are illegal under international law.

]]> <![CDATA[Killings of Ex-FARC Members Continue in Colombia With Impunity]]> Mon, 11 Nov 2019 23:36:02 -04:00 The Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC) party, which emerged from the peace agreement with the former guerrilla in Colombia, denounced Sunday the murder of a former departmental candidate in a conflictive area of the southwest of the country where, in recent weeks, violence has resurfaced.


Colombia's Minister of Defense Resigns After Killings

Diego Fernando Campo was killed Saturday afternoon in the municipality of Corinto, Cauca, as several shots fired "in facts with no clarification," said the leftist movement in a statement.

The 31-year-old man was a candidate for the Nariño department assembly in the October local elections, in which the ex-guerrilla had marginal results. Campo was an ex-FARC member but did not fight during the half-century armed conflict. 

"We demand that state agencies be swift in the investigation and clarification of this crime, which today once again channels our party," the party added.

While Ivan Duque says there is no reason to protest, they continue to assassinate social leaders and peace signatories throughout the country. 

The demobilized insurgent group has denounced the murder of 170 ex-guerrillas and members of their movement since the signing of the pact.

Since the end of October, there has been a strong resurgence of violence in Caucavalley, which has taken the lives of at least 18 people, most of them Indigenous leaders, according to the Ombudsman's Office.

The authorities attribute most of the crimes to dissidents, who act without unified command and are mainly involved in drug trafficking.

Colombian President Ivan Duque ordered at the beginning of the month the deployment of 2,500 elite military personnel to combat the armed groups operating in the region.​​​​​​​ Although relieved by the agreement with the FARC, Colombia is still experiencing a confrontation between guerrillas, paramilitaries, state agents and narcos, which in six decades has left more than eight million victims.

Since the 2016 Peace Accords were signed, the FARC and 95 percent of its ex-combatants have complied with their obligations to lay down arms and enter politics peacefully. However, the state and far-right paramilitaries have failed to meet their part as over 160 former-combatants and at least 627 social activists have been killed in that time.

]]> <![CDATA[US National Security Officials Shared Concern Over Ukraine Aid]]> Mon, 11 Nov 2019 23:04:27 -04:00 A senior Pentagon official testified Monday that confusion and concern were shared by United States national security officials after the White House blocked aid to Ukraine without explanation, according to testimony released from the impeachment inquiry into U.S. President Donald Trump.

US Envoy to EU Confirms Ukraine Quid Pro Quo in New Testimony

"My sense is that all of the senior leaders of the U.S. national security departments and agencies were all unified in their - in their view that this assistance was essential,"  Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper said, adding that “they were trying to find ways to engage the president on this."

Cooper deposition was released Monday in the House impeachment inquiry of Trump. 

The congressional panel also released testimony on Monday from Catherine Croft and Christopher Anderson, both advisers to Ambassador Kurt Volker on Ukraine policy, who described their concerns about the Trump administration’s Ukraine policy. Volker was Trump’s special representative for Ukraine negotiations until he resigned in September.

This comes as the first on-camera hearings in the investigation are set for Wednesday and Friday, when U.S. diplomats William Taylor, George Kent, and Marie Yovanovitch are due to detail in public their concerns, previously expressed in testimony behind closed doors.

As the impeachment inquiry enters a new phase, last week U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, admitted in a revised version of his earlier testimony that in fact, he told a Ukrainian official the U.S. would withhold aid unless they pursued investigations against Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden demanded by President Donald Trump.

The updated version of Sondland’s testimony came as the diplomat, who initially testified in October to the Democratic-led congressional inquiry, offered new details to lawmakers after his memory was “refreshed.”

The details now appear to reinforce the initial whistleblower complaint that led to the investigation by three U.S. House of Representatives committees. The testimony also corroborates other witnesses who said Trump sought to pressure the Ukrainians into conducting investigations that appeared to be aimed at helping his re-election campaign.

The Ukraine scandal is the result of a whistleblower from within the U.S. intelligence community lodging a complaint with an internal watchdog about Trump’s conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

The July 25 call, which was later released by the White House, confirmed that the U.S. president asked Zelenskiy to investigate his political rival in coordination with the U.S. attorney general and Trump’s personal lawyer,  which in turn occurred after Trump had ordered a freeze of nearly US$400 million in U.S. aid to Ukraine, which the administration only later released.

Trump has denied he did this to get leverage or blackmail Zelenskiy. Federal election law prohibits candidates from accepting foreign help in an election.

Following the scandal, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the House of Representatives was moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry of Trump, adding the “the actions revealed the dishonorable fact of the President's betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections." 

Under the U.S. Constitution, the House has the power to impeach a president for “high crimes and misdemeanors” and the Senate then holds a trial on whether to remove the president from office. No president has ever been removed from office through impeachment. Democrats currently control the House and Republicans control the Senate.

]]> <![CDATA[Sanders 1st Democratic Candidate to Criticize Coup in Bolivia]]> Mon, 11 Nov 2019 23:10:49 -04:00 United States Senator Bernie Sanders became Monday the first 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to express concerns about Sunday's military coup in Bolivia, which forced its democratically elected President Evo Morales to resign.


Luis Fernando Camacho, Bolivia's ‘Bolsonaro’ Leading the Coup

"I am very concerned about what appears to be a coup in Bolivia, where the military, after weeks of political unrest, intervened to remove President Evo Morales," Sanders said in a tweet, adding that "the U.S. must call for an end to violence and support Bolivia's democratic institutions."

The Vermont senator’s remarks came after pressure from his left-wing grassroots movement which called to condemn the events of recent days in the South American country. 

Earlier Monday, Sanders supporters Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) and Ilhan Omar (Minnesota) denounced the coup in firm terms.

"The people of Bolivia deserve free, fair, and peaceful elections," said Ocasio-Cortez, "not violent seizures of power."​​​​​​​

Supporters welcomed Sanders' expression of support for Morales. 

"By far the biggest difference between Bernie and the rest of the Democratic candidates is how well versed he is in and how much he cares about the type of international left issues that, say, The Nation writes a lot about," said reporter Matthew Zeitlin.


In harsh contrast, U.S. President Donald Trump stated his support for the Bolivian military's role in the coup Monday saying that “the United States applauds the Bolivian people for demanding freedom and the Bolivian military for abiding by its oath to protect not just a single person, but Bolivia’s constitution.”

Bolivian President Evo Morales was forced to resign Sunday after the army and police called on him to do so following weeks of right-wing unrest and violence against his Oct. 20 elections victory. 

The coerced resignation came after Morales proposed a dialogue process with the opposition parties but was rejected, and even accepted the Organization of American States’ (OAS) call for new elections. On Monday the head of state was granted political asylum in Mexico.

In an interview with teleSUR's correspondent in Bolivia Freddy Morales, the former president said the decision to call new elections was to preserve the peace in Bolivia "so that we do not confront the Bolivian family," while calling on the opposition protesters to end the strikes and remove roadblocks in order to not harm the economy of the country. 

]]> <![CDATA[Luis Fernando Camacho, Bolivia's ‘Bolsonaro’ Leading the Coup]]> Mon, 11 Nov 2019 22:34:18 -04:00 Virtually an unknown political actor outside Bolivia, in the last couple of weeks Luis Fernando Camacho has risen to the international spotlight as the main opposition figure leading the coup against President Evo Morales.

Evo Morales Slams Coup Plotters for Keeping up Violence

Under a racist, far-right discourse against the Indigenous leader and his legitimate government, the 40-year-old businessman from the resource-rich department of Santa Cruz represents the anti-thesis of the plurinational State of Bolivia built by Morales in the last 13 years. 

Camacho’s family has constantly been related to secessionist and far-right anti-democratic movements in the country.

In 1981, Camacho’s father founded the Committee Pro-Santa Cruz and organized the first strike in the department demanding the government to halt a sugarcane project in the north of La Paz, alleging that Santa Cruz's production would be affected. 

Luis Fernando Camacho himself began activism when he was 23 years old as vice president of the civic organization Cruceñista Youth Union (UJC), which has been described by the International Federation for Human Rights as “a kind of paramilitary group” that performs acts of racism and discrimination against indigenous inhabitants and institutions in the area.

These “civic” organizations played a key role during the secessionist attempt in 2008 lead by far-right Branko Marinković, a Bolivian leader of Croatian parents, and Eduardo Rózsa-Flores who organized and financed an armed paramilitary group with mercenaries from the Balkan wars to fight for the “independence” of the departments of Santa Cruz, Beni, Pando and Tarija.

The Camachos were part of the attempt and closely related to Marinković, whose family is part of the directive board of Camacho’s stepbrother’s company. 

Now it is Luis Fernando Camacho who leads the Committee Pro-Santa Cruz, under the same pretense of “defending” the department from considered threats. The organization brings together different neighborhood, zone, and business entities of workers from one of the richest areas in Bolivia. 

The Bolivian Bolsonaro

Known as “El Macho,” the opposition leader is openly racist, misogynist and unapologetically represents the interests of the elites in his department and the country. Using religion, especially evangelical belief, Camacho talks with a Bible in his hand and pulls on the Bolivians religious beliefs to argue that Morales is against them.

This has also been instrumentalized to push for political persecution under the name of God, repeatedly saying they will “punish” their political adversaries, going as far as tweeting on Oct. 30 that like former drug kingpin Pablo Escobar they will “write down the names of the treacherous people of this town," in order to carry out such punishment. 

But the Camachos’ animosity towards Morales goes back to his first election in 2006 and is mostly related to the economic prosperity that the Indigenous leader promoted for all Bolivians instead of a small elite.

They have maintained that Santa Cruz has been affected by Morales’ government but since 2010, Santa Cruz's GDP growth rate has been higher than in Bolivia.

The southeastern department of Santa Cruz produces 70 percent of the country's food and has an enormous energy and hydrocarbon potential that, after the nationalization of Morales in 2016, is now in the hands of the State. The last president from that region being dictator Hugo Banzer Suarez.

The Camacho Family: The Money Behind it All

In contrast with Morales humble beginnings, Camacho comes from a wealthy family, whose money came from the capitalization and contracts with the state made since 1989 linked to insurance companies and pension funds, been an active figure in the formation of the private Administrators of pension funds (AFP) in 1995, during neoliberal regimes.

Subsequently, Camacho’s father Jose Luis Camacho Parada founded the company SERGAS that signed an exclusivity agreement with the mayor of Santa Cruz in 2003 to make 5,000 gas connections in the city. While his stepbrother, Jose Luis Camacho Miserendino, leads a large corporation regarding life insurance and investments, with hundreds of accusations of defrauding clients. 

The whole family, including Luis Fernando Camacho, has been involved in the Panama Papers scandal through the registry of three offshore companies: Medis Overseas Corp., Navi International Holding, and Positive Real Estates. 

A 2017 Bolivia’s legislative committee that investigated the issue reported that the companies operated as an intermediary to "help people and companies hide their fortunes in offshore entities, wash money and establish tax evasion schemes."

After the Oct. 20 elections, in which Morales was reelected, President. Camacho quickly rallied up the “civic” committee and as his father before him began a violent crusade against the government. 

Weeks of right-wing violence and a coup plan, Morales was forced to resign Sunday as senior army and police chiefs called on him to do so.

“I decided to resign from my position so that Carlos Mesa and Luis Camacho stop abusing and harming thousands of brothers ... I have the obligation to seek peace and it hurts a lot that we face Bolivians,” the former president of Bolivia said in a press statement.

Now Bolivia faces uncertainty as the is a power vacuum since all top officials from Morales’ government also resigned. Camacho and opposition presidential runnerup Carlos Mesa have continued to call for unrest and violence without a clear project or expected end in sight. 

]]> <![CDATA[US Would Attack Even Its Friends To Keep Its Hegemony: Assad ]]> Mon, 11 Nov 2019 22:46:24 -04:00 Syria became a testing ground for the United States as it prepares its tools to safeguard world hegemony, Syrian President Bashar Assad told RT’s Afshin Rattansi in an exclusive interview Monday.


US Military Says 500 to 600 Troops to Remain in Syria

According to the head of state, Washington sees that its former dominant role is fading and is trying to preserve it using all available means, they would "fight the Russians, the Iranians, the Syrians, whoever said 'No to them', even their allies," he said.

Syria was the U.S. target after two costly direct military invasions in Afghanistan and Iraq. In the latter case, the North American nation and its allies fought Saddam Hussein, an Iraq's leader who had the active support of Washington and London for decades, especially in his war with another U.S. rival, Iran.

Later, however, relations between them soured in the wake of the Gulf War and Saddam's Iraq was finally targeted for U.S. invasion in 2003.

Campaigns against Saddam and the Taliban in Afghanistan proved too costly for Washington and apparently produced lower-than-expected returns. Therefore, the U.S. adopted a different approach in an attempt to overthrow its government, Assad said, a war through proxies.

"The Americans always try to loot other countries in different ways regarding not only their oil or money, or financial resources. They loot their rights, their political rights, every other right. That's their historical role at least after World War II," the Syrian president said.

Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Maria Zajarova stressed that the U.S. smuggles more than US$30 million worth of oil from Syria each month and does not intend to leave the region in the foreseeable future.

On the issue regarding the Islamic State group, Assad said the dark ties between Washington and hard-line militants in Syria are the reason he is skeptical about President Donald Trump's claim that U.S. special operations actually toppled IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

As in the case of Osama Bin Laden, no definitive proof of death was made public, which contrasts sharply with what happened to people like Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein or Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Moscow, for its part, also has reservations about claims that Baghdadi is dead, and has called for the release of some definitive evidence.

]]> <![CDATA[Bolivian Army to Repress Protesters Rejecting the Coup]]> Mon, 11 Nov 2019 22:17:19 -04:00 Bolivia’s armed forces commander Williams Kaliman announced Monday that the military will take joint action with the police in repressing people’s mobilization against the coup that forced out President Evo Morales’ democratically elected government.


World Leaders, Organizations Condemn Coup Against Evo Morales in Bolivia

"In the face of acts of vandalism, force will be used proportionally. We call for common sense and peace and we remind the population that the armed forces will never open fire on them," Kaliman said.

In doing so, the commander in chief is obeying the request of the Senate’s  Second Deputy Senate Majority Leader and member of the opposition Democratic Union party Jeanine Anez, who asked the military to join with the police units to “control the masses; hordes,” referring to militants and supporters of the Movement for Socialism (MAS) who demand the respect of the popular vote.

After the coup was done Sunday, hundreds of people mobilized Monday to reject it urging that President Morales start his duties. 

However, the demonstrators were repressed by police forces who attacked them with rubber bullets​​​, leaving several wounded with two people seriously injured. 

Despite threats from opposition parties and security forces to attack social demonstrations; the leader of the Confederation of Intercultural Communities Henry Mamani announced that his organization will join the mobilization in defense of the democracy.

Bolivian President Evo Morales was forced to resign Sunday after the army and police called on him to do so following weeks of right-wing unrest and violence against his Oct. 20 elections victory

The coerced resignation came after Morales proposed a dialogue process with the opposition parties but was rejected, and even accepted the Organization of American States’ (OAS) call for new elections

In an interview with teleSUR's correspondent in Bolivia Freddy Morales, the former president said the decision to call new elections was to preserve the peace in Bolivia "so that we do not confront the Bolivian family," while calling on the opposition protesters to end the strikes and remove roadblocks in order to not harm the economy of the country. 

]]> <![CDATA[Chile to Re-Write Pinochet-Era Constitution But With a Catch]]> Mon, 11 Nov 2019 21:49:38 -04:00 The Chilean government has agreed to write a new constitution to replace one dating back to the Pinochet dictatorship, bowing to demands of protesters who have taken to the streets in demonstrations in recent weeks that have left at least 20 dead.

Hundreds of Thousands Gather Against Conservative Govt in Chile

Interior Minister Gonzalo Blumel said the president, cabinet members and political allies had agreed Congress should lead the process of re-writing the constitution. The document would be put to a public referendum.

"Above all, we must focus on the goal of reconfiguring the social contract, which has arisen as a fundamental demand of our citizens," Blumel told a news conference on Sunday night.

A new constitution has repeatedly arisen as a central demand of protesters in recent weeks. Critics have long said the existing document, written and approved during General Augusto Pinochet's 1973-1990 military dictatorship, lacks legitimacy.

Chile's Communist Party said in a statement the Pinera administration had still not gone far enough, demanding a referendum even before the process begins so the "people can determine the mechanism for drafting the new Constitution." Their statement was as follow:

1. The people have expressed themselves in the streets demanding the end of the 1980 Constitution, an illegitimate text and source of the concentration of economic power and abuse.

2.- What the citizenship demands is a New Constitution elaborated in a broadly democratic and participatory process. That path is the constituent assembly.
Citizens will not validate a constitution emanating from Congress even if, in a deceptive way, it is assigned the name of “constituent”.

3. The democratic and institutional solution is that a plebiscite be convened, in the shortest possible time, in which the people decide the mechanism to elaborate a new Constitution.

On Monday, Pinera's spokeswoman Karla Rubilar held firm on the importance of routing the process through lawmakers.

"We believe firmly that the best deal will be achieved by going through Congress," Rubilar said, adding that the administration recognized the importance of "active participation" of Chileans.

Chile's constitution has been tweaked several times since it was enacted in 1980. But those calling for change say any new text must add further protection of social rights and increase citizen participation in the 30-year old democracy.

Blumel did not give a timeline for the process but said the government would move quickly to begin.

"The best way to proceed is via Congress, with participation from citizens, and then, to submit it to a plebiscite," Blumel said.

]]> <![CDATA[Uber CEO Retreats After Calling Khashoggi’s Killing a 'Mistake']]> Mon, 11 Nov 2019 21:28:51 -04:00 Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi tried Monday to retract remarks he made Sunday when he described the murder by Saudi Arabia of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi as a “serious mistake.”


California Governor Signs Gig Economy Labor Law

In an interview with “Axios on HBO,” Khosrowshahi compared the journalist’s killing and dismemberment by Saudi agents inside the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istambul, Turkey, to a fatal accident that occurred during tests of his company’s self-driving cars.

The accident Khosrowshahi was referring to happened in March 2018 when an Uber self-driving test vehicle hit and killed a woman in Tempe, Arizona.

“It’s a serious mistake. We’ve made mistakes too, with self-driving, and we stopped driving and we’re recovering from that mistake,” Khosrowshahi declared in the interview. “So I think that people make mistakes. It doesn’t mean they can never be forgiven. I think they’ve taken it seriously...”

The CEO backtracked later on Twitter saying “there’s no forgiving or forgetting what happened to Jamal Khashoggi and I was wrong to call it a mistake.’”

“I said something in the moment I don’t believe. Our investors have long known my views here and I’m sorry I wasn’t as clear on Axios.”

The kingdom is a major investor in Uber, owning more than ten percent of the company. Saudi investment in Uber Technologies Inc. which represents around $3.5 billion was described by Bloomberg as “the largest single investment from a foreign government to a venture-backed startup ever.”

Khashoggi’s killing shook the world in October 2018 and sparked global outrage staining the image of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS).  The journalist who was a severe critic of the Saudi regime was a United States resident and a regular contributor to the Washington Post.

The CIA, the United Nations, and some Western governments have said they believe the crown prince ordered Khashoggi’s killing. MBS has vigorously denied his involvement and U.S. President Donald Trump strongly defended him saying he won’t compromise his country’s relationships with the Gulf nation including important arm contracts because of the murder.

]]> <![CDATA[How Taricaya Turtles Try To Save the Amazon]]> Mon, 11 Nov 2019 21:33:46 -04:00 They are not mutants and they don’t live in the sewers of New York, they don’t star in films or television series. Yet the task Taricaya turtles is as ambitious and worthwhile as that of a superhero: saving the Amazon.

Mexico Set Up Buoys To Protect Critically Endangered Porpoises

The mission to save the forest and its flora and fauna was “handed” to these little turtles, as part of a public-private initiative run by several Peruvian public institutions and the Grupo AJE.

Grupo AJE is promoting the reinsertion and recovery of the animal in areas where it has disappeared, thus helping to reestablish the natural ecological balance in the jungle zone.

The turtles are the linchpin of an action plan, the critical juncture for which came this past week in the Nanay River region with the release of about 5,500 baby turtles into the waters there.

The eggs come from the Pacaya Samiria nature preserve, an area where the local residents collected the eggs some weeks ago and – instead of consuming them – provided them to the project to help repopulate the species in the area.

Jorge Lopez-Doriga, the executive director of communications and sustainability for Grupo AJE said that “we’re buying from the communities the results of Pacaya Samiria to raise them and release them in other areas.”

The idea is to convince that the “green gold” – that is, the Amazon’s biodiversity – represented in this case by the turtles, is worth more than “black gold or yellow gold” because of its sustainability.

Key elements of the initiative include selling the turtles to raise them as well as the tourist angle, with people traveling to the area to see them, care for them and release them.

As Jose Alvarez, the director of biological biodiversity with Peru’s Environment Ministry, told EFE that “In the past, the Taricayas abounded in this area, but they were eradicated, and these forests no longer have the elements (needed) for balance."

"It’s the fauna that dispersed the seeds and controlled forestation, while a hole opened up in food security, since the turtle eggs were an essential element of protein for the indigenous populations,” he said.

Among the most serious consequences of their absence is the “socio-economic catastrophe the Indians are suffering, with awful anemia rates and endemic malnutrition,” the biologist said.

With nests containing up to 50 eggs per year, the development of the turtle population will make an important contribution – “greater than tourism” – in the lives of the local residents, in an environment that will benefit from the presence of an animal that will also help to control vegetation and disperse seeds.

“These turtles were a very important source of resources for the societies and they fulfilled essential functions for the ecosystem that they stopped fulfilling. What we want is to give some human help to nature to recover the benefits it provided in the past. Destruction of the fauna is brutal in the accessible zones of the Amazon. This is a start toward recovering something that was working well,” he said.

]]> <![CDATA[Israeli Troops Kill Palestinian Man in Occupied West Bank ]]> Mon, 11 Nov 2019 20:52:58 -04:00 Israeli forces shot and killed a 22-year-old Palestinian man Monday in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Authority (PA) said.


Israeli Guard Shoots Unarmed Palestinian in the Back: Video

Omar Badawi was shot in the abdomen in Al-Aroub refugee camp near Hebron city during a march marking the 15th anniversary of the death of former Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, according to the PA news agency Wafa.

“There were protests in commemoration of Yasser Arafat’s death, like every year,” Mohammad Badawi, a cousin of Omar Badawi, told Middle East Eye. “Then the Israeli army entered the camp.”

“Soldiers were firing live ammunition, tear gas and sound bombs into the crowd, and one of the tear gas canisters exploded next to Omar’s house, causing a small fire,” Mohammad reported. 

“So he stepped outside of his house to go see what was wrong. He was holding a bottle of water, and communicated to one of the soldiers that he was just going to put out the fire. The soldier immediately fired live ammunition at him in his abdomen and he fell to the ground.”

Video published by Palestinian news outlet J Media circulated on social media showing the moment Badawi was shot at close range.

“Shocking to see the video (of) today’s killing of Omar Badawi by Israeli security forces,” Nickolay Mladenov, United Nations’ special coordinator for Middle East peace, tweeted, adding that the Palestinians appeared to have “posed no threat to anyone”.

“Such acts must be thoroughly investigated,” Mladenov said.

The video also shows soldiers firing bullets and throwing tear gas canisters, even as Palestinian journalists and civilians attempt to carry Badawi to safety.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said troops were sent into Al-Aroub in pursuit of Palestinians who had thrown rocks at cars on a nearby road, and opened fire when confronted by “a large number of rioters,” adding the fatal shooting is under investigation.

A permanent Israeli military checkpoint is located at the entrance of al-Arroub.

“Al-Arroub camp is located at a strategic point for the Zionist occupation,” Badawi told MEE. “There are settlements around us and a permanent military base across the main road, constantly subjecting us to their attacks.”

]]> <![CDATA[Trans Community Leader Found Murdered in El Salvador]]> Mon, 11 Nov 2019 19:42:11 -04:00 A social nonprofit in El Salvador condemned on Saturday the murder of transgender woman Jade Diaz, a well-known community leader in the east of the country.

Trans Asylum-Seeker Dies After Being Denied Healthcare by ICE

Comunicando y Capacitando Trans (Comcavis Trans) said that Diaz had disappeared on the night of Nov. 6 and her body was discovered on Saturday morning.

“We demand that the government carry out an immediate and thorough investigation of the incident,” the group said in a statement.

It also urged the government of El Salvador to take “urgent measures to ensure the safety” of human rights defenders and members of the LGBT community.

Comcavis Trans director Bianka Rodriguez said last month in an interview with EFE that at least 20 trans women had been killed in El Salvador between 2017 and October 2019.

She added that the victims were aged between 16 and 32 years and five trans women had already been murdered this year.

The killings recorded this year include those of Anahi Rivas and Camila Diaz.

Diaz was detained on Jan. 31 by three police officers, was reportedly repeatedly hit during her detention and she died three days later due to injuries.

Rivas was kidnapped, tortured and killed in San Salvador, with the crime described by LGBT organizations as femicide.

The violence and discrimination faced by the trans community in El Salvador has forced many of its members to flee the country in order to escape violence from criminal gangs or state security forces, which have been accused of being complicit in the killings and impunity.

Data provided to EFE by Comcavis Trans in August said that between 2018 and 2019, 141 cases of forced displacement of LGBTQ persons were reported in the country.

Trans women formed 67.5 percent of the cases, followed by gay men, who figured in 17.2 percent of the incidents.