Category Archives: Latin America

Chart of the day: Poverty, the real terrorism

From SHOCK WAVES: Managing the Impacts of Climate Change on Poverty [PDF], a new publication of the World Bank:

BLOG Child killers

Ayotzinapa students get another beatdown

On 26 September 2014, 43 male students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers’ College of Ayotzinapa in Tixtla, Guerrero, Mexico, went missing after police and possibly soldiers opened fire after the students commandeered buses in nearby Iguala — an event which we covered in some depth.

The state teachers colleges produce poorly paid instructors for rural communities, instructors drawn from the regional poor, and at Ayotzinapa they live in cold, concrete-floored unfurnished rooms.

So if students want to go to events in nearby communities, they sometimes commandeered local buses, something that had gone without violent suppression until that night, which had the misfortune to coincide with a with an event of major importance to the mayor’s spouse.

Just what happened to the students remains a mystery, though one bone fragment has been identified as belonging to one of the 43.

Less than 14 months later, students again commandeered buses, along with a gas truck to keep them fueled. And police violence followed.

From the Los Angeles Times:

More than a dozen students were hospitalized in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero after they were detained and beaten by scores of state and federal police officers, according to human rights activists.

About 150 students from a rural teachers college were traveling in eight buses on the highway from the state capital of Chilpancingo toward the small rural town of Ayotzinapa just after 4 p.m. Wednesday when state police pickups began pursuing them, according to the Guerrero-based human rights group Tlachinollan and witnesses.

Cellphone video provided by one of the students purports to show a police pickup driving up to the back of one of the buses and breaking in the windows.

The students attend the Ayotzinapa teachers school; 43 of their were detained and subsequently disappeared in the nearby city of Iguala in September 2014. The students Wednesday were on their way back from raising money for their campaign on behalf of the missing, Tlachinollan said.

Here’s that video, via Anon Hispano, along with a Google translation of the Spanish text:

Federal police began assaulting students #Ayotzinapa 11/11/2015

Program notes:

Treacherous attack took place in the shed nearby Tixtla, Guerrero, by federal and state police to students of the Normal Rural ‘Isidro Burgos’ Ayotzinapa, under the pretext of the abduction of a pipe of Pemex, with a balance at least 20 injured and 10 arrested.

More context from Fox News Latino:

Wednesday’s confrontation outside the municipality of Tixtla occurred when the officers intercepted a tanker truck carrying 30,000 liters of gasoline that the students had commandeered in the state capital of Chilpancingo and were taking to Tixtla, where the Ayotzinapa Rural Normal School is located.

The students, who were traveling in around 10 buses, tried to recover the tanker, leading to a clash in which the state police used batons and tear gas and the trainee teachers responded by hurling rocks and other objects at the officers.

An Ayotzinapa spokesperson told EFE that many of the students took refuge in nearby hills and that one of the 15 detainees was Ernesto Guerrero, a survivor of the deadly Sept. 26, 2014, events in the city of Iguala, Guerrero.

Al Jazeera’s AJ+ has more video from the scene:

Ayotzinapa Students Attacked By Mexican Police On Video

Program notes:

“The truth is these m*****f****** were chasing us, but this is how they chase criminals, isn’t it?” At least 8 Ayotzinapa students were hospitalized after they said they were attacked by Mexican police.

More in a video report from Telesur English:

Mexico: Police Attack on Ayotzinapa Students Repudiated

Program notes:

In the southwestern Mexican state of Guerrero, public opinion and social organizations are deeply concerned and angered over Wednesday’s police attack on Ayotzinapa students. The brutal attack, video of which was filmed by the students, left 8 students seriously injured and hospitalized. Critics say the attack is part of a strategy by the state government, now in the hands of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, to discredit the students and criminalize their protests. Clayton Conn reports from Mexico City.

And a Telesur English website update has the latest on the conditions of the injured students:

In Mexico, eight students from the now-infamous teacher training school in Ayotzinapa from which 43 students were disappeared in 2014 remain hospitalized after they suffered police brutality Wednesday: four are in critical condition.

According to the students’ lawyer, Vidulfo Rosales, two people have fractured bones in their the arms, and another in the face. Juan Castro Rodriguez was left in the most serious condition, with a “grade one” head injury.

Rosales, a human rights attorney, demanded that the students be moved from the Raymundo Abarca Alarcon hospital to private facilities, paid for by the Guerrero state government, as he said a bed shortage meant the students were kept standing while waiting for medical attention and did not receive adequate care.

Along with the 20 injured students, 13 students were detained and 20 injured during the attacks by Guerrero state police Wednesday night.

And elsewhere in Mexico. . .

From Telesur English:

Hundreds of Afro-Mexicans in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero lived moments of terror when a group of men armed with AK-47s and AR-15s stormed their local celebrations and opened fire, killing at least 12 people, including two children and a women, according to local reports on Tuesday.

The attack was carried out Sunday night in the small, mostly Afro-descent community of Cuajinicuilapa, near the border with neighboring state of Oaxaca, the town mayor Constantino Garcia said.

Police officials also found shells that they say were fired by .38 caliber and 9 mm semi-automatic handguns.

Authorities have yet to reveal the possible motives of the attack, because as it stands now and based on the weapons used, federal security forces, including military, could be responsible, as well as organized crime.

Allen Dulles, America’s murderous spymaster

David Talbot is a veteran San Francisco journalist who founded Salon, served as a senior editor at Mother Jones and feature editor for the San Francisco Examiner. He’s written to the New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Time, and The Guardian, among others, and written four major books.

His latest book, The Devil’s Chessboard, focuses on one of the darkest figures of 20th Century American history, former Director of Central Intelligence Allen Dulles,

Aaron Wiener of Mother Jones offers a concise synopsis:

Talbot offers a portrait of a black-and-white Cold War-era world full of spy games and nuclear brinkmanship, in which everyone is either a good guy or a bad guy. Dulles—who deceived American elected leaders and overthrew foreign ones, who backed ex-Nazis and thwarted left-leaning democrats—falls firmly in the latter camp.

Dulles killed with impunity, sending his officers and agents out to plot, overthrow, and murder politicians and activists in other lands who failed to hew the Washington line.

And it’s an open question as to whether or not he did the same thing much closer to home.

Perhaps the most controversial claim Talbot makes is one long familiar to esnl, namely that Allen Dulles, fired from his post by President John Kennedy after the failure of the Bay of Pigs, the CIA-planned invasion of Cuba in 1961, played a direct role in Kennedy’s assassination two years later.

Before you dismiss the contention out of hand, esnl heard similar allegations from two sources in the intelligence community more than thirty years ago, and absent convincing evidence to the contrary, Talbot’s contention is certainly well within the realm of possibility.

With that, here’s an extended interview with Talbot by RT America’s Alexey Yaroshevsky:

‘Allen Dulles did whatever he wanted to do,’ whether presidents knew or not – David Talbot

Program notes:

The Devil’s Chessboard, author David Talbot’s new book, presents new insights into the activities of CIA head Allen Dulles during the 1950s. New findings include US Intelligence’s cooperation with Nazis during WWII, CIA targeting of governments such as the Congo, Guatemala, Iran and even allied governments like France. Talbot discusses his book with RT’s Alexey Yaroshevsky in this extended interview.

Chart of the day: Which countries work hardest?

Data from the OECD, via BBC News:

BLOG Labor

Uruguay sets a $40 an ounce legal pot price

Damn! Last time esnl paid that kind of price was almost 50 years ago.

Guess that’s what comes from a country where the last president tooled around in an ancient Beetle.

From Telesur English:

Uruguay: Price of Marijuana Set at $1.40 per Gram

Program notes:

Uruguay has set the price of marijuana at US$1.40 per gram. The first company to legalize pot is beginning to produce from six to ten tons a year for local use. Almost everything is set for launching sales. According to Milton Romani of Uruguay’s National Drug Board, the aim is not to do business because the logic of this business is that it will decrease. While it exists, however, there will be an income for the state, which will receive a $ .10 to $ .13 fee per gram plus the cost that the business must pay for its license.

Blood on the newsroom floor, and literally, too

While usually we reserve our “Blood on the newsroom floor” category for stories about job losses, sometimes it’s important to note that, all too often, the phrase has a literal meaning as well.

All too often with those other politically proclaimed “Days,” we suspected the reason for declaring an International Day to End Impunity Against Journalists is to ease the conscience sufficiently to ensure convenient lassitude until a year goes by and another Day is proclaimed.

We begin with Telesur English:

Approximately one journalist is killed each week in the line of duty, according to figures by the United Nations, which were released as the world marks the second International Day to End Impunity Against Journalists this Monday, which this year is centered on highlighting the growing atrocities and threats to freedom of speech, information dissemination and democracy around the globe.

“More than 700 journalists have been killed in the last decade – one every five days – simply for bringing news and information to the public. Many perish in the conflicts they cover so fearlessly. But all too many have been deliberately silenced for trying to report the truth,” said Mr. Ban in a message on the second World Day.

According to the U.N., 21 percent of these cases occurred in Latin America and the Caribbean. The area has seen 123 deaths between 2006 and 2013 – only 10.5 percent of which have been resolved. This makes it the region with the third highest reported cases of murder, after the Middle East and North Africa, Asia and the Pacific.

More from the U.N. News Center:

Noting that only 7 per cent of cases involving crimes against journalists are resolved and less that one crime out of 10 is ever fully investigated, he stressed that such impunity deepens fear among journalists and enables Governments to get away with censorship.

“We must do more to combat this trend and make sure that journalists can report freely. Journalists should not have to engage in self-censorship because they fear for their life,” said the UN chief.

Mr. Ban urged collective action to end the cycle of impunity and safeguard the right of journalists to speak truth to power.

Echoing the sentiment, the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said that she has consistently and publicly condemned each killing of a journalist and called for a thorough investigation.

“In the past six years, I have publicly and unequivocally condemned more than 540 cases of killings of journalists, media workers and social media producers who generate significant amounts of journalism,” UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said in a statement.

There’s another threat to journalists, too — one that kills their jobs but doesn’t take their lives. And that’s the plunging circulation of American newspapers as former readers drop subscriptions and seek their news online.

And more California journalism jobs will soon vanish, if past bankruptcies are any measure.

From the Los Angeles Times:

Burdened by debt after a failed expansion, the owner of the Orange County Register filed for bankruptcy and its chief executive promised to mount a bid to acquire the troubled newspaper company.

Freedom Communications, which also owns the Riverside Press-Enterprise, made national headlines for a high-stakes bet on print journalism but was forced to make a hasty retreat last year, closing two new dailies and undergoing rounds of layoffs. The latest hit came Sunday as Freedom filed for Chapter 11 protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court’s Central District of California.

Struggling after more than $40 million in losses over the last two years, Freedom said Richard Mirman, its chief executive and Register publisher, is now leading a local effort to reorganize the company and buy it through a court-approved auction.

The two failed dailies, the Los Angeles Register and the Long Beach Register, were challenges to the Tribune Company, publishers of the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune, and Digital First, publisher of the Long Beach Press Telegram and the owner of most of the rest of the daily newspapers in the Golden State.

We’ll reserve the last word for Mr. Fish:


Turning the video tables on Abby Martin

Abby Martin, who launched her career as a public affairs journalist on Berkeley Community Television, moved on to RT America, first as a reporter and then as host of Breaking the Set, and now hosts the weekly Empire Files on Telesur English, becomes the interviewed rather than the interviewer in this video from MintPress News.

Martin offers her perspective on the world and her role in conversation with MintPress Editor-in-Chief Mnar Muhawesh.

From the MintPressNews video channel:

Abby Martin: Rise Of A US Corporate Empire & Global Resistance Bringing It To Its Knees

Program notes:

The U.S. empire gives all its predecessors a run for their money, especially in terms of human and resource exploitation. But is resistance building that could bring the U.S. empire to its knees, MintPress Editor-in-Chief Mnar Muhawesh asks Abby Martin, host of “The Empire Files.”

The swords and horses of the empires of antiquity have been replaced with shiny metal guns, drones and tanks. And our rulers are made up of a 1% elite and multinational corporations aiming to totally dominate the world — a world where they own 60% of the wealth.

The tentacles of empire today stretch throughout the world via U.S. military alliances with institutions like NATO. The U.S. works with the U.N. and big banks like the IMF and World Bank to exploit resources and wealth, and to topple democratically-elected governments and prop up dictators instead.

Yet the corporate media will never refer to the United States as an empire, nor will it cover the horrors of exploitation at home and abroad.