Archive for March, 2016

Latin America – the indigenous, an endangered species

2016-03-15

This tragedy is being acted out throughout Latin America.

We have an article from the common dreams blog that focuses on the plight of the indigenous on their own lands, lands from which they are increasingly expelled. Violent death to activists is part of the strategy to ensure submission. Key players in this drama include the multinational corporation (MNC) and its country-of-origin political backer, development agencies, ‘cooperative’ local and state governments and death squads (government or private). As Sian Cowman and Philippa de Boissière report, For Indigenous Peoples, Megadams Are ‘Worse than Colonization’ An excerpt, (more…)

Advertisements

Econ101? Simple.

2016-03-10

Some good news for those who have had to suffer the cost of educating their children at university. Just one part of the agony: the cost of textbooks, textbooks that are basic at best – no key to happiness or success. And worse, there are the more advanced textbooks to add to the burden of debt. Non-sufferers can savour their advantage.

In any case… For those interested in acquiring a solid grasp of the economics of the real world comes an offer that is much better than what the children have had to endure – a free text (PDF) on the Principles of Economics. And a high quality one at that, Principles of Economics from openstax.org. The printed version sells for US$38.50, which when compared with Mankiw’s or even Krugman’s text, nets a savings of how much? Yes, indeed. QED

Laurels for an Argentina Laureate

2016-03-06

An egregious example of either incorrigible obtuseness or imperious contempt?

In what has to be one of the most offensives decisions to visit a country by another leader, and a world leader to boot: the scheduling of the visit of the US President to Argentina, and between 22-24 March, of all dates. Any good high school student studying Latin American history would have been appalled at the decision. Worse yet, is that the US President was recipient in 2009 of the Nobel Prize for, yes, Peace, the justification for which still continues to mystify.

That the main player in those dark days of 1976 in Argentina should be unaware beggars belief. It would take a storm of criticism from human rights groups and governments , especially those similarly abused, to protest that disrespect to the people of the country, in particular the victims and next of kin. As a result, the US has deigned to change the President’s visit to Buenos Aires from the originally scheduled 24 March.

Noteworthy in all this is the post at the common dreams blog, Letter from Pérez Esquivel to Barack Obama in Ocassion [sic] of His Travel to Argentina on March 24. From a human rights activist and  victim of that era, a powerful letter that highlights the US role in the region, something any mediocre Presidential adviser should have known. A telling paragraph,

If your intention is to come here to acknowledge on behalf of the United States of America that your country was an accomplice of coups d’état in this region, in the past and currently; to announce that your country will sign and ratify the Statute of Rome and be subject to the International Criminal Court; and to stop being the only American country which does not ratify the American Convention on Human Rights; if you shall please us with news that the “Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation” (WHINSEC) and the“International Law Enforcement Academy” (ILEA) shall be terminated in their capacity as heirs of the School of the Americas, and with news that the military bases of the United States in Latin America shall be closed, then you shall indeed be welcomed to Argentina on any day.

In this letter, we have a lesson on communication, language couched in quiet disappointment, yet a searing indictment of gratuitous state criminality. Still, the message will most certainly be lost on its intended recipient, the counterpart Nobel awardee – the prerogative of exceptionalism.

Hugo Chávez, hasta siempre

2016-03-05

A refreshing read against the backdrop of the US President proclaiming, on 04Mar. and for a second consecutive year, Venezuela a threat to the US.

With that and the US President’s accomplishment in mind, we have TeleSur which pays homage to the late President of Venezuela who died on 05Mar2013. (more…)

March? Then the eagle flies south

2016-03-04

Comes other news of the US President. In his final year in elected office he seeks to rediscover America. On 21-22 March he is scheduled to visit Cuba, notching up another US accomplishment, first President to visit the island since the US imposed its destructive embargo against the small country.

There, aside meeting Cuban officials and others and making some speeches, the US President is to see a baseball game. However there seems still no plan to have the US President go scuba diving, since that may well raise this awkward question, even if not embarrassing to the country’s exceptional policy makers.

Any discussion of the fate of Guantanamo and its torture camp will certainly be avoided. More likely a sing along of Guantanamera or a dance of the rumba?

On 24 March, and forty years to that date, the US president is then scheduled to be in, of all places, Argentina, and to meet President Mauricio Macri. Sí, el Condor pasa. The insensitive choice of that date for the visit is suggestive, and it has not been lost on many in the region. Whereas his former Secretary of State, with the audacity of the bold, has proclaimed herself ‘abuela‘ of Latins in the USA, in Argentina there have been true ‘Abuelas de la Plaza de Mayo’ as there are true ‘Madres de la Plaza de Mayo’. As the founder of Madres stated in the TeleSUR report, Obama to Visit Argentina’s New President Macri on Anniversary of Military Coup, an excerpt,

 Hebe de Bonafini, Argentine human rights activist and founder of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, strongly criticized the timing of U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Argentina, which will coincide with the anniversary of the 1976 military coup.

[snip]

“Let’s raise alarm bells, he did not invite him to visit on a regular date. He invited him to visit March 24 … (Macri) is a servant of theirs,” said de Bonafini, referring to politicians in the United States.

Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, a genuine Nobel Laureate, also weighs in on the, at best bizzare, decision to visit Argentina on 24 March, as reported in the common dreams blog, Skip Your Visit to Argentina, Nobel Laureate Tells Obama. A snippet,

“I’m a survivor of that era, of the flights of death, of the torture, of the prisons, of the exiles,” Esquivel told AP. “And when you analyze the situation in depth, the United States was responsible for the coups in Latin America.”

And to soothe ruffled feathers, nothing like a sing along of a Mercedes Sosa classic, or doing the tango, for the photo-op? Or mention the name Messi (but not Videla)?

Not yet announced, but then again, why not. A visit to Chile. On 11 September? With fellow Nobel Laureate, Henry Kissinger?

Clearly, that problem of language and communication. At the Summit of the Americas (SoA) in Port-of-Spain, the late President of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, as a futile gesture of friendship, had presented that well-known Galeano. Instead, as subsequent events showed, the US President seemed to have opted for Galliano. And there disappearing in the wind ‘hope and change’, lofty rhetoric without substance – mission accomplished.