Archive for April, 2016

Haiti, and luck

2016-04-25

Place of birth, and station in life, and opportunities. Which brings us to Haiti.

Briefly, throughout its history the country has seemed benighted. Since its independence in 1804 its economic and social development has lagged far behind others of the region. In fact, it is the poorest in the Latin America and Caribbean region, with a literacy rate of some 61 percent and life expectancy of 63 years. (more…)

A Sunday read: Cuba, its struggles for its dignity

2016-04-17

Today, 17April, is yet another day in the history of the United States and its involvement in the affairs of weak countries, especially those of the region.

As is known, Cuba was the country run by a very corrupt dictator, Fulgencio Batista, a country where the criminal organisation, the Mafia, had the run of the land. Cuba’s poor, and in their millions, were of no consequence as their social and economic situation continued to worsen – until Fidel Castro and his revolutionaries came along. That surrogates of the US should be so unceremoniously dispatched would be an affront that would not be allowed to go unpunished. (more…)

Honduras, model of export-led growth?

2016-04-13

Just a heavy dollop of irony.

The news is pleasant enough. In some local paper appears a photo or two of visiting corporate executives chatting with local officials. There is the confident good news: well-paying jobs and an improved standard of living for some community poor but rich in newly discovered natural resources, rapid economic development is around the corner. But in many cases bitter reality strikes, and hard.

Among the countries where such reality is very stark is Honduras, the most unequal country in Latin America and with a poverty rate of some 64%. A journalistic journey helps reinforce the saying, “To be forewarned is to be forearmed – coming to a community near you.” One lesson of caution to be heeded: they come to extract wealth, and the community pays the cost – as the community of Lago Agrio, Ecuador, has long learned as it still awaits resolution to a more than a decade old suit against Chevron.. (more…)

Thank goodness for that 13Apr

2016-04-11

Today, 11Apr15; ‘yesterday’, 11Apr02.

To remember is that Venezuela is, and has been, a country rich in natural resources, the benefits of which would always flow to foreign corporations and to the Venezuelan oligarchy. Poverty, illiteracy and hopelessness would be the crumbs thrown at the rest of the population – and then along came (the Caracazo and) Hugo Chávez and with him the rekindled hopes of the abandoned and dispossessed masses.

Predictably, such a turn of events was completely unacceptable, even as the results of such an election were too indisputable to overturn. The only reliable option that would guarantee success, a return to the status quo ante, was an old friend, the coup, a golpe blanco. And a coup it was – however short-lived – with US involvement.

TeleSUR takes us back, Anniversary of Venezuela’s 2002 Coup

On April 11, 2002 the Venezuelan right, with the help of media power, created a tense situation to pit Venezuelans against each other, leading to a coup for 48 hours against President Hugo Chavez.

TeleSUR’s series of reports and analyses on the event also shines a light on the role of complicit corporate media, especially of the US. And, yes, as recently as 2014 14Apr2013 there was that desperate, concerted, violent and deadly attempt at destabilisation, La Salida with its guarimbas.

To be remembered is that in March 2016, the US  President, and for the second straight year, has declared Venezuela a threat, yes, to the existence of the US – the height of cheek.

So Venezuela continues to struggle not only against droughts, a drastic fall in oil prices, hoarding or smuggling of subsidised food and essentials across the border into Colombia, and some weak economic policies; not only against such challenges, but also against the unrelenting machinations of the US with its loyal local allies – despite the recent electoral reverses for the Chavistas.

And the disadvantaged of Venezuela and the country’s neighbours and against such odds? During the administration of the late President Chávez, ‘minor’ accomplishments such as health care available to all, millions lifted out of poverty, lifted out of illiteracy, free education, and increased economic opportunities. And Alba for many of its neighbours.

Thanks to information technology, alternative media and blogs, the unremitting propaganda of US corporate establishment media and oligarchy-controlled media in such countries as Venezuela is fast, but not fast enough, becoming less effective, less credible, less acceptable even among the somewhat inattentive.

A sobering read – countries and corporate greed

2016-04-10

How easy is it to create a country? And one that suits your own nefarious purposes? Simple, if you are a powerful US financial mogul with significant financial and political influence in a powerful country, where both player and country benefit substantially – at the cost of the people of the new and the original, supposedly independent state.

The Guardian takes us on a journey to the tropics, Colombia. How a US president and JP Morgan made Panama: and turned it into a tax haven A teaser,  (more…)

The ghost of Berta Caceres walks abroad

2016-04-03

What in times past would have been unavailable to the general public is now almost instantaneously available – thanks to new digital media and the blogs. The likes of NYT or WaPo or US cable news no longer dictate what inconvenient truths should be hidden from the public.

That attempt to glorify the farcical US initiative ‘Partnership for Prosperity’ that would comprise Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras is a glorious failure. In Guatemala, its recent President and Vice-President have found themselves in a spot of bother, La Línea and all that. El Salvador has its hands full with rampant violence and criminal gangs. And Honduras, aside its President JO Hernández and that Social Security business, also has to contend with widespread violence and murder.These three countries are among the poorest of the region, but each with a handful of rich and powerful landowners.

That desperate, indigent parents would seek the safety and welfare of their vulnerable children by sending them unescorted on that perilous journey ‘North’ becomes understandable. Which would raise the question of why would any country aid and abet the overthrow of a duly elected President who had set about improving the lot of the downtrodden, thereby reducing the incentive to travel ‘North’? (more…)