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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 85,791

Journal Archives

Venezuelan Yukpa Chief: Paramilitaries Trying to “Erase” Us

Venezuelan Yukpa Chief: Paramilitaries Trying to “Erase” Us
By Z. C. Dutka

San Francisco July 9th, 2014. (venezuelanalysis.com)- Around fifty armed men allegedly assaulted and forcefully removed Yukpa cacica (chief) Carmen “Anita” Fernandez from her land in the western Venezuelan state of Zulia last Monday.

Fernandez’s son Cristobal, 20, was murdered just six days before by corrupt National Guard hired by wealthy ranchers in repeated attempts to force the family’s removal from the area, witnesses have claimed. The community leader had already lost two of her sons in 2012.

The Fernandez family, like many of the indigenous Yukpa ethnic group, have long stood in struggle to reclaim the areas now owned and controlled by wealthy cattle ranchers in the mountainous Sierra de Perijá. Their claims are grounded in the 1999 National Constitution and the Indigenous Peoples Law, championed by late President Hugo Chavez, which granted a number of political and legal rights to Venezuela’s indigenous populations, as well as the demarcation and granting of ancestral lands.

The statute permitted many indigenous populations, such as the south eastern Pemon people, the kind of autonomy that was previously long denied to them. However, powerful ranchers in the fertile valleys of Perijá in the west have refused to relinquish their grip on the area, leading to an all out land war in 2008, when the Yukpa began to occupy disputed areas.

More:
http://venezuelanalysis.com/news/10783

Analysts Confused as Venezuelans Say Their Country is Second Most Democratic in Region

Analysts Confused as Venezuelans Say Their Country is Second Most Democratic in Region
By Ewan Robertson

Mérida, 11th July 2014 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – In a respected regional poll measuring citizens’ perception of their democracy, Venezuelans have given the second most favourable response in Latin America, leaving the report’s authors scratching their heads.

The poll also found that the top five countries by positive citizen perception of democracy were all governed by left-wing administrations.

The study, entitled “Images of Countries and Democracies”, was conducted by Chilean-based organisation Latinobarometro, which has conducted research into citizen opinion in Latin America since 1995.

This latest poll, conducted in 18 Latin American countries and relying on over 19,000 interviews, sought to measure citizens’ opinion of how democratic their own country is. Latin Americans were asked to rate democracy in their country on a scale of 1 (“not democratic”) to 10 (totally democratic”).

With an average score of 7, Venezuela was the highest placed country in the region after Uruguay, which had 7.6. Guatemala (5.4) and El Salvador (5.4) were given the least positive scores by their citizens. The regional average was 6.2.

More:
http://venezuelanalysis.com/news/10786

Update: Warden Suspended over Prisoner's Scalding Death

Update: Warden Suspended over Prisoner's Scalding Death
Updated: Thu 1:58 PM, Jul 10, 2014

Update: Associated Press
July 10, 2014 - 2 p.m.

FLORIDA CITY, Fla. (AP) -- The warden of a South Florida prison where an inmate was left in a scalding shower until he died in 2012 has been suspended.

Department of Corrections Secretary Michael Crews said Wednesday that Jerry Commings will be on paid administrative leave until the investigation concludes. He added that more sanctions could be forthcoming.

Crews made the announcement after a visit to Dade Correctional Institution, where Darren Rainey, a mentally ill prisoner was punished with a shower so hot that his skin separated from his body.

Commings' suspension is the first disciplinary action taken in this case by the DOC and comes after news reports found that Rainey's death was never properly investigated.

Civil rights groups have called for a federal investigation into the death.

http://www.wctv.tv/home/headlines/Prison-Chief-to-Assess-Scalding-Shower-Death-266573281.html?ref=281

~ ~ ~

Florida prisons chief says wrongdoing in his agency is limited to a few
By Michael Vasquez and Julie K. Brown, Miami Herald
Thursday, July 10, 2014 2:16pm

Two years after a mentally ill inmate died in a scalding-hot shower — purportedly as part of a punishment ritual — the state's prison chief visited the Homestead-area prison where it happened, telling reporters that wrongdoing in his agency is limited to a few bad actors.

"We are going to find those bad seeds and we're going to eliminate them from being able to work in our department," Mike Crews, Florida's increasingly embattled Department of Corrections secretary, said Thursday.

Crews also announced that the warden of the prison has been placed on paid administrative leave. Warden Jerry Cummings' suspension is the agency's latest response to growing allegations of abuse and cover-ups in the prison system.

The accusations aren't limited to Dade Correctional Institution. At a prison in the Panhandle, Crews' agency is accused of retaliating against investigators who raised concerns about an inmate death. The investigators, who filed a whistle-blower lawsuit, say the Department of Corrections' inspector general — whose mission is to uncover and punish wrongdoing — did the opposite in the case of the Panhandle death.

More:
http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/south-florida-warden-tied-to-death-of-inmate-in-shower-is-suspended/2187971

~ ~ ~

News Release: Associated Press
July 10, 2014

MIAMI (AP) -- The head of Florida's prison system says he's traveling to Dade Correctional Institution for a full assessment on the death of a mentally ill prisoner left in a shower so hot his skin separated from his body.

Department of Corrections Secretary Mike Crews said Wednesday that he will meet with Miami-Dade police officials to offer assistance on the investigation.

The announcement comes several weeks after civil rights groups sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice asking for a federal investigation.

The groups say Darren Rainey was locked in a closet-size shower stall at the Dade Correctional Institution in June 2012 as a form of punishment. He was left unattended for two hours with scalding hot water that later measured as high as 180 degrees. He was found dead.

Same link for both short articles.

http://www.wctv.tv/home/headlines/Prison-Chief-to-Assess-Scalding-Shower-Death-266573281.html?ref=281

~ ~ ~

Posted on Wednesday, 07.09.14
No answers 2 years later in Florida inmate’s death; guards paid $700,000 to do nothing


Nearly two years after Miami man Frank Smith died in a clash with guards at Union Correctional, the investigation continues with no end in sight.

By Steve Bousquet
Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau

TALLAHASSEE -- Nearly two years after a state prison inmate died under suspicious circumstances, the Department of Corrections has offered no reasons for his death and 10 employees suspended over the incident are still on leave and drawing full pay.

Frank Smith of Miami was 44 when he died on Sept. 4, 2012, after a violent altercation with officers as he was being moved from a prison hospital to his cell at Union Correctional Institution in Raiford.

The Department of Corrections placed 10 staff members, including an assistant warden, on paid leave, a routine step when employees are suspected of wrongdoing. So far, taxpayers have paid nearly $700,000 in salaries to them for not working.

~snip~
Darren Rainey, a mentally ill inmate at Dade Correctional Institution in Miami, was scalded to death in a prison shower in 2012. Another inmate, Randall Jordan-Aparo, 27, died in his cell at Franklin Correctional Institution in 2010 after he was repeatedly gassed by guards as he begged for treatment for a worsening medical condition, the Miami Herald reported.

In that case, four investigators with the Department of Corrections filed a federal whistle-blower lawsuit, claiming that inmates are beaten and tortured and that prison supervisors fabricated official reports to cover up Jordan-Aparo’s death, the Herald reported.

“They killed that damn kid,” prison investigator Aubrey Land told Gov. Rick Scott’s chief inspector general, Melinda Miguel, in March, according to the Herald.

More:
http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/07/09/4226583/no-answers-2-years-later-in-florida.html#storylink=cpy

Recent political assassinations, etc. in Honduras:

June 2014. Five years since the coup in Honduras began. The killings and persecution and evictions continue. Model cities experiments have been made legal again and are moving along in the south of Honduras. Reports point to masses of Honduran children trying to get to US under lots of danger.



Indigenous community leader assassinated by army

On 18/6/14, José Husbaldo Guzmán Argueta (62) was running errands in the Colomoncagua centre towards a drinking water project, when he was attacked by soldier Nectaly Carranza together with another 3 soldiers and a police agent under the command of the responsible sargeant in the area – they beat him and threw him to the ground, the soldier Carranza used his M16, shot Husbaldo twice with it, one hit his face killing him immediately. A group of military then came and transported Carranza away from view. José Husbaldo is a recognised community leader of La Hacienda community of Colomoncagua, Intibucá – recognised for this service to the community and honesty.


2 Journalists killed, another two judicially persecuted, another dismissed, another threatened

On 1/6/14, in the morning, in the Palestina community, Patuca municipality, Olancho province, hitmen ended the life of young journalist Oscar Anthony Torres (24) with several gunshots. Oscar worked for Patuca Stereo (103.3fm) and in La Doble M Stereo (97.1) – music stations with local coverage, since 3 years ago, Oscar directed the programs ‘radio taxi’ and ‘mañanas gruperas’ that transmitted from 5am. Police tried to say the murder is an assault because his trousers pockets were turned outside.

Globo TV Journalist of program ‘Mi Nación’ Julio Ernesto Alvarado was from December 2013 sentenced to a sixteen months ban from practising journalism plus a $250 fine (that comes with a 500 days prison term if he cannot pay). Julio was condemned as guilty for ‘defamation’ as accused by Belinda Flores, for having covered complaints of corruption against Belinda at the local university. Belinda was implicated in charges of peddling of influences and of falsifying university titles – for which the court proved that she was guilty, yet, not they subsequently found Julio guilty for reporting on crimes Belinda was guilty of, and after he paid the fine since he knew too well that the system was against him to appeal, but got the judge to lift his journalism ban on 28/4/14, this was appealed ‘successfully’ by Belinda’s lawyer within a week. Both Julio and Dina Meza, another journalist who spoke up in her work on Julio’s case, received harrassment and threats on facebook, not to mention an attempt against Julio Alvarado in March 2013.

On, 5/6/14, journalist Gonzalo Rodríguez was dismissed by Canal 6 apparently for having leftist tendencies, after a series of conversations. On 20/5/14, Canal 6 executive Joaquín Nodarse asked Gonzalo, ‘listen, you are of C-Libre, aren’t you?’ To which, Gonzalo confirmed that he was a C-Libre (committee for freedom of expression) correspondent and that he was also chosen by journalists locally as the president of the Colón journalists network. On 21/5/14, Canal 6 human resources called him and confirmed that he was away when he was at the RAPCOS (Network of Alerts and Protection to Journalists) national meeting in Tegucigalpa; Gonzalo was told that he was ‘directly affecting one of the channel’s clients that was based in San Pedro Sula’. Through investigation, C-Libre found this client to be Dinant Corporation of palm giant Miguel Facussé. ‘Dont send us notes that affect our client,’ he was told, ‘don’t mention the name of Dinant’. After returning from Tegucigalpa, he met with Nodarse as obliged; Nodarse said to Gonzalo, ‘You are affecting one of my clients. I don’t eat from the farmers, they don’t give me anythying.’ Gonzalo responded that he always covers both sides of the conflicts and that seemed to have been accepted in the meeting, but the day after that, the head of human resources called Gonzalo and told him that the Nodarse family decided that he won’t be a correspondent anymore. His text messages asking for explanation to executives ‘Tadeo y a Umanzor’ were ignored. When he went on the next Monday to drop work equipment, he was told that the real reason he was let go of was because Joaquín found out that he worked for C-Libre and concluded that he must be a ñangara (derogative term for communist). He had not been paid since January, and Canal 6 also recently arbitrarily cancelled the informative space of another journalist for making comments critical of the current JOH regime.

On 16/6/14, at 10am, TV reporter and member of RAPCOS (network of alerts and protection to journalists) Alex Sabillón was threatened opposite his work place and in front of Choloma Police station, by Miguel Callejas, who is the Choloma Council Roads Commission Director and who lives in the same neighbourhood as Alex. The threat was, ‘I don’t care that you move around with police, son of a bitch, we are going to kill you.’ He is and was accompanied by police because he was granted protection due to the amount of threats and intimidation he receives, so he was with police Selvin Omar Cardona, but this police did nothing. Miguel Callejas has attacked Alex Sabillón before – snatching his video camera on one occasion, and attacking him physically on another.

More:
http://sydneywithhonduras.wordpress.com/monthly-news-summaries/


Colombian politician accused of public corruption may be hiding in Fort Lauderdale

Source: Local 10 TV Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

Colombian politician accused of public corruption may be hiding in Fort Lauderdale

Andres Felipe Arias is requesting asylum in the U.S. to avoid prison time, after he was found guilty of public corruption in Colombia

Author: Andrea Torres, Local10.com Reporter, atorres@local10.com

Published On: Jul 11 2014 04:27:17 PM EDT Updated On: Jul 11 2014 04:42:12 PM EDT

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -
A politician accused of corruption in Colombia may be hiding in Fort Lauderdale, the Colombian magazine Semana reported Friday.

The former minister of agriculture and rural development Andres Felipe Arias, 41, was under investigation for public corruption before he and his family left Bogota.

On July 3, he was found guilty of mismanaging funds in a program that was meant to provide subsidies for struggling farmers, but instead ended up in the hands of wealthy landowners. He did not appear in court July 18.

Arias contends that he is innocent and the charges are a merciless political attack. El Espectador newspaper reported he could face 18 to 33 years in prison.

Read more: http://www.local10.com/news/colombian-politician-accused-of-public-corruption-may-be-hiding-in-fort-lauderdale/26904372

Colombian politician accused of public corruption may be hiding in Fort Lauderdale

Colombian politician accused of public corruption may be hiding in Fort Lauderdale

Andres Felipe Arias is requesting asylum in the U.S. to avoid prison time, after he was found guilty of public corruption in Colombia

Author: Andrea Torres, Local10.com Reporter, atorres@local10.com

Published On: Jul 11 2014 04:27:17 PM EDT Updated On: Jul 11 2014 04:42:12 PM EDT

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -
A politician accused of corruption in Colombia may be hiding in Fort Lauderdale, the Colombian magazine Semana reported Friday.

The former minister of agriculture and rural development Andres Felipe Arias, 41, was under investigation for public corruption before he and his family left Bogota.

On July 3, he was found guilty of mismanaging funds in a program that was meant to provide subsidies for struggling farmers, but instead ended up in the hands of wealthy landowners. He did not appear in court July 18.

Arias contends that he is innocent and the charges are a merciless political attack. El Espectador newspaper reported he could face 18 to 33 years in prison.

More: http://www.local10.com/news/colombian-politician-accused-of-public-corruption-may-be-hiding-in-fort-lauderdale/26904372

Bloodstained coal from Colombia

Bloodstained coal from Colombia

Massacres, targeted killings, expulsions: Raw material companies in Colombia are believed to have taken part in crimes for years. Even German utilities have received coal supplies from them.

Date 09.07.2014

It was around 2 a.m. on February 19, 2002, when about 30 masked paramilitaries appeared in the village, recalls Marina Barbosa. "They stopped at our house and knocked on the door, but I did not let them in. 'Hurry up' or we will throw a grenade!' the men shouted. Later they entered the house and screamed: "You support the guerrilla fighters!"

Marina and her two children, Rafael Arturo and Maira Marleny were forced to lie on the floor while the men searched and destroyed everything in the house. They took away everything of value.

"After they had searched the house, the paramilitaries accused my husband to be a member of the trade union, which was not true. He worked for Drummond and drove trucks. But at the end they dragged him outside and shot him in front our children."

Numerous victims

Marina Barbosa is just one of the many victims of human rights violations by paramilitaries in the coal region Cesar in northeastern Colombia. In its recently published report "The Dark Side of Coal," the Netherlands-based NGO Pax for Peace raised serious allegations against the mine operator Prodeco, a subsidiary of the Swiss Glencore Group and the American family-run firm Drummond.

More:
http://www.dw.de/bloodstained-coal-from-colombia/a-17771092?maca=en-rss-en-bus-2091-rdf

Monsanto's Herbicide Linked to Fatal Kidney Disease Epidemic: Could It Topple Monsanto?

Monsanto's Herbicide Linked to Fatal Kidney Disease Epidemic: Could It Topple Monsanto?
Thursday, 10 July 2014 09:18
By Jeff Ritterman, M.D., Truthout | News Analysis

For years, scientists have been trying to unravel the mystery of a chronic kidney disease epidemic that has hit Central America, India and Sri Lanka. The disease occurs in poor peasant farmers who do hard physical work in hot climes. In each instance, the farmers have been exposed to herbicides and to heavy metals. The disease is known as CKDu, for Chronic Kidney Disease of unknown etiology. The "u" differentiates this illness from other chronic kidney diseases where the cause is known. Very few Western medical practitioners are even aware of CKDu, despite the terrible toll it has taken on poor farmers from El Salvador to South Asia.

Dr. Catharina Wesseling, the regional director for the Program on Work and Health (SALTRA) in Central America, which pioneered the initial studies of the region's unsolved outbreak, put it this way, "Nephrologists and public health professionals from wealthy countries are mostly either unfamiliar with the problem or skeptical whether it even exists."

Dr. Wesseling was being diplomatic. At a 2011 health summit in Mexico City, the United States beat back a proposal by Central American nations that would have listed CKDu as a top priority for the Americas.

David McQueen, a US delegate from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who has since retired from the agency, explained the US position.

"The idea was to keep the focus on the key big risk factors that we could control and the major causes of death: heart disease, cancer and diabetes. And we felt, the position we were taking, that CKD was included."

The United States was wrong. The delegates from Central America were correct. CKDu is a new form of illness. This kidney ailment does not stem from diabetes, hypertension or other diet-related risk factors. Unlike the kidney disease found in diabetes or hypertension, the kidney tubules are a major site of injury in CKDu, suggesting a toxic etiology.

More:
http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/24876-monsantos-herbicide-linked-to-fatal-kidney-disease-epidemic-will-ckdu-topple-monsanto

Washington’s Role in Triggering the Child Migrant Crisis

July 09, 2014
The Flood From the North

Washington’s Role in Triggering the Child Migrant Crisis

by XAVIER BEST


Rare is the occasion that power systems voluntarily expose the true character of their policies. Mountains of disinformation and distortion are critical to keep the prying eyes of the public at bay. President Obama recently broke with this norm on the White House lawn. In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulous he angrily denounced Central American parents for sending their children to the US border. “Don’t send your children to the border … they’ll get sent back,” he inveighed. These words plausibly aroused memories throughout the region of a darker era when the US played a much deadlier role. In her illuminating study They Take Our Jobs: And 20 Other Myths About Immigration historian Aviva Chomsky documents the discrimination Central American migrants faced in the 1980s.

Devastated by Reagan’s terrorist war against the region, thousands of Central Americans traveled north to escape the violence of US-backed death squads. Of the 45,000 Salvadoran refugees that applied for asylum between 1984 and 1990 only 2.6% were approved. Further, of the 9,500 Guatemalan refugees in the same period a mere 1.8% were approved. Striking statistics of this kind, Chomsky observed, reflect the “much more political than humanitarian,” character of US refugee policy. Refugees from “enemy states” like the Soviet Union and Cuba were far more likely to be granted asylum than those migrating from US controlled domains. The hundreds of thousands of corpses generated by these policies serve as gruesome affirmation of this fact. Death toll estimates from the war in El Salvador, where the US backed the murderous Salvadoran military junta, place the number killed at 70,000. Meanwhile, in Guatemala casualties reached a staggering 200,000.

Incidentally, the barriers erected to impede entry of traumatized Guatemalans were significantly relaxed when it came to their torturers. Take the case of Hector Gramajo. As Defense Minister in the Guatemalan army, Gramajo played an integral role in the genocide against the country’s indigenous Mayan population. Not only was he given free entry, but Harvard University granted him a fellowship at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. Such double standards were central to Reagan’s “war on terror” , which unleashed a plague of state-terrorism with effects that linger to this day. It’s worth contemplating whether Obama had this sordid history in mind when he emulated the crimes of Reagan, principally through what researcher Alexander Main has described as the “US Remilitarization of Central America and Mexico.” Military aid to Central America has sharply increased under the Obama administration. Under the pretext of the “war on drugs”, his administration has poured millions of dollars in US arms into the region. Chief among these militarization programs are the Merida Initiative and the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI). In 2012 US arms sales to Guatemala totaled $21.3 million. Moreover, Guatemalan military officers have increasingly replaced the civilian leadership and neighboring Honduras has yet to recover from a US-backed military coup. A wide range of scholars and journalists now concede that the 2009 coup accelerated Honduras’ descent into chaos, triggering the mass migration Washington is working to reverse. Writing in the New York Times, historian Dana Frank harshly condemned the takeover for plunging the country into “a human rights and security abyss,” which was “in good part the State Department’s making.”

Current statistics on unaccompanied youth from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras support Frank’s assessment in more concrete terms. Between October 2008 and September 2009 the total number of child migrants apprehended by US border authorities stood at 19,418. Five years later, this figure skyrocketed to a stunning 46,188. Describing the region as a “corridor of violence”, the International Crisis Group observed “the most dangerous areas in Central America is located along the border of Guatemala with Honduras.” And this imperial assault is not without economic analogues. Converting Latin America into a workshop for US industry has been a long-standing goal of US policy makers. Justifying US ambitions to dominate Cuba, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams described the island’s people as little more than children. Cubans, “forcibly disjoined” from Spanish control, he argued, were “incapable of self-support,” therefore they had to submit to US demands. Contemporary forms of this doctrine can be found in the expanding array of “free trade agreements”, all of which are designed to enrich US-based corporations at the great expense of the poor. Citing a provision in the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), the Obama administration turned to naked coercion by withholding $277 million in economic aid from El Salvador unless they abolished a government-run seed program designed to empower small farmers. Fortunately, Congressional pressure, spurred by a grassroots struggle to overturn the policy, forced the Obama administration to abandon this goal. Nevertheless, the mere attempt is a dramatic indication of where US strategic interests lay.

More:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/07/09/washingtons-role-in-triggering-the-child-migrant-crisis/

Debunking 8 Myths About Why Central American Children Are Migrating

July 8, 2014

Debunking 8 Myths About Why Central American Children Are Migrating

‘Lax enforcement’ is not the culprit—U.S. trade and immigration policies are.

BY David Bacon

The mass migration of children from Central America has been at the center of a political firestorm over the past few weeks. The mainstream media has run dozens of stories blaming families, especially mothers, for sending or bringing their children north. The president himself has lectured them, as though they were simply bad parents. “Do not send your children to the borders,” he said in a June 27 interview with George Stephanopoulos. “If they do make it, they'll get sent back. More importantly, they may not make it.”

Meanwhile, the story is being manipulated by the Tea Party and conservative Republicans to attack Obama's executive action deferring the deportation of young people, along with any possibility that he might expand it—the demand of many immigrant rights advocates. More broadly, the far Right wants to shut down any immigration reform that includes legalization, and instead is gunning for harsher enforcement measures. Even Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly, commander of U.S. Southern Command, has sought to frame migration as a national security threat, calling it a “crime-terror convergence,” and describing it as “an incredibly efficient network along which anything hundreds of tons of drugs, people, terrorists, potentially weapons of mass destruction or children—can travel, so long as they can pay the fare.”

All of this ignores the real reasons families take the desperate measure of leaving home and trying to cross the border. Media coverage focuses on gang violence in Central America, as though it was spontaneous and unrelated to a history of U.S.-promoted wars and a policy of mass deportations.

In truth, the United States’ meddling foreign policy and a history of the U.S.’s own harsh immigration measures are responsible for much of the pressure causing this flow of people from Central America. These eight facts, ignored by the mainstream press and the president, document that culpability and point out the need for change:

More:
http://inthesetimes.com/article/16919/8_reasons_u.s._trade_and_immigration_policies_have_caused_migration_from_ce
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