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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
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Pope eyes fast beatification for Salvador's Romero

Pope eyes fast beatification for Salvador's Romero
Associated Press August 18, 2014 Updated 2 hours ago

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE — Pope Francis opened the way Monday to a quick beatification for Oscar Romero, saying there are no more doctrinal problems blocking the process for the slain Salvadoran archbishop who is one of the heroes of the liberation theology movement in Latin America.

Romero, the archbishop of San Salvador, was gunned down in 1980 while celebrating Mass. He had spoken out against repression by the Salvadoran army at the beginning of the country's 1980-1992 civil war between the right-wing government and leftist rebels.


The congregation launched a crackdown on liberation theology under then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, fearing what was deemed as Marxists excesses. The movement holds the view that Jesus' teachings imbue followers with a duty to fight for social and economic justice.

Traditionally, the church has restricted the martyr designation to people who were killed out of hatred for the Catholic faith. Francis said he wanted theologians to study whether those who were killed because of their actions doing God's work could also be considered martyrs. "What I would like is that they clarify when there's a martyrdom for hatred of the faith — for confessing the faith — as well as for doing the work for the other that Jesus commands," Francis said.

Questions over that distinction have been at the root of the theological debate over whether Romero was killed by El Salvador's right-wing death squads for professing the faith or because of his political activism in support of the poor.


Colombia marks 25th anniversary of Galan’s assasination

Colombia marks 25th anniversary of Galan’s assasination
Aug 18, 2014 posted by Nicolas Bedoya

Luis Carlos Galan, a favored presidential candidate and outspoken enemy of Colombia’s drug cartels, was assassinated 25 years ago on August 18 during a campaign rally outside Bogota.

At the time of his assassination in 1989, Luis Carlos Galan was predicted in polls to win the 1990 presidential term with 60% of the votes, according to El Espectador newspaper.

Senator Galan had a strong intolerance for the drug cartels penetrating Colombian society and politics. His political movement centered on the rising social concerns regarding the power of Colombia’s drug cartels.

The would-be president was killed by a collusion of military officers, intelligence directors, drug kingpins, and paramilitaries.


Culture as a cause of poverty has been wilfully misinterpreted

Culture as a cause of poverty has been wilfully misinterpreted

The new poverty – a culture of the poor – has little power to relieve its own suffering, as welfare sanctions and cuts demonstrate

Jeremy Seabrook
theguardian.com, Thursday 14 August 2014 08.52 EDT

When the term “culture of poverty” was first used by the anthropologist Oscar Lewis in 1959, it was seized upon as “evidence” that poverty is not caused primarily by an absence of material resources. This was never Lewis’s intention. In a 1966 essay for Scientific American, he wrote: “A culture of poverty is not just a matter of deprivation or disorganisation – a term signifying the absence of something. It is a culture in the traditional anthropological sense in that it provides human beings with a design for living, a ready-made set of solutions for human problems, and so serves a significant adaptive function.”

This was wilfully misinterpreted by those who believed poverty could not be abated by throwing money at it (that sole remedy for all other social ills); it was absorbed into an ancient moral critique of the poor; identified in modern industrial society with chaotic, disorganised lives, absence of parental ambition for children, aversion to hard labour and a tendency to addiction.

Lewis’s work influenced a report by Daniel Moynihan during the Lyndon B Johnson presidency’s “war on poverty” in 1965, which spoke of a “tangle of pathology” in relation to black families, and highlighted a “deviant maternalism” as a consequence of the fugitive male – a claim feminists later vehemently rebutted. In any case, riots in Los Angeles, Detroit and other US cities in the late 60s eclipsed theories of culture, which yielded to more pragmatic social programmes of investment and renewal of urban areas.

But the idea of culture as a cause of poverty has been tenacious; because it not only is readily assimilated to earlier ideas of “the undeserving”, but also lends a shimmer of scientific authority to ancient prejudice. It certainly animates the reformist zealots of Britain’s coalition government. This culture poses an anthropological problem, similar to that faced by imperialism when it confronted the “savage” societies of its overseas possessions. It requires colonisation of unorthodox or aberrant beliefs, and conformity with “correct”, universal values, which always coincide with those of the rich and powerful.


Welcome to Guatemala: gold mine protester beaten and burnt alive

Welcome to Guatemala: gold mine protester beaten and burnt alive

Indigenous people speak out against the Marlin mine run by Canadian company Goldcorp

The Marlin mine in western Guatemala owned by Canadian firm Goldcorp.
Photograph: David Hill

“They took him and poured gasoline all over him. Then they struck a match and lit him.”

Doña A – not her real name, for security reasons – was standing up, arms crossed, lightly leaning against a ladder, and speaking in her language, Maya Mam, while a friend, a relation by marriage, translated into Spanish. There were 20 or so Mams in the room – mostly women, some children, one elderly man – and we were in an adobe-brick house in the highlands of far western Guatemala, not far from the border with Mexico, and just around the corner from an open sky and underground gold- and silver-mine called Marlin.

The Mams had gathered there – at some personal risk – to speak about the mine and how it impacts them. “Her husband was killed by workers of the company,” someone had said suddenly, meaning Doña A, “but she doesn’t speak much Spanish”, although it was quickly suggested she could talk in Mam and a friend would translate for her.

“We heard the screams and the yellings but we didn’t know what was happening,” she continued.

Her husband’s two brothers were with him: they had to run away or would be burnt alive too.


How the Panama Canal helped make the U.S. a world power

How the Panama Canal helped make the U.S. a world power
BY Anya van Wagtendonk August 15, 2014 at 6:32 PM EDT

Considered one of the wonders of the modern world, the Panama Canal opened for business 100 years ago this Friday, linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and providing a new route for international trade and military transport.

At the time it was built, the canal was an engineering marvel, relying on a series of locks that lift ships – and their thousands of pounds of cargo – above mountains.

But thousands of workers died during its construction, and its history has seen no shortage of controversy, including a contentious transference of authority from the US to Panama in the 1970s.

Work recently began on a substantial expansion effort that will allow the canal to accommodate modern cargo needs.


LA forum:

US considering asylum request for convicted ex-minister: Colombia Prosecutor General

Source: Colombia Reports

US considering asylum request for convicted ex-minister: Colombia Prosecutor General
Aug 15, 2014 posted by Emil Foget

Colombia´s Prosecutor General Office confirmed Friday that Andres Felipe filed an asylum request in Florida last month, local media reported.

Former Minister of Agriculture Andres Felipe Arias, convicted of embezzling over $25 million in government funds, is currently in Florida while US authorities process his request for political asylum, according to El Colombiano.
According to sources in the government, Arias filed the asylum request on July 7, arguing that he was being persecuted in Colombia for political reasons.

The request was submitted in Miami, Florida, and could take between six months and a year to be processed. In the meantime, Arias can not be extradited or deported to Colombia, according to El Colombiano.
Arias was found guilty of embezzling over $25 million through an agricultural subsidy program called Agro Ingreso Seguro (AIS).

Prosecutors successfully demonstrated that the former minister under ex-President Alvaro Uribe had funneled state subsidies from the Agro Ingreso Seguro (AIS) program that were intended for poor farmers, but instead were given to wealthy and politically powerful families, a beauty queen, and even former paramilitaries.

Read more: http://colombiareports.co/colombias-ex-minister-arias-convicted-corruption-sought-asylum-united-states-prosecutor-general-confirms/

Bolivia shows us that another world is possible

Bolivia shows us that another world is possible

After centuries of subjugation, Bolivia's indigenous peoples are leading the way on sustainability and equality, writes Joe Turnball

August 2014

The profit motive which underscores the neoliberal paradigm is one of the greatest sources of both environmental degradation and spiralling economic inequality, which has resulted in the richest 200 individuals having more wealth than the poorest 3.5 billion. That last statistic alone should consign neoliberalism's 'trickle-down theory' to the dustbin of history. Its other great tenet, infinite growth, can be refuted with the simple common-sense fact that we live on a finite planet with dwindling resources. In order to tackle the problems of sustainability and inequality, what is required is not simply material innovations but a wholesale paradigm shift.

South America, so rapaciously ravaged by the strictures of neoliberalism, is at the forefront of this shift. At the turn of the millennium in Bolivia, a wave of popular protests led by grassroots democratic groups successfully ousted foreign water companies. They were protesting against a typical neoliberal structural adjustment policy, whereby institutions like the World Bank and IMF pressure developing nations into selling off their assets to foreign investment at bargain-basement prices. In this case it was the water supply, which quickly became so prohibitively expensive that poorer sections of Bolivian society could not access water.It proved to be the catalyst for Evo Morales's political career, culminating in his historic election as President in 2006, becoming the first democratically-elected indigenous president in Latin America since 1858.

Since coming to power, Morales has achieved the enviable feat of reducing inequality whilst securing economic growth; Bolivia's poverty rate fell by 26% between 2005-2011, yet growth has been averaging more than 4% a year since 2007. Whilst this has been far from a green revolution, with growth and income redistribution heavily reliant on the extraction of Bolivia's natural resources, Morales's long-term vision is centred around the notion of Suma Qamaña, or "living well".

This concept is not merely about material prosperity, rather it encompasses equilibrium between people and nature, a holistic wellness; to live well but not at the expense of others or the environment. It is enshrined in the new Bolivian constitution and can be seen in direct opposition to the neoliberal concept of progress, which amounts to unfettered exploitation of populations and resources for the good of a transnational elite. As Morales puts it: "We don't believe in the linear, cumulative conception of progress and of an unlimited development at the cost of other people and of nature. To live well is to think not only in terms of per capita income, but of cultural identity, community, harmony among ourselves and with Mother Earth." Central to the strategy is empowerment of the subjugated indigenous majority by disseminating economic surplus resulting from nationalisation of 34% of the economy.


Indigenous Mexico Rising Again

Indigenous Mexico Rising Again
By Fronteranortesur
Americas Program, August 13, 2014

Representatives of Mexico's indigenous peoples have issued a new declaration and announced upcoming mobilizations to further their cause. Unveiled on August 9, the UN-celebrated International Day of the World's Indigenous People, the declaration followed a week-long meeting between the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) and National Indigenous Congress (CNI) in the southern Mexican border state of Chiapas.

Detailing 29 points, the Declaration of the Plundering of Our Peoples blasted the Pena Nieto Administration, big corporations and capitalism in general for threatening the culture and survival of indigenous peoples. Couched in historical terms that reference the sacrifices made by indigenous people and small farmers for a Mexico that was denied to them, the statement was read by Venustiano Vazquez Navarette, indigenous resident of Tepotzlan, Morelos, in the Zapatista base community of La Realidad.

It read in part: "Capitalism has grown from plunder and exploitation since the beginning. Invasion and plunder are the words that best describe what is called the conquest of America, plunder and robbery of our lands, our territories, our knowledge, our culture. Plunder accompanied by war, massacres, jail, death and more death "

The declaration accuses "neoliberal capitalists" together with the U.S.-advised Mexican government of opting for military and paramilitary methods in stripping indigenous Mexicans of their patrimony. "We say to the powerful, to the companies and to the bad governments, headed by the criminal chief of the paramilitaries, (President) Enrique Pena Nieto, that we do not surrender, we do not sell out and we do not give up," the statement vows.


You are on the right wave-length, for sure. It has always been on the table.

One quick example I learned about around 14 years ago was a testimony made in a murder trial for the Cuban "exile" Eduardo Arocena, who had been arrested for the murder by machine gun of Felix García Rodríguez, a Cuban diplomat to the U.N., when he was stopped at a red light in New York City, and they could sneak up and shoot him through his window. It was the sixth anniversary of the U.S. Cuban "exile" terrorist group, Omega Seven. Slimy people.

Here are some references to that event, which was actually kept very quiet, as provable by the fact almost no one has ever heard about it, or the other vicious things done to Cubans since the Cuban Revolution.

William Blum

Official website of the author, historian, and U.S. foreign policy critic.

Cuba, 1959 to 1980s: The unforgivable revolution

In 1971, also according to participants, the CIA turned over to Cuban exiles a virus which causes African swine fever. Six weeks later, an outbreak of the disease in Cuba forced the slaughter of 500,000 pigs to prevent a nationwide animal epidemic. The outbreak, the first ever in the Western hemisphere, was called the “most alarming event” of the year by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization. 23

Ten years later, the target may well have been human beings, as an epidemic of dengue fever swept the Cuban island. Transmitted by blood-eating insects, usually mosquitos, the disease produces severe flu symptoms and incapacitating bone pain. Between May and October 1981, over 300,000 cases were reported in Cuba with 158 fatalities, 101 of which were children under 15. 24 In 1956 and 1958, declassified documents have revealed, the US Army loosed swarms of specially bred mosquitos in Georgia and Florida to see whether disease-carrying insects could be weapons in a biological war. The mosquitos bred for the tests were of the Aedes Aegypti type, the precise carrier of dengue fever as well as other diseases. 25 In 1967 it was reported by Science magazine that at the US government center in Fort Detrick, Maryland, dengue fever was amongst those “diseases that are at least the objects of considerable research and that appear to be among those regarded as potential BW agents.” 26 Then, in 1984, a Cuban exile on trial in New York testified that in the latter part of 1980 a ship travelled from Florida to Cuba with a mission to carry some germs to introduce them in Cuba to be used against the Soviets and against the Cuban economy, to begin what was called chemical war, which later on produced results that were not what we had expected, because we thought that it was going to be used against the Soviet forces, and it was used against our own people, and with that we did not agree. 27

It’s not clear from the testimony whether the Cuban man thought that the germs would somehow be able to confine their actions to only Russians, or whether he had been misled by the people behind the operation.

The full extent of American chemical and biological warfare against Cuba will never be known. Over the years, the Castro government has in fact blamed the United States for a number of other plagues which afflicted various animals and crops. 28 And in 1977, newly-released CIA documents disclosed that the Agency “maintained a clandestine anti-crop warfare research program targeted during the 1960s at a number of countries throughout the world.” 29 It came to pass that the United States felt the need to put some of its chemical and biological warfare (CBW) expertise into the hands of other nations. As of 1969, some 550 students, from 36 countries, had completed courses at the US Army’s Chemical School at Fort McClellan, Alabama. The CBW instruction was provided to the students under the guise of “defense” against such weapons – just as in Vietnam, as we have seen, torture was taught. As will be described in the chapter on Uruguay, the manufacture and use of bombs was taught under the cover of combating terrorist bombings. 30

The ingenuity which went into the chemical and biological warfare against Cuba was apparent in some of the dozens of plans to assassinate or humiliate Fidel Castro. Devised by the CIA or Cuban exiles, with the cooperation of American mafiosi, the plans ranged from poisoning Castro’s cigars and food to a chemical designed to make his hair and beard fall off and LSD to be administered just before a public speech. There were also of course the more traditional approaches of gun and bomb, one being an attempt to drop bombs on a baseball stadium while Castro was speaking; the B-26 bomber was driven away by anti-aircraft fire before it could reach the stadium. 31 It is a combination of such Cuban security measures, informers, incompetence, and luck which has served to keep the bearded one alive to the present day.


~ ~ ~

The Terrorist List, and Terrorism as Practiced Against Cuba

April 22, 2013 · by COHA

On an emotional level, Havana has long drawn attention to the double standard that permits Washington to label others as a terrorist state, all the while ignoring its own culpability in the multiple acts of terror that have been responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent Cuban civilians. This relatively unreported history stretches back to the early months following Castro’s victory over the Batista regime, when the United States was determined to eliminate the Cuban revolution not only through economic and political means, but with violence. Operation Mongoose, a program developed by the State Department under the overarching Cuba Project, coordinated terrorist operations from the period following the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961 to the October missile crisis 18 months later. During this time State Department officials provided logistical and material support to violent anti-revolutionary groups carrying out terrorist activities on the island. The terrors included torturing and murdering students who were teaching farmers to read and write, blowing up shoppers at Havana’s busiest department stores, bombing sugar cane plantations and tobacco fields, killing Cuban fishermen and the innumerable attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro and other top government officials. Historian Arthur Schlesinger reported in his biography of Robert Kennedy that Operation Mongoose was formulated under the Kennedy administration to bring “the terrors of the earth” to the Cuban people. It has been called one of the worst cases of state sponsored terrorism of the 20th century. When Operation Mongoose ended, violent anti-Castro groups based in South Florida, such as Alpha 66 and Omega 7, took over operations, often with the tacit approval and knowledge of local and federal authorities. In 1971, the village of Boca De Samá on the northeast coast of Cuba was attacked, leaving two civilians dead and a dozen more injured. Alpha 66 continues to claim credit for this act of terrorism on their website. A series of biological agents were purportedly introduced into Cuba in the 1970s, harming a number of plants and animals. These biological attacks included an outbreak of swine fever that killed a half-million pigs. Perhaps the worst case was the1981 epidemic of Dengue 2, totally unheard of in Cuba prior to this period. More than 300,000 people were affected within a six-month period. An estimated 102 children died as a result of the disease. Cuban-American Eduardo Arocena, former member of Omega 7, testified in 1984 that he travelled to Cuba in 1980 to “introduce some germs” into the country to “start the chemical war,” —as reported by The New York Times. One of them was Dengue 2.


Eduardo Arocena

Interesting note I just discovered, which I'd never heard before:

The Silent War Against Terrorism

by Jane Franklin; Saturday, September 25, 2010


Omega 7: Created in 1974, Omega 7 operated for years with impunity as its members murdered people who promoted dialogue with Cuba, in New Jersey (Eulalio José Negrín) and in Puerto Rico (Carlos Muñiz Varela), and carried out bombing attacks. When Cuban UN diplomat Félix García Rodríguez was shot to death in New York City in 1980, the FBI was forced to arrest some Omega 7 terrorists because of the international outcry. The head of Omega 7, Eduardo Arocena, carried out at least one biological weapon attack; Arocena testified in his murder trial that he took “some germs” to Cuba. Omega 7 was also involved in drug trafficking. Arocena is the rare Cuban-American terrorist who was actually tried, convicted and imprisoned on multiple counts of murder and drug-dealing. Campaigning in Miami in 2008, Republican presidential candidate John McCain and Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman indicated that Arocena would be pardoned if McCain became president.



Where is the Evidence Against These 17 Women in El Salvador?

Where is the Evidence Against These 17 Women in El Salvador?
By Larry Ladutke
August 14, 2014 at 2:19 PM

Imagine waking up in a hospital and learning that you are under arrest, accused of killing your own infant.

Despite your efforts to explain that you had a miscarriage and passed out from medical complications, the authorities sentence you to up to four decades in an overcrowded prison where you “suffer harassment, exclusion, and violence both from other inmates as well as prison personnel” because of the accusations against you.

This unthinkable horror has really happened to poor women in El Salvador. Amnesty International is deeply concerned about the reliability of the evidence brought against these women, as well as the procedures with which this evidence was collected. For example:

◾Were these women made aware of their rights before questioning?
◾Were they still suffering from medical trauma, anesthesia or other factors that would undermine their ability to answer questions and present their own defense?
◾Were they given access to legal counsel?
◾Did these women face discrimination because of their gender and/or socioeconomic status?

It is for these reasons that Amnesty International has published an open letter to the Salvadoran Supreme Court of Justice indicating that Salvadoran authorities must ensure the due process rights of these women are upheld when evaluating the local campaign to pardon 17 women convicted of aggravated homicide.

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