Judi Lynn's Journal
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 87,406
Number of posts: 87,406
Colombia’s emeralds generating more fear than revenue
Sep 22, 2014 posted by Joel Gillin
While fear continues to grow in Colombia’s central Boyaca state over emerald trade-related violence, locals are complaining that they see little revenue from an industry which benefits just a few wealthy families.
Colombia’s El Tiempo newspaper reported Monday that Boyaca, the center of the country’s emerald trade, has received just under $760,000 in royalties from mining companies since January. That amounts to only 0.5% of the state’s royalties this year.
This, despite the fact that last year international markets received well over $100 million worth of Colombian emeralds. Many believe one of the reasons for such inconsistencies is the lack of state control over the industry.
Commenting on the topic, Boyaca’s governor, Juan Carlos Granados, recently stated that what his region receives from the emerald trade is “derisory.” Granados also attempted to soothe fears regarding the possibility of another “Green War” in which the various emerald barons would return to the violence which marred the trade in the 1970s and 1980s.
Posted by Judi Lynn | Mon Sep 22, 2014, 09:15 PM (0 replies)
Here's What It's Like To Live With The Zapatistas, 20 Years After Their Attempted Revolution In Mexi
Here's What It's Like To Live With The Zapatistas, 20 Years After Their Attempted Revolution In Mexico
56 minutes ago
Twenty years ago, in direct protest against the then-recently signed North American Free Trade Agreement, a makeshift uprising of Mayan farmers seized a collection of cities and towns in Chiapas, in Mexico's remote southeastern corner. They were demanding rights for Mexico's indigenous people, who they thought had long been treated unfairly and would suffer even more under the landmark economic deal.
Naming themselves the Zapatistas after Emiliano Zapata, a principal leader of the Mexican Revolution of 1910, they emerged as a populist left-wing movement that openly called for a new revolution in Mexico, one that would replace a government which they argued was completely out of touch with the needs of its people.
While that revolution never came to pass, the Zapatistas and their ideologies have remained a presence in Chiapas and in Mexico. They continue to vocally oppose and resist the government, and have broadened their rhetoric to include larger issues of globalization and social justice. To this day, they live by their doctrine of upholding, at all costs, the importance of "work, land, shelter, food, health, education, independence, freedom, democracy, justice and peace."
In January, photographer Giles Clarke was invited to travel to Chiapas and immerse himself in the culture of the Zapatistas, staying with a family high in the mountains.
"I was honored to live off-the-grid with my appointed family and witness just a glimpse of this dignified, self-governed collective," Clarke says.
Posted by Judi Lynn | Mon Sep 22, 2014, 06:23 PM (1 replies)
Putin kicks off Latin America tour with Cuba stop
Associated Press, Havana | World | Sat, July 12 2014, 11:01 AM
Russian President Vladimir Putin began a six-day Latin American tour aimed at boosting trade and ties in the region with a stop Friday in Cuba, a key Soviet ally during the Cold War that has backed Moscow in its dispute with the West over Ukraine.
The two countries signed about a dozen accords in areas such as energy, industry, health and disaster prevention. Russian companies will participate in petroleum projects around Boca de Jaruco on the island's north coast, and that cooperation will extend to offshore oil deposits, Cuban government website Cubadebate said.
Another agreement covered infrastructure at a big new port project that Cuba hopes will become a regional shipping center and attract much-needed foreign investment.
"We are talking about the possibility of creating in Cuba a grand transportation hub with a possible modernization of the maritime port of Mariel and the construction of a modern airport with its respective cargo terminal," Putin said, according to an official Spanish translation of his remarks in Russian.
Posted by Judi Lynn | Mon Sep 22, 2014, 05:22 PM (2 replies)
Cuba to build pharmaceutical plant in Bolivia
By Nelson Acosta
HAVANA, Sept 22 Mon Sep 22, 2014 4:03pm EDT
(Reuters) - The Cuban state-owned pharmaceutical and chemical company Labiofam plans to build a complex in Bolivia that would help the South American country meet 100 percent of its demand for basic medicine, the company said on Monday.
Bolivian President Evo Morales requested the project and Bolivia will finance it, Labiofam Director General Jose Antonio Fraga said without disclosing the cost.
"We should sign the contract at the end of this month," Fraga told Reuters at a company meeting on Monday. "If we sign the contract we will start right away."
Bolivia hopes to supplement current supplies and meet 100 percent of its domestic demand for basic medicine once the project is complete, and any excess production would be exported mostly to countries within the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of America (ALBA), an association created by leftist governments in Latin America.
"This is basically for poor people because they can't afford the prices set by the trans-nationals," Fraga said. "So these industries will be subsidized by the state or their products will be sold at a very small profit margin, just to sustain themselves, not to get rich."
Posted by Judi Lynn | Mon Sep 22, 2014, 05:17 PM (0 replies)
State, ‘paramilitaries’ responsible for most of Colombia’s human rights violations: Report
Sep 22, 2014 posted by Joel Gillin
The vast majority of human rights violations in Colombia last year were committed by paramilitaries and government forces, according to a conflict analysis NGO.
In the report published this summer by the Center for Research and Public Education (CINEP), the group registered a total of 1,332 human rights violations against Colombian civilians last year.
Groups that had emerged from officially defunct paramilitary organization AUC were the biggest offenders, responsible for some 44% of the violations, while state forces, including the military and police, were responsible for 43%. The FARC and other guerrilla groups committed about 15% of the violations.
Groups like the Urabeños or the Aguilas Negras were suspected of carrying out the vast majority of homicides and threats, while the police received most complaints over assault.
Posted by Judi Lynn | Mon Sep 22, 2014, 03:50 PM (0 replies)
Peru Plans to Abolish Iconic Amazon Indigenous Reserve, NGO Claims
Written by David Hill
Friday, 19 September 2014 16:31
Plans are afoot to abolish a reserve for vulnerable indigenous peoples in Peru’s Amazon in order to exploit massive gas deposits and facilitate Christian evangelization, according to a report by Lima-based NGO Perú Equidad - Centerfor Public Policies and Human Rights. The report, La Batalla por “los Nanti,” argues that Peruvian state institutions, gas company Pluspetrol, and the Dominican mission have adopted a series of behind-the-scene tactics intended ultimately to “dissolve” or “extinguish” the reserve.
Established in 1990, what is now called the Kugapakori-Nahua-Nanti and Others’ Reserve (KNNOR), is officially intended to protect the lives and territories of indigenous peoples living in what Peruvian law calls “isolation” and “initial contact.”
Although almost 25 percent of the KNNOR has been included within a gas concession run by Pluspetrol for over 10 years, Perú Equidad believes the reserve now stands to be abolished altogether in order to facilitate operations in the concession as well as open up new areas outside of it. Pluspetrol’s concession, called “Lot 88”, includes the San Martín and Cashiriari gas fields to the north and south of the River Camisea. The Camisea gas project, as operations are known, is Peru’s largest ever energy development scheme.
“There is an obvious strategy to dissolve the reserve, which will mainly benefit Pluspetrol,” the report reads. “State sectors interested in expanding the gas frontier are participating actively. So too is the Dominican mission, for which the reserve is an obstacle to missionizing.”
Posted by Judi Lynn | Mon Sep 22, 2014, 02:54 AM (10 replies)
Sun Sep 21, 2014 at 06:00 AM PDT.
Terror on Embassy Row: The assassination of Orlando Letelier
by Denise Oliver Velez
for Daily Kos.
Those who escaped being massacred, disappeared, or tortured in Chile became part of a global resistance and protest movement. One major center of that resistance was the Chilean ex-pat community in Washington, D.C., home to former members of the Allende regime and their families.
I was living in D.C. in the mid-'70s, working on building a Pacifica radio station, WPFW-FM. Pacifica already had a Washington News Bureau there, and the bureau head was a Chilean-American, Paz Cohen. One of the volunteers at the bureau, who was helping to build the new station was José, a young Chilean, son of the former ambassador to the U.S., Orlando Letelier, one of the most vocal and visible leaders of the resistance.
On the morning of September 21, 1976, Pacifica staff and volunteers were already at work. Paz had planned to catch a ride into downtown from Adams Morgan, with her friend Orlando, but stayed home with a head cold.
At 9:35 AM the car, driven by Orlando Letelier, carrying his co-worker Ronni Moffitt and her husband, Michael, blew up at Sheridan Circle, in the city's Embassy Row. Orlando and Ronni were killed, and Michael was injured. It was a political assassination.
We got the news right away and listened in pain, horror and disbelief. The rest is part of history, a history with a story that continues up to this day and beyond.
Posted by Judi Lynn | Sun Sep 21, 2014, 04:29 PM (3 replies)
Weekend Edition September 19-21, 2014
The Nambia Legacy
Germany’s African Genocide
by ANDRE VLTCHEK
How outrageous, how heartbreaking, how truly grotesque! Windhoek City – the capital of Namibia – is, at one extreme full of flowers and Mediterranean-style villas, and at the other, it is nothing more than a tremendous slum without water or electricity.
And in between, there is the town center– with its Germanic orderly feel, boasting ‘colonial architecture’, including Protestant churches and commemorative plaques mourning those brave German men, women and children, those martyrs, who died during the uprisings and wars conducted by local indigenous people.
The most divisive and absurd of those memorials is the so-called “Equestrian Monument”, more commonly known as “The Horse” or under its German original names, Reiterdenkmal and Südwester Reiter (Rider of South-West). It is a statue inaugurated on 27 January 1912, which was the birthday of the German emperor Wilhelm II. The monument “honors the soldiers and civilians that died on the German side of the Herero and Namaqua ‘War’ of 1904–1907’”.
That ‘war’ was not really a war; it was nothing more than genocide, a holocaust.
And Namibia was a prelude to what German Nazis later tried to implement on European soil.
A European expert working for the UN, my friend, speaks, like almost everyone here, passionately, but without daring to reveal her name:
“The first concentration camps on earth were built in this part of Africa… They were built by the British Empire in South Africa and by Germans here, in Namibia. Shark Island on the coast was the first concentration camp in Namibia, used to murder the Nama people, but now it is just a tourist destination – you would never guess that there were people exterminated there. Here in the center of Windhoek, there was another extermination camp; right on the spot where “The Horse” originally stood.”
Posted by Judi Lynn | Sun Sep 21, 2014, 05:16 AM (1 replies)
Colombian senator charges Álvaro Uribe with ties to drug lords and death squads
Iván Cepeda, son of a murdered communist leader, wants ex-president’s past to be investigated
Elizabeth Reyes L. Bogotá 18 SEP 2014 - 17:46 CEST
It was not the first time that Colombia’s elected representatives had argued over the nearly three decades of paramilitary activity in the country. But for more than nine hours on Wednesday, Congress focused exclusively on the alleged ties between Senator Álvaro Uribe (president between 2002 and 2010), the paramilitaries and the drug world.
The debate was initiated by a left-wing senator, Iván Cepeda, who is one of Uribe’s biggest critics.
Uribe is himself the most vocal opponent of President Juan Manuel Santos, and he continues to enjoy significant support among Colombians, especially those who defend a tough stance against the FARC guerrillas.
Uribe has long criticized Santos for the latter’s ongoing negotiations with the armed group in Havana. During his own presidency, he made the fight against armed groups, including FARC and the smaller guerrilla group, ELN, a national priority.
Uribe showed up in Congress at the beginning of the debate, but walked out before Iván Cepeda took the podium, arguing that he would present his evidence in the Supreme Court rather than in the legislative chamber.
Posted by Judi Lynn | Sat Sep 20, 2014, 09:06 PM (2 replies)
Washington Snubs Bolivia on Drug Policy Reform, Again
Bolivia has found a way to cut coca production without sacrificing the leaf's cultural importance or cracking down on small growers. But Washington's not having it.
By Zoe Pearson and Thomas Grisaffi, September 19, 2014.
In Bolivia, licensed growers can legally cultivate a limited quantity of coca—a policy that has actually reduced overall
production. But because it doesn’t fit the U.S. drug war model, the policy has raised hackles in Washington. (Photo:
Thomas Grisaffi / FPIF)
Once again, Washington claims Bolivia has not met its obligations under international narcotics agreements. For the seventh year in a row, the U.S. president has notified Congress that the Andean country “failed demonstrably” in its counter-narcotics efforts over the last 12 months. Blacklisting Bolivia means the withholding of U.S. aid from one of South America’s poorest countries.
The story has hardly made the news in the United States, and that is worrisome. While many countries in the hemisphere call for drug policy reform and are willing to entertain new strategies in that vein, it remains business-as-usual in the United States.
The UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), meanwhile, seems to think that Bolivia is doing a great job, lauding the government’s efforts to tackle coca production (coca is used to make cocaine) and cocaine processing for the past three years. The Organization of American States (OAS) is also heaping praise on Bolivia, calling Bolivia’s innovative new approach to coca control an example of a “best practice” in drug policy.
According to the UNODC, Bolivia has decreased the amount of land dedicated to coca plants by about 26 percent from 2010-2013. Approximately 56,800 acres are currently under production
Posted by Judi Lynn | Sat Sep 20, 2014, 07:53 PM (1 replies)