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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 88,041

Journal Archives

BBC News: Calling time on America's blockade of Cuba

19 October 2014 Last updated at 01:09 ET
Calling time on America's blockade of Cuba
By Will Grant

BBC News, Havana

On 19 October 1960, less than two years after Fidel Castro swept into Havana, the United States announced its economic embargo of Cuba. It has been in place ever since but now it is under scrutiny again.

In a recent editorial, the New York Times called for the embargo to be lifted. The newspaper outlined a host of ways in which it says the measure had been counter-productive to US interests and those of the long-suffering Cuban people.

"Over the decades, it became clear to many American policy makers that the embargo was an utter failure," the editorial said.

Among the legislation through which the measure is enforced is the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917 as well as the inclusion of Cuba on a US state department list of state sponsors of terrorism, alongside Syria, Iran and Sudan.

Although the embargo cannot be ended without the backing of Congress, the newspaper argued there was much President Barack Obama could do unilaterally - from removing Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism to lifting caps on remittances.

"Mr Obama should seize this opportunity to end a long era of enmity and help a population that has suffered enormously since Washington ended diplomatic relations in 1961," it said.


Chile ex-mayor arrested for Pinochet-era human rights crimes

Chile ex-mayor arrested for Pinochet-era human rights crimes
Mon Oct 20, 2014 3:07pm EDT

By Anthony Esposito

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - The ex-mayor of an upscale Santiago neighborhood was arrested on Monday in connection with an investigation into human rights crimes committed during General Augusto Pinochet's 1973-1990 dictatorship of Chile.

Cristian Labbe, a retired colonel who later served as mayor of the capital's Providencia district, is a subject of the probe into human rights violations, government spokesman Alvaro Elizalde said to reporters on Monday.

"We hope this can be cleared up and it's the courts that have to determine any responsibilities (in the case)," he said.

Elizalde did not give details but a source close to the matter, who was not authorized to speak to the media, said Judge Marianela Cifuentes is prosecuting 10 former military members, adding that Labbe is being prosecuted for unlawful association as a member of Pinochet's notorious DINA secret police.

"Cifuentes determined that the DINA had become an unlawful organization for committing crimes against humanity, and as such has prosecuted Labbe as a member of that unlawful organization," the source said.


Peruvian radio host's wife killed in attack on station

Peruvian radio host's wife killed in attack on station
October 20, 2014 3:40 PM ET.

Bogotá, Colombia, October 20, 2014--Peruvian authorities must conduct an efficient and thorough investigation into Friday's attack on a radio station in which assailants killed the wife of a journalist, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

On the pretext of purchasing ads, a man entered Radio Rumba, in the town of Pichanaki in central Junín department, at about 5:30 am on Friday. He was followed into the station by a second man who was armed with a pistol, according to news reports.

When the men entered, Gerson Fabián Cuba was hosting his morning radio program, according to reports. The gunman began insulting and beating him with their gun. When the journalist's son protested, Fabián Cuba's wife, Gloria Limas Calle, tried to drive the men away with a broomstick. The assailants shot Limas Calle in the chest and fled the premises. Limas Calle died before reaching a Pichanaki hospital, according to news reports.

Limas Calle wrote ad copy for Fabián Cuba and often cleaned the radio station's studio.

"We condemn the attack on Gerson Fabían Cuba that killed his wife, and we call on Peruvian authorities to work quickly to ensure that local journalists and their families and associates do not have to fear violent reprisal for their reporting," said Carlos Lauría, CPJ's senior program coordinator for the Americas, from New York. "Only finding those responsible and bringing them to justice will prevent further attacks on, and harassment of, the local media."


AP PHOTOS: New gloss on Cuba's classic cars

AP PHOTOS: New gloss on Cuba's classic cars
| October 19, 2014 | Updated: October 19, 2014 11:21pm

Photo By Franklin Reyes/AP

In this Oct. 15, 2014 photo, a man drives a classic American car on The Malecon in Havana, Cuba. This
classic still running on the streets of Havana is part of a fleet of classic cars that have become an icon of
tourism in the socialist nation.

In this Oct. 15, 2014 photo, tourists ride in a classic American car on the Malecon in Havana, Cuba. Officials in
recent years have eased state control over the economy by allowing limited self-employment. So those lucky
enough to have a pre-revolutionary car can earn money legally by ferrying tourists _ or Cubans celebrating
weddings _ along Havana’s waterfront Malecon boulevard. Photo: Franklin Reyes, AP / AP

HAVANA (AP) — When Martin Viera's Chevrolet rolled out of the dealer's lot, Harry Truman was president of the United States, gasoline cost 27 cents a gallon and a 24-year-old lefty named Tommy Lasorda was pitching for Almendares in the Cuban winter baseball league.

That world is long gone, but the Chevy's still running on the streets of Havana — part of a fleet of classic cars that have become an icon of tourism in the socialist nation.

For decades, the cars slowly decayed. But officials in recent years have eased state control over the economy by allowing limited self-employment. So those lucky enough to have a pre-revolutionary car can earn money legally by ferrying tourists — or Cubans celebrating weddings — along Havana's waterfront Malecon boulevard.

That's allowed many to paint and polish their aging vehicles.

Viera's 1951 Chevrolet and Osmani Rodriguez's 1954 Ford are now part of Havana's tourist draw.

Rodriguez, who has three daughters, said the opening to self-employment "was a great benefit for me. I bought an apartment to live in and really it improved my standard of living a lot."


My Last Talk with Gary Webb

Weekend Edition October 17-19, 2014

"I Knew It Was the Truth and That's What Kept Me Going"

My Last Talk with Gary Webb


I was heartsick. Just knowing that Webb was alive was enough to keep me going through difficult nights.

The Mercury News says that “Webb, an award-winning journalist, was … perhaps best known for sparking a national controversy with a 1996 story that contended supporters of a CIA-backed guerrilla army in Nicaragua helped trigger America’s crack-cocaine epidemic in the 1980s. The ‘Dark Alliance’ series in the Mercury News came under fire by other news organizations, and the paper’s own investigation concluded the series did not meet its standards. Mr. Webb resigned a year and a half after the series appeared in the paper. He then published his book, `Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras and the Crack Cocaine Explosion.’

Of course the newspaper did not report that he resigned only after months of commuting to a dead-end assignment 150 miles from his family and home to which he had been exiled. Forced to work so far from his family, Webb grew depressed and made a sane choice.

So he was not a stranger to depression. Conspiracy stories are already suggesting that his suicide was something else, but I know he would want more than anything for solid investigative work to stitch together all of the pieces, that we not impose a pattern prematurely. That’s what he did for his stories and it’s the least we can do for him.

Besides, why kill him now? As I said in my blog-piece three days ago:

Voices of clarity and conscience are effectively controlled and spun into irrelevance rather than silenced. Marginalization is more effective than assassination it leaves no dead heroes as leaders, after all – and there’s no blood.


Colombia police arrest ‘Torturer of Cordoba’ after 26 years on the run

Colombia police arrest ‘Torturer of Cordoba’ after 26 years on the run
Oct 17, 2014 posted by Joel Gillin

Colombian authorities on Friday detained the “Torturer of Cordoba,” a man wanted for 26 years over his participation in killings in northern Colombia ordered by infamous paramilitary leader Fidel Castaño.

Mario Alberto Alvarez, a.k.a. “Macario,” has been sentenced to 22 years in prison for his role in the 1988 murder of an ex-senator and ex-secretary to the presidency.

Macario is the perpetrator of a massacre in the Cordoba state, which earned him his fearsome nickname.

During the 1990 Pueblo Bello massacre, 43 farmers were brutally killed. The number of farmers corresponded to the number of cattle the Castaño brothers, who founded the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) paramilitary group, claimed to have lost and for which they held the village responsible.


Colombia hackers carrying out cyber attacks against Ecuador: Correa

Colombia hackers carrying out cyber attacks against Ecuador: Correa
Oct 17, 2014 posted by Joel Gillin

President Rafael Correa of Ecuador said Thursday that his government had detected cyber attacks against his administration and the armed forces originating from Colombian territory, according to local media.

The Ecuadorean leader said that the country had already adopted security measures against the alleged hacks, which he described as being of a “systematic nature” from “organized networks,” according to the Colombian weekly Semana. He gave no more details about the identity of those responsible.

“We have traced these attacks many times, which have attempted to get information from the database of the Presidency, the hard drive of the president, the Armed Forces, Joint Command, and some of these attacks had their origin in Colombia,” Correa said at a press conference.

Cyber attacks against his government had happened “many times” before, the president said, but they were not announced over supposed worries that the press would manipulate the information to criticize his government.


‘Natural labs’ a magnet for Ecuador’s city of knowledge

‘Natural labs’ a magnet for Ecuador’s city of knowledge
16 October 2014 | By Holly Else

Recruitment is under way for Yachay University, a new campus that the country hopes will usher in a research and innovation culture

Source: Secretaría Educación Superior Ecuador

Knowledge-based focus: Ecuador is aiming to develop a research culture, focused on a
‘city of knowledge’

“Academia is just like soccer…You recruit good players, you win,” José Andrade told Times Higher Education on a recent visit to London, adding that he and his colleagues are “just about to recruit the Manchester United of South America” for a new institution in Ecuador.

Professor Andrade is the academic secretary of Yachay University, a new research-intensive institution that will form the cornerstone of a “city of knowledge” being built from scratch in an Andean valley.

The 4,000-hectare site, near the small village of Urcuquí, an hour and a half from the capital Quito’s international airport, will eventually house the university, Ecuador’s 13 public research institutes, a technology park and industry.

With Yachay Tech, as it is known for short, the Ecuadorian government is hoping to introduce a research and innovation culture that will transform the country’s economy, which is currently based on the export of raw materials. Fearing that these natural resources could one day run out, President Rafael Correa, who took office in 2007, decided to switch direction to a knowledge-based economy. It is hoped that this will enable the development of an advanced manufacturing sector that can process local products and export high-value goods worldwide.


Venezuela: Colombia paramilitary aided in killing

Venezuela: Colombia paramilitary aided in killing
| October 15, 2014 | Updated: October 15, 2014 7:36pm

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says a Colombian paramilitary group collaborated in the killing of a young Venezuelan congressman earlier this month.

Maduro presented surveillance video and what appeared to be a taped confession during a Wednesday news conference on the stabbing death of 27-year-old lawmaker Robert Serra.

The president alleged that a Colombian paramilitary group conspired with the socialist legislator's bodyguards to commit murder with the aim of destabilizing Venezuela.

Maduro previously accused former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe of participating in the plot. On Wednesday, he said Uribe maintains links to groups working against Venezuela.


Morales Wins: Interviews with Voters in the Bolivian Streets and at the Polls

October 15, 2014

Morales Wins

Interviews with Voters in the Bolivian Streets and at the Polls


On October 12, Bolivia went to the polls for a general election which is expected to grant victories to President Evo Morales and many other politicians in his Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) political party. (Update: Evo Morales has declared victory for a third term in office.) Below is a collection of interviews conducted today with voters from middle and working class neighborhoods in La Paz, Bolivia on how they voted and what they think of the MAS government. For more information on the election, its implications, and the successes and pitfalls of the MAS, see this article: Why Evo Morales Will Likely Win Upcoming Elections in Bolivia.

“The government of Evo Morales, which is a government that has done positive things, has also done negative things. For example, one of the positive things is the funds they have reserved in the government. Some other positive aspects are the public works the MAS has constructed, for example here in La Paz the aerial cable car, and a new two-lane highway to the city of Oruro. And in regards to the negative aspects, nationally and generally, is the level of political persecution against the opposition to the government. The other negative thing is the MAS’s focus on the rural social movements in the country, without focusing sufficiently on the middle class in the cities; this government has not helped the middle class at all.” – Ivan Villafuerte, lawyer

“President Evo does good work. He has created good public projects, and provided computers for school children. Evo does good work, and he’s not robbing everything like other presidents we’ve had in the past. This government provides support for children, pregnant women and the elderly. And for these reasons I voted for him this morning.” – Angelica Calle, street vendor

“I voted for President Evo because I am convinced that he is an excellent president. I’ve read through the history of my country many times, and I’ve seen that he is the best president in terms of the economy, education, development and other issues. With the previous governments the only thing they ever did was loot the country, and only look after their own personal interests. This isn’t the case with this government. This government is in function of the people, it is dedicated to creating an inclusive country, one without discrimination. Because here racism was very strong, and this racism is a legacy of colonialism, but now things have changed.” – Maria Isabel Viscarra, language teacher


Viva Morales.
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