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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
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Unearthing a Massacre in Peru

By David Gonzalez Oct. 19, 2017

Silent clues to a violent past are buried among the scores of mass graves that dot Chungui district in the mountainous Ayacucho region of Peru. There, above layers of earth that mark geological time, lie relatively new remnants attesting to the massacres carried out by both the Shining Path guerrillas and the military and police forces that hunted them.

A soggy, wrinkled skirt. A skull. Fragments of a spinal column. All that remains of the many men, women and children caught in the crossfire of a war they never wanted. When these remains are lifted from their unmarked graves, they bring with them the chance to be identified, to give their survivors an idea of what happened. To give them something they can bury, and mourn.

Max Cabello Orcasitas, a Peruvian photojournalist, had been intrigued by the exhumations taking place in the region, which was among the hardest-hit by the political violence 30 years ago. He had read about it in a report by the country’s truth commission that offered an accounting of the crimes and killings that were carried out during these dirty wars.

“It struck me as a little-known tragedy,” Mr. Cabello Orcasitas said. “It was like that place in Yugoslavia where there were massacres, Srebrenica. This was like a Peruvian Srebrenica.”


Warning of 'ecological Armageddon' after dramatic plunge in insect numbers

Three-quarters of flying insects in nature reserves across Germany have vanished in 25 years, with serious implications for all life on Earth, scientists say

Damian Carrington Environment editor
Wednesday 18 October 2017 14.00 EDT

The abundance of flying insects has plunged by three-quarters over the past 25 years, according to a new study that has shocked scientists.

Insects are an integral part of life on Earth as both pollinators and prey for other wildlife and it was known that some species such as butterflies were declining. But the newly revealed scale of the losses to all insects has prompted warnings that the world is “on course for ecological Armageddon”, with profound impacts on human society.

The new data was gathered in nature reserves across Germany but has implications for all landscapes dominated by agriculture, the researchers said.

The cause of the huge decline is as yet unclear, although the destruction of wild areas and widespread use of pesticides are the most likely factors and climate change may play a role. The scientists were able to rule out weather and changes to landscape in the reserves as causes, but data on pesticide levels has not been collected.


Breaking the Blockade against Cuba: Interview with Claudia Camba

by Ricardo Vaz / October 15th, 2017

Cuba is the model of what can be achieved. Imagine how much more it could do without the economical and media blockade!”. These are the words of Claudia Camba, president of the UMMEP Foundation (“Un Mundo Mejor Es Posible”, “A better world is possible”) and coordinator of the Cuban missions in Argentina. In this exclusive Investig’Action interview, she tells us about Cuban solidarity in Argentina and Latin America, and specially about Operación Milagro (“Operation Miracle”) and the Dr. Ernesto “Che” Guevara ophthalmologic centre in Córdoba


Ricardo Vaz: Can you tell us a bit of the history of Operación Milagro (“Operation Miracle”)?

Claudia Camba: Operación Milagro was borne out of another great Cuban internationalist mission, which was the literacy program “Yo Sí Puedo” (“Yes I can”), and more concretely in Venezuela, where this literacy program was called “Misión Robinson”. The Venezuelans, through this program, had the goal of teaching 1 million people how to read and write in six months. Throughout this time they had some major successes as well as big difficulties, and one of them was the participants’ vision. Almost all the illiterate taking part in this program were adults with vision problems.

To overcome this Cuba sent 1500 optometrists, to test the peoples’ vision and give them glasses. But even with glasses some people could not see, and after an examination it turned out that they had cataracts. That is how “Misión Milagro”, which initially was just between Venezuela and Cuba, was born. With this mission over 300.000 Venezuelans travelled to Cuba to have surgery, not only for cataracts but also for other eye problems.

RV: And this mission is later extended to Argentina?

CC: Later on, in 2005, Hugo Chávez and Fidel Castro begin to wonder: why not extend this mission to the whole of Latin America? Our organisation, UMMEP (“Un Mundo Mejor Es Posible”, “A better world is possible”), had been conducting the “Yo Sí Puedo” literacy program in Argentina, and we were approached by Cuba about the possibility of articulating ourselves with “Operación Milagro”. For us it was an honour to accept this cooperation.


Artist's simulated banana grove is a stinking indictment of American corporate greed

Artist's simulated banana grove is a stinking indictment of American corporate greed

- click for image -


José Alejandro Restrepo's "Musa Paradisiaca" video installation at LAXART consists of bananas in various states of decay, hauntingly hung with screens running grainy video of slain plantation workers in his native Colombia. (John Kiffe)

Sharon Mizota
OCTOBER 15, 2017, 10:55 AM

Walk into “Video Art in Latin America” at LAXART and you’ll wonder: Why does it smell like rotten bananas in here?

The gallery’s contribution to the constellation of exhibitions known as Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA is a sprawling survey of video from the 1970s to the present. Deftly curated by the Getty Research Institute’s Glenn Phillips and scholar Elena Shtromberg, it is designed to be experienced on multiple levels, one of which is unexpectedly olfactory.

That sickly sweet aroma, edged with the tang of decay, comes from “Musa paradisiaca,” a large installation by Colombian artist José Alejandro Restrepo. (The title is the Latin name for a type of edible banana.) Quietly dominating the central gallery is a hanging garden of banana tree stems, each one studded with many, many bunches of bananas. The fruits are in various stages of decay, but most are little more than shriveled black nubs. In the large, darkened gallery, the stems are a haunting presence, like chunks of meat hung up to cure, or more disturbing, hanging bodies.

This last association turns out to be apt. Dangling from the bottom of several stems are tiny cathode ray tubes, one per stem. The screens are turned downward, and the only way to see what’s playing is by looking into a small, round mirror positioned on the floor. It takes a moment to find the right viewing angle, which often involves placing one’s face in awkward proximity to rotting fruit. The reflected video image feels fugitive: small, partial, grainy in black and white. A small shift in position, and it disappears from view. Still, it doesn’t take long to recognize that it’s documentary footage of dead bodies.


Guatemala genocide trial resumes for ex-dictator Rios Montt

Source: Associated Press

The Associated Press
OCTOBER 13, 2017 6:06 PM

The genocide trial of former Guatemala dictator Jose Efrain Rios Montt resumed behind closed doors Friday as the 90-year-old retired general faces charges related to the killing of 1,771 Ixil Indians during his brief time in power.

The proceedings restarted after being suspended for more than a year while his lawyers argued that he was too senile to participate.

Rios Montt ruled from March 1982 to August 1983. His lawyers contend his faculties have deteriorated significantly, leaving him with no memory and unable to make decisions.

Rios Montt was convicted of genocide in 2013 and sentenced to 80 years in prison, but the country's Constitutional Court threw out that conviction and ordered a new trial.

Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/national-politics/article178774816.html

(Short article, no more at link.)

Efraín Ríos Montt and Ronald Reagan

Trial on Guatemalan Civil War Carnage Leaves Out U.S. Role

MEXICO CITY — In 1999, President Bill Clinton went to Guatemala and apologized. Just two weeks earlier, a United Nations truth commission found Guatemalan security forces responsible for more than 90 percent of the human rights violations committed during the country’s long civil war.

Mr. Clinton’s apology was an admission that the Guatemalan military had not acted alone. American support for Guatemalan security forces that had engaged in “violent and widespread repression,” the president said, “was wrong.”

But that long history of United States support for Guatemala’s military, which began with a coup engineered by the Central Intelligence Agency in 1954, went unacknowledged during the genocide trial and conviction of the man most closely identified with the war’s brutality, the former dictator Gen. Efraín Ríos Montt.

During a month of testimony before the three-judge panel that found General Ríos Montt guilty last Friday, the prosecution never raised the issue of American military backing in the army’s war against leftist guerrillas. The 86-year-old former dictator barely mentioned the United States when he argued in his own defense that he had no operational command over the troops that massacred and terrorized the Maya-Ixil population during his rule in 1982 and 1983.


Peru: Inca citadel remains found in Cusco

Comparte información, comparte valores
© Copyright Agencia de noticias Agencia Andina

12:59. Lima, Oct. 11. A group of Peru's southern rainforest inhabitants claim to have found impressive archeological remains of Inca civilization in Cusco.

Joined by local authorities, villagers headed to La Convencion Provincial Municipality in order to report the find. According to locals, remains were found on September 9 while grazing animals near the Megantoni National Sanctuary.


Very remote. Images from the Megantoni National Sanctuary:


Mass hysteria may explain 'sonic attacks' in Cuba, say top neurologists

Despite 22 Americans reporting symptoms no evidence of a weapon found
Experts suspect a psychosomatic disorder linked to high stress in Havana

Julian Borger and Philip Jaekl
Thursday 12 October 2017 13.20 EDT

Senior neurologists have suggested that a spate of mysterious ailments among US diplomats in Cuba – which has caused a diplomat rift between the two countries – could have been caused by a form of “mass hysteria” rather than sonic attacks.

The unexplained incidents have prompted the US to withdraw most of its embassy staff from Havana and expel the majority of Cuban diplomats from Washington.

The neurologists who talked to the Guardian cautioned that no proper diagnosis is possible without far more information and access to the 22 US victims, who have suffered a range of symptoms including hearing loss, tinnitus, headaches and dizziness.

. . .

But US and Cuban investigations have produced no evidence of any weapon, and the neurologists argue that the possibility of “functional disorder” due to a problem in the functioning of nervous system – rather than a disease – should be considered.


de Young Hosts Recently Discovered Treasure Trove in Teotihuacan

Detail of two standing anthropomorphic sculptures discovered near the terminus of the tunnel beneath the Ciudadela and the Feathered Serpent Pyramid. (Courtesy of Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; Photo by Sergio Gómez Chávez )

By Dani Burlison
OCTOBER 12, 2017

In 2003 a heavy downpour caused flooding and minor damage to the ruins of Teotihuacán, the ancient Mesoamerican metropolis just 30 miles outside of modern day Mexico City. As archaeologist Sergio Gómez Chávez arrived to assess the potential destruction of his dig sites at the Temple of the Feathered Serpent — one of the city’s three main pyramids — he noticed a sinkhole had formed near the base of the temple. Curious about what lay beneath the surface, he repelled into the hole — and made a phenomenal discovery.

The sinkhole opened up into a cylindrical tunnel approximately 60 feet beneath the temple, which revealed a man-made underground landscape of miniature mountains and reflective pools of mercury, with pyrite (fool’s gold) embedded into the walls and ceiling to resemble stars twinkling in a night sky.

Gómez Chávez unearthed ritual offerings and statues from the subterranean wonderland, providing clues about a space unseen by humans for roughly 1,800 years. Many of the artifacts collected from the tunnel — that some believe was reserved for religious activity — are currently on display for the first time outside of Mexico in the de Young’s Teotihuacan: City of Water, City of Fire.

This, the first U.S.-based exhibition of artifacts from Teotihuacán since 1993, is the result of a decades-long relationships between Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) and San Francisco’s Fine Arts Museums, a partnership London Breed (president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors) says is an important display of collaboration — one that transcends current hateful rhetoric within U.S. politics.


The massacres that have defined Colombias armed conflict

written by Adriaan Alsema October 11, 2017

Thursday’s massacre in southwest Colombia’s Tumaco is only one of more than 2,000 that have marked the country’s political history of the past century.

. . .

Many of the massacres were committed in the armed conflict between Marxist guerrilla groups and the state. Others marked key events leading up to the extreme violence Colombia is now trying to move away from.

1. The banana massacre (1928)

The 1928 banana massacre is possibly the deadliest mass killing in the history of Colombia. It took place 20 years before “La Violencia,” but is often cited as an important precursor.

Nobody knows how many people were killed in the massacre near the Caribbean city of Santa Marta. Between 47 and 3,000 striking employees of US banana firm United Fruit Company were killed when the conservative government sent in the army to break up a strike that was supported by liberals, socialists and communists.


Cuba, Human Rights and Self-Determination

OCTOBER 6, 2017

A Submission to the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review


Cuba holds an admirable place in the international community regarding the protection and promotion of the rights of its citizens. In Cuba everyone is guaranteed an education and access to universal and free healthcare. In Cuba no one is “disappeared” or the victim of extra-judicial execution. In Cuba there are no homeless roaming the streets, no one left to fend for themself, eking out an existence in a dog-eat-dog society. Cuba is not a haven for the economic violence that reigns in so many countries. This submission will briefly summarize Cuba’s domestic achievements, as well, as the island’s considerable contribution to the well-being of the world’s nations and peoples.

Cuba & Human Rights: The Social Sphere

Cuba admirably fulfills its responsibilities under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The annual United Nations Human Development Report (HDR) attests to the success in this regard of the Cuban Revolution. These annual reports are recognized as the most comprehensive and extensive determination of the well being of the world’s peoples. Since its inception, the HDR has repeatedly confirmed the advances and progress of the Cuban Revolution. Cuba is firmly placed in the High Human Development category. Moreover, Cuba ranks 1st in terms of the relationship between economic means and capacity for human development. In other words, Cuba’s ranking in the Human Development Report outstrips its per capita world ranking. Thus, in the effective use of resources for human benefit, Cuba out-performs the much richer countries of the so-called “developed world. In short, Cuba is a country that effectively uses its very modest resources for the benefit of its citizens.

It bears noting that for any country to try to cope with and overcome the current worldwide economic crisis in a manner that favours its people, not the global monopolies, is no small feat. This is all the more true for a country such as Cuba that is subjected to a brutal all-sided economic war from the United States. One cannot forget that Cuba’s impressive achievements in human development have occurred in the face of all-sided aggression by Washington, which has never accepted the January 1, 1959 verdict of the Cuban people. Washington’s objective is the negation and extinguishing of Cuba’s right to self-determination and independence. The U.S. economic blockade is the principal obstacle to Cuba’s social and economic development, having cost the island nation in excess of $1 trillion U.S, constituting it is a flagrant violation of the human rights of the people of Cuba.

Cuba and Human Rights: The Political System

Cuba is almost invariably portrayed as a serious violator of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; a totalitarian regime, a veritable “gulag” guided and controlled by the Castro brothers: first, Fidel and, now, Raúl. However, this position cannot be sustained once the reality of Cuba is assessed on its own merits. Extensive democratic popular participation in decision-making is at the centre of the Cuban model of governance. The official organs of government in Cuba are the municipal, provincial and national assemblies of the Poder Popular (People’s Power) structures. The National Assembly is the sole body with legislative authority, with delegates – as in the provincial and municipal assemblies – directly elected by the Cuban electorate. The National Assembly chooses from amongst its members the Council of State, which is accountable to the National Assembly and carries out its duties and responsibilities, such as the passage and implementation of decrees, when the National Assembly is not in session.

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