Judi LynnJudi Lynn's Journal
Global Witness finds Guatemala experienced sharpest increase in number of land, environmental defenders murders in 2018.
Guatemalans protest against President Jimmy Morales and demand justice for the murders of those killed while defending the right to land and natural resources [Edwin Bercian/EPA] Guatemalans protest against President Jimmy Morales and demand justice for the murders of those killed while defending the right to land and natural resources [Edwin Bercian/EPA]
Jorge Juc left the house before sunrise last Thursday. While he tended his cornfield in eastern Guatemala, the 77-year-old indigenous Maya Q'eqchi' community leader was killed in a machete attack.
Juc was president of the village chapter of the Campesino Development Committee (CODECA), a national indigenous-led social movement organisation working for land rights, a plurinational state, energy nationalisation and other issues.
Four CODECA-affiliated community leaders have been killed this month alone, all in the municipality of Livingston, in the Izabal department. Izabal is home to mining operations, oil palm plantations and decades of Maya Q'eqchi' community displacement.
Isidro Perez and Melesio Ramirez were killed July 5 when more than a dozen armed men opened fire on participants in a land rights action. Julio Ramirez was shot multiple times on July 12 and died the next day.
by Adriaan Alsema July 29, 2019
Supreme Court magistrate Cristina Lombana never told the court she was married to a convicted war criminal, weekly Semana revealed on Sunday.
The latest revelation of journalist Daniel Coronell adds to a pile of controversies that have been accumulating around the magistrate President Ivan Duques swore in last year.
Lombana, a former army major, previously failed to tell the court that she used to work for the defense attorney of former President Alvaro Uribe, who she was investigating for alleged witness tampering until her colleagues removed her.
Marrying a convicted murderer
Coronell demonstrated on Sunday that the magistrates omission to tell the court she had worked for the defense attorney whose client he was investigating was not her only secret.
Lombana also never told the court that she married former a convicted murderer, Lieutenant Colonel William Roberto del Valle, in 2002 and was married to him in 2004 while he again was murdering civilians to present them as guerrillas killed in combat, documents provided by the columnist indicate.
by Adriaan Alsema July 28, 2019
Colombias prosecution is investigating the role of its former Technical Investigations Unit (CTI) director over the manipulation of evidence in the witness tampering case against former President Alvaro Uribe, according to weekly Semana.
The weekly reported on Sunday that the former director of the CTI, Danny Julian Quintana, will have to explain to investigators on Friday how audio that was obtained through wiretaps ended up partially erased or distorted.
. . .
Who is doing Uribe illegal favors?
In the case of the Uribe recordings, prosecutors found that Quintana in 2015 gave the order to change the wiretapping equipment and erase the logs of the wiretaps to save energy, according to Semana.
At the time, the prosecutors were wiretapping the caretaker of one of Uribes estates and his son, who are key witnesses in the witness tampering case.
100 years ago, white mobs across the country attacked black people. And they fought back
By Christina Maxouris, CNN
Updated 5:04 PM ET, Sat July 27, 2019
(CNN)Thelma Shepherd was riding back to her Chicago apartment on July 27, 1919, when her streetcar came under attack. Black and white men hurled rocks at each other and at the passing vehicle. The 19-year-old who had recently left the South for a job in the bustling city didn't know it, but she had witnessed one of the most violent clashes of the "Red Summer."
The drivers made no stops and dropped all the passengers off at the end of the line, her granddaughter, Claire Hartfield, remembers her saying years later.
"She was new to the city," Hartfield recalls. "She wasn't really aware of the tensions that had been building. She was just enjoying some of the excitement of being in a really big city.
"It was an ... eye-opener for her."
But other passengers on the next routes weren't lucky enough to escape.
"Street-car routes, especially transfer points, were thronged with white people of all ages," a 1922 report by the Chicago Commission on Race Relations says. Black passengers were dragged out to the street, beaten and kicked.
Is Colombia cooking the books on mass killing of former paramilitaries?
by Adriaan Alsema July 26, 2019
Colombias government on Thursday said that 2,202 former members of now-defunct paramilitary organization AUC were assassinated. Last year, this number was 3,656.
The numbers were released while the government of President Ivan Duque is under pressure over a similar wave of killings former FARC guerrillas, who demobilized in 2017 and fear they await the same fate as their former enemies.
Despite the fact that these killings and those of social leaders are being considered the biggest threat to peace in Colombia, Duque has gone out of his way to to prevent the alleged masterminds of these homicides to be called to justice.
The cooking of the books on homicides appears to be his latest trick.
Did Duque cook the latest numbers?
The report of the National Reintegration and Normalization Agency (ARN) covers the assassination of demobilized AUC combatants since 2003 when the first of approximately 31,000 people joined the demobilization program of Duques political patron and alleged war criminal, former president Alvaro Uribe.
by Adriaan Alsema July 26, 2019
Colombias peace movement said Thursday that people in more than 100 cities worldwide will protest in support of the countrys human rights defenders and community leaders on Friday.
In Colombia, the organization said it has received confirmation from 57 cities and towns and that another 53 protests will be held around the globe.
The protest if organized buy Defendamos la Paz, a movement of politicians, victims, former combatants, unions and students that want to promote peace in Colombia and the implementation of a 2016 peace deal with former FARC rebels.
With the exception of the far-right party of President Ivan Duque, the protest has been endorsed by political parties from the left to the center right.
Former president, however, will continue to be held responsible for crimes such as influence peddling
Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (PT) will not face criminal charges that claimed he received R$20 million to help Odebrecht obtain business in Angola.
The petista, however, will continue to face charges for a portion of the crimes in this case, including passive corruption and influence peddling.
The decision was taken on Tuesday (23) by a Brasilia judge, analyzing the defendants' written responses to the complaint made by the MPF (Federal Public Prosecutor). The case was investigated in Operation Janus.
Oliveira acquitted Lula of the crime of criminal organization because he is facing the same offense in another case. For him, this is a double charge, which leads to "summary acquittal."
(Once Bolsonaro is sure the people will NOT return him to the Presidency, as they had been waiting to do when the right brought these charges against him, then they will finally release him.)
by Adriaan Alsema July 25, 2019
Former paramilitary chief Macaco said Wednesday that he wants to testify before Colombias war crimes tribunal.
Victims of the former commander of paramilitary organization AUC asked him earlier this week to take part in the peace process after he was extradited from the United States where he served 11 years in prison for drug trafficking.
Macaco, whose real name is Carlos Mario Jimenez, is the latest of multiple former AUC chiefs who have said they want to take part in the peace process and reveal their extensive ties to Colombias politicians, military and private sector.
. . .
The former warlords victims requested maximum protection for Jimenez, who they believe is at imminent risk of assassination exactly because of the risk he poses to the countrys economic and political elites.
(He was extradited originally, specifically to protect the identity of his co-horts in the official ruling class.)
Noreen Nasir, Associated Press Updated 12:28 pm CDT, Thursday, July 25, 2019
ELAINE, Ark. (AP) J. Chester Johnson never heard about the mass killing of black people in Elaine, a couple hours away from where he grew up in Arkansas. Nobody talked about it, teachers didn't mention it in history classes, and only the elderly remembered the bloodshed of 1919.
He was an adult when he found out about it. By then, his grandfather, Alonzo "Lonnie" Birch, was dead perhaps taking a secret to his grave.
Johnson believes Birch took part in the Elaine massacre. And now he's bent on telling the story of one of the largest racial mass killings in U.S. history, an infamous chapter in the "Red Summer" riots that spread in cities and towns across the nation.
"I feel an obligation," said Johnson, who is white. "It's hard to grow up in a severely segregated environment and for it not to affect you. If you don't face it and deal with it in various ways, it becomes undiscovered."
JULY 23, 2019 / 4:51 PM / UPDATED 7 HOURS AGO
They exist: rare clip shows uncontacted tribe under threat in Brazil
3 MIN READ
RIO DE JANEIRO (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Rare video of one of Brazils last uncontacted indigenous tribes has been released to help raise awareness about threats to their survival, campaigners said on Tuesday.
The footage, shot by indigenous filmmaker Flay Guajajara and lasting about 1 minute, shows an Awa tribe member in the woods holding a knife, seemingly unaware he is being filmed. A second member holds a bow and arrow, and both leave after appearing to notice their observers.
This video shows that they do not want to be contacted, not even by the Guajajara, said the filmmaker, himself a member of the Guajajara tribe and part of Midia India, a charity that gives voice to indigenous communities in Brazil.
The Guajajara live near the Awa, hunter-gatherers described by indigenous rights group Survival International as the worlds most threatened tribe, in the Arariboia territory in the state of Maranhao.
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