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Judi Lynn

Judi Lynn's Journal
Judi Lynn's Journal
December 31, 2020

2020 Latin America and the Caribbean in Review: the Pink Tide May Rise Again

DECEMBER 31, 2020

The balance between the US drive to dominate Latin America and the Caribbean and its counterpart, the Bolivarian cause of regional independence and integration, tipped portside by year end 2020 with major popular victories, including reversal of the coup in Bolivia and the constitutional referendum in Chile. Central has been the persistence of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution against the asphyxiating US blockade, along with the defiance by Cuba and Nicaragua of US regime-change measures.

The grand struggle played out against the backdrop of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, impacting countries differently depending on their political economies. As of this writing, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba had COVID death rates per million population of 35, 25, and 12, respectively. In comparison, the death rates in right-leaning neoliberal states of Peru, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Panama, Honduras, and Guatemala were respectively 1123, 888, 849, 805, 843, 306, and 263. The manifestly lower rates on the left reflected, in large part, better developed public health systems and social welfare practices.

Andean Nations

Venezuela’s continued resistance to the US “maximum pressure” hybrid warfare campaign is a triumph in itself. Hybrid warfare – a diplomatic, propaganda, and financial offensive along with a crippling illegal blockade and attack on the Venezuelan currency – kills as effectively as open warfare. “It bleeds the country slowly and is much more devastating than direct bombardment,” observes Vijay Prashad of the Tricontinental Institute.

. . .

In March, the US falsely charged Venezuela of narco-terrorism, placing multi-million-dollar bounties on the heads of Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro and other officials. A naval armada was sent off the coast of Venezuela under the pretext of interdicting drugs. US government data, however, show the source of the drugs and the countries through which the illicit substances transit to the US are precisely the US client regimes in the region such as Colombia and Honduras.


December 27, 2020

With Biden, an opportunity to normalize relations with Cuba again

Cuban President Raul Castro greets U.S. President Barack Obama in Havana in March 2016. | REUTERS

Dec 27, 2020
NEW YORK – The certification by the Electoral College of Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 U.S. Presidential election is the final nail in the coffin of President Donald Trump and his supporters’ attempt to reverse the results of the vote. It is now time to move on and take necessary foreign policy steps to improve relations with the rest of the world.

For the last two centuries, relations in the Americas have been clouded by suspicion and resentment toward the U.S. by Latin American and Caribbean countries. It hasn’t helped that U.S. governments have, intermittently, undermined democratic governments and promoted what can be euphemistically called “regime change” in countries south of its border.

Nowhere has U.S. intervention been as relentless and damaging as it has with Cuba, where American antagonism toward the Castro brothers and their successor has benefited no one while causing the Cuban people tremendous suffering.

Henry Kissinger was certainly not thinking about Cuba when he said, “It’s not a matter of what is true that counts but a matter of what is perceived to be true.” This could well be applied to the supposed threat that Cuba poses to U.S. democracy. For almost 60 years the U.S. has imposed an embargo on Cuba. Yet, rather than achieving its goal of bringing about the downfall of the Castro brothers’ regime, the embargo only made life miserable for most Cubans, limiting their access not only to common goods but also to some vital medicines.

December 24, 2020

Black Brazilian Woman Suffered Slave-Live Conditions for More than 38 Years in Family Home

Prosecutors say that domestic worker had no salary and could not leave the home; defense criticizes disclosure before legal process

Dec.22.2020 2:45PM

A 46-year-old black woman was rescued from a home in Patos de Minas (MG) by the Public Ministry of Labor after receiving a complaint that said the victim lived in conditions similar to slavery. The case was revealed by Fantástico, from TV Globo, this Sunday (20).

According to the complaint, Madalena Gordiano performed domestic services at the residence, without receiving a salary and without the right to rest. According to this information, she was financially dependent on the family and could not leave the house.

During the inspection after which the victim was rescued, the MPT-MG found "a situation of serious violations of human rights," according to the agency's statement.

The family's lawyer said that disclosing the case before the legal process violates residents' rights and security. To the MPT, the owner of the house stated that Madalena was part of the family.


~ ~ ~ ~

Woman enslaved as a maid for nearly 40 years freed
By Fabio Teixeira
December 22, 2020 — 7.33pm

Rio de Janeiro: A Brazilian woman enslaved as a maid from the age of eight for almost four decades and forced into marriage has been rescued in a rare crackdown on domestic slavery, officials said.

The 46-year-old was found living in a small room in an apartment in Patos de Minas, in the south-eastern state of Minas Gerais. She had worked for the family for most of her life without pay or any time off, according to labour inspectors.

The victim was given up as a child by her destitute parents to the family of Dalton Cesar Milagres Rigueira, a professor at Unipam, a not-for-profit university, and raised by his mother, inspectors said.

"They gave her food when she was hungry, but all other rights were taken from her," Humberto Camasmie, the inspector in charge of the rescue, said.

Domestic servitude in Brazil is difficult to identify and tackle because victims rarely see themselves as modern slaves, officials say. Of 3513 workers found in slavery-like conditions between 2017 and 2019, only 21 were held in domestic servitude.

. . .

A misspelt note shown by Globo's Fantastico program said to have been written by Madalena Gordiano,
who did not finish her education, to a neighbour. It reads in Portuguese: "Lend me soap to shower.
You'll receive a prayer.


Da boss, owner of the house, real white guy, Professor Dalton Cesar Milagres Rigueira

Madalena, standing by an all-too-symbolic chain.

~ ~ ~

Google translation:

MG: Professor accused of maintaining a daily laborer in conditions of slavery is removed


University professor Dalton César Milagres Regueira was removed from his duties at the University Center of Patos de Minas (Unipam) after being accused of keeping an employee in conditions similar to slavery . The decision was announced by the Educational Foundation of Patos de Minas (Fepam), the university's sponsor, after a report published by Fantástico , on Sunday 20.

The institutions stated in a note issued on Monday 21, that appropriate and legal measures are already being taken and the professor is already removed from activities at the institution.

According to an investigation by the Public Labor Ministry (MPT) and the Federal Police, Madalena Gordiano, who worked since the age of 8 at the Milagres Rigueira family home in Patos de Minas, lived for 38 years in conditions similar to slavery.

The daily cleaner, who is black and did not finish her studies, lived in the employers' house, had no record, no guaranteed minimum wage or weekly paid rest. Madalena slept in a small room, less than 3 meters long by 2 meters wide, and without ventilation.

Madalena arrived at the home of Dalton's mother, teacher Maria das Graças Milagres Rigueira to order food, at the age of eight. She offered to adopt her, but the adoption was never consummated. After 24 years, the daily cleaner went to work for Maria das Graças's son, professor Dalton César Milagres Rigueira, where he lived under the same conditions.

Also according to the MPT, neighbors were suspicious of the situation after Madalena left tickets under the door of the building's residents asking for small amounts of money to buy personal hygiene kits.

The report also found that Madalena even married the professor's wife's uncle, a former combatant in the armed forces, with whom he never lived together. The man, who died, reportedly left Madalena two pensions of approximately R $ 8,000 per month. The daily cleaner, however, said she received about R $ 200 to 300 per month from her boss.


~ ~ ~

Free, at last.

December 23, 2020

Seals are making 'Star Wars' noises at each other underwater, and we have no idea why

By Brandon Specktor - Senior Writer 20 hours ago

They chirp, whistle and trill like droids — and scientists are hearing it now for the first time.

A diver in Antarctica's McMurdo Sound observes a Weddell seal swimming toward him.
(Image: © McMurdo Oceanographic Observatory)

Above water, they sound like bellowing Wookies. Below the ice, they sound like chirping, chattering robots. Either way, the Weddell seals of Antarctica should have no trouble finding work in an upcoming "Star Wars" project.

"The Weddell seals' calls create an almost unbelievable, otherworldly soundscape under the ice," Paul Cziko, a visiting professor at the University of Oregon and lead author of a new study describing the bizarre seal sounds, said in a statement. "It really sounds like you're in the middle of a space battle in 'Star Wars,' laser beams and all."

The catch: You'd have to be an alien (or droid) to hear them; all of those sci-fi sounds are totally inaudible to human ears. Cziko and his colleagues were able to detect the otherworldly noises after two years of listening to Weddell seals (Leptonychotes weddellii) with a special hydrophone (an underwater microphone) installed in Antarctica's McMurdo Sound in 2017.

Before the researchers started recording, scientists knew about the 34 seal calls audible to human ears. Now, the team's research — published online Dec. 18 in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America — adds nine new types of ultrasonic calls to the seals' repertoire. Those sounds include trills, whistles and alien-sounding chirps, sometimes composed of multiple harmonized tones.


December 23, 2020

The race to save an Indigenous Brazilian language from extinction

As elders from an Indigenous tribe die of COVID-19, younger members must fight to stop their language dying with them.

A member of the Yawalapiti tribe plays an Urua flute as part of a ritual of 'good energies', at the tribal village in Alto Xingu in the lower Amazon, May 12, 2002 [Gregg Newton GN/HB/Reuters]

Charlotte Peet
23 Dec 2020

Deep in the state of Mato Grosso, in the heart of Brazil’s vast Xingu National park, the inhabitants of the Indigenous village of Typa Typa can be heard day and night.

From their palm-thatched huts, perched on the southern banks of the Tuatuari river, some five kilometres (three miles) from the Leonardo Villas-Boas Post in the Upper Xingu, the Yawalapiti people of the circular village are mourning the death of their ancestral leader.

Chief Aritana Yawalapiti, 71, led his ethnic group for five decades and fiercely defended its traditions, lands and culture. For his family and Xingu supporters, he was a “living library” of the Yawalapiti people, one of the first tribes from the Arawak family lineage to have arrived in the region around 1100 AD.

A noble warrior, Aritana had never lost a Huka-Huka wrestling match, but COVID-19 is an opponent like no other. Even as the disease began to take its grip, marching down his windpipe and striking his lungs, he showed the strength to calm his family’s suffering.

But this would be his final fight.


December 23, 2020

Chilling government documents allege Bondi nanny helped kidnap innocent South Americans who were tor

Chilling government documents allege Bondi nanny helped kidnap innocent South Americans who were tortured with poison gas and blowtorches before being thrown out of helicopters

  • Adriana Rivas is wanted by Chilean authorities over seven alleged kidnappings
  • She has lived in Australia since 1978 and worked as a nanny in Sydney's east
  • Rivas had worked for Chile's secret police during Augusto Pinochet regime
  • In October a magistrate ruled she was eligible for extradition to face allegations
  • Rivas denies the allegations and is fighting extradition to Chile in court

    PUBLISHED: 21:20 EST, 22 December 2020 | UPDATED: 22:16 EST, 22 December 2020

    Chilling government documents allege a Bondi nanny helped kidnap innocent South Americans, who were tortured with poison gas and blowtorches before being thrown out of helicopters.

    Adriana Rivas, who has lived in Australia since 1978, is wanted by Chilean authorities for the alleged aggravated kidnapping of seven people.

    She was working in the secret police at the time and Chile claims she was a key figure in purging dictator Augusto Pinochet's political enemies in the 1970s.

    Rivas was arrested in her public housing unit in Bondi, in Sydney's eastern suburbs, in February last year but has made several bids to stop her extradition to Chile.

    Rivas is pictured with Chilean intelligence agency head General Manuel Contreras in the 70s


  • December 22, 2020

    Biden Ignores Calls From Venezuela's Self-Styled President Guaido, Eyes Talks With Maduro - Reports

    December 21, 2020

    December 19, 2020.- The Biden administration has reportedly been refusing to talk to Juan Guaido, the man the US considers to be Venezuela’s legitimate president, and may drop the demand for President Nicolas Maduro to step down from power.

    The incoming Democratic government in the US will take a somewhat new approach to Venezuela, a nation that the Trump administration designated as part of a Latin American “troika of tyranny” and pounded with relentless sanctions. According to Bloomberg, Joe Biden is willing to negotiate with President Maduro and is not setting his resignation as a precondition, unlike Trump.

    The Biden administration will offer sanctions relief in exchange for “free and fair elections” and other concessions, the report said, adding that the US will seek assistance from foreign backers of Venezuela, including Russia, China, Iran and Cuba.

    Whatever policy change the Biden administration may bring, it is unlikely to be drastic. Venezuela was sparsely sanctioned under the Obama administration, and while Biden is said to be reviewing how Trump used the tool, he reportedly plans only to “recalibrate” the US sanctions regime, withdrawing some of the punitive measures, but possibly imposing more in some cases. Elliott Abrams, Trump’s envoy on Iran and Venezuela, suggested that the Biden administration should appreciate Trump’s heavy-handed approach because “it strengthens their hand,” in a sort of bad-cop-good-cop game against targeted nations.

    December 22, 2020

    Brazilian woman forced into domestic slavery and marriage freed after 40 years

    Professor and family face up to eight years in prison for their treatment of woman given to them as a child

    Reuters in Rio de Janeiro
    Mon 21 Dec 2020 16.30 EST

    A Brazilian woman enslaved as a maid from the age of eight for almost four decades and forced into marriage has been rescued in a rare crackdown on domestic slavery.

    The 46-year-old was found living in a small room in an apartment in Patos de Minas, in the south eastern state of Minas Gerais. She had worked for the family for most of her life without pay or any time off, according to labour inspectors.

    The victim was given up as a child by her destitute parents to a professor at Patos de Minas University, Unipam, and raised by his mother, inspectors said.

    “They gave her food when she was hungry, but all other rights were taken from her,” Humberto Camasmie, the inspector in charge of the rescue, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    December 19, 2020

    Steven Donziger, After Winning $9B Judgment Against Chevron, Has Been Under House Arrest for 500 Day

    Steven Donziger, After Winning $9B Judgment Against Chevron, Has Been Under House Arrest for 500 Days Awaiting a Misdemeanor Trial

    ADAM KLASFELD Dec 18th, 2020, 7:59 pm

    On his 500th day of house arrest, Steven Donziger addresses his supporters through a window of his Upper West Side apartment.

    During his early adulthood, Steven Donziger started off his career as a correspondent covering war and politics in El Salvador, Costa Rica, Mexico and Nicaragua. He later went on to defeat Chevron to the tune of more than $9 billion in an Ecuadorean court, in a battle over oil pollution to the Amazon jungle that defined his career.

    Now disbarred, criminally prosecuted and vilified by an oil giant, Donziger marked his 500th day under house arrest in a scene straight of out of a Latin American history book: with an address to supporters from a window instead of a balcony.

    “I cannot believe that I have talk from seven floors up,” Donziger bellowed through a bullhorn on Friday, to assembled celebrities like Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, New York politician Maria Ordonez, and his star defense attorney Ron Kuby.

    Accusing Donziger of obtaining the Ecuadorian judgment through fraud, Chevron countersued in New York and won, in a ruling upheld on appeal.

    Donziger, who counts some 55 Nobel laureates and several international law groups among his supporters, maintains his innocence of these allegations and calls himself the target of an enormous corporate retaliation campaign.


    Please take a moment to scan this page of images, thumbnails with articles concerning the "Chernobyl of the Amazon" to get a better sense of what on earth happened there, to the incredible devastation, and deaths of the indigenous citizens, animals and plant life:


    You really have to see it to believe it.

    December 16, 2020

    US funnelling millions to opposition groups in Cuba


    MILLIONS of dollars have been spent by the US in a bid to undermine and subvert democracy in Cuba as part of its long-term aim of overthrowing the socialist government.

    An extensive network of groups funded by the US government funnels cash every month to thousands of so-called democracy activists, dissidents and opposition journalists to “rescue Cuban democracy,” Freedom of Information Act data has revealed.

    Last month the US State Department announced it was releasing up to $1 million (£744,000) to organisations that promote “civil, political, religious and labour rights” with many of the recipients remaining secret.

    Analysts believe that the Donald Trump administration is moving quickly to ensure its clandestine activities to undermine the socialist island continue ahead of the inauguration of president-elect Joe Biden in January.

    According to data, organisations working inside Cuba have received a total of $16,569,889 (£12,369,504) in grants from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) since 2017.


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