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Judi Lynn

Judi Lynn's Journal
Judi Lynn's Journal
March 2, 2020

Bolsonaro's Plan to Legalize Crimes Against Indigenous Peoples

March 1, 2020 5:00AM EST
Available In English Português

Published in UOL Notícias

Maria Laura Canineu
Brazil Director, Americas Division

Andrea Carvalho

When President Jair Bolsonaro presented a draft bill to Congress, on February 5, to regulate mining, hydroelectric power projects, and other commercial enterprises in Indigenous territories, he recognized that it would “face pressure from environmentalists.” And so it should.

The Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest, is one of most important carbon sinks, critical for mitigating climate change. Data from Brazil's National Space Research Agency (INPE) show that deforestation there increased by 29.5 percent from August 2018 to July 2019. Recent studies warn that the accelerated destruction is driving the Amazon toward an irreversible “tipping point” at which it will become a dry savannah and release billions of tons of stored carbon into the atmosphere. Bolsonaro’s bill could fuel this dangerous trend.

By legalizing the commercial exploitation of natural resources in Indigenous territories, the bill would invite even more encroachment on and deforestation of Indigenous land. In addition to direct environmental impacts, mining and large-scale infrastructure projects like hydroelectric dams require roads, which drive deforestation because they grant easier access to the rainforest for rogue loggers and cattle ranchers.

What the world has been watching in the Amazon is not only an environmental crisis, but also a public security emergency. In a report published last year, Human Rights Watch documented how Indigenous people who have organized themselves to defend their forests—in the absence of adequate law enforcement—have been threatened, attacked, and, according to community leaders, murdered by people engaged in illegal deforestation.


March 2, 2020

Claim That Paved Way For Right-Wing Coup In Bolivia

Claim That Paved Way For Right-Wing Coup In Bolivia
Monday, 2 March 2020, 3:11 pm
Article: Common Dreams

A new study released by a pair of MIT researchers Thursday reveals that, contrary to claims from the U.S.-backed Organization of American States, there was no fraud in Bolivia's October 20, 2019 elections—an accusation used by the OAS and others as a pretext for supporting the coup in the country that deposed President Evo Morales and replaced him with an unelected right-wing government.

"Good lord," tweeted MSNBC journalist Chris Hayes. "Given the fact the entire Morales government was toppled over accusations of election fraud, the OAS has a lot to answer for."

The Intercept's Jon Schwarz took a similar approach to the findings and the OAS' conclusions.


MIT researchers John Curiel and Jack R. Williams reviewed the OAS report on the election for the Washington Post and found that the "election irregularities" cited by the group were based on "problematic" statistical claims. The OAS report rested its claim on the assumption that these so-called irregularities gave Morales a boost in numbers that raised his results over 10% higher than any other candidate, precluding a runoff election.


February 28, 2020

Maximum protection across borders for the emblematic jaguar


The jaguar (Panthera onca), the largest and most emblematic cat in Latin America, will obtain maximum protection, after being included on 22 February 2020 in the appendices of the global United Nations convention that governs the conservation of migratory species.

Today there are merely 64,000 specimens left in the wild in 19 countries of the Americas. These nations will prioritize the conservation and connectivity of habitat corridors and achieve concerted action to curb further isolation of the jaguar population.

The inclusion of the jaguar in Appendices I [endangered migratory species] and II [migratory species that that require international agreements for their conservation and management] of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, also known as the Bonn Convention, was approved during the Convention’s 13th Conference of the Parties (COP13) in Gandhinagar, India.

The measure was proposed by Costa Rica with the support of Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Paraguay and Uruguay. Several non-governmental organizations collaborated with the initiative: Wildlife Conservation Society, Humane Society International, Panthera, and International Fund for Animal Welfare, among others.

Roads and human settlements are obstacles to Jaguar’s journeys. This picture was taken at Iguaçu National Park in 2018. Photo by Carmel Croukamp / Parque das Aves


February 28, 2020

US centre: No evidence of fraud in Bolivia's October polls

New report questions OAS results on Bolivia's election that led to the overthrow of president Evo Morales.

an hour ago

A US research centre said it found "no evidence of fraud" in Bolivia's presidential elections last October, which was won by incumbent President Evo Morales but had its results dismissed after the Organization of American States (OAS) accused his government of manipulating the results. Morales stepped down in the ensuing uproar.

However, a new study published by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Election Data and Science Lab - commissioned by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) - concluded it was "very likely" that Morales' victory was legitimate.

"The media has largely reported the allegations of fraud as fact... However, as specialists in election integrity, we find that the statistical evidence does not support the claim of fraud in Bolivia's October election," the authors wrote in an article published by The Washington Post on Thursday.

On election night, with 83 percent of the votes tallied, official results showed Morales with a seven percentage point lead over his rival Carlos Mesa.


February 27, 2020



This week’s court ruling disqualifying ousted leader Evo Morales from pursuing a Senate seat has brought last year’s events in Bolivia into sharper focus. Amidst allegations of election-rigging in a presidential contest against centrist candidate Carlos Mesa, Bolivia’s former president Evo Morales fled Sucre for Mexico in fear for his life (he now resides in Argentina) under pressure from the armed forces to leave his post.

On Nov. 12, with soldiers patrolling the streets and military jets circling the capital, Jeanine Áñez, a right-wing politician accused of racism, gripped an oversized Bible and declared herself interim president. Áñez then issued a decree that exempted “the military from criminal responsibilities related to the use of force,” while violence between protesters and the security services intensified as a coalition of right-wing politicians and business elites consolidated power. The Áñez government has since hired a consulting firm, CLS Strategies — which also helped sell the 2009 coup in Honduras — to enhance its image in the run-up to elections.

This was a typical example of a military coup d’état. Emblematic of military interventions that are preceded by protests and supported by civilian elites, Morales’s opponents and international observers immediately questioned the coup label. The former president’s critics maintain there was no coup because his election was illegitimate and the military was merely “playing peacekeeper,” even as events after his departure exhibit all the trademarks of a coup.

Whenever a country’s elites and masses support a coup, as in Bolivia, they create the impression that the military’s actions are legitimate. Indeed, civilian involvement in military interventions defies (unrealistic) expectations about what constitutes “normal” civil-military relations and sparks debates about a given event’s coup-like nature. What the various parties to this post-coup debate never point out, or perhaps fail to recognize, is their universal agreement that military involvement in disputes over who gets to rule is illegitimate — whether or not civilians invited the armed forces to do so.


February 27, 2020

How birds are used to reveal the future

February 26, 2020 6.06am EST

Felice Wyndham
Researcher in Ethnobiology and Linguistics, University of Oxford

People around the world and throughout history have used birds to think about and predict the future. In Wales, the call of an early-arriving cuckoo in the spring foretells a good crop of hay later in the year. For Aymara speakers in the South American Andes, seeing a yellow-headed vulture is good luck, while spotting a black vulture is bad. In the Kalahari, southern Africa, !Xõ hunters carefully watch the black-faced babblers after an antelope hunt for signs of where their wounded prey may be.

Of all the ecological knowledge people around the world use in their day-to-day lives, an awareness of birds and bird behaviour is among the most ubiquitous.

Karen Park and I explored this phenomenon in our research, Listen Carefully to the Birds. Comparing reports from six continents, we found that people from diverse communities pay attention to particular birds and what they reveal about the world around us, from approaching weather to illness, mortality and the supernatural.

The oldest known representation of a bird is in Chauvet cave, France - a 30,000-year-old owl drawn with fingers on a soft wall. Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA

We looked at more than 500 accounts, in 123 languages, of how birds are “read” in this way. Perhaps unsurprisingly, owls were the most commonly cited bird as signs or omens, and were usually related to death, ghosts and fear, but occasionally to something more positive, such as the beginning of summer.

February 27, 2020

American Conservatives Have Fallen in Love with the Right-Wing Son of Brazil's President

Eduardo Bolsonaro will be giving workshops at CPAC this week.

Senior Reporter

Eduardo Bolsonaro in São Paulo on October 14, 2019.Roberto Casimiro/Zuma

In October, Eduardo Bolsonaro made a shocking statement. The son of Jair Bolsonaro, the far-right authoritarian president of Brazil, suggested in an interview that his country may need to return to the tactics employed by its former military dictatorship to help crush his father’s enemies on the left. He asserted without evidence that Cuba was behind recent protests in Latin America and Argentina’s election of a moderate Peronist was part of a conspiracy to bring about a new leftist “revolution” in Latin America.

“If the left radicalizes to this extent [in Brazil] we will need to respond, and that response could come via a new AI-5,” he said, referring to the notorious Institutional Act Number Five, a notorious 1968 edict issued by the military government that indefinitely outlawed freedom of expression and assembly and shuttered the National Congress. The act began an era of intense political repression and media censorship. Hundreds of dissidents were tortured, killed and disappeared during the dictatorship, which ended in 1985. Elected officials in the country quickly denounced Bolsonaro’s comments as “repugnant” and a “serious attack on democracy.”

American conservatives, on the other hand, invited Bolsonaro to take the stage at one of DC’s biggest political events of the year, this week’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Founded in 1974, when Ronald Reagan delivered the keynote speech, CPAC bills itself as the largest and most influential gathering of conservatives in the world. This week, the event will be headlined by both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, along with a slew of prominent members of the administration, Fox News headliners, and other conservative luminaries.

One of the Brazilian president’s three sons, Eduardo Bolsonaro will join them to show off his brand of populism on three different panels, including one called “CPAC Exile: The Unshackled Voices of Socialist Regimes,” where he will be joined by other international CPAC representatives. Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, which sponsors the conference, tweeted in January that the 35-year-old former police officer would “share how our conservative movement inspires freedom-loving people across the globe & how the US & Brazil can work together to stop socialism.”

February 25, 2020

Colombia congressional committee to investigate president after ex-senator's allegations

Colombia congressional committee to investigate president after ex-senator's allegations

BOGOTA (Reuters) - A committee in Colombia’s lower house of Congress will investigate allegations by an ex-senator who fled the country that President Ivan Duque participated in vote-buying and sought to have her assassinated, the head of the panel said on Monday.

Former Conservative Senator Aida Merlano was captured by Venezuelan police last month after she escaped custody in Bogota last year by climbing out of her dentist’s office while on a medical leave from prison and fleeing on the back of a motorcycle.

At a recent court appearance in Caracas, Merlano, who was convicted of vote-buying, accused Duque of wanting to kill her to protect the country’s political class. In a recent interview, she also alleged he benefited from vote-buying.

Duque’s government has said the accusations are a fabrication and that Merlano is being used by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to put on a “media show.”


February 25, 2020

The powers behind the throne of Colombia's president

by Adriaan Alsema February 24, 2020

Three politicians and a banker are preventing that President Ivan Duque maintains control over power in Colombia at their own risk.

Duque owes the banker and the politicians everything; from the money he needed to get elected to the congressional support he needs to pass government-sponsored bills in Congress.

All the president has to do is to make sure he uses his institutional power to serve his bosses’ interests to the best of his ability, take the hits and retire in 2022.

The bosses will deal with the fall-out of supporting the most toxic president in decades, but this has never been a problem for them before.


Excellent, courageous article.
February 25, 2020

Uribe tied to yet another massacre, despite extermination of paramilitary group he allegedly founded

by Adriaan Alsema February 24, 2020

A court ordered to hear a new witness claiming Colombia’s former President Alvaro Uribe was tied to a paramilitary group that was all but exterminated after the controversial politician took office.

Nestor Abad Giraldo, a.k.a. “El Indio,” is the third surviving member of the now-defunct “Bloque Metro,” who linked Uribe not just to the paramilitary group, but to a 2001 massacre in which 14 people were killed.

According to El Indio, Bloque Metro’s top commander ordered the massacre in the town of Segovia as part of an operation to steal cattle that, “as Doble Cero told us, belonged to Mr. Alvaro Uribe.”

. . .

To add insult to injury, former US President George W Bush in 2009 granted a Medal of Freedom to the alleged co-founder of a paramilitary group he designated a foreign terrorist organization in 2001 for “proving that terror can be opposed and defeated.”


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