Judi LynnJudi Lynn's Journal
by Adriaan Alsema August 31, 2020
The son of Colombias former President Alvaro Uribe has hired a Washington DC lobbying firm for $40,000 a month while his father is sinking deeper into legal trouble, the Associated Press reported Sunday.
According to AP, Tomas Uribe hired DCI group that claims to specializes in public relations, crisis management, grassroots engagement, and digital advocacy.
Uribe is most definitely in crisis as he is under house arrest on fraud and bribery charges, and facing additional charges he allegedly was complicit in three massacres, a homicide and election fraud.
The Uribe family apparently believes that political pressure from Washington DC may convince Colombias Supreme Court to drop the charges that have suspended his political career and put him away for life.
The far-right politician and former Medellin Cartel associate has long wielded political power with great talent, but has had the worst luck in court, despite witness assassinations.
BY ZACK BUDRYK - 08/31/20 07:31 AM EDT
President Trump offered the position of FBI director to then-Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly in exchange for a guarantee of personal loyalty, New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt writes in his upcoming book, Donald Trump v. The United States.
"Kelly immediately realized the problem with Trump's request for loyalty, and he pushed back on the president's demand," Schmidt writes, according to an excerpt obtained by Axios. "Kelly said that he would be loyal to the Constitution and the rule of law, but he refused to pledge his loyalty to Trump."
The incident reportedly occurred shortly after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, who has claimed the president made a similar demand of him.
"In addition to illustrating how Trump viewed the role and independence of senior officials who work for him, the president's demand for loyalty tracked with Comey's experience with Trump," Schmidt writes, according to Axios.
By Evgeny Lebedev
31 August 2020
In Mexicos war on drugs, death is ever present, and the resurrection of the colonial-era Santa Muerte cult represents a new morbid normality. In this archive piece from 2014, GQ explores how cartel killers make offerings for courage, their relatives pray for protection from the law, and for those living in the crossfire, Holy Death is the only sect that makes sense in the worlds most violent cities
You would not notice anything unusual about Julian at first if you met him, as I did, in an American city on a sunny day, with cars whizzing past full of people on their way to the mall. Perhaps you would see that he walks a little awkwardly, but that is all.
He is a handsome guy in his mid-thirties with high cheekbones and a big white smile, and for years he ran a trendy nightclub in a Mexican city. He loved running his own business, he told me. Youre the boss of your own time, he said, you dont have to tell anybody else what youre doing. In his spare time, he would go biking out in the desert.
Gangsters arrived at his business a few years ago, as they did at all the businesses in his town. They demanded protection money. If he paid, he would be protected from them, and if he didnt, he would face their wrath. For years, he paid whatever they asked, and they demanded ever larger sums, until one day he explained that they were bankrupting him and couldnt give them money he didnt have. He was terrified, but he had no more money to give and had no choice.
At first they threatened him. Then, after several weeks of threats, they shot him in the arm.
Julian was almost relieved. Now theyve extracted their price, he thought, I will be able to get on with my life. But they came back, still demanding their money. He explained again he didnt have it. So they dragged him into the street, in the middle of the day, took out a saw, and cut off his feet, in front of everyone.
Colombias Congress of the Peoples (CdP) social and political movement denounced two assassinations in the municipality of San Pablo Sur de Bolivar.
Fernando Gaviria or 'Panadero', a leader of the CdP and of the National Agrarian Coordinator (CNA) was killed along with Omaira Alcaraz or 'Cachi', a local leader of Township of Cerro Azul, Alto San Juan village, who is also a FARC party member.
Two hooded men arrived at 21h30 with uzi-type weapons and entered Omairas home where she and her entire family were tied up.
The men then headed out to where Fernando was working as a shopkeeper in an establishment. Upon entering the store, one of the men ordered him to go to Omaira's house, but he refused to go and was immediately shot in the abdomen.
The gun then jammed, providing him an opening to run for his life, when they shot him in the head with another gun, for a total of seven shots, leaving him dead.
The men then returned to Omaira's house and murdered her.
(Short article, no more at link.)
Four social leaders murdered in Colombia over the weekend
JJ Rubiano by JJ Rubiano August 31, 2020
Two of them occurred this Sunday in the San Juan village of the municipality of San Pablo, located in the south of Bolívar and this was confirmed by the Institute of Studies for Development and Peace (Indepaz).
They are the president of the community action board Fernando de Jesús Gaviria and the leader Omaira Alcaraz, 'Cachi'.
The Rural Press Agency published on its official Twitter account: "The crimes against the peasantry and their leaders continue. Stop the slaughter!"
During the weekend the murder of four social leaders in Colombia was recorded.
According to the most recent report from the authorities of Algeria (Cauca), the municipality closes August with 42 homicides so far this year.
Initially, armed men who were mobilizing in a vehicle reached the Sinaí village in the municipality of Argelia, located south of Cauca, and assassinated the vice president of the association of parents of families of the Sinaí educational institution, Jhon Montero.
Later, the president of the community action board of the Barranco Colorado village, municipality of Puerto Rico (Meta), a member of the Peasant Association, was assassinated.
Thus, with these crimes the murders of social leaders in Colombia increase to 200.
For its part, the party of the Common Revolutionary Alternative Force, Farc, confirmed that on Saturday, in the municipality of Santa Rosa (Bolívar), former combatant Jorge Iván Ramos, known as 'Mario Morales', was assassinated.
The ex-guerrilla participated in the signing of the peace agreement and disarmed himself in compliance with the agreement. The Farc party confirmed that the events occurred in the Palmachica village, in the San Lucas mountain range.
(Short article, no more at link.)
This has happened repeatedly: the leftist rebels have officially disarmed, signed peace agreements, and the right wing steps up an assassination program, killing as many of them as possible. When the leftist rebels, after peace agreements, have sought office, to have their voices heard, repeatedly they have been slaughtered, sometimes in public shocking, atrocious displays, as in ripping them to shreds with chain saws, to leave messages for the peasant communities, paralyze them with fear. For some reason, the victims have tried, over so many years, to seek an end to this!
~ ~ ~
by Adriaan Alsema August 28, 2020
The extradition of former paramilitary leader Salvatore Mancuso to Colombia is increasingly unlikely after the foreign ministry admitted the government lied about filing an extradition request.
Over the past weeks, Foreign Minister Claudia Blum and Peace Commissioner Miguel Ceballos went to great lengths to pretend they were seeking the Mancusos extradition from the US while they were not.
Ceballos on Tuesday said that the foreign ministry had requested the extradition of the former AUC chief twice. The peace commissioner lied.
Blum said on Wednesday that the request for extradition will be formalized before the Department of State if her department is able to translate 2,115 pages of legal documents before September 4.
The State Department has indicated on that day would expel Mancuso to Italy, where the former AUC chief also has citizenship, as it apparently still hasnt received a formal extradition request from Colombia where many are nervous the former AUC chief will get them in prison.
We have a narco-economy. We are a narco-scoiety, Mancuso told the New York Times in 2008 as the demobilized AUC chief began revealing his ties with former President Alvaro Uribes criminal inner circle.
Teacher in rural Guatemala creates unique solution for classes during coronavirus confinement
Jaime Septién | Aug 27, 2020
This incredible young man is determined to help his students get an education, even under adverse circumstances.
Gerardo Ixcoy is a 27-year-old teacher and is proudly Guatemalan. He teaches in indigenous territory, where students have no access to mobile apps or computers. In fact, just having electricity there is something of a luxury.
What could he do for those indigenous children who have not been incorporated into the digital age, but who have been marginalized instead, as has happened too often in the region where Gerardo lives?
Gerardos school is the vast cornfields in the Mayan region of Santa Cruz de Quiché. His students are young indigenous children in the sixth year of primary school.
He felt that he had to teach them. There had to be an alternative to distance education. After all, why should indigenous children be excluded from having the education they need? Education is a universal right, after all. But what was the solution?
by Adriaan Alsema August 26, 2020
Colombias former chief prosecutor said Tuesday he has surrendered evidence that would prove former President Alvaro Uribe was complicit in two massacres to the Supreme Court.
According to former Prosecutor General Eduardo Montealegre, he filed criminal charges against Uribe and surrendered a 93-page document that would contain the evidence proving Uribe was complicit in the 1996 La Granja Massacre and the 1997 El Aro massacre.
. . .
The Supreme Court is additionally investigating if Uribe was involved in the 1998 assassination of human rights defender Jesus Maria Valle, who warned the former president of the impending massacres and was assassinated shortly after Uribe left office.
The war crimes tribunal is additionally investigating the Hidroituango hydro-electric dam project on suspicion that the paramilitary groups in the region where sowing terror to save Medellin energy company money in buying up land from local farmers.
by Adriaan Alsema August 26, 2020
Colombias President Ivan Duque-proposed to use the euphemism collective homicide instead of massacre, but was ignored after two particularly violent weeks.
Duque coined the euphemism used by the military earlier this week after five massacres and several other mass killings shocked the country and sparked fears of a relapse to the extreme violence of the beginning of the century.
. . .
None of the massacres this month appeared to be related to drug trafficking in any way, but Trujillo tried to use the massacres to seek support for his so-far failed attempts to resume the aerial fumigation of coca.
. . .
Several studies conducted during the countryarmed conflict indicated that the mass medias use of euphemisms in cases of violence committed by paramilitaries severely distorted public perception of the current reality in Colombia.
by Adriaan Alsema August 26, 2020
The governments of Colombia and the United States want to resume aerial fumigation and continue the forced eradication of coca that cost $20 billion between 2005 and 2014 without any significant result.
Opposition Senator Ivan Marulanda (Green Alliance) published the mind-boggling expense sheet of the bilateral counternarcotics program President Ivan Duque and his US counterpart Donald Trump want to restart.
In the response, the government admitted that voluntary crop substitution, which is opposed by both Bogota and Washington DC, is both cheaper and more effective.
. . .
According to the opposition senator, Bogota and Washington spent more on the ineffective counternarcotics strategy in 10 years than Colombias government invested in agriculture, which is broadly considered a far more effective counternarcotics strategy, in half a century.
Once a major influence on Jair Bolsonaro, Olavo de Carvalhos ambition is to establish a new right-wing, nationalist cultural hegemony in Brazil.
Mitchell Abidor ▪ Summer 2020
Olavo de Carvalho speaks on his Youtube channel.
Watching online lectures by the Brazilian philosopher Olavo de Carvalho one might take him for just another angry YouTube ranter. His videos have poor production values: the camera looms too close to his face, and the lighting is often too bright or too dark. He records himself at his home office in Petersburg, Virginia (he abandoned his native Brazil during Lula da Silvas first term), with crammed bookshelves visible behind him. If hes not smoking as he talks, hes ready to, with cigarettes and a lighter placed before him on his desk.
Carvalho speaks without notes on a wide variety of subjects, some with intellectual pretensions, others on the fringe of politics, if not reality. He has held forth on theories of perception in modern philosophy, and also claimed that PepsiCo uses the cells of aborted fetuses to manufacture its sodas and that the Inquisition has been unjustifiably traduced.
Remarkably, the seventy-three-year-old autodidact who, though the son of a provincial lawyer, did not complete his secondary education, exerts enormous influence in his native Brazil. A champion of the extreme right, his ideas appeal to Brazils president, Jair Bolsonaro. Bolsonaros admiration for Olavo (as he is known, in Brazilian fashion, even to his enemies) was so great when he was elected that when the president visited Washington, D.C., not long after his election in 2019, Carvalho was seated next to him at an official dinner. On that occasion, Bolsonaro, whose policies and worldview are both echoed and reaffirmed by Carvalho, proclaimed, The revolution we are living, we owe in large part to him. In 2020, as the coronavirus continued its rapid, worldwide spread, Bolsonaro insisted that the virus presented no real danger. It was, he charged, fake news and just a little flu. Carvalho was quick to parrot his admirer. This epidemic, he said in late March of this year, simply does not exist.
Unlike Steve Bannon, to whom he is often compared, Carvalho has expressed no interest in serving in his countrys government. He aims for something bigger and longer lasting. As João Moreira Salles, the filmmaker and publisher of the magazine piauí, told me, Carvalho wants to be the Brazilian Gramsci. His ambition is to establish a right-wing, nationalist, hegemonic doctrine by force of will, and by means of videoconferences, articles, tweets, and Facebook posts. He has been facilitated in his mission, allowed to name ministers in Bolsonaros governmentamong them Ernesto Araújo, who Carvalho described as the Brazilian most qualified to be minister of foreign relations. Araújo has written that only Donald Trump can save the West, and that climate change is a Marxist conspiracy.
. . .
Much of what can be found in Carvalhos productions is fairly straightforward right-wing conspiracy fare, though couched in his pseudo-philosophical language. He opposes vaccination and believes Barack Obama was not born in the United States. More novel are his doubts that the earth revolves around the sun, and his skepticism about whether it truly is round, not flat. Most Brazilians are devout Catholics, but Carvalho nevertheless alleges that Christianity is in such a precarious state that in Brazil . . . pedophilia is more respected and protected than the Church.
. . .
The political scientist Miguel Lago told me that Carvalho has even alleged that the correlation of cigarettes and lung cancer is an invention of cultural Marxists. The campaign to spread awareness of this seemingly unimpeachable fact represents, for Carvalho, the left testing its power to impose its will: if the left could convince the world of the relationship between cigarettes and cancer, then everything else was possible. For Carvalho, then, smoking in public is an act of political defiance.
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