Judi LynnJudi Lynn's Journal
By David Brooks Last updated Jul 14, 2021
From La Jornada
The United States government immediately expressed its support for the anti-government protests taking place in Cuba due to the crisis in that country, but did not acknowledge that U.S. measures designed to suffocate the islands economy, and which the international community just recently condemned for the 29th time at the UN, have that exact purpose. In other words, the measures are meant to generate that type of crisis, not to mention the millions of dollars that Washington dedicates to intervene in the internal affairs of Cuba, including promoting just these types of protests.
President Joe Biden expressed our support for the Cuban people and their cry for freedom and relief from the tragic consequences of the pandemic and the decades of repression and economic suffering to which they have been subjected by Cubas authoritarian regime. He added, the Cuban people are acting with courage in claiming their fundamental and universal rights and called for the Cuban regime to listen to its people and attend to their needs in this vital moment instead of enriching itself.
At a press conference, Secretary of State Antony Blinken commented that tens of thousands of Cubans took to the streets to exercise their rights of peaceful assembly and express their perspectives calling for freedom and human rights and criticizing the Cuban authoritarian regime for failing to meet the most basic needs of the people, including food and medicine. He urged the Cuban government not to repress the protesters and allow these people to determine their own future.
Both statements, like several more of his subordinates in the administration, were notable for what they did not mention: that the policies of the six-decade embargo along with the more than 243 measures enacted during the Trump administration are designed exactly for that: to suffocate the Cuban economy and to cause shortages of food, fuel and medicine. Precisely because of their effects on the Cuban people, they were condemned by an overwhelming majority of the United Nations General Assembly on June 23, including almost all of Washingtons allies with the exception of Israel.
Indigenous community Kaa Poty 1 wants land back and compensation after armed police and guards allegedly burned homes.
The families of Ka'a Poty 1 have been living in improvised tents in a central square in Asunción since June 16. Nighttime temperatures have at times approached 0 degrees Celsius (32 Fahrenheit) [William Costa/Al Jazeera]
By William Costa
30 Jul 2021
Asuncion, Paraguay Marta Díaz sits among a settlement of improvised tents made from plastic sheeting in a central square of Paraguays capital Asunción, just meters from the National Congress building. A brightly-coloured painted scene hangs nearby depicting rural, wooden houses set on fire as a group of unbelieving people look on, reflecting what happed to her community.
We arent happy here. We came because of the pressure from bad people that threw us off our land, that burned it. We arent free, she told Al Jazeera.
Díaz is the leader of Kaa Poty 1, a community of the Ava Guaraní people one of 19 Indigenous nations in Paraguay who were forcibly evicted from their land in the Itakyry district in the east of the country on June 15 by a combination of armed riot police and private guards.
Since June 16, the 60 adults and 44 children have been camping in the harsh winter conditions of the city square, demanding justice and restitution of their land.
Kaa Poty 1 are one of at least seven Indigenous communities to suffer violent evictions by state forces and armed civilians due to land ownership disputes in the past three months prompting a large public outcry and condemnation from human rights organizations such as Survival International.
State forces and private guards arrive to evict the Kaa Poty 1 Indigenous group from land in Itakyry district in eastern Paraguay on June 15, 2021 [Courtesy of Kaa Poty 1 Indigenous community]
Díaz said that the eviction saw all the communitys houses, their temple, and school burned to the ground. Practically all their possessions were stolen, their crops were destroyed, and their pets were killed before their eyes. A pregnant woman miscarried, and a 15-day-old baby was hospitalized.
We lost everything. They didnt even let us take the clothes from our homes, she said.
Indigenous people form one of the most marginalized and vulnerable sectors in Paraguay, with more than 30 percent facing extreme poverty, according to 2017 official figures far above the national average.
A tremendous Latin America and Caribbean expert poster who was here long enough to make an impressive imprint mentioned she saw this story in an article she found on the internet. The author referred to articles posted at D.U. on this social pervert, and posted a link to the DU articles:
The face of white separatism in Bolivia
Posted on April 27, 2008 | 9 Comments
This is not a new story, and in the context of repressive oligarchy its frankly a really old one. What is new, is that this may be the only readable English translation of the report that originally appeared at Bolpress on April 5, 2008. Democratic Underground was all over the story, but had to rely on a Google translation.
There are several interesting aspects to the story. One is that in the version that appeared in the mainstream press, Ronald Larsen claimed that Bolivias Vice Minister for agrarian reform showed up at his ranch at 3 in the morning, drunk, and because Larsen didnt know who he was, he shot out the tire on the Vice Ministers car to shut him up. Of course this fanciful version leaves out a few details, such as the 24 foot trailer he parked on the road (among other things) to block the Vice Ministers entrance, and the brazen attack on the 80 or so people who accompanied the Vice Minister. Larsen may have to go back to Montana and see if he can figure out how to make a living when he has to pay his employees a living wage.
Which brings us to the second interesting aspect. There are reportedly 12 Bolivian families living on Larsens pleasure ranch. Depending on the source, they are either indentured servants with no hope of escape, or happy little Bolivian campers. Judging by the nature of a boss who settles arguments at gunpoint, Machetera will leave you to draw your own conclusions. Certainly one has to wonder about what Larsen didnt want the Vice Minister to see.
His connection with the CIA Peace Corps is naturally a bit foggy. This report associates him rather directly with the Peace Corps, albeit 40 years ago. Other reports claim that his first trip to Bolivia in 1968 was in the company of a former
the Mr. Bolivia beauty pageant in 2004, which speaks volumes about those who are in a position to judge such things.
This is the DU page to which she linked in her article:
Bolivia seeks charges against Montana rancher, son
Some photos in google images of the "rancher" and his son, who was "Mr. Bolivia" one year, little Dunston, who was a fraternity brat in Wyoming, as his dad sent him there to get his good ol' American college experience. Little Dunston and Miss Bolivia, in interviews, insulted and mocked Native American Bolivians, and their President, Evo Morales, to remind everyone that white people are far better than the original citizens.
Little Dunston Larson, "Mr. Bolivia".
American Rancher Resists Land Reform Plans in Bolivia
By Simon Romero
May 9, 2008
CARAPARICITO, Bolivia From the time Ronald Larsen drove his pickup truck here from his native Montana in 1969 and bought a sprawling cattle ranch for a song, he lived a quiet life in remote southeastern Bolivia, farming corn, herding cattle and amassing vast land holdings.
But now Mr. Larsen, 63, has suddenly been thrust into the public eye in Bolivia, finding himself in the middle of a battle between President Evo Morales, who plans to break up large rural estates, and the wealthy light-skinned elite in eastern Bolivia, which is chafing at Mr. Moraless land reform project to the point of discussing secession.
After armed standoffs with land-reform officials at his ranch this year, Mr. Larsen made it clear which side he was on, emerging as a figure celebrated in rebellious Santa Cruz Province and loathed by Mr. Moraless government, which wants to reduce ties to the United States.
I just spent 40 years in this country working my land in an honest fashion, said Mr. Larsen, who resembled Clint Eastwood with his weathered features and lanky frame. Theyre taking it away over my dead body.
Mr. Larsens standoffs with the central government, replete with rifles, cowboys and Guaraní Indians, might sound like something out of the Old West. In fact, the battle playing out in the cattle pastures and gas-rich hills of his ranch, amid claims of forced servitude of Guaraní workers in the remote region, exemplifies Bolivias wild east.
. . .
At stake is the 37,000-acre Caraparicito ranch, which Mr. Larsen bought in 1969 for $55,000, and other holdings of more than 104,000 acres, the government estimates. Mr. Larsen, who as a protective measure transferred ownership of almost all his land to his three sons, who are Bolivian citizens, declined to say how much land his family owned.
With his reserved demeanor, Mr. Larsen, a descendant of Danish immigrants to the Midwest, made it seem as if it were the most natural thing in the world to have moved to Bolivia in the 1960s, after he got bored working as a department store manager.
Evo Morales is a symbol of ignorance, having never even finished high school, Duston Larsen said.
He vehemently asserted that ranch hands and their families were free to come and go, after the Larsens and other ranchers were faced with government claims that ranches in their region held their Guaraní workers in servitude; the government has used the charge to move ahead with land seizures.
(It's good to remember, looking at photos which have people with confusing facial expressions, that everything depends upon what is actually happening at the time the photo is taken, which you can recognize looking back at your old childhood photos! It depends upon the relationship between the subject and the one taking the photo.)
If You Grew Up With the U.S. Blockade as a Cuban, You Might Understand the Recent Protests Different
If you grew up with the US Blockade as a Cuban, you might understand the recent protests differently
The six-decade US blockade of Cuba was made worse under the administration of Donald Trump. Joe Biden can lift these measures and immediately improve the lives of the 11 million living in Cuba
July 20, 2021 by Manolo De Los Santos, Vijay Prashad
During the early morning of July 17, Johana Tablada joined tens of thousands of Cubans as they gathered along the Malecón boulevard in Havana to stand with the Cuban Revolution. We are human beings who live, work, suffer, and struggle for a better Cuba, she told us. We are not bots or troll farms or anything like that. She referred to what has been called the Bay of Tweets, a social media campaign developed in Miami, Florida, that attempted to inflame Cubas social problems into a political crisis.
The social problems, Tablada told us, derive from the US blockade of Cuba that began in the 1960s but has been deepened by former US President Donald Trumps 243 coercive measures. The United States has criminalized Cuban public services, she said, including our public health system and our public education system. These sanctions make it impossible for Cubans to visit their families in the United States. They make it impossible for remittances to be sent into Cuba, and they make it impossible for Cuba to access essential goods and services (including fuel). On top of everything else, Trump designated Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism, a decision which US Senator Patrick Leahy called frivolous. The US government claims that the blockade and these coercive measures are to punish the government, butsays Tabladathey criminalize the country.
The Miami Mafia
Tablada keeps a close eye on the Cuban policy being shaped by Washington, D.C., and Miami, where right-wing Cuban exiles effectively drive the agenda. She does this in her role as the deputy director-general in the Cuban Foreign Ministry in charge of US affairs. There is a cast of characters in this story that is little known outside the world of US right-wing politics and the Cuban exile community. Of course, four well-known elected officials lead the attempt to overthrow the government in Cuba: Republican Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott of Florida, as well as Democratic Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Republican Representative María Elvira Salazar of Florida. Beside them are other politicians such as Miami Mayor Francis X. Suarez and a range of Cuban American businessmen and professionals such as Emilio Braun of the Vulcan Funds and the lawyer Marcell Felipe.
These men are at the core of a set of organizations that lobby US politicians to harden the US blockade on Cuba. Felipe runs the Inspire America Foundation, which Tablada describes as the heir to the most anti-Cuban, reactionary, and pro-[former military dictator of Cuba Fulgencio] Batista traditions from South Florida. This foundation works with the Assembly of the Cuban Resistancea coalition of anti-communist groups that calls for a US invasion of Cuba. At the center of these men is Mauricio Claver-Carone, a former head of the Cuba Democracy Advocates, who was Trumps main adviser on Cuba and is now president of the Inter-American Development Bank based in Washington, D.C. Claver-Carone, Tablada tells us, has been nothing short of the leading lobbyist of the groups acting politically against Cuba in the United States, in the US Congress, representing those entities who benefit from this policy of hatred and aggression against my country. If you ever mentioned [Fidel] Castro, hed go berserk, recalled Claver-Carones friend about his attitude in the 1990s.
The main goal of these people, Tablada said, is to overthrow the Cuban Revolution. Their plan for Cuba, it seems, is to revert it to the days of Batista when US corporations and gangsters ran riot on the island.
July 19, 2021
Sometimes I think I dont know if we have evolved at all. We have gone from dictatorships where information was hidden in the name of state security to democracies where false information is spread in the name of freedom.
It is enough to observe how, in the name of freedom and democracy that some ask for Cuba, the media and networks are being sown with lies and deceit. The Reuters agency itself titled an analysis of recent Cuban events thus: Fake news muddies online waters during Cuba protests (Fake news online muddies the waters during protests in Cuba.) Of course, Reuters drops the options that these fake news may be sown by the opposition or by the Cuban government. It would be the only case in history in which a government spreads false news that its ministers are fleeing and airs photos of massive demonstrations of support presenting them as opponents. Come on, a government sows false news against it.
Because one of the most spectacular falsehoods was to include images of demonstrations in support of the government and the revolution as protests against the government. Above them, the Argentine newspaper La Nación has a large headline A massive and unprecedented protest in the streets surprises the Cuban regime, but the image it includes is of a demonstration of support, yes, with a caption in small print that says Defenders of the regime marched after a call from President Miguel Díaz-Canel.
Likewise the newspaper El País It does not specify that this photo is of followers of the revolution as evidenced by carrying the flag of July 26, the guerrilla organization led by Fidel Castro. Incomplete information is also biased information.
In this image from La Sexta about news of opposition demonstrations and an interview with an opponent, the image that is also used is of demonstrators supporting the government with the flag of Fidel Castros guerrilla group. And, of course, as the general trend has been, it is not clear where the image is from.
If ever a photo of a demonstration of supporters of the revolution is reproduced, as in this one from The country, the image is limited to one person and the foot reads a woman screams. In other words, an isolated and unique case of support for the government, a single person who screams.
A Chilean television inserted an image of blood-wounded during the referendum in Catalonia in the news about the demonstrations in Havana. It is about the Mucho Gusto program, on the Mega channel.
(Anyone who has followed "news" regarding Latin America and the Caribbean over the years learned about these tricks long ago. It has been going on a very, very long time, getting intense as far back as 1954, with the invasion of Guatemala, and the overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz' progressive Presidency. It has been unrelenting. After the shock wears off, you become disgusted, even amused, slightly.)
July 25, 2021
Updated: July 25, 2021 11:25 p.m.
Relatives cry outside a house where two young men were gunned down in Fresnillo, Zacatecas state, Mexico,Tuesday, July 13, 2021. Fresnillo has the highest perception of insecurity in Mexico: more than 96% of its population lives in fear, according to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography.Marco Ugarte/AP
VALPARAÍSO, Mexico (AP) When they heard gunfire in the valley, residents locked their doors and cowered inside their homes. Some 200 armed men had just looted a gas station, according to a witness, and the shooting would continue for hours as an equal number from an opposing group confronted them.
The authorities didnt arrive until the next day. When they did, they found 18 bodies in San Juan Capistrano, a small community in Valparaíso, Zacatecas. The north-central Mexican state holds strategic importance for drugs being shipped to the United States. Mexicos two strongest cartels Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation are locked in a battle for control.
One month after the June 24 killings, there have been no arrests. The military has sent reinforcements, but killings continue across Zacatecas: a doctor here, a police officer there, a family hacked to pieces, eight killed at a party, two girls shot along with their parents.
In a country that has suffered more than a decade of violence at the hands of powerful drug cartels, the situation in Zacatecas, as well as violence-plagued states like Michoacán and Tamaulipas, shows that neither the head-on drug war launched by former President Felipe Calderón in 2006, nor the softer hugs not bullets approach of current President Andrés Manuel López Obrador have managed to break Mexicos cycle of violence.
~ ~ ~
For anyone who remembers what happened when George W Bush and Felipe Calderón came up with their peachy solution to drug traffic across the border, this will sound totally familiar:
10 Years of the Mérida Initiative: Violence and Corruption
26 DEC 2018 BY ANNA GRACE
The Mérida Initiative celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. Yet since it began providing funding for security in Mexico, problems to do with violence and institutionalized corruption have worsened, suggesting flaws in both the approach and implementation of the Initiative.
The origins of the Mérida Initiative, a bilateral security cooperation agreement between Mexico and the United States, hark back to 2007 when former president Felipe Calderón appealed to the administration of President George W. Bush for assistance in tackling drugs and arms trafficking.
Since signing the agreement, the Mexican government has received nearly $2.9 billion in assistance from the United States. This assistance has supported the purchase of military equipment; training for judiciary personnel and improvement of courtroom infrastructure; military training along Mexicos southern border; and the implementation of crime prevention programs.
Critics state that the Initiative focuses too heavily on the use of military forces to tackle organized crime. US aid to the program supported former President Felipe Calderóns war on drugs, which led to a spike in homicide rates across the country that continue to rise today.
. . .
Firstly, the initiative has continuously supported violent and aggressive tactics for fighting organized crime.
Fighting fire with fire has led to an escalation in the number of deaths in Mexico since the initiative began. Kingpins have fallen, yet major transnational criminal organizations remain at large.
Declaring a war on drugs seems logical from the US perspective, but not from the Mexican, Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, associate professor at the Schar School of Policy and Government, told Insight Crime.
JULY 19, 2021
Urban crime is the golden child of local media, as recent FAIR coverage (6/21/21) has shown. But as FAIRs Julie Hollar recently noted, the amount of attention given to a topic does not always reflect the seriousness of the situation.
An alleged crime surge at Walgreens drugstores in San Francisco was a hot topic for Bay Area news outlets in the early months of 2021. When Lyanne Melendez, a reporter for the ABC-owned KGO-TV in San Francisco, tweeted out a cellphone video of a brazen shoplifter, it elevated this narrative into a nationwide story. The video purports to show a man apparently filling a garbage bag with items before riding a bicycle out of the store, as two people, one of whom seems to be a store security guard, record him.
FAIR identified 309 published pieces on the 21-second video, using a combination of Nexis and Google advanced search to find every article published by a news outlet, from the videos publication on June 14 to July 12a 28-day timeframe.
Compare this to another Walgreens-related theft story: the November settlement of a wage theft and labor law violation class-action lawsuit against Walgreens, filed by employees in California for $4.5 million.
A multimillion-dollar settlement coming after a two-year legal struggle, this should have been a national news story, not to mention a major topic in local California outlets. But FAIR was unable to find a single general news outlet that covered the settlement, looking from November 2020 to July 2021, using the same search parameters as the aforementioned shoplifting video.
This month, Italian courts jailed fourteen men for their roles in Operation Condor, the US-backed Latin American terror campaign. But many more torturers are living out a peaceful retirement denying justice to the leftists they brutalized and murdered.
Thousands of Uruguayans take part in the "March of Silence" in memory of those "disappeared" or killed during the Condor period and under the country's military dictatorship on May 20, 2006. (Miguel Rojo/AFP via Getty Images)
For Italians who recall the murderous repression conducted by Latin Americas military juntas, July 9, 2021, is a date bound to remain long in their memory. It marked the conclusion of proceedings that began two decades earlier, when magistrate Giancarlo Capaldo launched investigations into the dozens of Italian citizens who were disappeared in the late 1970s and early 1980s in connection with the infamous Operation Condor.
It took fifteen years to conduct the preliminary work for the trial, which ultimately saw twenty-one former military men, ministers, and even statesmen in the dock. One of them resident in Italys southern Salerno province was Jorge Néstor Troccoli, a former officer in the Uruguayan Navys secret services. He had some years earlier used his Italian citizenship to flee Uruguay in order to evade prosecution in that country over the same charges.
Six years after the proceedings finally got underway in Italy, this month the trial reached its conclusion in the Cassation Court. Fourteen of the defendants, including Troccoli, were sentenced to life imprisonment. Decades since the crimes were committed, some of the twenty-one defendants died before they could be brought to justice. But in Latin America and beyond, many more such criminals remain unpunished.
To understand the essence of Operation Condor also known as plan Condor or (especially in academic circles) the Condor system we need to take a step back in time to Latin Americas turbulent 1970s. The recent victory of the Cuban Revolution, combined with the independence of many African and Asian countries, had spurred social and political struggles around the continent. This fueled left-wing parties and movements hopes of meaningful liberation from the model imposed by the United States a segunda independencia, as the title of a famous song by Inti-Illimani put it.
JULY 22, 2021
BY PETER BOLTON
In the week following the outbreak of protests in Cuba on 11 July, a rapid flow of commentary flooded from the pages of corporate-owned media outlets and the screens of the major US news television stations. Predictably, this coverage has both promoted a potential US-led regime change effort and applied gross double standards to Cuba when compared to the USs treatment of other countries in the region. The two things, of course, are intrinsically linked. If these reports applied their standards evenhandedly then they would inevitably end up presenting regime change as a perfectly reasonable response to mass protests in other Latin American countries such as Colombia, Brazil, Honduras, and Chile. And this, of course, wouldnt do given that all these countries have right-wing US-aligned governments that loyally serve Washingtons geostrategic interests and obediently follow its preferred neoliberal economic model.
Almost instinctively, many of these reports have paid particular attention to the taking to the streets of right-wing Cuban-American exiles in various US cities, and especially the Mecca of the exile diaspora, Miami. Apparently, these peoples views on Cuba count for a great deal. So much so, that some publications have reported on how the Democrats are seizing on the protests as an opportunity to win back Cuban-American voters in Florida. These reports remind us that this formerly neck-and-neck swing state went for Trump in both the 2016 and 2020, in no small part due to his administrations toughened stance on Cuba and close relationship with Cuban-American hardliners like Marco Rubio. Politico, for example, tells its readers that Bidens Cuba policy going forward could have a big political impact in a state where Democrats are reeling and that Florida Democrats see what many are calling a golden opportunity.
As with US intervention, this is presented in corporate media accounts as a perfectly natural and reasonable thing to do. But upon closer inspection, it becomes apparent that something is very seriously amiss. Because, in reality, predicating policy toward a foreign country based on the interests and political orientation of that countrys immigrant community within the US, rather than those who actually live in that country, is a totally bizarre, not to mention destructive, modus operandi.
To illustrate this absurdity, consider how the two major US political parties interact with other Latin American immigrant groups. After all, who could image the Democratic Party, for instance, suggesting a policy of regime change in Colombia to remove the right-wing government of Iván Duque following the protests in that country earlier this year because many Colombians in the US took to the streets in shows of solidarity? Of course, this very notion is laughable. Yet the fact that the exact same suggestion, but with Colombians in the US replaced with Cubans in the US, is somehow considered a perfectly legitimate electoral calculation. Clearly, basing policy on how to best court the votes of an immigrant community only happens when that communitys priorities happen to align with US foreign policy goals.
To further illustrate the absurdity, image this dynamic happening in any other country in any other point in history. Imagine, for instance, if Argentinian political parties in the 1950s and 60s had suggested imposing sanctions on either of the states in Germany that emerged in the post-war era in order to court the substantial German-Argentine exile community of Nazi fugitives. This might on the surface seem like an extreme, unfair, and perhaps even ridiculous comparison. But consider that some of the major leaders of the Cuban-American exile community are in some cases from the very families that were politically close to the Batista government, which, in fact, had many characteristics of fascism. For one thing, it was a dictatorship that came to power via a military coup. It also operated secretive death squads that murdered and tortured political opponents and took bribes from the mafia in exchange for allowing it to monopolize large parts of Cubas economy. So, the analogy is actually a perfectly fair one.
The president of the House of Representatives, Jennifer Arias (Image: Twitter)
by Adriaan Alsema July 23, 2021
Two drug trafficking associates will preside over Colombias Senate and House of Representatives as President Ivan Duque finishes his term after his 2018 election with mafia support.
The election of Senate President Juan Diego Gomez and House president Jennifer Arias highlights how the historical mafia influence in Colombias legislature is becoming increasingly visible.
Furthermore, the most recent elections highlight how Congress doesnt seem to object to being presided by lawmakers with alleged links to organized crime.
The legislative branch of the government is widely considered the most corrupt of all Colombias government institutions.
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