Judi LynnJudi Lynn's Journal
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2,295 views Oct 21, 2023
Some Argentinians carry a heavy family secret. Under the countrys military dictatorship from 1976 to 1983, their fathers were police or military officers. As such, they were responsible for the disappearance of up to 30,000 people, according to human rights groups. These men have since been accused and sometimes convicted of crimes against humanity. After decades of living in shame and silence, some of their now grown-up children have decided to make their voices heard and recount their terrible family legacy. They call themselves "the children of those who committed genocide".
13 October 2023 | Photography by Matjaz Krivic
The Bolivian countryside is undergoing radical transformation, critically endangering the regions rich biodiversity.
Bolivia has the third highest deforestation rate of primary forests in the world, right after Brazil and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). 14% of all the forest has already been lost to industrial agriculture of soy, maize, and cattle ranching. The federal government has encouraged agricultural expansion through subsidies and national pension funds. By 2025, it plans to triple the size of cultivated land and cattle herds. Land in Bolivia is cheaper than in neighbouring countries, and speculation is widespread. Seeking short-term profits, local and foreign buyers fuel the conversion of the countrys tropical forests into savannahs.
As forest fires intensify, the temperatures progressively increase. Communities face repeated droughts while coping with the spread of new diseases.
View of deforested land in the north-east of the Santa Cruz department (eastern Bolivia), where a single tree is left. From 1976 to 2021, Bolivia lost 8.6 million hectares (an area the size of Austria) which is equivalent to 14% of its forests, according to Fundacion Amigos de la Naturaleza (FAN). The country ranks 12th among all countries in biodiversity, but it is rapidly losing its animal and plant species.
The Mennonites colony west of San Ignacio de Velasco uses fire to clear land for agricultural purposes. The intensity of fires has been increasing. The Authority for the Inspection and Social Control of Forests and Land (ABT) admits that from 2012 to 2021, 60% of deforestation was illegal.
View over lines of burned forest, cleared by the new community of interculturales in the municipality of San Rafael in eastern Bolivia. The three main deforestation factors are (1) domestic and foreign companies, especially Brazilian ones, (2) immigrants from the highlands of Bolivia who are granted land by the government (campesinos interculturales), and (3) Mennonites an ultraconservative Christian church community.
Grain silos building site in San Ignacio de Velasco. In the last two decades, the rate of primary forest loss in Bolivia has roughly doubled. The turning point was in 2015 when Evo Morales government abandoned an economic model based on oil and natural gas exports and replaced it with the promotion of agriculture and livestock. For this, it needed land in forests and in the territories of indigenous communities. This is a serious wound in environmental policy, and the result are fires and massive forest loss, said Gonzalo Colque, executive director of the environmental NGO Fundacion Tierra.
View over soya fields east of Santa Cruz de la Sierra. The main drivers of deforestation in Bolivia are the expansion of areas for soybean production and cattle ranching for domestic consumption and export. In total, as much as 2/3 of the agricultural land is dedicated to cattle breeding or the production of feed for it.
Machine clearing the forest and preparing the land for agriculture near San Jose de Chiquitos in eastern Bolivia. The intensity of deforestation has drastically increased, supported by legislation and government spending.
A portion of forest burns on land rented by Mennonites near Concepcion. Fires in Bolivia account for 1/3 of forest loss per year. In the Chiquitania region, tropical dry forest fires are constant from August to October. With small fines, at $200 per thousand acres burned, the fires pay off for prominent Brazilians and Mennonite landowners. The worsening effects of climate change exacerbate the traditional dry, hot weather, making it more challenging to control the fires. In 2019, more than 5 million hectares of forest was burned an area bigger than Costa Rica.
Absolutely disgusting. Greed has invaded and claimed Bolivia, abused, mistreated, despised the Native Bolivians, and is hard at work bleeding the country dry.
OCT. 13, 2023 / 4:49 PM
By Doug Cunningham
Former Chilean Army officer Pedro Paulo Barrientos Nunez is in ICE custody following his arrest in Florida for the 1973 killing of Chilean folk singer Victor Jara in the aftermath of a bloody military coup. HSI Space Coast special agents and ERO Miamis Orlando sub-office fugitive operations officers arrested Pedro Paulo Barrientos Nunez during a traffic stop in Deltona. Photo courtesy of ICE
Oct. 13 (UPI) -- A suspect accused of torturing and murdering Chilean folk singer Victor Jara following a 1973 violent right-wing military coup has been arrested in Florida. Chilean President Salvador Allende died during the coup.
Former Chilean Army officer Pedro Pablo Barrientos, 74, was arrested during a traffic stop in Deltona, Fla., by federal immigration and local law enforcement officers.
. . .
"On Sept. 11, 1973, General Augusto Pinochet led a violent coup against Salvador Allende, the democratically elected president of Chile. In the following weeks, many people were detained and tortured in Chile Stadium, an indoor sports facility that the military commandeered as a de facto detention center. Many disappeared or were executed. Victor Jara, a popular folk musician, was among the most famous victims," the ICE statement said.
. . .
According to the New York Times, soldiers who overthrew the elected government of Chile taunted him before he died and smashed his fingers with rifle butts, mockingly telling him he would never play guitar again.
~ ~ ~
Victor Jara was arrested shortly after the Chilean coup of 11 September 1973. He was tortured during interrogations and ultimately shot dead.
How Victor Jara wrote his last song, Chile Stadium, in the midst of torture and mass slaughter
BY PUBLIC READING ROOMS
The term protest song is no longer valid because it is ambiguous and has been misused. I prefer the term revolutionary song. Victor Jara
On September 11, 1973, residents of Santiago, Chile awoke to chaos. Fighter jets were bombing the presidents palace, tanks had taken to the streets and ordinary Chileans were being rounded up and tortured in the citys sports stadiums. One of those detained was folk singer Victor Jara, whose incarceration, mutilation, and brutal murder would come to symbolize the tragic cruelty of the Pinochet regime.
In 1973, Victor Jara was one of Chiles big music stars. A cross between Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie, he was unashamedly left-wing; writing popular protest songs about social inequality and the plight of the working man. So when the right-wing Pinochet regime seized power in a bloody coup, they made sure Jara was one of the first to be detained.
Transported to the Chile Stadium, Jara found himself in a vision of Hell. One of 60 torture centers that sprang up around Santiago in the days following the coup, the Chile Stadium was notorious for its cruelty. Detainees were forced to sit in the bleachers without food or sleep, watching as people were randomly pulled out and executed on the pitch. Occasionally, guards would turn their machine guns on the crowd and unleash a random spray of bullets, sending bodies tumbling down onto the playing field.
A lifelong rebel, Jara responded to his incarceration by composing new songs and singing them to his fellow prisoners to keep their spirits up. Unsurprisingly, he soon came to the attention of the camp commander, who made a seemingly magnanimous gesture: Placing a guitar on a table in the middle of the stadium, he invited Jara to come down and play to the crowd. Naively, Jara agreed.
What happened next would be etched on the minds of those who saw it forever. The moment he sat at the table, Jara was pinned in place by the nearby guards. The commander then cut off his fingers and mutilated his hands to mush. Some witness claim he used an axe, others the butt of his rifle. The outcome was the same. With Jaras hands a bloody pulp, the commander screamed at him: Now sing, you motherfer, now sing!
In response, Jara pushed himself to his feet. With infinite calm, he reportedly walked to the nearest set of bleachers and said, All right, comrades, lets do the senor commandante the favor. Then he began to sing.
Victor Jara with w
ife and daughters.
ETC, ETC, ETC. . .
By Guest Contributor
Published3 hours ago
About 1.5 million Indigenous people reside in the forests of the Amazon in South America. Although deforestation and fires have eaten into this iconic forest in recent decades, Indigenous communities are helping protect some of its most intact parts.
Standing, healthy forests breathe in carbon dioxide and store it in their trunks, limbs and roots. But if trees decompose after being cut or burn during a fire, they return that carbon to the atmosphere. Although the Amazon is still a net carbon sink capturing 100 million metric tons more carbon dioxide per year than it emits it is on the brink of becoming a net carbon source. Over the past 50 years, an estimated 17 percent of the Amazons forests have been lost.
The map above shows Indigenous-managed territories in the Amazon River basin, which includes portions of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela. About 385 Indigenous groups reside on about 2.4 million square kilometers of Amazonia. A growing body of research indicates that these groups are defenders against deforestation, protecting some of the most carbon-rich parts of the Amazon.
Indigenous communities are unsung heroes of conservation, and many actively monitor their forests, said Peter Veit, who is a senior fellow at World Resources Institute (WRI).
Veit led research published in January 2023, which found that forests managed by Indigenous people and other communities between 2001 and 2021 were carbon sinks, whereas forests not managed by Indigenous people and other communities were on average net carbon sources.
BY TOM O'CONNOR ON 10/3/23 AT 5:00 AM EDT
President Joe Biden can immediately take at least four steps to improve the lives of everyday Cubans without having to rely on Congress or face significant backlash at the ballot, a senior diplomat from the Caribbean island nation told Newsweek.
As the United Nations General Assembly high-level week concluded in New York, Cuban Vice Foreign Minister Carlos Fernández de Cossío Domínguez issued an appeal to the White House on the sidelines of an international gathering that has regularly condemned Washington's long-running sanctions against Havana with rare unanimity.
. . .
"In fact, it has very good relations with the rest of the world," he added. "It only suffers hostility from the United States, and it's a policy that is rejected by the international community."
At home, de Cossío said that that the U.S. policy "hurts the livelihood of every Cuban, of the nation as a whole."
. . .
Now, just weeks after Biden boosted ties with Vietnam, another Communist-led country that harbors a far bloodier history with the U.S., de Cossío offered four actions the president could take on his own, arguing that "doesn't need the permission of Congress to remove some of the most damaging measures put in place by his predecessor."
Friday, September 29, 2023
This Monday, September 25, a Virginia immigration judge ruled to not deport retired Salvadoran Colonel Roberto Antonio Garay Saravia, arrested in April for his alleged involvement in the El Mozote massacre, in which Salvadoran commandos from the Atlacatl Battalion executed nearly 1,000 civilians amid a scorched-earth campaign in December 1981 in the department of Morazán.
Garay Saravia has legally resided in the United States since 2014 and is the first and only member of the Salvadoran military to be arrested explicitly for his ties to the massacre. According to army records, he served as commander of one of four sections of the Atlacatl Battalion, an elite squadron financed and trained by the United States. He was arrested following a joint two-year investigation by the human rights and war crimes units of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS). U.S. investigators also tie the colonel to other massacres of civilians committed by the Salvadoran Army between 1981 and 1984 during the civil war, like La Quesera and El Calabozo, but the removal proceedings against Garay Saravia focused on the crimes at El Mozote.
Judge Brian T. Palmer conceded that Atlacatl participated in scorched earth campaigns. The Court finds ample evidence in the record that noncombatant civilians were deliberately killed by Atlacati Battalion soldiers, he wrote in his decision. He also acknowledged that Atlacatl participated in El Mozote, that Garay Saravia participated in Operation Rescate, the military operation in which the massacre occurred, and that the officer was assigned as a Section Leader, in some capacity, within the Battalion.
But at the same time he dismissed the key portion of the testimony of expert witness Terry Karl, a Stanford University investigator and specialist on the Salvadoran civil war. Karl asserted during the hearings that Garay Saravia incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in the massacres mentioned in the deportation proceedings.
. . .
Karl also testified in April 2021, during the ongoing trial for the El Mozote massacre in a court in Morazán, on the Army hierarchy involved in the massacre and the presence of a U.S. military advisor, Allen Bruce Hazelwood, in Morazán during the murders. The academic argues that a pact of silence among military officers has obstructed any courtroom testimony from within the Salvadoran Armed Forces.
~ ~ ~
Colonel Roberto Antonio Garay Saravia
The article indicates this American official was present during the massacre of the citizens.
- click for images of Allen Bruce Hazelwood US Army advisor -
Michael Crowley and Karoun Demirjian
Updated Sat, September 30, 2023 at 2:08 PM CDT·6 min read
When the Biden administration relaxed some travel restrictions on Americans visiting Cuba in May 2022, Sen. Robert Menendez was having none of it.
I am dismayed, Menendez, D-N.J., said in a statement. Anyone who believed the measure might help bring democracy to Cuba was simply in a state of denial, he fumed.
A day later, Menendez erupted again, this time over reports that the Biden administration was easing oil sanctions against Venezuelas authoritarian government a strategy destined to fail, he declared.
For Biden officials, the friendly fire from a fellow Democrat was exasperating if not exactly surprising. Before stepping aside as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee after his indictment on federal corruption charges last week, Menendez routinely opposed and even criticized President Joe Biden and the previous Democrat in the White House, Barack Obama on foreign policy issues.
From Latin America to the Middle East, Menendez has long been among the most hawkish Democrats on Capitol Hill, and never afraid to oppose or criticize members of his own party on issues he holds dear. His replacement as chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., has been vague about his plans but is closer personally to Biden and likely to be more accommodating of his agenda.
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