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Judi Lynn

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Boric leads tribute to Letelier, urging US to reevaluate its role in dictatorship

Online News Editor
September 23, 2023
2 minutes read

Washington, Sep 23 (EFE) – Chilean President Gabriel Boric led an emotional tribute to former Chilean Foreign Minister Orlando Letelier in Washington on Saturday, just steps away from where he was assassinated in 1976 with a car bomb for his tireless fight against the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990).

Boric delivered a speech in which he urged the US to reflect on its role in Pinochet’s dictatorship and in other Latin American countries during what was known as “Plan Condor” at the height of the Cold War.

“We hope the US will reflect more deeply on what they promoted in Chile, not only in Chile but also in other Latin American countries,” said Boric, the most leftist president to come to power since the ousted Salvador Allende (1970-1973).

Boric expressed gratitude to a group of progressive members of the US Congress, including Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who introduced a resolution to apologize for Washington’s role in the dictatorship and demanded the declassification of more documents related to these events.

. . .

His speech, delivered under constant rain, took place in Sheridan Circle Plaza, in the heart of Washington, just a few meters from the site where, on September 21, 1976, a car bomb killed Letelier. Letelier had served as foreign minister in the government of Salvador Allende and had been a tireless advocate for the return of democracy in Chile.

Alongside Letelier, American Ronni Moffit, who worked for the Institute for Political Studies (IEP), a think tank that had served as a platform for Letelier to denounce the Chilean dictatorship, lost her life.


Christian Socialists Are Reclaiming Faith from the Right

For these Christians, religion is no opiate—it’s a profound call to action.

CHICAGO — We open with a prayer. Then an eclectic array of academics, pastors, activists, social workers and blue-collar churchgoers exchange season’s greetings, thank God for bringing us together, and ask them to look after a sick family member. Today’s reading is a tough one: Marx’s Ecology: Materialism and Nature by John Bellamy Foster. Soon enough, discussion begins. There are knowing sighs at Marx condemning the conservative Christian idea that the world is a gift from God to interminably exploit. There’s also pushback: Should we readily agree with an avowed atheist who called religion a drug?

Then there’s another prayer, this time for the then-upcoming Chicago mayoral election — everyone hopes God is on Brandon Johnson’s side — and a statement of hope about the environment. And that wraps this meeting of the ecology reading group of the Institute for Christian Socialism — a name the political Right would locate somewhere between oxymoron and heresy.

The Institute for Christian Socialism (ICS), founded in the late 2010s by scholars and activists, is one of a growing number of left Christian organizations to emerge or be revived over the past decade, from radical Black churches to LGBTQ-affirming congregations. Stridently opposed to the right-wing approach to the Gospels, Christian leftists and socialists profess a radical faith centered on our duties to the least among us.

When Jesus declared that it’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle than for a rich man to enter heaven, or insisted that God stands with the “wretched of the earth,” he laid the groundwork for Christian socialism.

Conventional wisdom suggests all forms of socialism share a bedrock commitment to atheistic materialism, following Marx’s infamous description of religion as the ​“opiate of the masses.” Less remembered is that, in context, Marx suggests religion is something like medicinal: it’s ​“the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions.” Many socialists agree with Marx’s dialectical take here, that one of religion’s major draws is how it makes sense of an unjust world. But to Christian socialists, religion isn’t merely consolation; it’s a profound call to action and good works.


Workers uncover eight mummies and pre-Inca objects while expanding the gas network in Peru

Updated 5:55 PM CDT, September 22, 2023

LIMA, Peru (AP) — Some archaeologists describe Peru’s capital as an onion with many layers of history, others consider it a box of surprises. That’s what some gas line workers got when their digging uncovered eight pre-Inca funeral bales.

“We are recovering those leaves of the lost history of Lima that is just hidden under the tracks and streets,” Jesus Bahamonde, an archaeologist at Calidda, the company that distributes natural gas in the city of 10 million people, said Friday.

He said the company’s excavation work to expand its system of gas lines over the last 19 years has produced more than 1,900 archaeological finds of various kinds, including mummies, pottery and textiles. Those have mostly been associated with burial sites on flat ground.

The city also has more than 400 larger archaeological sites that have turned up scattered through the urban landscape. Known as “huacas” in the Indigenous Quechua language, those adobe constructions are on top of hills considered sacred places.

The number of relics isn’t surprising. The area that is now Lima has been occupied for more than 10,000 years by pre-Inca cultures, then the Inca Empire itself and then the colonial culture brought by the Spanish conquerors in 1535.


The second coming of Luiz Incio Lula da Silva

Brazil’s energetic president is set on galvanising the non-Western BRICS grouping, not least to fight climate change


Students of the art of political rowing-back will have recognised a fine example of the genre earlier this week. Brazil’s President Lula declared on Sunday that Vladimir Putin would be welcome at next year’s G20 summit in Rio de Janeiro, and wouldn’t be arrested as a suspected war criminal as Brazil’s membership of the International Criminal Court requires. Indeed, if arresting him was compulsory, Brazil might leave the court. A day later, after a domestic and international outcry, Lula subtly altered his position. Putin would indeed be arrested, he insisted, because Lula took Brazil’s commitment to the ICC very seriously.

The episode rather neatly demonstrated the balancing act Lula is trying to perform on the world stage. He has been assiduously positioning Brazil as an independent global power, seeking to act as a mediator in Ukraine rather than condemning Russia as demanded by the United States and Europe, promoting the non-Western BRICS club of major economies (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and flying to Cuba to reiterate Brazil’s role as a leader of the G77 grouping of developing countries.

But he has also just signed a joint declaration with the United States proclaiming the G20 group of large economies the principal forum for multilateral diplomacy and declares himself a global champion of democracy, warning of the perils of authoritarian populism promoting racism and civil violence. (Brazil had its own “invasion of Congress” events in January this year when supporters of former far-right president Jair Bolsonaro stormed parliament and the Supreme Court in an attempt to overthrow Lula’s election victory, a deliberate echo of the events of 6 January 2021 in Washington, DC.)

The jury may be out on whether this balancing act can work, but no one could accuse Lula of passivity in foreign policy. In the past few weeks he has attended the Global Financing Pact summit in Paris, the BRICS summit in Johannesburg, the G20 summit in Delhi, the G77 summit in Havana and the UN General Assembly and Climate Ambition and Sustainable Development summits in New York, and convened his own Amazon summit in Brazil’s northeastern city of Belem. This year Brazil chairs the Latin American trade partnership Mercosur. Next year it will hold the presidency of the G20. In 2025 it will lead the BRICS and will also host the critical UN climate summit COP30.

To appreciate what Lula is seeking to achieve from this feverish activity it helps to understand the man. Now seventy-seven, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (“Lula” was an early nickname he later formally incorporated into his official name) has not had the usual politician’s life. Born to poor parents who migrated from Brazil’s northeast to São Paulo in search of work, Lula didn’t learn to read until he was ten. Starting out as a metalworker in the automobile industry, he became a trade unionist, was elected leader of the Metalworkers’ Union at the age of thirty, and then led major strikes and democratic protests against Brazil’s military dictatorship in the 1970s.


Brief for Murder: Pinochet's Apologists Five Decades On

SEPTEMBER 20, 2023


Photograph Source: Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Chile – CC BY 2.0cl

During the Cold War, assassinations most foul were entertained as necessary measures to advance the set cause. In Latin America, military regimes were keenly sponsored as reliably brutal antidotes to the Marxist tic, or at the very least the tic in waiting. Any government deemed by Washington to be remotely progressive would become ripe targets for violent overthrow.

To this day, the murderers of Chile’s socialist president Salvador Allende, (wait, we hear the first apologist mock, he was not murdered but suicided out of choice) along with thousands of innocents continues to receive briefs in their defence.

On September 15, Mary Anastasia O’Grady, a Wall Street Journal scratcher turned police-state boot polisher bombarded her Australian Radio National host, Tom Switzer, with the stock libels about Allende’s legacy and the military coup of September 11, 1973. The interview will go down as one of Switzer’s poorer efforts, despite meek attempts to bring his frothing interviewee back to the bloody account opened by the military regime.

Perhaps we could have expected little else. As Jeffrey Goldberg so fittingly remarked in The Atlantic in September 2010, O’Grady “never met a fascist Central American oligarch she didn’t like”. Her penchant for falsifying history in the name of pathological polemics is the stuff of legend.


Greenpeace celebrates correction of Brazil's climate targets

Greenpeace International
20 September 2023 • 2 min read

Brazil no longer violates the Paris Agreement, but concrete measures and clearer goals that go beyond eliminating deforestation are still needed.

New York City – During an address at the UNSG Climate Ambition Summit on Wednesday, 20 September, Brazil’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, Marina Silva, officially announced the revision of the country’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). The new target restores the GHG emission reduction target to what was committed in 2015, and increases the reduction targets for 2025, from 37% to 48%, and for 2030, from 50% to 53%. The target had been reduced during the previous administration under President Jair Bolsonaro. Greenpeace views Minister Marina Silva’s announcement as an encouraging step towards rebuilding Brazil’s environmental governance and advancing the climate agenda.

“Brazil has the potential to be the first high-emitting country to be carbon negative by 2045. Currently, the country ranks as the 7th-largest greenhouse gas emitter globally, with most of its emissions originating from deforestation. Today’s announcement regarding the revision of the country’s NDC is a symbolically significant step. But more is needed – like all countries Brazil needs to enhance the ambition of its NDC further if we are to stand a chance of keeping 1.5°C within reach,” said Mads Christensen, Executive Director, Greenpeace International.

In 2022, Greenpeace Brazil, along with other Brazilian organizations, presented a document to the government outlining policies and actions that the Brazilian government should put in place to become carbon negative. The report [1] has demonstrated that the country has the potential to become the world’s first major economy to sequester more greenhouse gasses than it emits, potentially achieving carbon negativity as early as 2045.

The notable reduction in deforestation rates in the Brazilian Amazon during the first eight months of 2023, compared to the same period last year, offers hope that effective efforts against forest degradation could contribute to reaching the goal just announced of reducing emissions by 53% by 2030. Nevertheless, concrete measures and clear objectives beyond deforestation elimination are necessary.


Biden and Brazil's Lula focus on workers' rights while publicly playing down differences

Updated Wed, September 20, 2023 at 5:47 PM CDT·5 min read

NEW YORK (AP) — President Joe Biden and his Brazilian counterpart, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, played up their mutual affection for workers’ rights Wednesday as the leaders of the Western Hemisphere’s two largest democracies met in New York, steering clear in public about their differences on Ukraine and other matters.

They announced a new partnership on supporting labor while avoiding openly discussing disagreements such as U.S. policy toward Cuba and Russia’s war in Ukraine, mere hours before Lula’s first-ever bilateral meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart. In remarks to reporters, Biden and Lula were eager to display their shared goals on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.

Biden sought to tie the meeting to domestic matters. Long a champion of labor unions, Biden is navigating strikes in the U.S. by autoworkers, screenwriters and actors who are seeking better pay and protections in a changing global economy. He has declined the request by the United Auto Workers leader to join the picket line.

“When the middle does well, everybody does well,” Biden told Lula. “Working-class folks have a chance to move up. And the wealthy still do fine, as long as they pay their taxes.”

Lula said he had never heard an American president speak so highly of workers and described their common cause as a chance to transform ties between the countries.


UNESCO recognizes former detention and torture center in Argentina as a World Heritage site

It is estimated that some 5,000 people were detained at the ESMA during the 1976-83 dictatorship, many of whom were tortured and later disappeared without a trace

By Daniel Politi | Associated Press • Published September 20, 2023

The ESMA Museum and Site of Memory stands on the day it was declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023.

Argentina on Tuesday welcomed a decision by a United Nations conference to include a former clandestine detention and torture center as a World Heritage site.

A UNESCO conference in Saudi Arabia agreed to include the ESMA Museum and Site of Memory in the list of sites “considered to be of outstanding value to humanity,” marking a rare instance in which a museum of memory related to recent history is designated to the list.

The former Navy School of Mechanics, known as ESMA, housed the most infamous illegal detention center that operated during Argentina’s last brutal military dictatorship that ruled from 1976 through 1983. It now operates as a museum and a larger site of memory, including offices for government agencies and human rights organizations.

“The Navy School of Mechanics conveyed the absolute worst aspects of state-sponsored terrorism,” Argentina’s President Alberto Fernández said in a video message thanking UNESCO for the designation. “Memory must be kept alive (...) so that no one in Argentina forgets or denies the horrors that were experienced there."

. . .

It is estimated that some 5,000 people were detained at the ESMA during the 1976-83 dictatorship, many of whom were tortured and later disappeared without a trace. It also housed many of the detainees who were later tossed alive from the “death flights” into the ocean or river in one of the most brutal aspects of the dictatorship.

The ESMA also contained a maternity ward, where pregnant detainees, often brought from other illegal detention centers, were housed until they gave birth and their babies later snatched by military officers.


Indigenous Peoples Still Face Effects of Mass Bison Slaughter

The economic shock of the mass slaughter of North American bison in the late 1800s still reverberates in Indigenous communities today, a new economic study shows.

September 14, 2023 by Futurity

By Carol Clark-Emory

The slaughter by settlers of European descent is a well-known ecological disaster. An estimated eight million bison roamed the United States in 1870, but just 20 years later fewer than 500 of the iconic animals remained.

The mass slaughter provided a brief economic boon to some newly arriving settlers, hunters, and traders of the Great Plains who sold the hides and bones for industrial uses.

In contrast, Indigenous peoples whose lives depended on the bison suffered a devastating economic shock.

The new research in the Review of Economic Studies quantifies both the immediate and long-term economic impacts of the loss of the bison on Indigenous peoples whose lives depended on the animals.

Changes in the average height of bison-related people is one striking example of the fallout. Adult height across a population is one proxy of wealth and health given that it can be affected by nutrition and disease, particularly early in development.

Bison-reliant Indigenous men stood around six feet tall on average, or about an inch taller than Indigenous men who were not bison-reliant.


“They were among the tallest people in the world in the mid-19th century,” says coauthor Maggie Jones, assistant professor of economics at Emory University. “But after the rapid near-extinction of the bison, the height of the people born after the slaughter also rapidly declined.”

Within one generation, the average height of Indigenous peoples most impacted by the slaughter dropped by more than an inch.

“That’s a major drop, but given the magnitude of the economic shock it’s not necessarily surprising,” Jones says.


US Army pile of buffalo skulls

- click link for images -


Bones piled beside railroad tracks in order to move them to Canada to be ground up and used for fertilizer.

One of many piles of buffalo skins

Archaeologists Find 1,000-Year-Old Mummy Buried at Top of Huge Pyramid


A mummy thought to be around 1,000 years old has been discovered in Peru.

Researchers discovered the mummy, which belonged to the pre-Inca Ychsma culture, during excavations at the Huaca Pucllana archaeological site, newspaper Perú 21 reported.

The mummy was buried in a simple, circular grave at the top of the pyramid, which is located in the heart of a residential area in the Peruvian capital of Lima. Huaca Pucllana is a large clay pyramid standing more than 70 feet tall in the city's Miraflores district.

The structure, which features seven staggered platforms, was constructed by the Lima culture that developed on the Peruvian central coast between A.D. 200 and 700.

The site served as an important ceremonial center for these ancient people. Other activities, possibly administrative, may have been carried out at the site, but the evidence suggests that its main purpose was for ritual activities.

. . .

- click for image -


The Huaca Pucllana pyramid in Lima, Peru, features seven staggered platforms.

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