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Category Archives: South America

In Its Fight with Venezuela, the Trump Administration Takes Aim at Cuba

Amid the barrage of breaking news in the ongoing Trump scandals, one overlooked story is that of Cuba, which is experiencing severe fuel shortages and other difficulties, owing to sanctions levied by the Trump Administration. On September 28th, Sarah Marsh, a Reuters correspondent in Cuba, uploaded a video to Twitter. The thirty-second clip, shot on her phone from a moving car, shows vehicles stalled on a roadway: trucks, buses, modern taxis, and vintage nineteen-fifties Chevys and Studebakers in a line that appears to be half a mile long. All of them were waiting for gas. Marsh tweeted, “So I thought the fuel situation in #Cuba had improved somewhat, until I passed this multi-hr queue for diesel on the highway. This is only a fragment of what I filmed.”

Cuba’s energy shortage has begun to affect life on the island in a wide variety of ways. A week before Marsh posted the video, she reported that the government had urged its citizens to save fuel during daylight hours, warning that its supply was inadequate to cover the island’s needs for the month. Air-conditioning had been shut off in public buildings, while schools and universities had cut back on school hours, and some public-sector workers were told to stay home, because of a lack of fuel for public transportation. Oxen were replacing tractors in agricultural fields; wood was being used to to fire ovens in state-run bakeries, and a number of factories had either cut back on production or shut down altogether.

https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/in-its-fight-with-venezuela-the-trump-administration-takes-aim-at-cuba

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Posted by on October 10, 2019 in Reportages, South America

 

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Fearful of Lula’s Exoneration, His Once-Fanatical Prosecutors Request His Release From Prison. But Lula Refuses.

The same Brazilian prosecutors who for years exhibited a single-minded fixation on jailing former President Lula da Silva are now seeking his release from prison, requesting that a court allow him to serve the remainder of his 11-year sentence for corruption at home. But Lula — who believes the request is motivated by fear that prosecutorial and judicial improprieties in his case, which were revealed by the Intercept, will lead to the nullification of his conviction — is opposing these efforts, insisting that he will not leave prison until he receives full exoneration.

In seeking his release from prison, Lula’s prosecutors are almost certainly not motivated by humanitarian concerns. Quite the contrary: those prosecutors have often displayed a near-pathological hatred for the two-term ex-President. Last month, the Intercept, jointly with its reporting partner UOL, published previously secret Telegram messages in which the “Car Wash” prosecutors responsible for prosecuting Lula cruelly mocked the tragic death of his 7-year-old grandson from meningitis earlier this year, as well as the 2017 death of his wife of 43 years from a stroke at the age of 66. One of the prosecutors who participated publicly apologized, but none of the others has.

https://theintercept.com/2019/10/04/fearful-of-lulas-exoneration-his-once-fanatical-prosecutors-request-his-release-from-prison-but-lula-refuses/

Fearful of Lula’s Exoneration, His Once-Fanatical Prosecutors Request His Release From Prison. But Lula Refuses.

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2019 in South America

 

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At the U.N., Jair Bolsonaro Presents a Surreal Defense of His Amazon Policies

By tradition, the Brazilian President is the first leader to speak at the General Debate at the United Nations General Assembly, and on Tuesday morning it was the turn of Jair Bolsonaro, the outlandish, far-right, populist leader, who came to power last January. In what was just his second major address on the world stage—he appeared at Davos three weeks after his inauguration—Bolsonaro gave a predictably defiant defense of his country’s policies regarding the environment, especially the Amazon rain forest, sixty per cent of which lies within Brazil’s borders. For non-Brazilians, hearing Bolsonaro speak on the topic must have been a surreal experience (similar, perhaps, to hearing Donald Trump, yesterday in New York, tout himself as a champion of religious freedom). This summer, the Amazon’s forests went up in flames. But, on Tuesday, Bolsonaro asserted that the forests were “practically untouched,” and blamed a “lying and sensationalist media” for propagating fake news about their destruction. He also decried the notion that the Amazon is “a heritage of humankind.”

https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/at-the-united-nations-jair-bolsonaro-presents-a-surreal-defense-of-his-amazon-policies

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2019 in South America

 

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How Brazil’s Army Wants to “Occupy” the Amazon

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is planning to push industrialization and development in the interior of the country’s Amazon basin. It is far from a new project. For more than a century, a series of Brazilian governments have sought to move into the country’s interior, developing — or, to be more precise, colonizing — the Amazon. From the populist president-turned-dictator who made one of the early industrial pushes into the forest in the 1930s to the military dictatorship that ruled the country for two decades from 1964 until 1985, the justifications have largely been the same — economic gain and geopolitical paranoia — as were the often poor results.

Take the dictatorship’s push. Known as Operation Amazon, the colonization plan hatched during the military government envisioned integrating the territory into Brazil through building roads and developing agricultural and corporate enterprises — all accomplished by settling people from the south, southeast, and northeast of the country and the coasts in the forest.

https://theintercept.com/2019/09/20/amazon-brazil-army-bolsanaro/

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2019 in South America

 

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On the Road to Interview Lula, Into a Brazilian Black Hole

We were just beginning to hit cruising speed in our wide-ranging, 2 hour and 10 minute world exclusive interview with former President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva in his prison at the Federal Police building in Curitiba, in southern Brazil.

And then it hit us hard when he told us: “The US was very much afraid when I discussed a new currency and Obama called me, telling me, ‘Are you trying to create a new currency, a new euro?’ I said, ‘No, I’m just trying to get rid of the U.S. dollar. I’m just trying not to be dependent.’”

It was the foundation stone of what would build into a complex, rolling Hybrid War coup, from NSA spying on the Brazilian government and leading national companies, to the Car Wash corruption investigation (now demolished as a monster racket) to the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff, the imprisonment of Lula, and the emergence of the Purveyor of Chaos, Jair Bolsonaro.

https://www.yerepouni-news.com/2019/09/09/pepe-escobar-on-the-road-to-interview-lula-into-a-brazilian-black-hole/

 

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2019 in South America

 

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The Amazon Is on Fire—Indigenous Rights Can Help Put It Out

It was an epic case of projection. Lashing out at the attacks on his Amazon-incinerating policies, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro accused French President Emmanuel Macron of having a “colonial mindset.”

The not even vaguely funny joke is that it is Bolsonaro who has unleashed a wave of unmasked colonial violence inside his country. This is a politician who came to power railing against indigenous people, casting their land rights as an unacceptable barrier to development in the Amazon, where cultures intrinsically linked to the rainforest have consistently resisted mega projects and the expanding frontier of agribusiness. “If I become president there will not be a centimeter more of indigenous land,” he said, while ominously declaring that “we’re going to give a rifle and a carry permit to every farmer.”

Much as Trump’s relentless anti-immigrant rhetoric has emboldened white nationalists to commit real-world hate crimes, Christian Poirier of Amazon Watch explains that in Brazil, “Farmers and ranchers understand the president’s message as a license to commit arson with wanton impunity, in order to aggressively expand their operations into the rainforest.” According to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, deforestation in the Amazon this July went up by a staggering 278 percent compared to the same month last year (the institute’s director was promptly fired after sharing these and other inconvenient findings).

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/08/26/amazon-fire-indigenous-rights-can-help-put-it-out

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2019 in South America

 

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The Ravaging of Amazonia

When I first set foot in the Amazon rain forest, in the Anavilhanas Archipelago, northwest of the city of Manaus, I experienced something that can only be described as awe: an overwhelming sense of connection with the universe. Cheesy, I know. But this is something that we rarely feel — only upon seeing a clear tropical night sky, or the ghostly flickering of the northern lights or even the vastness of a French Gothic cathedral.

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2019 in South America

 

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Brasilien: Der Urwald soll brennen!

Zu den
politischen Instrumenten des brasilianischen Präsidenten Jair Bolsonaro gehört eine
Haltung, die seine Landsleute als cara de pau bezeichnen: das dreiste
Abstreiten sämtlicher Entwicklungen, die gerade ungelegen kommen. Jetzt wüten
seit Wochen schon gewaltige Feuer im brasilianischen Amazonaswald – und bei
Bolsonaro ist die cara de pau im vollen Einsatz.

Ton!“, beschwerte der Staatschef sich in der Nacht über seinen französischen
Amtskollegen Emmanuel Macron.
Der hatte eine “internationale Krise” ausgerufen, weil der Amazonaswald brennt,
und vorgeschlagen, dass die G7-Staaten darüber sprechen.
Und das war nur das jüngste Bolsonaro-Dementi.

https://www.zeit.de/politik/ausland/2019-08/brasilien-urwald-waldbrand-jair-bolsonaro

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2019 in South America

 

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Plunging peso, grinding poverty: Argentina hears echoes of 2001 crisis

Father Guillermo Torre, known as Willy to his parishioners, has been through this before. “I arrived here 20 years ago in 1999, right before the economic collapse of 2001,” he said.

“Here” is Villa 31, a giant slum that sprawls beside the luxurious Recoleta and Retiro neighbourhoods of central Buenos Aires, a city within a city of which Torre is the parish priest. “Back then Villa 31’s population was 12,500; now it is 45,000,” he says, accepting a constant stream of greetings and hugs from recuperating addicts arriving at his drug rehabilitation centre.

Torre’s ever-expanding parish reflects the gulf that has opened in Argentina over the past two decades between the haves and the have-nots.

Far from shrinking, that gap has widened during the current government of conservative President Mauricio Macri, whose Cambiemos party suffered a resounding defeat in open primaries last Sunday.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/18/cristina-kirchner-fiery-ex-president-returns-crisis-argentina

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2019 in South America

 

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Murder in the Amazon

Rebels all over the world watch heartbroken as fires devastate the Amazon. Known to many as ‘the lungs of the Earth’, the rainforest is a vital organ of our living planet whose health hangs in the balance.

The record-breaking fires are casting a shadow on over half the area of Brazil and are visible from space. On Monday, Sao Paolo was plunged into an unnatural ash-filled darkness in the middle of the day, and the ash cloud has now reached Peru.

But the most traumatic effects are undoubtedly felt by those who call this forest home, and for whom this is only the latest offensive in a long war promoted by agribusiness and the Brazilian government, waged against indigenous peoples and the environment alike.

https://rebellion.earth/2019/08/23/newsletter-28-murder-in-the-amazon/

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2019 in South America

 

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