Posts filed under ‘Democracy & Propaganda’
Versión en español al final de la versión en inglés. Toda la verdad sobre la muerte de Raúl Reyes
Article translated from Spanish by Martin Allen
Posted by Lilly Avensur
The investigations undertaken by the Ecuadorian authorities are throwing light on what really happened in the early morning of 1st March, when Colombian armed forces attacked between 20 and 22 guerillas on Ecuadorian territory. In hiding where the attack took place was Commandant Raúl Reyes, second in command of FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia).
The pictures, the testimony of local residents, the statements of three women guerrillas who survived, and the ballistic and Ecuadorian military intelligence reports, reveal the heap of lies told by the Colombian president, Álvaro Uribe, both to Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa and to the international community and the media.
The Colombian version.
According to the Colombian version, FARC Front 48 was being pursued on the basis of information that the guerrilla leader, Raúl Reyes, would be at a village called Granada, close to the border with Ecuador but still in Colombian territory.
The Colombian defence minister, Juan Manuel Santos, stated that, during the operation, Colombian armed forces had been attacked from a FARC encampment situated 1,800 metres from the border, inside Ecuadorian territory.
It is stated that the Colombian Airforce proceeded to locate and attack the guerrilla encampment, always taking into account the order not to violate Ecuadorian airspace; that the Colombian armed force then entered to secure the area, leaving Colombian police in charge of the attacked encampment until the arrival of the Ecuadorian army.
The truth of the matter.
The investigations being carried out on behalf of the Ecuadorian authorities show that there was no combat on the part of the FARC commando which was attacked. With the exception of three who were on guard duty, the 18 dead were asleep in their underwear, and none of the guerrilla commando had a chance to enter into combat or to surrender.
The weapons that were in the encampment were piled up; they had no chance to get to their rifles and grenades; they were massacred as they slept.
The testimony of local residents, together with the craters on the earth floor of the encampment, show that four bombs were fired from Colombian aircraft which encroached over Ecuadorian territory. According to military intelligence investigations, these were fired from south of the encampment, meaning that the aircraft had encroached more than ten kilometres into Ecuadorian territory when the attack was made.
After the release of bombs from these aircrafts there was an encroachment by several “Supertucan” helicopters belonging to the Colombian airforce. From these the attack on the FARC encampment in Ecuadorian territory continued. Special commandos descended from these helicopters and finished off the guerrillas who remained wounded in the encampment, as is shown by the bullets lodged in a large number of the guerrillas’ bodies, many of which were piled up in a particular area of the encampment and murdered from behind. Even the photographs exhibited by the Colombian government of Commandant Raúl Reyes’ body show that it has a bullet-wound in the left side of the face.
Information coming from Ecuadorian military intelligence indicates not only that Ecuadorian airspace was violated in the early hours of 1st March, but that in the early hours of March 2nd there was another penetration of helicopters with night visors to extract members of the armed forces and Colombian police who were still in Ecuadorian territory.
The positions of the trees knocked down in the bombardment and the many bullet-holes in the trees show, together with the positions of the dead, that while FARC was guarding the encampment at the north side, which faces towards the border with Colombia, the aerial invasion came over from the south, indicating that the Colombian airforce invaded Ecuadorian airspace without permission, without notice, and in contravention of every kind of international agreement.
March 05, 2008
Australia’s Hidden Empire
By John Pilger
When the outside world thinks about Australia, it generally turns to venerable clichés of innocence – cricket, leaping marsupials, endless sunshine, no worries. Australian governments actively encourage this. Witness the recent “G’Day USA” campaign, in which Kylie Minogue and Nicole Kidman sought to persuade Americans that, unlike the empire’s problematic outposts, a gormless greeting awaited them Down Under. After all, George W Bush had ordained the previous Australian prime minister, John Howard, “sheriff of Asia”.
That Australia runs its own empire is unmentionable; yet it stretches from the Aboriginal slums of Sydney to the ancient hinterlands of the continent and across the Arafura Sea and the South Pacific. When the new prime minister, Kevin Rudd, apologised to the Aboriginal people on 13 February, he was acknowledging this. As for the apology itself, the Sydney Morning Herald accurately described it as a “piece of political wreckage” that “the Rudd government has moved quickly to clear away . . . in a way that responds to some of its own supporters’ emotional needs, yet changes nothing. It is a shrewd manoeuvre.”
Like the conquest of the Native Americans, the decimation of Aboriginal Australia laid the foundation of Australia’s empire. The land was taken and many of its people were removed and impoverished or wiped out. For their descendants, untouched by the tsunami of sentimentality that accompanied Rudd’s apology, little has changed. In the Northern Territory’s great expanse known as Utopia, people live without sanitation, running water, rubbish collection, decent housing and decent health. This is typical. In the community of Mulga Bore, the water fountains in the Aboriginal school have run dry and the only water left is contaminated. Throughout Aboriginal Australia, epidemics of gastroenteritis and rheumatic fever are as common as they were in the slums of 19th-century England. Aboriginal health, says the World Health Organisation, lags almost a hundred years behind that of white Australia. This is the only developed nation on a United Nations “shame list” of countries that have not eradicated trachoma, an entirely preventable disease that blinds Aboriginal children. Sri Lanka has beaten the disease, but not rich Australia. On 25 February, a coroner’s inquiry into the deaths in outback towns of 22 Aboriginal people, some of whom had hanged themselves, found they were trying to escape their “appalling lives”.
A Humanitarian Agreement is Urgently Needed to Respect Life and Dignity
Statement on 4 Feb Demonstrations against the FARC from the Colombia Solidarity Campaign.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez holds the granddaughter of former hostage Consuelo Gonzalez(left) during a welcome home celebration attended by Gonzales’ daughter, Maria Fernanda Perdomo (center). Chavez mediated the release of two FARC hostages
Social movements warn that 4 February demonstrations will polarise Colombia and “lead to prolonging the internal war in our country, and close off the possibility that the actors involved will humanise the armed conflict”.
The round of demonstrations against the FARC to be held in Colombia and abroad on 4 February are not simply a spontaneous initiative of ordinary citizens, as they are disingenuously portrayed. 4 February has become the focus of an orchestrated campaign to manipulate international opinion away from backing a negotiated, humanitarian agreement as the most hopeful means towards a peaceful settlement to the country’s armed conflict. Rather than a celebration of citizen power 4 February is a tragedy in the making.
The Colombia Solidarity Campaign urges that attention be paid to the voice of the political opposition, to social movements and victim groups who consider that 4 February is a dangerous and polarising initiative that could wipe away the tentative steps towards a humanitarian agreement between the government and the FARC.
POSITION OF THE OPPOSITION AND SOCIAL MOVEMENTS
The opposition party Polo Democratico Alternativo and the CUT trade union federation will be holding their own demonstration on 4 February calling “For the Humanitarian Accord: No to war, No to kidnappings”. The Polo makes clear that its attitude cannot
“be assumed to be either supportive of the FARC, kidnappings or crimes against humanity or supportive of the government of Alvaro Uribe, which it opposes unequivocally for its authoritarian and regressive nature”. (The Polo’s full statement is attached.)
Diverse social movements in Colombia are refusing to participate. The Colombian University Students Association, ACEU states:
“we, [the] university students…… will not march for the war as we are convinced of [the viability of] a political and negotiated exit to the social and armed conflict. As university students, we believe in the importance of debate, discussion and the construction of alternatives to the present regime. We invite all Colombians not to play the game of these war propositions and still wait for calls to march by mass media and the national government to eradicate poverty, the hunger that kills many children of Colombia, illiteracy, etc.
The School Teachers Association of Antioquia – ADIDA – “will not participate as the demonstration is about a false dilemma that the government is now posing to the Colombian people”. The association explains that although ADIDA rejects the armed struggle,
“neither is it willing to yield in the confrontation with a war-like and clientelistic government which is suspected of links with the paramilitaries. To the detriment of resources for education, health, sanitation and drinking water, today the regime maintains a budget which has the highest level of funds dedicated to war in the world – 6.3% of the GDP.”
Perhaps most tellingly of all, an array of organisations representing socially oppressed groups including the national indigenous movement ONIC, the popular women’s organisation OFP, the Process of Black Communities PCN and the CNA campesino alliance warn that the 4 February demonstrations
“will lead to prolonging the internal war in our country, and close off the possibility that the actors involved will humanise the armed conflict” (full statement attached).
There is grave concern that the 4 February demonstrations will be made use of to extinguish all hope of a humanitarian accord in the foreseeable future.
URIBE ATTEMPTS TO SCUPPER HUMANITARIAN AGREEMENT
It is important to locate the 4 February demonstrations in the context of the fast moving developments since August 2007 when Colombia’s President Uribe invited Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez in to mediate in the armed conflict. Working with the families and Senator Piedad Cordoba, Chávez was able to facilitate talks with the FARC that culminated on 10 January 2008 with the guerrilla group releasing Senator Consuelo González and Clara Rojas, aide to former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, into the custody of the International Red Cross and the Venezuelan authorities. With goodwill from the principle actors, this initial success could have opened the way to a more comprehensive agreement covering the exchange of imprisoned guerrillas for kidnap victims.
Caracas, December 3, 2007 –
Venezuelans have voted against the constitutional reform proposed by president Hugo Chavez, which would have abolished presidential term limits, increased the presidential term from six to seven years, ended the autonomy of the central bank and given the president full control over the country’s foreign exchange reserves. The former soldier said he would continue his battle to build socialism and that the proposed changes had failed “for now” but were “still alive”, suggesting he may try to revive them later.
Venezuela’s National Electoral Council Announced at 1:15am that the No vote against the President’s constitutional reform proposal lost 49.3% to 50.7%, with 45% abstention. Chavez conceded that the reform proposal lost “for now.”
The vote was divided into two blocks, whereby the first block included Chavez’s 33 proposed article changes and the second block included changes proposed by the national assembly. The second block lost with a slightly higher margin, with 51.0% for “No” to 49.0% for “Yes”.
Allan Wood says:
” a glance at the results shows that the voting strength of the opposition has barely increased. If you compare these results (after 88% of the votes had been counted) with the 2006 presidential elections, the opposition has only increased about 100,000 votes, but Chávez lost 2.8 million. These votes did not go to the opposition but rather to abstention. This means that support for the counter-revolution has not significantly increased from its highest point one year ago.
A whole number of factors contributed to this result. The bourgeoisie have in their hands powerful instruments for shaping public opinion. They organised a full mobilisation of the reactionary media in a hysterical campaign of lies and slander against Chavez, the Revolution and socialism. This scare-mongering campaign of the reactionary opposition undoubtedly had an effect on the more backward sections of the population.
The pressure was relentless. The Catholic Church, led by the reactionary Episcopal Conference, preached from the pulpits against Chavez and “godless communism”. There was a two-page paid advertisement in Ultimas Noticias, one of the most widely read papers in Venezuela and the one that most Bolivarians read, amongst other things, claimed that the State would take your children away from you and they would belong to the State and that freedom of religion would be abolished.”
Dual Power in the Venezuelan Revolution
November 7th 2007, by George Ciccariello-Maher – Monthly Review
publish at venezuelanalysis
Too often, the Bolivarian Revolution currently underway in Venezuela is dismissed by its critics—on the right and left—as a fundamentally statist enterprise. We are told it is, at best, a continuation of the corrupt, bureaucratic status quo or, at worst, a personalistic consolidation of state power in the hands of a single individual at the expense of those “checks and balances” traditionally associated with western liberal democracies. These perspectives are erroneous, since they cannot account for what have emerged as the central planks of the revolutionary process. I will focus on the most significant of these planks: the explosion of communal power.
Enncuentra este articulo en español después de la versión en inglés
Death and Sedition in Bolivia .Four deaths in Sucre intensify the confrontation
Muerte y Golpismo en Bolivia. Cuatro muertos en sucre agudizan la confrontacion
Looking at the picture below itt seems the right wing oposition in Bolivia has found inspiration in the incident between the King of Spain and Hugo Chavez during the last Ibero American Summit, where the former told the president of Venezuela “why don’t you shut up” . (“porqué no te callas”)
Mirando a la foto de abajo parece que la oposicion derechista en Bolivia ha encontrado inspiración en el incidente entre el Rey de España y Hugo Chave durante la última cumbre Latino Americana, donde el Rey le dijo al presidente de Venezuela “porqué no te callas”
Bolivian demonstrators simulate cutting the throat of an effigy symbolising Bolivian President Evo Morales during a demonstration in Santa Cruz city, November 26, 2007. Morales lashed out at his rightist opponents on Monday after violent protests against his constitutional reform plans killed three people in one of the worst crises to hit his government. Violence exploded on the streets of the southern city of Sucre over the weekend after Morales’ leftist allies pushed through a draft of a new constitution under military guard
Bolivian indigenous workers converge on La Paz after hiking 200 km (124 miles) in ten days to demand that Congress pass a law allowing the payment of the Renta Dignidad, or a bonus for senior citizens, in La Paz November 26, 2007. Morales led the march that also supported the new constitutional draft that was approved by the Constituent Assembly last Saturday, amid violent street protests in which three people were killed.
Luis A. Gómez
November 25, 2007
La Paz –
It’s possible that it all began in March 2006 when the Evo Morales government negotiated the Constituent Assembly’s representative base. The right-wing parties—defeated from almost every angle by the social movements over the past few years—were allowed new breathing room and maintained, together with the governing party, its monopoly of the political representation in Bolivia.
Or maybe it began in July of last year when the Assembly delegate elections left Evo’s MAS without their hoped for two-thirds majority. At this moment, it was clear that this new body—charged with creating a new carta magna to represent the Bolivia that had risen from the streets and its recent struggles—would become hostage to the country’s rightwing minority via its political parties.
Either way, one thing is clear: the blame for the deaths yesterday and today in the city of Sucre goes to both the right and to the government, perhaps in equal measure.
Months of deliberation spent on securing procedural measures that no one even respects. Months of debate, physical beatings, screaming matches, marches and vigils in favor of and against. The result? After a full year of work, not a single article, not one solid agreement was made between the government and the opposition regarding the country’s new constitution. Thus, it was decided that the Assembly’s sessions be extended until December 14th of this year. Nothing has been achieved since.
The struggle around whether articles ought to be approved by simple majority or two-thirds of the delegates’ votes allowed the rightwing to consistently block and blackmail. The opposition party PODEMOS took charge of impeding the Assembly’s every step—at times with a solid right hook to the chin of a fellow delegate. More recently, they found another stalling mechanism: the semi-colonial Capital Wars, putting the question of whether La Paz or Sucre was to hold the honor of seat of government forever.
Bolivia needs our solidarity
Federico Fuentes, Caracas
14 September 2007
Now is the time for all intellectuals, union militants, solidarity
activists, political parties and progressive minded individuals who
believe in real justice and equality to raise their voices in defence
of Bolivia and its government, which is leading an important process
of change providing hope and inspiration to millions of indigenous and
oppressed people around the world, to ensure that the US and its
lackeys cannot get away with crushing this movement for social
For Bolivia’s indigenous majority there is no going back. The election
in 2005 of Bolivia’s first indigenous president, Evo Morales, marked a
watershed — a before and after in Bolivia’s history — after more than
500 years of struggle against imperialism and colonialism. It marked a
conscious step forward by Bolivia’s indigenous majority in its
struggle for justice and equality.
As Morales pointed out in an August 22 interview with the BBC, right
from the start Bolivia’s right wing “said this little Indian is only
going to be president for three or four months. That day passed and
now they say this little Indian is going to be here for a long time,
we have to do something about it; and that means encouraging confusion
That is why today a resurgent right wing is determined to destabilise
the country and government — even if it means plunging the country
into civil war or provoking a violent military coup — to bring down
Morales, and with him the hopes and dreams of millions of indigenous
and non-indigenous people, not just in Bolivia, but throughout Latin
America and the world.
US INTELLIGENCE SEES VENEZUELAN DEMOCRACY IN JEOPARDY
Following Idrees comment, yes I posted this article (forwarded by Bolivia Solidarity Campaign) to show that what is happening in Bolivia it is not a threat to democracy, as the US propaganda states, but people exercising their democratic rights as through the forthcoming Bolivian Constitution to be approved on the 6th of August, which is also the day of Bolivia independence. The article was posted within the Democaracy & Propaganda category just to show both side of the story, and how political change is synonymous of “tirany” for the US propaganda. I have also posted the Bolivian Indigenous People Manifest (in Spanish) on the Resistance page at the top.
Published on EL UNIVERSAL. com (Venezuelan online paper)
A report submitted to the Committee on Armed Services, US House of Representatives, claims that the highest risk for democracy in Latin America is in Venezuela and Bolivia.
The “highest risk” for democracy in Latin America is in Venezuela and Bolivia, according to a US intelligence report released Wednesday, which also pointed to “critics of free-market economy” in Ecuador and Nicaragua, AP informed.
The analysis was submitted by Thomas Fingar, Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Analysis, Office of the Director of National Intelligence Council, to the Committee on Armed Services, US House of Representatives, during a hearing to assess global security, AP reported.
In Venezuela and Bolivia, Presidents Hugo Chávez and Evo Morales “are taking advantage of their popularity to undercut the opposition and eliminate checks on their authority,” said Fingar.
The National Intelligence Council centralizes the work of all US intelligence agencies.
According to Fingar’s report, Ecuadorian and Nicaraguan Presidents Rafael Correa and Daniel Ortega, respectively, are “critical of free market economics and have friendly relations with Venezuela’s President Chavez.”
The report attributes the elections of presidential candidates with leftist views to “the growing impatience of national electorates with corruption -real and perceived- and the failure of incumbent governments to improve the living standards of large elements of the population.”
Further, the document added that “public dissatisfaction with the way democracy is working is especially troubling in the Andes.”
This is the first time the National Intelligence Council speaks in the US Congress of “jeopardy” for democracy in Bolivia. Regarding Venezuela, however, the same warning has been made over the last few years.
The paper listed a number of actions taken by the Venezuelan government, including the State growing participation in the energy business, nationalization of telecommunications and the end of open-signal operations conducted by opposition private TV station Radio Caracas Televisión (RCTV).
Based on the report, Chávez “revoked the broadcasting license of a leading opposition television station, on 28 May, and has nationalized the country’s main telecommunications enterprise and largest private electric power company.”
Stressing the Venezuelan ruler’s growing powers, the report added that Chávez “has forced US and other foreign petroleum companies to enter into joint ventures with the Venezuelan national petroleum company or face nationalization. Negotiations on compensation and the autonomy remaining to the companies that have chosen to stay in Venezuela are pending.”
“Chavez is among the most stridently anti-American leaders anywhere in the world and will continue to try to undercut US influence in Venezuela, the rest of Latin America, and elsewhere internationally,” Fingar claimed.
The Council stressed that the Venezuelan President’s “effort to politicize the Venezuelan Armed Forces and to create a large and well-armed military reserve force are signs that he is breaking with the trend in the region toward more professional and apolitical militaries.”
According to the report, Cuba remains Venezuela’s closest ally. “This year may mark the end of Fidel Castro’s domination of Cuba; but significant, positive political change is unlikely immediately,” the document added.
During presentation of the report, Fingar was joined by Robert Cardillo, Deputy Director for Analysis, Defense Intelligence Agency, and John A. Kringen, Director for Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency.
Translated by Maryflor Suárez R.