Articles by: Various Authors
A U.S. delegation of international electoral accompaniers reports back from their observance of the February term limits referendum in Venezuela. They found the election was held with uniform professionalism and care, and that the election results were tallied quickly. Their observations of Venezuelan popular democracy in action stand in marked contrast with media depictions of Venezuela’s government as autocratic. NACLA, TransAfrica Forum, Urban Semillas, and Diverse Strategies Organizing compiled the report.
More than 140 Latin America experts criticize the campaign of fear being waged by the ruling party in El Salvador. In an open letter, they ask the Secretary of State to declare that the United States government stands ready to work with whichever candidate is democratically elected by the Salvadoran people, and publicly disavow the ruling party's dirty campaign, which has used President Obama's image in an attempt to coerce Salvadorans from voting for the opposition.
The new in-depth report, "The 2009 El Salvador Elections: Between Crisis and Change," by CISPES, NACLA, and Upside Down World reflects on El Salvador's current situation as well as the possibilities and challenges ahead at this pivotal moment for the nation's future. The leftist FMLN party currently holds a double-digit lead in the presidential election to be held on March 15. An FMLN victory would end 20 years of one-party rule by the main right-wing party. El Salvador could soon be joining the broadening coalition of left-leaning governments in Latin America.
This is the third installment of an ongoing debate between Human Rights Watch (HRW) and a group of academics over the organization's recent report, "A Decade Under Chávez: Political Intolerance and Lost Opportunities for Advancing Human Rights in Venezuela." The academics respond that HRW's defense of its report stonewalls and ignores their original criticisms.
In an open letter to the Board of Directors of Human Rights Watch, over 100 experts on Latin America criticized the organization's recent report on Venezuela, A Decade Under Chávez: Political Intolerance and Lost Opportunities for Advancing Human Rights in Venezuela, saying that it "does not meet even the most minimal standards of scholarship, impartiality, accuracy, or credibility."
We the undersigned are North American academics who study Latin America. We wish to make known several concerns with regard to the electoral process now underway in El Salvador and which include legislative elections in January 2009 and presidential elections in March 2009. In particular, as academics who have studied electoral processes throughout the hemisphere, we believe that there are a minimal set of norms and conditions necessary for elections to be free, transparent, and democratic.
Since the democratic election of Evo Morales in December 2005, the U.S. government has sent millions of dollars in aid to departmental prefects and municipal governments in Bolivia. Last year, the U.S. Agency for International Development spent $89 million of U.S. taxpayer money in the Andean country. At least some of these funds have ended up in the hands of opposition groups linked to recent anti-government violence. A group of Latin America experts have called on the U.S. government to publicly disclose USAID's funding portfolio.
A NACLA investigative article into the Salvadoran branch of the International Law Enforcement Academy, a U.S.-sponsored global network of police schools, raised concerns among some human rights activists and U.S. policy analysts. They criticize the article as a "personal attack" against Benjamín Cuéllar, a Salvadoran human rights activist, whose organization offers human rights training at the academy. The author defends his findings writing that Cuéllar's participation constitutes "the co-optation" of human rights discourses in the service of U.S. military intervention.
Later this month, the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) will publicly determine the "authenticity" of laptops recovered from a rebel encampment in Ecuador after a March 1 raid on the camp by the Colombian military. Based on previous press coverage of the incursion and the documents, we are concerned that the media take extreme care in interpreting the Interpol findings.