The election of a left-leaning former Bishop in Paraguay, and the growth of left movements around Latin America puts Pope Benedict and the Vatican on a collision course with Liberation Theology.
"The IMF is back," declared the International Monetary Fund's managing director, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, at its annual spring meeting earlier this month in Washington. And not a moment too soon either. To hear the organization's economists tell it (as they mingled in five-star hotels, long black limos and posh restaurants with bankers, businessmen and finance ministers from around the globe), they've arrived on the scene just in time to help solve the world's financial crisis.
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.
Demonstrations that started in Le Cayes on Thursday, April 3rd, against soaring food prices spread across Haiti to Petit-Goagve, Gonaïves, Aquin and, by April 7, to the capital, Port-au-Prince. Anger over rising prices has been building for many months with basic food stuffs increasingly out of reach for the poor. Tires were set ablaze in the streets and thrown together to form barricades that paralyzed traffic for days.
Leading academic scholars and grassroots activists gathered at historic Howard University in Washington, DC, from April 18-20 for the national symposium, “What’s Up With Venezuela: Participatory Democracy or Democracy as Usual?” The meeting provided an opportunity for 200 solidarity activists from across the United States to study the revolutionary changes sweeping through Venezuela.
The debate on so-called “biofuels” has intensified in recent days. Rhetorical arguments are blindly repeated with speeches citing the environment and poor people as the central concerns. But when the time comes to make decisions these are wholly ignored. The United Nations and other institutions have made alarming warnings about fuels derived from agriculture, which in a strict sense should be called “agrofuels” to remind us they come from food crops.
Fireworks can still be heard in the distance where thousands of people are in the streets of downtown Asuncion sharing, embracing, reveling, hugging, smothering each other in kisses, and dancing until the early morning.
For some, it may come as a surprise that Buenos Aires's fashion industry relies on slave labor. Even with Argentina's miraculous economic revival, the practice of using undocumented immigrants as slave laborers in sweat shops continues. An estimated 400 clandestine shops operate in Buenos Aires. And tens of thousands of undocumented Bolivians work in these unsafe plants.
Fernando Lugo, a bearded, left-leaning bishop is expected to win Paraguay’s historic presidential election on April 20th, upsetting a 60-year rule by the right wing Colorado Party. While escaping the heat of the Paraguayan sun by sitting in the shade of an orange tree, farmer union leader Tomas Zayas explains, “If Lugo is elected, it will open a door for more changes in the future, but that’s all. We’ll take what we can get.”
In the early 1990s, the southern Brazilian city of Porto Alegre, then-led by the leftist Workers’ Party (PT), garnered international attention for pioneering citizen participation in allocating a chunk of city resources. Nearly 20 years after Porto Alegre first moved toward Participatory Budgeting (PB), the government reports a rise in participation, and attendance at this year’s citywide assemblies has been near capacity, but for many long-time participants the PB process is heading toward stormy weather.