The government of Evo Morales and the indigenous social movements of Bolivia have won an historic victory with the passage of an agrarian reform law that calls for the “expropriation of lands” that “do not serve a just social-economic function.”
When Honduran President Manuel Zelaya visited Washington this past June, he had two security-related requests for President Bush. The first was to convert the Colonel Enrique Soto Cano airbase (also commonly known as Palmerola) into a commercial air cargo terminal, while the second was to deploy U.S. Special Forces along the Mosquitia region in eastern Honduras to help combat drug-trafficking along the Caribbean coast.
“C’mon, muchachos, let’s go!” With this abrupt order, Celia Eumesa and a group of the Nasa Indigenous Guard under her command jumped into a van and drove off in hot pursuit of a handful of guerrillas that had just kidnapped some people from her community. Armed with no more than decorative staffs, which they carry to symbolize indigenous authority, they sped behind the guerrillas’ car with a caravan of 60 other Indigenous Guards trailing behind.
A WOLA-AIN delegation recently traveled to the Bolivia’s Chapare region to carry out an on-the-ground assessment of the initial impact of the Morales government’s new coca strategy. The delegation met with local municipal, police and military authorities, coca farmers, and others.
In this commentary, Ben Beachy notes that ongoing U.S. intervention has reached a fever pitch now that Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega—Washington's Cold War nemesis—has pulled ahead in the polls for the upcoming elections. U.S. authorities have threatened Nicaraguan voters with what amount to economic sanctions in the event of an Ortega victory.
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s resounding electoral victory with over 60 percent of the vote places Brazilian politics on a new footing. While many on the left remain critical of Lula for the limited reforms of his first term, his victory has consolidated a shift in the country’s possibilities for deeper social transformations.
Of all the land disputes between indigenous communities and large landowners that have mushroomed in Argentina during the last decade, none acquired the public notoriety of the battle waged in the northern Patagonian province of Chubut in 2004. The David-and-Goliath elements of the confrontation ensured unprecedented media attention to an issue long neglected by mainstream Argentina.
On the morning of October 5, Julián Andrés Hurtado, a 29-year-old student leader at the University of Valle in Cali, Colombia, died from gunshots to the head. Julian, who was just one week away from graduation, served as a student representative to the academic council of his school, the largest public university in Cali.
On May 1st, the day the Bolivian government announced the “nationalization” of the country’s vast oil and gas reserves, I went out to witness the symbolic takeover of a former Bolivian refinery that was privatized in the late 1990s. A cheering crowd looked on as a young employee of Bolivia’s state oil and gas company, Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB), strung a YPFB banner over the metal letters spelling out the name of the Brazilian company Petrobras. Another banner hung on the front gate proclaimed, “Nationalized: Property of Bolivia.”
Days before Brazil’s October 1 national elections, about 300 members of Vía Campesina and the Landless Rural Workers' Movement (MST) camped in front of the Santa Rita farm. Located in Santo Antônio da Platina in the state of Paraná, the farm belongs to Abelardo Lupion, a federal congressman of the right-wing Liberal Front Party. Vía Campesina alleges that Lupion illegally bought the farm from the U.S.-based Monsanto Corporation in return for using his political power to legalize the pesticide glyphosate in Brazil.