NACLA Update 01/07/10 - Obama's Militarized Status / Angels in Guatemala

Out Now! Jan/Feb 2010

Same Difference: Obama's Militarized Status Quo
In April, President Obama made his hemispheric debut at the Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. "I'm here to launch a new chapter of engagement that will be sustained throughout my administration," he told his counter-parts, to applause. He later added that his administration would condemn "any efforts at violent overthrows of democratically elected governments, wherever it happens in the hemisphere."Since then, however, Obama's honeymoon with Latin America has definitively ended—largely because of his administration's efforts to prevent the reinstatement of Manuel Zelaya to the presidency of Honduras, following the military coup in June, and its granting of legitimacy to the coup government. This Report approaches the question of continuities by examining the institutional and ideological obstacles to progressive policies, as well as the political and economic bases of such tragically failed policies as Plan Colombia.
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New on

Angels in Guatemala: Confronting a Legacy of Official Terror
by Susan Fitzpatrick-Behrens

Last February, some 18,000 Guatemalans, mostly survivors or relatives of victims of the state-sponsored terror of the 1970s and 1980s, gathered in Guatemala City's Plaza of the Constitution to commemorate the "Day of Dignity for the Victims of the Internal Armed Conflict." There, they heard President Álvaro Colom publicly accept the findings of the UN report that documented the terror. This, together with Colom's official apology on behalf of the Guatemalan government and armed forces, were framed by the image of an angel with wings formed of the shoulder blades of victims of the violence. The angel has now become an iconic image of the struggle for human rights in Guatemala and internationally.
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Mexican Electrical Workers Change Strategy in Face of Government Intransigence
by Dan La Botz

The Mexican Electrical Workers Union (SME) celebrated its 95th anniversary on December 14 with cultural events and pledges to continue to fight for the jobs of its members. But now, two months since President Felipe Calderón's liquidation of the state-owned Central Light and Power Company (Luz y Fuerza del Centro), seizure of the facilities, and firing of the 44,000 workers, and faced with the government's intransigence, the union has been forced to change its strategy.
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