Tag Archives: United States

Comparing and Contrasting Two 9/11s

11 Sep

With the landmark anniversary of a decade since the 9/11 attacks, compounded with an alleged terror plot, it is all two easy to forget the other monumental 9/11 in recent history – the Augusto Pinochet overthrow of the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende on September 11, 1973. Chilean academic and commentator contrasts the reactions of the Chilean and US population to their respective 9/11s today, writing on OpenDemocracy.net:

“Both people suffered a grievous blow on their 9/11. Americans did not deserve to be attacked, Chileans did not deserve to be put under tyrannical rule. But if Chileans – admittedly over more than two decades, as opposed to the decade the US has so far had – learned tolerance and compromise from their traumatic experience, Americans seem to have become more divided and less willing to compromise after theirs. Chile is a much better country than before its 9/11; few in the US would say the same. The United States has yet to make the terrible moment part of a larger lesson about the need for tolerance, compromise and national unity across political divides.”


Expertos afirman, en Chile Educación gratuita y pública Sí es posible

11 Sep

Más allá de las movilizaciones, más allá del rompimiento de ciertos pactos nacionales, más allá del vencimiento de algunos códigos y etiquetas democráticas construidas mucho antes de que la actual generación de estudiantes naciera, si nos vamos al tema puntual y original de todo el movimiento chileno del cual el mundo ha sido testigo en los últimos meses, al centro de todo esto está el sistema educativo.

Todo este año hemos visto a los millones de jóvenes chilenos exigir: EDUCACION GRATUITA Y DE CALIDAD. Ahora, luego de escuchar y leer aquellas demandas, la pregunta es lógica: ¿es aquello posible?

Porque una cosa es lograr que todo un país ponga la atención sobre determinado tema, que el mundo, aunque sea por un segundo, de vuelta la cabeza y mire a este lugar tan al sur, y otra cosa distinta es la  cabida dentro de la realidad técnica y económica como la de una propuesta que implica que el sostenimiento y financiamiento de todo el sistema educativo venga desde el aparato estatal y sin perder una coma de calidad, al contrario, en el caso chileno, avanzando en aquel ultimo punto.

Dejamos aquí, entonces, un link de prensa, donde se comenta como un grupo de economistas de un par de universidades publicas y privadas nacionales, entre ellasla Universidadde Chile – la mejor universidad del país y la quinta o sexta en Latinoamérica –  se reúnen bajo la iniciativa de la fundación TERRAM, y, primero, afirman que todo aquello dela EDUCACIONGRATUITAY DE CALIDAD sí es posible, y, segundo, elaboran ellos mismos una propuesta paso a paso en función de su afirmación.

Les dejamos, además, el propio documento a continuación.

Cause for Alarm in Guatemala Election

8 Sep

The former Guatemalan general Otto Perez Molina appears poised to reach power in Sunday’s presidential election. He currently leads in the polls by 30%, according to Guatemala’s El Periodico. 

Notorious for his remark that “La población civil es a la guerrilla, lo que el agua es al pez,” (“The civilian population is to the guerilla, what the sea is to the fish – a statement that so succinctly captures the Guatemalan military’s genocidal civil war policy of collective punishment against the indigenous population – his potential victory this Sunday raises some major eyebrows for observers of human rights in Central America and Guatemala. Molina would be the first military leader to return to power since the 1996 peace accords. His campaign’s  focus on security doesn’t do much to soothe those concerns.

Here he is in action:

There is resistance to be found. There is great fear in Guatemala, no doubt about it, of Perez’s election.

In this video, (which so nicely uses Nicaraguan Carlos Mejía Godoy’s No Pasarán), images of Guatemala’s civil war are juxtaposed with the statement “We will not return to a militarized Guatemala, for our grandparents, parents, uncles and aunts, brothers and sisters, and children, the assassinated and the disappeared, because the spilled blood was not in vain, because yes, there was a genocide, judgement and punishment for Otto Perez Molina.

As talked about on this blog, nobel peace prize winner Rigoberta Menchú will be on the ballot – but she is currently pulling less than 2% in polls. She doesn’t fear monger – but she also hasn’t built a critical mass around her in this second presidential run:

The US “Crime Against Humanity” in Guatemala

2 Sep

Every other week these days we’re learning new details about what Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom has called a “crime against humanity” – it now appears that the US deliberately infected up to 2,500 Guatemalans with STD’s from 1946 to 1948.

A reality check is in order – immediately following the end of World WarII, just as the United States and the western world stood appalled and shocked by the crimes of the Nazi regime, the United States was performing Mengele-like medical experiments on innocent Guatemalans.

Obamas has reportedly apologized and there are a few headlines and stories here and there – but will this alter our dominant narrative on the post-World War II period? Will this inspire a national dialogue on our long-term relations with Guatemalans? What was the thought process? How exactly did the US government arrive at the conclusion that Guatemalans were so inferior that they were apt candidates for human guinea pigs? How does this thinking impact our support for a government that subsequently committed a genocide against its own people? My guess that none of this will come up… The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues will come out with its report and the White House will likely file it away with a brief press release. Sweep it under the rug as soon as possible. I hope I’m wrong.

Hugo Chavez Jumps the Shark.

24 Aug

There is a fair debate to be had on the merits or injustice of foreign intervention in the case of the NATO bombing of Libya and support for the rebels.

All of that recognized, Hugo Chavez’s  going out of his way to defend the Gadaffi government is simply jumping the shark. Actually it’s mostly just blowhard political showboating. Here it is, purely for your entertainment from TeleSur:

Art Focus: Television Culture in Cuba

19 Aug

An NPR feature on Simone Lueck’s photos of Cuba’s television culture caught my eye. Lueck took these photos over the course of two weeks in 2000 – they focus on the role that television plays in the everyday home life of the island. She writes for NPR:

“There were some fascinating developments in the living rooms of Old Havana. Many of the sets that I saw in 2000 — 1980s Russian models and mid-century TVs from the U.S. — had been replaced with shiny new imports from China. The cheap, new TVs were surrounded by the same vintage fans, rickety ornaments and faded family photographs. It seemed the only thing that had changed was the TV itself.”

Too often we in the US are a little bit too awed by Cuba’s adaptation of older technology – its ’50s cars and Soviet appliances… What can these images say about the struggles and character of its people? The ideas of its youth? The trajectory of its politics? They

While these images fit the familiar trope, they are certainly impressive in composition. 

See more at  http://www.simonelueck.com/cubatv.html


Ollanta and Evo

18 Aug
Bolivian President Evo Morales.

Presidents Ollanta Humala and Evo Morales are both in the news today for pissing people off. Ollanta for spurning the U.S drug war; Evo for appearing like hypocrite and building through indigenous ancestral lands.

  • For months, as it became clearer that Ollanta Humala would become President of Perú, northern press and conservative commentators have either been screaming Que dios nos ayude (god help us) if this Hugo Chavez protegé becomes president – or telling everyone to calm down because he’s not the next Chávez, he’s the next Lula! Now that Humala has become president, he has served up his first shock to el norte by suspending its coca eradication  program funded and run by the United States. (LA Times / BBC)  Bloggings by Boz has some more analysis. Don’t worry oil companies – Reuters also reports today that Peru’s indigenous groups are disappointed with the president’s plan to welcome  oil exploration in Amazon areas inhabited by indigenous groups. Perú isn’t closing for business anytime soon.
  • Across the border indigenous groups are blockading roads and marching to La Paz to protest the government’s plan to build a highway connecting Bolivia from Brazil to the Pacific. The project obviously calls into question Evo Morales’  Pachamama image as an environmentalist and safeguard against what he himself has called ethnocide. It’s of course more complicated than that – the nation’s first indigenous president is weighing the demands of indigenous groups living in the territory versus a core constituency of Quechua and Aymara speaking indigenous groups that have colonized the area and will benefit from the access to new markets. The project is an opportunity for foreign investment (in this case, from Brazil) and is understood as another attempt for Bolivia to escape the poverty and isolation bequeathed to it by becoming land locked by Chile in the  War of the Pacific (1879-1883). Evo has responded by discrediting the protests as a conspiracy by foreign NGOs – an all too familiar discourse employed by Latin American leaders like Alan Garcia. NACLA has further analysis and details. And here’s some coverage from Al Jazeera:
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