You are hereSouth America

South America


Washington has no sense of shame: Empty Lectures about the Sanctity of the ‘Rule of Law’

By Dave Lindorff


The spectacle of the US threatening Hong Kong, China, Russia and now little Ecuador with all manner of reprisals if they don’t respect the “rule of law” and hand over whistleblower Edward Snowden to the US, is delicious to watch.


FBI Twists History: 'Terror' War Gets Stupider as Shakur is Added to the List

 

By Linn Washington, Jr.


Federal authorities publicly plot encouraging bounty hunters to kidnap a fugitive black radical from a foreign country for return to prison in the U.S. to achieve long-delayed justice.

This sounds like the FBI action on May 2, 2013 in placing former Black Panther and Black Liberation Army member Assata Shakur on its “Most Wanted Terrorists” list – the first female to have that dubious distinction.

Efrain Rios Montt Sent to Jail: Guatemala's Mayan People Win One For a Change

 

By John Grant


I saw the masked men
throwing truth into a well.
When I began to weep for it
I found it everywhere.

                 - Claudia Lars (El Salvador)
 

New Study Shows How Microlending has Gotten Off Track: Stumbling on Its Own Success

 

By Dave Lindorff


An article by TCBH! journalist Dave Lindorff in the May issue of  American Banker magazine details how the mission of microlending has gotten off track, and why helping impoverished women is getting harder to do.
 

Talk Nation Radio: Honduras Most Dangerous Country in World Thanks to Us

Tom Loudon is the co-director of the Friendship Office of the Americas and former executive secretary of the Commission of Truth in Honduras.  He says that following the 2009 coup Honduras has spiraled into becoming the most dangerous country on earth, with much of the violence funded by the U.S. State Department, and with that Department clearly being less than forthcoming with the U.S. Congress or the public.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download or get embed code from Archive or  AudioPort or LetsTryDemocracy.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Embed on your own site with this code:

<object autostart="false" data="http://davidswanson.org/sites/davidswanson.org/files/talknationradio/talknationradio_20130417.mp3" height="100px" width="400px"></object>

Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at http://davidswanson.org/talknationradio

Vieques Vive La Lucha Continua 10 years after the bombing stopped

By Helen Jaccard and David Swanson, http://warisacrime.org/vieques

Ten years ago May 1, the people of Vieques, Puerto Rico and their supporters from around the world defeated the most powerful military machine ever, through mass civil disobedience and without firing a single shot.   On May 1, 2003 the bombing stopped and the bases were officially closed.  People from all over the world supported the struggle on Vieques, and the activists and residents have an incredible victory to celebrate.

There were decades of resistance, civil disobedience and arrests.  But those hoping and laying the groundwork for greater resistance were given an opportunity on April 19, 1999, when a U.S. Marines pilot missed his target and killed civilian security guard David Sanes Rodriguez.  That spark lit a fire of nonviolent resistance that brought together Viequenses, Puerto Ricans, and supporters from the United States and around the world.  A campaign of non-violent civil resistance that began in 1999 lasted four years, including a year-long occupation of the bombing range, and saw over 1,500 people arrested.  The Navy was forced to close the bombing range on May 1, 2003.  Peace loving people had won most of the first of their demands for the island: demilitarization.

A huge commemoration is planned in Vieques for the anniversary from May 1 – 4, 2013.

Beautiful Vieques island is only 21 miles across and 5 miles wide, and 7 miles from the main island of Puerto Rico.  It is home to about 9,300 people, as well as endangered turtle species, rare Caribbean plants and animals, bio-luminescent bays, and miles of what look like unspoiled beaches.

But crabs with three claws, grossly deformed fish laden with heavy metals, once-beautiful coral reefs, and beaches and seas that have been decimated by military activity tell a story of environmental disaster with huge health impacts on people, plants, and animals.

An incredible three-quarters of the island was appropriated in the 1940s and used by the U.S. Navy for bombing practice, war games, and dumping or burning old munitions.  This was a terrible attack on an island municipality, one the United States was not at war with. 

Now, Vieques Island, a paradise in trouble, is one of the largest superfund sites in the United States, together with its little sister island of Culebra, which took the brunt of the bombing until 1973, when the Culebra bombing range closed (also due to protests) and the bombing practice was transferred to Vieques.

In 2003, the Navy did not return the land to the people, but transferred its Vieques land to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which operates beaches that were never used for military activities. 

Viequenses fear that keeping the U.S. Government in control of their lands could result in future re-militarization of the island.  Residents aren't happy that their land has not been returned to them and that they are fined for staying on their land past sunset or collecting crabs -- a mainstay of their historic diet.  There are also two military occupations of lands -- a ROTHR radar system and a communications area, and the people want these closed as well.  You can add your name to Viequenses' demand for peace here.

For over 2,000 years people known as Taino inhabited Vieques, which they called Bieque.  The Taino found and left behind them a paradise of fertile soil, fresh water, and trees.  In 1493, the conquistadors arrived.  In 1524, the Spanish killed every remaining resident.  Vieques was then left uninhabited by humanity for 300 years, interrupted by a few British, French, and Spanish attempts to set up forts or destroy each other's efforts.

From 1823 into the 1900s, Vieques was used by the Spanish and French to grow sugar.  English-speaking people of African origin, from nearby islands, were kept in slavery or the nearest thing to it, and forced to grow the sugar cane.  They revolted in 1864 and 1874, and in the 1915 Sugar Strike.  The United States took Puerto Rico from the Spanish in 1898 and made residents U.S. citizens in 1917.  The depression of the 1930s, together with two hurricanes in 1932, brought on harder times than ever.

In 1939 the United States bought 26,000 of the 30,000 acres of land on Vieques from big sugar plantation owners.  Living on that land were 10,000 to 12,000 workers who also raised crops to feed themselves.  The U.S. Navy gave families $30 and one day's notice before bulldozing houses.  Most people were left without means of subsistence, but many stubbornly refused to leave the island.

Carlos Prieta Ventura, a 51-year-old Viequense fisherman, says his father was 8-years-old in 1941 when the Navy told his family their house would be bulldozed whether or not they accepted the $30.  Ventura says he has always resisted the Navy's efforts to force people off the island.

From 1941 to 2003, the U.S. military flew planes from aircraft carriers based on the main island of Puerto Rico dropping bombs over Vieques.  Bombs "rained down," and you could feel the ground shake within the base, as one U.S. veteran told CNN.  Bombs fell at all hours, all day, all week, all year, amounting to approximately a trillion tons of ordnance, much of which (some 100,000 items) lies unexploded on land and in the sea.  Vieques was systematically poisoned by heavy metals, napalm, Agent Orange, depleted uranium, and who knows what all else that the Navy has not announced publicly -- having falsely denied using depleted uranium before finally admitting to it, and having dumped barrels of unknown toxic substances into the clear blue Caribbean.

The arsenic, lead, mercury, cadmium, and aluminum in the bombs are also found in hair samples of 80% of the people living on Vieques, who suffer at far higher rates than on the main island (and possibly anywhere else on earth) from cancer (30% higher than Puerto Rico), cirrhosis of the liver, kidney failure, hypertension (381%), diabetes (41%), birth defects, stillbirths, and miscarriages.

The impact of the U.S. occupation that began in 1941 was felt far more swiftly than cancer.  According to Ventura, some 15,000 troops were routinely set loose on Vieques looking for booze and women.  Women were dragged out of their homes and gang raped.  A boy was killed by gang rape.  Ventura says people had only a machete and a hole in the wall by the door where they could try to stab the Marines who would come to take women.  A dozen people were killed over the years directly by the U.S. weapons testing.  And the Navy banned fishermen from various areas, advising them to try food stamps instead.  Fishermen attempted civil resistance actions, and many were arrested during the 1970s, 80s, and 90s.

Lydia Ortiz, a Viequense who grew up in the small town of Esperanza, recalls the bombing:  "A lot of houses had their roofs falling in and everything as a result of the vibrations from the bombs for many years.  It was pretty nerve wracking because you never knew what was going to crash down in your house.  We lived quite close to where the bombing was happening.  When I was a child they were dropping bombs near me.  In the school, you could hear the bombing.  You couldn't even hear the teacher because of the noise.  People were afraid to go anywhere near the base or the beach so it was very difficult for many years.  It seems like just yesterday or only 5 or 6 years ago that the bombing stopped, even though it is really almost 10 years ago."

A celebration of the 10-year anniversary is indeed in order.  We must remember victories as they have remarkable power to motivate others around the world.

But the Navy's presence and the environmental disaster it created continue to afflict Vieques today.  The U.S. government has not cleaned up the poisons and bombs and continues to use practices that further endanger the people.  There is no bomb explosion chamber on the island.  The United States has disposed of what unexploded bombs it has disposed of by blowing them up, further spreading the contaminants that are killing the people of the island.

There is also no hospital on the island, few ferries to the island, few and overpriced airplanes, a handful of taxis and public vans, and very limited tourist facilities.  There is no college or university, and very few jobs of any kind.  Business licenses are issued in San Juan and require bribes.  Viequenses' families are ravaged by cancer, but also by illiteracy, unemployment, violent crime, and teen pregnancy.  All of the water -- like all electricity -- comes in a pipe from the main island.  Two of the residents said that the one resort on Vieques sometimes uses all the water.  Seven thousand Viequenses sued the U.S. government over their health problems, but the U.S. Supreme court refused to hear the case.

With very little land available for farming, Vieques, like all of Puerto Rico, imports almost all of its food.  Some people have become so desperate that they gather old munitions to sell for a little money to someone who will melt the metal for aluminum cans.  But heavy metals and depleted uranium endanger the metal gatherers and whoever later drinks from the cans.

Presidential candidate Obama wrote to the Governor of Puerto Rico in 2008: "We will closely monitor the health of the people of Vieques and promote appropriate remedies to health conditions caused by military activities conducted by the U.S. Navy on Vieques."  But that promise remains unfulfilled.

Robert Rabin Siegal of the Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques writes in a letter to President Barack Obama,

"Although I cannot claim the Navy and military toxics caused my cancer, you don't have to be a quantum physicist to understand how decades of exposure to heavy metals in the food chain, air, water and land, combined with the socio-economic pressures from the loss of two thirds of the island’s lands, would clearly contribute to high cancer rates.  The Navy dropped radioactive uranium projectiles here, we believe, in large quantities, in preparation for military actions in the Balkans and the Middle East.  The list of dangerous chemical components from munitions dropped on Vieques is extensive, as is the number of illnesses they cause.

"Mr. President: you received the Nobel Peace Prize; we demand peace for Vieques.  An island and people used to protect U.S. interests since WWII, forced to sacrifice its land, economic prosperity, tranquility and health, deserves at least the hope of peace for this and future generations."

". . . A handful of powerful US based corporations have pocketed most of the more than 200 million dollars spent on clean-up over the past decade.  We urge you to order technology transference to promote the creation of Puerto Rican and Viequense companies to carry out the clean-up of Vieques, thereby transforming that process into part of the economic reconstruction of the island as well as assuring community confidence in this crucial element in the healing of Vieques."

People anywhere in the world can take one minute to sign a petition to the Pentagon, Congress, and the White House in support of justice, at long last, for Vieques:

"I join the people of Vieques in demanding:

"Health Care -- Provide a modern hospital with cancer treatment facilities, early screening and timely treatment for all diseases.  Create a research facility to determine the relationship between military toxins and health.  Provide just compensation to people suffering poor health as a result of the Navy's activities.

"Cleanup -- Fund a complete, rapid cleanup of the land and surrounding waters, still littered by thousands of bombs, grenades, napalm, Agent Orange, depleted uranium and other explosives left by the Navy.  Cease the ongoing open detonation of unexploded ordnance.  Guarantee community participation in the cleanup; train Viequenses as managers, administrators, and scientists, and foster Viequense companies to do the work.

"Sustainable Development -- Support the Master Plan for Sustainable Development of Vieques which promotes agriculture, fishing, eco-tourism, small guest houses, housing, collective transportation, archaeology, and historic and environmental research, among other things.

"Demilitarization and Return of the Land -- Close the remaining military installations still occupying 200 acres of Vieques.  Return to the people of Vieques all land still under the control of the U.S. Navy and the federal government."

For extensive documentation, see the attachments below and others at this link.

Helen Jaccard is Chair of the Veterans For Peace -- Environmental Cost of War and Militarism Working Group.  She spent October, 2012 in Vieques doing research about the environmental and health effects of the military activities.  Her previous article about Sardinia, Italy can be found at http://www.warisacrime.org/sardinia .

David Swanson's books include "War Is A Lie." He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for http://rootsaction.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio.

The Future's So Much More Fun than the Past: How to Avoid the Bummer Myth

 

By John Grant


“The elite always has a Plan B, while people have no escape.”
            - Ahmad Saadawi


Washington Supports Venezuelan Opposition

 

Washington Supports Venezuelan Opposition

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

It's an open secret. Throughout Chavez's tenure, America supported opposition candidates. Quasi-government agencies did so. They're at it again now.

 

Chavez Laid to Rest

 

Chavez Laid to Rest

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

He died on March 5. Smart money says Obama killed him. His death was very suspicious. A previous article discussed it. 

 

Hopefully forensic evidence will prove what many people believe. 

 

True, He’s the First Black President But Obama’s the Worst President Ever

 

By Ron Ridenour


Yes, I mean it: the worst ever!


We’ve had James Monroe and his doctrine of supremacy over Latin America. We’ve had Theodore Roosevelt and his invasion of Cuba; Nixon, Reagan, Bush-Bush and their mass murder, and all the war crimes and genocide committed by most presidents. Yes, but we never had a black man sit on the white throne of imperialism committing war crimes.


A Nation Mourns

 

A Nation Mourns

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Venezuelans mourn their great loss. Visceral grief pervades the country. Chavez gave so much to so many. He cared. He showed it. He made a difference. He accomplished so much in 14 years.

 

The torch passes. On Friday, Nicolas Maduro was sworn in. He's acting president. New elections will follow in about 30 days. Maduro vowed to continue what Chavez began.

Chavez: Visionary Leader Extraordinaire

 

Chavez: Visionary Leader Extraordinaire 

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

He and Castro matter most. They don't come any better. They transformed their countries responsibly. Doing so made the impossible possible. They did it against long odds. They won over hearts and minds.

 

In Loving Memory: Hugo Chavez Frias 1954-2013

By Cindy Sheehan

 
At Miraflores in Caracas: January 2006



 
 
Hugo Chavez Frias, Presente!
Cindy Sheehan
 
A wonderful human being has passed.

What do I do when I am angry, happy, or sad? I write.

Back in 2004, shortly after my son, Casey, was killed in Iraq, a grief counselor advised me to write a letter to my son in a journal every night. I filled up three journals in the terrible months after his death. I often wrote at his grave and those journals did help me deal with the unspeakable loss.

Today, I write from a great well of sadness, but not just for me, for the world. My dear friend in peace and justice, President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, just lost his fierce and valiant battle with cancer.

Many people know about Hugo Chavez, the president, and constant thorn in the side to El Imperio the meddlesome and harmful Empire to the north. But I want to eulogize Chavez the man I knew.

He was my dear friend and comrade in a way where we were united in the struggle for peace and economic justice and equality. It’s not like I could text him, or we would chat about current events, but whenever I had the privilege to be with him, warmth radiated from his heart and I was able to connect with him in very real and human ways. Compared to the palpable realness of Chavez, most of the US politicians I have met with are walking and talking ice sculptures.

The first time I met him in Caracas was in early 2006 at the World Social Forum. I had been invited to sit on the stage while he gave a speech to those gathered there from around the world. He introduced me as, “Señora Esperanza,” “Mrs. Hope,” in contrast to his nickname for George Bush: “Señor Peligro,” “Mr. Danger.” However, our brother, Hugo Chavez, was the one who gave us much hope.

I have met and interviewed so many people in Venezuela whose lives were immeasurably improved by the vision and dedication of Hugo Chavez. How can one put a price on going from being illiterate to being able to read? A 65-year-old woman told me her life was transformed by the adult literacy program. It really made me appreciate the fact that I have always known how to read (it seems). What would I have done without my best friends, my books? Wow. I guess Capitalism would tally the cost of educating one student and, of course education here in the US is now just another commodity, but the look of wonder in my Sister’s eyes was priceless!

Another woman showed me her perfect teeth in a huge grin. She told me that her teeth used to be so bad, that she would never smile before, but now, due to her new set of false teeth provided by the national dental program, she walks around grinning like a lunatic all day, which made me laugh with joy! Again, Capitalism would say: One set of false teeth equals X amount of dollars. I say, being able to smile after years of embarrassing humiliation is worth more than any amount of gold.

Those are just two stories out of millions and my heart breaks with sorrow for the People of the Bolivarian Revolution that must be even more devastated than I, today.

I witnessed Chavez the proud “abuelo” (grandpa) once on a long flight from Caracas to Montevideo that I took with them. We chatted about out “nietos” (grandchildren) and felt a mutual connection there. I hugged my grandbabies a little harder today when I found out that Chavez died, because I know the wonderful connection that he had with his. My heart breaks for his children and his family, and his brother, Adan, who seemed to be constantly at his side.

It’s just a very hard day.

I was with Chavez in Montevideo, Uruguay, for the presidential inauguration of Felipé Mujica. I was amazed that Chavez could just plunge into the crowds and interact with the people without a phalanx of bodyguards, anti-aircraft missiles and assault weapons. His security detail was prepared, but not paranoid like up here in the Empire. Someone who is universally loved by the 99% need have no fear. Chavez had no fear.

Chavez’s courageous battle against the Empire was more successful than his battle against cancer. Chavez was able to inspire more leftist leaders in Latin America and my friends in Cuba will always be grateful for the friendship between Venezuela and Cuba. The struggle against neo-liberalism and the Empire has been far advanced under Chavez’s inspirational leadership.

This is a sad day and I am angry that the so-called leaders of my own country made Chavez’s life a virtual hell, but he survived one coup attempt and the many other attempts through the media and financing of his opposition to undermine the revolution.

When in the hell is this country going to mind it’s own goddamn business and realize that not every drop of oil belongs to our oil companies and not every democratically elected leader must pledge undying obsequiousness to the Evil Empire?

I am immensely proud of Chavez and I am immensely proud of the people of Venezuela who have worked with him to improve their lives and because they really understand the concept of “national sovereignty.”

I know the upper echelons of The Empire think they have won a victory today (if it didn’t give Chavez his cancer in the first place—don’t even start and say I am a “conspiracy theorist” everyone knows that the Empire is fully capable of it, they couldn’t kill him, or depose him, outright) and all the oil will now flow back into the hands of our big oil companies, but The Empire underestimates the people of Venezuela and their dedication to the Bolivarian Revolution and love for their leader, Hugo Chavez.

As we sorrowfully say, “vaya con la paz” to our Brother, Hugo Chavez, let’s also say, “long live the revolution.”

Chavez will never die if we honor his vision and continue our struggle against The Empire.
US Presidents come and go with destructive, yet boring and predictable regularity and are numbered for History's convenience when they should all have had black and white striped clothing and be behind bars. However, it is my belief that Hugo Chavez Frias will go down in World History as one of the most significant figures of the early 21st Century and his passing is a tragic and profound loss to us all, as his life was an inspiration.

A-dios, Señor Esperanza.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart and soul. Your light is far too bright to be extinguished by something as cruel as death and your light shines in all of us whose hearts burn with revolution and love for all the people.

My life and our world are far better today because of your life and the struggle continues until victory! 

Cindy Sheehan
 
 
 

READ THE TRANSCRIPT OF
CINDY'S 2010 INTERVIEW OF
PRESIDENT CHAVEZ

CLICK HERE

Chavez Returns

 

Chavez Returns

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

He's home. He arrived on February 18 at 2:30AM Caracas time. He announced his arrival via Twitter.

 

"I have returned to the Venezuelan homeland," he said. "Thank God!! Thank you beloved people! I will continue the treatment here." 

 

Chavez Shows Clinical Improvement

 

Chavez Shows Clinical Improvement

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Venezuelans welcome good news. They pray for Chavez's full recovery. News from Havana is encouraging.

 

On January 14, The Havana Times headlined "Chavez Is Improving," saying:

 

Chavismo in Venezuela

 

Chavismo in Venezuela

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Chavez remains hospitalized. He's recovering from complicated cancer surgery. It's his fourth in 18 months.

 

His scheduled January 10 inauguration was postponed. Venezuelans turned out en masse. Tens of thousands gathered outside Caracas' Palacio de Miraflores. It's Chavez's official workplace.

 

Chavez Inauguration Postponed

 

Chavez Inauguration Postponed

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

On January 8, Vice President Nicolas Maduro addressed National Assembly Speaker Diosdado Cabello. He said Chavez:

 

Guatemalans Resist Invasion of North American Mines

By Helen Jaccard and Gerry Condon

In November we traveled to Guatemala to study Spanish and learn about the lives of the indigenous Maya people.  Guatemala is an amazingly beautiful country, with countless mountains and valleys, and 22 volcanoes, the most in Central America. The people are very friendly and good humored. Traditional Mayan culture, mostly observed in the colorful dress of the Mayan women, lives side by side with modernity. Picture a traditionally dressed indigenous peasant woman tending her cattle and sheep on a hillside pasture. Now watch her pull a cell phone out of her skirt to call her children.

Bolivarianism in Venezuela

 

Bolivarianism in Venezuela

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

With or without Chavez, it's institutionalized. It greatly improved the lives of most Venezuelans. It's become part of the national culture. It won't wane and die.

 

It reflects Simon Bolivar's vision. He defeated the Spanish, liberated half of South America, and advocated using national wealth responsibly, fairly and equitably.

Venezuela's Future

 

Venezuela's Future

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

The New York Times debated it. Nine views were presented. Mark Weisbrot co-directs the Center for Economic and Policy Research. He's fair-minded and forthright.

 

He was outnumbered eight to one. Times style debates avoid evenhanded exchanges.

Chavez Struggles to Recover

 

Chavez Struggles to Recover

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

A previous article said major surgery for any reason is daunting. Four times for the same illness in 18 months present special challenges.

 

Chavez struggles to recover. He hopes he's cancer free. He's undergoing difficult post-operative procedures. Reports suggest he's proceeding on track. Internal bleeding and respiratory infection problems were corrected. More on his current status below.

Bolivarianism Wins Big

 

Bolivarianism Wins Big

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

For millions in Venezuela, the region and beyond, Chavez is bigger than life. He's heroic. 

 

He's important to sustain Bolivarian values. He's a legend in his own time. He's a role model for other leaders. 

 

Complex Chavez Recovery

 

Complex Chavez Recovery

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Major surgery for any reason is daunting. Imagine four times in 18 months for the same illness. On December 11, Chavez underwent it to remove cancerous tissue.

 

Malignancy reappeared weeks after examination revealed he was cancer free. Post-surgical chemotherapy, radiation, and other treatment now follows. 

 

Uncertainty about Chavez's Health

 

Uncertainty about Chavez's Health

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

On December 8, Chavez announced he'll return to Cuba. More surgery is needed. It'll be his fourth for cancer. Tests after his October reelection found no reoccurrence. 

 

Ending the US War in Afghanistan? It Depends on the Meaning of the Word ‘War’

 

By Dave Lindorff


It is amazing to watch politicians trying to weasel their way around their promises. President Obama is providing us with a good illustration of the art.


December 1st Is Military Abolition Day

I've been fond of December 1st ever since I was born on it.  I later found out that it had been on a December 1st that Rosa Parks had sat down and refused to stand up or move to the back of that racist bus in Montgomery.  Later still I found out about a December 1st that had happened still earlier.

It was on December 1, 1948, that President José Figueres Ferrer of Costa Rica abolished the military of Costa Rica.  He didn't "cut" its projected dream budget by a teeny fraction that sounded bigger if multiplied by 10 and announced as a reduction "over 10 years."  He didn't cut it in the ordinary sense of actually cutting it.  He abolished it.  Costa Rica put its military in a museum and a museum in its military headquarters.  It turned its military bases into schools.  It turned its military budget into a fund for useful projects.  In 1986, President Oscar Arias Sánchez declared December 1st the Día de la Abolición del Ejército (Military Abolition Day).

Without a military, Costa Rica has not been a perfect paradise on earth, but it has avoided invading or being invaded by other countries.  It has avoided military coups and civil wars and CIA interventions (although a coup in Honduras in 2009 involved flying the president to Costa Rica). 

Costa Rica is not rich, but its people have a higher life expectancy than we do in the United States.  Costa Rica provides a social safety net and of course provides everyone healthcare, spending less per capita than we do but providing superior healthcare than is provided by the wealthy United States.  Costa Rica is ranked by the Happy Planet Index as the #1 best place to live for happiness.  The United States comes in at #150 out of 178.  U.S. elections have 50% turnout and somewhere around 98% disgust.  Costa Rican elections have 90% turnout and enthusiastic participation.  And Costa Rica's way of life is far more sustainable than ours, one of the most sustainable in the world.

It's not a coincidence that our super wealthy country spends as much as all other nations combined on war preparations and ranks pitifully low in measures of health, education, environmentalism, happiness, and well-being.  We imagine that without a big military other nations would attack ours.  But why would they?  Simply because ours frequently attacks others?  That's a projection, not an observation. 

We imagine that without the largest military ever seen, we couldn't attack other nations for their own good and the good of the world.  But the tradeoff we've chosen is not one of sacrificing for the world's safety.  If the United States didn't spend $1 trillion every year on war preparation and war, it could spend that money on its own people and the world's.  We could have turned Afghanistan into Costa Rica over the past decade.  We could have built schools and hospitals and green infrastructure.  Does anyone seriously imagine that the people of Afghanistan or Pakistan or Yemen would hate the U.S. government more if it bought them a better life rather than raining its hated missiles from the sky?

Libertarians in the United States may not want to help the world, or even our own country, but they at least want to stop investing in killing.  Liberals, on the other hand, want to keep the war preparations money flowing while taxing millionaires to help pay for it.  Every "progressive" group in the United States right now is demanding that we protect what's left of our safety net, tax millionaires and billionaires, and (through careful silence) leave military spending right where it is or where it's headed.  Costa Rica has made progress beyond the imagining of our progressives, and it hasn't done so through progressive taxation.  Costa Rica has chosen not to make large-scale murder its primary public purpose, or any purpose at all. 

In the United States, peace groups sometimes mark the International Day of Peace.  But virtually everyone ignores Military Abolition Day.  It's time we changed that.

--

Venezuelan Electoral Postmortems

 

Venezuelan Electoral Postmortems

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Chavistas celebrated Sunday's victory. Bolivarianism triumphed over exploitive neoliberal harshness. In open, free, and fair elections, Venezuelans got to choose. It's constitutionally mandated. Every vote counts equally. 

 

Shooting to Kill Immigrants on the Mexican Border: WTF? A Border Agent Fired First at Immigrant Smugglers?

 

By Dave Lindorff


Sometimes it takes a small tragedy to call attention to expose a much bigger one.


The small tragedy happened when Nicholas Ivey, a US Border Patrol agent, was shot dead on a dark night in rough terrain along the border with Mexico in Arizona, a state that has been obsessing about illegal border crossers coming into the US from Mexico seeking jobs.

Worldwide Protests on Friday, August 24th at GM sites and U.S. and Colombian Embassies

International Call to Action:
Support the General Motors-Colombia Hunger Strikers

Thirteen members of ASOTRECOL, the Association of Injured and Ex-Workers of General Motors Colombia, launched a hunger strike on Wednesday, August 1st outside the U.S. embassy to demand that GM justly compensate, provide medical care, and reintegrate over 200 workers who were fired after suffering work-related injuries. As proof of their commitment, the workers have sewn their mouths shut and plan to carry out the hunger strike to the death. August 24th marks the 24th day of their to-the-death hunger strike and 387 days of a tent occupation in front of the U.S. embassy in Bogotá. General Motors walked out of negotiations on August 6th and has since refused to return to the table. A few days ago Colombian authorities shut off the electrical supply to the hunger strikers' camp, leaving them without light and necessary medical equipment.
 
Protests organized for August 24th
 
Detroit: GM Headquarters, 300 Renaissance Center --- 12pm
 
Washington D.C.: Capitol Hill --- 12pm

New York: Colombian Consulate --- 12pm
 
Bogotá: U.S. Embassy, 24/7
 
São Paulo: Colombian Embassy
 
Hanover: Colombian Embassy
 
 
SPONSORS (as of 8/22): Witness for Peace; United Steel Workers; São José Metal Workers Union, Brazil (Sindicato dos Metalurgicos de São José dos Campos e Região); International Automotive Workers Council (Internationaler Automobilarbeiterratschlag); Service Employees International Union 32 BJ; Occupy Wall Street Labor Outreach Committee; South East Michigan Jobs with Justice; Washtenaw Community Action Team; Graduate Employees’ Organization, AFT-Michigan, Local 3550; Lecturer Employees' Organization, AFT-Michigan, Local 6244; Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice; Moratorium Now!; U.S./Cuba Labor Exchange; Autoworkers Caravan; Organization for a Free Society; Solidarity; International Action Center
 
ASOTRECOL website: www.asotrecol.com

Support WarIsACrime



Donate.








Tweet your Congress critters here.


Advertise on this site!




Facebook      Twitter





Our Stores:























Movie Memorabilia.



The log-in box below is only for bloggers. Nobody else will be able to log in because we have not figured out how to stop voluminous spam ruining the site. If you would like us to have the resources to figure that out please donate. If you would like to receive occasional emails please sign up. If you would like to be a blogger here please send your resume.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.