Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Cuba : Only Country to Achieve UN Millennium Goals

Given that Cuba was already tops in the region on most of these indicators, maybe this should not come as a surprise. But the further progress in recent years is worth nothing. For example, the % of of population considered "undernourished" in Cuba has gone from 18% in 1996 to 3%. Infant mortalitY has been halved since 1991, the amount of protected environmental area has tripled and CO2 emmissions have dorpped a third...

From the ACN

Havana, June 27
President of Latin American Parliament (PARLACEN), Julio Palacios, pointed out on Monday that Cuba has fulfilled its UN Millennium Goals on education, healthcare and infant mortality.

“Cuba is the only country in the Caribbean or Latin American that has achieved most of the Millennium Goals,” stated Palacios at PARLACEN summit underway in Guatemala City.

The meeting, which gathers lawmakers from America, Europe and Africa, aims to analyze the contributions of legislative bodies in the fulfillment of those goals, reported the Prensa Latina news agency.

The UN objectives aim to reduce extreme poverty and starvation, diminish infant mortality, fight against the spread of AIDS, and guarantee environmental sustainability.

PARLACEN’s president pointed out that only a few Latin American countries have made progress in this regard, while others have taken steps backwards since 2000.

According to PARLACEN statistics, there are over 200 million poor people in Latin America and the Caribbean – 96 million of them living in abject poverty.

This is the least equitable region around the world due to the inability of governments to deal with unfair income distribution. This situation has even worsened because of unemployment.

Palacios announced that at the summit, PARLACEN will present a proposal for a strategic alliance among governments, parliaments, local legislative bodies and society to achieve the Millennium Goals.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Mexico's Fox: The forgotten Six Years

BY NIDIA DIAZ —Granma International staff writer—

MEXICO’s six-year presidential mandate is about to conclude; hence, Vicente Fox is in his final moments as that nation’s leader, even though the official handover of power to the new president is not until December 1.

Whatever the electoral outcome this July 2, what is certain is that the former governor of Guanajuato is reaching the end of his presidential term, and that practically speaking, there is little left to do or undo from now until the end of the year, within the extended parentheses that separate him from his successor’s declarations.

The balance left by the Fox government could not be more negative. He will go down in history as one of the most innocuous, lacking in initiative presidents that the nation has had to endure, truly frustrating millions of voters who elected him with the vain illusion of change with respect to previous governments, when he not only produced more of the same but worse.

During his campaign he promised an economic model "in which human beings and the development of their essential qualities should be the goal;" an economic growth of 7%; the annual creation of 1.3 million jobs, and increased purchasing power for all Mexicans.

The reality was something else. Growth was only 1.8%, and the unemployment rate rose quickly, causing 1.2 million Mexicans to immigrate every year to the United States, a higher figure than historically, and almost the equivalent of the number of jobs he promised to create.

For its part, the World Bank itself has stated that studies demonstrate that poverty in Mexico remains at unacceptable levels, given that 53% of its 104 million inhabitants are poor, and 24% are considered "extremely poor."

The Fox mandate did not resolve any of the most serious economic and social problems accumulating nationwide and in the states, which have intensified and provoked to date a wave of protests and social movements, many of them repressed by the federal government with unprecedented violence, resulting in deaths and injuries, such as the recent teachers’ strike in Oaxaca.

His much-heralded electoral "trump card:" a promise to solve the dramatic problem of undocumented immigrants in the United States, turned into a resounding failure, and his failed entreaties to George W. Bush only resulted in Washington’s hardening of its position, the criminalization of Mexican immigrants, and construction of the notorious border wall, along with increasingly vicious persecution of Mexican immigrants, against whom even death squads have been created.

In a display of servility unprecedented throughout the long and heroic history of the homeland of Benito Juárez, Fox went so far as to congratulate Bush on sending Yankee National Guard troops to their shared border with the purpose of hunting Mexicans. The child heroes of Chapultepec must have turned over in their graves!

It is a fact that the outgoing president degraded as nobody else Mexico’s traditional foreign policy, one of that country’s most valued treasures, turning it into a jumbled appendage of the imperialist dictates of Bush, whom he scurried to serve whenever the occasion arose.

One example that the Mexican people will never forget or forgive is the harm done to the historic and close ties of friendship with Cuba, which were tossed aside in a completely premeditated way, following the plan charted by the White House for its agent, Jorge Castañeda, whom Fox designated as his foreign minister, thus deriding Mexico and scandalizing its citizens, including the governing party itself, many of whose members did not accept the presence of an open servant to a foreign government as head of the ministry of foreign affairs.

That has been the disastrous balance of this mandate: unbridled corruption, shameless servility to Bush, frustration on all sides, attempts to privatize oil and electric power, more poverty in the rural areas, the loss of Mexico’s prestigious role in the international arena... It was Vicente Fox who wrote the shameful pages of the lost six-year period, and the Mexican people are not going to forget that.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Cuban Exile: We plotted attacks on Cuba

Pepe Hernandez, current President of the Cuban-American National Foundation (CANF - the 'mainstream' Cuban exile group in the US), has been named as the leader of a clandestine group that bought explosives and vessals as part of a plan to overthrow the Cuban Goverment. The source is reliable - an ex CANF Board member, who implicates much of the top CANF past and present leadership.

All I can say is wow. Wow. Let's see how the press treats the story of a terrorist heading up one of the most influential groups in America.


A former board member of the Cuban American National Foundation says he and other CANF leaders created a paramilitary group to carry out destabilizing acts in Cuba and do away with Cuban ruler Fidel Castro.

Jose Antonio Llama, known as Toñin, told El Nuevo Herald that the arsenal to carry out these plans included a cargo helicopter, 10 ultralight radio-controlled planes, seven vessels and abundant explosive materials.

''We were impatient with the survival of Castro's regime after the fall of the Soviet Union and the socialist camp,'' said Llama, a key financial backer of the plot in the early 1990s. ``We wanted to accelerate the democratization of Cuba using any possible means to achieve it.''

The plans failed after Llama and four other exiles were arrested in Puerto Rico in 1997 on charges of conspiracy to assassinate Castro during the Ibero-American Summit on Margarita Island, Venezuela. A jury acquitted them after a federal judge threw out one of the defendants' self-incriminating statements.
The Cuban government has long claimed CANF planned armed attacks on the island, but up until now, none of its claims have been documented. Llama has been handing out pamphlets in Miami detailing the purported plot. On Wednesday, Granma -- Cuba's government newspaper -- published a story on the pamphlets.
''This is the truth -- The only thing I have left at this point in life is the truth,'' said Llama, 75. ``I am asking for what's due to me, nothing more and nothing less, to take it to bankruptcy court. Where are the vessels and planes I financed with my money? Where did they end up? Who has the original titles?''
Llama showed El Nuevo Herald financial records used to buy the equipment.

Llamas paid Nautical Sports $869,811. The purchase of the seven vessels equipped with satellite radio and phones, including the Midnight Express fast boat, was guaranteed through this front corporation, created in 1993, he said. That 40-foot motorboat was meant to take Mas Canosa to Cuba if Castro died or there was a sudden change of power, he added.
Llama remembers that the project started to take shape during CANF's annual meeting in Naples in June 1992. He said businessman Miguel Angel Martinez of Puerto Rico proposed the idea of ''doing more than lobbying in Washington'' to overthrow Castro. About 20 of the foundation's most trusted leaders agreed and designated Jose ''Pepe'' Hernandez, the current CANF president, and Mas Canosa to choose the armed group.

''It was agreed that since this was a delicate matter, details about the paramilitary group would be discussed in petit comite [a small committee],'' Llama said. ``At the meeting that board members and trustees held the following year [1993] in Puerto Rico, the chosen ones started to meet and consider everything that needed to be bought.''
To buy explosives, the group used businessman Raul Lopez, an anti-Castro exile involved in infiltration operations in Cuba in the 1960s, Llama said. Lopez owned a company authorized to purchase explosives to open up sewage canals for South Florida's sugar industry.

Monday, June 19, 2006

UNESCO Literacy Prize Goes to Cuba

This is the kind of dangerous activity Cuba is promoting in the hemisphere. It's no fluke. The Cuban Revolution abolished illiteracy as one of its first tasks. Later libraries and schools sprouted like mushrooms. Today Cuban children score nearly twice as high as the average Latin/Carribean child on UN tests. And soon Bolivia and Ecuador may join Venezuela as nations to take the first step in creating a culture of inclusion - thanks to this program. Meanwhile in the US, studies show about a quarter of our adult population is functionally illiterate.

And before I hear anyone say Cubans can't read what they want, read this report from the American Library Association. They found the supposed banned books were on the shelves or checked out. They found 'independent librarians' to be neither independent nor librarians. They found a country that valued highly books and access to information, despite the embargo's restraints.

The 2006 UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize is awarded to Cuba's "Yo, Si Puede" literacy program (the Youth and Adult Literacy and Education Chair of the Latin American and Caribbean Pedagogical Institute of the Republic of Cuba (IPLAC)) for its work “to advance individual and social potential through innovative teaching methods with successful outcome in more than 15 countries, notably Ecuador and Venezuela. Its programme has been adapted to, and in some times replicated in, different parts of the world, and in a variety of social, cultural and ethnic contexts. The reward also recognizes work carried out in designing a complex Evaluation Model of variables, indicators and instruments to monitor and assess the impact of these literacy programmes on the newly literates and their human environment as well as measuring their individual development. Audiovisual and new information and communication technologies have been used to extend the reach and the efficiency of teaching material, including post-literacy material, developed for the programme. The post-literacy materials is designed to inculcate and develop reading comprehension and writing proficiency, enlarge the vocabulary of the new literates, facilitate reflection and debate and develop oral expression. The programme also broaches subjects related to the family, the environment, hygiene and health linked to the socio-cultural, economic and political context of the country in which it is implemented.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Bolivia to Spend $6.8B to Fight Poverty

Bolivian Planning and Development minister Carlos Villegas shows a poverty map of Bolivia at a meeting in La Paz

To achieve a goal you have to have a plan. Bolivia, following the lead of Venezuela, has shown reducing poverty is nothing more than a a political decision. There are plenty of jobs to do in the Andes, and plenty of people who need jobs.

Associated Press
By Fiona Smith

Bolivian President Evo Morales' leftist government says it will fight poverty, hunger and homelessness in South America's poorest nation by investing $6.8 billion through 2010, much of it with ambitious public works projects.

The funding will come chiefly from Bolivia's recently nationalized natural gas wealth, with international lenders and foreign investment also important sources.

The development plan, announced Friday, would significantly boost the state's role in the economy, creating jobs and delivering more basic public services such as subsidized meals for school children and greater access to potable water.

Bolivia will be "dismantling the neoliberal policies that have impregnated Bolivia in recent decades in order to build a social and communal state to live well," Carlos Villegas, the planning and development minister, told a crowd of dignitaries at the presidential palace that included foreign diplomats and representatives of the country's indigenous poor.

Although Villegas didn't mention Venezuela by name, many of the social projects he mentioned are similar to programs created by that country's leftist president, Hugo Chavez.

The administration already has about 60 percent to 70 percent of the funds it plans to invest over the next few years in projects beginning with housing and highway construction and including the creation of a metallurgy industry and the retooling of Bolivia's electrical grid, Villegas told The Associated Press.
With the heavy public investment, the government hopes to create 90,000 jobs per year and cut the current 8.4 percent unemployment rate by more than half by 2011.

Over the same period, it also wants to drop the poverty rate to just under 50 percent from the current 59 percent and close the gap between the rich and the poor.

Currently, the top 10 percent of Bolivians earn 25 times what the bottom 10 percent. The government seeks to reduce that to 21 times by 2011.

In the next five years, the government also wants to nearly double Bolivia's gross domestic product growth rate from 4.1 percent in 2005 to 7.6 percent, reduce deficit spending from 3.1 percent to 2.1 percent, be self-sufficient in agricultural production, bring electricity and gas to hundreds of thousands of families, create a state development bank and build more roads.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Cuba: US House Gains Votes on Ending Embargo

Congressman Rangel offered his traditional amendment to end funding for the enforcement of the whole embargo. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) strongly supported the amendment, pointing out that “the desired outcome by the proponents of the embargo will not be achieved [and] in the process of forcing the embargo, the United States is paradoxically curtailing the freedom of its own citizens and the human rights and the very things for which the government criticizes Cuba.”

“America has to do what works” Congressman Rangel passionately stated. “The embargo is not working any kind of way, and the meanness of it all, to deny Americans an opportunity to visit their families in Cuba , or to restrict it to once every three years…is not the American way of life.”

Although both members spoke strongly against the decades old embargo, the amendment was defeated 183 - 245. But Congressman Rangel gained ground; last year the vote lost 169-250. To see how your member voted this year, log onto: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2006/roll284.xml.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

El Salvador death squads targeting criminals: Church

El Salvador seems to be slippin into past bad habits. The cycle is tragic. Civil war refugees to Los Angeles get gangsterized, imprisoned and now are being hunted down "systematically" by groups of killers. Talk about the reverbarations of war, which the we fueled immensely. Talk about human rights.

A spike in the number of murders of gang members and criminals in El Salvador is raising concern that resurgent death squads are carrying out "social cleansing," the Catholic Church said on Thursday.

Last year, 3,812 people were murdered in the Central American nation where a civil war between Marxist guerrillas and the right-wing government raged from 1980 to 1992, up from 2,993 killed in 2004.

Church lawyers said in a report that the killings "systematically" targeted criminals, and recalled the brutal murders of rebels and sympathizers carried out by right-wing death squads during the war.

"The systematic nature of the cases leads one to believe that they have been committed to sow terror and carry out social cleansing," the report said.

The Church did not say who might be responsible for the killings, but during the conflict it was mostly members of the security forces.

In recent years, El Salvador and neighboring Guatemala and Honduras have suffered a surge in crime carried out by Hispanic street gangs originally formed in Los Angeles in the 1980s.

In April, El Salvador's police chief said regional governments could wipe out the tattooed street mobs in two months by treating them like opponents in a war.

US-Andean trade deal 'to hurt developing countries'

Maryian Alowo | Kampala, Uganda
15 June 2006 04:46
Mail and Guardian

The move by the United States to sign free-trade agreements (FTAs) with the Andean countries of Peru, Colombia and Ecuador will harm thousands of small farmers, Oxfam has warned.

The agreements will block access to affordable medicines and favour foreign investors, says Oxfam in a report titled Songs of the Sirens it released on Wednesday. The report outlines the negative effects of the proposed agreement.

"The US is demanding concessions that could affect the sustainability of development policies and weaken the ongoing process of integration with neighbouring countries,” Oxfam says.

The report says although negotiations with Ecuador have been temporarily suspended, the agreement with Colombia is awaiting final executive approvals and the Peru agreement, already signed by both countries, will be considered by the Peruvian Congress in the coming days and in the US Congress in the coming months.

“Developing countries have been enchanted by the appeal of free-trade agreements, but, much like the song of the sirens, this attraction is ultimately self-destructive,” says Stephanie Weinberg, trade policy adviser for Oxfam. “The benefits that an FTA offers Peru, Colombia and Ecuador will be far outweighed by the negative impact of agricultural dumping, harsh patent rules and deregulated foreign investments.”

According to the report, Oxfam believes that the Peru and Colombia agreements on agriculture, intellectual property and investment rules would harm the development of these countries.

“In agriculture, the agreements would dismantle safeguard mechanisms that are vital for food security and the livelihoods of small farmers, while making no attempt to address the unfair dumping of American overproduction,” Weinberg says. “The livelihoods of a quarter of the population of these countries, especially the poorest in rural areas, depend on agriculture for their livelihoods.”

He adds: “The FTAs pry open the markets of Peru and Colombia without any consideration for the damaging effects of dumped, cheap, subsidised American products.”

On intellectual property, the report says the US has succeeded in extending pharmaceutical patents beyond 20 years, which goes well beyond agreements made at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

“As a consequence, medicine prices in Peru will increase by almost 10% in the first year of the FTA and 100% after 10 years. Colombia will have to spend an extra $940-million a year to buy more expensive medicines and nearly six million people will lose access to medicines,” says Weinberg. “Trade could be the engine to pull millions out of poverty, but the winners of this agreement are American and international companies.”

He adds: “In the Andean countries where half the population lives in poverty, this agreement will actually reduce access to affordable medicines and stifle opportunities for development.”

The US has started concentrating on bilateral agreements because the WTO’s Doha development round is deadlocked and talks on the Free Trade Area of the Americas have stalled.

Oxfam says the US is using these new bilateral deals to force poorer countries to give up a lot more than they would at the WTO.

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Miami School Board Bans Cuba Book

The bullying tactics of the hard liner Cubans in Miami is nothing new. Beyond the dozens of bombings and threats of bombing to shut up people they don't like, Cubans have long used censorship and coercion to rid their city of insufficiently anti-Castro music, art and books. In Miami, one always had to be very brave to stand against the hard liners. It appears that pressure was too much for these "Hispanic" Board members.

If you don't believe me, listen to School Board Member Robert Ingram who said threats from the exile community left him thinking board members "might find a bomb under their automobiles" if they voted to keep the book. "There's a passion of hate," Ingram said. "I can't vote my conscience without feeling threatened -- that should never happen in this community any more."

By Emilio San Pedro
BBC News, Miami

Educational authorities in the US city of Miami have voted in favour of removing a controversial book about Cuba from the city's school libraries. The book sparked protests from some in the Cuban exile community, but its removal could lead to a legal battle.

The Miami Dade School board voted six to three in favour of removing the 32-page geography book A Visit to Cuba from public school libraries.

It follows months of campaigning by Cuban exiles to have it removed.

They say it portrays an idealised view of life in Cuba - and fails to reflect what they describe as the harsh conditions Cubans have lived under since Fidel Castro came to power in 1959.
However, the American Civil Liberties Union has already reacted to the move by describing it as a flagrant act of censorship which violates the US Constitution. They say they are going to launch a legal appeal against the ban to force the school board to put the book back in school libraries.

Like so many of these issues relating to Cuban politics in Miami, the vote was divided along ethnic lines - with Hispanic board members voting in favour of the ban and all others against.

But not all Cubans in Miami support the ban.

Some who spoke in favour of it remaining on the shelves accused conservative Cuban exiles of becoming the mirror image of the totalitarian system in Cuba they oppose.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Cuban Power and Blackouts

On a day that the Cubans declared a permanent end to summer power blackouts, the world's press is instead focused on the supposed purposeful cutting of electricity and water supplies to the US Interests Section in Havana

What is interesting is the prominence given the story by our Government. The State Dept. website featured the Cuba "story" first on its website and a statement was carefully crafted to link the "bullying" to the odd public harassment of so-called dissidents. The mainstream Spanish and English media were eager to parrot this crap all over even before today's Cuban response. "A deepening of the diplomatic crisis" related to the billboard affair, they pretend to know. Amazing shit.

Well, it turns out that it is all a big "shameless lie," according to the Cubans. The power outage was linked to the recent Tropical Storm. A front page Granma piece said: In fact there were a large number of power failures in the city of Havana and throughout the country; one of them occurred along the underground 13,000-volt circuit Vedado2, which directly feeds the Interests Section offices, and one of the two channels that supplies electric power to the Anti-Imperialist Tribune, due to the adverse weather conditions

The motives of the obvious US shenanigans such should be clear to those who've been paying attention. With Bush in office, we immediately worsened the few ties (family visits, cultural), then begin paying and organizing "dissidents," then started playing with Visa distribution, then formed a "Transition" planning group, then put up the giant electronic message board... Now this. At first I wasn't sure I believed the Cuban line - that the US wants to provoke a crisis - but now I do. The Bush's have a special place for Castro in their heart, and are looking towards regime change.

If you think I'm overstating things, check out the fascinating detail in the El Nuevo Herald report. They report: "the United States Interests Section in Havana had given instructions on Friday to its personnel to begin destroying all non-essential documents," and "The sources who offered this information to El Nuevo Herald consider the destruction of documents in the U.S. diplomatic offices in Havana to be the prelude to an evacuation, or as a minimum, a preparation for one if necessary."

It is really pathetic. The US Interests Section is sitting there with a perfectly fine generator, while thousands in Havana are also without power and it goes and complains to the world's press that it is being harassed and specifically targeted. It goes further and runs accusations about car alarms being set on purpose outside diplomat's homes, about not being able to import cars, as well as petty vandalism (graffiti) and stone throwing. The implication apparently is that these were Cuban Government acts.

Friday, June 09, 2006

US Acts a Fool at OAS Assembly - and Loses to Venezuela

Mr. Zoelnick here is as evil as he looks. He's the #3 professional dick at the State Dept. the US sent down for an annual OAS summitt of Latin/Carribean Foreign Minishers.

A article written by former Nicaraguan Consul General to Canada, Pastor Valle-Garay, now a scholar at York University in Toronto. He details how the US' mission at this weeks OAS Assembly meeting in Santo Domingo - to accuse Venezuela and further intimidate potential opposition to US plans in the region - faltered tremendously:

BY PASTOR VALLE-GARAY , University of York

TORONTO, Canada.- It's classically typical of the George W. Bush administration: more lost than a homeless dog. One has only to look at what happened to the under secretary of state in the Dominican Republic this past week.

Robert Zoellick, leading his country's delegation, arrived ill-prepared at the 36th General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Santo Domingo. One would assume that a delegation leader would come to such events after thoroughly consulting with State Department experts. Not so.

Perhaps the issue is the OAS. Gringo proconsuls have traditionally attended the forum as if they were wearing the headdress of an arrogant Catholic archbishop. They would arrive and preach, and the servile flock would genuflect and vote in line with orders from the Vatican in Washington. Once the farce was concluded, masters and slaves would retire to
sip cocktails in the gringo's suite.

Things have changed. These days, Zoellick would barely say mass. Nobody is following his orders. Deaf ears to silly words. Perhaps it is because, in holding on to the last vestiges of their ignorant arrogance, Bush and company have not yet grasped our irreversible political changes. Our America is no longer the backyard of the White House. Period.

Perhaps it is because the State Department did not have the decency to warn the under secretary that Washington's negligence has cost it the miniscule support that it used to have in the hemisphere. Now Bush is as popular as a homeless dog.

Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. One could speculate ad nauseum. The reality is that Zoellick underestimated the intelligence and determination of delegates not to let themselves be trampled over by imperialist political maneuvers.

During his speech, Zoellick made a fool of himself, thus confirming Washington's abysmal ignorance regarding hemispheric issues and international diplomacy. The gringo agenda began to collapse with a loud crash when Zoellick wrongly assumed that Brazil and Argentina would block Venezuela's entry onto the UN Security Council. That backfired. Both
nations announced their unconditional support for Venezuela's candidacy.

Zoellick also underestimated the hemisphere's diplomats when he urged a condemnation of Venezuela. He accused President Hugo Chávez of interfering in the Peruvian elections. The forum categorically rejected Zoellick's nonsense. When they got no support, Zoellick and Peru withdrew their accusations. Ironically, the OAS refusal represents a resounding and unequivocal slap in the face to Washington's crude interventionism in the hemisphere.

Desperate after these defeats, Zoellick tried to convince Brazil, Argentina and other nations to criticize President Chávez' "illusion of populism" and his influence in the hemisphere. Very stupid. Zoellick crashed against a solid wall of opposition. In unmistakable and direct diplomatic language, Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Marín reminded Zoellick of "the importance of non-intervention."

Marín's statement made it clear that the OAS is not going to meddle in Venezuela's internal affairs. That was confirmed by the final resolution, which condemned all foreign intervention in the hemisphere. Without mentioning any particular country, the resolution is a subtle but obvious criticism of Washington's interventionism in Cuba, Venezuela,
Bolivia and Nicaragua.

Zoellick's audacity was further unmasked. The under secretary of state demanded that that OAS send "as soon as possible" an observer mission to Nicaragua to prevent the "old strongmen of corruption and communism who want to stay in power." According to Zoellick, Nicaragua needs "justice, transparence and direct and clear reports" regarding the upcoming November elections, when that Central American nation will elect its president and General Assembly representatives.

One of two possibilities: either the State Department misinformed Zoellick before he traveled to the Dominican Republic, or he was drunk when he made his demands. In a press conference in Managua, Patricio Fajardo, coordinator of the 33-member OAS election observer mission, stated this week that a group of eight technicians has been in Nicaragua since May 7 to monitor the elections. The head of the mission, Gustavo Fernández, also arrived there this week, accompanied by OAS special advisors; Nina Pacari, former Ecuadorian foreign minister; Ignacio Waker, of Chile; and Ana María Sanjuán, of Venezuela.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Peru and US Fail at Effort to Condemn Venezuela at OAS

Peru backs down from its efforts to condemn Chavez' alleged intervention

Miami Herald (Pablo Bachelet): The Organization of American States is wrapping up its annual General Assembly of 34 nations today as Peru backed down from its efforts to secure a condemnation of President Hugo Chavez' alleged intervention in its electoral affairs, diplomats said.

Although the initiative had enthusiastic US backing, few other Latin American nations wanted to snarl the OAS' General Assembly of foreign ministers with an intensely controversial issue that many feel needs to be worked out bilaterally.

"The declaration to condemn Venezuela has failed,'' Venezuela's envoy to the OAS, Jorge Valero, told The Miami Herald. "It didn't proceed because it was based on false allegations."

Peru demanded an OAS statement condemning foreign meddling after Chavez, who says he is leading a socialist revolution in favor of the poor, blasted Peru's President-elect Alan Garcia and current President Alejandro Toledo.

The assembly is expected to issue more than 100 statements and resolutions, but more than a dozen were still being drafted today as negotiators struggled to reconcile the often opposite positions adopted by the United States and Venezuela.

One of the most interesting things being presented is an anti-terrorist resolution Venezuela submitted intended to thwart the pending citizenship application to long-time terrorist Luis Posada Carriles. It says States should "prevent anyone who has participated in the planning, preparation, financing or commission of terrorist acts from obtaining safe haven, protection or naturalization in their territories for the purpose of preventing extradition." Despite the pontifications about harboring terrorists post 9/11, the US is against this common sense proposal.

Meanwhile the Herald also reports that Posada's defense team is planning on calling Sen John Kerry and Oliver North to testify that indeed Posada was on the US payroll during the dirty wars of Central America, where he was a critical gun and money runner for the US backed forces.

There's more: Information presented by Rep. Dennis Kucinich yesterday revealed the link between Posada and the current high US advisor to the death squads operating in the Interior Ministry of Iraq - Col. James Steele. Steele worked closely with Posada (according to Posada who bragged about it) working with and for the death squads in Nicaragua in the 80s where tens of thousands of innocents were killed. With such freinds in high places it is no surprise the preferential treatment Posada is receiving