Thursday, December 24, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Saturday, December 05, 2009
Friday, December 04, 2009
Thursday, December 03, 2009
Otto at Inca Kola News has been a lone wolf in the wilderness detailing Morales' miracle Bolivian economy. Now the respected Mark Weisbrot of CEPR weighs in.
WASHINGTON - December 3 - Bolivia's economic growth over the last four years has been higher than at any time in the last 30 years - with projected growth for 2009 the highest in the Western Hemisphere - due to a series of government initiatives in recent years that have helped Bolivia to cope with the impact of the world recession. This is one of the highlights of a new paper from the Center for Economic and Policy Research: "Bolivia: The Economy During the Morales Administration," by Mark Weisbrot, Rebecca Ray, and Jake Johnston. The paper looks at how Bolivia's economy has been able to progress despite a number of significant shocks, including falling remittances, declining foreign investment, the United States' revocation of trade preferences, serious bouts of political instability as a result of separatist political opposition movements, and recent declines in export prices and markets, along with other impacts of the global recession.
P.S. Otto got here first.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Still don't have it.
Our favorite neoliberal duo....
The International Monetary Fund and Interamerican Development Bank!
Yup, apparently doing exactly the opposite of what these neoliberal economist blowhards say is exactly what they always meant.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
What do you think these figures are more likely the result of, increasing coke trafficking or herculean police work?
Let's put these figures in some context to help you make up your mind. The amount Bolivian police confiscated in 2008 is nearly equal to the amount seized by Peruvian police in the same year, except Peru's estimated cocaine production is more than double that of Bolivia.
So how should we characterize Evo Morales' stance on cocaine? soft, hard, mild Swiss?
Here is a Morales quote the western press seems to be interpreting as Evo admitting failure in controlling trafficking:
“Lamentably, I, as a coca producer, have to tell the truth. The illegal price, the price of cocaine, is what regulates the price of coca. As long as it stays this way, illegal coca cultivations will keep mushrooming,”
Ok, let me explain what Evo is saying here to dumb journalists without one ounce of introspection.
Evo said the coca market is tied to the cocaine market. What Evo did not say here and assumes you understand (or perhaps they are omitting part of the quote?) is that the price of cocaine is set by how much white powder yuppies in the States snort each year. Which is to say, Evo just said the price of coca is set by gringos who couldn't even find Bolivia on a map. So maybe you should stop snorting coke, how about that?
But forget all that, we know Evo is a bad guy because he kicked out the US DEA. I mean those guys do everything they can to control drug trafficking, just look at Colombia.
So please, can we stop with this Morales=Cocaine nonsense? Or at least just stop passing off Dorian Medina's election campaign attack ads as journalism?
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Mary Anastasia O'Grady's Nov 22 column about Bolivias upcoming elections is full of inaccuracies and invective. Rather than respond point by point, we would like to point out three facts. In 2002 Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada received 22% of the vote and assumed the presidency at the head of an unstable coalition. His inability to respond to the crisis his policies brought about led to political unrest that culminated after 67 died when he authorized the use of lethal force on civilians. He resigned and fled the country and faces extradition charges. The US District Court of Southern Florida recently ruled that a case against Sanchez de Lozada for crimes against humanity and extrajudicial killings could move forward.
In December 2005, following constitutional procedures, Morales was elected with 54% of the vote, beating his closest rival by over 20 points, the most decisive election victory since the 1982 return to democracy. Since that time, over 100 international observers have monitored a recall election (Morales won 67% of the vote) and a constitutional referendum (which passed with 61%). There were few complaints of irregularities.
O'Grady should recognize Morales is an extremely popular president in the process of consolidating a weak state in a peaceful manner. The Morales administration has expressed interest in improving relations with the United States, which would serve long term goals of economic and democratic stability in Latin America.
Dr. Ben Kohl, Associate Professor, Temple University
Kathyrn Ledebur, Director, Andean Information Network
Dr. Daniel Goldstein, Anthropology, Rutgers University
Dr. Juan Arbona, Associate Professor, Bryn Mawr
Linda Farthing, writer
Franoise Martinez, Universit Paris Ouest France
Dr. Miriam Shakow, Assistant Professor Vanderbilt University
Emma Banks, Cornell University
Dr. Meredith Dudley, Tulane University
Dr. Susanne Jonas, University of California, Santa Cruz
Dr. Guillermo Delgado, University of California, Santa Cruz
Marion Oveson, La Paz, Bolivia
Dr. Pascale Absi, anthropologist, University of Paris
Dr. Jonathan Fox, University of California, Santa Cruz
Ms. Sarah Motola
Dr. Estelle Tarica, University of California, Berkeley
David Kane, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Dr. Leonardo Garcia-Pabon, University of Oregon
Elizabeth Weimer, Carleton College
And in an August 2008 recall referendum, he took a record 67 percent of the vote.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
You may find that logic a bit, well, loose... but O'Grady explains:
A dictatorship that fosters the production and distribution of cocaine is not apt to enjoy a positive international image. But when that same government cloaks itself in the language of social justice, with a special emphasis on the enfranchisement of indigenous people, it wins world-wide acclaim.
Ugh... Do we really have to go over this again?
Because I am hung over let me copy and paste the following facts Andres Schipani just happen to have missed from an earlier post:
1. Coca cultivation has increase in recent years in Bolivia.
2. Evo Morales has pursued a demilitarized coca regulatory policy, to keep coca farmers from being murdered by the DEA.
3. Morales has shifted coercive man power to policing cocaine traffickers and producers.
4. Bolivian anti-narcotics police, FELCN, have since Morales taking office more than doubled cocaine seizures and continues to make seizures of large cocaine factories, all without the "help" of the DEA.
5. Morales' demilitarized coca regulations have resulted in the eradication of more coca cultivation per hectare than under previous neoliberal administration.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
As deadline approaches, tensions rise again in the Peruvian Amazon
SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a recent letter to Hunt Oil Company President Ray Hunt, the Native Federation of the Rio Madre de Dios (FENAMAD) gave Hunt until this week to leave the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve in the southern Peruvian Amazon as a condition to continuing any further talks.
"Having peacefully exhausted all protest, without receiving any answer, we hereby communicate that we have agreed to a fifteen-day period for you to definitively withdraw from the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve since you do not have the indigenous community's consent," states FENAMAD's letter.continue reading...
- Evo Morales predicts the future: he will win by 2/3rds and the opposition will get violent. But we kind of knew that already.
- Wow, look. An article actually writes about what is really at stake in the December election (not Morales' reelection) but control of the Senate- and I should add all the indigenous, regional, and departmental autonomy referendums. However they still quote a retarded "political analysist" who claims Morales needs 2/3rds of the Senate to pass new bills. Wrong. They only need simply majority for new laws, 2/3rds to amend the constitution.
- Vice Presidential candidate Leopold Fernandez is getting some visitors at the San Pedro prison today he would probably rather not see, the family members of the people he had massacred September 11th 2008 in Pando.
- It turns out that Sucre's mayor in addition to being a racist piece of shit is also a corrupt piece of shit and has been removed from office for embezzlement. Sabina Cuellar, you are next.
- As I said before, Branco Marinkovic is fucked. The Congressional commission investigating the neo-nazi mercenary cell has recommended Marinkovic and Santa Cruz Prefect Ruben Costas be put under investigation for their role in the terrorist plot and that their properties be put under preventive registration.
- On the flip side, Bolivia is now transvestite friendly.
- And what does US Customs have against Bolivian potatoes?
Monday, November 16, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Cambridge, Mass. – The U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida ruled yesterday that the claims for crimes against humanity and extrajudicial killings could move forward in two related U.S. cases against former Bolivian President Gonzalo Daniel Sánchez de Lozada Sánchez Bustamante (Sánchez de Lozada) and former Bolivian Defense Minister Jose Carlos Sánchez Berzaín (Sánchez Berzaín). The cases, Mamani, et al. v. Sánchez Berzaín, and Mamani, et al. v. Sánchez de Lozada, seek compensatory and punitive damages under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS).
Friday, November 13, 2009
This is the third such violent assault (by my count: previous one and two) related to the December elections by the opposition in the last weeks in Santa Cruz. One university student summed up the significance last night,
I believe Woody Guthrie has a few words:
Marching side by side
Marching 'cross these fields
Where a million fascists dies
You're bound to lose
You fascists bound to lose!
Update: The UN representative to Bolivia, Yoriko Yasukawa condemned these violent acts.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Sounds fair. But I am sure one or two of you out there will say, "But those new US military bases in Colombia are for PEACE and to stop drug trafficking."
Down here in South America people know how to read that statement. As Vice President Alvaro Linera stated "Latin America should prepare itself for an eventual United States invasion."
Prove him wrong. He was right about "Ambassador" Philip Goldberg.
Monday, November 09, 2009
Saturday, November 07, 2009
All very true, and reason for the world's largest polluter (USA! #1!) to face up to its responsibilities in Copenhagen Climate Summit, but the Oxfam report makes one serious mistake- tensing its warnings in the future tense.
People suffer and someone is going to have to pay. Maybe it ought to be those responsible?
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Bill Weinberg, NACLA
Lot 76, Hunt Oil and Amarakaeri Communal Reserve: A Story of Corruption and Systematic Violation of Indigenous Rights
Translated by Indigenous Peoples
WBAI Radio Program on Hunt Oil concession
Local Tribes Confront Hunt Oil,
Oil and Gas Industry News
US Oil Company Threatened with Eviction from Amazon,
Se rompe dialogo entre lideres indigena y la Hunt Oil
Picture: Willy Corisepa, Harakmbut indigenous leader
“Our foreign minister keeps me permanently informed. At last they accepted the conditions (of the accord) with observations; there will still have to be negotiations,” Morales said, referring to the work of the commissions of both countries to try and normalize the deteriorated relations after the expulsion of their respective ambassadors.
The Bolivian president said that the requirements of his government to reach this new accord are that there must be a “government-to-government cooperation” and that “United States diplomats must not be political agents.”
Monday, November 02, 2009
Sunday, November 01, 2009
Indian political awakening stirs Latin America
JESUS DE MACHACA, Bolivia — In Ecuador, the Shuar are blocking highways to defend their hunting grounds. In Chile, the Mapuche are occupying ranches to pressure for land, schools and clinics. In Bolivia, a new constitution gives the country's 36 indigenous peoples the right to self-rule.
All over Latin America, and especially in the Andes, a political awakening is emboldening Indians who have lived mostly as second-class citizens since the Spanish conquest.
Much of it is the result of better education and communication, especially as the Internet allows native leaders in far-flung villages to share ideas and strategies across international boundaries.
But much is born of necessity: Latin American nations are embarking on an unprecedented resource hunt, moving in on land that Indians consider their own — and whose pristine character is key to their survival.
Friday, October 30, 2009
RPT-Peru tribes pressure Hunt Oil to leave Amazon, Reuters Terry Wade
Amarakaeri natives begin a massive sit-down demanding Hunt Oil Co. to leave their territory, Living in Peru
Crisis averted for now, Peruvian natives will meet with Hunt Oil, mongabay.com
The Harakmbut: Defending The Amarakaeri Reserve, Amazon Watch
Indigenous Peoples Of Amarakaeri Communal Reserve And Hunt Oil Company: Background Information, Indigenous Peoples
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Among the conventional wisdom that we hear every day in the business press is that developing countries should bend over backwards to create a friendly climate for foreign corporations, follow orthodox (neoliberal) macroeconomic policy advice and strive to achieve an investment-grade sovereign credit rating so as to attract more foreign capital.
Guess which country is expected to have the fastest economic growth in the Americas this year? Bolivia. The country's first indigenous president, Evo Morales, was elected in 2005 and took office in January 2006. Bolivia, the poorest country in South America, had been operating under IMF agreements for 20 consecutive years, and its per-capita income was lower than it had been 27 years earlier.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Hunt's director of environmental health and safety for Lot 76, Silvana Lay, disagrees. He told the Indian Country Today that “we weren’t going to come in until the Master Plan was approved. We waited two years, and during that period we met with the communities and gave information. We have the signatories of everybody saying the work can go ahead – within the rules, of course. And then we received a call saying the work cannot go ahead.”
Saturday, October 24, 2009
The president of the native communities from ACE Amarakaeri Communal Reserve-RCA, Adan Corisepa Neri, issued an ultimatum to the U.S. company Hunt Oil Company, through which notes the decision of the people Harakmbut, Yine and Machiguenga going to "leave" should the oil company continue its seismic prospecting work within the indigenous ancestral territory.
As is known, the native communities "amarakaeris" decided to reject two meetings, on 20 August and 13 September last, the exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons within Amarakaeri Communal Reserve.
However, "the decision taken by the beneficiary communities Amarakaeri Communal Reserve not accept the entry of the oil company Hunt Oil and Repsol to RCA, is respected by both the company and the state and manifest abuse of power, ignoring our rights and disrespect for the indigenous people continue to perform their seismic work, which is a challenge that can not afford. "
The statement released today is signed on October 12, 2009 by President of ACE-RCA Corisepa Adan, President of the Native Federation of Madre de Dios River, FENAMAD, Antonio Iviche, and Council Vice Harakmbut, Yine and Machiguenga , COHARYIMA Clement Irey.
This document is resolved to "deal with this reality, the indigenous peoples of Madre de Dios we get up in arms and take action to evict the seismic work within Amarakaeri Communal Reserve and fight to be the case with life, to evict those who do not respect our rights. "
Also, the indigenous people of Madre de Dios invoke the "solidarity" national and international population of the rest of the Amazon of Peru, public authorities and private institutions and international cooperation, so that with this fight "to prevent support once again violate the fundamental rights of the indigenous people of our region."
Pass this letter along so that Hunt Oil cannot play ignorant.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Tired of watching stupid white people make jackasses of themselves talking about those "poor Indians" living in the Amazon and who they ought to just grown up and learn to be white?
Well, a new Peruvian film floating around the internet, titled "El Perro del Hortelano", takes on the the drive to exploit the Amazon's oil reserves (the film was made where there is the current standoff with Hunt Oil) and the racist discourse of "development" promoted by Alan Garcia and outsiders, instead showing what an indigenous protagonist has to say and think. (What an idea, actually listening to those savages!)
To watch the rest go to the film website here.
If you thought the government of Alan Garcia and his petrol buddies had learned their lesson after the Bagau massacre you will be sadly mistaken.
Despite Amazon indigenous groups proven willingness to die in order to protect their ancestral territories from corporate destruction, Hunt Oil is ignoring demands by FENAMAD (regional indigenous organization) to halt exploration of the biodiversity 'hot spot', and legally protected, Reserva Comunal Amarakaeri (Amarakaeri Comunal Reserve).
Monday, October 19, 2009
Below is an excellent interview on the political economy of the dollar with Leo Panitch.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Gael Garcia (otherwise known in film as the hot Che or Mexico's bisexual) is gracing his stardom upon Cochabamba this week for the production of a new film, also staring Cochabamba.
Another Hat tip to La Mala Palabra