Friday, October 30, 2009

Reuters discovers blogging

Reuters man in Bolivia, Eduardo Garcia, has put up a post on a day in the life of Evo Morales. Read it if you want to understand just why Evo Morales will likely win December's Presidential elections by a landslide. The art of politics does not get more advanced than Evo.

Hunt Oil and Amarakaeri Reserve update

It looks like fears of a violent clash have been averted for the moment, with the spotlight on Hunt Oil's operations, the oil company and Peruvian government have agreed to talk with the local indigenous communities rather than pretend they just did not exist. Some good resources below, Terry Wade's Reuters piece explains the competing claims of the different parties better than anyone.

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,

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

Latin America's economic rebels

Mark Weisbrot

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.

continue reading...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Déjà Vu All Over Again: “Decertification” Memorandum of Justification Inaccurate and Misleading

Andean Information Network
On September 15, the Obama administration submitted the Memorandum of Justification explaining their decision to name Bolivia as a country that "failed demonstrably... to adhere to their obligations under international counternarcotics agreements" for the second year in a row. Once again the determination presents inaccurate, poorly prepared information, further complicated by confusing language.
Without reliable, coherent information, it is impossible to evaluate Bolivia’s drug control performance. Although like all drug control efforts, Bolivia’s program faces multiple challenges, false assertions contained in the Memorandum further impede bilateral relations. Any future efforts to redefine U.S. -Bolivian relations and cooperation must be based on a precise, realistic assessment of past interactions and the realization that the decision to “decertify” with a faulty justification has put the U.S. even farther out of step with the international community and Latin American multilateral anti-drug initiatives.

Amazonian natives say they will defend tribal lands from Hunt Oil with "their lives"

October 25, 2009
Indigenous natives in the Amazon are headed to the town of Salvacion in Peru with a plan to forcibly remove the Texas-based Hunt Oil company from their land as early as today. Peruvian police forces, numbering in the hundreds, are said to be waiting in the town.
The crisis has risen over an area known as Lot 76, or the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve. The 400,000 hectare reserve was created in 2002 to protect the flora and fauna of the area, as well as to safeguard watersheds of particular importance to indigenous groups in the region.
Despite its protected status, in 2006 the Peruvian government granted concessions within the reserve to two oil companies, Hunt Oil and the Spanish company Respol.
According to FENAMAD (the Native Federation of the Madre de Dios) protections had been slowly and systematically stripped from the reserve without indigenous groups' input. In addition, FENADMAD contends that Hunt Oil has violated international standards and the Peruvian constitution by going ahead with their operations without approval from the indigenous groups.
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.”
However, indigenous groups say that Hunt Oil only met with two communities: the Shintuya and the Puerto Luz, leaving others who use the reserve out in the cold.
A document written by FENAMAD further alleges that the Environmental and Social Impact Study conducted by Hunt Oil and approved by the federal government is "completely irresponsible and [does] not describe any reality for the area. It was approved illegally and unconstitutionally, in spite of the observations made by a group of professionals from civil society in Madre de Dios."
On September 13th of this year representatives of indigenous groups released a statement that said "the entry of Hunt Oil and Respol into the interior of the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve to execute seismic projects is not accepted, a decision that will be respected by the Peruvian State, Hunt Oil and Repsol, who have been present witnesses to this decision."
However, Hunt Oil has continued its seismic surveys inside the reserve. It is their unwillingness to halt activities that has prompted the indigenous groups to travel to Salvacion and, according to statements made by the indigenous groups, forcibly remove the US-corporation from their land.
"The most vulnerable ecological and cultural areas are now being invaded by seismic lines, whose impacts are irreparable. The area of intervention is one of very high biological value from a worldwide perspective and its surface and underground hydrological system have great cultural significance for the Harakmbut, which makes this a vital space for the subsistence of not only the indigenous communities, but the greater population of the Amazon Basin," the document by FENAMAD states. "For that reason, all of the beneficiary communities of the RCA have taken the position of impeding the entrance into the oil block and defending the protected area with their lives."
FENAMAD's statement may be a portent: in June a clash between native peoples and Peruvian police over exploitation of the Amazon turned bloody. Thousands of indigenous people blocked roads to protest new rule changes that made it easier for foreign companies to extract oil, gas, minerals, and timber from the Peruvian Amazon, including tribal lands. During the ensuing clash, twenty-three police were killed and at least ten protestors, according to official numbers. Indigenous groups, however, say that hundreds remain missing and have asked for a Truth Commission to investigate the tragic incident.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Indigenous Peoples Of Amarakaeri Communal Reserve Issues Ultimatum To Hunt Oil Company

Thank "Indigenous Peoples" for the following English translation.

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.

Madre de Dios Region, Peru: Location of the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve

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

Amazonians make movies also

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.

The next Bagua?

Map of Hunt Oils plans to "explore", i.e. destroy, another indigenous territory

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).

FENAMAD has taken every necessary legal step to halt Hunt Oil from exploring the territory (as nicely detailed by Inca Kola News) but Hunt is continuing their exploration. If you watch this video (posted by Otto), you will see FENAMAD has issued an ultimatem and as stated previously will fight "to the death" in order to protect the Reserve.

If Bagau teaches us anything, it is to take the word of Amazonian Natives seriously. They are rational human beings like the rest of us and will follow through on their word. (go to the FEMANAD website for more info in Spanish)

But jackasses like Hernando de Soto still refuse to take these people seriously as human being s with their own ideas as this excellent article at Upside Down World, "The Neoliberal Crusade for Indigenous Lands" takes on the insidious discourse and politics of Hernando de Soto.

Monday, October 19, 2009

General Sucre rises to smash yankee dollar?

Simon Bolivar's leading General and Bolivia's second President Antonio José de Sucre was given a new task by the Presidents of ALBA this weekend in Cochabamba, be the new currency of Latin American integration and regionally replace the dollar.

This announcement comes on the heels of a lot of talk about the falling dollar, and much like the hype the actual details of the Sucre are less so. It is planned to be a fictional unit of transaction ABLA nations would trade in between themselves, in other words basically nothing. But not altogether insignificant, the agreement lays part of the ground work for the creation of a genuine regional currency, should such a thing ever happen.

Below is an excellent interview on the political economy of the dollar with Leo Panitch.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Y tu Cochabamba tambien

Cochabamba seems to be attracting a lot of leading men these days. No, I am not talking about the sexy Latin Presidents meeting there this week for the ALBA summit, at least one of whom a number of bloggers seem to have an unhealthy obsession for.

Gael at Cocha press conference

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.

Titled Tambien la Lluvia, Garcia plays a film director come to Bolivia to try to make a film about Christopher Columbus and Spanish greed only to get caught up in the struggles of modern day colonialism in the 2000 Cochabamba Water War. Seems like a decent way to introduce westerns to these recent historical events. The title (translated roughly, Also the Rain) refers to the prohabition of collecting rain water imposed after Cochabamba's municipal water system was privatized to US and French corporations. The consortium claimed they owned the rain as well. Yes, they really are that evil.

Another Hat tip to La Mala Palabra

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Quick leftist note

As you already know, this blog is written by a leftist and I just want to complain about unserious "leftists" of which Slavoj Zizek is a good example.

Coming from someone who has been living down here, any leftist who sees "no hope" in the contemporary leftist politics of South America, as Zizek stated in today's Democracy Now! interview, is frankly not a serious thinker worth much consideration. While entertaining, Zizek is ultimately an uninsightful clown, or the "Elvis of philosophy" as the New York Times put it. Leave him to his "psychoanalysis".

For some real thoughts to chew on IKN spotlights Emir Sader.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tuesday reading

The BBC does its job for a change and publishes a well done piece on child labor in Bolivia.

Mark Weisbrot explains the following: Get the IMF out of policy making.

If you do not enjoy this Gore Vidal interview on some level consider yourself with a lifetime ban from this blog. Ingrate.

Also read this Noam Chomsky speech to understand why he is not simply the most respected US intellectual in Latin America but possibly the most respected intellectual in Latin America, period. You will also understand why his works are banned at US military prison camps.

And finally realize that I stole most of these links from the Latin American News Review which you should already be reading.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Los Indios - Atahualpa Yupanqui

My English translation:

The Indians

America is a long road of the Indians.
They are these summits and that valley
And those lost quiet mounts in the cloud
And that golden field of maize.
And the hollow between stones, and the desert stone.
From all places are contemplating us the Indians,
From all the high peaks they watch us.
The land has been fattened with the flesh of the Indian.
His shadow is the sentry of the night of America.
The condors know the silence of the Indian.
And his broken cry sleeps there in the depths.
Wherever we go is present the Indian.
We breathe him. We sense him walking his regions.
Quechua, Aymara, Tehuelche, Guarán or Mocoví.
Chiriguano or Charrúa, Chibcha, Mataco or Pampa.
Ranquel, Arauco, Patagón, Diaguita or Calchaquí.
Omahuaca, Atacama, Tonocotés or Toba.
From every place are contemplating us the Indians.
Because America is this: a long road
Of sacred Indianness
Between the great plain, the jungle, and the high rock.
And below the eternity of the constellations.
Yes. America is the long road of the Indians.
And from all places they are contemplating us.

Los Indios

América es un largo camino de los indios.
Ellos son estas cumbres y aquel valle
y esos montes callados perdidos en la niebla
y aquel maizal dorado.
Y el hueco entre las piedras, y la piedra desierta.
Desde todos los sitios nos están contemplando los indios.
Desde todas las altas cumbres nos vigilan.
Ha engordado la tierra con la carne del indio.
Su sombra es centinela de la noche de América.
Los cóndores conocen el silencio del indio.
Y su grito quebrado duerme allá en los abismos.
Dondequiera que vamos está presente el indio.
Lo respiramos. Lo presentimos andando sus comarcas.
Quechua, aymara, tehuelche, guarán o mocoví.
Chiriguano o charrúa, chibcha, mataco o pampa.
Ranquel, arauco, patagón, diaguita o calchaquí.
Omahuaca, atacama, tonocotés o toba.
Desde todos los sitios nos están contemplando los indios.
Porque América es eso : un largo camino
de indianidad sagrada.
Entre la gran llanura, la selva y la piedra alta.
Y bajo la eternidad de las constelaciones.
Sí. América es el largo camino de los indios.
Y desde todos los sitios nos están contemplando.

Happy Indigenous Restistence Day!

Savage Indian sport

And you thought the altitude was bad!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

News updates and catchups

Manfred and Goni agree killing brown people is A'ok

Surprise, surprise corrupt neoliberal and murdering scum bags Presidential candidates Manfred and Fernandez are being financed by corrupt neoliberal murdering scum bag fugitive ex-President Goni.

Morales' "indigenous" opposition Sabina Cuellar's electoral campaign was financed by white Santa Cruz businessmen who paid for two foreign PR marketing consultants. The same businessmen who bankrolled the neo-nazi mercenary terrorist cell.

The rightwing opposition are still racists, one Senator recently refering to Morales as "the monkey". Fortunately they are now hopelessly disorganized.

Those predicting problems for Bolivia's gas sector due to declining Brazilian demand have been forced to shut up after Petrobras announced it will not lower purchases until 2019.

US opinionating on Bolivia's lithium reserves is utter nonsense, both right and left.

Tupac Katari is getting his revenge, this time encircling the entire EARTH!

And who would have thunk, even the evangelicals like Evo and Co. Probably has something to do with Evo's subversive communist idea of "religous freedom".

Friday, October 09, 2009

A sick joke in very poor taste

On Obama's Nobel Peace Prize, the always quotable Angry Arab:
Aside from expanding the wars of his predecessors, why did Obama win the Nobel Peace Prize? He deserves the prize as much as King `Abdullah deserves the Nobel Prize for Feminism, or as much as Jacquie Collins deserves the Nobel Prize in Literature and as much as Prince Sultan deserves the Nobel Prize for Medicine, or as much as Mini-Hariri deserves the Nobel Prize in Physics. But then again, who really takes the Nobel for peace and literature seriously.
Chances Evo Morales will ever win the prize after years of painstaking national dialogue and negotiations averting a "civil war", violent retribution for opposition race violence, as well as the freeing of enslaved native Guarani communities, the first world leader to expel Israeli diplomats in response to the Gaza assault and call for war crimes prosecutions, and passage of a new constitution banning both nuclear weapons and aggressive war? Practically zero.

I guess Morales should start massacring Pakistani villagers if he really wants to get noticed for promoting "Peace".

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Constantino Lima and the Wiphala

Constantino Lima was part of the first generation of formally educated Indian intellectuals after the revolution of 1952. One of Lima's more significant achievements was to have re-discovered the wiphala, the old flag-standard of the (indigenous) rebels of 1780 led by Tupac Katari.

The wiphala waved for the first time in almost two centuries during Holy Week of 1970, in the oath-taking of the 147 students of the first school in the province of Pacajes, 150 kilometers from La Paz. Two months later, it waved again in an assembly of campesino leaders in Coro Coro. On that occasion, the sub-prefect of La Paz was present. He told the authorities that "the Indians of Pacajes had flown a foreign flag." That same year the wiphala returned to fly before 30,000 Indians on the 15th of November, at the inauguration of the monument to Tupac Katari in Ayo Ayo. This is one of the national symbols of Bolivia as it is laid out in Article 6 of the constitution of 2009 which the state rewrote.

Read full interview with Constantino Lima here

Reuters catches on to Bolivian economic miracle

Inca Kola News alters us to an Oct. 1st article detailing Bolivia's economic success under Morales, leading Latin America in growth.

Why didn't I notice this Reuters piece earlier? Because not a single open access web news service published the story so poor people like myself never saw it, unless you happen to have well connected friends like Otto at IKN. Apparently news of successful economic policies by socialists is only for the rich. Good thing or us paupers might get some unruly ideas.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Evo's UN speech

Speaking the plain truth. Some selections:

There exists an ongoing debate about the financial crisis, climate change and democracy. We cannot forget the food and energy crises. I applaud the addresses, which focus on the origins of the crisis. However, the majority of the speeches only speak of effects, never the cause. I came here today to speak plainly with you all. The origin of this crisis is the exaggerated accumulation of capital in far too few hands. It is the permanent removal of natural resources and the commercialization of Mother Earth. The origins come from the system and an economic model of Capitalism. If we don’t share the truth of this crisis with one another nor the international community, we will disseminate a lie to our people whom expect more from their presidents, governments and these kinds of forums.
After hearing many speeches, I’ve concluded that in this new twenty- first century, defending Mother Earth will be more important than defending human rights. If we do not defend the rights of Mother Earth, there is no use in defending human rights. I am willing to debate this concept, but now or later it will be proven that the rights of Mother Earth supersede the rights of human beings. We must protect what gives us life. Coincidently, as we are in the climate change debate, we want to propose, dear presidents, delegates from distinct countries, to the brothers of the world that are listening, a very simple proposal which can be summarized in 3 points.

An eternal light in the darkness

Desde Bolivia: Nuestra Mamá Grande se ha ido

Friday, October 02, 2009

In Aymara whitey means thief

The German pop music group Cordalis ripped off the tune to the Bolivian group Kalamarka's "Cuando florezca el chuño", a beautiful song about peasant life and potatoes, and turned it into "Ritmo de la Noche", or however you would pronounce that in German.

Original Kalamarka

"Ritmo de la Noche"

Hat Tip to the excellent La Mala Palabra

Why I link to Upside Down World

The online news magazine Upside Down World has been credited for publishing three of the top twenty-five news stories censored by the corporate press in 2008-2009. That is what we call impressive.

Hats off.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

New blog feed

Because I lost access to my previous feed due to the mysteries of Google, I have moved the blog feed to . Apologies

National Parks in the Chapare: Recent Conflicts and Complexities

Like I said before but with details and authority.

Andean Information Network

On September 26, coca growers attempting to settle illegally in the Isiboro-Securé Park and indigenous Yuracaré inhabitants clashed in a violent conflict, leading to the gunshot death of at least one person and the injury of several others. The clash highlights the complex situation surrounding national parks in the Chapare coca-growing region. In many cases the Bolivian press has misrepresented or misunderstood the complex dynamics in these protected areas.

For example, the Villa Tunari municipal government recently announced plans to construct a new road through part of the Machía Park, which houses tropical animals rescued from captivity. It remains unclear whether the plans to build a road through part of Machía Park are linked to the new highway financed by Brazil through the Isiboro-Securé Park to Beni. Clearly, any road construction in this tropical region will produce notable adverse environmental impact, although Bolivian authorities have complied so far with required environmental protection stipulations. The mainstream Bolivian press has sought to erroneously link both initiatives to an alleged MAS government coca-growing or cocaine-producing agenda within protected areas.

continue reading....

Evo knows his wingnuts

So with the wide spread realization that rightwing nuts in the United States look to the recent Honduras military coup as an example to "defend the US constitution" against Barack Obama's "Marxism", I just want to mention that Evo Morales was first to say this would happen months ago.

Obama really needs to start taking his brother's advice.