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Felony Murder and Gen. Rene Schneider

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | January 14, 2021

Some legal experts are speculating about the possibility that people who participated in the January 6 Capitol melee could be charged with murdering Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick, even though they did not participate in his killing. The felony-murder rule holds that if a person is involved in the commission of a felony in a conspiracy with others, he can be charged with murder even though others in the conspiracy did the killing.

When I read that, I immediately thought about the kidnapping and murder of Chilean General Rene Schneider, who was killed in 1970. In fact, it’s interesting that while the members of Congress and the mainstream press express shock and outrage over recent events in the Capitol, they have long been non-plussed by the shocking and outrageous violence that U.S. government officials instigated and in which they participated in 1970.

Schneider was the overall commander of Chile’s armed forces. He was a man of deep integrity, had a family, and believed that it was the duty of the military to support and defend the constitution of the country.

In the 1970 presidential election, the Chilean people delivered a plurality of votes to a man named Salvador Allende, who U.S. officials reviled because he was a socialist. Like President Kennedy ten years before, Allende was interested in establishing friendly relations with the communist world, including the Soviet Union and Cuba, two official Cold War enemies of the U.S. national-security establishment. Keep in mind that in 1970, the Cold War was still continuing and that the communists were defeating U.S. military and CIA forces in the Vietnam War.

U.S. officials determined that Allende posed a grave threat to “national security” — not only the “national security” of the United States but also the “national security” of Chile. They decided to prevent his accession to the presidency, either through bribes to the Chilean congress or through a U.S.-supported coup that would install a right-wing military dictatorship in the country.

There was one big obstacle to a coup: Gen. Rene Schneider.

The Chilean constitution provided for only two ways to remove a duly elected president from office: by impeachment (and conviction) or through the next election. The Chilean constitution did not provide for a coup as a third way to remove a president from office.

The Chilean congress had been unable to secure enough votes to remove Allende from office through impeachment. That left the next election, which would have meant that Allende would stay in office for the next 6 years.

Schneider’s position was very simple: Since the Constitution did not provide for a coup to remove the president, the military could not act to remove him.

The U.S. national-security establishment’s position was different: While it too favored supporting and defending the U.S. Constitution, it held that there was an implicit exception to the rule, which was: Whenever a country’s president is determined to be a grave threat to the “national security” of his own country, it becomes the the moral duty of the national-security establishment to protect “national security” by removing the president from office. (As I point out in an upcoming article in FFF’s monthly journal Future of Freedom, this mindset has clear ramifications in the Kennedy assassination, which occurred ten years prior to Allende’s election.)

In order to achieve the coup, it was necessary to remove Schneider as an obstacle. Thus, U.S. officials within the CIA and other parts of the U.S. government entered into a conspiracy to kidnap Schneider.

Now, before a go further, I know what some of you are thinking: “Conspiracy theory, Jacob! Conspiracy theory! There is no way that officials of the U.S. government would ever conspire to violently kidnap an innocent man! It’s outrageous that you would even suggest such a thing about our government!”

But the fact is that that this conspiracy did in fact occur, notwithstanding the fervent mindset that some might have to deny its existence. The CIA secretly hired the kidnappers, paid them money, including hush money after the fact, and even smuggled high-powered weapons into the country, which they gave to their Chilean co-conspirators.

When the kidnappers attempted to kidnap Schneider on the streets of Santiago, he was armed and fought back. The kidnappers shot him and Schneider died three days later from his wounds.

The CIA claimed that it never intended to murder Schneider. It said that it just wanted to kidnap him. However, that claim has the word “lie” written all over it. After all, what could they have done with him after kidnapping him? They couldn’t return him, given that would have restored him as the obstacle to the coup. Moreover, if they returned him, he might have been able to lead law-enforcement personnel to the kidnappers and ultimately to the CIA. Thus, it is a virtual certainty that Schneider would have been killed by one of the kidnappers and that the CIA would have dutifully expressed shock.

Nonetheless, enter the felony-murder rule. Kidnapping is a felony. So is conspiracy to kidnap. Under the felony-murder rule, the U.S. conspirators were as responsible for Schneider’s murders as the actual killers.

The CIA and other U.S. officials who participated in the conspiracy tried desperately to keep their involvement in the conspiracy secret. People who suspected their complicity in the plot were undoubtedly labeled “conspiracy theorists.” But investigators in the private sector kept pushing and ultimately the truth came out: The CIA and other U.S. officials had participated in a felony, with the conspiracy taking place in both Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Nonetheless, the Justice Department has never charged any of the conspirators with kidnapping or murder or conspiracy to commit kidnapping and murder. Keep in mind that there is no statute of limitations for murder. But even if a federal grand jury were to return a criminal indictment, it is a virtual certainty that the federal judiciary would immediately dismiss it on grounds of “national security.”

It’s probably worth mentioning that when the family of Rene Schneider sued in federal district court for Schneider’s wrongful death, the federal courts threw them out on their ears, without even permitting them to take depositions that could have determined the full extent of the conspiracy. When it comes to extraordinary measures to protect “national security,” including kidnapping and assassination, secrecy in a national-security state is always paramount.

But that’s the nature of any national-security state: omnipotent power to inflict violence on innocent people with immunity and impunity, even while decrying violence committed by others.

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education.

January 14, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

Revealed: UK Sets Up Media Influencing Project in Venezuela

By Matt Kennard and John McEvoy | Declassified UK | January 6, 2021

The UK government has established a journalism project to ‘influence’ Venezuela’s ‘media agenda’ while a Foreign Office-funded foundation is spending £750,000 on a secretive ‘democracy-promotion’ programme in the country, as Britain appears to deepen efforts to remove the Maduro government.

  • UK government has allocated £250,000 from its aid budget to ‘influence’ local and national ‘media agendas’
  • British funding for journalism should not be ‘referred or linked to’, government says
  • Westminster Foundation for Democracy has spent over £750,000 in Venezuela since 2016
  • It refuses to tell Declassified details about its partners in Venezuela
  • Foundation’s country representative sympathised with armed coup attempt in the country

As Venezuela’s political crisis continues, the UK government has initiated a new project promoting investigative journalism in Latin America which furtively covers Venezuela.

The project, launched last summer and intended to “influence” the media agenda in the country, follows a long history of the British government using journalism as an influencing tool. It raises suspicions that it aims to help remove the leftist government of Venezuela president Nicolás Maduro.

In a separate programme, the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD), a majority UK-government funded organisation, has spent over £750,000 to “strengthen democracy” in Venezuela since 2016, according to documents obtained by Declassified.

The WFD’s programmes in the country are shrouded in secrecy due to apparent concerns about the security of its staff, although its country representative advertises his affiliation to the organisation online.

The British government controversially recognises Venezuelan opposition figure Juan Guaidó as president and is running a number of anti-government programmes in the country using the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) which supports projects designed “to tackle instability and to prevent conflicts that threaten UK interests”.

The aim of the fund’s new journalism project is stated to be the creation of a “new platform that strengthens media organisation [sic] throughout the region and provides journalists with a platform in which they can collaborate and build regional stories”.

Programme literature notes that successful applicants should display “a capacity to link into – and ultimately influence – local and national media agendas”.

But they are warned that “the British government — and its resourcing of the project — should not be expressly referred or linked to the individual outputs of the project (i.e. individual articles, events etc).”

Run by the British embassy in Bogotá, Colombia, the call for applications noted that successful bids would start in August 2020. There has been no public update since, although the Foreign Office told Declassified there had been delays due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On the public advert, applicants are advised to budget up to £250,000 for their projects, but the Foreign Office told Declassified : “it is not currently possible to confirm what budget will be available for this project.”

Declassified’s repeated questions about the project to its two coordinators in Bogotá went unanswered. However, a Foreign Office spokesperson told Declassified: “It is inaccurate to conflate this call for bids with the UK position on Venezuela, which has not changed. We want to see a democratic transition with free and fair elections take place in Venezuela.”

The CSSF put out a public call in June last year for applications from journalists seeking to cover crime and corruption in Colombia, Peru and Panama, adding there was the “potential to cover linked events in other neighbouring countries”. The word Venezuela did not appear.

However, CSSF documentation published three days before the advert outlined the same programme with the addition of Venezuela in its title. The furtive inclusion of the country appears to reflect Foreign Office reticence to publicise its increased involvement in Venezuela.

The summary of another CSSF programme, again in Colombia for the year ending March 2020, includes the recommendation to “engage” Foreign Office officials “about options to develop CSSF programmes in Venezuela”.

A September 2019 job advert for a CSSF programme manager in Lima, Peru, notes that the successful applicant will work “with colleagues in Colombia, Panama and, potentially, Venezuela”. 

Declassified recently revealed that the CSSF has spent £450,000 setting up an anti-government coalition in Venezuela, again by furtively adding the project to an existing programme focused on Colombia and beginning in 2019.

Journalism as information war

The UK government has long used the media to undermine foreign leaders and political movements it perceives as a threat to British business interests.

Declassified recently revealed that a secretive Cold War propaganda unit, named the Information Research Department (IRD), tried to prevent Chilean socialist Salvador Allende from winning presidential elections in 1964 and 1970.

Declassified files also reveal that during the Brazilian dictatorship of 1964-1985, the IRD “assiduously cultivated” one of Brazil’s leading left-wing publishers, Samuel Wainer.

Though the unit was shut down in 1977, Britain has continued to sponsor journalistic ventures in Latin America. In response to a freedom of information request, the Foreign Office revealed that, between January 2016 and September 2018, it funded Venezuelan news outlet Fundación Efecto Cocuyo, as well as the Instituto Radiofónico Fe y Alegría and Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Prensa.

While receiving funds from the British government, Efecto Cocuyo teamed up with two British organisations — Bellingcat and Forensic Architecture — to “call for more evidence” regarding the killing of Óscar Pérez at the hands of Venezuelan police. Pérez, a police officer, had hijacked a police helicopter and, on 27 June 2017, used it to attack a number of government buildings in central Caracas.

In July 2019, Efecto Cocuyo’s editor, Luz Mely Reyes, spoke at the UK government’s “Global Conference for Media Freedom” event in London. Then foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt, addressing the conference, said Reyes “has defied the Maduro regime by co-founding an independent news website, Efecto Cocuyo”, without mentioning the website’s links to the British government.

London’s support for media projects in Venezuela appears to mirror that of the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED). According to its accounts, the NED has funded “freedom of information” projects in Venezuela aimed at fostering a “greater understanding of the spillover effects of Venezuelan corruption and criminal activity” by working with “investigative journalists and partner organisations”.

A 2017 NED project, with a budget of over $60,000, aims to “increase transparency and accountability in the Venezuelan government procurement processes. And to foster collaboration with journalists across the region”.

Media freedom group, Reporters Without Borders, which is also funded by the NED, notes: “Venezuela’s president since 2013, Nicolás Maduro persists in trying to silence independent media outlets and keep news coverage under constant control.”

It adds: “The climate for journalists has been extremely tense since the onset of a political and economic crisis in 2016, and is exacerbated by Maduro’s frequent references to ‘media warfare’ in an attempt to discredit national and international media criticism of his administration.”

The embassy in Bogotá

One of the two Foreign Office points of contact for the project at the British embassy in Bogotá is Claudia Castilla, a Colombian national who was a UK government-funded Chevening Scholar in London from 2017-18.

Castilla appears to be a strong supporter of the Venezuelan opposition, writing in February 2014 “I think I fell in love with Leopoldo López”, referring to a leading opposition figure. At the time US-educated López was promoting street protests in a strategy known as “The Exit”, after Maduro won presidential elections in April 2013.

From 2014-15, Castilla worked as a research assistant for the Colombian chapter of Transparency International, where she “formulated public policy recommendations”. Declassified recently revealed the UK government funded Transparency International’s Venezuelan chapter to set up an “anti-corruption” coalition in the country.

From 2012 to 2013, Castilla worked for the Cerrejón Foundation, the charitable arm of the controversial Cerrejón coal mine in Colombia which is run by three London-listed mining multinationals. For the latter period of her employment, Castilla was the foundation’s “social control advisor”.

‘Democracy promotion’

Documents obtained by Declassified also show that the Westminster Foundation for Democracy — Britain’s “democracy promotion” arm — has been running expensive programmes in Venezuela.

The WFD claims to be “the most effective organisation sharing the UK democratic experience”, but its operations are shrouded in secrecy.

Venezuela hosts the WFD’s only full-scale programme and permanent office in Latin America as part of a project which began in 2016. Since then the WFD has spent £760,680, according to figures obtained by Declassified.

The largest outlay was £248,725 in 2017-2018, as the EU announced a sanctions regime against Venezuela and British officials intensified calls for “different people at the helm” of the Venezuelan government.

Alan Duncan, then minister of state for the Americas, said in 2018: “Maduro’s double crime is that his destruction of the economy has been followed by the systemic undermining of democracy.” He added: “The revival of the oil industry [in Venezuela] will be an essential element in any recovery, and I can imagine that British companies like Shell and BP, will want to be part of it.”

Last year, the WFD spent £113,193 on its Venezuela operations, while Declassified understands a bid for funding of just over £27,500 for next year is awaiting approval. The WFD has two full-time staff in Venezuela.

In December, UN human rights experts found that “since November 2020 Venezuela has systematically stigmatised and persecuted civil society organisations, dissenting voices and human rights defenders”.

The WFD has no similar programmes in UK government-allied dictatorships such as Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, or the United Arab Emirates.

The Foundation told Declassified: “WFD works to strengthen democracy around the world. We are funded by the UK as well as other governments (including Canada, Germany, Norway and Switzerland) and international organisations (such as the United Nations Development Programme) and are operationally independent.”

But the vast majority of the WFD’s funding comes from the British government. In the year to March 2020, it provided £11.4-million to the Foundation, while all other sources of income added up to £1.5-million.

The WFD said that in Venezuela it works “with a range of MPs, National Assembly staff, civil society, and academics” but it refused to disclose to Declassified information about who those partners are. It said this was “to avoid endangering the physical health or safety of those partners”.

However, the WFD’s country representative in Venezuela advertises his position on his public Linkedin page, and his email and phone number are available through WFD job adverts.

As its Venezuela programme began in 2016, the WFD published an article on the independent news site openDemocracy in association with Daniel Fermín, a Venezuelan researcher.

The article asked: “Can Venezuela’s president [Nicolás Maduro] be unseated peacefully?”. In the following two years, openDemocracy was awarded $99,661 (£74,131) by the US analogue of the WFD, the National Endowment for Democracy.

According to a 2018 WFD posting for a job in Venezuela’s capital, Caracas, its country representative is expected to work with the British embassy and must “contribute to development of future business opportunities in Venezuela”.

When asked why it focused on Venezuela, the foundation told Declassified: “WFD programmes have been active in other countries across Latin America. We stand ready to launch new programmes and country offices when the opportunity arises.”

Neutrality 

The WFD says that it “works on a cross-party basis” in Venezuela, “seeking to engage all sides of the political divide while supporting democratic institutions in the country”.

In January 2019, shortly after Guaidó proclaimed himself president, the WFD’s country representative wrote that “last years elections [sic] were a sham and therefore Maduro is an usurper”.

The next month — after trucks of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) attempted to enter Venezuelan territory — he said: “Non-intervention cannot be an absolute principle that doesn’t consider other factors”.

On 30 April, when Guaidó launched an armed coup attempt in Caracas, the WFD’s representative announced that Guaidó’s actions were “not an assault on democracy but the other way round”. Elsewhere, he has described Chavismo — referring to former president Hugo Chávez — as a “plague”.

UK parliamentarians overseeing WFD’s operations have also disparaged the Venezuelan government. Conservative MP Richard Graham, the chair of WFD’s board of governors for the duration of its Venezuela project, said in December 2019 that “Islington Corbynsistas [sic] don’t get that extreme left ideas never work, whether in 2019 Venezuela or 80s Liverpool”.

The WFD’s board is appointed by the UK foreign secretary and is modelled on the NED, which has been described by the Washington Post as the “sugar daddy of overt [US] operations”. Since Chávez’s election in 1998, the NED has been the guiding hand behind a number of efforts to overthrow the government in Venezuela.

While the NED’s operations abroad have received some independent scrutiny, the WFD – has largely operated under media silence.

Matt Kennard is head of investigations at Declassified UK. John McEvoy is an independent journalist who has written for International History Review, The Canary, Tribune Magazine, Jacobin, Revista Forum, and Brasil Wire.

Declassified UK is an investigative journalism organisation that covers the UK’s role in the world. Follow Declassified on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Sign up to receive Declassified’s monthly newsletter here.

January 13, 2021 Posted by | Deception | , , | Leave a comment

New frigates to project Canadian ‘power’ with cruise missiles

By Yves Engler · December 27, 2020

A recent report about the weapons on Canada’s new Navy frigates is frightening. Equally troubling is the lack of parliamentary opposition to expanding the federal government’s violent “maritime power projection” capacities.

Naval News recently reported on the likely arsenal of Canada’s new surface combatant vessels, which are expected to cost over $70 billion ($213-219 billion over their lifecycle). The largest single taxpayer expense in Canadian history,the 15 vessels “will be fitted with a wide range of weapons, both offensive and defensive, in a mix never seen before in any surface combatant.”

The 7,800 tonne vessels have space for a helicopter and remotely piloted systems. The frigates have electronic warfare capabilities, torpedo tubes and various high-powered guns. It will have a Naval Strike Missile harpoon that can launch missiles 185 kilometers. Most controversially, the surface combatants look set to be equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles capable of striking land targets up to 1,700 kilometres away. US-based Raytheon has only ever exported these Tomahawk missiles to the UK and if the Royal Canadian Navy acquires them it would be the only navy besides the US to deploy the missiles on surface vessels.

Canada’s New Frigate Will Be Brimming With Missiles,” is how The Drive recently described the surface combatant vessels. In the article War Zone reporter Joseph Trevithick concludes, “the ships now look set to offer Canada an entirely new form of maritime power projection.”

What has Canada’s “maritime power projection” looked like historically?

Over the past three years Canadian vessels have repeatedly been involved in belligerent “freedom of navigation” exercises through international waters that Beijing claims in the South China Sea, Strait of Taiwan and East China Sea. To “counter China’s” growing influence in Asia, Washington has sought to stoke longstanding territorial and maritime boundary disputes between China and the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and other nations. As part of efforts to rally regional opposition to China, the US Navy engages in regular “freedom of navigation” operations, which see warships travel through or near disputed waters.

A Canadian frigate has regularly patrolled the Black Sea, which borders Russia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Romania, Georgia and Ukraine. In July 2019 HMCS Toronto led a four ship Standing NATO Maritime Group exercise in the Black Sea. Soon after, it participated with two-dozen other ships in a NATO exercise that included training in maritime interdiction, air defence, amphibious warfare and anti-submarine warfare as part of sending “a strong message of deterrence to Russia.”

During the 2011 war on Libya Canadian vessels patrolled the Libyan coast. Two rotations of Canadian warships enforced a naval blockade of Libya for six months with about 250 soldiers aboard each vessel. On May 19, 2011, HMCS Charlottetown joined an operation that destroyed eight Libyan naval vessels. After the hostilities the head of Canada’s navy, Paul Maddison, told Ottawa defence contractors that HMCS Charlottetown “played a key role in keeping the Port of Misrata open as a critical enabler of the anti-Gaddafi forces.”

A month before the commencement of the March 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, Canada sent a command and control destroyer to the Persian Gulf to take charge of Taskforce 151 — the joint allied naval command. Opinion sought by the Liberal government concluded that taking command of Taskforce 151 could make Canada legally at war with Iraq. In 1998 HMCS Toronto was deployed to support US airstrikes and through the 1990s Canadian warships were part of US carrier battle groups enforcing brutal sanctions on Iraq. During the first Iraq war Canada dispatched destroyers HMCS Terra Nova and Athabaskan and supply vessel Protecteur to the Persian Gulf before a UN resolution was passed.

Historically the Canadian Navy’s influence has been greatest nearer to home. In a chapter of the 2000 book Canadian Gunboat Diplomacy titled “Maple Leaf Over the Caribbean: Gunboat Diplomacy Canadian Style” military historian Sean Maloney writes: “Since 1960, Canada has used its military forces at least 26 times in the Caribbean to support Canadian foreign policy. In addition, Canada planned three additional operations, including two unilateral interventions into Caribbean states.”

At the request of Grenada’s government Ottawa deployed a vessel to the tiny country during its 1974 independence celebration. In Revolution and Intervention in Grenada Kai Schoenhals and Richard Melanson write, “the United Kingdom and Canada also sent three armed vessels to St. George’s to shore up the [Eric] Gairy government”, which faced significant pressure from the left.

When 23,000 US troops invaded the Dominican Republic in April 1965 a Canadian warship was sent to Santo Domingo, noted Defence Minister Paul Theodore Hellyer, “to stand by in case it is required.” Two Canadian gunboats were deployed to Barbados’ independence celebration the next year in a bizarre diplomatic maneuver designed to demonstrate Canada’s military prowess. Maloney writes, “we can only speculate at who the ‘signal’ was directed towards, but given the fact that tensions were running high in the Caribbean over the Dominican Republic Affair [US invasion], it is likely that the targets were any outside force, probably Cuban, which might be tempted to interfere with Barbadian independence.” Of course, Canadian naval vessels were considered no threat to Barbadian independence.

Immediately after US forces invaded Korea in 1950, Ottawa sent three vessels to the region. Ultimately eight RCN destroyers completed 21 tours in Korea between 1950 and 1955.

Canadian ships transported troops and bombed the enemy ashore. They hurled 130,000 rounds at Korean targets. According to a Canadian War Museum exhibit, “during the war, Canadians became especially good at ‘train busting.’ This meant running in close to shore, usually at night, and risking damage from Chinese and North Korean artillery in order to destroy trains or tunnels on Korea’s coastal railway. Of the 28 trains destroyed by United Nations warships in Korea, Canadian vessels claimed eight.” Canadian Naval Operations in Korean Waters 1950-1955 details a slew of RCN attacks that would have likely killed civilians.

Canadian warships were also dispatched to force Costa Rica to negotiate with the Royal Bank in 1921, to protect British interests during the Mexican Revolution and to back a dictator massacring peasants in El Salvador in 1932.

Where do the political parties stand on new frigates “brimming with missiles”? The Stephen Harper Conservatives instigated the massive naval outlay and the Liberals have happily maintained course. The NDP has supported the initiative and the Bloc pressed for more shipyard work in Québec. The Greens have stayed silent.

Surely there must be at least one Member of Parliament who doesn’t think it’s a good idea to spend $200 billion to strengthen the federal government’s bullying naval capacities in support of the US Empire and Canadian corporations abroad.

December 27, 2020 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Former Presidential Candidate Capriles Calls on US to End ‘Interim Presidency’

By Ricardo Vaz – Venezuelanalysis – December 11, 2020

Mérida – Former two-time presidential candidate Henrique Capriles has demanded a change of strategy for the Venezuelan opposition.

In an interview with the BBC, Capriles argued for a “reconstruction” of the opposition following last Sunday’s government victory in National Assembly (AN) elections. He claimed that the current plan led by US-backed Juan Guaido is “finished” and stressed that Washington’s stance will be “crucial.”

“The new [Prospective] administration has to understand that this plan has run its course and it cannot keep the status quo: the [Guaido] ‘interim presidency’,” Capriles said, adding that the opposition could “disappear as an alternative” if there is no change of course.

The December 6 elections delivered an overwhelming parliamentary majority for the ruling United Socialist Party (PSUV) and allies for the 2021-2025 term, but turnout stood only at 30.5 percent of the electoral roll after mainstream opposition parties boycotted the vote. The results were endorsed by an international observation mission.

Capriles, who served two terms as Miranda State governor, argued that the low turnout reflected the Venezuelan population’s “weariness” towards politicians and claimed the international community would not see the process as “legitimate.”

The veteran leader and allied figures had previously caused a rift within the opposition when they held talks with international brokers with a view towards taking part in the elections, but ultimately decided against it. However, the Justice First party founder insisted on the need to “align” the international community towards an “electoral calendar” featuring both presidential and parliamentary contests.

The former presidential candidate also voiced severe criticisms at former AN President Juan Guaido, though stressing it was “nothing personal.”

“When Guaido was the main figure, I backed him, but we can’t turn a blind eye to mistakes. Attempting to overthrow the government from the Altamira overpass, please!” he said in reference to the April 30, 2019 failed military putsch.

Opposition lawmaker Guaido proclaimed himself “interim president” in January 2019 and led several attempts to oust the government by force. In May 2020 he was alleged to have backed a failed paramilitary incursion featuring US mercenaries. His popularity and standing within the anti-government forces quickly eroded following a string of scandals.

Guaido and his associates rejected the recent parliamentary elections and vowed to “extend” the term of the outgoing National Assembly, with the newly elected one constitutionally mandated to take office on January 5, 2021.

The hardline opposition sectors have instead organized a “popular consultation,” asking backers whether they reject the recent elections, demanding an end to President Maduro’s “usurpation” and calling for action from the international community to oust the government.

The consultation has taken place via digital apps such as Telegram, with an in-person component scheduled for Saturday. Nevertheless, no details on audits or oversight surrounding the process have been detailed, while social media users have shown it is possible to vote from abroad or using Venezuelan identity cards found online.

December 12, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 1 Comment

Will Arce bring Cuban doctors back to Bolivia?

By Lucas Leiroz | December 12, 2020

For the supporters of Evo Morales and MAS, the election of Luis Arce in Bolivia was a great victory. But the challenges for the new president are enormous and opposition to his plans is strong. One of the most recent challenges is to decide about the future of medical cooperation between Bolivians and Cubans. Arce, in the midst of his country’s political chaos, must choose the future of Bolivian health cooperation with Cuba.

For 13 years, thousands of Cuban doctors have been in Bolivia and helped to make up for the shortage of health professionals in this South American country. Altogether, more than 70 million medical consultations were carried out by Cubans in Bolivia. A real dependency relationship was created. Without Cubans, thousands of Bolivians are unable to receive any medical treatment and entire regions of the country are excluded from the national health system, mainly the urban peripheries and rural zones. Even so, shortly after the coup that overthrew Morales, one of the first attitudes of the government of Jeanine Áñez was to expel the brigade of Cuban doctors from Bolivia, as part of the alignment measures with the US planned by the opponents of Morales.

Despite the undeniable benefits of the Cuban presence, Bolivia’s departmental medical schools vehemently reject the Cuban brigade’s presence in the national territory. According to representatives of such departments, the members of the Cuban medical brigades are “supposed doctors” who perform secret activities for the Communist government of Cuba. Another widely used argument is that Cubans “take jobs” that would be for Bolivian doctors. In this regard, the Doctors’ Union announced that health professionals will soon go on strike against the Arce government and that services will only resume if the president maintains the veto against Cubans.

In addition, the La Paz Faculty of Medicine recently stated that it sent a letter to the Ministry of Health addressing the issue of Cuban doctors. The Faculty, like the Union, is directly opposed to the presence of foreign doctors in the country, however, it assumes a more “peaceful” posture, trying to negotiate with the government instead of starting a national strike.

This rivalry between Bolivian and Cuban doctors is not new. During the government of Evo Morales, Bolivian doctors carried out repeated strikes, which lasted for months, resulting in leaving a large percentage of the population dependent on the public health system without an adequate care. There was no statistical study on the case, but it is known that many Bolivians became ill, died, or had serious consequences due to the resistance of doctors to assist them – which is a crime. That is precisely why Arce is acting so cautiously: his goal is to prevent further strikes in the midst of the pandemic.

However, the idea of replacing Cuban doctors with unemployed Bolivian professionals seems to be nonviable. At the time of the expulsion, the Áñez government had declared that it would immediately fill these positions with Bolivian doctors, which never really happened, showing that Bolivia really has no structure to supply the absence of Cuban doctors.

There are a number of factors that must be considered when analyzing this case. First, it deals with a question of quality over quantity. Regardless of the numbers and whether or not there are enough Bolivian doctors to replace the brigades, Cuban medical training is noticeably more appropriate, with the Caribbean country being recognized worldwide for its medical quality. During the pandemic, Cuba sent humanitarian aid to several countries, including developed nations, such as Italy. It is impossible to deny the ability of Cuban professionals – which is usually done only based on ideological assumptions. Still, the numbers of Cuban actions in Bolivia are impressive: more than 70 million consultations, 47,000 laboratory tests and 253,000 surgeries. The main merit of these professionals serving remote regions, where the Bolivian public system has difficulty reaching. Bolivia is a country marked by mountainous and desert regions, where access by health professionals is often difficult. Bolivian doctors most of the time do not arrive in such regions as large urban centers are treated with priority. Cooperation with Cuba met this need.

It is also important to demystify the discourse of Bolivian health professionals that Cubans are “taking their jobs”. This is not true. It is important to remember that Bolivia is the poorest country in South America, with poor education conditions for most of the population. In general, Bolivians who graduate in medicine are part of the country’s economic elite and are, therefore, interested in guaranteeing their own interests, and not those of the population, when they criticize the government and promote strikes and stoppages.

Still, what to expect from professionals who refuse to treat their own countrymen, promoting stoppages of essential services only for political reasons? Apparently, the close links between the Bolivian opposition and the medical centers have reached intolerable levels. In any case, the scenario only tends to get worse.

Lucas Leiroz is a research fellow in international law at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

December 12, 2020 Posted by | Economics | , | Leave a comment

Masterminds of 2019 Coup in Bolivia Denounced

teleSUR | December 2, 2020

The former deputy of the governing Movement towards Socialism (MAS) Lidia Patty presented on Monday a lawsuit before the Prosecutor’s Office of the city of La Paz (administrative capital) against the leader of the political group Creemos, Luis Fernando Camacho, and his father José Luis, for alleged crimes of “conspiracy” and “destabilization” after the victory of former president Evo Morales in the elections of November 2019.

The complaint also accuses the former commanders of the Bolivian Armed Forces, Williams Kaliman, and the police, Yuri Calderón, of having committed the crimes of “terrorism, sedition and conspiracy,” for which they have requested their immediate arrest given the danger of their escape from the Andean country.

“We have filed a lawsuit with the Public Prosecutor’s Office, together with my lawyer, and this is important because no one is doing any follow-up because they are free, calm and have destabilized our country economically and politically, Camacho and his father,” Patty told reporters.

According to the complaint, after the November 2019 elections, the accused’s acts caused a “social commotion” in the country that resulted in Morales’ resignation. She also portrayed Camacho and his father as some of the “masterminds” of the coup, who negotiated and paid high military officials to destabilize the democratically elected government.

The former Parliament member also repudiated that the ex-military had “deliberated and suggested” to Morales his resignation, thus violating the Bolivian Constitution. Furthermore, she explained that the former president, who no longer had the Armed Forces command, was forced to withdraw from power because of “the risk of losing his life” and the fear that the Bolivian people “would be massacred.”

Morales resigned as President of Bolivia on November 10, 2019, amid a coup d’état orchestrated against him by the opposition backed by the Organization of American States (OAS) and the United States. He first traveled to Mexico and then to Argentina, where he was granted political asylum status.

Morales returned to his country on November 9 after Luis Arce, the candidate of his political formation, the MAS, won the first round of the Bolivian presidential elections last October with more than 55 % of the votes.

December 2, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption | , | Leave a comment

Guatemala on the brink of serious social crisis

By Lucas Leiroz | November 26, 2020

A major crisis is unfolding in Guatemala. Violent protests, vandalism and mutual accusations fill the scenario of great political, social, and institutional tensions that are forming in this Central American country. Last weekend, amid protests against the government in the center of Guatemala City, there was an attempt to set fire to the National Congress, which gained prominence in the news across Latin America. At first, the main suspicions pointed to criminal actions of violent protesters, but some investigations point to completely different possibilities.

Initially, investigators began to question the fact that the Parliament’s security team was very scarce at the time of the demonstrations – even though it was clear that on November 21 there would be protests in the vicinity, having previously been publicly announced. The Congressional protection scheme was limited to a few individuals scattered around the area, without any organized staff to prevent potential acts of vandalism. Still, according to reports, the Guatemalan National Civil Police simply did not try to prevent some of the acts of vandalism carried out during the protests, remaining inert while the crimes were being committed. Witnesses say the police watched passively as the protesters set fire to the Parliament without any reaction. Several photo and video records were posted on social networks around the world, proving police inertia in the face of vandalism, which caused indignation and suspicion.

It was then that the Guatemalan political opposition, led by the party “Unidad Nacional de la Esperanza” (UNE), began to claim that such acts were not committed by protesters, but by government infiltrators, protected by security forces, trying to boycott the legitimate civil acts. The government’s intention, according to the opposition’s allegations, would simply be to delegitimize popular demonstrations through propaganda about the acts of vandalism practiced by such infiltrators, which would make a perfect excuse for the government to take exceptional measures and act violently against the protesters.

To understand the Guatemalan crisis properly, we must analyze the country’s situation profoundly. The peak of popular dissatisfaction, which motivated the violent protests of November 21, was the approval by the parliamentarians of the Budget of the Republic for 2021. The project of State accounts significantly reduced health and education expenses, which generated legitimate popular indignation. Among the social programs that lost funding under the new budget are child nutrition projects, for example – even in a country where the poverty line reaches 50% of the total population. In the same vein, provisions for universities, maternity centers and medical clinics have declined substantially and are now in real risk. After the increase in violence in the protests, budget approval was temporarily suspended.

Despite this being the peak of the revolt, popular indignation began much earlier and encompasses several factors. Guatemala suffers from a serious case of structural corruption, as well as great incompetence to deal with the country’s main social problems. The country has not yet overcome the crisis generated by the new coronavirus pandemic and the two consecutive hurricanes that hit the region recently, leaving hundreds of dead people.

Popular indignation is not restricted to the acts of the Parliament. In the Executive Branch, the situation is similar. Alejandro Giammattei’s first year in office is being marked by criticism and scandals, in addition to a notable inability to overcome internal differences between members of his own team. For example, recently, Vice President Guillermo Castillo criticized Giammattei for invoking international legal documents to legitimize a severe response against acts of vandalism during the demonstrations. Castillo classified the attitude as exaggerated and said that the Guatemalan people do not practice such acts.

In addition, the vice president stated during an interview that he asked the president to resign from his office with the aim of alleviating social tensions in the country. Castillo openly defends the creation of a Guatemalan “commission of notables”, led by religious and popular institutions, which should give to the Congress a list with possible names to occupy the office of new president. This is sufficient to reveal the deep level of dissatisfaction, disunity, and lack of strategic planning within the Guatemalan government and parliament.

While the accusations continue on both sides and the Guatemalan state is fragmented into several political factions, the population suffers from the consequences of many incompetent policies. Now, with the arson attack against the Parliament, popular demonstrations are likely to be suppressed with extreme violence. Although Congress has suspended the approval of the new budget, there is no indication that such suspension will continue – it may be only a temporary measure while the demonstrations remain violent. It is likely that the government will tighten up its security policies and that the restriction on popular acts will grow to the point of preventing any legitimate demonstration against austerity measures. Given the recent history of the country and the entire Central American region, it is difficult to establish any positive scenario for the near future in Guatemala.

Lucas Leiroz is a research fellow in international law at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

November 26, 2020 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism | , , | 1 Comment

Bolivians Face Major Post-Coup Struggles As Luis Arce Seeks Justice, Economic Reforms, Activist Says

By Demond Cureton – Sputnik – 17.11.2020

Bolivians are tasked with numerous challenges after successfully voting out the former Jeanine Anez coup government, who seized control last year in elections contested by opposition forces. The nation has entered a period of restructuring and healing following major political crises in recent months.

Miriam Amancay Colque, spokeswoman for the Bartolina Sisa Resistance movement in London, spoke to Sputnik about events in Bolivia following President Luis Arce and Vice-president David Choquehuanca’s victory in national elections.

SPUTNIK: Can you tell us about the current mood in Bolivia? How are people feeling after Luis Arce’s electoral victory?

Miriam Amancay Colque: The Bolivian people have regained their hope or, as we call it, their Ajayu, or their ‘soul’.

The victories of President Arce and Vice-president Choquehuanca mark those of the Bolivian people that, despite intimidation, persecution and massacres, defended democracy against racist, genocidal Jeanine Anez dictatorship.

Bolivians, in particular indigenous people, feel that their dignity and identity has been restored and are now placing faith in their new leadership.

Former president Evo Morales has also returned from exile in Argentina, back to his roots in Bolivia. Nearly 1m people welcomed him in El Chapare, and we are sure he will work positively with the new government.

SPUTNIK: How was the swearing in ceremony and how did people react?

Miriam Amancay Colque: The swearing-in ceremony for the President and Vice-President was inspiring. It took place on 8 November and was attended by global delegates and Bolivians. Social movements from across the country joined the parade to show support for the two officials, and the event was celebrated with music and dances for over eight hours.

There was widespread jubilation, with several thousands taking part in the event. A small opposition group protested the event but failed to dampen the celebrations.

Bolivians have shown the world that a humble but dignified and courageous people were able to break the chains of the former Anez dictatorship to reclaim their democracy.

SPUTNIK: What has become of the previous coup administration?

Miriam Amancay Colque: The former regime strongman who launched massacres across the country, Arturo Murillo Prijic, was the first to flee the country. Jeanine Anez is also believed to have fled Bolivia, and her collaborators have either renounced or left their posts.

Most of them will face justice for numerous crimes, including massacres, torture, imprisonment, corruption and others.

SPUTNIK: Have they accepted defeat or do you think they will attempt further coups in the country?

Miriam Amancay Colque: The opposition will always be on the lookout, but as long as Bolivians remain united and mobilised, it will be very difficult for them to violate the rule of law and its institutions again.

Those most affected by the attacks from the right-wing groups were always indigenous people who, after over 500 years, continue to struggle against oppressors and will continue to defend their rights.

Dignified and sovereign people rebelled and empowered themselves by speaking out against the Anez regime and emerged victorious.

But it should be known that the opposition never works alone. US organisations such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) funded the right-wing opposition with millions to destabilise left-wing governments.

Groups such as Rios de Pie (Standing Rivers) were camouflaged as an environmental non-governmental organisation (NGO) lead by Jhanisse Vaca Daza, a US-backed operative with experience in toppling progressive governments.

Daza also holds racist views and is now campaigning against President Arce in an attempt to divide Bolivians again.

SPUTNIK: How will the incoming administration deal with those responsible for crimes against humanity?

Miriam Amancay Colque: To bring peace we need justice, and all people involved in crimes against humanity must be tried and punished. Massacres took place against mostly indigenous people, leading to over 30 people killed and hundreds injured, and cannot go unpunished.

Judicial authorities in Bolivia will need to investigate and restore justice and peace to affected families, and President Arce has met with families in Senkata to listen to their testimonies.

We remembered the victims killed and injured in Ovejuyo, Pedregal, Rosales and Chasquipampa in southern La Paz City on 11 November, and victims of the Huayllani, Sabaca massacre last year were remembered on the 15th.

Many of them have been unable to seek justice, and our organisation sends our heartfelt solidarity to all those affected.

Despite the pain and trauma, it is important to seek justice for all victims and their relatives subjected to threats and mistreatment by security forces, including police and paramilitary groups as well as health professionals refusing to provide medical care to victims because they ‘looked like Masistas’, or indigenous people.

SPUTNIK: According to Reuters, Arce promises “moderate” Socialism for the Bolivian people. What precisely does he mean by this and how would it work compared to socialism under Evo Morales?

Miriam Amancay Colque: Neoliberal policies have been imposed on Bolivia, leading to major poverty, unemployment and inequality, among others.

Capitalism is not the answer for these people there is a need to move to a system that works for the people rather than exploiting them, and that supports the majority rather than a few by redistributing wealth to the poorest and marginalised.

Arce’s socialist views were formed when he was a member of the Socialist Party 1 (PS1) in the 80s. His party leader, Marcelo Quiroga Santa Cruz, was tortured, killed and disappeared by military dictator Luis Garcia Mesa in July 1980.

We also recognise that Morales is an undisputed and charismatic indigenous leader with a major place in history, and Arce is, after all, the architect of the miraculous economic policies that transformed Bolivia under Morales.

Arce’s policies halved extreme poverty from 38 percent to 17 percent, reduced national debt and increased wealth by 5 percent each year. It is thanks to Arce that Bolivia has made such progress prior to the US backed coup. He is also a more pragmatic person and is well-qualified to rescue the nation from economic collapse and bring people together.

SPUTNIK: What are the most important challenges for the Arce administration?

Miriam Amancay Colque: President Arce has inherited a real challenge after the coup government left the country economically destroyed with state companies privatised and bankrupt, along with a -11 percent recession rate and unemployment tripled.

Jeanine Anez took power only to embezzle public funds with her collaborators, who never offered support to Bolivians left to their own devices in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dead victims were found in the streets, in houses and other places, without medical assistance and abandoned by the state.

President Arce’s top priority will be to tackle COVID-19 by providing full assistance to Bolivians. He recently stated he would rebuild the economy, boost domestic consumption and pledge financial support, and announced on 12 November a further Bonus Against Hunger to be paid in December to unemployed people over 18 years old.

The most pressing problems in the country will be economic and health issues. President Arce has said he would need to implement measures to boost the economy.

Personally, I think there should be no payments of foreign debt to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) until the economy is back on track and COVID-19 is suppressed.

The government should also continue industrialising national gas, lithium and other resources, and further advancements in social services should be implemented to inspire young, new leaders in the future.

SPUTNIK: What issues will they need to reverse from the former Anez coup government?

Miriam Amancay Colque: Measures will need to be implemented to reverse the damage of the Anez coup government, including boosting internal demand, renationalising strategic companies from foreign companies and backing state firms.

Education will need to be restored after the coup government shuttered schools for the year, leaving thousands of children without access to education.

The Arce government has reestablished the Culture and Decolonisation Ministry to continue to support the Bolivian people.

The Bolivian people are beginning to decide their own future for themselves.

November 17, 2020 Posted by | Economics, Environmentalism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | Leave a comment

Key Military Official Arrested in Mexico Over Ayotzinapa Case

teleSUR – November 14, 2020

Captain José Martínez Crespo, accused of organized crime, homicide, and forced disappearance, is the first detainee in a military prison for the case of the 43 education students of Ayotzinapa, who disappeared in 2014 in Mexico.

According to the Mexican press, the Federal Military Judicial Police this week filled out an arrest warrant against Crespo. So far, the information about his case has not been officially communicated.

Martínez Crespo was one of the commanders of the 27th Infantry Battalion that participated in the events of the night of September 26 and the morning of September 27, 2014, in Iguala, Guerrero.

Captain Crespo” was identified by Sidronio Casarrubias, the alleged criminal leader of the region where the 43 young men of Ayotzinapa disappeared.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador assured on September 26, the sixth anniversary of the students’ disappearance, that arrest warrants had already been issued for military personnel who participated in the disappearances in the Ayotzinapa case.

November 14, 2020 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture | , | Leave a comment

The Empire’s 2009 Coup in Honduras

Tales of the American Empire | October 29, 2020

Most Americans are unaware of the “Banana Wars.” These were a series of American military interventions in Latin America a century ago to support American business interests. The United States treated Latin American nations as colonies, and still does by using covert methods. Control is maintained with bribery, blackmail, assassinations, sanctions, and election rigging. This sometimes fails and a coup is required. The role of the United States usually remains hidden in these regime changes, but sometimes it becomes obvious, like in the 2009 coup in Honduras.

______________________________________________  

“A coup with connections”; Mark Weisbrot; Los Angeles Times ; July 23, 2009; https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-x…

“Hillary Clinton’s Two Foreign Policy Catastrophes; Eric Zuesse; Huffpost ; August 16, 2013; https://www.huffpost.com/entry/hillar…

“During Honduras Crisis, Clinton Suggested Back Channel with Lobbyist Lanny Davis”; Lee Fang; The Intercept ; July 6, 2015; https://theintercept.com/2015/07/06/c…

“Welcome to the Joint Task Force-Bravo”; details on the growing Soto Cano base; https://docplayer.net/55721450-Welcom…

“The Forgotten Base at Soto Cano”; Carlton Meyer; G2mil 2011; https://www.g2mil.com/sotocano.htm

October 30, 2020 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , | Leave a comment

Chile vote is a blow to corporate Canada and Trudeau

By Yves Engler · October 26, 2020

With Chileans voting overwhelming to rewrite the country’s Pinochet era constitution it’s a good moment to reflect on Ottawa’s support for his coup against Salvador Allende. It’s also worth looking at Canadian companies’ opposition to the popular uprising that lead to the referendum on reforming the dictatorship’s neoliberal constitution.

On Sunday nearly 8 in 10 Chileans voted to rewrite the country’s Augusto Pinochet era constitution. The vote was the culmination of months of antigovernment protests that began against a hike in transit fares last October and morphed into a broader challenge to economic inequality and other injustices. The dictatorship’s constitution entrenches pro-capitalist policies and was widely seen as contributing to the country’s large economic divide.

The Pierre Trudeau government was hostile to Allende’s elected government and predisposed to supporting Pinochet’s dictatorship. Days after the September 11 1973 coup against Allende, Andrew Ross, Canada’s ambassador to Chile cabled External Affairs: “Reprisals and searches have created panic atmosphere affecting particularly expatriates including the riffraff of the Latin American Left to whom Allende gave asylum … the country has been on a prolonged political binge under the elected Allende government and the junta has assumed the probably thankless task of sobering Chile up.” Thousands were incarcerated, tortured and killed in “sobering Chile up”.

Within three weeks of the coup, Canada recognized Pinochet’s military junta. Diplomatic support for Pinochet led to economic assistance. Just after the coup Canada voted for a $22 million Inter American Development Bank loan “rushed through the bank with embarrassing haste.” Ottawa immediately endorsed sending $95 million from the International Monetary Fund to Chile and supported renegotiating the country’s debt held by the Paris Club. After refusing to provide credits to the elected government, on October 2nd, 1973, Export Development Canada announced it was granting $5 million in credit to Chile’s central bank to purchase six Twin Otter aircraft from De Havilland, which could carry troops to and from short makeshift strips.

By 1978, Canadian support for the coup d’etat was significant. It included:

  • Support for $810 million in multilateral loans with Canada’s share amounting to about $40 million.
  • Five EDC facilities worth between $15 and $30 million.
  • Two Canadian debt re-schedulings for Chile, equivalent to additional loans of approximately $5 million.
  • Twenty loans by Canadian chartered banks worth more than $100 million, including a 1977 loan by Toronto Dominion to DINA (Pinochet’s secret police) to purchase equipment.
  • Direct investments by Canadian companies valued at nearly $1 billion.

Prominent Canadian capitalists such as Peter Munk and Conrad Black were supporters of Pinochet.

When the recent protests began against billionaire president Sebastián Piñera in October, Trudeau supported the embattled right-wing leader. Two weeks into massive demonstrations against Piñera’s government, the PM held a phone conversation with the Chilean president who had a 14% approval rating. According to Amnesty International, 19 people had already died and dozens more were seriously injured in protests. A couple thousand were also arrested by a government that declared martial law and sent the army onto the streets for the first time since Pinochet. A Canadian Press story on the conversation noted, “a summary from the Prime Minister’s Office of Trudeau’s phone call with Pinera made no direct mention of the ongoing turmoil in Chile, a thriving country with which Canada has negotiated a free trade agreement.”

Rather than express concern about state-backed repression in Chile, the Prime Minister criticized “election irregularities in Bolivia” during his October conversation with Piñera. The false claims of “election irregularities” were then being used to justify ousting leftist indigenous president Evo Morales.

Amidst the massive demonstrations against Piñera in October, Trudeau also discussed Venezuela. In another phone conversation with Piñera two months ago Trudeau again raised “the situation in Venezuela”, according to the official readout, as he did in February 2018 and previously.

Chile is the top destination for Canadian investment in Latin America at over $20 billion. Over 50% of Chile’s large mining industry is Canadian owned and Canadian firms are major players in the country’s infrastructure. Scotiabank is one of the country’s biggest banks.

A number of stories highlighted Scotiabank’s concerns about the protests against inequality that ultimately lead to Sunday’s constitutional referendum. The Financial Post noted, “Scotiabank’s strategic foray into Latin America hits a snag with Chile unrest” and “Riots, state of emergency in Chile force Scotiabank to postpone investor day.” The CEO of the world’s 40th largest bank blamed the protests on an “intelligence breakdown” with people outside Chile “that came in with an intention of creating havoc.” In a January story titled “Why Brian Porter is doubling down on Scotiabank’s Latin American expansion”, he told the Financial Post that Twitter accounts tied to Russia sparked the unrest against Piñera!

Canadian companies, with Ottawa’s support, have led a number of environmentally and socially destructive projects in Chile. In the mid 2000s Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management led a consortium, with US $700 million invested by the Canadian Pension Plan and British Columbia Investment Management Corporation, pushing to build a massive power line and dams in Chile’s Patagonia region, one of the planet’s greatest environmental treasures. “This kind of project could never be implemented in a full-fledged democracy,” explained Juan Pablo Orrego, a prominent Chilean environmentalist, to the Georgia Straight. “Our country is still under a constitutional, political, and financial checkmate to democracy which was put in place during the [Pinochet] military dictatorship and empowers the private sector.”

Sunday’s referendum is a blow to Canadian corporations operating in Chile and the Trudeau government’s alliance with right-wing governments in the Hemisphere.

October 26, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

Bolivian court drops ‘terrorism’ charges against ex-President Evo Morales, withdraws arrest warrant

RT | October 26, 2020

Bolivia’s regional court in La Paz has dismissed “terrorism” charges and dropped the arrest warrant issued against former President Evo Morales, arguing that his rights were violated and judicial procedures breached.

The ex-president’s rights, including his right for judicial protection, have been violated, Judge Jorge Quino, the head of the Departmental Court of Justice in La Paz, said as he explained the court’s decision to grant a request filed by Morales’ lawyers.

He also said that judicial procedures were violated in this case since Morales was not properly summoned. The charges were dropped as the prosecutors did not comply with the procedures established by law, Quino told Bolivia’s Unitel TV Network.

The ruling does not mean though that the currently exiled former president, who was indicted for inciting riots and “terrorism” in the wake of his ousting last year, can safely return home just yet. The decision is yet to be approved by the nation’s Plurinational Constitutional Court which can still reverse it.

An arrest warrant against Morales was issued by the Bolivian prosecutor general back in December 2019 under a ‘provisional’ government formed in the wake of a coup. The interim government, led by right-wing Senator Jeanine Anez, argued that his calls for protest amounted to “sedition and terrorism,” and vowed to jail the ex-president “for the rest of his life.”

Morales, who ruled the nation for 14 years, resigned from the presidency and went into hiding in November 2019, under pressure from the military. Earlier that month he was [falsely] accused of election fraud by the opposition after a controversial vote.

Following his resignation, Morales first traveled to Mexico and eventually arrived in Argentina where President Alberto Fernandez granted him political asylum.

Still, even in absence of its leader, Morales’ Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) party secured majorities in both chambers of the Bolivian parliament in the latest general elections held on October 18. Socialist Luis Arce, who served as an economy minister under Morales and was allegedly handpicked by the former leader as a presidential candidate, also won the vote, securing a landslide victory against his leading rival, Carlos Mesa.

October 26, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment