UN: Ecuador Has Reduced Poverty by 50%

Source: TeleSUR

A United Nations Development Program report reveals that Ecuador has reduced poverty by half since 2003.

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Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa’s government has invested heavily in social development. (Source: AP)

In working to meet its Millennium Development Goals, Ecuador has seen a 50 percent reduction in poverty since 2003. In its report released on Thursday, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has shown that Ecuador is one of the countries with the most sustained development growth globally.

Heavy investments in education, healthcare, social security and job creation

On poverty reduction, the UNDP representative in Ecuador, Diego Zorrilla praised the Ecuadorian government heavy investments in education, healthcare, social security and job creation. He said, “Ecuador has state policies in these fields and thus seeks to reduce persistent vulnerabilities that occur throughout the life cycle.”

Since 2000 the middle class in Ecuador has expanded considerably and now represents about one-third of the population.

Correa has increased public investment from 21 percent of the GDP to 41 percent 

Since first taking office in 2006, President Rafael Correa has increased public investment from 21 percent of the GDP to 41 percent in 2012.

Ecuador is currently ranked 98 of 187 countries in the Human Development Index, meaning that it has a high rate of human development. The Human Development Index measures standard of living in terms average achievements in sectors such as education and health.

Ecuador has met 7 of its 8 Millennium Development Goals, as the country has yet to reduce maternal mortality by 25 percent. Throughout Latin America, however, the World Health Organization found that maternal mortality has reduced to 44 percent

Source: UN: Ecuador Has Reduced Poverty by 50%  TeleSUR

Greece government refuses to go back on its election pledges to end austerity measures

Source: TeleSUR

Deputy Prime Minister says Greece hopes to reach agreement with EU lenders, but will not retreat from its red lines.

yiannis dragasakis greeceGreece seeks to reach an agreement with its international creditors but refuses to go back on its election pledges to end austerity measures, Greek Deputy Prime Minister Yannis Dragasakis told Sunday newspaper To Vima.

“Our objective is a viable solution inside the euro,”  told the paper.

“We will not back off from the red lines we have set.”

Government will roll back austerity measures while meeting financial obligations

Since being elected earlier this year, Greece’s left-wing Syriza-led government has vowed to roll back austerity measures, while still meeting financial obligations to international creditors.

Influential Nobel-laureate economist Paul Krugman echoed similar sentiments on Saturday in which he urged the government to stick to its guns over austerity measures.

Negotiations at a standstill

Negotiations between Athens and its European creditors are at a standstill, as its lenders are reviewing a list of economic reforms proposed by Greece in a bid to unlock up frozen bailout aid.

Greece was told Saturday to urgently deliver a detailed fiscal and debt plan to official lenders ahead of the April 24 gathering of the Eurogroup finance ministers in Riga, Latvia.

Since 2010, under a different government, Greece has taken close to US$256 billion in loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Union, in exchange for promising impose harsh austerity measures.

Why We Need to Ditch Austerity and Take on the Global 1%

Source: TeleSUR English

By next year, the richest 1% of the world will own more wealth than the rest of the entire population of the planet, according to Oxfam.

1% vs the restThis is a staggering figure, almost impossible to comprehend. And yet, this fact alone puts into focus a harsh truth: that we live in a fierce, inhuman, capitalist world where a handful of the richest people get richer and more powerful, even as governments across the globe enact austerity measures against the working class.

Promoting austerity policies while the global 1% are set to clutch over half of the world’s wealth by next year

It is completely ludicrous that governments are carrying out austerity policies while the global 1% are set to clutch over half of the world’s wealth by next year. But here we are, watching the impossible unfold right in front of our eyes.

In Jamaica, IMF-imposed austerity measures are the most severe on the planet. Since 2007, poverty in Jamaica has doubled, with unemployment currently at 14.2 percent

In Jamaica, IMF-imposed austerity measures are the most severe on the planet, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research. And, of course, the US is largely to blame. The CEPR explained, “through its leadership role in the IMF, the U.S. is imposing unnecessary pain on Jamaica through harsh austerity and a debt trap.” Since 2007, poverty in the country has doubled, with unemployment currently at 14.2 percent.

poverty in jamaicaActivists in Spain are also fighting against government cuts

While the double stranglehold of debt and austerity brings Jamaica to its knees, activists in Spain are also fighting against government cuts. Earlier this year in Madrid, there was a major mobilization against austerity measures imposed by the government, policies which have worsened homelessness and poverty among the poorest. Protesters carried banners reading “Working for a general strike” and ““Bread, work, a roof and dignity.”

spain protests austerityIn Spain, unemployment rate is 23.7 percent but the people are fighting back

Between 2012 and 2014, the Spanish government made $162 billion in spending cuts. The country is experiencing an unemployment rate of 23.7 percent; one out of every four members of the workforce in Spain are unemployed, and half of all young people in Spain between ages 16 and 25 are without jobs. But people are fighting back. Protester Antonio Colmenar told reporters, “It is a day to claim our rights.”

In Canada, students are leading the charge against cuts in healthcare, education and public services

montreal students protestsWhile the 1% fills their pockets, protests against austerity have been rocking the globe. In Montreal, Canada, students are leading the charge against cuts in healthcare, education and public services. “Today, we’re proud to launch a raucous spring,” Fannie Poirier, a spokesperson from the student protest committee told the Montreal Gazette in March. “Austerity measures have been presented as the lesser of evils to confront a deficient economy. But what we’re seeing … is a massive impoverishment of the population, full-frontal attacks on working conditions and a loss of security for society’s most vulnerable people.”

Even in Vermont, a US state known for its progressive politics, Democratic Governor Peter Shumlin has been pushing for austerity measures

Even in Vermont, a US state known for its progressive politics, Democratic Governor Peter Shumlin has been pushing for austerity measures in education, healthcare and among public sector workers. Steve Howard, executive director of the Vermont State Employees’ Association, commented on Shumlin’s moves to NPR, “Before you take money out of the paychecks of snowplow drivers, nursing assistants, custodians and administrative assistants … we believe you have a moral obligation to ask for a greater contribution from a broad-based revenue source paid mostly by the wealthiest Vermonters who have had all the economic gains of the last decade.”

Austerity is trumpeted by many politicians as a necessary, though painful step to ensure long term economic viability

Austerity is trumpeted by many politicians as a necessary, though painful step to ensure long-term economic viability. But it’s simply a way of perpetuating, rather than challenging, capitalist business as usual, a business in which the global 1% get richer and richer while schools go without sufficient funding and workers get laid off.

Governments enacting austerity measures are protecting the 1% and global capitalism

Governments enacting austerity measures are protecting the 1% and global capitalism. And the 1% has more than its fair share of influence in government policy development. Oxfam reports that the global elite “spent $550 million lobbying policy makers in Washington and Brussels during 2013. During the 2012 US election cycle alone, the financial sector provided $571 million in campaign contributions.”

CEOs in America currently make 350 times what the average worker makes

Meanwhile, according the Harvard Business School, CEOs in America currently make 350 times what the average worker makes, and 774 times as much as minimum wage workers. Such a concentration of wealth not only takes place with impunity in America, it is encouraged as part of free market ideology.

Since 1979, Americans have increased productivity by 80 percent. Yet, according to Forbes, income has not increased at the same rate, if it has increased at all. Furthermore, “the rich spend about 17 percent of their income traveling for business and pleasure” while “the lower classes spend about 17 percent of their income on feeding their families.”

Inequality is not a symptom of the ills of global capitalism, it is its fuel

Inequality is not a symptom of the ills of global capitalism, it is its fuel. Austerity measures won’t change this; they simply maintain an unjust system that needs to be transformed from the bottom up. The global 1% and their allies in government need to be confronted and overturned. The entire system needs to be overhauled in a way that puts people, not profits and greed, first.

I believe in fighting against the system, it won’t change if you don’t do something 

Luckily, there are exciting movements fighting against this upside down world and proposing alternatives, from Greece to Vermont. “I believe in fighting against the system,” Sara, a protester against austerity measures in Germany told reporters. “It won’t change if you don’t do something.”

***

Benjamin Dangl has worked as a journalist throughout Latin America, covering social movements and politics in the region for over a decade. He is the author of the books Dancing with Dynamite: Social Movements and States in Latin America, and The Price of Fire: Resource Wars and Social Movements in Bolivia. Dangl is currently a doctoral candidate in Latin American History at McGill University, and edits UpsideDownWorld.org, a website on activism and politics in Latin America, and TowardFreedom.com, a progressive perspective on world events. Twitter: https://twitter.com/bendangl Email: BenDangl(at)gmail(dot)com

Source: Why We Need to Ditch Austerity and Take on the Global 1%  TeleSUR

UNASUR’s Bank of the South to Begin Operations in May

The Bank of the South, or Bancosur, is intended as an alternative to borrowing from institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Nicolas Maduro VP VenezudlaVenezuela’s president announced a May meeting in Buenos Aires with the presidents of the blocs member countries.

The Bank of the South, a monetary fund and lending institution originally established by Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela, will begin operations in May, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said late Tuesday.

It is ready

“It is ready, after so many years, all the organizational architecture, its directors have been appointed, Argentina is going to be the chief and we will begin operations in May in Buenos Aires,” Maduro said.

The Venezuelan leader announced a meeting in Buenos Aires with the presidents of the member countries of the Union of South American (UNASUR) nations.

An alternative to the IMF

The Bank of the South, or Bancosur, is intended as an alternative to borrowing from institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Bancosur intends lend money to nations in the Americas for social programs and infrastructure projects.

Endorsed by Nobel Prize winner and former World Bank economist Joseph Stiglitz

joseph stiglitzThe financial institution, which has been endorsed by Nobel Prize winner and former World Bank economist Joseph Stiglitz, was first proposed in 2009 with the aim of including every state within South America while advancing regional independence and endogenous development in the region.

RELATED: Blood Money: The World Bank and IMF in Latin America

Brazilian Health Minister Praises Cuba’s Contribution to Mas Medicos

Arthur ChioroBrazil’s Health Minister, Arthur Chioro, highlighted the fact that Cuba’s contribution to the program “Mas Medicos” (More Doctors), promoted by President Dilma Rousseff, has made it possible to expand consultations and services benefiting millions of Brazilians.

In a panel on the public policy to guarantee universal access to health, held at Havana’s Convention Center, the Minister stated that more than 63 million Brazilians have been treated through Mas Medicos and that the Cuban professionals are in the majority in places of high social vulnerability.

The commendable work of the 11,429 Cuban physicians currently working in Brazil

In the presence of Roberto Morales, member of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party and Minister of Public Health, and other officials participating in the 2nd Cuba Health International Convention, he praised the commendable work of the 11,429 Cuban physicians currently working in Brazil.

cuban doctors for brazilHe also highlighted the quality of care, commitment established with the population and the humane and friendly way the doctor-patient relationship is developed, and pointed out that this is the first time that Brazil has had physicians in all indigenous districts.

Expansion of primary health care services

The program includes 14,462 physicians from 30 countries in more than 3,000 municipalities and 34 indigenous districts, stated the minister.  He noted that the Mas Medicos program was both well designed and implemented and as allowed for the expansion of primary health care services with great quality. In this regard, he praised the performance of the Cuban voluntary workers.

Source:  Brazilian Health Minister Praises Cuba’s Contribution in this Sector  Cuban News Agency

New York Governor Agrees to Import Cuban Cancer Vaccine

The Cuban Immunology Center and the Roswell Park Cancer Institute of New York signed an agreement Tuesday for the U.S. to import a therapeutic vaccine against lung cancer developed by Cuba.

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo addresses the media during a conference before his departure at Jose Marti airport in Havana April 21, 2015. | Photo: Reuters

“Signing this agreement means we can immerse ourselves in clinical trials when we return to New York,” said Candance Johnson, director of the U.S.-based Roswell Park institute.

The agreement was signed as part of a business delegation visit to Cuba headed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

We are very excited to be able to bring the vaccine to the U.S

“We are very excited to be able to bring the vaccine to the U.S. and to treat patients,” Candance said.

Cuba created the vaccine in 2011 after 15 years of research. Brazil, Argentina and Colombia are currently applying to have access to the vaccine, while the U.K and Australia have already carried out their own clinical trials.

We are surprised by the level and experience that there is in Cuba in health and technology

The business delegation also saw an agreement between New York company Infor, and a Cuban organization. “We are surprised by the level and experience that there is in Cuba in health and technology,” company representative Charles Phillips stated.

Cuomo and Cuban First Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel also talked about relations between Cuba and the U.S.

“Through a complete relationship we can have dialogue where we can discuss any issue and reach an agreement,” Cuomo said.

The visit by the governor and businesses represented the first state-based visit to Cuba after dialogue began between the two countries to normalize relations.

Sources:  New York Governor Agrees to Import Cuban Cancer Vaccine  TeleSUR

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WHO expert praises Cuban care of pregnant women

Source:  Cuban News Agency
April 22 2015

Dr. José Luis Di Fabio WHODr. José Luis Di Fabio, representative in Cuba of the Pan American and World Health organizations (PAHO / WHO) praised today in this city the country’s progress in the care of pregnant women.

Exclusively to ACN, Di Fabio highlighted the quality of primary services the state provides to pregnant women, as well as after their giving birth, in which stands out maternity leave, period needed to create the link with the newborn.

pregnant women in CubaHe commented the need to prevent maternal mortality, multi-causal fact affecting Latin America and the Caribbean, resulting from the lack of quality services, teen pregnancy, abortions and many others that impact negatively.

The recent WHO report warned that one in five maternal deaths in the region is a result of obstetric hemorrhage during or immediately after birth, many of them preventable.

Zero maternal deaths due to hemorrhage

Therefore, both non-governmental organizations began the initiative Zero maternal deaths due to hemorrhage in the countries of Bolivia, Guatemala, Haiti, Peru and Dominican Republic, the ones with largest index.

“A woman dying from lack of blood means not only a problem in attention, but that there is no access to this vital liquid”, he said.

Data show that 8.2 percent of pregnant women giving birth in the area will require a transfusion, so it is urgent to solve these problems, Millennium Development Goals that the region will probably not met, Di Fabio stated.

Motherhood shouldn’t be cause for death, but a right to life

“We must work together to advance in this topic, each death should be investigated to know and try to solve the problem, because motherhood shouldn’t be cause for death, but a right to life,” he noted.

In turn, regarding infant mortality, he added that a significant reduction has been achieved, in which Cuba prevails as example for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Source:  Health expert praises Cuban care of pregnant women  Cuban News Agency