Chileans Choose Sichel and Boric as Presidential Candidates

Source: TeleSUR

July 18 2021

Sebastian Sichel (L) and Gabriel Boric (R). | Photo: Twitter/ @ElOrientalMon

Local political analysts hold their triumph evidences a generational change, as neither of the two pre-candidates were born at the time of the 1973 coup d’état.

On Sunday, the Chilean presidential primary elections produced results that opinion polls had not predicted. Citizens elected independent politician Sebastian Sichel as the candidate of the “Let’s Go Chile” coalition of right-wing parties and former student leader Gabriel Boric as the candidate in the “Approve Dignity” coalition of left-wing organizations.

RELATED: Chile Sets up Over 2,000 Voting Centers for Primary Elections

With 49 percent of the vote, Sichel defeated former Mayor Joaquin Lavin, Mario Desbordes (National Renovation party) and Ignacio Briones (Evopoli party). Sichel was Social Development Minister in 2018 and president of the State Bank until December 2020.

Politically, he gained experience in several organizations, among which is the Christian Democratic Party where he militated for over a decade. During the electoral campaign, Sichel positioned himself as a “center” candidate, concerned about the “punished” middle class and the discredit of traditional politics.

“The time has come to change history for the better, the history of the common people… Goodbye to the old politics that splits the world in two,” he said.

Gabriel Boric won 60,3 percent of the votes and defeated Communist Party candidate Daniel Jadue, whom the mainstream media attacked harshly during the election campaign. Besides promoting feminist and environmentalist demands, Boric pledged to change the current economic and social model.

“Do not be afraid of the youth to change this country… If Chile was the cradle of neoliberalism, it will also be its tomb”, said this 35-year-old lawmaker who got over a million votes in the primary elections, a feat that happened the last time in 2013 when Chileans elected Michelle Bachelet as presidential candidate.

According to local political analysts, the triumph of Sichel and Boric evidences the existence of a generational change in Chilean politics, as neither of the two pre-candidates were born at the time of the 1973 coup d’état.

“It is also a great defeat for the right-wing parties that succumbed to an independent candidate,” University of Talca professor Mauricio Morales said and recalled that the right has suffered defeats since the social outbreak of 2019, the last one being the election of constituents, in which it only achieved 37 of the 155 seats in the convention in charge of drafting the new Constitution.

“For the first time, the left elects a candidate with possibilities of electoral success without the support of the parties that have governed for almost three decades,” said Lucia Dammert, professor at the University of Santiago de Chile

Argentina Asks to End Blockades Against Cuba and Venezuela

Source: TeleSUR

July 13 2021

President Alberto Fernandez at a press conference, Buenos Aires, Argentina, July 12, 2021. | Photo: Twitter/ @AgenciaElVigia

“There is nothing more inhuman during a pandemic than to block a country”, President Alberto Fernandez pointed out. 

On Monday, Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez addressed the economic and social situation of Cuba and Venezuela and ratified his position in favor of ending the U.S. economic blockades against these nations.

RELATED:  Fake Social Media Operation from Abroad Catalyzes Cuba Incident

“This policy has prevented Cuba and Venezuela from accessing artificial respirators. Realize what that means”, Fernandez said, stressing that those who suffer the consequences of the blockades are not governments but the peoples.

Regarding Cuba, where the authorities are victims of a U.S.-promoted smear campaign, the Argentine president commented that the internal affairs of each country must be resolved without the intervention of third parties.

“Although we must promote dialogue and peace among the peoples, neither Argentina nor any country should tell a nation what it has to do or not to do”, Fernandez said, adding that if the international community is so concerned about what happens in Cuba and Venezuela, it should end the blockades.

In Venezuela, the U.S. blockade have caused a 99 percent fall in foreign exchange earnings since 2018. This illegal coercive measure have also affected the country’s access to medicines and food amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cuba have suffered the consequences of this policy for over 60 years. On June, the United Nations General Assembly almost unanimously approved a resolution demanding the end of this coercive measure.

On Monday, Cuba’s President Miguel Diaz-Canel assured that the United States has supported transnational actions to discredit the revolutionary government and fracture the unity of the Cuban people.

Brazil: Bolsonaro Threatens to Disregard Results of the 2022 Elections

Source: TeleSUR

July 8 2021

Voting intentions as of July 7, 2021 according to the company Poder Data. | Photo: Twitter/ @poderdata_

“We are going to have problems,” Bolsonaro said in allusion to the upcoming elections in which Lula da Silva would be the winner, as all current polls predict.

On Wednesday, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro criticized the electronic voting system and threatened to disregard the outcome of the 2022 presidential elections if paper ballot voting is not adopted.

RELATED: Poll Shows Lula Would Beat Bolsonaro in Any Electoral Scenario

“If that method continues, we are going to have problems because one side may not accept the result. And that side, obviously, will be our side,” the far-right politician said.

“We are going to have problems next year,” Bolsonaro stressed in allusion to the upcoming elections in which the Workers’ Party (PT) leader Lula da Silva would be the winner, as all current polls predict.

In Brazil, the electronic voting system was adopted more than two decades ago and used during the 2018 elections that brought Bolsonaro to power. However, the former Capitan now says that electronic voting allows fraud and claims he has “proof” of that.

Since he claims that there was even fraud in the 2018 elections, the Superior Electoral Court demanded that he present the evidence he swears he has. Instead of proving his allegations, however, Bolsonaro demands the electoral authorities to “present some proof that there is no fraud” with the electronic ballot boxes.

Previously, the far-right President presented a bill to Congress to reestablish paper ballot voting. So far, eleven political parties, including some center and right-wing organizations, have spoken out against his proposal and in favor of keeping the electronic voting system.

In response to the lawmakers and their criticisms, Bolsonaro reiterated that “they can create many problems for next year”. He insists his bill only intends that “the vote be auditable and transparent”.

Ecuador: Farmers Begin Massive Strike Against President Lasso

Source: TeleSUR
July 12 2021

Citizens protesting for an agricultural reform, Guayaquil, Ecuador, July 12, 2021. | Photo: Twitter/ @JRE_Ecuador

The protests will be “a wake-up call” for the Ecuadorian government to expedite the dialogues with the farmers and improve their working conditions.

On Monday, 8,000 Ecuadorian banana, rice, and sugarcane producers began an indefinite national strike because of the disrespect to the minimum support price and other President Guillermo Lasso’s government non-compliances in agricultural matters.

RELATED: Ecuador: President Lasso Discredits the 2019 Social Outburst

Since coming to power in May, Lasso has ignored the agreements signed on the minimum support prices for agricultural products and the cost control of the inputs in the farm field. As a result, the price of a rice sack has decreased from about US$29 to US$22 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ecuador’s Montubia Agricultural Association classified this governmental non-compliance as an unfair act. It stated that the mass protests would be “a wake-up call” for the Ecuadorian government to expedite the dialogues with the farmers and improve their working conditions.

Besides the minimum support price, farmers are also protesting to reopen the National Storage Unit (UNA) and forgiveness of small and medium-sized farmers’ debts. They also request that the State supply them with fertilizer inputs of about US$12.

The National Corporation of Rice Producers stressed that they would remain a peaceful protest, despite President Lasso Friday warning he would lock up indefinitely those citizens who try to paralyze the country.

This is the first strike against the Government of Guillermo Lasso, who in his presidential campaign called for the country’s unity to overcome a tremendous economic and health crisis.

Only in 2020, Ecuador registered 23,793 coronavirus-related deaths, and so far, the country has reported 468,346 COVID-19 cases.

UN Rejects Persistent Attacks on Social Leaders in Colombia

Source: TeleSUR
July 15 2021

THE High Commissioner for Human Rights recorded 56 deaths and 49 alleged victims of rape in the context of last months’ national strike.

A demonstrator argues with a police officer, Popayan, Colombia, May. 14, 2021. | Photo: EFE

On Friday, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) addressed the political violence in the recent protests in Colombia where attacks and threats against human rights activists continued to climb.

RELATED:  Moise Assassination Was Planned in the Dominican Republic

Previously, Colombia’s Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) warned that the South American nation ranks second in the world in terms of violent deaths per day of protest.

UNSC members expressed concerns over “the constant sieges and assassinations” of ex-combatants, who are in the process of reinsertion.

They regretted the repression of the April-June strikes while urging a national dialogue to solve the political and social crisis. 

The UNSC insisted that President Ivan Duque’s government implement an action plan for guaranteeing women leaders, human rights defenders, and ex-combatants protection. 

The Council reiterated the calls for observing the 2016 Peace Accords, which comprehend a rural reform, inclusive political participation, and the fight against illicit drugs.

From April 28 to June 16, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) recorded 56 deaths, including 54 civilians and two police officers, and 49 alleged victims of sexual violence.

Evo: “Almagro Must Be Investigated For Crimes Against Humanity”

Source: TeleSUR

July 15 2021

Ex-president of Bolivia Evo Morales assures that the head of the OAS Luis Almagro should be investigated for crimes against humanity after the recognition of the massacres of Senkata and Sacaba. | Photo: Twitter/@enteratee24

The request of the former Bolivian president comes after Almagro’s recognition of the Senkata and Sacaba massacres.

The former president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, demanded Thursday an investigation against the secretary-general of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, for crimes against humanity, after he acknowledged that there were indeed massacres in Senkata and Sacaba in November 2019.

The head of the OAS “provoked and accompanied” the de facto government installed in Bolivia, which is currently attributed and investigated, the responsibility for the massacres after the overthrow of Evo Morales shortly before.

RELATED:

Bolivia Considers to Take Legal Action Against Luis Almagro

Evo Morales said that “Almagro publicly admitted that in Bolivia there were massacres perpetrated by the de facto government” and added, in that sense, “I demand that he be investigated to explain his participation in those crimes against humanity.”

The former president pointed out that Almagro made this public acknowledgment after being “betrayed by the last remnant of his conscience.”

Thus, he refers to the fact that, during a virtual meeting of the OAS Permanent Council on Wednesday, Almagro acknowledged the massacres and asked for a minute of silence for the victims of those massacres; he then stood up as a sign of respect.

In response, Evo Morales pointed out that this shows his extreme cynicism and accused Almagro of being “one of the people, who with his actions, has justly caused those deaths.”

Bolivian President Luis Arce also described Almagro’s request for a minute’s silence as outrageous.

Meanwhile, the Bolivian ambassador to the OAS, Héctor Arce, present at the virtual meeting, described Almagro’s action as a very serious imposture, recalling the actions of the OAS and its head, which favored the establishment of the de facto government of Jeanine Áñez.

Peru: The Triumph of Pedro Castillo Amid the Campaign to Undermine His Presidency

Source: Counterpunch

July 2 2021

BY ARIELA RUIZ CARO

The victory of Pedro Castillo, a rural teacher, in Peru’s presidential elections will be recorded in the annals of history as one of the most significant events in the last 200 years of Peruvian history. With his pencil and megaphone in hand, Castillo embodies the impoverished and vulnerable inland populations of the country.

Pedro Castillo

During his campaign, the newly elected Castillo assuaged rumors circulated by the media that his victory would mean the arrival of communism and the rise of Shining Path. For months, the press advertised the idea that a Castillo government would be infiltrated by brigades of Cubans and Venezuelans and that his victory was part of an international strategy organized by the Sao Paulo Forum to seize power in Latin America for the left-wing.

Castillo, of the left-leaning Partido Peru Libre won 50.125% of the vote to beat out Keiko Fujimori, of the conservative Partido Fuerza Popular, with 49.875%,  during the second round of elections held on June 6–a difference of around 48 thousand votes. The National Office of Electoral Processes (ONPE) announced offical results nine days after the election.

This election represents the third consecutive loss for Fujimori. The first defeat came against Ollanta Humala, who beat her by 445 thousand votes, followed by a loss in 2016 against Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who beat Fujimori by 41 thousand votes.  After that last presidential race, Fujimori did not congratulate her opponent and in the years that followed, she waged a war on Kuczynski from Parliament, where her party had the majority seats. For five-years, Peru lived through a period of ungovernability in which several ministerial cabinets were dissolved, four presidents rose and fell, and one Congress was dissolved and a new one elected.

Now the supposed defenders of democracy and warriors against international communism are already bearing their claws to fight to oppose the recent election results. “No one here gives up. We are going to fight against the Chavista fraud planned and executed by the agents of Cuba and Venezuela (…) We cannot allow a dictatorship to be imposed by stealing the elections and distorting the popular will ”, read one recent Tweet.

The first step consisted of requesting annulment of certified ballots already verified and counted by the ONPE, particularly those from rural areas and indigenous communities where Castillo won by large margins. One of Fujimori’s powerful lawyers, Julio César Castiglioni, argued that “in the mountains they have filled the ballot boxes indiscrimminately,” a phrase that delegitimizes the popular will of the indigenous and rural communities of Peru. A recent column in the Washington Post– “Pedro Castillo could defeat the Peruvian right, but not its racism,” — launches harsh criticism of Peruvian conservatism, arguing that “the project to suppress indigenous votes seals a campaign charged with verbal racism and describes the way that Fuerza Popular understands the country.” The column stated that “to challenge rural votes is a reasonable option to present publicly to many, thanks to the fact that Peruvian ways of thinking reveal a  country divided into two types of citizenship: an orderly, future-oriented, urban type where the economic elites flourish, and another type that is chaotic, barbaric, ‘far away’, fraud-oriented and still awaiting ‘civilization’ ”. As if in 200 years of Peruvian history, they still cannot fathom the idea that indigenous people not only have the right to vote, but to vote for what they believe in.

Read full article here

US Targets Nicaraguan Presidential Election

Source: Counterpunch

July 16 2021

BY ROGER HARRIS

Before Henry Kissinger became a Clinton pal, liberals condemned him for saying: “I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves.” The 1973 US-backed coup and bloodbath in Chile followed. Now Uncle Sam has a problem in Nicaragua, where independent polls predict a landslide victory for Daniel Ortega’s leftist Sandinista slate in the November 7th presidential elections.

Daniel Ortega

The US government and its sycophantic media are working to prevent Ortega’s reelection. On July 12, the US slapped visa restrictions on one hundred Nicaraguan elected legislative officials, members of the judiciary, and their families for “undermining democracy.” A month earlier, the Biden administration imposed sanctions on President Ortega’s daughter, along with a military general, the head of the central bank, and an elected legislator.

These and other recent illegal US sanctions on Nicaragua are designed to promote regime change and are based on the ridiculous charge that this poor and tiny nation is a “extraordinary and unusual threat to the US national security,” when the opposite is the case.

The NICA Act of 2018, under the Trump administration, imposed sanctions, including blocking loans from international financial institutions controlled by the US. In August 2020, the Responsive Assistance in Nicaragua (RAIN) plan was revealed, which is a multi-faceted coup strategy by which the US contracted corporations to overthrow the Nicaraguan government. RAIN calls for a “sudden, unanticipated transition” government to forestall what they admit would otherwise be a Sandinista victory in a free election. In a seamless handoff from the Trump to the Biden administration, the pending RENACER Act would further extended “targeted sanctions.”

US intervention in Nicaragua and, indeed, in all of Latin America under the 1823 Monroe Doctrine has a long history continuing to the present. Back in 1856, US citizen William Walker tried to impose himself as head of a slave state in Nicaragua, only to be assassinated four years later. In 1912, the US began an occupation of Nicaragua, forcing the country to become a US protectorate. The US was ousted in 1933 in a war led by national hero Augusto C. Sandino, after whom the present revolutionary party was named. In the 1980s, the US government proxies, the Contras, fought the new Sandinistas after they overthrew the US-backed Somoza dictatorship.

Read full article here

Roger Harris is on the board of the Task Force on the Americas, a 32-year-old anti-imperialist human rights organization.

The Cuba Fixation

Source: Counterpunch

BY JEFFREY ST. CLAIR

July 16 2021

+ The hatred of Cuba by the ruling class of the US is a kind of political neurosis. It’s visceral, irrational and violent. Cuba poses no threat to the US, militarily or economically, Yet its very existence seems to drive US policy makers crazy. This week the mayor of Miami, an anti-Trump Republican, suggested that it might be necessary to bomb Havana. Why? Because it’s there. Well, it wouldn’t be the first time. The US has invaded Cuba, funded multiple insurrections, tried dozens of times to assassinate its leaders, used biological weapons to wilt its crops and poison its livestock, tracked down and executed Che Guevara, bombarded the island with hysterical propaganda, ranted against it at the UN, financed, trained and protected a gang of thugs that planned and executed the bombing of a Cuban passenger plane (killing 73 civilians), plotted false flag ops in Miami to blame on the Castro government, and enforced a decades long embargo (that even China finds it hard to break) that would have crippled almost any other nation. The fact that Cuba is still standing, a little wobbly at times, but still defiant, simply drives the US nuts. It’s a living example of another way to organize a society can’t be tolerated, especially so close to home.

+ As the US continues to rant incessantly at Cuba, we should not forget in this age of heightened sensitivity to infectious diseases that among the US’s many crimes against the Cuban people two stand out: introducing Asian Swine flu in 1971 (causing 500,000 pigs to be slaughtered) and Dengue Fever in 1988, an outbreak that killed 113 children.

Read full article here