Ecuador: Judge Releases Leftist Activists Accused of Rebellion

Source:  TeleSUR
December 25 2019

The Prefect of Pichincha Paola Pabon at a local radio station in Quito, Ecuador, 2019.The Prefect of Pichincha Paola Pabon at a local radio station in
Quito, Ecuador, 2019. | Photo: Twitter / @pichinchauniver

Prefect Paola Pabon was accused of being part of a plan to overthrow President Lenin Moreno.

In Ecuador, the Provincial Justice Court of Pichincha acting president Patlova Guerra Tuesday revoked preventive prison against the Prefect of Pichincha Paola Pabon, former lawmaker Virgilio Hernandez, and activist Christian Gonzalez, all of whom are accused of rebellion.

RELATED: Ecuadorean Gov’t Slams UN Report About Repressing Protesters

In exchange for the release of the three defendants, Judge Guerra requested them to appear each Monday before the authority.

Pabon served 71 days in jail after President Lenin Moreno accused her of instigating protests against the economic policies proposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

In October, Moreno said that Pabon was part of a plan to overthrow him, which was allegedly devised by former President Rafael Correa and supported by Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro.

Given that the Ecuadorian prosecution failed to present strong evidence on such accusations, the arrest of Pabon, Hernandez, and Gonzalez, which occurred without following the rules of due process, brought the attention of international human rights organizations.

One of them was the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), which issued precautionary measures in favor of the Pichincha prefect.​​​​​

“Paola Pabon, Virgilio Hernandez, and Christian Gonzalez are free. Joy for their families and the State of Rights. The preventive detention hearing ruled in favor. I find myself excited and cheerful. I hope nobody goes through something like that. All three are innocent.”

Once Judge Guerra’s decision was known on Tuesday late night, dozens of supporters of the leftist politicians celebrated outside the Provincial Court shouting slogans against political persecution.

While Correa celebrated the liberation of Pabon, Hernandez, and Gonzalez, he recalled that other members of his party are still imprisoned, one of whom is the former Vice President Jorge Glass.

“The joy is enormous but remember that there are Jorge, Yofre, and many other people persecuted, isolated, exiled or with preventive measures,” Correa said.

Based on what has been going on during Moreno’s administration, the former President also expressed concern about reprisals that could be taken against an honest judge.

“Judge Patlova Guerra is a sign that there are still honest judges. You have to be very attentive so that she does not be dismissed.”

Ecuador: My brother would return with judicial guarantees …Pierina Correa

Source:  TeleSUR
November 27 2019

Pierrina Correa in an interview to the media on Nov. 27th, 2019.Pierina Correa in an interview with the media. November 27 2019.
Photo EFE

“It seems their idea is to get convictions and sentences as fast as possible that would block us for life” (from being elected to any public office), she added.

Former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, currently living with his wife in Belgium, is not afraid to return to his country and even be arrested if he is guaranteed it would be done under due process of law, his sister Pierina Correa told EFE in an interview.

RELATED:
Former Ecuadorean President Condemns Coup In Bolivia, OAS

“But there are no guarantees in our current judicial system that we can enter a defense in court the way it should be,” she said, giving as an example the recent case of ex-lawmaker Virgilio Hernandez, sentenced to preventive prison over the charge of “rebellion” after prosecutors – supporters of current President Lenin Moreno – accused him of taking part in organizing violent demonstrations during last October’s protests.

Hernandez denied the charges and denounced his sentence as “political persecution.”

According to the former president’s sister, who is campaigning in New York for the opposition movement Social Commitment to the Citizens’ Revolution in the perspective of the 2021 elections, Hernandez surrendered voluntarily after his home was broken into and searched so he would be allowed to stand trial without being incarcerated, but then “he was taken prisoner” on Nov. 5.

Rafael Correa, president between 2007-2017, has lived in Belgium since he left the presidency, after which some 20 charges have been brought against him including corruption. Correa always denied the charged and denounced the lack of evidence against him.

“The procedure is clear, above all in the case of Rafael Correa and Jorge Glas (former vice president of Ecuador): to cancel their political participation not only in the 2021 elections but for life,” Pierina Correa said.

She also felt there was something to be learned by “the election results in Argentina, where the pendulum has moved back toward the left, and after the marches in Ecuador, in Chile, the problem in Bolivia, and what is going on in Colombia. So what’s the message? That the winds of progressive politics are blowing again in the region and that doesn’t suit our current government.”

According to Pierina Correa, with this scenario in her country, the Social Commitment to the Citizens’ Revolution that her brother directs from Belgium has assumed the task of “taking back the government” and to do that, “we are carrying a message of unity and organization.”

“We are calling together a great coalition of hope that unites movements, parties, fronts, and progressive and leftist organizations, so we can go into the 2021 elections as a solid pact,” she said.

Correa, who began her tour in California and after New York will continue on to Florida, added that Lenin Moreno “took away from us, above all from the younger generations, the chance to build our future.”

Ecuador’s Assembly Rejects President Moreno’s Economic Reforms

Source:  TeleSUR
November 17 2019

The reforms were suggested by Moreno after a banking agreement with International Monetary Fund.The reforms were suggested by Moreno after a banking agreement with International Monetary Fund. | Photo: Reuters

Several of these reforms were questioned by the indigenous movement, other social organizations, and by the business sector.

Ecuador’s Assembly rejected Sunday a package of tax and monetary reforms presented by President Lenín Moreno, in a new blow to his attempts of obtaining fresh resources and reduce the bulky fiscal deficit.

RELATED:Ecuador: ‘Russia Today’ Taken Off The Air by State Company

“With 70 affirmative votes, the National Assembly has decided to deny and file the economic growth bill,” the legislature said on its Twitter account.

“They shelved this looting law. Congratulations to la Revolucion Ciudadana’s bloc that led opposition to this nefarious law; to so many citizen initiatives; and to anonymous patriots, such as the Dollarization Observatory. As long as this nefarious government continues, we still have not won anything,” said former president Rafael Correa.

The reforms were suggested by Moreno after a banking agreement that the government sealed in February with the International Monetary Fund for US$4.2 billion dollars.

The government bill aimed to improve tax collection by increasing some taxes and establishing a special contribution for companies with annual revenues of more than one million dollars.

In addition, it proposed some legal changes to give autonomy to the country’s Central Bank and prevent it from becoming a source of direct government financing.

Several of these proposals were questioned by the indigenous movement, other social organizations, and by the business sector. With these reforms, the government hoped to raise more than 700 million dollars next year.

Moreno yields to two weeks of violent protests

Moreno had desisted in mid-October from eliminating the fuel subsidy after nearly two weeks of violent protests that shook the country.

Image result for ecuador protestsAfter annulling the decree that raised the price of extra gasoline and diesel, Moreno opened a dialogue table with the indigenous movement to seek mechanisms focused on the subsidy, without obtaining results so far.

“Social pressure first achieved the repeal of decree 883, and today, we denied another imposition by the IMF that violated the rights of the people and was harmful to the country,” said the indigenous group CONAIE, in its Twitter account after the decision of the Assembly.

RELATED: Ecuador: Gov’t To Drop IMF-Decree, Deal Reached Strike Over

With 70 votes we filed and denied the misnamed #Law Economic Growth.
Social pressure first achieved the repeal of decree 883 and today another imposition of the #FMI that violated the rights of the people and was harmful to the country, is denied.  Long live the victory of the united people!

Ecuador estimates a fiscal deficit of around 3.6 billion dollars this year and thought new reforms could bring it down by about 237 million dollars by 2020.

Cuba: We will continue to save lives within the limits of our possibilities

Source:  Granma
December 6 2019

Photo: Granma Archives

As MINREX warned in a statement released August 29, 2019, the United States government has, since last year, been waging an intense, offensive campaign against the medical collaboration Cuba provides, along with threats of sanctions against Cuban leaders and pressure on recipient states to end such cooperation.

Directed in detail by the National Security Council at the White House, the campaign has the active participation of Senators and Representatives associated with the anti-Cuban mafia in Florida and rabid State Department officials.

They accuse Cuba of alleged “modern slavery” and “trafficking in persons,” referring to Cuban health system professionals, for the purpose of their exploitation and alleged interference in the internal affairs of the nations in which they are located.

Active efforts to incite defection

The U.S. government is also attempting to re-establish the so-called “Parole Program for Cuban Medical Professionals,” in existence until January 12, 2017, as the basis for active efforts to incite defection, offering to pay for travel and legal services, provision of U.S. visas and documents to collaborators in third countries, with the purpose of sabotaging bilateral agreements signed with these nations, depriving them of our services and depriving Cuba of highly qualified human resources.

In May of 2019, the secretary general of the Organization of American States organized a conference at its headquarters on the alleged crimes against humanity committed by Cuba in connection with our medical cooperation abroad.

In June, the State Department, in its 2019 Report on Trafficking in Persons, disparaged Cuba’s international medical cooperation and, a month later, imposed visa-restriction sanctions on Cuban officials linked to medical missions.

$3m earmarked for projects against Cuba’s medical brigades

Later, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), a U.S. institution that provides funds for subversion programs against the Cuban government, earmarked three million dollars for projects directed against Cuba’s medical brigades abroad.

This U.S. persecution began in Latin America and has forced the suspension of cooperation programs in Brazil, Ecuador and Bolivia.

The servile, fascist Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro insulted and abruptly expelled our specialist doctors who, under a tripartite agreement with the Pan American Health Organization, effective August 2013 through November 2018, treated 113,359,000 patients in more than 3,600 of the country’s municipalities, and provided permanent coverage to 60 million Brazilians.

In our country, 1,214 Brazilian students have completed medical school.

This decision allowed Bolsonaro to demonstrate his subservience to the U.S. government, while dismantling a program for low-income families, as part of a brutal policy to eliminate social gains made during progressive Workers Party governments.

Senior U.S. officials have used the slander that Cuban medical brigades in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela are military troops, which Bolsonaro parroted, in September of 2019, during his speech in the United Nations General Assembly, maliciously or ignorantly tripling, in a ridiculous manner, the false, unfounded figure used by Washington.

Officials from the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and U.S. embassies have turned to national authorities, as in Guatemala, to peremptorily and suspiciously request precise data on Cuban medical cooperation, looking for a way to eliminate it.

In May of 2019, the U.S. embassy in Ecuador asked senior government officials for detailed information on agreements and services provided by Cuban collaborators. Five months later, the Ecuadorian government terminated these programs precipitously, despite their imminent expiration, citing economic reasons.

6,749,666 medical consultations by Cuban health professional in Ecuador

Since the beginning of medical collaboration in this country, a total of 3,565 Cuban health professionals have provided their services, including 6,749,666 medical consultations, 212,360 surgeries, 3,548 births assisted, and 100,084 vaccinations administered. Some 153 collaborators participated in Operation Miracle, a program through which 168,543 surgical interventions were performed. As a result of the Manuela Espejo Solidarity Mission, 825,576 people were assisted, 35,257 of them in specialized neurophysiology and otorhinolaryngology consultations and 21,062 patients underwent clinical genetic studies.

2093 Ecuadoreans completed medical studies in Cuba

Additionally, 2093 young Ecuadorians completed medical studies in Cuba.

In October, Ecuador’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs requested information on the purpose of trips to the country by a group of Cuban citizens carrying diplomatic and official passports. Later, the Minister of Government offensively declared that several Cubans, associated with cooperation agreements, had participated in protests by the Ecuadorian people against the implementation of neoliberal measures, at that time.

As has been shown, no Cuban participated in or organized these massive popular demonstrations, and not a single official or diplomatic passport was improperly used. The manipulators have not been able to present a single piece of evidence.

The Cuban state issues diplomatic, official and service passports, in accordance with the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic and Consular Relations, and guarantees that the holders comply with what is established for their proper use.

Hostile actions against Cuban collaborators in Bolivia

During the coup in Bolivia, the U.S. embassy in La Paz instigated, conducted, and participated in hostile actions by police forces and, surprisingly by firefighters, against Cuban collaborators. As was publicly denounced, U.S. officials participated directly in these acts, using a U.S. diplomatic car with license plate 28 CD-17.

During these days, there were 26 serious incidents against our collaborators, including the beating of two; public incitement to violence by coup authorities; brutal searches of their persons, belongings and homes; false accusations; the arbitrary, temporary detention of 50 health workers, four for several days.

Faced with this situation, the Cuban government was forced to proceed with the immediate withdrawal of our personnel, while energetically condemning the false statements of the so-called minister of Health, named by the coup-plotters, who shamelessly exaggerated the value of stipends earned by Cuban medical specialists, in reality lower than those of Bolivian general practitioners, and concealing the fact that Cuba did not receive a penny as compensation for this cooperation.

The Cuban medical brigade in Bolivia, 54% female, was composed of 406 doctors in 32 specialties, including General Integral Medicine, Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, Gynecology and Obstetrics, Anesthesiology and Reanimation, Ophthalmology, General Surgery, Orthopedics and Traumatology, Intensive and Emergency Medicine, Neonatology, among others. Also performing outstanding work were 258 graduates in health technologies such as imaging, endoscopy, electromedicine, clinical lab testing, rehabilitation and nursing.

73,330,447 consultations by Cuban health professional in Bolivia

Over the years, they provided 73,330,447 consultations and 1,529,301 surgeries. Some 60,640 births were assisted; 22,221 vaccinations administered; and 508,403 ophthalmic surgeries performed.

5,184 Bolivian doctors graduated from Cuban universities

Additionally, some 5,184 Bolivian doctors graduated from Cuban universities.

The persecution and search for information has included attempts to interrogate Cuban personnel by U.S. “diplomats” in the very health centers where they work, including in North Africa and the Middle East.

It is immoral and unacceptable to question the dignity, professionalism and altruism of the more than 400,000 Cuban health care collaborators who, over 56 years, have completed missions in 164 nations.

They have made outstanding contributions to the fight against Ebola in Africa, against blindness in Latin America and the Caribbean, and cholera in Haiti; in 26 brigades from the Henry Reeve International Contingent of Doctors Specialized in Disasters and Major Epidemics, in Pakistan, Indonesia, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Venezuela, among others.

With the same disinterest and dedication, 35,613 health professionals from 138 countries have been trained free of charge in Cuba.

In the case of nations with less favorable economic conditions, Cuba assumes practically the entire cost of collaboration. Similarly, and in line with United Nations conception of cooperation between developing countries, our support is offered in other nations on the basis of complementarity and partial compensation for services provided.

The Cuban technicians and professionals who participate in these programs do so absolutely of their own free will. During the performance of their missions, they continue to receive their full salary in Cuba, and also a stipend in the country of destination, along with other benefits.

When Cuba receives compensation for our cooperation, these collaborators are meritoriously providing a fair and totally legitimate contribution to the financing, sustainability and development of our country’s free, universal health system, accessible to all Cubans, as well as to cooperation programs provided free of charge, in many parts of the world.

As we stated last August 29, access to health care is a human right. The U.S. campaign against our international medical cooperation is a disgraceful, criminal act against peoples in need of medical assistance, which cannot overshadow the solidarity and human contribution of the 29,000 Cuban health care professionals, who, with enormous sacrifice and understanding on the part of their families, currently provide services to 65 nations.

The attitude of the United States government in this matter is despicable. Cuba’s response is firm: we will continue to save lives, to seek health and well-being for the world, within the limits of our possibilities, wherever we are requested.

Havana, December 5, 2019.

Operation Condor 2.0: After Bolivia Coup, Trump Dubs Nicaragua ‘National Security Threat’ & Targets Mexico

 

Source:  Consortium News

December 6 2019

Left-wing forces in Latin America are warning of a revival of a Cold War era campaign by the U.S. of violent subterfuge and  support for right-wing dictatorships across the region, Ben Norton reports.

By Ben Norton

The Grayzone

One successful coup against a democratically elected socialist president is not enough, it seems.

Immediately after overseeing a far-right military coup in Bolivia on Nov. 10, the Trump administration set its sights once again on Nicaragua, whose democratically elected Sandinista government defeated a violent right-wing coup attempt in 2018.

Washington dubbed Nicaragua a threat to U.S. national security, and announced that it will be expanding its suffocating sanctions on the tiny Central American nation.

President Donald Trump is also turning up the heat on Mexico, baselessly linking the country to terrorism and even hinting at potential military intervention. The moves come as the country’s left-leaning President Andrés Manuel López Obrador warns of right-wing attempts at a coup.

As Washington’s rightist allies in Colombia, Brazil, Chile and Ecuador are desperately beating back massive grassroots uprisings against neoliberal austerity policies and yawning inequality gaps, the United States is ramping up its aggression against the region’s few remaining progressive governments.

These moves have led left-wing forces in Latin America to warn of a 21st-century revival of Operation Condor, the Cold War era campaign of violent subterfuge and U.S. support for right-wing dictatorships across the region.

Read more at:  Consortium News

And now, Dominica

Al Grey, greyal2@yahoo.com

December 2 2019

Honduras was a member of ALBA – then, in 2009, there was a coup and the democratically elected president Manuel Zelaya was ousted by the military.

Bolivia was a member of ALBA  –   then, a few weeks ago, there was a coup led by the military and the democratically elected President Morales was ousted.  He is now in exile in Mexico.

Under their new leadership both Honduras and Bolivia have withdrawn from ALBA.

Related:  Honduras Coup 10 Years Later: Country in Crisis

chavez y maduro 2Venezuela is a founding member of ALBA.  There have been several failed coup attempts in this country since the days of President Hugo Chavez whose pro-people policies irked the US government.  There has also been a relentless economic war with savage US sanctions, and an ongoing international media campaign of deception against the democratically elected leadership of the country.

Related:  Venezuela Remembers Failed Coup Attempt against Hugo Chavez
Venezuela Rejects Coup-Mongering Calls From the US

miguel diaz 10cCuba is a founding member of ALBA.  Having faced decades of terrorism, including the famed Bay of Pigs invasion, the bombing of hotels and biological warfare, all while facing hostile US economic sanctions which have cost the country billions of dollars, the Trump administration now openly engage in regime change tactics in their vain effort to do what their predecessors have failed to achieve.

Related: Díaz-Canel: Cuba will not renounce its sovereignty or independence

daniel ortega May 2018Nicaragua is a member of ALBA – in the 1980s they were forced in a bloody war against counter-revolutionaries, the Contras, trained and financed by the US.  As noted by Noam Chomsky, “Ronald Reagan used them (the Contras) to launch a large-scale terrorist war against Nicaragua, combined with economic warfare that was even more lethal. We (the US) also intimidated other countries so they wouldn’t send aid either.”

The Contras were defeated.  Only recently, modern day Contras took to the streets destabilizing the country for a few months until the situation was again brought under control by President Daniel Ortega.  Nicaragua remains a member of ALBA, but only after years of bloodshed and destabilization efforts similar to those we are now seeing in Venezuela.

correa slams new mental forms of colonialismEcuador was a member of ALBA until President Raphael Correa (photo) left office.  His successor, Moreno, vice president under Correa, turned back the gained made by Correa and openly embraced anti-people neoliberal policies.  So, there was no need for sanctions, destabilization or a coup. Moreno took on a self -imposed coup status.

The English-speaking members of ALBA are, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

roosevelt skerrit 4

Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister Dominica

Recent events in Dominica on the eve of national elections; the blocking of roads, the burning of tyres, the use of social media promoting anti-government sentiments, the popularising of the call for free and fair elections prior to the elections, – all alien to Dominica’s culture – are standard tactics for US-backed coups in the region, and  suggest that the footprints of Washington, fixated on having their lackeys in power, will be seen if we look closely.

Related:  Skerrit calls on UWP and its leadership to end ‘lawlessness’ in Dominica

Related:  Dominica: What Is Behind the Conflict Over Friday’s Elections

According to Wikipedia, countries with observer status in ALBA include Haiti, Syria and Iran while Suriname  was admitted to the organization as a guest country at a February 2012 summit.

Race is Central to Both Revolution and Reaction in Latin America

Source:  Black Agenda Report
November 14 2019

Glen Ford, BAR executive editor

Race is Central to Both Revolution and Reaction in Latin American
Race is Central to Both Revolution and Reaction in Latin American

The world birthed in the near extinction of one-fifth of humanity still exists, in the social relations bequeathed to the Americas by conquistadors and enslavers.

In Latin America, U.S. influence means White Power.”

The events in Bolivia lay bare the central role that racial subjugation has always played in the “New World,” a hemisphere whose “discovery” by Europeans resulted — within the span of only 50 years — in the death by genocide and pandemic of fully a fifth of the Earth’s human population. The Conquistadors frenzied “primitive accumulation” of precious metals, mined by enslaved Natives who died quicker than they could be replenished, created a demand for the capture and importation of millions of Africans with immunities to both European and tropical disease. For centuries, until deep into the 1700s, the vast majority of the Western Hemisphere’s population was Indigenous and Black, with African slaves comprising the great bulk of newcomers to the New World. Thus was laid the material basis for the rise of Europe, the beginnings of capitalism and the global supremacy of whiteness.

“My crime is to be a union leader, to be indigenous…and anti-imperialist,” said Evo Morales, the three-time elected president of South America’s most indigenous nation as he entered exile in Mexico. Bolivia is roughly two-thirds native. Morales’ election victory, October 20 – his fourth since 2005 — was aborted in the ensuing weeks by rampaging gangs of thugs employed by oligarchs based in the whitest – and most fossil fuel-rich – regions of the country who terrorized, beat and kidnapped  government and Movement for Socialism party officials and their families and eventually laid siege to the capital in La Paz, with no resistance from the police and army. Unable to protect his comrades or kinfolk, Morales resigned, and was quickly replaced as president by the leader of the white-dominated minority legislative party. Morales’ party had won absolute majorities in both houses of the legislature, but was left leaderless and terror-struck by the coup. The white rump prevailed.

“Morales’ election victory was aborted by rampaging gangs of thugs employed by oligarchs based in the whitest – and most fossil fuel-rich – regions of the country.”

The United States did not immediately recognize the new government of Senator Jeanine Añez Chavez, but will doubtless soon do so, having schemed incessantly for regime change ever since Morales joined Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez (1998) and Brazil’s Lula da Silva (2003) to set in motion Latin America’s “pink tide.” When Argentina (Cristina Fernández de Kirchner), Nicaragua (Daniel Ortega) and Ecuador (Rafael Correa) elected leftish presidents in 2007, US imperial power sank to its nadir in the hemisphere. But the CIA never sleeps, and neither do the white oligarchs who remained at the commanding heights of the economy and media in the “pink”-led nations of the hemisphere. One by one, the anti-imperialist presidents were removed, with U.S. assistance, in Brazil (2016), Ecuador (2017) and Argentina (2015), for a time leaving only Venezuela and Nicaragua in the anti-imperialist camp – along with, of course, Cuba, which has not had a U.S.-allied oligarchic class to contend with since the revolution of 1959.

Luckily for Morales, in 2018 Mexico elected leftish president Lopez Obrador, who quickly facilitated asylum for Morales – as Mexico had done for countless political exiles throughout its history. Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was also returned to power in Argentina, this year . And Brazil’s “Lula” was released from prison earlier this month  pending appeal of his conviction on corruption charges, reinvigorating a demoralized left in the hemisphere’s biggest country.

“The CIA never sleeps, and neither do the white oligarchs.”

Of the U.S. presidential candidates, only Bernie Sanders expressed alarm over the forced ouster of the democratically elected president in Bolivia. “I am very concerned,” Sanders tweeted, “about what appears to be a coup in Bolivia, where the military, after weeks of political unrest, intervened to remove President Evo Morales. The U.S. must call for an end to violence and support Bolivia’s democratic institutions.”

Given that Sanders once called Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez a “dead dictator ” and slandered current president Nicholas Maduro as a “vicious tyrant ” as recently as last September’s presidential debate, that’s a great improvement. But a president Sanders might find himself seeking asylum in Mexico if he tried to radically reform U.S. policy in Latin America, which is intimately allied with the maintenance of white elite rule in the region in collaboration with multinational capitalIn Latin America, U.S. influence means White Power.

When white secessionists began a drive to form their own nation in the natural gas fields of eastern Bolivia, they were befriended by the U.S. ambassador , who had previously been a key player in prying the province of Kosovo from Serbia.

“Sanders might find himself seeking asylum in Mexico if he tried to radically reform U.S. policy in Latin America.”

In Brazil, where the African-descended majority won affirmative action in public higher education and unprecedented recognition under presidents Lula da Silva and Dilma Rouusseff, the U.S. contributed the espionage underlying the prosecution and impeachment, respectively, of both Workers Party leaders. The grand scheme between the Obama and, later, Trump administrations and the white Brazilian elite culminated in the election of ultra-racist Jair Bolsonaro, who dismantled protections for Amerindians and their lands, threatened to reduce racial “quotas,” and declared that the police did not “kill enough” — in a nation where one out of every 12 encounters with police ends in death, and where hundreds of young Black men are killed by cops in a month in the megacities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janiero. Under the “Trump” of Latin America, indigenous rights workers in Amazonia are now fair game for assassination by land grabbers. Brazilian politics is all about race, and is a perfect match with U.S. imperialism.

In Ecuador, indigenous protesters forced the neoliberal successor to leftish president Correa to withdraw an International Monetary Fund-imposed economic austerity program , after shutting down the capital city and forcing president Lenin Moreno to flee to the coast. That’s the second time in this century that Ecuadorian natives, who number about a quarter of the nation’s mostly mestizo population, have forced the government to retreat. Back in 2005, indigenous protests led to the ouster of president Lucio Gutiérrez when he tried to impose an IMF austerity regime. Indigenous leaders vow that they’ll return to the streets if Moreno reneges on the agreement.

“The grand scheme between Obama and, later, Trump and the white Brazilian elite culminated in the election of ultra-racist Jair Bolsonaro.”

Colombian politics also revolves around race – although neither the left nor the right will acknowledge it. Colombia has the highest number of displaced persons in the world : 7.7 million, according to the United Nations – even more than Syria, with 6.2 million. The majority of Colombia’s displaced people are Afro-descendants and indigenous, displaced by war and corporate land grabbers that operate in league with paramilitaries. The government refuses to enforce agreements recognizing the traditional land rights of both Blacks and indigenous people, and Afro-Colombians say FARC anti-government guerillas have never respected native and Black land rights, either. If the war in Colombia is a fight over land, then it is a war against Blacks and natives.

One glimpse at photos showing the racial composition of pro- and anti-government legislators in Venezuela, is enough to tell the tale. The violent opposition that has been trying to bring down the government for 20 years, with U.S. help, is overwhelmingly white, while the socialist government legislators look like the nation as a whole: largely Black, brown and native — like the late president Hugo Chavez, himself. Oligarch-owned newspapers brazenly published cartoons depicting Chavez as a monkey, and got away with it. U.S.-subsidized, mostly white rioters burned a young Black man alive in the streets of Caracas, assuming he was a Chavista. Racists in Venezuela don’t bite their tongues – nor do expatriate white Venezuelans in the U.S., a mob of whom, reinforced by racists from elsewhere in Latin America, surrounded the Venezuelan embassy in DC, last spring. American friends of Venezuela had occupied the building, with the blessing of the government in Caracas, to safeguard it against takeover by Donald Trump’s choice as pretend-president, Juan Guaido. The mob screamed racist and sexist threats  and taunts, day and night, for weeks, while the (largely Black) DC police stood by or abetted them. The U.S. American occupiers were eventually arrested, and face possible imprisonment .

There were Cubans, or the sons and daughters of exiled Cubans, in the mob, too, a reminder that Cuba is believed to have lost half her white population after the revolution – which is the best evidence that pre-revolutionary Cuba was a profoundly racist society.

The rest of Latin America has not undergone anything so sweeping – including Mexico, whose 1910-1920 revolution failed to achieve transformative results. The world birthed in the near extinction of one-fifth of humanity still exists, in the social relations bequeathed to the Americas by conquistadors and enslavers – and which U.S. imperialism is determined to preserve and defend.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.