Latin American, African Nations Lead in Women Representation in Parliament

Source:  TeleSUR
March 8 2019

latin_americanx_african_countries_lead_with_women_legislatorsPiedad Cordoba (left), Sahle-Work Zewde (center), Cristina Fernandez (right)
are major political figures in their countries of origin, | Photo: EneasMx – Reuters

Out of the top 10 countries in the world with women in parliament, nine are located in Latin America and Africa.

Despite remaining challenges, Women have come a long way in politics. Almost a century after gaining the right to vote in most parts of the world, women now have a seat at the table  serving as lawmakers and even leading their country’s parliaments. And in this category, Latin American and Africa lead the way.

RELATED: UN: Women Losing Colombian Congressional Seats, Representation

According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), as of December 2018 out of the top 10 countries in the world with high numbers of women in parliament, nine are located in Latin America and Africa. Rwanda has the best record for women representation, with nearly two-thirds of its seats currently held by women.

Cuba and Bolivia

The African nation is followed by two other countries with more women in parliament than men – Cuba and Bolivia. The rest of the group is made up of four other Latin American and Caribbean countries – Mexico, Grenada, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica – and rounded out by two more African nations – Namibia and South Africa.

“A world where women have equal opportunities as men in political, social and economic spheres, is crucial towards creating a comprehensive sustainable development and improving the livelihood for all,” Kenyan Senator Sylvia Kasanga said as part of the #BalanceforBetter campaign luanched by the global network of female politicians, Women Political Leaders (WPL).

In the United States, 2019 marked a historic year for the number of women sworn into office in the 116th Congress. A record 127 will serve as congresswomen, 106 Democrats and 21 Republicans according to the Center for Women and Politics at Rutgers University.

Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Names such as Ilhan Omar stand-out as she became the first Muslim congresswoman, along with Rashida Tlaib and Latina Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest elected congressperson in the country’s history.

However, the U.S. is far from equal representation as it stands on the IPU list in the 139th position with 19.6 percent of women in Congress. At the same time Latin America, as a region, has increased its percentage of women lawmakers by 20 percent from 1990 to 2018 reaching 30 percent.

As the World Economic Forum indicates, quotas reserved for women can explain this increase as they are a common factor in many of the electoral systems with more women as legislators and MPs. One of the first countries in the world to introduce such a law was Argentina in 1991.

Since then policies aimed to put forward a certain proportion of female candidates have been applied across Latin America and in other nations in the Global South. Also, the improvement of education access for women has to be taken into consideration.

Hugo Chavez’s Memory Lives on in the Hearts of Latin Americans

Source:  TeleSUR
March 5 2019

hugo chavez lives onHugo Chavez’s presidency in Venezuela extended from 1999 to 2013, but his
presence still remains in the streets and the heart of the country. | Photo: EFE

Hugo Chavez’s presidency in Venezuela extended from 1999 to 2013,
but his presence still remains in the streets and the heart of the country. | Photo: EFE

Published 5 March 2019 (13 hours 5 minutes ago)

Chavez’s spirit was contagious and empowered the region with a passion for Latin America and its colorful history.

Six years since his passing and the memory of Hugo Chavez still remains not only in the hearts of Venezuelans but of Latin Americans around the globe.

RELATED: John Pilger: The War on Venezuela Is Built on Lies

His leadership and legacy revolutionized the state of Venezuela, like no other administration in the nation’s history, cutting the chord from imperialist countries in the north, taking the reins and changing South America’s future.

After centuries of passivity, under Chavez’s administration, Venezuela bloomed into one of the strongest, most independent nations on the continent.

Over the 14 years of his presidency, Chavez made it his mission to bring equality to lower classes from mediating race discrimination to increasing employment opportunities and introducing social programs.

By exploring the expenditure of Venezuela’s oil industry, the former president was able to allocate funds for free housing, literacy, and health care initiatives. Pensions for the elderly surged, jumping from 400,000 to over two million; some 1.5 million Venezuelans benefited from the Mission Robinson I and learned to read and write.

Under Chavez’s policies, poverty rates were cut in half and the level of extreme poverty decreased by two-thirds; child malnutrition decreased and the amount of safe, clean drinking water grew.

In an article published by the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, Roger D. Harris, Task Force on the Americas, said, “Venezuela went from being among one of the most economically unequal nations in Latin America to being among the most equal through the exercise of state power for the populace.”

Chavez’s spirit was contagious and empowered the region with a passion for Latin America and its colorful history.

His experience was pivotal in the creation of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) which united Venezuelan and Cuba in 2003 in a mutually respectful and reciprocal fair trade arrangement. What started as a two-member agreement, soon grew into an 11-member nation concord.

IN DEPTH:  Venezuela Confronts US-backed Right-wing Coup

A second initiative, PetroCaribe, made waves in 2005 when 17 countries from Latin America and the Caribbean joined together to secure a steady energy supply, without overdue interference from Canada or the United States.

Similarly, The Union of South American Nations (Unasur) and Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) were created again as a means to break from centuries of tradition and submission orchestrated by the Northern Hemisphere.

The progress realized in Venezuela over the last decade and a half hardly make it surprising that the United States is desperate to instate a Washington-approved head of state.

Over the last few months, the U.S. has increased its efforts to dislodge Chavez’s democratically elected successor, Nicolas Maduro. In its most recent attempt, the U.S. sent “humanitarian aid” to Colombia in a show of solidarity with the Venezuelan opposition and the “suffering boys and girls.” However, violence- perpetrated by opposition forces- broke out along the border and resulted in the injury of numerous state police officials.

This “philanthropic” ploy was denounced by Venezuelan government officials before an international delegation at the United Nations last week, when Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza revealed that the trucks of “food” were carrying equipment for barricades and anti-government movements lodged by the opposition.

Despite these hardships, Maduro’s government continues Chavez’s mission, founding new social programs to boost the economy and employment opportunities, while still ensuring the heart and spirit of “Chavismo” is reflected in modern-day Venezuela.

Cuba’s constitution is discussed and approved by Cubans

Source:  Granma
February 13 2019

The secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS) continues to follow the script provided by the United States, organizing a new spectacle he is calling a conference on Cuba’s constitution

oas puppetA recognition for more than 50 years
of complicity against the Cuban
people. 
Photo: Granma

“The secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS) continues to follow the script provided by the United States, organizing a new spectacle attacking Cuba, which he has called a conference. On this occasion, in regards to the Cuban constitutional reform project,” stated Eugenio Martínez Enríquez, the Foreign Ministry’s director for Latin America and the Caribbean, during a press conference yesterday.

Martínez noted that the OAS Secretary General continues his anti-Cuban obsession, repeating vulgar lies about our country, ignoring so many truly urgent issues facing the region. The Secretary General should know that neither he or this organization has any right to debate the constitution of a state which is not part of the OAS, nor wishes to be, and is thus not a party to its system of treaties.

Related:  Exposing the OAS’ Anti-Venezuela, Pro-US Bias and Right-Wing Hypocrisy

“The OAS is an organization that, at the service of U.S. imperialism, supported attempts to isolate Cuba, military interventions in Latin America, cruel military dictatorships created, financed and protected for years by the United States, and refused to condemn the most abominable torturers in our region, trampling the rights of the peoples of Our America, “said Martinez Enríquez.

“We do not recognize, nor will we recognize any moral or legal authority on the part of the OAS, its officials or subsidiary bodies, attempting to single out Cuba,” he emphasized.In conclusion, the Foreign Ministry’s director for Latin America and the Caribbean added that Cuba’s Constitution is the sovereign authority of its people, who democratically debated the document and will vote to approve it February 24.

Robert Redford sends Thank You message to Havana Film Festival

Source:  Cuban News Agency
December 7 2018

festival of new latin american cinema.jpgI would like to express my gratitude to you, to Cuba and its artists for your friendship and collaboration over the years,” said renowned American filmmaker Robert Redford in a message he sent to the International Festival of New Latin American Cinema.
 Redford’s words, in gratitude for the award of a Coral Honor to the Sundance Institute, the educational center for young filmmakers that he founded and presides over, were projected in a video at the opening gala of the annual meeting with Latin American movie industry, which reaches its 40th edition in 2018.

 

Robert Redford

The deserved recognition of the 30 years of support of this institution to the Havana Film Festival, was collected in the name of the famous actor and director, by the director and founder of the program of feature films of the Institute, Michelle Satter and Paul Federbush, director of its fiction program.

Another emotional moment of the night was the presentation of a second Coral de Honor, this time to Mexican producer Bertha Navarro (El laberinto del fauno and La delgada línea amarilla), who expressed upon receiving the award that Cuba had marked all of her youth and that the festival was very dear and endearing to her.

Likewise, Adrián Solar, president of the Ibero-American Federation of Film and Audiovisual Producers (FIPCA) and of the Platinum Awards of Ibero-American Cinema, gave the event a special recognition for its work in the promotion, dedication and diffusion of the region’s cinema during its 40 years of existence.

As an honor for them, he described the awarding of this prize to the president of the Festival Iván Giroud and expressed before the audience the desire to carry out one day, in this city, the gala of delivery of the itinerant Platinum Prizes.

The opening ceremony opened curtains with the melodious voice of Cuban singer-songwriter Haydee Milanés, who gave the audience a beautiful selection of themes from Latin American songs such as Gracias a la vida, by Mercedes Sosa; Yo vengo a ofrecer mi corazón, by Fito Páez; Mi unicornio azul, by Silvio Rodríguez, and Yolanda, by her father Pablo Milanés.

The evening concluded with the screening of El Pepe, una vida suprema, by Serbian director Emir Kusturika, a documentary about former Uruguayan president José “Pepe” Mujica.

Bolivia Closes 2018 Among The Highest Economic Growth Rates

Source:  TeleSUR
December 8 2018

evo morales dec 2018 telesurThe Bolivian economy, directed by Evo Morales and Alvaro Garcia Linera,
has one of the highest economic growth rates in Latin America.

Bolivia’s economy is among the greatest regional expansion, with  the economic policies of Evo Morales and Alvaro Garcia Linera leading to a growth of 4.7 percent of the Gross Domestic Product.

Bolivia will close 2018 with one of the highest economic growth rates in Latin America, with a growth of 4.7 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to official data. And in a surprising move, The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has congratulated the South American country on its growth.

RELATED:  Evo Morales: US ‘Blackmailing’ Presidential Bid

Alvaro Garcia Linera, vice president of Bolivia, stated that the IMF “is an external source that checks our data and is proving that we are growing more than last year, but we have never paid attention to its recommendations nor are we going to pay attention to it, because our economic model is different from the economic model they are driving.”

The economic model followed by Bolivia is based on the Social Community Production, supported by a strong participation of the State in strategic sectors, which goes against the recommendations made by the IMF, which looks for the suppression of subsidies and the reduction of public investments.

The multilateral body recognized that in the last 15 years Bolivia has achieved a “strong growth and poverty reduction,” adding that the country has a considerable accumulation of international reserves. “Since the fall in the price of commodities in 2014, the authorities have carried out accommodative fiscal and credit policies to support growth. This approach has been successful in maintaining solid growth,” the IMF said.

“The IMF improved its #Bolivia growth forecasts to 4.5% by 2018,and estimates that the continent will grow only 1.2%. The IMF itself highlighted the reduction of extreme poverty in the country. Thanks to our Revolution, we are still the first in economic growth in South America.”  Evo Morales

The Bolivian economy registered on average a growth of 4.9 percent in the period 2006-2017, where more than three million people left poverty. The GDP registered a growth of 4.2 percent last year, according to the 2017 Bolivian Economy Report.

The Bolivian economy “goes up,” Garcia Linera stated, before adding that the IMF “had given us a 4 percent growth at the beginning of the year, 4.2 percent in June, and in December it is going to grow at 4.5 percent, ratifying what we had announced in advance and the Fund did not.”

Challenges facing the Latin American left

Calls for Lula’s freedom are being heard across Latin America. Photo: Ntn24.com

Forces on the left are mobilizing in Latin America and the Caribbean to confront the right wing offensive which, encouraged and financed by the United States, is underway in the region, with the use of strategies meant to foment political destabilization and discredit progressive governments in power and former elected leaders.
Political leaders, intellectuals, and representatives of social movements are evaluating the unfavorable correlation of forces developing over the last few years, and charting action plans, taking the victory of progressive candidate

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, in Mexico, as a positive sign.
“The storm arrived and shut the window opened at the end of the 90s… The question now posed, for the Brazilian left especially, is how to open the window again,” recently wrote Valter Pomar, a member of Brazil’s Workers’ Party and a professor of International Affairs at the Federal University, in his essay on how to move forward.

In his opinion, the left needs strong candidates to challenge the right in elections, but this is not enough since the strategic “utility” of legislators and government leaders rises and falls in accordance with political perspectives and the level of organization outside of the institutional environment, implying the need for a change in methods on the left, and a recovery of spaces lost alongside the working class.

In Latin America, “The challenge for this possible left is that of building alternatives to capitalism in the economic field, where the current plan is the Uber-ization of the economy; total deregulation – except when the state is needed to dismantle a progressive gain; but above all, build alternatives in the cultural field, challenge capitalist hegemony in the cultural (and media) environment to construct a people, not consumer citizens deluded with false middle class hopes,” writes political analyst Katu Arkonada on the teleSUR blog.

Likewise, essayist, journalist, sociologist, university professor, and political analyst Olmedo Beluche, wrote in Rebelión: “Without nationalization of the national banking and financial system, without state control of foreign trade; and without the nationalization of large industries, that is, without truly socialist measures, Latin American governments in general are at the mercy of the bourgeoisie, of imperialism, and economic sabotage, as the case of Venezuela has repeatedly shown.”

This contradiction, he argues, explains the limitations of the left and the difficulty it faces in responding to the offensive being mounted by national right wing forces supported by U.S. imperialism, plus the reformist attitude of leaders who docilely accept the formalities of bourgeois institutions.

The majority of analysts agree that the progressive cycle on the continent is in crisis, but not coming to an end. Although some popular governments were removed from office via elections (Argentina) or through semi-legal or judicial maneuvers (Brazil), the progressive era’s hard core of change has not collapsed: Bolivia and Venezuela, accompanied by Nicaragua and the Cuban Revolution.

“The two projects, along with Nicaragua and Cuba, which propose going beyond capitalist relations in the long run, are on their feet, indicating that the strategic battle of our time is defending these processes,” as was made clear during the 24th annual meeting of the São Paulo Forum, held in Havana this past July.

At this gathering of the region’s political forces, proposals were made for sustained action based on the idea that government positions won by the left must reinforce their legitimate hegemony and build popular power. Peoples with political consciousness are always the best antidote to the return of the right in the Americas.

STRATEGIES FROM THE LEFT

– Systematically and creatively disseminate the economic, social, and political gains of popular governments that, for one reason or another, have suffered reverses, as well as those which have endured.
– Strengthen a constructive, serene debate on the historic, political, and ideological limitations of each process.
– Seek more efficient mechanisms for organization, consciousness building, and political participation of the social base committed to post-neoliberal change.

– Renovate relations between government political parties and popular movements with nationalist and patriotic positions, taking a favorable position on the need for a state that assures democratic functioning in the construction of consensus.
– Build consensus among segments of society that share, or could share, demands, interests, and revolutionary or progressive change.

– Strengthen the cause of Puerto Rican independence, as a symbol of the anti-colonial struggle to be defended.
– Build active participation of the people and national majorities in the political process of each country.

– Provide decisive support and encourage liberation efforts and anti-capitalist ideas within social movements.

– Promote efforts to advance the integration of what Martí called Our America.
– Support, in all international spaces available, any action taken to reduce the level of domination and hegemony of the United States in our countries, as essential and possible.

Ecuador: The Imperialist Plot Against Rafael Correa

Source:  https://libya360.wordpress.com

Itzamna Ollantay

They are trying to legally nullify Rafael Correa, an Ecuadorean colossus, who stood up against the empire because the horsemen of death know their Junius Brutus (Lenin Moreno) has his days numbered.

imperialist plot against Rafael Correa

A court in Ecuador issued an international arrest order on one of the main human rights defenders of the Latin American and Ecuadorean people, ex-President Rafael Correa.

The former leader is being accused of illegal association and kidnapping in relation to the Fernando Balda case, an Ecuadorean ex-lawmaker who was allegedly held against his will in Colombia, in 2012. The accusations are based on the testimony of a former police officer (an effective collaborator) currently under investigation, who said: “I sent letters to President Correa.”

While this is happening, the most corrupt former neoliberal rulers, who handed over the resources of the Latin American people to foreign companies, are enjoying their permanent vacations in the U.S. For example, Bolivia’s Gonzalo Sanchez, Peru’s Alejandro Toledo… fraudulent president and/or corrupt such as the current ones in Guatemala or Honduras. As long as they have the blessing of the U.S., they’re untouchable. Brazil’s Temer, Argentina’s Macri, even with lawsuits against them, they’re still ruling in favor of the interests of the empire.

The bad taste play called “anti-corruption war,” promoted by the North American government and celebrated by the Latin American naivete, is no more than the continuation of the fake “anti-communist war.”

In the 1970s, defenders were tortured and physically annihilated. Now, through public and legal lynching, they destroy the honor and moral integrity of defenders. The objective is always the same: to subdue the defenders and turn them into monsters.

They are trying to legally nullify Rafael Correa, who as an Ecuadorean colossus stood up against the empire from the Carondelet Palace for a decade, because the horsemen of death know their Junius Brutus (Lenin Moreno) has his days numbered, not because of his physical impairment but due to his actual moral condition of traitor. The Roman Brutus, the traitor/murderer of his father Julius Caesar, killed himself after being defeated by guilt.

What unforgivable thing did Rafael Correa do?

According to reports from the World Bank, in 2000 more than 64 percent of Ecuadoreans were living in poverty conditions. Correa, in his decade of government (2007-2017) reduced poverty in Ecuador by 21 percent. That’s to say, more than 6 million Ecuadoreans stopped being poor during that period.

Rafael Correa completely restructured the country’s taxation system. The collected money was distributed to impoverished families through social policies. It was a great example of economic democratization in times of world recession.

The former president turned Ecuador into a world referent, not only in taxation justice and social equity, but also in the construction of an enviable modern road network never before seen in the country. Correa expanded the access to public services as fundamental human rights as never before in the country. The dealers of public services will never forgive him these or other audacities.

Regarding the migration issue, in 2007 Ecuador was what Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are now: outward migrating stampedes. With Correa, the Ecuadorean migrants returned to their country with organized return policies. Not only this, with the new Political Constitution of 2008 the Latin American citizenship was established in this ecologically megadiverse country.

Rafael Correa, along with a Pleiades of Latin American liberators of the 21st century, imposed the dignity and regional sovereignty of Latin America with the creation of Celac, ALBA, Unasur and other organizations. All that, without Washington’s approval. He took Ecuador away from the economical fetters of the TBI [temporary business interruption] and the World Bank.

As a Latin American David, Correa expelled the North American usurper army from the Ecuadorean territory (Manta). He humiliated, without actually looking for it, the arrogant North American geopolitics in the cases of Assange, Usaid, etc.

Correa, in 2007, found an Ecuador in an accelerated process of sociopolitical decay. But in 2017 he managed to place the Andean, Amazonian country in the world’s display cabinet as a model to look at.

At the end, our rights defender Rafael Correa was and is a living, contagious wall that stopped and will keep stopping the North American commercial and political expansionism in Latin America.

The North American imperial oligarchy and its regional accomplices, used to see their tattered vassals in the Latin American people, will never accept nor allow that Latin American liberators to end up in history as heroes or seedbeds of liberty, dignity and sovereignty. That’s why they’re lynching Lugo, Cristina, Lula, Dilma, Rafael, Maduro… But, millions of Latin Americans have awakened and we’re going towards our pending emancipatory dreams.