Puebla Group Celebrates Triumph of Gustavo Petro in Colombia

Source: TeleSUR

May 30 2022

Gustavo Petro (L) and Francia Marquez (R), May, 2022. | Photo: Twitter/ @GreenLeftOnline

His victory fills Latin America with hope. The people begin to breathe new airs of dialogue, social equality, and integration,” it said.

On Monday, the Puebla Group welcomed the victory of the Historical Pact candidates Gustavo Petro and Francia Marquez in the first round of the Colombian elections held on May 29. In a statement entitled “Long live Colombia!, the one that begins to live ‘tasty’ from today,” the Latin American intellectuals and politicians described their victory as an expression of “the hopes of change of Colombian progressivism.”

The Puebla Group also celebrated “the democratic spirit and the civic and peaceful will that was expressed on election day, especially due to their participation levels.”

The victory of Historical Pact candidates reflects “the enormous work of young people who dream of a new Colombia, where all the men and women excluded be recognized,” it added.

The Puebla Group also invited to respect the results of the elections in order to “build a fair, democratic, and peaceful Colombia” because the “victory of Gustavo Petro fills Latin America with hope. The people begin to breathe new airs of dialogue, social equality, and integration.”

Prior to the first round, progressive Latin American leaders demanded that President Ivan Duque provide security and stop questioning the legitimacy of the electoral process.

The Puebla Group was founded in 2019 by over 40 progressive Latin American leaders. They include President Alberto Fernandez (Argentina) and former presidents Dilma Rousseff and Lula da Silva (Brazil), Jose Mujica (Uruguay), Rafael Correa (Ecuador), Ernesto Samper (Colombia), Evo Morales (Bolivia). Spain, Fernando Lugo (Paraguay), Martin Torrijos (Panama), and Leonel Fernandez (Dominican Republic).

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

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”.

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.

In Bolivia, MAS is more

Source: Granma

October 20 2020

The Movement Toward Socialism’s Presidential candidate, Luis Arce, defeated his closest rival, October 19, by more than 20 percentage points

Author: Elson Concepción | internet@granma.cu

The Bolivian people demonstrated that truth, dignity and struggle were not lost with the military coup, nor with the atrocities committed by the de facto government installed last year.

The overwhelming victory of the Movement Toward Socialism’s (MAS) Presidential candidate, Luis Arce, who defeated his closest rival, October 19, by more than 20 percentage points, shattered the right wing illusion that they could join forces to win in a second round.

“Congratulations to MAS, which has recovered, at the polls, the power that was usurped by the oligarchy, with the complicity of the OAS and imperialist guidance,” tweeted Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, early on Election Day, welcoming the news, and emphasizing: “Cuba shares the joy for Luis Arce’s victory… the Bolivarian ideal is reborn.”

Toward the end of the afternoon, the winner responded with heartfelt thanks: “Thank you President Miguel Díaz-Canel. The united people decided, with the vote, the return of economic, social and political stability. Today we share the same joy, because our people have regained hope.”

The results of the vote expose the farce mounted after the 2019 elections by the Organization of American States (OAS), the Lima Group and the United States, which led to the military coup, the departure of Evo Morales and repression that cost the lives of more than 30 Bolivians.

So forceful was the will of the people that de facto President, Jeanine Áñez, had no choice but to recognize MAS. Arce, in his first public comments after the victory, emphasized that he intends to construct a government of national unity, and redirect the process of change without hatred, learning from and overcoming past errors.

Along with his running mate, David Choquehuanca, he has the moral authority and experience to reverse the neo-liberal nightmare imposed following the military coup. The economic disaster protected by Áñez, aggravated by poor management of the pandemic, widespread corruption, and the handing over of natural resources and factories to large corporations injured the dignity of the people who opted for the peace of the ballot box.

Once in office – but attentive to the shadowy plans with which enemies will surely react, inside and outside the country – the new government will face the complex, challenging task of uniting political forces; strengthening the people’s confidence; charting the course for economic and social development; correcting the response to COVID-19, to control outbreaks and deaths; and restoring sovereignty and the international relations destroyed by the coup plotters.

Bolivia’s Social Movements Hold Massive Victory Celebration

Bolivia's Social Movements Hold Massive Victory Celebration

The official celebration of the MAS-IPSP was held in El Alto and attended by tens of thousands.

Social movements from around the country have descended on the city of El Alto, to attend the official celebration for the victory of the Movement Towards Socialism – Political Instrument for the Sovereignty of Peoples (MAS-IPSP).

RELATED:

Bolivia’s TSE Declares Luis Arce the Elected President

It was called the “Grand cultural party for the recuperation of democracy” and incldued the presence of all peoples and nationalities of the country.

President-elect Luis Arce and Vice President-elect David Choquehuanca were in attendance as different regional groups and organizations paraded down the route on Avenida Civica, greeting the candidates.

The incoming executive was joined on stage by newly elected Senators, Lower House legislators and other union and social movement leaders of the MAS.

teleSUR spoke with Segundina Flores, leader of the Bartolina Sisa National Confederation of Campesino, Indigenous, and Native Women of Bolivia.

She said today is a festive day in celebration of the restoration of democracy to come,”This process won’t end, it will continue for many years. That’s why our peoples are going to govern ourselves, that’s why today is a democratic party.”

“Today, a democracy will return which is egalitarian, a democracy participatory, a democracy for all,” said the national women’s leader.

Vice President-elect David Choquehuanca told teleSUR that today’s celebration was a cultural manifestation of the Bolivian peoples, “We are happy, there is a lot of hope on the faces of our brothers, who express their joy by dancing, showing our culture, that culture of brotherhood, of joy and happiness. The people have recovered their spirit, our people have recovered their “ajayu” their courage.”

The official presenation of results and declaration of the winners of the 2020 General Election took place on Friday evening, in statements by Supreme Electoral Court (TSE) President, Salvador Romero, before press and electoral observers. Arce and Choquehuanca won the election, receiving 55.1% of the vote, beating out Carlos Mesa by over 26 points.

Both Arce and Choquehuanca served as ministers, of economy and foreign affairs respectively, under the government of President Evo Morales who served as campaign chief for the MAS.

Socialist Presidential Candidate Arce Wins Bolivia’s Elections

Source: TeleSUR

October 18 2020

Results of Bolivian elections broadcast by local media October 19 2020

The Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) won with 52.4 percent over the parties that were backed by the right-wing interim regime.

After midnight on Sunday, Bolivian authorities allowed the results of the exit polls to be known. The Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) presidential candidate Luis Arce obtained 52.4 percent of the votes, the Citizen Community (CC) candidate Carlos Mesa got 31.5 percent, and the “We Believe Alliance” candidate Luis Fernando Camacho reached 14.1 percent of the votes.

RELATED:   The Long Wait for Official Results Disconcerts Bolivia

Bolivia’s president-elect Arce thanked the people for their support and for their peaceful participation in the electoral process.

“We have recovered democracy and hope. We ratify our commitment to work with social organizations. We are going to build a national unity government.”

Previously, the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) spokesperson Sebastian Mitchell made an official statement regarding the absence of definitive data on the elections. He said that mainstream media and exit-polls companies know that Socialist candidate Arce had already exceeded 45 percent of the votes.

“Election observers do not understand if the absence of information results from inefficiency or if the government is implementing a strategy to win two or three days, generate violence, and justify a military intervention,” Mitchell said.

The Bolivian Socialists’ message was categorical and clear: “we call on the community to avoid provocations… let’s end this nightmare we have been living for a year.”

A few minutes before the official information was issued, former President Evo Morales, who remains a political asylee in Argentina, recalled that millions of Bolivians cast their vote peacefully and demanded that the coup-born regime led by Jeanine Añez respect the results.

“Yesterday we denounced that the authorities suspended the presentation of the results of the exit poll companies. That was suspicious,” the Socialist leader said

“Everything indicates that the MAS has won the elections and won a majority of seats in both chambers,” Evo added.

Ecuador: Correa’s Candidacy ‘Definitively’ Nulled in Record Time

Source: TeleSur
September 7 2020

Judge (L to R) Milton Ávila, Javier de la Cadena y José Leyera on Monday after resuming the appeals hearing for the Bribery 2012-2016 case in Quito, Ecuador. September 7, 2020. | Photo: EFE/Corte Nacional Justicia

The Ecuadorian National Court of Justice ratified in record time the sentence against former president Rafael Correa in an appeals court on Quito Monday afternoon. 

Denouncing the bribery case as a setup, Correa, in an interview with Radio Majestad, said the judicial process was marred with several inconsistencies and irregularities, resulting in eight years in prison for aggravated bribery.

More importantly, the court officially annulled Correa’s vice-presidential candidacy on the Andres Arauz ticket, preventing the economist and former head of state from seeking elected political office for the same amount of time. 

RELATED: Ecuador: Rafael Correa Seeks to Run for Vice President

The verdict against Correa and his other 15 co-defendants, who requested the appeal, means that the Citizen Revolution and Union for Hope Coalition must decide on a substitute to occupy the vice-presidential candidacy. 

With two judges in favor of the charges and one voting against them, the court broke record time in addressing the decision’s appeal, usually taking more than three months for a process of this magnitude. 

While many constitutional scholars debate the possibility of Correa being barred from Ecuadorian public office for life due to this conviction, with a legal basis in the 2018 constitutional reforms, what is clear is the politicized and fraudulent nature of the ongoing judicial attack against Correa and his political movement. 

Insisting there is no concrete evidence against him, Correa assured that he does not expect anything from the Ecuadorian justice system these days, adding “there may be honest judges, but in Ecuador’s current circumstances, heroic judges are needed.”

Over the next week, the convicted co-defendants will be able to request clarification about the sentence, which will then be carried out and remitted to the National Electoral Council (CNE), which then shall prohibit all, including Correa, from registering their candidacy for public office. 

Build a Garveyite Political Party in Jamaica. Start Now!

August 17 2020

By Al Gray

If Marcus Garvey’s spirit passed through Jamaica today, still with his inexhaustible energy, passion and vision for the unity of all Africans at home and abroad, and for the establishment of a United States of Africa, what would he be saying to us?

No one can be sure but here are my thoughts.  First, he would be asking those who have withdrawn from this national election process: where is your party? where is the party with the red, black and green flag, with the programme to teach (or hopefully continue teaching) the youth about their roots in the great civilizations of Africa like Songhai and Mali?  Where are our strong non-exploitative business and cultural links to organizations in Africa?  What about the Black Star Line?  True, I was sabotaged but the vision was correct.  What have you done to establish a Black Star Line 2?

What are you doing to stand up with the African brothers in the US who are being slaughtered like chickens and whose consciousness as a dignified race and people is now beginning to re-emerge?  We, Jamaicans, have always been at the forefront of African consciousness.  What specifically are we doing to continue this great legacy?  Are you in touch with the Black is Back Coalition in the USA?  Look beyond your borders to express and receive solidarity.

Related: 10 Quotes from Marcus Garvey

Why don’t we see vibrant UNIA organizations in all communities’ island-wide, linked through businesses, schools and cultural activities?

Why are our universities, the centres of education for those who are usually among the most progressive in our society, the youth, why are they so backward in this regard?  Why, since Michael Manley dared revive our slogan of self-reliance, despite the might of US imperialism, why have we seemingly reversed his slogan to “backward ever, forward never”?  What are you teaching our youth about the need to change this society to work in the interest of people of African descent?

Have the two traditional parties united or divided the people?  Have they contributed to the legacy of brutal warfare of brother African against brother African?  If so, what is on your agenda to wipe this remnant of mental slavery from the face of our country?

Related:  Ghana President Nana Akufo Addo Speech on 100 Anniversary of UNIA

Or, are we still a colony just dressed up differently with the new colonizers working behind the scenes – divide and rule?  Why are we still looking to the IMF, the World Bank, USAID, and the agencies that everyone knows operates as an instrument of the imperialists?

We need a new vibrant party, no matter how long it takes and no matter how many challenges internally and externally that are placed in the way.  There are enough people who are not involved in the present political parties, at home and abroad, who can be brought together under the umbrella of the red, black and green flag. The two-party system took many countries to so-called political independence, but life has shown us that they cannot go any further.  A different kind of party is needed for economic and cultural liberation. Parties that are linked across geographical borders.

Brothers and sisters, he might say, its time, in fact way past time, to look within your class, within your communities for leaders, those who will unite the hundreds of thousands who dominate the ranks of the poorer class.  It is time to look for those among yourselves who have the courage, and who cannot be swayed by money and other forms of bribery.  it can be done; it has been done.  Toussaint and the heroic Haitian people did it in 1804‼!.  Bolivar and the heroic Latin American people did it shortly after; Fidel, Che and the heroic Cubans did it.  It is time for Jamaicans to show that our greatness is not just in music and athleticism, we are the sons of Nanny, Tacky and Sam Sharpe.  Parliamentary “democracy’ is a scam, we all know that it has kept us in- dependence on the imperial powers.

Related:  Marcus Garvey’s Glowing Praise of Lenin

As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Declaration of the Rights of the Negro People’s of the World, let us rekindle the spirit of Marcus Garvey and target having a vibrant UNIA branch in every community in Jamaica in the next decade, as we lay the foundation for a new Garveyite party or the strengthening of any that now exists.  Do not wait on anyone, start now and make this a lifelong task‼!

One aim, one love, one destiny

Al Gray is a retired Jamaican living in the USA. He can be reached at greyal2@yahoo.com