An Interview with Davíd Benigno Crispin Espinoza of the National Council of Ayllus and Markas of Qullasuyu (CONAMAQ)

by Bill Weinberg, Indian Country Today
With a second cross-country protest march by indigenous rainforest dwellers and their allies now advancing on La Paz, it is clear that Bolivia’s indigenous peoples are divided in their positions on President Evo Morales, a populist and declared socialist of pure Aymara descent. The first march called to protest the controversial new highway slated to cut through the Isiboro Sécure National Park Indigenous Territory (TIPNIS) in October saw police repression and counter-protests by supporters of the road project. Then, in January, pro-highway marchers—also mostly indigenous—held their own, smaller, march on La Paz. The government claimed this march as a mandate for the highway, and passed a law establishing norms for "prior consultation" with indigenous peoples in the project. The new march against the road is a clear rejection of this law.  

by Gina Spigarelli, FOR Colombia

On July 11, the indigenous Nasa of Cauca, Colombia began confronting armed groups face to face and peacefully asking them to leave Nasa territories. They removed police trenches from the urban center and disassembled homemade FARC missiles found on their lands. Four hundred Nasa members occupied and observed army soldiers on the sacred indigenous site of El Berlin outside of Toribío, where the army is protecting private cell phone company towers.

On July 16, when the military had yet to retreat from indigenous lands by the proposed deadline of the previous day, the Nasa forcibly removed troops from El Berlin’s mountaintop base. Dramatic photos of the event splashed across national and international news, some featuring members of the Nasa indigenous community surrounding several soldiers, picking them up, and moving them away from their posts and others featuring crying Colombian officer Sergeant Garcia, retreating from the encampment.

by David L. Wilson, World War 4 Report
On April 22 the New York Times ran a major article by reporter David Barstow revealing that Wal-Mart's Mexican subsidiary paid more than $24 million in bribes to fuel the remarkable growth of its stores—and that top Wal-Mart executives in the United States tried to cover up the criminal activity.
The US media were quick to provide "context" for the scandal. Corruption is endemic in Latin America, we were told; Transparency International rated Mexico number 100 out of 183 countries in its 2011 index on perceived levels of corruption. "The scandal tells you that doing business in the world's fastest-growing markets can be fraught with peril," Time magazine wrote. "[G]raft is not necessarily perceived as a serious crime in some places. It's more a way of doing business." The Times downplayed its own excellent investigative reporting by explaining that in Mexico "bribery and other forms of corruption are taken in stride."

by Nava Thakuria, World War 4 Report

Tibetan exiles in India's restive northeast have become increasingly vocal, with a series of recent public meetings and protests in Assam state, demanding liberation for their homeland just across the Sino-Indian border to the north. But Assam itself is home to a separatist movement, with the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) waging a sporadic insurgency that has brought waves of harsh repression from New Delhi over the years. While the Tibetan exile leadership remain silent on Delhi's crackdowns in Assam, the ULFA increasingly looks to China as a patron and supports Beijing's position on Tibet—with movements for autonomy across the disputed border pitted against each other.

by Frauke Decoodt

In San Miguel Ixtahuacán, Guatemala, the Mina Marlin gold mine, operated by Canadian giant Goldcorp, has divided indigenous communities through gifts, benefits, and violence. The mine has caused a lot of damage. It has not only had a profound impact on the environment but also on the social cohesion of communities and families in the area, and on their cultural ties with the land.

by Bill Weinberg, World War 3 Illustrated

The case of Bradley Manning is a morally stark one. Even the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has censured the United States for its harsh measures against the young man who blew the cover on US atrocities in Iraq through WikiLeaks.

But the voluminous trove of classified diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks goes far beyond the "Collateral Murder" incident in Iraq. The release of most of this information can be justified in the name of the public's right to know.

However, rights advocates have raised fears that some of the revelations may have placed pro-democracy dissidents at risk in authoritarian regimes. Worse, a WikiLeaks "accredited journalist" is accused of actively collaborating with a dictator. WikiLeaks has failed to meaningfully respond to charges of complicity with grave human rights abuses in Belarus, the country dubbed "Europe's last dictatorship."

by Budour Hassan, Ma'an News Agency

On July 14, thousands of Palestinian refugees marched in a funeral procession for 11 unarmed protesters shot dead by Syrian security forces in the al-Yarmouk refugee camp. Raucous and seething with rage, mourners chanted for Syria and Palestine, called for the downfall of Bashar Assad’s regime, and sang for freedom.

Whether this burgeoning civil disobedience movement will grow into an open, durable rebellion remains to be seen, but the significance and the potential influence of the latest wave of protests that has swept Syria's largest Palestinian camp cannot be overlooked.

Enmity From Above, Amity From Below

by Richard Abernethy, US Marxist-Humanists

On one level, the threat of war between Israel and Iran is a real conflict, a struggle between two state powers for dominance in the Middle East. On another level, each set of rulers finds in the other a "useful enemy," an external threat that appears to validate its ideology, and consolidate its rule at home.

In both countries, there is a body of enlightened opinion that opposes the rulers' drive toward war. In an extraordinary new development, Israeli and Iranian dissidents have come together, first over the Internet and more recently in person in Berlin, to oppose the drive to war.