Planet Watch
air pollution

UN climate talks delayed one year by COVID-19

International climate negotiations will be delayed by a full year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the UK government announced. The next summit, dubbed COP26, was due to take place this November in Glasgow, but has now been put off to November 2021. Delaying the talks could encourage governments, industrial concerns and financial institutions to adopt recovery plans with high climate costs—such as a bailout for the oil companies. The postponement is particularly critical given the failure of last year’s summit, held in Madrid, to reach any agreement. (Photo: Ralf Vetterle, Pixabay)

Planet Watch
Chile protester

Podcast: world revolution in 2020?

In Episode 43 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg takes stock of the current wave of popular protest and uprisings around the world, and asks if the planet is approaching another moment of revolutionary possibilities, such as was seen in 2011. He examines the prospects for these disparate movements to build solidarity across borders, repudiate ethnic and national divide-and-rule stratagems, and recognize the enemy as transnational capital and the authoritarian states that serve it. With discussions of Hong Kong, mainland China, Indonesia, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay, Honduras, Costa Rica, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey Iran, Egypt, Algeria, Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia and Guinea. Listen on SoundCloud, and support our podcast via Patreon. (Photo: David Lynch via Twitter)

Central America
Costa Rica protest

Student strikes shake Costa Rica

A mass student protest filled the streets of San JosĂ©, opposing new budgetary terms being imposed on Costa Rica’s public universities. The demonstration, which was also attended by staff and even rectors of the universities, was called after the Ministry of Finance ordered an increase in the percentage of the Special Fund for Higher Education (FEES) that goes to capital expenditures—which effectively means a cut in salaries for teachers and staff. Banners read “The education of our children is not up for negotiation” and “Hands off the UCR,” a reference to the University of Costa Rica. University authorities and students did meet for several hours with government officials after the march in search of an agreement, while thousands of supporters maintained a vigil outside the presidential palace. President Carlos Alvarado, elected as leftist last year but now accused of imposing a neoliberal program, was among those who met with the protest leaders. (Photo: Poder Popular)

Central America

Indigenous land-rights activist slain in Costa Rica

Sergio Rojas, a leader of the indigenous Bribrí people in Costa Rica, was slain in an attack by unknown gunmen at his home in the indigenous territory of Salitre, Puntarenas province. Rojas was president of the Association for the Development of the Indigenous Territory of Salitre and coordinator of Costa Rica's National Front of Indigenous Peoples (FRENAP). He was shot 15 times in the attack. The local conflict stems from a 1977 law that gave the Bribrí and Teribe peoples rights to 11,700 hectares of usurped lands but did not allocate funds to compensate non-indigenous farmers who already occupied those lands. In 2012, Rojas was shot at six times in an apparent assassination attempt. (Photo via Tico Times)

Central America

Taiwan sacrificed to Central America geopolitics

Panama is the latest Central American nation to switch diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Bejing—under pressure of China's fast-growing economic presence on the isthmus.

Central America

Setbacks for Nicaragua canal project

Financial woes for the Hong Kong-based developer and an unfavorable World Court ruling in a border dispute with Costa Rica have slowed Nicaragua's inter-oceanic canal project.

Central America

Costa Rica: port strike ends, issues remain

Under pressure to end a job action that tied up Costa Rica's main port, management and the union made a deal to end the strike—without addressing the issues.

Central America

Costa Rica: new strike closes major port

Helicopters were patrolling the skies over Limón after striking dockworkers and police clashed in the latest installment of an eight-year struggle over privatizing the Caribbean port.

The Amazon

Carbon obfuscation in New York Times

Amid the current UN climate talks, the New York Times runs an op-ed entitled "To Save the Planet, Don't Plant Trees"—filled with bogus science and dishonest claims.

Central America

Nicaragua: inter-oceanic canal route approved

Nicaragua approved a route for its proposed inter-oceanic canal—sparking demands both by the Rama indigenous people and neighboring Costa Rica to be consulted in the project.