Opposing the "Drug War" on Both Sides of the Border
by David L. Wilson, New York Indymedia
The well-known Mexican poet and author Javier Sicilia stood on the steps of New York's Federal Hall a few feet from George Washington's statue on a hot, humid Friday afternoon and pointed across Wall Street to the Stock Exchange. "That building," he called out in Spanish, "is a symbol of the finance capital that launders money."
Surprised tourists, office workers returning from lunch, and a contingent of police on motor scooters watched from the street below. "That building," Sicilia went on, in the low-key style of someone more accustomed to poetry readings than to political speeches, "is a symbol of the finance capital that profits off narco-trafficking."
First International People's Health Tribunal Held in Guatemala
by Beth Geglia and Cyril Mychalejko, Toward Freedom
“A few years ago, our people, the people you can see around you, we began to realize what was happening,” Maudilia López told the hundreds gathered to attend the first ever People's Health Tribunal in San Miguel Ixtahuacán, Guatemala. The event was packed, even as some attendees spilled out of the entrance of the crowded room, others shuffled to find a spot.
The International Peoples’ Health Tribunal (IPHT) took place on the second floor of the parish hall of San Miguel Ixtahuacán, a municipality in Guatemala's western Highlands of roughly 60,000 people, a majority of whom are Maya-Mam. San Miguel Ixtahuacán is the main site of the Marlin mine, an open-pit gold mine that is one of the most important projects of Canadian mining giant Goldcorp Inc.
An interview with Hamja Ahsan and Aviva Stahl
by Angola 3 News
On April 10, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) issued judgement in the case of Babar Ahmad and Others v The United Kingdom, making a landmark ruling on the legitimacy of solitary confinement, extreme isolation and life without parole in US supermax prisons. The ECHR denied the appeal filed jointly by six appellants, consisting of four British nationals (Babar Ahmad, Haroon Rashid Aswat, Syed Talha Ahsan, and Mustafa Kamal Mustafa AKA Abu Hamza), an Egyptian national (Adel Abdul Bary) and a Saudi Arabian national (Khaled Al-Fawwaz), who have been imprisoned in the United Kingdom, pending extradition to the United States for alleged terrorism-related activities.
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 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.