South American Leaders Condemn Spain’s Rajoy for Provocation Against Evo Morales

Buenos Aires Herald

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was among several South American leaders who spoke out at an emergency Unasur meeting, convened after Evo Morales was stopped from landing in several European nations. Cristina called on the responsible nations to apologise, and spoke out in defence of the Bolivian leader.

The head of state declared that she had arrived in Cochabamba to “express my own and the Argentine people’s solidarity against the attack that the president of this country [Morales] and our societies have suffered.”

Speaking directly to France, Spain and Portugal, the countries who refused Morales permission to land, Kirchner called for remorse: “I want to ask those who have broken the law peacefully, but very seriously, that they take responsibility and make it right,” she affirmed.

“For once, apologise for what you have done.”

Venezuela president Nicolas Maduro also launched a fierce attack on Spanish leader Mariano Rajoy.

Maduro labelled Rajoy, of the Popular Party, “undignified” for his alleged efforts to check Morales’ presidential jet, and added “we can now take him off his own plane to look for the Euros which he has robbed.”

“What does Rajoy’s government think? That we still live in colonial times?” The Venezuelan premier continued.

The United States were also subjected to Maduro’s accusations: “They are afraid of Edward Snowden”, he fired. “The imperialist force has driven itself crazy over this 29-year-old man, I warned Evo that he should take care.”

Hugo Chávez, Soldier of the People Forever

chavez-kirchner

Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, President of Argentina

Argentine President Cristina Fernández visits Montaña Garrison

I awoke on a cloudy day and am leaving in the sun. I have just visited the Montaña Garrison. It is surrounded by working class neighborhoods. You can see Miraflores in the distance. The head of the guard told me that Hugo always looked this way from his office there. How could he not! This is where he planned the insurrection against Andrés Pérez. The 4th Republic, the tragic epilogue to the Punto Fijo agreement, when the Caracazo broke out – or as Hugo liked to say, the Venezolazo – the final crisis of neoliberal policies.

Repression and death to the people. Coincidences in our history are no accident. Hugo rose up against this from the Montaña Garrison. He failed, “for now,” as he announced upon surrendering.

They showed me a fully restored colonial era cannon. Every day at 4:25 pm the old cannon fires a salute to mark the time of his departure. 4:25? Eva died at 8:25. What capricious times! Don’t you think? When I returned to the broad, bright, outdoor patio, I could not avoid the infinite sadness. There were television cameras, reporters, commentators. Cilia, married to Nicolás, accompanied me. I politely asked all of them to withdraw. I wanted to be alone. Thank you, thank you very much. I hope you understand. I hope so.

The patio was left empty. I was accompanied only by the four hussars of Carbobo on duty, providing the permanent Honor Guard. From somewhere else, the sound of Hugo singing softly could be heard, as if it were floating. How he loved to sing! The sound of the water which surrounds his space could also be heard. But, for a moment, there was complete silence. Or at least, that is what I felt. I could only hear that some of the guards were crying with me. It is strange. Until today, I had not shed a single tear. Not on March 5, when I was informed. Not on March 6, when I attended the wake along with so many others. Florencia, on the other hand, cried so much, she had to leave, she couldn’t breathe. Me, nothing. It was as if I did not want to admit or accept it. I don’t know, some day, if I decide to, I’ll explain it to a psychologist.

Chavez funeral: A young man adjusts a banner before the start Hugo Chavez funeral

I stayed there a while. I walked around the marble coffin, again and again. I see the carving of a phrase from one of Hugo’s speeches in which he mentions Alí Primera. Who is Alí Primera? A popular Venezuelan singer-songwriter, a member of the Communist Party, who died February 16, 1985. February 16, the day my son was born. Hugo departed the day my sister was born. Strange, when you get old, you start in with this business of dates.

The last gift Hugo gave me, was the complete collection of Alí Primera on CD.

His daughter, María brought it to me in Olivos, November 8, and she told me the story. As a young officer, her father would secretly listen to the songs, because they were prohibited in the military.

I read the speech excerpt and the date on which it was delivered. June 12, 2012. June 12, the date of Peron’s last speech. What is this with dates? I was in the Plaza de Mayo that day. 21 years old. The year, 1974. My mother! (She was there, too). So many things. So much history. Strange, the dates, the events. The visible connections. And the invisible ones, as well.

When I went down to see the portraits of Hugo in the galleries which surround the patio, Nicolás entered with those who were waiting outside and accompanied me around the area.

We entered a small, but precious, chapel. Two Virgins. One from the Valley and the other… Rosa Mística! The Virgin venerated in La Plata. I couldn’t believe it.

I told Nicolás that I was going to send an image of the Virgin of Luján to be placed in the chapel and I told them the story, of the Virgin, of course.

It was May, 1630. She was traveling on a wagon toward Brazil, carrying among other things, two boxes with contained images of Virgins. Attempting to cross the Luján River, in Buenos Aires, the wagon was stuck. They added more oxen, but no good. Finally, they removed of the boxes with the Virgins from the wagon, to no avail. They removed the second box and the wagon took off, with no difficulty at all. They loaded the box once more, and once again the wagon wouldn’t budge. The drivers were confounded and the Virgin stubborn. When they opened the box, the image of the dark skinned Virgin appeared. The wagon took off, but the Virgin stayed in Luján. She is now in the Basilica, where she is venerated as Argentina’s patron saint. They were fascinated by the story.

The restoration of the Basilica, was Nestor’s first act. I didn’t tell them that, but it’s true, too.

We continued touring the site. There are two halls with photographs which depict Hugo’s life. What most moved me was an immense mural. Hugo, from the back, walking in the rain, on October 4, his last and most glorious event, which was not, as some believe, the closure of his campaign. It was his last act of love. I understood that later, when I learned of his terrible, unbearable pain. Of his beyond-human sacrifice. My God!

I said to Nicolás, “This is the place. Don’t even think about taking him anywhere else, as magnificent as it might seem. This is where he began and this is where he must stay. In HIS place. In his garrison, in the humble neighborhood. Soldier of the people. Definitively and for ever.”

Cristina Kirchner: USA Must Recognize Maduro’s Victory

Press TV

Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has called on the United States to recognize the results of the presidential election in Venezuela and not to encourage conflicts.

On Wednesday, Kirchner called for the White House to accept Nicolas Maduro’s victory against Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles in the recent election.

The Argentinean president said the US should recognize the results “as the best contribution to peace, with facts and not simply with words.”

“In all humbleness I would like to ask the US government to recognize the current Venezuelan government after such a transparent, clean election,” Kirchner stated.

The Argentinean president recommended the United States “not to encourage conflicts, because they end up with the death of fellow South Americans.” “We make this request with humbleness, because institutions must be respected,” she added.

In addition, Kirchner commended a decision by Capriles to cancel an opposition march for Wednesday, following recent violent incidents that claimed the lives of seven members from Maduro’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV).

Kirchner also reminded the United States that nations such as Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Russia all have recognized Maduro as the new president.

She also pointed out that no South American country challenged the results of the controversial presidential election in the United States in 2000, in which George W. Bush defeated Al Gore after a vote count in the state of Florida that was said to have been fraudulent.

Maduro won the Venezuelan presidential election on April 14 by 50.8 percent of the votes against the opposition leader’s 49 percent.

On March 8, Maduro became the country’s acting president, following the death of late President Hugo Chavez, who lost a two-year-long battle with cancer on March 5.

Pope Bergoglio, Reactionary Opponent of Argentina’s Cristina Kirchner

cfk-casaretto

Wojtyla beatified Nazis and did the CIA’s anti-communist bidding. Ratzinger was a member of the Hitler Youth. And now, the Vatican selects a Pope once connected with Argentina’s military dictatorship which disappeared thousands of leftists. The Catholic Church staunchly supported murderous coup governments in Latin America and the selection of Bergoglio from South America signals their dedication to overturning the continent’s progressive revolutions.

Nina Westbury

Mainstream media is already lionizing Argentine Cardinal Bergoglio, who today became Pope Francis I. Bergoglio has been discussed as a “moderate” and even a “liberation theologist.” Yet his interactions with Argentina’s President, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, paint a picture of a man hostile to the progressive Bolivarian governments in Latin America.

As a bill legalizing marriage equality for gay couples made its way through the Senate, Bergoglio described it as having “destructive aims on God’s plan” and launched a failed to attempt to lobby senators to vote against it. He vocally opposed other social reforms such as gay adoption, upheld by Argentina’s Supreme Court, and the government’s free distribution of contraceptives. Cristina described Bergoglio’s reactionary worldview as reminiscent of “medieval times and the Inquisition.”

Though he once attacked former President Nestor Kirchner’s government as “immoral, illegitimate, and unjust” for not taking strong enough measures to support the nation’s poor, Bergoglio never uttered a word in opposition to the draconian military dictatorship that ruled Argentina with an iron fist. A 2011 piece in The Guardian highlights Bergoglio’s collusion with the regime:

What one did not hear from any senior member of the Argentine hierarchy was any expression of regret for the church’s collaboration and in these crimes. The extent of the church’s complicity in the dark deeds was excellently set out by Horacio Verbitsky, one of Argentina’s most notable journalists, in his book El Silencio (Silence). He recounts how the Argentine navy with the connivance of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, now the Jesuit archbishop of Buenos Aires, hid from a visiting delegation of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission the dictatorship’s political prisoners. Bergoglio was hiding them in nothing less than his holiday home in an island called El Silencio in the River Plate.

What scandal would have ensued if the first pope ever to be elected from the continent of America had been revealed as an accessory to murder and false imprisonment…

On Wednesday, Cristina announced via Twitter that the government had sent a congratulatory to Bergoglio. She also wished the new Pope a “fruitful” tenure based in promoting “justice, equality, fraternity and peace.” But a just, equal, and peaceful world is not one where the Vatican has a presence.

Democrats Working to Overturn Latin America’s Left-Wing Revolutions

Neither Democrat nor Republican will give Latin America a moment of peace.

U.S. imperialism tries to rebound in Latin America

Liberation News

What is the U.S. government’s basic strategy towards Latin America? It is said by some pundits that George W. Bush “ignored” Latin America, and that with Obama’s presidency, there would be a more “hands-on” approach.

This abstract characterization does nothing to clarify U.S. policy towards Latin America and the Caribbean, a vast region of more than 580 million people.

While Washington’s political and military tactics have varied, its objectives in the region today are essentially unchanged: economic domination. In the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, Washington installed and armed military dictatorships and regimes in Guatemala, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay and Haiti. It fueled genocidal proxy wars to crush insurgent popular movements in Central America, as well as Nicaragua’s Sandinista government in the 1980s. The U.S. military directly intervened in Panama and Grenada, and Cuba continues to be punished with a severe blockade and the occupation of part of its national territory, Guantánamo Bay.

The military and fascist repression of previous decades eventually gave way to elections and civilian governments, but only the form of domination changed. Under a more “democratic” façade of government, the new leaders signed onto free-trade programs, allowing U.S. capital to dictate terms and dominate national economies like Mexico and Argentina. With rising overproduction of U.S. commodities and the never-ending drive for expansion, U.S. multinational corporations and banks used Latin America as an outlet for their “surplus” production and capital.

For Mexico, the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement was the major turning point. Mexican farmers, in mostly small-scale production, could not compete with highly subsidized and mechanized U.S. agribusiness. Mexican agriculture collapsed and over 6 million workers and farmers were forced for their survival to leave their country for the United States.

A historic rejection of Washington’s rule

An inspiring new development—the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (or ALBA)—arose in Latin America in the mid-2000s. Unprecedented in the continent’s history, a successful alliance of Latin American and Caribbean countries started to deliver real advances for their people through cooperation and solidarity.

It began with Cuba and Venezuela signing a pact known as the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas in 2004. In the following years, Bolivia joined ALBA in 2006 after Evo Morales’ election the previous year, Nicaragua joined in 2007 after Daniel Ortega became president and Ecuador joined under Rafael Correa’s presidency in 2009. Caribbean members have also joined: Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Hugo Chávez ‘buries’ free trade

In a famous episode in Mar del Plata, Argentina, in November 2005, Hugo Chávez spoke to tens of thousands of Latin American activists in an outdoor stadium at the conclusion of a massive “People’s Summit.” The People’s Summit was organized to protest the U.S.-led “Summit of the Americas” in the same city. There, George W. Bush headed the U.S. delegation and tried to pressure other member states to accept the Free Trade Area of the Americas.

It was clear the FTAA would fail. Too many countries had been ravaged by already-existing free trade, and growing movements had re-awakened in resistance, inspired by Venezuela’s Bolivarian revolutionary process and by Cuba’s determined survival.

At the People’s rally, Chávez waved a shovel above his head and the crowd cheered as he said, “We have come here to bury the FTAA!” He announced a groundbreaking economic pact with Argentina, beginning with the very first oil shipments ever delivered to Buenos Aires by Venezuela. Chávez then spoke of ALBA’s Petro-Caribe accord with 14 Caribbean nations, essentially offering oil for barter.

In Mar del Plata, George W. Bush refused to back Argentine President Nestor Kirchner’s request for support in that country’s impending debt renegotiation with the World Bank. This was punishment for Argentina for openly rejecting the FTAA and  improving relations with Cuba, a reversal of the open hostility displayed by previous administrations.

As a harbinger of what ALBA could mean for the peoples of the continent, Venezuela stepped in and helped eliminate Argentina’s billion-dollar debt.

Today, U.S. imperialism is less able to impose its will on a growing number of countries, in particular those states in the ALBA alliance.

U.S. role evident in Latin America reversals

On May 20, 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama gave a major “Latin America speech” that included a veiled threat to Venezuela and ALBA. Having chosen to give the speech in Miami, he strongly condemned Cuba and promised to maintain the blockade. Obama then warned of “demagogues like Chávez” who had “stepped into this vacuum” left by the discredited Latin American establishment, cautioning that this new trend had “made inroads from Bolivia to Nicaragua.” The speech denied the social advances of these countries, calling them mere “false promises.”

Only six months into Obama’s presidency, in June 2009, the Honduran military seized democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya and expelled him from the country. Honduras had just joined ALBA, and Zelaya, who came from a moderate ruling-class party, began to adopt a more progressive stance. In a sharp shift from his past politics, for instance, he supported a popular drive for a constitutional assembly. New constitutions had already been adopted under the administrations of Chávez, Morales and Correa; while not socialist, these offered more opportunities for the government and the people to challenge the rule of the oligarchy and foreign capital.

Both Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton refused to condemn or even characterize the military coup as such. Later, the U.S. government offered recognition to the 2010 sham election of Porfirio Lobo. Honduras is now solidly back in the U.S. sphere of influence and is no longer part of ALBA. There has been a dramatic rise in political repression and murders of opposition leaders, women, journalists and LGBT activists.

Then, in June of this year, Paraguay’s democratically elected President Fernando Lugo was deposed without due process in a lightning-speed impeachment. His illegal removal means that the huge agribusiness operations of Monsanto and Cargill, which own enormous tracts of land for gigantic transgenic soy and corn production, can go on unimpeded.

In 2008, the Pentagon, with no notice to or consultation with any Latin American governments, reactivated the Fourth Fleet, which had been deactivated 58 years earlier. They claimed the purpose of the Fourth Fleet was to promote peace, but the real aim was clear: to bully and threaten a Latin America breaking free of their control.

Whether the president is a Democrat or Republican, U.S. imperialism will not give the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean a moment of peace. A vast array of diplomats, generals, think tanks and corporations are working day and night, in coordination with their ruling-class friends across the region, to undermine and reverse the left-wing tide. Inside the belly of the beast, the Party for Socialism and Liberation is working to expose these efforts, and stands in solidarity with the people’s resistance and unfolding revolutions of the new Latin America.

Argentina Champions Rights of Disenfranchised

A Radical Redefinition of Citizenship in a Democratic Society

Source

Argentina is rethinking what it means to be a citizen, proposing radical changes that would have both foreigners and 16-year-olds vote to determine who should run the country.

President Cristina Fernandez’s legislative powerbrokers say the proposed electoral laws will enhance democracy and challenge the world to treat voting as a universal human right. Opponents call it a naked attempt to prolong the power of a decade-old government that has showered public money on migrants and young people.

With approval likely in a Congress controlled by the president’s allies, the laws would expand Argentina’s electorate by 3 million voters, or roughly 10 percent, and make it among the world’s most permissive countries in terms of voting rights, allowing foreigners with two years of permanent residency to cast ballots.

“It’s very important _ there are so many of us here in Buenos Aires,” said thrilled migrant Karen Gonzalez, a 48-year-old nanny whose family now includes two grandchildren in her adopted city. “I’ve been here for more than 20 years and I love Argentina. I’m Paraguayan and I love my country, too, but I owe so much to Argentina, so I want to vote.”

While welcoming immigrants into polling stations would add 1 million voters, lowering the voting age from 18 to 16 would add 2 million more.

Very few nations trust people still in their adolescence to help choose their nation’s leaders. Austria, Brazil, Cuba and Nicaragua also start voting at age 16.

When Mauro Eichmann looks around at his fellow 16-year-olds in his suburban Buenos Aires high school, he doesn’t see anyone responsible enough to vote for president.

“I don’t think we’re old enough to decide who should run the country,” said Eichmann, who turned 16 in March and is studying economics and business administration. “I know there are many good kids, but many others aren’t prepared.”

Another group of 16-year-olds, texting between classes downtown, agreed they didn’t know enough yet to vote. After all, they said, teenagers in Argentina’s capital can’t even drive or buy alcohol until they turn 18.

Just one of them was willing to speak out against his peers and endorse the proposal to lower the voting age.

Voting “would motivate young people to participate in politics,” Francisco Schkolnik told The Associated Press in a text message, adding that he’d vote for “Cristinismo.”

That’s just what this government is hoping for, but it remains to be seen whether the new voters could swing next year’s congressional elections or the 2015 presidential vote in favor of Cristina Fernandez’s picks for public office.

“This government has a well-established strategy of capturing new voters and new activists under the umbrella of a new way of doing politics,” political analyst Graciela Romer observed. “But the elections are a long way off.”

Even more controversial is the plan to allow noncitizens to vote, an idea still foreign to most of the world’s democracies.

Very few nations give all noncitizens with permanent residency the right to vote in national elections. Chile allows it after five years; Uruguay after 15. Australia used to allow it, but now denies it for new immigrants. Other countries grant it only to certain nationalities, or people with significant wealth or property.

In the United States, Democrats and Republicans spend millions fighting over legal and bureaucratic hurdles that prevent even citizens from voting, and foreigners lacking permanent residency can be deported for simply donating to a campaign.

Only New Zealand grants noncitizens such rights more quickly, after just one year of legal permanent residency.

“New Zealand is the most expansive, but of course its number of resident aliens is quite small. Argentina would be far more significant,” said political scientist David Earnest, an expert on international suffrage laws.

Argentina’s plan drew more than 1,700 angry comments this week in the opposition newspaper La Nacion, many with a racist tinge, complaining that their European culture has been hijacked to serve a populist experiment.

“It’s completely absurd that foreign nationals would have the power to define the destiny of the Argentines,” Vicente Rojas wrote in his anti-government blog, Code Red. “We all know the real point of this would-be law, which will surely be presented as Latin Americanist, integrationist and even with poetic images, when in reality all it seeks is the continuity of this government.”

Argentina counts more than 1,806,000 foreign-born people among its 40 million inhabitants, just 4.5 percent of the population, much less than in the early 1900s, when nearly one in three people in Argentina had just left Europe. The 2010 census showed 77 percent of current migrants came from neighboring countries _ mostly Paraguay, followed by Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Uruguay and Brazil.

Most of the migrants live in and around the capital, in slums or working-class districts where the left wing of the ruling Peronist party has traditionally drawn its strongest support.

While many nations turn a cold shoulder to illegal immigrants, this government has made a priority of integrating them into Argentine society, expediting their documents and including them in a multibillion-dollar program of cash handouts for each poor child in school. The warm welcome has encouraged about 130,000 migrants to obtain permanent residency each year.

“Argentina has given me so many things: It gave me work, it took care of me, it gave me shelter,” said Gonzalez, the nanny, who has long been frustrated that her Argentine husband can vote, but not her. “I would vote for this president. I think a lot of other Paraguayans would, too.”

The measures’ main sponsor is the president’s former Cabinet chief, Sen. Anibal Fernandez, who says he aims to do nothing less than “break the link between citizenship and nationality.”

“If you recognize that collective decisions will be applied to foreigners, logic indicates that their opinions should be considered,” he wrote to his fellow senators.

Earnest, who teaches at Old Dominion University in Virginia, said the Argentine lawmaker has it right, that 20th-century concepts of citizenship are outmoded in a world where technology and a truly global economy have challenged political boundaries.

“In this era of globalization, the people’s sense of belonging has become pluralized. People hold multiple affiliations,” he said. “This practice of granting voting rights to noncitizens is really an indicator of a fundamental change in terms of what we think of citizenship.”

Malvinas Islands in the Spotlight at UN

Fernandez to call out UK on noncompliance with UN resolutions

Xelcis Presno

United Nations, June 13 (RHC) — The UN Special Committee on Decolonization will discuss Argentina’s claim of sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands on Thursday, with the participation of the president of that South American nation, Cristina Fernandez.

The Argentinean president’s presence at the meeting of the UN committee confirms the strong position of her government in its demand to resume negotiations with London over the disputed islands, as required by dozens of resolutions adopted by various UN agencies.

President Fernandez’s participation in Thursday´s session also coincides with the 30th anniversary of the end of the Malvinas War fought by Argentina and the United Kingdom, in which 649 Argentineans and 255 British were killed.

In a related development, legislators of Argentina’s ruling coalition have categorically rejected a referendum on the Malvinas’ political status called for 2013 by the Malvinas Islands elected government.

The ruling coalition has called the move “a media stunt” to distract attention from President Fernandez´s speech before the UN Special Committee on Decolonization, the local media reported.

Interviewed by a Buenos Aires radio station, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Argentina’s Lower House, Guillermo Carmona, said the referendum, announced just two days before the anniversary of the South Atlantic conflict, “did not comply with international law” and has the sole interest of distracting the media as “we travel with the president to New York on Wednesday.”

On Thursday for the first time ever, a head of state, President Cristina Fernandez, will formally request before the UN Committee on Decolonization that the UK complies with UN Resolution 2065, which calls on both sides to open negotiations to settle the conflict of the Malvinas sovereignty.

Argentinian President, Falklands Capture Interest at UN

Prensa Latina

United Nations, Jun 14 (Prensa Latina) UN political circles on Thursday will focus on Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez, who will attend here a session of the Decolonization Committee on the issue of the Malvinas (Falkland) Islands.

Fernandez’s participation in that meeting is the most outstanding item of today’s agenda at the UN headquarters in New York.

According to diplomatic sources, Organization of American States general secretary Jose Miguel Insulza, and top representatives from the Chilean and Brazilian Ministries of Foreign Affairs are also possible to attend the meeting.

According to the agenda, the Argentinian head of State will be welcomed by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, shortly before attending the Decolonization Committee session in the afternoon.

Fernandez will ratify at that organization her country’s sovereignty claim over the Falkland (Malvinas) Islands, occupied by the United Kingdom since 1833 and scene of a war that ended on June 15, 1982. As a result of which 649 Argentinean and 255 British soldiers were killed.

Fernandez’s presence at the UN takes place after the British government announced a so-called referendum in the Falklands (Malvinas), so its 3,000 inhabitants decide in 2013 about its sovereignty to London or Buenos Aires.

The Albion maneuver was responded at a release from the Argentinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that insists in the United Kingdom’s obligation to begin negotiations on the Falklands (Malvinas), as dozens of UN agreements establish.

During her stay here, Fernandez will be accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs hector Timerman, ambassador in the United States Jose Argüello, former Falkland combatants and relatives, governors, and legislators.

Also see:
Argentina’s President Fights Modern Day Colonialism