1003

When the later president Hugo Chavez was first elected president in 1998, it began a process of change that has sought to expand the democratic and social rights of the poor majority who had previously been excluded. This process is known as the Bolivarian revolution. It has included a new constitution guaranteeing previously unheard of social rights, re-nationalising the oil industry and promoting participatory democracy.
Newly re-elected President Michelle Bachelet has reaffirmed her election promise to introduce free tertiary education in Chile — one of the demands of the country’s powerful student movement. In elections in December, the New Majority coalition of centre-left parties won a majority in both the Chilean Congress and Senate. Bachelet, the New Majority candidate, was elected president. On March 11, Bachelet began her second term as president, having served as president from 2006-2010. She replaced right-wing president Sebastian Pinera.
United States President Barack Obama has received scorn for remarks made during a speech in Brussels on March 26. Obama defended the US invasion of Iraq in a bid to chastise Russia for its actions in Crimea and Ukraine. Fending off repeated accusations that the US has lost its moral authority given the invasion of Iraq and other breaches of international law in recent years, Obama said: “Russia has pointed to America’s decision to go into Iraq as an example of Western hypocrisy. But even in Iraq, America sought to work within the international system.
Mainstream media coverage of the first round of France's March 23 local elections stressed the rise in support for the far-right, racist National Front (FN). The only other stories found worthy of comment were the sharp decline in support for the ruling Socialist Party (PS) of president Francois Hollande and the rise in abstention to a record 36.5%.
A court in the Upper Egyptian province of Minya has sentenced 529 defendants to death in a trial that has been condemned as “grotesque” by Amnesty International. Take action now and add your name to the statement below statement published at the British-based Egypt Solidarity Initiative. Signatures will be published and delivered to representatives of Egypt's government by April 28, the likely date for an appeal against the sentences. * * *
Cracks have been deepening in Turkey's new religious ruling class since the Gezi uprising in May last year. There is now an open and brutal war between two governing factions. This will likely escalate after the local government elections on March 30. Followers of Turkey’s best-known cleric and moral didact, Fetullah Gulen, have been encouraged for decades to work within Turkey's government and have accrued much power.
Campaigning in India's general elections, to be held in phases over April 7 to May 12, has already been marked by a reign of terror that has included the assassination of left activists.
Thailand's notorious Constitutional Court has once again worked hand in glove with the anti-democratic elite, ruling that the February 2 election was “unconstitutional”. This is a re-run of the ruling that the 2006 elections were null and void. The 2006 ruling, along with anti-democrat protests, led to a military coup and the continuous destruction of Thai democracy.
In a recent article, Amnesty International accused the Venezuelan government of a “witch hunt” when a right-wing opposition mayor Daniel Ceballos was arrested. However, Amnesty has yet to use such strong language against the five weeks of human rights violations people in Venezuela have suffered at the hands of violent opposition sectors. The “witch hunt” term demonises the people’s right to bring such criminals to justice.
Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Senate’s Intelligence Committee, lashed out against the CIA on March 11 in a sharply worded 45-minute speech that took other Senators by surprise. President Barack Obama’s appointee to head the CIA, John Brennon, issued a denial a few hours after Feinstein’s speech, virtually charging her with lying. It is no wonder that her speech was a bombshell. Feinstein has a well-earned reputation of being little more than a shill for the CIA, NSA and other spy agencies over the years.

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