At dawn one year ago, on June 28, soldiers invaded the home of Honduran president Manuel Zelaya and flew him to Costa Rica. It was a frightening throwback to the days when military men, backed by a local oligarchy and often the United States, could overturn the results of democratic elections. It would also turn out to be a pivotal moment for relations between the US and Latin America. A new generation of left-of-centre governments in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela were all hoping for a new relationship with Washington.
On July 1, striking workers at a Japanese-owned electronics factory in the Chinese city of Tianjin stalled production for a third day and vowed to continue their fight until bosses agreed to better pay and conditions, the Morning Star said that day. It is the latest in a spate of work stoppages to hit foreign transnationals operating in China. Workers have hung large banners outside the factory gate reading: “Human traffickers are not welcome”, “We want a pay rise” and “We want fair treatment”.
The statement below was released by Asian left groups on June 25. To add your organisation’s name, email email@example.com. * * * Israel stands increasingly isolated after its manufactured confrontation on May 31, 2010, with the peace flotilla, in which nine Turkish activists on the Mavi Marmara were murdered. So now is the time to increase the pressure on Israel to lift the siege of Gaza.
The head of Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA said on June 24 that the government is to nationalise 11 oil rigs previously operated by a US petroleum firm. This comes after the company, Helmerich & Payne, closed down production and refused to negotiate a new services agreement. PDVSA president Rafael Ramirez said the nationalisation would “boost domestic production of hydrocarbons and strengthen the policy of full oil sovereignty”.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard is enjoying a honeymoon in the polls since taking Kevin Rudd’s place. A July 2 Reuters Trend poll confirmed a series of polls since Gillard became PM on June 24, giving Labor the lead over the right-wing Coalition. The June 26 Sydney Morning Herald said a Herald/Nielson poll found Greens support since Gillard took over had fallen from 15% to 8%. But another crucial poll indicated the true nature of Gillard’s rise to power. As soon as she was installed as prime minister, the share price of the large mining corporations rose.
Just after becoming prime minister, Julia Gillard told media on June 24 she could understand “the anxiety and indeed fears that Australians have when they see [refugee] boats”. She did not cite evidence for this claim. She said that, as PM, she would explain to the Australian people “what we are doing to manage our borders and what we are doing to manage asylum seeker flows”.
New World of Indigenous Resistance By Noam Chomsky and voices from North, South, and Central America City Lights Open Media, 2010, 300 pages Review by Mat Ward This book bills itself as a “virtual hemispheric conversation” and claims to be the first book of its kind. It is certainly an eye-opener.
A Short Border Handbook By Gazmend Kapllani Portobello Books 2009 159 pages Review by Alex Miller This book, which the author describes as “part autobiography, part fiction”, is hard to assess. Each chapter is divided into two parts. The first part tells the story of a man (presumably Kapllani himself) who crosses into Greece from Albania when the border between those two countries opened in 1991. The second part consists of “philosophical” ruminations on issues raised by the story of the first part.
Financial crisis? Rich get richer “The rich grew richer last year, even as the world endured the worst recession in decades. “A stock market rebound helped the world's ranks of millionaires climb 17 percent to 10 million, while their collective wealth surged 19 percent to $US 39 trillion, nearly recouping losses from the financial crisis, according to the latest Merrill Lynch-Capgemini world wealth report. “In North America, the ranks of the rich rose 17 percent and their wealth grew 18 percent to $US 10.7 trillion.” — June 23 Reuters article.
While G20 leaders barely made mention of the climate crisis at the June 26-27 G20 summit in Toronto, Pablo Solon, Bolivia’s United Nations ambassador, was in town to encourage action on the “Cochabamba protocols”. It is no surprise that Solon, also Bolivia’s chief climate negotiator, was not on the list of special invitees to G20 meetings. In April, Solon and the Bolivian government he represents organised the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Cochabamba.
The Northern Territory intervention has reached its third year and, despite several government commissioned reports and outside expert analysis claiming that it has failed to achieve its aims, aspects of it look likely to be extended to other parts of the country. On June 21, the Senate voted to extend one of the aspects of the intervention, welfare quarantining, to more people in the NT and allow the government the option to extend it to other parts of Australia after a year.
How do wars begin? With a “master illusion”, according to Ralph McGehee, one of the CIA’s pioneers in “black propaganda”, known today as “news management”. In 1983, he described to me how the CIA had faked an “incident” that became the “conclusive proof of North Vietnam’s aggression”. This followed a claim, also fake, that North Vietnamese torpedo boats had attacked a US warship in the Gulf of Tonkin in August 1964.