846

When right-wing billionaire Ricardo Martinelli was elected Panama’s president in May 2009, political commentators heralded it as a sign that Latin Americans were becoming disillusioned with the “pink tide” of progressive and leftist governments.

But one year later, the Martinelli government is facing a wave of resistance to its anti-labour and anti-union laws. Resistance has grown in the face of deadly repression.

El Salvador is a country where supermarket prices are comparable to those in developed countries, yet a sugar cane cutter earns $5 a day.

This small, predominantly rural, yet densely populated country has a violent history of colonial oppression and the attempted genocide of the indigenous people. More recently, it went through the 1980-92 civil war.

La Lucha” is a phrase you hear a lot in El Salvador. It means “the struggle”.

Recent moves by the Venezuelan government, which now claims almost 50% of the shares in a pro-coup TV station and revoked the concession of another, represent new steps towards reclaim the media for the people.

The moves came as US-Venezuelan writer Eva Golinger revealed on July 15 in a Chavezcode.com post that recently declassified documents showed the US State Department has funded opposition media to the tune of more than US$4 million.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez ordered a maximum alert on Venezuela’s border with Colombia after the administration of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe accused the Chavez government of harbouring terrorists and running terrorist training camps on July 22.

Uribe’s government gave a shameful presentation before member states of the Organisation of American States (OAS) on July 22. It was similar to former US Secretary of State Colin Powell’s 2003 “weapons of mass destruction” Power Point evidence to the United Nations Security Council to justify the war in Iraq.

On June 28 last year, democratically-elected Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was overthrown in a US-backed military coup.

Zelaya had upset US and Honduran corporate interests with policies such as blocking privatisation, increasing the minimum wage and joining the anti-imperialist Latin American bloc led by Venezuela and Cuba, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA).

But it was Zelaya’s decision to grant a demand of the social movements and begin a democratic process towards rewriting Honduras’s pro-elite constitution that led directly to the coup.

Alarm bells should be ringing as the threat of war looms on the horizon, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez warned in his July 18 weekly column.

The warning came after tensions again flared with neighbouring Colombia, and the Central American nation of Costa Rica agreed to 6000 US troops being deployed on its soil.

Chavez placed Venezuela on high alert and broke diplomatic relations with Colombia after a July 22 meeting of the Organisation of American States (OAS).

The global carbon market, which trades “pollution rights” to encourage industry to cut greenhouse gas emissions, grew in 2009. Far from signaling a success, this reflects a huge increase in fraud, the dumping of surplus emissions permits by industry, and a rise in financial speculation.

Ewan Saunders, Socialist Alliance candidate for Brisbane, recently returned from the Justice Ride to Alice Springs.

* * *

On July 14, after almost 50 hours spent on the road over four days, I, along with about 20 others, rolled back into Brisbane at 11.30pm.

The trip back from Alice Springs was the last leg of a two-week Justice Ride that changed the lives of a busload of people, many of whom hadn’t considered themselves “activists” before the bus left on July 1.

Two recent reports, released by NASA and the US National Climate Data Centre, have confirmed that last month was the warmest June since records began.

June was the fourth consecutive month that had broken temperature records, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said. Global monthly records were also broken in March, April and May.

June was the 304th month in a row that recorded a global average temperature higher than the 20th century average. February 1985 was the last month temperatures fell below the average.

Over-fishing threatens caviar

“Lovers of fine food face a shortage of Beluga caviar that may last more than a decade. Eurasian states are discussing a ban on catching sturgeon in the Caspian Sea.

“Over-fishing has reduced the population of the fish that produces the delicacy by 90 per cent.

“It has pushed the price up nearly sevenfold to $14,340 per kilogram, or $1434 for enough to make a sandwich.

“The Caspian Sea is home to four-fifths of the sturgeon bearing the most sought after varieties of caviar ...

Pages

Subscribe to 846