The United Nations general assembly ratified on October 26, for the 29th consecutive time, the global rejection of the blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba for almost 50 years, Prensa Latina said that day. The isolation of the US government over Cuba was shown by the vote on the resolution entitled “The necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba”.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced the nationalisation on October 25 of US-based glassmaker Owens-Illinois affiliates, Venezuelanalysis.com said on October 27. The article said this places 60% of Venezuela’s glass bottle industry under government ownership.
It is not difficult to see that the events in Ecuador on September 30 amounted to an attempted right-wing coup d’etat. Mass mobilisations in the streets of the capital, Quito, and other cities — together with action by sections of the armed forces loyal to the government — stopped the coup before the day was out. But those few hours highlighted, again, the deep dangers facing those fighting for progressive change in Latin America and the Caribbean.
“In a daring and audacious move, Matt McCarten, general secretary of the Unite union, announced his candidacy in the November 20, Mana by-election in Wellington”, Unite campaigns organiser Joe Carolan said in an October 26 Socialist Aotearoa article. Carolan said McCarten “has had a quarter of century experience fighting for New Zealand’s poorest workers … standing as a member of the independent left, he would make an excellent champion for the thousands of low-paid and unemployed workers in Mana”.
French workers and students have mobilised in large numbers again to oppose changes in pension laws that will raise the age at which workers are able to retire. The seventh national strike in as many weeks took place on October 28, as indefinite strikes in many industries against the changes entered their third week. The protests took place despite the government’s pension bill passing through France’s parliament on October 27.
“Argentine shares and bonds rose on Wednesday after the death of political heavyweight and former President Nestor Kirchner removed a market-unfriendly contender from the country's 2011 election campaign.
“Workers in southern China, who say they were assembling Apple laptops and iPhones, have become seriously ill after using a dangerous chemical. “The Number Five People’s Hospital in Suzhou has been treating workers who breathed in vapours from the chemical n-hexane. “According to the workers, the chemical was being used in the production of Apple products and has left them unable to walk … They say they were using n-hexane to glue and polish the logos on Apple products …
It seems no one bothers about “them” in Sri Lanka. No lawyer or rights groups in the country dare to talk of “their” basic rights. Do they deserve to be abandoned or “disappeared”? Alleged former members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE — popularly known as the Tamil Tigers), an armed group that fought for an independent state for the Tamil ethnic minority, have become indefinite “prisoners of war” ever since the LTTE was militarily defeated by the Sri Lankan state in May 2009.
Maya M.I.A. N.E.E.T. Recordings www.neetrecordings.com Big Day Out tour January/February 2011 www.bigdayout.com It created a buzz well before its release date. For months, every pop music outlet speculated on its content. It provoked fervent anticipation among fans, censorship from the internet, and derision from elitist establishment journalists. When Sri Lankan-born Tamil musician M.I.A.’s Maya finally arrived in July, it predictably polarised critics.
Videos showing the torture of West Papuans by occupying Indonesian soldiers have embarrassed the Indonesian government ahead of a scheduled visit in November by US President Barack Obama. Obama is due to discuss a security deal that would involve the US training Indonesian military units accused of human rights violations. A video posted at FreeWestPapua.wordpress.com shows two Papuans from Gurage village being tied down and interrogated by Indonesian soldiers about the alleged location of weapons belonging to the Free Papua Movement (OPM).
The British people have a long and proud history of defeating repression, tyranny and injustice. They defeated Conservative Party prime minister Margaret Thatcher’s poll tax in 1991 by invoking an inspiring spirit of resistance against seemingly insurmountable forces. And it’s just a well because they need to call on these traditions once again to defeat the unprecedented and brutal cuts proposed by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government for our public services. Chancellor George Osborne has announced planned public spending cuts of £81 billion pounds.
Britain’s biggest anti-cuts demonstration yet took place on October 23, when 20,000 people took part in a Scottish-wide protest in Edinburgh. BBC News has also reported “several thousand” demonstrating in Belfast in a trade union-organised event. Called by the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), the Edinburgh demo throws the failures of the British Trade Union Congress general council — which managed nothing more than a couple of thousand in Westminster Hall on the day before cuts were announced — into sharp relief.
Thousands of pensioners descended on British parliament to reject the government’s pension cuts on October 27. Angry pensioners pledged to escalate the fight against the cuts by joining spirited protests up and down the land against the government’s public spending cuts. Nearly 1000 activists from the National Pensioners Convention (NPC) converged on Westminster to protest against vicious cuts in vital services and to demand a basic state pension of at least £171 a week.
A report by the government of Cuba, posted to the United Nations Relief Web website, said representatives of the Union of South American nations (Unasur — which unites all South American countries), met via teleconference on October 25 and agreed to commence emergency medical shipments to the areas of Haiti affected by the cholera epidemic, CanadaHaitiAction reported. Ten countries took part in the conference: Argentina; Chile; Colombia; Peru, Venezuela; Bolivia; Uruguay; Paraguay; Brazil and Ecuador.
Three hundred people gathered at Sydney Town Hall on October 29 to protest against physical and sexual violence against women, as part of global Reclaim the Night protests. Professor of Law and Indigenous Studies at the University of Technology Sydney, Larissa Behrendt, outlined the challenges Indigenous women face, not only from Indigenous men but also the white legal system when reporting incidents of physical and sexual assault. Charlotte Long from Burma Campaign Australia spoke about the systematic rape of ethnic minority women in Burma.
Whistleblower website Wikileaks released its “Iraq War Log” on October 22. This featured almost 400,000 classified US military documents that provide a detailed, if incomplete, record of the US occupation of Iraq from 2004 (a year after the invasion) until January 2010. The log revealed high level US military documentation of serious war crimes the US and its allies have committed in Iraq, including massacres of civilians and systematic torture.