The Venezuelan government has repeated its request to the United States government for the extradition of terrorist and ex-CIA agent Luis Posada Carriles. Posada Carriles was found not guilty by a Texas court on April 8 of charges of violating US immigration law. Posada Carriles is wanted by Venezuela for his role in blowing up a Cuban plane in 1976. The plane’s 73 passengers, all civilians, were killed. Posada Carriles escaped from a Venezuelan prison in 1985. Venezuela’s foreign ministry issued the statement abridged below on April 8. * * *
A life dedicated to creative non-violent resistance against the Israeli occupation of Palestine was cut short when Juliano Mer-Khamis was shot dead by unknown masked gunman in the West Bank town of Jenin on April 4. Mer-Khamis was an Israeli citizen, born to a Jewish mother and a Palestinian Christian father. In 2009, Mer-Khamis told Israeli army radio: “I am 100% Palestinian and 100% Jewish.” At the time of his death, Mer-Khamis was just 52-years-old. He was a father and a husband.
Peruvians went to the polls to elect a new president on April 10. In a first round result reminiscent of the 2006 election, the electorate has sent the previously languishing “left-nationalist” candidate Ollanta Humala (of the Gana Peru alliance) through to the presidential runoff on June 5. As in 2006, Humala will face a candidate representing elite interests: Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of ex-president and architect of Peru’s neoliberal development model, Alberto Fujimori.
Pro-democracy protesters in Yemen have shown their determination for real change by rejecting a proposal that would allow hated President Ali Abdullah Saleh to leave power on his own terms and escape prosecution for his crimes. In the face of ongoing repression, the opposition rejected a proposal from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and maintained their demand that Saleh leave immediately, Al Jazeera said on April 11.
Much of the hysteria surrounding the support of Sydney’s Marrickville Council for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel has focused on the comparison made by the global BDS campaign with the former apartheid system in South Africa. Pro-Israel politicians and propagandists are quite aware of the power of the comparison. By describing a system where one part of the population has democracy and another doesn’t, it takes away Israel’s claim to legitimacy as a “Jewish democracy”.
Swedish author Stieg Larsson is world famous as a result of his “Millennium series” trilogy of crime novels, all published since his death in 2004. Less known is that Larsson was also a long-time activist and socialist, who worked as an editor for the anti-fascist Expo magazine. This history is sketched below by Hakan Blomqvist, editor of the Swedish revolutionary socialist paper Internationalen from 1979 to 1999. It is reprinted from US socialist magazine Against the Current.
Below is an abridged version of a speech by NSW Greens MLC David Shoebridge in Sydney on April 10. The action was part of an international weekend of solidarity calling for an end to the persecution of alleged WikiLeaks whistleblower Bradley Manning. **** First, I'd like to acknowledge that this is Aboriginal land that we are standing on. It always has been, always will be Aboriginal land. And in fact sovereignty has never been ceded over this land that we are standing on here today.
A federal budget containing the largest single-year spending cuts in US history was grudgingly passed by Congress on April 14. The cuts, amounting to US$38.5 billion, will be implemented until the end of the financial year on September 30, 2011. President Barack Obama hailed the budget agreement as a victory. He said: “This is an agreement to invest in our country’s future while making the largest annual spending cut in our history.”
Steel manufacturer BlueScope is exaggerating the impact of a carbon price said the April 9 Sydney Morning Herald. “Last month BlueScope said a carbon price of $25 a tonne would wipe $300 million to $400 million off its bottom line but analysts at Deutsche Bank quickly pointed out that ignored compensation," SMH journalist Paddy Manning said. “Based on BlueScope's 2009-10 emissions of 12.2 million tonnes, they calculated the company's carbon liability in 2012-13 would be about $30.5 million, or 7.4% of its forecasts for the company's net profit after tax."
Haiti finds itself with a president-elect with ties to the extreme right — thanks to a concerted effort by foreign powers to continue thwarting the social justice aspirations of the Haitian people. President-elect Michel Martelly is closely associated with the forces that overthrew elected governments in 1991 and 2004. He told Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Radio’s The Current on April 7 that Haiti has been “going in the wrong direction for the last 25 years”.
“Bolivia is set to pass the world’s first laws granting all nature equal rights to humans,” the Guardian said on April 10. “The Law of Mother Earth, now agreed by politicians and grassroots social groups, redefines the country’s rich mineral deposits as ‘blessings’ and is expected to lead to radical new conservation and social measures to reduce pollution and control industry”, the article said.
The Bahraini government has ordered the dissolution of two opposition political parties. The move is part of its crackdown against the pro-democracy movement that broke out in February. The al-Wefaq and al-Amal parties were ordered to dissolve for “threatening peace”. The order is in response to their involvement in the protests that called for the removal of the Khalifah royal family, which has ruled the country for more than 200 years, the April 14 Washington Post said.
In the early morning of April 9, new battles broke out on the streets of Cairo. Protesters fought back against mass repression carried out by the army, leading to two deaths. In a fresh victory for people’s power in Egypt, protesters defeated the crackdown. Protesters were demanding former dictator Hosni Mubarak and all corrupt officials from his regime be charged. Protesters remained in Cairo’s Tahrir Square late into the night before the army moved in.
The question of refugees "is as fundamental a human rights issue as there is", former senator and refugee campaigner Andrew Bartlett told a rally of around 100 in Brisbane on April 9. The rally was organised by the Refugee Action Collective (RAC). Bartlett said refugees "are among the most vulnerable people on Earth. Forcing them to return home to danger is effectively sending them to their deaths.”
Global politics has taken a dramatic turn this year with the uprisings in the Arab world successfully overthrowing dictatorial regimes, and inspiring democracy movements in countries throughout the region. People who are fed up with corruption, repression and low living standards have stood up and fought for their rights and won many gains. What the movements in the Arab world have shown the people of the world is that no matter how strong governments are, people united in struggle can defeat them.
With the 25th anniversary of Chernobyl falling on April 26, a debate is brewing over the estimated death toll from the nuclear disaster. The debate has erupted with a heated exchange between prominent British columnist George Monbiot and anti-nuclear campaigner Dr Helen Caldicott. Monbiot claims the “official death toll” from Chernobyl is 43. Caldicott puts the death toll at 985,000. Someone's wrong. Perhaps they both are.