International News

"Grief turned to pride for Sinn Fein this week as tens of thousands paid their respects to a leader who came to symbolise peace in Ireland and the process through which the Provisional IRA gave birth to a political powerhouse," Irish Republican News said of the March 23 funeral of Irish republican leader Martin McGuinness, who died on March 20 aged 66, in his beloved Bigside neighbourhood in Derry in the six counties of Northern Ireland still claimed by Britain.

Reflecting on recent experiences of dealing with the right’s return to power in their own countries, close to 100 social movements and activists from Brazil and Argentina have signed a statement calling on the people of Ecuador to vote against right-wing neoliberal banker Gulliermo Lasso in the second round presidential run-off scheduled for April 2. 

Among them are activists from Via Campesina, the Rural Landless Workers Movement (MST), the Popular Brazil Front (FBP) the United Workers Central (CUT), the Argentine Workers Central union confederation (CTA) and the Association of State Employees (ATE Capital).

National sovereignty is an undervalued asset in today’s world, especially in the international media, where the views of Washington and its allies largely prevail. This is true with regard to economic as well as political issues, and its consequences can be quite heavy in a region like Latin America, long regarded by US officials as their “back yard.”

The election in Ecuador is being watched as well as contested by forces that have opposing views on this question. 

A strike and massive street protest on March 22 by Argentine school teachers defended public schools while calling for higher wages.

The demand comes after the Macri government legislated a ceiling of 20% salary rises, despite an inflation rate of 40%, which has pushed 1.4 million people, including many education workers, into poverty.

Venezuela’s ambassador to the Organisation of American States (OAS), Carmen Velazquez, interrupted a media conference held by Secretary General Luis Almagro with Venezuelan opposition leaders on March 20, which she slammed as a violation of the organisation’s internal norms. 

Stop the War UK, the largest anti-war group in Britain, release the statement below after the attacks by a lone man in London killed four people on March 22, before being shot dead.

Irish republican leader Martin McGuinness, who was Sinn Fein leader in Northern Ireland until stepping down due to ill health earlier this year, passed away on March 20 aged 66.

Born in 1950 in Derry in the six counties occupied by Britain, he came face to face with the discrimination and sectarian bigotry against Irish nationalists and Catholics that marked the partitioned statelet.

Ecuador presented its commitment to fighting against tax havens at the United Nations by underscoring how tax dodging by the elite profoundly affects the economy of the majority of the world’s population.

Ecuadorean Foreign Affairs Minister Guillaume Long introduced a plan to "advance together in a global agenda for fiscal justice" at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on March13.

"Tax revenues are the most predictable, stable and important source of resources available to states to finance the protection of human rights," said Long.

Brazilians took to the streets in a nationwide protest on March 15 against President Michel Temer's pension reform plan. "This is the first unified mobilisation this year and opens the calendar of an intense agenda that we will have in 2017 to denounce the setbacks that penalise workers, such as reforms to the retirement system and labour legislation," said the organisers in a statement.

Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Relations Delcy Rodriguez issued an official statement on March 14 rejecting Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General Luis Almagro’s latest report calling for the suspension of the South American nation if general elections are not held “as quickly as possible”.

Meals on Wheels. Teacher training, after-school, and summer educational programs. The National Endowment for the Arts. The Appalachian Regional Commission. The National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

Kyler Prescott grew up in San Diego. He was an avid piano player, an animal lover and a talented writer. According to his mother, Katharine Prescott, he was, most of all, a deeply compassionate young man.

Kyler was also transgender and dealt with bullying in school, online harassment and constant misgendering. Like many transgender teens, he struggled with depression and suicide. When he was 13, he wrote a poem about the heartache of a boy forced into a gender he never identified with:

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon says she plans to trigger another independence referendum. The Scottish National Party leader said the new poll should be in 2018 or 2019, Irish Republican News reported on March 13.

“Right now, Scotland stands at a hugely important crossroads,” Sturgeon said, referring to the “Brexit” vote that will take all of Britain out of the European Union, despite a majority in Scotland voting to remain.

A hundred years ago, on March 12, socialists in Petrograd distributed the following appeal for an insurrectional general strike to bring down tsarism. That day – the culmination of the Russian February revolution – witnessed the crumbling of tsarist power.

At 11.22am on March 10, Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court Lee Jeingmi announced the court had unanimously decided to dismiss President Park Geun-hye. With that, after a 92-day trial, Park’s presidency was over.

The disarray among politicians of both major parties on display in last year’s election campaign has intensified in the first two months of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Charges and counter-charges are hurled between the Democrats and the Trump administration, prompting Congressional investigations that may bring in the FBI, CIA and other spy agencies.

The containment of Islamophobe Geert Wilders’ Party of Freedom (PVV) in the March 15 Dutch general election was greeted with relief by the mainstream European media.

Nonetheless, the election result primarily reflected a conservative and safety-seeking consolidation of the right and centre parties. It will result in a more right-wing cabinet than the previous “red-blue” coalition of the VVD and Labour Party (PdvA), and throw up big challenges for progressive politics in the Netherlands.

Much has been made of US President Donald Trump’s potential impact on Mexico, but one critical story has been largely ignored in the Western media.

Coverage of Mexico in the Trump era has been dominated by speculation over the fate of the stumbling Mexican peso, the possibility of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) collapsing and, of course, the wall.

Meanwhile, a seismic shift is quietly taking place in Mexican politics: the right wing is the weakest it has been in generations, while the left is seeing a historic resurgence.

Mining companies have benefitted over the past few years from rising global demand and prices, but workers have seen little to no benefit from the boom.

Now mine workers are flexing their muscle to demand their share of the spoils.

Hiroji Yamashiro was arrested for cutting a wire fence at a protest against a US military base in Okinawa in October. He has been detained ever since.

Yamashiro, the chairman of the Okinawa Peace Movement Centre, has been a fixture of the non-violent opposition to US military base expansion on the island.

WikiLeaks has published what it says is the largest leak of secret CIA documents in history. The thousands of documents published on March 6, dubbed “Vault 7”, describe CIA programs and tools that are capable of hacking into Apple and Android mobile phones.

By hacking into entire phones, the CIA is then reportedly able to bypass encrypted messenger programs such as Signal, Telegram and WhatsApp. However, contrary to many news reports, the documents do not show the CIA has developed tools to hack these encrypted services themselves.

“We were taken from Mosul to Syria. There were thousands of young girls and ISIS members in the ISIS centre we were taken to. Young girls were being raped here. Young girls were forcibly brought and savagely raped, then were made to marry [ISIS members]. Those who didn’t agree were tortured and beaten up.

“We were forced to pray and read the Quran. They wanted us to wear black clothing and cover up our hands with gloves. They would sell the women who didn’t agree to this.”

President Donald Trump has signed a new executive order temporarily banning all refugees, as well as people from six majority-Muslim countries, from entering the United States, Democracy Now! said on March 7.

In contrast to the fanfare that accompanied Trump’s rollout of January’s ill-fated travel ban, the March 6 signing was a decidedly low-key event. Trump signed the executive order out of public view.

“Water is life!” was the cry heard throughout Washington, DC on March 10 as thousands of people marched for Indigenous rights and the sovereignty of native nations, Common Dreams said that day.

On March 8, women around the world gave themselves a day off — from the system.

Morocco’s return to the African Union is an affront not only to the people of Western Sahara but to African people

Workers in El Salvador won a big rise in the minimum wage on January 1 — in some cases doubling their pay.

But before they had time to celebrate, the multinational companies who thrive on the country’s still-low wages counterattacked with mass layoffs, judicial manoeuvres and a bid to undermine the eight-hour day.

El Salvador’s ruling Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) warned the US Embassy in San Salvador on February 27 to stop supporting the country’s right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) party. FMLN leaders accused the US of meddling in the country’s affairs by supporting ARENA youth working to destabilise the government.

For the first time since Ireland was partitioned in 1921 as part of a treaty to end Ireland’s War of Independence, supporters of Northern Ireland’s “union” with the British state no longer hold a majority in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Ian Hodson, national president of the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union, explains why his union continues to support socialist Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, as the veteran left-winger faces fresh calls to resign over his alleged “unelectability”.

Monsanto, one of the world’s biggest pesticide and seed corporations and leading developer of genetically modified crop varieties, had a stock market value of US$66 billion in 2014. It has gained this position by a combination of deceit, threat, litigation, destruction of evidence, falsified data, bribery, takeovers and cultivation of regulatory bodies.

Ecuador will return to the polls on April 2 after a first round presidential vote failed to deliver a decisive victory for Lenin Moreno, the candidate seeking to continue outgoing President Rafael Correa’s pro-poor “Citizens’ Revolution”.  

Moreno now faces the challenge of ensuring Ecuador does not join the list of countries in the region where the left has recently lost at the ballot box.  

Quito-based research institute, the International Centre for Advanced Studies in Communications for Latin America (CIESPAL), has decided against renewing its contract with the British security company G4S after meeting with BDS activists who informed it about G4S’s complicity with Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights. 

Letter sent by Julian Assange to the XV Encounter of the Network of Intellectuals, Artists and Social Movements in Defence of Humanity, held in Caracas, Venezuela over March 6-7, 2017.

Protest in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Women were striking, protesting, and rallying for their rights across the United States and around the world on March 8 in honor of International Women's Day.

Calls to stop a government crackdown on trade unionists and garment workers in Bangladesh have paid off as the 35 activists who were arrested in a series of December raids have been released.

However, major problems remain in the country’s garment industry as the government neglects to fully comply with its labour and human rights commitments.

Preventable blindness has declined significantly in Latin America and the Caribbean through the Miracle Mission program initiated by Cuba and Venezuela in 2004.

The project was created by former Cuban president Fidel Castro and backed by former Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. Under the program, Venezuela flies those needing eye surgery to Cuba, where they are operated on for free.

Ecuador’s National Institute of Statistics and Censuses reported in January that the country's multidimensional poverty rate dropped 16.5% between 2009 and 2015, translating into 1.9 million Ecuadorians who no longer live in poverty.

“Socioeconomic poverty will be fundamentally solved through changes in the relations of power … through political processes,” Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said.

With Ecuador’s presidential elections heading into a second round on April 2, the Coordination of Social Movements, Communities and Nationalities, made up of about 1200 groups nationwide, will support leftist candidate Lenin Moreno, Ecuador's state media outlet El Telegrafo reported.

Moreno fell just short of the 40% and 10 point lead needed for an outright win in the first round on February 19, winning 39.36% of the vote of more than 13 million voters. Right-wing banker Guillermo Lasso came in second place with 28.09%.

The killing of Honduran environmental activist Berta Caceres on March 3 last year closely resembles a planned extrajudicial killing by Honduran military forces with links to US-trained special forces, according to newly leaked court documents.

Caceres was a co-founder and coordinator of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organisations of Honduras (COPINH).

Pages