International News

More than 100 community and social activists were assassinated in Colombia between January 1 and August 18 this year, according to a new report released by the Institute for Development and Peace Studies (Indepaz). The report showed that a further 194 activists received death threats during this same time.

The report also found that 12 members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) were assassinated between April 14 and August 17, as were 11 relatives of FARC members.

Colombia’s communist army, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), relaunched itself as a political party on September 1 at a concert for “reconciliation and peace” in Bolivar Square, Bogota.

The guerrilla movement, which fought one of the longest civil wars in history until agreeing to a ceasefire with the government last year, confirmed its new name the day before at the end of its five-day congress.

It is now known as the Revolutionary Alternative Forces of the Commons, which will allow it to retain the FARC acronym.

More than 100,000 people filled the Plaza de Mayo in the country’s capital, Buenos Aires, on September 1 to demand the reappearance with life of indigenous rights activist Santiago Maldonado. The rally was held to mark a month since 28-year-old Maldonado was last seen.

Maldonado had been participating in a protest with a group of indigenous Mapuche people on August 1 in Chubut province, in Argentina’s iconic Patagonia region. The protest was repressed by Border Force officers, who witnesses allege were seen dragging Maldonado into a van.

At the press conference to announce his run for president last year, Donald Trump referred to Mexican immigrants as “drug dealers, criminals, rapists” who must be stopped by “building a wall”.

Since taking office, Trump has continued to reiterate that message through policy initiatives designed to further degrade the quality of life for undocumented workers and their families. The overtly racist targeting of migrant and immigrant people by Trump has excited the far-right, and emboldened their efforts to organise, mobilise on a national scale, and terrorise working class communities of colour. 

But Trump and a re-energised far right did not appear in a vacuum.

The unthinkable possibility of nuclear war is once again in the headlines after US officials reacted with shrill threats to the North Korean government claim to have tested its most powerful nuclear bomb yet.

This is the latest escalation in a game of nuclear chicken, with calculated provocations on all sides. But to judge from the mainstream media, it is only North Korea’s Kim Jung-un who is driving the world to the brink of a nightmare.

This is false.

Flying into Caracas, the plane was full of middle class Venezuelans travelling home from Miami. On board, no one spoke to the passenger next to them for fear of finding out they were on the opposite side of the political divide.

In highly polarised Venezuela, these things are best left unsaid.

“The US is doing the same thing as it did with the economic blockade on Cuba, to try and suffocate the Venezuelan economy” explained Williams Camacaro, a long-time Venezuelan grassroots activist based in New York.

Speaking to Green Left Weekly in Caracas, Camacaro said “The sanctions will cause a lot of difficulties for Venezuela”, but “the reality is that a lot of time has passed since [the blockade was first imposed on Cuba]. Many things have changed.”

During the early hours of August 25, some 20 to 30 police posts were attacked in Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung townships in the north of Rakhine State in Myanmar (also known as Burma). Twelve police were killed along with 16 attackers.

Responsibility for these attacks was later claimed by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).

In the two weeks since, the Myanmar military’s response has been brutal, widespread and indiscriminate. While accurate figures are not available, between 400 (military’s estimate), and “around a thousand” (United Nations estimate) Rohingya have been killed by the army.

Rohingya are an ethnic Muslim group who have lived for centuries in the majority Buddhist Myanmar.

Many Rohingya came to Myanmar from what is now Bangladesh during the British colonial period (1820s to 1940s) to expand rice cultivation in Rakhine State.

About 1 million Rohingya live in Myanmar, mostly in Rakhine State, making up some 2% of the country’s population and about 30% of the state’s population.

The huge devastation, death and misery that Hurricane Harvey wreaked upon Texas and Louisiana has been seen around the world.

Meanwhile, fresh havoc is being wreaked upon the Caribbean and the US’s south-east by Hurricane Irma. In less reported news, more than 1400 people have been killed in recent weeks by horrific flooding in South Asia. The consequences of such disasters caused by extreme weather reveal the intersection of crises caused by the capitalist system.

Despite the clear signals that President Donald Trump would drop the axe on a program that protects unauthorised immigrant young adults from deportation, the announcement by Attorney-General Jeff Sessions provoked an immediate and passionate backlash from the 800,000 young immigrants who benefited from the program, as well as their supporters.

The decade-old Israeli blockade on Gaza has dramatically undermined the coastal strip’s agriculture sector.

The electricity crisis has exacerbated this problem. With electricity available for only three to four hours a day, most productive sectors in Gaza are debilitated to the point of paralysis.

Australian surf life savers once used the beach in Gaza to put on an impressive display of their skills for soldiers serving in Palestine. Surviving British footage from about 75 years ago shows a pristine and spectacular setting which could be any beach, anywhere in the world.

But now Gaza, subjected to a near-total blockade by Israel since 2007, is best described as the world’s largest, open air prison.

Half-a-million people marched in the Catalan capital of Barcelona on August 26 to express the profound desire in Catalan society to stay tolerant, open and un-militarised in the face of the August 17-18 terror attacks on Barcelona’s Rambla and in the seaside town of Cambrils.

This was partly because the attacks — claimed by Islamic State and causing 15 deaths and up to 130 wounded — coincided with the tensest moments to date in the fight between the Catalan and Spanish governments over the planned October 1 referendum on Catalan independence.

More than 800 Somali and Eritrean refugees were violently evicted on August 24 from a building they were occupying in the centre of Rome. The occupation, which began in 2013, had come to symbolised the inefficient and broken nature of refugee reception policies in Italy.

September 1 marks one month since the last time he was seen. Santiago Maldonado, a 28-year-old artisan, was protesting on August 1 in solidarity with the struggle of the Mapuche people from the Lof Cushamen community in Chubut province, in Argentina’s Patagonia region.

Football players, past and present, have spoken out on the case of Santiago Maldonado, an indigenous rights activist who has not been seen since Border Force officers violently broke up a protest by a Mapuche community in Argentina’s Patagonia region on August 1.

Flooding in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, which smashed into the Gulf Coast on August 25, had left at least 23 people dead by August 31, thousands in need of rescue on rooftops or in boats, hundreds of thousands more without power and tens of thousands in need of shelter.

Yet characterisations of the carnage by the National Weather Service as “historic”, “unprecedented” or “beyond anything experienced” should not be conflated with the spurious claim that the devastation wrought by Harvey was “unpreventable” or “unexpected”.

In his response to my August 1 (GLW #1148) piece on the strategy of US Senator Bernie Sanders, Danny Fairfax writes in GLW #1150 on why he thinks the Democratic Party can be reformed.

One error the comrade makes is his view of the primary system in the United States. He thinks it gives roughly the same chances for “grassroots movements to defeat entrenched [Democratic] party elites” as the structure of the Labour Party in Britain allowed Jeremy Corbyn’s rise to the leadership. It doesn’t.

Two articles and a video presentation looking at Russia's two revolutions in 1917, Marx and Engels on ecology and Lukacs' views on alienation and class consciousness

Now is exactly the time to talk about climate change and all the other systemic injustices — from racial profiling to economic austerity — that turn disasters like Harvey into human catastrophes.

As Hurricane Harvey continues to batter Texas and Louisiana in the United States, where nearly 30 people are reported dead, the flooding and landslides that have swept Bangladesh, India and Nepal for weeks have killed more than 1,200 people and displaced millions so far.

Western media, for the most part, has paid little attention to the catastrophic flooding that has swept these South Asian regions.

The Donald Trump administration announced new, unprecedented sanctions against Venezuela on August 25 that are designed to cut off financing to Venezuela. The Trump team pretends that the sanctions are only directed at the government. But as any economist knows, this is clearly false.

By starving the economy of foreign exchange, this action will harm the private sector, most Venezuelans, the poor and the vulnerable.

A new investigation conducted by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) Research Associate Jake Johnston reveals key details involving US officials and their support for the 2009 coup in Honduras that ousted former President

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has slammed the major damage caused to Venezuela over recent months of opposition violence, comparing the right-wing protesters to the white supremacists in the United States who organised violent and deadly protests  in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12.

Speaking at a media conference on August 22, Maduro deplored how “fascist groups” attacked people based on their observable ethnic characteristics — in the United States and Venezuela.

After a long battle, women will have the right to abortion for therapeutic reasons. Chile’s Constitutional Court announced a bill allowing abortion in such circumstances had been approved on August 21, despite pressure from conservative right-wing forces.

Leafing through my August 1 copy of Green Left Weekly, I thought I spotted an egregious typo. Surely, Barry Sheppard’s dispatch from San Francisco, “Bernie Sanders’ Democratic Party strategy fatally flawed” in issue 1148 had had an apostrophe inserted in the headline where there should have been a colon.

Tens of thousands of people mobilized in Boston on August 19 in a magnificent display of solidarity against a rally that far-right and neo-Nazi forces had been organising for weeks.

Defying sweltering summer heat and humidity, thousands marched and chanted their way through the streets of Boston.

About 15,000 took part in a two-mile march from Roxbury Crossing to Boston Common, where the white supremacists were gathering. But by the time the march arrived, the two-dozen or so fascists had already packed up and left, with the help of a heavy police escort.

Catalonia’s regional government has declared it will hold a referendum on October 1 over whether it should become independent from Spain. In response, Spain’s conservative People’s Party (PP) Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has vowed that the “unconstitutional” referendum will not take place, setting the scene for the biggest crisis in the Spanish state since the 1978 transition from the Franco dictatorship.

Thousands of protesters flooded the streets of Phoenix, Arizona when US President Donald Trump held a campaign rally on August 22, the first since his administration was engulfed by mass outrage following his remarks about the white supremacist riot in Charlottesville, Virginia, that included a far-right terrorist attack that left one peaceful protester dead.

Peasants across Africa are intensifying their struggles against land grabs and other harmful policies that promote industrial agriculture. At a recent international conference organised by the world’s largest peasant movement, Via Campesina, African peasants had opportunities to share their experiences of struggle and to learn.

“It is amazing to see how linked our struggles are,” said Nicolette Cupido from the Agrarian Reform for Food Sovereignty Campaign (FSC) in South Africa.

Rescue personnel had discovered 499 dead bodies as of August 20, since a devastating landslide hit near the Sierra Leone capital Freetown on August 14, the city's chief coroner said. Humanitarian groups say that more than 600 people remain missing.

The worst flood-related tragedy Africa has seen in years occurred when the side of Mount Sugar Loaf collapsed after heavy rain. It buried parts of the mountainous suburbs of Regent town, overwhelming relief efforts in one of the world’s poorest countries.

Thousands of Muslims voiced their rejection of jihadi extremism on August 21, marching through central Barcelona with banners reading “Terrorism has no religion”, Morning Star Online said.

It came in the wake of the August 17 terrorist attacks in Catalonia, which killed 13 and was claimed by Islamic State.

United States President Donald Trump announced that the US would continue the ongoing war in Afghanistan, which is already the longest war in US history, Democracy Now! reported on August 22.

The Pentagon is likely to deploy about 4000 more US troops to Afghanistan in the coming months. In recent months, the US has intensified its air war in Afghanistan. During June, the US carried out 389 airstrikes in Afghanistan — the highest monthly total in five years.

An air strike by the US-backed Saudi-led coalition on a hotel near the Yemeni capital Sanaa killed dozens of people on August 23, multiple news agencies have reported. It came as a humanitarian crisis extended its grip on the impoverished nation.

AFTER Charlottesville, we know the truth: The supposedly respectable "alt-right" isn't so "alternative." They're a new generation of the same violent, racist reactionaries of yesteryear.

And from the days after Charlottesville, we know another truth: They are being aided and abetted by none other than the current occupant of the White House.

Democracy Now!'s show on August 14 takes an in-depth look at the "Unite the Right" white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12 that erupted into violence, resulting in three deaths.

There has been a lot of media focus on Venezuela’s recently inaugurated National Constituent Assembly (ANC). However, little attention has been paid to the response it has generated among grassroots organisations or the variety of proposals being discussed in communities in terms of potential constitutional changes.

Haiti’s Senate has passed a bill that makes same sex marriage a crime and bans public displays of support for LGBTI rights. The bill — which would affect Haitian nationals and foreigners — will now go to the Chamber of Deputies, although a date for a vote has not been set.

Haitian law already defines marriage as being between a man and woman. But this bill seeks to expressly criminalise same sex marriage, with “parties, co-parties, and accomplices” to a same-sex marriage  — meaning even those who simply attend — facing potential jail terms of up to three years and an $8000 fine.

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Environmentalists from Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay marched on August 5 in the department of Paysandu, Uruguay, to protest against oil and gas exploration being carried out by Australian company Petrel Energy. The company’s exploratory works, and potential exploitation, threaten the integrity of the Guarani Aquifer, one of the world’s largest deposits of groundwater.

Since 2013, Petrel Energy has been the majority shareholder in the US company, Shues

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