International News

In the Andean Parliament as a member of PAIS Alliance, President Rafael Correa’s left-wing party, Rosa Mireya Cardenas, a member of Alfaro Vive Carajo, a former Marxist guerrilla group, will be working to promote gender equality, fair trade and the work of social organisations, among other initiatives.

But with Ecuador’s second round of presidential elections slated to take place on April 2, the country stands at a critical crossroads.

Veteran Canadian-based socialist and activist Ernie Tate has been writing to English group Left Unity on the struggles in Canada provoked by the rise of Donald Trump south of the border.

A lifelong revolutionary who migrated to Canada from Northern Ireland as a young man, Tate was one of the most important activists of the Vietnam Solidarity Campaign in the 1960s and has recently produced a two volume memoir, Revolutionary Activism of the 1950s and 1960s.

US President Donald Trump promised to cut through the disarray in the two parties of capitalism in the US by forcing on them a new strongman – himself – who knows how to get things done and make deals.

But the Republican health insurance debacle, with Trump’s replacement to Obamacare being withdrawn due to lack of support in Congress, not only cut him down to size, but represented the triumph of that very disarray over the new president. The strongman proved to be not so strong and the dealmaker could not close the deal.

US President Donald Trump is seeking to eliminate more than US$18 billion worth of health and education social programs to fund his anti-immigrant wall along the border with Mexico, documents submitted to the US Congress on March 28 showed.

One hundred years ago, on March 27, 1917 the Petrograd Soviet issued the following appeal, “To the Peoples of the World,” calling for a restoration of workers’ unity in the cause of peace: "....We call upon you to throw off the yoke of your semi-autocratic order just as the Russian people shook off tsarist despotism. You should refuse to serve as a weapon of invasion and violence in the hands of kings, gentry landowners, and bankers.

"Together in friendship we will put a stop to the terrible slaughter, which disgraces humankind and casts a shadow over the great days of the birth of Russian freedom...."

Bolivia’s government and social movements have announced they will host a global people’s summit on migrants and refugee rights. The "People’s Conference for a World without Walls and Universal Citizenship", set for June 20 and 21, is expected to draw together immigration experts and pro-migrant and refugee rights organisations and activists from around the world.

After hours of debate, the Organization of American States (OAS) extraordinary session on March 28 came to a close with member-states failing to reach a consensus over Venezuela’s suspension.

Despite OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro’s insistent attempts to push for Venezuela’s expulsion, the 35 member-states expressed mixed opinions regarding the application of the regional body’s Democratic Charter against the South American country. Needing a two-thirds majority to invoke the charter, the session ended without a vote. 

Mexico’s Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) has announced it will begin selling organic coffee from Chiapas to help migrants persecuted by US President Donald Trump.

Working alongside allied international distributors, the EZLN will use coffee sale funds to provide financial assistance to US deportees in Mexico. They will also use funds to support pro-immigrant resistance groups around the world protesting anti-immigrant governments.

One year after European Union leaders signed a deal with the Turkish government to cut off the wave of desperate refugees seeking to reach Europe’s shores, the policy has caused even more death and suffering.

One hundred years ago, on March 14, 1917, the Social Democratic Interdistrict Committee (Mezhrayonka), supported by the Petersburg Committee of Socialist Revolutionaries, issued the following appeal to soldiers to elect representative committees all along the chain of command, for officers to treat soldiers respectfully and asserted the Soviet's primary influence over soldiers by stating that they should obey only Duma commands that did not contradict Soviet resolutions.

Massive mobilisations involving 1 million people across Brazil and a mood for general strike unlike anything seen in some time marked March 15, as various organised sectors came onto the streets to protest a packet of pension and labour reforms proposed by the government of President Michel Temer.

“The world’s poorest countries, those with the lowest greenhouse gas emissions, will be the most severely affected by extreme temperatures brought on by global warming.”

Statements such as that appear in virtually every report and article on climate change. A feature of most such statements is use of the future tense: the poorest countries will be worse-hit than the rich ones.

A new report released on March 22 found President Donald Trump has broken his campaign promise to “drain the swamp” at every turn. Instead, he has turned the government over to corporate interests and enriched his bottom line.

“Water is Life” was the slogan behind one of the most important mobilisations involving water last year where Native American tribes, calling themselves “water protectors”, fought against the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline for fear of it contaminating their main water source, as well as it destroying their sacred lands.

On the tail of its damning CIA hacking bombshell, WikiLeaks published another trove of documents on March 23 outlining how the spy agency has been uploading secret software to Apple devices as far back as 2008.

About 230 people were reported killed in what was thought to be a US-led coalition air strike on an ISIS-held neighbourhood in Mosul, The Independent said on March 22.  

This month marks two years since the start of the Saudi-led, US-supported war on Yemen. Involving a blockade of Yemen and the consequent collapse of the nation’s economy, the war has made the prospect of famine very real.

You know how it is when you go to the movies. Sometimes the sequel has a bigger impact than the original.

The announcement by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon that she would bring forward proposals for a second referendum on Scottish independence may prove another example of this phenomenon.

There is a real feeling across Scotland, in Westminster and the media, that this time the Yes side could win and Scotland could break from the “United Kingdom”.

"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.”

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