Christian Tym

GLW author Christian Tym

Peru: WikiLeaks cables shed light on US massacre role

WikiLeaks cables released on June 9 shed new light on the United States' role in the Bagua Massacre in Peru on June 5, 2009.

The cables suggest then-US ambassador Michael McKinley may have encouraged the Peruvian government to use force against protesters in an operation that cost 10 protesters and 24 police officers their lives.

Indigenous groups in the Amazon had been blockading highways for seven weeks. They were protesting against decrees passed by Peru’s then-president Alan Garcia.

Ecuador: Amazon community enters state of rebellion

Ecuador's Amazonian indigenous community of Sarayaku is in a state of rebellion against the central government after refusing entry to a police contingent arriving by helicopter on the morning of May 6.

The helicopter landed, but was barely able to stay five minutes after being threatened by 300 people carrying machetes, muskets and a net to throw over the helicopter.

“This is extremely serious, an attack on the rule of law in this country,” President Rafael Correa said. “Tomorrow, any other community could claim the right to harbour fugitives.”

Ecuador: Democracy on display as Amazon oil debate to go to vote

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa’s decision to drill for oil in the ITT block of Yasuni National Park looks set to be reviewed at a referendum. Environmental groups delivered hundreds of thousands of signatures to the National Electoral Commission on 11–12 April petitioning against the decision.

United for Yasuni (Yasunidos) collected 856,704 signatures. Kichwa indigenous federation Ecuarunari delivered more than 200,000 and Amazon Total Defence Front (FDTA) provided 584,008.

US judge backs Chevron bid to avoid toxic waste compensation in Ecuador

A New York judge has overruled the US$9.5 billion (A$10.5 billion) in compensation for toxic waste dumping that Chevron had been ordered to pay to Ecuadorian villagers.

The oil company, the world’s third largest, was found guilty in 2012 by an Ecuadorian court of causing huge environmental damages in the Amazon Basin. At the time, it was the largest environmental damages lawsuit ever.

Texaco oil company, which merged into Chevron Corporation in 2001, operated in the Sucumbios province of Ecuador, in the uppermost headwaters of the Amazon Basin, from 1964 to 1992.

Oil giant Chevron sues cartoonist in Ecuador case

United States oil giant Chevron has filed a suit for damages against a cartoonist who ridiculed its legal antics in its ongoing case against Ecuador.

The oil giant is using the US court system to seek to avoid paying US$9 billion that an Ecuadorian court ruled it owed in environmental compensation for dumping oil waste in the Amazon Basin.

Mark Fiore, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist with The San Francisco Chronicle, has now been included in the ongoing legal dispute.

Colombia: Rural poor revolt deepens against 'free trade'

Representatives of the Colombian rural poor (campesinos) began negotiations with the government on September 12, three-and-a-half weeks into an uprising against “free-trade” policies.

By blockading highways and stopping work since August 19, Colombian campesinos made a dramatic statement for a fairer economy and greater independence from the United States.

The central demand was and is the abolition of the free-trade agreements (FTAs) with the US and EU, and guaranteed minimum prices for their agricultural products.

Colombia: Rural uprising breaks out for fair prices, against 'free trade'

An uprising of the rural poor (campesinos) in Colombia entered its 11th day on August 29. An estimated 250,000 people took part in strikes and highway blockades across the South American country's highlands, where most of Colombia’s population of 42 million is concentrated.

The central objective of the uprising is to guarantee minimum prices for agricultural products, and to annul Colombia’s free trade agreements (FTAs) with the United States and the European Union.

Ecuador: Media lies about Correa's free-speech record

When Ecuador granted asylum to Assange in mid-2012, Sydney Morning Herald’s Peter Hartcher accused Assange of “hypocrisy” for accepting asylum from President Rafael Correa, “one of the world’s leading oppressors of free speech”.

Annabel Crabb joined in, writing in the SMH: “A gazillion Assange Twitter fans [hailed] Ecuador and its president, Rafael Correa, as a hero of international free speech and human rights.

Argentina nationalises Spanish oil giant

Argentine President Cristina Kirchner announced the nationalisation of Federal Petroleum Deposits (YPF), the country's largest oil extractor and refiner, on April 16.

Altogether, 51% of Spanish oil multinational Repsol's 57% stake in YPF has been claimed by the Argentine government.

The move shook the markets, with YPF shares falling 30% on the New York stock exchange.

The nationalisation has drawn condemnation from Spain, the European Union and the United States ― as well as US regional allies Chile, Colombia and Mexico. In contrast, it was applauded by Venezuela and Bolivia.

Bolivia grants rights to Mother Earth

Bolivian President Evo Morales proposed enshrining the Rights of Mother Earth in international law to the United Nations General Assembly on April 23.

The proposal follows the Law on the Rights of Mother Earth that was enacted in Bolivia in January.

The “short” law enacted is a set of principles. A more detailed version is expected later this year.

The law commits the government to steadily integrate renewable energy sources in order to achieve national energy independence.

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