COHA: A Warning for President Obama: Speak out on El Salvador or Jeopardize Prospects to Revive Latin American Relations

  • Salvadoran election campaign hijacked by right-wing scare tactics, threatening U.S. hostility
  • Republican congressmen call for sanctions in the event of an FMLN victory
  • COHA, scholars and representatives urge Obama and Clinton to speak out and promise a neutral stance from Washington

As the El Salvadoran population goes to the polls this Sunday, March 15, to elect a new president, there are serious grounds to doubt whether the vote will be free and fair. There is a huge disparity in campaign funding between the parties, rising levels of violence, and concerns over the impartiality of the Supreme Court, Electoral Tribunal and much of the media. Moreover, the right wing ruling party ARENA and ultra-conservative NGO fuerza solidaria have spread a campaign of disinformation that threatens to destabilize the country and undermine its democratic institutions.

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COHA: Obama and the Gatekeeper: President Lula Comes to Washington

  • Brazil’s Lula visits Washington Saturday, the first Latin American leader invited to Obama’s White House
  • Will Obama welcome Lula’s plea to change U.S. policy towards Cuba and Venezuela?
  • The future of hemispheric energy trade

On Saturday, President Barack Obama will meet with Brazilian President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva in Washington. It is the first time Obama will meet with a Latin American head of state as President. Although it appears that energy policy will monopolize the meeting, Lula will undoubtedly also address needed changes in U.S. policy towards both Cuba and Venezuela. Diplomats in Brasilia have made it very clear that the most tangible manifestation of real change in Washington’s Latin America policy would be a rapprochement with Cuba. Brazilian Foreign Minister, Celso Amorim, captured this sentiment most recently when he asserted, ‘I think the best thing would be to raise the trade embargo on Cuba immediately…it’s impossible not to talk about the Cuban embargo. It’s indicative of U.S. policy toward the region.’

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Ramzy Baroud – Durban II: Politicising Racism

13 March, 2009

Many countries are set to participate in the Conference against Racism, scheduled to be held in Geneva, April 20-25. But the highly touted international meet is already marred with disagreement after Israel, the United States and other countries decided not to participate. Although the abstention of four or more countries is immaterial to the proceedings, the US decision in particular was meant to render the conference ‘controversial’, at best.
The US government’s provoking stance is not new, but a repetition of another fiasco which took place in Durban, South Africa in 2001.

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Afghanistan: “There Was No Military Solution”

“His Soldiers Were Caught In A Cycle Of Attack And Counterattack With An Enemy That Usually Slipped Away By The Time The Artillery Shells Rained Down”

“His Staff Officers Came To Realize That They Simply Weren’t Going To Win The War By Military Means”

“But Unfortunately It Was Too Late”

“For The Americans, Yermakov Said, It Probably Will Become A Familiar Story”

9 March, 2009

MOSCOW – The old diplomat sighed as he recalled his years in Afghanistan, and then leaned forward and said in a booming voice that no escalation of troops would bring lasting peace.

As the Soviet ambassador to Afghanistan from 1979 to 1986, Fikryat Tabeyev saw the numbers rise to more than 100,000 troops without any possibility of victory against a growing insurgency.

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