Obama's Real Plan in Latin America By Shamus Cooke

20 April, 2009 – Global Research

At first glance Obama seems to have softened U.S. policy toward Latin America, especially when compared to his predecessor. There has been no shortage of editorials praising Obama’s conciliatory approach while comparing it to FDR’s ”Good Neighbor” Latin American policy.

It’s important to remember, however, that FDR’s vision of being neighborly meant that the U.S. would merely stop direct military interventions in Latin America, while reserving the right to create and prop up dictators, arm and train unpopular regional militaries, promote economic dominance through free trade and bank loans, conspire with right-wing groups, etc

And although Obama’s policy towards Latin America has a similar subversive feeling to it, many of FDR’s methods of dominance are closed to him. Decades of U.S. “good neighbor” policy in Latin America resulted in a continuous string of U.S. backed military coups, broken-debtor economies, and consequently, a hemisphere-wide revolt.

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The Economic Model That is in Crisis Needs Urgent Change

As representatives from a wide diversity of trade union, farmer, indigenous, women’s, youth, consumer advocacy, human rights, environmental and, in general, social and civil organizations that are part of hemispheric networks such as the Hemispheric Social Alliance and united here at the IV People’s Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago, we wish to transmit this message from the people we represent:

1) The Summit of the Americas continues to be marked by exclusion and lack of democracy. First, we consider the continued exclusion of Cuba from hemispheric governmental forums to be inexplicable and unacceptable. No reason suffices to justify this exclusion, especially when nearly all countries of the hemisphere – the only exception being the U.S. – have diplomatic relations with this sovereign nation. We demand the full inclusion of Cuba in all hemispheric spaces in which it chooses to participate and, above all, an end to the illegitimate and unjust blockade that the United States has imposed on the island for decades. [This Summit represents an opportunity for President Obama to demonstrate whether or not he intends to truly change hemispheric relations that have been based on impositions]. Continue reading

The Arab World and Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal WRITTEN BY Khalid Amayreh in Occupied East Jerusalem

18 April, 2009

DimonaThe vociferous Israeli campaign against the Iranian nuclear program is undoubtedly a classical example of Israel’s pornographic hypocrisy in this regard.

After all, it was Israel that introduced nuclear weapons into the Middle East more than four decades ago, with the knowledge and acquiescence of western powers.

The CIA first concluded that Israel had begun to produce nuclear weapons in 1968, but few details emerged until 1986 when Mordechai Vanunu, a former technician at the Dimona nuclear facility, gave the Sunday Times detailed descriptions that led defence analysts to rank the Jewish state as the sixth largest nuclear power.

Today, Israel is widely believed to possess 250-300 nuclear weapons, along with their delivery systems which include the Yariho (Jericho) missiles and the long-range F-15 and F-16 fighter warplanes.

Needless to say, these nuclear missiles are not trained toward Berlin or Warsaw but toward Muslim capitals such as Cairo, Damascus and Tehran.

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VTV, "Eduardo Galeano's Book Soars to No. 1 after Being Gifted to Obama by Chávez"

The Best Seller in a Matter of Hours

Open Veins of Latin America, a book by Eduardo Galeano, soared from No. 54,295 to No.1 once the Venezuelan leader gave a copy of it to his US counterpart at the Fifth Summit of the Americas.

The Amazon.com sales rank of the English version of Las venas abiertas de América Latina (Open Veins of Latin America) by Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano soared to No. 1 in a matter of hours, according to YVKE Mundial, which was able to verify it this Saturday thanks to a group of Facebook (social networking site) users. Its rise began after President Hugo Chávez presented a copy of the book to his US counterpart Barack Obama.

Las venas abiertas . . . was written by Eduardo Galeano in 1971. It’s a book of chronicles and narratives that demonstrate the constant plunder of natural resources suffered by the Latin American continent through the course of its history from the 15th century till the final years of the 20th century, and it remains a reference book for anyone interested in Latin America. The book is often quoted by Chávez.

The English Version, titled Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent, was in 54,295th place on Friday in the ranking system of Amazon.com, one of the most popular online bookstores that allow credit card purchase and mail delivery.

However, this Saturday, by 11:57 AM in Venezuela, about four hours after Chávez’s official gift to Obama, the book had risen to the 288th in sales ranking; by the evening of the same day, it had become No. 1.

At Barnes & Noble, considered to be the second most important online store after Amazon, the book is in 183rd place, whereas on the 11th of April, according to the Google cache, its sales ranking was the 84,483rd.

A similar rise occurred when President Chávez, during his speech at the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2006, showed Noam Chomsky’s book Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance, which shot up to No. 7 in sales, after being in 160,000th place.


Correction: Later in the day, VTV changed the article’s headline and text, now saying that Open Veins of Latin America rose to No.2, not No.1.

The original article ‘Libro de Eduardo Galeano subió al puesto Nº 1 tras ser regalado por Chávez a Obama’ was published by Venezolana de Televisión (VTV) on 18 April 2009. Translation by Yoshie Furuhashi.

Source: MRZine – Monthly Review

Emir Sader, “‘What about Cuba, Mr. Obama?'”

Barack Obama hopes to be received differently at the summit in Trinidad and Tobago: he can talk about the crisis, his administration’s new positions on Iraq and Iran, and any number of other things, but he can’t escape the fact that what matters most is his position on Cuba.

The imperial vision of the United States in relation to Latin America is summed up in its position on Cuba. That was made clear when the United States was faced with a truly revolutionary process, which overthrew one of the region’s many dictatorships backed by Washington, and whose new government in Havana moreover radically reclaimed Cuba’s sovereignty, while making progress in the construction of a just society, beginning with land reform.

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Evelyn Rico, “Israel Forcefully Condemned at UN Conference against Racism”

The president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, attended the conference to condemn the Israeli government’s brutal and repressive policy against the Palestinians. The European delegates walked out when he called the government of Israel ‘racist,’ but the Latin Americans stayed. The United States and eight other countries boycotted the event.

The Israeli government’s stance against the Palestinian people, as well as unconditional support for the Israeli government given by not only the US but also some European governments, has been the main point of controversies this Monday at the United Nations’ World Conference against Racism, which is being held in Geneva, Switzerland.

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Haitians Reject Electoral Sham By Stephen Lendman

Whoever wins, it will be impossible to call the results legitimate

On April 19, sham elections were held to fill 12 open seats in the 30-member Haitian Senate, but most Haitians refused to go along.

Earlier in February on procedural grounds, Haiti’s Provisional Election Council (CEP) disqualified Fanmi Lavalas (FL) candidates from participating, the party most Haitians support.

Mass outrage and apprehension showed up in Priorities Project (HPP) pre-election polls with only 5% of eligible voters stating an intention to participate.

HPP’s Jacob Francois told Inter Press Service (IPS):

‘We organized our census primarily through town hall meetings, where organizers spoke to people in groups and individually. From this we tallied the opinions of what we estimated to be 65,000 from an eight million population.’ From this sampling, a 5% participation rate was calculated.

Francois added: ‘They just do not learn. They can’t exclude a major party,’ and do it on a first time ever procedural technicality, ‘that’s total exclusion. It will undermine the entire process. In addition, the CEP has no business (interfering with) the internal affairs of Lavalas,’ or taking orders from Washington to do it.

Secretary General of the Organisation of American States, Jose Miguel Insulza, said in a press release:

‘I cannot help but express my concern about the possibility that an important group of Haitian citizens might feel that they are not being represented in this process.’

In a pre-election radio interview, one Haitian activist said:

‘In the matter of elections, basically what you have is a decision to explode Fanmi Lavalas (FL)….with the complicity of President Rene Preval (and the international community)….because everyone knows FL is the majority party in the country.’

Meanwhile, the Haiti Information Project (HIP) reported at 3:00PM on April 19 that ‘today’s senatorial elections (are) a total failure.’ Port-au-Prince polling stations ‘had more election workers and police than actual voters.’ Normally busy city streets were ‘virtually deserted. A rough exit sampling from journalists (on the ground) shows that voter turnout may be as low as 3%.’

Astonishing. Imagine holding a national election and virtually no one shows up. Because of clear electoral rigging, FL leaders urged Haitians to support a national boycott. In overwhelming numbers, they complied by staying home and not voting. Whoever wins, it will be impossible to call the results legitimate.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at:

lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net http://sjlendman.blogspot.com

Haiti: Fanmi Lavalas Banned, Voter Apprehension Widespread By Jeb Sprague

20 April, 2009

NEW YORK, Apr 17 (IPS) – Weekend senatorial elections in Haiti are mired in controversy as Fanmi Lavalas (FL), the political party widely backed by the poor majority, has been disqualified.

As the global financial crisis unfolds, U.N. officials in New York City and Port-au-Prince are struggling to defend a troubled electoral process while gathering donor aid.

Meanwhile, a recent study by the Florida-based advocacy organisation Haiti Priorities Project (HPP) has found widespread popular apprehension and disaffection among Haitians ahead of the upcoming senatorial elections.

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U.S. behind fraudulent election in Haiti

19 April, 2009

The U.S. government has a new strategy to stop Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his Fanmi Lavalas party from winning elections in Haiti.

Keeping Aristide in exile and Fanmi Lavalas off the ballot in Haiti is easier than arranging another coup, like the two Washington administrations previously pulled off against Aristide.

Of course, the U.S. foreign policy operatives will never admit that this is U.S. policy. Even though it was U.S. security agents that forced President Aristide onto a U.S. plane on Feb. 29, 2004, and flew him to Africa.

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Haiti: Canada's Bloody Hands By JOHN MAXWELL

19 April, 2009

In my teenage years, my stepfather used to buy Colliers and the Saturday Evening Post; I bought Newsweek and occasionally TIME, and those magazines formed, for a little while, my window into the modern world.

I was never as credulous as my contemporaries, and my faith in TIME and Newsweek began to fray with their reporting of the clash between Peron and La Prensa in Argentina. It disappeared almost entirely the first time I read a report in those magazines allegedly about Jamaica. These doubts came flooding back half a century later when I tried to find an address in Managua, Nicaragua. It went something like this: Third house on the left on the second road on the right next to the Esso gas station on the road by the zoo.

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Electoral Exclusion in Haiti By KEVIN PINA

16 April 16, 2009

Obama’s First Foreign Policy Disaster?

The Obama administration and the international community have largely remained silent the past two weeks concerning a decision by Haiti’s election council to move forward with controversial Senate elections scheduled for April 19. A visit in early March by former president Bill Clinton and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to ‘draw attention to Haiti and promote development,’ an international donors conference on Haiti held in Washington D.C. yesterday, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to Haiti today, have only temporarily distracted attention away from the controversial election.

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Electoral Sham in Haiti By Stephen Lendman

17 April, 2009

Few people anywhere have suffered more for so long, yet endure and keep struggling for change. For brief periods under Jean-Bertand Aristide, they got it until a US-led February 29, 2004 coup d’etat forced him into exile where he remains Haiti’s symbolic leader – for his supporters, still head of the Fanmi Lavalas (FL) party he founded in 1996 to reestablish links between local Lavalas branches and its parliamentary representatives.

From then to now, nothing has been the same. UN paramilitaries occupy the country. Washington effectively controls it. President Rene Preval got a choice – go along or pay the price. He submitted knowing what awaits him if he resists. Nonetheless, he’s disappointed bitterly.

Haitians suffered dearly as a result, deeply impoverished, at times starving, denied the most basic essentials, plagued by violence, a brutal occupier, police repression, an odious and onerous debt, and exploitive sweatshop conditions for those lucky enough to have a job in a country plagued by unemployment and deprivation.

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(Rome-Paris) — Four parties and movements of the quarrelsome and divided Italian Left have allied for the European parliamentary elections next June. That is good news. Communist Refoundation, Party of Italian Communists, Socialism 2000, and United Consumers have agreed to unify their meagre forces in order to surpass the 4% electoral barrier so that Communists, with their red flag with the hammer and sickle emblem, can again sit in the Assembly of the European Union.

For many years now such unity on the Italian Left has been painfully absent, its former voters, bewildered and confused, wandering from center-left to right, in an electoral diaspora. Running separately in national elections in 2006, the two parties using the name Communist garnered a total of 10% of the vote. In comparison to today’s numbers those were the good old days. For during the breakdown of Left unity, proletarians in the Rome periphery even voted for the neo-fascist National Alliance and workers in north Italy cast their votes for the rightwing Northern League. Communists now hope to win back their traditional Left vote that once—though today almost a political relic—counted one-third of the nation’s electorate.

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