Majority Leader Hoyer Needs to Know that the Uribe Government of Colombia is Not Fit for an FTA

24 June, 2009 – Council on Hemispheric Affairs

The most outspoken Democratic proponent of an ill-deserved Free Trade Agreement with Bogotá has not only reversed his own position on the deal, but has defended and legitimized a corrupt, venal government, heavily tied to political scandals and human rights violations, whose legislative backers are being indicted in droves. Only Colombia’s elite will be the major beneficiaries of an FTA and not the average American or Colombian. Is the Majority Leader sufficiently resolved in his convictions to debate the issue?

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Minorities Can Be Right: Lessons from Struggle: Building Organizations with a Democratic Culture By Marta Harnecker

23 Jun 2009

Translated by Federico Fuentes for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal. [This is the fifth in a series of regular articles.]

1. Democratic centralism implies not only the subordination of the minority to the majority, but also the respect of the majority towards the minority.

2. Minorities should not be crushed or marginalized; they should be respected. Nor should the minority be required to completely subordinate itself to the majority. The minority must carry out the tasks proposed by the majority at each concrete political junction, but they should not have to renounce their political, theoretical and ideological convictions. On the contrary, it is the minority’s duty to continue fighting to defend their ideas until the others are convinced or they themselves become convinced of the other’s ideas.

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Cuban human rights examined by UN council By Tim Anderson

20 June, 2009 – Green Left

Here’s something you won’t hear from the corporate media: Cuba’s human rights record was examined by the United Nation’s Human Rights Council (UNHRC), and the country came out looking pretty good.

There was a great deal of praise, some constructive criticism and relatively few intransigent issues.

Such reports are rarely covered in meaningful terms. The corporate media, generally looking for a single story line, spin it their own way or ignore it — especially if the news does not suit their pre-determine dstereotypes.

Since 2006, Cuba has participated more freely in the UNHRC as it has become a more equitable process than the old UN Commission on Human Rights. The voting structure allows a wider range of countries to participate and the main accountability process is the ‘universal periodic review’ (UPR), which applies to all countries.

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Venezuela Analysis needs your support

19 June, 2009 – Greenleft Weekly is one of the main sources of news and analysis in English on the revolutionary process in Venezuela. The following is an abridged appeal for badly needed funds has been issued by its staff, Gregory Wilpert, Tamara Pearson and James Suggett. In order to help it to continue to play its invaluable role, please donate.

We are writing to you because the worldwide recession is affecting us too, as we have recently lost the support of some of our principal donors.

As a result, the continued existence of our regular, on-the-ground news and analysis, is under threat. has regularly been the first place for people to visit for accurate, contextualized, and in-depth reporting from on the ground on crucial developments in Venezuela — on its many electoral contests, Venezuela’s social movements, the Venezuelan government’s innovative domestic and foreign policies, opposition and media efforts to discredit and destabilise the Bolivarian Process, and breaking news.

In its six years of existence, we have steadily increased readership, so that now over 40,000 people (“unique visitors”, according to Google Analytics) visit the site per month.

We have steadily expanded our service, so that now we not only offer news, analysis, and opinion articles, but also audio news, e-books, extensive links, a basic facts section, reader comments, RSS feeds and more.

We used to be able to get by with a handful of individual small donations plus a few large donations. This has changed recently because some large donors have dropped out, which means that we now need to raise a lot more funds from small donors.

Our operation is small and does not actually require excessive funding. However, if we cannot raise the necessary funds, then we will have to cut back on our reporting as early as next month.

If you can afford to support Venezuelanalysis, then please consider sending us a donation of US$100, $50, $20, or $10 per month.

Please donate to so you can continue to receive regular news and analysis about what is happening in what many call the “Bolivarian revolution”.

From: International News, Green Left Weekly issue #799 24 June 2009.

Iran: This Is Not a Revolution by Arshin Adib-Moghaddam

23 June, 2009 – MRZine – Monthly Review

Political power is never good or bad, never really just or unjust; political power is arbitrary, discriminatory, and most of the time violent. In Iran, the ongoing demonstrations sparked by the election results in favor of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad indicate that such power can never really be monopolized by the state.  Iran’s civil society is fighting; it is giving blood for a just cause.  It is displaying its power, the power of the people.  Today, Iran must be considered one of the most vibrant democracies in the world because it is the people who are speaking.  The role of the supporters of the status quo has been reduced to reaction, which is why they are lashing out violently at those who question their legitimacy.

In all of this, the current civil unrest in Iran is historic, not only because it has already elicited compromises by the state, but also because it provides yet more evidence of the way societies can empower themselves against all odds.  These brave men and women on the streets of Tehran, Shiraz, Isfahan, and other cities are moved by the same utopia that inspired their fathers and mothers three decades ago: the utopia of justice.  They believe that change is possible, that protest is not futile.  Confronting the arrogance of the establishment has been one of the main ideological planks of the Islamic revolution in 1979.  It is now coming back to haunt those who have invented such slogans without necessarily adhering to them in the first place.

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