Ecuador: Dirty War in the Amazon By Christine Toomey

29 November, 2009 – Climate & Capitalism

In the Ecuadorean Amazon basin our thirst for oil has triggered an eco-disaster: wholesale pollution and catastrophic cancer rates. And a bloody turf war has broken out. Ecuador is taking a survival plan to the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference. But will western governments listen?

Times Online, November 29, 2009

Torrential rain has washed away the blood where the family fell under a hail of wooden spears. But memories of what happened this summer are still fresh in the minds of those who live and work here.

At first the security guard inside the perimeter fence of the oil drilling station is nervous and warns us to keep our distance as we approach. Darkness is falling and he is alone on duty. But he slowly opens up and describes how, on a morning in August, a 12-year-old girl, run through with two spears nearly 12ft in length, managed to stagger to the front gate of the drilling station to raise the alarm before she collapsed and died.

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Evo Morales: "There are only two ways: moving forward in support of change or going back to the past, going back to neoliberalism" By Arleen Rodríguez Derivet

29 November, 2009 — Bolivia Rising

Evo Morales: ‘There are only two ways: moving forward in support of change or going back to the past, going back to neoliberalism’

LA PAZ.—Evo Morales Ayma, the man who, four years ago, changed the history of Bolivia and shook the racist protocol of Western diplomacy, is virtually not sleeping in La Paz at the moment.

Despite huge distances and appreciable differences in height and climate among the country’s nine departments, the president is touring them without a break, and with more intensity as December 6 approaches. This is the day that could guarantee the progress of changing or re-founding the nation, for centuries one of the most impoverished of the hemisphere but today, one that has been able to confront the impact of the world economic crisis with the most success.

Evo’s reelection is a fact not even contested by the right. Surveys give him a 34-point advantage over the closest of the other aspirants. In line with this figure, the most conservative result, the president will be returned with 52% and his nearest rival will barely reach 18%.

Even so, Evo appears at a different point of Bolivia’s complex geography every day. The last time he was seen driving a heavy tractor at the front of an enthusiastic and large convoy of supporters, no less than in Santa Cruz, considered up until the day before a right-wing bastion.

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Afghanistan: The Hollow Politics of Escalation By Norman Solomon

An underlying conceit of the new spin about benchmarks and timetables for Afghanistan is the notion that pivotal events there can be choreographed from Washington. So, a day ahead of the president’s Tuesday night speech, the New York Times quoted an unnamed top administration official saying: “He wants to give a clear sense of both the time frame for action and how the war will eventually wind down.”

But “eventually” is a long way off. In the meantime, the result of Washington’s hollow politics is more carnage.

The next days and weeks will bring an avalanche of hype about insisting on measurable progress and shifting burdens onto the Afghan army — while the U.S. military expands the war. In the groove, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Jack Reed, told CNN viewers on Sunday: “The key element here is not just more troops. The key element is shifting the operations to the Afghanis [sic]. And if that can be done, then I would support the president.”

That’s the kind of talk that I. F. Stone disparaged at the height of the Vietnam War, in mid-1970, when he concluded: “Not enough Asians are going to fight Asians for us even if the price is right.”

Now, President Obama’s decision to massively escalate the Afghanistan war is confronting people and institutions in the United States with a challenge of historic dimensions.

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