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Latin America

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    In the Path of the Mining-Energy Locomotive – Resisting Colombia’s Quimbo Hydroelectric Project (Photo Essay) Entre Aguas February 7, 2012

    While the tone of Colombian President, Juan Manuel Santos, is much more diplomatic than his predecessor, Alvaro Uribe, the state policies of militarizing territories to facilitate resource extraction under the guise of economic development and counter-insurgent security have not changed. The forced displacement of inhabitants that it spurred has also not abated.

    Santos, the Minister of Defense under Uribe, assumed the presidency in August 2010. He kicked off his administration by naming four focus areas as the “locomotives” of his government´s economic development, one of these being mining-energy generation.

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    Movement Pachamama: Indigenous struggles in Latin America Francesca Fiorentini July 1, 2009

    (Pachamama = Mother Earth in Aymara and Quechua)

    It is no accident that most of the remaining natural resources are on indigenous land. First the white world destroys their own environment, then they come asking for the last pieces of land they have put us on, the earth we have protected.  —Luis Macas, former president of The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador

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    Territory and the Environment on the Colombian Border: Indigenous and Campesinos Build an Alliance for Self-Defense Andrew Willis Garcés July 1, 2009

    To reach one of the Colombian indigenous tribes that overlaps with Venezuela, you first need to get to the town of Honduras, in the municipality of Convención in the Norte de Santander department. It is accessible by a precarious, one-lane dirt road hugging the eastern spine of the Andes Mountains; average speed, about 12 mph. From there you walk or, if you’re lucky, ride a donkey past acres of relatively new coca fields and forest being cleared for that pasture. After four hours you’ll arrive at the state Catatumbo-Barí Forest Reserve and the small village of Bridicayra, one of the few remaining indigenous Barí settlements.

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    Lula's Legacy, Brazil's Future Sue Branford December 1, 2010

    On 3 October, Brazilians went to the polls to vote for a successor to Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, its first working-class president. With no candidate winning a majority of votes, a runoff election was held on October 31 and Worker’s Party candidate, Dilma Rousseff, claimed victory with Lula’s full backing. Rousseff, A former activist who fought against and was imprisoned by Brazil’s military dictatorship, is the first woman to be elected president of the country.  Another important facet of the Brazilian presidential elections was the candidacy of Marina Silva of the Green Party.

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    Outsourcing the Blood: Letter from the Drug War in Mexico John Gibler December 1, 2010

    Like so many others, Alma Trinidad thought that if you turned up dead, your body destroyed by gunfire and left on the street for the cameras, then surely you were up to no good.  This is one of the two central myths of the drug war: if you are found with a bullet in your head you were dirty and thus guilty of your own murder. The other myth is that governments, police, and armies on both sides of the border are actually trying to stop drug trafficking. 

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    El Salvador and Gold Mining: International Resistance to Transnational Attacks Lisa Fuller June 1, 2010

    Transnational corporations have a new tool for appropriating resources, the latest in the long and sordid history of colonial resource theft from the Global South. According to a recent report by the Institute for Policy Studies, multinationals are increasingly turning to international tribunals when denied access to a country's natural resources. And this new weapon is aimed squarely at Latin America.

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    Terrorizing Colombia: Obama Continues Bush Administration’s Militarism Garry Leech June 1, 2010

    Many Colombia observers hoped that the arrival of President Barack Obama in the White House would bring about a significant shift in US policy toward that troubled South American nation. The hope was that the new president would reduce aid to the military with the worst human rights record in the hemisphere and prioritize social and economic issues. That major shift did not occur during Obama’s first year in office. And to the degree that a shift in policy did occur, it constituted an increased militarization of US intervention in Colombia.

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    Unsettled Business in Latin America Francesca Fiorentini June 1, 2010

    Continuing Left Turn’s coverage of Latin America, in the following section independent journalist Kristin Bricker will take us into the heart of the Mexican government's war on its own working class, solidarity activist Lisa Fuller exposes the dirty world of Canadian mining in El Salvador and the powerful movement to stop it, and author and journalist Garry Leech looks at the Obama Administration’s continued militarization of Colombia and other Latin American countries.

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    Bolivia’s Sigh of Relief: The 2008 Conflict and What Emerged on the Other Side Jean Friedman-Rudovsky January 1, 2009

    Throughout the month of August, news broadcasts from eastern Bolivia seemed to be stuck on horrifying repeat. Night after night, TV’s glared with images of groups of youths armed with bats beating indigenous women on the street, police officers curled into the fetal position to ward off sharp kicks from angry crowds, and of state institutions—airports, tax offices, and headquarters of a recently nationalized telecommunications company—being ransacked and burned.

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