South America

Jeff Flake’s 20 most damning lines about Donald Trump’s assault on the press

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(CNN) – Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake came to the Senate floor Wednesday with a simple message for Donald Trump: Stop attacking the media. Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large The speech, which Flake had previewed over the weekend, was the first of what the Arizona Republican has promised will be a series of addresses over 2018 aimed at noting the abnormalities of the Trump presidency. Critics have cast Flake as something of a sore loser — a Republican whose strong ... Read More »

Martin Luther King’s Call to ‘Give Us the Ballot’ Is As Relevant Today as It Was in 1957

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And that’s a mark of how endangered voting rights are right now Martin Luther King Jr.’s first speech at the Lincoln Memorial was not his celebrated 1963 address at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. By Barbara Arnwine and John Nichols The Nation Six years earlier, when he was still a relative newcomer on the national scene, Dr. King addressed 25,000 civil-rights activists who had gathered at the memorial for the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom on May 17, ... Read More »

Julian Assange granted Ecuadorian passport – reports

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WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange has cryptically uploaded a picture of himself dressed in the national colors of Ecuador. The country’s media reports the whistleblower has been granted an Ecuadorian ID. RT Assange’s ID was issued on December 21, Ecuadorian outlet El Universo reports, citing “reliable sources” and providing the civil registry number to check on the government website. The document number 1729926483, upon checking on the Internal Revenue Service, is indeed registered to one Julian Paul Assange. Meanwhile, Assange uploaded a photo of himself ... Read More »

Venezuela to raise minimum wage despite economic crisis

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Venezuela is set to raise its minimum wage by 40%, in a move expected to worsen already high levels of inflation. BBC The country is suffering from an economic crisis in which shortages of food and medicine are common Venezuela’s economy has been hit by falling oil revenue and the plummeting value of the Bolivar. President Nicolas Maduro announced the wage increase in his end-of-year address. He said the move would “protect workers” from what he called an economic war ... Read More »

Thousands of Peruvians march against Fujimori pardon

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Thousands of Peruvians marched on Dec. 28 to protest the president’s recent pardoning of former authoritarian leader Alberto Fujimori, calling for new general elections as a graft scandal ensnares established politicians. LIMA – Reuters Hurriyet The demonstrations capped a head-spinning week in which President Pedro Pablo Kuczysnki warned about a new rise of Fujimori’s authoritarian movement, only to pardon him three days later after Fujimori’s loyalists in Congress saved him from an impeachment bid. Waving Peruvian flags and chanting “down ... Read More »

Argentina Dirty War: Killer Etchecolatz gets house arrest

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A court in Argentina has granted house arrest to an 88-year-old former police officer who was serving a life sentence for crimes against humanity BBC Miguel Etchecolatz headed police investigations in Buenos Aires province from 1976 to late 1977, when Argentina was ruled by a military junta. Etchecolatz confessed to killing political opponents under military rule although he never said how many. He was also found guilty of stealing the baby of two Uruguayan militants. The court ruled that because ... Read More »

Canada expels Venezuela diplomat in tit-for-tat move

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Canada has announced it is expelling Venezuela’s ambassador to Ottawa, Wilmer Barrientos Fernández, and its charge d’affaires, Ángel Herrera. BBC Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said the move was in retaliation for the expulsion of its most senior diplomat from Caracas over the weekend Venezuela had accused Canada of meddling in its internal affairs. Canada has criticised the government of President Nicolás Maduro over its human rights record. More than 120 people were killed during months of… Canada expels Venezuela… Read More »

Venezuela crisis: Farmers struggle as people go hungry

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The state of Portuguesa is Venezuela’s breadbasket – full of crops like rice, beans, soya and sunflowers. Katy Watson BBC It is also where Venezuela’s staple corn is grown – the raw material for much-loved corn patties or arepas. Imposing metal silos stand tall on the horizon. At a time when people in the country are going hungry, Portuguesa is a strategic part of the economy. But the breadbasket is looking a bit emptier these days. Ronald Lakra and his family ... Read More »

Socialism is still popular in U.S. despite the Venezuelan

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It’s a puzzle. Over the last decade, Venezuela has supplanted Cuba as the Shangri-La of the American left. Not long ago, self-declared socialist Sen. Jonah Goldberg Tribune Content Agency Chicago Tribune Bernie Sanders insisted that the American dream was more achievable in the Bolivarian Republic than in America. A string of Hollywood luminaries made the pilgrimage to visit the socialist mecca to say ponderous and stupid things. Today, the praise is more muted because events have illuminated that stupidity. The ... Read More »

China’s ‘Period of Strategic Opportunity’ in Mexico

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Beijing is looking to cash in on Trump’s rhetoric against Mexico and NAFTA As the Trump administration contemplates border wall prototypes and dissolving the decades-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), China is taking a decidedly different approach to relations with Mexico. Margaret Myers Ricardo Barrios In recent months, Beijing has launched an unprecedented charm offensive south of the Rio Grande. The National Interest In addition to a series of new investments, and renewed talk of a bilateral trade pact, ... Read More »

Venezuela: Hunger by Default

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Economic mismanagement, corruption and dwindling reserves have forced Venezuela into penury and now into missed payments and partial default on its debts ICG Full-scale, internationally supervised negotiations involving a restored parliament are essential to pave the way to a debt restructuring and a free, fair presidential election. What happened?  On 14 November, credit ratings agencies declared Venezuela in partial default on its foreign debt, after the country failed to meet a $200 million payment to bondholders. Why did it happen?  Economic mismanagement ... Read More »

‘A way of healing’: Art and memory in Latin America

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More than 20 years have passed since the civil war ended in Guatemala and Chile returned to democracy, but the impact of extreme state violence is still keenly felt. BBC As part of a BBC radio series on protest art in Latin America, Louise Morris travelled to both countries and asked if there was a role for art both to demand justice and collectively memorialise those lost. A woman sits centre stage reading aloud. At regular intervals a dentist enters ... Read More »

Ex-Argentine Vice President detained on laundering charge

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Former Argentine Vice President Amado Boudou has been detained on charges of illicit enrichment and money laundering, joining other members of the administration of former President Cristina Fernandez who are under arrest. BUENOS AIRES – The Associated Press Hurriyet Boudou also served as economy minister during the 2007-2015 administration of Fernandez. A woman who works in the court of federal Judge Ariel Lijo says Boudou was detained in his Buenos Aires apartment Friday by coast guards and will be brought ... Read More »

Peru legalises medical marijuana in move spurred by mother’s home lab

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Proposal to decriminalise the drug came after police raided a makeshift laboratory where a group of women made cannabis oil for their sick children Dan Collyns The Guardian Lawmakers in Peru have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a bill to legalise medical marijuana, allowing cannabis oil to be locally produced, imported and sold. With a vote of 68-5, Peru’s Congress approved the bill which will be written into law in 60 days, once regulations for producing and selling cannabis have ... Read More »

Colombia’s Armed Groups Battle for the Spoils of Peace

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Colombia’s 2016 peace accord has brought over 10,000 FARC fighters to the cusp of civilian life, but in their wake rival armed groups are battling for control of vacated territory and lucrative coca crops. ICG In order to roll back booming drug production and expanding non-state groups, the Colombian government should provide local farmers with alternative livelihoods while developing grassroots security and local governance. Executive Summary The peace process with Colombia’s largest and longest standing guerrilla group has defied its ... Read More »

The Twists and Turns along China’s Belt and Road

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China’s trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative could potentially transform relations with over 60 countries across Eurasia, Africa and beyond But to bring the concept to fruition, Beijing must overcome mammoth logistical obstacles, navigate fragile political situations and placate growing regional apprehension surrounding its ambitions. Michael Kovrig  ICG “The project of the century” is how Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi touted the Belt and Road Initiative to the world when addressing the UN General Assembly on 21 September. It was only ... Read More »