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Archive for the ‘State Department’ Category

Honduras is a free market paradise!

Posted by Charles II on June 13, 2014

That’s what one would think if one relied on the US media for news. In reality:

And now there’s this added motivator [for children to flee Honduras], huge motivator, of this surging violence in Honduras, where, you know, kids are seeing dead people on the streets every day. One in 10 children are not leaving their homes ever, for fear of being kidnapped. And we’re seeing younger children. And before, one in four children were girls. Now nearly half are girls. Before, parents didn’t send for their girls, because of the fear that smugglers might rape them. Now there’s such desperation, because the gangsters go to girls coming out of the schools and say, “You’re going to be my girlfriend, or I’m going to kill your whole family.” And if the girls don’t agree, they just grab them and rape them and put them in a plastic bag and kill them. So, the violence has just gotten so much worse since Enrique made his journey and Jose made his journey. It’s many—there is that draw of coming to reunify with the mother, but there’s also this enormous violence that’s pushing these kids out of these countries.

And a lot of this is fueled by our drug use in the United States. You know, we consume more illegal drugs than anywhere on Earth. And 80 percent of the cocaine from Latin America is being funneled through Honduras, and so you have the cartels and the gangs vying for those routes. And that is fueling a lot of this violence in Honduras.

Our fine readers may recall that at the time of the coup which removed Manuel Zelaya from the presidency, we were told that he was responsible for narcotrafficking, economic decline, etc.


(From Linda Pressley, BBC)


(From The Economist)

When Zelaya was president, the murder rate was about 60 per 100,000. If U.S. policy, including his ouster, is so brilliant, why is the number of child refugees spiraling upward?

I strongly recommend the DemocracyNow interview, which predicts that there will be well over 100,000 child refugees arriving in the US next year (up from 90,000 this year) thanks to the fruits of our policies in Latin America. And it gives a human face to why things are the way they are.

Posted in Honduras, immigration, State Department | 1 Comment »

Which side are we on in Ukraine?

Posted by Charles II on May 6, 2014

Robert Parry, The Consortium:

As much as the coup regime in Ukraine and its supporters want to project an image of Western moderation, there is a “Dr. Strangelove” element that can’t stop the Nazism from popping up from time to time, like when the Peter Sellers character in the classic movie can’t keep his right arm from making a “Heil Hitler” salute.

This brutal Nazism surfaced again on Friday when right-wing toughs in Odessa attacked an encampment of ethnic Russian protesters driving them into a trade union building which was then set on fire with Molotov cocktails. As the building was engulfed in flames, some people who tried to flee were chased and beaten, while those trapped inside heard the Ukrainian nationalists liken them to black-and-red-striped potato beetles called Colorados, because those colors are used in pro-Russian ribbons.

As the fire worsened, those dying inside were serenaded with the taunting singing of the Ukrainian national anthem. The building also was spray-painted with Swastika-like symbols and graffiti reading “Galician SS,” a reference to the Ukrainian nationalist army that fought alongside the German Nazi SS in World War II, killing Russians on the eastern front.

Our State Department:

QUESTION: As the number of casualties in the east of Ukraine is rising, does the U.S. still support Kyiv’s action against the east?

MS. HARF: Kyiv’s actions of the – which actions are you referring to?

QUESTION: The anti-terrorist operation against the protestors in the east.

MS. HARF: Well, what we’ve said is that – we have clearly said the Ukrainian Government has showed great restraint in the face of overwhelming challenges, but that they also have a responsibility to maintain law and order for their own people – I think that’s probably as much as I want to say on that – and that the onus really is on the Russian Government to pull back, to pull their folks out of eastern Ukraine, and to take de-escalatory steps as we move towards the elections which need to happen on the 25th.

QUESTION: But what Kyiv is doing now, does it qualify as restraint?

MS. HARF: Well, absolutely, Kyiv has shown enormous restraint. And if you’re referring to what happened on Friday in Odesa, obviously, I put out a statement about that on Friday.

The United States today mourns with all Ukrainians the heartbreaking loss of life in Odesa. Today the international community must stand together in support of the Ukrainian people as they cope with this tragedy.

The violence and mayhem that led to so many senseless deaths and injuries is unacceptable. We call on all sides to work together to restore calm and law and order, and we call on the Ukrainian authorities to launch a full investigation and to bring all those responsible to justice.

The events in Odesa that led to the deadly fire in the Trade Union Building dramatically underscore the need for an immediate de-escalation of tensions in Ukraine. The violence and efforts to destabilize the country must end. We again call for the immediate implementation of the commitments made in Geneva on April 17. The United States stands ready to support this implementation.[in other words, old news, both sides do it, the Russians are responsible for the pro-Russians getting burned to death]

But any loss of life is horrible, and we understand that there will be an investigation. The prime minister has actually taken punitive action against some of the police folks who led the police forces in Odesa after this horrific incident.

So – but again, that started because pro-Russian forces and separatists started basically mob action attacking protestors. So going forward we think that restraint is important, but so is keeping law and order.

QUESTION: But it doesn’t matter how many people die; those people brought it upon themselves, it’s their fault. Is it what you are saying?
[emphasis added]

MS. HARF: No, I’m not saying that at all. In no way am I saying that. I’m saying that the fact pattern of what happens here matters. What I also said is that I – we applauded Prime Minister Yatsenyuk’s steps that he took (a) to start an independent and thorough, credible investigation; and also to fire, I think, the police chief there that didn’t take steps to protect these innocent civilians regardless of who they supported. But the fact pattern of how this started and who started the escalation, who started the mob violence matters if we’re talking about how to prevent it in the future.

QUESTION: Marie, can I just ask you on that specifically? The foreign ministry in Russia, in Moscow has come out today and said that there are towns in eastern Ukraine which have been encircled by Ukrainian troops, and they – which are apparently facing a humanitarian disaster due to shortages of medicine and food. And they’re also listing what they call a massive – mass-scale rights violations by what they say are ultra-nationalists in Ukraine. Could you comment on those reports, please?

MS. HARF: Well, I think this is just the latest in the Russian version of events not matching up with what we see on the ground. The Ukrainian Government has taken enormous steps to protect their people, to provide what they need to their people. [emphasis added] We provided a bunch of assistance as well to the Ukrainian Government to provide for their people during this very trying time.

It’s the Russian forces and the pro-Russian forces who crossed a border into another country [emphasis added; note that Russian troops did not cross a border to enter Crimea] who’ve been attempting to undermine that country’s sovereignty. They’re the ones who are committing these kinds of violations we’ve seen. Look, any report of violations – even under the former President Yanukovych, we saw many – we take them all seriously. But what we’ve seen is the Ukrainians repeatedly standing up for their own people and the Russians really doing the opposite.

QUESTION: So you dispute that there’s humanitarian shortages, aid shortages in these towns and –

MS. HARF: I can check and see if there are. I just am not sure that the fact pattern laid out there about the reason is accurate. I’m happy to check, though.

Ukraine?

QUESTION: One more, one more. Yes. When you say “pro-Russian” – yes, these people are pro-Russian, they feel strong ties with Russia. But how do you connect –

MS. HARF: Supported, sent by the Russian Government [emphasis added; there is no evidence that any but possibly a handful of Russian soldiers are in Eastern Ukraine, and these may have arrived on their own, without the permission of their government].

QUESTION: — them with Moscow? Yes, but how do you connect them? What’s –

MS. HARF: Uh-huh. A lot of them have weapons that are only available to Russian security forces. Many of them, when you interview them on camera, say they’re there because the Russian security forces have sent them. It’s just like what President Putin said when he first –

QUESTION: What interviews are you referring to?

MS. HARF: — denied that there were forces in Crimea, and then three weeks later he said, “Just kidding,” there were.

QUESTION: But there is a base there, that – the troops had been there for a long time.

MS. HARF: No, beyond the base – beyond the base, the other folks as well that attempted and then annexed Crimea. So again, there are all of these pro-Russian separatists who the Russian Government has an enormous amount of control over, and should press them to de-escalate. They should press them to come out of the buildings. They should press them to pull back. And they should, by the way, pull their troops back from the border as well. There’s not a lot of credence when they say these aren’t their folks when everything they’ve done shows otherwise.

Let’s be clear. The Russian actions in Crimea are illegal and need to be reversed. However, they are not all that different from what was done in our name in Bahrain. The difference was that the troops sent in to protect the US base were Saudi. We used force against Panama to protect the Canal and the troops that guard it. Great Powers do these things to protect their imperial interests.

But why have we not condemned neo-Nazi elements in the Kiev government? Why is our State Department coddling these people? The high road would be to condition aid to Ukraine on suppressing the neo-Nazi faction. We have chosen the low road, one paved with double standards and hypocrisy.

Posted in Russia, State Department | 4 Comments »

The obvious question that no one asked (Keystone XL)

Posted by Charles II on April 19, 2014

State Dept. Briefing, 4/18:

MODERATOR: Good afternoon. Thank you for joining us. Today [Senior State Department Official One] will provide an update on the application – the presidential permit application review for the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline. [The official] will be referred to as Senior State Department Official One from here on out. We are also joined by [Senior State Department Official Two], who will be referred to as Senior State Department Official Number Two.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: Thank you very much. All of you have received a Media Note with the basic substance of the issue that we wanted to discuss today, so let me give some clarifying or complementary information.

Regarding the 2.5 million new public comments, they are indeed unprecedented. In response to the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement that the Department published in March of last year, we received 1.5 million comments. Usually on some form of a pipeline application there may be less than 100 comments. We are concentrating our resources to review the public comments that we receive. We are proceeding to ensure that we review those comments and appropriately reflect them in the draft Record of Decision, which will eventually result in recommendations.

As far as I can tell, the State Department did not list how the comments were running. But one can guess: despite the fact that a majority of Americans support the pipeline, almost certainly a majority of Americans who know what bitumen is are opposed. Fiercely. And so when the State Department says that they will “review and incorporate all of those,” they are lying.

And that would explain why two public officials, talking about a matter of public record, are so cowardly that they gave a press conference metaphorically from behind a curtain. A curtain provided for them by our free press.

Shame.

Posted in environment, Oil, State Department | Comments Off

They all just hang out together

Posted by Charles II on March 16, 2014

Robert Parry, The Consortium:

[Following the Iraq debacle,] You might have expected that the neocons would have been banished to the farthest reaches of U.S. policymaking, so far away that they would never be heard from again. However, instead of disappearing, the neocons have proved their staying power, now reemerging as the architects of the U.S. strategy toward Ukraine.

… the ultimate goal of the Ukraine gambit is not just “regime change” in Kiev but “regime change” in Moscow. By eliminating the independent-minded and strong-willed Putin, the neocons presumably fantasize about slipping one of their ciphers (perhaps a Russian version of Ahmed Chalabi) into the Kremlin.

Then, the neocons could press ahead, unencumbered, toward their original “regime change” scheme in the Middle East, with wars against Syria and Iran.

JP Sottile, The Consortium:

Behind the U.S.-backed coup that ousted the democratically elected president of Ukraine are the economic interests of giant corporations – from Cargill to Chevron – which see the country as a potential “gold mine” of profits from agricultural and energy exploitation, reports JP Sottile.

Despite the turmoil within Ukrainian politics after Yanukovych rejected a major trade deal with the European Union just seven weeks earlier, Cargill was confident enough about the future to fork over $200 million to buy a stake in Ukraine’s UkrLandFarming. According to Financial Times, UkrLandFarming is the world’s eighth-largest land cultivator and second biggest egg producer.

On Dec. 13, Cargill announced the purchase of a stake in a Black Sea port. Cargill’s port at Novorossiysk — to the east of Russia’s strategically significant and historically important Crimean naval base — gives them a major entry-point to Russian markets and adds them to the list of Big Ag companies investing in ports around the Black Sea, both in Russia and Ukraine.

Cargill was decidedly confident amidst the post-EU deal chaos.

Freedom House, the National Endowment for Democracy and National Democratic Institute helped fund and support the Ukrainian “Orange Revolution” in 2004. Freedom House is funded directly by the U.S. Government, the National Endowment for Democracy and the U.S. Department of State.

David Kramer is a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs and, according to his Freedom House bio page, formerly a “Senior Fellow at the Project for the New American Century.”

That puts Kramer and, by one degree of separation, Big Ag fixer Morgan Williams in the company of PNAC co-founder Robert Kagan who, as coincidence would have it, is married to Victoria “F*ck the EU” Nuland, the current Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.

Interestingly enough, Ms. Nuland spoke to the U.S.-Ukrainian Foundation last Dec. 13, extolling the virtues of the Euromaidan movement as the embodiment of “the principles and values that are the cornerstones for all free democracies.”

These people hang out together, they have the same triumphalist world view in which America is the lamp to the world and capitalism = democracy, so they work together on common goals, even if those goals may contradict international law and those American values that are not commercial. It’s not a conspiracy, but neither is it the government that Americans voted for when they voted for Barack Obama. After all, what Cargill, Monsanto, and John Deere are doing in the Ukraine (using our State Department and the tax money collected by our government) is more akin to a hostile takeover of the kind that Mitt Romney pioneered.

Posted in impunity, Russia, State Department, The Plunderbund | 3 Comments »

Venezuela quickie

Posted by Charles II on February 19, 2014

Mark Weisbrot, The Guardian:

When is it considered legitimate to try and overthrow a democratically-elected government? In Washington, the answer has always been simple: when the US government says it is. Not surprisingly, that’s not the way Latin American governments generally see it.

On Sunday, the Mercosur governments (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Venezuela) released a statement on the past week’s demonstrations in Venezuela. They described “the recent violent acts” in Venezuela as “attempts to destabilize the democratic order”. They made it abundantly clear where they stood.

We may recall that when much larger demonstrations rocked Brazil last year, there were no statements from Mercosur or neighboring governments. That’s not because they didn’t love President Dilma Rousseff; it’s because these demonstrations did not seek to topple Brazil’s democratically-elected government.

. When Secretary of State John Kerry states that “We are particularly alarmed by reports that the Venezuelan government has arrested or detained scores of anti-government protestors,” he is taking a political position.

Let’s be clear. Venezuela has a lot of problems. It deserves a better government than it has. There is a genuine opposition, based on a principled (if ultimately selfish and misguided) belief that they could improve the lot of Venezuelans much more than the current government through neoliberal policies. But what is going on in Venezuela is not principled opposition. It isn’t even the sort of mass riot that Brazil experienced due to citizen frustration over government inability delivery of services. It isn’t even sanctioned by the leader of the principled opposition, Henrique Capriles.

Our State Department is siding with thugs.

Posted in State Department, Venezuela | 2 Comments »

One of these is not like the others

Posted by Charles II on February 6, 2014

Kim Ives, Haiti-Liberte

President Joseph Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly is shoveling money out of the national treasury to family and friends through expensive foreign junkets, aircraft rentals, vehicle acquisitions, and irregular withdrawals from Haiti’s central bank, according to Moïse Jean-Charles, a Senator representing Haiti’s North department.

From DemocracyNow:

AMY GOODMAN: Let’s talk about Michel Martelly for a minute, the new president of Haiti. We were down there all together, Dan and Kim, for this election. When Martelly came into power, within a few weeks, at least three camps, housing approximately a thousand Haitians displaced from the earthquake, were destroyed by police in the Delmas suburb of Port-au-Prince. And he has said he will restore the army. The significance of this?

KIM IVES: Yeah, I think he’s going to go after the people. He said in an interview that these people had homes, in fact, that they were using the camps to party. I think that’s what he was saying to an Al Jazeera crew. I mean, his cynicism on that front is incredible. And here’s a guy who was the principal cheerleader for the 1991 and the 2004 coups. I mean, he’s made no bones about it that he’s a representative and friend of the army.

State Dept.

SECRETARY KERRY: It is a great pleasure for me to welcome President Michel Martelly from Haiti, and really with great respect for the road that he has put Haiti on and the enormous commitment that he has made to transition from reconstruction into a long-term development program. And under his leadership, elections are now on the horizon, which could for the first time provide the filling out of all of the electoral positions to Haiti and begin to stabilize and hopefully build on the progress that he has achieved with respect to economic development, the improvement of the economy, the improvement of health. The indicators have gone up, and that’s the direction that we want to see it going.

Posted in Haiti, State Department | 3 Comments »

Today’s NSA trawl. US press, so far: crickets

Posted by Charles II on July 1, 2013

Ewen MacAskill and Julian Borger, The Guardian:

US intelligence services are spying on the European Union mission in New York and its embassy in Washington, according to the latest top secret US National Security Agency documents leaked by the whistleblower Edward Snowden.

One document lists 38 embassies and missions, describing them as “targets”. It details an extraordinary range of spying methods used against each target, from bugs implanted in electronic communications gear to taps into cables to the collection of transmissions with specialised antennae.

Along with traditional ideological adversaries and sensitive Middle Eastern countries, the list of targets includes the EU missions and the French, Italian and Greek embassies, as well as a number of other American allies, including Japan, Mexico, South Korea, India and Turkey.

One of the bugging methods mentioned is codenamed Dropmire, which, according to a 2007 document, is “implanted on the Cryptofax at the EU embassy, DC” – an apparent reference to a bug placed in a commercially available encrypted fax machine used at the mission.

Ian Traynor, The Guardian:

As further details emerged of the huge reach of US electronic snooping on Europe, Berlin accused Washington of treating it like the Soviet Union, “like a cold war enemy”

Less than three months before a German general election, the impact of the fresh disclosures is likely to be strongest in Germany which, it emerged, is by far the biggest target in Europe for the NSA’s Prism programme scanning phone and internet traffic and capturing and storing the metadata.

The documents reviewed by Der Spiegel showed that Germany was treated in the same US spying category as China, Iraq or Saudi Arabia, while the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand were deemed to be allies not subject to remotely the same level of surveillance.

Der Spiegel quoted the Snowden documents as revealing that the US taps half a billion phone calls, emails and text messages in Germany a month. “We can attack the signals of most foreign third-class partners, and we do,” Der Spiegel quoted a passage in the NSA document as saying.

Ian Traynor, Louise Osborne, and Jamie Doward, The Guardian:

The prospects for a new trade pact between the US and the European Union worth hundreds of billions have suffered a severe setback following allegations that Washington bugged key EU offices and intercepted phonecalls and emails from top officials.

Ed Pilkington, The Guardian:

Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, has warned the US government that no matter what it does to try and apprehend Edward Snowden, the revelations he has unearthed on secret digital surveillance of American citizens will see the light of day.

German leaders are a lot more sauced than The Guardian reporting would suggest. Claus Hecking and Stefan Schultz, Der Spiegel:

Elmar Brok, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in European Parliament added his opprobrium. “The spying has reached dimensions that I didn’t think were possible for a democratic country. Such behavior among allies is intolerable.” The US, he added, once the land of the free, “is suffering from a security syndrome,” added Brok, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats. “They have completely lost all balance. George Orwell is nothing by comparison.”

A further Merkel ally in European Parliament, Markus Ferber, accused the US on Sunday of using methods akin to the feared East German secret police, the Stasi. Like Weber, Ferber is a member of the CSU. “A democratic constitutional state that uses Stasi methods sacrifices all credibility as a moral authority,” Ferber told the German daily Die Welt on Sunday. “It has destroyed trust.”

Green Party officials in Brussels are demanding far-reaching consequences. “This is meltdown of the constitutional state,” said Jan Philipp Albrecht, a Green Party representative in European Parliament. The NSA engaged in nothing less than “espionage against democratic countries and their institutions,” he added. Albrecht was deeply involved in negotiating the EU’s own policies on data privacy. He said that no one is safe from surveillance anymore and demanded that the EU open proceedings at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Peter Lee, Asia Times:

Long story short, if Snowden has encrypted his laptops, even if the Russian and Chinese security services were able to copy the hard drives (access “all the digital information”) and get to work on them (and there is no evidence as yet that this has occurred), it is unlikely that they would be able to decrypt them (retrieve “all the documents”) unless they have sustained access to, and active cooperation from, Snowden.

If the United States is really concerned about this happening, that might be a good reason to make some deal with Snowden to bring him home, not to let him continue to hang around Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow under the interested eyes of Russia’s FSB.

The good news is, Snowden has encrypted the data on the insurance files he has salted around the Internet, and it is a safe assumption that he has done the same for his hard drives.
_________
OK, here it is the next day. This is what Google News shows as hits for the European reaction regarding a story by Laura Poitras et al. that came out in Der Spiegel on June 29th, about 36 hours ago:

Guardian 6 hrs ago (actually, the story was up well before that)
HuffPo 9 hrs ago, 22 hrs ago
WaPo 1 hr ago, buried in a story about Kerry
Time, 13 hrs ago
Yahoo, 17 hrs ago
Business Week, 17 hrs ago
NY Mag, 14 hrs ago (which, oddly, dismisses European reaction, saying everyone knew the US spied)
CNN, about 6 hrs ago to judge from comments
Global Post, about 36 hrs ago

On and on– and these results don’t include non-English language papers like El Pais. One major US newspaper is conspicuously missing from the list. The AP just issued a story about Francois Hollande, and had a brief, vaguef item about 4 hours ago. Otherwise, I can’t find anything from them.

Why don’t we just have the State Department run the foreign bureaus our newspapers? It might as well be.

Posted in NSA eavesdropping, State Department, wiretapping | 1 Comment »

Senate Dems’ letter on Honduras

Posted by Charles II on June 23, 2013

Via Adrienne:

We are writing to express our concern regarding the grave human rights situation and deterioration of the rule of law in Honduras. As the November 2013 elections draw near, we are particularly troubled by reports of corruption and extrajudicial killings.

Since June of 2009, international and Honduran human rights organizations have documented a pattern of violence and threats against journalists, human rights defenders, members of the clergy, union leaders, opposition figures, students, small farmers, and LGBT activists. There are also recent reports of death squads working with police….

…the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012 requires the State Department to investigate and report on whether the Honduran government “is implementing policies to protect freedom of expression and association, and due process of law,” whether it is “prosecuting military and police personnel who are credibly alleged to have violated human rights,” and whether the Honduran police and military “are cooperating with civilian judicial authorities in such cases” – prior to obligation of 20% of the funds designated for the Honduran military and police, with exceptions for the promotion of transparency, anti-corruption efforts, and the rule of law. Given the reported violence and impunity linked to state entities in Honduras, we have serious questions regarding the State Department’s certification that these conditions were met for Fiscal Year 2012.

As Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee you firmly denounced human rights abuses in Honduras. As Secretary of State, we hope you will continue to do the same.

signed by Ben Cardin (D-MD), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Pat Leahy (D-VT), Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Mark Udall (D-CO), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Michael F. Bennet (D-CO), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chris Coons (D-DE), Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).

Posted in Honduras, impunity, State Department | 2 Comments »

Kerry is a lost cause

Posted by Charles II on June 5, 2013

You may recall that former Guatemalan president Rios Montt was convicted of mass murder for directing the massacre of the Ixil Indians, part of the mass murder of 250,000 people in the roughly 40-year repression initiated by and abetted by the US. In the course of Montt’s trial, the bloody role of current Guatemalan president Otto Fernando Perez Molina emerged. The judge and prosecutor received very public death threats, but they and the witnesses bravely carried the trial to its inevitable end: Montt was convicted.

Then the Constitutional Court, presumably acting at the behest of Perez Molina and the other mass murderers who have not faced justice, arbitrarily reached in and annulled Montt’s conviction. Montt is unlikely to face any punishment greater than the inconvenience of having to go to court. And so Perez Molina is off the hook, too.

And so this is how John Kerry, meeting with Perez Molina, greeted him:

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you. Thank you very much. Muchas gracias. Estoy encantando de estar aqui en Guatemala y (inaudible) con el Presidente Perez Molina. Gracias.

I want to begin, if I may, by expressing the condolences of all Americans for the loss of life of nine Guatemalans in Oklahoma City in the tornado last month. We know that that is a deep pain for the families, and I bring you the President’s condolences and the condolences of the American people.

… Let me begin by congratulating you, Mr. President, on the enormous progress that you have made with respect to your justice system, the strengthening of your justice system, the independence of that system. And obviously, we are appreciative for your reciprocal law enforcement initiatives that benefit both of us we believe.

I also would express our appreciation for the way in which you have led your internal – your security efforts and particularly citizen protection efforts.

I also want to thank you for your leadership with respect to the professionalization of police, which is very important, and also your efforts to make sure that we live up to the standards of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala. Needless to say, that is so important to Guatemala’s standing on a global basis and we appreciate your efforts.

I realize that diplomacy involves not saying things publicly that would lead to an irreconcilable break. But Kerry has just congratulated Perez Molina for having turned the justice system into a sham, for having demonstrated that Guatemalan impunity extends to confessing the crime and walking undisturbed away.

John Kerry was a man I deeply respected for a long time. He showed courage in battle and then he showed the courage to say that the war in which he fought was wrong.

And now, he’s saying that everything he said and did before was an opportunistic lie.

Posted in Democrats as cancer, impunity, Latin America, State Department | Comments Off

A medley of meddling: US undermines democracy throughout Latin America

Posted by Charles II on May 1, 2013

The first link is actually from 2010, but it’s an important one that I had missed.

Mark Weisbrot:

The United States actually intervened in Brazilian politics as recently as 2005, organizing a conference to promote a legal change that would make it more difficult for legislators to switch parties. This would have strengthened the opposition to Lula’s Workers’ Party (PT) government, since the PT has party discipline but many opposition politicians do not. This intervention by the U.S. government was only discovered last year through a Freedom of Information Act request filed in Washington.

Weisbrot, April 20th:

Recent events indicate that the Obama administration has stepped up its strategy of “regime change” against the left-of-center governments in Latin America, promoting conflict in ways not seen since the military coup that Washington supported in Venezuela in 2002. The most high-profile example is in Venezuela itself, during the past week. As this goes to press, Washington has grown increasingly isolated in its efforts to destabilize the newly elected government of Nicolas Maduro.

But Venezuela is not the only country to fall prey to Washington’s efforts to reverse the electoral results of the past 15 years in Latin America. It is now clear that last year’s ouster of President Fernando Lugo of Paraguay was also aided and abetted by the United States government. In a brilliant investigative work for Agência Pública, journalist Natalia Viana shows that the Obama administration funded the principal actors involved in the “parliamentary coup” against Lugo. Washington then helped organize international support for coup.

Daniel Kovalik, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

I just returned from Venezuela where I was one of 170 international election observers from around the world, including India, Brazil, Great Britain, Argentina, South Korea and France. Among the observers were two former presidents (of Guatemala and the Dominican Republic), judges, lawyers and high-ranking officials of national electoral councils.

What we found was a transparent, reliable, well-run and thoroughly audited electoral system.

Dawn Paley, Upside Down World:

There’s a new President in Latin America….

Horacio Cartes is his name,

Cartes’ link to drug traffickers was reported in the New York Times, and his implication in money laundering has been amply documented. “Through the utilization of a [Drug Enforcement Administration] [Buenos Aires Country Office] cooperating source and other DEA undercover personnel, agents have infiltrated CARTES’ money laundering enterprise, an organization believed to launder large quantities of United States currency generated through illegal means, including through the sale of narcotics, from the [Tri-Border Area of Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil] to the United States,” according to a State Department cable leaked by Wikileaks. As if that wasn’t enough, a recent report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists revealed that a bank owned by Cartes opened a secret locale in the offshore tax-haven of the Cook Islands.

Posted in Brazil, Latin America, State Department, Venezuela | Comments Off

 
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