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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 143,057

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The War on Cuba and Venezuela

OCTOBER 19, 2020

BY LEE SCHLENKER

Why are Havana’s food markets so empty? For the Cuban people, the U.S. War on Venezuela stands out as a clear culprit contributing to these daily frustrations and hardships.

“Right now fewer trucks are coming in. Less merchandise too. And the quality isn’t the same because a lot of the products are rotting the fields because there’s no oil for the trucks. Because of the U.S. blockade on Cuba, no oil tankers can get here,” says Barbaro Medina, a produce vendor in Havana’s Vedado neighborhood.

This interview features among others in episode two of The War on Cuba, a documentary series released by Belly of the Beast, a media startup covering Cuba and U.S.-Cuba relations.

“The U.S. oil blockade is explained in Part Two of The War on Cuba, premiering today ”

While mainstream coverage and even some Cubans blame the Cuban government for energy shortages, the U.S.’s role in creating the island’s energy crisis is rarely brought to light.

The Trump White House has ratcheted up claims of outsized Cuban influence in Venezuela ever since January 2019, when – with U.S. assistance – Juan Guaidó declared himself president of the oil-rich nation.

President Trump has called Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro a “Cuban puppet”, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the Cuba “is the true imperialist power” in Venezuela, and former National Security Advisor John Bolton has asserted that “if the 25,000 Cubans left Venezuela,” Maduro would “fall by midnight.”

Yet these claims are baseless, according to former White House officials and security analysts.

“The only way you get to those numbers is to count doctors as security officials,” said Ben Rhodes, former U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor who played a key role in negotiating the normalisation of U.S.-Cuba relations during President Obama’s second term.

More:
https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/10/19/the-war-on-cuba-and-venezuela/

The OAS Helped Facilitate Last Year's Coup Against Evo Morales. Now It's Observing Today's Bolivian

The OAS Helped Facilitate Last Year’s Coup Against Evo Morales. Now It’s Observing Today’s Bolivian Elections.
BY
KEVIN CASHMAN

The Organization of American States, a supposedly neutral election observer, helped legitimate last year’s coup in Bolivia by falsely claiming Evo Morales had committed election fraud. And now it’s observing today’s elections — a fundamental threat to the prospects for democracy in the country.

Today, nearly one year after Evo Morales was ousted in a coup facilitated by the Organization of American States (OAS), Bolivia will finally vote in new elections. With Luis Arce, the candidate of Morales’s Movement for Socialism–Political Instrument for the Sovereignty of the Peoples (MAS) party leading in polls, the OAS and the right-wing opposition are laying the groundwork to yet again claim fraud and reject the results.

To understand the threat from the OAS and its accomplices, it’s first necessary to rewind to last year.

On October 20, 2019, Bolivia held presidential and parliamentary elections, with then president Evo Morales seeking a fourth term. The next day, the OAS, which oversaw an observation mission for the elections, issued a press release “express[ing] its deep concern and surprise at the drastic and hard-to-explain change in the trend of the preliminary results.” The OAS did not provide any evidence for its claims. Protests erupted in a country that was already polarized.

Later, Morales — who had won the contest in the first round based on the official tally — agreed to a binding audit of the election results, carried out by the OAS, to avoid an escalation in violence. On November 10, the OAS released those results, reiterating its statistical claims (which could not be replicated) and detailing technical and procedural problems with the election that are present in virtually every electoral system (while failing to demonstrate how these were exploited by any actor). Nonetheless, Morales immediately agreed to new elections. Then, on November 10, after the military “suggested” he step down, Morales resigned in an attempt to prevent further violence against his supporters and their families.

More:
https://www.jacobinmag.com/2020/10/oas-evo-morales-bolivia-presidential-elections-fraud-mas

US mercenaries accused of plot to put 'boots on the ground' ahead of Bolivia's crucial elections

SECURITY operatives with links to the notorious Blackwater firm have been accused of recruiting about 1,500 mercenaries to provide “boots on the ground” in Bolivia ahead of today’s elections.

Details leaked to the Morning Star appeared to reveal a clandestine plot to recruit law enforcement, medics and private security contractors to take part in a “unique mission” surrounding the elections.

An email seen by the Star, which appears to have been sent by Texas-based security specialist Joe Milligan, indicated that he was in charge of recruitment for the Bolivian operation.

“This project is very sensitive right now and I don’t want to see anyone talking about it on Facebook,” it warns recipients.
“There is a lot of moving parts to this and we don’t want to jam up the other guys that are working on the ground to make this happen,” the email says.

More:
https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/w/notorious-us-mercenary-firm-accused-of-putting-boot-on-the-ground-ahead-of-bolivia-crucial-elections

White supremacy in Colombia Part 1: Kill the Indians!

White supremacy in Colombia | Part 1: Kill the Indians!
by Adriaan Alsema October 17, 2020

Racial discrimination in Colombia wasn’t a criminal offense until 2011 after a centuries-long history of white supremacy that persists until this day.

The concept of white supremacy was introduced by the Spanish after their arrival in the early 16th century, but 500 years later it is alive and well, especially when it comes to indigenous peoples of whom 67 were assassinated so far this year.

. . .

Many Colombians continue referring to indigenous with the same dehumanization and victim-blaming used at the beginning of their ethnic cleansing 500 years.

. . .

Following De Ojeda’s stint with the Wayuu, Nuñez returned to Uraba in 1510 to build Santa Maria la Antigua and brought a 2000-men army to violently enslave the people, or kill them if they refused.

More:
https://colombiareports.com/white-supremacy-in-colombia-part-1-kill-the-indians/

Red Lake Welcome Sign Defaced With Nazi Swastika and Trump 2020 Vandalism

BY DARREN THOMPSON OCTOBER 15, 2020

RED LAKE INDIAN RESERVATION — Yesterday morning, the Red Lake Nation was notified that a welcome sign to the reservation was vandalized with a Nazi swastika and the words “Trump 2020” in black spray paint. However, because the sign is off the reservation, the Red Lake Nation, including the Red Lake Police Department, couldn’t do much to find out who was responsible for the damage.

The welcome sign is one of four identical dual language signs at the Red Lake Indian Reservation’s border informing all of the Indigenous language before European contact and settlement, which is Anishinaabemowin — the language of the Ojibwe people. The signs were funded by the Red Lake Nation and were erected by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT).

MNDOT did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The Red Lake Indian Reservation is home to nearly 6,000 tribal citizens, located 35 miles north of Bemidji, Minn.

“Racism is in every one of our surrounding communities outside the reservation,” Red Lake Tribal Chairman Darrell Seki said. “(Racism) has been here since Columbus landed and activities like this isn’t new to us.”

More:
https://nativenewsonline.net/currents/red-lake-welcome-sign-defaced-with-nazi-swastika-and-trump-2020-vandalism

“Border towns have always been super racist,” said Red Lake tribal citizen Alyss Mountain.

Details emerge of new right-wing coup plot in Bolivia

STEVE SWEENEY
MONDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2020

Sources tell the Star the country is on the verge of a bloodbath




A supporter of the Movement Towards Socialism Party fights with an opponent of former President Evo Morales outside a court of justice in La Paz, Bolivia, earlier this month


BOLIVIA is on the verge of a bloodbath, the Morning Star was told today, after details emerged of another plan by right-wing forces to derail next week’s presidential and parliamentary elections.

It is alleged that a new plot has been hatched that involves a mobile phone app, allowing Bolivians to record which way they voted. The plan is to use data to undermine the legitimacy of the vote.

According to sources, the technology has been developed by Edgar Villegas, who is understood to have been the mastermind of last year’s coup, which saw the ousting of democratically elected president Evo Morales.

It is claimed that Mr Villegas provided data on Excel spreadsheets to Bolivia’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal using a formula created by himself that manipulated information to show voting irregularities: claims that have since been proven to have been unfounded.

More:
https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/w/details-emerge-of-new-right-wing-coup-plot-in-bolivia

Colombia's ex-president lobbied US leniency for narcos to help brother


by Adriaan Alsema October 11, 2020

Colombia’s former President Alvaro Uribe personally sought benefits for narcos imprisoned in the United States to help his brother evade prison in 2018, according to Supreme Court documents.

The false claim that drug traffickers serving time in the US could help solve the 1995 assassination of former presidential candidate Alvaro Gomez backfired, however, and has his entire inner circle in a legal fix.

Uribe’s attempted hoax, did not just provide evidence of his alleged fraud and bribery practices, but lured President Ivan Duque and Prosecutor General Francisco Barbosa in an alleged criminal conspiracy.

According to newspaper La Nueva Prensa, Barbosa planned to use the narcos’ fabricated testimonies to pin the assassination on former President Ernesto Samper on next month, but saw this fall apart when the FARC claimed responsibility for the murder last week.

More:
https://colombiareports.com/colombias-ex-president-lobbied-us-leniency-for-narcos-to-help-brother/

'We're being massacred': Colombia accused of failing to stop murders of activists


At least 223 social leaders have been murdered this year as Amnesty International report condemns government inaction

Joe Parkin Daniels in Bogotá
@joeparkdan
Thu 8 Oct 2020 01.00 EDT

Activists in Colombia have warned that they continue to face extermination despite the coronavirus pandemic, as Amnesty International accused the country’s government of doing little to protect them.

At least 223 social leaders – community activists defending human, environmental and land rights – have been murdered this year, according to local watchdog Indepaz.

“We are being massacred, drop by drop,” said Danelly Estupiñán, who leads the Black Community’s Process (or PCN), an activist group dedicated to Afro-Colombian rights, in Buenaventura, an Afro-Colombian port city on the Pacific coast. Estupiñán has received countless death threats, been followed by suspicious men, and had her house broken into in recent months.

A new Amnesty International report entitled “Why Do They Want To Kill Us?” and published on Thursday, identified four areas of the country as particularly dangerous for activists: Buenaventura; the Amazonian province of Putumayo; the war-torn Catatumbo region on the Venezuelan border; and the Kubeo-Sikuani indigenous settlement in the eastern plains.

More:
https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/oct/08/colombia-activists-murder-amnesty-international

Bolivia's coming election must not be stolen like the last



Women walk past a mural symbolizing death, on their way to the grave of a relative who died from complications related to Covid-19 at the General Cemetery in La Paz, Bolivia



SCENES outside the Bolivian court that decided not to stop the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) standing in this month’s elections are a taster of how the right will react to its likely victory.

Thugs attacked MAS supporters gathered awaiting the verdict with firecrackers and baseball bats.

The court ruling is a victory — but not an indication that the election will proceed fairly.

Disqualification of charismatic socialist leaders, often on the grounds of trumped-up criminal allegations, is not unique to Bolivia.

Turncoat Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno, elected on a platform committed to continuing his predecessor Rafael Correa’s socialist policies, has driven his former leader into exile.

And it is unlikely that Brazil would currently be ruled by Jair Bolsonaro, whose trampling on indigenous rights, contempt for the environment and disastrous mishandling of Covid-19 all justify his nickname “Trump of the Tropics,” without the baseless charges against former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva that stopped the frontrunner from standing.

In Bolivia the same tactic has been deployed to stop Evo Morales running, this time with the added indignity that he is, in fact, Bolivia’s elected president.

More:
https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/e/bolivias-coming-election-must-not-be-stolen-last

Election Interference in Latin America: A Growing Danger

SEPTEMBER 30, 2020

BRETT HEINZ

Many people in the US first became aware of the problem of election interference on social media when allegations emerged of Russian attempts to influence the 2016 US elections through the dissemination of “fake news” on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. But as we learn more about the phenomenon, it is becoming increasingly clear that dishonest social media campaigns are a global issue, and that many private and government actors are now routinely using disinformation campaigns to influence elections. Indeed, in Latin America, such tactics have already become a go-to strategy for many right-wing movements and governments.

Earlier this month, Buzzfeed reported on a memo written by a Facebook data scientist-turned-whistleblower that provides new details on Facebook’s haphazard approach towards identifying manipulative political campaigns on their platform. The whistleblower, Sophie Zhang, noted that when Facebook did enforce its rules, it focused on “harm and priority regions like the United States and Western Europe” where political interference campaigns were most likely to spark public issues for the company. When these campaigns were spotted in smaller countries with less Western news coverage, Facebook “simply didn’t care enough to stop them.” One manager at Facebook joked to Zhang that “most of the world outside the West was effectively the Wild West with [her] as the part-time dictator.”

Zhang’s memo also points to a number of concrete examples of political manipulation campaigns from around the world, including particularly salient examples from Latin America. During Brazil’s 2018 election, millions of “fake reactions and fans” supporting “major politicians of all persuasions” were taken down. Following the disqualification of popular former President Lula de Silva due to dubious and politically-driven corruption charges, far-right nationalist Jair Bolsonaro won the 2018 Brazilian presidential election. His victory was aided by a large-scale fake news operation which sent out hundreds of millions of WhatsApp messages to Brazilian voters. Pro-Bolsonaro businessmen illegally funded the operation to the tune of over $3 million USD. Thus, even in an instance where Facebook did take action, campaigns still continued elsewhere.

In Honduras, the marketing team for conservative President Juan Orlando Hernández (JOH) “openly admitted” to operating hundreds of fake accounts supportive of him. Despite this, it took Zhang over a year to have the profiles removed, only for them to reemerge “within two weeks”; she adds that “the activity is still live and well.” JOH won Honduras’ 2017 elections by a narrow margin, but widespread allegations of electoral fraud led to protests which were met by state violence that resulted in dozens of killings, as well as a ten-day national curfew. In the brief period following this election, research found that a majority of Tweets which tagged JOH were sent from TweetDeck, a type of software used to send Tweets automatically. Despite domestic and international calls for a new election due to the statistical impossibility of the results and clear evidence of manipulation, the US government recognized JOH – a Trump ally – as Honduras’ legitimate leader and pressured other conservative allies in the region to follow suit. He has since been implicated by US prosecutors in drug trafficking activities.

More:
https://cepr.net/election-interference-in-latin-america-a-growing-danger/?fbclid=IwAR0_v7mLk4pJmg3v4Te_DOIXzihho5AJ548TdH3aJfODZZceINnqm8gtePw
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