HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » polly7 » Journal
Page: 1 2 3 Next »


Profile Information

Gender: Do not display
Hometown: Saskatchewan
Home country: Canada
Member since: Sat Jul 9, 2005, 11:46 PM
Number of posts: 20,582

Journal Archives

Thousands of children dying of starvation in the Colombian Guajira

By Arturo Rosales, Axis of Logic

Thursday, Feb 11, 2016

La Guajira is a Colombian department bordering Venezuela and encompassing most of the Guajira Peninsula, on the Caribbean Sea. It is distinguished by desert landscapes, giant sand dunes and the remote ranches and fishing villages of the indigenous Wayúu people. The capital city Riohacha has a palm-lined waterfront, beaches and craft stalls, and serves as the gateway for adventure tourism in the region.

However, behind this image of an indigenous people living and preserving their millennium culture in their traditional territory, there is an epidemic of hunger and starvation present affecting mainly the children of La Guajira.

Just recent two more children from the Wayúu died from malnutrition in less than a week and this has been an ongoing problem that, in the words of Javier Rojas, a leader of this indigenous community, “is an epidemic that is undermining the childhood future of La Guajira”.

There has been no let-up in children’s deaths from starvation in the Colombian La Guajira. Part of La Guajira runs into Venezuelan territory where the Wayúu are still poor but thanks to the socialist policies of the Bolivarian Revolution, tragic cases of starvation and malnutrition of vulnerable infants has largely been avoided.

On the other hand, Colombia’s neoliberal, free trade minded government does not provide such effective social safety nets for the vulnerable Wayúu children and the results are as tragic as they are sad and hard to bear.

Water duty in La Guajira

Reports on this situation have been filed with the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights (CIDH) and show that in the last eight years more than 4770 children of this indigenous community have died due to malnourishment and a lack of drinking water.

In 2015 the representative of the Shipia Wayúu, Javier Rojas, rejected the numbers mentioned by Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos concerning the number of Wayúu children dying of malnutrition in La Guajira. According to Santos only 300 children had died from malnutrition in the last eight years, which is an attempt to minimize or hide the true scale of this tragedy. In fact, in a report broadcast today on Radio Del Sur, some Colombian doctors are saying that the cause of death of many children has been heart failure and thus do not mention malnutrition.

In an interview Rojas stated that more than 3000 children had died from malnutrition and lack of drinking water according to a census carried out by indigenous families themselves. Rojas maintains that each week one or two children are dying from this cause.

For the Wayúu population as whole living in La Guajira the situation has been complicated by a three year long drought that shows no sign of breaking. There is little work, most of it temporary and paid at starvation wage levels and children in the area survive on a glass of chichi a day plus any extra food drummed up from the temporary work their parents can find.

According to Javier Rojas there is simply no work available and no governmental source of food. “In the salt beds, where there used to be work, the whole area is now being run by foreigners,” he said.

Child poverty in Colombia's La Guajira

Last year the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights (CIDH) asked the Colombian government to “adopt measures necessary to preserve life and human integrity” of children and adolescents of the indigenous Wayúu community in the Guajira municipalities of Uribia, Manaure, Riohacha and Maicao. According to the CIDH the indigenous “are at risk due to the lack and access to drinking water and the state of destitution of children living in the community”.

The CIDH also asked the Colombian government to ensure the ”availability, accessibility and quality of health services focused on combating infantile malnutrition in the region”.

La Guajira has a population of 846,609 of which 54.8% live in the towns and 45.2% in rural areas. Almost 45% is indigenous which represents 20.2% of the total indigenous population of Colombia.

Unemployment in La Guajira is running at 47%, which is 300% higher than the national average in Colombia.

Water for coal mining but not for indigenous communities

In La Guajira policies allow foreign investments to enjoy far more rights and importance than social policies to protect the population. Mining activities to extract natural resources do little to stimulate any social development and on the contrary increase the vulnerability of the inhabitants due to damage to the environment and the privatization of water resources in the area.

El Cerrejo - World's biggest open cast coal mine

El Cerrejón is the world’s largest open cast coal mine. It is located at the source of the River Ranchería and produces annually 32 million tons of coal. This exploitation renders a high level of taxes for the country. There is also a railway consortium for transporting minerals for about 150 km direct to a sea port where vessels with a capacity of 180 thousand tons are moored.

Cerrejon Coal is owned by three mega mining multinationals listed on the London Stock Exchange and with offices in London: Anglo American, BHP Billiton and Glencore Xstrata.

Originally El Cerrejón was seen as the great hope for combating unemployment in the region, but it has been converted into a camp of human exploitation. Multinationals that get rich extracting Colombian coal, have been denounced by the miners for not complying with minimum labor or wage conditions. Workers mention long shifts under a searing sun; no recognition of work related illnesses such as silicosis, dehydration and physical injuries as well as hearing problems - and this is without even mentioning the long hours laboring in coal dust.

The indigenous community has also denounced the environmental and human impact that open cast coal mining has caused. They have lost access to the river as the land has been privatized as well as thousands of hectares of tribal lands. Nearby settlements suffer from noise, explosions, drilling and the rail line crossing their territory.

Despite protests there has been little or no response from the Colombian government to rein in this ongoing destruction of the life of the Wayúu. The main water source is controlled by the multinationals that run El Cerrejón. They have desalinization plants, water holding areas and water pumps for their industrial processes.

At the same time water resources are being denied to the Wayúu causing misery and death all in the name of the exploitation of natural resources for monetary gain.

Loading coal from El Cerrejón at Puerto Bolívar


Intervention by the CIDH has had little impact and so year after year, vulnerable Wayúu children are dying unnecessarily. Now, what are you doing with the taxes you collect from the coal mining carried out at El Cerrejón, President Santos? Millions of us would like to know.

Do you have no control to curb the anti human rights abuses of Anglo American, BHP Billiton and Glencore Xstrata who now own the natural resources of the Colombian people?

And one final thought – imagine the outcry if kids were dying of hunger in Venezuela as is happening in Colombia. We have enough mud thrown at us saying our economic model is wrong since people cannot buy the soap powder they want! God knows what would be said about the economic model if kids were actually dying in their thousands of hunger. The marines would already be landing.

The fact little is said in the corporate media about this tragedy of starving kids on La Guajira must mean that these unethical rags and their editors believe that the Colombian economic-malnutrition model is just fine.

Arturo Rosales writes from Caracas

© Copyright 2016 by AxisofLogic.com

This material is available for republication as long as reprints include verbatim copy of the article in its entirety, respecting its integrity. Reprints must cite the author and Axis of Logic as the original source including a "live link" to the article. Thank you!

Can the Establishment Fix Its Bernie Sanders Problem?

By Shamus Cooke

February 11, 2016

An excellent article by Arun Gupta lays bare the machinery of the Party that could be used to decapitate Bernie’s campaign. Yes, the Democratic Party machine could destroy Bernie’s campaign, but it could come at a cost they might not be willing to pay. Most of the Party’s weapons are blunt instruments that leave too much evidence. And millions of people are watching closely.

The first major Party attack misfired badly when the Democrats tried to sabotage Bernie by restricting access to voter data. Hundreds of thousands of people expressed outrage on social media and by signing petitions.

The blowback stunned the Party, which quickly backtracked. They learned a powerful lesson: By destroying Bernie, they could destroy the Party, completely discrediting themselves in front of millions of people.

They didn’t realize how fast the political ground was shifting beneath their feet. Nobody did, and unless an anti-Bernie cryptonite is found soon, the crisis will deepen. Their own electoral game is rigged, yet out of their control.

The trump card of the Party elites is their control of “superdelegates.” But overplaying your best cards is risky too. Imagine Sanders winning the popular vote by wide margins in state after state, only to have the Party machine give the delegates to Clinton. Acting this undemocratically could trigger a deep crisis and destroy the veneer of democracy.

For now the Democrats have opted for a backup plan. It isn’t working. They launched a coordinated pro-Hillary bandwagon campaign, foolishly thinking that Bernie’s populist message could be drowned by a flood of “respected individuals” offering glowing endorsements of Clinton or making cheap attacks against Bernie.

Full article incl. links: https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/can-the-establishment-fix-its-bernie-sanders-problem/

Fanaticism and Fantasy Drive Purported TPP ‘Benefits’

By Pete Dolack
Source: Systemic Disorder
February 9, 2016

Protest against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, October 2015 (photo by Lorena Müller, Pirate Times)

One way to look at this is that the Peterson Institute is to “free trade” agreements as the Heartland Institute is to global warming. Heartland began as a Big Tobacco outfit issuing reports denying links between smoking and cancer. As late as 1998, Heartland President Joe Bast claimed that there were “few, if any, adverse health effects” associated with smoking and boasted to a Phillip Morris executive that “Heartland does many things that benefit Philip Morris’s bottom line, things that no other organization does.”

Heartland later began specializing in global-warming denial, receiving $676,500 from Exxon Mobil alone between 1996 and 2006; after which it stopped identifying its contributors. Mr. Bast seems to have no shame, writing that “Most scientists do not believe human activities threaten to disrupt the Earth’s climate” in an article describing global warming as a “scam.” In fact, 97 percent of climate scientists agree that human activity is behind global warming.

It is this same attitude toward the truth that pervades papers predicting wondrous results from “free trade” agreements. In contrast to the Peterson Institute’s rosy projections, the first 20 years of NAFTA proved to be a lose-lose-lose proposition for Canada, Mexico and the United States. Almost 5 million Mexican farmers have been displaced with inflation-adjusted wages in Mexico barely above the level of 1980; U.S. food prices have risen 67 percent since NAFTA took effect and two-thirds of displaced manufacturing workers in the U.S. have been forced to take work with reduced wages; and Canadians suffered drastic cuts in government benefits while their environmental laws were reversed in the wake of corporate challenges.

A more balanced investigation conducted by Tufts University researchers Jeronim Capaldo and Alex Izurieta led to the conclusion that the TPP, if enacted, would result in the loss of three-quarters of a million jobs through 2025, including 448,000 jobs to be lost in the U.S. alone. Canada, Mexico, Japan and Australia would each suffer jobs losses in the tens of thousands.

The TPP, even more so that previous deals, has very little to do with trade and much to do with solidifying corporate control over life, arguably the most significant erosion of what is left of formal democracy yet. Regardless of where you live, the TPP can be defeated if we continue to organize. And once the TPP is sent to the trash heap, it will be time to go on the offensive to roll back existing trade pacts.

Full article: https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/fanaticism-and-fantasy-drive-purported-tpp-benefits/

Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda

By Tom Engelhardt
Source: TomDispatch.com
February 9, 2016

Stop the cameras there and you’re still talking about the dominant military of this, if not any other century. But of course the cameras didn’t stop. The Bush administration had no intention of shutting them off, not when it saw a Middle Eastern (and possibly even a global) Pax Americana in its future and wanted to garrison Iraq until hell froze over. It already assumed that the next stop after Baghdad on the Occident Express would be either Damascus or Tehran, that America’s enemies in the region would go down like ten pins, and that the oil heartlands of the planet would become an American dominion. (As the neocon quip of that moment had it, “Everyone wants to go to Baghdad. Real men want to go to Tehran.”)

It was a hell of a dream, with an emphasis on hell. It would, in fact, prove a nightmare of the first order, and the cameras just kept rolling and rolling for nearly 13 years while (I think it’s time for an acronym here) the FFFIHW, also known as the Finest Fighting Force etc., etc., proved that it could not successfully:

*Defeat determined, if lightly armed, minority insurgencies.

*Train proxy armies to do its bidding.

*Fight a war based on sectarian versions of Islam or a war of ideas.

*Help reconstruct a society in the Greater Middle East, no matter how much money it pumped in.

*Create much of anything but failed states and deeply corrupt ruling elites in the region.

*Bomb an insurgent movement into surrender.

*Drone-kill terror leaders until their groups collapsed.

*Intervene anywhere in the Greater Middle East in just about any fashion, by land or air, and end up with a world in any way to its liking.

Long, full article: https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/shoulda-woulda-coulda/

School of the Americas Graduates Responsible for 1989 Jesuit Massacre Face Extradition to Spain

Military Officers Arrested in El Salvador
by SOA Watch / February 8th, 2016

North Carolina/El Salvador – The 1989 massacre of 16-year-old Celina Ramos, her mother Elba Ramos, and six Jesuit priests at the University of Central America (UCA) in El Salvador, that galvanized opposition to the U.S. relationship with Central American death squads and that sparked the movement to close the U.S. Army School of the Americas, is making headlines again.

A United Nations Truth Commission cited 26 Salvadoran officers for the 1989 “execution-style” massacre. Nineteen of those were trained at the School of the Americas, renamed in 2001 the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC). After its role in training human rights abusers came to light, Central Americans frequently dubbed the SOA the “School of Assassins.”

The SOA made headlines again in 1996 when the Pentagon released training manuals used at the school that advocated torture, extortion and execution. Despite this shocking admission, and even in the face of hundreds of documented cases of human rights abuses connecting to soldiers trained at the institution, no independent investigation into the training facility has ever taken place.

Protests calling for the closure of the School of the Americas/WHINSEC have taken place around the November 16 anniversary of the San Salvador massacre since 1990. Last year over 2,000 participated in the annual demonstration at the gates of Ft. Benning, Georgia to call for the closure of the military training school, which continues to instruct Latin American soldiers, as well as to demand an end to U.S.-led militarization in the Americas that continues to fuel violence and forced migration. SOA Watch maintains that for justice to prevail, the U.S. officials who are responsible for the training of repressive foreign militaries need to be held accountable as well.


I just saw this one the other day.

Yemen is being destroyed, purposefully. Hospitals, schools, infrastructure, important heritage sites Yemenis have always placed so much pride in. Millions are suffering from food-shortage or starvation. It's sick, and the world couldn't care less.

Risking World War III in Syria

February 6, 2016

Exclusive: After Saudi-backed Syrian rebels balked at peace talks and the Russian-backed Syrian army cut off Turkish supply lines to jihadists and other Syrian rebels, the U.S. and its Mideast Sunni “allies” appear poised to invade Syria and force “regime change” even at the risk of fighting Russia, a gamble with nuclear war, writes Joe Lauria.

The Prize of Aleppo

The excuse of the Geneva collapse is a ruse. There was little optimism the talks would succeed. The real reason for the coming showdown in Syria is the success of Russia’s military intervention in defense of the Syrian government against the Islamic State and other extremist groups. Many of these groups are supported by Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States in pursuit of overthrowing Assad.

These three nations are all apparently poised for a ground invasion of Syria just as, by no coincidence, the Syrian Arab Army with Russian air cover is pushing to liberate perhaps the greatest prize in the Syrian civil war — Aleppo, the country’s commercial capital. The Russians and Syrians have already cut off Turkey’s supply lines to rebels in the city.

On Saturday, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates joined the Saudis in saying they would intervene only as part of a U.S.-led ground invasion. The Obama administration has maintained that it would not send U.S. ground forces into Syria, beyond a few hundred special forces.


Regime change ......... it never gets old.

General Wesley Clark tells of how Middle East destabilization was planned as far back as 1991

At least 33 refugees drown off Turkish coast

Deaths come as Turkish and German officials hold talks to stem the flow of refugees.

08 Feb 2016 14:13 GMT

At least 33 refugees drowned off Turkey's Aegean coast as they tried to reach a Greek island, and a search and rescue operation was under way for the remaining passengers.

Turkey's private Dogan News Agency, which reported the 33 deaths on Monday, said that one boat set sail from Turkey's Edremit coastal district and the other from the town of Dikili, further south.

Both were headed for the Greek island of Lesbos, just a few kilometres away.

More than 900,000 people fleeing Syria, Afghanistan and other war-torn or impoverished countries arrived in Greece from Turkey last year, often risking their lives in the short but perilous sea crossing in overloaded boats.

Last month marked the deadliest January on record for refugees trying to reach Europe, as more than 250 died while making the journey.


Tunisia, As Expected

By Samir Amin
Source: Mr Zine
February 8, 2016

"Mass protests have returned in Tunisia, since the 20th of January, in Kasserine, then in Tunis, and in the rest of the country. As expected, the pursuit of neoliberal policy by the so-called “national unity” government (ranging from Islamists of Ennahdha to leftists, including Bourguibists and survivors of the defunct Ben Ali regime) has not allowed any social progress for five years and has even led to the continuing degradation of social conditions. Thoughtless praises lavished upon this government by Western “democrats” of all stripes have proved to be vacuous."

"At the roundtable that we (Third World Forum–World Forum for Alternatives) organized at the World Social Forum in Tunis in March 2015, we explained that to begin to respond to the just demands of the Tunisian people would require a different economic policy, breaking with neoliberalism. The secretary general of the Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT), Houcine Abassi, noted in his speech, with powerful and convincing arguments: “Nothing has been solved in Tunisia yet, and electoral democracy without parallel implementation of new and audacious social and economic policies would do nothing to stabilize the country.” Making an umpteenth appeal to Western countries, especially France, for financial aid will not help advance the solution to the Tunisian problems. Beginning to solve them means carrying out a sovereign development plan and initiating negotiations with partners open to supporting it: China, BRICS, even the neighboring Algeria."

"It is time, now that the Tunisian people is regaining the initiative, that all democrats of the world at last understand what are the real objectives of the strategy of the imperialist powers, their local friends (the Islamists of Ennahdha, the Bourguibists, and the survivors of the defunct Ben Ali regime), and even a good number of organizations engaged in democratic struggles on multiple fronts. The dominant reactionary forces are pursuing a single goal: to keep Tunisia in the position of a country subordinated to the needs of imperialist capitalism of financial monopolies — nothing more. The discourse on “democracy,” the falsely naïve remarks about Ennahdha characterized as a “convert to the democratic cause,” is only a smokescreen, to delay the necessary political awakening of popular classes engaged in the struggle. Following the policy imposed by the Western powers can only help “terrorist” networks take root. The leaders of the “democratic” West certainly understand that; but that’s what they want. Their only fear is that people are taking into their own hands the conduct of their own affairs."


Nor is Mexico ...... or Canada, for that matter.

NAFTA Is Starving Mexico
Posted by polly7 in General Discussion
Thu Oct 20th 2011, 09:40 AM
NAFTA Is Starving Mexico
By Laura Carlsen, October 20, 2011


"Since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) became the law of the land, millions of Mexicans have joined the ranks of the hungry. Malnutrition is highest among the country’s farm families, who used to produce enough food to feed the nation.

As the blood-spattered violence of the drug war takes over the headlines, many Mexican men, women, and children confront the slow and silent violence of starvation. The latest reports show that the number of people living in “food poverty” (the inability to purchase the basic food basket) rose from 18 million in 2008 to 20 million by late 2010.

About one-fifth of Mexican children currently suffer from malnutrition. An innovative measurement applied by the National Institute for Nutrition registers a daily count of 728,909 malnourished children under five for October 18, 2011. Government statistics report that 25 percent of the population does not have access to basic food."

Thanks to NAFTA, Conditions for Mexican Factory Workers Like Rosa Moreno Are Getting Worse

Texas Observer / By Melissa del Bosque

The difficult and dangerous working conditions that Rosa and at least 1.3 million other Mexican workers endure were supposed to get better. They didn't.

Photo Credit: Alan Pogue

December 11, 2013 |

.... On this night, Feb. 19, 2011, she couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong, a premonition that perhaps she shouldn’t go. But she needed the money. It was the final shift in her six-day workweek, and if she missed a day, the factory would dock her 300 pesos. She couldn’t afford to lose that kind of money. Her family already struggled to survive on the 1,300 pesos (about $100) a week she earned. Unable to shake the bad feeling, she’d already missed her bus, and now she’d have to pay for a taxi. But the thought of losing 300 pesos was worse. She had to go. Rosa kissed her six children goodnight and set out across town.

In the Mexican border city of Reynosa, the hundreds of maquiladoras that produce everything from car parts to flat-screen televisions run day and night—365 days a year—to feed global demand. Rosa worked from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. at a factory called HD Electronics in a sprawling maquiladora park near the international bridge that links Reynosa, an industrial city of 600,000, to Pharr, Texas. Like the 90,000 or more workers in Reynosa, the 38-year-old Rosa depended on these factories for her livelihood. In the 11 years since she moved to the city, she had welded circuitry for Asian and European cell phone companies, assembled tubing for medical IV units to be shipped over the border to the United States, and worked on a production line assembling air conditioners for General Motors.

This was her second month at HD Electronics, a South Korean firm that had moved to Reynosa in 2006 to produce the metal backing for flat-screen televisions made by another South Korean firm, LG Electronics—a $49 billion corporation. LG also has a plant in Reynosa and could scarcely keep up with the North American demand for its plasma and LCD televisions.

At HD Electronics, Rosa operated a 200-ton hydraulic stamping press. Every night, six days a week, she fed the massive machine thin aluminum sheets. The machine ran all day, every day. Each time the press closed it sounded like a giant hammer striking metal: thwack, thwack, thwack. The metal sheets emerged pierced and molded into shape for each model and size of television. At the factory, 20 women, including Rosa, worked the presses to make the pieces for the smaller televisions. Nearby were 10 larger presses, each of which took two men to operate, to make backings for the giant-screen models.

Full Article: http://www.alternet.org/labor/after-20-years-nafta-thanks-nafta-what-happened-mexican-factory-workers-rosa-moreno?akid=11305.44541.10ylde&rd=1&src=newsletter939436&t=21

How NAFTA Drove Mexicans into Poverty and Sparked the Zapatista Revolt

By EDELO, Creative Time Reports

The North American Free Trade Agreement, passed 20 years ago, has resulted in increased emigration, hunger and poverty (with Video)

December 30, 2013

Mexico was said to be one step away from entering the “First World.” It was December 1992, and Mexico’s then-president, Carlos Salinas, signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The global treaty came with major promises of economic development, driven by increased farm production and foreign investment, that would end emigration and eliminate poverty. But, as the environmentalist Gustavo Castro attests in our video, the results have been the complete opposite—increased emigration, hunger and poverty.

While the world was entertaining the idea of the end of times supposedly predicted by the Mayan calendar, on December 21, 2012, over 40,000 Mayan Zapatis . tas took to the streets to make their presence known in a March of Silence. The indigenous communities of Chiapas—Tzeltales, Tzotziles, Tojolobales, Choles, Zoques and Mames—began their mobilization from their five centers of government, which are called Caracoles. In silence they entered the fog of a December winter and occupied the same squares, in the same cities, that they had descended upon as ill-equipped rebels on January 1, 1994, the day NAFTA came into effect.

In light of the 20th anniversary of NAFTA’s implementation and the Zapatista uprising, we set out to explore both the positive and negative effects of the international treaty. The poverty caused by NAFTA, and the waves of violence, forced migration and environmental disasters it has precipitated, should not be understated. The republic of Mexico is under threat from multinational corporations like the Canadian mining company Blackfire Explorations, which is threatening to sue the state of Chiapas for $800 million under NAFTA Chapter 11 because its government closed a Blackfire barite mine after pressure from local environmental activists like Mariano Abarca Roblero, who was murdered in 2009.

Still, one result of the corporate extraction of Mexico’s natural resources and displacement of its people that has followed the treaty has been the organization and strengthening of initiatives by indigenous communities to construct autonomy from the bottom up. Seeing that their own governments cannot respond to popular demands without retribution from corporations, the people of Mexico are asking about alternatives: “What is it that we do want?” The Zapatista revolution reminds us that not only another world, but many other worlds, are possible

Full Article: http://www.alternet.org/world/how-nafta-drove-mexicans-poverty-and-sparked-zapatista-revolt?akid=11347.44541.RWB6aQ&rd=1&src=newsletter941851&t=19

Drug War Mexico, NAFTA and Why People Leave -

Go to Page: 1 2 3 Next »