Luisa González, of the Movimiento Revolución Ciudadana party, on Sunday took a lead in the first round of Ecuador’s presidential and legislative elections, which have been marred by political assassinations as the Andean nation struggles with a wave of violence that has brought homicide rates, under the Lasso administration, to record levels. Gonzalez is set to face the surprise second-place finisher Daniel Noboa in a run-off election in October, according to the National Electoral Council of Ecuador (CNE), as neither candidate won more than 50% of the ballot.
Podcast – WTF is Going on in Latin America & the Caribbean
Joining the conversation from Merida, Venezuela are episode guests Felipe Vanegaz and Hilmar Rodriguez of the Comuna Che Guevara and the Unión Comunera. On August 1, WTF returned to Venezuela to participate on a 13 day delegation to study the Venezuela Commune System. While on assignment, each week we will share with you a WTF episode related to Venezuela's fight against US economic warfare including ending 200 years of US foreign policy based on domination of the hemisphere, as well as, the creation of socialist means of production for food and services which are helping alleviate the effects of unilateral coercive measures (economic sanctions).
The latest book by labor and human rights attorney, Daniel Kovalik, Nicaragua: A History of US Intervention & Resistance (2023, Clarity Press, 292 pages), is a worthy addition to the author’s collection of works on countries targeted by U.S. imperialism, such as Venezuela, Russia, and Iran. While giving readers a thoughtful and much fuller picture than one can glean from the corporate media, this volume tells an engaging tale based on personal experience and extensive research. Dan Kovalik is an author, activist and labor attorney.
Friday, June 30, WTF returned to Managua, Nicaragua to do follow-up study of Caribbean Coast government funded infrastructure projects and to celebrate the 44th Anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution on July 19. While on assignment, each week we will share with you segments of the documentary Nicaragua Against Empire. The film journals our March 2021 Sanctions Kill / Friends of the ATC, Nicaragua delegation. This episode is an inside look at the Latin American Institute of Agroecology (IALA) Ixim Ulew in Chontales, Nicaragua. Ixim Ulew means "Land of Corn" in Maya K’iche’, paying homage to the Indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica.
Friday, June 30, WTF returned to Managua, Nicaragua to do follow-up study of Caribbean Coast government funded infrastructure projects and to celebrate the 44th Annivesrary of the Sandinista Revolution on July 19. While on assignment, each week we will share with you segments of the documentary Nicaragua Against Empire. The film journals our March 2021 Sanctions Kill / Friends of the ATC, Nicaragua delegation. From film producer and delegate Ramiro Sebastian Funez: "In March of 2021, I traveled to Nicaragua as part of a 13-member delegation. The trip was organized by the Sanctions Kill coalition and the Friends of the Rural Workers’ Association, known as the ATC.
The international press is again bludgeoning Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, this time accusing him of attacking the country’s democratic institutions. It’s a baseless charge intended to undermine a government that refuses total obedience to US hegemony. On February 23, an electoral reform bill received its final approval in the Mexican Senate en route to being signed into law. The National Electoral Institute (INE) is widely recognized to be riddled with excess expenditure and a top-heavy bureaucracy. The new law simply mandates similar cost-saving measures to those that the administration of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has applied to other governmental departments.
June 12, 2023 was the third anniversary of the illegal kidnapping and imprisonment by the US of Alex Saab. Because the brutality and cruelty of the US blockade was wreaking havoc on the economy and millions of the most vulnerable in Venezuela were being deliberately denied their human rights to the most basic necessities of daily life, President Nicolas Maduro tasked Saab with traveling around the world procuring food, medicines and fuel for his country. Breaking every treaty, protocol, law and norm of international diplomacy, the US plotted to have Saab arrested while in transit to Iran to fulfill his diplomatic mission, by pressing the Cape Verde government to illegally arrest him on June 12 2020.
Mexican Secretary of Foreign Relations, Marcelo Ebrard, one of the leading contenders to be the country's next leader, said on Tuesday he will resign to focus on winning the presidential nomination of the ruling MORENA party for the 2024 election. Ebrard, a former mayor of Mexico City, wants to succeed President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador as the standard-bearer of the left of center National Regeneration Movement (MORENA), which now dominates national politics.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro traveled to Brazil as part of an official visit to meet with his counterpart Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva where the pair discussed regional and international cooperation, including the potential entry of Venezuela into the BRICS bloc. The high-level meeting comes as part of joint efforts to strengthen their bilateral ties following the restoration of diplomatic and economic relations after years of tension under Lula’s predecessor Jair Bolsonaro, who embraced Washington regime change plots against Maduro, backing the so-called “interim” government of opposition figure Juan Guaidó.
Ecuador's President Guillermo Lasso dissolved the National Assembly by decree on May 17 bringing forward legislative and presidential elections and heading off an attempt by opposition politicians to impeach him. Opposition politicians wanted to impeach Lasso over accusations he disregarded warnings of embezzlement related to a contract at state-owned oil transportation company Flopec, charges the president denies. A majority of lawmakers had backed a resolution accusing Lasso of allowing the corrupt contract to continue after taking office in 2021, although a congressional oversight committee, which heard testimony from opposition lawmakers, officials, and Lasso's lawyer, said in its report it did not recommend impeachment.
On May 3, 2023, the Argentinian press reported a US prosecutor requested the US Justice Department to order the definitive execution of the seizure order of Emtrasur's Boeing 747-300. The plane arrived in Argentina in June 2022 in what was supposedly a routine cargo flight. Nonetheless, the airplane, its cargo and its crew raised the alarms across Argentina, and it was seized by local authorities. Shortly after, US authorities got involved claiming the sale of the aircraft by the Iranian state carrier Mahan Air to Venezuela's Conviasa was a clear violation of the US Export Control Laws. Almost a year has passed; the crew has been released, but the plane remains grounded in Buenos Aires.
On May 3, Democratic U.S. lawmakers urged the U.S. Trade Representative and State Department to eliminate investor-state dispute settlement provisions from current and future trade deals and to intervene on behalf of Honduras against a U.S. company's nearly $11 billion claim against the country. In a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Trade Representative Katherine Tai, 33 lawmakers said that investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) systems in trade deals constitute a "problematic corporate handout" that violates countries' sovereignty and democratic rights. ISDS mechanisms enable multinational corporations to sue the governments of foreign trading partners for profits they claim have been forfeited as a result of domestic policies designed to protect workers, consumers, and ecosystems.
Campaigning began in earnest last month for Guatemala’s general elections, with political messaging filling the streets, local broadcasts and social media. But less than three months before the June 25 vote, concerns are mounting among national and international observers over the integrity of the process. At least 30 political parties are set to contest the upcoming elections, with more than 22,000 candidates registered to run for the presidency, congress, regional parliament and councils across the country. But Guatemala’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal, which governs elections, has blocked several opposition candidates from running on “dubious grounds."
Russia’s minister of foreign affairs, Sergei Lavrov, arrived in Brasília on Monday for talks with his Brazilian counterpart, Mauro Vieira, in the latest of a series of bilateral encounters likely to ruffle the US. Lavrov arrived just as Brazil’s president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, returned from a state visit to China, and both missions are part of a diplomatic reset Lula has pursued since returning to power this year, as he strives to recover Brazil’s international reputation after his predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro, dismantled Brazil’s established tradition of cooperation. For Brazil, that means rebuilding and maintaining ties with all partners, regardless of geopolitical tensions elsewhere.