Newsletter: Color Revolution Comes Home?

The System Is Guilty

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. The United States has perfected the art of regime change operations. The US is the largest empire in world history with more than 1,000 military bases and troops operating throughout the world. In addition to military force, the US uses the soft power of regime change, often through ‘Color Revolutions.’ The US has been building its empire since the Civil War era, but it has been in the post-World War II-time period that it has perfected regime change operations.US military presence around the world Have the people of the United States been the victims of regime change operations at home? Have the wealthiest and the security state created a government that serves them, rather than the people? To answer these questions, we begin by examining how regime change works and then look at whether those ingredients are being used domestically.

Chile’s Indigenous Mapuche Protest Deadly Police Brutality


By Staff of Tele Sur – Chile’s Mapuche, who make up roughly 10 percent of its population, are more likely to be killed by police than non-Mapuche people. Dozens of Chile’s Indigenous Mapuche protested police terror in Temuco on Friday, calling on law enforcement to stop violence against their youth. The protest was organized by the parents of Brandon Hernandez, a 17-year-old Mapuche student who was shot by police last December during an anti-government demonstration. Chilean police sergeant Cristian Rivera shot Brandon in the back with a shotgun, leaving the teenager in critical condition.

Month Long Miners Strike In Chile

Chie Miners Strike from DAWN News

By ALBA Movements for Dawn News. The 2,500 organized workers of the Chilean mine La Escondida, the biggest copper mine of the world, reached the first month of strike today, in the middle of the talks paralyzation and of the radicalization of the conflict. “We’re no longer fighting for the 2,500 workers, what we stand for here is the future of mining in the country, we’re creating a precedent for all Chilean workers”, said today Enrique Thenoux, leader of the Syndicate Number 1 of the mine to Efe Jaime. Since the past February 9, the 2.500 organized workers of La Escondida mine, that employs 4,500 people, paralyzed the extracting work in repudiation to the collective agreement proposed by the company. The workers sustain that the company, operated by the Australian BHP Billiton, offers them a new agreement that reduces in a 14,5% their salaries and benefits, and implements discriminatory terms in the contracts of new workers.

The Heavy Price of Chile’s Privatized Water

Protesters in Santiago last month, who called for an end to privatised water in Chile. Photograph: Miguel Hechenleitner/Movimiento por la Recuperación del Agua y la Vida

By Daniel Gallagher for the Guardian. When it comes to water, Chile is failing its citizens. In Santiago, the nation’s capital, millions of people are regularly left without running water for days at a time and experts are warning of water scarcity to come across the country astemperatures rise and glaciers retreat. “What we need is a transformation away from the private model of water ownership and to recognise water as a human right,” says Francisca Fernández, spokeswoman for the Movimiento por la Recuperación del Agua y la Vida which campaigns for public ownership of water. The organisation emerged four years ago at a time of mounting climatic stress in Santiago. A recent protest saw at least 2,000 people take to the capital’s streets to demand the repeal of laws that privatised Chile’s water supply. At the heart of the protest and others like it in recent years lies frustration that the privatisation of water has kept prices unnecessarily high, delivered poor service and done little to address concerns over insufficient supply in the future.

Chilean, Trained By School Of Americas, Guilty In Murder Of Singer


By Linda Cooper and James Hodge for National Catholic Reporter – Nearly 43 years after the assassination of a famed Chilean folksinger, a Florida jury has found a former Chilean lieutenant liable for his grisly murder in the days after a U.S.-backed coup brought dictatorAugusto Pinochet to power. A six-member Orlando jury found Pedro Pablo Barrientos Nuñez liable Monday (June 27) for the torture and murder of Victor Jara, rejecting the main defense argument that Barrientos never stepped foot in Chile Stadium where the folksinger was held with 5,000 others immediately after the coup.

A Chill Wind From The North: The US Returns To Latin America

US Imperialism

By Vijay Prashad for the Hindu and Counterpunch. The financial crisis of 2007-08 dented China’s economy and saw the slow deterioration of commodity prices. It took a few years for the economic impact to strike Latin America with ferocity. A sharp tumble in oil prices in the summer of 2008 put the brakes on many of the social programmes that had become essential to the Bolivarian dynamic. It signalled the weakness in the experiment against Western domination. President Barack Obama’s administration focussed intently on Latin America. Opportunity struck with the 2009 coup in Honduras against the Left-wing government of Manuel Zelaya. Mr. Obama recognised the new military-backed government. It opened the door to a more aggressive stance vis-à-vis Latin American states. The presidency of Peru’s Ollanta Humala (2011) and the second presidency of Chile’s Michelle Bachelet (2014) — both ostensibly of the Left — hastily drew in cabinet members vetted by the bankers and made their peace with the hegemony of the U.S. Chávez’s death in 2012 meant that the Bolivarians lost their most charismatic champion. The impact of the Honduran coup and Chávez’s death had made itself felt along the spine of Latin America. The U.S., it was being said, is back.

Protesters Occupy Cathedral Of Chilean Bishop

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 6.16.01 AM

By Inés San Martín for Crux Now – ROME — Laypeople in Chile opposed to Pope Francis’ appointment of a bishop with ties to the country’s most notorious abuser priest have occupied the local cathedral, demanding the bishop’s resignation. The demonstration came on Saturday, the anniversary of the day Pope Francis announced the appointment one year ago. “We’re Catholics who oppose the pastoral exercise of Bishop [Juan de la Cruz] Barros,” the group, which calls itself the “Lay Men and Women of Osorno,” write in a statement issued Saturday night.

Pinochet Directly Ordered Killing On US Soil Of Chilean Diplomat

Screen Shot 2015-10-11 at 1.47.52 PM

By Jonathan Franklin for The Guardian, General Augusto Pinochet directly ordered the 1976 assassination of a Chilean diplomat who was killed in a car bomb in Washington DC, according top secret US intelligence documents declassified by the Obama administration. The documents, which were handed to the Chilean president, Michelle Bachelet, on Tuesday in Santiago by the US secretary of state, John Kerry, also show that the former dictator was so concerned with covering up his role in the murder that he planned to assassinate his own head of intelligence, General Manuel Contreras.

60,000 March For Human Rights In Chile, Anniversary Of Allende Take-Over

Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 1.26.24 PM

By AFP in Telegraph – Some of the 60,000 carried pictures of their kin who were abducted or killed by the state and held signs with slogans such as “40 years after the coup, nobody and no one has been forgotten.” After a two-hour march, one group of hooded demonstrators set up barricades and squared off with police, some of whom were hit with stones and sticks. Police subdued the protesters with tear gas and water cannons. The march ended at a cemetery with a memorial to the victims of Pinochet’s Cold War regime. “Forty years on, we are still demanding truth and justice. We won’t rest until we find out what happened to our loved ones who were arrested and went missing” never to return, said Lorena Pizarro, leader of a relatives’ rights group.

Can The Movement For Free, Quality Public Education Win In Chile?

The next few months are of critical importance to Chile’s long-running education movement. President Michelle Bachelet has said she plans to implement comprehensive education reform this year, which will guarantee quality education for everyone. To ensure this happens, the movement has increased pressure on the government with huge protests by teachers and students last month, including an indefinite strike by the National Teachers Union that began June 1.  Over the years, the movement has learned to temper its expectations. In 2011 — when protests were last at a peak — many thought change was imminent, only to suffer frustration and loss of momentum in the years that followed. But this time may be different. According to Bill Moyer — a social change activist and founding member of the Movement for a New Society, a network of activist collectives that played a key role in nonviolent social movements in the 1970s and 1980s — movements often go through eight stages. Based on the model he designed for understanding the cycle of a social movement — called the Movement Action Plan, or MAP — the education movement in Chile is nearing the final stages. Before learning about those, however, it is important to understand how it got to this point.  Students have historically been at the forefront of social protests in Chile. High school students were some of the first to defy Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship, while university students used their campuses as safe places for resistance. After the end of Pinochet’s regime the student movement took time to re-focus their demands and set up new forms of organization and protest.  Following this process of re-adjustment, high school students sparked Chile’s movement for education in 2006 — known as the “penguin revolution” because of the shape and color of the school uniforms — with a very specific demand for free and universal student transport passes. They soon moved on to more structural demands against the neoliberal economic policies affecting education, specifically the Organic Constitutional Act of Teaching, which reduced state involvement in education and came into force on the last day of Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship on March 10, 1990.  The movement was briefly successful in putting education on the political agenda. Mobilizations came to an end after President Bachelet — during her first term in office from 2006 to 2010 — repealed the controversial act. However, the demand for free, quality public education, was still far from being met.  At this point, the movement entered stage three, or “ripening conditions,” where people form new groups and small civil disobedience actions start to dramatize the problem. After the 2006 protests there was a period of lower activity within the movement, but slowly new collectives began to emerge, along with a clearer demand for radical transformation of education in Chile.  The movement was then ready for the fourth stage, or “take off.” This usually happens after a trigger event — caused by the movement itself or by the power-holders — and, after significant organizing, which leads to massive demonstrations, large acts of civil disobedience and extensive media coverage.  In Chile, the trigger was the 2010 election of Sebastián Piñera, the country’s first right-wing president since Augusto Pinochet was forced out of office. Piñera’s government came to power as a reaction to years of frustration with the Coalition of Parties for Democracy — the center-left coalition that had been in power since the end of the Pinochet dictatorship. This development, combined with a growing perception that real social justice would not come from the top down, created stronger unity on the left to organize against the government.  Student organizers, who represented the many thousands of young people eager to engage politically by creative means other than the ballot box, understood that the time was ripe for massive mobilizations.  The movement then launched a campaign that involved a great diversity of actions, including mass marches, school occupations, flash mobs, an alternative referendum on whether education should be free and much more. Most of the student protests were heavily repressed by the police. The government tried to blame the violence on the students, but the images of students, teachers and parents marching peacefully being tear gassed and hit by water cannons belied this narrative. This repression backfired, as polls showed that the movement had more than 70 percent approval among the public, which put education at the top of the political agenda in 2011.  At the time there was a feeling within the movement that it was possible to change things immediately, but as Moyer argues, change takes time and movements usually have to go through various stages before achieving their goals. One weakness of the student movement is that it is very dependent on the school year. Students struggle to keep the momentum going during the summer break and every year there is new student leadership.  Between 2012 and 2014, the movement went through the fifth stage, which Moyer calls the “perception of failure.” In this stage, there is a lower level of participation in actions and the movement appears to be having less of an impact. Many participants felt that large protests weren’t bringing about real change in education and that it was time to look for new strategies. There were also divisions among those in the movement, most notoriously manifested in the different positions taken by activists on voting — first in the 2012 local elections and later during the 2013 presidential and parliamentary elections. While many of the university student leaders strongly supported voting for different candidates to local government — and some even ran and got elected to parliament themselves — the high school student leadership could not have been more different. They called for a boycott of the elections, arguing that no real change would come through electoral politics.  During the fifth stage, politicians often argue that they have “received the message of the people” and that now it is their turn to design and implement the changes that the people have demanded. For the Chilean student movement, this meant that the debate moved from the streets to Congress and the political parties. At the same time, the mainstream political conversation was dominated by the presidential elections of 2013. Many people had hoped Michelle Bachelet’s re-election would come with a mandate to radically reform the education system. Bachelet had finished her first presidential term in 2010 with historically high approval rates, thanks to economic measures that — in a limited, but direct way — supported working-class people. The main message of her 2013 presidential campaign was a commitment to end inequality in Chile.  Since her re-election, however, Bachelet has failed to put forward education proposals that actually meet the movement’s demands. The government argues that this is not due to a lack of political will, but rather the limited resources of a stagnant economy. To implement and be able to afford their education reform, the government passed tax reform last year, with the goal of raising more taxes from big companies. To many, however, this reform fell short of the promise to end inequality in the country. Chile doesn’t lack resources, what it lacks is a just distribution of wealth.  At present, the movement is in the sixth stage, which Moyer called “winning over the majority.” After more than a year of Bachelet’s government, the movement is clear that the radical change they demand for free, quality public education, will not come through the reform that this government is proposing. The government reforms face strong opposition in Congress, so the government has had to water down their proposals to make sure they get approved. The movement understands that it is now vital to work on proposals that counteract those put forward by the government and use its power to secure as good a deal as possible, knowing that it will not be the end of the struggle.  While there have been proposals for reform from students and teachers over the years, they have become more important than ever now that the government is sending education bills to Congress. On June 6, the Chile Student Confederation, which represents students from the so-called “traditional” universities — public schools that were privatized by Pinochet — agreed on an education proposal called “Chile decides.” It put forward a petition with nine points, including: the development of curriculum by teachers, stability for workers, internal democracy for schools, free and universal education, and an end to profit in education in all its forms.   View image | The proposals have been accompanied by growing social pressure. In June, there was an increase in the regularity and the number of people at marches. For instance, the protest organized by students on June 10 mobilized almost 350,000 people throughout Chile. These actions are happening at the same time as the indefinite teachers’ strike is taking place.  According to Moyer, there are two stages after the sixth: “success” and the “consolidation of success and moving over to other struggles.” Even though these stages are not necessarily linear, and not all movements go through all of them, it is a model that attempts to make sense of the processes experienced by a movement and to ultimately show that change takes time.  The education movement in Chile is at a historic point, having already gone through several stages of a long struggle. It wouldn’t be in the position it is now — with Bachelet’s government set to reform the Chilean education system this year — if not for continuous organizing and creative actions. The movement is aware that this is a crucial moment and it has raised its level of mobilization accordingly, knowing it is possible that the government might make compromises on many of their demands in response to pressure from more moderate sectors. However, if the movement manages to gain majority support — as it did in 2011 — it may be able to secure free, quality public education for everybody in Chile at last.

By Javier Gárate in Waging Nonviolence – The next few months are of critical importance to Chile’s long-running education movement. President Michelle Bachelet has said she plans to implement comprehensive education reform this year, which will guarantee quality education for everyone. To ensure this happens, the movement has increased pressure on the government with huge protests by teachers and students last month, including an indefinite strike by the National Teachers Union that began June 1. Over the years, the movement has learned to temper its expectations. In 2011 — when protests were last at a peak — many thought change was imminent, only to suffer frustration and loss of momentum in the years that followed.

Massive Marches In Chile For Education Reform Face Violent Police

During the strike, the students pushed back on some of the police vehicles. Ueslei Marcelino / Reuters

By Jennifer Baker in Revolution News – About 350 thousand people marched throughout the cities of Chile on Wednesday against proposed changes to the education system. Some 200 thousand people marched in the capital of Santiago. Wednesday’s march and Thursday’s events (below) were planned to coincide with Chile’s national men’s soccer(football) team participates in the opening game of the Copa Americas. High School students joined teachers and professors who are now on their second week of an indefinite strike. Wednesday’s events were organized by the Confederation of Chilean students (CONFECH), The college of teachers, the National Coordinator of Secondary Students (Cones) And The House Coordinator of Secondary Students (ACES). CONFECH estimated their group alone at 200 Thousand participants.

Newsletter - Overcome Fear With Love

Love Over Fear

Instead of taking action to prevent or mitigate the next crisis, politicians are causing more harm as they work hand in hand with the wealthy elites who are trying to grab even greater power and extract even greater riches. Maryland’s governor was quick to bring in the National Guard and militarized police, but just cut Baltimore education funding by $11.6 million to fund pensions, while last week the state approved funding for a youth jail the people in Baltimore don’t want. This article provides five key facts about Baltimore and a graphic that shows how the United States built its wealth on slavery, Jim Crow and racially-based economic injustice and kept African Americans from benefiting the economy. Also, as a special addition to recognize BB King, he sings “Why I Sing the Blues” describing the history of African Americans from slavery until today.

Civil Resistance & The Geopolitics Of Impunity

Rather than justice, Spain elected for collective amnesia to deal with the crimes of General Francisco Franco, seen here during the nationalist victory parade celebrating the end of the Spanish civil war on 20 May 1939. Public Domain.

The first of these cases is probably the most unsavoury, and we have more than enough examples worldwide, especially in Latin America (Chile, Argentina, Perú, El Salvador, etc.). Here, the perpetrators employ relevant institutional powers to forge a renewed ‘democratic’ structure, in which they receive a guarantee of legal impunity for previous criminal activities justified by a misguided concept of national security and stability. Such is the case of the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. Despite the gradual democratisation signalled by the 1988 national referendum to remove him from power, he clung to his position as head of state for a further two years, and his subsequent appointment as a senator for life took place and was previously sanctioned under the terms of decree no. 2191 in 1978.

Women Farmers In Chile Join Together To Create Economic Autonomy

From left to right: Nancy Millar, Blanca Molina and Patricia Mancilla on Molina’s small farm near the town of Valle Simpson in the southern Chilean region of Aysén. The three women belong to the only rural women’s association in the Patagonia wilderness, which has empowered them and helped them gain economic autonomy. Credit: Marianela Jarroud/IPS

More than 100 women small farmers from Chile’s southern Patagonia region have joined together in a new association aimed at achieving economic autonomy and empowerment, in an area where machismo and gender inequality are the norm. Patricia Mancilla, Nancy Millar and Blanca Molina spoke with IPS about the group’s history, and how the land, craft making and working together with other women helped them to overcome depression and situations of abuse, and to learn to trust again. “We have at last obtained recognition of rural women,” said Mancilla, president of the Association of Peasant Women of Patagonia. “Peasant women have learned to appreciate themselves. Each one of our members has a history of pain that she has managed to ease through working and talking together.”

BREAKING: CODEPINK Attempts Citizen's Arrest Of Kissinger


Washington, DC –– On Thursday, January 29, CODEPINK protesters spoke out during Senate Armed Services Committee hearing attempting to perform a citizens’ arrest on Henry Kissinger. Holding handcuffs and large signs that read: KISSINGER: WAR CRIMINAL and ARREST KISSINGER FOR WAR CRIMES, activists read aloud a citizens’ arrest [pasted below]. In response, Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Committee, called the human rights activists “lowlife scum” and said it was “the most disgraceful and despicable demonstration he had ever seen.” “CODEPINK is really proud of our action in the Senate today, speaking out on behalf of the people of Indochina, China, East Timor and peace-loving people everywhere,” said CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin, “Henry Kissinger is responsible for the deaths of millions. He’s a murderer, a liar, a crook, and a thug, and should be tried at the Hague.”