On Thursday, December 29, several political parties of Haiti condemned de facto Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s “National Consensus” that unilaterally promotes constitutional reform and asks for “help from the international community” to combat insecurity in the country. According to the protesting parties, Henry has been trying to illegally remain in power since the assassination of the former president, Jovenel Moïse, in July 2021. The leader of the Movement for Political and Cultural Independence Party (MEKSEPA), Vilaire Cluny Duroseau, said that the Consensus is a “macabre” attempt of the Core Group to continue controlling Haiti by any means necessary. Duroseau, who was a candidate in the presidential elections of 2016, strongly condemned Henry’s request for foreign military intervention.
On a humid summer morning in the mountain-backed metropolis of Gwangju, a cluster of fifth graders shuffled into an auditorium at 5.18 Freedom Park. Here were the former barracks where the South Korean military dictator Chun Doo-hwan and his forces imprisoned, interrogated, tortured, and in some cases killed thousands of civilians in May of 1980. Today, Koreans refer to these events as “5.18,” marking the first day of the Gwangju Uprising, when city residents demanded democracy in the wake of Chun’s 1979 power grab after the assassination of Park Chung-hee, the previous dictator president. The Chun regime’s brutal response still reverberates in the lives of the city’s residents. As the young students took a breather from their field trip, a guide passed out jumbo rice balls called jumeokbap, or “fist rice.”
As Filipino government officials participate in events across New York City over the course of the UN General Assembly, US-based Filipino activists have been determined to raise awareness about dictatorship in the Philippines. Actions have been organized in New York City by organizations such as Anakbayan, the youth wing of larger US-based progressive Filipino organization Bayan, Kabataan Alliance Northeast, an alliance of Filipino youth and student organizations, and the International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS). On September 19, over 70 activists attended a protest and rally at the Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza at the UN Headquarters, as the United Nations Transforming Education Summit convened.
In the late 1970s and 1980s, Argentina’s civic-military dictatorship disappeared over 30,000 people, using death squads trained by the US as part of the now infamous Operation Condor. The victims were held in secret prisons, savagely tortured, and murdered. To this day, many families do not know the fate of their loved ones. In this episode of The Chris Hedges Report, former Buenos Aires Herald editor Robert Cox joins the show to recount his experiences reporting on the disappeared during Argentina’s “Dirty War.” Robert Cox is a British journalist who served as editor and publisher of the Buenos Aires Herald, an English-language daily newspaper in Argentina. Cox became famous for his criticism of the military dictatorship; he was also targeted by police forces and was detained and jailed, then released after a day.
The elected president of Honduras, Xiomara Castro (Libertad y Refundación, Libre), denounced this Sunday, outside the National Congress, that a dictatorship is trying to hijack the Legislative Branch in a bid not to respond to the popular mandate. Hundreds of people continue to mobilize in the vicinity of the Parliament in defense of democracy and respect for the popular vote. Addressing the crowds of her supporters, Castro recalled that the elections of November 2021 were to remove from power the dictatorship of the current president, Juan Orlando Hernandez, and banish its unlawful practices. She stressed that on November 28, the people cast their votes and that their will must be respected.
General Chun Doo Hwan was the corrupt military dictator that ruled Korea from 1979-1988, before handing off the presidency to his co-conspirator General Roh Tae Woo. Chun took power in a coup in 1979, and during his presidency he perpetrated the largest massacre of Korean civilians since the Korean war. He died on November 23rd, in pampered, sybaritic luxury, impenitent and arrogant to the very last breath. Many western media outlets have written censorious, chest-beating accounts of his despotic governance and the massacres he perpetrated (here, here, here, and here)-- something they rarely bothered to do when he was actively perpetrating them in broad daylight before their eyes.
The past week has seen growing protests against the contested presidency of Haiti’s Jovenel Moïse. An unpopular figure who has ruled without a mandate, and, increasingly, by decree , Moïse refused to relinquish power when his presidential term expired on February 7, 2021. While claiming that his term ends in February 2022, Moïse has lashed out against his political rivals, arresting his critics, members of opposition political parties, and supreme court judges, all the while consolidating his draconian, some would say dictatorial, rule over Haiti. How Haiti arrived at this moment is predictable and unsurprising. Moïse’s election was marred by fraud , extremely low voter turnout, and protests challenging his candidacy.
Haitian president Jovenel Moïse has cracked down on a wave of popular protest as he tries to cling to power. While tens of thousands of Haitians have taken to the streets in the face of government repression, the Biden administration is backing Moïse’s effort to remain in office for at least another year. Haitian activist and radio host Daoud Andre discusses the background to Moïse’s power grab; the continued US deportations to Haiti; how the US coerced Haiti into betraying longtime ally Venezuela; the enduring popularity of Jean-Bertrand Aristide — twice overthrown in US-backed coups; and how the Biden administration’s support for Moïse continues a long legacy of US attacks on Haiti’s popular movements and backing of right-wing autocrats.
Aluízio Palmar, a Brazilian journalist, human rights activist, and former political prisoner, is being sued for defamation by his own torturer. The physical and psychological torture happened 40 years ago, when Palmar was imprisoned by the military dictatorship that ruled Brazil from 1964 to 1985. But it was only last month, in a climate defined by Brazil’s right-wing president Jair Bolsonaro, that Palmar’s abuser felt emboldened to file the suit. Like thousands of others under the military regime, Palmar was subjected to various forms of torture: electrocution, simulated drowning, and the infamous “parrots perch” where he was strung up on a pole with his hands and feet tied together, his body dangling below, crouched and suspended in the air.
On November 14, Chile's indigenous nations called for a day of peaceful solidarity, remembrance, and ritual in Santiago's central square, which still bears its colonial name, Plaza de Armas (Weapons Square). It was the one-year anniversary of when police in the south of Chile killed a Mapuche man, Camilo Catrillanca. On all four sides of the square (about the size of two soccer fields) we counted and photographed no fewer than 40 heavily armed police in military-style riot gear and about five tear gas tanks and two water cannons. This was not for one of the bigger gatherings 10 blocks away in what the pro-democracy protesters now call Dignity Plaza. This massive show of force unlike anything I've seen in the US - supposedly to "keep the peace" - was for about 2000 people who gathered in front of the nation's Catholic Cathedral in order to pray to the four directions, light candles, sing songs, fly flags and dance.
On the Day of Remembrance for Truth and Justice, over a million Argentinians mobilized to remember the 30,000 victims of the last military dictatorship in Argentina. On March 24, 1976 a US-backed military coup was carried out in Argentina that installed the bloodiest civic-military dictatorship in the history of the country. In 2002 the Argentine Congress declared that this tragic day would be remembered as the National Day of Remembrance for Truth and Justice.
The return of the right wing to power in Chile has come at the expense of those still seeking justice for crimes committed during the 17-year U.S.-backed dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, which ended in 1990. Former President Michelle Bachelet’s failure to close the luxury five-star prison of Punta Peuco that houses ex-torturers and military agents convicted of crimes against humanity has led to repercussions during the first year of Sebastian Pinera’s presidency. Over the years, the Chilean military has lobbied for “understanding” the context in which torture and disappearances occurred, in order to procure release for convicted agents of the dictatorship.
By Whitney Webb for Information Clearing House - November 27, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - About three-quarters of the world’s dictatorships currently receive military assistance from the United States. This is a strange record for a nation that consistently justifies its sweeping foreign interventions as aimed at “promoting democracy” and “thwarting evil dictatorships.” In the Cold War it was “He may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.” Current analysis shows the U.S. militarily assisting dictators the world over, calling it “promoting democracy,” and disingenuously wondering why it’s all going so badly. For much of its history, the United States government has explained or defended its intervention in the affairs of other nations by framing such behavior as necessary to “promote democracy” abroad and to thwart the advance of “evil dictators.” While the use of those phrases has hardly dwindled over the years, establishment figures have been forced to admit in recent years that the U.S.’ democracy promotion efforts haven’t gone quite as planned. For instance, last year, Foreign Policy published an article headlined “Why is America So Bad at Promoting Democracy in Other Countries?” There, Harvard professor Stephen M. Walt noted that most of the U.S.’ democracy promotion efforts abroad end in failure, with nearly a quarter of the world’s democracies having been degraded in the past 30 years.
By Patience Nitumwesiga for Waging Nonviolence - During the early morning hours of September 21, nine young activists — all in their twenties — hauled a coffin toward a police station in the northern city of Lira. The coffin was draped with posters of Ugandan dictator Yoweri Museveni and a number of his other allies in government. Written across the coffin on one side were the words “Change the constitution and bury Uganda” — a reference to a proposed constitutional amendment that would do away with the presidential age limit. At 6.30 a.m., when they arrived at a major intersection, they set the coffin down and lit it on fire. By the time the police station came alive to start the day, the protesters had already left. Not knowing who they were looking for, the officers nevertheless set out on a hunt to find them. Over the next 12 hours, the young people invaded street after street in Lira, chanting anti-constitutional change slogans, lifting up placards and even setting some tires on fire. The small group soon grew into large crowds in all corners of Lira. The protesters had allies everywhere, and as soon as the police set out to stop a protest on a given street, someone would call the protesters and inform them. They would quickly disperse and reorganize at a different place, and the police would arrive too late, finding no one to arrest. Eventually, when the police got fed up with the constant evasion, they decided to storm the offices of the nonviolent training organization Solidarity Uganda, claiming that they were hiding the protesters. Police checked behind all doors and in ceiling boards, finding no one.
By Sarah Churchwell for the Guardian. In 1944, an article called “American Fascism” appeared in the New York Times, written by then vice president Henry Wallace. “A fascist,” wrote Wallace, “is one whose lust for money or power is combined with such an intensity of intolerance toward those of other races, parties, classes, religions, cultures, regions or nations as to make him ruthless in his use of deceit or violence to attain his ends.” Wallace predicted that American fascism would only become “really dangerous” if a “purposeful coalition” arose between crony capitalists, “poisoners of public information” and “the KKK type of demagoguery”. Those defending the new administration insist it isn’t fascism, but Americanism. This, too, was foretold: in 1938, a New York Times reporter warned: “When and if fascism comes to America it will not be labelled ‘made in Germany’; it will not be marked with a swastika; it will not even be called fascism; it will be called, of course, ‘Americanism’.”