Excavations by forensic anthropologists at a notorious military base in Toledo, Uruguay have unearthed human remains. It is likely that the remains are those of one the many victims of the campaign of forced disappearance carried out by the state during the military dictatorship that began five decades ago. The remains are the first to be discovered in over a decade, and a painful reminder of the lengths the military went to permanently disappear dissidents and leftists in a campaign that lasted 12 years. For families of the missing, the news has brought a mix of emotions. This is only the seventh person recovered of the 204 victims who were forcibly disappeared from that brutal period during the Cold War.
I have just returned from Latin America. I find myself a somewhat different person than the one that left a couple of weeks ago. What changed? During my visit I went to Colombia, on invitation from the UNDP (United Nation Development Programme) and to Uruguay to launch the first Latin American Ecosystems Leadership Program (ELP) for our u-school for Transformation. The launch of this regional ELP in Latin America opened what to many of us felt like a profound new space of collective possibility. It is intended as a 3-year collective cross-sector and cross-country journey to awaken all of the human intelligences — head, heart, and hand — in the service of regeneration, healing, and systems transformation.
Pagina 12 talked to analysts Atilio Boron, Hernan Patiño Mayer and Oscar Laborde about their views on what’s next in Uruguay following the victory of the National Party’s Luis Lacalle Pou in presidential elections; including its local political situation; its relationship with Argentina; Mercosur; the Rightward shift in the continent; and the results of 15 years of the leftist Frente Amplio or Broad Front. Thinking on the political scene unfolding in Uruguay with the victory of rightist Luis Lacalle Pou, Political Scientist Atilio Boron commented the contradictions of the alliance that is going to rule the country starting next March.
Eleven men are competing for the job of president, but only two have the potential to be elected: progressive Frente Amplio candidate Daniel Martínez and Luis Lacalle Pou from the right wing National Party. Behind them are Ernesto Talvi from the Partido Colorado, which ruled the country nearly uninterrupted for 200 years. Polling in fourth place is Cabildo Abierto, a party created in April whose candidate, Guido Manini Ríos, was commander in chief of the armed forces for four years during the Frente Amplio governments. The remaining parties are much smaller, with support hovering around one percent.
As several nations in South America are going through their worst economic-political-institutional crises, Uruguay —which has survived the neoliberal wave in the region— is going to face elections on October 27 that might change a system that has been benefiting most of its population. Unemployment, indebtedness, tax adjustments, inflation, decreased purchasing power, hunger, and poverty is the general scenario readably observable in countries which have opted for implementing neoliberal policies imposed by the United States and international financial organizations with the consent of the local domestic oligarchies.
The conference will foster a platform for respectful negotiations between Venezuela and its opposition. The agenda for the “Montevideo Mechanism” being held in Uruguay on Thursday will be a four part process, foreign ministers said Wednesday. International delegates were directed to a press conference lead by Uruguayan Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa and Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrand where they presented a brief outline of the meeting. Held in hopes to mediate the domestic turmoil between Venezuelan opposition forces and the legitimate Nicolas Maduro administration, the conference will be broken into four segments, the foreign ministers said.
By Aisha Maniar for Truthout - Adapting to life after lengthy imprisonment and as a refugee in a strange land are challenges. Coupled with the trauma of years of torture and the stigma of Guantánamo, the challenge is colossal. Nearly two years after being released to Uruguay with five others in December 2014, Syrian refugee Jihad Ahmed Mustafa Dhiab, also known as Abu Wa'el Dhiab, 45, has faced all of these problems. Dhiab spent more than 12 years at Guantánamo after he was sold to the US military by the Pakistani police in 2002.
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.
By Glyn Moody in Tech Dirt - Techdirt first mentioned the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) last year, when "The Really Good Friends of Services" -- the self-chosen name for about 20 members of the World Trade Organization -- could no longer keep their plans locked behind closed doors, and word started to spread. Essentially, TISA completes the unholy trinity of global trade agreements that also includes TPP and TAFTA/TTIP. Between the three of them, they sew up just about every aspect of trade in both goods and services -- the latter being TISA's particular focus. They share a common desire to liberalize trade as much as possible, and to prevent national governments from imposing constraints on corporate activity around the world. One particularly blatant reflection of this desire is the inclusion of something called the "ratchet clause."
His name was Victor Jara, and not only did he have the popularity of Presley and the political passion of Che, he also had the topical-folk style of Phil himself. But Víctor was part of something much more powerful than the Greenwich Village folk scene — Nueva Cancion. Rising alongside and within the social movements of Latin America, Nueva Cancion was political, personal, revolutionary, and exciting. Realizing their similarities, Víctor invited Phil to perform alongside him that evening for a group of students and workers in the copper mines a few hours drive from the city. Phil had come to Chile to find hope. At the time, the region was bursting with it. In Chile, Salvador Allende had become the first democratically elected socialist president in the world, and had begun restructuring the country’s economy to benefit the poor and dispossessed.
Today’s election of Luis Almagro as the new Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) is “another indication of declining U.S. influence in Latin America,” Center for Economic and Policy Research Co-Director Mark Weisbrotsaid today. As foreign minister of Uruguay from 2010—2015, Almagro was involved in strengthening regional integration through organizations such as the Union of South American Nations and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States. Almagro finished the race unopposed, but he previously had been running against the former foreign minister of Guatemala, Eduardo Stein. Stein received the backing of countries such as Honduras, Panama and the Dominican Republic prior to withdrawing his candidacy, while Almagro received strong support from South American nations, including Colombia.
The group of four Syrians, a Tunisian and a Palestinian is still bound by the silence imposed by Washington regarding their experiences in the prison. IPS met with them for the second time Dec. 30 in the house where the Syrians are living in downtown Montevideo. A few are already speaking some Spanish and struggling to adjust to their new reality. Contacts with relatives have been established and the men are now looking for ways to reunite with their families, with the support of the Uruguayan government. After the shock of liberation, the six men are still struggling to fully understand where they are and to match as much as possible their beliefs and expectations for a new life with Uruguay’s social norms. Difficult, but necessary, is to reconcile the diverse social and political expectations and interests surrounding the group since the government of José Mujica decided to host them as refugees on humanitarian grounds.
President José Mujica of Uruguay, a 78-year-old former Marxist guerrilla who spent 14 years in prison, mostly in solitary confinement, recently visited the United States to meet with President Obama and speak at a variety of venues. He told Obama that Americans should smoke less and learn more languages. He lectured a roomful of businessmen at the US Chamber of Commerce about the benefits of redistributing wealth and raising workers’ salaries. He told students at American University that there are no “just wars.” Whatever the audience, he spoke extemporaneously and with such brutal honesty that it was hard not to love the guy. Here are 10 reasons you, too, should love President Mujica. Mujica’s influence goes far beyond that of the leader of a tiny country of only 3 million people. In a world hungry for alternatives, the innovations that he and his colleagues are championing have put Uruguay on the map as one of the world’s most exciting experiments in creative, progressive governance.