Articles2017-09-08T23:48:22+01:00

Haiti’s Four Years of Nonstop Protests against US Interference

By |3/October/2022|

Haitians have once again taken to the streets in recent weeks, targeting the banks and NGOs that have taken over the island since the 2010 earthquake.

A cycle of protests began in Haiti in July 2018, and – despite the pandemic – has carried on since then. The core reason for the protest in 2018 was that in March of that year the government of Venezuela – due to the illegal sanctions imposed by the United States – could no longer ship discounted oil to Haiti through the PetroCaribe scheme. Fuel prices soared by up to 50 per cent. On 14 August 2018, filmmaker Gilbert Mirambeau Jr. tweeted a photograph of himself blindfolded and holding a sign that read, ‘Kot Kòb Petwo Karibe a???’ (Where did the PetroCaribe money go?). He reflected the popular sentiment in the country that the money from the scheme had been looted by the Haitian elite, whose grip on the country had been secured by two coups d’état against the democratically elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide (once in 1991 and again in 2004). Rising oil prices made life unliveable for the vast majority of the people, whose protests created a crisis of political legitimacy for the Haitian elite.

In recent weeks, the streets of Haiti have once again been occupied by large marches and roadblocks, with the mood on edge. Banks and nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) – including Catholic charities – faced the wrath of the protesters, who painted ’Down with [the] USA’ on buildings that they ransacked and burned. The Creole word dechoukaj or uprooting – that was first used in the democracy movements in 1986 – has come to define these protests. The government has blamed the violence on gangs such as G9 led by the former Haitian police officer Jimmy ‘Babekyou’ (Barbecue) Chérizier. These gangs are indeed part of the protest movement, but they do not define it.

The government of Haiti – led by acting President Ariel Henry – decided to raise fuel prices during this crisis, which provoked a protest from the transport unions. Jacques Anderson Desroches, president of the Fós Sendikal pou Sove Ayiti, told the Haitian Times, ‘If the state does not resolve to put an end to the liberalization of the oil market in favor of the oil companies and take control of it,’ nothing good will come of it. ‘[O]therwise,’ he said, ‘all the measures taken by Ariel Henry will be cosmetic measures.’ On Sept. 26, trade union associations called for a strike, which paralysed the country, including the capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince.

The United Nations (UN) evacuated its nonessential staff from the country. UN Special Representative Helen La Lime told the UN Security Council that Haiti was paralysed by ‘[a]n economic crisis, a gang crisis and a political crisis’ that have ‘converged into a humanitarian catastrophe.’ Legitimacy for the United Nations in Haiti is limited, given the sexual abuse scandals that have wracked the UN peacekeeping missions in Haiti, and the political mandate of the United Nations that Haitian people see as oriented to protecting the corrupt elite that does the bidding of the

“Without Peace With The Planet, There Will Be No Peace Among Nations”

By |22/September/2022|

President Gustavo Petro’s historic speech at the United Nations General Assembly.

There is no total peace without social, economic and environmental justice. We are also at war with the planet. Without peace with the planet, there will be no peace among nations. Without social justice, there is no social peace.

I come from one of the three most beautiful countries on Earth.

There is an explosion of life there. Thousands of multicoloured species in the seas, in the skies, in the lands… I come from the land of yellow butterflies and magic. There in the mountains and valleys of all greens, not only do the abundant waters flow down, but also the torrents of blood. I come from a land of bloody beauty.

My country is not only beautiful: it is also violent.

How can beauty be conjugated with death? How can the biodiversity of life erupt with the dances of death and horror? Who is guilty of breaking the enchantment with terror? Who or what is responsible for drowning life in the routine decisions of wealth and interest? Who is leading us to destruction as a nation and as a people?

My country is beautiful because it has the Amazon jungle, the Chocó jungle, the waters, the Andes mountains and the oceans. There, in those forests, planetary oxygen is emanated and atmospheric CO2 is absorbed. One of these CO2 absorbing plants, among millions of species, is one of the most persecuted on earth. At any cost, its destruction is sought: it is an Amazonian plant, the coca plant, sacred plant of the Incas. [It is in] a paradoxical crossroads.

The jungle that tries to save us is, at the same time, destroyed. To destroy the coca plant, they spray poisons, glyphosate, in mass that runs through the waters, they arrest its growers and imprison them. For destroying or possessing the coca leaf, one million Latin Americans have been killed and two million African-Americans are imprisoned in North America. Destroy the plant that kills, they shout from the North, but the plant is but one more of the millions that perish when they unleash the fire on the jungle. Destroying the jungle, the Amazon, has become the slogan followed by states and businessmen. The cry of scientists baptising the rainforest as one of the great climatic pillars is unimportant.

For the world’s power relations, the jungle and its inhabitants are to blame for the plague that plagues them. The power relations are plagued by the addiction to money, to perpetuate themselves, to oil, to cocaine and to the hardest drugs to be able to anesthetise themselves more. Nothing is more hypocritical than the discourse to save the rainforest. The jungle is burning, gentlemen, while you make war and play with it. The rainforest, the climatic pillar of the world, disappears with all its life.

The great sponge that absorbs planetary CO2 evaporates. The saviour forest is seen in my country as the enemy to be defeated, as the weed to be extinguished.

Coca, and the peasants who grow it because

A New ‘Pink Tide’

By |21/September/2022|

Latin America is in the midst of a left-wing resurgence, a new ‘pink tide‘, following the defeat of a US/UK sponsored coup in Bolivia and some spectacular election victories.

References to a Latin American Left should come accompanied with an asterisk, as left-wing governments and movements attempting to transcend neoliberal capitalism – and in some cases capitalism itself – are ideologically diverse and not one homogenous bloc. However, broadly speaking, Latin America is in the midst of a left-wing resurgence, a new ‘pink tide‘, following the defeat of a US and UK sponsored coup in Bolivia and some spectacular election victories in countries such as Chile and most recently Colombia

What are the lessons, if any, of these victories for those in the UK seeking to resist and create alternatives to their own reactionary ruling political and media class?

Colombia offers an instructive starting point. In mid-June, a country known as the US’s enforcer in the region, whose elite have historically waged war on the country’s progressive forces, elected its first left-wing president since it became an independent republic in 1810. Gustavo Petro, a former left-wing guerrilla and mayor of Colombia’s capital, Bogotá, defied a sustained establishment campaign against him to storm to the presidency on a wave of dissatisfaction with the country’s rulers and hope for progressive change. If the left can win in Colombia, South America’s reactionary bulwark, then it can win anywhere.

A tipping point was reached when the security forces of right-wing president Ivan Duque brutally repressed an anti-government uprising that began in April last year:  40 protesters were reportedly killed. Colombia remains the country with the worst human rights record in the western hemisphere. Since the November 2016 signing of a peace agreement between the left-wing FARC guerrillas and the government, 320 former FARC combatants and more than 1,000 community activists have been murdered. It should surprise no one that the UK government provides the Colombian security forces with training and arms

On 7 August, Petro and his inspiring vice-president, the Afro-Colombian activist Francia Márquez, will take office with the gigantic task of facing down the country’s blood-drenched elite and opening a path for the construction of real peace and social justice. Key to their victory was the creation of a broad front of left and progressive forces that galvanised social movements on the frontline of the struggle for change. Márquez, in a speech at last year’s The World Transformed said that she was running for office

Your Support Needed: Alborada at The World Transformed Festival in Liverpool, UK

By |17/September/2022|

Can you help Alborada to take part in next week’s The World Transformed political education festival in Liverpool?

We’re delighted to return to The World Transformed (TWT) festival in Liverpool next week (24-27 September).

Following our successful seminar at TWT last year, we’ve been invited to return this year and run a seminar focused on the resurgence of the Latin American Left. We’ll be joined by some great speakers including María José Pizarro, a Colombian senator in the new progressive government of Gustavo Petro.

It is a time of optimism across Latin America, as Honduras, Chile and, for the first time ever, Colombia have recently elected leftwing governments, with Brazil looking well-placed to join them in October’s election. Alongside the defeat of a US/UK-backed coup in Bolivia, these new governments join several other countries in the region currently under progressive leadership. These spectacular triumphs provide important lessons for a British Left which has found itself on the ropes since the 2019 election.

We will also be providing interviews and talks to TWT’s festival TV channel, which will bring Latin America’s message of hope to a wide audience.

To do all this, we’re asking for your support to help us reach £250 to cover some of the costs of our participation at TWT. TWT provide a venue and cover some costs. In addition we plan to pay someone to film and edit the seminar which will go on our website. We’d also need to cover various other expenses associated with attending the festival.

We hope you will be able to make a donation, but if you can’t, you can support us by sharing this request and our event at TWT. Your support is greatly appreciated and if you are in Liverpool for the festival please do come and say hello.

Anyone donating more than £15 will receive a complimentary digital rental of documentaries from both of Alborada’s co-editors: Pablo Navarrete’s No Extradition and Nick MacWilliam’s Santiago Rising.

If we manage to surpass our £250 target all funds will go to supporting our work.

Click here to donate. Thank you for your support.

WATCH: Chile’s Constitutional Referendum Defeat: What Happened? (Alborada Online)

By |14/September/2022|

Our latest Alborada Online analyses the 4 September referendum result in Chile, in which 62% of voters rejected a new progressive constitution.

Watch the video recording of our event held on 21 June 2022 below or on our YouTube channel.

You can find more information about the speakers and the event, here.

Listen to the event on Spotify and elsewhere here.

To see the full list of our Alborada Online events click here.

“Defeat Lawfare. Defend Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.”

By |2/September/2022|

The Progressive International statement on the persecution of Argentina’s Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

We, members of the Council of the Progressive International, express our solidarity with the Vice-President of Argentina Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in view of the judicial and media persecution to which she is being subjected, with the clear objective of politically disqualifying her – the foremost leader of the Peronist movement – ahead of the 2023 presidential elections.

The anti-democratic rightwing of the region uses lawfare tactics to harass, persecute, and disqualify the main progressive leaders of the national and popular governments of Latin America. Direct military interventions and violent coups have been increasingly traded for legal warfare paired with corporate media collusion to attack political leaders who do not serve the interests of the ruling class and the neoliberal model.

The constant judicial persecution that Vice-President Fernández de Kirchner has endured puts the country’s democratic life at risk. That is the real objective of the lawfare we are seeing across Latin America today: the judicialisation of politics to attack and disqualify progressive leaders such as Manuel Zelaya, Rafael Correa, Fernando Lugo, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Dilma Rousseff, Evo Morales, Álvaro García Linera, Jorge Glas and currently Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

We, members of the Council of the Progressive International, express our deep solidarity with Cristina Fernández de Kirchner with the conviction that popular mobilisation will be vital to confront attacks on democratic processes, popular sovereignty and leaders of political projects of inclusion and social justice in a free, united and sovereign Patria Grande.

Signed,

Yanis Varoufakis MP (Greece)

Dr. Cornel West (United States)

Aruna Roy (India)

Baltasar Garzón (Spain)

Leïla Chaibi MEP (France)

Ertuğrul Kürkçü (Turkey)

Vijay Prashad (India)

Alicia Castro (Argentina)

Ahdaf Soueif (Egypt)

Renata Ávila (Guatemala)

Nikhil Dey (India)

Yara Hawari (Palestine)

Srečko Horvat (Croatia)

Scott Ludlam (Australia)

Nick Estes (United States)

Niki Ashton MP (Canada)

This declaration was previously published in the Progressive International and has been edited for style.

Alborada is a member of the Progressive International wire service.

Indestructible Podcast #14 – Chile: A New Constitution?

By |1/September/2022|

In the 14th episode of Indestructible Rodrigo interviews Chilean academic Jorge Saavedra Utman.

Indestructible: Latin America with Rodrigo Acuña is a podcast from Alborada bringing you monthly discussions with some of the most interesting voices working on and from Latin America.

In this 14th episode of Indestructible Podcast, Rodrigo speaks to speaks to media expert Jorge Saavedra Utman about the proposed progressive constitution which will be put to Chilean voters on 4 September possibly ending magna carta established under the Pinochet dictatorship.

The podcast is available on Spotify and other podcast streaming website

Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Please consider supporting the podcast on Patreon.

::: Episode 14:

Chile: A New Constitution? With Jorge Saavedra.

Listen to episode 13 on Audioboom and a range of other podcast streaming websites

Click here to go to the Indestructible homepage.

Presented by Alborada contributing editor Rodrigo Acuña

Produced and edited by Pablo Navarrete

Music by Chylez Productions.

Please consider supporting the podcast on Patreon.

Get in touch with the podcast: info [at] alborada [dot] net

 

WATCH: Jeremy Corbyn’s Message of Support for Chile’s New Constitution

By |19/August/2022|

UK Member of Parliament Jeremy Corbyn has a message ahead of Chile’s 4 September constitutional referendum.

Watch the video here and below. Transcript in English and Spanish below.

Join the global movement in support of Chile’s new constitution: https://act.progressive.international/newchile/

⇛ Subscribe to Alborada on YouTube here.

Support our work here.

**To watch the video with Spanish subtitles click on ‘Spanish’ in the ‘Settings’ section of the video on YouTube.**

 

 

ENGLISH TRANSCRIPT:

Sunday 4th of September is a very, very important day in the history of Chile. It’s an opportunity to change course. It’s an opportunity for a new democratic constitution. An opportunity to empower people and give them new rights, which is what the new constitution offers. My support is for the new constitution. Vote to approve it.

TRANSCRIPCIÓN EN ESPAÑOL:

El domingo 4 de septiembre es un día muy, muy importante en la historia de Chile. Es una oportunidad para cambiar de rumbo. Es una oportunidad para aprobar una nueva constitución democrática. Una oportunidad para empoderar a la gente y darles nuevos derechos, que es lo que ofrece la nueva constitución. Mi apoyo es para la nueva constitución. Vota apruebo.

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Indestructible Podcast #13 – Brazil’s 2022 Presidential Election

By |23/July/2022|

In the 13th episode of Indestructible Rodrigo interviews Brazilian journalist Nathalia Urban.

Indestructible: Latin America with Rodrigo Acuña is a podcast from Alborada bringing you monthly discussions with some of the most interesting voices working on and from Latin America.

In this 13th episode of Indestructible Podcast, Rodrigo speaks to speaks to Nathália Urban about Brazil’s upcoming 2022 presidential elections. Nathália is a Brazilian journalist who writes for Brazil Wire, Brasil247 and Jacobin Brasil amongst others.

The podcast is available on Spotify and other podcast streaming websites.

Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Please consider supporting the podcast on Patreon.

::: Episode 13:

Brazil’s 2022 Presidential Election. With Nathalia Urban.

Listen to episode 13 on Audioboom and a range of other podcast streaming websites

Click here to go to the Indestructible homepage.

Presented by Alborada contributing editor Rodrigo Acuña

Produced and edited by Pablo Navarrete

Music by Chylez Productions.

Please consider supporting the podcast on Patreon.

Get in touch with the podcast: info [at] alborada [dot] net

How Colombian Women Decriminalised Abortion

By |20/July/2022|

While abortion rights across the globe are under attack — most recently in the United States — the successful feminist mobilisation in a deeply conservative country like Colombia should give reason for hope.

The ruling by the Constitutional Court to decriminalise abortion was facilitated by creative action in the judiciary, the branch of power most receptive to change. However, what was essential was an extensive feminist mobilisation, which knew how to find loopholes in the population’s conservatism.

Progressive International Editorial Note: Following the tragic news of the rollback of reproductive rights in the United States, we’ve looked to our Wire partners for coverage of, and lessons from, abortion right victories around the world. Earlier this year Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled to decriminalize abortion, this piece from Wire partner Dissent shows that, in addition to fighting the legal battles, it is also necessary to revive cross-border solidarity networks and deepen a transnational reproductive justice movement that centres bodily autonomy and diverse, dignified options for pregnant people. The following piece on Colombia’s supreme court ruling to decriminalise abortion, written for a Brazilian audience, is another such contribution.

By five votes to four, the (Colombian) Constitutional Court ruled that having an abortion is no longer a crime, up until the 24th week of gestation. This represents a great triumph for the feminist movement, achieved with persistence and political skill. The last step – which led to the victory – was a lawsuit by the group Causa Justa (Just Causa), challenging in court the constitutionality of the prohibition to terminate a pregnancy.

In 2006, the court had already decided to decriminalise abortion in situations where the life or the health (physical or mental) of the woman was in danger, when the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest or when a foetal malformation made life outside the womb non-viable. But Causa Justa argued, more recently, that the barriers and criminalisation of other cases caused so many problems for women that they were often denied their rights – especially those in rural areas, the poorest, and those living in regions of armed conflict. In Colombia, about 400 women were sentenced each year for the interruption of pregnancy.

Like Brazil, Colombia is a country of strong Conservative and Catholic traditions. Although 82 per cent of the population supports abortion in specific cases, only 26 per cent support it unrestrictedly. Therefore, already in 2006, Mónica Roa – an important Colombian lawyer for the cause – realised that the easiest way to win the right to abortion would not be through the congress, but through the courts. A remarkable article in El País tells the story: Mónica was an important player in the first stage to grant the right to abortion in special situations. Another activist, professor Florence Thomas, greatly influenced the complete decriminalisation approved recently. She says that the change in mentality is recent: ‘People used to leave my lectures when I started to talk about abortion.’ Her role as a professor at the National University, and especially as a leader in the Mesa

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