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

Indestructible Podcast #12 – Colombia’s Presidential Election

By |17/June/2022|

In the twelfth episode of Indestructible Rodrigo interviews Alborada contributing editor Carlos Cruz Mosquera.

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

In this twelfth episode of Indestructible Podcast, Rodrigo speaks to speaks to Carlos Cruz Mosquera about Colombia’s 2022 presidential election. Carlos is a Colombian PhD candidate and teaching associate at Queen Mary, University of London.

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

Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Please consider supporting the podcast on Patreon.

::: Episode 12:

Colombia’s Presidential Election: An Interview with Carlos Cruz Mosquera

Listen to episode 12 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

Colombia Needs Democracy: Interview with María José Pizarro

By |8/June/2022|

The run-off presidential election in Colombia on 19 June is a rare opportunity for a leftwing breakthrough, which will help set aside the violent agenda that has so far been supported by the country’s elite.

On 29 May 2022, a political earthquake struck Colombia: the left-leaning Historic Pact’s presidential candidate, Gustavo Petro, and vice-presidential candidate, Francia Márquez, won the first round of the presidential elections after getting 40.33 per cent of the votes. The blocs representing the far-right and right-wing parties – which have dominated Colombian politics for most of its history – trailed far behind. The name for the bloc representing the left – Historic Pact – was chosen with the intention of reflecting the unique nature of this moment in the country’s history.

Petro and Márquez will now enter a second round of voting against the far-right ticket of Rodolfo Hernández and Marelen Castillo on 19 June. Opinion polls suggest it will be a close race between the two tickets, although there are fears that the right wing will interfere, possibly with violence, to prevent a leftwing victory in Colombia.

The last few times that the left came near the Palacio de Nariño, where the president works and lives, violent outbreaks during the election process put that possibility to rest. A cycle of rightwing rule was initiated after the assassination of the leftwing politician Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, who was killed in 1948 and whose death began a period of Colombia’s history hauntingly known as ‘La Violencia‘ (‘the violence’).

The second opportunity for the emergence of the left came in 1990-1991, when the leftwing guerrillas put down their guns and entered the political contest in good faith, but rightwing forces assassinated three popular presidential candidates, which included the liberal candidate Luis Carlos Galán and two left candidates, Bernardo Jaramillo Ossa and Carlos Pizarro Leongómez.

Petro and Márquez’s Historic Pact offers the third opportunity for a leftwing wave, which will help set aside the violent agenda that has so far been supported by the country’s elite.

Can Colombia breathe?

María José Pizarro is the daughter of the slain politician Carlos Pizarro Leongómez, who was assassinated in 1990. She was only 12 years old when her father was shot to death on an airplane from Bogotá to Barranquilla. Pizarro’s parents – Leongómez and Myriam Rodríguez – were members of the guerrilla group M19. In his youth, presidential candidate Gustavo Petro was also a member of M19; he was arrested in 1985 (at the age of 25) and sentenced to 18 months in prison for possession of guns. Pizarro went into exile in Spain when her father was killed, and then returned in 2002. She is now a member of the Chamber of Representatives, for which she ran on the Historic Pact platform.

When we asked Pizarro about Colombia’s liberal constitution of 1991, she said, ‘The first 19 articles of the Colombian Constitution establish the social rule of law and the democratic parameters and freedoms in our country.’ ‘What we require,’ she said, ‘is not only that the 1991 constitution be

Film Review – The Coup d’État Factory

By |18/May/2022|

The new documentary by Brazilian duo Victor Fraga and Valnei Nunes dissects the role of media in creating the conditions to dismantle democracy and pave the way for the rise of Jair Bolsonaro.

Since the 1990s, Latin America has seen the rise of a new form of coup d’état. Democracy and the ‘signs of freedom’ have become so entrenched in cultural life that the use of military force to impose a dictatorship has become archaic, out of joint. While the tried-and-tested formula remains an option – as witnessed in Bolivia in November 2019 – a more pernicious form of domination has also been elaborated, one that sits comfortably within the confines of ‘democracy.’ Indeed, the modern coup is affected without a weapon, without a drop of blood. It takes the form of a legal process, a judiciary war, without infringing on the constitutional order. Using the apparatuses of parliamentary democracy, it hides in plain sight by waging lawfare, a term coined for the abuse of law for political ends.

With a particular focus on the role of the media giant O Globo in the recent political developments of Brazil, The Coup d’État Factory‘s central aim is to expose the imbroglio between the media, politics and the judiciary system in their symbiotic attempts to coerce a political vision onto a population in order to sustain power. Through this framework, the duo of directors Victor Fraga and Valnei Nunes, discuss and lay out the tumultuous political history of the last few decades, marked by protests, scandals, coups dressed up as impeachments, samba carnivals and, finally, the rise of the far-right.

In that sense The Coup d’État Factory succeeds impeccably in providing viewers with a succinct and clear-sighted account of events – a difficult task indeed, for Fraga and Nunes have to work against the parasitic presence of Globo, which they vigorously denounce as being a factory for the distortion of ‘truth.’ The Coup d’État Factory is therefore an antagonistic work against the media conglomerates which control and manipulate the ways in which the world can relate to itself.

The film is a dynamic collage of various techniques. Fraga and Nunes interlace archive footage with ominous drone images; black and white drawings illustrate the essayistic voice-over, performed by Fraga himself, intermittently narrating amidst interviews with a varied array of commentators. They include former president Dilma Rousseff, politician Jean Wyllys, philosopher Marcia Tibara, journalist Glenn Greenwald, former mayor of London Ken Livingstone and Rousseff’s predecessor Lula Da Silva, speaking from prison, among many others.

Taking the form of an incisive exposé on journalistic malpractices, misconstructions and outright lies propagated to sabotage freedom of thought, the film deconstructs, with didactic precision, the web of fake news that has plagued Brazilian media for decades. In a brilliant introductory narration, Fraga sets up the tone for the entire documentary: in 1913, two journalists from A Noite fabricate an event for the purposes of propaganda. They plant a roulette in the middle of Carioca Square, which inevitably causes a sensation. After photographing the tumultuous

Indestructible Podcast #11 – Chile, from Allende to Boric

By |18/April/2022|

In the eleventh episode of Indestructible Rodrigo interviews Alborada contributing editor Victor Figueroa Clark.

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

In this eleventh episode of Indestructible Podcast, Rodrigo speaks to Dr Victor Figueroa Clark about Chilean politics and the recent election of former student leader Gabriel Boric as president. Victor is the author of ‘Salvador Allende: Revolutionary Democrat’ (2013)

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

Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Please consider supporting the podcast on Patreon.

::: Episode 11:

Chile, from Allende to Boric: An Interview with Victor Figueroa Clark

Listen to episode 11 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

 

 

Could the Left Take Power in Colombia?

By |3/April/2022|

With progressive candidates performing strongly ahead of May’s election, the growing likelihood of Colombia’s first leftist government is built on the movement for peace and human rights.

As Colombia gears up for its presidential poll in May, the results of recent elections have shown that the Left has reorganised into a powerful electoral force banging at the door of national governance.

Whether that door can be pushed open or not will become clear when Colombians head to the polls on 29 May, with the opportunity to make history. The frontrunner for the top job is progressive senator and former mayor of Bogotá Gustavo Petro, who is running on a platform of public health, public education, environmental protection and the promotion of human rights and peace. These policies represent an antithesis to the current hard-right government of Iván Duque. If elected, Petro would become Colombia’s first leftist president.

Things are looking promising for Petro. His Historic Pact coalition held its election primaries on 13 March with almost six million votes cast – 80 per cent of them for Petro himself. Formed of leftwing and social democratic parties, the Historic Pact has unified diverse political strands and draws its base from sections of the electorate long marginalised from political influence, such as the working class, ethnic minorities, young people and rural communities.

The primaries saw a huge vote for Francia Márquez, a renowned feminist and environmental activist. In what was her first electoral outing she came second to Petro and her vote far exceeded many long-established political figures running in other coalitions. Petro then picked her as his running mate, which means Márquez could well become the first black and female vice-president of Colombia.

Márquez’s opposition to resource extraction and deforestation in her home region of Cauca elevated her to national consciousness and saw her awarded the prestigious Goldman Prize in 2018. Colombia is the world’s deadliest country for environmental activists – 65 were killed in 2020 alone – and Márquez has faced threats and attacks. Yet she refused to back down. Her resolute defence of human rights and natural resources has earned her many admirers.

The Historic Pact also made major gains in congressional elections held the same day, winning the most votes at a national level for both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Although this was an unprecedented achievement for the Left, it did not translate into a left majority in either House.

The Challenge Ahead

For any hope of a progressive agenda coming out of the presidential election, the Historic Pact will need to build alliances with traditional parties. This could prove tricky given establishment antipathy towards the Left, but it is not insurmountable; the Liberal Party exceeded expectations in its congressional vote and Petro has appealed to it in his bid for a broad alliance.

However, there will be a strong challenge from the Right. Petro’s principal rival is the former mayor of Medellín, Federico Gutiérrez, who received over two million votes in the primaries for the rightwing coalition, Team

Residente’s ‘This is Not America’: Beautiful Art Marred by Political Immaturity 

By |30/March/2022|

Calle 13 vocalist Residente should study Victor Jara to help him distinguish between right and left more clearly.

Puerto Rican artist Residente recently released a powerful audio-visual response to Childish Gambino’s ‘This is America’, highlighting the oppressive realities lived by millions across the continent rather than just in the USA.

[To watch the ‘This is Not America’ music video click here on see below]

Whilst Residente’s latest song accurately and poignantly captures the sentiment of protest and injustice throughout Latin America, he makes false equivalences. He insinuates that the left and the right are both oppressive systems, Venezuela’s flag appearing alongside the Brazilian, Colombian and Puerto Rican flags in his video. This nod to violent rightwing protesters in Venezuela exposes an unfortunate lack of political maturity. This political immaturity has led him to support rightwing and pro-imperialist mobilisations in Cuba, calling the socialist government ‘a dictatorship.’

Those who downplay these inconsistencies by suggesting that he is just an artist and not a politician should be reminded of the late, great Victor Jara’s example. Jara’s unwavering commitment to socialism and anti-imperialism – in other words, his loyalty to the oppressed – is his legacy to us. Residente should have studied the great Chilean communist in more depth before defacing his legacy with a scene intercalated by the glorification of Venezuelan guarimberos (violent anti-government protestors). Since Residente, for whatever reason, cannot distinguish the left from the right, a severe limitation considering his influence over many millions, it is our duty to do so.

Venezuela’s recent protests that Residente supports have been led by the country’s rightwing groups and have become known as guarimbas (meaning childish games). While these Western-backed and violently hostile groups blame President Nicolás Maduro’s policies for the economic crisis that has affected the country for almost a decade, more accurate analysis has demonstrated a combination of factors. The most serious among them has been US and European sanctions that have asphyxiated the country’s economy – or attempted to as it is now on the road to recovery.

Just like the longstanding economic war against Cuba, the sanctions have little to do with a preoccupation for human or democratic rights as is usually stated, but with a nefarious struggle to overthrow a democratically-elected government that does not bow down to capitalism and imperialism. Venezuela’s people have been punished because they dared to try a different path to neoliberal capitalism.

That’s not to say that one should unconditionally support the system or the government in Venezuela; one should recognise there are limitations and errors. It’s to say that these limitations and errors are part of an experiment mandated by the majority of people in that country. Regardless of the West and the right’s disinformation, the country has consistently voted for the current government.

For Residente to compare this project to the neocolonial systems of nations like Colombia and Brazil (or even worse, colonised Puerto Rico!) is to grossly misinterpret our region’s recent political trajectory. It ignores imperialist meddling, which is at the centre of this power struggle.

Furthermore, the term ‘left’, admittedly being

WATCH – 21st Century Socialism: China and Latin America on the Frontline

By |24/March/2022|

This webinar explored the relationship between China and progressive Latin America.

Watch the full recent online event ’21st Century Socialism: China and Latin America on the Frontline’ which was supported by Alborada.

China is the world’s largest socialist country and a leading proponent of multipolarity. As such it has an indispensable role in inspiring and creating a favourable environment for the global transition to socialism. Meanwhile, in the last two decades, progressive governments and movements in Latin America have been blazing a trail in exploring new paths towards socialism in the 21st century. Friendship and cooperation between the People’s Republic of China and the Latin American left is therefore an indispensable component of the global struggle for socialism and against imperialism.

This event (organised by Friends of Socialist China) explored a number of themes, including the history of friendship and solidarity between China and Latin America; the legacy of Hugo Chávez in encouraging a new era of socialist internationalism; the US’s aggression against popular movements – regime change coups, economic warfare, lawfare and destabilisation; China’s emerging role as a key partner for Latin America and the Caribbean; the growing attraction of the Belt and Road Initiative in Latin America; the place of Latin America in the US-led New Cold War; China and Latin America on the global frontlines of resisting imperialism; the renewal of diplomatic relations between China and Nicaragua; and the role of international law and the UN in pushing back against hegemony.

NOTE: The English interpretation of Dilma Rousseff’s keynote can be found here

Speakers
* Dilma Rousseff (keynote) – Former President of Brazil
* Ma Hui – China’s ambassador to Cuba
* Carlos Miguel Pereira – Cuba’s ambassador to China
* Carlos Ron – President, Simón Bolívar Institute (Venezuela)
* Jiang Shixue – Director, Center for Latin American Studies, Shanghai University (China)
* Margaret Kimberley – Executive Editor, Black Agenda Report (US)
* Ben Norton – Journalist, Multipolarista (Nicaragua)
* Camila Escalante – Reporter, Kawsachun News (Bolivia)
* Elias Jabbour – Adjunct Professor of Economics, Rio de Janeiro State University (Brazil)
* Francisco Domínguez – Secretary, Venezuela Solidarity Campaign (Britain)
* Carlos Martinez – Co-editor, Friends of Socialist China (Britain)
* Moderator: Radhika Desai – Convenor, International Manifesto Group (Canada)

Supported by
* Alborada
* CODEPINK
* Geopolitical Economy Research Group
* International Action Center
* International Manifesto Group
* Kawsachun News
* Morning Star
* Multipolarista

 

Archives

Indestructible Podcast #10 – Venezuela: The Cost of Challenging an Empire

By |23/February/2022|

In the tenth episode of Indestructible Rodrigo interviews analysts Dan Kovalik, Danny Shaw and Ricardo Vaz.

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

In the tenth episode of Indestructible Podcast, Rodrigo introduces clips from interviews Dan Kovalik, Danny Shaw and Ricardo Vaz, three English-language analysts on Venezuela. They were interviewed for the upcoming documentary Rodrigo is producing with journalist Nicholas Ford titled ‘Venezuela: The Cost of Challenging an Empire’.

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

Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Please consider supporting the podcast on Patreon.

::: Episode 10:

The Making of ‘Venezuela: The Cost of Challenging an Empire’

Listen to episode 10 on Audioboom and 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

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