Global Democracy Manipulators: Polyarchy and the UN Democracy Fund – Part 4 of 4 (ZMag 12/24/07)
Chiapas biosphere reserve recognized as biodiversity protection model (Treehugger 2/7/08)
Grassroots Resistance to the Plan Puebla Panama: Contesting Windmill Construction in Oaxaca Mexico (ZMag 11/7/07)
Mexico is running out of oil (Int’l Herald Tribune 10/23/07)

EXCERPT: “Mexico was the sixth-biggest producer last year, after Saudi Arabia, Russia, United States, Iran and China, down from fifth in 2005, according to the Energy Information Administration. In 1921, Mexico was No. 2. Calderón said in his Sept. 2 address that the country held proven reserves that could last nine years. Venezuela, the second-biggest oil producer in Latin America, has reserves to keep pumping at current levels for more than a century.”

Zapatistas, Companeros: Editor’s Note to The Speed of Dreams: Collected Writings of Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos (2001-2007) (ZMag 12/14/07)
NAFTA and Biotech: Twin Horsemen of the Ag Apocalypse – The Last Days of Mexican Corn (11/21/07)
Zero Hour: NAFTA and Mexico’s Agrarian Apocalypse (CounterPunch 1/15/08)
Hundred Year Cycle: What are the prospects for a new Mexican Revolution? (CounterPunch 12/1/07)
Hundreds of thousands of farmers clogged central Mexico City [Jan 31] with their slow-moving tractors, protesting the entry of cheap imported corn from the United States and Canada.” (CNN 2/1/08)
Murder and Cover up in Mexico: How the Cover-up of Brad Wills’ Murder Smoothed Mega-Oil Play in Mexico (CounterPunch 1/27/08)

EXCERPT: “Flash back to October 27th, 2006. U.S. Indymedia photojournalist Brad Will is splayed out on a sidewalk in Oaxaca Mexico, mortally wounded by the pistoleros of rogue governor Ulisis Ruiz during tumultuous street battles in that southern city. His killers have never been prosecuted… Although his killers were plainly identified as plainclothes police on Ulisis’s payroll, Wills’ inconvenient death was ignored by then-president Vicente Fox despite demands by human rights and journalist protection organizations for a full investigation of the killing, one of 26 perpetrated by Ruiz’s death squads between August and October of 2006. Fox’s successor, Felipe Calderon, followed suit and stonewalled an inquiry into Wills’ murder. Similarly, the U.S. Embassy in Mexico never sought justice for a slain citizen despite the personal pleas of the dead man’s family. Why such studied indifference? Because holding Governor Ruiz, a prominent PRIista, accountable for the killing(s) would have upset the burgeoning alliance between the PRI and the PAN to ratify Calderon’s legislative agenda, the most pertinent item of which was “energy reform” i.e. the privatization of PEMEX.

Fear and Loathing in Bolivia: The New Constitution, the Right and Polarization (CounterPunch 1/2/08)
Bolivian citizens throw stones at a Venezuelan plane assumed to be carrying arms, forcing it to leave the country (GatewayPundit 12/6/07)
Dual Power in the Bolivarian Revolution (ZMag 11/12/07)

EXCERPT: “Too often, the Bolivarian Revolution currently underway in Venezuela is dismissed by its critics—on the right and left—as a fundamentally statist enterprise. We are told it is, at best, a continuation of the corrupt, bureaucratic status quo or, at worst, a personalistic consolidation of state power in the hands of a single individual at the expense of those “checks and balances” traditionally associated with western liberal democracies. These perspectives are erroneous, since they cannot account for what have emerged as the central planks of the revolutionary process. I will focus on the most significant of these planks: the explosion of communal power. “

Bolivian Horizons: Interview with Historian Sinclair Thompson  (ZMag 11/7/07)
Bolivia: A Project for the Liberation of the Poor (ZMag 11/7/07)
The Horizons of History: What’s at Stake in Bolivia (CounterPunch 1/27/08)

EXCERPTS: “The recent uprisings and eventual electoral success of the Movimiento a Socialismo (MAS) in Bolivia is one of the most hopeful historical events to have occurred so far this century. From its beginnings in the struggles against the privatization of water in 2000 up to the current attempts by the popular government to nationalize natural gas and redistribute land, the Bolivian revolution has captured the imagination of indigenous and leftist activists everywhere in the world.”


The Corporate Takeover of Water in Ecuador (Alternet 11/9/07)

EXCERPTS: “It is a well kept secret that Bechtel won a contract to privatize the water in Ecuador’s largest city, Guayaquil, just months after the massive citizen protests that threw Bechtel out of Bolivia.” … “Now, more than six years later, the residents of Guayaquil are demanding damages from the company for water contamination, an end to water cut-offs, and a return to local, public control.” “The Brazilian government says huge new oil reserves discovered off its coast could turn the country into one of the biggest oil producers in the world.”

OPEC welcomes Ecuador back after 15 years (Gulf News 12/5/07)
Saving Yasuni National Park, Ecuador (ZMag 12/2/07)

EXCERPT: “The Yasuní national park, found in Ecuador at the intersection of the High Amazons and the Andean mountain range, is one of the places with a high index of bio-diversity on the planet: more species of trees are found in each hectare than in all of the United States and Canada. Most importantly, its two million hectares are inhabited by the Huaorani, Tagaeri and the Taramenane, descendants of the original people of America and owners of a millennial culture of life in tropical ecosystems.

Yasuní is probably one of the last and most important battlefields in overcoming the pillage of the extractive industries remaining in the humid tropical forests of the High Amazons. Perhaps it is also the crossroads for our civilisation. But Yasuní also has petroleum and one of the most important fields is Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini (ITT) with proven reserves of 920 million barrels of petroleum.”

Chavez announces project to combat food shortages (VenezuelAnalysis 1/21/08)
Venezuela’s Revolution Checked (ZMag 12/24/07)
54% of Venezuelan ballot boxes opened to back up electronic results (VenezuelAnalysis 12/2/07)
Summit of the Bolivarian Alternative concludes in Venezuela (VenezuelAnalysis 1/27/08)

EXCERPT: “The 6th Summit of the Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America (ALBA), a joint Venezuelan-Cuban initiative based on fair trade as an alternative to the U.S.-sponsored Free Trade Area of the Americas, concluded in Caracas on Saturday with the founding of a new Bank of ALBA and the signing of a series of economic and social agreements between the member nations. The Dominica also became the newest country to join the regional fair trade bloc.”

Venezuela: A Dictionary of Euphemisms of Liberal Opposition (Dissident Voice 1/7/08)
Venezuela, Nicaragua propose joint military force for Latin America (VenezuelAnalysis 1/28/08)
Human Rights Watch: Venezuela ‘basically democratic’ (via VenezuelAnalysis 2/1/08)

EXCERPTS: “Roth acknowledged that ”the trends were negative in Venezuela,” saying Chávez stacked the Supreme Court and denied an opposition station a broadcast license, among other excesses. ”There are serious problems in Venezuela, but we shouldn’t pretend that Venezuela is a closed society,” he said. “There still is significant political competition, and indeed the best evidence of that was the fact that Chávez just lost his referendum.” … The report identified Kenya, Pakistan, Bahrain, Jordan, Nigeria, Russia and Thailand as nations where rulers claim democracy but violate basic rights.”

Venezuela graduates 398 Latin Americans as physicians-in-training (VenezuelAnalysis 1/25/08)

EXCERPT: “This first group of Latin American physicians-in-training are part of an agreement between Cuba and Venezuela, the pioneers of comprehensive community medicine. In 2004 the two countries made a pact to train 200,000 doctors throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. This graduating cohort included students from Brazil, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Peru, Panama, Surinam, Colombia, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and El Salvador.”


Panama, Brazil, Argentina, Columbia, Belize, Haiti and Guatemala Newsbits
Panama schools to teach Mandarin Chinese (BBC 12/6/07)

EXCERPT: “Panama is moving to make the teaching of Mandarin compulsory in all schools, in recognition of China’s growing importance in the world economy. The Panamanian National Assembly has given conditional approval to the bill in the first of three debates. The bill’s supporters say boosting the number of Chinese speakers will help increase Panama’s competitiveness. China is the biggest single user of the Panama Canal that connects the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. The bill’s supporters recognise that English is the international language of business but say that with China’s increasing economic influence, Mandarin is set to be an indispensable language.”

Brazilian land activist killed in dispute over GM farm (ZMag 11/5/07)

EXCERPT “When a Brazilian peasant organiser led a group of landless farmers on to a European-owned farm last month he was making an environmental protest as well as seeking farmland for about 20 families to cultivate. Within hours, Valmir Mota de Oliveira, 42, and known as “Keno” would be dead, killed execution-style by two shots to the chest. A security guard was also killed in the shooting. Keno died trying to stop the development of a research farm for genetically modified soya and corn next to the environmentally sensitive Iguacu National Park, becoming in the process a martyr for the anti-GM movement.”

The View from Bone Hill: Brazil’s Squatters Won’t Go Away (ZMag 11/09/07)
Protests mount against Brazil’s Mega Water Diversion Project (Polaris Institute 12/19/07)

EXCERPT: “The construction of one of the most controversial mega-projects of the Lula government is in full swing (see the attached map at bottom of page). With this megalomaniac enterprise, known as the Transposição do rio São Francisco, which will predominantly benefit export-oriented agro-business, President Lula says he wants to make history in the poor semi-arid region of Northeast Brazil. But this controversial project reveals severe political, economic and regional conflicts of interests. And, it is criticized by experts as well as legal authorities.

However, since the beginning of the year the government is forcing the start-up of construction by all possible means, disregarding the project´s ecological and social consequences. The euphoria about bio-fuels, especially sugarcane alcohol has brought additional pressure to irrigate land for sugar cane plantations. The ambition to encourage export-orientated agro-business in the Northeast is used by the Lula government to justify the building the project by any means necessary.

Since the beginning of June, military battalions are in charge for the construction works for the canals. This government procedure, ignoring ongoing legal complaints brought by opponents of the project evokes memories of Brazil´s military dictatorship. In many aspects the plan leads us to remember the megalomaniac projects of the 1970´s, such as the infamous Trans-Amazon highway construction.

The Landless Workers’ Movement (MST), Movement of Dam–Affected People (MAB), Movement of Small Farmers (MPA), the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT), the Pastoral Fishers Commission (CPP) and many other social movements have formed a unique alliance with fishing communities and indigenous people to halt the beginning of construction through radical non-violent actions.”

Argentine Indigenous in Protest (BBC 11/6/07)

EXCERPTS: “Indigenous people from northern Argentina have lodged a legal complaint against the government after more than 20 of them died of hunger…. The vice-president of an indigenous association, Gabino Zambrana, said…”We’ve been asking, every way you can think of, for our lands, for development, for our dignity. But we’ve not got them”… many Argentines are not even aware they have a substantial indigenous community pushed to the edges of society. And their plight receives little attention from the country’s politicians or in the national media.”

Phase II of Plan Columbia: Declaration of Polo Democratico Alternativo (ZMag 12/13/07)

Poor Haitians resort to eating dirt cookies (AP/Yahoo 1/30/08)
Human Rights Atrocities Still Go Unpunished in Columbia (Alternet 1/28/08)
An army general who participated in one of the country’s worst massacres in recent history goes free.
Gettin’ out the bling vote in Belize (Alternet 1/18/08)

Unusual pair take office in Guatemala (AP via Raw Story 1/13/08)

EXCERPT: “Few Guatemalan families escaped unscathed from the war, which left 200,000 dead and another 40,000 disappeared. Colom’s was no exception — his uncle Manuel Colom, the leftist mayor of Guatemala City, was assassinated by the army in 1979.

He first ran for president as candidate of a guerrilla movement that had laid down its arms and become a political party. He lost a second presidential bid as a center-left candidate. In July, he teamed up with Espada, who left his post as head of heart surgery at Houston’s Methodist Hospital and returned to Guatemala to run for the vice presidency.

Espada, who turns 64 on inauguration day, often performed free surgery on needy patients during visits to Guatemala. He brings something of his operating-room experience to his new job, saying: “A surgeon is disciplined, studious, responsible and, above all, a person capable of making life-and-death decisions every day.”

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