South and Central America

Workers Struggles: The Americas

16 June 2009

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Peru: Massive protests against García government over Amazon massacre

By Luis Arce, 13 June 2009

A wave of mass demonstrations and marches swept across the whole of Peru Thursday in popular repudiation of the government’s massacre of Amazon Indians last week.

Peruvian massacre aimed at opening Amazon to transnationals

By Luis Arce, 8 June 2009

A massacre carried out by heavily armed Peruvian security against protesting Amazon Indians left dozens dead as the Garcia government attempts to open up the region to exploitation by the transnational corporations.

Brazil, China deals challenge US position in Latin America

By Luis Arce, 6 June 2009

Last month’s visit to Beijing by Brazil’s president pointed to the vast political-economic shifts taking place globally as economic rivals seek to fill the vacuum left by a US tied down in two wars and struggling to confront its deep financial crisis.

OAS vote on Cuba exposes waning US power in Latin America

By Bill Van Auken, 5 June 2009

The unanimous vote taken by the Organization of American States to repeal the 47-year-old decision barring Cuba from membership is a clear indication of the weakened economic and political position of US imperialism throughout the region.

Workers Struggles: the Americas

13 May 2009

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China challenges US dominance in Latin America

By Luis Arce, 24 April 2009

China’s recent announcement of multi-billion dollar deals with several Latin America countries will strengthen its already substantial presence in a region the US has historically regarded as its own backyard.

Americas Summit ends with no agreement on economic crisis

By Bill Van Auken, 21 April 2009

While the media has focused its attention on the handshakes between Obama and his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez, what dominated the Americas Summit was the absence of agreement on policies to confront the deepening capitalist crisis.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

14 April 2009

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Peru: Ex-President Fujimori sentenced to 25 years for “dirty war” killings

By Luis Arce, 10 April 2009

A three-judge panel of Peru’s Supreme Court unanimously sentenced former President Alberto Fujimori to 25 years in prison Tuesday for his role in two massacres carried out by the military death squad known as Grupo Colina, as well as kidnappings.

Peru: President promises to protect foreign capital from social unrest

By Luis Arce, 9 April 2009

Responding to fears that growing social unrest will scare off foreign capital, Peruvian President Alan Garcia vowed to employ extra-constitutional power to guarantee the security of foreign investments in Peru.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

24 March 2009

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Latin America hit hard by world crisis

By Luis Arce, 18 March 2009

As a result of the worldwide capitalist crisis, Latin America’s economies have suffered a massive drop in exports, production and consumption, resurrecting old fears of the continent’s countries going into default.

After winning El Salvador vote

FMLN vows respect for private property and Washington

By Bill Van Auken, 18 March 2009

After winning the El Salvador presidential election Sunday, ending the right-wing ARENA party’s two decades of rule, the FMLN vowed to pursue a policy that included defense of private property and closer ties with Washington.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

3 March 2009

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Colombia rocked by wiretapping revelations

By Bill Van Auken, 27 February 2009

A Colombian spy agency under the direct command of President Uribe was implicated in wholesale wiretapping against opposition politicians, judges and journalists, just as the country’s defense minister arrived in Washington to seek more military aid.

Chavez wins referendum vote as Venezuela’s crisis deepens

By Bill Van Auken, 19 February 2009

President Hugo Chavez registered another victory at the polls last Sunday as Venezuelans voted to end term limits, allowing him to run for a third term. The vote took place amid signs of mounting economic crisis and increasing class struggle.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

20 January 2009

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

16 December 2008

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Chinese president tours America’s “backyard”

By John Chan, 29 November 2008

Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visits to Costa Rica, Cuba and his presence in Peru for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit last week testified to Beijing’s more assertive economic and diplomatic engagement in Latin America.

Workers Struggles: The Americas

18 November 2008

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Huge IMF bailout for emerging economies

By Peter Symonds, 1 November 2008

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), backed by central banks in the US and Europe, has taken drastic steps over the past week to prop up so-called emerging economies around the world from Asia to Eastern Europe and Latin America.

Fearing default, Argentina moves to nationalize private pension funds

By Luis Arce, 24 October 2008

Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner proposed legislation Tuesday to nationalize the country’s private pension funds—known in Spanish as AFJPs—in an attempt to stave off a new government default on its debt.

Washington imposes sanctions on Bolivia

By Rafael Azul, 1 October 2008

The Bush administration has imposed fresh sanctions on Bolivia in retaliation for the decision of the country’s president Evo Morales to expel the US ambasssador and close down US programs in the country.

New documentary on Pinochet’s dictatorship: Some wounds should not heal

By Debra Watson, 25 September 2008

The Judge and the General tells the story of recent efforts to bring to justice the perpetrators of horrific acts of political repression committed three decades ago under Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet.

Latin American presidents meet with Bolivia on brink of civil war

US ambassador an expert in partition

By Rafael Azul, 16 September 2008

The presidents of nine Latin American nations assembled in the Chilean capital of Santiago Monday for an emergency summit of the recently created Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) to deal with the crisis in Bolivia.

Former Argentine generals sentenced to life

US links to the junta

By Debra Watson, 8 September 2008

At the end of last month two former Argentine generals were convicted of kidnapping, torturing and murdering a senator three decades ago, during the military dictatorship of General Jorge Videla.

Rising inflation and unemployment in Chile drive workers into debt and poverty

By Roger Silva, 8 July 2008

Chile is characterized by some economists as the most “globalized” nation in Latin America. The more conservative among them present it as a model to be followed by other countries on the continent. They point to the country’s supposed stability and security and Chile’s economic growth in recent years.

Mounting questions about Colombian hostage operation

By Bill Van Auken, 7 July 2008

As right-wing politicians on three continents basked in the reflected glory of an ostensibly brilliant July 2 rescue of hostages held by Colombia’s FARC (Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia) guerrillas, doubts have surfaced as to the real character of this operation.

Latin America: What are the real interests behind the creation of the Union of South American Nations?

By Carlos Prado, 28 May 2008

Last Friday, May 23, presidents and representatives of 12 South American countries met in Brasilia to sign a treaty creating the Union of South American Nations, or Unasur.

Colombian extraditions aimed at covering up Uribe’s death squad ties

By Bill Van Auken, 15 May 2008

In a deal worked out between Washington and its principal ally in Latin America—Colombia’s President Alvaro Uribe—14 leaders of the country’s right-wing paramilitary militias were suddenly extradited to the US on Tuesday to face drug trafficking charges.

Bush speech on Latin America—defense of a failed policy

By Bill Van Auken, 9 May 2008

In a speech in Washington on Wednesday, President George W. Bush delivered what amounted to a defense of the manifestly failed and rudderless policy that his administration has pursued in Latin America since coming to office more than seven years ago.

US Navy resurrects Fourth Fleet to police Latin America

By Humberto Santana, 7 May 2008

Washington announced at the end of last month that it is resurrecting the long-ago moth-balled Fourth Fleet to reassert US power in the Caribbean and Latin America. Created at the time of World War II to combat German submarines attacking merchant shipping convoys in the South Atlantic, the Fourth Fleet was seen as no longer necessary after the Second World War and was disbanded in 1950.

Global food crisis grips Latin America

By Giancarlo Marinho Costa, 25 April 2008

The Brazilian government Wednesday announced the temporary suspension of rice exports, as the commodity’s price hit a record high of $25 per hundredweight on the futures markets.

Colombia’s President Uribe implicated in paramilitary death squad probe

By Bill Van Auken and Ascher Brum, 24 April 2008

The arrest in Bogota of ex-Senator Mario Uribe Escobar, the cousin of Colombia’s president, on charges of involvement in the country’s paramilitary death squads has deepened the political crisis of Bush’s closest political ally in Latin America.

Paraguay: Election ends six decades of one-party rule

By Bill Van Auken, 23 April 2008

The election victory Sunday of former Catholic bishop Fernando Lugo brings an end to 61 years of unbroken rule by the right-wing Colorado Party.

At least 14 Haitian migrants drowned off the coast of the Bahamas

By Hiram Lee, 23 April 2008

The US Coast Guard continued searching Tuesday for as many as 10 Haitian migrants still missing in the waters northwest of Nassau, Bahamas after an incident Saturday in which a boat capsized leaving 14 migrants dead. The coast guard and Bahamian rescuers pulled three survivors from the water on Monday, two of whom were Haitian, while the third was Honduran. Identified by another survivor as the “smuggler” attempting to transport the migrants to south Florida, the Honduran was soon taken into custody by Bahamian immigration officials.

Cuban “reforms” promote private property and social inequality

By Bill Van Auken, 17 April 2008

The Cuban government was compelled to issue a statement Wednesday denying that the series of reforms announced by President Raul Castro in the barely two months since his assuming the reins of power from his ailing older brother Fidel signal an abandonment of “socialism.”

Haiti: Thousands protest over growing hunger

By Bill Van Auken, 5 April 2008

Thousands of Haitians took to the streets Thursday to protest against soaring food prices and growing hunger in the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country.

Argentina: Truce in three-week agricultural strike

By Jadir Antunes, 3 April 2008

Leaders of Argentina’s four major agricultural producers’ organizations announced a 30-day truce in the three-week-old strike and road blockades that have shaken the country for the past three weeks, leading to widespread food shortages and a growing atmosphere of political crisis. At the same time, however, they threatened to resume their actions if the government fails to meet their demands.

Ecuador: deepening crisis, floods trigger surge of inflation

By Asher Brum, 28 March 2008

In Ecuador, it is clear that inflation for the first quarter of this year is going to surpass the rate projected by the government for all of 2008, according to statistics from the country’s Central Bank. The principal causes of the inflationary surge are the financial crisis gripping Wall Street and climatic events, which have both served to expose the weaknesses of the Ecuadoran economy.

Brazil’s ruling Workers Party pays homage to Pierre Lambert for services rendered

By Hector Benoit, 17 March 2008

The death in January of Pierre Lambert, the long-time leader of the French Organisation Communiste Internationaliste (OCI) and its successor, the Parti des Travailleurs (PT), occasioned widespread press reports in France as well as condolences from leading figures in the French Socialist Party and the Force Ouvrière (FO) trade union federation.

Latin American crisis triggered by an assassination “Made in the USA”

By Bill Van Auken, 7 March 2008

Nearly a week after Colombia’s cross-border raid against an encampment of the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) guerrilla movement in neighboring Ecuador, Latin America continues to confront its worst regional diplomatic and military crisis in decades. The US government and mass media have weighed in with unsolicited judgments and advice, attributing the tense standoff between Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela to the threat of terrorism to Colombia, the complicity in terrorism on the part of Venezuela and overheated animosities between the respective heads of state of these three countries.

US-backed border massacre brings South America to brink of war

By Bill Van Auken, 5 March 2008

The Colombian military’s massacre last Saturday of 17 members of the guerrilla movement FARC, including its second in command, on Ecuadoran soil has brought tensions in the region to an unprecedented level, raising the serious threat of armed conflict.

Fidel Castro retires as Cuban president after 49 years in power

By Patrick Martin, 20 February 2008

Fidel Castro, the last of the “third-world” nationalists who rose to power in the 1950s and 1960s and came into conflict with American imperialism, announced Tuesday that he was retiring as president of Cuba and commander-in-chief of its armed forces.

Colombian rebel leader sentenced to 60 years over captured contractors

By Bill Van Auken, 31 January 2008

A Washington, DC federal court Monday handed down a draconian 60-year sentence against a leader and negotiator for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a guerrilla movement that has been in conflict with Colombian government forces for 40 years.

Philip Agee, former agent who exposed CIA crimes, dies in Cuba

By Patrick Martin, 14 January 2008

Philip Agee, the former CIA operative who broke with the agency and devoted his life to exposing its role in political subversion, assassination, torture and support for military dictatorships, died January 7 in Cuba. Cuban sources said that he died of peritonitis after ulcer surgery. He was 72.

Ex-Peruvian president Fujimori jailed after first trial

By Bill Van Auken, 13 December 2007

Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori was sentenced to six years in prison Tuesday, at the conclusion of the first in a series of trials in which he faces charges of corruption, abuse of power and responsibility for death squad massacres as well as other human rights atrocities committed during his decade of rule that began in 1990.

The referendum defeat in Venezuela: A warning to the working class

By Bill Van Auken, 4 December 2007

The narrow defeat on Sunday of a constitutional reform submitted to a referendum vote by the government of President Hugo Chavez has produced a mood of right-wing triumphalism within both Venezuela’s oligarchy and the US political establishment.

Venezuela: the class issues in Chavez’s constitutional referendum

By Bill Van Auken, 28 November 2007

The approach of the December 2 referendum on the proposed reworking of Venezuela’s constitution has produced a sharp intensification of the country’s political crisis.

Top general urges Brazil to develop nuclear weapons

By Bill Van Auken, 19 November 2007

Brazil should develop the technological capacity to manufacture nuclear weapons, one of the country’s top generals declared in a television interview last week.

Near-unanimous vote at UN to repudiate US blockade of Cuba

By Bill Van Auken, 1 November 2007

The United Nations General Assembly Tuesday voted by a near-unanimous majority to condemn the 47-year-old US economic blockade against Cuba. The vote, coming less than a week after President Bush delivered a bellicose speech suggesting violent regime change in the Caribbean island nation, represented a stinging rebuke of Washington’s policy.

Bush threatens escalation of aggression against Cuba

By Bill Van Auken, 25 October 2007

When it comes to profaning the name of freedom, there have been few speeches given anywhere that could seriously compete with the diatribe on Cuba that President George W. Bush delivered at the State Department Wednesday.

Chilean court extradites ex-Peruvian President Fujimori

By César Uco, 27 September 2007

Peru’s ex-President Alberto Fujimori arrived in Lima as a prisoner on Saturday September 22, after being extradited from Chile to face charges of corruption and violations of human rights during his decade in office between 1990 and 2000.

Hurricane Dean inflicts devastating blow to Caribbean agriculture, infrastructure

By Naomi Spencer, 24 August 2007

Hurricane Dean swept through the Caribbean and into Mexico this week, killing at least 25 and causing extensive damage to homes and infrastructure. In addition to Mexico, the countries of Belize, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Dominica, St. Lucia, and other islands of the Lesser Antilles, were impacted by flooding and winds up to 256 kilometers per hour.

As residents protest lack of aid

Peruvian president sends troops into earthquake-ravaged region

By Rafael Azul, 21 August 2007

Peru’s central government has announced the deployment of troops to the cities of Pisco and Ica in the country’s south, citing the need to stop looting in the wake of the massive earthquake that struck last Wednesday evening. Fearing a social explosion, special forces patrols are already in Pisco, where 80 percent of all structures collapsed or have been damaged as a result of the quake.

Hundreds dead in massive earthquake in Peru

By David Walsh, 18 August 2007

A massive earthquake struck Peru Wednesday, resulting in hundreds of deaths and homelessness for tens of thousands. The principal victims were the poor in a region on Peru’s Pacific coast south of the capital, Lima, including the cities of Pisco, Chincha and Ica.

Brazil: government intervenes against workers at occupied factories

By V. Hugo, 4 August 2007

After being occupied and operated for nearly five years by workers, the Cipla-Interfibra factory complex was raided suddenly last May by Brazilian federal police, which sent some 150 armed men to take over the facilities and replace the factory leadership elected by the workers with a federal intervener. In June, the Flasko factory suffered a similar intervention.

Jury finds Drummond Coal not liable in murder of Colombian unionists

By D. Lencho, 31 July 2007

On July 26, after less than four hours of deliberation, jurors found Alabama-based energy giant Drummond Coal not liable for the 2001 murder of three Colombian union officials by paramilitary death squads.

United States warns Spain over Cuba policy

By Vicky Short, 30 July 2007

The United States has warned Spain about its policy towards Cuba as the imperialist countries seek power and influence there as Fidel Castro’s decades in power come to an end.

200 dead in Brazil air disaster: Lula government shows gross indifference

By M. Ybarra, 26 July 2007

The following article was sent in Portuguese by a Brazilian correspondent for the WSWS on July 22. In the meantime, the crisis of the Brazilian government has deepened, with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva forced to fire his defense minister, Waldir Pires, the official in overall charge of the country’s precarious aviation system. In an evident attempt to quell criticism from the right, Lula selected as his replacement Nelson Azevedo Jobim, a politician of the opposition PMDB and former justice minister in the government of President Fernando Henrique Cardoso.

Peru’s President Garcia faces nationwide protests

By Cesar Uco, 20 July 2007

Three weeks shy of his first anniversary in power, Peruvian President, Alan Garcia is facing nationwide mass protests against his political and economic program. Culminating in a two-day protest on July 11-12, millions of Peruvians including industrials workers, miners, coca growers, high school teachers, students and small merchants went on strike, organized marches, occupied public buildings and blockaded roads leading to all major cities.

The assault on Rio’s favelas and the growth of state repression in Brazil

By V. Hugo, 5 July 2007

The confrontation between police and drug traffickers that broke out last week in the favelas, or shantytowns,of Rio de Janeiro reached a shocking level of violence. With the support of the national government of Workers Party President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the governor of Rio de Janeiro, Sérgio Cabral of the opposition PMDB party, ordered civil and military police, together with the National Security Force, into one of the biggest combat operations against the traffickers in the state’s history.

Statement of the International Students for Social Equality to the students of the University of Sao Paulo

15 June 2007

The following is a statement issued by the International Students for Social Equality to the students of the University of Sao Paulo (USP), Brazil’s largest university, who have been engaged in a strike, together with professors and staff members, since May 3. The action, which has been accompanied by an occupation of the university’s administration building, was taken by the students on May 3 in response to series of decrees by the state of Sao Paulo’s right-wing governor, Jose Serra, abrogating university autonomy, particularly in budgetary matters, thereby paving the way to the privatization of higher education and subordinating learning directly to the demands of the major corporations. Serra has repeatedly threatened to end the occupation by sending in military police riot squads. The strike has spread to other universities in the state.

Brazil’s social and political crisis deepens in Lula’s second term

By M. Ybarra, 12 June 2007

Barely six months have passed since Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva began his second term in office in January 2007. As was to be expected, the political crisis that has beset the Brazilian state has begun to reemerge with the same force as in 2005, when Lula was confronting the threat of impeachment. Those, both on the left and right, who believed that the crisis had been overcome and had faded into the past were only fooling themselves.

Argentina: 13 years of pension “reform” boosts profits, impoverishes older workers

By Renato Santos, 8 June 2007

At the beginning of the 1990s, following the dictates of the international financial agencies, principally the World Bank and the IMF, some Latin American countries began an overhaul of their social security systems for retired workers. The principal justification for these social security “reforms” was the growth of public deficits, which left governments incapable of expanding their investments in basic infrastructure.

US attacks Venezuela: “press freedom” as a pretext for intervention

By Bill Van Auken, 6 June 2007

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Monday used the opening of the general assembly of the Organization of American States in Panama City to launch another US propaganda attack against the left nationalist government of President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.

Brazilian cane cutter died from working 70 days without break

By V. Hugo in São Paulo, 2 June 2007

After analyzing the working conditions of sugar-cane cutter Juraci Barbosa, 39, who died on June 29, 2006, the Brazilian government’s Public Ministry of Labor concluded that before dropping dead, Juraci had worked 70 days without a break, between April 15 and June 26 of that year.

Evo Morales and the fraud of “nationalization” in Bolivia

By Jair Antunes, 22 May 2007

In a bombastic statement to the media earlier this month Bolivian President Evo Morales announced the concretization of his planned nationalization of the country’s oil and natural gas industries. These enterprises had been privatized at the end of the 1990s during the “neo-liberal turn” throughout Latin America. According to Morales, the Bolivian people are now resuming their role as the true owners of the natural wealth that exists in the subsoil of their county.

Behind Negroponte’s trip to Latin America

Mounting crisis in Yankee imperialism’s ‘back yard’

By Patrick Martin, 16 May 2007

The week-long trip to Latin America by US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte signals a turn by the Bush administration to addressing the mounting challenges facing American imperialism in a region where its dominance was once unchallenged.

Brazil: Bush-Lula biofuel plans based on conditions worse than slavery

By V. Hugo in Sao Paulo, 14 May 2007

The recent proclamation of an “ethanol alliance” between US President George W. Bush and Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva has been hailed by apologists for both governments as an advance in the development of alternative sources of energy and a gain for both countries’ economies. In Brazil, this sector is expected to record export earnings of $7 billion this year, and both countries are mounting a drive to increase the production of Brazilian sugarcane.

Scores of Haitian refugees killed in shark-infested waters

By Bill Van Auken, 7 May 2007

The deaths of over 75 Haitian refugees, whose boat capsized in shark-infested Caribbean waters as they sought to make their way to the United States, is one more tragic consequence of the stark poverty and protracted political oppression that have been inflicted upon the island nation.

Brazil: Workers occupy factory where Lula once worked

By Marcela Souza, 11 April 2007

Workers at the Fris-Moldu car plant outside of Sao Paulo have occupied the factory since February 21 to press their demand for unpaid wages, and have now begun camping out in front of the facility. For more than six weeks, the dispute has paralyzed production.

Police killing of teacher provokes national strike in Argentina

By Jadir Antunes, 11 April 2007

Teachers throughout Argentina staged a nationwide strike Monday to protest the cold-blooded police murder on April 4 of one of their colleagues, Carlos Fuentealba, during a protest in the southwestern province of Neuquén, approximately 600 miles from the capital of Buenos Aires.

CIA document links Colombian army chief to right-wing “terrorists”

By Bill Van Auken, 27 March 2007

In another blow to the Bush administration’s closest political ally in Latin America, an intelligence report obtained by the US Central Intelligence Agency has charged Colombia’s army chief Gen. Mario Montoya with collaborating intimately with right-wing paramilitaries who are classified by Washington as terrorists. The paramilitary organization, the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, known by its Spanish acronym AUC, is also believed to be one of the principal forces in cocaine trafficking from Colombia.

Bush’s “aid” to Latin America mirrors national programs to mask oppression

By Vitor Hugo and R. Pichuaga in Sao Paulo, 22 March 2007

On the eve of his recent trip to Latin America, US President George W. Bush and his administration complained that Washington was not given enough credit for the economic aid that it is bestowing upon the region—$1.8 billion for 2007. The figure, however, represents a $200 million cut from lat year, with half the total going to military aid.

15,000 take to streets of Sao Paulo against Bush, as protest leaders defend Lula

By Rodrigo Brancher in Sao Paulo, 10 March 2007

Various protests erupted throughout Brazil to mark the visit of US President George W. Bush to the country on Thursday, March 8.

Allies in imposing misery and reaction

Bush and Lula meet to discuss biofuel deal

By Hector Benoit in São Paulo, 8 March 2007

US President George W. Bush is scheduled to arrive in Brazil tonight and to meet with Brazil’s President Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva on the morning of March 9, when the two will visit the Transpetro terminal in Guarulhos, a town outside of the industrial and financial center of São Paulo.

Bush mouths support for “social justice” while asserting US interests in Latin America

By Bill Van Auken, 7 March 2007

In a speech delivered on the eve of his trip to Latin America this week, US President George W. Bush cast his administration as a champion of “social justice” in the region. This hypocritical posturing is designed to conceal the real agenda of the American president’s tour, which is to reassert US imperialism’s power in its “own backyard” and to counter growing popular unrest that threatens its strategic interests.

Hugo Chávez, Marx and the “Bolivarism” of the twenty-first century

By Jair Antunes, 12 February 2007

The beginning of the twenty-first century has witnessed a resurgence of bourgeois nationalist populism throughout much of Latin America. In some ways, this development shares common characteristics with what was seen in the previous century in figures like Argentina’s Juan Peron, Brazil’s Getulio Vargas and Mexico’s Lazaro Cardenas.

Repression in Brazil: University students sentenced for protest against Lula government

By Júlio Mariutti, 30 January 2007

The sentencing of two students from the University of Sao Paulo (USP) to prison for political activity is a stark indication of the escalation of repression on Brazil’s university campuses. Similar actions have been carried out at various universities recently, but the court decision handed down last December against the USP students is distinguished by its arbitrary character and the fact that it involves the most important university in the country, where until just a few years ago the military police did not dare to intervene.

Brazil: The WTO and Lula’s “struggle” for the G-20

By Jadir Antunes, 24 January 2007

Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorin, the president of the G-20 (the group of 21 “developing” countries formed to defend their agricultural interests in international trade talks) told the press late last year that he would fight at all costs to restore credibility to the World Trade Organization (WTO). This “struggle” has become necessary following the collapse last year of the Doha round of negotiations on trade liberalization begun in Cancun in 2003. No concrete results were obtained out of this round after years of negotiations.

The significance of Venezuela’s and Ecuador’s nationalizations

By Bill Van Auken, 18 January 2007

Presidential inaugurations in Venezuela and Ecuador over the past week were marked by calls for “socialism” and “revolution.”

Argentina: landowners withhold meat supplies from country’s population

By Jadir Antunes, 20 December 2006

Since December 3, the major landowners in Argentina’s Liniers region have been to refusing to provide cattle to the country’s meatpacking houses. The boycott is a protest by the country’s agrarian bourgeoisie against restrictions imposed by the government on beef exports.

From the archives of Marxism: lessons of the 1973 coup in Chile

12 December 2006

The death of Augusto Pinochet on December 10 provides an opportunity to recall the events of 33 years ago that brought the Chilean general to power in a military dictatorship. The coup in Chile was one of the most tragic episodes arising from the betrayals of Stalinism and social reformism, betrayals that were repeated with equally disastrous consequences in country after country.

Pinochet, Chile’s former US-backed dictator, dead at 91

By Bill Van Auken, 11 December 2006

News of the death of Chile’s former military dictator Augusto Pinochet sparked spontaneous demonstrations in Santiago and other Chilean cities Sunday.

Rafael Correa declared new president of Ecuador

By Rafael Azul, 7 December 2006

Rafael Correa was officially declared president of Ecuador on December 4 by that nation’s electoral court. He will be sworn in January 15 as the 56th president of Ecuador, the seventh to occupy the post since the legislature removed President Abdalà Bucaram 10 years ago in the midst of a debt crisis that devastated the country.

Nicaraguan election: Ortega’s victory and the dead-end of Sandinismo

By Rafael Azul and Patrick Martin, 30 November 2006

Daniel Ortega, the long-time head of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) of Nicaragua, won the country’s presidency in a general election November 5. Ortega received 38 percent of the total vote, about nine percent more than his nearest opponent, the US-backed conservative Eduardo Montealegre of the National Liberal Alliance (ALN), who received 29 percent.

Behind Lula’s reelection: Brazil’s crisis deepens

By Mário Ybarra de Almeida, 8 November 2006

Despite all the exposures of rampant corruption that characterized Brazilian President Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva’s first term in office, despite several of his ministers being found guilty of the crime of forming a gang, despite the disarray in his Workers Party (PT), which has gone through four different presidents in the last year alone (José Genoíno, Tarso Genro, Ricardo Berzoine and now Marco Aurélio Garcia), despite the deep political crises that several times threatened to lead to the president’s impeachment, despite all of this, Lula was reelected in a second round vote October 29.

Bolivia: class tensions rise as Morales bows to landowners, energy transnationals

By Kevin Kearney, 30 September 2006

Political tensions are boiling in the eastern lowland regions of Bolivia. The natural gas-rich departments of Santa Cruz, Tarija, Beni and Pando—dominated by Bolivia’s landed aristocracy, agribusiness and gas interests—are threatening secession in the muted language of a desire for greater regional autonomy.

As Brazilian election nears, crisis deepens for major parties

By Hector Benoit, 23 September 2006

Earlier this month, Brazil’s ex-President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, leader of the PSDB (Party of Brazilian Social Democracy), wrote an open letter acknowledging that the members of the PSDB made a serious error when they kept their mouths shut in 2005. He said that at the moment in which the corruption scandals involving the ruling Workers Party (PT) and the government of President Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva were exploding, the PSDB should have been far more forceful.

US steps up provocations against Cuba amid speculation on Castro’s health

By Bill Van Auken, 3 August 2006

In the wake of President’s Fidel Castro’s announcement that he is temporarily turning over the principal reins of power to his brother, Raul, before undergoing emergency surgery for intestinal bleeding, the Bush administration has escalated its provocations against Cuba, posing the threat of a direct US intervention against the island nation.

Student upheavals expose anti-working class agenda of Chile’s Bachelet

By Eduardo Ballesteros, 20 July 2006

Months of school occupations, student strikes and demonstrations have presented Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet with the first major test of her administration. Elected on promises to pay heed to social concerns, Bachelet’s vicious reaction to the student movement has exposed her government’s anti-working class character and the unstable base upon which it rests.

IMF cuts off credit to Bolivia

By César Uco, 24 May 2006

Bolivia is South America’s poorest country. Every night, 615,000 Bolivian children under 13 years of age go to bed hungry, according to a recent report by the United Nations World Food Program. Life in the countryside has changed little since colonial times, and cities lack basic public services. Clearly, there is an urgent need for infrastructure investments to help raise the living standards of the people in the Andean country.

Brazil: The social contradictions underlying the violent eruption in Sao Paulo

By Hector Benoit, 18 May 2006

For the past five days, chaos and terror have reigned in São Paulo, Brazil’s financial capital and South America’s largest city, due to the armed actions of the powerful PCC (First Command of the Capital) crime organization.

Strike threats as 100,000 remain jobless

Puerto Rico government-school shutdown enters second week

By Bill Van Auken, 9 May 2006

The colonial administration in Puerto Rico has continued its shutdown of most government agencies as well as public schools into a second week, leaving nearly 100,000 public employees and hundreds of thousands of students locked out with no resolution in sight.

Morales’s nationalization in Bolivia: Who got stabbed?

By Hector Benoit, 5 May 2006

The following article (translated from Portuguese) was sent from Brazil on the eve of Thursday’s meeting in the Argentine tourist center of Puerto Iguazu between the presidents of Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela to discuss Bolivian President Evo Morales’s May 1 decree declaring the nationalization of the country’s oil and gas industries. The four South American presidents agreed that Bolivian gas would keep flowing and prices would be negotiated. Brazil’s state energy firm, Petrobras, holds the largest interest in Bolivian gas, followed by Repsol, a Spanish-Argentine company. President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva declared that the meeting would send a signal to investors of regional stability and dialogue.

Peru: Nationalist ex-officer Humala to face APRA’s Garcia in runoff election

By César Uco, 24 April 2006

Ollanta Humala, a former army officer who ran on a nationalist program denouncing the rich elite and foreign capital, won the first round of presidential elections in Peru. He will face former president Alan Garcia (1985-90) from the bourgeois APRA party (American Popular Revolutionary Alliance) in a runoff election scheduled for late May or early June.

The Lula government and the “new ruling class”

The definitive bankruptcy of centrism in Brazil

By Hector Benoit, 20 April 2006

When the Workers Party (PT) of Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva began to win mass support among workers, beginning with the big metalworkers’ strikes of 1978-80, many so-called “Marxist” intellectuals maintained that we would finally see a “legitimate” workers’ party.

Political crisis deepens in Brazil: The rise and fall of Palocci

By Mário Y. de Almeida, 30 March 2006

The Brazilian government of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, having seemingly survived a series of corruption scandals that appeared on the verge of bringing it down last year, was wracked once again this week by the resignation of its finance minister, Antônio Palocci Filho, amid a scandal involving bribes, payoffs and prostitutes.