South and Central America
16 June 2009
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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.
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.
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.
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.
13 May 2009
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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.
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.
14 April 2009
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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.
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.
24 March 2009
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
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.
3 March 2009
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.
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.
20 January 2009
16 December 2008
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.
18 November 2008
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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”
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.
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.