Subscribe via email, get all daily posts sent to you next day (and without all the annoying ads)

7/4/09

Honduras: Snipers are in place around the airport

Snipers in the Teguchigalpa airport control tower, as photographed this afternoon

Below is a direct translation of the first part of this post recently put up at Honduras Resistencia. The blogger has proven to be correct on several occasions this week, having blogged about the bus tires being shot out by troops before CNN got its hands on video footage and writing about how Micheletti's cousin was taking over as Mayor of San Pedro Sula before it hit the newswires. In other words, the blogger I'm translating has been getting the news stories right before they're news.

Now read the translation below, as tomorrow President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras and an entourage that is supposed to include Argentina's Fernandez, Ecuador's Correa, The OEA head Insulza and perhaps others will walk onto the tarmac at Tegucigalpa airport.
The de facto government led by our dinosaur coupmonger has placed his snipers around the area of the Toncontin International Airport, Tegucigalpa. The sharpshooters were seen today when protestors approached the area. They have maintained their position throughhout and we only hope they do not receive an order from the coupmongers and aim their rifles in the direction of the people and do what the Catholic church (which more than a church seems to be spokespeople of the government, they even get TV airtime) forecasted; "If Mel returns it will be a bloodbath". CONTINUES HERE

Zelaya returns to Honduras tomorrow

So reports The BBC and plenty of other news channels.

I'm hoping that it's a peaceful happening, but (take it away Mr. Marley) I know my history and I see where I'm coming from. I can't help thinking about an occasion in 1973 when an exiled president returned under controversial circumstances to his Latin American homeland and the ensuing battle in and around the airport where he landed caused dozens of deaths and hundreds (in fact probably thousands) of injuries. It also marked the beginning of the militarization of the country that ended up with tens of thousands of disappeared citizens.

Read about the 1973 Ezeiza Massacre at this wiki page to start with, then find out more from the links offered. Learn from history and you're not doomed to repeat it.

Honduras's de facto chancellor: "Obama is a little black man who knows nothing."

Cute huh?

Enrique Ortez (for it is he)

Meet Enrique Ortez, the man given the job of Chancellor of Honduras (basically foreign minister) by the usurper Micheletti. In an interview on Honduras TV last night he said the above about President Obama and a whole lot more. Here's a translation of this report in the El Salvador daily, LaPagina:
Following the Coup D'Etat over José Manuel Zelaya, the de facto government led by Roberto Micheletti has named its new government team, among them the new Chancellor Enrique Ortez Colindres, who in his declarations has made the position of the coupmongers clear.

According to the Argentine newspaper El Clarín, the new "chancellor" Enrique Ortez took part in a journalistic TV program in Honduras where he was asked about the international reactions to the coup d'etat. Ortez said that he gave no importane whatsoever to the OAS and "the other little groups out there", he said (Spanish premier) José Luis Rodrígues Zapatero should "go back to his shoes*" and said that he was not going to talk about (Honduras neighbour) El Salvador "because it's not worth talking about such a small country, where you can't even play football because the ball lands in another country".

But he went for more by defining President Barack Obama of The United States as "that little black man who doesn't know anything".
Keep apologizing for your coupmongers, wingnuts. Cos by gawd, every day there's more to apologize for.

UPDATE: I've had a couple of mails from people about what this Ortez scumbag actually said about Obama, so here goes with a bit more. His precise words in Spanish were "Ese negrito que no sabe nada de nada". I decided to translate this as "that little black man who knows nothing" or "that little black man who doesn't know anything" to stay away from the controversial side of the statement and be as bland as possible. In fact the use of the word "negrito", i.e. the diminuitive of "negro", is very derogatory in nature and overtly racist in context; the kind of racism that would force the resignation of any public figure in the USA (for example). One mailer offered up the translation of "that know-nothing black boy" to get the proper feeling of the message implied by Ortez, and although it's extremely difficult to hit the translatory nail on the head in this case, I'd tend to agree that the offered translation captures the sentiment better than my deliberately bland version. Another way of catching the drift would be "That blackie that knows nothing about anything", or even "That negro...." would work, even the other "N" word would be a fair translation of what he meant.

The bottom line is that Ortez's statement, alongside the equally offensive words he has for Zapatero and the nation of El Salvador (note Revolter's comment below and Google up about the "football war" if you haven't heard about it previously) is dripping with bigotry and hatred.

UPDATE 2, July 5th: Must see photo from Honduras today.

UPDATE 3, July 6th: Enrique Ortez speaks! About Obama! On Youtube! With English subtitles!

* a play on words with the word "zapatero", which means "shoemaker" in Spanish

Honduras: You can't fire me cos I quit


So the OAS goes over and presents a message from all other states that make up the group that tells the usurper Micheletti to desist or face having his country thrown out of the organization. Micheletti's reaction is to resign Honduras from the OAS. As the blog Honduras Resistencia correctly comments
"...the only thing this measure shows is the lack of capacity for dialogue from the coupmongers. The infantile attitude of the spoiled child of "better I leave before they throw me out" offers nothing to the climate of dialogue, concertation and peace that, hypocritically, is their motto.

"The repercussions of this action in the international community are incalculable and as always will affect the poor (first)..."
Put the Honduras Resistencia blog on your RSS, or on your own blogroll if you have a blog. The voice of the people from inside Honduras is the most powerful and it's clear that they are not taking this abuse lying down. Meanwhile, for those morons that still believe what happened in Honduras was legal, some basic facts. If you can give me cogent, democratic reasons for any of these then you have the right to move your madness forward.

  • There was no attempt to impeach Zelaya and remove him by legal methods.
  • Since seizing power, the de facto government has suspended several articles of their precious constitution, including articles that protect basic human rights including habeas corpus.
  • The Colon region of Honduras is now under an all-day military controlled curfew, the measure passed to stop residents from travelling to the protests scheduled in the capital today. The announcement came yesterday afternoon and caused panic amongst people had just two hours to buy in provisions before the extended curfew began.
  • Media have been silenced with only pro-government news items allowed on TV, radio and newspapers. Pro-Zelaya Canal 36 has been closed down against the will of its director and is guarded by troops. Apparently CNN is "on the payroll of Hugo Chávez" which explains why it has been suppressed inside Honduras.

You think this is normal? Good for society? Legal? Decent? As reader 'GR' wrote in a mail this morning;
Here the media do not talk or write about the Coup d`Etat, or so little.
It was a different story for Iran. We have been inundated with reports about the evil country for weeks.
But why this difference? First explanation that comes to my mind; there is no oil involved. Secondly this could be a "good dictatorship" (pro-Washington) as opposed to a "bad dictatorship" (anti-Washington).
Meanwhile, the whole of the international community...all of them, every single last one of them, have condemned the coup. Micheletti's lies about having places like Taiwan as allies have also been exposed at the highest level.

If you don't like Zelaya, that's fine by me. But why on earth do we have to be pulled back to the 1970's because it suits the self-interests of people who couldn't find Honduras on a map one week ago? You have the whole of the international community on one side, and a military government with a bunch of wingnuts on the other. Gimme a break here........

PS: Greg Weeks at his blog has been covering Honduras in a more scholarly, intellectual way (i.e. better than here), so go see for yourself.

Progress?

Ed Stafford is a incredibly brave (or stupid, or mad...your call) dude who decided to do what nobody else has ever done, namely walk the length of The Amazon River. His website, walkingtheamazon.com is right here and regular reader MM has been following his journey and occasionally sends me a "hey Otto, check out this Ed Stafford post" headsup.

Well MM sent one today (thank you sir) and it's pretty much obligatory reading for everyone. Ed met up with an anthropologist on his way through one area. She sent him a mail to point to the progress that the Amazon basin is facing. No more blab from me, read the entry yourself:

Hi Ed,

In December the CARE, the organisation the oversees the Ashaninkas, discovered that the Peruvian national and regional governments, along with the Brazilian govt, have been cooking up plans for no less than 3 dams on the Ene River - 15 in total in Peru. I wrote something about it in an article I have on my new blog… www.gezc.wordpress.com.

Well, the headlining act of these 15 dams happens to be right in the middle of the River Ene - I don’t know if you remember when you took the boat, when going upriver about 5 hours in from Puerto Ocopa there’s a massive canyon with high walls - it is called Pakitzapango by the Ashaninka.

Pakitzapango is a mythical eagle that the Ashaninkas believe was building a massive dam across the river in order to steal the Ashaninka and eat them but the Ashaninka succeeded in killing him before he finished his dam. They believe this is why there is such a tight canyon there…

Well, it is going to be dammed in reality, by a 165 meter concrete wall which will flood all the communities upstream & dry out the ones downstream. basically a HUGE disaster for the Ashaninka. Their declaration against the dam is copied below.

Emily xx

———

DECLARATION CONCERNING THE THREAT OF THE PAKITZAPANGO DAM
BY THE ASHANINKA COMMUNITIES OF THE ENE VALLEY

The Ashaninka communities of the Ene Valley, in the districts of Rio Tambo and Pango, Province of Satipo, Junin, Peru, gathered together to celebrate the XIII ordinary Congress of their representative organisation, Central Ashaninka del Rio Ene (CARE), in the community of Pichiquia on the 24th-26th of April 2009 in order to debate the threat of the current project for the construction of the Pakitzapango hydroelectric dam, declare the following:

Considering that:

Our history is one of constant abuse: we were enslaved during the rubber boom, forcibly removed from our territory and subjected to cruel atrocities during the civil war that has unfolded in our territory since the 1980s. The Truth Commission reports that around 6000 Ashaninka were murdered or disappeared during the latter’s worst years. While organised in Ashaninka Self-defense Committees, we contributed with our blood and our lives to the pacification of this country, and yet the government still imposes new threats upon us: the concession of our territories to petrol companies and to the construction of the Pakitzapango dam. To us, the latter assaults on our territorial integrity signal a direct attack on our lives and our survival as a People. It leads us to one conclusion: this government intends to exterminate us.

The Ene river is the heart and soul of our territories: it feeds our forests, animals, plants, crops, and most of all, our children. For the Ashaninka People, Pakitzapango is of great cultrual and spiritual importance, as the origins of our People lie within this sacred place. We, the Ashaninka of the Ene have demonstrated our ability to care for our environment; we also helped create the Otishi National Park and Ashaninka Communal Reserve, to biodiversity hotspots which would be severely affected by the construction of the Pakitzapango dam.

Nevertheless, the government persists in ignoring and violating our human rights, as enshrined in the ILO Convention 169 and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This is made clear in the Ministerial Resolution N. 546-2008-MEM/DM in which the Minister of Energy and Mines grants, to the company ‘Pakitzapango Energia SAC’, a concession for a feasibility study to prepare for the constuction of the Pakitzapango hydroelectric dam. This concession was granted without informing or consulting us, demonstrating, once again, the peruvian government’s lack of respect towards our way of life and, more fundamentally, our human rights.

Furthermore, it is outrageous that our president Alan Garcia and Brasil’s president Lula da Silva are currently in the process of negotiating an energy agreement by which they commit to the building of six hydroelectric dams in Peru, Pakitzapango being the largest of them.

In view of this, the Ashaninka communities of the Ene river:

1. Wholly reject and demand the immediate anulment of the Resolution N. 546-2008-MEM as the Ashaninka communities of the Ene valley were neither informed nor consulted regarding it
2. Demand that the peruvian government respect and unreservedly apply our human rights as enshrined in the ILO Convention 169 and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
3. Insist that the national government, represented by the president Alan Garcia, and public institutions such as the Ministry for Energy and Mines, the Congress of the Republic, the Junin Regional Government and the local Municipalities (Pangoa and Rio Tambo) respect the decisions of the Ashaninka People and call off any negotiation regarding the Pakitzapango hydroelectric dam.
4. Insist that international goverments such as Brasil, represented by Lula Da Silva, respect the decisions of the Ashaninka People and call off any negotiation regarding the Pakitzapango hydroelectric dam.
5. Repudiate the use of the Ashaninka word Pakitzapango in light of its spiritual and cultural significance for the Ashaninka People of Peru.
6. Demand that any activity such as research, promotions, reports, meetings or proposals that support or promote the construction of the Pakitzapango dam are immediately called off. The Ashaninka of the Ene valley will NOT permit the entry of any institution carrying out any of the mentioned activities.
7. Provide our wholehearted support to our orgnisation CARE (Central Ashaninka del Rio Ene) and trust that it will transmit, maintain and defend our common decisions. Furthermore, we entrust it to disseminate our voices in all necessary social and political spaces.

7/3/09

The Friday OT: Subterranean Homesick Blues by Bob Dylan

Best. Video. Ever.

Part of the 1965 documentary "Don't Look Back", Bob Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues is about the coolest performance ever. Lots of side-issues here, including beat poet Allen Ginsberg skulking around in the background, the filming location (behind the Savoy Hotel, London) and deliberate mistakes made on the cards (e.g. "twenty dollar bills" when the song is "eleven dollar bills" and the beautifully mis-spelled 'suck cess').



As an extra IKN bonus, you can even follow that bouncing ball with the words:

Johnny's in the basement, Mixing up the medicine, I'm on the pavement, Thinking about the government, The man in the trench coat, Badge out, laid off, Says he's got a bad cough, Wants to get it paid off, Look out kid, It's somethin' you did, God knows when, But you're doin' it again, You better duck down the alley way, Lookin' for a new friend, The man in the coon-skin cap, In the big pen, Wants eleven dollar bills, You only got ten. Maggie comes fleet foot, Face full of black soot, Talkin' that the heat put, Plants in the bed but, The phone's tapped anyway, Maggie says that many say, They must bust in early May, Orders from the D. A., Look out kid, Don't matter what you did, Walk on your tip toes, Don't try "No Doz", Better stay away from those, That carry around a fire hose, Keep a clean nose, Watch the plain clothes, You don't need a weather man, To know which way the wind blows. Get sick, get well, Hang around a ink well, Ring bell, hard to tell, If anything is goin' to sell, Try hard, get barred, Get back, write braille, Get jailed, jump bail, Join the army, if you fail, Look out kid, You're gonna get hit, But users, cheaters, Six-time losers, Hang around the theaters, Girl by the whirlpool, Lookin' for a new fool, Don't follow leaders, Watch the parkin' meters. Ah get born, keep warm, Short pants, romance, learn to dance, Get dressed, get blessed, Try to be a success, Please her, please him, buy gifts, Don't steal, don't lift, Twenty years of schoolin', And they put you on the day shift, Look out kid, They keep it all hid, Better jump down a manhole, Light yourself a candle, Don't wear sandals, Try to avoid the scandals, Don't wanna be a bum, You better chew gum, The pump don't work, 'Cause the vandals took the handles.

Bolivia got new money

As from 2010, Bolivia's central bank is changing the wording on the reverse side of coins minted.


It remains to be seen whether the fascist jerks that claim to represent Santa Cruz are into plurinationalism.

In other Bolivia financial news, International Currency Reserves now stand at U$7.955Bn (which I think is an all-time record, but even if it isn't it's darned close). Also, Fitch said nice things about Evolandia using words like "stable" and "solid" and phrases like "fiscal surplus" and "GDP growth in 2009". But don't let facts get in the way of anyone telling you that Bolivia's economy is in a mess, will you?

Excellent note on media gagging in Honduras from inside Honduras by Ioan Grillo of Global Post

Ioan Grillo is no mug as a journo, either.


He's a Time Magazine contributor, does TV and used to cover Mexico with AP and the Houston Chronicle.


I'm not pasting the whole thing as it's only fair that you click through and read at source.

It's fine stuff from start to finish, with intelligent analysis and nuance.


Here's how it starts:

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — At the Channel 36 TV station in this sweltering capital, the buzzing, hectic atmosphere of a news network has been replaced by an ominous silence.

The doors are held shut with huge industrial padlocks, bored-looking soldiers stand on the sidewalk and the journalists are nowhere to be seen.

Since taking power Sunday after a coup against elected-president Manuel Zelaya, the new administration has shut down a major TV station, several radio stations and a newspaper. It has also cut off signals from some international networks, including Venezuela-based Telesur.

Meanwhile, those media outlets still running heap praise on the regime of Roberto Micheletti. “Defending the Constitution,” blears the headline in one newspaper reporting the consolidation of the new government. “Zelaya Out, We Want Peace,” says another.

Such control of the media is perhaps a predictable development from a government that came to power after the elected head of state was forced out of his home at gunpoint and taken on a plane to neighboring Costa Rica.

But the media battle over the Honduras coup also reflects larger news-related issues as leftist governments have risen to power in the region.

Longstanding commercial networks controlled by wealthy families have often had head-on collisions with leftist leaders, who accuse them of undermining their governments.

In reaction, business interests accuse stations controlled by leftist presidents of demonizing the rich and dividing nations along class lines.

“The media across Latin America has become much more polarized in recent years. There is more of an atmosphere of saying, “You have to be with us or against us,” said Elan Reyes, president of Honduras’ journalist association.

In power, the left-leaning Zelaya had a fiery relationship with the dominant TV channels in Honduras, which are controlled by some of the nation’s richest families.

When they criticized him for raising the minimum wage by more than 50 percent, saying he was clobbering business, he lashed back, alleging that they were part of an “elite group” of oligarchs who CONTINUES HERE

Romulo Leon

Romulo (for it is he)

Does the name Romulo Leon ring a bell? It might do, and when I remind you that he was the dude that was taped talking about bribes obtained from foreign oil companies in Peru, you'll probably go "aaaahh yeah!...I gotcha, Otto." Here's how this humble corner of cyberspace reported the story way back on October 6th, 2008:
Last night Peru investigative reporting program "El Cuarto Poder" played audio tapes of APRA party insider Romulo Leon and PetroPeru bigwig Alberto Quimper as they discussed the best way to make themselves a nice slice of bribery and corruption money. Between them they arranged for a foreign oil company, Discover Petroleum of Norway, to land five concession blocks in Peru (continues)


In the immediate fallout, then PM Jorge Del Castillo and the rest of the Twobreakfasts cabinet resigned, as the trails of corruption were soon traced to the highest levels of the administration. Then, as you'll probably recall, Romulo went into hiding and police did a Where's Waldo? all over Peru until giving himself up a full 30 days later.

You've already guessed what I'm going to say, haven't you? Yup, the dude has been let out of jail. Peru's Poder Justicial (PJ) ('Justicial Power'...the law people) have offically let him do his arrest thing in the comfort of his own home, but as Juan Sheput points out, house arrest in Peru is simply the first step in quietly dropping any case of this type, especially for an APRA buddy during the time of an APRA government. And if all this isn't enough, check out one of the reasons the PJ said he's good to do his arrest on his sofa (Sheput dixit)
One of the considerations of the PJ fr the freeing (because house arrest with this government is being freed) of Rómulo León was that this individual has already been tried for corruption and demonstrated good personal conduct.
Wilkommen, Mondo Bizarro. Yes you read that right, in Peru it's considered a positive that because a dude has been tried for corruption previously and while the trial went on didn't try to skip the country or kill anybody or whatever. It's good reason to let him out.

Meanwhile, this week's 'No Shit Sherlock' award is won by outgoing (he's gone next week) Prime Minister Yehude Simon, who says that freeing Romulo today was "a bad signal for the country." Second prize in the NSS award goes to opposition congressman Isaac Meckler who said that a link seems to exist between the Courts and the APRA party. Ah wuz shocked, ah tellz ya....shocked ah wuz.

Hey, maybe.....just maybe, that link is something we've already mentioned here at IKN. It just so happens that Romulo Leon has a daughter who's a congress member for the APRA party in the current parliament. Luciana León also knew all about the 'petroaudios' corruption case because she was found with a whle bunch of e-mails from her father about it all. But León is also the protegé(e) of Mercedes Cabanillas, who is ....roll on the drums...the present Minister of the Interior (!) and as we mentioned before was closely involved with the (ahem) modernization of PeruPetro in the Twobreakfasts administration before getting a ministrial position.

Gotta love these APRA dudes. Viva investment grade, everyone.

Honduras: Big Anti-Coup Marches Happening Now

What kind of democracy needs to hurredly put up barricades against its
own people? If the wingnuts don't mind me asking, that is.......

Reports are still sketchy and unconfirmed at the moment and there's no link of worth to give you, but word coming in from Honduras is that tens of thousands of people are now marching in separate protests through the streets of Tegucigalpa protesting against the coup d'etat and demanding that President Manuel Zelaya is reinstated. Protest marches are also supposedly happening in other cities in Honduras. Expect the Washington Post to mention minor disturbances on page 427 tomorrow.

The protests are going ahead despite the curfew orders, the stripping of basic rights via the suspension of articles in the constitution and the "welcoming committee" of heavily armed miliary, part of which you see protecting the Presidential palace this morning. Also, last night a bomb reportedly exploded in restaurant just 100m from the capital's airport. The welcoming committee's way of greeting Insulza as he lands today, I suppose.

UPDATE: Avoiding Honduras media that insists all is quiet in the capital (as TV station directors report they've been under military occupation for the last 100 hours), and avoiding Prensa Latina that thinks there are a million pro-Zelayans marching right now, here's Notimex with a bit of coverage that talks about the area around the Presidential palace as a 'battleground' right now and that two military helicopters are firing into the crowd. It's still very difficult to get reliable word on what's going on, but something big is clearly happening.


I fought the law and the law lost

An excuse to peg up one of the
better rock photos of all time


More strong work on Honduras from The Miami Herald (really, the most pleasant surprise of the whole sorry episode...TMH is reporting balanced and objective stuff and should be congratulated). Check out how the report starts here and then click through for the rest . Also, those Spanish speakers among you should check out the full transcript of the interview at ElFaro....pretty amazing stuff.

The military officers who rushed deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya out of the country Sunday committed a crime but will be exonerated for saving the country from mob violence, the army's top lawyer said.

In an interview with The Miami Herald and El Salvador's elfaro.net, army attorney Col. Herberth Bayardo Inestroza acknowledged that top military brass made the call to forcibly remove Zelaya -- and they circumvented laws when they did it.

It was the first time any participant in Sunday's overthrow admitted committing an offense and the first time a Honduran authority revealed who made the decision that has been denounced worldwide.

''We know there was a crime there,'' said Inestroza, the top legal advisor for the Honduran armed forces. ``In the moment that we took him out of the country, in the way that he was taken out, there is a crime. Because of the circumstances of the moment this crime occurred, there is going to be a justification and cause for acquittal that will protect us.''

Zelaya was ousted in a predawn raid at his house Sunday after CONTINUES HERE

Peru: "All the gains in confidence of the last three years have disappeared in the quarter"

So says Michelson Survey, the company that conducts Peru's most reliable consumer confidence survey, the IAC.

Let's play 'Spot The Trend'

As well as the lowest rating since Twobreakfasts came to power (yep, even worse than last year), the most telling datapoint is that 43% of those surveyed that earn under S/1000 per month (as close to the national average as dammit) say they are worse off today than they were a year ago, with just 15% saying they're better off. "This is why they have been provoked into protesting", says Michelson. Meanwhile, those surveyed that earn over S/3,500 a month (over triple the national average) are happy with their lot and the majority are better off than they were a year ago....hoodathunkit, eh? Gotta love that trickledown economics thing.

Thank you....


....for all the hatemail. Seriously, why even bother writing if this blog is so unimportant to your world? At the last count there were about 14 squillion website to choose from (half of which are porno sites, I'm told. They'll probably suit you better straight away).

Meanwhile, the hypocrisy of not speaking out against a military coup and subsequent and obvious restrictions on basic human rights in Honduras (e.g. if you don't know what 'habeas corpus' means you shouldn't even be opening your mouth right now) when you've tried to make it the anti-Chávez rallying cry for years makes clear that you simply don't give a damn about anything South of the Rio Grande. Seriously, why are you pretending to care about Latin America? Why are you reading a blog about Latin America?

Or as this guy once said many moons ago when asked what the USA should do;
It is very difficult to give a precise answer. It is somewhat unrealistic, as a question. Perhaps the most frank and objective answer would be: Nothing. Nothing in all respects. Nothing for or against us. Just leave us alone.
Which is, I recall, strangely similar to something Malcolm X once said about the same group of people (though under different circumstances, of course......of course). So use your freedom of choice. Do not come back to this site ever again. You're free to choose the hue of your media channel, a luxury that Hondurans don't get right now.

Chart of the day is.....

...the gold/silver ratio.


When we looked at the GSR (in this post on June 25th..the one with a bit of explanation about what the GSR does and why it's useful) it stood at 67X. Here we are eight days later and the ratio is up to 69.67 (right here right now).

Just sayin'.

7/2/09

It's like reading The New York Sun on the influence of the French Revolution to modern society

And then they wonder why the service doesn't make them money. Here's Casey on Peru today (thanks reader K)

Stupidity Watch

Lethal Stupidity On June 5, 2009, reports surfaced of major clashes between protesters and police in Peru, with the death toll now estimated at 34 people. The protests involved tens of thousands of indigenous people who were opposed to mining and energy exploitation in rainforest areas of the country. This prompted the government, on June 18, to revoke two laws enacted last year to open the Amazon to mining, oil, and timber development. Reuters reports that Peru’s president, Alan Garcia, “is under heavy pressure to make more concessions to opposition groups as social unrest and a slower economy undermine his push to attract foreign investors.”

This could result in measures hostile to the interests of resource investors involved in projects far from the rainforest areas. We have no exposure to Peruvian politics in our portfolio at present, but a major anti-industry move in Peru could have regional effects, so we will keep an eye on the story.

I mean, where do you start with this tosh? Maybe with the idea that there are a lot of places in Peru that are umpteenth generation miners and write petitions to mining companies to get them to develop in their areas. Maybe with the way Casey insists on putting the word "miner" before "energy" when the whole thing had nothing to do with any mining concession whatsoever. Or maybe by explaining that if Florida votes against having mining it dosn't mean Nevada is affected. I dunno...it's just so banal, so dumb...there's no saving the text at all.

So let's just call them dumbasses and be done. Y'know, they actually entitled their note "stupidity watch". Better would have been "watch stupidity".

The European Union has left the building

Goddam lefties like....errr....Italy and tinpot politically unstable countries like.....errrr..... The United Kingdom have decided that it's probably not a good thing to negotiate with fascist dictators that suspend constitutional rights, force curfews, suppress media and other such trifles.

Sweden’s foreign minister said all EU ambassadors have been recalled from Honduras after Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was ousted in a coup.

Carl Bildt, whose country holds the EU presidency, wrote on his blog yesterday that “all EU ambassadors have now left the country.”

Bildt wrote there is still uncertainty about events in Honduras after the coup and the EU is debating how best to push for “a quick return to full constitutional rule.”

The UN, the Organization of American States (OAS), the US and others have condemned the military coup that ousted Zelaya on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the surprisingly good coverage of Honduras at The Miami Herald continues.

'You will help me change the opinion of the world,'' Micheletti told a gaggle of foreign reporters hailing from Nicaragua to Italy who were at the country's presidential palace for a news conference Wednesday evening.

But if Micheletti was looking for an easy ally in the foreign press corps Wednesday, what he had instead was a hard time trying to explain his foreign relations gaffes. A man who just a week ago was the head of congress now finds himself in the hot seat, as the international press and leaders from throughout the world press him for explanations.

Micheletti said he looked forward to welcoming a team of four or five countries, including Canada, Mexico and Guatemala, that he heard plan to visit Honduras in the coming days.

''But, you just said a couple of minutes ago that trip hasn't been confirmed; it's just a rumor on an Internet page,'' a Salvadoran reporter shot back.

After a brief pause, Micheletti responded: ``That's fine, then I have the hope and faith in God that they will come. Israel and Taiwan have said they support us, and I have faith that other governments will follow.''

The reporters pressed: Had Taiwan and Israel formally expressed their support?

''I don't have an official declaration, but that is the rumor I've heard,'' Micheletti responded. ``It's an aspiration I have that all of the countries will be a friend of ours.''


Usurper Micheletti warns Insulza, Correa and Klishtina that if they accompany Zelaya to the sho on Saturday they'll be responsible for any bloodshed, not him. I mean, what a prize dickhead. No wonder Alvaro Vargas Llosa likes this guy.

And you know its serious when Zelaya's credit card gets blocked by congress. It's like...oh shit...they weren't kidding after all....

Swine Flu: A little perspective

My best pal in Argentina wrote today and told me his wife's pregnant with their second child. This is great and I'm really happy for them, but he then told me how worried they are about the swine flu outbreak down there, what with pregnancy being a vulnerable moment for two souls, not just one. Then I saw this report today and wow!, look at the coverage all those pro-Peru journalists and commentators give this story.


Perhaps one day this might change; y'know if somebody with a voice loud enough to be heard cared enough to whip up a bit of hysteria about the fact that a country that boasts and brags about its GDP growth rate can't be bothered to look after its poorest citizens.

Viva investment grade. Viva, viva, viva.

Caerus, sinking ships and rodents

The boat's name is 'Slava', Russian for 'honour' or 'fame'

Hey, remember that scammy junior Caerus Resources (CA.v) we featured the other day? The one that said it has 'acquired gold interests in Colombia' right next to Ventana and Greystar and Colosa and stuff? We summed up the reality of the CA.v situation like this at the time:
"....what we have is a company that doesn't have a single area to its name in Colombia. All it has is a letter of intent (a LOI, those famous mining documents that may as well be written on toilet paper) to take over a local company called "White Gold" that has a subsidiary called "Oro Barracuda" that has applied for the right to explore some 220,000 hectares up in that corner of Colombia. Or in other words, CA.v has acquired nothing. Zip. Squat. Nada. What it has is a piece of paper that says it'll take over a company that owns another company, as long as that company manages to secure the concessions it has applied for with the government of Colombia.

"Not exactly "acquires gold interests", is it? And especially when just last week the Colombian government passed a new mining code specifically designed to stop "concession squatters", meaning that it will stop small miners like CA.v from claiming extra-large concessions unless they can prove they have the wherewithall to be able to move exploration forward quickly..."
Well, seems like the top managers have cottoned on to the fact that the new mining regulations in Colombia indicate the company's gameplan is now toast, too. Here's the latest deal struck by CEO Hobkirk (learned all he knows from the Darling Ms. Peggy W at Century Mining) and oh look.....¡que sorpresa!... he's selling his shares;

Jun 30/09 Jun 25/09 Hobkirk, Adrian Frederick Indirect Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -30,000 $0.605
Jun 30/09 Jun 23/09 Hobkirk, Adrian Frederick Indirect Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -10,000 $0.465

And he got a far better price that the current 45c, too. My, these inside sellers sure have lucky timing....

Peru's GDP: Twobreakfasts is still in cloud cuckoo land

Click to enlarge

On March 17th, your humble correspondent called Peru's GDP for 2009 at 2.25% (as part of a friendly wager, see here). Right up to today the delusions of 3.5% growth this year persist at the Economy Ministry (FinMin Liar Carranza) and the Central Bank (slightly better Velarde, but still in a dream world).

However an important article in today's La Republica (screenshot above, link right here) makes is plain as day why these official forecasts are simply wrong. The economy is getting trashed, growth would have to average 4.8% for every month until December to make the gov't prediction, cement dispaches fell again last month, public works investment has ground to a virtual halt, prices are being cut left, right and centre as those affected push on their own strings, but this most awful of governments insists on its siren song of "everything's good...don't worry...think positively...we're doing just fine...investment grade, y'know...."

I was asked last week by a man who watches all things Peru economy closely just why I'm so harsh on the Peruvian situation. It's not because they're going through some kind of Russian recession (-11% right now, they tell me), it's because the country is so totally unprepared for what's about to happen. Before 2009, Chile was telling its people "look..we're about to hit a rough patch...get ready, people" but at the same time Twobreakfasts was ranting about how the Peruvian economy was armour plated against the world financial crisis, even though the economies of Peru and Chile are very similar. Amazingly, this ostrich-like attitude hasn't changed a jot in the ensuing 6 months. Peru is still unprepared for the shit that only now has begun to hit the fan. My problem with Peru isn't the comparative macro numbers, my problem is the vast, arrogant stupidity of its leaders that can't break the habit of lying to their people. How many more times must I read "ya hemos tocado fondo?". Dumbasses all.

The Doe Run Peru farce and its latest chapter


Met him on a Monday and my heart stood still
De Doe Run Run Run, De Doe Run Run
Somebody told me that his name was Ira
De Doe Run Run Run, De Doe Run Run

  • We have an owner, Ira Rennert, who just doesn't give a monkey's. He's got the money and he'll be damned if he's giving any of it back.
  • We have a government run by a born-again neolib that couldn't possibly go back to his roots and face the plain fact that his country needs to expropriate and take over Doe Run.
  • We have a mining ministry stuck between Twobreakfast's dogma and Rennert's barefaced capitalistic middle finger stuck in its face.
  • We have a whole bunch of workers that are protesting and cutting roads because they want to work, earn money and put a meal on their family table. They don't have any issues here except 'allow me to do a day's labour'. They even take the pollution in their stride.

But now, in true Rosencrantz and Guildenstern farce-amongst-tragedy style, we have Peru's SNMPE (The mining society people who do little but organize cocktail parties in The Republic of Lima) sticking their dos centavos into the mix and making Ira not quake in his boots about his rescinded membership card. The most pitiful thing is that the SNMPE really thinks it's shaking up the world with this move, the pity only matched Chez Otto by the idiot reporters who think this is worthy of headlines. NOBODY CARES . Here's BN Americas with the details:

Peru's national oil, mining and energy society SNMPE has suspended US-owned Doe Run Perú's rights as a member for non-compliance with the society's code of conduct.

The code of conduct requires companies to use mineral resources responsibly, make real and measurable contributions to the community, conduct business in an economically and socially sustainable manner, and fully observe the country's laws and norms.

SNMPE has sent a letter to Doe Run Perú communicating the decision, according to state news agency Andina.

The suspension could be followed by the company's full exclusion from SNMPE if it does not complete a series of cleanups and modernizations, called PAMA initiatives, at its La Oroya polymetallic smelter. Doe Run has an October 31 deadline to fulfill its PAMA obligations Continues here

More trouble in Peru that you won't hear about anywhere else

This time in the town of Santo Tomas in the Chumbavilcas region of the Cusco. Sad to say it's just another version of the same old story.

1) A strike/protest by locals started on June 24th. Nobody cared. Nobody listened.

2) All roads into and out of the region centre, Santo Tomas, have been blocked for a week. The local mayor has said that the town has run out of provisions. Still nobody cared. Not in The Republic of Lima, y'see.

3) A bus tried to get through one of the blockades this afternoon. When he couldn't get through he walked to the police station to get help.

4) When the police arrived on the scene, according to this report in the good regional newspaper El Sol del Cusco about 40 protestors starting throwing stones at the officers and the bus, breaking windows etc.

5) Police retaliated, with one officer firing his gun "at point blank range" into the crowd of protestors. The shot hit a certain Remigio Mendoza Ancalla in the head. He later died in hospital.

6) The mob turned furious after the shooting and attacked the police officers. There are 20 injuries from the fight, inclusing one seriously injured police officer.

You won't hear about this, because it's not important enough, you see. The authorities will blame the brutal locals, the locals will blame the brutal authorities. But make the pages in English? No way. No jungle to save, no oil companies to cheer or jeer, no ecology to worry about and no investment money in play......just another day in Twobreakfast's failed state..

Today's front page of El Sol del Cusco

Chart of the day is....

....the number of times Honduras has been a subject of an IKN post since the blog began back in March 2008.

Well, including this post it's now 20 this week. Sad, innit? One minute I ignore the place, the next I'm a-rantin' and a-ravin'. But the thing is, what's going on right now is really, really important for the future of Latin America and I just have to follow the story. We're at a moment where we can choose between the ways of the past or the future. Succumb to this classic aggression and the whole region's growth will be stunted. But stand up to this bullying and by God my master it will be defeated and the region will grow and mature.

There are fools, real fools, who hide their apologies of this blatant aggression behind fearmongering, using the name Hugo Chávez as their battlecry. "We can't let Chávez win one!!" is the idea, the fear. Look people, this isn't about Chávez, in fact it's not really about Zelaya any more, either. I honestly don't care a damn about Zelaya the person. He may have deserved his low polls he was reaping before the coup went down, he may not have, but this is a secondary issue right now. Regular reader Arturo made a good point yesterday in a comment; Why didn't the Zelaya opposition move to impeach the president? The mechanisms exist, and the man was running low 20% approval ratings until last week. The opposition had the channels and may well have had the support if they'd gone about their task in legal manner. Damn straight Arturo...why didn't they impeach Zelaya?

This is the crux of the issue:
  • We cannot and must not let usurping of power via illegal methods. Not any longer.
  • We cannot allow an army to present a patently false resignation letter to its congress, get their lapdog approval and depose a president. Not any longer.
  • We cannot sit idly by while the people of an entire country are stripped of the freedoms granted to them by their constitution. Not any longer.
  • We cannot watch as media channels are turned off in Stroessner/Pinochet style and a whole country is left in the dark watching cartoons and softsoap news shows. Not any longer. The revolution may not be televised but it's going to be realtime online, suckaz.
  • We cannot allow the total and universal condemnation from the international community to bow to a bunch of wingnuts who think this is a left vs. right battle. It isn't. This is about the freedom to choose, not the imposition of ideologies.

Once Zelaya is back where he belongs, as President of his country, and once the usurpers are where they belong, in jail, then we can debate on whether Zelaya was right or wrong in trying to push through his non-binding survey. They can hold elections in Honduras that are not overseen by an oppressive military and let the people that really matter decide. We can debate whether the Obama/Clinton view of pre-coup Honduras is correct, or the Chávez version, or the Honduras oligarchy version, but before then we have a much more important task at hand.

We must make a stand and rid Latin America of this outbreak of retro-tyranny. A military coup and ensuing crackdown on freedoms and liberties just cannot happen again here. No more. Please. LatAm has suffered enough from this shit in the course of my lifetime and it's time to make a stand. I have two kids, five and nearly three years old. When they're 21 and 18 I'm going to have enough trouble on my hands worrying about boys and drugs and getting them into universities and making sure they get there unpregnant and all the rest. I really don't need to worry whether they're going to take a bullet in the chest if they decide to protest the government of the day. Or maybe just disappear.

I repeat; this isn't about left and right. We've left the world of political games and we can debate the social niceties of the shade of your personal politics another day. How many disappeared people do you need before you wake up and see what's going on? Another 100,000 to match the harvest of the 1970's, would that be enough for you?


Those who cannot learn from history are condemned to repeat it. (George Santayana)

If you know your history, then you will know where you're coming from. (Bob Marley)

Stupid is as stupid does. (Forrest Gump)

7/1/09

Honduras: Congress suspends constitutional rights

This is Honduras (photo taken today)

The new blog out of Honduras is called "Honduras Frente Al Golpe De Estado" (Honduras Confronts the Coup D'Etat...more or less). Make it part of your RSS feed as there are already 13 posts and a lot of information and photos available at the site For example this post entitled "Individual Guarantees (rights) Suspended".

The following is spine-chilling for anyone who knows their LatAm history. I wrote when all this started on Sunday "welcome to the 1980's"...well forget that, we're now in the 1970's of dictatorship, Dirty War Argentina. Remember that this usurper Micheletti has illegally seized power by claiming some sort of technical infringement of the constitution on the part of Zelaya. But as soon as he has control he simply suspends six fundamental articles of the very same constitution that pertain to public freedom. This is nothing short of outrageous. This is the direct road to secret police, disappeared people and every other Latin American nightmare of the last century. Do you support what you're about to read "in the name of freedom and democracy?" Shame on anyone with a word to defend this scum. Shame on you.

The following constitutional rights have been suspended by the Honduran congress under the de facto command of Roberto Micheletti between the hours of 9pm and 5am Also, congress has given the right to hold a person without arrest or allowing contact with the outside world for 24 hours (renewable, of course, which means they can be held indefinitely without trial or disclosure). My translation.

SUSPENDED, Article 71: No person can be detained for more than 24 hours without being presented to the orders of the competent authority for judgment. Judicial inquiry detention cannot exceed six days from the moment of detention.

SUSPENDED, Article 78: Freedom of association and reunion is guaranteed as long as it does not contravene public order and good custom.

SUSPENDED, Article 81: All persons have the right of free passage, to leave enter and stay in national territory. No person can be forced to move from their domicile or residence, except in special circumstances and when the requisits of law allow.

SUSPENDED, Article 84: No person can be arrest or detained without the virtue of a written mandate of the competent authority, expidited with legal formalities and for a motive previously established by law. However, in-fragranti criminals may be apprehended by any person in order to deliver them to authorities. The arrested or detained must be informed in the act and with total clarity of their rights and the reasons for the arrest; also, the authority must communicate theri detention to a family member of choice.

SUSPENDED, Article 88: No class of violence or coercion may be exercised on persons to force or make them declare. In a penal, disciplinary or police issue, nobody can be made to declare against themself, against a spouse or living companion, or against family members inside fourth grade of bloodline or second of affinity. Only in front of a competent judge make statements be taken. Any decalration obtained by infringement of these dispositions is null and void.

SUSPENDED, Article 99: The domicile cannot be violated. No entry or register can take place without the consent of the person who resides in the domicile or without a resolution from acompentent authority. However, the domicile may be searched in the case of emergency to impede the commission or the impunity of a crime or to avoid serious harm to person or property.

Thank you Gran Combo Club for reminding me: The magnificent mural "Gloriosa Victoria" by Diego Rivera, 1954. A celebration of the Guatemala coup backed by the United Fruit Company

Honduras: More from Dario in San Pedro Sula, Honduras


I received another mail from Dario this afternoon, our Honduran eyewitness friend in San Pedro Sula that authored this previous missive. Again, here comes the direct translation of his words followed by his original mail in Spanish.

It seems to me important to get the word about what's really going on in the heart of the country from a Honduran who is clearly worried about his country's future. Maybe you'd like to leave support comments for him under the post (or mail me and I'll pass any message on).

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Hi Otto,

Look, I can tell you that the situation is still along the same lines as yesterday, with a strong media blackout and violent repressions that are still happening, especially against fellow citizens that have wanted to mobilize from their communities to try and get to the capital. They've been forced to leave the main highways and take old roadways in bad condition, but they all have the conviction to defend what they and us consider to be just and correct.

The order from Micheletti is to block international news channels such as Telechile, Caracol, Alyazera (or something like that (ottonote: I think he means Al Jazeera)) Guatevision and Telesur. This is contrasted with the minimal and conditioned opening of certain local channels, without any permission to communicate anything against the de facto government.

It's hoped that as the day progresses the capital will be totally stopped with the arrival of all the committed protestors. Even though they were threatened with bullets (that miraculously only hit the bus tires) and beatings and were forced to retreat, with blisters on their feet after walking a long way some groups have arrived in Tegucigalpa.

This is the context of uncertainty and tension we Hondurans are living, totally subjugated by this powerful, seditious group of politicians who not only pressurize the media so as not to allow free speech but also restrict the limited possibility of mobilization that the military allow us under the curfew.

This self-proclaimed President, in nationwide radio and TV broadcasts yesterday and today, told us about the sums of L. 50million plus U$3m that are being moved to other social programs. This is seen by everyone as nothing more than an insulting attempt to make the population believe that its de facto goernment is working, when the people know that all state workers are on indefinite and irrevocable strike. The state is not working, the only people working are the coupmongers.

At this point we hope that we don't need the intervention of the UN 'Blue Helmets' peacekeeping force, but as our favourite dinosaur has threatened he won't mind using children as a human shield to protect himself against any attack that tries to put a end to his coupmonger government.

Up to now this is the news I've managed to uncover. If destiny permits and they don't cut off the internet of electricity supply I'll keep informing about what's happening in San Pedro Sula.

From Honduras, Yours Dario.



hola otto, mira te informo que la situacion siugue en la misma linea que ayer con el bloqueo mediatico es fuerte, las represiones violentas se siguen presentando especialmente con los hermanos pobladores que han querido movilizarse desde sus comunidades intentando llegar a la capital, se han visto forzados ha rodear las vias principales y tirarse por antiguos caminos de herradura, pero siempre con la conviccion de defender lo que ellos y nosotros consideramos justo y verdadero.
La orden de parte de Micheletti de mantener bloqueados canales de noticias internacionales como Telechile, caracol, alyazera(o algo asi), guatevision y telesur se mantiene contrastada con la apertura minimalista condicionada de ciertos canales locales, sin permitirseles comunicar nada que sea en cotra del gobierno factico.
se espera que en el transcurso del dia la capital quede totalmente detenida con la llegada de todos los manifestantes comprometidos que aunque los amedrentaron con balas ( que milagrosamente dieron solo en los neumáticos ) y golpes fueron oblogados a replegarse, con llagas en sus pies tras tanto caminar han llegado algunos grupos a Tegucigalpa.
En este contexto de intranquilidad y de tension estamos viviendo los y las hondureños sometidos totalmente por este grupo de sedientos de poder politicos que no solo presionan los medios al no dejar la libre expresion ser ejercida, adjunta a la limitada posibilidad de movilización que nos da la milicia con el toque de queda.
este sr. auto proclamado presidente en la cadena radiotelevisiva de ayer y hoy nos adelanta el movimiento de L. 50 millones mas $3millones qeu aseguran son movidos de otros rubros, esto a ojo de todos no es mas que un intento insultante de hacer creer a la población que su gobierno de facto esta trabajando, cuando es conocido por la población que el grupo total de trabajadores estatales se encuentran en un paro indefinido e irrevocable, el estado no esta trabajando los unicos que lo hacen los mismos golpistas.
a este punto esperamos no tener que necesitar la intervención de los cascos azules de la ONU, pero como lo amenazo nuestro dinosaurio favorito, no le improta utilizar a niños y niñas como pared para protegerlo ante cualquier ataque que busque darle fin a su gobierno golpista.
hasta este momento son las nuevas que he logrado recavar, si el destino me lo permite y no me cortan el internet o la electricidad seguire informando lo que acontese principalmente en SPS.
desde Honduras Saludos Dario.

Ecuador, ATPDEA and "US business groups"

Here's a funny one. A certain amount of chagrin in The Wall Street Journal today about the decision to keep Ecuador inside the ATPDEA trade program. Here's the moneyline

U.S. President Barack Obama said Tuesday that Ecuador would continue to enjoy trade preferences, while extending Bolivia's suspension from the program........While the decision on Bolivia was expected, U.S. business groups had hoped that Ecuador would also be taken off the program due to what they consider an unfavorable investment climate in the country.

Those "U.S. Business groups" include, of course The Wall Street Journal itself, as Correa is about to sue the newspaper's ass for defamation about Mary Nasty O'Grady's recent bullshit lies on Correa and his country. "We're going to file suit against that newspaper because we're fed up of its lies", said Correa.

Hey....the WSJ can still have a gloat about Bolivia, can't it..

Honduras: Meet Billy Joya


Here's a nice photo of Billy Fernando Joya Améndola, taken from the COFADEH website (Committee of Families of Detained and Disappeared in Honduras). Here's how the biography of Billy Joya starts on that page (translated):
Retired police captain, ex-integrant of the 3-16 intelligence squad and founder of the elite repression squadron "Lince de los Cobros" and first commander of the squadron. From 1984 to 1991 a member of the 3-16 death squad where he took various roles under the pseudonym of "Licenciado Arrazola".

So why mention Billy Joya today? Well, perhaps because he's just been named ministry assessor to the coupmonger government by usurper Micheletti.
Tegucigalpa 1 (PL); The de facto government of Roberto Micheletti in Honduras named Billy Joya as ministerial assessor, known for coordinating and directing tortures and assassinations in the country during the 1980s CONTINUES HERE

Wow, I bet all you coup apologists are feeling really proud of yourself now. And for those of you versed in Spanish, check out the threats Billy Joya was making to citizens in 2007.

UPDATE:
Here's an English language link to the attempts to bring Billy Joya to justice that failed due to his first fleeing the country and later using amnesty laws (and dubious court rulings) to protect himself.