OAS : Argentina government against Venezuela

The meeting would seek to issue a joint statement regarding the situation in Venezuela and possibly paving the way for its suspension from the body.

The Argentine mission to the Organization of American States, or OAS, called Monday night for an extraordinary meeting of the organization’s permanent council this Wednesday in order to analyze the political, social and economic situation in Venezuela, a move Caracas has slammed as “foreign intervention.”

According to media reports, the meeting would seek to issue a joint statement regarding the situation in the South American country.

The new Argentine government led by Mauricio Macri has expressed hostile attitudes toward the Venezuelan government over the past few months as the new administration moves the country away from left-wing foreign and domestic policies previously implemented by the Kirchners.

Meanwhile, the head of the OAS, Luis Almagro, has invoked the procedure to open the so-called Democratic Charter against Venezuela, which could lead to the suspension of the country from the bloc.

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Temer: Coup Government to Make Drastic Cuts to Housing Program

temer-1The coup-imposed government of interim President Michel Temer announced it will make drastic cuts to one of the country’s flagship social programs that provides low-cost housing to Brazilians, O Globo newspaper reported Saturday.

The cuts are set to mostly impact Brazil’s poorest.

The housing program, together with the Bolsa Familia subsidy for low-income people, is crediting with lifting millions out of poverty and are considered the flagship social programs of the leftist Workers’ Party governments led by Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff.

The program provides a subsidy to people depending on their level of income, with the lowest earners receiving housing virtually free-of-cost.

The cuts will affect these lowest earners the most. People in the second-lowest earning bracket will also face deep cuts.

The government will only honor existing contracts for social housing developments already underway.

The democratically elected government of suspended President Dilma Rousseff had made a commitment in February to build 2 million new units of social housing.

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In Honduras, USAID Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers

Two of the five suspects arrested in connection with Berta Caceres’ murder are linked to DESA, the company behind the dam project she fought to stop.

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Washington’s complicity in human rights abuses and repression of social movements in Honduras has come to the fore once again as an investigation published in Counterpunch revealed that the private Honduran energy company that murdered Indigenous activist Berta Caceres long resisted has signed a funding deal with a USAID partner just months before her high-profile assassination.

 The company behind the controversial Agua Zarca hydroelectric project on Lenca land, Desarrollos Energeticos S.A., better known as DESA, signed a contract with USAID partner Fintrac in December 2015, less than three months before Caceres was murdered in her home on March 3.

According to Central America-based freelance journalist Gloria Jimenez, the funds were destined for a USAID agricultural assistance program in Western Honduras.

But Caceres’ Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Movements of Honduras, or COPINH, which has long fought against DESA’s Agua Zarca dam for its threats to the sacred Gualcarque River and lack of consent from local communities, has argued that despite the corporation’s promises, DESA takes much more than it gives back.

The Fintrac-DESA agreement was signed by Sergio Rodriguez, a DESA employee and suspect arrested in connection with Caceres’ murder along with four others.

In a statement released after the arrests, DESA confirmed that Rodriguez worked for the company as the manager of its social and environmental issues division. DESA did not confirm any relation to suspect Douglas Bustillo, who elsewhere has been identified as the firm’s head of security.

In a recent email to teleSUR, DESA declined an interview, saying it cannot comment on cases under investigation in Honduran courts. Continue reading “In Honduras, USAID Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers”

Not Famous Enough? Navajo Nation Loses Urban Outfitters Case

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The Navajo Nation lost two counts in a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Urban Outfitters because the tribe’s trademark is not “famous” enough, the court siding with the fashion giant’s argument that “Navajo” is a generic term for a style or design.

The Indigenous tribe—the largest in the United States—had to prove that the term “Navajo” is “widely recognized by the general consuming public of the United States” to move forward with the trademark dilution case, which few courts have been able to prove, said New Mexico’s District Judge Bruce Black on Friday.

The nation, which filed the lawsuit in 2011, is demanding either all profits generated from the retailer’s “Navajo” clothing and accessory line or US$1,000 per day per item. After a cease and desist letter, the chain pulled the Navajo name from its stores, but not from those of its subsidiaries or its catalogues.

Six other counts are pending against Urban Outfitters and its subsidiaries, Anthropologie and Free People, including trademark infringement, unfair competition and false advertising. The acts that they cite, like the Indian Arts and Crafts Act that prohibits the sale of products that appear to be made by the tribe, could result in civil penalties or millions of dollars in fines.

The retailer lost a defense last month claiming that the Navajo had waited too long to file its lawsuit, since the Navajo line came out in 2001.

The Navajo Nation has ten registered trademarks on various products, according to The Fashion Law.

The largest tribe in the United States could not prove it was “famous” enough to win a trademark case against the hipster fashion giant.

 

Temer Orders Military to Surround Residence of Dilma Rousseff

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Senate-imposed Interim President Michel Temer has deployed military troops to cordon off the area surrounding the Palácio da Alvorada, residence of the suspended President Dilma Rousseff,  Brazilian Senate Vice President Jorge Vianna said on Thursday.

Vianna said there’s a checkpoint at the Palácio do Jaburu, where Temer currently resides, and which is very close to Rousseff’ residence in the capital of Brasilia.

“Anyone visiting President Dilma has to go through a checkpoint installed at Jaburu, with several heavily armed military (personnel)… I just made a visit to President Dilma. I was with the president of the National Congress. And we had to identify ourselves and wait a long time before getting the access,” Vianna said.

“This means that the elected president is under siege? What country is this? What provisional government is this?” the senator added.

Temer assumed the post of interim president last week following the suspension of President Dilma Rousseff, who is now facing a Senate impeachment trial.

Rousseff, along with millions of others across the country, regards the move as a coup waged by the right-wing opposition.

Despite formerly chairing the oil giant Petrobras — from which several former and current officials are linked to the corruption scandal dubbed “car wash” —  Rousseff has not been formally tied to the scandal and there are no formal charges against the socialist leader.

Freddie Gray and US judges

A Maryland state judge on Monday exonerated Baltimore police officer Edward Nero of second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and one count of misconduct in office for the 2015 death of unarmed Black detainee Freddie Gray.

Judge Barry Williams, who heard the case in a bench trial, handed down the verdicts in Baltimore City Circuit Court. He was still reading the decision on the second misconduct charge against Nero.

Nero was the first of six officers to stand trial on charges after Gray, 25, suffered a fatal neck injury while being transported in a police van on April 12, 2015, and died a week later.

Nero’s attorneys had argued that Nero was not the one who made the arrest of Gray and asserted that it was the responsibility of the driver of the police van to properly secure Gray in the vehicle.

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#Evo Morales in Havana

0004585545The Bolivian president will hold talks with his Cuban colleague Raul Castro. He praised Cuba’s solidarity with Bolivia despite the U.S. blockade.

Bolivian President Evo Morales arrived in Cuba this Friday for a visit aimed at reviewing the current state of bilateral relations and assess options aimed at expanding cooperation between the two nations, the Cuban news agency Prensa Latina reported.

During his visit, Morales will pay tribute this Friday to Cuban National Hero, Jose Marti, at the Revolution Square.

The Bolivian head of state is also scheduled to meet with President, Raul Castro to hold talks on the relations between the two socialist governments.

Both presidents will analyze ideas and new programs for the integration of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Morales will be awarded the Jose Marti Order, the highest distinction bestowed by the Cuban Council of State, and later he will carry out other activities, Prensa Latina said.

Before departing Bolivia, Morales spoke of the importance of the figure and teachings of the former Cuban President Fidel Castro, who he described as the most solidary man in the world.

Morales praised the Cuban government for providing assistance to Bolivia despite that the Caribbean island nation is under an over five-decade U.S.-imposed blockade.

Keiko Fujimori: DEA operations

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Peruvian presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori announced on Wednesday that Joaquin Ramirez had resigned from her Fuerza Popular Party in a bid to calm an uproar following media reports that linked the two to money laundering. Fujimori said Ramirez, the party’s secretary general, offered to step down, even though both have denied any wrongdoing.

In a joint Sunday broadcast, Univision’s investigative unit and Peruvian television show Cuarto Poder reported that Ramirez was the subject of a money laundering investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

The report featured a man identified as a pilot and DEA informant who said he recorded Ramirez stating that he laundered $15 million for Fujimori’s previous political campaign.

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Trump and Kissinger : US election machinery.

Republican presumptive presidential candidate Donald Trump is set to meet Wednesday with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, seen as the GOP’s preeminent elder statesman and a controversial figure who orchestrated bloody coups and wars, a meeting believed to be the real estate billionaire’s attempt to develop his unclear foreign policy.

Three people close to Trump told The Washington Post Monday the face-to-face session comes after weeks of phone conversations between Trump and Kissinger.

Kissinger, 92, played a crucial role in shaping U.S. foreign policy between 1969 and 1977, when the U.S. was at war in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, and supported the CIA-backed military coup that ousted the democratically elected socialist president of Chile, Salvador Allende.

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Cuba’s Tourism Economy: The Boon and the Dilemma

Taken from: Americas Society/ Council of Americas 

 

la-relacion-eeuu-cuba-2020025w280The world is scurrying to the Pearl of the Antilles, Cuba’s nineteenth-century nickname. And few are more eager than Americans. After the U.S.-Cuba rapprochement began in December 2014, the island received a half million more international travelers in 2015 than it did the year prior, a 17.4 percent jump. Overall, more than 3.5 million people visited Cuba last year, and U.S. visitors increased the most, by 76.7 percent.

The figure could well be higher in 2016, now that 700 Americans at a time can visit the island on cruises, such as the Carnival Fathom Adonia ship that made a maiden voyage this week. While smaller U.S. ferry services are still seeking approval to operate between Florida and Cuba, commercial airlines have been cleared as of February for a total of 110 daily round trips to Cuba, which could begin as early as September.

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The Boon: 

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