America de Pie: 6/21/11: Hope in the Andes: What Ollanta Humala’s Victory Means for Peru

INDEX

The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Thursday, Day 110

from The Nation Blogs: Media Fix by Greg Mitchell

Mexico: femicides continue as “drug war” turns 40

from World War 4 Report blogs by Weekly News Update

US Congress set to OK Colombia and Panama trade deals?

from World War 4 Report blogs by Weekly News Update
Hope in the Andes: What Ollanta Humala’s Victory Means for Peru
Written by Benjamin Dangl 

Chile: “historic” student march protests school privatization

from World War 4 Report blogs by Weekly News Update
Outrage at HidroAysén Dams Raises Environmental and Political Consciousness in Chile
Written by Caroline Lewis

Headlines for March 17, 2011

from Democracy Now! | Healthcare Reform by mail@democracynow.org (Democracy Now!)

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Mexico: femicides continue as “drug war” turns 40

from World War 4 Report blogs by Weekly News Update

More than 65 women have been murdered so far this year in the northern Mexican state of Nuevo León, according to the Mexican daily La Jornada. The victims included pregnant women and nine underage girls; the majority had been sexually abused before they were killed, and some had been tortured. Several of the corpses were dismembered. Northern Mexico is especially affected by drug-related violence, much of it from wars between drug cartels that have intensified since President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa began militarizing the fight against traffickers in December 2006. Mexican analysts say this “drug war” fuels violence against women in the region.

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US Congress set to OK Colombia and Panama trade deals?

from World War 4 Report blogs by Weekly News Update

US president Barack Obama and congressional leaders “are within striking distance of a deal” to ratify free trade agreements (FTAs, or TLCs in Spanish) with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, US Chamber of Commerce president Thomas J. Donohue said at a news conference in Washington, DC, on June 15. Donohue said the Chamber is “optimistic” that the trade agreements can be approved by July 1.

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Hope in the Andes: What Ollanta Humala’s Victory Means for Peru
Written by Benjamin Dangl
Tuesday, 07 June 2011 16:19

Ollanta HumalaOllanta Humala

Source: Toward Freedom

Fried pork rinds, fish, potatoes and eggs were sold by street vendors outside polling stations on election day in Lima, Peru. By nightfall, thousands of people gathered in a central plaza waving the white flags of Ollanta Humala’s political party.

Ollanta is an Incan name meaning “the warrior everyone looks to.” Indeed, all eyes were on the leftist president-elect as he greeted the crowd just before midnight with the words, “We won the elections!”

Humala, a former military officer who led a failed military uprising in 2000, lost the elections in 2006 to Alan Garcia. On the June 5th presidential elections this year, he narrowly defeated Kieko Fujimori, the daughter of ex-president Alberto Fujimori, who was jailed in 2007 for corruption and crimes against humanity. If elected, Kieko would have likely worked to release her father from jail, and carry on his administration’s capitalist and repressive policies.

This election puts Humala among a growing number of leftist presidents in Latin America and offers hope to the poorest sectors of Peruvian society.

The poverty rate in Peru is just over 31 percent; in the countryside, two in three people live under the poverty line. In Sunday’s elections, it was the impoverished rural areas that went for Humala over Kieko Fujimori.

“You cannot speak of Peru advancing if so many Peruvians live in poverty,” Humala said in his victory speech, explaining that he would work to make sure that the government functioned “above all for the poorest people in the country.”

Peru’s economy has been booming for the past decade, with 7 percent growth expected this year – one of the highest growth rates internationally. Sixty five percent of the country’s export income comes from the mining industry, and investors are expected to provide over $40 billion in the coming decade for mining operations.

Yet many Peruvians have not benefited from this growth. This is partly because former administrations have not been interested in redistributing wealth to the poor through social and development programs.

Humala wants to change that. He plans to redistribute wealth by increasing taxes on the lucrative mining industry. The new government funds will go to expanding access to water, electricity and homes, and providing free school lunches and preschool care. The president-elect has also pledged to expand pensions and healthcare for the poor, and lower gas exports to reduce the cost of this resource for Peruvians.

Such plans for economic and social reform contributed in Humala’s victory on Sunday. Yet his first months in office will likely be anything but peaceful. Over 230 protests, road blockades and strikes took place in Peru during the month of April alone. Most of these occurred in poor and rural areas of the country, and were focused on social and environmental issues.

Walter Aduviri, the president of the Front for the Defense of Natural Resources in Southern Puno, has been active in protests against the government’s licensing of Canadian Bear Creek Mining Corp’s silver mining in Peru’s border region with Bolivia. The protesters believe the mining would lead to the contamination of land and water, and that local communities would not benefit from the private operation.

While protests and blockades were postponed for election day, activists have threatened to restart the mobilizations. Aduviri told reporters, “The election of Humala was positive, but the promises of the candidates should be reflected in documents and agreements.”

***

Benjamin Dangl is the author of the new book Dancing with Dynamite: Social Movements and States in Latin America (AK Press). He edits TowardFreedom.com, a progressive perspective on world events, and UpsideDownWorld.org, a website on activism and politics in Latin America. Email Bendangl(at)gmail(dot)com

Chile: “historic” student march protests school privatization

from World War 4 Report blogs by Weekly News Update

Tens of thousands of students, teachers and supporters protested Chile’s education policies with a huge demonstration in Santiago on June 16 that the local daily La Tercera said was “the most massive march since the return of democracy” in 1990; the University of Chile radio station called it “historic.” The Carabineros militarized police gave a crowd estimate of 80,000, while organizers said 100,000 people had attended. Thousands more held marches in the cities of Concepción, La Serena, Temuco and Valparaíso. The nationwide protest followed several days of student strikes at dozens of high schools and universities.

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Outrage at HidroAysén Dams Raises Environmental and Political Consciousness in Chile
Written by Caroline Lewis
Thursday, 16 June 2011 14:16
Since mid-April, the planned construction of 5 hydroelectric dams in the ecologically rich region of Aysén in Southern Chile has produced persistent floods of protesters in the streets and plazas of cities spanning the length of the country.
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This entry was posted in Background & Analysis, Chile, Events, Human Rights, Imperialism, Imperialist Interference & Views, Indigenous People, Peru, US Foreign Policy. Bookmark the permalink.

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