Monthly Archives: May 2011

Latin America File: Honduras under probable communist control: Chavez brokers deal between Lobo and Zelaya, negotiates latter’s return to homeland; President Lobo and Zelaya’s right-hand man “ex”-communists, Barahona visited Cuban leaders in early May

On May 1, 2011, Juan Barahona Mejías, deputy director of Honduras’ National Popular Resistance Front (FNRP), was received by Ramón Balaguer Cabrera, member of the Central Committee Secretariat of the Communist Party of Cuba (CPC). Responding to an invitation from Cuba’s communist overlords, Barahona presented himself in Havana, leading a delegation of FNRP comrades, including Gilberto Ríos, Francisco Ríos, and Sonia Benegas.

For his part, Balaguer reaffirmed “the solidarity of the Cuban people with the Honduran people’s fight and wished them success in the current ongoing process, in order to accomplish the Front’s objectives and the stability of this sister country.” In addition to Balaguer, Jorge Arias Díaz, CPC deputy director of foreign affairs, and other officials from the Central Committee were present. In return, Barahona thanked “the Cuban people for their expressions of solidarity with Honduras.”

Afterward, the Honduran delegation attended a commemorative May Day march and the International Trade Union Conference in Solidarity with Cuba, then meeting in Havana. May 1, of course, is typically observed by communists, leftists, and labor unions worldwide as International Workers’ Day.

While this tete-a-tete between the Cuban dictatorship and the “Honduran resistance” is somewhat predictable, even in the post-Cold War era, we must ask the question: Who is Juan Barahona Mejías? Barahona is a past cadre of the Communist Party of Honduras, which dissolved in 1990, leaving some ex-members to migrate into the Democratic Unification Party (PUD) two years later. Barahona is also president of the Federation of Honduran Workers, which in 2000 created a political party called the Popular Bloc.

In an October 2009 interview, Barahona explained the purpose of the FNRP: “The National Resistance Front is a coalition between the Bloque Popular, PUD, union confederations and the popular sector of the Liberal Party that defends Mel [Zelaya]. Here, we unite the majority of the people.” In addition to the Popular Bloc, PUD was vocal in its support for President Manuel Zelaya after his ouster in June 2009. In summary, therefore, career communist Barahona is the deposed leader’s “left-hand man” and the FNRP, Zelaya’s political party, is stacked with communists and fellow travellers.

The anti-Zelaya coup was supported by the Supreme Court, National Assembly, and the leadership of his own Liberal Party. In an early-morning raid on his residence, the army arrested a pajamas-clad Zelaya and then placed the president on an airplane bound for San Jose, Costa Rica. The interim government, led by former legislative speaker Roberto Micheletti, accused Zelaya of subverting the constitutional order, to wit by holding an illegal (non-binding) referendum to abolish presidential term limits and by importing (rigged?) ballots from Venezuela. The Organization of American States expelled Honduras, while communists throughout the Western Hemisphere got their noses out of joint, branding Micheletti a “fascist.”

Zelaya’s domestic critics, however, were troubled by his leftward shift after taking office in January 2006 and his growing chummy relationship with Venezuela’s communist dictator Hugo Chavez. After his removal, Zelaya denied that his policies were subservient to Caracas or that there was any inconsistency between his pre- and post-election platform. In October 2009, he scoffed: “To begin with, President Chavez has been used as a scapegoat to justify this coup. Invoking his name is not a valid justification for a coup, it’s an irrational one.” In the same interview, he asserted his innocence

When in office, I didn’t do anything I had not announced when on the campaign trail. I campaigned on direct, participatory democracy, a fair economy, dignified employment, anti-poverty programs, and global engagement. Everything I said I would do in my campaign I followed up during my presidency.

The elite business interests became angry with me when I increased the minimum wage (in March 2009), and lowered interest rates. But I achieved more economic growth than Honduras had seen in a long time. Even in the middle of the financial crisis our economy was growing by 4.5 percent annually.

In 2008, though, Zelaya dragged Honduras into the Havana/Caracas-led Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, much to the consternation of anti-communists in the Liberal Party. Incidentally, his ouster had the distinction of being the first successful coup in this hemisphere since the Cold War.

After his removal from office, Zelaya attempted several times to re-enter Honduras. On July 5, 2009, Zelaya boarded a plane headed for Tegucigalpa, but the army parked vehicles on the runway, preventing him from landing. Later that month, accompanied by Chavez’s foreign minister, Nicolas Maduro, he made a brief but symbolic land crossing into Honduras from Nicaragua, where he was then living in exile. Two months later, on September 21, he again returned to Honduras, dramatically appearing in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa. Brazil’s then President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva gladly offered sanctuary to the deposed leader, even as police and Zelaya supporters clashed outside the embassy.

In January 2010, after a democratic election, Porfirio Lobo Sosa assumed the presidency on behalf of the center-right National Party. A number of leftist regimes throughout South and Central America, such as Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Brazil, refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of Lobo’s government. Only days after Lobo’s inauguration, Zelaya slipped away from the Brazilian embassy and the country altogether, re-emerging in the Dominican Republic and flaunting a new job, director of the Political Council of Venezuela’s Petrocaribe.

On May 23, 2011, Lobo and Zelaya, bowing to international pressure, met in Cartagena, Colombia, where they signed an agreement to end the political crisis in Honduras, drop all corruption charges against Zelaya, permit his safe return to his homeland and legal re-entrance into Honduran politics, and ease the country’s readmission into the OAS. The agreement was heralded and witnessed by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Maduro, who attended the meeting on behalf of his boss, President Chavez.

Finally, on May 28, a triumphant Zelaya, flying on a private aircraft provided by Chavez and sporting his trademark cowboy hat, landed at Toncontin International Airport in
Tegucigalpa, where he was greeted by thousands of adoring supporters (pictured above, note obligatory Che pic). Zelaya exited the aircraft flanked on both sides by some of Latin America’s most prominent left-wing politicians, including Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, the ubiquitous Maduro, Panama’s ex-president Martín Torrijos, and an ex-senator from Colombia, Piedad Córdoba, who is accused of sympathizing with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. Accompanying Zelaya, too, was Barahona since the FNRP, according to the Latin America News Dispatch, serves as the deposed president’s chief political vehicle.

Chavez, who is recovering from a knee injury, did not travel to Honduras to witness the return of his lackey, but fired off a congratulatory Tweet: “Mel Zelaya returned to his Honduran Fatherland! It’s a great victory for the Honduran people!”

In a speech that shows he has every intention of re-taking power in spite of an official exoneration, Zelaya addressed his followers: “We’re pushing for a Constituent Assembly to retake power. I came to participate in what the people want—revolutionary processes that will make this country move forward.” In a sharp about-face from his position during exile, Zelaya called upon the OAS to recognize Lobo’s National Party administration.

Zelaya’s new position did not appear to sit well with left-hand man Barahona, who reminded reporters that Lobo supported the coup and Zelaya only changed his position for “diplomatic reasons.” However, reports the Latin America News Dispatch, “With Zelaya back in the country, his party—the National Popular Resistance Front (FNRP, in Spanish)—says it will now begin collecting the signatures it needs to present to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal in order to participate in the next round of elections.”

Some Honduran politicians lashed out at Lobo for working with Chavez to broker Zelaya’s return. “Lobo is following in Zelaya’s footsteps by becoming friends with Chavez,” complained Fernando Anduray, whose Democratic Civic Union party supported the 2009 coup. Indeed, Lobo and Zelaya have much in common, both being scions of Honduras’ land-owning oligarchy but willing students of communist indoctrination at the hands of Soviet and Honduran reds.

Although billed as a conservative, Lobo, according to the World Socialist Web Site, is a former cadre of the Communist Party of Honduras, just like Barahona. In past posts, we noted with some suspicion that Lobo studied at the Soviet Union’s Third World terrorist training center, Patrice Lumumba University, where he received a doctorate in terrorism studies. WSWS writer Jeremy Wells refers to Lobo as a past “supporter of Stalinism” and that PUD leader César David Adolfo Ham Peña, who was “counted as Zelaya’s closest political supporter,” agreed to join Lobo’s government of “national unity and reconciliation.”

All of these disconcerting facts, of course, should prompt one to wonder if Lobo is a real center-rightist. Time will tell, of course, but the OAS plans to vote on Honduras’ reinstatement in an extraordinary meeting of the General Assembly in Washington on Wednesday.

“Zelaya’s return will probably ratchet up tensions in the country, which has been beset by workers’ protests and rising crime and violence in recent months,” commented
Heather Berkman
, a political risk analyst at the Eurasia Group in New York. “Still,” she added, “Zelaya’s political ambitions will probably not hamper the efforts of the Lobo administration to get the country’s economy back on track.”

I wouldn’t be so sure. Several weeks ago, Zelaya put in an appearance at the under-reported Sao Paulo Forum meet-and-greet in Managua. His re-instatement and the communization of Honduras were undoubtedly hot topics at this leftist shindig. Indeed, the communist takeover of Central America, which was aborted after the disingenuous “collapse” of the Soviet Union, is under way again with the re-election of the Sandinista National Liberation Front in 2006, the first-time election of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front in 2009, and the election in 2008 of center-left governments in Guatemala and Belize.

Blast from the Past File: Accused war criminal, communist Ratko Mladic seized, Bosnian Serb army chief led siege of Sarajevo (1992-1994), allegedly ordered Srebrenica massacre (1995); Mladic’s arrest condition of Serbian admission to EU

- Independent Serbian Media Cites Villagers: Police “Sneaked” Mladic into Lazarevo and Arrested Him There

At a May 26, 2011, news conference Serbian President Boris Tadic confirmed the arrest of former Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic. Early on Thursday, three special units of the Serbian security service pounced on General Mladic’s hideout in Lazarevo, a village 80 kilometers southwest of Belgrade, near the Romanian border. The house was owned by a relative of Mladic and had been under surveillance for the past two weeks. Mladic was reportedly living under the assumed name Milorad Komodic.

After Tadic’s news conference, it emerged that the 69-year-old fugitive had already been placed on an airplane and flown to The Hague, in the Netherlands, to stand trial before the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

Mladic, a key player in the Bosnian War, is accused of coordinating the siege of Sarajevo between 1992 and 1994 and ordering the killing of at least 7,500 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica in 1995. In the latter year, the ICTY indicted Mladic for war crimes and issued an international arrest warrant in 1996. Specifically, Mladic faces charges of genocide and complicity in genocide, persecution, extermination and murder, deportation and inhumane acts, unlawfully inflicting terror upon and attacking civilians, cruel treatment, and the taking of hostages.

Wanted man Mladic lived freely in the Serbian capital Belgrade until 2001, when he disappeared after the arrest of former Serbian and Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, another accused war criminal who stood trial at The Hague, but died in prison in 2006 before a conviction was secured. Speculation swirled that Mladic would soon be arrested when former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic was captured in Belgrade in July 2008. Incidentally, to this day, Milosevic’s family is living in exile in Russia, Serbia’s closest ally among the “post”-communist countries of the Slavic world.

Tadic rejected criticism that Serbia had only taken action following international pressure. “It is crystal clear that we did not calculate when we had to arrest Ratko Mladic,” the Serbian president insisted, adding: “We have been co-operating with the Hague Tribunal fully from the beginning of the mandate of this government.” It is widely believed that apprehending Mladic has been the main condition for Serbia’s accession to the European Union. In October 2010, the Serbian government offered 10 million euros for information leading to Mladic’s capture and arrest.

Incidentally, Tadic’s first deputy prime minister and internal affairs minister is Ivica Dacic, who heads up Milosevic’s “ex”-communist Socialist Party. As internal affairs minister, Dacic serves as Serbia’s top cop.

Born in Kalnovik, Bosnia and Herzegovina, during the Second World War, Mladic was a career soldier who served in the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) before Communist Yugoslavia dissolved in early 1992. Mladic then commanded Bosnian Serb forces during the brutal inter-ethnic conflict in Bosnia, the bloodiest in Europe since the Allied Powers subdued Nazi Germany nearly five decades before.

Mladic’s hatred for Bosnian Muslims and especially Croatians was shaped as early as two years old, when his father was killed by Croatian fascists called Ustashe. After Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy invaded and dismembered the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, Ustashe “Fuehrer” Ante Pavelic established the Independent State of Croatia. This short-lived political entity then proceeded to slaughter hundreds of thousands of ethnic Serbs, Orthodox Christians, and Jews in a Balkan Holocaust largely forgotten in the West.

In 1965, Mladic graduated from a military academy and joined the Communist League of Yugoslavia, which ruled Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia in a federation of socialist republics. Promoted up the ranks, Mladic was general of JNA forces in Sarajevo when Bosnia seceded from Yugoslavia. In May 1992, the counter-separatist Bosnian Serb Parliament created the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS), which Mladic commanded until December 1996.

In early February 2006, excerpts of a Serbian military intelligence report were leaked to the Serbian newspaper Politika, revealing that Mladic had hidden in VRS and Military of Yugoslavia (VJ) facilities until June 1, 2002, when the National Assembly of Serbia passed a law mandating cooperation with the ICTY. Nebojša Pavković, then Chief General of the VJ, requested that Mladic vacate the facility where he was staying on the mountain Povlen, near Valjevo. After his alleged departure from Povlen, the Yugoslav government, consisting at this point of only Serbia and Montenegro, claimed to have lost all trace of the fugitive.

The Serbian government’s possible complicity in harboring Mladic was revealed by the independent Serbian media outlet, B92, which quoted residents of Lazarevo as claiming that police “secretly sneaked Mladić into the village from somewhere, and then ‘arrested’ him there.” The villagers all deny ever having seen Mladic among them.

Russia’s response to Mladic’s apprehension was predictable. “There are doubts that the trial of Mladic in the U.N. war crimes tribunal will be 100 per cent objective and just,” complained Konstantin Kosachyov, who heads the State Duma’s international affairs committee. At the same time, Kosachyov noted that Mladic had been accused of “horrible crimes that led to mass deaths.”

Borislav Milosevic, Slobodan’s brother, was also appalled by Mladic’s arrest. “This is really bad and degrading,” he protested, “To hand him over to The Hague is a disgrace.” Borislav added: “First of all, it is in the interests of the Serbian people to find out the truth about Srebrenica. They’re now saying 8,000 Muslims were killed there. But how many Serbian villages were destroyed in that area? This was a civil war. Everyone’s guilty and innocent at the same time in a civil war.”

In Serbia itself, small protests sponsored by hard-core Mladic groupies erupted in Belgrade and Novi Sad. In the Serbian capital, 35 protesters twice tried to gather in the main square, but police checked the attempts. In Novi Sad, 20 demonstrators tried to storm the state-run Radio Television Serbia building and the headquarters of the local branch of Tadic’s ruling Democratic Party. Smaller protests occurred in Aranjelovzc, Cacaka, Kraljevo, and Zrenjanin.

Over the last 15 years, Russia has not been forthcoming in the prosecution of Serbs or Bosnian Serbs wanted for war crimes violations.

In a September 2009 conversation with US chargée d’affaires Jennifer Brush, published by WikiLeaks, Miki Rakic, chief of staff to President Tadic, indicated that Mladic was likely hiding somewhere in Serbia. “The current government clearly wants to find Mladić, a prerequisite for moving ahead with EU accession,” a US diplomatic cable dated May 2009 declares.

However, in his government’s quest to nab Mladic, Rakić revealed that he had addressed inquiries to Alexander Bortnikov, director of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB/ KGB), Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Russian Security Council, and Vladislav Surkov, President Dmitry Medvedev’s chief of staff, but had received no replies. “Previous unconfirmed reports,” concluded The Guardian last December, “have suggested that Mladic may have found sanctuary in Russia as pressure grew on Serbia to arrest him.”

In 2006, US diplomatic cables disclosed the fact that Washington sent US marshals to Serbia and proposed an 11-point plan to Belgrade, which was turned down by former Serbian prime minister, Vojislav Koštunica. “The US government provided the government of Serbia with 11 recommendations designed to advance the hunt for Ratko Mladić,” wrote then US ambassador Michael Polt in October 2006. “Due primarily to the resistance of Prime Minister Koštunica himself, the government has not carried out in full a single one of our recommendations.”

Mladic is not the only suspected war criminal who has apparently sought refuge in Russia. Goran Hadžić, a leader of Croatian Serbs, reportedly found protection there.

The presence in Russia of Mirjana Markovic, widow of the late Slobodan, and her son, Marko Milosevic, is well known. Mother and son have enjoyed Moscow’s protection for years despite being sought by Belgrade on charges of fraud, embezzlement and ordering the murder of Serbian journalist Slavko Ćuruvija. Russian authorities refuse to serve an Interpol arrest warrant for son Marko. Markovic, a hard-line communist endearingly called the “Red Witch,” runs the Yugoslav Left party from exile.

In March 2006, Russia’s Communist Party boss Gennady Zyuganov travelled to Belgrade to attend Slobodan’s funeral, noting that Markovic would not attend the burial because she fears she could be arrested while in Serbia. “It’s enough that Marko lost his father,” Zyuganov told reporters. “He doesn’t need to lose his mother as well.”

As a matter of historical record, the name “Yugoslavia” past out of existence in 2003, when Serbia and Montenegro renamed themselves the Union State. The latter, in turn, dissolved in 2006, finally ending the legacy of a federation of southern Slavs in the Balkan Peninsula. Serbia was always the dominant state in Yugoslavia, before, during, and after the alleged demise of communism.

Blogger’s Note

Before we posted the full story above, we published a brief “teaser,” mentioning in passing that Mladic had been arrested. Unfortunately, we referred to him as a “communist war criminal.” This faux pas did not sit well with certain cadres of the “21stCentury Communist International,” who condemned our copiously documented blog as “cr_p” and hastened to describe Mladic, an open communist for at least 25 years, as a “right-wing nationalist.” See Comments.

Accused war criminal Slobodan Milosevic was another Serbian communist who apparently saw the light, conveniently embracing nationalism before prosecuting war in the Balkans. Perhaps Gennady Zyuganov is also a “nationalist” because the Russian Communist Party boss attended Slobo’s funeral, having only kind words for the dictator’s family, living in exile in Russia. The good folks at Workers’ World Party have not hesitated to throw in their lot with Mladic. In 1997, this Stalinist outfit grumped: “The U.S. media have already convicted Serb leaders like Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic. They are being told they must prove they are not guilty. So much for innocent until proven guilty.”

Middle East File: Popular unrest continues across region as Syria’s socialist dictatorship uses tanks, mass arrests to crush uprising; accounts of armed civilian resistance trickle past state-imposed media blackout; SANA fingers “Zionist” conspiracy behind insurrection

Since January popular uprisings, with hints of Islamic fundamentalist involvement, have more or less peacefully toppled the socialist dictatorships in Tunisia and Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has formed a new Freedom and Justice party to contest this September’s presidential election. In Libya, rebels are close to toppling Muammar al-Qaddafi’s party-less socialist regime, which has endured weeks of United Nations-sanctioned NATO air strikes, most lately including the sinking of eight Libyan warships. Violent anti-regime protests have also taken place in Yemen and Bahrain.

Pictured above: Presumably in an effort to stem the flow of refugees, Syrian soldiers deploy in the village of Arida, as seen from the northern Lebanese village of Wadi Khaled, on May 20, 2011.

Like Qaddafi, Syria’s socialist dictator Bashar al-Assad has responded violently to two months of popular unrest, earning tardy rebukes from the Obama White House and other Western leaders, who are concerned about political stability in the Middle East should the 48-year-old Ba’athist regime in Damascus fold. The Arab News reports today that:

Syrian forces kept up a relentless campaign against the country’s two-month uprising, using tanks to shell a besieged border town as President Barack Obama called on Syria’s president to lead his country to democracy or “get out of the way.” President Bashar Assad has taken pains to portray confidence and a steely determination in recent days amid signs that his brutal crackdown is terrifying the population into submission.” More than 850 people have died ahead of another round of protests planned for after Friday prayers.

On Wednesday and Thursday, the Syrian army shelled Talkalakh, a border city of 70,000 near Lebanon, provoking gunbattles with armed resisters that killed at least eight people. “We heard shelling throughout the night and can still hear gunfire every now and then,” related a Talkalakh resident, who fled to Lebanon as Syrian troops summoned reinforcements. “I could see troops patrolling the border and smoke from fires in the town.” Other Syrians fleeing to Lebanon in recent days have described scenes of execution-style killings and bodies in the streets of Talkalakh. The Syrian government has banned and even detained (kidnapped) foreign journalists, preventing impartial coverage of the conflict.

Last week, mass arrests and heavy security kept crowds below levels seen during previous weeks, suggesting Assad’s campaign of intimidation has been effective. Armed resistance to the Ba’athist regime is also evident. One activist testified there were “heavy exchanges of fire” between security forces and civilians, adding that 19 soldiers died in Talkalakh. A second activist, Mustafa Osso, however, could not confirm accounts of armed resistance from civilians.

On Thursday, US President Barack Hussein Obama noted that the Syrian government “has chosen the path of murder and the mass arrests of its citizens.” Obama praised the Syrian people for their courage in standing up to repression. In addition, Washington imposed new economic sanctions against Syria, holding Assad “personally accountable” for the actions of his security forces. Meanwhile, the European Union is pushing for a second round of European sanctions that would target Syria’s ruling dynasty. Not surprisingly, Russia opposes any form of sanction or intervention against Syria.

Earlier this month, Syrian tanks and troops fired on protesters in the city of Deraa.

The Assad regime accuses the USA, Israel, and Lebanon’s March 14 alliance of fomenting the insurrection. Several days ago, the Syrian Arab News Agency, citing Austrian nationalists, alleged a Zionist conspiracy against Damascus: “A spokesperson for the Freedom Party of Austria (FPO) on Tuesday revealed that some ‘Syrian opposition’ members will meet an Israeli vice minister later this evening at the Austrian capital Vienna, in evidence of those members’ dealing with Israel in conspiring against Syria.”

Latin America File: Sandinistas host leftist luminaries at Sao Paulo Forum’s Managua meet-and-greet; participants include FSP co-founder Lula, Cuba’s communist overlords, “Honduran resistance”

This week, Nicaragua’s past/present Marxist dictator, Daniel Ortega, will host the Sao Paulo Forum (FSP) in Managua. The FSP is not exactly a household word in the shopping mall regime (USA and Canada), but its member parties rule most of the countries in the Western Hemisphere. This glaring omission is probably by design since the Obama White House, the neo-Leninist cabal that controls the Democratic Party, the well-heeled globalists at the Council on Foreign Relations, the cyber-leftists at Wikipedia, CNN, and Hollyweird’s self-anointed activists evidently do not want to disturb the populace’s collective snooze. We’ll hit the alarm button now, though.

In attendance at the latest FSP meet-and-greet will be an assortment of communists, leftists, and other utopian megalomaniacs from South and Central America, as well as the Caribbean Basin. Specific personalities include Jacinto Suarez, representing Nicaragua’s ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front; Valter Pomar, for Brazil’s ruling Workers’ Party and serving as the FSP’s general secretary; Nidia Diaz, for El Salvador’s ruling Farabundo Marti National Front; Marta Perez, for the Dominican Republic’s United Left Movement; Hugo Chavez’s foreign minister, Nicolas Maduro, for the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela; and Ricardo Alarcon (pictued above, right), president of the Cuban Parliament and member of the Communist Party of Cuba’s Politburo.

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a “moderate” leftist who founded the FSP in 1990 with a little help from retired dictator Fidel Castro, will put in an appearance on Thursday. Reps for the Honduran “resistance,” which supports the reinstatement of Manuel Zelaya, ousted in June 2009, as president, will also materialize. Last but not least, Rigoberta Menchu, Nobel Prize winner and Guatemalan indigenous leader, will show her true color (red) by participating in this “anti-imperialist” bash.

In total, about 140 delegates fronting for over 50 parties from the hemisphere’s “mini Communist International” will converge in “Revolutionary Managua.” There they will break out into subcommittees to discuss various issues, such as “climate change,” art and culture, “democratization,” female “liberation,” social movements and, most importantly, the overthrow of capitalism (“neoliberalism”) and the end of the “North American bourgeoise.” The FSP last converged in the Nicaraguan capital in 2000.

It is likely the FSP will also discuss the upcoming June 5 run-off vote for the presidency of Peru since Ollanta Humala, whose Peruvian Nationalist Party belongs to the FSP, is contesting the election. Incidentally, if Humala wins the election, then the lingering remnants of the Communist Party of Peru-Shining Path can lay down their arms since a Chavez-friendly leftist will be in power in Lima. No doubt, too, the FSP will close ranks with President Ortega, who is making an unconstitutional bid for re-election this November, backed by a new martial law package that will enable “Comandante” to resuscitate his 1980s dictatorship in toto.

FSP parties are devoted to Latin American political-economic integration and, therefore, governments led by FSP parties usually support one or more of the following regional organizations: Union of South American Nations (Unasur), Southern Common Market (Mercosur), Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), Andean Community of Nations, Central American Integration System (SICA), Latin American Parliament (Parlatino), Central American Parliament (Parlacen), Caribbean Community (Caricom), and Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).

With few or no exceptions, every single one of these parties enjoys cozy relations with Washington’s “new partners” in Moscow. In 2006, Gennady Zyuganov, chairman of the (secretly ruling) Communist Party of the Russian Federation, gloated: “Latin America is turning red” (Eurasia Daily Monitor, January 27, 2006). You got that right, comrade. For your records, the FSP is active in the following countries:

Ruling:

Bolivia – Evo Morales, VP ex-guerrilla (Movement toward Socialism)

Brazil – Dilma Rousseff, ex-guerrilla (Workers’ Party)

Cuba – Raul Castro, ex-guerrilla (Communist Party of Cuba)

Dominica – Roosevelt Skerrit (Dominica Labor Party)

Dominican Republic – Leonel Antonio Fernandez Reyna (Dominican Liberation Party)

Ecuador – Rafael Correa (Proud and Sovereign Fatherland Alliance)

El Salvador – Mauricio Funes, VP ex-guerrilla (Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front)

Nicaragua – Daniel Ortega, ex-guerrilla (Sandinista National Liberation Front)

Paraguay – Fernando Lugo, ex-liberationist Catholic bishop (Patriotic Alliance for Change)

Uruguay – Jose Mujica, ex-guerrilla (Broad Front)

Venezuela – Hugo Chavez, ex-coupist (United Socialist Party of Venezuela)

Formerly ruling:

Chile – Michelle Bachelet (Socialist Party of Chile)

Non-ruling:

Costa Rica – Ottón Solís (Citizens’ Action Party)

Mexico – Jesus Ortega (Party of the Democratic Revolution)

Peru – Ollanta Humala (Peruvian Nationalist Party)

Aligned governments:

Argentina – Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (Front for Victory, faction of Justicialist Party)

Guatemala – Alvaro Colom (National Unity of Hope)

Haiti – Rene Preval (Hope Front)

Latin America File: El Salvador’s Chile-style economy tanks under FMLN president, Peru’s demise likely under Chavez “mini me”; Brazilian “hotshot” political fixer masterminds Funes, Humala campaigns

The media has made much of the “schism” between El Salvador’s “moderate” center-left president, Mauricio Funes, and his puppet-masters in the Marxist “Politburo” that controls the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), the guerrilla army-turned-political party that won the 2009 election. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, “El Salvador Quits the Market Model,” in the first two years of his presidency, Funes has done a fine job of tanking Salvadoran capitalism.

Funes, insists WSJ reporter Mary Anastasia O’Grady, “has been a disaster for the once-thriving Salvadoran economy” and then offers an example: “The United Nations’ Economic Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean reported earlier this month that while ‘the region’s FDI inflows were 40% higher than in 2009,’ El Salvador didn’t benefit. ‘In Central America, foreign investment flows to all countries grew, except in the case of El Salvador.’ It experienced a 79% decline.” The FMLN’s legacy as a communist insurgent group has no doubt contributed to this flight of foreign investment.

Between the 1992 peace accords, which ended the Salvadoran Civil War, and the formation of the first FMLN government, 17 years later, “the country began a modernization that lasted more than a decade.”  O’Grady compares the Salvadoran “economic miracle” with that of Chile’s: “The free market reforms were unique in Central America and nearly unequaled in the wider region. Only Chile’s economic liberalization of the 1970s and 1980s [under General Augusto Pinochet] was comparable.” She elaborates:

The results were impressive, particularly for a country with a largely uneducated work force. From 1989 to 2008 El Salvador had the highest export growth in the region (an increase of some 800%), and per capita growth in gross domestic product was among the fastest in the region. This was led for the first time by strong performance in the industrial sector instead of in more traditional agriculture. By 2006, the poverty rate had fallen to 31% of the population from 60% in 1991.

During this period, the center-right Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) governed El Salvador. Seeking to be balanced, WSJ notes that the Salvadoran economy began slowing down under ARENA’s last president, Tony Saca, who was elected in 2004. Saca’s refusal to grant operating permits to Pacific Rim Mining Corporation for its El Dorado gold mine in one of the poorest parts of the country led to the forfeiting of thousands of jobs.

Since Funes came into office in April 2009, however, El Salvador’s debt position fell apart rapidly. In December 2008, the debt-to-GDP ratio was just under 36%, but two years later it was more than 51%. According to San Salvador’s first quarter 2011 fiscal report, there has been a 17.5% year-over-year increase in current expenses. This includes a 15.5% jump in the public-sector wage bill, 21% growth in government expenditures on goods and services, and a 48% increase in transfer payments. San Salvador’s fiscal deficit has expanded 28.6%.

More seriously, Moody’s has twice downgraded El Salvador’s debt, while Standard & Poor’s has issued one downgrade. Last fall, when Fitch Ratings urged El Salvador to improve its investment climate or risk a downgrade, Funes told Diario de Hoy that if the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Inter-American Development Bank had no confidence in his country, they could keep their credit. WSJ quips of Funes: “He obviously never has heard of Greece.”

Incidentally, the Greek Communist Party (KKE), which enjoys the support of 10% of the electorate, is spearheading large anti-austerity demonstrations throughout the ancient birthplace of democracy. Perhaps the FMLN, like the KKE, hopes to radicalize El Salvador’s voters prior to a full-blown red coup.

The Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal Index of Economic Freedom recently plucked another feather from Funes’ cap. In 2000, the Heritage Foundation ranked El Salvador’s economy as the ninth freest in the world, but now places it at 39. Like Saca, Funes refuses to allow the Pacific Rim mine to operate so the country now has no active mining concessions. “But that loss of investment and jobs has not satisfied the party base of the FMLN,” observes O’Grady sardonically, “They complain loudly that Mr. Funes has yet to completely quash Salvadoran capitalism.”

In an effort to shine the USA’s perpetually tarnished image in Latin America and possibly to woo Salvadoran immigrants into the Democratic Party camp, the Obama White House has snuggled up to the Funes government. This past March, US President Barack Hussein Obama (pictured above) winged his way to Central America, where he pressed the flesh with Funes and pledged US$200 million to fight drug trafficking and gang violence. “The US wants to be a partner in this process,” Obama gushed. “We want El Salvador to be successful.” This has hardly been the case, though.

Obama later toured the National Cathedral and visited the tomb of Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was assassinated in 1980 after criticizing the Carter Administration for funding the Revolutionary Government Junta that came to power the previous year. In 1993 by an official United Nations report identified the man who ordered Romero’s killing as former Major and School of the Americas graduate Roberto (“Blowtorch Bob”) D’Aubuisson, founder of ARENA.

According to O’Grady, Peru’s economy faces a similarly bleak future under left-nationalist Ollanta Humala, a presidential contender whose rival in the June 5 run-off vote is the daughter of jailed president Alberto Fujimori. Both Funes and Humala have employed the services of the same Brazilian advertising “hotshot,” João Santana, to orchestrate their election campaigns. “If João Santana’s expertise translates into a Humala victory, Peruvians had better hope that the similarities end there,” O’Grady warns darkly. In the latest public opinion polls, Keiko Fujimori had a narrow but growing lead over ex-soldier Humala, whose past association with Hugo Chavez has proven to be a liability.

Diplomatic cables quoted by the newspaper El Comercio and published by WikiLeaks reveal that Humala received funding from Venezuela’s communist dictator in 2006, at which time he lost the presidency to Alan Garcia. The cables cited sociologist and drug trafficking expert Jaime Antezana as telling US diplomats in Peru that Humula was “financed by the government of Venezuela.” Antezana, however, later denied telling US officials anything of the sort. During his current run for Peru’s top post, Humala has downplayed both his own leftism and admiration of Chavez.

In a previous post, we reported that in 2006 Venezuela’s chief elections officer showed up in Lima to encourage Humala’s last bid for the presidency.

Mexican Narco-State File: Gunmen kill 9 election workers in politically motivated attack in Oaxaca; shocking mass grave in Durango eclipses Tamaulipas atrocity; drug war spills into Guatemala, state of emergency declared in 2 provinces

Over the weekend, the body count in Mexico’s grim four-and-a-half-year drug war mounted, approaching 40,000, as well as assuming political overtones. The most powerful drug trafficking outfits are the Sinaloa, Tijuana, Gulf, Juarez, Los Zetas, Beltran Leyva, and La Familia Michoacana cartels. Most of the violence has taken place in the northern states that border the USA, but bloody incidents have spilled over into the southern states as well. Mexico’s narcistas buy up to 20 percent of their firearms from the US black market, but also from the Poldolskaya and Solntsevskaya branches of the Russian mafia which, according to Interpol, is actively trafficking drugs and arms in Mexico.

On Monday, gunmen attacked a town in the poor, southwest state of Guerrero, killing four police officers and two civilians. The narcistas opened fire on the police around 10:24 a.m. in a square in the town of Coyuca de Catalan, according to the Guerrero Public Safety Secretariat. A police major, three officers, a taxi driver and a woman died, while two other bystanders were wounded in the attack. Guerrero’s Tierra Caliente region, where the attack occurred, has been the scene of a turf war between rival cartels.

This past Saturday, in the same state, four police officers and nine narcistas died in a shootout on the Acapulco-Zihuatanejo highway. The 90-minute gun battle erupted after a special operations police unit intercepted a five-vehicle convoy of gunmen near Los Achotes, a community outside the city of Zihuatanejo. After the shootout, police seized the narcistas’ vehicles, 16 assault rifles, three grenades, 2,000 rounds of ammunition, bullet-proof vests, and military-style uniforms.

The impoverished state of Guerrero, whose mountains are a prime growing area for marijuana, witnessed the murder of 370 people in the Pacific resort city of Acapulco in 2010. The sporadically active guerrilla group known as the Popular Revolutionary Army also originated in Guerrero in the mid-1990s.

In neighboring Oaxaca, gunmen ambushed nine people on a dirt road as the victims travelled from the community of La Tani toward Santiago Choapan to work on final preparations for a special election in that city. The municipal elections in Santiago Choapan were annulled in 2010 due to irregularities. Oaxaca’s police chief Cesar Alfaro and Deputy Government Secretary Oscar Cruz arrived by helicopter to appraise the situation firsthand and begin an investigation. This incident also occurred on Saturday.

Two groups, one led by the family of former state legislator Damaso Nicolas, a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), and the other led by Cesar Mateos, a member of the Party of the Democratic Revolution, have been fighting for control of Santiago Choapan. “Nicolas is a chieftain because his family has always had power, and now that other actors want to participate they are against it, and we blame them for the violence,” accused leftist rival Mateos.

In 2006, leftist activists, rejecting the PRI’s decades-old stranglehold over the government of Oaxaca, established a counter-government in the state capital.

This past Friday, seven gunmen kidnapped the police chief of Ascencion, a city in the northern state of Chihuahua, as the official and two bodyguards returned from the city of Casas Grandes. According to the state Attorney General’s Office, Manuel Martinez Arvizo and his security detail were ambushed on a highway, forced at gunpoint into another vehicle, and driven to the vicinity of the nearby city of Janos. State police confirm that Martinez Arvizo and his bodyguards were killed, but not before their captors tortured them.

A few months ago, the residents of Ascencion protested police corruption by sacking the police department’s 12 officers and assuming control of public safety operations themselves. The drug war in Chihuahua alone has claimed the lives of one quarter of Mexico’s total war dead. The Juarez and Sinaloa cartels are the two main criminal entities competing for domination of the smuggling corridors that pass through this border state into the USA. Mayors and local police chiefs are frequent targets of Mexico’s drug gangs.

In a related story (pictured above), the indigenous inhabitants of Cherán, Michoacán, also took the law into their own hands by erecting road barricades to protect their land from illegal loggers, whom they believe are backed by drug traffickers. “The rebellion in Cherán caught the attention of the federal government,” reports Fox News, “which  deployed troops and federal police last week to patrol the outskirts of the  town.”

President Felipe Calderon has deployed tens of thousands of soldiers and federal police across the country, especially in the north, to crush the drug lords and their private armies. The Mexican government, however, has been unable to prevent the narcistas from carrying out appalling massacres.

For example, in Durango, security forces have announced the discovery of another 17 bodies in mass graves first uncovered last month. This revelation brings the number of bodies unearthed in this northern state to 218, eclipsing the 183 bodies found in pits last month in Tamaulipas, a state that borders both Texas and the Gulf of Mexico. In a separate incident, this past Sunday Durango security officials acknowledged that nine dead bodies were found on a street in the state capital. The Sinaloa, Los Zetas, and Beltran Leyva cartels have been fighting for control of Durango’s drug routes.

In another important victory against the cartels’ command structures, the Mexican government has announced that soldiers captured a top member of the Sinaloa crime group. Suspected drug boss Martin Beltran Coronel serves as one of Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman’s lieutenants. Beltran Coronel, a cousin of slain kingpin Ignacio “Nacho” Coronel, was arrested last Thursday in the wealthy Guadalajara suburb of Zapopan.

“Beltran Coronel had the blessing of Joaquin Guzman … which made him part of the leadership of the cartel,” Mexican Army Colonel Edgar Luis Villegas told reporters as the drug boss was paraded on television. Fugitive Guzman is believed to be hiding in and around his home state of Sinaloa.

Meanwhile, Mexico’s drug war has spilled cross the southern border into Guatemala. There center-left president Alvaro Colom has declared a state of emergency in at least two provinces, Alta Verapaz and more recently Peten, the country’s largest. Over the weekend, 30 to 40 members of the Los Zetas drug cartel, which has reportedly set up training camps in Guatemala’s northern jungles, massacred 27  farmworkers, beheading all but one victim. “We are willing to deal with these people,” vowed Colom to Mexico’s MVS radio on Tuesday, calling the slaughter “barbaric.”

Last December, the Guatemalan president imposed a state of emergency in Alta Verapaz, extending the emergency rule in January. At the time, Guatemalan soldiers seized more than 80 machine guns and assault rifles and 48 vehicles, while more than 20 people linked to drug trafficking were arrested.

Red Dawn Alert: Iranian engineers visited Venezuela’s Paraguaná Peninsula in February, plan to build 20-meter-deep missile silos, bunker, barracks; rocket base designed to deter enemies of both states

Today the Jerusalem Post carried a follow-up to a story first exposed by Die Welt last December. Last year, according to the German media source, Communist Venezuela and Islamo-Nazi Iran inked a secret pact to build a medium-range missile base in the South American country. The presidents of the two countries, Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Adhmadinejad, are vehemently anti-USA and anti-Israel.

Pictured above: Ahmadinejad welcomes Chavez to Tehran on April  2, 2009.

This week, Die Welt reports that Iranian engineers from the Khatam al-Anbia construction firm, which is owned by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, actually visited Venezuela’s Paraguaná Peninsula in February. Citing information from “Western security insiders,” the German newspaper reveals that Amir al-Hadschisadeh, chief of the Revolutionary Guard’s Air Force, led the delegation.

In addition to 20-meter-deep missile silos, the Iranian military plans to build a command and control bunker, barracks for missile troops, and a watch tower. The Iranians paid cash for the “preliminary phase of the project,” while the total cost is expected to amount to “dozens of millions” of dollars. The missile base will feature measures that deter air attacks against Venezuela, allowing the Chavez regime to launch missiles against enemies of both countries. The Paraguaná Peninsula is on Venezuela’s Caribbean coast and about 120 kilometers from the USA’s main South American partner, Colombia.

The similarities between this development and the Cuban Missile Crisis, which took place almost 50 years ago, are striking. Not so coincidentally, both Chavez and Adhmadinejad are reliable strategic partners of Russia, which should provoke one to wonder who’s really behind the Caracas-Tehran missile pact. The neo-Soviet leadership has not hesitated to express its “concerns” over the placement of US anti-missile batteries in “ex”-communist Poland and Romania. So far, the Obama White House has not responded to this story.

Doom File: Japan’s Tepco finally admits Fukushima reactor no. 1 underwent full meltdown, fallout contaminating US water, milk supplies; source: new radioactive cloud heading toward North America

On May 12, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Mark Colvin reported on the real effects of the March 11 mega-quake that crippled Japan: “The company that owns the Fukushima nuclear plant, Tepco, has finally admitted what many have long suspected, that one of their reactors underwent a full meltdown after the tsunami that hit Japan’s east Coast. They say the fuel rods in the number one reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi plant are exposed.”

The Japanese media also reports that “Another leak at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant has been pouring radioactive water filled with high amounts of cesium into the Pacific Ocean for an unknown period of time, but Tokyo Electric Power Co. was able to plug the leak.” Tepco swung into damage control mode after discovering that “The water in the pit contained cesium-134 at 620,000 times the legal level and cesium-137 at 430,000 times the limit . . . The radiation on the water’s surface was giving off scorching readings of 1.5 millisieverts per hour. The leak was stopped Wednesday night after filling the pit with concrete and other materials.”

Radioactive cesium, transported by prevailing westerlies across the Pacific Ocean and North America, was detected in Vermont’s milk supply more than a month ago. Radiation from Japan’s stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant has also been detected in the water supply of at least 13 US cities.

Although Western leaders are distracted by NATO intervention in the Libyan civil war, the Japanese nuclear crisis continues to bubble below the surface of public awareness. According to the Market Oracle’s Chris Kitze, who stumbled across a global radiation forecast inadvertantly posted at the website of Austria’s Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG), another “massive radiation cloud” is heading toward the USA and Canada from Japan.

The presence of radioactive fallout in North America from Japan’s nuclear crisis is certainly troubling, but fortunately has yet to reach levels that pose immediate health hazards.

Red Cocaine File: Bolivarian Intelligence Service recruited FARC to kill Chavez’s opponents; Ecuador becomes international narco-hub; Zapatistas denounce anti-drug effort, 20,000 EZLN rebels/sympathizers march in Chiapas

On March 1, 2008 Colombian troops raided a jungle camp of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the world’s largest insurgent army, which is still seeking to establish a Marxist dictatorship in Bogota, nearly two decades after the much-ballyhooed “demise” of the Soviet Union. Since the jungle camp was located in Ecuador, an international fracas dubbed the Andean Crisis erupted, provoking the allied communist regimes in Venezuela and Ecuador to deploy tanks and troops along their respective border with Colombia.

During the assault, Colombian security forces cornered and killed a FARC commander, Raúl Reyes, seizing a laptop with a treasure trove of incriminating emails and other documents that Interpol later validated as “genuine.” Not so coincidentally, one week later Thai authorities arrested suspected Russian arms smuggler Viktor (“Lord of War”) Bout in Bangkok. US counterparts accused the former Soviet Armed Forces lieutenant of attempting to sell surface-to-air missiles to FARC and in November 2010 extradited the self-avowed “businessman” to the USA, where he faces charges of terrorism.

Lately, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London re-scrutinized the “FARC Files” and published a 240-page analysis of the rebel army. On the basis of these documents, think tank president Nigel Inkster contends that the regime of President Hugo Chavez has on certain occasions recruited FARC insurgents to provide urban guerrilla training to pro-government cells in Venezuela, to assassinate Chavez’s political opponents, and to serve as a shadow militia for Venezuela’s intelligence apparatus.

Inkster cautions there is no evidence that Chávez was directly aware of the assassination requests or that “hit jobs” were ever carried out. “We haven’t begun the dossier with the words ‘J’accuse,’ ” said Inkster, who is also one of the book’s editors. “Instead we tried to produce a sober analysis of the FARC since the late 1990s, when Venezuela became a central element of their survival strategy.”

The rocky relationship between ex-paratrooper Chavez and Reyes began during a covert meeting in Venezuela in September 2000, at which time the Venezuelan president agreed to lend FARC US$300 million in hard currency for weapons purchases. Venezuela’s red dictator apparently viewed the communist rebels as “an ally that would keep U.S. and Colombian military strength in the region tied down in counterinsurgency, helping to reduce perceived threats against Venezuela.”

A spokesman for Miraflores Palace, the presidential residence in Caracas, refused to comment on the assertions in the IISS publication. However, over the last three years, the Venezuelan government has denounced revelations from Reyes’ computer as “fabrications.” However, this data in fact led to the recovery of caches of depleted uranium in Colombia and stashes of US cash in Costa Rica, both of which were believe by authorities to represent part of FARC’s terrorism support network.

The IISS book explains how Venezuela’s main intelligence agency, known as the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN) since December 2009 but previously as DISIP, enlisted FARC in training state security forces and conducting terrorist attacks, including bombings, in Caracas in 2002 and 2003. A meeting described by the authors shows that Chavez was almost certainly unaware of DISIP’s decision to involve the Colombian guerrillas in state terrorism, but that DISIP officials still “carried out such contacts with a large amount of autonomy.”

Drawing from FARC’s computer archives, the book describes how the guerrillas trained various pro-Chavez organizations in Venezuela, including the Bolivarian Liberation Forces, a “shadowy” paramilitary group operating along the border with Colombia. FARC communications also discussed providing training in urban terrorism methods for cadres of the pro-Chavez Communist Party of Venezuela and several radical cells from 23 de Enero, a Caracas slum that has long been a nest of “pro-Chavez activity.”

The IISS book cites requests by Chavez’s regime for the guerrillas to assassinate at least two of his opponents. FARC discussed one such request in 2006 from Julio Chirino, a security adviser for Alí Rodríguez Araque, a top Venezuelan official. According to the archive, Chirino asked the FARC to bump off Henry López Sisco, who headed DISIP at the time of a 1986 massacre of unarmed members of a subversive group. “They ask that if possible we give it to this guy in the head,” said Reyes. The book acknowledges there
was no evidence that FARC acted on the request before López Sisco left Venezuela in November 2006.

The IISS makes it clear that the Colombian rebels sometimes found their Venezuelan allies “unscrupulous and deceitful.” In one example, Mono Jojoy, who was killed in a bombing raid in 2010, had harsh words for Ramón Rodríguez Chacín, a former Venezuelan naval officer who served as a top liaison between Chavez and the FARC, branding him “the worst kind of bandit.” Jojoy also called Chavez himself a “deceitful and divisive president who lacked the resolve to organize himself politically and militarily.” A member of FARC’s secretariat, Jojoy was the nom de guerre of Víctor Suárez Rojas.

The “FARC Files” also show that the guerrillas contributed US$400,000 to Rafael Correa’s 2006 presidential bid in Ecuador. Socialist Correa is a close ally or, perhaps more accurately, “mini me” of Chavez. “Correa almost certainly approved the use of these funds in his campaign, but this did not translate into a policy of state support for the insurgents during the brief period between Correa’s inauguration and Reyes’ death,” Inkster said during the book launch. Like Chavez, Correa has been reluctant to characterize FARC as a terrorist organization, demanding that the Union of South American Nations do this first.

This past Sunday, Chavez telephoned Correa to congratulate the latter on his victory during the previous day’s referendum, in which a majority of Ecuadoreans affirmed a raft of reforms advocated by Correa. The Venezuelan president “interpreted the results of this victory as an undisputable sign that the will of the Ecuadorian people is to continue building the Citizens’ Revolution of Rafael Correa.” Chavez gushed: “Among the extremely important decisions that were adopted by the Ecuadorian people within
the framework of a new democracy that they are building in this brother country, was the regulation of media content in favour of the citizenship, the limiting of bank participation in the property of that media, and the transformation of the judicial system.”

Chavez’s rosy reference to the regulation of media content in Ecuador and the appointment of Correa lackeys in the judiciary is ironic since the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is concerned that Correa will use the proposed government panel to censor free speech. “We believe the referendum questions are aimed at stifling voices that oppose your administration,” Joel Simon, the group’s executive director, said in an April 18 open letter to Correa published on the CPJ website.

A government crackdown on political opponents and critics, including lawsuits against at least three reporters and the country’s biggest newspaper, El Universo, for
allegedly insulting Correa, may be a sign the government plans to use any new powers to silence dissenters, asserted former President Osvaldo Hurtado in a May 3 email for public consumption.

During their May 8 phone conversation, Chavez and Correa also discussed bilateral relations, including the success of the sucre, a new “virtual currency” used for trade among member states of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, which include Venezuela and Ecuador.

Last Saturday’s popular referendum is only one factor hastening the demise of Ecuadorean democracy, advanced under the guise of a “Citizens’ Revolution.” Again, like Chavez, Correa has provided safe haven for the narco-communist FARC, transforming his small jungle country into a “United Nations of organized crime.” This quote reflects the assessment of Jay Bergman, director of the US Drug Enforcement Administration’s operations for the Andean region of South America.

Ecuador is “sandwiched” between the continent’s two top cocaine producers, Colombia and Peru. On the one hand, FARC controls large swathes of Colombian territory, while on the other hand, a pro-Chavez left-nationalist, Ollanta Humala, is poised to win next month’s run-off election in Lima. A much-diminished Shining Path still lurks in the Peruvian jungles.

“We have cases of Albanian, Ukrainian, Italian, Chinese organized crime all in Ecuador, all getting their product for distribution to their respective countries,” observes Bergman, adding: “If I’m an Italian organized drug trafficker and I want to meet with my Colombian counterpart … I would probably prefer  to meet in Ecuador than to meet in Colombia. [It’s easier to] have my passport stamped as Ecuador and say, ‘Yea, I went to the Galapagos islands for vacation.’”

High-profile drug busts suggest that Quito’s attempts to interdict shipments are motivated by a respect of law and order. “They [Ecuadorean officials] are doing a pretty bang up job in terms of basic interdictions with a fraction of the capabilities and the resources of the Colombians,” Bergman admitted. However, in 2008, in a move to boost tourism, Correa dropped a visa requirement so that visitors from any country can stay in Ecuador for up to three months.

In a previous post, we also reported how the Russian mafia, which is a front for the Russian Federation’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR/KGB), has turned Ecuador into a base for shipping arms to FARC.

In the mid-1990s, Colombian and US special forces decimated the Cali and Medellin cartels, only to watch FARC assume control over the production of cocaine but shift responsibility for international shipment and distribution to foreign organized crime groups, including the Mexican cartels. The last, of course, have turned the USA’s southern neighbour into a gruesome battlefield since late 2006. At the last link, Reuters reports: “Powerful Mexican cartels are the largest buyers of [communist-produced] Colombian cocaine to supply the massive U.S. market.”

For the most part, Mexico’s communist insurgents, especially the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), have been strangely silent as the drug lords challenge the legitimacy of the country’s “bourgeois” National Action Party government. “Until this year,” comments Jose Gil Olmos of the Center for Latin American and Border Studies at New Mexico State University, “the Zapatistas had been largely silent on the so-called drug war that has ravaged Mexico during the past few years.”

In a communiqué dated April 28, the leadership of the Chiapas-based, indigenous-Marxist EZLN, named after a hero of the Mexican Revolution (1910-1917), declared it “wholeheartedly” supported a call by poet Javier Sicilia to hold multiple anti-drug war protest marches. In a pronouncement signed by the EZLN’s be-masked guerrilla leader, “Subcomandante Marcos,” the rebel force said it would end its sympathy march with readings of statements in Spanish and Indian languages.

The Zapatistas further condemned the Mexican government’s anti-organized crime strategy as a “psychotic military campaign by Felipe Calderon Hinojosa” that has turned into a “totalitarian argument” for spreading fear across the country. The EZLN urged its sympathizers in Mexico and throughout the world (like MIT professor Noam
Chomsky
) to support the movement launched by Sicilia, which arose after the poet’s son and friends were murdered in Cuernavaca, Morelos, apparently by narcistas.

Beginning on Thursday, May 5, Mexicans heeded Sicilia’s summons to protest against Calderon’s anti-cartel crackdown. The largest march, reports the leftist Upside Down World, lasted four days and covered nearly 100 kilometers from Cuernavaca, Morelos, to Mexico City. On May 5, about 500 protesters began marching in Cuernavaca. Along the way, more contingents joined the march, while other marches set out from different states to join the primary protest in the federal capital. By the time the marches converged in Mexico City’s main square on Sunday, May 8, an estimated 100,000 people were gathered to protest the war.

On Saturday, May 7, some 20,000 silent masked Indians, waving Mexican and EZLN flags, took to the streets of San Cristobal de Las Casas (pictured above) in a show of support for both the guerrilla army and Sicilia’s national march for peace. The demonstration, the largest organized by the Zapatistas in a decade, was not attended by Subcomandante Marcos. “The governments say that the only good strategy is one that leaves the streets and fields of Mexico bloody, and destroys families, communities and the entire country,” EZLN commander “David” railed in an address to the marchers.

In 1994, following the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the EZLN engaged in several armed conflicts with the Mexican military in Chiapas, but has since then relegated its official opposition to the federal government to formal pronouncements, protest marches, and other publicity stunts replete with warmed-over Cold War-era proletarian rantings.

WW4 File: USA to install anti-missile batteries in Romania, Kremlin vows “counter-measures”; Pravda paints Washington as “aggressor,” urges placement of Iskander missiles in Transnistria to threaten Bucharest

The Kremlin is going “ballistic” over a new US-Romanian military agreement that will place three air defense batteries with a total of 24 SM-3 interceptor missiles in the Romanian town of Deveselu. The last, as the Russians are quick to point out, is 500 kilometers from Sevastopol, Ukraine, where the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet is based. At first 200 US troops will man the anti-missile unit, which is equipped with the Aegis radar system, then this figure will be boosted to 500. Ironically, the US missile troops will be stationed at the site of a former Soviet air base.

Pictured above: On May 3, 2011, Romanian army personnel attend the inaugural ceremony of the location for installing US anti-missile batteries at Deveselu air base, 240 kilometers southwest of Bucharest.

Until 1991, Romania was a member of the Warsaw Pact, but now belongs to NATO. Its president is “ex”-communist Traian Basescu. From the vantage of the long-range Soviet deception plan, this troubling fact suggests that Bucharest and the “ex”-communists who rule Russia are purposely luring the USA into the territory of the old Soviet Bloc in order to portray Washington as aggressor.

“Military specialists in the United States, NATO and Romania should be absolutely aware that any measure entails counter-measures,” rumbled Konstantin Kosachev, who heads the foreign policy committee of the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian Parliament. He added: “The counter measures would be used with the sole purpose of protecting Russia and would not be aimed at any particular state. My personal point of view is that the ideal scenario would be for the United States to issue legal guarantees, but the Americans are unlikely to do that.”

The head of the State Duma’s defense committee, Viktor Zavarzin, complained: “The Romanian deal will have a negative impact on inter-European relations and undermine the existing balance of forces and interests. And this, in turn, will provoke an unnecessary escalation of tensions.”

On Tuesday, Moscow issued an urgent request for legal guarantees from Washington that its missile shield will not target Russia’s strategic nuclear forces.

With characteristic nastiness, communist organ Pravda professes to reveal the US government’s true intentions in the Balkan Peninsula. “The U.S. policy is clear,” Pravda smirks, then quotes Konstantin Sivkov, a military expert and Senior Vice President of the Academy of Geopolitical Issues, as saying:

The missile defense system that Americans are placing in Romania is designed to destroy ballistic and tactical goals. If you look at the map of the region, the Romanian base can be used for only one goal: to keep southern regions of Russia at gunpoint and enable hitting our cruise missiles.

Missile defense elements in Romania are a part of the U.S. plan to encircle Russia with military bases. There are no other potential threats to
the U.S. in this region.
Turkey is a NATO member, Ukraine is actively cooperating with NATO. There are potential “hot spots” – the Crimea, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia. The Americans are arming Georgia and pulling together the forces to the region – quite probably in anticipation of worsening of the conditions in this part of the world.

Contrary to the statements of the President of Romania, the missile defense deployment is directed precisely against Russia. We could take retaliatory measures such as deploying Iskander and transferring fighter bombers in the area. However, this requires political will. The pro-Western lobby in the Russian elite is too strong, and they prefer to buy NATO weapons we do not need like [French-built] “Mistral” [helicopter assault] ships. It is unlikely that we will respond to the missile defenses in full.

Pravda accuses former red Basesecu of being Washington’s “chain dog” and urges the deployment of Iskander missiles in the unrecognized, but pro-Moscow republic of Transnistria, which is wedged between Moldova and Ukraine: “Russia will have to respond not only to the Americans but also to the Romanians. There is no guarantee that it
will be one and the same response. For example, the deployment of Iskander in Transnistria is unlikely to impress Washington, but would be a different story for Bucharest.”

The communist editors of Pravda darkly observe that US missile “defense” elements in Romania are part of a wider Pentagon plan to place missiles in close proximity to Russian borders, including last year in Poland and possibly Bulgaria. In May 2010, the US military delivered a Patriot surface-to-air missile battery to Morag, Poland, which is only 60 kilometers from the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, itself suspected of hosting part of the Kremlin’s nuclear arsenal. At the time, a Russian foreign ministry statement warned: “Military activities like these do not contribute to strengthening our common security, developing relations of trust and predictability in the region.” Polish Defence Minister Bogdan Klich retorted: “You don’t need to be a specialist to know that this kind of defence weapon cannot be turned into an offensive weapon.”

No doubt the neo-Soviet leadership will use this September’s Russian-Belarusian-Ukrainian military maneuver, Union Shield 2011, to dramatically register its disapproval of the US military presence in the Not-So-Former Soviet Bloc.

Communism with Canadian Characteristics: Conservatives secure third mandate, form majority government; socialists crush long-ruling Liberals and Quebec separatists, first time in official opposition

Since 2004 Canadians have held four federal parliamentary elections. However, the country’s era of political instability, which saw the gradual demise of the formerly dominant Liberal Party, appears to have come to an end.

In 2006 and 2008, voters elected two minority Conservative Party governments. In today’s election, the socialist New Democratic Party surged ahead, sweeping aside two other opposition parties, the center-left Liberals and separatist Bloc Quebecois. At the same time, the NDP handed Prime Minister Stephen Harper his first Conservative majority in the House of Commons. While Harper will no doubt rejoice in his commanding lead in the poll, a leader of the NDP, ex-political science professor Jack Layton (pictured above), will for the first time head the country’s official opposition.

For four decades, the Socialist International-affiliated NDP has been committed to withdrawing Canada, the USA’s most reliable ally, from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The Socialist Caucus within the NDP reveals on its website:

Whereas NATO is a relic of the Cold War and a tool of US aggression in pursuit of corporate interests and militarism;

And whereas Canadian forces in Afghanistan are engaged in combat against national resistance forces, to prop up a US-puppet government of human rights abusers, drug traffickers and warlords, to occupy and control a region of the country for the purpose of constructing through it a lucrative oil/gas pipeline, and to justify aggressive militarism increasingly allied to Washington s global corporate agenda;

Therefore be it resolved that the NDP actively campaign to get Canada out of NATO, to get NATO out of Afghanistan, and to disengage Canadian forces from any support role for the U.S. and its client regime in Iraq, from the training of Iraqi soldiers in Jordan, and policing the shipping lanes of the Persian Gulf.

By contrast, Layton has seemingly distanced himself from his party’s historical position and the Socialist Caucus’ current position by talking about “transforming” NATO, rather than leading Canada out of the military alliance. However, in 2009, NDP defence critic Jack Harris downplayed the neo-Soviet threat:

Real action to build Canada’s North, not rhetoric, empty promises and photo ops will protect Canada’s Arctic sovereignty. For weeks we have heard the Conservative Defence Minister posturing about the Russian military threat to Canada’s Arctic. Russia as a military threat to the Canadian people is a myth being orchestrated by the Conservative government to divert attention from their lack of real action. We have fewer sovereignty disputes with Russia than we do other with nations.

According to the Socialist Caucus, in order to be true to its origins, the NDP must nationalize (communize) Canada’s telecommunication providers, oil and natural gas companies, automobile manufacturers, banks, and insurance companies. With his solid majority, Harper can hold off the socialists for another four years, but the leftward shift among Quebec voters, where the separatists received a body blow, reveals a province that has yet to find its place in the “Great Pink North.” All things considered, the results of today’s election in Canada leave your resident blogger with an uneasy feeling for the future of his homeland.

Grey Terror File: White House confirms death of Osama bin Laden: US Navy Seals raid hideout in Abbotabad, Pakistan, corner and kill terrorist mastermind

After nearly 10 years of rumors concerning the demise of the mastermind behind the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the USA, the White House has confirmed the death of Saudi-born arch-terrorist Osama bin Laden.