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Archive: 2003-5/2009

Group says files show US knew of Guatemala abuses  3/18/2009 Miami Herald 

Costa Rica protests against U.S. over detention of general prosecutor  4/26/2008 Xinhua: "Costa Rica's Foreign Ministry on Friday expressed its protest to the United States following the detention of the country's general prosecutor. Francisco Dall'Anesse was detained at Miami airport on April 23when he was about to enter the United States on an official trip."

Panama to probe US invasion  12/21/2007 BBC: "The national assembly in Panama has declared a day of national mourning to mark the anniversary of the US invasion 18 years ago. The assembly also set up a commission to investigate how many people were killed during the invasion. The government estimates up to 500 Panamanians were killed, but human rights groups say more than 1,000 died."

Sandinista comeback alarms US  10/29/2006 Guardian: "But in Washington he is still seen as a threat. US ambassador Paul Trivelli and senior Bush officials have warned Nicaraguans of dire consequences if he wins. 'Their reaction to the prospect that he may well come back now sometimes borders on the hysterical,' said Michael Shifter, of the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington-based think-tank."

Old rivals unite in new Nicaragua - With a boost from former Contras, Sandinista icon Daniel Ortega's latest bid for president is promising.  10/25/2006 NYT: "If you want to be a friend of Daniel Ortega, the once and perhaps future president of Nicaragua, it helps if you were once his enemy. An intimidating nom de guerre doesn't hurt either. "The Godfather," "Commander Bull's-Eye" and "the Alligator" — to a man, they either fought in or backed the Contra war that sought to overthrow Ortega's revolutionary Sandinista government in the 1980s. Now all three are working to get him elected president, 16 years after Nicaraguans voted the mustachioed hero of the Latin American left out of office. "In the battle between realism and idealism, realism has won out," Jaime "the Godfather" Morales Carazo said, explaining why he and so many other Nicaraguan conservatives have joined the Sandinista camp. "If you think about the future, you can't look back at the past." Once the Contras' top political negotiator, Morales lost his palatial home in Managua, the capital, when the Sandinistas expropriated it and handed it over to Ortega, who still lives there. Now Morales is Ortega's running mate in the Nov. 5 presidential election."

Nicaragua braced for the return of the ugly Americans  9/6/2006 New Zealand Herald 

White House insiders report that an influential group of extreme right-wing gay Latino power brokers has been given almost total control over U.S. foreign and business policy decisions affecting Latin America  3/23/2006 Wayne Madsen Report: scroll down to March 23, 2006 - " A number of members of the Young Hispanic Republican Association report that they have been sexually preyed upon by members of the influential Latino power brokers after accepting administration appointments, including positions on the White House staff. The gay Latino group, led by an individual nicknamed "El Padrino" (the godfather) and which has close ties, including gay relationships, with top GOP officials in the Republican National Committee, Small Business Administration, the Department of State, State of Texas, and Executive Office of the President, has been tasked with ensuring that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez does not successfully bid on the sale of Univision, the largest Spanish language TV network in North America. Senior White House officials have provided hundreds of millions of dollars, through CIA and State Department conduits, to the Latino group to ensure that Chavez does not gain control of Univision. The group has also prevailed upon the government of Panama and particularly senior gay members of the Panamanian government, to ensure that President Martin Torrijos backs out of a regional energy treaty signed between Panama, Venezuela, and Colombia. The deal would see Panama's transisthmian Petroterminales de Panama (PTP) pipeline between Puerto Armuelles on the Pacific to Chiriqui Grande on the Caribbean reverse its flow from east to west to permit the export of Venezuelan oil to China. However, since the Panamanian government only owns a 30 percent stake in the pipeline, the GOP Latino power brokers have applied pressure on a New York-based family-owned firm that owns 60 percent of the pipeline to sink the deal."

Book on Garifuna to be published  2/19/2006 Carribean Net News: "Honduras This Week writer Wendy Griffin has written a book about the Garifuna culture, ready for release this February. Entitled Los Garifunas de Honduras: Su Cultura, Su Lucha y Sus Derechos Bajo Convenio 169 de la OIT (The Garifunas of Honduras: Their Culture, Their Struggle and Their Rights Under ILO Convention 169), the book explores a range of cultural characteristics of the Garifuna community including their agriculture, hunting, dances, medicines, religion, architectural environment, and crafts (including baskets and tools for the processing of the Cassava root to make bread). One of the key areas Griffin focuses on is how the different elements of Garifuna culture are related to the environment, how ecological degradation has contributed to the loss of land and has been detrimental to the Garifuna people. “The Garifunas need to know how to unite in the struggle and be successful in protecting their lands,” said Griffin on why she wrote the book. To Griffin, the most important document regarding land rights is the International Labour Organization’s legal rights convention 169. ILO 169 demonstrates the Garifuna’s legal rights to lands. OFRANEH, an ethnic federation that represents Garifunas through petitions, press releases and complaints, is also discussed in the book. By highlighting the organizations and laws dedicated to protecting Garifuna rights, Griffin hopes to strengthen isolated Garifuna communities by integrating them into a larger network."

Bush administration "Back to the Future" antics in Central America  2/1/2006 Wayne Madsen Report: "According to high-level U.S. intelligence sources, the Bush administration is planning a redux of the Contra wars of the 1980s. With polls showing that Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega may become Nicaragua's next President in November 2 elections, the Bush administration has ordered U.S. intelligence agencies to establish a network of small clandestine communications stations along the Honduran and Costa Rican borders with Nicaragua, supplemented by additional support bases in El Salvador. Many of those involved in the covert operations are veterans of the Contra wars of the 1980s. The hub of U.S. covert activity is centered in the Soto Cano airbase in Honduras. Formerly the Palmerola airbase, the base was active in U.S. support for the contras against the Sandinistas in the 1980s. U.S. intelligence sources also report that right-wing elements in the CIA and Pentagon also have a nasty surprise in store for Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) leader Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, if he is, as expected, elected President of Mexico in July's elections. Obrador, a former mayor of Mexico City, a champion of Mexico's poor, and an ally of Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales, is leading in most polls. Intelligence whispers from U.S. covert actors in Latin America indicate that if Obrador is elected and fails to moderate his leftist policies, he will not live to see his inauguration day. Apparently, Obrador has gotten the message from the Bush administration. Last night, he told Mexican television that he would appoint three non-PRD members to his three most important cabinet posts: Treasury, Foreign Affairs, and Interior."

John Dimitri Negroponte  1/22/2006 Celerino Castillo: "From 1985 to 1991, I was assigned to Honduras, Guatemala, Belize and El Salvador. As one of two DEA agents that covered those countries, I observed that our U.S. government was complicit in drug trafficking and human rights violations. The area was rife with rebellion, gunrunning, and a perception that communism was on the move towards our back yards. One of my job descriptions was to train members of their military intelligence on interdiction of drug enforcement. However, most of my time was spent assisting the CIA in training the death squads. We were utilizing CIA contract agents from different parts of South America, specifically Venezuela and Argentina. In reality, Central America became one huge country, which allowed the death squads to over flow into each other. Mario Sandoval-Alarcon, best know as the godfather of the death squads and creator of the notorious death squad, ?La Mano Blanca? ran all death squads. Sandoval was so loved by Ronald Reagan, that he got a private invitation and attended Reagan's inauguration."

General strike in Belize  1/26/2005 SF Bay View 

People in the Film -- Dr. Luther Castillo  12/1/2004 Salud!: "Since graduating from the Latin American Medical School [Cuba] in August 2005, Dr Luther Castillo has been collaborating with other graduates, non-governmental partners, labor leaders, community members, and international and local volunteers to finalize the construction and equipping of the Ciriboya Community Hospital in the Honduran Mosquitia (see Innovative Project Brings Permanent Medical Services to Honduran Mosquitia). This community-based initiative, addressing the specific health needs of the Garifunas, represents the first sustainable source of care for the 18,000 people living in Ironia Municipalty, Dr Castillo´s home region."

COSTA RICA - Champion" of democracy and godfather of anti-Cuban mafia accused of corruption  10/12/2004 Granma 

“Champion” of democracy and godfather of anti-Cuban mafia accused of corruption  10/9/2004 Granma: "FORMER Costa Rican President Miguel Angel Rodríguez, well known for his speeches on democracy and legitimate political power as well as for his unconditional support of the Cuban-American mafia’s aims to isolate Cuba and end to the Revolution’s prestige, is facing serious charges of corruption in his country."


Guatemala to pay paramilitaries  8/20/2004 BBC: "Guatemala says it will pay at least $420m to paramilitaries who battled rebels during the country's civil war. The former fighters, who activists say are responsible for war crimes, had threatened to paralyse the country if Congress did not approve the payments."

Uno de cada 100 hondureños padece de SIDA, afirma experto  6/12/2004 Prensa Latina 

Honduras: 'Homies Were Burning Alive'  6/2/2004 Alternet: "In first-ever interviews, representatives of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS) gang in Honduras this week described how security forces were to blame for the May 17 prison fire that killed 105 of those they call their homeboys. In addition to starting the fire, police and prison guards allegedly kept the facility's gates locked for over an hour while trapped inmates were burnt alive or died from smoke inhalation. Human rights observers, children's advocates, and MS members say the tragedy is a direct consequence of Honduras' mano dura (strong fist) policies. These policies employ suppression tactics based on New York City's "zero tolerance" police strategies of the '90s, and were instituted on the advice of the Manhattan Institute think-tank and the Giuliani Group, which have exported the New York model to Latin America."

Honduran Prison Fires Kills 103 Inmates  5/17/2004 AP 

Honduras rushes to pull out troops  4/20/2004 CNN: "Honduras has confirmed that it will join Spain in withdrawing its troops from Iraq "in the shortest possible time." "

The Garifuna  1/3/2004 National Geographic 

Iraq: Quicksand & Blood  11/13/2003 Consortium News: "George W. Bush and his top advisers learned little from the Vietnam debacle of the 1960s, since most avoided service in the war. But many top Bush aides played key roles in the repression of leftist peasant uprisings in Central America in the 1980s, a set of lessons the Bush administration is now trying to apply to the violent resistance in Iraq."

POWELL TO NICARAGUA - Disarm!  11/12/2003 Granma: "The last time that Powell visited Central America, 15 years ago, was during the uprising in El Salvador. He was General Powell then. He posed in front of the cameras for the front pages, in fraternal camaraderie with Salvadoran Army executioners. A few weeks later, two of his companions in the photo published in the Salvadoran dailies were responsible for the murder of Archbishop Oscar Romero."

Honduras: Murdered with Impunity  5/29/2003 Guardian, UK: "Casa Alianza claims that many of the murders are a form of "social cleansing" whereby vigilante groups and police regard the deaths as others might regard the removal of vermin. The Honduran government believes that most of the killings are gang-related. Both human rights groups and government agree that the numbers of deaths amount to an epidemic of violence, with a murder rate 50 times that of the UK."

Disease threatens people and palms  5/20/2003 Latin America Press: "Lethal Yellowing Disease (LYD) has ripped through the Caribbean coast of Central America, destroying the major species of coconut palm in its path. It is also wiping out the livelihood of the Garifuna people who populate the Caribbean coastal regions of Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. LYD is a phytoplasma whose organism is thought to behave like a primitive virus."

Honduras: asesinan cónsul  5/8/2003 BBC Mundo: "La víctima, quien se desempeñaba desde hacía ocho años como cónsul honorario de Bélgica, podría haber sido asesinado por miembros de una banda de secuestradores que retienen a su esposa, según la policía."

Honduras rioters back in prison  4/7/2003 BBC 

Honduran Riot Displays Gangs' Brutality  4/7/2003 Guardian, UK: "LA CIEBA, Honduras (AP) - They have a fanatical devotion to their cause and they dream of bringing their violence to America's streets. They're not terrorists, but ``maras,'' Central America's U.S.-style street gangs whose brutality was on display Saturday during a prison riot that killed 69 people and injured 31 others on Honduras' Caribbean coast." Typical of US media, there is no explanation for this behavior.

Honduras: al menos 60 muertos en motín  4/6/2003 BBC Mundo 

Jail riot in Honduras leaves 66 dead  4/5/2003 CNN 

Golpe al narcotráfico en Guatemala  4/4/2003 BBC Mundo 

Analysis Of Situation In Guatemala  3/18/2003 Znet: "The balance of the past three years of FRG (Guatemalan Republican Front) party control over the government is negative. Headed by President Alfonso Portillo and President of Congress Efraín Ríos Montt, the deterioration is due to Guatemala's economic, political, moral and social crises; government corruption; the ongoing confrontation between the government and CACIF (the Coordinating Committee of Commercial, Agricultural, Industrial, and Financial Associations); the failure to fulfill the Peace Accords; the government's support of the reorganization of counterinsurgency structures such as the former PACs (Civil Defense Patrols); and the resurgence of political violence carried out by clandestine groups. The climate throughout the country is polarized, confrontational, violent, and full of despair. This environment has invaded most sectors of the population, which has been struck by hunger and an unjust system characterized by the privileges of a minority oligarchy that resists change. Added to all of that, there has been a shocking increase in drug trafficking, while the quantity of drugs confiscated has decreased and the anti-narcotics police have stolen two-thirds of the cocaine that was seized."

Guatemala: Maestros desafían a Portillo  3/7/2003 BBC Mundo: "Los maestros alzados que exigen al gobierno de Guatemala un aumento en el presupuesto para la Educación, ignoraron un ultimátum del presidente Alfonso Portillo y anunciaron nuevas acciones para este viernes."

Guatemala a key drug route  3/5/2003 Miami Herald: "In the three years since President Alfonso Portillo assumed office, Guatemala has emerged as one of the principal corridors in the hemisphere for U.S.-destined drugs -- a new battleground in the war on drugs where the traffickers are winning."

New York: Reunion Comunitaria con Celeo Alvarez, 3/1/03  3/1/2003 GarifunaWeb: Celio es presidente de ONECA, Organización Negra Centroamericana. "Habran informes sobre los últimos acontecimientos en Honduras" y en Centroamérica.

Honduras: No more empty promises -- Investigate murders of children and youths  2/25/2003 Amnesty International 

Guatemala desires greater collaboration in education, health and tourism  2/20/2003 Granma: "He added that both leaders discussed the possibility of bringing multidisciplinary groups of 50 to 60 Guatemalans to Cuba to observe how, with the same or perhaps less resources, the island has achieved 10 times more than Guatemala in health and education."

Amnet acquires Central American operations  2/14/2003 South Florida Business Journal: "Amnet, an international communications provider based in Coral Springs, has expanded its reach into Nicaragua and Honduras by acquiring the Central American assets of IFX Networks, Ltd. in Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua, according to a statement by Amnet."

Guatemala Court Rejects New Trial in Murder of Bishop Gerardi  2/14/2003 Zenit 

Honduras Investigates Massive Fish Kill  2/8/2003 Guardian 

Venezuela-resident Nazi executive kicked out of Costa Rica  2/7/2003 Vheadlines 

Judges targeted as Guatemala terror escalates  2/6/2003 Reuters: "A judge is pumped full of bullets outside Sunday Mass three days after another survives a similar spray of automatic fire by diving out of her car. Four judges have received death threats already this year."

U.S. Declares Guatemala Not Cooperating on Drugs  1/31/2003 Reuters: "The United States has decided Guatemala is not doing enough to fight the illegal drugs trade but will waive penalties against it for national security reasons, a U.S. official said on Friday."

Honduran Officials May Have Found Priest  1/29/2003 Newsday: "Carney arrived in Honduras in 1961 as a missionary shortly after ordination. He was expelled in 1979, accused of attempting to lead peasants in a revolt against the military government then in power. A short time later, he was assigned to parish work in Nicaragua, where he remained until traveling with a band of leftist guerrillas into Honduras in 1983. According to relatives and fellow Jesuits, Carney served as the rebels' chaplain. Carney, then 58, was captured by soldiers during the incursion across the border. He was never heard from again."

Colombian paramilitaries attack two villages in Panama  1/28/2003 ANNCOL: "The Kuna indigenous mayor of a village in Panama's border region, Gilberto Vasquez, was found with a bullet in the back of his head. Three other corpses were found in the mountains, chopped up by machetes. The right-wing death squads also kidnapped a US TV reporter and his two friends, all of whom were released on Friday 24th."

Guard Wounds 5 at Guatemala Party Meeting  1/27/2003 Guardian: "A security guard opened fire with a shotgun Sunday at thousands of people gathered for a Guatemalan political convention, wounding five, police said. Police said they detained the guard, Isaias Caal Ichich, and were investigating the circumstances of the shooting, which occurred during the general assembly of the National Union of Hope party… Colom received 12 percent of the presidential vote in 1999 as candidate of the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Union, a coalition of leftist parties formed from the guerrilla factions that fought the government until a 1996 peace treaty."

Adventure Magazine Reporter Recounts Ten-Day Kidnapping by Colombian Death Squad  1/27/2003 National Geographic: "While on assignment for National Geographic Adventure, contributing editor Robert Young Pelton, along with two traveling companions, Mark Wedeven and Megan Smaker, was kidnapped on January 14th by a right-wing paramilitary group in Panama's Darién Gap. The Bloque Elmer Cardenas, a splinter group of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, or AUC, released Pelton and the two young backpackers last Thursday after holding the trio captive for ten days in the jungle borderland between Panama and Colombia. Pelton finally returned home to Redondo Beach, California, last night… When Adventure spoke to him shortly after his release, two other journalists on assignment for the Los Angeles Times remained in the custody of another group of Colombian insurgents." AUC has been implicated in numerous massacres.

Guatemala bond issue 'will fund corruption'  1/20/2003 Financial Times: "A leading opposition figure on Monday called on investors to boycott Guatemala's forthcoming bond issue. Eduardo González, a banker who heads the campaign team of the favourite to win November's presidential election, said the government would pocket the money raised in next month's $700m offering."

REUNIÓN COMUNITARIA GARIFUNA, NY  1/16/2003 Garinet: on January 26, 2003 in NY - "MUGAMA, Inc.: Sra. Dionisia Amaya al (718) 485 6484 - Hondureños Contra el SIDA, Inc.: Sra. Mirtha Colón al (718) 991 2233 - Coalición Garifuna USA. Inc.: Sr. Rejil Solis al (718) 451 0614"

THE ORIGIN OF THE GARIFUNA  1/16/2003 Garinet: "When someone says,“I am a Garifuna,” that person is acknowledging the fact that she/he has Carib, Arawak and African blood pumping from their heart and through their veins."

Belize: Our Community - Jules Escalante - "The Jules of the Isle"  1/16/2003 San Pedro Sun: "This week The San Pedro Sun is pleased to feature a young man who, although born and raised by Belizean parents in the United States, has "come home" to make his contribution to this "island paradise" - Jules Homero Escalante."

NICARAGUA-CORRUPTION Audit: Aleman diverted $57 million  1/15/2003 EFE: "Comptroller's Office president Francisco Ramirez said Central Bank auditors had informed him that Aleman "laundered" more than $57 million through the bank. Aleman, who was put under house arrest on Dec. 22, has had his rights to travel and receive visitors restricted, and he is banned from using a telephone."

Not Enough Self Praise  1/14/2003 Bluefields Pulse, Nicaragua: "The days when the Bluefields man used to live upright for the sake and integrity of living upright are blowing away with the north wind. It is our duty to re-arrange this and set the example for our youths in this time. Our youths are participating in some confusing past times. These past times include destroying our town and reputation."

Belize: The burial of the Caste War’s history  1/12/2003 Amandala, Belize: "Belize has been an independent nation since 1981. Theoretically, we control the material which is taught to our children. It remains a puzzle why one of the two mass political parties in Belize cannot bring itself to endorse the teaching of African and Maya history in our schools. It is not a puzzle why the Roman Church in Belize, the most dominant force in our educational system, does not want to teach African and Maya history. One big reason is because the Roman Church in the Yucatan committed and endorsed atrocities against the Maya and African element who rebelled in the Caste War. That is our proposition. We await a dissenting argument, even though we know there can be none."


Critican asesinatos de líderes indígenas registrados en diciembre: Violencia preocupa a expertos de ONU  1/12/2003 Guatemala: "Las muertes de Antonio Pop Caal y Diego Velasco Brito constituyen 'una enorme pérdida para el pueblo indígena', expresaron Hina Jilani y Rodolfo Stavenhagen, delegados en materia de derechos humanos."

Belize's diverse pleasures  1/11/2003 Toronto Globe and Mail: "Travellers to the Central American haven of Belize can expect certain things: a Caribbean beach culture built around the world's second-largest barrier reef, an abundant jungle full of ecotourism attractions, ancient ruins and wildlife and a gentle, welcoming populace. But Belize also has its store of surprises: for instance, black-clad Mennonites leading horse-drawn wagons, a plethora of Vietnamese and Chinese restaurants and the sudden appearance during cocktail hour of hulking U.S. Special Forces commandos."

Guatemala rights record may hamper trade deal -US  1/9/2003 Forbes: "Death threats and attacks against Guatemalan rights activists may obstruct the signing of a free-trade pact between Washington and the Central American nation, the U.S. ambassador to Guatemala said Thursday. The United States and five Central American nations -- Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua -- launched free-trade talks Wednesday aimed at reaching an agreement by the end of the year."

Honduras: Corte confirma: ¡Fuera coordinador de juzgados!  1/5/2003 La Prensa, Honduras: clean up the judiciary when big capital is at stake - "La funcionaria en comunicación vía celular con La Prensa, mientras se encontraba analizando otras denuncias de corrupción, manifestó que los cambios son necesarios para una mejor aplicación de la justicia y evitar que la inversión nacional y extranjera se ahuyente del país."

Organizacion Fraternal de Negros de Honduras: Informe 4/1/03  1/4/2003 GarifunaWeb: report on current status

Organizacion Fraternal de Negros de Honduras: Perfil 4/1/03  1/4/2003 GarifunaWeb: report on current projects

Guatemala Falling Out of Favor  1/3/2003 Washington Post: "In October, Guatemalan officials finally disbanded the country’s long-corrupt anti-drug agency. Then last week, newly appointed Foreign Minister Edgar Gutierrez came to Washington bearing data reporting recent increases in the seizures of money and illicit drugs, as well as arrests of alleged drug traffickers. And in just a few days, Guatemala is expected to begin historic reforms in its military, whose links to organized crime are particularly disconcerting to the United States."

Guatemala scrambles to keep U.S. aid  1/2/2003 Quad City Time, Iowa: "Significant political ramifications are also at play as Guatemala heads toward presidential elections in November. Washington's decision could be seen as favoring the opposition over Portillo's Guatemalan Republican Front, the party led by the ruthless former dictator, Gen. Efrain Rios Montt. As the hour of decision nears, there is room for grace on President Bush's part. A national interest waiver that questions Guatemala's performance but frees it from any sanctions might do the job. Besides, it would demonstrate Washington's further recognition that sanctions, especially in the anti-drug crusade, have become a counterproductive foreign policy tool in the hemisphere."

Copyright © 2002 GarifunaWeb
December 28, 2002