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11.18 Air pollution levels ‘forcing families to move out of cities’ [like from desertification, lack of drinkable water and rising oceans, there will also be pollution-caused immigration until humans fix things]
11.17 Policies of China, Russia and Canada threaten 5C climate change, study finds [Climate catastrophe is increasingly likely without worldwide organization, funding and commitment to winning THE WAR AGAINST GLOBAL WARMING.]
11.16 How pesticide bans can prevent tens of thousands of suicides a year [how many thousands more die early from eating pesticide-laced food?]
11.15 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us [fossil fuel burning, un-recyclable plastic production/use and methane gas release must cease ASAP.]
11.15 The long read: The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]
11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]
11.12 This Land is Your Land: The Zinke effect: how the US interior department became a tool of industry [behaving ignorantly again...]
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US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
11.19 Last Week Tonight with John Oliver 11/18/2018 (HBO) [29:26 video]
11.19 Trump Says He Was 'Fully Briefed' and Also 'Not Briefed Yet' But Either Way Saudi Crown Prince 'Absolutely' Not Involved Because Trump Knows 'Everything That Went On' Without Listening to Tape of Khashoggi Murder
11.19 'We Need New Leaders, Period': Progressive Newcomers Urge Democrats to Embrace Bold Agenda or Face Primary Challenges [Current Democrat leaders are highly compromised by corporate donations]
11.18 Trump says Pelosi deserves speakership, offers Republican votes [An affirmation of Pelosi's unsuitability]
11.18 Khanna to Pelosi: Don't Just Create Green New Deal Select Committee, Make Ocasio-Cortez Its Chair [Will Pelosi earnestly change, or end her career in disgrace?]
11.18 Chuck Schumer, Feckless Hack [Neoliberal Democrats must go!]
11.18 What the State of the VA Tells Us About Trump’s War on Welfare [Privatizing often results in outright fraud and higher costs by private prisons, privatized health insurance and health care, privatized public schools and online "colleges" like Trump University]
11.17 As Energy for Medicare for All Explodes, Steny Hoyer's Plan Includes Waiting for Trump to Help Make Obamacare Better [Another who is unfit to be Democrat leader]
11.17 'A Staggeringly Bad Idea': Outrage as Pelosi Pushes Tax Rule That Would 'Kneecap the Progressive Agenda' [Unfit to be Democrat leader]
11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
11.19 Bankrupt Sears wants to give executives $19 million in bonuses [blatantly immoral and sick to richly reward those who led the company into the bankruptcy]
11.18 Big Pharma Bankrolled Pro-Trump Group As Trump Pushed Pharma Tax Cut [Corruption Central!]
11.16 Amazon’s HQ2 Will Get a Tax Break Designed to Help the Poor [a Republican program that directly helps participating wealthy companies—but only helps workers if and when 'trickle-down' occurs.]
11.16 Trump doesn’t want to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi. His new sanctions prove it. [George W. Bush made a similar immoral decision for the same oily reasons after 9-11, protecting Saudi defense contracts while facilitating the slaughter of poorer Arab "terrorists" in the region.]
International & Futurism
11.18 France demands UK climate pledge in return for Brexit trade deal [Excellent!]
11.17 Thousands gather to block London bridges in climate rebellion [We're losing WWIII because the enemy is invisible while we're like frogs slowly cooking. We aren't informed enough to be alarmed, but must get organized and motivated to fight back. We need a War Plan to ruthlessly pursue the fight of our lives!]
Hopeful Change in El Salvador?
Thursday, 19 March 2009
For the moment at least, El Salvador's mood is celebratory after the Supreme Electoral Tribunal announced the results with over 90% of votes counted - 51.27% for the FMLN v. 48.73% for ARENA, so for the first time in 20 years, Salvadoran politics shifts a little to the left.Like other Latin American nations, El Salvador has had a long and troubled history, ruled from one decade to the next by successive military dictatorships, then since 1989 by the right wing National Republican Alliance or ARENA Party.
Long-suffering Salvadorans recall the 1980s struggles when the Farabudo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) failed to end what the civil-military Junta leader, Jose Napoleon Duarte, told New York Times reporter Raymond Bonner in 1980:
"Fifty years of lies, fifty years of injustice, fifty years of frustration. (El Salvador's) history (is pockmarked by) people starving to death, living in misery. For fifty years, the same people had all the power, all the money, all the jobs, all the education, all the opportunities." Finally they rebelled but failed.
Throughout the decade, billions in US aid poured in, including weapons, munitions, training, and US advisors, troops, and CIA operatives on the ground supporting the government against resistance fighters in a struggle they had little chance of winning.
Roberto D' Aubuisson founded ARENA in 1981 and was notorious for organizing and leading many of the right-wing death squads that still operate in El Salvador as "hired guns" or criminally embedded elements in the National Civilian Police (PNC), fully supported by Washington and the country's business elites.
They tortured, disappeared, disabled, and murdered tens of thousands of Salvadorans, including Archbishop Oscar Romero in 1980 for his outspoken Liberation Theology, compassion for the poor and oppressed, and denunciation of the "war of extermination and genocide against a defenseless civilian population." It's now down-shifted to a lower gear but very much an ongoing enterprise.
ARENA took power in 1989 and held it for the past 20 years until March 15 when The New York Times headlined the next day: "Leftist Party Wins Salvadoran Vote" with Mauricio Funes the new president of a country troubled by crime, an epidemic of violence, corruption, deep poverty (between 60 - 70% of the population), and the specter of Washington in the wings. It's why 500 - 700 undocumented Salvadorans come to America daily to earn money to send home to their families.
The FMLN won a plurality and will share power with a right wing National Assembly majority ARENA - PCN (National Conciliation Party) coalition.
It was a dirty campaign, replete with scare tactics, very similar to most others in the region with Washington calling the shots. Funes was called a communist, a foreign agent, and a Hugo Chavez/Castro tool. Bitter vitriol accused them of funding his campaign and plotting a dictatorship with his election.
Around 46 Republicans asked Obama to punish 260,000 undocumented Salvadorans in America, end their Temporary Protected Status (TPS), order them deported, and halt the $3 - 4 billion in annual remittances they send home to their families if Funes wins.
On March 11, Republican Dana Rohrabacher called the FMLN "pro terrorist," and accused them of being "an ally of Al-Qaeda and Iran" for celebrating the 9/11 attack and burning the American flag in response. He cited a "new world reality of terrorism (and) the global offensive waged by terror groups against the United States and free world." He said it's "imperative to review our policies to protect the national security" in light of a possible FMLN victory.
He reflects the worst of American politics determined to deny Funes a moment's peace and subversively plot against him unless he surrenders his government's sovereignty to Washington. More on that below.
For the moment at least, El Salvador's mood was celebratory after the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) announced the results with over 90% of votes counted - 51.27% for the FMLN v. 48.73% for ARENA, so for the first time in 20 years, Salvadoran politics shifts left, but hardly enough to matter.
Funes promised change, a fresh start, and offered "a new accord on peace and reconciliation." He congratulated ARENA, said they'll now be the opposition, but "in that capacity, rest assured that the party will be respected and heard." He invited social and political groups to improve welfare for the people (with no specifics) and "appeal(ed) to other political forces to work for unity." He promised to make El Salvador "the most dynamic economy in Central America....to be the president of social change and reconstruction (and) leave behind the revenges of the past."
He also assured Washington and El Salvador's elite that he'll "build a dynamic, efficient and competitive economy and promote the creation of a broad business base." He promised to respect "private property (and work for) macroeconomic stability and a responsible fiscal policy." He told the Washington Post that he'll "work to strengthen the relationship with the United Stats, to make the US more of a partner, and I think we will work well together." His economy is closely tied to America, accounting for 60% of its exports with the dollar as its reserve currency.
He promised not to alter US - Salvadoran trade practices under DR-CAFTA or join Venezuela's ALBA (the Bolivarian Alternative of the Americas). He likens himself to Brazil's Lula, not Hugo Chavez or Ecuador's Rafael Correa, and intends to be very friendly to business. Perhaps too much, so it's hard imagining that Salvadorans will benefit from him any more than Americans do under Obama or Brazilians from Lula.
During his campaign, he had right wing support, including from a group called "Amigos de Mauricio Funes," whose members come from El Salvador's ruling elite, and who apparently decided two decades of ARENA were enough and the country needed change, or at least its appearance given the extreme privation and fear it could boil over. For now it's quieted.
Washington agreed, and it showed in a State Department Robert Wood statement "specifically congratulat(ing) Mauricio Funes as the winner of the presidential election....we look forward to working with the new government of El Salvador on our bilateral agenda." US Charge d'Affaires in San Salvador, Robert Blau, added: "We have said many times that our intention is to continue with the good relations with El Salvador from government to government, and from people to people." It's clear Washington is comfortable with Funes, and that should be cause for worry.
In 1992, the party ended its armed struggle, signed a peace accord with ARENA, became the loyal opposition politically, and agreed to a law granting amnesty to its officials and death squad killers. During his campaign, Funes said he'll honor it if elected and (sounding much like Obama) told Tecnovision news that "We have to look to the future; not more to the past. We cannot change the past of hatred, clashes and confrontation. But the future we can build in a different way." That despite last fall others in FLMN demanding that amnesty be repealed so that murderers and torturers will be punished.
No longer in a direct affront to his supporters. Instead he assured business and the ruling elite he's reliable while the message to Salvadorans is that promised change was just talk, not policy once he's in office.
Funes is a political outsider, a new face, a moderate so he says, a former TV host and CNN reporter who gained prominence from his 1980 - 1992 civil war coverage. He's young (age 49), intelligent, articulate and much like Obama in those respects. Last September 28, the FLMN nominated him to run against ARENA's Rodrigo Avila, an establishment figure and former National Police director.
From most early signs, the power structure rests easy knowing Funes represents continuity; business as usual, not hoped for change; so Salvadorans, like Americans, soon enough will know they were fooled again. And if they need more convincing, the painful global economic collapse will be the clincher.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to The Global Research News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org Mondays from 11AM to 1PM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on world and national topics. All programs are archived for easy listening.
Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
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Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.This story was published on March 19, 2009.
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