Chilean-American to Stand Trial for Death of Victor Jara

September of 1973 was one of the worst months I can remember living through, and September 11 the worst day until another 38 years later.   A bright and hopeful new, democratically elected government in Chile, was smashed by Chilean armed forces, aided and abetted by the United States.  Thousands were rounded up.  Many were tortured and killed, among them Victor Jara, an internationally known singer song-writer.  His guitar hand was crushed and he was killed.  By the end of the regime in 1990 some 40,000 Chilean citizens had been detained, many of them tortured.  Over 200,000 left the country for exile.

Now, perhaps, one of those responsible, will get some time to reflect on what he did.

“A US judge has ordered a former Chilean army officer to stand trial in Florida in connection with the killing of folk singer Victor Jara in 1973.

Pedro Barrientos, who has US citizenship and lives in Florida, will answer charges of torture and extrajudicial killing.

Jara was one of thousands of people rounded up at a stadium in the capital Santiago after the coup that brought General Augusto Pinochet to power.

He was tortured and shot dead.”


Mexico: The Land of Opportunity

Some of us have known the attractions of Mexico for years.  Now the rest of the nation, and the world, are catching on.

“Mexican migration to the United States has reached an equilibrium, with about as many Mexicans moving north from 2005 to 2010 as those returning south. The number of Americans legally living and working in Mexico grew to more than 70,000 in 2012 from 60,000 in 2009, a number that does not include many students and retirees, those on tourist visas or the roughly 350,000 American children who have arrived since 2005 with their Mexican parents.”


Pretty amazing.  There are mixed signals, certainly, but the fact they are mixed and not simply negative is already an improvement.  If Mexico is on your mind, read this.

Genocide Trial for Reagan’s Man in Guatemala

…for the first time “anywhere in the world,” according to the United Nations, a former head of state is being tried for genocide by his own nation’s justice system. That man is Efrain Rios Montt, an ex-military dictator who ruled Guatemala from 1982 to 1983. — And, a Pentecostal minister, friends of Pat Robertson and the later Jerry Falwell.

That’s the good news.

Ixil Mayan Indians are standing in court to testify what it was like during the years of Montt’s rule and that is the bad news, the grotesque news



 The soldiers killed Jacinto Lopez’s teenage daughter Magdalena by repeatedly stabbing her in the neck.

Then they shot and killed his sons, 13-year-old Domingo and 10-year-old Pedro.

His in-laws were not spared. Barely anyone in the village was.

These atrocities, which took place in the remote Guatemalan town of Santa Maria Nebaj in July of 1982, have never been described in a courtroom.

“They killed my family and destroyed our crops,” Lopez testified. “They took even my cows.”

CNN  and NY Times

“I was 12 years old,” said one woman, whose identity was protected by the court. “They took me with the other women and they tied my feet and hands. They put a rag in my mouth … and they started raping me … I don’t know how many took turns. … I lost consciousness … and the blood kept running. … Later I couldn’t even stand or urinate.”

And how is the United States involved?  Deeply. And this is the news which is floating off, forgotten, the news which shames the leaders at the time, those who knew and implemented or knew and did nothing.

“In ’82 and ’83, as Gen. Rios Montt was sending military sweeps into the northwest highlands, annihilating by their own count 662 rural villages, Reagan went down, embraced Rios Montt, and said Guatemala was getting a bum rap on human rights. The U.S. military general attaché at the time told me the sweep strategy was in large part his idea, and that he was working hand in hand with [the Guatemalan military] to carry it out. It’s hard to overstate the U.S. role, because the U.S. role was so extensive.”

Progressive  and Democracy Now  transcript of Charlie Rose show March 31, 1995

President Bill Clinton offered a rare half-apology for the support the United States had given the killers.

Drought in the Amazon

* * *

Manaus, capital of the state of Amazonas, and the entire eastern region of the state are suffering the worst drought in more than a century. A government scientist who calls it an “atypical” drought says it is chiefly caused by warmer ocean temperatures.

Scientist Carlos Nobre, of the National Institute of Space Research (INPE), said, “When it comes to the Rio Negro, in Manaus, this drought has no parallel in the last 103 years. That is, since 1902, when the level of the Rio Negro began to be measured,” he said.

In the eastern part of the region, this is the worst drought in the last 50 or 60 years, he estimates. The governor of Amazonas state has declared a crisis due to the drought. Environmental News Service

More Rain Records

From Wunderground…

Tropical Storm Matthew continues to dump heavy rains over Honduras, Belize, Guatemala, and neighboring regions of Mexico today. Puerto Barrios, in northern Guatemala, has received 4.57″ of rain in the past 24 hours. With Matthew expected to slow down and dissipate by Sunday, the storm’s heavy rains of 6 – 15 inches can be expected to cause severe flooding and dangerous mudslides. The rains are of particular concern for Guatemala, which suffered its rainiest August in its history…

Poor Paraguay

The heat and drought and dried trees that have ravaged Montana, Idaho, California and Greece have combined to consume huge sections of Paraguay.

Paraguay declared a state of emergency in three northeastern provinces on Tuesday due to forest fires that have ravaged thousands of hectares (acres) of forests, crops and grazing pasture.

Paraguay Burns

Chavez Pulls the Devil’s Tail

I happened to catch some of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s speech at the UN this morning. He was waving around a thick paperback by Noam Chomsky, recommending that it be read by all but especially “our brothers and sisters” here in the United States. From this Raw Story report is was Hegemony or Survival.

His speech had all the high color of fine bombast. The line that cracked me up was after he said that the Devil himself had been at the same podium yesterday — President Bush — and the place “still smells of sulpher.” Damn! I bet that didn’t come from a vetted speech writer.

Raw Story on Hugo Chavez

I’ll look to see if the whole speech is posted somewhere. I’d like to see all of Ahmedinejad’s too. It’s odd, reading through all the reports, only to get selected shorts with no ability to read the whole (translated) transcript. (Not that I would read it all myself, but it’s comforting to be able to dig in and test the reporters asserstions with one’s own evaluation.)

Venezuela Ama A Iran

Oh gnashing of teeth in D.C. over this little romance…

CIUDAD BOLIVAR, VENEZUELA — The VenIran tractor factory in remote eastern Venezuela is one of the signs of Iran’s growing presence in Venezuela, which is being monitored by a U.S. government on alert for any evidence that Iran might be exporting terrorism

STLtoday – News – World

US military sees oil nationalism spectre

Now this would be an interesting report to get hold of. Anyone see any mention of it elsewhere>

Future supplies of oil from Latin America are at risk because of the spread of resource nationalism, a study by the US military that reflects growing concerns in the US administration over energy security has found.

An internal report prepared by the US military’s Southern Command and obtained by the Financial Times follows a recent US congressional investigation that warned of the US’s vulnerability to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez’s repeated threats to “cut off” oil shipments to the US. – US military sees oil nationalism spectre