Category Archives: latin america

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Queensland Remembers Chile

Victor Jara was a Chilean songwriter, poet, teacher, theatre director and political activist. He was a central part of the Nueva Cancion movement, which regenerated Andean folk music in a new form of protest song in the sixties. This was … Continue reading

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Cuba Friendship Video night – The Trial: The Untold Story

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The Australia–Cuba Friendship Society (Brisbane) invites you to a video showing: The Trial: The Untold Story Wednesday 25 September 2013 6.30 p.m. QCU Level 2 16 Peel St South Brisbane Entry: by donation or please bring a plate. The Trial … Continue reading

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RoadMap to Apartheid

[PShift (4zzz fm 102.1 Fridays at noon) broadcast on 20 Sept 2013 – ‘Roadmap to Apartheid’] Six years ago, almost to the day, a Palestinian citizen was killed by Israeli forces on Wednesday morning in Al-’Ayn refugee camp, west of … Continue reading

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Yo Vengo a Ofrecer Mi Corazón

Jumping Fences does this beautiful song Yo Vengo a Ofrecer Mi Corazon by Argentinian Fito Paez from his album ‘Giros’ where he sings “Who says all is lost; I come to offer you my heart.” Sue Monk – vocals, guitar, … Continue reading

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Striking it Richer

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The Evolution of Top Incomes in the United States (Updated with 2012 preliminary estimates) Emmanuel Saez, UC Berkeley• September 3, 2013 The recent dramatic rise in income inequality in the United States is well documented. But we know less about … Continue reading

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Book Launch: Chileans exiled in Australia

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Following a successful launch of the book VUELO LAN CHILE NO 1131 in 2007, Marcial Parada has edited a book with personal stories of political exiles in Australia after the military coup in Chile on 11 September 1973. Launch of … Continue reading

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The Last Song of Victor Jara – Estadio Chile September 1973

Victor’s wife joan jara reports that people in the stadium learnt by heart the words of the last song of Victor and when they were released they wrote it down and smuggled the words out of the country and someone … Continue reading

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Wed 3rd July Meeting of the 17 Group

The next meeting of the 17 Group will take place on Wednesday the 3rd of July at 7 pm in unit 6 at 20 Drury St, West End. The speaker, currently visiting from Chile, will be Penny Glass. Her topic … Continue reading

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The Australian Green Development Forum hosting Cuban Professor

The Australian Green Development Forum is hosting eminent Cuban Professor for their roadshow on April 1st. Follow the hyperlink for more information and registration Professor Fernando Martirena from Santa Clara University in Cuba will be our special guest for the … Continue reading

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May the 1st Club

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Back in the late 1970s and early 1980s there was a need for political culture. In West End appeared the the first coffee club in Brisbane – May the 1st Club which was a regular event organised by activists from the … Continue reading

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Foco Nuevo in November 2012

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This month we feature two great guest acts, and a variation on line-up for Jumping Fences! Tommy Leonard: A fine singer and guitarist, Tommy had been troubadouring in Australia since 1990. His repertoire covers traditional and contemporary music from the … Continue reading

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Latin America: the pink tide

Introduction I have much to say on Ecuador and Rafael Correa. In short though, I think two things stand out about Correa: a) Correa has a PhD in economics, speaks 7 languages and has written an excellent book attacking neoliberalism … Continue reading

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The Rebellion in Cherán, Mexico

By Laura Woldenberg and Juan José Estrada Serafín Deportee – a song by Woody Guthrie & Cisco Houston* Cherán, Mexico is a town of 16,000 indigenous Purepechan Mexicans set up in the western state of Michoacán about 200 miles from … Continue reading

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YouTube Shoutout for Julian

YouTube Shout-out for Julian After the truly excellent event “Free Speech: Use it or Lose it! From Joh Bjelke Petersen to Julian Assange! That was Then, This is Now!” organised by Ciaron O’Reilly and the Catholic workers, some of us … Continue reading

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Celebrate July 26 – the anniversary of the Cuban revolution

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The Australia–Cuba Friendship Society (Brisbane)presents Poetry in Motion X Day of solidarity with Cuba Celebrate the beginning of the Cuban Revolution — the 59th anniversary of the assault on the Moncada Barracks Thursday July 26 6.30 p.m. Qld Council of … Continue reading

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The Long War — Turnstyle hosts WikiLeakes

‘Those masters plan wars in tall towers But do they think of the children and the flowers? They conscript women to kill But care not a damn Young people’s blood Flows out of their bodies Now buried in the sand … Continue reading

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The Wed. 11th of July Meeting of the 17 Group on Julian Assange

The July Meeting of the 17 Group will take place on Wednesday the 11th of July at 7 pm in unit 6 at 20 Drury St West End. It will be addressed by Ciaron O’Reilly on the importance of Wikileaks … Continue reading

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Chile Ship of Shame

CHILE TORTURE-CENTER SHIP, NOT WELCOME IN BRISBANE We are writing to you to let you know of our intentions to carry out a peaceful demonstration at the arrival of a Chilean Navy Ship “La Esmeralda” to Brisbane between the 28th … Continue reading

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The Battle of Chile – CONFECH-Chile representative in Australia

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Welcoming to Australia, Tuesday April 3rd, 2012, 7pm Trades Hall Basement (corner of Lygon and Victoria Streets in Carlton South) Saturday April 7, 2pm, Marxist conference, Melbourne University – Melbourne Wednesday April 11, 6:30 pm to start at 7pm, OPEN … Continue reading

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BRISBANE FILM PREMIERE: ‘Chasing Chavez’

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Wed Feb 29, 6.30pm, Schonell Cinema, UQ

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Cine Cubano — Australia Cuba Friendship Society (Brisbane)

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Australia Cuba Friendship Society (Brisbane) presents Cine Cubano An irregular screening of Cuban Films! Will the Real Terrorist Please Stand Up? A film by Saul Landau Wednesday 7th September 6.30pm CEPU Building 41 Peel Street South Brisbane Admission $10 / … Continue reading

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17 Group discussion in May 2011

Race politics and reading practices: two as pects of the New Australia experiment. Wide eyed romantics and a heartbreak dream Your motives aren’t what they seem You’ve got your feet caked in Australian mud And you can’t deny what’s in … Continue reading

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From Les Malezer [Aboriginal News] Law of Mother Earth expected to prompt radical new conservation and social measures in South American nation John Vidal in La Paz guardian.co.uk Sunday 10 April 2011 18.17 BST

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Alberto Granado es en el otro lado del río

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Alas, comrade, you have left us to go to the other side of the river. So many years after Che. You have inspired many of us to follow your path. I remember Che’s MotorCycle Diaries sent to me so long … Continue reading

Direct Action Cinema: South of the Border (Oliver Stone), November 26

This Friday!, Don’t miss out, tell your friends…….

Direct Action Cinema presents:

South of the Border
There’s a revolution underway in South America, but most of the world doesn’t know it. Continue reading

Last meeting of the 17 Group for 2010 on Wed 1st of December

Next meeting of the 17 Group on this coming Wednesday the 1st of December at 7pm in unit 6 at 20 Drury St, West End, and a sort of break-up party for the 2010 series.

The speaker will be activist Coral Wynter, just returned after six months in Venezuela, speaking on the problems and difficulties currently facing the ongoing Bolivarian Revolution and its popular power process. There will be up-to-date photos projected. Continue reading

Ecuador: The masses defeat a right wing coup in only half a day

[Editor’s Note: Thankyou Jaime for your snapshot of the crisis unfolding in Ecuador.

Readers  might also like to peruse some of the accounts of the coup at Ecuador Rising – Hatarinchej

Good effort, Jaime. I hope we see more from you on this.]

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Expecting to replicate the coup d’état in Honduras against President Manuel Zelaya in June last year, with the concealed support and collaboration of the White House, and emboldened by its success, right-wing forces in Latin America plotted last week to overthrow the democratically elected government of Rafael Correa in Ecuador. History repeated itself, but this time it was not in the direction they wanted. To their disappointment, the outcome became almost a replica of that of the right-wing attempt to remove Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez in June 2002, who was restored 47 hours later thanks to the organized resistance of the masses. This time, the people defeated the coup in only 12 hours, forcing the resignation of the Chief of Police.

Cajas National Park near Cuenca

The attempted coup began on the morning of Thursday 30 September, with a violent rebellion by police and sections of the army taking over key strategic locations in Quito, Ecuador’s capital, allegedly in protest against a new Public Service Law which they claimed will cut their benefits. In reality, they used the law as a pretext to remove President Correa by force. During his administration, their wages increased from $700 to $1200, more than twice the national average. The law is not designed to cut their benefits but rather restructure them.

Correa tried to placate the police at barracks occupied by them, but was physically assaulted, attacked with tear gas and taken prisoner to a police hospital, where he survived an assassination attempt. Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño called on supporters to go to the hospital to defend the President and prevent his assassination. Thousands of ordinary Ecuadorians marched to hospital and confronted the police, who unsuccessfully responded with tear gas, baton charges and other violent means to curb the protest.

The international reaction to the coup was immediate. Governments throughout the region expressed their support for Correa and their condemnation of the coup. The Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington and UNASUR (Union of South American Nations) in Buenos Aires met in emergency sessions to defend Correa’s government.

Late on that day, the head of the Ecuadorean armed forces, General Ernesto González declared his support for the President and sent special forces to rescue Correa. At around 10:15 PM, the President gave a speech at the Presidential Palace before thousands of supporters who celebrated his rescue.

Although the executioners of the coup claim they were motivated by wage concerns, the coup’s real motivation was political: the rebel officers were acting as agents of the local capitalists, and their allies in Washington, determined to use all means at their disposal to eliminate anyone who represents a threat to their economic and political interests. Correa’s government has made changes to Ecuador’s agreements with international corporations that have reduced their profits, and defaulted some $3.2 billions in foreign debt since 2008.

Despite Washington’s public condemnation of the uprising, there is strong reason to suspect that it lent is hand to the organizers. The US has an appalling record of intervention in the region, often backing military coups. The ousting of Honduras’ President Manuel Zelaya was carried out by military personnel trained in the USA. The Bush administration openly supported the removal of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in 2002. In the case of Ecuador, President Correa earned the wrath of the White House by closing the US military base in his country last year, and by being an outspoken critic of the US’ economic model and foreign policy. The police were backed by USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy, two organizations designed by the US government to interfere in the domestic affairs of other nations in order to impose compliant regimes regardless of the wishes of the local populations. Like in Honduras, it is very unlikely that the preparations for the coup were carried out without the White House’s knowledge.

Cajas National Park

Although the defeat of the coup against Correa is a victory for democracy, there are no guarantees that there will not be further attempts. Correa was restored by the military, whose loyalty cannot be fully assured. Only the organized masses have the power to counter further threats. Whilst Correa has served as a catalyst for mass mobilization against anti-democratic forces, he also represents an obstacle for the fulfilment of their ultimate aspirations. General González “recommended” the President to amend the same law that was used by the police as an excuse to oust him. This means that there is a high likelihood that he will make concessions to his opponents, who in time will become more confident to raise further demands at the expenses of ordinary people. Whilst the failure of the coup may foster his popularity for the time being, his government has introduced some austerity measures, and will probably introduce further measures, that the opposition will seek to exploit later in order to promote popular discontent.

The defeat of the coup shows that the real power lies not in the government but on the collective power of the masses. The reinstatement of Correa also shows the political weaknesses of those who seek social change through the parliamentary road. The constant threat of a new coup will put him under pressure to make concessions to the political right to the disappointment of ordinary Ecuadorians.

Whilst any attempt to overthrow democratically elected governments must be opposed by all left-wing activists in Australia and elsewhere, we must also be aware of the political weaknesses of those governments we seek to defend and the need to build a political party with a clear vision that will lead the popular struggles forward. Ordinary people everywhere are, to a greater or lesser extent, under constant attack by powerful elites who won’t hesitate to use violent and repressive methods to defend their privileges. Therefore, we need a party with an effective strategy that will not only defeat the threat of reactionary forces once and for all but at the same will lead the masses to the creation of truly democratic societies based on social justice and human harmony, where ordinary people can live decent and happy lives free from oppression, poverty, exploitation and war.

Jaime Francisco Mejia