UN Work Group Demands Milagro Sala’s Release

The United Nations Work Group on Arbitrary Detention has released a report calling the detention of activist Milagro Sala in Jujuy “arbitrary” and demanding her immediate release. According to a note on CELS’ Facebook page, the report identifies a system of “consecutive accusations” and court cases that maintain Sala’s detention indefinitely and violate judicial independence. A key point, they note, is that Sala was originally detained on charges unrelated to wider accusations of corruption. The judge ruled Sala’s release for the first charges on 29th January. Members of the UN work group find that the state blocked Sala’s right to defence by not clearly presenting the facts of the charge and not adequately informing her of the crimes for which she was accused.

October 28, 2016 21:04 UTC

Venezuelan opposition strike patchy amid government threats

Venezuela's streets were quieter than usual on Friday during an opposition-called strike, but participation was patchy after the socialist government threatened to shut down businesses that closed. Venezuela's opposition Democratic Unity coalition called for a 12-hour shutdown as part of escalating protests after authorities scuttled its push for a referendum to recall the OPEC nation's unpopular socialist leader. The government vowed to take over any companies heeding the strike, sending inspectors to ensure they were open. "I support the opposition, but I don't agree with this strike," said Eduardo Martinez, 51, unemployed, standing near a bakery line in eastern Caracas. As well as Friday's strike, the opposition is carrying out a political trial of Maduro in the National Assembly and is vowing to march to the Miraflores presidential palace next week.

October 28, 2016 17:36 UTC

Models strut down Paris runway in chocolate creations

Friday, October 28, 2016 Models strut down Paris runway in chocolate creationsModels sashayed down a runway wearing gowns and corset dresses adorned with chocolate to kick off Paris' annual Salon du Chocolat fair, where chocolatiers faced the challenge of stopping their creations from melting on the catwalk. Actresses, dancers, and two former Miss France winners emerged in outfits that included a silver tutu studded with chocolates and another embellished with chocolate stars, all designed as a collaboration between stylists and chocolatiers. "The difficulties we find with a dress made of chocolate are always about contact with the body, which has a temperature of 37 degrees," said French chocolatier Joel Patouillard. "Chocolate melts at 30 degrees, so it is quite simple: chocolate must absolutely not touch the body." The fair opens to the public on Friday, featuring truffles and chocolate fountains along with a chocolate construction of the iconic Eiffel Tower.

October 28, 2016 16:13 UTC

Bank workers stage 24-hour strike

Friday, October 28, 2016 Bank workers stage 24-hour strikeBanks won’t open to the public today amid a 24-hour nationwide strike staged by banking workers who are calling for the resumption of wage negotiations. According to Sergio Palazzo, the head of the banking union, the strike will affect public and private banks all over the country. “The protest wouldn’t have been staged if (Labour Minister Jorge Triaca) “would have fulfilled his duty.” “We have submitted six requests to reopen wage talks and the minister never called us,” he added. The protest will affect the load of ATM machines during the weekend.

October 28, 2016 14:39 UTC

Court Approves Hike in Buenos Aires Subte Fares to $7.50

Subte users in Buenos Aires will face a 67% fare increase from next week after a city court ruled in favour of the hike. A court approved the controversial decision to increase subte fares from $4.50 to $7.50. The Chamber’s decision has been met with substantial resistance, especially on the part of Del Gaiso. “After three months, we still do not know whether the technical value of the subway tariff is right. The Chamber lifted the injunction without resolving [the issue],” said Del Gaiso through his Twitter account.

October 27, 2016 18:35 UTC



Venezuela parliament seeks to push ahead with Maduro trial

Thursday, October 27, 2016 Venezuela parliament seeks to push ahead with Maduro trialVenezuela's opposition-dominated Congress convened on Thursday to push forward a political trial of socialist President Nicolas Maduro, a day after dozens were injured in protests demanding a vote to recall the unpopular leader. The National Assembly voted on Tuesday to open a largely symbolic trial against Maduro for violating democracy, but the government dismissed the move as meaningless. "The federal legislative palace was built (in the 19th century)," wrote parliament administrator Roberto Marrero in a tweet directed at state-run power company Corpoelec. The opposition says the Maduro government effectively staged a coup by blocking a recall vote that polls suggest he would lose. Maduro says it is the opposition that is seeking to overthrow the government illegally.

October 27, 2016 15:53 UTC

France tells migrants to forget Calais as 'Jungle' camp razed

Thursday, October 27, 2016 France tells migrants to forget Calais as 'Jungle' camp razedWorkmen tear down makeshift shelters on the second day the evacuation of migrants and their transfer to reception centers in France, as part of the dismantlement of the camp called the ''Jungle'' in Calais, France. Bulldozers cleared mounds of debris and tore down makeshift shelters at the "Jungle" migrant camp on Thursday, and authorities said 6,000 people had been evacuated from the squalid site. Charities said however hundreds of migrants might have fled the camp rather than take part in a government programme to rehouse them across the country. Police patrolled the camp and other parts of Calais, where dozens of migrants were wandering. "It is not Calais' role to receive all the migrants of Europe," she said.

October 27, 2016 13:04 UTC

The Wichí of Rivadavia Banda Sur

A tour of the Wichí villages surrounding Rivadavia Banda Sur reveals this paralysing mix of poverty, neglect and isolation. He’s the only one who knows how to use the radio, the only means of communication with Rivadavia Banda Sur. He sets it up and starts to repeat “San Felipe, Rivadavia, Rivadavia, San Felipe”. The Wichí should have collective title to much of the land surrounding Rivadavia Banda Sur, a place they have inhabited for decades. Amtena Cacique is made up of leaders and representatives from the various Wichí communities in and around Rivadavia Banda Sur.

October 26, 2016 14:48 UTC

Messi off to one of his best starts

Soccer Wednesday, October 26, 2016 Messi off to one of his best startsLionel Messi is off to one of the best starts of his career with 14 goals in 11 matches. The Barcelona star is off to one of the best starts of his career with 14 goals in 11 matches, two more than what Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema have netted so far with Madrid. The Argentina forward hadn’t started a season with so many goals since 2011-12, when he scored 14 times in 10 matches. So far, Messi has already scored eight more goals than he did last season at the same point. He has two hat tricks and is the leading scorer in both the Spanish league and the Champions League.

October 26, 2016 01:52 UTC

US ‘closing in on Venezuelan asset seizures’

Wednesday, October 26, 2016 US ‘closing in on Venezuelan asset seizures’By Ben Bartenstein, Tiffany Kary & Alan KatzBloombergUS Federal prosecutors are preparing to charge several individuals and confiscate their property over the alleged looting of Venezuela’s state oil company in what may amount to one of the biggest asset seizures in the history of the United States. The people under investigation include current Venezuelan government officials, prominent businessmen and individuals suspected of involvement with cocaine-trafficking, two of the people said. Ricardo Hausmann, a Venezuelan economist at Harvard who would like to see the current government replaced, said US leadership in this area could prove important. “If the US were to say, ‘We’ve identified billions of dollars,’ it would have a devastating political effect at home with Venezuela’s current government,” he said. Roberto Rincón Fernández, a Venezuelan national living there, took part in a US$1-billion bribery scheme to secure contracts with PDVSA.

October 26, 2016 01:30 UTC

Venezuelan congress votes for Maduro trial

Wednesday, October 26, 2016 Venezuelan congress votes for Maduro trialA photograph of Venezuela’s National Assembly, during their session in Caracas yesterday. Opposition-led National Assembly opts for move, but Socialists dismiss move as meaninglessCARACAS — Venezuela’s opposition-led National Assembly voted yesterday to open a political trial against President Nicolás Maduro for violating democracy, but the socialist government dismissed the move as meaningless. Unlike neighbouring Brazil, where Dilma Rousseff was impeached and removed from the presidency in August, a trial against Maduro would be largely symbolic given the government and Supreme Court have declared congress illegitimate. The opposition has accused Maduro of veering into dictatorship by sidelining the Legislature, detaining opponents and leaning on compliant judicial and electoral authorities to block a plebiscite on his rule. The National Assembly ordered Maduro to appear at a session next Tuesday — which he will almost certainly refuse to attend — and said it would also consider charges of abandoning his duties.

October 26, 2016 01:28 UTC

Vatican Announces Partial Opening of Dictatorship-Era Archives

On Tuesday, the Vatican and the Episcopal Conference of Argentina (CEA) announced that they had finished digitising more than 3,000 documents related to Argentina’s 1976-83 military dictatorship. The CEA said that the records will be opened, but not to the public. In the case of victims who were members of the clergy, their religious superiors will also be able to view the files. Vatican spokesperson Greg Burke indicated that the files might be opened to a wider audience in the future. And in August, the US government made public the first batch of newly declassified intelligence files, shedding more light on the information Washington DC had about human rights during the dictatorship.

October 25, 2016 23:15 UTC

The Three Peronisms

There are three Peronisms. The ‘Kirchnerist’ Peronism, which led the party using more stick than carrot during its time in government and took responsibility for developing its tactical campaigns, was obviously weakened by last year’s elections. As Martín Rodríguez argues, Massa did not produce leaders like himself, as Macri did, except for those that he bought. If the canonical book by Richard Sidicaro (The Three Peronisms) identified the historical Peronisms – the foundational of 1945-55, the “impossible” from 1973-78 and the “Peronism against the state” of the Carlos Menem era) then three other Peronisms coexist today without problem. Because of this, the three Peronisms are not political parties in the classical sense or even internal currents of a single organic force.

October 25, 2016 15:22 UTC

Chile shifts to the right

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 Chile shifts to the rightBy Patricio NaviaFor the HeraldMunicipal elections results hurt Lagos’ candidacyNEW YORK — The municipal elections in Chile held on Sunday confirmed the turn to the right that several Latin American countries have experienced in recent elections. The government was prepared to lose a few local governments, some of which it had surprisingly gained in 2012, when outgoing right-wing president Sebastián Piñera (2010-2014) and his right-wing Chile Vamos coalition suffered a setback. Chile Vamos’ mayors will govern 144 municipalities, including most of the regional capitals and the six of the most populated municipalities in Santiago. The election results are a boost to the right and to former president Piñera, who leads the polls among presidential hopefuls for 2017. As President Bachelet suffers from lame-duck syndrome, several presidential hopefuls have thrown their hats into the race.

October 25, 2016 05:45 UTC

Crossing the line of democracy

By the same token, Maduro should be criticized for violating the spirit of democracy without being distracted by any debate over whetherVenezuela is still technically a democracy. Even if many of the criticisms are self-serving or throwing stones from a glass house, enough remains valid from any standpoint. If the criticism only comes from ideologically opposed countries, it loses its force. It is the region’s leftwing and populist governments who urgently need to stop turning a blind eye to the outrages in Venezuela and to start pressuring Maduro to show more respect for the spirit of democracy for the sake of the credibility of their ideology. Venezuela’s institutional collapse needs to be stopped now before it enters into a sinister new phase of civil strife between pro-government and opposition mobs.

October 25, 2016 05:37 UTC



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