Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (C) addresses the
audience during a meeting of the annual Mercosur trade bloc presidential
summit in Mendoza June 29, 2012. (Credit: Reuters/Enrique Marcarian)

Chinese leader woos Latin America with deals

Chinese leader woos Latin America with deals
Chinese President Xi Jinping (4-L, first row) poses with leaders of the CELAC group of Latin American and Caribbean states, in Brasilia, on July 17, 2014 (AFP Photo/Nelson Almeida)
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."

"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)


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A student holds a sign reading "Don't shoot, listen!!!" during a protest
on June 17, 2013 in Brasilia (AFP, Evaristo)

Brazil's Rousseff claims nation 'ready for greatest World Cup'

Brazil's Rousseff claims nation 'ready for greatest World Cup'
Google: Ready, set, goooaaallll! The WorldCup is finally here.

Paraguay police search S. American football HQ

Paraguay police search S. American football HQ
The Conmebol headquarters in Luque, Paraguay, is seen on January 7, 2016, during a raid within the framework of the FIFA corruption scandal (AFP Photo/Norberto Duarte)

'Panama Papers' law firm under the media's lenses

'Panama Papers' law firm under the media's lenses
The Panama Papers: key facts on the huge journalists' investigation into tax evasion (AFP Photo/Thomas Saint-Cricq, Philippe Mouche)

Mossack Fonseca

Mossack Fonseca

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.
"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Amazon's indigenous people 'never so threatened': pope

Yahoo – AFP, January 19, 2018

Pope Francis shakes hands with an indigenous woman during a meeting with
 Amazon basin community members from Peru, Brazil and Bolivia, in the Peruvian
city of Puerto Maldonado (AFP Photo/Vincenzo PINTO)

Puerto Maldonado (Peru) (AFP) - Pope Francis sounded a stark warning about the future of the Amazon and its peoples during a visit to the region on Friday, saying they had "never been so threatened."

In a speech to thousands of tribe members on the edge of the rainforest in Peru, he said the Amazon and its peoples bore "deep wounds."

Francis lamented "the pressure being exerted by great business interests that want to lay hands on its petroleum, gas, lumber, gold and forms of agro-industrial monocultivation."

Bare-chested tribesmen, their bodies painted and their heads crowned with colourful feathers, danced and sung for the pope when he arrived in the Peruvian city of Puerto Maldonado.

Thousands of indigenous people had traveled to meet the pontiff from throughout the Amazon basin region of Peru, Brazil and Bolivia.

Members of one of the tribes presented the pope with a bow and arrow in a symbolic gesture aimed at urging him to defend land rights they say they have been stripped of.

"The native Amazonian peoples have probably never been so threatened on their own lands as they are at present," said the pope, who appeared visibly moved by the reception.

"Amazonia is being disputed on various fronts," he said.

"The problems strangle her peoples and provoke the migration of the young due to the lack of local alternatives.

"We have to break with the historical paradigm that views Amazonia as an inexhaustible source of supplies for other countries without concern for its inhabitants."

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Pope denounces violence in visit to restive region of Chile

Yahoo – AFP, Catherine MARCIANO, January 17, 2018

Pope Francis celebrates an open-air mass at Maquehue airport in Temuco,
the heartland of the country's indigenous peoples (AFP Photo/Vincenzo PINTO)

Temuco (Chile) (AFP) - Pope Francis denounced the use of violence in the struggle for indigenous rights Wednesday, celebrating mass in a restive region of Chile hours after assailants firebombed churches and other targets.

The Argentine-born pontiff was shining the spotlight on the simmering conflict between the state and the Mapuche people, who centuries ago controlled vast areas of Chile but have since been marginalized.

"You cannot assert yourself by destroying others, because this only leads to more violence and division," the pope said, speaking before thousands of faithful at an airfield in Temuco, the capital of the southern Araucania region.

"Violence begets violence, destruction increases fragmentation and separation. Violence eventually makes a most just cause into a lie," the pope warned.

"That is why we say 'no to destructive violence' in either of its two forms."

Unidentified assailants hurled incendiary devices at three Catholic churches and an evangelical Christian church in pre-dawn attacks Wednesday in the Araucania region.

Five other churches had previously been hit by arsonists in Chile's capital Santiago.

A forestry company helicopter also was torched during the night, and a policeman was shot and wounded by a group of hooded assailants, authorities said.

The aim was to "cause disorder or disturbance of the public order" during the pope's visit to Temuco, said Chilean police chief Bruno Villalobos.

This handout photograph shows a burnt helicopter belonging to a forestry company, 
set afire by unknown attackers ahead of Pope Francis's visit to the indigenous 
Mapuche homeland of Araucania in Chile (AFP Photo/MANUEL ARANEDA/ATON CHILE)

Simmering conflict

At the pope's first stop in Santiago, protests over the church's handling of clergy abuse dominated the visit, his first to Chile as the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.

In Temuco, however, the papal spotlight turned to the Mapuche, who today account for seven percent of Chile's population, but hold only five percent of their ancestral lands.

Francis was scheduled to meet after the mass with a group of indigenous people whose identities have not yet been revealed by organizers, before returning to Santiago, where he will meet with youths at the Maipu shrine and visit a Catholic university.

Thousands waited from the early hours of Wednesday at the Maquehue airfield to hear the pope, who dedicated the mass to the victims of human rights abuses during the 1973-1990 dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

Pope Francis said he chose to celebrate mass at the airfield because of its history as a detention center during the military regime.

"This celebration we offer for all who suffered and died and for those who each day carry on their backs the weight of so many injustices," he said.

On Thursday, he will visit the northern coastal city of Iquique, an immigration hotspot, before proceeding to Peru.

Pope Francis waves from the popemobile as he arrives at Maquehue airport in
Temuco to celebrate an open-air mass (AFP Photo/Vincenzo PINTO)

Sexual abuse

On Tuesday in Santiago, the pope conferred alone with a small group of victims of sexual abuse by priests in Chile, after he publicly asked for forgiveness and riot police broke up a protest near the first public mass of his South American visit.

During the "strictly private" meeting at the Vatican embassy in the capital, the victims "spoke of their suffering to Pope Francis, who listened to them and prayed and cried with them," the Vatican said.

Earlier, the 81-year-old pontiff said: "I cannot begin to express the pain and shame that I feel over the irreparable harm caused to children by some ministers of the church," vowing to commit to ensure the abuses would never happen again.

Francis made those comments during a visit to President Michelle Bachelet's official Moneda Palace residence, drawing applause from pilgrims watching on giant screens in a park where he later celebrated an open-air mass for some 400,000 people.

Riot police arrested several demonstrators protesting against Pope Francis's
visit to Chile (AFP Photo/Eitan ABRAMOVICH)

'Pedophile accomplices'

But the pope did not receive a universal welcome, with scuffles breaking out between riot police and demonstrators near O'Higgins Park.

Police used armored vehicles to fire water cannons at the demonstrators, bundling some of them into vans. More than 50 people were arrested, authorities said.

His visit was preceded by the release of a report outlining the depth of sexual abuse in the local church, and his appointment of a bishop who many Chileans accuse of covering up the country's most prominent sex abuse scandal.

The US-based NGO Bishop Accountability said that almost 80 Roman Catholic clergy members had been accused of sexually abusing children in Chile since 2000.

For some victims, the pope's request for forgiveness did not go far enough.

"We need concrete actions that the pope has not taken with the Chilean church," said Juan Carlos Claret, spokesman for a lay association in the southern city of Osorno.

Claret's group is demanding Francis remove Osorno bishop Juan Barros, whom he appointed in 2015, despite Barros's ties to a disgraced pedophile priest Fernando Karadima.


Thursday, January 11, 2018

Ecuador grants citizenship to WikiLeaks founder Assange: foreign minister

Yahoo – AFP, January 11, 2018

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has refused to leave the embassy, claiming he
fears being extradited to the United States (AFP Photo/Justin TALLIS)

Quito (AFP) - Ecuador has granted citizenship to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been sheltering at its London embassy for five years to avoid arrest, Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa announced Thursday.

Espinosa told a press conference in Quito that Assange, a 46-year-old Australian, became an Ecuadoran citizen on December 12.

As a result, she said Ecuador had asked London to recognize Assange as a diplomat -- which would give him safe passage out of the embassy without fear of arrest -- but Britain had refused.

"The Ecuadoran government is empowered to grant nationality to the protected person and thus facilitate... his inclusion in the host state," Espinosa told reporters.

She said the request to Britain to accept diplomatic status for Assange was made on December 20, and denied a day later.

The foreign minister said Quito would not insist further on the issue because of the "good relations we have with the United Kingdom".

The British foreign ministry said in a statement that Ecuador had "recently requested diplomatic status for Mr Assange here in the UK. The UK did not grant that request, nor are we in talks with Ecuador on this matter."

Ecuador's attempt to obtain diplomatic status for Assange comes as part of the country's broader efforts to resolve the case of their long-term lodger, who moved into the embassy in 2012 to avoid arrest over a Swedish probe into rape allegations.

Sweden dropped their investigation over the 2010 allegations last year, but British police have said they are still seeking to arrest him for failing to surrender to a court after violating bail terms.

"Ecuador knows that the way to resolve this issue is for Julian Assange to leave the embassy to face justice," Britain's foreign ministry said on Thursday.

Assange has refused to step outside the embassy and claimed he fears being extradited to the United States, over WikiLeaks' publication of leaked secret US military documents and diplomatic cables in 2010.

Espinosa had said on Tuesday her government was looking at the possibility of a "third country or a personality" stepping in to resolve the stand-off.

"No solution will be achieved without international cooperation and the cooperation of the United Kingdom, which has also shown interest in seeking a way out," she said.



Saturday, January 6, 2018

More than 250,000 people flock to Mexico City's giant plaza for a slice of an enormous brioche-style king cake -- known as the "Rosca de Reyes"

Friday, January 5, 2018

Four Venezuelan generals placed on US sanctions blacklist

Yahoo – AFP, January 5, 2018

Venezuelan riot police disperse demonstrators during a protest against the
shortage of food in Caracas on December 28 (AFP Photo/FEDERICO PARRA)

Washington (AFP) - The US Treasury placed four serving or retired Venezuelan generals on its sanctions blacklist, raising pressure on the embattled government of President Nicolas Maduro.

The Treasury alleged that the four were either involved in repressing protesters or tied up in major corruption schemes.

Washington has already targeted Maduro himself for sanctions, and is a long-standing opponent of what it sees as his increasingly authoritarian regime.

The sanctions designations "highlight that corruption and repression continue to flourish under the Maduro regime, both by those in current government positions and former officials who continue to benefit from a corrupt system," the Treasury said.

"President Maduro and his inner circle continue to put their own interests above those of the Venezuelan people," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

"This action underscores the United States' resolve to hold Maduro and others engaged in corruption in Venezuela accountable," he added.

"We call on concerned parties and international partners around the world to join us as we stand with the Venezuelan people to further isolate this oppressive regime."

Under the US Treasury order, Aragua state governor, retired general and state oil firm board member Rodolfo Clemente Marco Torres is designated for his alleged role in food smuggling.

Francisco Jose Rangel Gomez, another retired general and a former governor of Bolivar state, is accused of pressuring Venezuelan courts to release suspected members of armed pro-government gangs.

General Fabio Enrique Zavarse Pabon, commander of the defense zone that includes Caracas, is accused of using National Guard troops to violently repress demonstrations.

And Major General Jose Izquierdo Torres is accused of using his rank and position to corruptly enrich himself.

The Treasury blacklists freezes any assets the four might have in US jurisdictions, and bans Americans and US businesses from doing business with them.

US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the sanctions would only be removed if one day the officials change their behavior and respect the rule of law.

"Members of the Venezuelan armed forces who put their own interests above those of their fellow citizens cannot expect immunity from our sanctions and international accountability," she added.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Ecuador's jailed VP stripped of office

Yahoo – AFP, Santiago PIEDRA SILVA, January 3, 2018

In prison for taking kickbacks, Ecuadoran Vice President Jorge Glas has
been stripped of his office (AFP Photo/Rodrigo BUENDIA)

Quito (AFP) - Ecuadoran President Lenin Moreno confirmed on Wednesday that Jorge Glas, his vice president jailed for six years for graft, has been stripped of his office.

Glas, 48, automatically lost his title on Wednesday because he was absent from his post for more than the three months permitted under Ecuador's constitution -- because of his incarceration and pre-trial detention.

He is the highest-ranking Latin American politician to be convicted and imprisoned in a regional scandal involving a Brazilian construction group, Odebrecht, which gave bribes to secure public works contracts.

He was given a six-year sentence on December 13 by Ecuador's Supreme Court after being found guilty of receiving $13.5 million in Odebrecht kickbacks. He says he is innocent and will appeal.

But, taking into account his detention since October 2 pending his trial, he has not been able to carry out his duties.

That meant that at midnight Tuesday (0500 GMT Wednesday), Glas had failed to execute his functions as vice president for the three months allowed under the constitution. So he automatically lost his post.

"In line with what the constitution stipulates, the vice presidential functions of Jorge Glas have ended," Moreno told reporters at his palace in the capital, Quito.

He added that, by law, he now had two weeks to present a list of potential replacements for Congress to choose Glas's successor.

Two potential successors

The legislature voted December 17 to open proceedings to fire Glas. But that required rulings from the Constitutional Court and a congressional panel before going to a vote before the entire Congress.

In the end, the constitution's provisions were deemed to have gone into effect before the legislative process had run its course.

Glas has insisted he did not breach the three-month absence rule, arguing that part of his period in custody was vacation time. But that stance was dismissed by the government and Congress.

"Under the law, the three months of absence means that a temporary deficiency (of vice-presidential functions) becomes a definitive one, without the need for any congressional declaration," a constitutional expert, Rafael Oyarte, told AFP.

Two people were seen as best-placed to succeed Glas: current acting vice president Maria Vicuna, and Industries Minister Eva Garcia.

Ecuador's ruling party is split between Moreno and previous president Rafael Correa. Glas was an ally of Correa, who retired to Belgium but returned to his country in late November to battle Moreno for control of the party.

Odebrecht, which was investigated by the US Justice Department, agreed to pay a $3.5 billion fine after admitting to giving $788 million in bribes across 12 countries to secure contracts.

The scandal has ensnared politicians in several countries, including Mexico, Peru, Panama and Venezuela.

Ecuadoran prosecutors said Odebrecht spent $47.3 million in bribes in their country to get public contracts.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

2018: A big year for Latin America elections

Yahoo – AFP, Tupac POINTU, 29 December 2017

The election in Chile of conservative Sebastian Pinera December 17 is part
of a tilt to the right in Latin American politics

Next year will be a big election year for Latin America, a region where democracy in many countries is only decades young, and where the shadow of corruption stretches wide and long.

Half of the population across the region is being called to cast ballots.

Here are the main points of note concerning the polls in regional economic heavyweights Brazil and Mexico, as well a newly pacified Colombia and troubled Venezuela.

Corruption: the roots of wrath

The Odebrecht scandal, an affair of tentacular graft involving a Brazilian construction firm that is alleged to have paid millions of dollars in bribes to Latin American government officials to secure juicy public contracts, has rocked the region.

It has led to Ecuador's vice president being imprisoned for six years, and last week nearly resulted in Peru's president being impeached.

But the scandal is just part of a much bigger picture of corruption, according to Gaspard Estrada, director of an Observatory of Latin America at Paris's Sciences-Po institute.

A corruption scandal involving Brazilian contractor Odebrecht is roiling politics in
Latin American countries like Peru where President Pedro Pablo Kuczynchi barely
escaped impeachment over graft allegations

"Corruption phenomena are deeply rooted in the region, and persist," he said.

"This will have an impact on the next political cycle," said Fiona Mackie, in charge of Latin America for The Economist Intelligence Unit. The Odebrecht scandal, she added, "is really shaking up the political scene."

The disheartening multiple cases of embezzlement and personal enrichment by officials in region has engendered "an impatience now in the electors, because they are so fed up," Mackie said.

"Elections in Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico will be dominated by voter anger against the political establishment and demand for change, making them hard to predict and opening up room for negative surprises," the Eurasia consulting firm said in a recent report.

"Candidates that better capture this sentiment will be the most competitive, and the risk of negative surprises is high," as attested to by an unexpected surge for the left in a recent Chilean presidential election, the report said.

That "should serve as a reminder not to underestimate voter frustration," it said.

Outsiders like right-wing soldier-turned-politician Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil have 
gotten a lift from a wave of public disgust with corruption-tainted political elites

A boon for outsiders

The electoral landscape in Latin America in 2018 is dotted with an increasing number of candidates from outside the political system.

This can be put down to public disgust over the many instances of graft that has "disqualified the traditional political class," Estrada said.

He deplored a regional "leadership crisis" and feared political outsiders would fuel discourse that undermines democracy, as in Brazil where an extreme-right soldier-turned-politician, Jair Bolsonaro, has emerged as a contender.

Some traditional politicians were presenting themselves as outsiders "because that's a good thing to do in term of popularity, but they are insiders," Mackie said.

"An outsider needs to ally with a party that has a machinery. You need to have a political movement behind you," she added.

Eurasia said Mexico "is headed towards its most uncertain and consequential elections in decades on 1 July."

A leftwing candidate, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, appears best placed for a win right now, it said.

A former mayor of Mexico City, Lopez Obrador is aiming for the presidency after a long political career. He has spurned the traditional leftwing PRD party to start the Movement for National Regeneration, known as Morena.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, seen here at an event in Cuba this month,
 leads the country with the region's worst economic crisis but analysts predict he will
win re-election next year in a tightly controlled process

Tilt to the right

The victory of conservative billionaire Sebastian Pinera as president-elect in Chile after a mid-December runoff has confirmed a general right-leaning tilt to the region, building on the stewardship of Mauricio Macri in Argentina, Michel Temer in Brazil and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski in Peru.

But for Estrada, "it's not really a question of left or right -- it's just the government that had been in place, on the left, had flagged, which encouraged the parties on the right. What happened was a phenomenon of alternation."

More than political labels, 2018 will be decided by economic issues "because the economy is doing badly," he said.

"With a few notable exceptions, the policy and economic outlook for Latin America looks set to continue improving in 2018," Eurasia's report said.

But political dynamics could determine whether that "positive trend slows or, in some countries, is derailed," it said.

Eurasia predicted that in Venezuela, the Latin American country with the most severe economic problems, President Nicolas Maduro "will likely remain in office and win the presidential election in a tightly controlled process."

But, it added: "The government will also likely stumble into default, further complicating an already bleak economic outlook."


Mayas mark the 21th anniversary of the end of the civil war in Guatemala, praying for a "true peace" after a conflict that left more than 200,000 dead and missing between 1960 and 1996

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

'Forgive me,' ex-Peru leader Fujimori says after pardon protests

Yahoo – AFP, Carlos MANDUJANO, Francisco JARA, 26 December 2017

Protesters in Lima holding posters showing the victims of ex-Peruvian president
Alberto Fujimori, who was granted a pardon by current President Pedro Pablo
Kuczynski over Christmas

Peru's ailing former leader Alberto Fujimori on Tuesday asked the public for forgiveness, two days after receiving a presidential pardon that sparked street protests.

"I am aware that the results of my government were well received on one side, but I admit that I have let down other compatriots, and I ask them to forgive me with all my heart," Fujimori said in a Facebook video filmed from his hospital bed.

The 79-year-old had been serving a 25-year sentence for corruption and human rights abuses committed during his time in office from 1990 to 2000.

He was transferred from prison to a hospital on Saturday after suffering from low blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat, the latest in a string of hospitalizations.

In the video, Fujimori lay propped up on a hospital bed wearing a white gown, with a blood pressure cuff on his right arm and another monitor clasped to his left index finger. He talked over the constant background beeping of a monitoring device.

He said the pardon "took me by surprise" and provoked "a mix of feelings -- great joy and sorrow."

President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski ordered the pardon of Fujimori and seven other prisoners Sunday on humanitarian grounds, placing himself in the middle of a political crisis just days after he avoided impeachment.

A supporter of Peru's ex-president Alberto Fujimori gathers with others outside 
the Lima hospital where he was admitted, before being pardoned

The move set off street protests in Lima, and police fired tear gas and clashed with demonstrators who marched Monday against the pardon and demanding that Kuczynski step down.

The president defended his decision in a televised message to the nation.

"I am convinced that those of us who feel democratic should not allow Alberto Fujimori to die in prison, because justice is not revenge," Kuczynski said in his address Monday night.

"It is about the health and chances of life of a former president of Peru who, having committed excesses and grave errors, was sentenced and has already completed 12 years" in prison, he said.

Anti-riot police deployed to prevent demonstrators from heading to the clinic where Fujimori is hospitalized, firing tear gas canisters and erecting barricades to disperse them.

"Out, out PPK! Out, out PPK!" demonstrators chanted in reference to the current president, who had promised during his electoral campaign last year that he would not free Fujimori.

"Fujimori, murderer and thief. No to the pardon!" read a sign held by the protesters, some of whom also carried a giant Peruvian flag.

Relatives of victims of Fujimori's brutal rule took part in the march.

"We are here as relatives to reject this illegal pardon, because it does not correspond to the gravity of the crimes," Gisella Ortiz, from a group of victims' families, told reporters.

Peru's president Alberto Fujimori hands a weapon to a man in 1991 for use in
the battle against the Shining Path leftist rebels

A 'vulgar' process

The pardon from Kuczynski came after Fujimori's son Kenji drained votes away from a parliamentary bid Thursday to impeach Kuczynski on suspicion of corruption, sparking speculation the pardon was political.

"The president's word is totally devalued and he will not be supported again," political analyst Arturo Maldonado told El Comercio newspaper.

"Instead of reaffirming that in a state of law there is no special treatment for anyone, the idea that the liberation was a vulgar political negotiation in exchange for keeping Pedro Pablo Kuczynski in power will remain forever."

A doctor at the Centenario Clinic, Alejandro Aguinaga, told reporters that Fujimori's condition was "delicate" and there was no prospect of his leaving soon from the facility where he is in intensive care.

The former leader has spent more than a decade imprisoned for ruthlessly cracking down on political rivals and for ordering dozens of murders and overseeing other brutal tactics.

Despite his conviction for human rights abuses, however, Fujimori retains a level of popularity in Peru for having defeated left-wing guerrillas and for stabilizing the economy after a period of crisis.

That dichotomy has come to the fore with the pardon: dozens of supporters have gathered in front of the hospital caring for him, while opponents demonstrated in Lima against him.

Fujimori's daughter Keiko, a congresswoman who was narrowly beaten to the presidency by Kuczynski in elections last year, hailed her father's pardon as "a great day for my family and for Fujimorists -- finally my father is free."





Saturday, December 23, 2017

Brazilian president's pardons ignite corruption row

Yahoo – AFP, 23 December 2017

Brazilian president's pardons ignite corruption row

President Michel Temer was accused Saturday of handing Brazilians convicted of corruption a get out of jail card with changes to the traditional collective Christmas pardon.

Temer, who has been charged with corruption himself, issued the annual decree Friday, expanding the categories of prisoners eligible for early release.

The main shift was to lift the previous exclusion on all those serving sentences of more than 12 years. Under Temer's changes, the length of sentence no longer matters and a prisoner also needs only to have served 20 percent of the sentence to qualify, rather than 25 percent as under the previous rules.

"It's a Christmas party for the corrupt," lashed out Deltan Dallagnol, one of the chief prosecutors in operation "Car Wash," as the biggest anti-corruption probe in Brazilian history is known.

"Practice corruption with only 20 percent of the consequences," he said on Facebook.

Dallagnol referred to the case of construction tycoon Marcelo Odebrecht who was released this week into house arrest as part of a steep reduction of his sentence in exchange for providing devastating testimony to "Car Wash" investigators.

Originally, Odebrecht had been sentenced to more than 19 years in prison, but saw that cut to 10 years, with only two and a half behind bars and a transfer now to his luxury Sao Paulo house.

His testimony and that of fellow company executives was used to go after scores of politicians who allegedly took bribes.

Temer's decree will undermine prosecutors' bargaining power in such cases, Dallagnol said.

"If Marcelo Odebrecht could have seen this Christmas pardon from President Temer, he'd never have struck a plea bargain!" Dallagnol tweeted.

"Open season for corruption continues. They defraud bids. They embezzle from health, education and security! Come, steal, and head off!! That's the message."

Accused of corruption, Temer is the first sitting president to face criminal charges. Congress, where many members are also facing corruption probes, twice voted against putting him on trial.

Responding to the outcry, Justice Minister Torquato Jardim held a press conference in the capital Brasilia Saturday, telling journalists that Temer's expansion of the pardons was done for completely different reasons.

"The prisons are overcrowded. That is a reality we cannot ignore. Those who will be let out did not commit heinous crimes and are not considered serious threats," the Correio Braziliense newspaper quoted him as saying.