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.)


.
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.

UEFA leaders tell Blatter to quit FIFA presidency

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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Raul Castro hails removal of "obstacle" in US-Cuba relations

Yahoo – AFP, 20 Dec 2014

Cuban President Raul Castro listens during the opening of the Caribbean
 Community (CARICOM) Summit, in Havana, on December 8, 2014 (AFP
Photo/Yamil Lage)

Havana (AFP) - Cuban President Raul Castro hailed Saturday the removal of an "obstacle" in US-Cuba relations, saying he was ready to discuss any topic with Washington after the historic bilateral rapprochement.

"The Cuban people cheer this correct decision of US President Barack Obama. It represents the removal of an obstacle in relations between our countries," he said in a speech closing the twice-yearly meeting of parliament.

Castro chaired the gathering, which unanimously ratified the deal between Havana and Washington on Friday, in a session largely focused on the communist island's historic renewal of ties with Washington.

The United States and Cuba made the breakthrough in their Cold War stand-off Wednesday, launching measures to ease a five-decade US trade embargo as well as a prisoner exchange. First official talks are scheduled for January.

"We reiterate our willingness for respectful and reciprocal dialogue concerning disagreements," Castro said, adding that Cuba "accepted dialogue... on any topic about all things here but also in the United States."

On Friday, US President Barack Obama insisted he shared the concerns of Cuban dissidents and human rights activist "that this is still a regime that represses it people."

"But through engagement, we have a better chance of bringing about change than we would have otherwise."

But the US president said he didn't "anticipate overnight changes."

Related Articles:

US announces historic thaw in relations with Cuba


"Recalibration of Knowledge" – Jan 14, 2012 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: Channelling, God-Creator, Benevolent Design, New Energy, Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) SoulsReincarnation, Gaia, Old Energies (Africa, Terrorists, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela ... ), Weather, Rejuvenation, Akash, Nicolas Tesla / Einstein, Cold Fusion, Magnetics, Lemuria, Atomic Structure (Electrons, Particles, Polarity, Self Balancing, Magnetism), Entanglement, "Life is necessary for a Universe to exist and not the other way around", DNA, Humans (Baby getting ready, First Breath, Stem Cells, Embryonic Stem Cells, Rejuvenation), Global Unity, ... etc.) (Text Version)  

“…  I want you to watch some countries. I don't have a clock [this statement is Kryon telling us that there is no time frame on his side of the veil, only potentials]. I'll just tell you, it's imminent [in Spirit's timing, this could mean as soon as a decade]. I want you to watch some countries carefully for changes. You're going to be seeing changes that are obvious, and some that are not obvious [covert or assumptive]. But the obvious ones you will see sooner than not - Cuba, Korea [North]Iran, of course, and Venezuela. I want you to watch what happens when they start to realize that they don't have any more allies on Earth! Even their brothers who used to support them in their hatred of some are saying, "Well, perhaps not anymore. It doesn't seem to be supporting us anymore." Watch the synchronicities that are occurring. The leaders who have either died or are going to in the next year or so will take with them the old ways. Watch what happens to those who take their place, and remember these meetings where I described these potentials to you. …”



" ... South America and the New Energy

South America is starting to consider the same thing. My partner was just there and I allowed him to see the energy of the potential future in that land.

I would like to paint history for you regarding South America. There was a time when every single country had a dictator. Less than 15 years ago, they had failing economies and currencies that were worthless. Trouble and strife and killings were the norm. Marauding drug lords openly killed in the streets and corruption was everywhere. Even the politicians created fear and many disappeared overnight, never to be seen again. Today it isn't that way. Today, there is an ongoing stability as one country after another brings a new, positive, stable energy to their cultures. So, without a concentrated effort by any kind of multi-national leadership or direction, how could this have changed in only 15 years?

Within the entire continent, there's only one dictator left. What's happening? If you think that's amazing, there is a move afoot that you're not going to hear about yet. But they're discussing it right now, so let me tell you what they're thinking. "What would happen if we took these countries and eliminated the borders?" Sound familiar? They're talking about it. In back rooms where nobody is reporting it, they're saying, "What about a plan of eventually having one currency from the top of Columbia to the bottom of Chile? And we would be strong and we would be unified." And dear ones, I'm here to tell you, that it's going to work, and it might not take 50 years. Soon the one dictator will be gone, and the unification can begin.

There's a shift happening on this planet ...."

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

US announces historic thaw in relations with Cuba

The administration of US President Barack Obama has announced a normalization of ties with Cuba, which has been blacklisted in the US since the Cold War. This comes after the release of a US citizen from a Havana prison.

Deutsche Welle, 17 Dec 2014


Leaders of the US and Cuba have agreed to restore diplomatic relations and plan to open embassies in each other's capitals, officials from the Obama administration said on Wednesday.

Over the phone, US President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro finalized negotiations which have been taking place for over a year. Administration officials said the phone call lasted for over 45 minutes. Wednesday's was the first substantial talk between leaders of the two countries since 1961.

"It was the first engagement at the presidential level with Cuba since the Cuban revolution," an official speaking on condition of anonymity told dpa news agency.

The announcement comes just hours after the release of a US citizen from prison in Havana. A US official said on Wednesday that Alan Gross had been released for humanitarian reasons. The 65-year-old was arrested in Cuba in December 2009 while working as a subcontractor for the US Agency for International Development (USAID), which has been accused of trying to incite dissent and political change in Cuba through clandestine programs.

Alan Gross was arrested in Cuba in 2009, accused by the Cuban government
of trying to incite dissent

He was put on trial and received a sentence of 15 years in prison, of which he has served five.

Gross was said to be in poor health, having lost over 100 pounds during his five years of incarceration, with severe hip pain and loss of sight in one eye.

Last month, he was visited by two US senators. After the visit, Republican Jeff Flake of Arizona and Democrat Tom Udall of New Mexico told reporters on November 11 they were confident they were closer to Gross' release from prison. They did not give any indication that an agreement between the US and Cuba had been reached.

The US had repeatedly called on Havana to release Gross, but Cuba wanted to see the release of three Cuban nationals currently in US prisons for espionage as well.

Covert US dissent programs in question

The senators' optimism over the release of Gross came a day after the US State Department announced it was reviewing some of its secretive, political, democracy promotion programs in hostile countries, i.e. ones where such programs are not welcomed.

That announcement followed an investigation by the Associated Press (AP) this year into work by USAID, which, among other things, "established a Twitter-like service in Cuba [ZunZuneo] and secretly sought to recruit a new generation of dissidents there while hiding ties to the US government." An August investigation by AP also found that the agency had sent Latin youth to Cuba disguised as tourists to "scout for people they could turn into activists" on the island.

The proposed policy for USAID, according to AP, would prohibit the agency from spending money on democracy programs in countries that reject the agency's assistance and where USAID would have to go to "excessive lengths to protect program beneficiaries and participants."

Some of the agency's high-risk democracy efforts would be shifted to other agencies. The changes would, for example, prevent USAID from running such programs as ZunZuneo, which sought to encourage dissent and political change and in the end had 40,000 followers who had no idea it was a US government program, as funding for the site had been channeled through the Cayman Islands.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, however, did not elaborate on any new plans for USAID, saying it would be "premature."

"We continue to believe we need to find creative ways to promote positive change in Cuba, but beyond that, we're still assessing what any change or what any impact would be," she said.

USAID in a statement said it would continue to carry out democracy initiatives in "politically restrictive environments," AP reported. But the Obama administration failed to answer the question of how the agency's pro-democracy work could be continued in Cuba if it was illegal there.

sb/bw (dpa, AFP, AP)


Related Articles:


Pope Francis waves to the crowd during his general audience
at St Peter's square on December 17, 2014 at the Vatican



The presidents of China and Cuba shake hands after the sign
ceremony of cooperation, July 23. (Photo/Xinhua)


"Recalibration of Knowledge" – Jan 14, 2012 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: Channelling, God-Creator, Benevolent Design, New Energy, Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) SoulsReincarnation, Gaia, Old Energies (Africa, Terrorists, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela ... ), Weather, Rejuvenation, Akash, Nicolas Tesla / Einstein, Cold Fusion, Magnetics, Lemuria, Atomic Structure (Electrons, Particles, Polarity, Self Balancing, Magnetism), Entanglement, "Life is necessary for a Universe to exist and not the other way around", DNA, Humans (Baby getting ready, First Breath, Stem Cells, Embryonic Stem Cells, Rejuvenation), Global Unity, ... etc.) (Text Version)  

“…  I want you to watch some countries. I don't have a clock [this statement is Kryon telling us that there is no time frame on his side of the veil, only potentials]. I'll just tell you, it's imminent [in Spirit's timing, this could mean as soon as a decade]. I want you to watch some countries carefully for changes. You're going to be seeing changes that are obvious, and some that are not obvious [covert or assumptive]. But the obvious ones you will see sooner than not - Cuba, Korea [North]Iran, of course, and Venezuela. I want you to watch what happens when they start to realize that they don't have any more allies on Earth! Even their brothers who used to support them in their hatred of some are saying, "Well, perhaps not anymore. It doesn't seem to be supporting us anymore." Watch the synchronicities that are occurring. The leaders who have either died or are going to in the next year or so will take with them the old ways. Watch what happens to those who take their place, and remember these meetings where I described these potentials to you. …”



" ... South America and the New Energy

South America is starting to consider the same thing. My partner was just there and I allowed him to see the energy of the potential future in that land.

I would like to paint history for you regarding South America. There was a time when every single country had a dictator. Less than 15 years ago, they had failing economies and currencies that were worthless. Trouble and strife and killings were the norm. Marauding drug lords openly killed in the streets and corruption was everywhere. Even the politicians created fear and many disappeared overnight, never to be seen again. Today it isn't that way. Today, there is an ongoing stability as one country after another brings a new, positive, stable energy to their cultures. So, without a concentrated effort by any kind of multi-national leadership or direction, how could this have changed in only 15 years?

Within the entire continent, there's only one dictator left. What's happening? If you think that's amazing, there is a move afoot that you're not going to hear about yet. But they're discussing it right now, so let me tell you what they're thinking. "What would happen if we took these countries and eliminated the borders?" Sound familiar? They're talking about it. In back rooms where nobody is reporting it, they're saying, "What about a plan of eventually having one currency from the top of Columbia to the bottom of Chile? And we would be strong and we would be unified." And dear ones, I'm here to tell you, that it's going to work, and it might not take 50 years. Soon the one dictator will be gone, and the unification can begin.

There's a shift happening on this planet ...."

Monday, December 15, 2014

Pope Francis offers US help in closing Guantanamo

Yahoo – AFP, 16 Dec 2014

An April 9, 2014 photo taken during an escorted visit and reviewed by the
 US military shows a US soldier walking next to the razor wire-topped fence at
the abandoned "Camp X-Ray" detention facility at the US Naval Station in
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (AFP Photo/Mladen Antonov)

Vatican City (AFP) - The Vatican on Monday offered to help the United States in its efforts to close Guantanamo prison, a goal fervently supported by Pope Francis.

The offer came during talks between the pontiff's Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, the number two in the Vatican hierarchy, and John Kerry, the US Secretary of State.

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said the Holy See welcomed recent signs President Barack Obama appears to have accelerated efforts to close the controversial facility where some detainees have been held for more than a decade without charge and tortured.

Pope Francis blesses the crowd after
 a mass at the San Giuseppe all'Aurelio
 parish on December 14, 2014, in Rome,
Italy (AFP Photo/Andreas Solaro)
He said the Vatican stood ready to "help find adequate humanitarian solutions through our international contacts" in order to help place detainees, adding that Parolin and Kerry had discussed the issue in depth.

Obama came to power six years ago promising to close Guantanamo, but has been frustrated in his efforts by a combination of opposition from Congress and the difficulties involved in finding homes for prisoners who are often unwanted by their home states and/or suspected of involvement in terrorist actions, including the September 11, 2001, attacks in some cases.

The pope made clear his feelings on the kind of abuses associated with Guantanamo in October, when he railed against the "penal populism" that led to countries facilitating torture, using the death penalty and incarcerating people without trial.

"These abuses will only stop if the international community firmly commits to recognising... the principle of placing human dignity above all else," he said.

Six prisoners -- four Syrians, a Palestinian and a Tunisian -- left Guantanamo earlier this month for Uruguay after 13 years of detention. That left 136 still incarcerated, 67 of whom had been cleared for release by the US administration.

Of that group, 54 are Yemenis who cannot go home because of the country's chaotic current state.

Of the men who have not been cleared for release, some 15 are classified as "high value" detainees currently considered too dangerous to be tried or incarcerated in the United States.

For Guantanamo to be closed, Obama will have to persuade Congress to accept the transfer of this group to US facilities, which currently looks unlikely according to most observers of the US political scene.

Kerry was in Rome for talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as part of an effort to relaunch a peace process in the Middle East. The Vatican spokesman said Francis welcomed the US efforts on that score.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

UN climate conferences agrees on draft deal in marathon session

Negotiators at UN climate talks in Lima, Peru, have approved a draft laying out the key points for a global climate pact set to be agreed in Paris next year. The agreement came in a marathon overtime session.

Deutsche Welle, 14 Dec 2014


Delegates to a United Nations climate summit in the Peruvian capital, Lima, on Sunday approved the building blocks of a global climate agreement at talks that ran into the early hours of the morning.

The deal, called the "Lima Call for Climate Action," sets out the format for national pledges to cut carbon emissions that will be at the heart of the global pact, which is due to be adopted in Paris in December 2015.

The delegates at the two-week conference also agreed on the broad outlines for negotiations leading up to the deal.

The agreement came after delegates rejected a previous draft deal that developing countries said would take too much responsibility for global warming away from rich nations. The approved paper represents a major compromise that attempts to bridge the rift between rich and poor countries.

Developed countries want the pledges to center on measures to cut emissions, while developing nations want richer countries to take on more financial responsibility for damage caused by climate change, for example in small island states at risk of being flooded by rising seas.

Ineffective compromise

Climate campaigners say the watered-down nature of the deal could have a negative impact on the effectiveness of the prospective Paris agreement, which is envisioned as the most ambitious accord in environmental history. The pact would be the first to bring all the countries of the world together in coordinated efforts to combat climate change by curbing greenhouse gases.

The aim of the pact is to limit global warming to no more than two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial levels in a bid to slow or stop a process that could lead to catastrophic climate change by the turn of the century.

In the past, Western nations have been responsible for most greenhouse-gas emissions, but they have been since overtaken by developing nations growing their economies.

Scientists have pointed to rising sea levels, intensifying heat waves and a higher incidence of floods and droughts as indicators that global warming is already having an impact on the global environment.

Last week, the UN weather agency said that 2014 could become the hottest year on record.

tj/es (AP, AFP)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Nobel protester sought to draw attention to 'murdered Mexican students'

Yahoo – AFP, 11 Dec 2014

Security staff blocks a man holding a Mexican flag on stage during the Nobel
Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo on December 10, 2014 (AFP Photo/Odd Andersen)

Oslo (AFP) - A young man who disrupted the Nobel prize ceremony in Oslo by waving a Mexican flag streaked with red said Thursday he did it to denounce the alleged killing of students by Mexican authorities.

The protest by the 21-year-old at the presumed massacre of 43 Mexican students came as Pakistan's Malala Yousafzai and India's Kailash Satyarthi displayed their peace prizes to rapturous applause on Wednesday.

The security breach was especially serious since child rights activist Malala, who was lucky to survive a Taliban assassination attempt in October 2012, remains a target for Islamist extremists.

The Mexican protester, Adan Cortes Salas, said he was sorry for having frightened anyone and for any repercussions the security services may face, but did not regret his actions.

"My message was... 'help to Mexico'," Salas told NRK television in Norway during an interview conducted in a detention centre. "Our government is killing students."

Thorbjoern Jagland (L), chairman of the Norwegian Nobel committee, and Nobel
 Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai (R) look on as a man displays the flag of
Mexico during the awards ceremony in Oslo, Norway, on December 10, 2014 (AFP
Photo/Cornelius Poppe)

Salas, a student and asylum seeker who entered Norway in late November, said he simply dressed well and walked into the ceremony at Oslo city hall as if he belonged there.

He wore glasses and a camera around his neck, and held the Mexican flag as he approached the two laureates on stage. He said he asked them for an opportunity to speak on the microphone.

He was grabbed by security agents shortly afterwards and escorted away. He has since agreed to pay a fine of 15,000 krone ($2,000, 1,700 euros) and has been handed over to immigration police.

Salas told VG newspaper that his actions had not been planned for very long, saying he found out the ceremony was occurring while he was in town and decided on the protest.

Police have apologised over the incident, with Oslo police chief John Fredriksen saying "it shouldn't have happened."

Mexican media said he was a left-wing militant who wanted to draw the world's attention to the disappearance of 43 students in southern Mexico caught up in the country's bloody drug war.

Security blocks a man holding a Mexican flag on the stage next to Nobel Peace
Prize laureates Malala Yousafzai (L) and Kailash Satyarthi (R) during the award
ceremony in Oslo on December 10, 2014 (AFP Photo/Vegard Wivestad Grott)

Prosecutors have confirmed that one of the missing students was among charred remains found in a landfill and nearby river in Guerrero state.

The identification by an Austrian medical university bolstered suspicions that the students were slaughtered by a drug gang after they were delivered to hitmen by corrupt police.

The two Nobel laureates appeared unperturbed by the protest at the ceremony.

"There was nothing to be scared of," Malala said in a press conference Thursday.

"There are problems in Mexico, there are problems even in America, even in Norway. So the problems are always there in every country and it's really important that children raise their voice, children come forward," she added.

Related Article:


Nobel Peace Prize laureates Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai's pairing had
the extra symbolism of linking neighbouring countries that have been in conflict
for decades (AFP Photo/Cornelius Poppe)

Brazil charges 35 over Petrobras kickbacks

Yahoo – AFP, 11 Dec 2014


Brazilian prosecutors charged 35 businessmen in connection with the Petrobras corruption case on Thursday, the first wave of indictments arising from the investigation into the scandal surrounding the state-owned oil giant.

The 35 are accused of being complicit in a scheme which saw dozens of politicians, mostly allies of the government, receive hundreds of millions of dollars in sweeteners from over-charged contracts involving Brazil's biggest company.

The group are the first people to be charged in the scandal, which broke following the arrest nine months ago of Paulo Roberto Costa, formerly a Petrobras director of supplies.

Costa blew the whistle as part of a plea bargain.

The prosecutors' office added further prosecutions were likely to follow after charging former Petrobras officials along with a slew of figures from leading construction and engineering firms who allegedly paid out bribes in return for winning fat contracts.

"The is the start of the investigation, we have a long way still to go," said prosecutor Rodrigo Janot.

"These people stole Brazilians' pride," said Janot, who warned the case was complex while promising a "calm, balanced, but firm and thorough investigation."

Those accused face charges of corruption, money laundering and helping to set up a criminal organization.

Executives charged included ranking officials from constructors such as OAS, Camargo Correa, UTC, Mendes Junior, Engevix and Galvao Engenharia Engineering.

They are accused of forming a "club" to rotate contracts with Petrobras and cream off cash for politicians to look the other way.

"These people not only corrupted Petrobras but other public bodies. They should therefore go to jail," said the prosecutor for southern Parana state, Deltan Dallagnol, who is heading a special unit tasked with investigating the case.

Under the alleged scheme, companies which won contracts including illicit surcharges of between one and six percent of the deal would pass the cash on to intermediaries who would set up front firms who would produce bogus contracts, services and consultancy services, with the money laundered through those firms.

Police estimate that overall the corrupt network managed to launder around $3.8 billion.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Rousseff in tears as Brazilian report details junta’s killings and torture

Brazil’s president, herself tortured by 1970s military regime, breaks down as she says ‘new generations deserve truth’

The Guardian, Associated Press in Rio de Janeiro, Wednesday 10 December 2014

Dilma Rousseff cries at a ceremony presenting the report of Brazil's Truth
Commission into human rights abuses. Photograph: Evaristo Sa/AFP/Getty

Brazil’s National Truth Commission delivered a damning report on the killings, disappearances and torture committed by government agents during the country’s 1964-85 military dictatorship. It called for those responsible to face prosecution.

The 2,000-page report was delivered on Wednesday to President Dilma Rousseff, a former Marxist guerrilla who endured harsh torture and long imprisonment in the early 1970s.

“Under the military dictatorship, repression and the elimination of political opposition became the policy of the state, conceived and implemented based on decisions by the president of the republic and military ministers,” the report states. The commission “therefore totally rejects the explanation offered up until today that the serious violations of human rights constituted a few isolated acts or excesses resulting from the zeal of a few soldiers”.

Investigators spent nearly three years combing through archives, hospital and morgue records and questioning victims, their families and alleged perpetrators. The document represents Brazil’s most sweeping attempt yet to come to terms with the human rights abuses committed under the country’s military regime.

The seven-member commission, created by congress and sworn in by Rousseff in 2011, has no prosecutorial powers, and a 1979 amnesty law passed by the military regime prevents those responsible from being tried and punished. The report calls for the repeal of the amnesty.

The work exhaustively details the military’s “systematic practice” of arbitrary detentions and torture, as well as executions, forced disappearances and hiding bodies. It documents 191 killings and 210 disappearances committed by military authorities, as well as 33 cases of people who were “disappeared” and whose remains were discovered later.

“These numbers certainly don’t correspond to the total of deaths and disappearances but only to cases it was possible to prove,” the report said, citing “obstacles encountered in the investigation, especially the lack of access to armed forces’ documentation, which is officially said to have been destroyed”.

Rousseff, known for her steely demeanour, broke down during her speech at the report’s launch ceremony in the capital, Brasilia.

The crowd gave her a standing ovation when she paused. “Brazil deserves the truth. The new generations deserve the truth. And most of all, those who deserve the truth are those who lost family members, friends, companions and continue to suffer as if they died again each and every day,” Rousseff said, halting midway through the sentence as she fought back tears.

“We, who believe in the truth, hope that this report contributes to make it so that ghosts from a sad and painful past are no longer able to find shelter in silence,” she said.

Rosa Cardosa, a Rio de Janeiro criminal lawyer and a commission member, said that meticulously documenting the military regime’s crackdown on students, trade unionists, factory workers, indigenous tribes and others labelled as subversive is crucial to healing Brazilian society.

“I think the report helps us advance, helps us move forward, helps society to understand this problem and sheds light on it,” said Cardosa, who during the regime provided legal representation for political prisoners, including Rousseff. The document “gives voice to the victims, to the survivors and the families who were able to tell the story of those atrocities”, she said.

Brazil’s neighbours Argentina, Chile and Uruguay have been investigating crimes committed by military regimes in the same era, and top officials have been convicted and handed harsh prison sentences. Many observers doubt the Brazilian government’s political will to push for any such changes.

“There cannot be amnesty for torturers, and for them to be held accountable for their crimes the amnesty law must be rewritten or abrogated altogether,” said Elizabeth Silveira e Silva, who heads the Torture Never Again human rights group.

Rousseff has maintained a low profile on issues related to the dictatorship. She rarely speaks about the abuses she suffered in detention, where she was bound and hung upside down, pummelled in the face and given electric shocks.

Her past, coupled with a kickback corruption scandal allegedly involving Rousseff’s Workers’ party unfolding at the state-run oil company Petrobras, has led many to predict that she is unlikely to champion any change in the amnesty law.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Latin America Pledges to Reforest 20 Million Hectares by 2020

Jakarta Globe – AFP, Dec 08, 2014

Workers plant seedlings for reforestation at Huayquecha Biological Station near
Paucartambo, Cusco in Peru on Dec. 5, 2014. (Reuters Photo/Enrique Castro-Mendivil)

Lima. Seven Latin American countries pledged on Sunday to replant nearly 20 million hectares of forest by 2020 amid a UN climate conference in Lima.

The deal, dubbed “20×20,” which private investors pledged to support with $365 million, aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated by deforestation and land-use changes. The area is equivalent to more than 49 million acres.

It came at a meeting held in parallel to the conference, with the agriculture and environment ministers from Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru.

“In Peru, we are losing forests an an impressive speed,” said Agriculture Minister Juan Manuel Benites Ramos, citing illegal mining, overgrazing and coca planting as the driving factor behind the tree clearings.

The region needs to work on replanting the forests and moving toward “a carbon-neutral agriculture.”

His Argentine counterpart, Roberto Delgado, also urged putting the brakes on deforestation.

“In addition to restoring soil, it is important to stop losing hectares,” he said.

Mexico made the biggest pledge, promising to restore 8.5 million hectares, followed by Peru, which promised 3.2 million, Guatemala, 1.2 million, and Colombia, one million.

Ecuador promised 500,000 hectares, Chile another 100,000, and Costa Rica 50,000.

In addition, a plan to conserve the Patagonia region — which stretches across southern Argentina and Chile — would aim at restoring 4.1 million hectares of forest.

Experts say Latin America is one of the regions most vulnerable to climate change.

Agence France-Presse

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Six Guantanamo prisoners to be resettled in Uruguay

Four Syrians, one Tunisian and one Palestinian have been sent from the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay to Uruguay. The six men, detained as terror suspects in 2002, were never charged.

Deutsche Welle, 7 Dec 2014


The US government announced on Sunday that it was transferring four Syrians, one Palestinian and a Tunisian from its prison in Guantanamo Bay to Uruguay. The Syrian Jihad Diyab was among the released prisoners, the Agence France Presse reported. He had staged a hunger strike in May this year and requested a court order against officials who were force feeding him.

Jose Mujica, Uruguay's president, agreed to host the men on humanitarian grounds and said his country would support them in establishing themselves in the nation, where the population is largely Catholic. Uruguay had expressed its readiness to accept the former detainees in January this year, but bureaucratic hurdles in the US prevented the resettlement from taking place sooner.

US State Department envoy Clifford Sloan, who is in charge of detainee transfers, told reporters: "We are very grateful to Uruguay for this important humanitarian action and to President Mujica for his strong leadership in providing a home for individuals who cannot return to their own countries."

The six men were detained in 2002 but were never charged and have been cleared for release since 2010. They could not go back home and were forced to remain in prison until the US could find countries who were willing to host former terror suspects.

The , reducing the count in Guantanamo to 136. Officials expect to resettle many more inmates by the end of 2014. US President Barack Obama promised to close the controversial facility ever since he came to power, but his efforts were blocked by Congress and subsequent laws that prohibited sending prisoners to the US for any reason, including trials.

mg/mkg (AP, AFP, Reuters )

MPs' trip Ecuador canceled over drilling row

The Ecuador government has banned a group of German MPs from entering the country. The official reason: miscommunication - but the government is also unhappy with the politicians' plans to meet anti-government activists.

Deutsche Welle, 7 Dec 2014


Only a few days before the trip - which had been planned for the beginning of December, the Ecuadorian government has forbidden members of the German parliament's environment committee from entering their country.

In a press release, the Ecuadorian embassy said the delegates' travel program had not been approved by Ecuador because it was "imbalanced," and would have promoted biased communication with political opponents of the government and would thus have created a skewed image of Ecuadorian reality.

Bärbel Höhn, head of the environment committee, called the cancellation "strange and unnecessary." She told DW that talks had been planned with both the government and the opposition.

The Bundestag's press division said such entry bans on Bundestag delegations were rare - a press officer said she could not recall such a case in the last seven years, though bans have been imposed for individual MPs.

Oil drilling in Yasuni National Park

Many people in Ecuador are against
drilling in the Yasuni National Park
Led by Höhn, the group had planned to visit the Yasuni National Park on Saturday (06.12.2014) and meet with people opposed to drilling there. Despite massive protests by environmental activists and representatives of indigenous groups, the Ecuadorian government plans to start drilling in the park, which is located in the Amazon rainforest.

Höhn had planned a meeting at the park with Guadalupe Llori, an activist campaigning to stop the oil drilling with a national referendum. "The concern is that the basis of existence of indigenous peoples would be very strongly affected," Höhn said. "There is also a big threat to the environment."

Germany plays a significant role when it comes to the Yasuni park. Ecuador originally started an initiative promising not to drill for the oil in the park as long as big industrialized countries such as Germany paid millions of dollars into a fund in return. Former German Development Minister Dirk Niebel opposed the deal, leading Ecuador to go ahead with drilling.

Ecuador's decision to ban the delegation is a clear signal of how sensitive the Yasuni project is, according to Jonas Wolff of the Peace Research Institute in Frankfurt. "The project is a thorny issue and polarizes sides," he told DW. "Taking any side from the outside is considered meddling."

Oil drilling in the park could endanger the
 environment as well as the lives of
indigenous people
Other incidents show that Ecuador will not accept any criticism when it comes to Yasuni park. The British daily the Guardian reported that a bus transporting Ecuadorian environment activists from Quito to the UN climate conference in Lima was stopped six times by police on its way and that some of the passengers were even threatened. The activists blamed President Rafael Correa in an interview with the daily, saying he wanted to prevent protests at the conference.

German-Ecuadorian ties still positive

Wolff believes that the recent entry ban imposed on the German delegation is only an isolated case. "Relations between Germany and Ecuador are pretty good," he told DW. But Höhn is quite upset. "We will not be told with whom we can and cannot speak. I can only hope that the Ecuadorian government returns to democratic ways," she said.

The Ecuadorian embassy in Germany wrote in a statement that it hopes to entertain positive relations with Germany and jointly tackle issues such as environmental and climate concerns. It also said that Bundestag representatives were welcome in Ecuador - but relations must be based on mutual trust and equality.