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.)

Map of Latin America showing countries where major protests have occurred in recent months (AFP Photo)
A student holds a sign reading "Don't shoot, listen!!!" during a protest
on June 17, 2013 in Brasilia (AFP, Evaristo)

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


"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. …

Monday, December 23, 2019

Chile president signs off on constitutional change referendum

Yahoo – AFP, December 23, 2019

A demonstrator in front of the presidential palace during a protest against Chilean
President Sebastian Pinera's government on December 20, 2019 (AFP Photo/

Santiago (AFP) - Chile President Sebastian Pinera enacted a law on Monday that will allow the South American country to hold a referendum on April 26 to change its military dictatorship era constitution.

Changing the constitution enacted under former dictator Augusto Pinochet, who ruled from 1973-90, was one of the main demands made of Pinera as he bids to end two months of protests against his government and inequality.

"This reform opens the doors and defines a path to achieve a great constitutional agreement," said Pinera in signing into law a bill approved last week by Congress.

Many Chileans believe the constitution to be a source of many inequalities affecting them.

They will be asked two questions on April 26: do they want a new constitution and who should draft it.

The second question refers to whether or not those tasked with the redrafting should be specifically elected by the public to do so, for example in the formation of a new constitution assembly.

The government favors a committee made up half of existing lawmakers and half by a new group elected directly by the public to draft the constitution, while the opposition prefers a committee made up entirely of specifically elected members.

The decision to hold a referendum to change the constitution was reached following an agreement last month between the government and left-wing opposition parties and came just two days after particularly violent protests.

Pinera signed the enactment at the presidential palace in the company of socialist former president Ricardo Lagos, who 15 years ago introduced a number of significant constitutional reforms.

Should Chileans vote to redraft the constitution, a new poll to elect those responsible for the task in hand would be held in October 2020, during regional and municipal elections.

The constitutional body would then have nine months to come up with a new text, a deadline which could be extended by a further three months.

"This referendum, the first in 30 years, should serve us in leaving behind the violence and divisions that we've painfully and sadly seen resurging these last few days," said Pinera.

One of the protesters main demands is that Pinera resign.

Pinera was initially opposed to constitutional reform when he was elected to replace socialist Michelle Bachelet last year.

The constitution has been changed numerous times since it was enacted in 1980.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Cuba gets first prime minister in over 40 years

Yahoo – AFP, December 21, 2019

Manuel Marrero (C) is Cuba's first prime minister since 1976 (AFP Photo/

Havana (AFP) - Cuba's first prime minister in more than four decades -- long-serving tourism minister Manuel Marrero -- took office Saturday as the country resurrected a post last held by Fidel Castro.

The appointment of Marrero, 56, as head of government is part of a process of decentralization and generational change from the revolutionary old guard that is aimed at extending and protecting the rule of the Communist Party on the island.

"This proposal was duly approved by the political bureau of the Communist Party of Cuba," President Miguel Diaz-Canel said, presenting it to the country's National Assembly, which unanimously signed off.

Immediately after his presentation, Marrero received a handshake from former president Raul Castro, the leader of the Communist Party.

Marrero served as tourism minister from 2004, late in revolutionary hero Castro's administration, continuing in the post under Fidel's brother Raul and the current president, Diaz-Canel.

He began his career in government in 1999 as vice president of the powerful Gaviota Hotel Group belonging to the armed forces, becoming its president a year later -- a post he held until 2004.

"Throughout his career... (Marrero) has been characterized by his modesty, honesty, work capacity, political sensitivity and loyalty to the party and the revolution," Diaz-Canel said.

The new premier "has led the tourism industry in a commendable fashion, which constitutes one of the main lines of development of the national economy," he added.

The position of prime minister was last held by revolutionary hero Fidel Castro in 1976.

But the post was abolished when Castro transitioned to the presidency, taking over from Osvaldo Dorticos after the country's constitution was restructured.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

AMLO's 'Maya Train' wins in landslide in Mexico

Yahoo – AFP, December 16, 2019

A citizen marks his ballot during a referendum on building a "Maya Train", in Felipe
Carrillo Puerto, Champoton, Campeche state, Mexico, on December 15, 2019
(AFP Photo/Lexie Harrison-Cripps)

Mexico City (AFP) - Indigenous communities in southern Mexico voted overwhelmingly to approve President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's pet project to build a regional railroad aimed at boosting tourism and economic development, the government said Monday.

The $6.2-billion "Maya Train" is meant to link Caribbean resorts such as Cancun and Playa del Carmen with ancient Mayan archaeological sites such as Palenque and Chichen Itza, passing through the impoverished interior of southeastern Mexico along the way.

Lopez Obrador, an anti-establishment leftist widely known as "AMLO", says the passenger and freight railroad will kick-start economic development in the region.

But it has faced resistance from activists and some indigenous communities over the lack of clarity on the environmental impact.

However, the region's communities are overwhelmingly in favor, according to official results from a referendum on the issue -- which was itself the subject of criticism.

Hundreds of indigenous villages held communal councils on the project over the weekend, while 84 municipalities in the train's path voted in a more classic ballot-box referendum.

Citizens attend a consultation meeting during a referendum on building a 
"Maya Train", in Felipe Carrillo Puerto, Champoton, Campeche state, Mexico, 
on December 15, 2019 (AFP Photo/Lexie Harrison-Cripps)

"There is a generalized consensus, unanimous, in support of building and implementing the Maya Train program," said Adelfo Regino, head of Mexico's National Indigenous Peoples' Institute.

"We have 93,142 Mexicans who voted 'Yes', equivalent to 92.3 percent of the vote," said the deputy minister for development, Diana Alvarez.

The government acknowledged many indigenous communities also demanded attention for more pressing issues, such as schools, health centers, roads and protection of their environment and archaeological sites.

Lopez Obrador said the first tender for the project would be launched in early January.

The president's opponents have accused him of using such referenda -- or "people's consultations," as he calls them -- to rubber-stamp his stance on controversial issues with no oversight by electoral authorities.

Other decisions he has made by referendum include building a new oil refinery in his native Tabasco state and canceling a $13-billion airport for Mexico City that was already one-third complete and replacing it with a rival project.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

New president promises to put Argentines before debt repayments

Yahoo – AFP, Nina NEGRON, December 10, 2019

Argentina's new president, Alberto Fernandez, waves next to Vice President
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, after receiving the presidential sash from outgoing
leader Mauricio Macri (AFP Photo/Alejandro PAGNI)

Buenos Aires (AFP) - Center-leftist Alberto Fernandez vowed to put his people first ahead of debt repayments after he was sworn in as Argentina's president on Tuesday to singing and applause from lawmakers and supporters.

After taking over from the market-friendly Mauricio Macri, Fernandez sent a message to the International Monetary Fund, saying "it's impossible to pay external debt without growth."

Fernandez, whose vice president is controversial former leader Cristina Kirchner, will govern until 2023, presiding over a country beset by recession, high inflation, rising unemployment and poverty.

While the South American country wants to pay back its debt, it doesn't have "the means to do so," he said, promising to deal with Argentina's social emergency.

Fernandez was swept to power in large part due to a public backlash over the terms of a $57 billion loan Macri negotiated with the IMF last year.

With Argentina's rising debt came deeply unpopular austerity measures.

Argentina has so far received $44 billion of the agreed IMF loan, taking its external debt to $315 billion, around 100 percent of gross domestic product.

"We want to have a good relationship with the IMF but without growth we won't be able to pay," said Fernandez, accusing Macri of leaving the country in "virtual default" following 18 months of economic turmoil triggered by a currency crisis.

Speaking in a televised address, the Peronist leader promised a "new, fraternal and caring social contract."

Fernandez also said Argentina needs to "overcome the rancor and hate" that has become a feature of its increasingly polarized political landscape.

He twice hugged Macri tightly during the ceremony.

Notable absentee

The new head of state will host a lunch for fellow Latin American presidents -- including Cuba's Miguel Diaz-Canel -- before addressing a crowd at the Plaza de Mayo in the evening.

Chile's President Sebastian Pinera was due to attend but canceled after a Chilean Air Force plane went missing with 38 people onboard. It would have been Pinera's first foreign trip since the outbreak of social unrest in Chile in early October.

Another notable absentee was Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, a right-wing populist who has recoiled at Argentina's swing to the left.

Argentina's Alberto Fernandez receives the presidential sash from outgoing leader 
Mauricio Macri during his inauguration ceremony in Buenos Aires (AFP Photo/

Bolsonaro at first declined to send a cabinet minister to represent him, but in the end sent Vice President Hamilton Mourao to represent his government.

Ahead of Fernandez's election victory, Bolsonaro had said that his government would turn Argentina into the new Venezuela, with Brazil likely to face a flood of Argentine refugees.

Fernandez's was among the loudest voices to call for the release of leftist icon and Bolsonaro adversary Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva from jail.

Backroom strategist

Moderate and pragmatic, Fernandez has never served in elected office but brings years of experience as a former top aide to late president Nestor Kirchner from 2003-2007, and briefly for his wife Cristina after she succeeded him.

After joining forces with Cristina Kirchner to unite a fragmented Peronist camp to win October's elections, his main challenge will be to deliver on his promises to improve the economy, according to analysts Eurasia Group.

"He was elected to improve economic conditions, and there is a large share of the electorate that will be actively opposed to Fernandez and the Peronists," said Eurasia.

"If he fails to deliver on the economy, they will become more active and popular support for him could drop quickly."

His pick for economy minister, Martin Guzman, 37, will have the task of negotiating with the IMF and other international creditors on restructuring Argentina's massive debt.

Guzman, an academic at Columbia University in the United States, has criticized the use of austerity policies to solve debt crises, signalling a sharp shift from Macri's belt-tightening.

"We are already working with the IMF. It's work that must be done quietly, so Argentines can rest assured that we have been dealing with the issue for weeks," Fernandez said over the weekend.

"We have opened a negotiation process, we are satisfied with how it's going."

Monetary controls

Economist Hector Rubini of the University of Salvador said the government is likely to maintain the strict exchange controls put in place by the Macri government in October, at least initially.

He said a new budget law will likely reallocate funds to fight poverty, which Fernandez called "a moral imperative."

Fernandez has also pledged to move to legalize abortion, a bitterly divisive issue in Roman Catholic Argentina, pledging last month to send a bill to Congress as soon as possible.

He inherits a dismal economy that is projected to shrink 3.1 percent this year, with inflation running at 55 percent, poverty near 40 percent, and unemployment at over 10 percent.

Despite the bleak outlook, Fernandez is likely to be able to count on a period of calm from the powerful unions, and will have Congress and debt timetables on his side.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

'The rapist is you': Chile hymn against sexual violence goes viral

Yahoo – AFP, December 5, 2019

Women of all ages from around Santiago dressed in black, sporting red scarves and
blindfolds, converged on the sporting venue in the early evening after a call-out on
social media networks (AFP Photo/Martin BERNETTI)

Santiago (AFP) - Thousands of women have mobbed the National Stadium in Chile's capital for a flash denunciation of sexual violence -- the latest performance of a battle-cry that has seized public attention during weeks of national unrest.

Women of all ages from around Santiago, dressed in black and wearing red scarves and blindfolds, converged on the sporting venue in the early evening after a call-out on social media networks.

"The fault is not with me, nor where I was, nor how I was dressed... The rapist is you!" the group sang, stomping their feet and waving their arms in a choreographed routine that has in recent weeks been staged around the country and around the world.

Similar performances have been staged by women as far away as Paris, Barcelona and Mexico City.

"It was a great experience to share this with thousands and thousands of women," 66-year-old Jacqueline Saintard told AFP after Wednesday's demonstration.

First created by the feminist collective LasTesis, based in the Chilean seaside town of Valparaiso, the performance began to be emulated after reports of police violence against women and as countrywide demonstrations against the government gained steam.

Those protests initially erupted in mid-October over metro fare hikes but quickly escalated into the most severe outbreak of social unrest since the end of the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet nearly 30 years ago.

Furious Chileans have taken to the streets in the weeks since to protest social and economic inequality.

More than 3,500 women were killed across Latin America and the Caribbean in acts of gender-based violence last year, according to UN data.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Suriname court convicts president of murder

DW, 30 November 2019

Suriname's President Desi Bouterse has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for the 1982 murder of 15 political opponents. The South American country is now on edge over what happens next.

Suriname President Desi Bouterse (Reuters/R. Abhelakh)

A military court in Suriname on Friday convicted President Desi Bouterse of murder for the execution of 15 opponents in 1982, plunging the South American country into political uncertainty.

Opposition parties called on Bouterse, who is on a state visit to China, to step down. He was expected to return home on Saturday or Sunday.

The 74-year-old leader was sentenced to 20 years in prison, but the military court did not issue an arrest warrant. Under Surinamese law, he cannot be arrested until all appeals have been exhausted.

After the court decision, the government asked Suriname's 560,000 people to remain calm.

Who is Bouterse?

As a junior military officer, Bouterse seized power in a coup in 1980, five years after Suriname gained independence from the Netherlands. He stepped down in 1987 under international pressure in a move that led to a democratic election, only to briefly seize power again in 1990.

He later left the army and took office again in 2010, following democratic elections won by his National Democratic Party (NDP). He secured a second term in 2015.

What did the court find? 

The court ruled that Bouterse had overseen what is known as the "December killings," in which soldiers abducted 16 opponents, among them prominent journalists, academics and military officers.

All but one of the detainees was killed at a colonial fortress in the capital Paramaribo. The sole survivor — a union later — testified against Bouterse.

What led up to decision?

The court decision marks a turning point in a trail that began in 2007, when Bouterse accepted "political responsibility'' for the killings but insisted he was not present.

Bouterse and the NDP have repeatedly sought to obstruct the trial. Shortly after taking office in 2010, the NDP-controlled National Assembly granted him amnesty that was overturned by the constitutional court.

Then in 2016, the president asked the attorney general to halt the legal proceedings against him, but the court ruled against the move because the trial had already started.

Calls to implement law

Angelic del Castillo, head of the opposition Democratic Alternative '91 party, said Bouterse had "disqualified himself" and demanded he immediately resign.

In a joint statement, the diplomatic missions of France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States called on the final verdict in the killings to be "implemented and upheld in accordance with the rule of law."

"The integrity and independence of the Judiciary is a pillar in Suriname society," they said.

Drug trafficking

In 2009, a Dutch court sentenced Bouterse to 11 years in prison in absentia for drug trafficking. However, his 2010 election victory protected him from being extradited under an Interpol warrant.

In 2015, his son, Dino Bouterse, was sentenced to more than 16 years in prison in the United States after being convicted of drug smuggling and trying to help the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah establish a base in Suriname. He had previously been picked to run Suriname's counter-terrorism unit.

A Suriname judge in 2005 convicted Dino of trafficking arms, drugs and running a gang.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Priests who abused deaf children get 40-year jail terms in Argentina

Yahoo – AFP, November 25, 2019

Victims and relatives celebrate outside the court after hearing their abusers
get lengthy jail sentences for years of sexual abuse at the Provolo institute
for deaf children in Mendoza, Argentina (AFP Photo/Andres Larrovere)

Mendoza (Argentina) (AFP) - Two Roman Catholic priests were each sentenced to more than 40 years in prison in Argentina for the sexual abuse, including rape, of deaf children, a court in the western city of Mendoza ruled Monday.

Argentine priest Horacio Corbacho was sentenced to 45 years in jail, while a 42-year sentence was imposed on Italian Nicola Corradi for the abuse of some 20 children at the Provolo Institute for deaf and hearing-impaired children between 2004 and 2016.

The trial, one of several involving the school that have yet to begin, has sent shockwaves through the Catholic Church in the homeland of Pope Francis.

The court said the sentences took into account the aggravating circumstances that the priests were responsible for the children's wellbeing, as well as the fact that the victims were minors living at the boarding school.

Italian Catholic priest Nicola Corradi being wheeled into court before being 
sentenced to 42 years for sexually abusing minors at a school for the
deaf in Mendoza, Argentina (AFP Photo/Andres Larrovere)

The victims were children and adolescents aged between four and 17.

The school's gardener, Armando Gomez, was also jailed for 18 years for sexual abuse.

Neither of the three defendants made any response when their sentences were read out. Corradi, the eldest, had been brought into court on a wheelchair.

Outside the court a group of young people waited for the ruling, holding up banners which said "Support for the Survivors of Provolo."

Ezequiel Villalonga (L), 18, who accused Italian priest Nicola Corradi and two 
others of sexual abuse at the Provolo Institute in Mendoza, celebrates with 
other victims and relatives after they received lengthy jail sentences (AFP
 Photo/Andres Larrovere)

Some burst into wild celebrations when the sentence was read out in court. Some of the victims' mothers simply embraced and wept.

School shut down

Corbacho, 59, and 83-year-old Corradi had been held in preventive detention since their arrest three years ago on charges of child sex abuse at the school.

Apart from the gardener, several other staff at the school were taken into custody after the allegations of abuse first came to light in 2016, and the institute, 1,000 kilometers west of Buenos Aires, was shut down.

Italian Catholic priest Nicola Corradi being wheeled into court
ahead of his sentencing Monday (AFP Photo/Andres Larrovere)

They included a 42-year-old Japanese nun, Kosaka Kumiko, who was arrested later after surrendering to authorities. She was charged with complicity with the two priests.

The trial began on August 5 and heard evidence from 13 victims from the institute during in camera hearings.

In a fast-tracked trial last year, a former altar boy, Jorge Bordon, 50, received a 10-year sentence after pleading guilty to the sexual abuse of five children.

Another of the defendants was deemed mentally incompetent by the court for being disabled and having suffered sexual abuse himself as a child.

A woman holds posters of people accused of sexual abuse, corruption of children 
and mistreatment during a demonstration outside the Mendoza court (AFP Photo/
Andres Larrovere)

Fourteen more defendants are facing trial in two other separate cases involving the school.

Corradi arrived in Argentina in 1970 from the Provolo Institute in Verona, Italy, and took over the institution in the South American country, initially in La Plata near Buenos Aires, and then, from 1998, in Mendoza.

Other cases

Prosecutors have investigated other cases of abuse at the La Plata branch of the Provolo Institute which will also go to trial.

Argentine Catholic priest Horacio Corbacho at court before being 
sentenced to 45 years in prison for the sexual abuse of deaf 
children in his care in Mendoza (AFP Photo/Andres Larrovere)

"Life was very bad in there," one of the victims, 18-year-old Ezequiel Villalonga, told AFP at the beginning of the trial, highlighting the vulnerability of the children at the Mendoza school.

"We didn't learn anything. We didn't have any communication," Villalonga said of the school, set up to educate children with impaired hearing or speech disorders.

"We didn't know sign language, we didn't know what we were writing, we asked other classmates and, also, nobody understood anything."

Monday, November 18, 2019

Chile's president condemns police violence after four weeks of unrest

Yahoo – AFP, November 18, 2019

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera addresses the nation in Santiago (AFP

Santiago (AFP) - President Sebastian Pinera condemned on Sunday for the first time what he called abuses committed by police in dealing with four weeks of violent unrest that have rocked Chile.

"There was excessive use of force. Abuses and crimes were committed, and the rights of all were not respected," the president said in a speech to the nation as it marked a month of turmoil that has left 22 people dead and more than 2,000 injured.

Furious Chileans have been protesting social and economic inequality, and against an entrenched political elite that comes from a small number of the wealthiest families in the country, among other issues.

Accusations of police brutality and human rights violations have been levelled since the protests broke out, prompting the United Nations to send a team to investigate. Amnesty International has also sent a mission.

"There will be no impunity, not for those who committed acts of unusual violence, nor for those who committed excesses and abuses. We will do what is best for the victims," he said, referring to protesters first and then the security forces.

Pinera also praised an agreement reached last week under which Chile will draft a new constitution to replace the current one that dates back to the rightwing dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, who ruled from 1973 to 1990.

Many in Chile see this step -- getting rid of a charter that smacks of a dark, repressive chapter in the country's past -- as a way to help end the crisis. It is a key demand of the thousands of protesters that have been taking to the streets in Santiago and elsewhere almost daily for a month.

The spasm of anger began with a rise in metro fares but quickly swelled into a broader outcry against the status quo in what is traditionally considered one of South America's most stable countries.

"If the people want it, we will move toward a new constitution, the first under democracy," Pinera said in a speech from the presidential palace.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Chile to amend constitution, a key demand of protesters

Yahoo – AFP, November 11, 2019

The Chilean government is in the process of preparing "a draft amendment of the
constitution," President Sebastian Pinera has said (AFP Photo/MARTIN BERNETTI)

Santiago (AFP) - Chile has announced it will move to draft a new constitution and replace one dating back to the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship -- a key demand of protesters who have rocked the country for three weeks.

The new constitution will be drafted by a body called a constituent assembly and then put to a referendum for ratification, Interior Minister Gonzalo Blumel said Sunday.

Blumel made the announcement after meeting with a coalition of center-right and right-wing parties, which had been reluctant to change the constitution inherited from the era of the US-backed general Pinochet (1973-1990).

The government was in the process of preparing "a draft amendment of the constitution," President Sebastian Pinera said in an interview published Saturday by the daily El Mercurio.

Chile's President Sebastian Pinera says "a better definition of human rights" is 
among proposed changes to the constitution (AFP Photo/JAVIER TORRES)

Among the proposed changes are "a better definition of human rights" and their means of enforcement, plus clarification on "the obligations of the state" and "better mechanisms of participation" for citizens, added the president.

The current constitution, in force since 1980, has already undergone more than 200 changes in more than 40 articles, Pinera said.

But it does not establish the state's responsibility to provide education and healthcare -- two demands made by millions of Chileans who have taken to the streets.

Some opposition leaders reacted optimistically.

"The government is beginning to have a sense of reality," said Felipe Harboe of the opposition Party for Democracy.

Protests in Chile have left 20 dead - five at the hands of state forces -
and more than 1,000 injured (AFP Photo/Dante ROSSI)

A general public- sector strike began on Monday. Dozens of people protested before the presidential palace in Santiago and protests snarled traffic elsewhere in the capital.

The crisis is Chile's biggest since its return to democracy in 1990, leaving 20 dead -- five at the hands of state forces -- and more than 1,000 injured.

The unrest that began on October 18 with protests against a rise in rush-hour metro fares has mushroomed into a broader outcry against the status quo, with burning, looting and daily confrontations between demonstrators and police.

Protesters cite low wages, high costs for education and healthcare and a yawning gap between rich and poor in a country dominated politically and economically by a few elite families.

The unrest in Chile began on October 18 with protests against a rise in rush 
hour metro fares (AFP Photo/RODRIGO ARANGUA)

After weeks of sometimes violent demonstrations, most polls show the protest movement is supported by 75 percent of Chileans.

A slightly larger number -- 87 percent, according to a survey by pollster Cadem published this month -- say they favor the protesters' demand for constitutional reforms.

A few days after Pinera became president in March 2018, his government announced it would not allow the consideration of a bill to amend the constitution that the previous president, the socialist Michelle Bachelet (2014-2018), had submitted to congress.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Bolivia's Morales seeks new election but army calls on him to resign

Yahoo – AFP, Francisco JARA, Raul BURGOA and Francisco JARA, 10 November 2019

Bolivian President Evo Morales, seen here at a news conference
November 10, 2019, calls new elections

President Evo Morales called new elections Sunday but the commander of the armed forces asked him to resign "for the good of our Bolivia" after an OAS audit found serious irregularities in elections last month that gave the leftist leader a fourth term.

Morales, Bolivia's first president of indigenous descent, promised new elections under the direction of a revamped Supreme Electoral Tribunal in a televised address but did not say whether he would run again.

With no sign of violent protests abating, the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, Williams Kaliman, told reporters he was asking Morales "to resign his presidential mandate to allow for pacification and the maintaining of stability, for the good of our Bolivia."

Kaliman said the armed forces had ordered "military operations in the air and on land to neutralize armed groups that are acting outside the law" by attacking opposition demonstrators.

The commander of the police, General Vladimir Yuri Calderon, also called on Morales to step down.

There were signs of disarray among Morales supporters, with the head of the lower house of parliament and the ministers of mines and of hydrocarbons announcing their resignations.

Two of those resigning cited risks to their families after mobs attacked their respective houses in the city of Potosi.

The opposition runner-up in Bolivia's recent polls, Carlos 
Mesa, has called for President Evo Morales to resign

Protests have flared across Bolivia since Morales was declared the winner of the October 20 election, beating his nearest rival, centrist Carlos Mesa, by just enough to avoid a second round.

An audit of the election by the Organization of American States, however, found "irregularities that range from serious to indicative," in virtually every area reviewed -- in the technology used, the chain of custody of ballots, the integrity of the count, and statistical projections.

"This leads the technical auditing team to question the integrity of the election results," the report on their preliminary findings said.

OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro said the results giving the leftist leader a fourth term in office "must be annulled and the electoral process must begin again."

Calls for resignation

Opposition leaders were not appeased, however.

Mesa said Morales should resign "if he has a speck of patriotism left."

The leader of a protest movement, Luis Fernando Camacho, said Morales "has fractured the constitutional order and must resign."

In Washington, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged the OAS to send a full mission to Bolivia to ensure free and fair new elections.

"In order to restore credibility to the electoral process, all government officials and officials of any political organizations implicated in the flawed October 20 elections should step aside from the electoral process," Pompeo added.

Police officers march with protesters against Bolivian President 
Evo Morales in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, on November 9, 2019

The October 20 results showed Morales, in office since 2006, defeating Mesa by slightly over 10 points, just enough to ensure an outright first-round victory.

It is possible that Morales came in first place in the first round but "statistically improbable" that he obtained the 10 percent margin of victory needed to avoid a second round, the OAS report said.

It said "the manipulations of the informatic system are of such magnitude that they should be thoroughly investigated by the Bolivian state to get to the bottom of them and determine responsibilities in this serious case."

Police rebellion

The dramatic turnabout came two days after police in three cities joined anti-government protests and a day after the opposition rejected Morales' appeal for urgent, open-ended dialogue.

Three people have died and more than 350 were injured in three weeks of often violent protests calling for new elections and Morales' resignation.

On Sunday, three people were injured, one with a gunshot wound, after a bus carrying miners to La Paz to join opposition protesters outside the presidential palace came under attack.

On Saturday, demonstrators overran two state-run media outlets and forced them off the air, while some police stopped guarding the square where Morales' presidential palace is located.

Profile of Evo Morales, who called Sunday for 
new elections after violent protests and claims 
of electoral fraud in the first-round presidential 
vote, which he claimed to have won

In announcing the new elections, Morales said, "I want to lower the tension. Everyone has an obligation to bring peace to Bolivia."

Morales said that in the new elections "the Bolivian people will be able to democratically elect new authorities, incorporating new political actors."

That begged the question whether Morales would stand again for re-election, a source of controversy because Bolivia's constitution, which he promulgated himself a decade ago, limits presidents to two terms.

Morales said Bolivia's bicameral legislature, which his party controls, would meet in the coming hours for the parties to work out procedures for changing out the electoral tribunal.

At the Vatican, Pope Francis on Sunday exhorted Bolivians to await the full results of the OAS audit with "peace and serenity."

Cuba called on the international community to condemn the protests against its close ally Morales as an attempted coup by "imperialism and the oligarchy."

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