Picture from El Colombiano’s coverage of paramilitary properties in UrabÃ¡, Colombia.
- Thursday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee will draft a new bill, H.R. 2134, the “Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission Act of 2009.” The bill would establish a blue-ribbon panel to rethink the U.S. approach to drug interdiction in Latin America and the Caribbean. The House committee will then hold a 2:10 PM hearing “Assessing U.S. Drug Policy in the Americas.”
- Three articles in three days last week covered Washington conservatives’ intense lobby effort in support of the June 28 coup in Honduras. In them, we learn that former Clinton counsel Lanny Davis has been paid at least $350,000 so far, and that former Bush official Otto Reich thinks Honduras is â€œnot the first time all the countries in the world have been wrong.”
- Most thorough is Art Levine’s piece on the Daily Beast site, which appeared October 10.
- Mary Beth Sheridan in the October 9 Washington Post.
- Ginger Thompson and Ron Nixon in the October 8 New York Times.
- Opinion pieces in the Wall Street Journal from two of the coup’s allies, Davis and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina). Floor speech by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Florida), who traveled to Honduras with DeMint in early October.
- Al Giordano publishes the results of a poll of Hondurans showing overwhelming opposition to the coup, albeit with tepid support for Manuel Zelaya.
- Charges that Honduran landowners have been recruiting former Colombian paramilitaries, presumably to defend the coup as mercenaries, first appeared in Colombia’s El Tiempo in mid-September, and were raised by a UN working group last week.
- With five months to go for congressional elections in Colombia, Semana magazine reports on how legislators who have run into trouble for ties to paramilitary groups are planning to keep control of their seats. Many are arranging for close associates, often family members, to run in their place.
- FARC leader IvÃ¡n MÃ¡rquez says that the organization will finally release two hostages – including Corporal Pablo Emilio Moncayo, whom it has held for nearly 11 years – “as soon as the Colombian government publicly ratifies that the guarantees and protocols,” presumably for security, are in place.
- Highly recommended: this investigation, in the MedellÃn daily El Colombiano, of the lands owned by top paramilitary leaders in the northwestern region of UrabÃ¡, which was one of the AUC’s centers of operation a decade ago.
- By a 44-24 vote, Argentina’s Senate on Saturday passed a controversial new media law tightening regulations on the press and limiting the number of outlets a single company can own. The vote is seen as a victory for President Cristina FernÃ¡ndez and a blow to the country’s biggest media conglomerate, the opposition-tilting Grupo ClarÃn.
- Writing in Tal Cual, RocÃo San Miguel expresses concern about a new paramilitary body, the “Bolivarian Militia,” to be created by a law just approved by Venezuela’s nearly unanimously pro-government National Assembly.
- Venezuela is not allowing the OAS Inter-American Human Rights Commission to pay a visit to the country, despite repeated requests from the country’s opposition that the Commission report on recent actions that erode democracy. Leaders of President ChÃ¡vez’s political party say that the Commission is not welcome in Venezuela as long as it is presided by human rights lawyer Santiago CantÃ³n, whom they say supported the failed April 2002 coup attempt in Caracas.
- “So how’s the uranium for Iran going? For the atomic bomb.” – Hugo ChÃ¡vez, joking to his mining minister during a televised cabinet meeting last week.
- Bolivia’s government says it has surpassed is 2009 goal of 5,000 hectares of coca manually eradicated.
- U.S. oil company Chevron, which has been fighting an environmental contamination lawsuit from communities in Ecuador’s Amazon, is pushing to move the case from an Ecuadorian court – where it had been moved at Chevron’s request – to the World Court in the Hague. “This reframes the case as between Ecuador and Chevron,” writes a Los Angeles Times editorial. “And if it succeeds — shifting liability from the company to the Ecuadorean government — it could have a chilling effect on people all over the world who are engaged in legal battles with multinational corporations.”
- From the New York Times, reason to doubt that the Obama administration plans any dramatic changes to Cuba policy: “The New York Philharmonic scratched its trip to Cuba at the end of October because the United States Treasury Department said it would deny permission for a group of patrons to go along. Without them and their donations, the orchestra said on Thursday, it cannot afford to go.”
- I just realized: we missed this blog’s 5th anniversary. The very first post appeared on October 6, 2004. You are reading post number 823. Thank you for visiting.