A justice system nearing burnout Defend Alfredo Molano
Aug 152008
  • The Government Accountability Office has just released a new report about U.S. anti-drug cooperation with countries in the “transit zone” of Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. It contends that “U.S. government assistance has improved international counternarcotics cooperation with the eight major drug transit countries GAO reviewed, except Venezuela.”
  • José Obdulio Gaviria, President Álvaro Uribe’s super-conservative “super-advisor,” paid a stealth visit to Washington late last month. Cambio magazine ran a cover story on Thursday about this controversial official and the rather remarkable statements he made at a two-hour public appearance before 30 invited guests at the National Press Club. (”Colombia has no armed conflict,” “Colombia has no paramilitaries,” “Colombia has no displacement,” etc.)
  • President Uribe has agreed to postpone for six months the extradition of paramilitary leader “H.H.,” who was offering significant amounts of information to investigators about past human rights abuses.
  • A press release from Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry criticizes Georgia’s “military offensive” against South Ossetia, supports Russia’s deployment of “peace forces” to Georgia, and criticizes the United States for “planning, preparing and ordering” the Georgian action.
  • From Mexico to Argentina, we’ve noticed a significant increase in regional news coverage of crime and threats to citizen security.
  • Numerous post-mortems of Sunday’s recall referendum in Bolivia, which ended up strengthening the positions of both President Evo Morales and most opposition governors, can be found here.
  • El Salvador’s military sent its eleventh contingent of troops to Iraq since the war began. The 200-man Salvadoran presence in Al Kut is the only Latin American military contribution to the U.S.-led “coalition.”

5 Responses to “Friday links”

  1. Jaime Bustos Says:

    Adam, as I am a complete ignorant of Georgia’s political affairs, and seeing that a conflict had erupted, I tried to read a little about what was going on and why, and I thought that Georgia had really attacked south Ossetia as a means of reconquering it . By the quote unquote in your paragraph I suppose there is another version. Can you explain how was it that the conflict initiated then? Thanks.


  2. MZR Says:

    The roots of the conflict are deep. For example, The first post-soviet president, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, declared that all non-ethic Georgians are simply “guests” within the country and dismantled the autonomous status of South Ossetia (as well as abolishing the use of the words “South Ossetia”). Moreover, along came the first conflict (1991-1992), and hundreds of South Ossetians were killed (there were, of course, casualties on both sides). After the conflict, South Ossetians felt that protection from Russian peacekeepers placed on their territory was a desirable route for protection against perceived future attacks from Georgia. Moreover, the majority of South Ossetians felt greater affinity to Russia (most of them also speaking Russian) than to Georgia and, in turn, Russia offered those who wanted to become Russian citizens the chance to obtain Russian passports. The majority of “non-ethnic Georgian” South Ossetian’s (who make up the majority of the population of South Ossetia) overwhelmingly took up the offer. Moreover, the people of South Ossetia overwhelmingly voted for independence from Georgia (similar to Kosovo… But the US doesn’t want to recognise South Ossetia’s claim for independence… Funny, that…).

    The current president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, came to power after the so-called “Rose Revolution” of 2003-04 and vowed to retrieve so-called “lost territories” such as South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Tensions have therefore been growing and, alas, the conflict erupted. Nonetheless, the precise trigger of this conflict was, indeed, Georgian troops moving into South Ossetia last week, compounded by widespread shelling of Tskhinvali (the capital of South Ossetia) by Georgian forces.

    The president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, is seen on many fronts as a maverick leader. Indeed, Georgia was refused admission to NATO despite US pressure to admit it to the organisation based on his antagonistic tendencies (as well as other factors). I believe, as do many analysts, that Saakashvili tried to take advantage of the distraction of the Olympic games, when Russia’s politicians were in China, namely Putin (but also Medvedev, I think). However, once again, the Western media’s coverage of the conflict has been unbelievably biased and anti-Russian. At the end of the day, Russia had an obligation to protect its citizens in South Ossetia, a contested area of Georgia where the majority of its inhabitants (following a previous bloody conflict) overwhelmingly voted for independence from Georgia.

  3. MZR Says:

    By the way, there are also many suspicions of corruption with regards to president Saakashvili. For example, we’re expected to believe that he won the 2004 election by… Ahem… Winning 96% (yes, 96%!) of the vote. I leave you to make your own conclusion on that one.

  4. Jaime Bustos Says:

    MZR, thanks for commenting, then you have the same view as the analysis I posted. That explains why I don’t know no other version. I don’t watch TV anymore. ;-)

  5. Camilla Says:

    With people like former Marxist M-19 terrorist Petro lecturing the Washington scene all about human rights in Colombia, it doesn’t surprise me that his logical counterpart, José Obdulio Gaviria, ship off to Washington and give the opposite extremist view. Poor Colombia!

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