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Chile: In Debt with Human Rights Truth, Justice and Reparation

10/12/2019 - Today, on the 69th anniversary of the declaration of the United Nations International Human Rights Day (established in 1950 to celebrate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948), President Piñera defended the role of the Chilean state after 1989 in this area. Full of emotion, the president recalled President Aylwin's words that "never again" human rights in Chile would be violated, after the civilian-military dictatorship. Ironically, the president raises those false hopes of Aylwin, when we have lived, continuously, throughout the period after Pinochet, living these violations. And, in our days, as of popular revolt since October 18, 2019, these violations have multiplied and have been widely documented.
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Chile: Beyond the Metro Riot

21/10/2019 - Last March 2018, President Sebastian Pinera, was elected President of Chile. Pinera won the election with 54% of the vote. Let’s remember that Pinera followed the presidency of the Socialist Michelle Bachelet. His government, however, was determined by a Congress where his coalition didn’t have majority. He has managed to pass laws with the support of some members of the previous coalition, New Majority, which crumbled under the presidential election defeat.

Last January 2019, Pinera happily inaugurated a new metro line, which was positively received by many who benefited from this transportation service. On October 4, the Ministry of Transportation announced an increase in the Metro fares. This increase had to be added to increases in utilities and others. Furthermore, for months the government had to deal with confrontations between students and the Carabineros police.

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Chile: Presidential Elections 2017 - What's in it for the People?

04/11/2017 - On November 17, 2017, Chile will hold its 7th presidential election since the civilian-military dictatorship of Pinochet gave way to capitalist democracy in 1989. The capitalist democratic system left behind by Pinochet is tightly controlled by the superstructure of the system (constitution, congress -with designated senators and all, armed forces, courts, media, etc.). The first two elected presidents were members of the Christian Democratic Party, Patricio Aylwin and Eduardo Frei, Jr. They were followed by two Socialist Party member, Ricardo Lagos and Michelle Bachelet. The fifth president was a member of a right-wing party, National Renewal, Sebastian Pinera. Finally, in 2013 Michele Bachelet was reelected.
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How to plan for early retirement: Don't do what I did

22/06/2017 - As I begin the day countdown for my early retirement, I realize that I have taken a life-changing decision. Things are lining up reasonably well, although making statements like this one can be reversed quickly by those sudden slaps in the face that life is always ready to give us.
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The Society We Can Build. A Five-Minutes Rendition

• A society free from racism
• A society free from sexism and homophobia
• A society free from ageism
• A society free from religious or non-religious discrimination
• A society free from ethnic discrimination
• A society without borders
• A society where no human being is consider illegal
• A society where nationalism is replaced by internationalism

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The Meaning of the 4th of July for the Oppressed

What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy-a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.

(Taken from “The Meaning of the 4th of July for the Negro”, Frederick Douglass, 1852 and still true)
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Stop Hateful Anti-Immigrant 2011 Budget Amendements in Massachusetts

06-24-2011.- Again the Student Immigrant Movement (SIM) is leading the way to oppose a set of amendments included in the budget of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that seek to deny basic human services to undocumented workers and students. SIM established a vigil camp outside the main entrance of the State House which started last monday June 20. At the same time they have galvanized support in a coalition called Mass Hope 2011. The coalition includes the National Lawyers Guild, Matahari Eye of the Day, Jobs with Justice, the New Sanctuary Movement, Arlington Street Church, Asian American Resource Workshop, MIRA, Unite Here Local 26, Dominical Development Center, Centro Presente, the Boston May Day Committee, Cambridge/Somerville for Change, PHENOM, International Action Center, Harvard SLAM, Mass. Coalition for Domestic Workers, SEIU Local 615, Brazilian Immigrant Center, Chinese Progressive Association, API Movement, Resist the Raids, Moise Kavod House, AFSC, and Projeto Nos Votamos. The coalition continues to grow and if your organization has not done so, it should do it in a hurry.
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Magallanes: Lessons in People's Mobilization for Chile and the World

The ACM made a call to mobilize and demonstrate and the response was massive. Soon the people themselves escalated the mobilization to the level of a general strike. The people took over and closed the few roads that allow for access in and out of the towns, including the tourist attraction that this time of the year are frequented by international and national visitors such as Torres del Paine. Tourist from all over the world contacted their consulates informing they were stranded in Magallanes. Burning tires barricades were erected throughout the city of Punta Arenas. A drunken driver enraged by this “inconvenience” charged with his car against a barricade and killed two young women protestors, Melisa Silva Ruiz y Claudia Castillo Campos. The movement already has two unfortunate martyrs.
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From Chile to Guantanamo: A Survivor of Torture Speaks Out

Interview by Sofia Jarrin for the "Boston Underground" - Winter 2007-2008

This January (2008) marks the sixth anniversary of the first arrival of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, yet Guantanamo is not the first island known for the unlawful abuse and torture of detainees. Island Dawson on the southern tip of Chile is known for its inhospitable, freezing weather, and for many Chileans is also the location of a concentration camp where Pinochet ordered the detention and torture of hundreds of political prisoners.

Sergio Reyes, a Boston resident and activist, was 19 years old when he was abducted from his home in Punta Arenas, faced a mock execution in front of his mother, was regularly beaten, electrocuted, and suffered from simulated drowning. Between 1973 and 1976, he was a political prisoner in a forced labor camp at the now infamous Dawson Island.

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Camp Democracy and "We are America" Immigrant Reform Rally in Washington DC

07/09/2007 - Wash. DC, September 7, 2006.- On Wednesday close to midnight we boarded two buses with destination Washington, D.C. The great majority of us were Latino mostly from Central America. Our spirits were high. We were again on the move to demand rights for undocumented immigrants, to stop the criminalization of immigrant workers, to stop the deportations, some of us very clear in demanding a full general amnesty, complete legalization, whatever people choose to call it. The "We Are America Coalition" had called this rally and march to continue the mobilizations that have not been able to pick up force since the Great American Strike and Boycott of last May Day. I don't remember now how many thousands the Coalition had promised to gather.
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Let's Support the Mapuche Struggle in Chile

10/06/2006 - June 10, 2006.- The Juan Paillalef Mapuche (pronounced mah-poo-chay) Community has started the process to regain their land stolen in 1998. In this process our community has suffered different forms of repression from large landowners and the state of Chile. Community members have seen their houses burnt to the ground many times. These events are a matter of public knowledge both nationally and internationally. The Chilean government has not had the will to solve the demands presented by our community. In spite of this situation our community has not given up their collective rights as people-nation mapuche.
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Henry Kissinger Responsible for Millions of Deaths Speaks at the JFK Library

11/03/2006 - Boston -- 3/11/06. On March 11, 2006, Secretary of State to President Nixon, Henry Kissinger and Gral. Alexander Haig, Secretary of State to President Reagan, were invited to the JFK Library in Boston for a series of presentations on the Vietnam War. Their theme was "Inside the White House". According to the library's brochure their objective was to "discuss both the decisions they made in office and their impressions about how that history is now told."

The Vietnam War, which ended in a military defeat for the United States, more than 3 million Vietnamese people killed and 58,000 Americans dead, is certainly worth it the testimony of those who were directly involved in the invasion. Possibly, even more than that, those responsible for those acts should face criminal charges.

The presence of Mr. Kissinger in that forum was also an opportunity to bring up another U.S. intervention in the world that also meant the assassination of thousands of people in a country of only 10 million at the time: Chile, September 11, 1973.
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Bolivia: From Pre-Revolution to General Elections

18/12/2005 - As we meet this morning of December 18, 2005 (*), the people of Bolivia are attempting to find an outlet through the ballot to a sustained crisis that has shaken the country up for the last three years. Nearly 3.5 million voters out of a population of 8.5 millions will decide today among 6 candidates to the Presidency and, for the first time, for Governorships to the 9 Departments of Bolivia. These elections are general elections and therefore also senators and congressmen will be elected.

According to the polls, the leading candidates are Evo Morales from the Movement Toward Socialism (Spanish acronym, “MAS” for Movimiento al Socialismo) with about 40% of support. Jorge Quiroga of the neoliberal coalition Democratic and Social Power (with the Spanish acronym “Podemos” for Poder Democratic y Social) is expected to obtain about 27% of the vote. The third preference goes to businessman Samuel Doria Medina of National Unity, with about 9% of the vote.
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"New Song" Movement, Revisited

01/01/2000 - Chile --like many other Latin American countries-- has produced outstanding folk musicians who dedicated an important part of their creative work to what I call revolutionary songs. Some names that might be familiar to you are Violeta Parra and Victor Jara, or groups like Inti-Illimani or Quilapayun. There are, of course, many more musicians in Chile who have dedicated their talent to composing songs that talk about the people's struggle to change a social order based on capitalist exploitation of labor. Patricio Manns, Rolando Alarcon, Charo Jofre, Payo Grondona, Tito Fernandez, Quelentaro, Hector Pavez, Isabel and Angel Parra, the group Illapu, are a few names that come to mind, in addition to those more renowned internationally. They are all part of what those who decide to catalog and label history have designated under the euphemistic name of "Nueva Cancion" or New Song movement.
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