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Crackdown in Cuba: Hammer Comes Down Hard on Dissidents After Castro Death

In the first such anti-dissident operation since Fidel Castro’s death last month, President Raul Castro seemed to indicate the Americas’ only one-party communist state was in no mood for dissent.

Havana (AFP) – Authorities across Cuba have cracked down on dissidents, arresting dozens, keeping others from marching in Havana, and detaining an American human rights lawyer, activists said Sunday.

“There was a joint operation at 6:00 am in Santiago and Palma Soriano. They searched four homes, and so far we have 42 reported arrests — 20 in Santiago, 12 in Palma and 10 in Havana…They threatened me, and said by calling the demonstration I was facilitating public disorder…. disobedience and espionage.”

— Jose Daniel Ferrer, head of the Patriotic Union of Cuba

In the first such anti-dissident operation since Fidel Castro’s death last month, President Raul Castro seemed to indicate the Americas’ only one-party communist state was in no mood for dissent.

A roundup in the country’s east snared dozens and derailed street protests planned to demand that political prisoners be freed.

“There was a joint operation at 6:00 am in Santiago and Palma Soriano. They searched four homes, and so far we have 42 reported arrests — 20 in Santiago, 12 in Palma and 10 in Havana,” Jose Daniel Ferrer told AFP by phone.

The 46-year-old, who heads the Patriotic Union of Cuba (Unpacu), had called the demonstrations to demand that political prisoners be set free. Castro insists there are no political prisoners, just lawbreakers.

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Ferrer said he was detained in Santiago, Cuba‘s second biggest city, at a police unit known as Micro 9.

“They threatened me, and said by calling the demonstration I was facilitating public disorder…. disobedience and espionage,” Ferrer said.

Most arrests of dissidents in roundups are brief. Sometimes, the authorities prevent them from leaving their homes to attend a protest or march.

Ladies in White, shut in

In Havana, the award-winning Ladies in White group, which presses for the release of jailed dissidents who are their relatives, said that at least 20 of its activists were “under siege,” kept from attending their weekly march. Read the rest of this entry »

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Modern Socialist Success Story: Venezuelans Celebrate Spectacular Economic Abundance, Party Hard in the Streets of Caracas

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A forceful repudiation of the leftist politics that are falling out of favor across Latin America.

…The demonstration, aimed at speeding up a recall campaign against the 53-year-old president, was also a forceful repudiation of the leftist politics that are falling out of favor across Latin America.

At its peak in 2008, the left held the presidencies of eight of the 10 most populous countries in South and Central America. But those regimes have lost popularity as steep drops in commodity prices badly damaged their economies and left less money to spend on the poor.

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Candidates from the right recently won the presidencies of Argentina and Peru, and just this week, Dilma Rousseff was permanently ousted from the presidency in Brazil in an impeachment trial engineered by opponents from the right who now control the government.

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But nowhere in Latin America has the rise and fall of the left been as dramatic as in Venezuela, a country that has been on the brink of collapse for the last several months.

Venezuela had its own brand of socialism, known as Chauvismo for Hugo Chavez, the charismatic leader who was elected president in 1998 in a rejection of free-market policies that were encouraged by the United States but failed to deliver on their promise of wider prosperity. Read the rest of this entry »


Adeus Criminoso! Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff Ousted in Impeachment Vote

  report: President Dilma Rousseff was stripped of her office Wednesday in the culmination of a political crisis that has left Latin America’s largest nation adrift, with an economy in deep recession and a public sharply divided over the country’s future.

“The impeachment does not in any way resolve the political or economic crisis, but it gives us some hope, because for the first time in a long time, we will have a plan.”

— Lucas de Aragão, director of Arko Advice, a political analysis firm in Brasilia

Rousseff was impeached on arcane charges having to do with violating budget laws. But she was swept up in a tide of revulsion against Brazil’s political class as the once-flourishing economy contracted and political parties were tarred by a massive corruption scandal.
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Wednesday’s 61-to-20 Senate vote closed out an extraordinary 13-year rule by the leftist Workers’ Party, which boasted of lifting tens of millions of Brazilians out of poverty before the economy began to nosedive and its political fortunes soured.

[Read the full story here, at The Washington Post]

Rousseff was replaced by her former vice president and coalition partner, Michel Temer, who has been running Brazil as interim president since she was suspended to face the impeachment trial in May. He belongs to the more conservative Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, or PMDB, and is trying to introduce austerity measures to right the economy.

But Temer is as unpopular as Rousseff, and whether he can muster the political support for such changes was unclear. Read the rest of this entry »


American Shooter Wins First Gold of the Olympics

Stacy Dash writes:

I love to see strong American women with guns. Way to go, Team USA!

American teenager Virginia Thrasher won the first gold medal of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on Saturday, holding her nerve against two Chinese Olympic champions to clinch the women’s 10m air rifle event.

The 19-year-old American edged out China’s Du Li, gold in Athens in 2004, with an Olympic-record score of 208. Defending Olympic champion Yi Siling, also of China, took the bronze medal… Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] How Brazil’s Libertarian Movement Helped Bring Down a President

The Free Brazil Movement (Movimento Brasil Livre) was instrumental in the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff. Students for Liberty (Estudantes Pela Liberdade) is larger in Brazil than in any other country. Can Brazil’s surging libertarian movement defeat the left and save the country?

[Subscribe on YouTube]

Written, shot, edited, and narrated by Jim Epstein. Post production help from Ian Keyser. Translation services provided by Matheus Pacini and Vanan Services.

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[Read more]

Fantastic Dim Bar by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license; Ghost Processional by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license; Ignosi by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license; Over Time by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license; Industrial Music Box by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license; “After The Week I’ve Had” by Dexter Britain (http://www.dexterbritain.com) Creative Commons. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Fresh Protests Sweep Across Brazil as Hundreds of Thousands Seek President Rousseff’s Impeachment

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SAO PAULO –  Nationwide demonstrations calling for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff swept Brazil for the second day in less than a month, though turnout at Sunday’s protests appeared down, prompting questions about the future of the movement.

“I was on the avenue on March 15 and without a doubt, today’s demonstration was much smaller. I will keep coming back to demonstrations like this one — big or small — because it is the best way for us to make our voices heard and demand an end to the Dilma government and the PT and end to corruption. The country cannot go on like this.”

— Antonio Guglielmi, a 61-year-old sales representative for construction materials company

A poll published over the weekend suggested the majority of Brazilians support opening impeachment proceedings against Rousseff, whose second term in office has been buffeted by a corruption scandal at Brazil’s largest company, oil giant Petrobras, as well as a stalled economy, a sliding currency and political infighting. Only 13 percent of survey respondents evaluated Rousseff’s administration positively.

“Sunday’s protests, which took place in cities from Belem, in the northern Amazonian rainforest region, to Curitiba in the south, were organized mostly via social media by an assortment of groups. Most were calling for Rousseff’s impeachment, but others’ demands ranged for urging looser gun control laws to a military coup.”

While last month’s protests drew substantial crowds in several large cities, Sunday’s turnout was lackluster.

In Rio, several thousand people marched along the golden sands of Copacabana beach, many dressed in the yellow and green of the Brazilian flag. The March 15 protest, by contrast, drew tens of thousands. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] BREAKING: Brazil Presidential Candidate Dies in Plane Crash

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Presidential candidate Eduardo Campos has been killed in a plane crash in Santos, officials say

BBC News reports: Brazil’s Vice President Michel Temer expressed his regret over the death of Mr Campos, who had been running third in the polls for October’s election.

The plane carrying Mr Campos crashed in a residential area of the port city of Santos, in Brazil’s Sao Paulo state.

It is not yet clear if any of the other passengers on board were killed.

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‘No words’

Mr Temer said there were “no words to describe the tragedy that has befallen Brazilian politics today”

“Eduardo Campos was a politician with principles and values passed down through his family and carried with dignity and honour throughout his career in parliament and the executive,” the statement added. Read the rest of this entry »


CHILL: Inside America’s Plan to Kill Online Privacy Rights Everywhere

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The United States and its key intelligence allies are quietly working behind the scenes to kneecap a mounting movement in the United Nations to promote a universal human right to online privacy, according to diplomatic sources and an internal American government document obtained by The Cable.

The diplomatic battle is playing out in an obscure U.N. General Assembly committee that is considering a proposal by Brazil and Germany to place constraints on unchecked internet surveillance by the National Security Agency and other foreign intelligence services. American representatives have made it clear that they won’t tolerate such checks on their global surveillance network. The stakes are high, particularly in Washington — which is seeking to contain an international backlash against NSA spying — and in Brasilia, where Brazilian President Dilma Roussef is personally involved in monitoring the U.N. negotiations.

Read the rest of this entry »