Open up markets or else. This is often the ultimatum governments of developing countries are given as they try to find a way out of severe poverty and economic stagnation. This "development" is anything but and has always come at a very very costly human price: death, displacement and deeper poverty. This is to say nothing of the real agendas motivating the U.S. and other industrialized countries to promote this form of gun-point development.
Following up on yesterday's post on the massacre at La Gabarra. As I suggested, the place to go to find FARC's views is ANNCOL and they have a statement now on their site, taking responsibility for what happened, claiming that everyone they killed were paramilitaries, and accusing the Colombian government, the 'bourgeois press', and the human rights organizations of crying 'crocodile tears'.
From two days ago, a piece by Greg Philo containing excerpts and summary from a book of the same name, Bad News from Israel, is just a must-read. The degree to which people are deliberately propagandized in the West on this issue is amazing, and this is the first book that systematically studies the process. Chomsky's Fateful Triangle tears the arguments apart, and is equally indispensable, but the work of Philo et al. has a different program and does it very well. Read the essay, get the book.
Readers of the "Killing Train" have no doubt stared long and hard at the picture of the razed Palestinian home that shamefully graces the top of this blog. It therefore seems only appropriate that my inaugural entry be news on the company that provides Israel with the machinery it uses to pulverize Palestinian homes, farmland and lives.
Some time ago I co-wrote a commentary with CP Pandya on the Venezuelan government's economic policies. It was a useful piece because I was able to supply some historical context and some information about Venezuela itself, while CP was able to provide a view as a business observer.
Today's El Tiempo headline is about a massacre of 34 peasants in the Colombian department of Norte de Santander. The peasants were apparently 'raspachines', those campesinos who occupy the lowest rung of the agricultural economy, harvesting coca leaf for small wages. They were doing this harvesting in a paramilitary-controlled zone. Survivors, quoted in El Tiempo, say it was done by the 33rd front of FARC. A very pro-FARC perspective can be found at the ANNCOL website.
This is good. Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Velez, the same guy who asked the US to do for Colombia what they were planning to do in Iraq, back in January when the war was being planned, wants international observers out of the country. He wants the Colombian police to arrest and deport them. These international observers are a miniscule fraction of what is needed in Colombia to prevent Uribe's own military and police from torturing and slaughtering their way through Colombian communities.
Last night had the english-language debates between the prime ministerial candidates. A few highlights.