Honduran Women’s Movement; Homeland Security Big Business; U.S. Bases in Colombia; Canadian Visas; Merida Initiative; The "Chilean Miracle"; Biodiversity Report


Americas Program Blog’s continuous coverage on Honduras: http://americasmexico.blogspot.com/

Honduran Society Faces Contradictions of Illegitimate Institutions
Part 1: The Coup’s Version of "Order in the Court"

An Open Letter to President Obama on "Hypocrisy"

Border Lines Blog: http://borderlinesblog.blogspot.com

Bigger and Badder Than Blackwater

Homeland is a Battleground Without Liability

Bush DOD Official Returns to Business


This Week in the Americas

Coup Catalyzes Honduran Women’s Movement
By Laura Carlsen

In the poor Central American nation of Honduras, feminists have been organizing for years in defense of women’s rights, equality, and against violence. When the democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya was forcibly exiled by the armed forces, women from all over the country spontaneously organized to protect themselves and their families and demand a return to democracy. They called the new umbrella organization "Feminists in Resistance."

Amid rapidly changing national scenarios, what’s certain is that Honduran women have built a movement that, despite little media attention and the barriers of a male-dominated society, has garnered international support from women around the world and respect from the general resistance movement. Their organization will continue to play a central role in what happens next in Honduras—a key indicator of the course of democracy throughout the Hemisphere.

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New from the Americas Program

Honduran Constitutional Assembly Would Be a Step Toward the Emancipation of Women
By Laura Carlsen and Sara Lovera

In a recent interview with the Americas Program in Tegucigalpa, Bertha Cáceres, leader of COPINH and the National Front Against the Coup d’etat, talks about the role of women in the Honduran movement to defeat the coup and bring about deep reforms to restore and broaden democratic participation in the country.

Cáceres says that the agenda for women at this stage in the struggle is:

"I believe that we have to put forward our demands as women more than ever before, to get them into the debate of the Honduran people in an open manner. Feminist or not, this agenda for discussion has to be included in the debate to continue building the contents of what could be a new constitution."

She adds that holding a constitutional assembly, a central demand of the movement and catalyst for the military takeover, is essential for gaining women’s rights.

"A national constitutional assembly, I feel, is fundamental for women. For the first time, we would be setting a precedent for taking a firm step toward the emancipation of women, to begin to break the roots of domination. The fact is that the current constitution does not mention women anywhere, not even once. To establish a constitution that addresses our human rights, our reproductive, sexual, political, social, and economic rights—this is really taking on the current system of domination."

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Former Bush Security Chiefs Find Terrorism Obsession Can Be Profitable
By Tom Barry

Contracts with the Department of Homeland Security are spewing billions of dollars into private industry, largely to companies that also rely on Pentagon military contracts. In this variation of the military-industrial complex a new revolving door is now in full swing.

Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, the two Republican stalwarts who served as the first two Department of Homeland Security secretaries, are now busy attracting defense, homeland security, and intelligence contracts in the country’s rapidly expanding high-tech security complex.

Homeland security is business—an estimated $200 billion in annual revenues—and both the newly formed Chertoff Group and Ridge Global are seeking a major stake in this booming industry.

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South America: U.S. Military Bases in Colombia and the Dispute over Resources
By Raúl Zibechi

The imminent agreement between the United States and Colombia over the use of seven military bases by the Southern Command forms part of the major dispute over commonly held resources throughout South America.

A series of reports published on the Brazilian military website Defesanet, points out that 25% of the oil consumed by the United States comes from Andean countries, and that the Amazon is the hottest issue for the region, as well as a very sensitive issue for Brazil.

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Troubled Waters in the Mexico-Canada Relationship
By Kent Paterson

Until very recently, Mexicans traveled to Canada unhindered by the type of entry requirements needed to visit the United States. But the world changed July 13 when the Canadian government announced that within 48 hours Mexicans would need visas to enter the Commonwealth. Not surprisingly, an announcement that seemed to come out of the blue quickly led to scenes of chaos outside the Canadian Embassy in Mexico City.

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CIP Americas Program Criticizes State Department Report on Human Rights Under the Merida Initiative
By Laura Carlsen

The U.S. State Department Merida Initiative Report makes a mockery of the intent to include human rights concerns in the security aid package. Despite citing a sixfold increase in human rights complaints against the Mexican Army, failure to prosecute a single reported case of torture, and the continued practice of military immunity from civilian courts—among many other dismal indicators—the State Department justifies release of withheld funds based on empty promises, programs yet to be implemented, and reform policies that in practice have had negative impacts on human rights.

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Consequences of the "Chilean Miracle":
The Salmon Farms and the Privatization of the Sea

By Raúl Zibechi

The so-called "Chilean Miracle" is based on three pilars: the high price of copper, the production of cellulose driven by Pinochet’s dictatorship, and the salmon industry, which have expanded in the current democracy. But overfishing has caused a great health, environment, social, and economic crisis.

Fifteen years ago, in southern Chile, the island of Chiloé was a society of small farmers, herders, fish, and seafood farms. "Now workers are dependent on the transnational industry," warn members of the environmental organization Ecoceanos.

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Biodiversity Report from Americas Program of CIP—August 2009
By Carmelo Ruiz Marrero

Puerto Rico: Ecological Corridor Campaign
Uruguay and Brazil: Genetically Modified Products and Agro-toxins Go Hand in Hand
Argentina: A Catastrophe Called Soy
Biochar, a False Solution to Global Warming
Tree Plantations are not Forests

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Crossing the Medicine Line

About 21 million people become climate refugees annually, from the big storms and droughts, and by 2050, 1.2 billion people


Latin America will be all feminist!

March 8, International Women’s Day (IWD), serves as a barometer of the strength of feminist and women’s movements, especially in