Monday, May 01, 2006

A Day Without Immigrants

What a day to return to posting!

First of all, a huge apology to all our readers for the time we have been without posting. No excuses, only the commitment to retake from now on this BLOG at least once a week or everytime important news come up.

Today, over the US the "Day Without Immigrants" actually materialized despited the threat of immigration officials to round up illegal immigrants and from threats from businesses and schools. Thousands and perhaps millions of not only Mexican illegal immigrants, but also legal immigrants and the rest of the immigrant community in the US joined protests (not only Mexicans immigrate illegally to the US). Along with that, a boycott was called to not consume or attend school or work in the US. In Mexico, many have decided to join in the boycott and not consume American made products and more importantly brands. It's Labour Day in Mexico so not going to work for American companies didn't make much sense.

As you may or not know, recently the US passed a bill to reform immigration in which the highlights are basically augmenting illegal immigration to felony status within the US and a proposed "anti-immigration" wall to be built along the US-Mexico border. Besides that, other issues that have flared up public sentiment are the Minute Men, the "immigrant" hunting games and other violations to migrant's human rights along the border.

In this space, we were quiet in April. We respect the US's sovereignity to pass laws as they see fit and to limit immigration into their country, as they see fit too. But we do fall in line with your "paisanos" or co-nationals and other latinos in the US in solidarity, because we are concerned about the respect their human rights are given in the US.

We believe, it is possible to reflect that even if illegal and even if "felons", immigrants are human beings and they deserve to have their human rights respected. They deserve to be identified and they deserve to seek their consulate and embassy for help. I ask you as a citizen of the United States to check the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and ask your congress man or woman to seek immigration reform that goes along with those guidelines.

You can view the declaration here:

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Saturday, March 25, 2006

4th World Water Forum

Last Wednesday, the 4th World Water Forum ended in Mexico. Oddly enough, the forum was surrounded by protests against globalization and, perhaps much more relevant, against the privatization of water. At News a la Mexicana, we will recap the results of this week, where worl leaders and legislators met to talk about the most important natrual resource in the world: water.

The Mexico City declaration resolved:

  1. Water and sanitation will be priorities for all development and poverty erradication strategies.
  2. To reduce in 2015 by half the number of people who do not have access to drinking water.
  3. To enhance sustainability of ecosystems and embrace innovative water management projects.
  4. To support the UN as the coordinator for water management change.
  5. The responsibility of providing access to water and sanitation in a sustainable way is the Government's who should seek funding support to meet the goals set out for 2015.
  6. To support policies that lead to lessening water related disasters.
  7. To use the newly launched web based decision suport system to promote reaching the 2015 goal and to share information with other international Water bodies.
  8. To meet again in 2008.
I note the important distinction that it was agreed that it was the role and should be the priority of the government to continue to manage water related issues for their people. This should lead to a non politicized use of water, because of course, if corporations (aka privatization) are not allowed to participate in the name of profit, then governments should also not participate in the name of political capital.

I think we can all work and do our part to care for water and foment that our countries reach the lofty goal set for 2015. It's the government's role, but the government is made by us. You can read the full declaration at:

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Chavez Butts In

After a weekend full of his characteristic paranoia, Hugo Chavez continued his attacks on "Mr. Danger" as he often calls George W. Bush. This time, though, he decided to look South of Mr. Danger's border and "butt in" to the Mexican presidential campaigns.

In a speech Chavez made in Carabobo, he accuses the Mexican right of using his image to attempt to stop the leftist frontrunner, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) from winning the Presidential election.

This was in response to the PAN's, a centre-right party, commercial where AMLO's statement and insulting attitude of late to the insults and speeches that Hugo Chavez used against President Fox a while back ago. This, in an attempt to portray AMLO as an intolerant person who will not only not listen to dissent but to reason. Hugo Chavez therefore becomes the emblematic symbol for "intolerance" and "lack of reason".

Now, it might be understandable why someone like me, who has written negative articles on Hugo Chavez before, would see this commercial and relate Chavez with those two things. But, why is Chavez himself acknowledging that his image isn't that of a "saviour" as he likes to think himself?

Perhaps, there is some reason behind all of his rhetoric...

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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

New UN Human Rights Council Is Born

Today, in what was catalouged a "historic" vote, the General Assembly of the United Nations gave birth to the new UN Human Rights Council. This new Council was an attempt to increase not only the UN's credibility, but also that of the Human Rights Council which would in turn (hopefully) lead to more efficient and co-operative protection of human rights around the world.

Among the changes in the council, is a tighter agenda were members would meet more often to follow up on human rights issues and violations around the world, including those of its members. This is also a new change that will allow the council to be filled by those countries who are actually committed to human rights and do not have large negative blotches on their record. Furthermore, there will also be an attempt to have more of the geographic regions of the world represented in the council.

Of course, though there was applause from 170 countries after the resolution was passed, there was always someone there to "spoil" the party. Among those countries who voted against the resolution were Israel and our northern neighbour, the United States. Venezuela, another doubtful partner in human rights, abstained.

I don't know exactly why the United States would vote against such a measure, considering the fact that Mr. Bolton's objectives were actually to make sure the UN reformed and that's exactly what's happening. I reckon perhaps it'll be another dark mark for George W. Bush and his administration's lack of respect for human rights and international covenants.

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Friday, February 24, 2006

UK and US: Partner in Crime

Yesterday, had excellent timing.

Just on the day that the European Parliament was to open formal investigations of human rights violations by the USA's CIA in the secret Europe detainment camp, they also delivered a full report on one of the EU's members and their violations of human rights: the UK. You can read the full report in English here: United Kingdom, Human Rights: A Broken Promise.

In the report, the strategic alliance against terror is analized on its faults to keep human rights as an elementary principle in this "struggle". It shows how the UK has willingly participated in unlawful detentions, collaboration in processes which has led to torture and avoiding basic diplomatic concessions. This means that not only has support for the "war on terror" been military, but also has turned out to be a partnership in crime.

As Amnesty says, this report should be a wake up call for Europe. It's not sufficient to hold the USA responsible for human rights violations on their soil. They must also hold each and everyone of its members, specially the UK, to the highest human rights standards possible no matter who they ally themselves with & not allow their eyes to remain closed to them.

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Thursday, February 16, 2006

US Rejects UN Recommendation to Close Guantanamo

Once again the executive branch of the United States leaves a lot up to interpretation when it comes to torture.

They have rejected a UN Human Right's recommendation to close Guantanamo Bay. This recommendation was based on a report made by five human rights watchers who reviewed the Guantanamo detention centre on issues of torture, fair judicial system, freedom of religion and right to physical and mental health. In other words, there was a deep concern if not suspicion that the US continued to torture detainees at the camp and the knowledge that the US was not giving them a fair judicial process (only 11 detainees have been formally charged). This was heightened by the fact that the US refused to allow the human rights watchers to interview detainees directly.

If that wasn't bad enough, White House spokesperson Scott McClellan responded by saying that they would not pay attention to the recommendation because detainees are "dangerous terrorists". Apparently, being a terrorist makes you the equivalent of a donkey and your human rights no longer count. Apparently, the White House says it is ok to torture these people. Then he said that the report was just a "re-run" of previous reports. So, apparently it is also ok to torture people if the report of the abuses is "old".

The US is violating the basic human rights, they wish to impose on the world as the "American Model" of democracy. Not only that, they are doing a lousy job of attempting to show they care.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Day 1: World Economic Forum

Today was the start of the in Davos, Switzerland with the participants emphasizing the use of creativity to continue economic development, search for peace and stability and assure the prosperity of all the world's citizens. The hot topics at the inaguration were fear that the world economy and specially the US economy lived in an unchecked bubble, the rise of China and labour market problems worldwide.

Mexico's and Latin America's participation at this year's World Economic Forum will be quite limited but not necessarily because of lack of interest by the World in our region. Instead, the absence of most of the region's leaders confirms the feeling that perhaps Latin America does not see itself in the ranks with India and China. In this fashion, it is sad then to confirm that we are throwing in the towel and letting Latin America as a whole fall of the Davos map simply because it is believed that the economic power centre is shifting East to those two nations and the once Southeast Tigers, Japan and South Korea.

Latin America should learn from this. Instead of having leaders complain about the world economy and visit the alternative "anti-globalization" summits, they should continue to go to the World Economic forum and promote the region. We are not an "also ran", we can be an India + China + Latin America! Mexico can definetely also learn to open up to the structural reforms that our country needs to better our economy and competitivity, without removing the vital aspects of our social safe net. Mexico still has a chance, as does most Latin America. We just have to learn that globalization, reform & strict fiscal policy aren't enemies of the people but enablers that will allow all of us to participate in the global economy.

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