Wednesday 29 February 2012

News Round-up

This is an excellent article about support offered to relatives of the disappeared:
Victims of State Terrorism No Longer on Their Own (IPS)

Illegal Wiretapping Continues in Colombia, U.N. Says (IPS)

El Salvador
Military Commission to Investigate Army Abuses (IPS)

Here's one for the German-speakers among you (or you can get the gist via Google Translate) about forced sterilisation:
Langes Warten auf Gerechtigkeit (Blickpunkt Lateinamerika)

Peru: Capture of Artemio round-up

The last couple of weeks have seen, unsurprisingly, a flurry of articles triggered by the capture of Shining Path leader "comrade Artemio"/Florindo Flores. Most of the discussion centres on the link between the traditional model of Shining Path as guerilla/terrorism group and the more recent focus on drug trafficking. Here's a selection of English-language reports of note, with the oldest first:

Peru Captures Shining Path Leader Artemio (Peruvian Times)

"It is without a doubt a very important capture, but the drug trafficking industry will continue operating," Nobel Panduro, an experienced radio journalist based in the area where Artemio’s group was active, told IPS by telephone.
Drug Trade Will Weather Peruvian Rebel Chief’s Capture (IPS)

Peru Shining Path Leader Transferred To Counter-Terrorism Police (Peruvian Times)

“I assume [responsibility] for everything,” Flores reportedly said. “I assume them as the head of the Huallaga Regional Committee. What you have read (the killings) are incidents of war.”
Shining Path Leader Admits To Killings, Denies Drug Traffic Links (Peruvian Times)

The leader of the Shining Path rebel group in Peru has been charged with terrorism and drug trafficking.
Shining Path leader Comrade Artemio charged in Peru (BBC)

This article is the most interesting from the "memory" point of view as it considers the aftermath of the Tarata bombing in Lima, which took place just a few months before the capture of Abimael Guzman.
Peru's Shining Path rebels: Old enemy, new threat (BBC)

Saturday 11 February 2012

Argentine voices support Garzon

Not surprisingly, the Argentine government and other organisations are coming out strongly in support of Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon, recently found to have abused his power by a Spanish court. Garzon is a hero to human rights activists in Latin America for his work prosecuting Southern Cone dictatorship figures.

Argentine human rights secretary Eduardo Luis Duhalde has called the case "scandalous" and said it reflected badly on the Spanish justice system (he's not alone there as there has been widespread criticism of Garzon's lack of right to appeal).

In typically strident language, president of the Madres de Plaza de Mayo, Hebe de Bonafini, warned:
"You have to be very careful: These bugs are like cockroaches, and after the atomic bomb hits them, everybody thinks they're dead, but no," she said. "Germany still has its Nazis, Spain its Franquistas, Italy its Mussolinistas and in Paraguay you can see how the people of Stroessner still act. So you have to be very careful."
President of the Abuelas, Estela Carlotto, described Garzon as honest and committed.

Argentine rights workers to Spain: Lay off Garzon (AP)
El Gobierno argentino rechaza la "escandalosa" condena de Garzón (EFE)

Friday 10 February 2012

Guatemala: Sexual violence

The Invisible Genocide of Women. by (Ofelia&Zurita) from Ofelia&Zurita on Vimeo.

A video from the Women Under Siege Project about rape as a weapon of war in Guatemala.

News Round-up

Cristina Kirchner: she's not just another Evita (Observer)
This profile of Argentina's president is not really one for the true LatAm-ophiles, I'm including it because I find it interesting when the mainstream English media go a bit further in-depth on someone like this and it has a lot of background info which isn't seen that often.

Central America
New Knight Center map chronicles attacks on journalists in Central America (Journalism in the Americas)

Long-hidden archives help Guatemala war crimes trials (Reuters)
Great info from Reuters here on the uses of and practical challenges posed by Guatemala's archives
For the first time in Guatemala's history, a former police chief now faces trial based on evidence collected from the national police archives, a labyrinth of dark rooms found by chance in 2005 when an explosion tore through a dilapidated building being used as a munitions dump.
...which makes it particularly disappointing to contrast with this story about possible legal limitations to the use of official documents in the country:
Guatemalan bill would classify military, diplomatic records as confidential (Journalism in the Americas)

For recent news on Guatemala, see also Mike's round-up at Central American Politics.

And I can't end before remarking on the conviction of judge Baltasar Garzon in Spain. This is a blow for human rights, memory and justice across the world, if you ask me, and Pagina 12's title page just about says it all.

Baltasar Garzón, judge who pursued dictators, brought down by wiretapping (Guardian)

Peru: "Artemio" wounded in capture attempt

There are reports that the top Shining Path leader known as "Artemio" (who was interviewed at the end of last year by IDL-Reporteros) has been wounded in a capture attempt. The facts seem uncertain but military sources suggest that he has escaped after an incident possibly coordinated by members of his own forces and Peru's anti-drugs police.

Shining Path leader Artemio 'wounded during capture attempt' (Guardian)
‘Artemio’ herido en enfrentamiento (IDL-Reporteros)

Peruvian daily El Comercio is quoting an "expert in matters of drug-trafficking", Jaime Antezana, as saying that Artemio - real name Florindo Eleuterio Flores Hala - has been severely wounded with two bullet wounds to the chest and that attempts have been made to admit him to hospital in Tarapoto. I don't think we can yet regard this information as confirmed. Antezana also states that the death of Artemio would be a fatal blow to the remnants of Sendero Luminoso in the Upper Huallaga area since there is no intellectual successor to him lined up.

‘Artemio’ estaría gravemente herido de dos balazos en el pecho
(El Comercio)

Saturday 4 February 2012

Peru: National Anti-terrorism Day?

A multi-party group of Peruvian congress members has proposed naming 3 April "Día Nacional Contra el Terrorismo" (National Day against Terrorism). The day is significant because the Lucanamarca massacre happened on that date and it could help to draw attention to memory issues - as we saw recently, there's a need for this.

So far, so good. Now guess what? Congressman Kenji Fujimori has come out in opposition to the suggestion. The Fuerza 2011 politician, and completely coincidentally son of former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori, says:
"Los peruanos no debemos celebrar una fecha en que ocurrió un acto terrorismo."
"We Peruvians must not celebrate a date on which an act of terrorism occurred."
Sorry, is he being deliberately stupid? Does he somehow think that commemoration = endorsement? So when people mark September 11, for example, they are supporting Al Quaida? Well, or of course there is the tiny possibility that he doesn't want Peruvians remembering that time when his dad dissolved Congress and took complete control, or that time when the Grupo Colina massacred those people, or that time when the Fujimori government had those indigenous women forcibly sterilised or... no, no, surely not.

Fujimoristas en contra de la propuesta del Día Nacional contra el Terrorismo (La Republica)
Polémica por propuesta de crear Día Nacional Contra el Terrorismo (RPP)

Argentina: Memoria en movimiento

A couple of good clips from the Argentine government about crimes against humanity here (Spanish only):

See more at the Memoria en movimiento website - which also includes links to live streaming of public trial hearings. I haven't been able to test those because it's the weekend, but good idea.

News Round-up

Here goes:

Latin American region
No military coup deserves a parade (Bloggings by boz)
A statement taken for granted on this blog but still worth repeating!

Falkland tensions grow ahead of invasion anniversary (BBC)
This article touches on the complications of remembering both the Falklands/Malvinas war and the military dictatorship in Argentina.
Plus, in astonishing news:
Argentinian critics pan Margaret Thatcher biopic The Iron Lady (Guardian)

Chilean journalist charged with covering up human rights abuses in 1975 (Journalism in the Americas)

How will Montt defend himself in Guatemala? (Al-Jazeera)
By Mike from Central American Politics
Genocide Trial against Ríos Montt: Declassified Documents Provide Key Evidence (Unredacted)
Ríos Montt’s Incriminating Self-Defense (Latin American Thought)
A Testament From Guatemala’s War Years (Lens blog at NY Times)
With excellent photos by Jean-Marie Simon

'In Mexico, reporters are hunted like rabbits' (Guardian)
This one is in here because the past issues I deal with on this blog are not gone, they keep happening in various countries - that's one (just one) of the reasons we need to remember them.

Shining Path affiliate drops bid to become party (AP)
Movadef Ends Attempt To Register As Political Party (Peruvian Times)