1. Official vote verification in El Salvador confirms FMLN lead

    A winner has still not been declared because the right-wing ARENA party is appealing the results based on unsubstantiated accusations of fraud, but it seems all but certain that when the smoke clears, Salvador Sánchez Céren will be the next president of El Salvador.

     

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  3. El Salvador, Venezuela, and what “dictatorship” means in Latin America

    I want every North American who is posting in the #prayforvenezuela tag to look very carefully at what is happening in El Salvador right now, because it will provide some clues to things you need to know about Venezuela.

    El Salvador had a civil war between the right-wing military government (then and now embodied by the ARENA party) and left-wing guerrillas (under the banner of the FMLN) between 1980-1992, more or less. Up until 2009, the Left had never been vested with governmental power in El Salvador, but in the elections of that year the FMLN’s candidate, Mauricio Funes, managed to come out on top.

    Now, 5 years later, another election takes place in which it appears that the left-wing FMLN’s candidate, Salvador Sánchez Cerén, has a narrow lead over ARENA’s candidate, Norman Quijano, going into a recount. Here’s where it gets interesting: Quijano, in his speech to supporters after preliminary votes are released, denounces the count as fraud and accuses the electoral council of bowing down to the “dictatorship.” You read that correctly. The government of Mauricio Funes, who is exiting office at the end of his scheduled term, and who is the first left-wing president ever in the history of El Salvador, presides over a dictatorship.

    Wait a minute… where have we heard this logic before?

    Oh, that’s right… Venezuela. The same Venezuela that has had 19 elections in 15 years. The same Venezuela with an impeccable electoral system that has been vetted by various international observers. The same Venezuela in which the opposition has had 4 attempts in the last year and a half to defeat the government at the ballot box… that Venezuela is a dictatorship. The same Venezuela with a ministry dedicated to decentralizing political power into neighborhood councils and democratic communes, the same Venezuela that has overseen drastic reductions in poverty and misery, and drastic increases in access to education, health, and employment… that Venezuela is a dictatorship.

    There’s a reason we see this logic crop up again and again in Latin America; these are not the only two examples. The reason is that, for right-wing parties (like the party behind Venezuela’s riots) and the elites they represent, a system is not defined as dictatorial based on whether or not there is popular participation, elections, pluralism, civilian oversight, equality, justice, etc. No.

    For these elites, a system is defined as dictatorial whenever the chief priority of the governing party is not to defend the privileges of the rich. This whole idea of Venezuela being a dictatorship is not new: the Venezuelan elites have been making that argument since the day Chávez was first elected in 1998, and have continued to refer to it as such after each of the electoral processes in which they have chosen to participate.

    But Venezuela has never been a dictatorship due to lack of elections, participation, oversight, equality, or justice; Venezuela is, and has been for 15 years, a dictatorship to the elites because the idea of the poor, humble, usually-darker peoples of Latin America holding political power over their heads doesn’t just scare them: it disgusts them. To those accustomed to centuries of power and prestige, being stripped of these is the worst kind of tyranny imaginable.

     
  4. Look what I found at the record store :-)

    This 1980 double LP tells the story of the FSLN from its formation until the victory of Nicaragua’s Sandinista Revolution in 1979; it commemorates important events like the 1978 assault on the national palace, as well as fallen heroes like Luisa Amanda Espinosa. I already have it on digital, but I couldn’t resist picking up this rare physical copy.

     

  5. For those of you who didn’t see it, the USA tried to use the Organization of American States (traditionally a US-puppet organization) to promote intervention in Venezuela. Instead, an OAS resolution passed supporting President Maduro’s peace initiative by a 29-3 margin; Panamá was the only Latin Amercan country to vote with the United States and Canada against Venezuela. Our peoples have seen right-wing coups before; we can recognize the signs, and we know what side we’re on.

    América Latina cada día más libre del yugo imperialista! Palo al yanqui!

     
  6. A retired general from Venezuela tweets to the “peaceful protesters” that they should set up cords of nylon or BARBED WIRE at 1.2 meters high to “neutralize motorized criminal hordes (aka chavistas).” Two pro-government activists have now been killed, one BEHEADED, by the barbed wire barricades of the protesters. An arrest warrant has properly been issued for Angel Vivas.

     

  7. My photos from Monday’s event in San Francisco! Contra el golpismo de la derecha, y CON el pueblo y su revolución!

     
  8. Interested in understanding what’s happening in Venezuela? Watch this short segment from Al Jazeera America featuring Drexel University professor George Ciccariello-Maher, who explains some of the historical context and significance of the current protests.

     
     
  9. If you live in the Bay Area, come out to this!

     
  10. Supporters of the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela came together today in San Francisco to reject the acts of violence and destabilization committed by sectors of the right-wing opposition, and to reaffirm our support for the rights of the Venezuelan people to push forward their socialist project in peace and without foreign interference. Viva Chávez! Viva el pueblo revolucionario! Unidas y unidos con Maduro hacia el socialismo bolivariano!

    Photo: Natalio Pérez, kasamaproject.org (more photos will be available Tuesday)

     

  11. A short interview that I conducted recently with a comrade from the Partido Comunista de México (marxista-leninista).

     
  12. Prints will be made available for pickup in the Bay Area and Sacramento if anyone is interested. Camaradas is the name I chose for a print design project I’m hoping to get going this year, beginning just with myself and hopefully becoming more collective with time. Get at me…

    …y que viva Chávez, carajo!

    Design: Natalio Pérez — companatalio@gmail.com

     

  13. Brief description of what’s happening in Colombia. There are three main points:

    1. The FARC has reached some critical agreements in peace negotiations which, if actually applied, would create big changes to the political landscape in the country, opening up opportunities for the Left which haven’t existed in over 20 years.
    2. This past August, the campesinos of Colombia undertook a national strike which shut down highways and resulted in massive demonstrations across the country. Popular support for this movement—which demanded the transformation of the terrible living conditions in the Colombian countryside as a result of neoliberal economic policies and state repression—was very high. The state backtracked on its promises to the agrarian movement, and no solutions have been provided to the problems which spawned the strike in the first place.
    3. Just a few days ago, the state Attorney General Alejandro Ordóñez, a hardcore right-winger allied to former President Alvaro Uribe, removed left-wing Bogotá mayor Gustavo Petro from office and banned him from public service for 15 years, all because he gave the city’s trash collection services contract to a state company instead of offering it to private corporations.

    Petro is a former guerrilla of the M-19, which laid down arms in 1990 but, along with the Unión Patriótica (a legal political movement of the FARC, Communist Party, and others formed in the 80s while the guerrillas were negotiating a peace deal with the government), was politically decimated by paramilitary and state violence against its members. Between 1985-2000, thousands of members of these organizations were murdered, including two presidential candidates of the UP and the M-19’s very popular leader, Carlos Pizarro, who would have probably won the 1990 election. Petro remembers this all too well.

    Petro’s removal destabilizes the peace process with the FARC, whose demobilization is based on the conditions that the state provide guarantees of participation and inclusion to popular left-wing forces. The FARC obviously won’t demobilize if the state shows that it will prevent leftists from holding any positions of power, or that it will repress popular mobilizations. There are huge numbers of people rallying in Bogotá’s Bolívar Plaza right now against the mayoral coup, and there are solidarity mobilizations occurring throughout the country.

    The United States props up the extraordinarily violent establishment in Colombia. It’s important that we stand with our sisters and brothers in the streets of Bogotá, Barranquilla, Medellín, Bucaramanga, Popoyán, Cúcuta, and elsewhere demanding a new Colombia. 

     

  14. The Mayoral Coup in Bogotá

    The Attorney General of Colombia Alejandro Ordóñez has removed Bogotá’s leftist mayor Gustavo Petro from office, and banned him from holding political office again for 15 years. The reason? Petro decided to revamp the city’s trash collection system, and signed into law that a state owned utilities company would be the provider of the service. Ordóñez claims that this move violates the law of free economic competition, because Petro did not give a private corporation the right to compete for the contract. That’s it.

    Some are speculating that this move is related to the current peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the FARC, which may soon result in a peace treaty that sees the FARC disarm and become a legal political organization. Petro, who is no sympathizer of the FARC but was himself a guerrilla in the M-19 (disbanded in 1990) and has ideas well to the left of Colombia’s institutionalized right-wing, is seen as a possible candidate for the new matrix of legal leftist forces in a future presidential election. Because the mayorship of Bogotá is “a step away from the presidency,” it is possible that the right-wing is attempting to stave off a possible threat to its rule from a post-FARC left united under Petro.

     
  15. Inti Illimani - La segunda independencia (en vivo en Italia, 1975)

    yo que soy americano, no importa de qué país, quiero que mi continente viva algún día feliz.

    I, being american—no matter from which country—want my continent to live happily one day.