All Notebook Entries

  • Immigrant Tomato Growers Win Wage and Working Conditions Agreement from Taco Bell

    Florida Farmworkers Victorious in Hard-fought Campaign
    Turning Pressure to Other Large-Scale Purchasers the Next Step

    Days into the launch of another Taco Bell Truth Tour by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers in their "Boycott the Bell" campaign, Taco Bell's parent Yum corporation agreed to all the workers' demands.

    Narco News School of Authentic Journalism scholar and professor Andrew Stelzer, writing for a reader-supported hard news Internet rag called the NewStandard (NewStandardNews.net), reported on March 7 about the tour, which aimed to bring attention to the Coalition's boycott of the five billion dollar pseudo-Mexican fast food chain.  Gerardo Reyes Chavez, a lead organizer for the past five years, told Stelzer that as the boycott continues to gain the support of more than 100 religious groups, unions, human rights organizations, and celebrities, Taco Bell – already in contact with the Coalition – will eventually have to agree to the workers’ demands.

    Eventually came soon for the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), one of the most dynamic social movements in the United States today, with a victory that marks another stage of a long struggle for justice.  Largely immigrant Mexican, Guatemalan, and Haitian tomato pickers formed the organization in Immokalee, Florida, in 1995.

  • Entre el complot y las disculpas de Mesa: comienzan a radicalizarse los movimientos

    Durante el resto del día los líderes sociales bolivianos, unidos en el nuevo pacto de movilización, han mantenido reuniones en La Paz, en El Alto y en Cochabamba. En Santa Cruz, donde los campesinos de Yapacaní, al norte, mantienen un bloqueo total de la zona, también hubo ya conflictos en la ciudad: los choferes de colectivos, obligados por el aumento a la tarifa de combustible, han comenzado a bloquear y fueron brutalmente reprimidos a mediodía...

    Por su lado, el gobierno de Carlos Mesa ya tiene una resolución ministerial para criminalizar las protestas y pretenden con eso dejar todo en manos del Fiscal General de la República: que actúe penalmente deteniendo a los manifestantes y bloqueadores como si fueran delincuentes... ah, y Mesa anda pidiendo disculpas a Evo... vamos a la historia inmediata.

  • All of Bolivia's Social Movements Unite: Reality Changes Once Again

    Good day, kind readers, this morning the landscape has changed and there is a new story to tell. The social movements in Bolivia, ALL of them, have united to coordinate their efforts, to organize more demonstrations and fight against the new (or recycled) right wing that just last night gave more power to the administration of President Carlos Mesa. Let’s take a look at this immediate history…
  • Todos los movimientos bolivianos se unen: la realidad salta de nuevo

    Buenas, queridos lectores, esta mañana ha vuelto el paisaje a cambiar de nueva cuenta. Los movimientos sociales de Bolivia, TODOS, se han unido para coordinar esfuerzos, para realizar más manifestaciones y pelear contra la nueva (o reciclada) derecha que anoche apenas daba más fuerza al gobierno del Presidente Carlos Mesa. Vamos a la historia inmediata...
  • Mexico Poll: Rising Public Opinion Against the Desafuero

    A new poll by the Mitovsky survey research company in Mexico shows that public opinion – not just in Mexico City, but also nationwide - is turning rapidly against the “desafuero” plot to remove Mexico City Governor Andrés Manuel López Obrador from the 2006 presidential race.

    The numbers are interesting because they show dramatic growth – both nationally and in the country’s largest metropolis – of sentiment against the desafuero and a corresponding shrinkage of any support for the anti-democracy maneuver that continues to be promoted by President Vicente Fox and other political insiders.

    Nationwide, 48 percent of the people oppose the desafuero whereas only 15 percent support it. And by tracking the sharp shift in public opinion in the nation’s capital – where the desafuero debate had a head start on the national discussion and now 80 percent of the public opposes the plot – the poll makes it clear that those nationwide numbers are trending upward for democracy, as support for the attempted pre-electoral coup d’etat is dwindling sharply toward the single digits…

  • Bolivian Congress Rejects Mesa's Resignation

    A few minutes ago, with no deliberation, the 157 members of the Bolivian Congress unanimously approved a resolution presented by Congress President Hormando Vaca Diez, in which the Bolivian legislature rejects the resignation of President Carlos Mesa.

    The congressmen agreed to go directly to a hand vote, and practically every hand went up when Vaca Diez asked for votes in favor. After announcing that there was a majority in favor of rejecting Mesa’s letter, there was applause and the atmosphere relaxed.

    A multi-party commission, made up of women congress members, has left the Congress building and crossed the street to go to the Palace and request Mesa’s presence.

    This marks, at least for the moment, the end of this tense and curious chapter, which we will analyze soon and with a bit more calm for all of you.

    For now, we are closing this broadcast… see you soon.

  • Evo Morales' MAS Ups the Ante in Congress

    An update from the last few hours in Congress. The MAS party has broken off all negotiations with the government and other political parties. The parliamentary session began a few minutes ago.
  • El Congreso boliviano no acepta la renuncia de Carlos Mesa

    Hace unos minutos, sin deliberar, los 157 parlamentarios bolivianos aprobaron por unanimidad un proyecto de resolución presentado por el Presidente del Congreso Nacional, Hormando Vaca Diez, en el que el Poder Legislativo de Bolivia rechaza aceptar la renuncia del Presidente Carlos Mesa.

    Los parlamentarios aceptaron ir directamente al mecanismo de voto a mano alzada y prácticamente todas las manos se levantaron cuando Vaca Diez pidió su voto a favor. Luego de anunciar que existía una mayoría en favor de rechazar la carta de Mesa hubo aplausos y el ambiente se relajó.

    Una comisión multipartidaria, compuesta por mujeres parlamentarias, ha salido del edificio del Congreso y cruzó la calle para ir hasta Palacio a solicitar la presencia de Carlos Mesa.

    Esto marca, al menos por el momento, el fin de este tenso y curioso capítulo que, próximamente, analizaremos con calma y detalle para ustedes...

    Por ahora, cerramos transmisiones... hasta pronto.

  • El MAS patea el tablero en el Congreso

    Actualización de las últimas horas en el Congreso. El MAS ha roto toda negociación de acuerdo con el gobierno y los demás partidos políticos. La sesión parlamentaria comenzó hace unos minutos.
  • El Alto Lifts Blockades, But Doesn't Give In

    El Alto has decided to relieve the people and lift the blockades although two districts have now broken with the neighborhood leadership and are planning on maintaining the blockades there. Other mobilizations will continue because the demand to get the Suez Group out of Bolivia still stands. Evo Morales and the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) party will not accept the president’s resignation, and announced that their blockades will continue. The only thing that seems certain is that the Bolivian President will end up stronger than ever this afternoon when the National Congress ratifies his post.
  • Next: Bolivian Blood on Eduardo Gamarra's Hands?

    A curious and disturbing quotation appeared in this morning’s New York Times under the byline (of course) of Juan Forero, regarding the crisis in Bolivia and the proposed resignation of President Carlos Mesa:

    "Mesa has to understand that governments have the right, the legitimate right, to use force," said Eduardo Gamarra, the Bolivian-born director of the Latin America and Caribbean Center at Florida International University in Miami. "You can't just burn down a building or take over a government building because you don't like government policy."

    There you have it. Gamarra wants blood: not his own, cowardly, geek-positive plasma, but that which flows through the veins of people who can’t afford an “education” at his gringo university… the blood of the poor, of the farmer, of the indigenous, of those uppity citizens who believe in that radical ideal that a government should be of, by, and for the people.

    Gamarra's call to “use force,” in the context of Bolivian history, is an open call – on the pages of the New York Times – for a massacre of epic proportions…

  • El Alto levanta los bloqueos, pero no cede

    El Alto considera desgastante seguir en bloqueos, aunque dos distritos han roto con la dirigencia vecinal y piensan mantenerlos. Seguirán otras movilizaciones porque no renuncian a su demanda de sacar a Suez de Bolivia. Por otro lado, Evo Morales y el MAS no van a aceptar la renuncia, anunciaron la continuidad de los bloqueos pero lo más seguro es que el Presidente de Bolivia saldrá esta tarde muy fortalecido con la ratificación en el cargo por parte del Congreso Nacional.
  • Comunicados de Prensa del Pueblo Boliviano

    Para entender mejor el problema que vivimos en Bolivia, estos son comunicados de los movimientos sociales que luchan en este momento, por un cambio de modelo de Estado, dar de baja al modelo neoliberal impuesto.
  • Monday Afternoon: No One Moving in Bolivia

    The uncertainty in Bolivia is growing. The National Congress has decided to meet tomorrow to consider Mesa’s resignation. Evo Morales’ Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) party, for its part, is meeting right now and evaluating the situation. The people of El Alto are waiting until early tomorrow morning to have a general assembly of neighborhood presidents. And the only thing that is clear is that the agitation here is great.

    All of Bolivia is discussing and criticizing President Carlos Mesa in different ways. Nevertheless, despite the fact that it is his decision, the first conclusion that emerges is that the National Congress has a huge responsibility. Members of Congress received Mesa’s resignation letter and have decided not to meet until tomorrow, arguing that it would be impossible to bring together every congressman from the distant corners of the country.

  • El Alto: Don't Blame Us

    Although El Alto’s decision about the resignation of Carlos Mesa hangs in suspense until 7 am tomorrow morning, the people of El Alto have already made two things clear: that Mesa can leave on his own, but that it will be under his responsibility and not theirs, and that their mobilization will not stop until Aguas de Illimani, the property of the French-based multinational Suez corporation, leaves for good.
  • Lunes en la tarde: Nadie se mueve en Bolivia

    La situación de vacío se generaliza en Bolivia. EL Congreso Nacional ha decidido reunirse hasta mañana para considerar la renuncia de Mesa. Por su lado el MAS de Evo Morales está en estos momentos reunido evaluando la situación.b Los alteños esperan hasta mañana temprano para tener una asamblea de presidentes. Y lo único claro es que la agitación es grande...
  • El Alto: que no nos eche la culpa

    Aunque finalmente la decisión de El Alto sobre la renuncia de Carlos Mesa se queda en suspenso hasta mañana a las 7 am, los alteños ya dejaron claras dos cosas: que Mesa se puede ir solo, sin hacerlos responsables, y que su movilización no se detiene hasta que Aguas del Illimani, propiedad de la transnacional francesa Suez, no sa vaya para siempre.
  • Bolivian President Carlos Mesa Submits His Resignation for Congress to Decide

    Translated from tonight's report, below and in Spanish, by Luis Gomez in La Paz and El Alto, Bolivia...

    Bolivia President Carlos Mesa Submits His Resignation for Congress to Decide

    By Luis Gomez
    Via the Narcosphere

    In a televised message, Bolivian President Carlos Mesa attacked social leaders Evo Morales and Abel Mamani (from the city of El Alto) for trying to use him. With a series of accusations against all sides in the dispute (the business community, the oligarchy of Santa Cruz), Mesa announced to Bolivia that he will present his resignation tomorrow afternoon to the National Congress.

    Between the residents of El Alto, who call, primarily, for the immediate exit by the French multi-national water corporation Suez, and the groups close to Evo Morales and his Movement Toward Socialism party (MAS, in its Spanish initials) fighting to change the new gas law (that doesn’t benefit the Bolivian people), Mesa has opted to “half resign,” and his statement now (it’s 11:36 p.m. in Bolivia) has begun to provoke a more open confrontation in the country.

    The State intelligence agency has informed Carlos Mesa that by Thursday the main roads of the entire country will be completely blockaded. However, there has not been any order to repress the demonstrations, neither by the police or the military forces who are remaining on their bases...

  • Mesa pone su renuncia a consideración del Congreso

    En un mensaje transmitido por televisión, el Presidente Carlos Mesa atacó a los líderes sociales Evo Morales y Abel Mamani (de El Alto) de estar pretendiendo utilizarlo. Con una serie de acusaciones contra todos los sectores en punga (empresarios, la oligarquía de Santa Cruz), Mesa anunció a Bolivia que estaría presentando mañana en la tarde su renuncia al Congreso Nacional.
  • Bolivian President Carlos Mesa resigns

    President Carlos Mesa announced his resignation on radio and television tonight.  According to Reuters he said he would "present his resignation formally to Congress on Monday."  

    I've been told that would make the President of the chamber of deputies, Hormando Vaca Diez, next in line for the presidency to finish out Mesa's term.  

  • Apple Computers vs. Internet Press Freedom

    A county court judge in California has ruled that Internet journalists do not share First Amendment protections enjoyed by the Commercial Media, and seeks to force two online publications to reveal their sources to the Apple computer company (makers of Macintosh products).

    (Guerrilla News has the story.)

    All is not lost, though: It's only a "preliminary ruling" (made before hearing oral testimony), and it's only a lowly county court judge, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation is on the case trying to turn this latest attack on Internet press freedom around.

    The lawsuit was brought by Apple computers, upset about (truthful) reports about upcoming products by the company, against the online publications PowerPage (www.power page.org) and Apple Insider (www.appleinsider .com). The company filed a distinct lawsuit suit against Think Secret (www.thinksecret .com).

    This decision ignores the precedent set in our own 2001 legal victory in the New York Supreme Court, when the court ruled that Narco News, your correspondent, and Internet journalists by extension do indeed enjoy equal First Amendment protection under the law.

    Adjudicating...

  • Mexico's Pro-Democracy Fight Reaches NYT Op-Ed Page

    Professors Bruce Ackerman and John Ackerman warn:

    "ALTHOUGH the world has hardly noticed, Mexico is confronting the first great test of its commitment to democracy. Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the mayor of Mexico City, is the leading candidate for the presidency in 2006, ahead of his rivals by five to 15 percentage points in the polls. His adversaries are responding by abusing the law to bar him from the race. The Mexican Chamber of Deputies is now considering whether to strip Mr. López of his legal immunity from criminal prosecution - the first step toward eliminating him from the presidential contest...

    They write that the proposed "desafuero" against Mexico City Governor Andrés Manuel Lópéz Obrador "endangers the great progress Mexico has made over the last decade."

    Noting that the desafuero "lacks a plausible legal foundation" they call, on the eve of Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice's March 10 visit to Mexico City, upon "friends of Mexican democracy to voice their concern... democracy-building is a continuing project, not a one-time achievement."

    That the column appears in, of all places, the Op Ed page of Saturday's New York Times is the latest indication that the attack on Mexican democracy called a desafuero is overflowing North of the Border.

    More exerpts from this legal-political opinion, with some added analysis, appear at the jump...

  • Test of the Ring: No One Has Ever Passed It, Some Go Crazy, Some Just Cry

    The Test of the Ring can assist you in smashing your brain-washing and to actualize the severe changes that dignity and honor call down upon our thinking, the clarity of our goals, the design processes of our strategies for change and the purpose and operations of the institutions that shape our lives and our deaths.
  • Narco News Needs Our Help Today

    "It's been months of reporting story after story since the last time we asked you for help.  Now it's time for we, the readers to do our part again."  

    Please go on to read the letter below.  We need to raise $5000 for Narco News in just over two weeks or Narco News will face having to cut back coverage.  Thank you.

  • Hispanic federal agents back Conrad for Commish

    Mark Conrad, a former supervisory special agent with U.S. Customs, has landed a major endorsement in his bid for a top post within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

    The Federal Hispanic Law Enforcement Officers Association (FHLEOA) is now officially in Conrad’s corner. FHLEOA describes itself as “a network of federal law enforcement professionals committed to finding positive and creative solutions to the challenges facing the federal Hispanic law enforcement community in the United States.”

    In an endorsement letter, send to White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, FHLEOA’s national president states the following:

  • A Desafuero that Provoked a Revolution in Mexico in 1910... or 2006?

    A Mexican president is frightened that another politician can beat his team in the upcoming presidential election. He throws the full weight of the “law” against the popular opponent, removing his right to run for president, and locks up the adversary in jail. The pretext to eliminate the opponent from the presidential contest is an accusation that he illegally invaded a piece of private property and disregarded a court order against the land-taking. In this, the “president” had the tacit support of Washington.

    Are we speaking of President Vicente Fox vs. Andrés Manuel López Obrador?

    Not yet.

    This is the true story of what occurred in Mexico in 1910, when President Porfirio Diaz used near-identical pretexts to remove Francisco Madero from the presidential election contest. Having eliminated Madero from the ballot box, Diaz went on to win the pre-fixed “election” of July 1910.

    But four months later, by November 20 of that year, the Mexican people rose up in arms, led by General Emiliano Zapata, and the Mexican Revolution of 1910 toppled the dictator Porfirio Diaz.

    That’s why today’s communiqué by Zapatista Subcomandante Marcos (more of it translated, below), opposing the desafuero plot by Fox and friends against López Obrador, must be viewed in the context of Mexican history.

    Mexican national journalist Ricardo Rocha takes a walk down amnesia lane, and recounts the historic parallels in his commentary today on Radio Formula…

  • Report: Zapatistas Warn of the "Preventative Coup d'Etat" in Mexico

    The Univision TV network reports tonight that Subcomandante Marcos, spokesman for the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN, in its Spanish initials) has issued a communiqué calling for nonviolent actions against the desafuero plot to remove Mexico City Governor Andrés Manuel López Obrador from the 2006 presidential race in Mexico.

    According to the TV network, the spokesman for the Zapatistas wrote:

    "The desafuero of the Mexico City governor would set the country back one hundred years: to 1910. It would mean, in fact, the anullment of the electoral path as a means of coming to power..."

    And he added:

    "We are discussing the ways (take note: nonviolent ways) in which we will demonstrate to oppose this coup d'etat..."

    There's more, much more, to the communiqué. (Here's a link to the entire text in Spanish). It places all of Mexico - indeed, all of América - on tenterhooks. When the Zapatistas say they're discussing ways to act, it's regularly been an understatement. Deepening...

  • Argentina: Mystery and Slow-Breaking News on the Cocaine Suitcases

    Argentina has made international news for the drug trafficking scandal going on at the Southern Winds airline.

    Though the news just broke a few days ago, in the month of September 2004, four suitcases with 400 kilos of cocaine were found in the Barajas terminal of the Madrid airport.

    The origin of the suitcases was Ezeiza, Argentina, and they had been transported by the Southern Winds airline. Starting there, information has kept coming out about the investigations, those responsible for the events, the confusing explanations of those involved, and the dismissal of important government functionaries. Finally, President Nestor Kirchner said firmly in his speech before Congress: “There was complicity among those who should have been controlling the criminals.” “The most important thing is that our actions put the criminals on the defensive and make clear that there will be no place for impunity or complicit silence.”

  • Argentina: Misterio y noticia tardia sobre las valijas de cocaina

    Por estos días Argentina, vuelve a ser noticia internacional bajo  el escándalo por el tráfico de drogas en la empresa aérea Southern Winds.

    Aunque la noticia se conoció hace pocos días, en el mes de setiembre del 2004, se encontraron 4 valijas con 400 kilos de cocaína en la terminal aérea española de Barajas en la ciudad de Madrid.

    La procedencia de las valijas era Ezeiza, Argentina, y habrían sido transportadas por la empresa Southern Winds. Desde allí se fueron sucediendo informaciones sobre las investigaciones, las responsabilidades en los hechos, las confusas explicaciones de los involucrados, las destituciones de importantes funcionarios. Hasta el presidente Nestor Kirchner pronunció firmemente en su discurso en el Congreso “Hubo complicidad entre los que tenían que controlar y los delincuentes” “Lo más importante es que nuestra acción ponga a los delincuentes a la defensiva y quede establecido que no habrá lugar para la impunidad ni el silencio cómplice.“

  • Huelga de hambre en Bolivia en contra de Aguas del Illimani

    Este es el comunicado de prensa de el primer piquete de huelga de hambre que se instalo en apoyo a los compañeros de la FEJUVE de la ciudad de El Alto, que demandan hace 8 dias la rescision del contrato con la Transnacional Aguas del Illimani y la aprobacion de una ley de  Hidrocarburos Nacionalizadora , convocatoria a una Asamblea Constituyente Popular y negando cualquier tratado de Libre Comercio, hoy se instalo el segundo piquete de huelga  de hambre con trabajadores de la Empresa de Aguas SEMAPA de Cochabamba y trabajadores petroleros, mañana se instalara otro piquete de huelga de hambre con la participacion de regantes, personas independientes, de esta manera las medidas se radicalizaran  de manera escalonada:

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