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2004 Narco News Journalism Scholars

Last night, in Los Angeles, 2003 graduate turned 2004 professor Sunny Angulo and I announced the list of this year's scholarship recipients who will be attending this year's Narco News School of Authentic Journalism, July 30 to August 8, in Cochabamba and the coca-growing Chapare region of Bolivia...

Obviously, a lot of super qualified and interesting applicants did not make it. There are two more, beyond this list of 34 below, whom we are trying to find a way to get them there (but our finances and theirs preclude granting them even partial travel expenses so far), and...

One scholarship applicant, Venezuelan Martín Sánchez, copublisher of Aporrea.org and Venezuelanalysis.com, has been invited not as a scholar, but as a professor.

It is now my great pleasure to introduce you to the Authentic 34 of the Class of 2004 of the Narco News J-School!

Origen del Plan Colombia: Molano en la UNAM

El escritor colombiano Alfredo Molano invitado por Luis Astorga a una conferencia en Ciudad Universitaria.

El origen de la producción de cocaína se remonta a los procesos de migraciones al interior, de campesinos obligados a ocupar territorios selváticos, el surgimiento de grupos armados para protegerlos y la tremenda fuente de ingresos que representaba la droga para mafiosos con experiencia en el contrabando.

Estados Unidos influye fuertemente con la "Alianza para el Progreso" establecida para contrarrestar movimientos de izquierda tras la revolución cubana en 1959. La influencia se concentra en una Colombia productora de mariguana cuando Nixon anuncia la "Guerra contra las drogas".

"El Plan Colombia fue redactado en inglés y cocinado en Washington". Para Europa se trataba de una estrategia militar contra la insurgencia así que decidió no aportar.

Hoy en día el Ejecutivo concentra un poder público que antes estaba más repartido. Molano habla de una forma de "dictadura" conducida para cumplir con los acuerdos ante el Fondo Monetario Internacional, el tratado de extradición y el Plan Colombia, lo cual significa el debilitamiento del Estado.

El Plan puede ser una estrategia para dominar una zona de varios países rica en recursos naturales y en mercados potenciales.

Brazil Expels Rohter; Drinking Alleged

Larry Rohter, one of the most dishonest New York Times Latin American correspondents in history (and that's saying a lot), the "journalist" of whom Bush administration foreign policy fixer Roger Noriega once told a source of mine, when Noriega worked for Senator Jesse Helms, that Rohter never filed a story about Latin America without first checking with him, has just had his visa revoked by the Brazilian government.

Alleged drinking was involved...

Sen. Cornyn (R-TX) Insults Customs Agent

Ruben Gonzalez sent a letter earlier this year to U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, He needed some help from the freshman senator who represents the Lone Star State.

Gonzalez is a high-ranking supervisor in the Houston office of the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which is part of the Department of Homeland Security.

Gonzalez also is part of a group of Hispanic federal agents who are suing the Department of Homeland Security for alleged racial discrimination. He reached out to Cornyn for help in addressing some of the discrimination issues raised in the class-action case -- in part, because the senator appeared to be sensitive to the concerns of Latinos.

Despite his freshman status in Washington, Cornyn has solid connections to the White House. Prior to being elected to the U.S. Senate, Cornyn, a Republican, served as Attorney General of Texas from 1999-2002 — during the administration of Gov. George W. Bush.

A statement posted on the Web site for the Federal Hispanic Law Enforcement Officers Association (FHLEOA) -- for which Gonzalez serves as vice president -- states the following:

Texas senator John Cornyn is a close friend of the president. Senator Cornyn publicly appears to support Hispanic issues, as can be found on his Web site. ...

The FHLEOA statement goes on to point out that last year, Cornyn made very strong remarks about an alleged racial slight of  lawyer Miguel A. Estrada, who at the time was a Bush nominee for a federal appeals-court judgeship.

J-School Q & A, Respuestas de la Escuela

(Traducido a español, abajo)

This is my favorite time of year. The deadline for this year's Narco News School of Authentic Journalism scholarship applications has passed and we're immersed in the fun work of reviewing them carefully and selecting the 2004 class of scholars to join us in July and August in Cochabamba and the Chapare region of Bolivia.

We'll use this thread to answer questions and share a bit about the process (respecting the privacy of all applicants, of course). Part of our application gives the aspirants the opportunity to ask questions of us. I will answer them here and then translate the answers.

I'll also field questions about the J-School from co-publishers...

Haiti Since the Coup

Thousands killed or in hiding as coup government consolidates power with the help of paramilitaries and U.S. and French troops

Since the February 29th coup d'etat against Haiti's constitutional president, the forces that brought the coup have killed more than one thousand political adversaries and poor Haitians.  Paramilitary groups, many of which took control of entire cities in the run-up to the coup, are the source of most of this violence.  The U.S. armed forces, which physically removed president Jean-Bertrand Aristide from the country and have since, with French troops, defended the coup government, did little to protect civilians.  Haitian police arrested many government officials close to Aristide and also worked with paramilitaries in raids and battles in pro-Aristide slums.  Meanwhile, the government sought legitimacy and loans from other nations, Haiti's economy worsened, and most paramilitaries expected the Haitian army to be reactivated and employ them.

Marijuana March in Mexico City (Photos)

Hundreds of people marched through downtown Mexico City yesterday for marijuana legalization. There were similar marches all over the world this weekend, an annual global action often called the “Million Marijuana March.”

Zinacantán

   All is not politically harmonious among the various Tzotzil communities in the mountains around Zinacantán, Chiapas.  A recent conflict is reported by Alex Contreras Baspineiro
at http://narconews.com/Issue33/article961.html, the first of a series of four good articles.  Here's a perspective the articles leave mostly unexplored.

   Water is the flashpoint.  A minority of the communities around Zinacantán identify with the Zapatistas.  

Urgent from Cristin McCauley: Colombia 3

From Cristin McCauley, wife of one of "The Colombia Three," the Irishmen charged on cooked evidence of training Colombian rebels in explosives use, and recently aquitted.

(See her October 2002 Letter to Narco News for background information.)

Although The Colombia Three have been acquitted (Narco News reported there was no hard evidence against them 18 months ago), and even though they have been deported (on the lesser charge of possessing forged passports), they still can't get out of jail!

That's Colombian "justice" for ya.

Read more...

Interest rates, commodity prices pressure LA economies

The Banco de Mexico surprised the global bond market maggotry this week and raised short-term interest rates to head off inflation, a signal that "overheating" due to dollar weakness is becoming a problem.  With a number of regional economies already struggling, news that the tide is going out in terms of world commodity prices and growth may add further to existing political pressures.  Note also that the Bank of China just raised rates for same reason: internal bubble fueled by cheap dollars.  Ironically, in both of these "overheating" economies, there are more people in poverty and lacking opportunities than ever before.  Finally, everybody -- and I mean everybody -- assumes that investment grade status for Mexico means no sudden adjustments in the $/NP rate, but NP11 something per dollar is a bit rich, especially as the greenback rebounds.  See market comment below with my comments in [].

Bolivia President Confirms Coup Attempt

The latest Narco News report, by Luis Gómez, Coup d'Etat Plot, Exposed, Shakes Bolivia, has generated no small amount of controvery yesterday and today, including a whisper campaign from the usual suspects accusing our publication of engaging in "conspiracy theories" and things worse.

It reminds me of the reaction, 48 days prior to the 2002 coup attempt in Venezuela, after Narco News, alone and prior to all others, published Kim Alphandary's report Venezuela Faces U.S. Coup Plot. I got a lot of hate mail back then, too. Most of it, as today, anonymous.

Well, sorry to inform y'all, but Bolivia's president is now on record confirming our report...

Argentina: Democracy in Transition

I wrote this for my Argentine History class.  I would like for everyone who reads this to critique it.  Thanks.  Note it is fairly long.

Narco News Turns 4 and Gives You the Gift

Sunday, April 18, marks the fourth birthday of The Narco News Bulletin, reporting on the drug war and democracy from Latin America.

In our usual turning-América-upside-down style, if it's our birthday, we give you the present.

Starting today, all co-publishers get their own Reporters' Notebooks.

If you are a co-publisher, and you're logged in, you will find some new menu items under your name on the right-hand side of the screen:

Click "New Notebook Entry" and you can start your "blog" today...

Richard Holbrooke/Samuel Berger DataDump

Ron Brownstein of the Los Angeles Times begins to flush the members of presumptive U.S. Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry's Cromagnon foreign policy team out from their caves. Here's a version of his story in the Minnesota Star Tribune (which, unlike the LAT, doesn't demand your personal data to read it... ¡putos! suddenly they do want you to register... okay, here's the Baltimore Sun version, while it lasts...):

John Kerry is assembling a network of foreign policy advisers more hawkish than most Democrats but more skeptical of military solutions in the struggle against terrorism than the team surrounding President Bush.

The experts being consulted span a broad ideological range of Democratic opinion -- to the point where some party thinkers worry that Kerry is not defining a sufficiently distinctive vision of how America should pursue its goals in the world.

Note: Brownstein doesn't quote a single one of those "party thinkers" worrying about this problem, not even anonymously. I'm not a member of any party, but through my weblog BigLeftOutside I have worried aloud more vocally than most...

Links, Links, Links: Amazon Burning

Indigenous communities oppose a big, fat, US-funded military base in the heart of Colombian rainforest on grounds that it has been imposed without consulting the autonomous governments and it will harm the fragile jungle…

"(This is) a complex debate if one takes into account that the future of the Amazon is in play, and the role that the indigenous have in the conservation of native forests, a total of 24 million hectares in their territory…

"'They have to understand that a hectare of coca causes more ecological damage than a military base,' says one of the officials in charge of the batallion…"

That official's statement, of course, contains more bullshit than a rodeo, read on to find out why...

Plus more news from Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Haiti, Venezuela, and Washington DC (Can you say "Human Rights Botch"?)...

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