Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Latin American Snips: Peruvian copper cops cop the lot

A few bits and bobs you may or may not have seen on Latin America over the last couple of weeks.

* Evo Morales has an article in the Guardian - yes - the Evo Morales in charge of Bolivia. He's spitting chips over the treatment of immigrants in the EU.

* Al Jazeera say that the Columbian President has accepted a deal with the beleaguered Farc rebels to free Ingrid Betancourt (pictured). She's been held hostage now for more than five years, although there are some voices in Colombia who have cast doubts on whether this latest announcement by the President is all that it seems. Fingers crossed it happens this time and that she and other hostages are released soon.

* Richard Gott takes a look at McCain and Obama on Latin America and finds them wanting. to be more precise he finds them out of date.

* Permanent Revolution had a piece on the Bolivian autonomy referendums but I can't remember if I've mentioned it - so here it is again in case I forgot. Important stuff for the future of Latin America, not just Bolivia.

* Janine over at Stroppyblog looks at Cuba where they've scrapped equal pay legislation and brought in performance related pay. Quite rightly she says; "But this latest development must surely underline that the left and the labour movement should take a more critical attitude to the Cuban regime, and should direct its solidarity to Cuban workers rather than to their rulers. We oppose policies such as performance-related pay in Britain, so why support or remain silent about it in Cuba?"

* Peruvian copper miners have shown their metal after protests led them to taking 48 police officers hostage for two days and nights in Moquegua's Cathedral (beats some dingy dungeon I suppose). The hostages included the chief of police who was "shown... on national television surrounded by a crowd, waving a white flag and apologising to the people". He even swipes a miner's cap to show he's a man of the people - thieving bugger!

The protests flared because the world price of copper has been steadily rising but the workers have not seen an increased share in the profits from the company, and the local area has not seen any increased taxation revenue. After a week long blockade by thousands of protesters (supporting about 500 illegally striking miners) the police went in to try to break it all up.

That's when they came a cropper, although they've all been released now. Do watch the video at the link I've provided by the way, there's some wonderful protest footage (and cap wearing), although if you don't like to see policemen knocked unconscious or covered in blood you probably shouldn't watch it now I think of it.

Who said there's never any good news from the left then?

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