31 Dec 2017

Hugo Blanco 'Retorno a la cárcel de Fujimori'

Retorno a la cárcel de Fujimori



(This is on the protests against the pardoning of former Peruvian President Fujimori by Hugo Blanco, the BBC and most media outlets in the UK don't put this on the front page, will get a translation when I have a moment.  Fujimori's security apparatus put Hugo Blanco on their death list but he escaped before they could kill him)

Aprovechando la nochebuena el presidente peruano Pedro Pablo Kuzinski (PPK) liberó al exdictador Alberto Fujimori, encarcelado por asesinato múltiple.
La nochebuena es denominada “Noche de Paz, noche de Amor” y el regalo navideño de PPK al pueblo peruano fue liberar al símbolo de la guerra contra nuestro pueblo y del odio contra él.
A partir de ese momento, en el Cusco, donde yo estuve, en Lima y en otras ciudades, la gente salió a las calles abandonando la cena navideña.
En Lima, la capital, la manifestación pretendió ir al Palacio de Gobierno, ante el rechazo de la policía se dirigió a la residencia del presidente. Los videos muestran a los manifestantes empujando los escudos policiales.
El día de Navidad el Cusco volvió a salir a las calles y se convocó a una reunión en el local de la Federación de Trabajadores del Cusco para el día siguiente. En la reunión se nombró un cuerpo directivo para la continuación de la lucha por el retorno de Fujimori a la cárcel, se prepara un paro regional y se luchará por un paro nacional.
Hubo manifestaciones de protesta en varias ciudades.
La exministra de Justicia Marisol Pérez Tello dijo que al expresidente peruano no le correspondería un indulto común ya que fue condenado por crímenes considerados de lesa humanidad.
Por lo tanto el presidente nombró un nuevo ministro, Enrique Mendoza, para que liberara a Fujimori, éste cambió la Comisión de Gracias Presidenciales.
Nombraron una junta médica donde estaba incluido el médico del reo, que calificó de “grave” la salud de Fujimori.
El pueblo peruano opina que ésta es una traición, pues precisamente PPK fue elegido para que la hija del dictador no fuera presidente, pues liberaría a su padre. 
La ley peruana impide dar libertad a un preso cuando hay un proceso en curso: El caso de la matanza en Pativilca. Por lo tanto es ilegal la liberta de Fujimori.

¿Qué significó el Fujimorismo?
En 1990 los candidatos fueron Mario Vargas Llosa y Fujimori.
El programa económico de Vargas era neoliberal, contra eso el Perú votó a Fujimori.
Fujimori en el poder practico la política económica planteada por Vargas Losa. Privatizó las empresas públicas.
La noche del 5 de abril de 1992 Fujimori dio un mensaje a la nación en el que anunciaba la intervención del Congreso de la República, el Poder Judicial, el Ministerio Público.
Mientras el discurso era transmitido por televisión, tropas del Ejército, de la Marina y de la Fuerza Aérea llegaron al Congreso de la República, el Poder Judicial, el Ministerio Público, entre otras instituciones para tener el control completo de ellas. También fue intervenida la sede de la Confederación General de Trabajadores del Perú (CGTP) y otros sindicatos.
Los hechos ocurridos inmediatamente después del mensaje a la nación, solo fueron difundidos por medios internacionales. Miembros de las Fuerzas Armadas ingresaron a canales y emisoras de radio, y obligaron a seguir con la transmisión normal, sin informar sobre lo que ocurría en las instituciones estatales y en la calles. El gobierno decretó un toque de queda y comenzó una serie de detenciones a empresarios y políticos.
Puso el Poder Judicial y el Ministerio Público (fiscales) a su servicio.
Con el dinero de todos los peruanos impulsó la “prensa chicha” a su servicio.
Educó a sus hijos en costosas universidades de EEUU con el dinero del pueblo peruano.
Sus familiares robaron dinero enviado de Japón para gente pobre. Su esposa, Susana Iguchi, denunció esto. Por esa causa hizo apresar y torturar a su esposa.  Su hija Keiko aceptó ser nombrada “primera dama” en lugar de su madre apresada y torturada.
Obligó a esterilizar forzadamente a mujeres indígenas para exterminar nuestra raza.
Cambió la Constitución para ser reelecto
Compró políticos, como se vio en un video de su principal asesor.
Organizó grupos de asesinos mercenarios como el grupo Colina que masacró a estudiantes y un profesor de La Universidad La Cantuta.
También el grupo Colina masacró en Barrios Altos.
El caso Pativilca, arriba mencionado, fue así: Los integrantes de Colina llegaron secuestraron a John Calderón Ríos (18), Toribio Ortiz Aponte (25), Felandro Castillo Manrique (38), Pedro Agüero Rivera (35), Ernesto Arias Velásquez (17) y César Rodríguez Esquivel (29).
Luego de reducirlos, los torturaron con quemaduras de soplete en diversas partes de sus cuerpos, incluido el ano; y además les propinaron patadas. Después de esto, los mataron con sendos disparos de bala en la cabeza y lanzaron sus cuerpos en un cañaveral.

Declinación
Apareció un video que mostró a su asesor Vladimiro Montesinos (ahora preso) comprando a un político opositor.
Fujimori anunció que habría elecciones y que él no postularía.
Luego viajó a la reunión del Foro de Cooperación Económica Asia-Pacífico (APEC) realizada en Brunei, desde ahí renunció a la presidencia por fax. Luego viajó a Japón, como también es ciudadano japonés por ser hijo de japoneses, ese país no lo enviaría al Perú.
Cercanas las elecciones en el Perú en 2006, viajó a Chile, pues sus partidarios le dijeron que el apoyo de la población peruana era grande.
Al pedido de extradición de Perú por los crímenes de su gobierno, Chile lo extraditó.
Fue encarcelado por las masacres de La Cantuta y Barrios Altos.

El indulto
Es un indulto político. Cuando el congreso votó la vacancia de PPK, Fujimori telefoneó a sus partidarios para que votaran en contra. En recompensa a eso PPK lo indultó.
Es ilegal, pues ahora existe la aceptación de extradición por otros delitos: La resolución de la Corte Suprema de Chile, que aprobó por unanimidad la ampliación de la extradición de Fujimori, habilita al Poder Judicial de Perú a seguir un proceso por el llamado caso Pativilca.
La ley peruana impide dar libertad a un preso cuando hay un proceso en curso. Por lo tanto es ilegal la liberación de Fujimori.

Internacional
Organizaciones de Derechos Humanos solicitaron una audiencia a la Corte Internacional de DDHH que será en febrero de 1918.
La Oficina Regional para América del Sur del Alto Comisionado para los Derechos Humanos (Acnudh), Fundación para el Debido Proceso (DPLF),  Centro por la Justicia y el Derecho Internacional (Cejil) y la Oficina en Washington para Asuntos Latinoamericanos (WOLA), opinan que no se respeta las normas internacionales de Derechos Humanos.
Corte Interamericana de DDHH cita a audiencia. Señala que participación de su médico de cabecera en junta médica afecta la imparcialidad del proceso y que derecho de gracia impide procesarlo por el caso Pativilca. Audiencia extraordinaria de la CIDH será el 2 de febrero. Tribunal supranacional advirtió que al haber dado el indulto, PPK incumplió obligaciones internacionales.

Renuncias en protesta contra el indulto
Renuncian 3 funcionarios del Ministerio de Justicia a causa del indulto
El director general de Derechos Humanos del Ministerio de Justicia renunció.
La prefecta (el más alto cargo político a nivel departamental) de Moquegua, Paulina Lourdes Cano Oviedo,  renuncia a su cargo y al partido del gobierno.
Renuncia el Ministro de Cultura Salvador del Solar.
Tres parlamentarios del partido del presidente renuncian a dicho partido.

Continúan las movilizaciones populares
Arequipa, Cusco, Puno y Tacna continúan protestando.
Gremios de Puno declaran traidor a PPK y saldrán a marchar a las calles. Dicen: “El fujimorismo llegó al poder a través de PPK. ¡Que se vayan todos!” refiriéndose a los políticos corruptos.
En el norte: Chiclayo, Trujillo Chimbote y Piura también se movilizaron.
La Confederación General de Trabajadores del Perú evalúa la posibilidad de un paro a nivel nacional.


28 Dec 2017

Spartacus



I have decided to blog about political films. Replacing vague ideas with clear images, so to speak. I spend too much time writing books and in an age of activism I am aware that the screen is more powerful than the word.


A classic to start off with is Spartacus (1960), its political virtues are legion.  Spartacus the leader of a slave rebellion was famously Karl Marx's favourite hero.  Indeed Marx wrote in a letter to Engels dated 27 February, 1861 that ' Spartacus is revealed as the most splendid fellow in the whole of ancient history. Great general (no Garibaldi), noble character, real representative of the ancient proletariat.'



While sadly cut from the first showings the film contained a classic advocacy of intersectionality in the famous scene discussing oysters and snails. It's all a matter of taste in republican Rome!





It is a call to revolution against tyrannical power.  The most powerful scene is where the captured slave army each one by one proclaim 'I am Spartacus', refusing to betray their leader to be crucified.







Its script editor Dalton Trumbo was had been black listed by Senator McCarthy but Kirk Douglas (who played Spartacus) insisted that he be credited.


Its sheer, occasionally kitschy entertainment value notwithstanding, Spartacusis a movie with a message that today comes across as somehow melodramatic — Slavery Bad, Freedom Good — and politically pointed; in fact, the anti-authoritarian rumblings that inform so much of the film are, in retrospect, utterly unsurprising. The screenplay was written by the great Dalton Trumbo, after all — perhaps the most famous of the men and women blacklisted during the "Red Scare" McCarthy era that rocked Hollywood, splintered friendships and torpedoed promising careers.


Trumbo, a member of the Communist party for five years in the 1940s, was blacklisted after refusing to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee, and spent 11 months in a federal penitentiary. Many of his later screenplays were written under pseudonyms. But Kirk Douglas insisted that Trumbo's credit for Spartacus be made public -- an act of conscience that is often cited as the beginning of the end for the blacklist era.


"Senator McCarthy was an awful man," Douglas once said. "He blacklisted the writers who wouldn't obey his edict. The heads of the studios were hypocrites who went along with it. Too many people were using false names. I was embarrassed. I was young enough to be impulsive, so even though I was warned against it, I used [Trumbo's] real name on the screen."


There have been numerous commentaries on either the film or the real life rebellion, Alan Woods is one to read for some more detail.


Perhaps we might leave the last word to Kirk Douglas who, of course, played Spartacus in the film, We've traveled a long ways together. We've fought many battles and won many victories. Now, instead of taking ships to our homes across the sea, we must fight again once more. Maybe there's no peace in this world, for us or for anyone else, I don't know. But I do know that as long as we live, we must remain true to ourselves


26 Dec 2017

Britain's Gulag

Review: Britain's Gulag: The Brutal End of Empire in Kenya by Caroline Elkins. Bodley Head: London (2014).



This is a devastating read.  We tend to think we are the good guys and girls but the historian Caroline Elkins catalogues in great and well referenced detail a tale of rape, degradation and humilation at the end of Britain's African empire.

During the 1950s Kenya's Kikuyu people, the largest ethnic group in the country, rose against British rule, largely because of increasing theft of their land which was given to white colonialists.  Access to land was both economically vital and essential to the construction of identity.  Drawing upon traditional religion Kikuyu people swore an oath to fight the colonialists and the Mau Mau rebellion was born.

White settlers viewed the Kikuyu as inhuman savages and a war of astonishing violence ensued with atrocities on both sides.

Caroline Elkins researched how virtually the entire Kikuyu population of 1.5 million people were forced into camps and brutalised. 

The accounts of the brutality, often utilizing sexual violence, are indefensible and difficult to repeat.  They are also very well documented by Elkins.  She interviewed former settlers who boasted of the violence they used as well as many inmates of the camps.  Records from religious organisations, local government, letters from inmates and many other sources are drawn upon, this a meticulous piece of historical research.

Elkins found  a systematic bias in UK government records:

I soon returned to Britain and then went on to Kenya for an exhaustive look into the official colonial records.  It wasn't long before I began questioning my earlier view of the camps and the British colonial government.  I found that countless documents pertaining to the detention camps either were missing from Britain's Public Record Office and the Kenya National Archives or were still classified as confidential some fifty years after the Mau Mau war. The British were meticulous record keepers in Kenya and elsewhere in their empire, making the absence of documentation on the camps all the more curious.  I came to learn that the colonial government had intentionally destroyed many of these missing files in massive bonfires on the eve of its retreat from Kenya.
 To give a sense of the destructive scale, three different departments within the colonial government kept individual files for each of the reported eighty thousand detainees in the camps.  This means there should have been at least 240,000 individual detainee files in the official archives.  I spent days and days searching for them in the catalog of Britain's coldly efficient Public Record Office and in the dusty but orderly file shelves of the Kenya National Archives, but in the end I unearthed only a few hundred in Nairobi and came up empty handed in London.
After years of combing through what remains of in the official archives, I discovered that there was a pattern to Britain's cleansing of the records.  Any ministry or department that dealt with the unsavoury side of detention was pretty well emptied of its files, whereas as those that ostensibly addressed detainee reform, or Britain's civilising mission, were left fairly intact. (Elkins 2014:x-xi)
This is a very important book to read to understand the realities of Britain's Empire, a subject which is ignored or even celebrated in the UK.  Indeed as I write there are reports that an ethics of Empire will defend Britain's Empire from those who call it 'wicked'.

Brtian's Gulag is nuanced.  The brutality of the Mau Mau is acknowledged and from dissenting Army officers, MPs as varied as Labour's Barbara Castle and the right wing Enoch Powell, British voices (sometimes unlikely) against the oppression get a hearing too.

However the way in which racism is cultivated to dehumanise is well described.  And once dehumanised individuals can be killed and tortured without pause.

Lets not view Britain's Gulag as of purely historical interest.  Its been recently revealed that numerous documents dealing with controversial episodes such as the Miners Strike and the Northern Ireland conflict are missing from the Public Record Office at Kew, which Elkins visited.  The search for peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland is pretty much ignored in the British media but the suppression of the Mau Mau sheds light on the Miami Show band massacre and the Glenanne Gang.  The process of white wash is continuous.

Elkins book is a must read.

23 Dec 2017

It was if he had been killed by ISIS all over again


My friend Mehmet Aksoy was killed by Isis in Raqqa, Syria on 26th September this year.  He had been working as a journalist and communications officer for the Peoples Defence Force (YPG).  He was not a fighter but there instead to tell a story about how the Kurds and their allies were working to defeat the so called Islamic State and to promote the alternative of a democratic, diverse society. 

Tragically at least five British citizens who have fought as members of the YPG or like Mehmet worked to support them without being fighters have been killed in Syria.  Just weeks ago, Jac Holmes, an IT worker from Bournemouth died while clearing land mines.

Mehmet’s funeral (see above) saw 3,000 people attend and he was buried in Highgate Cemetery in North London, near to Karl Marx.  I had worked with Mehmet on a couple of projects including a fundraising event for refugees and he had commissioned me to write a piece about Elinor Ostrom (an economist) and Rojava.  I like many others shed some tears when he was buried.

The Kurds and their allies in Northern Syria are continuously threatened by the Turkish Army, as I write, they are poised to invade and attack.  The increasingly dictatorial Erdogan regime has money, power and influence and is on a propaganda offensive against Rojava (Kurdish for ‘the west’) the self-governing Kurdish portion of Syria.

British fighters with the YPG have been on the front line in the fight to defeat ISIS but they don’t get any praise over here in the UK.  Indeed, they are often put on trial and Theresa May’s government treat them as if they were members of ISIS not the people who defeated ISIS!

I was dismayed to read an account in a Turkish newspaper by John Woodcock, theLabour Party MP for Barrow-in-Furness condemning the YPG and calling them terrorists.  I would simply ask John to meet and talk with my friends the Scurfields whose son, a former British marine, was killed in Syria fighting with the YPG against ISIS.  To me and many others Konstandinos Scurfield was a hero not a terrorist.  I would ask John to talk to former British fighters like Macer Gifford or Kimmie Taylor, there is another perspective to that of the Turkish government.  He might do well to meet the families of others British people who have died in Syria or perhaps those who have been rescued from slavery under ISIS by the Kurds and their allies.

I can see that John might not want to talk to former fighters or their families but I would ask him to consider that Turkish hostility to the YPG might be based on a history of discrimination.  Turkey criminalises discussion of the Armenian genocide and Kurds are strongly persecuted in the country still.




For me when I read John Woodcock’s opinions it was as if Mehmet had been murdered all over again.  If like me you view the YPG as a force for good rather than terrorists you might want to send John a polite email via his office on john.woodcock.mp@parliament.uk or you can find him on twitter at @jwoodcockmp  



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