Today's New York Times (12/20/10) brings the latest from the WikiLeaks cables, an interesting pieceabout how Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) went to Honduras after the coup to praise the new government and hopefully arrange business deals for his friends. Unfortunately the Times bungles the story of the coup itself: Honduras had grabbed international headlines starting in June 2009, when its president at the time, Manuel Zelaya, was detained and then sent into exile, based on a fear by other elected officials there that he was scheming to remain in office despite a one-term limit in HondurasÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢”Å¡Â¬ÃƒÂ¢”Å¾Â¢ Constitution. Mr. Rohrabacher, challenging [...]
NewYork Times (12/3/10): Mr. Karzai first burst onto the international stage in the style of Che Guevara, slipping over the Afghan border from Pakistan in 2001 as United States forces pounded the Taliban, before being installed by the West. President George W. Bush invited him to his first State of the Union speech after September 11, 2001, where Mr. Karzai sat in the audience as a symbol of heroes who emerged from the terrorist attacks. Yep, just like Che–you remember when he was installed into power by the U.S., and then invited to the State of the Union address.
The emerging hero of the Chilean miners' story–in Latin America and elsewhere, if not in the U.S.–is Luis UrzÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÂºa, a topographer who took a job at the San José mines as a shift foreman while awaiting the start of new a job in his field. NASA officials working on the rescue called UrzÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÂºa "a natural leader," but his most important accomplishment was getting the 33 miners through the first 17 days of their crisis, when all they had was enough food for two days, dirty water and no idea if a rescue effort was even underway. Besides implementing food rationing [...]
After the miners' rescue Wednesday, talk in Chile turned to mine safety and the conduct of CompaÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÂ±ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÂa Minera San Esteban, the corporation that owns the San Jose mines where the miners were trapped. On Thursday, Chilean President SebastiÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÂ¡n PiÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÂ±era publicly addressed safety issues, vowing "fundamental changes in how businesses treat their workers." Stories about San Esteban's horrible record are legion (e.g., here and here). The company has been host to a number of deaths at its mines in recent years, and accusations of safety violations including the charge that it ignored orders to install safety equipment–a condition of its reopening [...]
Longtime Hugo Chavez critic Jackson Diehl leads his Washington Post column today (9/27/10) Debate in Washington about Hugo ChÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÂ¡vez –to the extent that it exists–generally centers on whether the Venezuelan strongman is a genuine threat to the United States or a buffoonish nuisance who is best ignored. This narrow debate over Chavez's rule in Venezuela is something FAIR has documented on the country's top op-ed pages. Of course, Diehl's point is that Chavez is a genuine threat, so anyone who takes the other position–that he's merely an annoying buffoon–is naive.
Daniel Hernandez wrote an article for Extra! last year (6/09) about the tendency of U.S. corporate media to treat Mexican violence as a phenomenon that threatens to "spill over" into the U.S.–as in New York Times headlines like "Drug Cartel Violence Spills Over From Mexico, Alarming U.S." (3/23/09) and "Wave of Drug Violence Is Creeping Into Arizona From Mexico, Officials Say" (2/24/09). Hernandez's article, "Does Violence 'Spill Over' or Come Home to Roost?," questioned this framing of the story: It is a treatment of Mexico's crisis as something foreign, unknown and dangerous, as opposed to a threat affecting an intimately [...]
As Steve Rendall explained here last week,the recent Washington Post editorial ("Colombia Proves Again That Venezuela Is Harboring FARC Terrorists") doesn't really back up its argument that there is some sort of Venezuelan conspiracy to aid the Colombia rebel group FARC. "That Venezuela is backing a terrorist movement against a neighboring democratic government has been beyond dispute since at least 2008," the Post claimed–though there is most certainly a dispute about that evidence. On Saturday (7/31/10), the Post printed an article by Latin America correspondent Juan Forero, which took a look at this controversy.What's most notable is that he doesn't [...]
L.A. Times film critic Kenneth Turan (7/2/10), reviewing Oliver Stone's documentary South of the Border, remarks in passing that "a recent piece in the New York Times pointed out numerous errors" in the film's discussion of Latin American politics. Turan might have noticed that the Times' supposed debunking, by former Latin American correspondent Larry Rohter, has itself been quite thoroughly debunked. But even more important when pointing out a filmmaker's "numerous errors" is to avoid making glaring errors of one's own, as Turan did when he recommended other documentaries similar to Stone's: If you are interested in the fascinating events [...]
Veteran actor and activist Peter Coyote (SFChronicle.com, 5/30/09) writes about big media's overriding response to the "Largest Environmental Lawsuit in History–Silence." Taking a look at "the practices that are going on behind Chevron's carefully cultivated 'green' image" as they "drill for oil in the jungles of the Ecuadorian Amazon," Coyote does give credit to the Washington Post reporting of "several damning letters" like "an internal 1972 memo…instructing Texaco [now Chevron] officials in Ecuador to report only spills that attracted the attention of the news media." Nonetheless: This is a case of epic proportions, where our commons, the lungs of the [...]
Voter turnout in last weekend's Haitian Senate elections was very low; observers cited in a Reuters report, "Haitians Largely Boycott Senate Election," estimated it at less than 10 percent, which an Al Jazeera report attributed in part to "resentment over the banning of a popular party"–Fanmi Lavalas–as well as disenchantment with the ruling government and poverty. A short Associated Press report published in the New York Times (4/20/09) about the vote had an odd spin on these issues: The success of Sunday's election was threatened by voter apathy and opposition from the Fanmi Lavalas Party of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. [...]