The US District Court for the Southern District of New York unsealed an indictment Dec. 20 filed against Hezbollah operative Samuel Salman El Reda for his alleged involvement in a bomb attack on a Jewish community center in Argentina three decades ago. The 20-page indictment concerns the 1994 bombing of the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people and caused hundreds of injuries. The US government claims El Reda collaborated with the Hezbollah-linked Islamic Jihad Organization (IJO) in the attack.
English-language media accounts are calling Argentina's far-right president-elect Javier Milei a "self-described anarcho-capitalist," but this appears to be a translation error. In Episode 203 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg sets the record straight, exposing "anarcho-capitalism" as an oxymoron and the fascistic Milei as antithetical to everything that Argentina's proud anarchist tradition ever stood for. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.
The families of the men, women and children killed or disappeared during the 1973-1990 dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet will finally have the official support of the state in their search for their missing kin. As Chile prepared to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the military coup on Sept. 11, President Gabriel Boric presented the country's first National Search Plan, aimed at finding and identifying the remains of those who are still missing. So far only 307 sets of remains have been found and identified out of 1,469 officially listed as having been "disappeared" or murdered by the dictatorship. The plan, announced on Aug. 30, the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, includes an ongoing budget to explore sites where the victims may have been buried, and the use of new software to centralize and digitalize the information dispersed across the justice system, human rights organizations, and national archives. The move represents a significant if belated step forward in a country where, until now, it has been left to the victims' relatives and civil society groups to seek truth and justice. (The New Humanitarian)
Thousands of indigenous people from the northwestern Argentine province of Jujuy arrived in Buenos Aires on Aug. 2 after marching cross-country to protest a provincial constitutional reform allowing greater lithium extraction from the lands they reside on. The marchers said that increased mining of lithium would exacerbate drought conditions, and cause soil contamination and other environmental damage. The protesters called on the Argentine Supreme Court to strike down the reform, saying indigenous voices were largely left out of the debate that led to its approval. Justice Minister Martín Soria asked the court to declare the reform unconstitutional in June, citing indigenous rights concerns.
With the return of El Niño, rising temperatures are leading to a surge of life-threatening weather patterns across the globe. While Europe experiences new record temperatures, in Latin America drought is affecting countries in unprecedented ways. In Uruguay, the lack of rain has emptied one of the capital's main reservoirs, forcing the government to declare a state of emergency in Montevideo and to add salty water to public drinking water supplies—provoking protests from citizens angry over the significant decline of water quality. While the country faces its worst drought in the past 74 years, critics accuse the government of prioritizing water use by transnationals and agribusinesses over human consumption. News of a plan to build a Google data center that would require 3.8 million liters of water a day further infuriated Uruguayans. On July 13, UN experts called on the Uruguayan authorities to take action to protect citizens' access to clean drinking water.
Crowds supporting former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro on Jan. 8 infiltrated and vandalized the country's seats of power, one week after the inauguration of left-wing President Luiz Inácio "Lula" da Silva. Demonstrators smashed the windows of the the National Congress building and stormed its senate chamber. Protesters then breached the Supreme Federal Tribunal (STF), entering the main courtroom clad in Brazillian flags. Many also forced their way into the Planalto Palace, the presidential building. In an event eerily reminiscent of the January 2020 attack on the US Capitol, a large mass of protesters could be seen gathering outside the National Congress building while others streamed into its hallways and chamber. Protests have also been reported outside the country's Presidential Palace. Clashes between police and protesters have been reported, but one journalist tweeted a video of what appears to be a Federal District Military Police officer taking a selfie with demonstrators.
Faculty at the University of São Paulo produced a "Manifesto for Democracy" in response to threats by President Jair Bolsonaro not to respect the results of Brazil's upcoming elections if he loses. The letter was released and read aloud at an event at the university on Aug. 11—the date of the release of a similar manifesto in 1977, opposing the military dictatorship then in power. The letter has accrued more than 800,000 signatures. However, the day before the manifesto's release, the computer system collecting the signatures was debilitated by a "distributed denial of service" (DDoS) attack. The IP addresses indicated that the attack originated in Russia. (Brazilian Report)
Argentina has seen weeks of mass protests in response to a rapidly deepening economic crisis. Prices for basic goods are skyrocketing, leaving many struggling to make ends meet. The protest wave began on Argentina's independence day, July 9, when thousands marched on the presidential palace. Dubbed the "Argentinazo," the mobilization was held in Buenos Aires and cities across the country. Last week, center-left President Alberto Fernández named his second new economy minister in less than a month, as his own coalition has fractured over how to handle the burdensome national debt.