This video says about itself:
Latin Americans stand up to homophobia
17 May 2016
This video from the USA says about itself:
Donald Trump Tries To Backpedal But Can’t Stop Saying Racist Things
6 July 2015
Donald Trump continues putting his foot in his mouth, Trump retweeted something he probably regrets and made hideous comments about Univision. When Trump was asked by Fox & Friends whether or not his brand has been damaged he gave a surprisingly honest answer. Cenk Uygur, host of The Young Turks breaks it down. …
Read more here.
By Patrick Martin in the USA:
Trump redoubles racist invective against Mexican immigrants
9 July 2015
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump issued a statement Monday in which he reiterated and amplified his racist comments about Mexico and Mexican immigrants. The three-page written statement was a calculated doubling-down in the billionaire’s appeal to fascistic sentiments in the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party.
Trump cited the case of a young woman in San Francisco allegedly shot to death last week by an undocumented Mexican immigrant as proof of his claim that immigrants are criminals, rapists, drug smugglers and generally “the worst elements of Mexico.” The incident has been seized on by the entire political establishment, most notably Democratic Party front-runner Hillary Clinton, to denounce the city’s “sanctuary laws”.
Trump added, using language reminiscent of Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels, “Likewise, tremendous infectious disease is pouring across the border. The United States has become a dumping ground for Mexico and, in fact, for many other parts of the world.”
Trump portrayed immigration from Mexico as the product of a conspiracy by the Mexican government to drive out its own criminal class and export it to the United States.
“The Mexican Government wants an open border as long as it’s a ONE WAY open border into the United States,” he claimed. “Not only are they killing us at the border, but they are killing us on trade … and the country of Mexico is making billions of dollars in doing so.”
Trump’s portrayal of Mexico as the predator and the US as the hapless victim would be ludicrous if it were not so reactionary and sinister. The United States seized nearly half of Mexico’s territory in the war of 1848, and has long dominated economic and political life in its southern neighbor.
The rise of American imperialism led to significant US investment in Mexican agribusiness, oil and mining. This was accompanied by major military interventions during the 1911-1919 Mexican Revolution, including the landing of US Marines at the port of Tampico and the invasion of northern Mexico by Army troops headed by General John J. Pershing, in futile pursuit of the revolutionary guerrilla army of Pancho Villa.
Mexican immigrant labor was a central factor for decades in the development of both California and Texas, particularly in agriculture, and later in construction and sweatshop industries like garment manufacturing. The US ruling class continues to reap vast profits from the toil of superexploited immigrants from across the Rio Grande, including Trump himself.
Reporters for the Washington Post interviewed workers at a Trump hotel construction site not far from the White House in downtown Washington, and found the workforce predominately consisting of immigrants from Mexico and Central America.
Some of the workers had choice comments about their billionaire employer-once-removed (Trump’s construction project uses labor subcontracted through another company).
Ramon Alvarez, 48, a window-framer originally from El Salvador, asked, “Do you think that when we’re hanging out there from the eighth floor that we’re raping or selling drugs? We’re risking our lives and our health. A lot of the chemicals we deal with are toxic.”
David Montoya, another Salvadoran immigrant, drives a truck at the construction site. The 28-year-old arrived in the United States at the age of 10, and has built a life based on hard work, with three US-born children and a home he and his wife purchased in the suburb of Silver Spring, Maryland. Reacting to Trump’s slurs against immigrant workers, he told the Post, “Actually, we’re more American than him.”
These sentiments are in sharp contrast to the obvious reluctance of Republican politicians to condemn Trump’s comments or the anti-immigrant prejudices he gives voice to.
Most recently, Wyoming billionaire Foster Friess, who more or less single-handedly financed the presidential campaign of former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum in 2012, sent a letter to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus warning against any effort to pile on Trump or ostracize him. He called for Republican candidates to stay on the “civility reservation.”
Friess claimed he had the support of Las Vegas casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who financed Newt Gingrich’s 2012 campaign, and Todd Rickets, co-owner of the Chicago Cubs baseball team and a leading financial backer of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in 2016.
The Associated Press reported that former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has responded favorably to the appeal from Friess, expressing his “hope that we don’t commit fratricide again as a party.”
Two leading right-wing publications sounded the same note in relation to Trump, with the Weekly Standard ’s William Kristol describing his comments as “crude and reprehensible” but appealing to a “genuine concern about illegal immigrants.”
Rich Lowry of National Review wrote that Trump’s comments “did more to insult than to illuminate, yet there was a kernel in them that hit on an important truth that typical politicians either don’t know or simply fear to speak.”
He continued: “Trump’s rant on immigration is closer to reality than the gauzy clichés of the immigration romantics unwilling to acknowledge that there might be an issue welcoming large numbers of high school dropouts into a 21st century economy. If we don’t want to add to the ranks of the poor, the uninsured and the welfare dependent, we should have fewer low-skilled immigrants—assuming saying that is not yet officially considered a hate crime.”
Lowry is simply articulating in more sophisticated language precisely what Trump does more crudely and provocatively: deliberately instigating fear and hatred of immigrants in order to divide the working class and pit American-born workers against their foreign-born sisters and brothers.
There is a division of labor here, similar to that in the Jim Crow South, when the Ku Klux Klan fomented racism in the crudest terms, while the White Citizens Councils performed the same task with greater respectability, using the language of the Chamber of Commerce rather than the gutter.
As part of the UK Conservative government’s plan to restrict immigration levels to “tens of thousands” by 2020, further restrictions on non-European Union (EU) workers will come into effect in April 2016. The most vicious measure proposed is the deportation of 30,000 or more non-EU workers, who fail to earn more than £35,000 [$US 54,000] per annum, after being in Britain for six years: here.
This video says about itself:
From the blog of the tropical hothouse in the botanical garden of Leiden, the Netherlands:
Butterflies in the Victoria Glasshouse
27 May 2014
Where are the butterflies?
There are a few, but not very many. We would like to show you some butterflies, but we are a botanical garden so the plants are our main focus.
Which butterflies can you see here?
Caterpillar food plants
The caterpillars of the Morpho peleides (emperor butterfly) feed on leaves of various plants in the legume, or pea, family. A relative of the morpho, the Caligo memnon (owl butterfly), can be seen here too. The caterpillars of this species feed on banana leaves.
The Heliconius (longwing butterfly) and Dryas julia (orange longwing butterfly) lay their eggs almost exclusively on passiflora plants. These plants are poisonous but this doesn’t affect the caterpillars. In fact, they become poisonous themselves.
The Greta oto (glasswing butterfly) does not like very high temperatures and thrives best during the winter and spring. This inconspicuous caterpillar feeds on the highly poisonous Cestrum nocturnum. Just like the longwing butterflies, the caterpillars are not harmed by this poison but become poisonous themselves.
This is a video in Spanish about the exhibition “Perder la forma humana” (“Losing the Human Form: A seismic image of the 1980s in Latin America” in English.)
By Armando Cruz:
Artistic resistance to the US-backed juntas
Losing the Human Form: A seismic image of the 1980s in Latin America
10 April 2014
During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Latin America was a social powder keg. The growth of the working class, as millions left the countryside for the cities, and the increasing radicalization of the times ultimately led the workers into a direct confrontation with the respective national bourgeoisies and imperialism. …
CIA-backed coups in Chile in 1973 and Argentina in 1976 crushed the two most promising revolutionary opportunities and led to “Operation Condor,” the infamous network of dictatorships that coordinated the hunting down and slaughter of socialist-minded workers and youth in the following years.
In this hellish situation of death and repression, one would think the emergence of artists opposed to the powers-that-be would be almost impossible, but that wasn’t the case.
“Losing the Human Form: A seismic image of the 1980s in Latin America” is a fascinating compilation of works of the time that voiced opposition to the militarized regimes of the region, exposed their criminality and attacked their ideological foundations. The assorted selections—“artistic interventions,” silk screen works, posters, photography, street performance, graphic art—will leave no viewer unmoved and present a powerful testimony to the suffering, loss and the outrage of the times.
The exhibition was organized by the Madrid-based Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and 31 investigators from the Red de Conceptualismos del Sur (Southern Conceptualisms Network), an “international platform of work, thought, and taking a stand” that aims to promote and restore the most critical works of art of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, with the aim of “reactivating such critical potential today.” The exhibition debuted in Madrid in 2012 and recently finished its presentation in Lima, Peru, where it was well received.
The exhibition begins by explaining its title. “It refers, on the one hand, to the slaughter and murder by the dictatorship and wars within and to the metamorphosis of the bodies and, on the other, to the experiences of freedom that ran parallel as resistance and subversion during the 80s.”
Located next to this text is “Hablo por mi diferencia” (“I speak for my difference”), a photograph of Chilean gay author and Stalinist Pedro Lemebel, with the hammer-and-sickle painted on his face. Approaching this image, one hears a speech Lemebel delivered about the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile interwoven with “The Internationale,” the international workers anthem.
The first installation, “Doing politics with nothing,” deals with social movements and activism during the 1980s, which “sought to make visible everything that was erased by the dictatorships and democratic peace accords.” This finds expression in the Siluetazo (“The Big Silhouetting”), which involves creating a silhouette by tracing a volunteer’s body on a large piece of paper and writing the name of one of the desaparecidos (the victims who “disappeared” under the Latin American, CIA-backed dictatorships), or texts such as “I am a victim of the dictatorship. They tortured, disappeared and killed me. Have you forgotten me?”
Photographs by Argentinean Eduardo Gil show dozens of people gathered in a Buenos Aires square painting the silhouettes on the ground; protesters carrying placards with the silhouettes bearing the names of “disappeared” relatives and friends; walls with the silhouettes pasted on them; and, inevitably, policemen tearing the silhouettes down.
Another example of “doing politics with nothing” is “Arte al paso” (“fast art”), political silk screen works that aspire to be “cheap, fast, street-oriented and popular,” just like “fast food.” Despite emerging at different times and in different contexts, the various “fast art” works are linked by the desire to intervene in the struggles of the working class through media that can be easily reproduced.
The collective Paréntesis (Peru, 1979), for example, made agit-prop collages supporting a strike by SUTEP, the teacher’s union, while Taller E.P.S. Huayco (Peru, 1980-1981) combined dozens of hammer-and-sickles to form a huge portrait of Communist poet Cesar Vallejo. The Plastic Youths Association (Chile) supported working class struggles and the fight against the amnesty for the Pinochet regime, rethinking political posters with Dadaist-like aesthetics.
CAPaTaCo (Argentina) mocked the politicians of its time—including Argentina’s right-wing president Carlos Menem and former US president George H.W. Bush—vandalizing posters in public places with silk screen-produced material. Many members of CAPaTaCo were aligned with the Morenoite Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) and produced propaganda for it, including a pop-art collage of four portraits of Trotsky.
In between those two installations, curators placed a map of Latin America on the floor and covered it with broken pieces of Coca-Cola bottles.
The Art Action Collective (Colectivo de Acciones de Arte, CADA), a Chilean art collective, is represented by a 1985 performance of “Viuda” (“Widow”). In this “intervention” a solitary woman in black dances the cueca —declared by the dictator Pinochet to be Chile’s national dance. The performance speaks to the loss of the disappeared and the suffering imposed on those who survived them, most of them women.
In 1989, at the headquarters of the Human Rights Commission in Santiago de Chile, the “Mares of the Apocalypse,” a duo formed by artists Francisco Casas and Pedro Lemebel, arrive and dance a gay cueca on that aforementioned map of Latin America “in the face of the government’s repression, the danger of AIDS contagion, the wounding pieces of glass and the baffled commission members,” in order to “denaturalize” and “demystify” the image of the suffering, selfless woman.
The next section of the exhibition presents three experimental theater groups from the late 1970s and early 1980s, whose focus on “artistic interventions” probably lifted them, on artistic terms, above most of the other artists in the exhibition.
The Theater Investigation Workshop (Taller de Investigaciones Teatrales, TIT), the Cucaño Experimental Group (Grupo Experimental Cucaño, GEC)–from Buenos Aires and Rosario in Argentina, respectively–and On a Trip without a Passport (Viajou Sem Passaporte, VSP) from São Paulo, Brazil declare their aim to “reclaim a revolutionary art for the creation of a new surrealist movement in a time when militarist repression had suffocated the emancipatory revolutionary movements.” Appealing to “imagination, provocation and collective creation” they tried to “transform normal existing conditions.” …
“For fewer artists—and more men and women who make art,” was the Brazilian VSP’s motto, printed at the top of the wall dedicated to the group. “Intervention as a method of transgressing the ideologies that rule art production,” reads their manifesto. “Our function is to violate contemporary art’s restrictive conventionalities and build the basis of liberated mankind’s sensitive expression that lies in the future.”
Another passage declares: “Today artistic production has owners and masters at the expense of the sacrifice and usurpation of its true end as a means of enriching humanity’s perception. […] Artistic Intervention as art production serves to subvert the bourgeois ideology of production by tearing from its claws the creative act, the designated space (a cloister of weekend pastime), in order to transgress with full and true art the convulsion of imagination in conscious and ordinary reality.”
Argentina’s Cucaño, a group of 15 to 20-year-old artists, according to another text, believed the most important source of art was life, reality and all its potential. This outlook was based, in no small part, on the influence of André Breton’s writings and manifestos, which they themselves cite, but also on the urgency of responding to the crushing of revolutionary potential inside the country.
The group wrote: “Rosario is one of the cities hardest hit by the military dictatorship’s repression […] Young people who never witnessed the coup, live with its consequences: disinformation, isolation, and violent coercion. Now that we lack everything for our cultural development […] we feel stronger than ever the necessity to revert to life, our life.”
One of the most famous “interventions” by the group was on display in documentary format. The Penetration or the “Lautreamontian Surge” (named after the Comte de Lautréamont [Isidore-Lucien Ducasse], the French poet and one of surrealism’s heroes) was a satirical attack on the Catholic Church that took place inside a church in 1982 (the documentary begins with comments by Argentinean priests defending the dictatorship).
“We went there because we knew many military families were attending it. It was an oligarchic mass,” recalls member Carlos Ghioldi. Dressed in tuxedos and black sunglasses, they performed several bizarre and simultaneous acts to create a sort of “counter-mass,” shocking the audience. “It was pure theater, [French playwright-director Antonin] Artaud’s theater idea,” explains member Guillermo Giampietro.
In Brazil, the same motives impelled art collectives like Viajou Sem Passaporte, 3Nos3 and Manga Rosa, who engaged in so-called “inter-versions”: artistic interventions to “revert the order” in public places.
VSP declared in one of its manifestos: “We want to end the mysticism of … techniques that arbitrarily separate those who know from those who don’t, those who can from those who can’t, those who consume from those who don’t. Our only weapons for this activity are our bodies, our creativity and our belief in the liberation of mankind.”
The Brazilian group performed provocative public acts without permission, such as placing plastic boxes on the heads of statues of national heroes, or the simulation of massive intoxication during an international art encounter—1982’s Alterarte II, with the participation of TIT and Cucaño—that ended in a scandal and the arrest of those involved.
The Gang collective, also from Brazil, was also active in the public arena, but its target was the “castrating austerity” and the “moral repression” of the Brazilian dictatorship (1964-1985), which they attempted to subvert through sexual liberation. In 1982, members of the collective invaded Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro and began to recite poems of their “Movimento de Arte Pornô” (Porn Art Movement) to a crowd of dozens while they undressed, in defiance of governmental repression. This act was recorded on video and projected at the exhibition.
Sexual liberation under conditions of repression was also the subject of Peruvian photographer and performance artist Sergio Zevallos’s work. Rosa Cordis (1986) is a series of self-portraits with Zevallos dressed as a transvestite version of Santa Rosa—patron saint of Lima—in a bloodstained corner. Zevallos’s target was not only the Catholic Church, which supported military repression during Peru’s so-called Internal Conflict of the 1980s, but to also expose violence against gays and other minorities.
While the most powerful element of the exhibition lies in its reminding us of the courage and spirit of resistance of dozens of artists throughout the region, it should be noted that one of the principal reasons for the show’s considerable success, both in Madrid and Lima, is the absence today of artists committed to social change.
The majority of young people who were born in the time period covered by the exhibition not only have never encountered such an art movement, but have never experienced a mass social movement. The work on display in the exhibition stands in sharp contrast to a cultural world presently dominated by postmodernism and its rejection of art as a means of understanding and changing the world.
Why have artists and collectives with similar (or even more sharply focused) objectives not arisen when the conditions of the working class are worse today than in those previous decades, not only in Latin America, but around the world?
The Red de Conceptualismos del Sur, the organization that put on the exhibition, refers on its website to “state violence” as the main reason for the dismantling of the “emancipatory project.” Since then, the authors write, the “inoculation of collective memory by the state apparatuses, defensive oblivion assimilated by the civil society, the depoliticization of subjectivities in their rearrangement within neoliberal economies [and] the beautification of the counterculture” have prevented the “reactivation” of art linked to social movements and revolutionary change.
All true, no doubt. But the brain of the socially committed artist is designed not only to receive blows, one after another, but also to nourish itself from the outside world and its possibilities of change. The artists who emerged in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s were products of different circumstances, found themselves in an extraordinary period and carried forward an art inspired directly by revolutionary social aspirations (either during the rising radical tide or its crushing and the time of mourning).
The artists of today are heirs to a culturally reactionary era. An era that arises from the “end of history,” the elevation of the pursuit of individualistic achievement in place of that of the common social good, the glorification of money and social status and the intellectually toxic dissemination of postmodernism.
However, the objective socioeconomic factors that produced the uprisings of the 1960s and 1970s have not disappeared. On the contrary, the current crisis of capitalism is bringing them back all over the world with unimaginable destructive force, which will once again bring Latin American workers on the offensive and thus create once again the conditions for the emergence of new artists with important and world-changing political and artistic objectives. “Losing the Human Form” provides a basis of inspiration for this future, which may be not that far off.
This video from Australia is called Solidarity with Honduras.
From daily The Guardian in Britain:
Latin America: how the US has allied with the forces of reaction
Honduras three years ago created a new template of the US backing coups to compensate for lost influence on the continent
Friday 29 June 2012 16.37 BST
It was three years ago this week that the Honduran military launched an assault on the home of President Mel Zelaya, kidnapped him, and flew him out of the country. The Obama administration, according to its own conversations with the press, knew about the coup in advance. But the first statement from the White House – unlike those from the rest of the world – did not condemn the coup.
That sent a message to the Honduran dictatorship, and to the diplomatic community: the US government supported this coup and would do what it could to make sure it succeeded. And that is exactly what ensued. Unlike Washington and its few remaining rightwing allies in the hemisphere, most of Latin America saw the coup as a threat to democracy in the region and, indeed, to their own governments.
“It would be enough for someone to stage a civilian coup, backed by the armed forces, or simply a civilian one and later justify it by convoking elections,” Argentine President Cristina Fernández told South American leaders. “And then democratic guarantees would truly be fiction.”
For that reason, South America refused to recognize the Honduran “elections” held six months later under the dictatorship. But Washington wanted the coup regime legitimized. The Obama administration blocked the Organization of American States (OAS) from taking action to restore democracy before “elections” were held.
“We have intelligence reports that say that after Zelaya, I’m next,” said President Rafael Correa of Ecuador, after the Honduran coup. This turned out to be correct: in September of 2010, a rebellion by police held Correa hostage in a hospital until he was freed, after a prolonged shootout between the police and loyal troops of the armed forces. It was another attempted coup against a social-democratic president in Latin America.
Last week, Cristina Fernández’ warning against a “civilian coup” proved prescient in Paraguay.
The US government is withholding funds to Honduran police units supervised by their national police chief until it investigates allegations that he ran a death squad a decade ago: here.
What can a coup buy? In Honduras, fully privatized cities: here.
This video is called Latin America v. Obama: U.S. Policy Under Fire at Colombian Summit.
By Bill Van Auken in the USA:
Americas Summit ends in fiasco for Obama
17 April 2012
The Americas Summit held in Cartagena, Colombia over the weekend limped to a close Sunday with the 30-some participating heads of state unable to reach agreement on a joint statement. Preventing any consensus were sharp disagreements between Washington and virtually all the countries to its south over Cuba, the Malvinas and the “war on drugs.”
For Obama, the two-day summit was an unmitigated fiasco, with the positions of his government opposed by every other participating nation outside of Canada, and news reports of the gathering in the United States overshadowed by a prostitution scandal at a Cartagena hotel involving 11 members of the US president’s Secret Service detail and five American military personnel.
This was the second Americas Summit to end with no closing statement for the participants to sign. Obama attended the last one, held in Trinidad in 2009, after barely three months in office, and Washington made a concerted attempt to present the young African-American president as a sea change from the policies of the Bush administration, which were wildly unpopular in the hemisphere.
For all Obama’s rhetoric about having come to Trinidad to inaugurate a new era of “mutual respect and equality,” three years later it has become abundantly clear that his Democratic administration has pursued a Latin American policy that is essentially unchanged from that of its predecessor. This has centered on a continuation of the half-century economic blockade against Cuba, the promotion of Free Trade Agreements crafted to further the interests of US-based banks and transnational corporations and the prosecution of a militarized “war on drugs” designed to further US military hegemony in the region.
Aspects of this policy came under direct attack at the Cartagena summit. Unlike the gathering three years ago, Washington was unable this time to prevent Cuba being placed on the agenda.
At the 2009 summit, Obama deflected criticism by announcing minimal changes to the US ban on travel and restrictions on remittances to Cuba, vowing a “new beginning” in US-Cuban relations. Since then, Washington has taken no steps to ease, much less end, the trade embargo against Cuba.
In Cartagena, Obama insisted that Cuba could not be allowed to attend the summits because it “has not yet moved to democracy.” Latin American critics of Washington’s policy have pointed to a wide range of dictatorships, from the Middle East to Central Asia, with which the US maintains the closest ties.
A meeting of foreign ministers held to draft a statement for the heads of state to sign voted 32 to two (the US and Canada) to end the exclusion of Cuba from the summits, a policy that dates back some 50 years, to when Washington dictated to the Organization of American States a quarantine policy against the Caribbean island nation in the wake of the 1959 revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power. As the summit statements are based on consensus, this veto precluded the issuing of a closing document.
In response, a number of countries indicated that they would adopt the policy pursued by Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa, who this year refused to participate in a summit that excluded Cuba. The ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America) countries, which include Bolivia, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Venezuela, as well as Cuba and four Caribbean nations, issued a statement vowing that they would not attend another summit without Cuba’s participation and demanding an end to the US economic and financial embargo against the island nation.
Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff expressed a similar view, declaring that the Cartagena summit “must be the last one without Cuba.”
On the issue of the Malvinas (Falklands) the countries of Latin America similarly took a unanimous position of support for Argentina’s claims to sovereignty over the islands and of opposition to British rule as a remnant of colonialism. The US, however, opposed any statement of support, insisting that it was neutral in the conflict.
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez Kirchner took a car to the airport as soon as the group photograph was snapped, skipping the second day of the conference. This early departure spared her listening to Obama’s remarks spelling out US neutrality in which he referred to the South Atlantic islands as the “the Maldives [sic] or the Falklands, whatever your preferred term.”
On the issue of drugs, Obama also found himself largely isolated in his defense of the US-led strategy of a militarized war on drugs. Washington backed this strategy over the course of two decades through Plan Colombia, which saw billions of dollars in military aid, equipment and advisors sent to the South American country. It is now prosecuting a similar bloody struggle in Mexico through Plan Merida and is spreading it to Central America through the Central American Regional Initiative.
Though sidelined by the Secret Service scandal, last month’s Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, was an event of considerable significance. There are three major reasons: Cuba, the drug war, and the isolation of the United States: here.
Secret Service Prostitute Scandal: 12th Military Member Implicated: here.
US and Colombian unions fight Free Trade deal: here.
U.S.’s Post-Afghanistan Counterinsurgency War: Colombia: here.
The Organisation of American States has backed Argentina’s claim to the Falklands Islands and called on London and Buenos Aires to begin talks towards a peaceful resolution of the dispute: here.
US base fracas exposes Argentine vulnerability. The recently shelved deal over a military facility hints at the potential US manipulation of domestic politics: here.