Wednesday, December 19, 2018

U.S. must pay reparations to survivors of 1000's of victims of George HW Bush's 1989 invasion of Panama

By Grahame Russell - Rights Action

"To allow any of them to pass into the comfort of forgetting would be utterly obscene."
-Lawrence Thornton, Imagining Argentina

Around midnight, December 19, 1989, the U.S. unleashed a massive “shock and awe” invasion of Panama, attacking from the air, the water and on land. 1000s of Panamanians civilians were killed within days; many more wounded. Entire neighborhoods were razed to the ground.

On October 5, 2018, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ruled that: “the United States of America … provide full reparation for the human rights violations established in [this] report, including both the material and moral dimensions; Adopt measures that provide both financial compensation and satisfaction.”

· Jose Isabel Salas & others v. United States – Report No. 121/18, Case 10.573:

(In late December, 1989, at a place called the Garden of Peace, the U.S. military dumped 123 Panamanian bodies of Operation Just Cause invasion victims into a common grave; they did not bother to identify the cadavers, or advise the family members. CODEHUCA “This is the just cause” report, 1990)

U.S. Owes Reparations to Panama over Bush’s Invasion

For close to 30 years, the Center for Constitutional Rights has been representing Panamanian survivors of the December 19, 1989, U.S. invasion of Panama, in an on-going struggle for a measure of justice and reparations for 1000s of people killed, many more wounded, plus untold amounts of destruction.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The Dominican Republic's Political Scene and the road to 2020

[Note from the editors: The HaitiAnalysis collective is happy to announce the relaunching of our site at our original domain  We will continue to update this blogspot page for the time being, but in the future only the main domain will be updated. We are happy to announce that we will be relaunching the publication of original material, with a few new articles every month. We will also be expanding our coverage to include the Dominican Republic . Please stay tuned for big things! Below is a new analytical piece providing an overview of the Dominican Republic's political scene and the author's views on where political events are headed in that country.]

By: Ariel Fornari - HaitiAnalysis

The ruling PLD's internal struggles and the 2020 elections
Over recent weeks and months the possible re-election of President Danilo Medina has sparked a plethora of internal conflicts within the ruling PLD (Partido de la Liberacion Dominicana).  President Medina’s appointed officials belonging to the “sector externo”, insist that he run for a second re-election, but the majority of these “sector externo” officials, are not even members or heirs of the party’s founding nucleus, which Professor Juan Bosch founded in 1973 as an ideologically progressive collective, after leaving the historical PRD (Partido Revolucionario Dominicano) earlier that year.[1]  
     It’s noteworthy that in Santiago, D. R.’s second most important city with a population of over one million, officials holding high positions such as the municipal water company’s director are not even from Santiago, also belong to the “sector externo” of Medina. This in turn is generating the current tug-of-war, with Santiago’s mayor Abel Martinez, who happens to belong to (ex-President) Leonel Fernandez’s faction within the PLD. 
Ex-President Leonel Fernandez aiming for a political comeback 
      Santiago's mayor Abel Martinez is an avowed "nationalist" with anti-Haitian leanings, when as president of the D. R.’s lower house he stubbornly confronted in 2013 the visiting Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which was on a fact finding mission regarding D. R.’s Constitutional Tribunal’s Ruling 168-13. The ruling had denationalized over 200,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent, causing much international backlash over the racist policies. As proof of his unwavering loyalty towards Fernandez, Martinez held a large and extravagant rally for Fernandez’s presidential candidacy, at a Santiago sports stadium on December 9, 2018. Some Dominican media are speculating that Martinez aspires to be Vice-President on the 2020 electoral ticket with Fernandez.

       Regarding the Medina re-election issue, if no agreement is reached between Medina and Fernandez, the re-election issue becomes moot, opening the door to other PLD leaders via a national winner-take-all convention. In this scenario, the winner is anointed at the convention and Fernandez would be a major contender, while Medina as sitting president couldn’t throw his hat in the ring, due to the obvious re-election constitutional issue, currently limiting a sitting president to a second consecutive term. Medina’s re-election ambitions could only materialize, under another constitutional amendment by the legislative branch, obviating the PLD’s convention scenario, and like President Balaguer remarked many times: “The Dominican Constitution is a mere piece of paper”. What has been done to the D. R.’s Constitution in recent times resembles more of a Saturday Night Live skit than the high level proceedings of a law abiding nation-state.

       We must bear in mind, Medina presently holds in his pocket the majority of the PLD’s lower house deputies, key players in constitutional amendments. Furthermore, there are some  PRSC (Partido Reformista Social Cristiano-a smaller right-wing party currently allied with the PLD) deputies, whose position would support a constitutional amendment, contingent on a mutual agreement with Medina. In this case, the Dominican folksy character of “the man with the briefcase”, would make his colorful entrance into this skit. To the unenlightened on Dominican rough and tumble politics, this translates to a designated courier, carrying a “maletin” or briefcase stuffed with sufficient wads of hard currency, to bribe enough deputies, adding to this Mafiosi-like script, mutual agreements between Medina and complicit deputies, so the latter could also be re-elected with attending perks as applicable. 

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