December 2, 2016

Political Report # 1204 El Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro renace en la inmortalidad

By Francisco López Segrera

La noticia de la muerte de Fidel nos llena de tristeza. Pero nos reponemos. Jamás morirá, solo ha pasado a la inmortalidad desde la que renace. Sin duda es el fin de una era, ahora debemos ser dignos de sus enseñanzas cumpliendo con su legado. Su ejemplo de audacia, genialidad política, sensibilidad, austeridad, solidaridad y valores revolucionarios, lo mantendrán vivo siempre. Fue la culminación de las luchas de Cuba por la independencia e hizo realidad el legado de Martí.  Puso a Cuba en el mapa del mundo. La convirtió en un país con dignidad, independencia y soberanía. En la primera década de la revolución se cumplió el programa de “La Historia me Absolverá” y en las décadas posteriores superó con creces lo prometido en dicho programa. En diversas áreas, como reconocen las principales agencias de ONU, Cuba se convirtió en modelo para los países del tercer mundo. Se logró reducir a niveles mínimos la pobreza y la desigualdad social. Garantizó una seguridad social universal en lo que se refiere a salud, educación y pensiones. Orientó una campaña de alfabetización - reconocida por UNESCO  como modelo - que dejó a Cuba libre de analfabetos. Apoyó el desarrollo cultural en su más amplia dimensión al igual que la educación y la educación superior. La literatura, la música y demás expresiones culturales cubanas alcanzaron con su política cultural dimensión universal. Fomentó los mejores valores humanos y convirtió a Cuba en un ejemplo de solidaridad para los demás pueblos.

Introduction, The Resilience of Memory, Truth, and Justice Processes: Culture, Politics, and Social Mobilizations

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The Resilience of Memory, Truth, and Justice Processes: Culture, Politics, and Social Mobilizations
edited by Roberta Villalón                                                                 

A second wave of memory, truth, and justice mobilizations has been spreading in Latin America since the turn of the century (Villalón, 2015). The push to address unresolved human rights violations perpetrated in the 1970s and 1980s has resulted in the (re)opening of trials of perpetrators and a more complex understanding of past and present violence and inequalities. The resilient collective efforts that have fed these processes have also gained depth. Richer collective memories and the achievement of (at least partially) successful outcomes have provided movements a clear sense that not all their efforts have been in vain. Justice, reconciliation, and social equality may not be at all possible, but they are utopic ideals worth pursuing (Villalón, 2016).
This third issue on the politics of collective memory expands on the contents of the first two (March 2015 and September 2016). Theoretically, it contributes to the body of literature in the field by uncovering the politics of framing memory and is developed in terms of a critical epistemology from the bottom up. The research is intended to challenge systems and practices of inequality and contribute to community efforts to generate social change for justice. The contributors dismantle inequalities of knowledge and power by critically pointing to controversies, inconsistencies, and complexities of memory, truth, and justice processes. Their studies allow for a more nuanced comprehension of past violence, breaking up simplistic interpretations that pair victims and victimizers, left and right, pre- and postconflict, truth and injustice to explore the grey areas in between and reveal the misleading effects of dichotomous rationalizations.

December 1, 2016

Book, Sexual Revolutions in Cuba: Passion, Politics, and Memory

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Sexual Revolutions in Cuba: Passion, Politics, and Memory
by Carrie Hamilton, Elizabeth Dore (Foreword)

In "Sexual Revolutions in Cuba" Carrie Hamilton delves into the relationship between passion and politics in revolutionary Cuba to present a comprehensive history of sexuality on the island from the triumph of the Revolution in 1959 into the twenty-first century. Drawing on an unused body of oral history interviews as well as press accounts, literary works, and other published sources, Hamilton pushes beyond official government rhetoric and explores how the wider changes initiated by the Revolution have affected the sexual lives of Cuban citizens. She foregrounds the memories and emotions of ordinary Cubans and compares these experiences with changing policies and wider social, political, and economic developments to reveal the complex dynamic between sexual desire and repression in revolutionary Cuba. 

November 30, 2016

Political Report # 1203 ¡Canallas! ¡Canallas! ¡Canallas!

Por Eric Nepomuceno

El jueves dos de abril de 1964 se consumaba otro golpe de Estado, un golpe cívico-militar, liquidando un gobierno elegido por el voto popular y soberano. En aquella ocasión, las mismas fuerzas que hoy triunfaron recurrieron a los cuarteles. Ahora, las tropas no fueron necesarias.
Hace 52 años, presidiendo una sesión extraordinaria del Congreso que reunía a diputados y senadores, el conspirador derechista Auro de Moura Andrade decretó vacante la presidencia, afirmando que el presidente constitucional, João Goulart, había abandonado el país.
Era mentira. Goulart estaba en Porto Alegre, capital de Rio Grande do Sul, intentando reunir fuerza suficiente para resistir. Moura Andrade lo sabía. Todos sabían.

Film Review, Criticism and Condescension: The Triumph of the Poor in The Second Mother

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Criticism and Condescension: The Triumph of the Poor in The Second Mother
Bruna Della Torre de Carvalho Lima                                                                 

During the 14 years of the Workers’ Party’s government in Brazil, a new phenomenon disrupted an old tense and fragile balance in the country’s social order. Anna Muylaert builds her movie The Second Mother around this new phenomenon.

November 29, 2016

Book, Development in Theory and Practice

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Development in Theory and Practice
by Ronald H. Chilcote - Contributions By Haroldo Dilla Alfonso; Thomas Angotti; Ricardo Antunes; David Barkin and others...

This definitive reader brings together seminal articles on development in Latin America. Tracing the concepts and major debates surrounding the issue, the text focuses on development theory through three contrasting historical perspectives: imperialism, underdevelopment and dependency, and globalization. By offering a rich array of essays from Latin American Perspectives, the book allows students to sample all the important trends in the field. A new general introduction and conclusion, along with part introductions, contextualize each selection. One of the leading figures in development studies, Ronald Chilcote shows in this text why work on imperialism dating to the turn of the twentieth century informs the controversies on dependency and underdevelopment during the 1960s and 1970s as well as the globalization debates of the past decade. If students are to understand development in Latin America, they must not only be familiar with historical examples and recognize that various theoretical perspectives affect our interpretation of events, they must be willing to keep an open mind. Thus, rather than setting out established premises, this reader offers different points of view, raising provocative questions about Latin America that remain largely unanswered even today. Students will come away from this rewarding collection ready to pursue new understanding through critical inquiry and thinking.

November 28, 2016

Abstract, Reconstructing the Collective Memory of Mexico’s Dirty War: Ideologization, Clandestine Detention, and Torture

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Reconstructing the Collective Memory of Mexico’s Dirty War: Ideologization, Clandestine Detention, and Torture
Jorge Mendoza García                                                                 

A silenced and forgotten period of the Mexican past is that of the dirty war unleashed by the state against social movements in the second half of the twentieth century, especially the guerrillas and suspected guerrillas of the 1960s and 1970s. The dirty war is an unresolved issue in terms of memory, acknowledgment, and justice for those who suffered violence at the hands of those in power. An account of part of this period that reconstructs the ideologization, clandestine detention, and torture suffered by victims of this dirty war from the perspective of collective memory contributes to filling the gap in knowledge about this period.

November 25, 2016

Political Report # 1202 Haiti's never-ending nightmare grows longer

Residents return to their crumbling homes after Hurricane Matthew strikes Haiti

By By Edna Bonhomme, Socialist Worker

HAITI IS enduring another not-so-natural disaster in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.
With winds reaching 145 miles an hour, the storm wrecked homes, communities and lives, particularly along Haiti's southwestern coast. Estimates of the death toll have reached as high as 900, but most news sources acknowledge that this number is sure to rise.
The storm caused havoc along the Florida and Carolina coast in the U.S., making landfall this Saturday. But the death toll will be nowhere near as high as in Haiti, where the violence of the storm was intensified by man-made factors that are many decades old.
The world's most powerful governments, especially the U.S., have inflicted suffering on Haitians throughout several centuries and up to the present day--when the Obama administration announced, as the Matthew was battering the Caribbean, that it would increase the number of Haitian refugees deported from the U.S. during the rest of the year.

Abstract, Sealing and Unsealing Uruguay’s Transitional Politics of Oblivion: Waves of Memory and the Road to Justice, 1985–2015

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Sealing and Unsealing Uruguay’s Transitional Politics of Oblivion: Waves of Memory and the Road to Justice, 1985–2015
Gabriela Fried Amilivia                                                                  

Three decades after state terror in Uruguay, counter memory making has endured in successive waves despite the official politics of oblivion, a transitional politics based on the denial of state abuses, absence of redress for victims, and impunity for perpetrators of the crimes of state terrorism. The Uruguayan case illustrates the impossibility of foreclosing memory through political engineering and the unsustainability of blanket impunity. It also highlights the long-term effects of ongoing social mobilization for memory and personal memorialization after social trauma and offers a sociocultural and intersubjective approach to the understanding of the generation of social memory after massive political violence.

November 23, 2016

Political Report # 1201 "Obama Built the Structures for Trump": A Terrifying Legacy of Mass Deportation

Jose Juan Moreno sits in the room at the University Church on Chicago's Southside where he has sought sanctuary from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) since April. (Photo: Hoda Katebi)

By Alex Shams, Truthout

For the last six months, Jose Juan Moreno has been confined to a small room above the University Church on Chicago's South Side. Safe inside, he cannot venture more than 50 steps from the corner where he sleeps. If he goes beyond that, US authorities have promised to deport him from the country.
Although he has lived 17 years in Chicago -- the only home any of his five American-born children have ever known -- Moreno originally crossed the border from Mexico without papers. Under US law, that means he is subject to arrest and deportation at any time, a status he shares with 11 million people in the United States considered "undocumented."
Earlier this year, Moreno received a deportation order from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the authority that carries out the raids and arrests that represent the strong arm of national immigration policy. He was told to leave by April 15, otherwise he'd be deported.
In response, Moreno did the only thing he could think of -- he sought sanctuary in the church, praying that even if the authorities would not respect his family or his long years of work in the US, at least they might respect the sanctity of a holy place.
So far, they have. But for how much longer is anybody's guess.