Timor Leste - La'o Hamutuk report on Australian troops

Shona Hawkes of the La'o Hamutuk research organisation talks from Dili with community radio about the status of the ISF (Australian troop forces) presence in Timor Leste. When first sent to Timor Leste by the Howard government they were given virtual diplomatic immunity. La'o Hamutuk has recently submitted a report to the Australian government that suggests their status should be changed to include some kind of accountability.


Timor Leste - "The Howard Years". Jim Dunn

Jim Dunn was one of the observers of the 1999 plebiscite in Timor Leste when the Indonesian military unleashed a wave of devastation and murder against the Timorese people. Those responsible have still not been brought to account, thanks largely to the attitude of the Australian government. The ABC's program on "The Howard Years" skims over this aspect of the Howard administration's effect on Timor Leste. John Howard claims much of the credit for Timor becoming independent of Indonesia, but the true story is that Timorese independence was the last thing on his mind. Observers like Jim Dunn find the ABC's treatment of this aspect of the Howard Years disappointing, to say the least.


Venezuelan election outcomes - Fred Fuentes

Fred Fuentes reports from Caracas on the regional election results this November in Venezuela ('State' Governers, and Mayors). While the 'Chavista' VSUP increased its' total vote, the right wing opposition clawed back two State governorships, and a key Mayoral position in Metropolitan Caracas (Venezuela's capital).

Fred points out that a strong push by the right wing parties and candidates has failed in astrategy to undermine the pro Chavez government and its program, serving mainly to eliminate some of the weaker elements in the governing administration.

It has also served to show up the fascistic tendencies of the opposition, with the opposition Mayors and Governors attempting to dismantle some of the facilities of the grass roots organisations (like a community youth TV channel) within days of winning their seats.

This hints at some future confrontations between the back and forward looking sectors of Venezuelan society.


El Salvador - Extradition and the US connection - Burke Stansbury

Burke Stansbury from CISPES talks about the move to extradite former ARENA president of El Salvador, Cristiani, along with 14 others to be put on trial for their responsibility in Human Rights violations. The best known of these is the massacre of 6 Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter, nineteen years ago. This could have serious implications for ARENA's prospects in next year's elections. While the extradition order is being considered by a Spanish court, protesters in the US are demonstrating outside the US training camp where the Salvadoran Atlacatl battalion, notorious for this and other brutal massacres, were trained. The Atlacatl battalion was also responsible for the massacre of El Mozote, where an entire village was wiped out.


Venezuelan Elections Pt 2 - Fred Fuentes

Fred Fuentes from Caracas - The Australian brigade.


Venezuelan Elections Pt 1 - Fred Fuentes reports

Fred Fuentes reports on developments and possible outcomes of this month's regional and state elections in Venezuela.


El Salvador - Former President to be extradited? - Burke Stansbury

Burke Stansbury from CISPES reports that a number of former high ranking military and a former President of El Salvador and leader of the ARENA party may be extradited to Spain to be tried for crimes and human rights violations during El Salvador's civil war.


Timor Leste Pt 2 - Jose Teixeira

Fretilin threatens to withdraw from Parliament.


Timore Leste Pt.1 - Jose Texeira

Timor remembers the Santa Cruz massacre, while human rights discussion is sidelined.


Timor Leste's contentious issues - Jose Teixeira

Fretilin Parliamentarian Jose Teixeira talks about former Fretilin Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri's recent Australian tour and some of the successful outcomes. He discusses issues being debated in Timor Leste at the moment, some of them quite disturbing - like the approval in principle by the AMP government for a Club Med type development on environmentally protected wetlands, and the huge biofuel project for an Indonesian company.

23 Mb 128kbps. mono 25:10 mins


El Salvador - ARENA in disarray: Burke Stansbury from CISPES

Burke Stansbury of CISPES gives us an update on the pre-election situation in El Salvador. The governing ARENA party is showing signs of strain, with a controversial vice presidential candidate selected in the face of increasingly unfavorable polls. At the same time ARENA is stepping up the 'dirty' propaganda campaign against the FMLN, with a little bit of help from right wing friends outside El Salvador.


Mari Alkatiri - Timor's Future - Fretilin General Secretary and former PM of Timor Leste

Nimbin Community Radio 2NimFM caught this exclusive interview with Mari Alkatiri when he was in Australia to talk about his vision for Timor Leste as a potential bridge for Asian, Pacific, and Western cultures. Timor Leste is unusually well placed for this role historically, culturally, and linguisticly, having kept its' unique identity through successive waves of colonisation by the Portugese, invasion by the Japanese in WWII, and occupation by the Indonesians in 1970s and 1990s.

Here is the first four minutes of his well received presentation at the Australian National University. Following is an exclusive ten minute interview with community radio 2NimFM just before Mari Alkatiri's meeting with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Mari fields questions about the need for justice for the people of Timor Leste, the controversial Peace March, now deferred because of the threats of repression from the current Prime Minister, and a broad outline of how the Fretilin Party (of which he is the General Secretary) is organised. Fretilin ranks are open to the younger generation, which is strongly represented in the party organisation.

Finally, Mari briefly comments on his own role in the Fretilin party.


Bolivia in Recovery Part 3 - Fred Fuentes

Part 3 of 3

Fred Fuentes, back from two weeks in Bolivia talks about renewed power to the people and the popular organisations, after the Morales government survived the crisis of last September. Bolivian society showing new openings and seeking new ways forward.

Bolivia in Recovery Part 2 - Fred Fuentes

Part 2 of 3

Fred Fuentes in Caracas, just back from Bolivia after two weeks of assessing post-crisis Bolivia. In this section he talks about the new strengths of the Morales government, from the popular social organisations, and support from other Latin American nations. The US and the right are caught on the back foot. US influence in the region has been significantly weakened, with many regions refusing to accept US aid money.


Bolivia in Recovery Part 1 - Fred Fuentes

Part 1 of 3.
Fred Fuentes returns to Caracas after two weeks in Bolivia assessing the situation there after the attempted right wing coup last month. Morales seems to have outmanouevred the ultra-right's attempts to unseat him and appears to have made his own position stronger, while his enemies are in disarray. He is so confident of his support in the popular social movements now that he is holding another referendum next month.

Latin America and Wall Street - Tim Anderson

With the onset of the Wall Street crash, Venezuela invited 40 political economists to Caracas, to debate the crisis and propose alternatives. The conference titled ‘Responses from the South to the Global Economic Crisis’. Chaired by Venezuela’s Planing and Development Minister Haiman El Troudi and Luis Bonilla from the Centro Internacional Miranda, the group presented papers and debated for four days, before presenting the Venezuelan Government with a joint statement.

Dr. Tim Anderson was one of the Political Economists invited an he spoke to Nimbin Community Radio 2Nim FM about how the Latin American countries are preparing for the imminent world recession. Unlike the more developed nations Latin American countries are investing in the social and public sector rather than bailing out the private sector, to buffer themselves from the Wall Street meltdown.


El Salvador and the Region: ILEA, and the US - Burke Stansbury

Burke Stansbury talks about the CISPES attendance at the Social Forum of the Americas in Guatemala recently, where representatives from Latin American countries discussed the meltdown of the US financial system. The recent gains of social organisations and movements could well be a buffer for those who will be most affected by recession, but historically such gains have brought on a backlash by entrenched interests. The establishment by the US of an International Law Enforcement Academy in El Salvador has seen a corresponding increase in the number of disappearances and extra-judicial murders and assassinations of individuals involved in social movements and the opposition party FMLN, and there is a strange reluctance to allow outsiders to see the curriculum or the teaching methods. ILEAs have been set up in a number of key Latin American countries, and are seen as a replacement for the notorious US based School of the Americas, which was closed down in the 90s due to its association with the training of some of Latin America's worst military dictatorships, and the teaching of 'death squad' methods.


Venezuelan Voices - Coral Winter, launching a new book

Coral Winter talks about the launch of a book she has co-authored with Jim McIlroy based on their experiences of a year spent in Venezuela, and some 400 interviews they conducted with people involved in the grass roots activities that are building the new Venezuela

Original audio source

Voices from Venezuela
Behind the Bolivarian Revolution

Jim McIlroy & Coral Wynter
Published by Resistance Books
2008, 332pp, ISBN 9781876646615, Paperback

Australian solidarity activists Jim McIlroy and Coral Wynter spent 2006 in Venezuela working for the socialist newspaper Green Left Weekly, reporting regularly on their experiences. They interviewed dozens of leaders and grassroots activists in the people’s revolution that is sweeping Venezuela and inspiring a revival of the popular movement across Latin America.

They were also heavily involved in three solidarity brigades organised during 2006 by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network — the first in January after the World Social Forum in Caracas, the second during the May Day celebrations in Venezuela and the third in the lead-up to the end-of-year presidential elections.

Voices from Venezuela is the fruit of their work. The end of 2006 represented a high point in the revolution, with Chavez winning a massive endorsement for his project of constructing ‘socialism of the 21st century’ with 63% of the vote in the December 3 presidential contest. Since then the revolutionary process has continued to move forward but is also facing significant challenges.

Voices from Venezuela gives a vivid and unique picture of a profound upheaval as ordinary people struggle against all odds to carry out a sharp change of direction in their country and shape a brighter future for themselves, Latin America and the oppressed and exploited of the whole world.

Timor and Policing corruption - Jose Teixeira

13.3 Mb 128kbps mono 14:43mins

Jose Teixeira, Fretilin Parliamentarian talks about the last week in the Parliament of Timor Leste, when a rebuke was delivered by the leader of the Fretilin team. He goes on to explain the latest rumblings in the National Police of Timor Leste, and the mistakes made earlier that have generated the current tensions.

(Note: Sound quality in this segment is good)


Timor Leste - Peace March threatened. Jose Teixeira

7Mb 128kbps mono 7:30 mins

Jose Teixeira talks about a proposed Peace March to highlight some of the issues troubling Timor Leste, and ominous threats to suppress it from the Prime Minister.

(Note: Sound quality is patchy)


El Salvador - threats from within and without. Lara Pullin

Lara Pullin with the latest update on the lead up to El Salvador's elections next year. As the FMLN continues to outstrip the governing ARENA coalition in the polls, the government politicians are resorting to more and more desperate tactics. Recently the foreign minister for El Salvador argued in the US for the kind of intervention used just a few years ago to swing the results in favour of the ARENA coalition. The US Ambassador in El Salvador assured a visiting delegation that the US did not intend to intervene again, but with the ARENA foreign minister lobbying furiously in the US, anything could happen.

[Picture: Schafik Handel, FMLN leader and Presidential candidate in the 2004 elections that he narrowly lost. Some say it was stolen from him. Although he died recently, his charisma remains.]


Bolivia coup attempt Pt 3. - Francisco Dominguez

Part 3 of 3.

In the final part of this interview Dr. Dominguez talks about the reasons President Morales called in the military, declaring martial law, only as a last resort. He explains some of the background of the military and its role in Bolivia's turbulent history.


Bolivia coup attempt Pt 2. - Francisco Dominguez

Part 2 of 3.

In the second part of this interview, Dr. Francisco Dominguez talks about the regional implications, and the implications for Latin America, of the coup attempt in Bolivia. A surprising number of Latin American countries have rallied in support of the President Evo Morales' central government, and have rejected US interference in Latin American affairs - including governments that in the past have been traditionally aligned with the US administration. Far from 'dividing and ruling' the coup attempt in Bolivia has rallied almost all of Latin America in a united front. It is an historic first, with some far reaching long term effects that at this stage, can only be guessed at by most Western observers. The role of Venezuela, which has broken the political stranglehold on its economic autonomy has been critical.


Bolivia coup attempt Pt 1. - Francisco Dominguez

Pat 1 of 3

Dr. Francisco Dominguez, from the Department of Latin American and Brazilian studies of Middleton University in London was on the phone to community radio 2NimFM with some of the details, and the background of the events in Bolivia over the last few weeks, and the implications of some of the latest developments. On September 11 (the anniversary of the 1973 coup in Chile) President Evo Morales expelled the US Ambassador for his role in encouraging violence and racist thuggery led by prominent avowedly right wing public figures in resource rich regions. These figures are leading a drive to 'break away' from the central government of Bolivia, but their tactics include violence, burning, looting, destruction of radio stations that don't support their agenda, and racist vilification and public humiliation of indigenous people. The last straw was a genocidal shooting down of scores of unarmed indigenous people who had gathered in protest against the racially motivated violence.


El Savador - Lara Pullin's latest report on the '09 Election Campaign

Lara Pullin updates us on the looming elections next year in El Salvador. A double barrelled election with the regional and state elections separated by less than a month from the Presidential election in March. The governing party ARENA has already tried to change electoral law to prevent international observers arriving - an important issue when it is understood that while El Salvador has an Electoral Tribunal, it does not have a domestic body to oversee elections. Perhaps it has something to do with the commanding, and growing lead of popular support for the opposition FMLN.


Timor, Land, and Biofuel - Tim Anderson

Tim Anderson, lecturer in Political Economy at Sydney University has researched land tenure and ownership in the South Pacific, Latin America, and more recently, Timor Leste. He published a report about the implications of an Indonesian Biofuel project the AMP government signed onto. He cites pressures on the government of Timor Leste to change the Constitution allowing foreigners to buy and sell land in Timor Leste. Some of Timor's political leaders appear to be wavering in their original intent to keep Timorese soil in Timorese hands. And is it just coincidence that USAID and AUSAID have recently launched a US$500,000 project to establish who owns what land in Timor Leste? Traditional communal ownership of land could suffer in the growing push for privatisation, as well as the population's drive for self sufficiency in the face of growing costs in basic foods world wide - largely as a result of multinational corporations turning land over to the production of food crops to biofuels.


Crime in Timor Leste - Jose Teixeira

One of the legacies left by the former Indonesian occupation of Timor Leste was an increased level of crime and corruption. Jose Texeira talks to community radio about an incremental increase in the levels of semi-organised crime, especially since the 'troubles' of 2006. President Jose Ramos Horta had also expressed growing disquiet about the level, and the nature of crime in Timor Leste and was taking steps to initiate an enquiry, but his initiatives were interrupted by the attempt on his life last February 11.

(Note, sound quality is poor, due to limited bandwidth from Dili)


Cuba's Hurricane Pt1 - Julie Webb

Julie Webb, independent journalist, and reporter for Scoop has spent several years reporting from Latin America, including Cuba. Julie brings home to us the horrific impact of two hurricanes on Cuba (under reported in mainstream media) and the effects on the lives of the Cuban people, how they are responding, and some aspects of the international reaction to the reports.