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.


Cuba's Hurricane Pt 2 - Julie Webb

In this second part of a three part interview, Julie Webb, freelance journalist and reporter for Scoop talks about the frustration of the Cuban government in trying to deal with the effects of two hurricanes that have devastated the country, while still under the restrictions of the US economic embargo. Even lifting the illegal embargo for six months, would make a world of difference to the Cuban people, and their efforts to recover from the aftermath of the hurricane, far more than 'gifts' of food and materials would. Julie describes the history of the illegal blockade, and its long term effects on Cuba and its people.


Cuba's Hurricane Pt 3. - Julie Webb

Part 3 of a three part interview with Julie Webb, independent journalist and correspondent for Scoop. Much of Cuba looks like ground zero on a nuclear strike. She describes in graphic detail how this hurricane is like no other. Where to go if you want to assist. (Australia Cuba Friendship Society), and what else is happening in the region.


Bolivia in confrontation - Lara Pullin on attempted September coup

On the anniversary, almost to the day of the coup against Salvador Allende in Chile on September 11 1973, right wing forces in Bolivia attempted to seize control of the country in a Civil coup against the elected government of Evo Morales in a manner eerily reminiscent of fascist coups throughout modern history since the rise of Hitler. At the time of this interview 18 people had been killed by the right wing gangs, hundreds of indigenous people badly beaten by the racist youth group, and the US Ambassador expelled for his complicity in organising the thuggery.

The Venezuelan government expelled the US Ambassador in sympathy, and for his part in coordinating opposition figures in an attempt to take over the government of Venezuela, and other Latin American nations have declared their support for the governments of Bolivia and Venezuela. Latin America is in the process of declaring its autonomy from the 200 year hegemony of the United States in controlling its affairs.

Lara Pullin gives us the details of the events of this historic week in world history.


Oppose the Fascist Coup in Bolivia

Dear comrades and friends,

You will be aware of the US-backed "civic coup" underway in the Bolivia, and the threats this poses to democracy and all nations' right to political, economic and social sovereignty.

We urge you/your organisation to sign the open petition we have initiated in support of President Evo Morales and the Bolivian people, and to circulate it widely among left and progressive individuals and activists.

We hope you may also be able to use the petition to bring pressure on the government of your own country to publicly state its support for Bolivia's right to freedom from imperialist intervention.

The petition is at:

The Cuban 5, Pt3 - Julie Webb on a ten year travesty of Justice

Part 3.
Julie Webb correspondent for 'Scoop' explains the inordinate influence that the Miami Cuban expatriate 'mafia' have on the US political system, resulting in the perversion of justice for the 'Cuban Five' now spending their tenth year in gaol. She outlines the repudiation and disappointment with the US justice system both domestically and internationally, with high profile identities delivering a petition and five people being arrested in a huge demonstration to demand justice for the Cuban Five. The travesty of justice is significantly harming respect for the US and its' political integrity.

6.8Mb 128kbps mono 7:25


The Cuban 5 Pt 2 - Julie Webb

The background on the Cuban expatriate 'mafia' - the criminals who left Cuba when Castro's revolutionary forces came to power and were forced to abandon the mafia backed rackets in gambling, prostitution and drugs. They want it back, and their influence in the US political system has meant that the Cuban Five are victims of 'payback'. And the US justice system in Florida is happy to go along with it.
5.3Mb 128kbps 5:45 mins


The 'Cuban 5' - Pt1 - Julie Webb on a ten year travesty of Justice

5.4 Mb 128kbps. mono 5:46mins
Part 1.
Julie Webb correspondent for 'Scoop' from Latin America gives us the background history of five Cubans who have spent ten years in a US prison for the simple act of passing on information about expatriate Cuban terrorist cells in Florida and Miami. These remnants of the Batista regime of the 1960s, who fled to the US when Castro's revolutionary forces came to power have not been able to accept the historical reality of the Cuban revolution, and continue to plot and plan a comeback. They have been responsible for numerous deaths and plots not only in Cuba, but in the US. The FBI responded to this information by imprisoning the people who (perhaps naively) passed the compromising information about these terrorist cells on. Ten years later they are still in gaol. Julie Webb reports.
5.4 Mb 128kbps. mono 5:46mins


The Other September 11

The 'other' September 11 which few North Americans are aware of, but is indelibly engraved in the memories of most Latin Americans - that is the US inspired coup against Salvador Allende (a legally elected President)
and his government in 1973. Over three thousand Chileans were killed immediately in Chile Stadium after the post coup 'round up'

The footage here of the bombing of the Moncada (the Presidential Palace)has an eerie resonance with the images of 2001.

The military coup ushered in over two decades of Pinochet's military dictatorship. Many Chilean torture victims went to Australia, Scandinavia, Canada and other countries as refugees.

While sympathetic to the tragedy of 9/11/01 I can also understand the sentiments of Latin Americans who saw it as 'collateral damage' coming home to roost.

Another uncanny resonance I find in this footage is Allende's speech before he was killed, but when he still had some media access (in fact, he announced it as his final speech) - he predicted that the fascists would take and destroy certain radio stations and newspapers, and the headquarters of some of the social organisations.

Even as I write this I am awaiting news from a friend in Bolivia. Yesterday the Bolivian government expelled the US Ambassador for his support of right wing organisations that attempted to take over the government of the Province of Santa Cruz last Tuesday, with their leader threatening to divide the country. Here is an extract from the news she sent me yesterday:

Bolivia, September 11 2008

"After destroying property of recently-nationalised public entities, the fascist groups then burnt the offices of the human rights organization, Centre for Juridical and Social Studies (CEJIS), before turning their attention to media outlets. Radio Patria Nueva installations were burnt, offices of the State television company Channel Seven in Santa Cruz were attacked and equipment stolen. They forced Radio Alternativa to suspend broadcasts and intimidated other media that are not aligned to the movement for elite-led autonomy, in scenes reminiscent of the previous week in Cobija, where four radio stations had to cease transmission in order to protect the safety of their journalists."

It seems that some people never learn and try to force history to repeat itself in an endless loop. But then again, what goes around, comes around.

Timor's Guest Workers? - Jose Teixeira, Fretilin MP.

Jose Teixeira is an MP for the Fretilin party in Timor Leste. He was also involved in the negotiations with Australia in the 'Timor Gap' treaty, as the deputy Minister for National Resources. He spoke to community radio 2NimFM on the tricky subject of Australia allowing 'guest worker' visas to East Timorese nationals. The Australian government recently passed legislation to allow temporary work visas to Pacific Islanders. A similar arrangement for 'guest workers' from Timor Leste is still pending. Jose presents the East Timorese side of the difficulties involved in the scheme.
20Mb. 128kbps mono 21:48mins

Other interviews in this series: Janelle Saffin , Jim Dunn , Damien Kingsbury


El Salvador and the Region - Burke Stansbury

Burke Stansbury of CISPES (Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador) talks with 2NimFM from Washington about the general swing to the left in the Central American region, which could impact upon the elections in El Salvador next year.

9.9Mb. 128kbps mono 10:45mins


El Salvador Pt.1 - FMLN challenges impunity law; Lara Pullin

Lara Pullin, Latin American solidarity activist has breaking news from El Salvador. The FMLN opposition party is confident enough of its popular support, and its chances of winning next years election, that they have tabled legislation repealing the 'amnesty law', granting impunity to those accused of gross human rights violations and war crimes, during the 12 year civil war. The law was passed in 1993 as part of the 1992 'Accord' that marked the end of the civil war.
Repeal of the amnesty law will will impinge heavily on the ARENA party (that leads the current governing coalition) and the military. The founder of the ARENA party, Roberto D'Aubuisson was widely believed to have ordered the assassination of Archbishop Romero and other Death Squad murders, while certain army units were responsible for the elimination of entire villages, including children and infants.
As the elections next year draw nearer tensions are mounting, with FMLN leaders calling on their supporters not to react to increasing incidents of anti-FMLN violence.
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Venezuelan Solidarity - Coral Winter, Brigade Veteran

Coral Winter has seen nine Australian brigades going over to Venezuela for the last four years, and will soon be going again. She spent over a year in Venezuela as a regular correspondent. In this interview she explains what the next brigade (leaving in November) can look forward to - a very interesting Venezuelan election, as well as meetings with key community organisations and leaders. She tells us what attracts her to Venezuela and why Australian brigades have an international reputation, with people of other nationalities coming on board.
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Timor's Guest Workers? - Damien Kingsbury

Professor Damien Kingsbury comments on possible reasons for Australia's procrastination in allowing Timorese guest workers to come to Australia on temporary work visas. The Australian government has recently passed legislation allowing temporary work visas to Pacific Islanders, but it appears the Timorese are lower on the list of the Rudd government's priorities. The state visit by Timorese Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao provided him with the opportunity to raise the matter, but Australian PM Kevin Rudd deferred a decision until early next year.

7.5 Mb. 128kbps mono 7:56mins.


See also other interviews in this series with human rights activist Jim Dunn and Federal Labor MHR Janelle Saffin

Timor's Guest Workers? - Jim Dunn

Jim Dunn, human rights observer and author of numerous articles several histories of Timor Leste puts the attitude of this and other Australian governments under close scrutiny, when he comments on Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao's recent state visit to Australia and his meeting with Australian PM Kevin Rudd. Rudd politely declined to commit Australia to accepting Timorese guest workers, when Xanana raised the question.
13mb. 128kbps mono 14 mins


Timor's Guest Workers? - Janelle Saffin MHR

Janelle Saffin MHR spent several years working in Timor Leste with the now President, Jose Ramos Horta. During Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao's recent state visit to Australia and his meeting with Australian PM Kevin Rudd, Rudd politely declined to commit Australia to accepting Timorese guest workers, when Xanana raised the question. The issue will come under consideration. Janelle explains some of the reasons for the Australian Prime Minister's response, some of the more complex issues, and other aspects of the government's position on Timor Leste.
10Mb. 128kbps 10:30mins

Other posts in this series: Jose Texeira , Jim Dunn , Damien Kingsbury