09 March 2016

Indigenous leaders murdered in Columbia and Honduras

BOGOTA – An indigenous leader in the southwestern province of Cauca died of wounds received during what appears to have been an attempted robbery, Colombian authorities said Thursday.

William Alexander Oime Alarcon, governor of the Rio Blanco indigenous reserve, was shot Wednesday in downtown Popayan, the provincial capital, by a pair of unidentified assailants traveling on a motorcycle.

The victim died hours later at San Jose Hospital in Popayan.

The shooting was denounced on Wednesday by the office of Colombia’s national ombudsman, which described Oime Alarcon as an indigenous leader known for his opposition to illegal mining in Cauca.

Oime Alarcon, 43, was carrying 20 million pesos ($6,250) in cash that he had just withdrawn from a bank, police said, suggesting the motive for the assault was robbery.


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Remembering Berta Cáceres, Assassinated Honduras Indigenous & Environmental Leader

TEGUCIGALPA – Berta Caceres, a Honduran indigenous leader who led demonstrations against hydroelectric projects in her homeland, was killed early Thursday at her residence in the western city of La Esperanza, a human rights activist said.

Two armed men apparently arrived at Caceres’ house at around 1:00 a.m. and shot her dead, Hugo Maldonado, the president of the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in Honduras, or Codeh, told reporters.

As a founder and coordinator of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, or Copinh, Caceres headed up demonstrations against hydroelectric projects in the western part of the Central American country that she said threatened natural resources.

Caceres, a Lenca Indian and mother of four, was awarded the 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize in recognition of her grassroots efforts to protect natural resources in western Honduras.

She also led protests against the June 28, 2009, coup that ousted then-President Manuel Zelaya.

The activist had denounced death threats against her and members of her family on several occasions.

One of her brothers, Gustavo Caceres, urged President Juan Orlando Hernandez to ensure that the homicide would not merely add to the country’s violent crime statistics, calling for the murder to be cleared up and the perpetrators punished.

He reminded journalists that his sister had been killed despite measures put in place to protect her.

Caceres always stood up for what she believed in but never used a weapon to protest because “her weapon was her voice” in denouncing human rights violations and the destruction of natural resources, he added.

Violent crime claims an average of 13 lives per day in Honduras, according to official figures.

Tokelau takes delivery of its new boat

The brand-new Tokelau ferry “Mataliki” snuck quietly into Apia port on Wednesday , awaited by staff of the Tokelau Transport and Support Services (TSS) Department.

The ship was designed in London and built in Bangladesh at a total cost of over NZ$12 million (US$8 million), funded by the New Zealand government.

Upon arrival on a beautiful calm morning, Mataliki was decked out in international signal flags for numbers and the letters of the alphabet. This ancient form of marine communication won’t ever need to be put to use seriously, it is hoped, as the ship is equipped with the most modern satellite navigation and communications technology - there’s even WiFi on board for its crew and passengers, so has been promised.
TSS Director Asofa Fereti said the new boat’s arrival was the end product of years of negotiations and team work between colleagues in NZ MFAT and TALO. Many technical people were engaged to provide input into the initial design and further modifications.
“It’s a dream come true for Tokelau”,Fereti said. “We have been waiting for this moment for a long time; let’s hope the vessel proves worth the wait.”
Delivery of the boat from Bangladesh was a year behind schedule because there had been problems with the stability of the boat in its initial design. This has now been fixed and the boat has been making its successful voyage from the shipping yards in Chittagong, Bangladesh since 29 December.
Mataliki stopped over in Singapore for a week, departing there on 12 January and making refueling stops at the ports of Dili, East Timor on 18 January and in Honiara, Solomon Islands on 27 January. The vessel’s crew comprised mostly Tongans including Chief Engineer Tolati Fifita. They had first been flown in from Tonga for the sea trials last year, and then again for the entire voyage to Apia.
The crew included one Tokelauan, Lamesa Mataga. Both the Master, Steve Christieson and First Mate, Allan Dillon had been flown in from New Zealand for the journey.
The new Tokelau ferry replaces a succession of charters from the Samoa Shipping Corporation: the Fasefulu and Lady Naomi have been supplementing trips by the PV Matua which has been doing regular, approximate fortnightly trips for several years until its engine broke down in July last year.

Operations of the new boat will be jointly managed by the Tokelau Transport Department and the company Transport and Marine – whose Operations Manager Dick Mogridge was on hand to also sign off on arrival of the boat in Apia.
Mataliki is capable of transporting up to 60 international passengers at a time, and a relatively small amount of cargo for the three Tokelau atolls Atafu, Nukunonu and Fakaofo. It can carry up to 120 passengers between the atolls.
Tokelau’s population of about 1,400 people is entirely dependent on shipping for people and goods, as there are no flights to and from the islands. The length of the trip to Tokelau will not change much as a result of the new boat. With a cruising speed of 11.5 knots, Mataliki is still expected to take at least 24 hours for a one-way journey from Apia to the nearest atoll, and 4-6 hours between the three villages.
Mataliki is intended to continue a fortnightly service between Apia and Tokelau, interspersed with freighters such as the Fasefulu that will still be chartered for goods and particularly fuel transport. Mataliki has been designed mainly for passenger transport, and passengers will find it a lot more comfortable than previous vessels. There are a greater number of proper berths to sleep in; there’s even a sick room for medical evacuations between hospitals. Solar panels will be mounted on the rooftop of the passenger deck to help reduce power consumption.
Mataliki’s maiden voyage to Tokelau is planned to start on 1 March. This will be just in time for the General Fono that is due to take place in Fakaofo from 7 to 10 March; the new boat will than also be officially welcomed by the people of Tokelau. They have been waiting a long time to take possession of their very own vessel: let’s hope they will be able to put it to best use for a long time to come.

Resolución para la Descolonización de Puerto Rico


“...se hace evidente que necesitamos unos poderes que no tenemos y que están conculcados por Estados Unidos."

El escenario político de Puerto Rico en el 2016 se dibuja como uno de grandes retos para los puertorriqueños, tanto en el plano político como en el económico y social. El cuestionamiento creciente al Estado Libre Asociado, reafirma y profundiza las opiniones que llevaron a un voto mayoritario de los puertorriqueños en contra del ELA en las elecciones del 2012. Se observan condiciones extraordinarias que empiezan a perfilar una coyuntura que puede permitir atender dichos retos, avanzando en el proceso de descolonización de Puerto Rico.

Para grandes sectores de nuestro pueblo, “la crisis que vive Puerto Rico, que se ha agudizado en los pasados tres años, ha dejado claro que el ELA ya no tiene posibilidades de desarrollo y que no puede atender nuestros problemas más urgentes”1. Para muchos “se hace evidente que necesitamos unos poderes que no tenemos y que están conculcados por Estados Unidos”2 como resultado de la relación colonial de Puerto Rico a partir de la invasión militar de Estados Unidos.

Nuevamente se ha puesto en evidencia la condición colonial de Puerto Rico y su subordinación a los Estados Unidos y a las decisiones del Congreso estadounidense. Pero esta ocasión son los mismos funcionarios del gobierno estadounidense quienes se encargan de desenmascarar la patraña colonial del ELA.

La opinión emitida el pasado 20 de marzo del 2015 por el Tribunal Supremo de Puerto Rico en el caso de Pueblo v. Sánchez Valle et al. inició un proceso de discusión pública que nuevamente saca a la luz pública la condición colonial de Puerto Rico. Por su parte, las declaraciones del Secretario de Justicia estadounidense en su petición de amigo de la corte del proceso de revisión ante el Tribunal Supremo estadounidense corroboran la condición colonial.

Por cuanto:

- Como hemos reiterado en muchas ocasiones, los principales problemas de Puerto Rico son causados por nuestra situación colonial y la falta de poderes soberanos.

- La desigual repartición de recursos y oportunidades, propia del sistema capitalista, agudizan los problemas que sufren los puertorriqueños por la condición colonial.

- Estos problemas no se resolverán mediante el uso exclusivo del proceso eleccionario, sino como resultado de las luchas organizadas de la nación puertorriqueña, entre las cuales se encuentran los procesos electorales.

- El sistema político instaurado en Puerto Rico por el imperialismo estadounidense a partir del establecimiento del ELA es controlado por el imperialismo estadounidense. Representado en Puerto Rico por una clase política dependiente e incondicionalmente favorecedora de la condición colonial. En unión a los subsidios y subvenciones, la estructura jurídica estadounidense y su presencia militar y policiaca en Puerto Rico, dicha clase política ha sido utilizada para darle legitimidad a la intervención militar, política y económica estadounidense.

- Los dos partidos políticos que se han alternado en la administración colonial durante las últimas décadas, el Partido Popular Democrático (PPD) y el Partido Nuevo Progresista (PNP), son dominados por dicha clase política y comparten tanto su naturaleza colonialista, como una visión de clase que los convierte en defensores del capital y en antagonistas de los intereses de los trabajadores y trabajadoras puertorriqueños; están descalificados como alternativa a los problemas que aquejan a Puerto Rico.

- La coyuntura actual, que se ha ido perfilando con la crisis social, económica y política que sufre Puerto Rico, y el cada vez mayor cuestionamiento de la condición colonial y del Estado Libre Asociado en particular, nos abre las puertas para la convergencia de las fuerzas políticas, sociales, etc. de la sociedad puertorriqueña que creen en la imperiosa necesidad de la descolonización de Puerto Rico y el reclamo de la soberanía.

- La necesidad de la unidad en la acción de las fuerzas anticolonialistas y pro soberanía cobra mayor relevancia ante la posibilidad que las fuerzas imperialistas estadounidenses y los colonialistas incondicionales de Puerto Rico pretendan enmascarar nuevamente la colonia con un ELA disque “mejorado” cuyo efecto sería extender por muchos años más el dominio colonial estadounidense de nuestra patria.

Por tanto:

- El Movimiento Independentista Nacional Hostosiano (MINH) convoca al Pueblo Puertorriqueño a que: 
Reclamemos la descolonización de Puerto Rico y la transferencia de poderes soberanos y se dé paso a un proceso de libre determinación en el que se garantice el derecho inalienable a nuestra independencia.

Se unan a la convocatoria para constituir en los próximos meses una entidad con el carácter de una Asamblea Nacional con el propósito de lograr la descolonización de Puerto Rico y el reclamo de la soberanía, que se pudiera llamar “Asamblea Nacional Para el Reclamo de Nuestra Soberanía”. Con este propósito se convocaría a representantes de organizaciones políticas, sociales, culturales, ambientales, comunitarias, profesionales, religiosas, deportivas, empresariales, sindicales, cooperativistas, educativas, etc. que estén de acuerdo con dicho propósito de lograr la descolonización de Puerto Rico y el reclamo de la soberanía. Esta “Asamblea Nacional” desarrollaría esfuerzos para realizar cualquier acción dirigida a cumplir dicho propósito y para desarrollar un Plan de Acción con el cuál enfrentar la crisis de Puerto Rico. Dicho Plan de Acción podría incluir:

a. Reclamar al Presidente estadounidense que dé los pasos para la transferencia de los poderes soberanos al Pueblo de Puerto Rico.

b. Solicitar que Estados Unidos resarza al pueblo de Puerto Rico los daños ocasionados por la invasión y colonización por más de 118 años.

c. Reclamar que se constituya una Asamblea Constitucional de Estatus.

d. Promover que se audite la deuda y se evalúe  las actuaciones ilegales y corruptas que han llevado a acumular dicha deuda.

e. Reclamar que Estados Unidos asuma el pago de la deuda.

f. Reclamar la liberación inmediata de los presos políticos puertorriqueños: Oscar López Rivera y Ana Belén Montes.

g. Solicitar a las organizaciones internacionales que apoyen activamente el reclamo de descolonización, de transferencia de poderes y soberanía, y el derecho inalienable a la independencia del Pueblo de Puerto Rico.

h. Solicitar la solidaridad y el apoyo a estos reclamos por parte de los pueblos del mundo.

- El MINH aspira a: que dicha “Asamblea Nacional Para el Reclamo de Nuestra Soberanía” pueda constituirse  en la entidad que represente el reclamo de descolonización y por la soberanía de nuestro pueblo, y en particular durante el proceso electoral del 2016; y se pueda instrumentar el Plan de Acción lo antes posible.

- Por tanto: Esta Asamblea Nacional  del MINH instruye a la Dirección Nacional del MINH y los cuerpos de dirección de la organización para que den los pasos para cumplir con lo dispuesto en esta resolución.

1. Alejandro Torres Rivera, 2 de enero de 2016. Más allá de la doble exposición: la dimensión política del caso Pueblo v. Sánchez para el futuro de las relaciones políticas entre Puerto Rico y Estados Unidos.

2. Idem

Micronesia Chief Executive Summits, Leaders sign joint communiqué

Chief Executives’ of the Micronesia signed Wednesday the joint communiqué which is a result of regional programmes of action in the areas of climate change, invasive species, regional, tourism, regional health and renaming the Micronesia Chief Executive Summits (MCES) as the Micronesian Islands’ Forum (MIF).
The communiqué committed the governments of Guam, Palau, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), and Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), CNMI, Yap, Kosrae, Chuuk and Pohnpei to cooperation on several issues.
The Chief Executives “ discussed the issue of the structure of the MCES and the need to institutionalise the MCES beyond a ‘summit’ basis to strengthen the voice of Micronesia and to improve its response to regional issues on an on-going basis.  In line with this focus, the Chief Executives agreed to rename the MCES to MIF.
Remengesau said that the MIF would unify the functions and activities of the MCES and Micronesian Presidents’ Summit.
The leaders also endorsed the plan of locating the MIF Secretariat in Palau and announced that the Taiwan government is providing a US$400,000 grant for   the Micronesia Center for Sustainable Future. (MCSF)   

The Chief Executives also agreed in principle to an annual contribution of US$10,000 by each of the current MCES jurisdictions to the MCSF for two years to help support the Center.   The first contribution will be due by October, 2016.  Contributions will increase to US$15,000 in year three.    
Next year’s MIF will be hosted by Guam. Guam Governor Calvo said he is excited to host the next meeting and is hopeful that progress has been made from plans and agreements that they have agreed on during this Palau summit.
The leaders also recognized and expressed their support for a number of regional events scheduled to take place in the coming year, including the Festival of Pacific Arts in Guam, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), the Pacific Media Summit in Palau, the Micronesian Games in Yap, and the 47th Pacific Islands Leaders’ Forum in Pohnpei.  The Presidents agreed to provide all available support for these events.  
The Chief also Executives signed a resolution expressing their strong support of the International Peace Bureau’s nomination of RMI’s former Foreign Minister Tony A. deBrum for the Nobel Peace Prize.
The Chief Executives also expressed their support for the immediate ratification by all countries of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.  The Presidents acknowledged the seriousness of the challenges posed by Climate Change, particularly in this El Niño year, which has already caused the FSM, the RMI and the State of Peleliu in Palau to declare states of emergency.  
Palau’s Congress this week ratified the Paris agreement. The agreement sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C.
The agreement is due to enter into force in 2020.
The agreement will enter into force after 55 countries that account for at least 55% of global emissions have deposited their instruments of ratification. Palau, is the second country in the world to ratify the agreement, the first one was Fiji.  
“It has been a productive three days, the leaders have banded together as one now called the Micronesian Islands’ Forum,” Remengesau said after the signing event.
“There is strength in numbers and unity,” Remengesau said.