Bolivia’s Evo Morales re-elected, but important challenges lie ahead

By Richard Fidler, published on the author’s blog, ‘Life on the Left’, Oct 19, 2014

As expected, Evo Morales and his Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) government won a resounding victory in Bolivia’s national presidential and parliamentary election October 12.

Although official results will not be available until November (more on that below), the MAS was re-elected with just over 61% of the popular vote, three percentage points less than in 2009 and short of the 74% support the MAS had proclaimed as its goal. However, the MAS vote was more evenly spread throughout the country; it won a plurality in eight of Bolivia’s nine departments, including three of the four that make up the so-called “half-moon” in the country’s east and north, which in 2008 were in open revolt against the indigenous-led government.

In the bicameral Plurinational Legislative Assembly (ALP), the MAS may have regained the two-thirds majority it won in 2009. When the plurinominal seats (based on proportional representation of the parties with 3% or more of the national vote — see note 1) are awarded, the MAS will likely have 113 of the 166 seats — 25 of the 36 Senators and 88 of the 130 Deputies, or 68% of the total.[1] This would mean that the MAS will be able unilaterally to amend Bolivia’s Constitution, which requires a two-thirds majority vote.

At present the Constitution bars further re-election for Evo Morales. But an amendment could allow Evo Morales to run again in 2019, as many MAS supporters fervently hope. In any case, as the country’s first indigenous president, he is about to become Bolivia’s longest serving leader in a country famous for its coup-ridden past.

Almost half of the ALP members will now be women, as the new Constitution requires each party slate to include gender parity…

Full article here.

Reader on the Ebola virus epidemic in western Africa

Four articles and two weblinks enclosed:

1. How the West made the Ebola problem much worse, by Tony Burman, special to the Toronto Star, Oct 18 2014

Ebola in West Africa, map by WHO, Sept 26, 2014

Ebola in West Africa, map by WHO, Sept 26, 2014

2. What went wrong in response to the Ebola crisis?, by Jennifer Yang, global health reporter, Toronto Star, Oct 18, 2014

3. We need medical boots on the ground now, by Amy Goodman, Truthdig, Oct 15, 2014

4. Australian gov’t resists pressure to deploy medical specialists to west Africa, by Daniel Hurst, The Guardian, Oct 16, 2014

5. Ebola, capitalism and the idea of society, By Rob Urie, Counterpunch, Oct 18, 2014 (weblink only)

6. Visualized: How ebola compares to other infectious diseases, in The Guardian, Oct 15, 2014

And see an earlier item on this website: In the medical response to Ebola, Cuba is punching far above its weight, Oct 4, 2014

* * * » Read more..

Hundreds have been killed in eastern Ukraine since a ceasefire was declared on Sept 5, and other news

By Roger Annis, Oct. 14, 2014

A press release on October 8 by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights explains that despite the ceasefire signed in Minsk, Belarus on September 5, at least 331 people have been killed in ongoing shelling and clashes between September 6 and October 6 in eastern Ukraine. That’s about ten people dying per day. » Read more..

The new war in Iraq and the hypocrisy of the imperialists over the fate of the Kurdish region of Syria

Introduction by Roger Annis, Oct 14, 2014

Enclosed are four readings to understand the political situation in Rojava, the Kurdish region of western Syria that is under attack by the right-wing forces of ISIS. The ISIS attack is presently centered on the city of Kobani, on the border of south-central Turkey. The hypocrisy of the air war being waged by the Map of Syria, by Thomas van Linge, Sept 2014United States and some European countries against ISIS in Iraq stands exposed by their refusal (and that of Turkey) to provide any meaningful military assistance to the defense of Kobani. Here is an Oct 12 dispatch by Associated Press describing the fighting taking place in and around Kobani.

The Canadian government is mobilizing six fighter aircraft to join the U.S. in its new war in Iraq, a war which is already extending into Syria.

» Read more..

Another explosion in a wood processing factory in British Columbia

By Roger Annis, Oct 11, 2014

Apologies, this article is being expanded and will be published in a new version in the coming days.–RA


Video: The war in eastern Ukraine and the New Cold War

Presentation by Roger Annis in Vancouver, Canada on Sept 29, 2014

On September 29, 2014, The Institute for the Humanities at Simon Fraser University hosted a talk by Roger Annis on the war in eastern Ukraine and the accompanying political and military threats by NATO and the Kyiv government against Russia. Roger Annis is a Vancouver-based writer and antiwar activist who has written extensively on Ukraine. He attended the antiwar conference held in Yalta, Crimea on July 6, 7, 2014. (Introduction continues below).

» Read more..

More cause for alarm over oil train safety in North America

By Roger Annis, Oct 8, 2014

CN Rail derailment near Wadena SK Oct 7, 2014, Twitter image

CN Rail derailment near Wadena SK Oct 7, 2014, Twitter image

A 100-car CN train derailed and exploded yesterday, October 7, in Saskatchewan, causing a huge fire and sending toxic fumes into the sky. It was a mixed cargo train of which 26 cars derailed. Two of them contained petroleum distillates and four contained either hydrochloric acid or caustic soda. The crash is 230 km east of Saskatoon, near Wadena.

CBC received a report and photos from a local reporter. Police established a five-mile cordon around the site, preventing anyone from entering, including reporters.

There is a good news report one day later by Canadian Press, quoting from eyewitnesses to the accident. The Toronto Star published the report and » Read more..

The tyrant Jean-Claude Duvalier is dead but his legacy still lives in UN-occupied Haiti

By Roger Annis, published on Truthout, Oct. 8, 2014

Jean-Claude Duvalier and his partner, Veronique Roy, in a Haitian courtroom, Feb 18, 2012, photo Milo Milfort-IPS, Flikr Commons

Jean-Claude Duvalier and his partner, Veronique Roy, in a Haitian courtroom, Feb 18, 2012, photo Milo Milfort-IPS, Flikr Commons

Jean-Claude Duvalier, the tyrant who ruled Haiti from 1971 to 1986, has died in Haiti at the age of 63. His death is a huge moment for political reflection on the part of the Haitian people, including the fact that so much of Duvalier’s harsh political legacy remains alive and well in the island country.

A foreign, military occupation force of the UN Security Council has entered its 11th year. It serves to bolster much of the authoritarian, Duvalier legacy, which has always, at its heart, been about excluding the Haitian people from governing their own country.

“President for Life”

Duvalier was appointed “president for life” in 1971 by his dying father, Francois Duvalier. Known as ‘Papa Doc’ for the medical education he received in his early years, the elder Duvalier muscled his way into power in 1957 and established one of the most ruthless dictatorships the world had ever known. He was 64 when he died. » Read more..

To Lenin, in Kharkiv

By Sergei Kirichuk, published in English on, Sept 30, 2014. The following is a slightly revised translation from the original translation from Russian, with permission of the author.

Statue of Lenin in Kharkiv, Ukraine, destroyed by rightists on Sept 28, 2014

Statue of Lenin in Kharkiv, Ukraine, destroyed by rightists on Sept 28, 2014

In the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, second largest city of the country, the monument to Vladimir Lenin was recently torn down by a rightist and fascist mob. The organizers of this operation did not conceal that it was revenge for an attempt by Communist Party activists to hold a peace march the day before, on Sept 27. That march was broken up by the police in conjunction with neo-Nazi gangs. » Read more..

Ukraine’s collapsing economy

By Anthony T. Salvia, Director, American Institute in Ukraine, September 30, 2014

With the ceasefire now in its fourth week, Ukraine commentators are shifting their attention from the military state of affairs to the economic. If the battlefield is largely quiescent, the same cannot be said for the economy, which is in a tailspin.

Sergei Kirichuk

Sergei Kirichuk

Leading member of the Ukrainian socialist movement Borotba (Struggle) and harsh critic of Viktor Yanukovich, Sergei Kirichuk does not mince words: “…the worsening economic crisis of the last number of days points to a convulsive, system-wide failure of the country’s financial system.”

The National Bank, which before Euromaidan routinely propped up the hryvnia, has been forbidden by the IMF from using foreign currency reserves and proceeds from gold sales for this purpose. As a result, the national currency has plummeted below the 1dollar/14 hryvnia threshold – alarmingly, with no discernible boost to exports, which are also plummeting. » Read more..