Violence and killings haven’t stopped in Colombia despite landmark peace deal by Alexander L Fattal Pennsylvania State University, 2/11/2019
But an ever-changing array of criminal gangs still operate in Colombia, profiting off drug production, illegal mining and extortion. The landscape of their territorial control has simply changed, with the ELN, Autodefensa Gaitanista de Colombia and other armed groups spreading into areas once run by the FARC. Other political violence has ticked up since the 2016 accord, too, including the targeted killing of indigenous and Afro-Colombian activists.
The FARC is not entirely defunct, either. Colombian research groups Fundación Ideas para la Paz and Insight Crime report that ever more former fighters are dissatisfied with the FARC’s reincarnation as a political party. Up to 3,000 guerrillas – one-quarter of the roughly 12,000 demobilized after the peace accord – have re-armed alongside their former comrades. Others have joined the ELN, which has doubled in size since the FARC’s disarmament. January’s car bombing was a show of force.
The attack likely snuffs out any chance of a peace deal with the ELN, which Colombia’s government has pursued for years. The ELN is primarily active along the Colombia-Venezuela border. If Colombia’s government cracks down on the group, violence could escalate quickly. Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro is in a power struggle to save his embattled presidency, and the U.S. has threatened military intervention. That would probably involve using Colombian territory as an operations base.Colombia’s border region is a tinderbox of geopolitical tension. A flare-up with the ELN may be the spark that sets it off.
A version of this article appeared in The Conversation.
HISTORY OF HAITI
Haiti's long and turbulent history is documented in this comprehensive reference volume, ideal for high school students, undergrads, and general readers.
"Quick and valuable reference material, such as a timeline of historical events and a synopsis of notable people in the country's history". Review of History of Haiti in Multicultural Education.
How the United States Can Support Armenia’s Fledgling Democracy January 26, 2019 by Tatevik Khachatryan, 1/26/2019
First, the U.S. government can start by reviving the U.S.–Armenia Joint Economic Task Force. The Task Force has been the main vehicle for trade between the two countries since 1999, but it is a modest agreement, only focusing on trade and economic development.
A more expansive agreement between the two countries could help Armenia fight corruption, which for years has eroded Armenia’s economy. Transparency International has ranked Armenia 107th out of 180 countries, worldwide, for levels of corruption. Close to 30 percent of Armenia’s population lives below the national poverty line, and the country struggles with high unemployment and low labor force participation—particularly among women.
Organizations that focus on key issues such as anticorruption and legal reforms can act as both a partner to and a check on the government, which would be essential as Pashinyan seeks to build a long-term democracy. However, this can only occur if civil society organizations are allowed to freely operate as nonpartisan entities.
The U.S. government could help the new prime minister, who has said he is committed to eradicating corruption, and recover stolen assets. Specifically, the United States could regularly exchange information on assets that oligarchs who backed the previous regime siphoned out of Armenia to the United States—and get them back.
For example, the U.S. Department of Justice could provide Armenia with updates on measures it is taking, such as prosecutions or individual sanctions, against kleptocrats. It could facilitate exchange programs for Armenian investigators and prosecutors to help the former learn about how to use effective investigative strategies—such as financial forensics—to investigate corruption. For decades, Armenia’s old regime let ineffective training practices flourish. Armenia’s existing anticorruption institutions, such as the national Anticorruption Council, for example, failed to prosecute corrupt officials—and were accused of accepting bribes, as well as spending their budgets on personal expenses.
Coming out of that corruption-filled milieu, Armenia’s new class of civil servants will need outside assistance. Specialists from the U.S. law enforcement agencies could advise the Armenian government on legal processes and reforms that would reduce the rate of conflicts of interest while strengthening the integrity of the civil service in general.
Second, the United States could help the Armenian government rebuild the independence of the judiciary by helping to make its law enforcement agencies—and its judges, prosecutors, and police officers—more understanding of civil rights and anticorruption practices. The U.S. State Department and the Department of Justice could help Armenian law enforcement hire outside experts to improve its police service and train prosecutors (and judges) on the protection of human rights and professional integrity.
Native American activist calls for dismissal of vengeful Dakota Access Pipeline lawsuit , 2/4/2019.
The allegations against Ms. Two Bulls involve advocacy clearly protected by the First Amendment, yet Energy transfer has sued her under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act or “ RICO”, a federal law that allows for criminal penalties or a civil cause of action against ongoing criminal enterprises. It is the second RICO case filed by Trump’s lawyers against environmental groups and activists in a concerted effort to silence environmental activism and divert resources from the essential work of fighting to save our planet.
Along with Ms. Two Bulls, CCR also represents the Earth First! Journal, who is not named in the complaint, but became involved after Energy Transfer mailed the complaint to the address of the Earth First! Journal. Earth First! is not an organization at all, but rather a philosophy based on biocentrism, direct action, and not compromising with Earth-destroying corporations when fighting for the environment. Energy Transfer initially claimed that Earth First! funded a violent terrorist presence at the Standing Rock protests with $500,000 and proceeds from drug sales on the site, and is part of a sprawling conspiracy with Greenpeace, Two Bulls, and others to deceive the public about the environmental risks of pipelines.
A Film on the Revered Ganges River in India
NYIHA MEDIA is pleased to release the best in Indian cinema. In a beautifully shot non-fiction film, Director Vinit Parmar presents an up-close look at the pollution that has been an ecological scourge troubling the revered Ganges River in India.
The film delivers a rarely seen and authentic view of the life at the river's edge and the people struggling to compel change. With unprecedented access, the film brings to light an age-old industry of leather production in jeopardy, bringing in USD$4 Billion to the Indian economy at a cost of degradation of the environment and the health of the residents.