Archivos para 1/05/15

EPU – Examen del 08 Mayo de 2015

Sociedad civil y otros informes

Fuente: http://www.upr-info.org/es/review/Honduras/Session-22—May-2015/Civil-society-and-other-submissions#top

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Gobernabilidad en cárceles, un hueso duro de roer en Honduras


  • Viernes, 01 Mayo 2015 23:08

Gobernabilidad en cárceles, un hueso duro de roer en Honduras

Autor del artículo: Proceso Digital
Tegucigalpa – Al menos 15 personas murieron en tres cárceles hondureñas en los últimos dos meses, lo que refleja que la gobernabilidad en estos recintos es un hueso duro de roer para las autoridades de este país centroamericano, quienes han insistido que parte de la paz y la tranquilidad en el territorio nacional pasa por recobrar el control en estos espacios.
– Recientemente fue relevado el titular del Instituto Penitenciario, quien dejó el cargo por “razones especiales”.
– En la retina permanecen la muerte de 419 personas privadas de su libertad (2011-2012), de los cuales, 360 murieron quemados en la Granja Penal de Comayagua.
muertes-de-reos
Esta semana tres reclusos perdieron la vida a punta de machetes, luego de enfrentarse entre ellos mismos, pese a que los operativos en la máxima cárcel del país -la Penitenciaría Marco Aurelio Soto- son constantes y productivos porque se logra el decomiso de armas, drogas, bebidas embriagantes y otros objetos que ponen en peligro la vida de los privados de libertad.
A mediados de este abril, la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH) expresó su preocupación por la muerte de al menos 12 presos en episodios de violencia ocurridos en marzo en tres centros penitenciarios de Honduras, al tiempo que instó al Gobierno a emprender “acciones inmediatas” para garantizar la seguridad en las cárceles y evitar que se repitan esos hechos.
Julian-Pacheco1El propio ministro de Seguridad, Julián Pacheco Tinoco, ha reconocido que no será fácil recobrar la gobernabilidad de las cárceles porque estas han estado en poder de los reos desde hace décadas.
El funcionario dijo que procederán a ejercer rigurosos controles con los proveedores en las cárceles porque sospechan que por esta vía se introducen armas y drogas.
“La Penitenciaría desgraciadamente se nos ha convertido en un centro del crimen y esa es una guerra que se tiene el Estado en sí para controlar estos centros, poco a poco vamos tomando el control, pero tenemos que revisar tanto el personal administrativo como los proveedores que llegan al centro”, justificó Pacheco.
También, hace un par de semanas, la recién inaugurada cárcel de El Porvenir en Francisco Morazán, fue escenario del estallido de un artefacto.
El recinto que apenas alberga a 50 reos cuenta con todos los protocolos de seguridad, pero esto no fue obstáculo para que se introdujera el explosivo, que causó alarma entre los pobladores de esa zona del país.
El suceso provocó la separación de todos los policías penitenciarios que brindaban seguridad en ese perímetro y las autoridades prometieron “mano dura” para evitar este tipo de hechos.
Cambio de autoridades
director-de-centro-penalHace apenas unas horas el director del Instituto Penitenciario, coronel Francisco Gálvez Granados, renunció al cargo aduciendo “razones especiales”. Su lugar fue tomado por su homólogo castrense Orlando Francisco García Maradiaga.
La nueva cabeza del Instituto Penitenciario dijo sentirse honrado por la designación y expresó que “tengo la radiografía mental de las acciones preliminares que vamos a encaminar y una es el reordenamiento administrativo y operativo en los 25 centros penales”.
Gálvez Granados había asumido el cargo el 30 de julio de 2014, es decir que apenas estuvo nueve meses al frente del Instituto Penitenciario.
Ley de Trabajo Obligatorio para Privados de Libertad
Esta misma semana, el Congreso Nacional aprobó en primer debate el proyecto de decreto que contiene la Ley de Trabajo Obligatorio para Personas Privadas de Libertad y Ley del Régimen y de Permanencia para los Reos de Alta Peligrosidad y Agresividad.
picapiedras
El decreto tiene como finalidad organizar y ejecutar el trabajo que deberán ejercer las personas privadas de libertad como parte de los procesos de rehabilitación, readaptación social y terapia ocupacional sin hacer diferencias de tratos fundados en prejuicios y estigmas principalmente por razones de raza, color, orientación sexual, identidad de género, lengua, religión, opinión política o cualquier otra opinión de origen nacional o social.
Con la ley se propone generar recursos para cooperar con los gastos de alimentación de los privados de libertad, evitar la violencia interna, reducir los índices de criminalidad que se planifican desde el interior de los centros penales, fortalecer los lazos de disciplina para evitar abusos de irregularidades internas, impulsar el trabajo rehabilitador de las personas privadas de libertad, generar las condiciones para el trabajo productivo, facilitar conocimientos, destrezas y habilidades necesarias para el trabajo de privación de libertad y post penitenciario.
picapiedras2
El régimen de trabajo para los privados de libertad deberá implementarse en todos los establecimientos penitenciarios y deberá tener una duración de mil 400 horas de trabajo como mínimo por cada privado de libertad.
Aparte se especifican varias restricciones para los reos de alta peligrosidad y agresividad como recibir solamente una hora de sol al día y la prohibición para recibir visitas conyugales, éstos deberán portar una vestimenta especial señalada por el consejo directivo que también establecerá el tiempo que esos privados de libertad deberán permanecer en las cárceles de máxima seguridad del Instituto Penitenciario.
Asimismo, el 21 de abril de este 2015 el Poder Legislativo aprobó una ley mediante la cual se amplía el bloqueo de llamadas a través de servicios de Internet, Wi-Fi, telefonía satelital y otros sistemas en los centros penales, granjas penales y centros de internamiento de menores al tiempo que estableció penas de hasta siete años de reclusión para quienes incumplan el decreto.
Peligroso hacinamiento
azaolaLos sistemas penitenciarios de América Latina tienen como principal problema la sobrepoblación en las cárceles, señaló Elena Azaola, especialista del Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social (Ciesas) de México.
Estados Unidos tiene la mayor población de presos en el mundo con más de dos millones, seguido por China con 1.6 millones y Rusia con 700 mil.
La experta señaló el grave problema de hacinamiento que se registra en las cárceles de la región, donde el país con mayor saturación es El Salvador con 290 personas por cada 100 camas o plazas disponibles, seguido por Guatemala con 190 y Nicaragua, República Dominicana y Panamá con 180 cada uno.
En el listado sigue Brasil con 175, Chile y Ecuador con 150 y Honduras con 148.

El sistema penitenciario de Honduras, compuesto por 25 cárceles, es considerado una “bomba de tiempo” por el hacinamiento y otras condiciones infrahumanas en las que viven los presos, algo que reconocen las máximas autoridades del país centroamericano. Se estima que existen más de 14 mil privados de libertad aunque la cifra crece rápidamente por la gran cantidad de capturas que todos los días se llevan a cabo.

Fuente: http://www.proceso.hn/nacionales/item/101674-gobernabilidad-en-c%C3%A1rceles-un-hueso-duro-de-roer-en-honduras.html

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Oficina del Alto Comisionado de Derechos Humanos abre el lunes

1 de Mayo de 2015
01:26PM  –  Redacción  

La apertura de la sede de la ONU días antes de someterse a Examen Periódico Universal ante el Consejo de Derechos Humanos en Ginebra, Suiza.

En enero pasado, Hernández pidió al secretario de la ONU, Ban Ki-moon, abrir una oficina de DD HH en el país.
En enero pasado, Hernández pidió al secretario de la ONU, Ban Ki-moon, abrir una oficina de DD HH en el país.

Tegucigalpa, Honduras

El gobierno adelantó la apertura de la Oficina del Alto Comisionado de Derechos Humanos de las Naciones Unidas en Tegucigalpa.

Ayer, la secretaria de Comunicaciones, Hilda Hernández, confirmó que este lunes comenzará funciones la sede en el país.

A solicitud del gobierno de Honduras, este organismo ayudará a vigilar el respeto y cumplimiento de los derechos fundamentales de todos los ciudadanos.

Abrirá sus puertas días antes del Examen Periódico Universal (EPU) al que se someterá el país ante el Consejo de Derechos Humanos de las Naciones Unidas (CDHNU) en Ginebra, Suiza.

Y es que Honduras será objeto el próximo 8 de mayo de una evaluación sobre el nivel de cumplimiento de 129 recomendaciones hechas en 2010 en materia de derechos humanos.

Durante el examen, el gobierno presentará como un avance sustancial la apertura de la Oficina del Alto Comisionado, que inicialmente se había programado abrir a partir del segundo semestre del año en curso.

La sede fue solicitada por el presidente Juan Orlando Hernández al secretario general de la ONU, Ban Ki-moon, durante su visita a Tegucigalpa en enero pasado.

“Otra buena noticia para Honduras: el lunes ya será un hecho la Oficina del Alto Comisionado de Derechos Humanos en el país”, confirmó ayer en la redes sociales la secretaria de Comunicaciones.

En declaraciones recientes, el presidente Hernández explicó que la Oficina trabajará de cerca con el Comisionado Nacional de los Derechos Humanos, la sociedad civil, las instituciones del Estado y otros sectores de la hondureñidad.

Compromiso mundial

Cabe señalar que la Oficina del Alto Comisionado para los Derechos Humanos representa el compromiso del mundo frente a los ideales universales de la dignidad humana y tiene conferido el mandato exclusivo de promover y proteger todos los derechos humanos.

A criterio de Karla Cueva, subsecretaria de Derechos Humanos, la apertura de la Oficina figura como uno de los principales avances en la materia, igual que la aprobación de la Primera Política y Plan de Acción en Derechos Humanos.

“Con esto se abren las puertas al monitoreo de los organismos tanto universales como interamericanos porque es importante medir para mejorar, es necesario darle seguimiento a esos compromisos”, ha explicado.

El pasado jueves, en un comunicado, el gobierno se declaró listo para el EPU al que se someterá la próxima semana junto a otros 14 países, entre estos Estados Unidos y Panamá.

Según las autoridades, el EPU no es un examen para aprobar o reprobar a los estados, sino un mecanismo de revisión o monitoreo periódico del cumplimiento de los compromisos a los que se someten voluntariamente los 193 países miembros de la ONU.

Además de la apertura de la Oficina del Alto Comisionado, el país expondrá entre sus logros la reciente aprobación de la Ley de Protección de Defensores de Derechos Humanos, Periodistas y Operadores de Justicia.

Fuente: http://www.elheraldo.hn/inicio/836377-331/oficina-del-alto-comisionado-de-derechos-humanos-abre-el-lunes

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¡¡SALUD CLASE TRABAJADORA!!

May 01, 2015

Salud camaradas que hacen posible el desarrollo de la nación.

Salud clase explotada por los empresarios y los gobiernos

en nombre del deshumanizado modelo neoliberal capitalista.

 

Salud obreros y obreras, salud campesinos y campesinas que hacen

posible el desarrollo de Honduras aunque otros se lleven

el dinero y los honores.

 

Salud jóvenes sobreexplotados de las maquilas que desbordan las ganancias

de las corporaciones mundiales a cuenta de su frágil existencia.

Salud obreras amas de casa que por causa del sistema patriarcal no reciben

ni las gracias por su sacrificado trabajo.

 

Salud trabajadores que por el maridaje de los gobiernos-empresarios les niegan sus derechos laborales.

Salud hombres y mujeres que cruelmente venden sus cuerpos por el deshumanizado desempleo.

Salud niños y niñas que son explotadas con la complicidad de los gobiernos y políticos.

 

Salud mujeres y hombres trabajadores que luchan con dignidad por sus organizaciones gremiales y de clase y son coherentes con sus propósitos.

¡SALUD TRABAJADORES Y TRABAJADORAS DE NUESTRA PATRIA!

 

 

Rodolfo Cortés Calderón

Ingeniero agrónomo hondureño

Fuente: http://radioprogresohn.net/index.php/comunicaciones/item/2031-%C2%A1%C2%A1salud-clase-trabajadora

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Movilización del 1 de mayo fue espacio de protesta contra violencia y corrupción en El Progreso

May 01, 2015

A nivel nacional las consignas por el cese a la violencia, la no reelección y contra la corrupción inundaron las calles en la conmemoración del día del trabajador y la trabajadora. La gesta histórica que dejaron los mártires de Chicago en 1886 y los huelguistas de las compañías bananeras en 1954 en Honduras fue el impulso para que cientos de hondureños y hondureñas salieran a las calles este día de asueto a mostrar su inconformidad con la actual situación.

En la cuna de la huelga bananera, El Progreso, Yoro, la movilización comenzó en el puente de Quebrada Seca, salida al litoral atlántico, impidiendo el paso vehicular. “Hoy no es un día para celebrar” decía el dirigente popular Joel Almendarez, quien además explicó que las demandas este año han aumentado por la crisis que se vive en el país. La corrupción en el Instituto de Seguridad Social, la venta del país, leyes que violentan la soberanía nacional y la violencia que arrebata la vida de miles de jóvenes en el país no podían quedar fuera de la agenda de este 1 de mayo.

La derogación del plan de arbitrios que contempló el incremento del 400% a los impuestos en esta ciudad ribereña también fue una de las demandas.

En el parque central de El Progreso donde concluyó la manifestación, agentes policiales y militares esperaban a los manifestantes tomándoles fotografías.

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Movilización del 1 de mayo fue espacio de protesta contra violencia y corrupción en San Pedro Sula

May 01, 2015

En la capital industrial de Honduras las centrales obreras, organizaciones populares y ciudadanía en general se manifestó en contra del plan de arbitrios que contempló el aumento del 100% al peaje. Además exigieron el cese a la violencia que ha colocado a esta ciudad como la capital mundial del crimen.

La creatividad no se hizo esperar. Monigotes, manifestaciones corporales, disfraces y carteles adornaron la caminata que culminó en el parque central de San Pedro Sula con un acto de cierre.

Fuente: http://radioprogresohn.net/index.php/comunicaciones/noticias/item/2041-movilizaci%C3%B3n-del-1-de-mayo-fue-espacio-de-protesta-contra-violencia-y-corrupci%C3%B3n-en-san-pedro-sula

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Movilización del 1 de mayo fue espacio de protesta contra violencia y corrupción en La Ceiba y Bajo Aguán

May 01, 2015

En La Ceiba una de las demandas que más se repetía era el esclarecimiento de la desaparición del miembro de Sitraunah y maestro del CURLA, Donatilo Jiménez. Además de un alto a la corrupción en el Estado que ha tenido su máxima expresión en el latrocinio del Instituto Hondureño de Seguridad Social.

En Olanchito se aglutinaron diversas organizaciones del Bajo Aguán, campesinos, sindicalistas, maestros, unieron consignas en contra de la violación a derechos humanos que se vive en la región.

Otra de las consignas que se escucharon a nivel nacional fue el rechazo al proceso de descentralización del sistema de salud y la exigencia de mejoras en la atención médica.

Fuente: http://radioprogresohn.net/index.php/comunicaciones/noticias/item/2042-movilizaci%C3%B3n-del-1-de-mayo-fue-espacio-de-protesta-contra-violencia-y-corrupci%C3%B3n-en-la-ceiba-y-bajo-agu%C3%A1n

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Movilización del 1 de mayo fue espacio de protesta contra violencia y corrupción en Tegucigalpa

May 01, 2015

En la capital de Honduras, quienes desde muy temprano salieron a las calles fueron los vendedores y vendedoras ambulantes o libres, que exigieron un trato humano por parte de las autoridades municipales y un alto a la discriminación que los coloca en el sector informal del empleo.

Las organizaciones aprovecharon el espacio de protesta para exigir un alto a la violencia contra las mujeres y la revictimización de las mujeres asesinadas en el país.

Fuente: http://radioprogresohn.net/index.php/comunicaciones/noticias/item/2043-movilizaci%C3%B3n-del-1-de-mayo-fue-espacio-de-protesta-contra-violencia-y-corrupci%C3%B3n-en-tegucigalpa

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Honduras, segunda nación con sede de país

1 de Mayo de 2015

08:35PM  –  Redacción  

Oficina asesora a Guatemala desde septiembre del 2005.

En Guatemala todas las actividades de la Oficina del Alto Comisionado se detallan en su portal web www.ohchr.org.gt.
En Guatemala todas las actividades de la Oficina del Alto Comisionado se detallan en su portal web http://www.ohchr.org.gt.

Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Honduras es el segundo país en Centroamérica en donde funciona una Oficina del Alto Comisionado para los Derechos Humanos de las Naciones Unidas.

El 20 de septiembre de 2005 el organismo abrió su primera oficina en la región, que funciona en Guatemala, con la finalidad de contribuir a la protección y la promoción de los derechos humanos de la población.

En el vecino país la oficina opera con financiamiento proveniente de las contribuciones voluntarias de los estados miembros de la ONU, es decir las actividades no representan obligaciones financieras para Guatemala.

La sede tiene como mandato observar la situación de los derechos humanos, a fin de asesorar a las autoridades en la formulación y aplicación de políticas, programas y medidas para promover y proteger los derechos humanos de los guatemaltecos.

Además, asesorar al Estado guatemalteco y, en las esferas de su competencia, a representantes de la sociedad civil, organizaciones no gubernamentales y particulares.

También promueve la observancia de los derechos humanos y la aplicación de las recomendaciones formuladas por órganos y mecanismos internacionales de derechos humanos.

Actualmente el Alto Comisionado tiene oficinas de país en Bolivia, Camboya, Colombia, Guatemala, Guinea, Mauritania, México, Palestina, Kosovo, Togo, Túnez, Uganda y Yemen.

Fuente: http://www.elheraldo.hn/inicio/836376-331/honduras-segunda-naci%C3%B3n-con-sede-de-pa%C3%ADs

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Honduras: Obreros exigen cesar despido de burócratas, piden Constituyente y rechazan ingreso de tropas de EEUU

viernes, 1 de mayo de 2015

Autor del artículo: Proceso Digital  /  Viernes, 01 Mayo 2015 – 13:19

Tegucigalpa – En un pronunciamiento conjunto entre las tres centrales obreras hondureñas, el gremio demandó al gobierno cesar el despido de burócratas, generar fuentes de empleo, al tiempo que por enésima vez demandaron una Asamblea Nacional Constituyente y rechazaron el ingreso de más tropas norteamericanas.
– Con sendas marchas en las principales ciudades del país se celebró el Día Internacional del Trabajo.

La Confederación de Trabajadores de Honduras (CTH), Central General de Trabajadores (CGT) y Confederación Unitaria de Trabajadores de Honduras (CUTH), leyeron el comunicado unificado en la Plaza Central de Tegucigalpa.

Norma Iris López, miembro de la CUTH, fue la encargada de leer el pronunciamiento y en el mismo los trabajadores hondureños rechazaron los despidos masivos en
la ENEE, SANAA, Hondutel, Empresa Portuaria y todo el sector público.
Asimismo, criticaron que la aplicación de la Ley Temporal de Empleo por Hora impide la sindicalización, la contratación colectiva, la estabilidad laboral y el derecho a huelga, además fomenta la tercerización y viola los convenios 87 y 98 de la Organización Internacional del Trabajo (OIT).
La misiva obrera fustigó la pérdida de conquistas sociales el gremio docente, así como el control de sus fondos de pensiones, una situación que los mantiene constantemente enfrentados con las autoridades gubernamentales.
pronu1Asimismo, refutaron la represión permanente con los campesinos que luchan todos los días por la tierra, también la persecución, judicialización, encarcelamiento y muerte para los abanderados de esta lucha.
Durante la lectura del manifiesto hubo espacio para criticar la falta de una auténtica transformación agraria, lo que afecta la soberanía alimentaria.
“La imposición de medidas que alteran el normal funcionamiento del sistema administrativo de educación, el continuo aumento del sector informal producto de la falta de empleo generada por la aplicación de las políticas neoliberales”, rezó uno de los párrafos.
En el campo de la migración, el sector obrero criticó que este fenómeno sigue siendo grave en el país y se ve alimentado por la falta de oportunidades, empleos y educación, así como las precarias condiciones de vida de las familias.
“La migración forzada es una de las principales causas de la desintegración familiar y no le importa al régimen porque le permite recibir en dólares las remesas de los compatriotas para sostener la economía de este país”, señalaron.
Puntualizaron que a los anteriores problemas se suman los atentados contra la vida de niños, jóvenes, mujeres, comunidad lésbico gay, dirigentes, activistas y políticos, lo que pone en evidencia la violación permanente de los derechos humanos como política de Estado.
Los obreros exigieron que a partir del 2 de mayo de 2015 se materialicen las siguientes demandas:
1- La refundación del Estado a través de un llamado a la Constituyente como medio que pueda transformar la sociedad.
2- La desmilitarización de la sociedad y el Estado porque la inseguridad no puede reducirse solo con el resguardo de los intereses de las transnacionales, de sus socios nacionales, del sistema económico imperante y reprimir las protestas sociales.
3- La autodeterminación de nuestro pueblo como condición para lograr la justicia, la paz, el desarrollo social, político y cultural.
4- La sustitución del modelo neoliberal por un modelo social al servicio de las mayorías.
5- La admisión de una la Ley Electoral previo a plebiscito.
6- La aprobación de la Ley Agraria para garantizar la soberanía y desarrollo del agro.
7- El rescate de los derechos arrebatados al magisterio y la no injerencia estatal.
8- La derogación de las leyes que atentan contra las conquistas sociales, económicas, culturales, educativas, políticas y aquellas que atenten contra la soberanía nacional, las libertades democráticas.
9- No a la privatización de los institutos de previsión de salud y del seguro social, con la Ley Marco de Previsión Social, por eso le exigimos al Congreso Nacional no lo apruebe.
10- Que el Congreso Nacional apruebe el Código Procesal Laboral consensuado con las centrales obreras y la Corte Suprema de Justicia.
11- El respeto a la vida, a los derechos humanos, a la mujer, a los niños, a la organización sindical.
12- Soluciones estatales al problema energético y la regulación al precio de los combustibles.
13- El mejoramiento de las condiciones de vida del pueblo que incluya el incremento de salarios.
14- El acceso al empleo permanente y bien remunerado y los servicios públicos.
15- Que se eliminen todo tipo de impuestos a los sindicatos y cooperativas.
16- Rechazo al arribo de marines estadounidenses a suelo patrio.

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Vicecancilleres del Triángulo Norte preocupados por “cacería de migrantes” que podría generar Plan Frontera Sur en México

-El Plan Frontera Su ha provocado que los migrantes centroamericanos emprendan nuevas rutas exponiéndose a todo tipo de vejámenes durante su paso por México.

Viceministros de Honduras, Guatemala y El Salvador expresaron su preocupación por el alza en las detenciones de centroamericanos a partir del Programa Frontera Sur puesto en marcha por el gobierno mexicano desde el pasado mes de julio de 2014.

-El Plan Frontera Su ha provocado que los migrantes centroamericanos emprendan nuevas rutas exponiéndose a todo tipo de vejámenes durante su paso por México.

-Las deportaciones de hondureños desde suelo mexicano han aumentado en un 30 % en comparación al primer tercio del año 2014.

“Las detenciones sí nos preocupan, sobre todo si las autoridades que lo hacen no están capacitadas y conscientes de que éste es un tema humanitario”, dijo a la prensa mexicana la vicecanciller para Asuntos Migratorios y Consulares de Honduras, María Andrea Matamoros.

Matamoros junto a sus similares de Guatemala, Óscar Padilla Lam; y de El Salvador, Ludivina Magarín realizan desde el pasado domingo una gira por la ruta migratoria en México donde pretenden visitara albergues y ligares que ofrecen refugio los migrantes durante su paso por ese país.

“El Plan Frontera Sur en papel parece estar muy bien, pero en la práctica es diferente, y si las autoridades que lo están implementando no están capacitadas, no están concientizadas de que son seres humanos, de que no son delincuentes, entonces el plan no tiene sentido”, expresó la diplomática hondureña.

La funcionaria ofreció sus declaraciones tras su participación en una reunión con senadores, en el marco de la visita oficial que realiza a México con sus homólogos de Guatemala y El Salvador.

Fuente: http://www.radiohrn.hn/l/noticias/vicecancilleres-del-tri%C3%A1ngulo-norte-preocupados-por-%E2%80%9Ccacer%C3%ADa-de-migrantes%E2%80%9D-que-podr%C3%ADa

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EEUU podría donar más de 700 millones para programas de alfabetización

“De aprobar esta segunda fase la Secretaria de Agricultura de los Estados Unidos estaría donando más de 700 millones de lempiras.

Representantes de Catholic Relief Service (CRS) informaron que ya solicitaron la segunda ampliación de “Alimentos para la Educación” que actualmente se ejecuta en 17 municipalidades del departamento de Intibucá y que finaliza en diciembre del 2015.

“Alimentos para la Educación” tiene como objetivo estratégico mejorar la alfabetización de los niños en edad escolar a través del aumento de los incentivos económicos y culturales, mejorando la infraestructura de las escuelas con énfasis en el acceso a agua, saneamiento e higiene y que es ejecutado junto a CRS por Caritas Santa Rosa de Copan y el Comité Central para el Agua y Desarrollo de Intibucá ( COCEPRADII) y gobiernos locales.

“De aprobar esta segunda fase la Secretaria de Agricultura de los Estados Unidos (USDA) estaría donando más de 700 millones de lempiras, que serán invertidos en este proyecto que beneficia a más de 53 mil estudiantes y maestros en más de 1000 escuelas y centros de educación básica” indico Juan Sheenan, representante en Honduras de CRS.

El pasado 29 y 30 de abril la Secretaria Adjunta del departamento de Agricultura de Estados Unidos (USDA) Krysta Harden, junto a una comisión de alto nivel y el embajador James Nealon, visitaron dos centros educativos donde se lleva a cabo el proyecto “Alimentos para la Educación” en Yamaranguila, Intibucá. Ahí compartieron con los niños y niñas que gozan de una merienda escolar y transporte seguro, asimismo con las autoridades locales y maestros que son contra parte integral en la ejecución del proyecto.

Fuente: http://www.radiohrn.hn/l/noticias/eeuu-podr%C3%ADa-donar-m%C3%A1s-de-700-millones-para-programas-de-alfabetizaci%C3%B3n

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Gobierno se declara listo para Examen Periódico Universal

1 de Mayo de 2015

03:01PM  –  Redacción  

Se ha cumplido “la mayoría” de las recomendaciones hechas en 2010 por el Consejo de Derechos Humanos de las Naciones Unidas, afirma el Ejecutivo.

Karla Cueva, Rigoberto Chang Castillo y Olga Alvarado en comparecencia de prensa en la sede del Ejecutivo.
Karla Cueva, Rigoberto Chang Castillo y Olga Alvarado en comparecencia de prensa en la sede del Ejecutivo.

Tegucigalpa, Honduras

El gobierno de Honduras se declaró listo para el Examen Periódico Universal (EPU) al que se someterá ante el Consejo de Derechos Humanos de las Naciones Unidas (CDHNU).

La evaluación se realizará la próxima semana en Ginebra, Suiza, en donde otros 14 países también rendirán cuentas sobre su situación en materia de derechos humanos.

En un comunicado, el Poder Ejecutivo aseguró que Honduras ha cumplido “la mayoría” de las 129 recomendaciones hechas en 2010 por el CDHNU al país.

Honduras acudirá al examen el próximo 8 de mayo para honrar el compromiso de dar cumplimiento a los convenios y tratados internacionales en materia de derechos humanos, ratificados por el Estado.

El gobierno defenderá su informe frente a un documento elaborado por varios organismos no gubernamentales que vienen cuestionando una serie de violaciones a los derechos humanos, que a criterio de las autoridades están infundadas.

“El EPU no es un examen para aprobar o reprobar a los Estados, es un mecanismo de revisión o monitoreo periódico del cumplimiento de los compromisos a los que nos sometemos voluntariamente los 193 países miembro de Naciones Unidas”, dice el comunicado.

El documento fue leído durante el mediodía de ayer por el secretario de Derechos Humanos, Justicia, Gobernación y Descentralización, Rigoberto Chang Castillo, junto a las viceministras Karla Cueva y Olga Alvarado. Según el gobierno, entre los avances en derechos humanos destacan la aprobación e implementación de la Política Pública y el Plan Nacional de Acción en Derechos Humanos.

Además, la creación de un marco de protección a defensores de derechos humanos, periodistas y operadores de justicia a través del Congreso Nacional (CN).

Asimismo, esfuerzos por mejorar la transparencia, atender la migración, la trata de personas y el impulso al Observatorio de Derechos Humanos y la primera Política Nacional Penitenciaria.

“De las 129 recomendaciones recibidas por el Estado en 2010, se ha logrado el cumplimiento de la mayoría, además de aquellas que aún se encuentran en proceso avanzado de cumplimiento”.

“A través de su comparecencia en Ginebra, Suiza, el 8 de mayo del presente año a presentar el Examen Periódico Universal en su segundo ciclo, Honduras honra el compromiso de dar cumplimiento a los convenios y tratados internacionales en materia de derechos humanos, ratificados por el Estado”, detalla.

Fuente: http://www.elheraldo.hn/pais/836091-331/gobierno-se-declara-listo-para-examen-peri%C3%B3dico-universal

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El 59% de las empresas en el país no pagan el salario mínimo

Sumado a ello, en el país hay un nivel de informalidad del 70 por ciento por lo que al ser una tasa tan grande puede haber problemas de incumplimiento de salario mínimo.

En el marco del Día del Trabajador, el titular de la secretaria del Trabajo, Carlos Madero, manifestó que en el país, solo el 41 por ciento de las empresas cumple con el salario minimo.

El funcionario señaló, que el salario mínimo es una ley, es un derecho obligatorio y todo hondureño que no se le cumple la ley le asiste para poder presentar las denuncias que correspondan en el caso y el patrón independientemente de su condición tamaño o donde ejerce la actividad económica deberá retribuir al trabajador lo que por mínimo establece la ley.

Sumado a ello, en el país hay un nivel de informalidad del 70 por ciento por lo que al ser una tasa tan grande puede haber problemas de incumplimiento de salario mínimo.

Sin embargo, indicó que para el 59 por ciento que incumple con ese derecho se puede establecer una sanción pecuaria que puede llegar hasta cinco mil lempiras.

Concluyó informando que el gobierno ha reducido las tasas de subempleo de un 40 a un 34 por ciento lo que está relacionado con la capacidad del sector empresarial y las microempresas de brindar oportunidades de trabajo.

Fuente: http://www.radiohrn.hn/l/noticias/el-59-de-las-empresas-en-el-pa%C3%ADs-no-pagan-el-salario-m%C3%ADnimo

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EL PODER SIN PODER HACER

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Hoy asistimos a la Plaza de los Desaparecidos con las mantas de las madres y las abuelas, coincidentemente en el Día del Trabajador.

Nuestras mantas reflejan aquél dolor provocado por la violencia del Estado entre 1980 y 2000, pero las de hoy, igualmente, dicen dictadura, escuadrones de la muerte, impunidad y continuismo.

Dos épocas en una misma plaza por donde cruza la población trabajadora sin trabajo, denunciando a un mismo régimen de atracadores, violentos y activos militantes del crimen organizado.

En 1980 protestábamos contra quienes proponían a Estados Unidos la implantación de un Protectorado en Honduras y hoy, 35 años después, contra los mismos que quieren vender la Patria por pedazos a las bestias transnacionales.

En 1985 exigíamos a gritos la expulsión de las bases del Pentágono ubicadas en territorio nacional para agredir a los pueblos de Guatemala, El Salvador y Nicaragua, hoy el Comando Sur aumenta sus tropas en Palmerola contra todos los pueblos de América Latina.

En 1990 enfrentamos el inicio de un modelo económico extorsionador de los empobrecidos, acumulador de riquezas en los mafiosos y esencialmente un modelo anti nacional, vendido a los corruptos de la Escuela de Chicago. Como ahora.

Por eso, con los mártires de Chicago, venimos a este plantón de primer viernes de mayo 2015 a reclamar la libertad con vida de DONATILO JIMENEZ EUCEDA, miembro del personal de planta del Centro Universitario Regional Atlántico, CURLA, de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras, desaparecido el pasado 8 de abril. Un trabajador  sindicalizado desaparecido.

Igual que Donatilo, en los años ochenta fueron desaparecidos Tomás Nativi, Estanislao Maradiaga, Felix Martinez, Rolando Vindel, Gustavo Morales, Germán Pérez, Ramón Briceño, entre otros, de sus propios centros de trabajo.

Hoy estamos también aquí para abogar por una mujer trabajadora en la tierra del Bajo Aguán, Martha Arnold, quien debe gozar de medidas de protección cautelar del Estado para poder vivir, pues son reales las amenazas que ponen en riesgo su vida y la de su familia.

Venimos, en suma, a reclamar la Patria robada; a defender la que aún nos queda y a exigir al pueblo que cierre el puño, porque ellos tienen todo el poder (el dinero lavado, el ejército mimetizado, la prensa ensangrentada, las iglesias idiotizadas y los ricos narcos), pero el pueblo tiene la mayor cantidad de manos juntas. Y debemos trenzarlas “de manera que no haya soledad”.

De los hechos y hechores, ni olvido ni perdón
COFADEH

Tegucigalpa, M. D. C., 1 de mayo 2015

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BANKSPEAK

New Left Review 92, March-April 2015

 

franco moretti & dominique pestre

The Language of World Bank Reports

What can quantitative linguistic analysis tell us about the operations and outlook of the international financial institutions? At first glance, the words most frequently used in the World Bank’s Annual Reports give an impression of unbroken continuity. [1] Seven are near the top at any given time: three nouns—bank, loan/s,development—and four adjectives: fiscal, economic, financial, private. This septet is joined by a handful of other nouns: ibrd, countries, investment/s, interest, programme/s, project/s, assistance, and—though initially less frequent—lending, growth, cost, debt, trade, prices. There is also a second, more colourless set of adjectives—other, new, such, net, first, more, general—plus agricultural, partly replaced from the 1990s by rural. [2] The message is clear: the World Bank lends money for the purpose of stimulating development, notably in the rural South, and is therefore involved with loans, investments and debts. It works through programmes and projects, and considers trade a key resource for economic growth. Being concerned with development, the Bank deals with all sorts of economic, financial and fiscal matters, and is in touch with private business. All quite simple, and perfectly straightforward.

And yet, behind this façade of uniformity, a major metamorphosis has taken place. Here is how the Bank’s Report described the world in 1958:

The Congo’s present transport system is geared mainly to the export trade, and is based on river navigation and on railroads which lead from river ports into regions producing minerals and agricultural commodities. Most of the roads radiate short distances from cities, providing farm-to-market communications. In recent years road traffic has increased rapidly with the growth of the internal market and the improvement of farming methods.

And here is the Report from half a century later, in 2008:

Levelling the playing field on global issues

Countries in the region are emerging as key players on issues of global concern, and the Bank’s role has been to support their efforts by partnering through innovative platforms for an enlightened dialogue and action on the ground, as well as by supporting South–South cooperation.

It’s almost another language, in both semantics and grammar. The key discontinuity, as we shall see, falls mostly between the first three decades and the last two, the turn of the 1990s, when the style of the Reports becomes much more codified, self-referential and detached from everyday language. It is this Bankspeak that will be the protagonist of the pages that follow.

i. semantic transformations

Nouns are at the centre of World Bank Reports. During the first two decades, 1950–70, the most frequent among them can be grouped in two main clusters. The first, obviously enough, encompasses the economic activities of the Bank: loan/s, development, power (in the sense of electricity), programme, projects, investment, equipment, production, construction, plant; further down the list are companies, facilities, industry, machineries, followed by a string of concrete terms like port, road, steel, irrigation, kWh, river, highway, railway—and then timber, pulp, coal, iron, steam, steel, locomotives, diesel, freight, dams, bridges, cement, chemical, acres, hectares, drainage, crop, cattle, livestock. All quite appropriate for a bank which offers loans and investments (the only explicitly financial terms in this long list) to promote a variety of infrastructural development projects. [3]

The second noun cluster is much smaller (just a dozen words), and describes how the Bank actually operates. Confronted with existing demands, its experts analyse numbers, but they also pay visits, realize surveys and conduct missions in the field; the classic ingredients of a scientific approach to a complex situation, which requires the active presence of experts to collect and elaborate the data. Afterwards, the Bank proceeds to advise countries, suggest solutions, assist local governments and allocate its loans. Rhetorically, investment programmes are defined by the needs of the local economy, according to the basic idea that investment in infrastructure will lead to economic development and social well-being. At the end of every cycle, the Bank specifies what has been lent, spent, paid and sold, and describes the equipment—dams, factory, irrigation systems—that has been put into operation. A clear link is established between empirical knowledge, money flows and industrial constructions: knowledge is associated with physical presence in situ, and with calculations conducted in the Bank’s headquarters; money flows involve the negotiation of loans and investments with individual states; and the construction of ports, energy plants, etc., is the result of the whole process. In this eminently temporal sequence, a strong sense of causality links expertise, loans, investments, and material realizations.

Apart from the Bank, three types of social actors appear in the texts during this period: states and governments; companies, banks and industry; engineers, technicians and experts. This social ontology confirms the standard account of post-war reconstruction as industrial, Fordist and Keynesian. The protagonists of economic growth are businessmen and bankers, working with industrial companies, economists and engineers to implement projects within a national framework presided over by a state. What has to be managed is the economy—‘the self-contained structure or totality of relations of production, distribution and consumption of goods and services within a given geographical space’, as Timothy Mitchell has put it—whose results are optimized by a ‘modern apparatus of calculation and government’. [4] With the help of the Bank, governments adjust investments and financial parameters so as to modernize countries: that is to say, to industrialize them, beginning with basic material infrastructures. It’s the legacy of Walt Whitman Rostow, author of The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto (1960) and a key policy advisor to American administrations from Eisenhower to Johnson. Development proceeds in stages, and its ‘take-off’ is triggered by the production of raw materials, the creation of infrastructures and an agricultural sector oriented towards exports.

Let us pause briefly on a specific passage from 1969. It appears in the general introduction of the Report, in a section on agricultural loans, and its language is so simple, it seems almost featureless:

Many developing countries need to transform their agriculture . . . the Bank Group continues to encourage these trends through its lending for general agricultural development, which totalled $72.2 million in the 1969 financial year. Diversification into new crops which provide a source of cash income, or improved production of existing ones, was encouraged by loans or credits to support traditional coffee production in Burundi at its normal level, palm oil development in Cameroon, Dahomey, the Ivory Coast and Papua, afforestation in Zambia, and mechanization of sorghum, sesame and cotton farming in the Sudan . . . A $13 million Bank loan to India will finance the production of seeds of new high-yielding varieties of foodgrains; at full development the project will produce enough seeds to plant seven million acres with the new varieties. This is the first loan the Bank has made for seed production.

Aside from the initial injunction that agriculture ‘needs’ to change, the dominant note is one of factual precision: amounts, countries, materials, productive activities, objectives of the investments. Nouns are frequent and adjectives rare: things are being described, not advertised. Verbs specify the type of action involved: to encourage, provide, improve, support, diversify, produce, finance. The present tense reports what is happening now (the bank continues to encourage); when a project has not yet been launched the tense shifts to the future (the credit will finance seed production), while the past accounts for what has been completed (diversification was encouraged, lending totalled $72.2 million). Clearly demarcating past accomplishments, current actions, necessary policies and future projects, this temporal structure reinforces the sense of factuality of the early Reports.

Finance, management, governance

Let’s now shift to the most recent decades. Three new semantic clusters characterize the language of the Bank from the early 1990s on. The first—and most important—has to do with finance: here, alongside a few predictable adjectives (financial, fiscal, economic) and nouns (loans, investment, growth, interest, lending, debt), we find a landslide of fair value, portfolio, derivative, accrual, guarantees, losses, accounting, assets; a little further down the list, equity, hedging, liquidity, liabilities, creditworthiness, default, swaps, clients, deficit, replenishment, repurchase, cash. In terms of frequency and semantic density, this cluster can only be compared to the material infrastructures of the 1950s–60s; now, however, work in agriculture and industry has been replaced by an overwhelming predominance of financial activities. Figure 1 is a good illustration of the Bank’s new priorities.

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The second cluster has to do with management—a noun that, in absolute terms, is the second most frequent of the last decade (lower than loans, but higher than risk and investment!). In the world of ‘management’, people have goals and agendas; faced with opportunities, challenges and critical situations, they elaborate strategies. To appreciate the novelty, let’s recall that, in the 1950s–60s, issues were studied by experts who surveyed and conducted missions, published reports, assisted, advised and suggested programmes. With the advent of management, the centre of gravity shifts towards focusing, strengthening and implementing; one must monitor, control, audit, rate (Figure 2); ensure that everything is done properly while also helping people to learn from mistakes. The many tools at the manager’s disposal (indicators, instruments, knowledge, expertise, research) enhance effectiveness, efficiency, performance, competitiveness and—it goes without saying—promote innovation.

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To better understand this ‘management discourse’, as Boltanski and Chiapello have called it in The New Spirit of Capitalism, we decided to run a little experiment. We took two related expressions—‘poverty’ and ‘poverty reduction’—and followed their occurrences from 1990 to 2010, comparing their respective ‘collocates’: that is to say, the words that tend to occur most often in their immediate proximity. Near poverty, the dominant note was one of straightforward economic realism: bank was the most frequent word; million, the second; and then total, cost, population, incomes, services, problems, work, production, employment, resources, food, health, agriculture. Which makes perfect sense, because these are indeed the terms that define the perimeter of poverty. What doesn’t make sense, on the other hand, is that only four of them—services, work, resources, health—should reappear near poverty reduction. Poverty is the problem, poverty reduction the policy that should address it; they should have plenty of core terms in common. And instead, the most characteristic collocates of poverty reduction are not cost, population, income—let alone production or employment—but strategies, programmes, policies, focus, key, management, report, goals, approach, projects, framework, priorities, papers. ‘Management discourse’, in all its glory. Never mind employment and income: focus, key, approach, framework—these are the critical terms in reducing poverty. Policy turned into paperwork, with goals and priorities and papers inching their way through the department that—in the acronym-obsessed language of the Reports—is known as prem: Poverty Reduction and Economic Management.

The third semantic cluster of the last two decades comprises governance and moral behaviour. [5] Governance, first of all: this shibboleth of World Bank language first showed up in a crowded sentence of the 1990 Report—‘the strength of managerial institutions and personnel and the quality of governance also determine how well reform policies are actually put into practice’—and then increased its presence to the point that it is now as frequent as ‘food’, occurring ten times more often than ‘law’ and a hundred times more than ‘politics’ (Figure 3). [6]

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Three adjectives have been shadowing governance in its irresistible progress: global, environmental, civil. They are complemented by dialogue,stakeholders, collaboration, partnership, communities, indigenous people, accountability—plus climate, nature, natural, forest, pollution. Even health and education have ended up near the orbit of governance (Figures 4 and 5).

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Finally, the semantic cluster of governance includes a series of terms which express a sense of compassion, generosity, rectitude or empathy with the world’s problems. Virtually absent in previous decades, these ethical claims emerge in the mid-1980s, and become second nature by the early 1990s, when responsible,responsibility, effort, commitment, involvement, sharing, care are suddenly everywhere. [7] Nor is the Bank blind to fragile and vulnerable people, to poverty (revitalized in 1995 by the new Director General James Wolfensohn), and to all that is human (Figure 6). This cluster also includes rights, law, justice and (anti-)corruption. People, behaviour and results are outstanding, significant, relevant, consistent, strong, good, better. Enhancing and promoting what is appropriate, equitable and sound: this is the Bank’s credo. The overall effect is one of dedication and commitment; the Bank’s sense of responsibility is as admirable as its efficiency.

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Let us again pause on a specific passage to add some texture to our analysis. Here is the opening of the 2012 Report:

The World Bank is committed to achieving and communicating results.

In its ongoing dedication to overcoming poverty and creating opportunity for people in developing countries, the Bank is making progress both internally and in the field, and it continues to improve the way it serves its client countries.

A place full of ‘opportunities’ that the poor may seize in order to change their condition: this is how the Bank sees the world. Within this scenario, its activity consists in establishing the legal and cultural framework necessary for a variety of initiatives to flourish; still investment in infrastructures, in a sense—except that they’re no longer made of stone and steel. The Bank is dedicated and committed, thoughtful, invested in a better world. It is forward-looking, its dedication ongoing, constantly thinking about improving and serving the poor countries that are its . . . clients.

Clients? At first, the word is jarring: if dedication suggests a universe of moral justice, client refers to business, rational interests, and power relations. In deliberately linking them within a single sentence, though, the Bank suggests that the two are no longer in opposition: nowadays, business is as attentive to stakeholders as to shareholders; like civil society and the Bank itself, it is socially and environmentally responsible, and engaged in durable governance made of multiple partnerships. Ethics is at the heart of the business world, and of its contractual relationships.

Complexity and crisis

Having established the two contrasting paradigms of World Bank discourse, let us briefly sketch the process that led from the one to the other. A few adjustments aside, the intellectual framework that defined the Bank’s operations in the 50s and 60s remained fundamentally in place up to the late 1970s: irrigation, chemical inputs, the Green Revolution and the industrial–infrastructural synergy continue to be the key ingredients of economic take-off. But the belief in a linear approach is losing its force: as the 1960s come to a close, it becomes clear that, if building infrastructure is relatively simple, its reliable long-term operation is not: it requires specialists, qualified workers and the regular supply of key products like electricity—none of which can be taken for granted in the countries of the South. To make things worse, international exchanges seem to respect neither the Bank’s hopes, nor the theories of development à la Rostow. The prices of agricultural raw materials—crucial for the economies of the South—are far from stable and undergo major falls, from which recovery is difficult. The consequences of such instability can be dramatic: as prices drop, developing countries cannot afford to persevere on the virtuous path by which the export of raw materials finances the growth of infrastructure . . . and the repayment of foreign loans. Mindful of its investments, the Bank is worried.

The language of the Reports adapts to the changing environment; words like commodities, or improvements, raise the analysis to a higher level of abstraction than, say, hydroelectric plants and cement. And since leading the world by relying merely on material infrastructures no longer seems enough, other ‘factors’ are taken into account: the market, of course, but especially the ‘human factor’. On becoming the Bank’s president in 1967, Robert McNamara places lbj’s ‘war on poverty’ at the centre of its strategy. It’s the time of small-scale farms and cooperatives (faint echoes of decolonization and social unrest); of farmers (previously marginal to the Bank’s policy); of families (and soon of women). Education is now seen as indispensable in maintaining progress, along with school, primary, secondary, educational, training. It’s the time of the explosion of towns (and shantytowns); of rural emigration, and the deterioration of the urban (a ubiquitous adjective) way of life; whence a long list of new problems—housing, drainage,sewers.

In the second half of the 1970s, the oil crisis introduces new exogenous elements. Words like debt, borrowed and borrowing become increasingly frequent, along with those that refer to a country’s reliability (or lack thereof): cost/s, exports, co-financing. The discourse of reform—destined for unimaginable success—begins to take shape. And since debt is linked to the evolution of prices, these, too, become more visible in the Reports (in fact, it’s amazing how invisible they had previously been). The crisis reveals the World Bank as, indeed, a bank—and one that finds it difficult to recover its loans: a fact that may seem obvious, but that, until then, had been largely muted.

In response to all this, the causal chain linking loans and development, investments and economic progress, is lengthened to include families and education, small farmers and sewers. This is hardly an unfeasible adjustment, and even the logic behind the debt continues to appear reasonably simple: there are loans, faltering exports, problematic reimbursements—the inter-connections are clear, comprehensible. But the world as seen through the World Bank Reports is becoming less linear than it used to be; socio-economic dynamics are harder to disentangle, and there is a faint surprise in the face of events that aren’t following the expected course. At times, the surprise seems genuine; if this were so (but is it possible?) it would speak volumes about the delusions of development in the post-war period. As the policy of infrastructural growth becomes partially destabilized, a sense of indecision and even openness emerges—in sharp contrast with the previous decades, when everything was self-evident and almost automatic. But the openness will not last; at the end of the 1970s, the auto-pilot will be reinserted—this time, en route to ‘structural adjustment’.

Debts and restructuring

The Reports of the 1980s are dominated by the debts of the South, and by the structural adjustments that are the keyword of the decade. The semantics of crisis is omnipresent—deterioration, deficit, decline, indebted, issues, difficult—and defines the parameters that must be met before granting any country a new loan: balance of payments, current account, debt services. The hope of recovery, for its part, is heard far less often. It’s the ‘development philosophy’ of the times: liberal recipes that will ensure the only thing that matters, the return to growth. This means expanding trade, expanding the private sector, raising competitiveness; the rules of economic activity must be redefined (making it freer), and the role of the state reduced. It’s the moment of the liberalization of the public sector. People must learn to be efficient and cost-effective, care about performance, develop incentives. The Bank outlines the solutions, and demands that they be implemented, leaving little room for negotiation. Restructuring and rescheduling are the only way to reassure the creditors.

A few chronological details. In the years 1982–89, the main semantic cluster is still a melancholy one: slowdown, stagnation, degradation, depreciation, devaluation, fall/fell, exacerbated, severe. In the 1990s, there is a shift toward private sector, privatization, privatized, financial sector, creditworthiness, along with market-oriented activities and institution building, a code word for the liberalization/privatization of public institutions. The lexicon of global finance has not yet emerged, although that of nature, the environment and civil society is beginning to circulate. Meanwhile, management leaves its imprint on a series of verbs which express the harsh policies prescribed by the Bank: to address, target, accelerate, support, restructure, implement, improve, strengthen, aim, achieve . . .

Aside from individual words, it’s the nature of the Bank’s language that is changing: becoming more abstract, more distant from concrete social life; a technical code, detached from everyday communication and pared down to the economic factors crucial to the repayment of the debt. Solutions are disengaged from any specificity: they are the same for everybody, everywhere. Faced with the potentially devastating consequences of default, the Bank’s chief objective is no longer development, but, more simply, the rescue of private lenders (Harpagon: ‘My casket! My casket!’). The banker must be saved before the client: doubts have disappeared, and the Bank’s core beliefs are hammered home over and over again: the economy must be strengthened by making it leaner; the public sector must be restructured to create favourable conditions for private business and the market; the state must shrink and become more efficient. Such ‘solutions’ transcend the need to respond to the debt crisis: they aim at social transformation through the return to an uncompromising liberalism.

ii. grammatical patterns

So far, our findings have been rather straightforward: as the economic situation evolves, policy changes, and language too; yet the Bank itself remains the same. We will now shift our attention to aspects of language that change very little, and very slowly. A ‘bureaucratization’ of the Bank’s discourse, one could call it—except that it’s more than that: it’s a style that self-organizes around a few elements, then starts generating its own message. Let us try to explain, by returning to the two passages we quoted at the beginning of this essay. The one from 1958, on ‘the Congo’s present transport system’, was full of rivers, farms, markets, railroads, ports, minerals, cities . . . It couldn’t have been clearer. The second passage, from 2008, was different. Here it is again:

Levelling the playing field on global issues

Countries in the region are emerging as key players on issues of global concern, and the Bank’s role has been to support their efforts by partnering through innovative platforms for an enlightened dialogue and action on the ground, as well as by supporting South–South cooperation.

Issues, players, concern, efforts, platforms, dialogue, ground . . . ‘The whole tendency of modern prose is away from concreteness’, wrote Orwell in ‘Politics and the English Language’, and his words are as true today as they were in 1946. The Bank stresses the importance of what it’s saying—key, global, innovative, enlightened—but its words are hopelessly opaque. What is it really trying to say—or to hide?

‘A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts . . . ’

Opacity is hard to understand, so we will break it down into smaller units, beginning with its movement ‘away from concreteness’. In the passage from 2008, the terms action and cooperation belong to a class of words usually known as ‘nominalizations’, or ‘derived abstract nouns’; derived, in this case, from verbs: to ‘act’, to ‘cooperate’. [8] In English, such terms are recognizable by their typical ending in -tion, -sion and -ment (implementation, extension, development . . . ); so, we extracted from the Reports all the words with such an ending and hand-checked the top 600 (to eliminate ‘station’, ‘cement’, and the like). Figure 7 presents the results. According to corpus linguistics, in academic prose the average frequency of nominalizations derived from verbs is 1.3 per cent. In the World Bank Reports, the frequency is near 3 per cent from the start, with a higher peak around 1950, and it keeps growing, slowly but steadily, plateauing at 4 per cent between 1980 and 2005, and dropping slightly thereafter.

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A class of words that is used two or three times more often than in comparable discourses. [9] Why? What do nominalizations do, that the Reports should use them with such insistence? They take ‘actions and processes’ and turn them into ‘abstract objects’, runs a standard linguistic definition: [10] you don’t support countries which are cooperating with each other; you support ‘South–South cooperation’. An abstraction, where temporality is abolished. ‘The provision of social services and country assessments and action plans which assist in the formulation of poverty reduction policies’, writes the Report for 1990—and the five nominalizations create a sort of simultaneity among a series of actions that are in fact quite distinct from each other. Providing social services (action one) which will assist (two) in formulating policies (three) to reduce poverty (four): doing this will take a very long time. But in the language of the Report, all these steps have contracted into a single policy, which seems to come into being all at once. It’s magic.

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And then—the authors of Corpus Linguistics continue—in nominalizations, actions and processes are ‘separated from human participants’: [11] cooperation, not states which cooperate with each other. ‘Pollution, soil erosion, land degradation,deforestation and deterioration of the urban environment’, mourns another recent Report, and the absence of social actors is striking. All these ominous trends—and no one is responsible? ‘Prioritization’ enters the Reports as debt crisis looms; meaning, quite simply, that not all creditors would be treated equally: some would be reimbursed right away, others later; some in full, and others not. Of course, the criteria according to which X would be treated differently from Y had been decided by someone. But prioritization concealed that. Why X and not Y? Because of prioritization. In front of the word, one can no longer see—one can no longer even imaginea concrete subject engaged in a decision. ‘Rendition’: an American secret agency kidnaps foreign citizens to hand them over to another secret service, in another country, that will torture them. In ‘rendition’, it’s all gone. It’s magic. [12]

This recurrent transmutation of social forces into abstractions turns the World Bank Reports into strangely metaphysical documents, whose protagonists are often not economic agents, but principles—and principles of so universal a nature, it’s impossible to oppose them. Levelling the playing field on global issues: no one will ever object to these words (although, of course, no one will ever be able to say what they really mean, either). They are so general, these ideas, they’re usually in the singular: development, governance, management, cooperation. It’s the ‘singularization’ that Reinhart Koselleck discovered in late eighteenth-century thought: ‘histories’, which had ‘previously existed in the plural, as all sorts of histories which had occurred’, becoming ‘history in general’; the ‘progresses’ of the various technical and intellectual branches converging into a single ‘progress’, and so on. [13]

For Koselleck, singularization was the result of the ‘growing complexity of economic, technological, social and political structures’, which forced social theory to increase the ‘degree of generality’ of its categories. [14] Which is true: singular abstract nouns allow us to synthesize and generalize, and are thus indispensable to the construction of knowledge. But World Bank Reports are not primarily about knowledge: they are about policy; and in policy, singularization suggests not a greater generality, but a stronger constraint. There is only one way to do things: one development path; one type of management; one form of cooperation. It’s hard to believe, but the verb todisagree never appears in the Reports; disagreement, twice in seventy years. [15] It’s the formula made famous by Margaret Thatcher: There Is No Alternative. And singularizations assert this, not with arguments, but with the unspoken ‘fact’ of a recurrent grammatical pattern. World Bank policies change, as we have seen, but singularization does not: each new policy is the only possible one (Figure 8). [16]

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The transition from semantic clusters to grammatical structures—from the first to the second part of this essay—entails, so to speak, a certain loss of momentum: compared to the dramatic trajectories of Figures 1–6, with their five- or ten-fold increases, the mild incline of Figure 7 is hardly impressive. But its slowness tells us something which is just as important: behind all the changes, the first element of an institutional ‘style’ had successfully crystallized. Nominalizations remained unusually frequent because they ‘worked’ in so many interconnected ways: they hid the subject of decisions, eliminated alternatives, endowed the chosen policy with a halo of high principle and prompt realization. Their abstraction was the perfect echo of a capital that was itself becoming more and more deterritorialized; their impossible ugliness—‘prioritization’: come on!—lent them a certain pedantic reliability; their ambiguity allowed for the endless small adjustments that keep the peace in the world order. And so, this mass of Latin words became a key ingredient of ‘how one talks about policy’. Specific semantic fields rise and fall with their referents; they are, one could almost say, the histoire événementielle of political language. Grammar is made of rules and repetition, and its politics is in step with longer cycles: structures, more than events. It defines, not a policy of the Bank, but the way in which every policy is put into words. It is the magic mirror in which the World Bank can gaze, and recognize itself as an institution.

And . . . and . . . and . . .

We briefly discussed the collocates of governance in the caption to Figure 3, but we didn’t mention that the biggest surprise came with the most frequent collocate of all: and. ‘And’? The most frequent word in English is ‘the’: everybody knows that. So, what is ‘and’ doing at the top of the list? Two passages from the 1999 Report may help to explain:

promote corporate governance and competition policies and reform and privatize state-owned enterprises and labour market/social protection reform

There is greater emphasis on quality, responsiveness, and partnerships; on knowledge-sharing and client orientation; and on poverty reduction

The first passage—a grammatico-political monstrosity—is a small present to our patient readers; the second, more guarded, is also more indicative of the rhetoric in question. Knowledge-sharing has really nothing to do with client orientation; poverty reduction, nothing to do with either. There is no reason they should appear together. But those ‘ands’ connect them just the same, despite the total absence of logic, and their paratactical crudity becomes almost a justification: we have so many important things to do, we can’t afford to be elegant; yes, we must take care of our clients (we are, remember, a bank); but we also care about knowledge and partnership and sharing and poverty!

‘Bankspeak’, we have written, echoing Orwell’s famous neologism; but there is one crucial difference between the lexicographers of 1984 and the Bank’s ghost writers. Whereas the former were fascinated by annihilation (‘It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words . . . every year fewer and fewer words, and the range of consciousness always a little smaller’), the latter have a childish delight in multiplying words, and most particularly nouns. The frequency of nouns in academic prose is usually just below 30 per cent; in World Bank Reports it has always been significantly higher, and has increased slowly and regularly over the years. It is the perfect rhetoric to bring the ‘world’ inside the ‘bank’: a ‘chaotic enumeration’ of disparate realities—to quote an expression coined by Leo Spitzer—that suggests an endlessly expanding universe, encouraging a sense of admiration and wonder rather than critical understanding.

The last passage we quoted—on ‘client orientation’ and ‘poverty reduction’—is a good example of another tic of World Bank discourse: using a noun to modify another noun. Here are some examples of these ‘adjunct nouns’, as they are usually called, from the 2012 Report:

the Bank’s operations effectiveness, including the quality and results orientation of its operations and knowledge activities, the performance of its lending portfolio, the mainstreaming of gender in its operational work, client feedback, and its use of country systems.

Our agenda has included gender equality, food security, climate change and biodiversity, infrastructure investment, disaster prevention, financial innovation, and inclusion.

Adjunct nouns, the Longman Grammar explains, are a form of pre-modification: in ‘poverty reduction’, for instance, ‘poverty’ modifies ‘reduction’ by coming before it (whereas in ‘the reduction of poverty’ it does so by appearing after it, a case of post-modification). There is a difference: being ‘consistently more condensed than postmodifiers’, the Longman authors explain, premodifiers are hence also ‘much less explicit in identifying the meaning relationship’. [17] More condensed, and less explicit: this is it. Condensed, first of all: this is a brisk rhetoric, succinct, even a little impatient; the language of those who have a lot to say and no time to waste. And then, there’s the matter of explicitness. In the case of ‘the reduction of poverty’, to keep using that example, if you know what the individual words mean, you also know what the expression means: the whole is just the sum of its parts. But ‘poverty reduction’, like ‘disaster prevention’, or ‘competition policies’, is not just the sum of its parts; as we have seen, it is an expression in code—the code of ‘management discourse’—whose meaning has more to do with ‘approaches’ and ‘frameworks’ than with ‘employment’ and ‘income’. ‘Food security’, writes the 2012 Report; and what exactly is that? It’s the opposite of ‘food insecurity’, first of all; which, in turn, is a un neologism—half conceptual refinement, half bureaucratic euphemism—for what used to be called ‘hunger’. If you don’t know the new code, individual words are useless. [18]

Here, the process initiated with the advent of nominalizations (which have a clear elective affinity with adjunct nouns: ‘operations effectiveness’, ‘results orientation’, ‘disaster prevention’ . . . ) reaches its zenith: the ‘mass of Latin words’ joins forces with the insider code of ‘management discourse’, making social reality increasingly unrecognizable. But one question remains. How could such a tortuous form of expression become a leading discourse on the contemporary world?

From here to eternity

In their book Laboratory Life, Bruno Latour and Steve Woolgar wonder about the strange fate of scientific hypotheses: ideas that begin their existence as ‘contentious statements’, besieged by all sorts of objections, yet at some point manage to ‘stabilize’, and are accepted as ‘facts’ pure and simple. How do they do that—how do the World Bank’s contentious ideas become accepted as the ‘natural’ horizon of all possible policies? The key move, write Latour and Woolgar, consists in ‘freeing’ a statement from ‘all determinants of place and time, and all reference to its producers’. [19] Figures 10–11 show how decisively the World Bank has dealt with such ‘determinants’.

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The growing indifference to space and time is not just a matter of quantity. If one looks at the paragraphs in which the Reports are articulated, one detail leaps to the eye: their endings have completely changed. Here are some instances from 1955:

A modern coffee-processing plant, financed by the Development Bank, was completed near Jimma, the centre of an important coffee-producing area.

Automatic telephone exchanges have been installed in Addis Ababa and Gondar, and manual exchanges in other towns.

This has encouraged investment in industries such as metals and chemicals which are large consumers of power, and has led Norway to develop more generating capacity per head than any other country.

Jimma, Addis Ababa, Gondar, Norway: in these sentences, a strong geographical specificity goes hand in hand with an equally strong sense of time. The coffee-plant ‘was completed’; the telephone exchanges ‘have been installed’; investment ‘has led’. The focus is on results; the paragraph comes to an end when the process comes to an end; the relevant grammatical category (the ‘aspect’ of the verb’s tense) is the ‘perfect’, which indicates that an action has been completed. This is true even in more complex cases, like this one from 1948:

The mission’s conclusions pointed out that the factors which had produced a favourable foreign exchange position in the Philippines were temporary, and stressed the need to conserve foreign exchange, restrict inflationary local financing, take measures to lessen the impact of the expected reduction in dollar receipts, and secure technical aid in the planning of specific development projects.

Here, the initial sense of achievement (‘pointed out’, ‘had produced’) leads into the horizon of the present (‘conserve’, ‘restrict’), and then into a many-layered future: the Philippines will have to ‘take measures’ (soon) ‘to lessen the impact’ (later) of an ‘expected reduction in receipts’ (somewhere in between those two futures). The temporality is complex, but its dimensions are clear: the past is the realm of results; the present, of decisions; the future, of prospects and possibilities. In recent years, though, this difference has been diluted. Here is a paragraph ending from 2007:

ida has been moving toward supporting these strategies through programme lending.

Whatever programme lending is, ida has not actually done it; it ‘has been moving’, yes, but that’s all; and not even moving towards doing, only towards ‘supporting’ doing. We’ve heard so many philippics on ‘accountability’, in recent years, we would expect a landslide of past tenses in the Bank’s language; after all, accountability can only be assessed with reference to what has been done. Instead, however, for the Reports the tenses of the past are no longer the right way to ‘conclude’ a statement; in their place we find the blurred, slightly amorphous temporality of the progressive and the gerund (whose frequency has increased about 50 per cent over the years). Some other recent examples:

The Second Kecamatan Development Project is benefiting 25 to 30 million rural Indonesians by giving villagers tools for developing their own community. (2003)

The Bank significantly accelerated its efforts to help client countries cope with climate change while respecting another aspect of its core mission: promoting economic development and poverty reduction by helping provide modern energy to growing economies. (2008)

The Bank has accelerated—but only its efforts; and all these efforts will do is—help; and all those helped will do is—cope; and the helping and coping will have to respect the promoting of the helping (again!) provided to growing economies. But there is no point in looking for the meaning of these passages in what they say: what really matters, here, is the proximity established between policy-making and the forms ending in -ing. It’s the message of the countless headlines that frame the text of the Reports: ‘Working with the poorest countries’, ‘Providing timely analysis’, ‘Sharing knowledge’, ‘Improving governance’, ‘Fostering private sector and financial sector development’, ‘Boosting growth and job creation’, ‘Bridging the social gap’, ‘Strengthening governance’, ‘Levelling the playing field on global issues’. All extremely uplifting—and just as unfocused: because the function of gerunds consists in leaving an action’s completion undefined, thus depriving it of any definite contour. An infinitely expanding present emerges, where policies are always in progress, but also only in progress. Many promises, and very few facts. ‘Everything has to change, in order for everything to remain the same’, wrote Lampedusa in The Leopard; and the same happens here. All change, and no achievement. All change, and no future.

 


 

[1] Two scholars working in different disciplines don’t usually have the opportunity to learn about each other’s research, and the mental freedom to imagine a long-term project together. This is however exactly what happened to us, at the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin, in the spring of 2013; after which, the researchers of the Stanford Literary Lab helped us turn a vague idea into a series of solid findings. To all those who made this study possible, our heartfelt thanks.

[2] Our corpus consists of the full text of the World Bank Annual Reports, 1946–2012, excluding the budgets and all financial tables. The word bank as used in the Reports generally refers to the World Bank. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (ibrd) was the original World Bank institution, established in 1944 at Bretton Woods; it is now subsumed within the World Bank Group, which includes an agency for private investment, an insurance agency, an arbitration forum and the International Development Association, established in 1960 to offer concessional loans to the poorest countries. For an introduction to the history of the World Bank written from the inside, see Devesh Kapur, John Lewis and Richard Webb, eds, The World Bank: Its First Half Century, 2 vols, Washington, dc 1997; among the many critical histories, see Michael Goldman, Imperial Nature: The World Bank and Struggles for Social Justice in the Age of Globalization, New Haven, ct 2005.

[3] Adjectives are rare, in the solidly ‘material’ universe of the Bank’s early decades: aside from fiscal, economic and financial, only electric and hydroelectric have a significant presence, later joined by dairy, which signals a concern with health, agriculture, and family life.

[4] Timothy Mitchell, Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil, London and New York 2011, pp. 125, 123.

[5] Dominique Pestre, ed., Le gouvernement des technosciences: Gouverner le progrès et ses dégâts depuis 1945, Paris 2014.

[6] When a word becomes so pandemically frequent, its uses multiply out of control, and before long no one knows what it means any longer. Here is the chief economic commentator of the Financial Times, Martin Wolf, writing about the Indian elections on 21 May 2014: ‘[Modi’s] motto—“less government and more governance”—has caught the public mood. Yet it is not clear what this will mean in practice.’ And Robert Zoellick, himself a former president of the World Bank, writing on Chinese policy in the same newspaper: ‘The reforms will focus on economic governance and modernization. These terms may seem ambiguous to westerners . . . ’ (13 June 2014). In a delightful twist of language, the term brandished by the World Bank to chastize developing economies is now used by those very economies as defensive camouflage against Western scrutiny.

[7] The expression ‘fair value’—where the ethically inflected adjective mitigates the businesslike realism of the noun—is particularly interesting in this respect.

[8] On nominalizations, see Douglas Biber, Susan Conrad and Randi Reppen, Corpus Linguistics: Investigating Language Structure and Use, Cambridge 1998, p. 60ff; and Douglas Biber, Stig Johansson, Geoffrey Leech, Susan Conrad and Edward Finegan, Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English, London 1999, p. 325ff.

[9] This of course doesn’t mean that every nominalization increases its frequency. In parallel with the semantic shifts described in the previous pages, many terms related to political processes [legislation, representation], inter-state diplomacy [agreement, negotiation], or forms of critical vigilance [examination, investigation] have become markedly less frequent over the years: agreement was the 5th most frequent nominalization in the early Reports, and is now the 15th; legislation has dropped from 31st to 99th, and so on. By contrast, other terms have enjoyed a lightning ascent: management was only the 18th most frequent nominalization at the beginning of the Bank’s activity, and is now the second; implementation, adjustment, evaluation, commitment and assessment, none of which were among the 100 most frequent nominalizations, are now in 8th, 9th, 11th, 13th and 14th place. See also Figure 9, below.

[10] Biber et al, Corpus Linguistics, p. 61ff.

[11] Biber et al, Corpus Linguistics, p. 61ff.

[12] Black magic, in this case, consistent with the fact that ‘political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible’, as Orwell put it in his 1946 essay. Interestingly, Orwell himself had found nominalizations—‘a mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outline and covering up all details’—to be entwined with the phenomena he was describing: ‘Defenceless villages are bombarded from the air’, he writes, and ‘this is called pacification. Millions of farmers are robbed of their farms . . . this is called rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements.’ (‘Politics and the English Language’, 1946, now in The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell, vol. iv, 1945–50, Harmondsworth 1968, p. 166). The politico-military cast of Orwell’s examples makes them of course quite unlike the typical World Bank nominalizations; unsurprisingly, ‘pacification’, ‘rectification’, and ‘elimination’ are never used in the Reports. Our thanks to Dallas Liddle for pointing out this aspect of Orwell’s essay.

[13] Reinhart Koselleck, ‘On the Disposability of History’, and ‘Neuzeit: Remarks on the Semantics of Modern Concepts of Movement’, in Futures Past: On the Semantics of Historical Time, Cambridge, ma 1985, pp. 200, 264.

[14] It is of course far from irrelevant that ‘histories’ became ‘history in general’ in the specific context of late eighteenth-century Europe, which was increasingly imposing its rule over the other continents. In this respect, singularization created knowledge and hierarchies at once, subjecting the world system to a single European perspective.

[15] So hard to believe, that three separate people checked on four separate occasions—always with the same result. As for ‘agree’ and ‘agreement’, they appear 88 and 1,773 times respectively.

[16] The fact that, in nominalizations, actions are entirely absorbed into the noun, increases the sense of a one-dimensional world. If one speaks of ‘managers’, one can (at least in theory) imagine them acting in more than one way; if one speaks of ‘management’, a specific form of activity is already inscribed in the term, and pre-determined by it.

[17] Biber et al, Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English, pp. 588, 590.

[18] And the point is, the World Bank wants to communicate in code. We mentioned above the experiment conducted on the collocates of ‘poverty’ and ‘poverty reduction’; but the initial idea was slightly different: we meant to compare ‘poverty reduction’ and ‘the reduction of poverty’, to see if there was any semantic difference between pre- and post-modification. However, we had to abandon our idea when it turned out that there were 1,198 occurrences of ‘poverty reduction’, and only 38 of ‘the reduction of poverty’. Which of course is crazy, but at least makes perfectly clear that for the World Bank pre- and post-modification are not equivalent, and that its preference goes unabashedly to the more cryptic of the two constructions.

[19] Bruno Latour and Steve Woolgar, Laboratory Life: The Construction of Scientific Facts, Princeton 1986, pp. 106, 105, 175.

Fuente: http://newleftreview.org/II/92/franco-moretti-dominique-pestre-bankspeak

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Dam protests met with repression in Ixil region of Guatemala

Overview

On April 28, a massive contingent of police was sent into the Ixil triangle in Guatemala to evict a road blockade by Mayan communities protesting the Xacbal Delta hydroelectric dam currently under construction.

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Conflict over a hydroelectric dam flared up this week when police were called in to evict Maya Ixil communities defending their territory in the Quiché department in Guatemala.

“For defending their lands, the Ixil people are once again suffering state repression,” Miguel de León, one of the traditional Mayan authorities in the region, said during a telephone interview with FGER, which networks with various local radio stations around the country.

Comprised of the municipalities of Santa María Nebaj, San Gaspar Chajul and San Juan Cotzal, the Ixil triangle is one of the four regions of Guatemala where the UN Commission for Historical Clarification determined state officials committed acts of genocide in 1981 and 1982. Although the ruling was later annulled, former military head of state Efraín Ríos Montt’s May 10, 2013 conviction in a domestic court for crimes against humanity and genocide specifically related to the killings of 1,771 Ixil people, along with forced displacement and acts of torture and sexual violence.

Nearly 20 years have passed since the Peace Accords marked the end of the 1960-1996 armed conflict in Guatemala, but struggles over land and resources rage on throughout the country – particularly in Indigenous territories. As in much of the Mayan highlands, mining and hydroelectric dam projects pushed forward without free, prior and informed consent have sparked conflict in the Ixil triangle.

The 94 megawatt Hidro Xacbal hydroelectric dam on the Xacbal river was inaugurated in 2010. Construction of the 75 MW Hidro Xacbal Delta dam, a second project on the same river, is currently underway. Both projects have been subject to local opposition and protests over the years. They are privately owned by the Terra Group, a Central American energy, infrastructure and real estate conglomerate. The president of Terra Group, Honduran entrepreneur Fredy Nasser, is the son-in-law of Miguel Facussé, one of the richest and most powerful landowners and businessmen in Honduras.

On April 28, the Guatemalan police force was sent in to evict local community residents blockading a road by Sotzil, approximately 20 kilometers north of Chajul. Directly affected by a tunnel for the Hidro Xacbal Delta dam, Sotzil residents had demanded fair compensation. Several communities in the area have been denouncing the impacts of the four-kilometer diversion tunnel since at least last year. The company failed to make the payments to Sotzil residents and didn’t show up to a scheduled dialogue session with locals, prompting the blockade, according to de León.

A contingent of more than thirty national police vehicles transporting an estimated 200 police officers wound its way through the Cuchumatanes mountain range to evict the protesters. They were met with resistance. Police used tear gas on the Ixil protesters and detained four people. One police officer reportedly suffered a gunshot wound to the arm, several children reportedly needed medical attention due to the tear gas, and some community members reportedly suffered unspecified injuries but did not seek medical attention for fear of being arrested.

• • •

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Protests spread in response to the show of force and in particular to the detention of community members. Other blockades, including one in the town of Chajul, were set up in an attempt to prevent the passage of the police and pressure for the release of the detainees. Tear gas rained down on streets and houses in Chajul. The presence of soldiers in the area was later also denounced.

Video footage compiled by Guatevision includes a selection of brief clips showing some of the protests and state response. Watch the 45-second video here for a glimpse of what was going on (the header photo for this post is from a screenshot of the video). The recent events have been covered in Spanish to some extent by some community-based, alternative, regional and national media outlets, including Prensa Indigena y CampesinaCentro de Medios Independientes, Red Voces Mayas and Guatevision – coverage from which the brief sketch of events in English in the preceding three paragraphs has largely been compiled.

The four detainees were transported by police to Nebaj, but after talks mediated by traditional Mayan authorities, they were released. The authorities reported that the situation had calmed down somewhat but that tensions were still running high, as the conflict over the Hidro Xacbal Delta dam remains unresolved.

On April 30, police reportedly accidentally released a tear gas canister in the central park of Nebaj across the street from a local eatery. Four people were taken to the local hospital for medical attention.

The Convergence for Human Rights coalition of organizations, church officials and others have condemned the violent state response to Ixil community protests.

Communities affected by Terra Group’s Hidro Xacbal Delta dam as well as traditional Maya Ixil authorities have made repeated calls for the suspension of the project. Other existing and planned hydroelectric dam and high voltage transmission line projects in the Ixil region have also provoked disharmony.

“The Italian company ENEL that imposed the 84 MW Palo Viejo hydroelectric dam [in Cotzal] committed to respecting Indigenous rights as established by the ILO Convention 169 but later went about disparaging Indigenous authorities and abandoned the dialogue it had begun with Maya Ixil authorities,” the traditional Ixil authorities of Nebaj, Chajul and Cotzal wrote in a February 21, 2015 declaration.

“In the Ixil region, companies and successive governments are destroying the environment, mountains and forests in the name of development, causing increasing social conflict in our communities, disparaging our ancestral authorities, and using conditions of extreme poverty to try to win over youth with temporary jobs,” reads the statement, which ends with a clear, over-arching demand: No more aggression from multinational companies and Guatemalan state institutions.

Fuente: https://www.beaconreader.com/sandra-cuffe/dam-protests-met-with-repression-in-ixil-region-of-guatemala

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Honduras Is What’s Wrong With Latin America

Most people don’t care about Honduras: even historically-conscious Latinos and keen observers of Latin American happenings. Big-name countries like Mexico, Brazil and Cuba hog all the limelight, because they either have substantial economies, a storied relationship with the United States or a strong emigrant presence in America. (In the case of Mexico, it’s all three.)

That’s a shame. Because while students, journalists and activists rack their brains trying to understand the politics of a country like Mexico, with its byzantine bureaucracy casting plenty of shadows in which to hide, Honduras is just small enough (politically and economically) to lay bare the true nature of Latin American politics.

Case in point, when a coup ousted the democratically elected president of Honduras in June 2009, the golpistas claimed the removal of President Manuel Zelaya was necessary to prevent him from changing the Honduran law and running for a second term—something prohibited by Article 239 of the Honduran constitution.

At least it was prohibited by the Honduran constitution until the five-member Sala Constitucional of the Supreme Court overturned the ban on reelection.

First, to be clear, Zelaya did not pull a Hugo Chávez, a Rafael Correa or an Evo Morales: he wasn’t trying to allow himself to be reelected. He simply wanted the 2009 presidential ballot to contain a non-binding referendum to see if the Honduran people were in favor of forming a constitutional assembly to draft a new constitution. Even if he had succeeded, again, the referendum would’ve been non-binding, and since the referendum would’ve been on the presidential ballot that selected a new president, any changes to the Honduran constitution would’ve had no effect on Zelaya, who would’ve already been out of office.

With the golpistas in power, however, the presidential election scheduled for November 2009 was carried out under heavy government repression. A majority of the vote went to Porfirio Lobo Sosa, a man of the golpista National Party—and the same man who lost to Zelaya back in 2005.

Much of Latin America refused to recognize the election results.

Lobo’s presidency was marked by continued repression and human rights violations. When four justices on the Sala Constitucional deemed the suspension of due process in his 2012 police clean-up law unconstitutional, he worked with National Congress President Juan Orlando Hernández to have the judges replaced by more pliant appointees. (In Honduras, the National Congress is charged with appointing justices to the Supreme Court, and things like “separation of powers” and “checks and balances” are merely quaint notions.)

Juan Orlando Hernández, president of Honduras. Credit: Daniel Cima/CIDH (Source: Flickr)

Hernández is also a card-carrying Nationalist, having been elected head of the National Congress around the time Lobo was elected president. The Supreme Court was getting ready to hear an appeal from Ricardo Álvarez, the then-mayor of Tegucigalpa and Hernández’s primary challenger for the 2013 presidential election, when Hernández fired the four justices.

Guess who became president after Lobo.

And, yes, the five justices that have now voted to allow President Hernández to run for reelection were either appointed by him or his lackeys in the National Congress.

Overturning the ban on reelection is suddenly kosher, now that it’s the Nationalists who want it.

But this isn’t a simple matter of election laws. This is about who can have power, and for how long.

What Zelaya did want to do is redistribute Honduran land in a more equitable way, promising to examine title claims by farmers whose lands had been stolen by the nation’s African palm agribusinesses.

Dinant Corporation, Honduras’ largest palm oil producer, happens to be one of those businesses. It’s owned by Miguel Facussé, the country’s richest and most powerful man — and, according to the U.S. State Department, a known narcotrafficker.

Facussé was also a major backer of the 2009 coup.

Miguel Facussé, president of Dinant Corporation (Source: Flickr)

Since the coup regime took power, the nonagenarian palm oil baron has been allowed to wage an all-out war against the campesinos in Bajo Aguán, 772 square miles of fertile land once owned by the United Fruit Company but now controlled by Dinant. Facussé’s private army is backed by the Honduran military and police, which in turn is funded and trained by the U.S. government.

Oh, and remember how I said much of Latin America condemned the 2009 election? Guess which “Leader of the Free World” approved.

In fact, the United States eagerly appointed a new ambassador to Honduras who had earned a reputation as an expert in biofuels—like palm oil.

That’s what’s behind all this reelection business. Zelaya wanted to help the people of Honduras, so he had to go. President Hernández and the rest of the golpistas look to cater to U.S. business interests, so they must remain in power. Which is why the United States lends as much support to this most recent coup as it did the ones in 2012 and 2009.

The same thing happens more or less throughout Latin America, from Mexico to Brazil, from Costa Rica to Puerto Rico. If there’s upheaval in one place, it’s because the people refuse to expose their country to such vultures. If things are peaceful in another place, it’s only because the vultures are allowed to have their fill.

If you fail to see what’s going on in a nation as tiny and transparent as Honduras, then you won’t be able to understand what’s going on in the behemoths of Latin America.

But maybe that’s why Honduras never gets any attention to begin with.

After all, banana republics don’t grow on trees.

***

Hector Luis Alamo is a Chicago-based writer. You can connect with him @HectorLuisAlamo.

Fuente: http://www.latinorebels.com/2015/05/01/honduras-is-whats-wrong-with-latin-america/

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