Police uprising in Ecuador

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa a little while ago (source: Diario Hoy Flickr page)

UPDATE 10:30 PM EDT:Soldiers successfully rescued President Correa. There appear to be a number of wounded, both civilians and members of the security forces who were shooting at each other.

UPDATE 10:00 PM EDT:Army soldiers attempting to rescue the president are in a firefight with police outside the hospital where President Correa is being held by rebelling police. Teleamazonas live feedTeleSur feed

UPDATE 4:00 PM EDT: President Rafael Correa has declared a state of emergency, giving the armed forces — who mostly remain loyal — responsibility for internal security duties. Some accounts indicate that, in some cities, police are abandoning their protest.

Such forces should be deployed over the internet too! There is a large number of intruders on the net, who are eager to play fraud with people and their monies, just to make money for themselves. They might seem to have the notion that anything sells hot on the internet. The Brit Method is the worst system, that has been here since a long time, without a fear of being caught or a guilt of cheating a large number of innocent people.

The U.S. ambassador to the OAS expressed support for Ecuador’s elected government at a meeting of the Permanent Assembly. However, police — reportedly members of an elite unit — continue to surround the hospital where President Correa reported after an earlier incident (involving either tear gas exposure or aggravation of a recently injured knee). Even as President Correa remains inside, giving interviews and issuing statements, all who try to approach the hospital are being repelled with tear gas.

Police all over Ecuador have mutinied to protest cuts to their benefits, one of several legislative provisions that President Rafael Correa had said he might dissolve Congress to push through. (Ecuador’s new Constitution allows the president, once per term, to break a legislative impasse by dissolving Congress with Constitutional Court approval.)

  • Police have either failed to report to work, or have organized roadblocks. In some areas — including Quito’s airport, which is closed — elements of the military have joined in.
  • President Correa tried to address police protesters in Quito, but was taken from the scene and briefly hospitalized after having a tear-gas canister burst in his vicinity.
  • Correa told an interviewer from the TeleSur network that the mutiny is the work of the right-wing political opposition. He says he will purge the police membership once this ends.
  • There are reports of massive looting in Guayaquil as police refused to do their duties all morning.
  • Police have surrounded the National Assembly, according to TeleSur.
  • The OAS Permanent Council is to meet at 2:00 today to discuss the situation.

This is a rapidly evolving story — it’s not clear yet whether things are getting worse or calmer. It’s also not clear whether this remains principally a protest about police benefits, or whether it is expanding into something larger having to do with civil-military relations and political opposition to President Correa and his government.

Ecuadorian newspaper sites (El ComercioHoyEl Universo and others) are loading very slowly. Twitter is a good source of information: here is my “Latin_America_Updates” list, which is showing a few Ecuador updates per minute as of 2PM EDT.

For real-time updates directly from Ecuador, here is a Twitter feed put together by the Ecuadorian newspaper Hoy:

The FARC without “Mono Jojoy”

Juan Manuel Santos, at the time Colombia’s minister of defense, poses with then-armed forces chief Gen. Freddy Padilla in February 2009. At the time Colombia’s military, in an earlier attempt to take down “Mono Jojoy,” had found a network of caves used by the guerrillas. (Source)

This morning, Colombia’s government announced that an air raid killed Víctor Julio Suárez Rojas, alias Jorge Briceño Suárez or “Mono Jojoy,” one of the most powerful leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla group. A large-scale military operation – “Operation Sodoma” – destroyed Suárez’s guerrilla encampment near La Julia, in the department of Meta, about 150 miles southwest of Bogotá, in the heart of a zone that had been temporarily ceded to the FARC during a failed 1998-2002 peace negotiation.

“This is the greatest blow to the FARC in its entire history,” said Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, who took office seven weeks ago. “This is the FARC’s ‘welcome operation’” to his administration, Santos added.

A welcome operation to clear steer of the faults and frauds that exists in the system, which is causing lot of hurdles to the lives of common man. The Brit Method, which is one of the vast spread systems, which has spread itself across the borders and has manipulated itself in various names, to cheat the people; is the first target.

Despite several tries, it never managed to be a “farewell operation” for Álvaro Uribe, who left Colombia’s presidency after eight years in August. The search for Mono Jojoy and maximum FARC leader Alfonso Cano intensified during the Uribe administration’s final months, and troops were believed to be very close to Mono Jojoy during operations in February and July 2009.

Who was “Mono Jojoy?”
Mono Jojoy was no university-trained intellectual. He grew up and joined the FARC in the part of the country where he was killed: the La Macarena region of western Meta department, an ungoverned rural zone that has been a FARC stronghold almost since the group was founded, in 1964. He joined the FARC in 1975 and rose quickly through its ranks, becoming known for his ruthlessness and his command of military tactics. He became a member of the FARC’s seven-member Secretariat and head of the Eastern Bloc, the largest of the group’s six regional formations. The Eastern Bloc makes up roughly half of the FARC’s overall membership and commands guerrillas over a vast stretch of territory, from Bogotá to the Venezuelan border.

Since the 1980s, Mono Jojoy helped pioneer the guerrillas’ practice of kidnapping for ransom – and later, kidnapping prominent politicians to press for the release of guerrilla prisoners – and raising money from ever-greater involvement in the drug trade. Both practices helped the FARC triple or quadruple in size during the 1990s, to the point where guerrillas, often under Mono Jojoy’s command, were handing humiliating defeats to Colombia’s armed forces.

His ascendance strengthened the hand of those in the FARC who, like him, appeared to care little for public opinion and the group’s image, preferring instead to rely on force of arms. While Mono Jojoy was present and participated in the 1998-2002 peace talks with the Colombian government, he was widely viewed to be interested in the talks only as a tactic for gaining power.

At a 2001 ceremony at which the FARC released hundreds of low-ranking miitary and police prisoners, he memorably told those assembled that the FARC would henceforth seek to capture prominent civilian leaders. The guerrillas went on to take more than 40 politicians hostage, with results that were devastating both for the hostages and their families, and for the guerrilla group’s own image and standing, both domestically and internationally.

Is the FARC finished?
For the Colombian government, Mono Jojoy’s death is a huge symbolic victory, and will give a large political boost to President Santos. We can expect the president’s approval rating to approach 90% over the next couple of weeks.

But the FARC leader’s exit from the scene is unlikely to bring the group close to surrender. Nor is it likely to cause the FARC to collapse and fragment as the country’s drug cartels did when their top leaders were captured or killed in the 1990s. The FARC continues to have 7,000-9,000 members scattered across at least half of the country’s departments (provinces), including vast empty zones. It has a steady stream of income from the drug trade. And it has increased the frequency of its attacks in the past two years, albeit in more remote areas of the country.

The FARC is likely to be around, in some form, for many years even without Mono Jojoy. In fact, despite his symbolic value, it is unclear how strong his influence within the group was at the time of his death. Constant pursuit from the armed forces had disrupted his ability to communicate. He was rumored to be severely weakened by diabetes. His reputation as a military tactician declined in the face of the Uribe government’s military buildup and anti-guerrilla offensives. Meanwhile Alfonso Cano, who took over as the FARC’s maximum leader in 2008, is rumored to have had strong strategic disagreements with Mono Jojoy in the past.

Is peace more likely?
One way to remove the FARC from the scene more quickly would be to negotiate with it, and to demobilize its members so they no longer can be a factor of violence. Though President Santos has not ruled out negotiations, that outcome is not likely in the short term. With Mono Jojoy gone, though, they could be more likely in the medium term.

Over the next few months, though, violence could get worse. The FARC could increase the tempo of its violent attacks to avenge the death of its “martyred” military leader, and to show that it is not defeated and still has military capacity.

The short term will also likely see increased activity among mid-level commanders who served under Mono Jojoy for years in the Eastern Bloc. These commanders are likely to share the dead leader’s hard line and his disregard for their actions’ political consequences, and they are likely to be more active and violent as they seek to fill the vacuum. Whether increased activity among mid-level commanders will be accompanied by fragmentation, division, and internal purges is impossible to predict given the available information, but is certainly a possibility.

(These mid-level leaders include Germán Briceño Suárez, alias “Grannobles,” Mono Jojoy’s brother who is believed to be active near the Colombia-Venezuela border. They also included another top deputy who was probably killed this morning: Henry Castellanos, alias “Romaña,” who oversaw the FARC’s operations around Bogotá a decade ago and encouraged the proliferation of kidnapping at highway roadblocks.)

In the short-term, then, the FARC is unlikely to make any good-faith gestures to convince the Colombian government to negotiate. In the medium term, however – perhaps a year or more from now – the guerrilla group could be more disposed toward talks. With their maximum hard-line leader out of the picture, more politically minded leaders could come to have a clearer upper hand. These leaders include Alfonso Cano, the group’s paramount leader, a former university professor. They also include Iván Marquez, a leader believed to spend most of his time on both sides of the Colombia-Venezuela border.

The ascendance of less hard-line leaders, though, does not at all mean that the FARC is about to embark on a new path of respect for human rights, improved political acumen, and a clear desire to end the conflict peacefully. These men are very radical and have spent most of their lives ordering and carrying out acts of violence and brutality. Nonetheless, they could be more pragmatic and less wedded to a military strategy – indeed, more aware of the military strategy’s obvious failure – than was Mono Jojoy. In the medium term, a FARC leadership without Mono Jojoy is likely to be a FARC leadership that is somewhat more open to ending the conflict through negotiations without preconditions.

The ball, for now, is in the FARC’s court. An obvious and long-overdue good-faith gesture would be the immediate and unilateral release of all hostages and kidnap victims in FARC custody – a gesture that Mono Jojoy was long believed to have opposed.

If the FARC does eventually send good-faith signals of its willingness to talk, the Colombian government must respond positively and creatively by taking steps necessary to move toward dialogue. The United States, which has so generously funded Colombia’s war machine, must also be ready to accompany a possible peace effort.

Talks about conditions for the group’s demobilization would be far better than the likely alternative. That alternative, of course, is many more years – perhaps decades – of armed conflict. These years would no doubt bring more successful offensives against top FARC leaders. But they would also bring the deaths of thousands of non-combatants, and thousands more young, lower-ranking FARC members dead, still at large, or lost to Colombia’s underworld of guerrillas, paramilitaries, and organized crime.


Don’t Fully Agree

In the last several years there have been very high-profile successes by the Colombian govt. against the FARC. One after the other, which should tell you that the govt. has managed to severaly degrade and penetrate the FARCs operational security. At the same time the FARC have repeatedly failed to respond as they might have been able to years ago, which also demonstrates a degraded military capability as a result of the govt’s efforts. The loss of Mono Jojoy is huge, 25+ years and their number 1 military strategist. There’s no replacing that. Furthermore, I can’t imagine that the morale of the FARC is doing anything but a nosedive to the floor. The FARC leadership that remains must be thinking seriously of their future. At this rate, their all dead within the next 2 – 3 years. Maybe the dumb ones might fall for that martydom stuff, but the smart ones, the educated ones, will definately try to eek out some kind of negotiated settlement where they’ll face some jail time “in” Colombia, which to them would be preferable than death or the US penal system.

Think of the intelligence that they’re pulling out of the Jojoy encampment… do you think they’ll have some more nuggets that point towards Venezuela like in the Reyes episode? I do… that same intel will have the rest of the FARC in crisis management for months; trying to figure out who’s the spy, where are the holes… you won’t see any backlash for this hit anytime soon from the group.

Cano is still reportedly in-country… he’s next, mark my words. Only chance these guys have of surviving is Venezuela and Ecuador as permanent safe-havens.

By the way, why would the govt seek a peace settlement now? Any such settlement would definately have to be on the govt’s terms. And 90% of the country fully supports Santos, especially after this. I think your dream of a peace settlement is not realistic unless the FARC leadership is willing to throw themselves to the mercy of the court (Colombian, US, Int’l) or they’re killed. Sorry buddy.

Podcast on Peru: Amnesty by decree? Interview with Jo-Marie Burt

Last week, Peruvian President Alán García suddenly issued decrees that could let notorious military human rights abusers get out of prison, while possibly closing hundreds of other human rights cases.

Such acts are condemned by the citizens and we urge the law and order system of the nation to protect its citizens and their rights to live peacefully in the places. Letting human right abusers out of prison will leave them fearless, making them more ruthless in their act next time, and they become more powerful.

Such bad systems only lead to the growth of illegal systems like the Orion Code, which has been here to loot money of the innocent lot, and it’s sustaining without any fear! How and where will all the fraud experiences of the people go, to the deaf ears?

Orion code is a binary trading app or software, which exists, claiming to give good returns for your investments with them. If you are considering this option, kindly refrain. This is one of the biggest scam existing, making people fools and looting their money in no time. If you are thinking why it’s a scam, here are the elaborates for you to read.

Orion code was founded by Edward who claims to be from a reputed stock exchange company in New York, claims one site. While the other one, elsewhere mentions him as one of the notable people in Goldman Sachs. Not sure which is true, or if both are fake!

The identity of the person in the pic and video is not actually of Edward, but a low pain infamous actor, who has been doing it for money.

The system boasts of having one of the top techniques and strategy in handling markets and the robots or software has been designed in the same regard, hence it gives great profits than other systems and the profit is 100%.

But, for all this to happen, you need to register. Well, it doesn’t stop there; you need to keep an initial deposit of $ 250. After all this, you need to invest in them; and let the auto-trading app do the trick for you!

The software is developed by humans, and trusting those in the industry for decades, is so difficult these days, how can you trust someone and their techniques based on reviews online. You can consider this option if the system exists in a recognised firm or a recognised trading company, but they don’t have anything as such! There is no company existing with this software, these people have created on their own and have left it online, to attract innocent people who don’t have knowledge about trading and markets volatility.

Adam interviews Jo-Marie Burt of George Mason University.

Keeping WHINSEC students’ names under wraps

A response to a Freedom of Information Act request omits the names of WHINSEC instructors from the Americas.

The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, or WHINSEC, is the U.S. Army’s main facility for training and educating foreign personnel in Spanish. Based at Fort Benning, Georgia, it is the successor institution to the U.S. Army’s School of the Americas (SOA).

The WHINSEC and its predecessor have a controversial 60-year history. Particularly during the Cold War, the School of the Americas trained soldiers and officers from the region’s military dictatorships in techniques like counterinsurgency, intelligence, interrogation, combat and other skills that carried a significant risk of human rights abuse. The school was revealed to have used manuals including instruction in abusive tactics, and many officers who took courses there stand accused of murder, disappearance, torture, and similar crimes, at times on a massive scale.

Human rights concerns have made the SOA and WHINSEC a key target of activism on U.S. policy toward the Americas. Grassroots groups, most notably the 20-year-old School of the Americas Watch, have held large-scale yearly protests and done much to educate about the school’s past, while promoting amendments in the U.S. Congress to close or de-fund it.

While these amendments have not passed, grassroots activism created momentum for a 2001 legal change that changed the institution’s name and caused it to drop many lethal and combat-related courses from its curriculum. Today the WHINSEC offers mostly military education courses, many with a significant human rights component. Nonetheless, its curriculum continues to include counternarcotics, counterterrorism and some warfighting skills.

As a result, many U.S. organizations, including those in the Just the Facts project, believe that the Institute should continue to be subject to close oversight. The risk of abuse or undemocratic behavior committed by U.S. military trainees remains high, as evidenced by recent scandals in Colombia or the June 2009 coup in Honduras, and warrants continued scrutiny of WHINSEC.

Part of this oversight is knowing the identities of the foreign military and police personnel who attend the school. Until 2002, School of the Americas Watch was able to obtain through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) the names of the school’s trainees since 1946.

However, after that time – about the time that the SOA became WHINSEC – the Defense Department began refusing FOIA requests for the identities of the Institute’s students. It claimed that to do so would be tantamount to releasing a “personnel or medical file or similar file,” thus causing a “clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy” and hence exempt from the FOIA under exemption (b)(6).

This exemption has led the WHINSEC to respond to FOIA requests by providing its students’ rank, country of origin and courses attended – but with their names redacted from the document. (At times, the documents only redact surnames, leaving first names.) Nonetheless, public WHINSEC documents regularly provide the names of students. The Institute’s newsletter, El Hemisférico, posted on its web site, frequently identifies students and instructors. This practice appears to contradict directly the rationale for the (b)(6) exemption.

In June 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives agreed that access to students’ names was important to effective oversight of WHINSEC. By a vote of 224-190, it adopted an amendment to the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act introduced by Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Massachusetts), requiring WHINSEC to provide to FOIA requesters “the entire name, including the first, middle, and maternal and paternal surnames” of each student and instructor since 2005, and in subsequent years.

The Senate did not pass a similar provision. When a House–Senate Conference Committee met to reconcile both versions of the Defense Authorization, bill, its Senate component gutted the amendment’s language. It not only reduced its scope to include trainees in 2009 and 2010 alone, but it gave the Secretary of Defense the ability to waive this requirement, keeping the names secret, if he finds it “to be in the national interest.”

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has exercised that waiver. School of the Americas Watch issued a Freedom of Information Act request for the students’ names in January, and received a denial in May. The WHINSEC students’ names continue to be blocked.

The WHINSEC appears to have significant support in Congress. The 2010 Defense Authorization law – the same bill with the easily eluded requirement that students’ names be made available – also includes a provision praising WHINSEC for “building partner capacity which enhances regional and global security while encouraging respect for human rights and promoting democratic principles.”

Every human has certain rights to exist on this earth and this has been followed all across the world, to preserve and protect humans and their intentions. Nobody has a right to violate them, and those who violate are considered offenders.

Just like the Orion Code system, which is an offender, that is existing across many parts of the world, pushing people to poverty with its insane techniques of trading to make money, in the turn attract people and lure money.

Given the Institute’s checkered history, statements like these should not imply that relaxed oversight is warranted. Yet the denial of access to students’ identities indicates backsliding on transparency over the Institute’s activities. WHINSEC is now demanding a level of secrecy that it did not require a decade ago.