Tension between Colombia and Venezuela, again
The already strained relations between Colombia and Venezuela have further deteriorated with the decision by Bogotá to reinforce its military presence on the border between the two countries.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has given orders to shoot down small unmanned planes from Colombia that fly across the border and has asked his counterpart, Alvaro Uribe, not to allowed “yanqui imperialism to make us fight one another”. In his turn, Uribe warned: “If you attack Colombia, you will regret it, we are well armed.”
Colombia justified its military reinforcement by saying that the country faced a “serious vulnerability in the face of an external attack”.
El Nacional (Venezuela, Spanish)
Cuba: US citizen arrested “for helping dissidents”
Cuba confirmed that it has arrested a US citizen when he was delivering technical equipment to a member of the opposition to the regime.
President Raul Castro warned that the enemy ”is as active as ever”. The Cuban authorities say that the US citizen travelled to the island as a tourist with the mission to hand over computers and satellite communication equipment collected by Development Alternatives Inc., a company that supports what it calls “a fair and democratic government” in Cuba.
BBC Mundo (Spanish)
Ecuador: Indigenous movement breaks with government
The main Ecuadorian indigenous organisation has decided to organise a series of mobilisations in protest over what it sees as the failure of the government of President Rafael Correa to fulfil its promises with respect to land reform and protection of their ancestral rights.
The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador, CONAIE, an umbrella organisation of indigenous groups, said that that they will be announcing in January a series of mobilisations. It believes that the so-called “dialogue table” set up by the government to discuss issues related to indigenous rights “is full of technocrats who have no power to take decisions”.
La Hora (Ecuador, Spanish)
Panama fails to sell its debt
An attempt by the Panamanian government to sell debt bonds has failed, with the market reacting negatively to the initiative.
The government had planned to set up a state development fund to take advantage of its improved credit rating but the markets have shown little interest and the deadline for the sale passed on Sunday without encouraging results.
COP16: Mexico, here we come
After the failure of COP15 to agree a legally-binding treaty, Mexico will become the focus of attention in a year’s time, when COP16 will try to make amends for the badly-written, reluctantly-accepted document signed in Copenhagen.
Several organisations have already announced the start of worldwide mobilisations to make sure that they can use that meeting to achieve “freedom from debt and domination”.
Lydia Fernanda Forero, from the Hemispheric Social Alliance, said: “We invite you to begin the journey toward Mexico 2010. This time COP is coming to our home [Latin America], and we must start mobilising”.
The Trade Union Confederation of the Americas (TUCA) has said that the trade union movement will have a more active participation in COP16.
Inter Press Service