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Anti-war protests in Latin America

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  • Tom Condit
    LATIN AMERICA: US WAR PLANS PROTESTED Demonstrations throughout Latin America on the weekend of Feb. 15 as part of a coordinated global wave of protests
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 19, 2003
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      LATIN AMERICA: US WAR PLANS PROTESTED

      Demonstrations throughout Latin America on the weekend of Feb. 15 as part
      of a coordinated global wave of protests against US plans to invade Iraq.

      In Mexico children led a march on Feb. 15 from Mexico City's Angel de la
      Independencia to the US embassy, where some protesters burned the US flag
      and threw packages of blood over the fence, along with a floral arrangement
      representing peace. Some estimated turnout at over 50,000. Guatemalan
      activist and Nobel peace laureate Rigoberta Menchu Tum told protesters that
      one day governments supporting the war will be judged for crimes against
      humanity. She called for arms inspections for all countries, noting that
      some nations with weapons of mass destruction "are close to us." This will
      be a war over oil, she said. "And watch out, because there's oil in [the
      southeastern Mexican state of] Chiapas, in Venezuela and in other
      countries. And where there's oil, the rifles are pointed."

      There were also smaller demonstrations in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon;
      Cuernavaca, Morelos; San Luis Potosi in San Luis Potosi state; Jalapa and
      Veracruz, Veracruz; Tijuana, Baja California Norte; Naucalpan, Mexico
      state; and Merida, Yucatan. Dozens of women and youths from Ciudad Juarez,
      Chihuahua, and neighboring El Paso, Texas, met at the Santa Fe
      international bridge to protest "Bush's war against humanity." They
      partially blocked the bridge. In San Cristobal de las Casas, in the Chiapas
      Highlands, protesters listened to marimba musicians, local poets and a
      message from former San Cristobal bishop Samuel Ruiz Garcia, who said a war
      "would bring greater impositions of the neoliberal model that exploits us."
      [La Jornada (Mexico) 2/16/03]

      The Cuban government devoted its weekly Saturday rally to the issue of Iraq
      on Feb. 15. The official media reported that about 5,000 people attended
      the rally in Havana. In an unusual move for an official event in Cuba, the
      program contained a reading of the Christian Bible. Complaining about US
      president George W. Bush's references to God, Protestant minister Raul
      Suarez, a National Assembly member and director of the Martin Luther King
      Center for Ecumenical Studies, cited Jesus' benediction: "Blessed are the
      peacemakers." [LJ 2/16/03 from correspondent]

      Hundreds of university students, unionists and religious workers marched on
      Feb. 15 in Panama City under the slogan "No to War, Yes to Peace." The US
      and British embassies were heavily guarded, even though the march route
      didn't pass near them. [La Prensa (Panama) 2/16/03]

      In Honduras, more than 1,000 people rallied in front of the US embassy in
      Tegucigalpa on Feb. 15 to protest the war. Members of the Popular Bloc
      (BP), an alliance of union, professional, community and women's
      organizations, carried six coffins marked "No to war," and chanted: "The
      gringos are the real threat." Also in Honduras, after a meeting of
      representatives of Central American countries and the Dominican Republic,
      Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) president Enrique Iglesias voiced
      opposition to the war plans, which he said would harm the world economy.

      In Nicaragua, some 200 people, including members of the country's
      Palestinian community, protested US war plans in the Metrocentro in western
      Managua on Feb. 15.

      In Chile, demonstrators marched in Santiago as part of the Feb. 15
      protests, and rallied at La Moneda, the presidential palace, where they
      burned two US flags. The organizers estimated that 3,000 people attended;
      sponsors included Amnesty International. [LJ 2/16/03 from Reuters, AFP,
      DPA; El Nuevo Herald (Miami) 2/16/03 from AFP]

      Thousands marched on Feb. 15 in Brazilian cities including Rio de Janeiro,
      Sao Paulo, Brasilia, Salvador, Belo Horizonte and Curitiba. Many
      demonstrators wore allegorical and comic costumes that reporters compared
      to costumes for the annual Carnival celebrations. Representatives of the
      ruling leftist Workers Party (PT) led many of the marches. [Clarin (Buenos
      Aires) 2/16/03; ENH 2/16/03 from AFP]

      In Peru hundreds of protesters rallied against war outside the US embassy
      in Lima, in the exclusive Santiago de Surco neighborhood, which had a heavy
      police presence. [La Republica (Lima) 2/16/03; ENH 2/16/03 from AFP]

      In Argentina human rights, union, social and student groups held a march on
      Feb. 15 that stretched for eight blocks on its way from the corner of
      Pueyrredon and Las Heras Avenues to the US embassy. Police estimated the
      crowd at 5,000; estimates by the organizers ranged from 50,000 to 75,000.
      Marchers included members of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo and union
      leader Victor de Gennaro. No police presence was visible until the
      protesters reached the embassy. [Clarin 2/16/03]

      The marches started on Feb. 14 in Uruguay and Ecuador. In Montevideo, as
      many as 50,000 people joined a rally that included a statement from
      Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano that "humanity has had enough of weeping
      for its dead at the end of each war." In Quito, some 100 people from human
      rights, environmental, indigenous and social groups rallied at the US
      embassy. [ENH 2/16/03 from AFP]

      The two Latin American countries on the United Nations (UN) Security
      Council, Chile and Mexico, are both close US allies, but they are
      reportedly leaning toward the French position that UN weapons inspectors
      should have more time to make sure Iraq is disarming. The US says
      inspections are a waste of time; it wants immediate UN authorization for
      military intervention. [Financial Times (UK) 2/14/03; Radio France
      Internationale 2/14/03; New York Times 2/15/03]

      On Feb. 13 Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva called French
      president Jacques Chirac to announce Brazil's support for the French
      position. The next day, Brazil said South American countries would meet to
      consider a united strategy for preventing a war. The idea grew out of
      telephone contacts between Lula, Argentine acting president Eduardo
      Duhalde, Chilean president Ricardo Lagos and Ecuadoran president Lucio
      Gutierrez, according to Lula's spokesperson, Andre Singer. [ENH 2/15/03
      from Reuters]


      Tom Condit
      tomcondit@...

      <http://www.peaceandfreedom.org>
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