International & Antiwar News


Originally published in the Autumn 2020 edition of the Virginia Defender, issue 63, printed October 29. Reproduced here for accessibility and archival purposes. To find other stories in the Autumn 2020 issue or download the full PDF, see this post. For the full web catalog, see our Full Issues page.

International solidarity with U.S. rebellions

More than 130 organizations and individuals from 17 countries have endorsed an International Statement of Solidarity with the Anti-Racist U​.​S. Rebellions.

The statement, written in English by Virginia Defender editor Phil Wilayto, was translated into French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish by antiwar activists in Germany.

The countries so far represented by the endorsers are Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Finland, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Netherlands, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Ukraine, United Kingdom and Venezuela, as well as the United States. The statement and endorsers can be found here.

World’s poorest hit hardest by pandemic

“From factory to syringe, the world’s most promising coronavirus vaccine candidates need non-stop sterile refrigeration to stay potent and safe. But despite enormous strides in equipping developing countries to maintain the vaccine ‘cold chain,’ nearly 3 billion of the world’s 7.8 billion people live where temperature-controlled storage is insufficient for an immunization campaign to bring COVID-19 under control.

“The result: Poor people around the world who were among the hardest hit by the virus pandemic are also likely to be the last to recover from it.”

— Associated Press, Oct. 25, as carried in the Richmond Times-Dispatch

Was U.S. military training a factor in Mali’s coups?

For the second time in eight years, military officers trained by the United States have overthrown the elected government of the Republic of Mali in West Africa.

The latest coup d’état, on Aug. 18, involved a number of officers who had received foreign training, including from the United States.

The previous coup, in 2012, began with a mutiny by soldiers and led to wide insurgencies by extremist forces, including ISIS, Al-Qaeda and allied groups. Many of these operate with arms taken from Libya after that once-prosperous country was destroyed by a massive bombing campaign led by the United States under the Obama-Biden administration.

The United States has some 34 different foreign military training programs in almost every country in the world.

Formerly colonized by France, Mali is one of the poorest countries in the world, but is rich in natural resources, including gold, bauxite and uranium, which makes it of great interest to Western corporations.

Mass struggle erupts in Nigeria

Massive demonstrations have erupted across Nigeria after video emerged showing members of the infamous SARS federal police unit dragging two men from a hotel and summarily executing one of them.

Over the last three years, Amnesty International has accused the nearly 30-year-old Special Anti-Robbery Squad of 82 cases of abuse, including beatings, hangings, mock executions, sexual assault and waterboarding.

In response to the protests, the Nigeria Police Force announced Oct. 11 that it had dissolved SARS and fired at least two officers. However, when the people learned that SARS officers would just be incorporated into other police units, the protests continued.

Meanwhile, people around the world began taking notice after celebrities in different countries began using the hashtag #EndSARS, which has been around since 2017.

By Oct. 16, there were nearly 3.3 million tweets containing the hashtag.

Then, on Oct. 20, police attacked protesters camped outside a busy toll booth plaza in the upscale suburb of Lekki, just outside Lagos, a major financial center and the most populous city in all of Africa. Protesters reported that street lights suddenly went out in the plaza, then Nigerian security forces approached and opened fire. Ten people died and hundreds were wounded, according to Amnesty International.

The Nigerian army denied that soldiers had been present.

Meanwhile, people around the world have mobilized to support the anti-SARS movement in Nigeria, holding demonstrations in many cities, including Oct. 24 in Richmond at the Marcus-David Peters Circle.

Bolivia defies U.S. in 2020 election

The following is excerpted from a statement Oct. 21 by the Alliance for Global Justice on the Oct. 18 electoral victory of presidential candidate Luis Arce of the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS in Spanish). Read the full statement, “The Alliance for Global Justice Congratulates the Bolivian People,” here.

… In 2006, after the expansion of popular democracies in Latin America, Bolivia elected its first indigenous president, Evo Morales, from MAS. Under this historical change, the members of the government in Bolivia, for the first time, looked like the people that elected them. Evo Morales was surrounded by indigenous men and women. He reached out to the Afro-Bolivians to recognize their ancestral government structures and brought them to govern with him.

Since Evo and MAS came to power, the economy that had been stagnant for more than 25 years grew consistently. … In particular, the poverty gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Bolivians narrowed significantly since 2006. … Overall, Bolivia testified a steady increase in human development as measured by indicators such as child mortality, life expectancy, access to health care, years of schooling, and literacy rate.

In 2019, after the successful re-election of Evo Morales to the Presidency for the third time, the extreme right with the support of the U.S. Government and the Organization of American States’ Secretary General orchestrated a coup. Unlike 2018 in Nicaragua, the extremists were able to force a democratically elected president to leave his presidency. Evo was taken to Mexico in political exile. …

The defeat of the coup government, led by Jeanine Áñez Chávez and supported by the US, and the victory of the grassroots movements in the Bolivian electoral arena bring hopes to the entire continent. …

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