À procura de textos e pretextos, e dos seus contextos.
Diálogo con Tomás Ruiz-Rivas sobre la obra “Fosa Común” y los desaparecidos de la guerra civil española y la dictadura franquista
Tomás Ruiz-Rivas, « La tierra bajo los pies. », Cultures & Conflits, Inédits de Regards sur l'entre deux, 2008, [En ligne], mis en ligne le 13 janvier 2009. URL : http://www.conflits.org/index14623.html. Consulté le 10 juillet 2009.
In the immediate aftermath of Israel's bloody three-week war with Hamas in January, Peter Beaumont travelled to Gaza and met the Palestinians devasted by the death of their families and the destruction of their neighbourhoods. Six months later he returns to find they are still waiting - to rebuild both their homes and their lives.
The force of the explosion that destroyed Shifa Salman's house in the northern Gaza district of Jabal al-Rayas folded floor into floor as easily as pastry. It pushed pillars through concrete, reconfiguring her home into a bristling dome. The tail-fin of one of the Israeli bombs responsible still sits on top of the rubble, innocuous as a child's discarded toy. These days, pigeons and sparrows nest in the cave-like space carved out by the detonation inside the ruins where mattresses and bags of flour are stored, the latter stencilled with the initials of the World Food Programme. Sleek, aggressive cockerels patrol the floor, flying at intruders.
Six months after Israel's war against Gaza, Shifa, a 20-year-old student, sleeps with her family behind the fallen house. A trodden path leads through the rubble to a row of cramped, ramshackle shelters open to the elements and roofed with hessian sacks. They are identical to the cattle pens that stand beside them.
On closer examination I can see that the frames have been constructed out of cast-off sections of wood and metal lashed together. What walls that exist are fashioned out of old pallets and branches woven into crude wicker. Or more sacking, staked into the soil to make rudimentary windbreaks.
Shifa's family are Bedouin. Until recently they farmed this land close to the barrier, in an area once used for missile launches against the Jewish communities on the far side. This was one of Gaza's limited areas of agricultural production in a densely crowded urban area, home to 1.4 million people. Because of the missiles, this neighbourhood of farms and little factories was treated to a scorched earth policy.
Inside Shifa's own tiny, dirt-floored "compound" a fire pit has been scooped out of the earth and filled with twigs. On it sits the blackened pan in which Shifa and her mother make stews of molokhiya - spinach-like greens - with chicken, garlic and onions. "This is my kitchen," says Shifa shyly, in English. A piece of broken board is propped on two drums to function as table. Here a jam jar sits, holding a pestle and a solitary sharp knife.
I first came to this house in January, in the immediate aftermath of Israel's war against Gaza, visiting the Salman family almost every day. The family were sleeping in the ruins to shelter from the rain, surrounded by the stinking bodies of their sheep, killed during the assault. Then, Shifa complained that the frightened younger children were kept awake at night by the sound of packs of dogs scavenging among the carrion outside.
A slight and pretty woman with dark brows, Shifa is walking along a road where the ruined houses of her neighbourhood stand on each side like stone-piled graves in a desert. It is 7am and she is on her way to meet the bus that will take her to university. She is wearing a black abaya, the head-to-ankle veil that is the uniform of the university, and carrying a pile of her books. Both books and the veil were donated by the college after Shifa's family lost most of what it owned. "There used to be a factory here," says Shifa, pointing at a collapsed, blue-painted metal structure. I am reminded of the last time I saw this building. A herd of cows lay slaughtered in the field outside.
"My life used to be so good when we had a home. Now it is awful." She wipes a tear away, trying to hide what she is doing. "This street used to be full of cars," Shifa explains. "It was easy to get to university. Now I have to walk for half an hour before I can get a ride. There used to be houses here, but everyone fled after the F-16s attacked. After the tanks attacked. Only a few of us have stayed."
So few, in fact, I quickly learn their names. There is the Khader family, who have built a complex cloth-walled shelter on top of the ruins of one of their houses, a structure that has expanded over the months as new rooms have been added. One day I find the men of the family crawling into a dark hole beneath the house to chip out tiles from what was once their ground floor to sell for food, disturbing a nest of pinkly squirming newborn mice.
There is the owner of the dairy parlour, Mohammed al-Fayoun, whose cattle were killed. He has set up business again beneath the bent and twisted rafters of his metal roof, where he sits daily in a plastic chair. He complains his customers are still too scared to visit him this close to the border with Israel.
While her fathers and uncles work the land, Shifa is representative of a new generation - the first from her family to go to university. She says she wants to be a geography teacher and has an exam today. "I used to have a television in my room," she says, passing the house of Nabil Nasser Hassan, once one of her neighbours, whose demolished home is now surrounded by a stockade of corrugated metal sheeting to keep out looters hunting for pipes and wire to recycle. "At the beginning, people came to give us coupons and blankets. But no one has come to see us for a long time. No one has spoken to us about rebuilding our home. I'm scared living where we live. All of the family is, especially my sister Safa when she hears the [Israeli] jets."
It is not only Shifa's daily walk at 7am through the ruins to reach the Islamic University that is a mark of her changed life. Before the destruction visited by the bombs, tanks and bulldozers, Shifa says, she would sit up after dark, reading her books in her own room, which was decorated with posters of animals. Now when the light fades, she must cease her studying. "I used to spend all night working. I'm good," she says with confidence. "But now I'm struggling. And I know if I can succeed, I can make life better for my family."
Israel's Operation Cast Lead began on 27 December 2008. By the time of its conclusion on 18 January, with the declaration by both Israel and Hamas - which governs Gaza - of their own unilateral ceasefires, more than 1,300 Palestinians had been killed, many of them civilians. They had perished under an Israeli rain of bombs, bullets, missiles and artillery fire, including white phosphorous munitions.
While Israel insisted the war was designed to bring a halt to the launching of home-made missiles out of the Gaza Strip, its targets suggested wider aims, not least the dismantling of Palestinian institutions. Police stations, ministries, schools and hospitals were hit. Orange groves and tunnel tents for growing strawberries and vegetables were uprooted. And thousands of houses were damaged.
On my return, I scour Gaza for evidence that anything has changed for the better in the months since the war ended. But houses and other buildings destroyed during the conflict remain as hollowed-out and dusty monuments to violence. In places, some owners have experimented with repairing buildings with an adobe made of mud and straw baked in the sun. But it is a very temporary solution.
In the office of Dr Ibrahim Radwan, the man appointed by the Hamas government to record the damage done in Israel's three-week war, I jot down the numbers that describe what happened. Some 3,800 homes and businesses badly damaged in one way or another - although he admits this includes some damaged in previous Israeli attacks. In addition, 80 government buildings were hit. Radwan has his own categories to describe the degrees of destruction, but after a week driving around Gaza, the damage conforms to its own types. The big metal walls of the workshops on Salahadeen Road, where the heaviest fighting took place, now leak light through hundreds of bullet perforations; other walls are splashed with the shrapnel of missiles fired from drones; blocks of flats hit by artillery fire show scorched holes. And across the north of the Gaza Strip stand the weird igloos of the bomb-flattened houses.
There are changes that I do register in the six months since the war ended. The bodies of dead animals have been removed and cleared away; the ruins have been sifted for human remains. It has expunged the odour of decay that was once tangy with the chemical flavour of explosives and spent phosphorous. The tangled remnants of an orange grove I drove past every day, tipped over and torn by military bull-dozers, has disappeared, razed for firewood.
And without concrete and steel, aluminium and glass, without tiles for roofs and cladding for stairs and bathrooms - all prevented from entering Gaza by Israel's continuing economic blockade - no rebuilding has begun. For those who suffered most, the war continues.
I run into Shifa's father by chance one day at Gaza City's flea market, in the Yarmouk district. He tells me he comes once every fortnight to look through stalls selling broken and unwanted things in the hope of finding something that might alleviate their circumstances. He shows me the contents of his white plastic shopping bag: two plastic joints for connecting water pipes. Bought in the hope that he might one day have a use for them.
It is not only the physical symptoms that persist as a reminder of what happened in Gaza. Sana al-Ar's family live in a light but sparsely furnished fifth-floor flat in a tower block in Shujaiya. There are photographs on the wall of 16-year-old Sana's younger brothers, Rakan and Ibrahim, and her father Mohammed - all killed during Israel's attack. Missing are pictures of her 18-year-old sister, Fida, and her brother's wife, Iman, who also perished. In a room decorated with gold curtains and floor cushions, Malak, the youngest surviving child, plays on the carpet, in a T-shirt printed with the slogan "Daddy's Little Tiger". But Daddy is gone.
On 3 January, Israeli tanks attacked the area where Sana and her family lived. Their house - like Shifa's - was located close to the border, not far from a pretty, gold-domed mosque and a graveyard. Shifa Salman's family managed to flee. But Sana's family - her mother says - were blown to "pieces of meat". It is left to Sana's grandmother to recount the story, while the girl and her mother listen. She tells how a rocket hit the house, injuring Fida with shrapnel. She quickly bled to death. The father told the family to flee in their donkey cart, but a second missile exploded, fatally injuring him, too. I listen as Sana's grandmother describes how in the smoke from the explosion the weeping mother found her son Ibrahim "missing half his face". The family gathered what they could of their dead in a blanket and took them to a neighbour's house, where they were trapped, sitting with the bodies, for five days.
I had heard about Sana in January, from Dr Fadel Abu Hein at Gaza City's Community Training Centre and Crisis Management. Fadel was sending teams of social workers and therapists to run workshops for the most badly affected children, even working with them as they sat on blankets in the rubble. As we talked about the types of trauma suffered by children during the conflict, he mentioned a girl who had seen most of her family die and had spent days trapped with their bodies. I had met her the following day, at the house of an uncle she was staying with. And I had tried to talk to Sana then. But sitting on a bed in a cold, bare basement room, she had been withdrawn behind a wall of grief, managing to speak barely a handful of words. Instead, it was the other relatives who had crowded the room who supplied answers to my questions. The only thing I learned was that she liked to paint, and so I had bought her pens and paper, since all of hers were lost.
Sitting in her new flat, Sana fetches the only drawing she says she has done since the killing of her brothers - in charcoal grey, against a shaded blue background, are the names of the boys. A day later, I learn from Nahid Hanrarah, the social worker who has worked most closely with Sana, that she has done other paintings, paintings of her family drenched in blood.
"Painting their names is an improvement," Nahid says. He adds that Sana is much improved, but when I ask her questions, she answers in fragmented sentences: "Things aren't too much better. Everything is still... I feel things are separate. The anger and the sadness. The one who could make us happy [Sana's father] is the one we've lost."
There are long pauses when Sana looks away. "People have tried to help me. There have been people at school ... " Sana mentions her irritation at those among her friends who insist on trying to talk to her about what happened on 3 January and in the days that followed. "I feel I can't concentrate at school like I used to," Sana explains. "I hate it because people at school keep asking how my family died. They think if I talk then it will help me. That is why I went to see Nahid. Because it makes me so upset.
I don't want to talk about it." Sana is also scared to go to the bathroom alone and, she tells me, she suffers with nightmares. I learn from talking to Nahid that Sana was suicidal when she was first referred to him. "She didn't want to live. She had no hope," he explains quietly.
It has not only been at school where Sana has been confronted by what happened. At home, too, she has had to deal with constant reminders of her loss from her mother, Laila, whose grief is even more debilitating.
"I think," Nahid suggests, "that Sana is the only one in the immediate family who really understands what happened to them, and who can help the family. Her mother can't do anything, really. So the responsibility has fallen on Sana. Sana is growing [as a person] from the knowledge of all the things that she passed through, which is helping her to overcome. But it is a process that is far from complete. They were a family of nine, now only four are left."
There are moments when you see an echo of how this family must once have been. Before the Israeli soldiers came. Before the war. Malak crawls on to her mother's knee with her doll and squeals loudly: "Bite her! Bite her!" Suddenly I realise that Sana is smiling at her mother. It is the first time in five visits to this family that I have seen her smile. And when she does, another girl is briefly visible.
And Sana is smiling again when I next see her. We are talking about ordinary things other than the horror that befell her; about the films she likes to watch - Bollywood and action films, X-Men - about her new computer, and the internet connection she is waiting for with excitement: "Before, we didn't have a computer. I've had it two weeks." Then the pain is in the room again. "The first thing I'm going to do is put pictures on it of my father and my sister and my brothers." She seems sad, but not unreachable. I ask Sana if she will be going to the beach in the holidays, but it is her mother who answers: "We used to go to the sea, all of us together. We don't go any more ... " There are ghosts in the room that Laila cannot ignore. And because Laila cannot ignore them, Sana is also bound to observe them, and to mirror her mother's grief.
Laila says she has nothing left, and I remind her of Sana and Malak. She looks up at the pictures above her. "Rakan was the most beautiful," she sobs, as Sana begins to cry, quietly. "He was only four and a half. He was a very naughty boy. People kept saying to his father: 'This boy will be someone.'" When his sister went to carry him, I did not recognise him. He had come to pieces."
In Dr Fadel's office, decorated with pictures of dead Palestinian fighters, he tries to assess what has changed and what has not. Some people have begun to rebuild their lives, while others living in tents, or displaced, or living - like Shifa's family - among the ruins remain largely in the circumstances they were in when the war ended. "The biggest obstacle that we are facing is among those people whose problems have not ended - who live in a continuing war atmosphere. Nothing is happening about the destroyed homes, because we live in a continuing state of economic siege. So there are people still living in tents, or in the rubble."
Visiting his office one day I am confronted with evidence of how those dealing with damage from the conflict can progress. Hanging on one wall are pictures drawn by trauma-affected children, before-and-after images whose real subject is the effects of exposure to violence, and how it can be mediated. The "before" pictures show soldiers with guns, tanks and jets, images of destruction and death. The "after" pictures show the ordinary stuff of childhood: flying kites and images of family and friends and flowers, produced after lengthy work with the centre's social workers. I mistakenly believe that they come from the recent conflict. I am informed that they pre-date the war - describing the experience of Israeli military incursions and air strikes. When I ask to see drawings produced after the January war I am led to another series of sketches that depict - so far - only fighting. And examining them, I am reminded of another picture I had seen a few days before in Khan Younis, in Gaza's south, in a child's bedroom.
I had first encountered Rewa'a Omer, aged 30, in the Nasser Hospital, standing between the beds of her two children, her daughter Ola and her son Yahya. It was a few days after the ceasefire and Rewa'a was clutching a bloody piece of clothing. An hour or so before, 10-year-old Ola, and Yahya, nine, had been standing close to their school gates with a group of other primary school children, waiting for a lift to take them home. As they stood chatting, an Israeli drone had fired a missile at a passing Hamas fighter on a motorbike three metres from the children. The blast had driven shrapnel into the legs of the children and a sliver into Yahya's eye.
Until I see the poster in Ola's bedroom, I think she has recovered better than her brother. It depicts a baby's smiling face. But someone has drawn trickles of blood coming from the nose and mouth, and added small scarlet cuts. Rewa'a tells me it was Ola who had disfigured it. I notice, too, that she has shaded around the baby's eyes so that the skin appears yellow. I think of how her brother's face was in his hospital bed, bruised under the bandages and stained with something like iodine.
Rewa'a's family are what passes for middle class in Gaza. Her husband was a police captain in the Palestinian National Authority before Hamas's assumption of full executive power in 2007, at the end of the most violent period of the so-called "internal fighting" between Fatah and Hamas. He does not work now but still receives his salary. Well-educated, Rewa'a speaks excellent English. The family asks me for a copy of the photograph I took on the day the children were injured, and Rewa'a shows me an image saved on her phone, given to her by a neighbour, that shows her son being carried from the scene in someone's arms, his head limp and bloody. "It was on the television. And I was not there to protect them." There are still some marks on her daughter's legs, like dark bruises. "My son was injured worse," she says. "He is still shy about wearing shorts because of the scarring. There was shrapnel in his eye that we did not know about. He had to go to Egypt to be operated on. They have recovered physically," Rewa'a adds, "but emotionally my daughter is more damaged than my son. That first time that she saw her brother bleeding has stuck with her. I think it will always be inside. She talks about what happened and her grades at school have suffered. It was a month and a half before she was ready to go back to school."
Rewa'a says that Ola is still frightened to go to the bus stop, and "the children are always fighting now. I worry all the time about them, waiting for them to come home from school."
Ola wants to tell the story of what happened to her. "The car was late. There was a sound and I woke up and everything was black. Things were broken and bleeding. Then people came to rescue my brother. Someone took my hand. I said: 'My brother! My brother!'" I ask Ola what she would like most. She does not have to think about it: "I would like to live somewhere safe."
Yahya wants to talk about Egypt, where he went to have the shrapnel taken from his eye.
"I went to the zoo and saw the pyramids!"
"I feel that there is nowhere safe in Gaza any more," adds Rewa'a. "I used to think before that ... you know, we are ordinary people. This [the violence] had nothing to do with me."
When I visit Rewa'a again we climb up on to the flat roof of their building. Fading home-made kites are propped in tangles of string against the balustrade. Rewa'a seems oppressed by the thought of what has happened. "I wish that they could have a normal childhood. I didn't grow up in Gaza, I grew up in Saudi Arabia. I came back to Gaza when I was 16. I had a beautiful childhood. I want the same for them. Not this.
"Every time the summer holidays come round I wish there was something that they could do. Hobbies that could help them grow. But there is nothing here like that." I remind her of something that Yahya told me when I asked what he wanted to be when he grew up. He replied that he wanted to be a fighter. "Yahya says that. But it is just an idea in his head."
As we are leaving I ask Rewa'a if she has any hope that things might change in Gaza. She seems sad. "Nothing ever changes. There is no rebuilding. Everything becomes worse.
Nothing here ever changes for the better."
Guardian - 06.07.09
El golpe contra el presidente hondureño Manuel Zelaya representa un último esfuerzo desesperado por parte de los intereses políticos y económicos del país de frenar el avance de los Gobiernos de la nueva izquierda que están extendiéndose en América Latina durante la última década.
El golpe contra el presidente hondureño Manuel Zelaya representa un último esfuerzo desesperado por parte de los intereses políticos y económicos del país de frenar el avance de los Gobiernos de la nueva izquierda que están extendiéndose en América Latina durante la última década. Como el propio Zelaya manifestó tras ser trasladado por la fuerza a Costa Rica: “Yo creo que esto ha sido un complot de una elite muy voraz, una elite que lo único que está deseando es mantener al país aislado y con un extremo de pobreza”.
Zelaya debería saberlo bien, ya que sus raíces se hunden en la clase terrateniente del país y ha dedicado la mayor parte de su vida a las empresas agrícolas y forestales que heredó. Se presentó como candidato a la presidencia de Honduras por el Partido Liberal de centro-derecha con una plataforma bastante conservadora, prometiendo mano dura contra la delincuencia y recortes presupuestarios. Investido en enero de 2006, apoyó el Tratado de Libre Comercio entre los Estados Unidos y América Central (CAFTA), firmado dos años antes, y siguió aplicando políticas económicas neoliberales, privatizando empresas de propiedad estatal.
Pero llegado a la mitad de sus cuatro años de legislatura, los aires de cambio que soplaban desde el sur lo sedujeron, especialmente aquellos que procedían de la Venezuela de Hugo Chávez, la mayor potencia regional del Caribe. Honduras, que carece de recursos petrolíferos, firmó un generoso acuerdo energético con Venezuela y, después, el año pasado, se sumó al incipiente bloque comercial de la región, la Alternativa Bolivariana para las Américas (ALBA). Esta iniciativa, impulsada por Venezuela, cuenta ya entre sus miembros con Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua, Dominica y Ecuador. Paralelamente, Zelaya puso en marcha políticas de reforma nacional, aumentando notablemente el salario mínimo de trabajadores y profesores e incrementando el gasto en sanidad y educación.
De resultas, un presidente prorreformista y que cuenta con el respaldo de sindicatos y organizaciones sociales se ha ganado la enemistad de una elite política corrupta y mafiosa que está acostumbrada a controlar el Tribunal Supremo, el Congreso y la presidencia. Se trata de una historia bien conocida en América Latina; una historia en que los Estados Unidos casi siempre se decantan por el bando de los intereses establecidos.
Las elites hondureñas estaban indignadas por el hecho de que un miembro de su clase llevara adelante todas estas reformas, por modestas que fueran. Empezaron a presentar a Zelaya como un demagogo y a satanizar a Hugo Chávez, acusándolo de intentar hacerse con el poder en el país. Cuando Zelaya anunció que celebraría un plebiscito el 28 de junio para ver si, en las próximas elecciones presidenciales de noviembre, el país desearía tener la opción de votar por la convocatoria de una asamblea constituyente que redactaría una nueva constitución, el sistema político decidió que eso nunca sucedería. Así, proclamaron, erróneamente, que Zelaya intentaba presentarse a una reelección como presidente. De hecho, la posibilidad de que un presidente se mantenga durante un segundo mandato sólo podría surgir con una nueva constitución, que no estaría redactada hasta mucho después de que Zelaya abandonara el cargo de presidente, en enero de 2010. Sin embargo, las elites tenían buenos motivos para temer una nueva carta magna, ya que se trata del camino que Chávez en Venezuela, Evo Morales en Bolivia y Rafael Correa en Ecuador han seguido para elaborar nuevas constituciones con las que empezar a transformar las estructuras políticas, sociales y económicas de sus respectivos países.
Las elites políticas decidieron cortar de raíz este proceso aplastando el plebiscito previsto para el domingo 28 de junio. El Tribunal Supremo lo declaró anticonstitucional y el ejército se negó a ayudar a repartir las urnas. Después, Zelaya destituyó al jefe del ejército, general Romeo Vásquez, y encabezó un grupo de trabajadores y activistas de movimientos sociales para recuperar las urnas almacenadas en una base de las fuerzas aéreas. El domingo, el día del plebiscito, a las seis de la mañana, el ejército envió una unidad especial para detener a Zelaya en pijama y deportarlo a Costa Rica. Al día siguiente, el Tribunal Supremo emitió acusaciones de traición contra Zelaya y el Congreso encumbró a su presidente, Roberto Micheletti, como presidente interino del país.
El resto del continente americano y la mayoría del mundo reaccionaron ante el golpe con indignación. La Organización de los Estados Americanos (OEA) convocó una sesión de urgencia y votó por unanimidad a favor de exhortar a los golpistas a restituir el poder a Zelaya. Organizaciones regionales, como el Grupo de Río, también denunciaron el golpe, mientras que la Unión Europea y el Banco Mundial anunciaron la suspensión de toda ayuda económica a Honduras. Incluso los Gobiernos de Álvaro Uribe en Colombia y de Felipe Calderón en México se sintieron obligados a censurar el golpe.
¿Qué explica esta casi unánime oposición al golpe? La mayor parte de América Latina aún recuerda los oscuros días de los años setenta y ochenta, cuando tres cuartas partes de la población del continente se encontraban bajo gobierno militar. Países como Chile, Argentina, Uruguay y Brasil aún arrastran las cicatrices y los traumas de esta época y no desean presenciar ninguna fisura que pudiera permitir a sus ejércitos empezar a interferir otra vez en la esfera política.
Los Estados Unidos también se oponen al golpe y el presidente Obama lo ha denunciado, tildándolo de un “terrible precedente” y afirmando que “no queremos volver al oscuro pasado” en el que los golpes triunfaban sobre las elecciones. Obama añadió que “queremos apoyar siempre a la democracia”.
Muchos observadores desconfían de la firmeza de la postura de Washington contra el golpe. Teniendo en cuenta su acento sobre el multilateralismo, puede que a Obama no le hayan quedado muchas opciones, sabiendo también que su predecesor, George W. Bush, enturbió las relaciones con América Latina cuando se apresuró a respaldar el último intento de golpe de estado en la zona, perpetrado contra Hugo Chávez en octubre de 2002.
El Departamento de Estado ha adoptado una postura más moderada. Cuando se le preguntó a la secretaria de Estado, Hillary Clinton, si “restaurar el orden constitucional” en Honduras significaba restaurar a Zelaya, no contestó con un ‘sí’. Según informaba The New York Times, a Clinton no le cayó bien el presidente hondureño cuando lo conoció, el pasado 2 de junio, en una reunión de la OEA en Tegucigalpa. Zelaya la molestó pidiéndole que, ya tarde, asistiera a una sala privada para presentarle a toda su familia. En una reunión más formal, Zelaya planteó sus planes de referéndum para el 28 de junio y los funcionarios estadounidenses presentes señalaron que sería anticonstitucional y que encendería la situación política.
Washington también tiene una relación muy estrecha con el ejército hondureño desde hace décadas. Durante los años ochenta, los Estados Unidos utilizaron bases en Honduras para entrenar y armar a la contra nicaragüense, los paramilitares que se hicieron famosos por las atrocidades que cometieron en su guerra contra el Gobierno sandinista de la vecina Nicaragua. John Negroponte, que se convirtió en el jefe de los servicios secretos con el Gobierno de Bush tras haber servido como embajador estadounidense en Iraq, empezó haciéndose un nombre cuando estaba destinado como embajador de los Estados Unidos en Honduras, a principios de los ochenta, y garantizó el apoyo de su país a los escuadrones de la muerte dirigidos por una unidad especial del ejército hondureño contra las opositores internos.
El miércoles, en la reunión de la OEA en Washington, se exhortó a que Zelaya fuera restituido para el sábado 4 de julio. El jefe de la OEA, José Miguel Insulza de Chile, junto con el presidente de la Asamblea General de la ONU, el nicaragüense Miguel d’Escoto, y los presidentes Cristina Fernández de Kirchner y Rafael Correa de Argentina y Ecuador, respectivamente, han manifestado que acompañarán a Zelaya en su regreso.
Pero no se sabe si los golpistas lo dejarán volver. Micheletti y Vásquez han cruzado el Rubicón y no pueden abandonar el poder sin sufrir consecuencias. Cualquier aeronave que intente aterrizar con este elenco de dignatarios necesitará una autorización de las autoridades hondureñas y es poco probable que se le conceda. Puede que la clave esté en si el Gobierno de Obama está dispuesto a ejercer una presión importante sobre sus aliados históricos o a utilizar su poder militar aéreo para imponer la fecha límite al regreso de Zelaya. Y si la presión externa restituye a Zelaya en el poder, ¿se le permitirá organizar la votación para una posible asamblea constituyente que tanto necesita el país para transformarse en una sociedad progresista?
The recent events in Honduras and Iran, which pit democratically elected regimes against pro-US military and civilian actors intent on overthrowing them can best be understood as part of a larger White House strategy designed to rollback the gains achieved by opposition government and movements during the Bush years.
In a manner reminiscent of Ronald Reagan’s New Cold War policies, Obama has vastly increased the military budget, increased the number of combat troops, targeted new regions for military intervention and backed military coups in regions traditionally controlled by the US . However Obama’s rollback strategy occurs in a very different international and domestic context. Unlike Reagan, Obama faces a prolonged and profound recession/depression, massive fiscal and trade deficits, a declining role in the world economy and loss of political dominance in Latin America, the Middle East, East Asia and elsewhere. While Reagan faced off against a decaying Soviet Communist regime, Obama confronts surging world-wide opposition from a variety of independent secular, clerical, nationalist, liberal democratic and socialist electoral regimes and social movements anchored in local struggles.
Obama’s rollback strategy is evident from his very first pronouncements, promising to reassert US dominance (‘leadership’) in the Middle East, his projection of massive military power in Afghanistan and military expansion in Pakistan and the destabilization of regimes through deep intervention by proxies as in Iran and Honduras.
Obama’s pursuit of the rollback strategy operates a multi-track policy of overt military intervention, covert ‘civil society’ operations and soft-sell, seemingly benign diplomatic rhetoric, which relies heavily on mass media propaganda. Major ongoing events illustrate the rollback policies in action.
In Afghanistan, Obama has more than doubled the US military forces from 32,000 to 68,000. In the first week of July his military commanders launched the biggest single military offensive in decades in the southern Afghan province of Helmand to displace indigenous resistance and governance.
In Pakistan, the Obama-Clinton-Holbrooke regime successfully put maximum pressure on their newly installed client Zedari regime to launch a massive military offensive and rollback the long-standing influence of Islamic resistance forces in the Northwest frontier regions, while US drones and Special Forces commandoes routinely bomb and assault villages and local Pashtun leaders suspected of supporting the resistance.
In Iraq, the Obama regime engages in a farcical ploy, reconfiguring the urban map of Baghdad to include US military bases and operations and pass off the result as “retiring troops’ to their barracks”. Obama’s multi-billion-dollar investment in long-term, large-scale military infrastructure, including bases, airfields and compounds speaks to a ‘permanent’ imperial presence, not to his campaign promises of a programmed withdrawal. While ‘staging’ fixed election between US-certified client candidates is the norm in Iraq and Afghanistan where the presence of US troops guarantees a colonial victory, in Iran and Honduras, Washington resorts to covert operations to destabilize or overthrow incumbent Presidents who do not support Obama’s rollback policies.
The covert and not-so-invisible operation in Iran found expression in a failed electoral challenge followed by ‘mass street demonstrations’ centered on the claim that the electoral victory of the incumbent anti-imperialist President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was a result of ‘electoral fraud’. Western mass media played a major role during the electoral campaign exclusively providing favorable coverage of the opposition and negative accounts of the incumbent regime. The mass media blanketed the ‘news’ with pro-demonstrator propaganda, selectively presenting coverage to de-legitimize the elections and elected officials, echoing the charges of ‘fraud’. The propaganda success of the US-orchestrated destabilization campaign even found an echo among broad sections of what passes for the US ‘left’ who ignored the massive, coordinated US financing of key Iranian groups and politicos engaged in the street protests. Neo-conservative, liberal and itinerant leftist ‘free-lance journalists’, like Reese Erlich, defended the destabilization effort from their own particular vantage point as ‘a popular democratic movement against electoral fraud.’
The right/left cheerleaders of US destabilization projects fail to address several key explanatory factors:
1. None, for example, discuss the fact that several weeks before the election a rigorous survey conducted by two US pollsters revealed an electoral outcome very near to the actual voting result, including in the ethnic provinces where the opposition claimed fraud.
2. None of the critics discussed the $400 million dollars allocated by the Bush Administration to finance regime change, domestic destabilization and cross border terror operations. Many of the students and ‘civil society’ NGO’s in the demonstrations received funding from overseas foundations and NGO’s – which in turn were funded by the US government.
3. The charge of electoral fraud was cooked up after the results of the vote count were announced. In the entire run-up to the election, especially when the opposition believed they would win the elections – neither the student protesters nor the Western mass media nor the freelance journalists claimed impending fraud. During the entire day of voting, with opposition party observers at each polling place, no claims of voter intimidation or fraud were noted by the media, international observers or left backers of the opposition. Opposition party observers were present to monitor the entire vote count and yet, with only rare exception, no claims of vote rigging were made at the time. In fact, with the exception of one dubious claim by free-lance journalist Reese Erlich, none of the world’s media claimed ballot box stuffing. And even Erlich’s claims were admittedly based on unsubstantiated ‘anecdotal accounts’ from anonymous sources among his contacts in the opposition.
4. During the first week of protests in Tehran, the US, EU and Israeli leaders did not question the validity of the election outcome. Instead, they condemned the regime’s repression of the protestors. Clearly their well-informed embassies and intelligence operative provided a more accurate and systematic assessment of the Iranian voter preferences than the propaganda spun by the Western mass media and the useful idiots among the Anglo-American left.
The US-backed electoral and street opposition in Iran was designed to push to the limits a destabilization campaign, with the intention of rolling back Iranian influence in the Middle East, undermining Tehran’s opposition to US military intervention in the Gulf, its occupation of Iraq and , above all, Iran’s challenge to Israel’s projection of military power in the region. Anti-Iran propaganda and policy making has been heavily influenced for years on a daily basis by the entire pro-Israel power configuration in the US. This includes the 51 Presidents of the Major America Jewish Organizations with over a million members and several thousand full-time functionaries, scores of editorial writers and commentators dominating the opinion pages of the influential Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times as well as the yellow tabloid press.
Obama’s policy of roll back of Iranian influence counted on a two-step process: Supporting a coalition of clerical dissidents, pro-Western liberals, dissident democrats and right-wing surrogates of the US. Once in office, Washington would push the dissident clerics toward alliances with their strategic allies among pro-Western liberals and rightists, who would then shift policy in accordance with US imperial and Israeli colonial interests by cutting off support for Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas, Venezuela, the Iraqi resistance and embrace the pro-US Saudi-Iraqi--Jordan-Egypt clients. In other words, Obama’s roll back policy is designed to relocate Iran to the pre-1979 political alignment.
Obama’s roll back of critical elected regimes to impose pliant clients found further expression in the recent military coup in Honduras. The use of the high command in the Honduras military and Washington’s long-standing ties with the local oligarchy, who control the Congress and Supreme Court, facilitated the process and obviated the need for direct US intervention—as was the case in other recent coup efforts. Unlike Haiti where the US marines intervened to oust democratically elected Bertrand Aristide, only a decade ago,and openly backed the failed coup against President Chavez in 2002, and more recently, funded the botched coup against the President-elect Evo Morales in September 2008, the circumstances of US involvement in Honduras were more discrete in order to allow for ‘credible denial’.
The ‘structural presence’ and motives of the US with regard to ousted President Zelaya are readily identifiable. Historically the US has trained and socialized almost the entire Honduran officer corps and maintained deep penetration at all senior levels through daily consultation and common strategic planning. Through its military base in Honduras, the Pentagon’s military intelligence operatives have intimate contacts to pursue policies as well as to keep track of all polical moves by all political actors. Because Honduras is so heavily colonized, it has served as an important base for US military intervention in the region: In 1954 the successful US-backed coup against the democratically elected Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz was launched from Honduras. In 1961 the US-orchestrated Cuban exile invasion of Cuba was launched from Honduras. From 1981-1989, the US financed and trained over 20,000 ‘Contra’ mercenaries in Honduras which comprised the army of death squads to attack the democratically elected Nicaraguan Sandinista government. During the first seven years of the Chavez government, Honduran regimes were staunchly allied with Washington against the populist Caracas regime.
Obviously no military coups ever occurred or could occur against any US puppet regime in Honduras. The key to the shift in US policy toward Honduras occurred in 2007-2008 when the Liberal President Zelaya decided to improved relations with Venezuela in order to secure generous petro-subsidies and foreign aid from Caracas. Subsequently Zelaya joined ‘Petro-Caribe’, a Venezuelan-organized Caribbean and Central American association to provide long-term, low-cost oil and gas to meet the energy needs of member countries. In more recent days, Zelaya joined ALBA, a regional integration organization sponsored by President Chavez to promote greater trade and investment among its member countries in opposition to the US-promoted regional free trade pact, known as ALCA.
Since Washington defined Venezuela as a threat and alternative to its hegemony in Latin America, Zelaya’s alignment with Chavez on economic issues and his criticism of US intervention turned him into a likely target for US coup planners eager to make Zelaya an example and concerned about their access to Honduran military bases as their traditional launching point for intervention in the region.
Washington wrongly assumed that a coup in a small Central American ‘banana republic’ (indeed the original banana republic) would not provoke any major outcry. They believed that Central American ‘roll-back’ would serve as a warning to other independent-minded regimes in the Caribbean and Central American region of what awaits them if they align with Venezuela.
The mechanics of the coup are well-known and public: The Honduran military seized President Zelaya and ‘exiled’ him to Costa Rica; the oligarchs appointed one of their own in Congress as the interim ‘President’ while their colleagues in the Supreme Court provided bogus legality.
Latin American governments from the left to the right condemned the coup and called for the re-instatement of the legally-elected President. President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, not willing to disown their clients, condemned unspecified ‘violence’ and called for ‘negotiations’ between the powerful usurpers and the weakened exile President – a clear recognition of the legitimate role of the Honduran generals as interlocutors.
After the United Nations General Assembly condemned the coup and, along with the Organization of American States, demanded Zelay’s re-instatement, Obama and Secretary Clinton finally condemned the ousting of Zelaya but they refused to call it a ‘coup’, which according to US legislation would have automatically led to a complete suspension of their annual ($80 million) military and economic aid package to Honduras. While Zelaya met with all the Latin American heads of state, President Obama and Secretary Clinton turned him over to a lesser functionary in order not to weaken their allies in Honduran Junta. All the countries in the OAS withdrew their Ambassadors…except the US, whose embassy began to negotiate with the Junta to see how they might salvage the situation in which both were increasingly isolated – especially in the face of Honduras’ expulsion from the OAS.
Whether Zelaya eventually returns to office or whether the US-backed junta continues in office for an extended period of time, while Obama and Clinton sabotage his immediate return through prolonged negotiations, the key issue of the US-promoted ‘roll-back’ has been extremely costly diplomatically as well as politically.
The US backed coup in Honduras demonstrates that unlike the 1980’s when President Ronald Reagan invaded Grenada and President George Bush (Papa) invaded Panama, the situation and political profile of Latin America (and the rest of the world) has changed drastically. Back then the military and pro-US regimes in the region generally approved of US interventions and collaborated; a few protested mildly. Today the center-left and even rightist electoral regimes oppose military coups anywhere as a potential threat to their own futures.
Equally important, given the grave economic crisis and increasing social polarization, the last thing the incumbent regimes want is bloody domestic unrest, stimulated by crude US imperial interventions. Finally, the capitalist classes in Latin America’s center-left countries want stability because they can shift the balance of power via elections (as in the recent cases in Panama, Argentina) and pro-US military regimes can upset their growing trade ties with China, the Middle East and Venezuela/Bolivia.
Obama’s global roll-back strategy includes building offensive missile bases in Poland and the Czech Republic, not far from the Russian border. Concomitantly Obama is pushing hard to incorporate Ukraine and Georgia in NATO, which will increase US military pressure on Russia’s southern flank. Taking advantage of Russian President Dimitry Medvedev’s ‘malleability’ (in the footsteps of Mikail Gorbechev) Washington has secured free passage of US troops and arms through Russia to the Afghan front, Moscow’s approval for new sanction against Iran, and recognition and support for the US puppet regime in Baghdad. Russian defense officials will likely question Medvedev’s obsequious behavior as Obama moves ahead with his plans to station nuclear missiles 5 minutes from Moscow.
Roll-Back: Predictable Failures and the Boomerang Effect
Obama’s roll-back strategy is counting on a revival of right-wing mass politics to ‘legitimize’ the re-assertion of US dominance. In Argentina throughout 2008, hundreds of thousands of lower and upper-middle class demonstrators took to the streets in the interior of the country under the leadership of pro-US big landowners associations to destabilize the ‘center-left’ Fernandez regime. In Bolivia, hundreds of thousands of middle class students, business-people, landowners and NGO affiliates, centered in Santa Cruz and four other wealthy provinces and heavily funded by US Ambassador Goldberg, Agency for International Development and the National Endowment for Democracy took to the streets, wrecking havoc and murdering over 30 indigenous supporters of President Morales in an effort to oust him from power. Similar rightist mass demonstrations have taken place in Venezuela in the past and more recently in Honduras and Iran.
The notion that mass demonstrations of the well-to-do screaming ‘democracy’ gives legitimacy to US-backed destabilization efforts against its democratically-elected adversaries is an idea promulgated by cynical propagandists in the mass media and parroted by gullible ‘progressive’ free-lance journalists who have never understood the class basis of mass politics.
Obama’s Honduran coup and the US-funded destabilization effort in Iran have much in common. Both take place against electoral processes in which critics of US policies defeated pro-Washington social forces. Having lost the ‘electoral option’ Obama’s roll-back looks to extra-parliamentary ‘mass politics’ to legitimize elite effort to seize power: In Iran by dissident clerics and in Honduras by the generals and oligarchs.
In both Honduras and Iran, Washington’s foreign policy goals were the same: To roll-back regimes whose leaders rejected US tutelage. In Honduras, the coup serves as a ‘lesson’ to intimidate other Central American and Caribbean countries who exit from the US camp and join Venezuelan-led economic integration programs.Obama’s message is clear: such moves will result in US orchestrated sabotage and retaliation.
Through its backing of the military coup, Washington reminds all the countries of Latin America that the US still has the capability to implement its policies through the Latin American military elites, even as its own armed forces are tied down in wars and occupations in Asia and the Middle East and its economic presence is declining. Likewise in the Middle East, Obama’s destabilization of the Iranian regime is meant to intimidate Syria and other critics of US imperial policy and reassure Israel(and the Zionist power configuration in the US ) that Iran remains high on the US roll-back agenda.
Obama’s roll-back policies in many crucial ways follow in the steps of President Ronald Reagan (1981-89). Like Reagan, Obama’s presidency takes place in a time of US retreat, declining power and the advance of anti-imperialist politics. Reagan faced the aftermath of the US defeat in Indo-China, the successful spread of anti-colonial revolutions in Southern Africa (especially Angola and Mozambique), a successful democratic revolt in Afghanistan and a victorious social revolution in Nicaragua and major revolutionary movements in El Salvador and Guatemala. Like Obama today, Reagan set in motion a murderous military strategy of rolling-back these changes in order to undermine, destabilize and destroy the adversaries to US empire.
Obama faces a similar set of adversarial conditions in the current post-Bush period: - Democratic advances throughout Latin America with new regional integration projects excluding the US; defeats and stalemates in the Middle East and South Asia; a revived and strengthened Russia projecting power in the former Soviet republics; declining US influence over NATO military commitments , a loss of political, economic, military and diplomatic credibility as a result of the Wall Street-induced global economic depression and prolonged un-successful regional wars.
Contrary to Obama, Ronald Reagan’s roll-back took place under favorable circumstances. In Afghanistan Reagan secured the support of the entire conservative Muslim world and operated through the key Afghan feudal-tribal leaders against a Soviet-backed, urban-based reformist regime in Kabul. Obama is in the reverse position in Afghanistan. His military occupation is opposed by the vast majority of Afghans and most of the Muslim population in Asia.
Reagan’s roll-back in Central America, especially his Contra-mercenary invasion of Nicaragua, had the backing of Honduras and all the pro-US military dictatorships in Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Brazil, as well as rightwing civilian government in the region. In contrast, Obama’s roll-back coup in Honduras and beyond face democratic electoral regimes throughout the region, an alliance of left nationalist regimes led by Venezuela and regional economic and diplomatic organizations staunchly opposed to any return to US domination and intervention. Obama’s roll-back strategy finds itself in total political isolation in the entire region.
Obama’s roll-back policies cannot wield the economic ‘Big Stick’ to force regimes in the Middle East and Asia to support his policies. Now there are alternative Asian markets, Chinese foreign investments, the deepening US depression and the disinvestment of overseas US banks and multi-nationals. Unlike Reagan, Obama cannot combine economic carrots with the military stick. Obama has to rely on the less effective and costly military option at a time when the rest of the world has no interest or will in projecting military power in regions of little economic significance or where they can attain market access via economic agreements.
Obama’s launch of the global roll-back strategy has boomeranged, even in its initial stage. In Afghanistan, the big troop build-up and the massive offensive into ‘Taliban’ strongholds has not led to any major military victories or even confrontations. The resistance has retired, blended in with the local population and will likely resort to prolonged decentralized, small-scale war of attrition designed to tie down several thousand troops in a sea of hostile Afghans, bleeding the US economy, increasing casualties, resolving nothing and eventually trying the patience of the US public now deeply immersed in job losses and rapidly declining living standards.
The coup, carried out by the US-backed Honduran military, has already re-affirmed US political and diplomatic isolation in the Hemisphere. The Obama regime is the only major country to retain an Ambassador in Honduras, the only country which refuses to regard the military take-over as a ‘coup’, and the only country to continue economic and military aid. Rather than establish an example of the US’ power to intimidate neighboring countries, the coup has strengthened the belief among all South and Central American countries that Washington is attempting to return to the ‘bad old days’ of pro-US military regimes, economic pillage and monopolized markets.
What Obama’s foreign policy advisers have failed to understand is that they can’t put their ‘Humpty Dumpty’ together again; they cannot return to the days of Reagan’s roll-back, Clinton’s unilateral bombing of Iraq,Yugoslavia ana Somalia and his pillage of Latin America.
No major region, alliance or country will follow the US in its armed colonial occupation in peripheral (Afghanistan/Pakistan) or even central (Iran) countries, even as they join the US in economic sanctions, propaganda wars and electoral destabilization efforts against Iran.
No Latin American country will tolerate another US military putsch against a democratically elected president, even national populist regimes which diverge from US economic and diplomatic policies. The great fear and loathing of the US-backed coup stems from the entire Latin American political class’ memory of the nightmare years of US backed military dictatorships.
Obama’s military offensive, his roll-back strategy to recover imperial power is accelerating the decline of the American Republic. His administration’s isolation is increasingly evidenced by his dependence on Israel-Firsters who occupy his Administration and the Congress as well as influential pro-Israel pundits in the mass media who identify roll-back with Israel’s own seizure of Palestinian land and military threats to Iran.
Roll-back has boomeranged: Instead of regaining the imperial presence, Obama has submerged the republic and, with it, the American people into greater misery and instability.
O Sindicato dos Trabalhadores do Comércio, Escritórios e Serviços está preocupado com a situação no distrito do Porto.
Em conferência de imprensa, o sindicato denunciou que, em dois anos, encerraram mais de 600 empresas, colocando no desemprego milhares de trabalhadores.
«O sector do comércio, nos últimos dois anos, tem vindo a deteriorar-se no Porto. No levantamento que fizemos, concluímos que mais de 600 empresas encerraram, colocando no desemprego mais de 24 mil trabalhadores e, mesmo os que estão a trabalhar, mais de 30 por cento correspondem a regime precário», denunciou.
O sindicalista Jorge Pinto considerou que «faltou coragem política» ao Governo para apoiar o comércio tradicional. Em ano de eleições, o sindicato quer que a aposta dos partidos passe pelo apoio ao sector, «uma das grandes tradições da cidade».
O sindicato denunciou, ainda, que nos serviços e nos escritórios a pressão sobre os trabalhadores é «muito grande».
TSF - 09.07.09
A Comissão de Trabalhadores da Webasto, que emprega cerca de 255 pessoas, espera agora na reunião com a administração, marcada para o início da próxima semana, tentar ter mais informações.
Luís Peixe, representante dos trabalhadores, disse à TSF que ainda não se sabe qual vai ser a dimensão dos despedimentos, mas espera minimizar o corte ao máximo.
«A nossa intenção durante a negociação é tentar arranjar todas as soluções possíveis para que não se chegue à situação de despedimento colectivo», afirmou.
O representante dos funcionários da empresa – que fabrica os tectos de abrir do descapotável Eos para a Autoeuropa – adiantou que a empresa não especificou quais os contratos e que sectores é que esta medida vai atingir.
A administradora da empresa justifica o processo de despedimento colectivo com a quebra de produção do modelo Eos, da Volkswagen, sendo este o único modelo para o qual fabrica componentes.
Este é já o segundo despedimento colectivo anunciado em menos de um mês por parte de fornecedores da Autoeuropa. Também a Schnellecke Logistica já tinha anunciado um despedimento colectivo.
TSF - 09.07.09
A empresa poderá fazer anúncios de mais despedimentos noutros países onde tem actividade, acrescentaram as mesmas fontes.
A direcção da Alcatel-Lucent não confirmou nem desmentiu a informação mas disse ter lançado "há seis meses um programa de transformação do grupo para melhorar o seu desempenho financeiro."
SIC - 09.07.09
Entre Janeiro de 2007 e Maio de 2009 houve um aumento de 99 715 beneficiários com processamento de RSI, 52 879 mulheres e 46 836 homens. Esta evolução significa que o número de beneficiários totais, do sexo feminino e masculino cresceu nesse período 38,6%, 38,0% e 39,3%, respectivamente, fixando-se, no último mês do período ilustrado no gráfico 1 em 358 045, 192 041 e 166 004. Em termos homólogos, o crescimento deste indicador para a população total, feminina e masculina foi, respectivamente, de 13,8%, 13,2% e 14,5%.
A observação do gráfico 2 permite concluir que o número de beneficiários de RSI com processamento em Maio de 2009 era superior ao verificado no mesmo mês do ano anterior em quase todos os centros distritais, excepção feita a Santarém, Viseu, Viana do Castelo, Região Autónoma da Madeira e Évora. Em Bragança e Lisboa o aumento deste indicador foi superior a 30,0%, enquanto nos distritos de Aveiro, Faro e Setúbal acima dos 20,0%. Em termos médios, o acréscimo de beneficiários com processamento no intervalo temporal em causa foi de 13,8%.
Como se pode constatar pela análise do gráfico 3, o grupo etário dos 50-54 anos foi aquele em que o número de beneficiários com processamento de RSI mais aumentou entre Maio de 2009 e o mesmo mês de 2008 (subida de 25,1%), embora o grupo dos 20-24, 25-29 e dos 45-49 anos tenham também registado subidas acima dos 20,0%.
Existe, por outro lado, uma descida abrupta do número de beneficiários com 65 ou mais anos, facto que poderá estar associado à inclusão de indivíduos pertencentes a este grupo noutras prestações sociais como o Complemento Solidário para Idosos ou a sua passagem para a pensão de velhice.
Nota Metodológica: os beneficiários são todos os que foram inscritos pelo indivíduo (titular) que requereu a prestação como fazendo parte do seu agregado familiar. Poderão ser descendentes, ascendentes ou outros. O valor atribuído de prestação será condicionado por esta composição do agregado e seus rendimentos.
Imposer des quotas de femmes à la tête des grandes entreprises et des sanctions: un rapport sur l’égalité professionnelle entre femmes et hommes (téléchargez le rapport en pdf) remis mercredi au gouvernement dresse un sombre bilan de la situation et préconise des mesures fortes.
Le rapport commandé en mars à Brigitte Gresy, inspectrice générale des affaires sociales (Igas), prépare une concertation avec les partenaires sociaux, annoncée par Nicolas Sarkozy, lors du sommet social de février.
«Il constitue une base extrêmement solide pour aborder la phase de discussion prévue à l’automne», a déclaré le nouveau ministre du Travail, Xavier Darcos, en recevant le document. «La réalité (de l’égalité professionnelle) nous fait honte.»
«Invisibilité des femmes dans les instances de décisions»
Les écarts de salaires se maintiennent: «En 2006, dans les entreprises de 10 salariés et plus, la rémunération brute totale moyenne des femmes est inférieure de 27% à celle des hommes.»
Si les femmes représentent près de la moitié de la population active (47% en 2007), 31% sont à temps partiel, contre 6% des hommes. Les deux tiers des salariés à bas salaire sont des femmes, surreprésentées dans les emplois non-qualifiés (60%).
Et en temps de crise, «elles vont être tout particulièrement atteinte par les fins de contrat et leur non renouvellement», note le rapport.
Le rapport déplore «l’invisibilité des femmes dans les instances de décision», indiquant que dans les conseils d’administration (CA) des entreprises du CAC 40, il y a seulement 10,5% de femmes en 2009. Elles sont 8% dans les CA des 500 premières entreprises françaises, dont près de 60% ne comptent aucune femme.
Quotas et sanctions
Le document propose de réagir en instaurant dans les conseils d’administration et de surveillance des entreprises publiques et celles cotées en bourse de plus de 1.000 salariés «une obligation» de 40% de femmes dans un délai de six ans, dont 20% les deux premières années.
Un système de quotas que permet la Constitution depuis sa révision, en juillet 2008, selon laquelle «la loi favorise l’égal accès des femmes et des hommes (…) aux responsabilités professionnelles et sociales».
Il est également préconisé de mettre en place des sanctions, soit en jouant sur les allègements de charges, soit en fixant une pénalité «dissuasive» à hauteur de 1% de la masse salariale.
Cette menace avait déjà été brandie. Nicolas Sarkozy qui, dans son projet présidentiel, promettait l’égalité «d’ici 2010», avait indiqué en mars 2008, avoir «dit aux partenaires sociaux qu’on leur donnait jusqu’en 2009 pour trouver une solution». «A partir de 2009, je ferai voter par le Parlement des sanctions financières», avait-il assuré.
Des textes inappliqués
Si le patronat a déjà exprimé ses réticences, la CGT et FO estimaient en mars qu’il fallait légiférer pour l’adoption de sanctions dès 2010.
Le rapport souligne aussi qu’il existe des textes en matière d’égalité professionnelle, non appliqués. «Plus de 25 ans après la première loi sur l’égalité professionnelle, la sanction ne peut désormais que se profiler dans le paysage», note Brigitte Gresy.
D’autant plus que les actions des pouvoirs pouvoirs publics et des partenaires font l’objet d’un bilan «mitigé». «Les négociateurs négocient peu, sauf dans les grandes entreprises, les contrôleurs contrôlent peu, les juges jugent peu».
Le rapport propose aussi de mobiliser davantage les acteurs et d’ouvrir plus le congé parental aux hommes, alors que 98% des allocataires sont actuellement des femmes.
Libération - 09.07.09
Réalisée par une équipe de six chercheurs, pour le compte du Centre d'analyse stratégique (CAS), organisme rattaché à Matignon, l'étude montre que la France se caractérise par une angoisse importante quant aux risques de "déclassement" alors que les données existantes restent assez rassurantes.
Les phénomènes de décrochage social sont bien réels mais assez limités, indiquent les chercheurs, reprenant les conclusions d'un ouvrage publié par la sociologue Camille Peugny (Le Déclassement, éd. Grasset). Ses travaux ont montré que 22 % à 25 % des trentenaires et quadragénaires se retrouvent aujourd'hui plus bas dans l'échelle sociale que leurs parents. Cette proportion était de 18 % au début des années 1980.
"La progression du phénomène n'est pas contestable. Mais elle reste contenue entre 3,5 et 7 points de plus en vingt ans", notent les auteurs de l'étude. Le rapport pointe le décalage entre ces statistiques et le ressenti de la population.
Education et emploi. Le déclassement à l'embauche constitue une des angoisses fondamentales dans la société française : être recruté sur un poste dévalorisé par rapport à son niveau de formation. Cela est perceptible pour les bacheliers, dont le diplôme n'est plus pertinent pour accéder à des emplois de cadres, ni mêmes de professions intermédiaires. "Ils forment le groupe le plus exposé au déclassement – tant salarial que professionnel", indique l'étude.
La nouveauté est que les diplômés de l'enseignement supérieur, en dehors des grandes écoles, connaissent aussi, désormais, des difficultés d'insertion sociale. Ce "déclassement" s'observe en particulier dans la fonction publique, qualifiée de "cas d'école" par les chercheurs en raison du nombre très élevé de surdiplômés. "64% des jeunes recrutés dans la fonction publique seraient en effet titulaires d'un diplôme supérieur – voire très supérieur – à celui normalement requis pour passer le concours."
Cette situation contribue à expliquer les doutes quant à la méritocratie scolaire – alors même, notent les chercheurs, que le diplôme demeure la meilleure garantie d'emploi et de progression sociale.
Revenus. La crainte d'une baisse du niveau de vie s'est fortement exprimée en France, en particulier depuis le début des années 2000. L'étude souligne le paradoxe d'une croissance continue du pouvoir d'achat, et d'un ressenti, par la population, très négatif. Pour la première fois, en 2009, notent les rapporteurs, les enquêtes du Credoc signalent qu'une majorité de Français considèrent que, sur dix ans, leur situation s'est dégradée.
Un sentiment exprimé plus fortement par les classes moyennes alors même que leur niveau de vie a presque doublé en une génération (+85 % depuis 1970). "La perception du niveau de vie est affectée par une transformation des dépenses des ménages, plus souvent contraintes ou pré-engagées", analysent les chercheurs.
Logement. "La qualité moyenne des logements n'a cessé de progresser, tant en taille qu'en confort, depuis le début des années 1970", indique le CAS. Mais l'évolution des prix, depuis 2000, a provoqué un "déclassement par érosion", amenant les Français à accroître leurs dépenses de logement – la proportion des revenus consacrés à cette dépense passant de 10 % en 1984 à 19 % en 2006.
Dans le même temps, une partie des projets de mobilité a été bloquée : les ménages les plus pauvres sont contraints de rester dans les territoires les plus disqualifiés; les ménages moins aisés renoncent à l'accession et restent dans le locatif. "Si cela ne constitue pas un déclassement objectif, cela se traduit pour le ménage concerné par le renoncement à une ascension espérée, et donc par un déclassement ressenti", souligne les chercheurs.
Le Monde - 09.07.09
Os produtores estão muito pessimistas com a possibilidade de no dia 15 de Julho a fábrica de embalagem deixar de lhes comprar o leite.
Sem solução à vista, os produtores apontam o dedo às grandes empresas de distribuição, habituais clientes da Renoldy que deixaram de comprar leite nacional. Em causa, lembram os produtores, estão 500 postos de trabalho e um conjunto de explorações agrícolas com 7 mil vacas leiteiras.
O armazém está neste momento cheio. São mais de dois milhões de litros, paletes que ninguém mandou embalar mas que foram a única forma de conservar um produto delicado que ficou fora das encomendas.
A fábrica tem estado quase parada, havendo já um stock de cerca de 2,5 milhões de litros embalados sem destino e sem encomendas, situação registada já depois da encomenda da Sonae de 1,3 milhões de litros de leite.
Ontem, o ministro da Agricultura esteve na fábrica de Alpiarça para lembrar que este é um problema entre empresas do sector privado. Jaime Silva, convicto de que ainda há espaço de manobra, pediu à administração para que volte "a negociar e procurar os melhores parceiros" para colocar a fábrica a funcionar.
O ministro da Agricultura voltou a afirmar ter garantias de que as grandes cadeias de supermercados continuam interessadas em comprar leite à fábrica de Alpiarça.
"A informação que eu tenho é que há do lado das grandes superfícies a vontade de estabelecer um compromisso no interesse de ambas as partes e, claro, da produção nacional", afirmou.
No entanto, tempo parece ser agora o bem mais escasso da Renoldy, com os representantes da fábrica a sustentarem que se acabou a margem de manobra e terão de começar a recusar o leite dos produtores.
"Não temos tempo para negociar porque já não temos capacidade para receber mais leite. Até vamos ter que transformar parte do leite em pó para podermos cumprir os compromissos até segunda-feira", afirmou à Lusa Pedro Reis, advogado e porta-voz da empresa.
Há cerca de duas semanas, a fábrica chegou a anunciar o fim da actividade, recuando na decisão depois de fechar as portas depois de uma intervenção do ministro Jaime Silva.
A Renoldy apontava então a incapacidade para competir com os preços do leite importado nas negociações com as grandes superfícies como factor determinante para o encerramento e apenas o anúncio de Jaime Silva de que o leite importado seria sujeito a análises de qualidade levou a administração a repensar o seu futuro, que volta agora ao trilho da incerteza.
RTP - 09.07.09
There’s New Evidence to Suggest that Crime In The Financial Markets is Rife
New York, New York: Everyone has heard of the Wikipedia but not everyone knows about the Investopedia, a Forbes website, that monitors finance for market players. One of the issues it is concerned about is market manipulation, actions by rogue and not so rogue players who, working alone or together, unduly influence the way our supposed “free” markets function.
It is a fascinating source of information for the uninitiated who hear the daily reports on the ups and downs of the Dow and believe that somehow it is all part of the natural order of the universe.
Thanks to an even more informative web site, Gamingthemarket.com, we learn that in fact markets are subject to, prone to, and characterized by all sorts of manipulative practices. Here’s one you may not have heard of.
“Ghosting: An illegal practice whereby two or more market makers collectively attempt to influence and change the price of a stock. Ghosting is used by corrupt companies to affect stock prices so they can profit from the price movement.
This practice is illegal because market makers are required by law to act in competition with each other. It is known as "ghosting" because, like a spectral image or a ghost, this collusion among market makers is difficult to detect. In developed markets, the consequences of ghosting can be severe.” -Investopedia
It looks like we have gone from the age of the trustbuster to the era of the ghost buster as fiction once again turns into “faction.”
Last week, the price of oil mysteriously shot up. There were reports of yet another “rogue” trader. The New York Times later reported:
“Reacting to recent swings in oil prices, federal regulators said they were considering limits on “speculative” traders in markets for oil and other energy products.” Of course, the big banks and Wall Street firms are expected to zealously oppose more oversight.
Some things don’t change. Anyone remember Nicholas Leeson, a one man engine of speculation who lost over a billion dollars and brought down his own bank before going to jail? He later gloated on his website; “How could one trader bring down the banking empire that had funded the Napoleonic Wars?"
On July 4th, Bloomberg News reported:
“Sergey Aleynikov, an ex-Goldman Sachs computer programmer, was arrested July 3 after arriving at Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey, U.S. officials said. Aleynikov, 39, who has dual American and Russian citizenship, is charged in a criminal complaint with stealing the trading software. At a court appearance July 4 in Manhattan, Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Facciponti told a federal judge that Aleynikov’s alleged theft poses a risk to U.S. markets. Aleynikov transferred the code, which is worth millions of dollars, to a computer server in Germany, and others may have had access to it, Facciponti said, adding that New York-based Goldman Sachs may be harmed if the software is disseminated.”
The next sentence is particularly eye-opening: “The bank has raised the possibility that there is a danger that somebody who knew how to use this program could use it to manipulate markets in unfair ways,” Facciponti said.”
J.S. Kim who runs an independent investment research and wealth consultancy firm commented on the financial site, Seeking Alpha:
“It’s curious to note that Goldman Sachs has admitted that it has developed trading software that could be used to, in their own words, “manipulate markets in unfair ways”, yet nobody in the mainstream media has questioned whether Goldman Sachs was / and is using its proprietary trading platform to manipulate markets in unfair ways. Only extremely naive investors with zero understanding of how global stock markets operate would deny that there has been continual and excessive intervention into US stock markets to prop them up over the past several months.”
I spoke with Christian Angelich, the founder or Gaming the Market.com, a former airline pilot turned trader, who told me that in recent years efforts to manipulate markets have become pervasive and, yet, are mostly illegal.
He too cited Goldman when I asked how it often works.
Without prodding, he came up with one possible scenario involving a firm like Goldman Sachs that had 00 millions of shares of Intel it wanted to offload. So they issue a report predicting it will sell for $50 a share. As a major player at the New York exchange where they do l out of ever ten shares, and have become even more powerful now that competitors like Bear, Lehman and others are out of business, their recommendations are given lots of weight even though in this case they really want to just dump the shares.
“None of this is new,” he told me, “its been going on for years. Even the founding Fathers warned about it, but is more egregious today in part because of all the technology these firms have.” He says it is illegal and has been winked at, citing one example: former Senator Phil Gramm attaching a plan to kill the Glass Steagall act as an amendment to a bill that then sailed through the Congress while his wife was on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.”
“We will only have a real bottom,” he believes’ when the masses are out in the streets like they are in parts of Europe. For change, pressure from below is needed.”
Sometimes unexpected events can take over markets too, as Michael Jackson’s untimely demise’s meteoric impact on the music market shows. His sales went from nowhere to everywhere confirming one jaded pundit’s cynical comment that “he was more valuable dead than alive.”
In making a new film on the financial crisis as a crime story, I spoke with Moe Saceriby, a former lawyer and VP of Standard and Poors who went on to become a UN Ambassador. I knew him as a credible analyst of current affairs, an experienced professional. We spoke on Wall Street.
He told me:
‘I think we had a transition from what truly was a free-market system to something now that is out of control and probably what I would define as a predatory system where we are not so much dealing anymore about the notion of fair prices, and the notion of markets that -- that work transparently an open late but in fact frequently markets that are manipulated for the end of maybe a few out there -- a few investors, mega-investors. It's even -- even that's very difficult to tell. “
This was new to me---the whole system being described as predatory which smacks of criminal.
He went on:
“And these market movements may not be necessarily reflective of the underlying value of that real asset whether it be a commodity or whether it be in equity. What I mean by that is frequently you see prices wildly fluctuating. As an example: how could oil be at $147 in July of 2008 and all of a sudden fall to below $40 a barrel at the end of that same year? We all knew that in fact the whole economic system was in trouble over a year ago. But the price of oil kept rising sharply. The price of foods kept rising sharply.
Answer: “I think it was manipulated. There is a lot of debate whether it's about speculation or manipulation but there is an old expression among traders which is ‘the trend is your friend.’ What that means is that in fact a few people can use significant resources, financial resources, freely as a weapon.”
Umm, weapons on Wall Street? Already credit default swaps have been compared to financial hydrogen bombs as financial terms merge with military language. Does anyone doubt that these Wall Street manipulations have become form of warfare and that, until now, the wrong side has been ahead.
Surely, all this demands a serious investigation and serious regulation. Will it happen?