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Showing posts from November, 2005

CHILEAN PRIVATE PENSION PLANS CAN’T KEEP PROMISE

(Nov. 30 ,2005) As Chile celebrates the 25th anniversary of its private pension funds, the first generation of workers prepares to cash in on the promise of a retirement free of the haunting specter of poverty. Sadly, many Chileans are finding that this promise was just more empty rhetoric from a corrupt and discredited regime.

The plan to privatize Chilean pensions was drafted by Jose Piñera, brother of Chile’s current billionaire presidential candidate. The government sold the idea as an attempt to give the worker more individual liberty and control over their own future.

Under the new plan, Chileans would invest their savings in private pension plans managed by large financial institutes with limited government oversight. Security was replaced by opportunity and while not guaranteeing any returns, the plans promised a compounded interest rate on individual investments and the possibility of substantial growth of personal savings sufficient to retire comfortably.

According to Mercedes…

FORMER SECRET POLICE CHIEF CHARGED WITH DISAPEARENCES

(Nov. 21, 2005) Sixteen former chiefs and agents of DINA, the Pinochet-era secret police, were charged last September by Judge Juan Guzmán in connection with the deaths of 34 of the disappeared (ST, Sept. 6, 2004). The 34 victims named on the indictment were those identified as having been abducted by the regime. Among the accused was Manuel Contreras, the former head of DINA, who is currently serving a 12-year jail term at Santiago’s Cordillera Prison for the 1975 kidnapping of Miguel Ángel Sandoval, a member of the Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR) (ST, Jan. 31, 2005).

Pinochet has been sued twice to assume responsibility for the disappearance of the 119 Chileans: once in September 1999, and, after over five years of stagnancy, in February of this year, when Defense attorney Hernán Quezada filed a lawsuit asking that Pinochet be stripped of his immunity in order to be tried as the intellectual author of the Operation (ST, Sept. 10, 2004).

(Sept. 6, 2004) Nearly 30 years after 1…

U.S. HALTS WEAPON SALES TO VENEZUELA

The United States announced it has placed Venezuela on the list of countries not cooperating with counter-terrorism efforts and would ban future weapons sales to the country.

“This focuses on concerns that [the U.S.] has in terms of the relationship [Venezuela] has built up with states like Iran and Cuba, state sponsors of terror,” said Sean McCormack, spokesman for the U.S. Department of State. “There are also concerns about their interactions with the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and the ELN (National Liberation Army of Colombia).”

The FARC is the military wing of the Colombian Communist Party while the ELN is a Marxist insurgent group formed in 1965 by urban intellectuals inspired by Fidel Castro and Ernesto “Che” Guevara. Together the two groups have fought the longest running guerilla war in history and are listed as terrorist organizations by both the United States and the European Union.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez dismissed the move as an act of an “irration…