Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Around Latin America

A few items regarding human rights worth noting:

-In Colombia, a court sentenced a former general to 40 years in prison for his role in the massacre of at least 49 civilians in 1997. Jaime Humberto Uscategui was accused of having ignored pleas for help from a local judge who reported the massacre, which took place over five days in July 1997. Uscategui not only ignored the pleas, but his garrison was the location where two planes of paramilitaries who committed the massacre landed and were dispatched. The fact that Uscategui (now 61) will hopefully spend the rest of his life in jail is a good step in curbing impunity for paramilitaries and for officers connected to paramilitaries in Colombia.

-Speaking of paramilitaries, a group of right-wing paramilitaries in Oaxaca apparently shot four children on Sunday, killing one. I don't know much about the particular political claims of the groups involved (though Erik or Yann may know more), but it's clear that Mexican right-wing paramilitary groups and even politicians are still trying to prevent indigenous groups and left-wing community organizations from organizing and effecting change in southern Mexico, and their silly display of power and intimidation this weekend resulted in a dead child.

-In Argentina, former dictator Jorge Videla is denying charges that he helped to put the kidnapped children of "disappeared" women in the homes of other families. Given that other kidnapping charges are among those that in 1998 helped to get Videla back in prison after Carlos Menem's unforgiveable pardon in 1990, these new charges could help in making sure Videla rots in prison until the day he dies.