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This year’s Earth Day celebrations are focusing on effecting legislation for climate change, both globally and nationally.  This focus on climate change coincides nicely with the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Bolivia.

The Conference was held April 20-22 in Cochabamba, Bolivia — the same city where the famous ‘Water Wars’ took place 10 years ago.  The summit is meant to be a recognition of those countries (mostly developing countries) who were left out of the Copenhagen Accord.  Environmental leaders, indigenous leaders, and civilians from around the world gathered in Cochabamba to discuss a plan for counteracting climate change.

Bolivian president Evo Morales is at the fore-front of this message, saying that ‘either capitalism dies, or it will be Mother Earth.’  The theme of this conference is very much that indigenous lifestyles are the best way to live sustainably, and that more industrialized nations should bear their weight of responsibility when it comes to the damage that has been done to the global environment.

The intent of the delegations in attendance is to draft new proposals to submit to the UN council in Mexico later year.

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The election of Porfirio Lobo on November 29 represents a giant leap backwards for Honduras and Latin America as a whole. After months of protracted negotiations, the U.S. government suddenly threw its weight behind the illegitimate coup government of Roberto Micheletti and supported elections under its authority. The shameful episode damages Obama’s credibility in Latin America and sets a dangerous precedent in a region with a chequered past.

Last June, Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was ousted from power at gunpoint by armed soldiers, and the speaker of Congress Roberto Micheletti was installed as interim leader. Zelaya’s “crime” was to plan a public consultation on moves to change the constitution. The coup was roundly condemned by world leaders, with President Obama calling the coup “illegal”. Yet five months later, the U.S. government has changed tack, backing coup-sponsored elections and grossly damaging the democratic process in Latin America.

The role of the U.S. in the Honduras crisis has been pivotal since day one. Obama’s initial condemnation of the coup was welcomed by many pundits, especially since the U.S. has a history of backing right-wing coups in Latin America. The Obama administration’s early strategy focused on returning President Zelaya to power and restoring democracy, while the coup government’s strategy was to hold onto power until it held elections for a new president. The U.S. responded by cutting aid to Honduras and threatened the military-backed regime with continued international isolation until it negotiated a plan that would enable Zelaya to return to the presidency.

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