News of struggles and conflicts from Africa, Asia and Latin America is not always easy to find. A general strike in India is not reported in the corporate press, neither is the murder of a human rights activist in Central America nor indeed is news of great humanitarian interest from the multilateral organisations (such as the agencies of the United Nations). As the world’s media gets more and more homogenised by the interests of corporate ideology, more and more news about the world’s peoples vanish. There is so little basic information, for instance, about world hunger and about the fights to feed the hungry. We are not interested merely in the conflicts and the suffering. We are equally interested in the struggles of people to address these broad challenges.

We, at the Tricontinental, will send out a weekly newsletter, a curated note with information from one part of the world, that will offer a window into some of the struggles and conflicts of our time. The newsletter will be available by subscription – and it is free.

To find out more about the newsletter, or to send us stories that you believe we should cover in it, please write to [email protected]. We do not promise to use each and every one of your suggestions, but we do welcome them. If you have objections to anything we run, please let us know. There might be times when we might publish your criticism as part of our mandate to stimulate debate.

 


Sixteen years ago the United States began a new phase in its war on Iraq. The lives lost from Raytheon-produced weapons were, according to US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, just an “error”. But so many of these acts were intentional war crimes. Chelsea Manning is still paying the price for exposing these acts as such. She was arrested–again–just two weeks ago for refusing to comply with the US. And, as you will read in this newsletter, she is not the only one acting against the US. Turkey, Italy, and of course Venezuela are also showing signs of “disobedience”. Even as Tropical Trump—Jair Bolsonaro—joins the US President this week to discuss Brazil’s possible entry into the NATO alliance, the extremely disliked leader still has to answer to China at the end of the day. The “needle moves away from US domination” and with it, there may be shift away from patriarchal power too—just read the charter of demands Indian women’s organisations have released as ‘the largest democracy in the world’ goes to the polls next month.


The Amazon—home to a fifth of the planet’s fresh water, immense biodiversity, and various indigenous and quilombo communities—is increasingly threatened by the encroachment of capital under Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro. In Venezuela, the attack on national sovereignty continues as a concerted e-sabotage campaign has been underway to cut off power and water inside the country. Meanwhile, in India, upcoming Presidential elections present a clear path between continuing a right-ward trend or towards a better future— one exhibited by the Left government of the Kerala (South India). In Kerala, this glimpse of a better world is one where schools are well-funded and of high caliber, accessible to both girls and boys; a stark contrast to the state of education in the country as a whole.


In Tricontinental Institute’s first global meeting, Neuri Rossetto of Brazil’s movement of landless workers (MST) called us to dream of a socialist future. We must not stop dreaming, he said. It is the mandate of intellectuals to assist in dreaming of such a world, to amplify the dreams of our social movements. We are always saying no, but we have to be the political mandate of yes, to dream of and build the world we want to live in. At the 2001 World Social Forum, the alter-globalization movement adopted the phrase ‘Another World is Possible’ as its slogan. It was a scream into the darkness, a gesture that suggested that what we have is simply unacceptable. Looking back now, the slogan is mild, an illustration of the grave sense that utopian thinking had been almost abolished. Following Neuri’s mandate to dare to dream of a socialist future, we must also dare to: amplify the intellectual world of the movements of transformation, stimulate a debate about the way out of humanity’s enduring crisis, and bridge the gap between the academic institutions and movements as well as across our continents


This Wednesday, thirty years ago, thousands of Venezuela’s poor felt maligned by the increase in bus fares. Today, the mood in Caracas (Venezuela) is sombre. It appears that the attempted coup against the government that began on 23 January is now substantially over Over the course of the past week, almost five hundred people from 87 countries representing political groups and movements came to Caracas for the International Assembly of the Peoples – a new initiative that aims to create a platform for solidarity campaigns and to better connect sections of the Left. Reports of the deliberations – which were smart and imperative – made it to no mainstream press. It will take time to digest the implications of these discussions – and it will take time to see what kinds of common actions develop.  Certainly, the first common action is to make sure that there is no military intervention in Venezuela and to push for an end to the strangulation of the Venezuelan economy.


Is the President of Venezuela the President of Venezuela or is the President of the United States the President of Venezuela? There is absurdity here. Collapsed oil prices, reliance upon oil revenues, an economic war by the United States and complications in raising finances has led to hyperinflation and to an economic crisis in Venezuela. To deny that is to deny reality. But there is a vast difference between an economic crisis and a humanitarian crisis. Venezuela since Chávez has used its wealth to offer humanitarian solidarity to the poorer nations and to poorer populations both on a domestic and international. The current hardship in Venezuela has triggered uprisings in Haiti, where Venezuela once provided subsidized oil. Now, the IMF has returned to demand that oil subsidies end, and monopoly oil firms have returned to demand cash payments before delivery. If you don’t let us breathe, say the Haitian people, we won’t let you breathe.