Argentina's Cristina Fernandez Calls for Unity Against Neoliberalism, Launches New Political Movement

The former President announced the new "Citizen's Unity" alliance that wil against the conservative government 

Former Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner launched Tuesday a new political alliance called Citizen's Unity that will put forward candidates to context seats in the country's upcoming legislative elections in the name of checking President Mauricio Macri's power in Congress.

RELATED: Macri's Conservative Coalition Loses Support Ahead of Legislative Elections

"I call for a citizen's unity, the unity of all Argentines," Fernandez said to a crowd of tens of thousands in Buenos Aires.

The politician criticized the rise in prices in basic services, incudluding gas and electricity, under the neoliberal agenda of the Macri administration.  

"We need to put a limit on this government in the next elections to stop this adjustment," Fernandez said. "With them we don't have a future, I don't think it's fair that we are suffering."

Social organizations and civil groups gathered at the packed stadium where the local Arsenal Football Club plays shouted, "We will return, we will return," a chorus made famous by her supporters. Some 30,000 people were expected to attend her announcement.

Fernandez, known in Argentina by her initials CFK, was expected to announce whether or not she will run for senator in Argentina's most populous province in the legislative elections scheduled for Oct. 22.

RELATED: Argentina's Workers Prepare Massive March Against Neoliberalism

"I come here to join as one more, to put my body, my head and my heart," Fernandez said. "To represent the interests of the men and women of flesh and bone."

The new alliance is made up of five political parties — New Gathering, Broad Front, Victory Party, Kolina and Federal Commitment — four of which were previously part of Fernandez' former political alliance, the Front for Victory. The Citizen's Unity coalition does not include Fernandez party with which she was elected president, the Justicialist Party, which is part of the Front for Victory. 

If Fernandez decides to run in this election, she could end up competing against her former Transportation Minister Florencio Randazzo, who has already announced his candidacy. Two sources close to her told Reuters she intends to run in Buenos Aires.

Rather than affiliating for the election with Peronism, the country's dominant progressive political movement, Fernandez and her allies' party aims to fight "the reinstatement of the neo-liberal model" under President Macri.

Candidates have until Saturday to confirm their plans to run in the legislative elections.

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Socialist Lenin Moreno sworn in as Ecuador president

QUITO: Lenin Moreno was sworn in as president of Ecuador on Wednesday following a tight race that the disabled former vice president won on promises of maintaining the social programs of his leftist predecessor Rafael Correa.

The 64-year-old Moreno, a socialist, last month won a runoff vote in the oil-exporting country, bucking a shift to the right in South America as leftist governments struggle to maintain support.

Guillermo Lasso, a former banker, called for a recount after losing the runoff election. The electoral council upheld Moreno's 2.3 percent margin of victory.

Moreno, one of the world's few paraplegic heads of state, has said he will continue anti-poverty programs. But he has promised a more conciliatory style and more open dialogue with adversaries in contrast to Correa's often combative manner.

During his four-year term, Moreno faces a challenging panorama of a faltering dollarized economy with a heavy debt burden and low oil prices

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Violent Opposition Protest Burns Hugo Chavez's Childhood Home

A day of heated protests in the western Venezuelan city of Barinas took aim symbols of the socialist Bolivarian Revolution.

Opposition protesters in Venezuela attacked the childhood home of former President Hugo Chavez and destroyed five statues commemorating the late leader in a day of increasingly hostile anti-government demonstrations that spilled over into violence and led to the death of at least one person.

RELATED: Most Victims of Fatalities in Recent Venezuela Violence Weren't Protesters: Government

Demonstrators set ablaze Monday the house in the western Venezuelan city of Barinas where Chavez, a native of the neighboring town of Sabaneta spent his teenage years.

Anti-government protesters, who have been in the streets for more than 50 days of protests aimed at forcing the government of President Nicolas Maduro out of office, also set fire to public buildings, including the National Electoral Council, lawmaker Pedro Luis Castillo reported. Five statues commemorating Chavez and the headquarters of the Regional Housing Institute were also vandalized. There were also reports of looting in parts of the city.

Amid the hostile protests, 19-year-old Yorman Bervecia was shot and killed. The Venezuelan Attorney General's office ordered an investigation into the deaths of two people during the protests and promised to prosecute those responsible for the attacks. 

According to Venezuelan authorities, the death brings the total of fatalities to at least 60 since large opposition protests against the Maduro government began in early April.

RELATED: Here’s Your Guide to Understanding Protest Deaths in Venezuela

The opposition called for a strike by health workers in Barinas in the southwestern part of the country, and several main roads in the city were blocked in the morning.

Ernesto Villegas, Minister of Communication and Information, criticized the opposition for attempting to blame the dozens of deaths on the government, arguing that the right-wing leadership "uses the pain of relatives to plant a truth that can not be reversed."

The government has also condemned a series of violent acts by the opposition, including burning down public transport units, attacks on public and private property and looting, and has called for a "Great March for Peace, Life and Coexistence" in Caracas.

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Ecuador's President Supports Random Review of Ballot Papers

Quito, Apr 13 (Prensa Latina) Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa supported a proposal by Guayaquil Mayor Jaime Nebot for a random review of ballot papers for the second round of presidential elections held on April 2, but under conditions.

In his Twitter account, the president referred to the idea of Nebot, which he said is similar to a suggestion he made a few days ago.

The initiative, defined by the mayor as a supra-legal solution, establishes that representatives of the academy, the church, political movements and the media, among other factors, randomly choose a group of records and check them publicly.

'We fully support this proposal. We ask the CNE to accept it despite not being covered by the law,' the president stated.

However, he mentioned three conditions for implementing the proposal: to review records of the first round of elections (February 19), when the opposition also spoke of fraud, to accept the results and if these are ratified, CREO-SUMA political organization and the media that supported it should apologize publicly to Ecuadorians and the entire world.

According to Correa, the opposition of this South American state seeks to copy the strategy of the Venezuelan right that is to question results and delegitimize the origin of the administration, keep the streets warm and tear their clothes for a divided country, only to prevent governability.

'The difference: it will not happen here. Let all the ballot papers they want to be publicly open. They will not be able to steal from us the popular victory,' the president concluded.

The initiative recently proposed seeks to put to an end the environment generated by the right, led by CREO-SUMA and Guillermo Lasso-Andrés Páez, who from the same day of ballotage went out to the streets to talk about fraud and to incite their followers to ignore the results.

Official data from the National Electoral Council (CNE) indicate that the second round of elections was won by former vice president and representative of PAIS Alliance, Lenín Moreno, with 51.15 percent, while rival Lasso scored 48.85 percentage points. These estimates were corroborated in the recount carried out recently in five provinces, which recorded the initial figures.

However, the post-election process is at the stage of objection, challenge and appeal, valid reasons to file claims.

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Exaggerated Dangers in Venezuela

Caracas, Apr 10 (Prensa Latina) Exaggerating the dangers that exist today in Venezuela seems to be part of the strategy to root the image of insecurity in order to justify a foreign intervention that will allegedly save the country's stability.

How true or false is the situation they are trying to sell to the large masses who are alarmingly observing the manipulated domestic situation, as part of a scenario that has been described as catastrophic by people like the secretary-general of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro?

A communiqué issued by Almagro refers to 'a killed demonstrator and dozens of wounded and arrested as the initial result of repression (on Friday), aimed at suffocating the demand for free elections, the only solution for a country devastated by the political crisis and looting.'

The peaceful protest and the right to the freedom of peaceful association, he noted, are universal rights that any government, especially the democratic governments, must respect. That shows again that there is no democracy in Venezuela and that human rights are violated regularly, the OAS chief said.

None of this fits reality. First, there is freedom to demonstrate, but authorities have the right to limit the places to prevent clashes between opposite forces, according to observers.

The violent demonstrations, according to what this correspondent has observed, are promoted by groups opposed to the government that are closely linked to 'the democrats of the continent', as Almagro calls those who 'will not accept to pay with Venezuelan blood the debts of democracy, freedoms, prosperity, the Constitution and the rights that its rulers have contracted at the people's expense,' something that these advocates cause and manipulate.

The communiqué, which was issued after Almagro met on Thursday in Washington with the speaker of the Venezuelan National Assembly, the opposition leader Julio Borges, shows that the so-called soft coup against President Nicolas Maduro is being cooked in the U.S. capital, with support from local opponents.

Big media organizations have described events that do not match reality, as they are trying to depict an explosive image throughout the country.

For example, here, at the foot of Mountain Avila, there were sporadic expressions of violence in the areas of Altamira and Chacaito, known as the capital's bastions of the country's right-wing opposition and the bourgeoisie, while in other zones in the east, west and south, there is tension, but there is no violence as predicted and announced by media opposed to the government.

That atmosphere of insecurity and violence is fueled by events like this one: 'Venezuelan tennis players had to go to Miami to compete in the Davis Cup against El Salvador. Not a single game will take place in Venezuela, because the International Federation considered that it was dangerous. But no one, either the International Tennis Federation or the IND or Min-Deportes say anything', the commentator Eleazar Diaz Rangel said.

Logically, the manipulation of the situation contributes to the atmosphere of insecurity. Everything can have an interpretation here.

For example, at 08:00 hours, local time, on Sunday, a squad of soldiers wearing the olive green uniforms of the Bolivarian National Armed Force (FANB) was deployed at the steps of the Financiero Latino building, in Urdaneta and Avenida Fuerzas Armadas.

Anyone would think that it was a scenario of violence, because the headquarters of the Ombudsman is located nearby, but it was merely a preventive exercise. The danger does not exist.

It does not mean that the country is not in tension, there is tension, ordinary people are concerned about their country and the threats coming from abroad, but so far, it has not gone beyond that, unless foreign forces attack the homeland of Simon Bolivar and Hugo Chavez. Then, there will be a dangerous situation.

However, there are still voices like that of UNASUR Secretary-General Ernesto Samper, who noted that an explicit electoral program is the best way to solve the political crisis. It was said by someone who participated in the talks between the two parties and who has promoted dialogue.

Likewise, but on the opposite direction, there is howling like that by Argentine President Mauricio Macri, who speaks about 'violations of human rights' in Venezuela and calls 'to exert pressure' to cause the explosion of a bomb that can affect the entire Latin America.

In that regard, the interpretation of the dangers may change, everything depends on being at the wrong moment and at the wrong time in the sequence of a situation.

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Brazil Court Launches Trial that Could Boot Temer from Office over Illegal Campaign Funds

If Michel Temer is removed as president, it would mark the second transition of a government in Brazil in less than one year.

A Brazilian court kicked off a trial Tuesday over illegal election campaign financing that could unseat unelected President Michel Temer less than one year after he was installed as head of state through a parliamentary coup against his predecessor Dilma Rousseff.

RELATED: Literally Unelectable: Court Bars Temer from Running for Office

The country's top electoral court, known by its Portuguese acronym TSE, will head the case related to years-old accusations of illicit funding in Temer's campaign when he was Rousseff's running mate in her successful 2014 bid for re-election. 

Temer's right-wing PMDB party was formerly in a coalition with Rousseff's Workers' Party, also known as the PT, before a rupture last year that helped pave the way for the controversial and ill-footed impeachment process, widely condemned as a parliamentary coup. Temer, then Rousseff's vice president, became a key backer in ousting Rousseff, aligning more closely in the process with the conservative PSDB, which lost the 2014 election to Rousseff and is ironically behind the complaints filed with the TSE. 

After the TSE recognized Rousseff and Temer's win in 2014 against PSDB candidate Aecio Neves and his running mate Aloysio Nunes, who is now Temer's foreign minister, the PSDB filed complaints to reopen the legitimacy of the election victory, alleging irregularities in campaign financing linked to the corruption scheme in the state-run oil company Petrobras. 

The outcome of the trail could annul the results of the 2014 election, but justices could also rule to throw out the case since Rousseff is now longer in office. 

Both Temer and Rousseff are involved in the case and deny the allegations. Their defense teams will make their cases in the coming days.

Despite being ousted in a process her rivals painted as a bid to root out government corruption, Rousseff has not been accused of personal enrichment or financial impropriety, but rather was impeached on the basis that she cooked the books with common accounting tricks ahead of her re-election campaign.

Temer, on the other hand, is a target in Brazil's central corruption investigations known as Operation Car Wash and has already been found guilty of breaking election financing laws in a regional election court in São Paulo. As a result of the case, the sitting president has been banned for running for office for eight years — a fact that did not prevent him being installed as president as year. 

It is expected that Temer's defense will attempt to stall the trial as much as possible in attempts of postponing the conclusion until the 2018 presidential election to avoid being booted from office early. His ally Eduardo Cunha — also a member of the PMDB party and former speaker of the lower house of Congress who was the chief architect behind Rousseff's ouster — was notorious for using stall tactics when he faced suspension last year, dragging out the process for months. 

At the beginning of the trial, TSE rapporteur Judge Hernan Benjamin noted that the case has already been pending for about two and a half years and urged the court to "avoid procrastination" and "expedite" the process with this fresh trial. 

"The 2014 election will be known as the longest in Brazilian history, closing the ballot boxes and counting the votes, but the result is being discussed through the judicial process," he said, according to Brazilian daily Folha de S. Paulo. 

Benjamin has prepared a more than 1,000-page report on the case. Judges can request time to study the report during the proceedings, which could drag out the trial for days or even months. 

TSE Judge Gilmar Mendes said last week that it is not yet clear how long the trial will take. 

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Venezuelans Protest OAS Interference

Caracas, Apr 4 (Prensa Latina) Thousands of militants from the United Socialist Party of Venezuela are leading a march today to reject OAS interference in the internal affairs of the South American nation and to support President Nicolás Maduro's administration.

From 10:00 in the morning, we will gather on the Ombudsman's Office and walk to the corner of San Francisco, near the National Assembly, explained the vice president of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), Adán Chávez.

According to Chavez, the objective is to proclaim before the international public opinion the popular decision to face the coup attempt against the Bolivarian Revolution, perpetrated in the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) this Monday.

During a press conference, he said that the call also would repudiate the Parliament's (mainly opposition) purpose of dismissing the Supreme Court Justices (TSJ).

That procedure is typical of a coup attempt, because the National Assembly is in contempt and has no competence to make decisions of this type, he said.

With support from abroad, he said, the Venezuelan ultra-right aims to organize new guarimbas (violent demonstrations) with the aim of creating a suitable scenario for a coup, but the people and the Bolivarian Government will not allow it.

The PSUV march on Tuesday coincides with what was called last Sunday by the Bureau of Democratic Unity (MUD) and other opposition organizations to support Parliament in its claim to remove the TSJ magistrates from their posts for alleged attempt Of coup d'état.

The supporters of the MUD will also be concentrated at 10:00 am, but to the west, in Plaza Venezuela, to head for the seat of the Parliament, in the center of this capital.

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Russia Supports Venezuela Sovereignty, Opposes Foreign Intervention

Unlike other foreign nations, Russia has thrown their support behind Venezuela's government. 

Russia’s Foreign Ministry appealed Friday to the international community not to intervene in the internal affairs of Venezuela and called for increased dialogue amid ongoing attempts to remove the country from the Organization of American states, and cries of a coup for the actions of the country's Supreme Court.

RELATED: Cuba and China Agree to Strengthen Military Cooperation

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said that it is important that political dialogue is comprehensive and structured, arguing “It is very important that logic prevails over confrontation. External forces should not add fuel to fire in the internal situation in Venezuela.”

“We are convinced of the principle of non-interference internal affairs,” she added, while urging that “any decision of the the organs of power, political and social forces, is based on the constitution of the country.”

Zaharova also noted that it was important to maintain a positive dialogue with the “international political authority and regional blocs like UNASUR.

”The Organization of American States, OAS, is also pressing to revoke Venezuela's membership in the organization for alleged "human rights abuses,” claims which Venezuela says amount to an imperialist attack against the nation.

RELATED: US Cries 'Power Grab' After Venezuela Court Ruling Backs Constitution

Venezuela’s Supreme Court has found the National Assembly to be in contempt of the constitution since January 2016 for swearing-in three legislators whose elections were overturned for vote buying.

The legislators have refused to be removed from their positions and therefore the National Assembly cannot legally approve legislation as they are not adhering to the law. The Supreme Court stepped in as part of the country’s constitution to resolve the issues between state powers and to exercise parliamentary powers when needed.

The Venezuelan opposition and foreign governments have falsely labeled the situation as a coup and a sign of government dictatorship, although the ruling from the top court has not changed.

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