Indybay: International News From 2006NYC 02 Jan 2007 13:43 GMT
2006 marked the 25th year of the AIDS epidemic with Africa the worst hit continent and India now having more people living with HIV than any other country. Evidence of climate change emerged to convince even the most skeptical scientists but countries did little to reduce the production of carbon-dioxide.2006 was marked by increased opposition to US imperialism, as well as increased divisions and violence. WTO talks broke down in Doha in July. Racist cartoons in Europe sparked protest across the Middle East. Afghanistan saw an increase in violence with the Taliban gaining much of its former strength. In the Americas, there was a sway to the left with Socialist Michelle Bachelet elected as President of Chile on January 15th, Rene Preval becoming President in Haiti on February 16th, Alan García elected President of Peru on June 4, 2006, Daniel Ortega elected President of Nicaragua on November 5th, Leftist Rafael Correa elected president of Ecuador on November 26th and Hugo Chavez re-elected with 62.87% of the vote on December 3rd. In Mexico supporters of left leaning candidate Andres Manuel López Obrador accused Felipe Calderón of stealing the July 2nd national election. Despite massive protests and evidence of fraud, no national recount was allowed. In Oaxaca, Mexico, a May teachers strike was attacked by local police on July 14th, leading to even larger protests and demands for the resignation of the PRI governor Ulises Ruiz Ortíz. The Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca (APPO, by its Spanish initials) declared itself the governing body of Oaxaca and during the week of August 14th, approximately 4 APPO members were fatally shot as police sought to take control of the city and the various radio stations used by APPO. In October, some teachers agreed to return to work but PRI backed death squads continued to attack and kill APPO members. On October 27th, NYC Indymedia reporter Brad Will was killed by PRI supporters. With an American citizen dead the federal government took notice and sent in federal police. On November 5th there was a mass march in Oaxaca in support of APPO leading to a weekend-long APPO Congress from November 10th-12th. Clashes continued into late November with many more marches and PRI and local police engaging in attacks on protesters. While the protests continued through the end of the year, many protesters were in jail with charges of abuse in the jails including rape and torture. Elsewhere in the region, Fidel Castro became ill and handed temporary power to his brother in late July and former US-backed dictator Augusto Pinochet died on December 10th. Iraq faced another rough year. On February 22nd, 2006, a bomb destroyed the dome of the Al Askari Mosque in the northern Iraqi city of Samarra. The destruction of the mosque brought tens of thousands of Shiite youth onto the streets, vowing to exact retribution on Sunnis and the US-led occupation forces. Sectarian strife continued throughout the year with civilian casualties reaching into the hundreds of thousands. US troops in Iraq were accused of all sorts of attrocities throughout the year fromhumiliation and torture, to the mass killing of civilians, to the rape and murder of a young Iraqi girl. The year ended with the execution of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Israel, Palestine and Lebanon: On January 6th, Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon suffered a stroke, and Ehud Olmert became acting prime minister. Palestinian parliamentary elections were held on January 26th and Hamas emerged with an overwhelming majority. The US and EU suspended aid to the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli military increased attacks on Gaza. On June 25th, Palestinian militants captured a young Israeli after crossing the southern Gaza Strip border into Israel via an underground tunnel. Israel responded with a full scale invasion of Gaza, cutting off water ane electricity. On July 12th, while Israel tanks were deployed in Gaza, Hezbollah abducted two Israeli soldiers on the Israel-Lebanon border. Israel responded with a month of bombing that killed over a thousand people and destroyed much of Lebanese infrastucture even in areas strongly opposed to Hezbollah. Targets of Israeli air strikes included a well marked UN compound and civilians taking refuge in the city of Qana. The US and many members of the EU actively discouraged a ceasefire as the killing continued despite having been strong supporters of the government of Lebanon just a year before. Eventually, the UN passed a resolution, and troops were sent into Southern Lebanon "to protect Isreal". The situation in Gaza only became worse during the Israel-Lebanon war and as 2006 came to an end it appeared as if Israeli and US backing for Abbas and his supporters in Fatah could push the Palestinians into a civil war. Hezbollah's ability to fire rockets into Israel up until the end of the fighting and their aid to those effected by Israeli attacks, increased the groups support in Lebanon and Lebanon too seems on the verge of another civil war. The genocide in Darfur continued in 2006 with many protests but little real response from the international community. In Nepal a crackdown by the King Gyanendra lead to a mass uprising and a possible end to his absolute rule. In Sir Lanka violence escalated between the Tamil Tigers and the government. In the Phillipines repression increased and anger at US troops grew following the rape of a woman by US Servicemen. In Somalia, the Islamic Courts consolidated their rule over most of the country until US backed Ethiopian troops invaded at years end. In Nigeria , rebels kidnapped oil workers as anger at international oil companies grew. On December 26th, up to 500 people died after an oil pipeline exploded in Lagos.