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Latin American abortion politics
Posted: 14 August 2007 11:50 AM   [ Ignore ]
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You’d think that the Latin American left, with its tradition of opposition to Catholic hierarchy, liberation theology, suspicion of state power, anti-poverty activism, and Marxist heritage would be pro-choice…

But, as Time explains, it’s not, at all. Chávez is opposed to legalization of abortion. The constitution Morales is shoving down the population’s throat (he needed 2/3s of the votes for it to apply; when he couldn’t muster that, he said he’d consider the constitution in force on the basis of a simple majority) outlaws all abortions in all circumstances. Ortega backed a law outlawing all abortions in Nicaragua, triggered if I remember correctly by a court ruling that permitted an 11-year-old rape victim to get an abortion.

At least the Mexican left, which by all accounts seems more concerned with ending poverty than with shutting down opposition media, is good on that issue.

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Posted: 14 August 2007 12:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Alon - 14 August 2007 11:50 AM

The constitution Morales is shoving down the population’s throat…

oh please. your rhetoric is lame.

im not in total disagreement with you on the abortion issue, but your (mis)characterizations of their governments are weak. Just like when you tried to regurgitate the nonsensical spin about Chavez closing down opposition media (You clearly didnt bother to brush up on how media licensing works; the details of the limitations of the Venezuelan decrees; the status of Venezuelan media in general and; the role the RCTV played in the 2002 coup de tat and how Chavez and the Venezuelan government allowed to remain on the air until its license expired.).

Can you find another source other than the Times? Ive been looking and cant find it. Furthermore, I can turn up no source that claims Morales, as the Times conjectures, “may well proclaim ‘the right to life from the moment of conception.’”

The notion that Morales is “shoving” the writing of a new constitution “down the population’s throat” is without basis. Are you intentionally ignoring that it was part of the agenda that got him elected in the first place? Are you denying that there has been an approval to rewriting the constitution? If this was just his dictations then there wouldnt be an assembly gathered to write up a new one.

I know, being elected in free and fair elections and then working collectively to materialize the electoral promise(s) is just an example of him “shoving” junk “down the population’s throat.”

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Posted: 14 August 2007 12:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Well, I live in latin america.

First of all, a little off topic: the world had improved since the 70s. For much less that is being done by Evo Morales, chilean president Salvador Allende suffered a coup de tat in 1973 (September 11th, 1973 was the begining of one of the most bloody dicatorship we suffered in this part of the world).

Regarding the abortion,  I think there is a complicate situation: although the catholic church influence in tiny and almost unnoticiable in many aspect, in others is strong. So, even for abortion supporters, is hard to be explicit on this issue. Argentina’s health minister backed the abortion on rape victims (currently, the law only allows abortion in rape victims if she is mentally ill), and there a catholic priest claimed he deserves to be thrown to the river with a heavy stone attached to his neck (a very similar process was used by the 70s dictatorship to kill his oppositors)

Also, let me be skeptic about the claim that Chávez represents the left anti catholic wing. Here is latam we have two types of left. One is the left in which the times seems to be thinking: near marxism or openly marxist, anticatholic, and internationalist. On the other hand, there is another type of left: a national left, catholic, with a pseudo keynesian view on economics. As nn example of the first, you got former chilean president Salvador Allende, and for the second type, former argentinian president Juan D. Perón. Chávez is more similar to Perón in many ways than to Allende.

Regarding Evo Morales I can think in a couple of pramatic reasons: he doens’t need another enemy. It is hard enough to try to pass this constitution without the church opposition. With the church opposition it would be impossible.

Alon, if you don’t mind, can I ask were are you from?

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Posted: 14 August 2007 01:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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barto,

you ever read the pinochet files? it was published by the national security archvie at george washington state university.

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Posted: 14 August 2007 02:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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TA, no, I havent read them. Is there a url to view them?.

Anyway, I know about the importat role played by Henry Kissinger in this criminal and genocidal act.

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Posted: 14 August 2007 02:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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PINOCHET: A Declassified Documentary Obit
http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB212/index.htm

Kissinger is something else. This is a man who should have been one of the first people tried at the Hague. But he is free and looked upon by the establishment as someone to admire or respect.

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Posted: 14 August 2007 07:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Barto: I’m from too many places to give you a straight answer… none of them’s in Latin America, if that’s what you’re asking.

Also, about your division of the Latin American left into nationalist and communist, I suppose Castro’s a traditional communist (and I really can’t complain about abortion policy in Cuba)... but where do the rest stand? Lula in particular seems too moderate to fit in either box.

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Posted: 14 August 2007 07:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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On another note, I’m really not that impressed by people who outlaw abortion as a way of getting political support. It’s less surprising when it comes from the Hillary Clintons of the world (incidentally, Clinton is probably the most pro-choice candidate in the US race, but that’s something else) than when it comes from self-described firebrands. I suppose that to Morales, crusading on behalf of oppressed people’s rights is only worth it when said oppressed people are men; women are to be sacrificed for the sake of church support.

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Posted: 15 August 2007 09:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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alon,

I agree with you on the abortion thing, but your characterization of Morales is just plain wrong. you really should read up more on the region, their leaders, etc.

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Posted: 15 August 2007 11:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Alon - 14 August 2007 07:19 PM

Barto: I’m from too many places to give you a straight answer… none of them’s in Latin America, if that’s what you’re asking.

Also, about your division of the Latin American left into nationalist and communist, I suppose Castro’s a traditional communist (and I really can’t complain about abortion policy in Cuba)... but where do the rest stand? Lula in particular seems too moderate to fit in either box.

Sorry if my question seemed rude, or if I made you understand I was intending a descalification question. I just asked because I don’t like bore people telling things they know grin

What is following is just my view.

Castro is, clearly, and exponent of the first type. Chávez is more a nationalist and populist leader and he is not afraid of using catholic methapor in his speach (he said the other day that Bush smells like sulfur, the devil’s smell…). Despite he uses to fill his mouth with the word ‘socialism’ he is more like a nationalist leader.

Lula, with Chile’s president Michelle Bachelet and Uruguay’s President Tabaré Vazquez are part of what is known as the ‘new left’: they come from the left, from a kind of internationalist left, but they were going to the center as the years went by. Now they adopt a very moderate liberal social view ( they are not devote to catholic tradition, and they start to show a still little oppostion to the church social view) and in economy they are as leftist as they can, which means not too much.

(By the way, I think former brazilian presindent Fernando Cardoso once claimed to be atheistic, but a couple of years latter he denied this)

Argentinian president Kirchner is the more nationalist and the most economicaly leftist in the ‘new left’. He dared to leave behind the monetarist approach to the balance of payments and we started to growth.

Regarding to Evo Morales position on abortion and oppresed, I won’t defend his actions, but take into account his weak position. He is not in a easy situation, Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in the region (which is not the same thing that being the poorest country in europe) with terrible social needs. Morales emerged from the marxist left (his party is called Movimiento al socialismo, which means something like ‘moving toward socialism’, kind of game word using the fact that ‘movement’ and ‘moving’ are spelled identically in spanish), but he now needs (or he feel he needs) Chávez protection. Anyway, I regret his attempt to incorporate the abortion clauses you mention in the constitution, but I am trying to image what could have lead him to do this (his marxist origin not for sure), but I’d say that Times lecture is superficial.

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Posted: 15 August 2007 11:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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barto,

I follow the world social forums every year and last year the Zapatistas had an encounter with some Chavistas. Anyway, the Zapatistas were very polite and open to their “comrades” but made their position very clear to them: they are opposed to the nationalistic, leader-driven movements that define Chavistas. Though Zapatistas take their name from Emiliano Zapata, they dont look up to him in the same way that Chavistas look up to Chavez.

In lots of ways I respect Chavez, but I see flaws that pleased me to find out that the Zapatistas do too.

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Posted: 15 August 2007 11:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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barto,

im not even finding that the abortion clauses are accurate. have you found any? the only source i have found is the Times and they didnt actually quote Morales, they just conjectured what he might say.

actually, I found that MADRE - an international womens rights group - supports him.

but he is in a predicament. the affluent separatists in santa cruz are trying to stir up trouble for him because they dont want to share the wealth; they seem perfectly content in hording all the wealth while sending their kids to school in Europe and the US.

just an observation based on history: I would not be the least bit surprised to find the CIA actively involved in the separtist/opposition movements.

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Posted: 15 August 2007 11:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Well, I’ve found this link. It is from the spanish service from the BBC (sorry, in spanish):

http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/spanish/latin_america/newsid_6920000/6920235.stm

Basically, the article says that:

“Monseñor Juarez brought his propposal for the new constitution, which includes the protection of the life since the conception, the religious freedom and the support for religious education and concertated schools (*)

This request found the opposition of the indigen groups, feminist groups and the Morales party, the MAS. At the begining a debate arises, but finally the position went closers and they incorporate a statement protecting life, without saying if since the conception or since delivery. The execute power accepted the religious freedom statement and commited itself to respect the private education”.


(*) A private religious school which partially supported by the state and charges lower fees.

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Posted: 15 August 2007 12:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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so, far from it being the agenda of Morales (and shoving it down others throats despotically), its more of an example of making compromises?

interesting but predictable obeservation of media bias: The Times made no mention of what the BBC would only say in Spanish (I have searched for this article in English on the BBC and, not-so-surprisingly, I have yet to find it).

[ Edited: 15 August 2007 12:15 PM by truthaddict ]
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Posted: 15 August 2007 09:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Barto, what you say is interesting, but I can’t help noticing the article only says Morales’s party is against the changes (incidentally, it also says Indian groups are against those changes; Time implies otherwise), rather than that Morales himself is opposing them…

It could be a compromise, sure, but that doesn’t change my assessment of Morales as being only concerned about the rights of men. For a constitution drafted by men to ban abortion over a compromise with other men is like for a constitution drawn by whites and mestizos to ban the public use of Quechua and Aymara over a compromise with other whites and mestizos. There’s a difference between being in a weak position and trying to win allies, and sacrificing essential civil rights.

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Posted: 15 August 2007 10:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Alon, I was unable to find a personal definition state by Morales himself about woman’s right. I can speculate he shares his party’s view on this topics, but I don’t know for sure. I guess it would be possible that Morales is more concerned about the men’s rights than to assure the kinds of rights which primary affect woman, but anyway, I read in the Time a more specific claim about the position of the south american left and abortion.

Here is a link about the abortion topic from the view of one woman right group, http://www.cimacnoticias.com/site/07050310-Bolivia-en-riesgo.17828.0.html where a woman claim that Morales’s goverment doens’t care about woman rights. Obviously, if it were the case, although different from what Time claims, I wouldn’t say that is unimportant or a minor issue.

If it were true, it wouldn’t be the only worrying thing in the discussion about the new bolivian constitution: according to what reachs us through the media, some indians groups want the recognition of the indian religion over catholic religion. I point this to show that the bolivian politics are very complex, where appeared together leftist position and nationalist (some of them, based on ethnics) and sometimes they agree and sometimes don’t.

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