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      ¡Venceremos! We Will Win!

      Compiled and Arranged by Azza Rojbi

      35 Million-Strong Strike Against Temer’s Neoliberal Reforms Brings Brazil to a Halt

      27 April 2017 (Telesur English)

      Since early Friday morning, more than 35 million people in Brazil have been taking part in one of biggest general strikes in the country’s history against President Michel Temer’s neoliberal reforms, bringing the country to a standstill.

      The strike was largely organized by Unified Workers Central, or CUT, the largest union federation in Latin America, and the Workers Party of Brazil, former President Dilma Rousseff’s political party.

      In Brazil’s biggest city and economic hub, Sao Paulo, only one metro line was operating, 70 major routes were blocked off as was access to the city’s major airport. Before daylight, a number of protesters clashed with police while trying to occupy a vacant building. Police were also seen firing tear gas to disperse protesters and at least 12 people were detained.

      Dozens of other unions, grassroots organizations, teachers, church leaders, civil servants also threw their support behind the strike.

      The strike was called immediately after Temer’s administration pushed through a controversial labor reform bill on Wednesday in Brazil’s chamber of deputies.

      The reform would undermine workers’ rights by eliminating payment for their commute from their contracts, reducing compensation for employer abuse, and most importantly, allowing employers to reduce workers’ salaries while increasing their work hours.

      The bill, which proposes to end mandatory union dues, must still be approved by the Senate. It was approved by Brazil’s lower house by 296 votes to 177.

      Temer is also proposing a 20-year freeze on public spending and cuts to pension protections.

      The general strike comes amid a dismal disapproval rating for the Temer administration — a staggering 87 percent, according to the latest Ipsos poll. The mass mobilization of workers and civil society also comes on the heels of ongoing protests, such as the five-day encampment of Indigenous peoples and a police union protest, both occurring in front of Brazil’s Congress.

      Source: teleSUR English with edits

      Venezuela Celebrates 100% Health Coverage Under Barrio Adentro

      27 April 2017 (Telesur English)

      Venezuela’s poorest communities now all have health care services via the Barrio Adentro Mission, with 100 percent coverage, according to President Nicolas Maduro, who announced the achievement during a live broadcast.

      Telesur visited one of the communities, Barrio Cotiza in Caracas, which currently benefits from the free, social service. The Integral Diagnostic Center has 25 doctors, Cuban and Venezuelan, who dedicate their lives to the well-being of those in the community.

      Cuban medic Feliz Cascare has been working at the center for almost three years and said the experience has been very rewarding, adding that the clinic provides a range of medical services, which include intensive therapy, ultrasounds, x-rays and emergency services. “The patients here are poor people. They don’t have anyone else to help them when they get sick.”

      The Barrio Adentro Mission was created in April 2003 with the aim of making primary care a priority in Venezuelan health policy. The goal is to offer a solution to the healthrelated needs of all Venezuelans, with special attention placed on marginalized populations, all governed by the pillars of universality, equity, accessibility, cultural ownership, gratuity, justice, social participation and civil co-responsibility.

      For the program, hospitals and clinics are created in different parts of the country in order to meet people’s health requirements. Additionally, rehabilitation areas have been created to serve those with disabilities.

      President Maduro said that Venezuela is now only the second country in the world to provide free health care coverage to its people as a right. It is one of a multitude of programs that aim to serve the needs of all the country’s people, including the poorest.

      Source: teleSUR English

      It’s Official: Lenin Moreno Elected President of Ecuador

      4 April 2017 (Telesur English)

      VEcuadorean election authorities made the results of the presidential election official Tuesday, announcing a win for renowned disability activist and former vice president Lenin Moreno of President Rafael Correa’s governing Alianza Pais party.

      Moreno and his vice president Jorge Glass won with 5,057,149 votes or 51.16 percent over former banker Guillermo Lasso and his vice president Andres Paez, of the right-wing CREO-SUMA alliance, who secured 4,827,753 votes and 48.84 percent.

      “We want to dignify politics, to be a good example for citizens, especially for our youth,” Moreno said in a press conference in Quito after the CNE announced the official results.

      Moreno is set to continue and expand social programs introduced under outgoing President Rafael Correa, for whom Lenin served as vice president from 2007 to 2013, before working as the U.N. special envoy for Disability and Accessibility.

      Moreno who has been wheelchair bound after being shot and paralyzed in 1998, is well known for his advocacy work for people with disabilities and supporting public education. Jorge Glas, who also served in the Correa administration will now serve as vice president. The new administration will be officially inaugurated on May 24.

      As Rafael Correa departs after 10 years of consecutive rule and a number of social gains made under the Citizens’ Revolution, the victory for Moreno is seen as key not only for Ecuador but for the wider Latin American region. Ecuador will remain a part of the pink tide that has swept the region in the past two decades, not following the right-wing shift that took place in 2016 in Argentina and Brazil.

      After decades of social and economic instability including the frequent changing of presidents, Alianza Pais under Correa lifted more than 1 million people out of poverty, tripled tax income and expanded the country’s universal health care and education system.

      Source: teleSUR English with edits

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