US President Barack Obama on April 30 renewed his pledge to make an effort to close the detention center at Guantánamo Bay. At a news conference, Obama was asked about the ongoing hunger strike, now involving 100 of the 166 detainees. He responded, "Well, it is not a surprise to me that we've got problems in Guantánamo, which is why when I was campaigning in 2007 and 2008, and when I was elected in 2008, I said we need to close Guantánamo. I continue to believe that we've got to close Guantánamo." He went on to say:
The military and independent investigators are at odds over what happened at the northern Nigerian village of Baga on April 21, when civilians were caught in the crossfire between army troops and Boko Haram fighters. Senator Maina Maaji, who represents Borno state in the National Assembly reports that he counted 228 graves and over 4,000 destroyed houses in Baga, his hometown, on a fact-finding mission. The senator, who spoke to journalists in nearby Maiduguri April 27, alleged that those killed were defenseless youths, children and women. Nigeria's Defense Headquarters says it sent its own fact-finding team to Baga, and determined only 37 were killed. It also denied eport that it had arrested 15 soldiers in connection with the attack on Baga. The Red Cross protested that Nigerian soldiers restricted access to Baga in the days after the massacre. (Premium Times, Abuja, April 29; Daily Trust, Abuja, April 28 via AllAfrica; PM Press, Abuja, April 28; PM Press, April 23)
Some 200 to 300 agents of the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Police invaded the grounds of the José T. Borda public psychiatric hospital in the Argentine capital during the early morning of April 26 to guard demolition workers as they bulldozed one of the hospital buildings. When hospital workers, patients and community members gathered later to protest the demolition, police agents used nightsticks and rubber bullets against the crowd. Protesters said some 50 people were injured, including at least 10 patients, seven nurses, three media workers and a member of the city legislature, María Rachid. The authorities reported 36 people injured, 17 of them police agents. Eight people were arrested.
Thousands of teachers marched in Chilpancingo, the capital of the southwestern Mexican state of Guerrero, on April 24 to protest the Guerrero legislature's vote the day before to ratify a national education "reform" plan proposed by Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto. The march—sponsored by the State Organizing Committee of Education Workers in Guerrero (CETEG), an organization of dissident local members of the National Education Workers Union (SNTE)—stopped at the headquarters of various political parties, where masked participants vandalized offices. The main damage was at the office of Peña Nieto's party, the centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI); the attackers, armed with clubs, broke windows, threw furniture, papers and plants into the street, tore up a photograph of the president and started a fire in the office, which firefighters put out. There were also attacks on the offices of the center-right National Action Party (PAN), the center-left Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) and social democratic Citizens' Movement (formerly Convergence for Democracy).
As of April 26 environmental activists still hadn't learned the Mexican government's response to requests that the Missouri-based biotech giant Monsanto Company filed on March 26 for permission to expand the sowing of transgenic corn in four northern and western states. Monsanto asked for clearance to sow commercial crops in 28 municipalities in the state of Chihuahua, 11 in Coahuila and nine in Durango. These requests were in an addition to filings it made in January and February to carry out noncommercial pilot projects in the same municipalities and in Comondú in Baja California Sur. Another biotech company, Swiss-based Syngenta AG, filed on March 26 for permission to carry out pilot projects in the state of Sinaloa. People opposing the use of genetically modified organisms (GMO) for crops say the total requests would affect 12 million hectares.
At least 60,978 of the people left homeless by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake that hit southern Haiti in January 2010 were forcibly evicted from displaced persons camps between July 2010 and the end of 2012, according to a report released by the human rights organization Amnesty International (AI) on April 23. The report, "'Nowhere to Go': Forced Evictions in Haiti's Camps for Displaced People," says that another 977 families were forcibly evicted during the first three months of 2013. The evictions have been tolerated by Haitian authorities, and in many cases government agencies have actively participated in the operations, Haitian human rights groups charge.
The American left's schizophrenic love-hate relationship with jihadism now manifests maddeningly regarding the Boston attacks—as exemplified in the cowardly commentaries of the grevious Glenn Greenwald. The last time we checked in on him, Glenn was condescending to the Malians that they have no right to any help from the outside world becuase it was Western intervention that got them into that mess in the first place by destabilizing Libya and setting off a domino effect. Of course, this actually means the Malians are more entitled to help in beating back the jihadists, but note the inherent double standard: the Libya intervention was bad because it unleashed jihadists, but when those jihadists seize northern Mali... it's not so bad. His screed objected to use of the inevitable "terrorist" label for the jihadist militias in Mali. What Greenwald didn't get is that by using the "terrorist" label, the media are actually giving these ultra-fundamentalist hoodlums a free ride. All the concern is for the purley hypothetical notion that Mali could be a staging ground for attacks on the West. The Malians getting stoned to death, or having their hands amputated, or the Fulani nomads who have been cleansed from their homeland? Who cares, except the guys on the West Africa desk at Amnesty International? Certainly not Glenn Greewald—who now applies similar intellectual contortions to the case of the Boston bombings...
Violence continues to escalate in Mexico's west-central state of Michoacán, with bus transportation suspended to the towns of Apatzingán, Buenavista, Tepalcatepec and Coalcomán following a series of clashes there April 28, leaving the area effectively cut off from the outside world. At least 10 were killed in the area, in the state's Tierra Caliente region, April 29. The municipal presidency building in Buenavista remains under occupation by the Community Police, a citizen's self-defense patrol, which has seized public buildings in the town, accusing the "official" authorities of being in league with narco gangs. Several families from Buenavista have been displaced by the fighting there, and have taken refuge in Apatzingán. (Reuters, April 29; Milenio, Radio Formula, April 28)