Americas

The arrogance of US imperialism is shown by its desire to dominate every area of theglobe. Asia is of special importance to Washington's long-term economic and strategic interests. Alan Woods reviews the aims and results of Clinton's recent visit to Asia and its impact on India, Pakistan, Kashmir and Afghanistan.

After a week of mass protests, road blockades and a general strike in the city of Cochabamba the Bolivian government of Hugo Banzer declared a state of emergency on Saturday April 8th. The main focus of the protests was the decision to sell Cochacamba's public water system to a private corporation which then doubled water rates. The trade unions, peasant unions and students responded to the state of emergency by calling further protests and a general strike.

It is now more than a month since the federal police arrested more than 800 members of the students' General Strike Committee. There are still 150 students in jail and they are only being released with very expensive of up to 5,000 dollars. Despite these difficult conditions, on March 10th, more than 20,000 students marched through the northern part of the capital and sorrounded the jail where the arrested students are being held.

Since the revolution in January, in which the masses took power for a few hours and were betrayed, Ecuador seems to have returned to normal. The new president Noboa gave the go-ahead to a package of laws which mean the "dollarisation" of the economy, the deregulation of the labour market and massive privatisations. But inevitably, these measures are preparing the way for a new social explosion.

The strike at the UNAM was broken up by police and thugs, but the struggle is just beginning! On 9th February, almost 300,000 people, above all workers and their families, took to the streets in defence of political prisoners and to demand a satisfactory solution for the student movement.

After a week of mass mobilisation, demonstrations, strikes and clashes, on Friday 21st of January tens of thousands of Indians, peasants, workers and students in Ecuador took over one by one the buildings of the Parliament, the Supreme Court and the National Palace and established an alternative government. Faced with these events the world's mass media, which had remained silent for the whole week, started to scream that a military coup had overthrown the government of president Jamil Mahuad. It is therefore necessary to clarify first of all that what has happened in Ecuador in the last week is a revolution.

Forty years ago, on January 1st 1959 a general strike paralysed Cuba and forced dictator Batista to flee the country. In a few days the July 26 Movement guerrillas, led by Fidel Castro and Ernesto Che Guevara entered the capital Havana and were received as heroes by the masses. The Cuban revolution had succeeded. What was the programme of that movement? What was the social basis of that revolution? In order to understand these and other questions we must look back a few years.

Forty years ago, on January 1st 1959 a general strike paralysed Cuba and forced dictator Batista to flee the country. In a few days the July 26 Movement guerrillas, led by Fidel Castro and Ernesto Che Guevara entered the capital Havana and were received as heroes by the masses. The Cuban revolution had succeeded. What was the programme of that movement? What was the social basis of that revolution? In order to understand these and other questions we must look back a few years.

On the surface it would seem that the Mexican economy has fully recovered from the currency collapse of 1994/95, and some international analysts are even saying Mexico is the example the Asian economies should use to get out of their recession as quick as possible. Reality, however is slightly different. And the regime is increasingly using repression to try and keep people quiet.

Splits in the PRI and the official unions, growth of the opposition PRD and the May Day Inter-Union Confederation, emergence of new guerrilla groups, economic crisis. An analysis of the situation facing Mexico in 1997.