The heat is on to seal a deal on the final day of the COP21 climate conference in Paris. After lots of talking in the French capital, a new draft accord has been produced. It seems governments have made progress on some issues, but there is still disagreement on others, including the monitoring of emission cuts.…
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Caracas, Venezuela – When Kilder Telleria, a 40-year-old graphic designer, voted for the opposition in last December’s parliamentary elections, he was not feeling particularly hopeful. For Telleria, the Venezuelan government has consistently found ways to “cheat” its way into amassing more powers. At best, he thought, the opposition would seal a close win. “They control the… Read MorePost Views: 31
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By Staff Report
By Nate Nkumbu
Often you look at a banana and you see a table item or a common breakfast food. But many people wouldn’t believe that the fruit holds a dark history in Latin America and that the United States government actually supported dictators for this peel-able food.
The Banana Wars were period between 1898 and 1934 were the U.S heavily intervened in Latin American politics.
Using the legacy of the Monroe doctrine, the U.S invaded countries like Cuba, Haiti, Panama, Colombia, and Honduras to protect the Banana plantations and other investments made in the countries according to Jose Cruz, Director of Research for the Kimberley Green Latin American and Caribbean center at Florida International University.
Cruz said in an interview with RISE NEWS that the period saw many in Latin America view the United States as occupying forces as opposed to being just a neighbor up north.
The Monroe doctrine help to establish America’s dominance in Latin America but in 1904, in an addition to the long standing US posture of dominating influence in the Western Hemisphere, President Theodore Roosevelt upped the ante.
In the Roosevelt Corollary, TR gave the U.S the ammo it needed to justify its intervention in Central and South America by arguing that America shouldn’t just prevent European control in the hemisphere, but that it should also use military force to further American interests there.
Cruz said that the most blatant case during the banana wars was the U.S intervening in Honduras seven times between 1903 and 1925.
He said that companies like United Fruit which had owned plantations in Honduras would call on the U.S Marines to deal with political insurrections and that the local elite were supportive of the actions.
So yes. American Marines were basically the private police force of American fruit companies. Just let that sink in for a second and try not to laugh.
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“The local elite in Honduras got paid or received payments from companies like United Fruit to protect their plantations,” Cruz said. “In some places, the people working on the plantations were able to unionize thanks in part to some of the United Fruit workers coming from America helping them, but this was in small amounts.”
Cruz said that United Fruit had often put down worker’s strikes with violence. One notable case was the Banana Massacre of 1928 where Colombian workers for the company were killed following strikes demanding better working conditions.
Cruz said that the effect of the Banana Massacre is still felt today in places like Colombia.
“Just 10 years ago, Chiquita Bananas was accused of hiring paramilitary troops to put down strikes in their plantations in Colombia, likewise other corporations like Coca Cola,” Cruz said. “It isn’t rare today for actions like this to happen, but during the Banana Wars, it was quite common.”
WATCH: Documentary clip about the Banana Wars.
Know a weird history story that we should look into? Send us a tip to firstname.lastname@example.org.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.
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By John Massey
It is understandable that following the conclusion of the Cold War, the consideration of nuclear conflict subsided to some degree among policy makers and the general public.
However, while the overall number of nuclear weapons has decreased, the number of actors and potential actors with nuclear weapons is quite larger than at the height of the Cold War.
This overall leaves us with a greater likelihood of the use of nuclear weapons, though not all of the potential scenarios are apocalyptic affairs, which can only increase their likelihood.
The most obvious interstate nuclear scenario is an exchange between India and Pakistan, as the two have fought several wars and skirmishes.
Pakistan in particular has expressed interest in theater nuclear weapons in the event of Indian forces seizing Pakistani territory, as per “Cold Start”.
This is problematic, as India has stated it will use nuclear weapons “in retaliation against a nuclear attack on Indian territory or on Indian forces anywhere.”
Anywhere would presumably include 50-80 Kms inside Pakistan, leaving millions dead in the first 24 hours of a nuclear war in South Asia.
Read More: Why Pakistan Might Actually Nuke Itself
Despite these staggering numbers, India and Pakistan only have about 120 weapons each.
The truly frightening numbers come from Russia and the United States, who each have more weapons ready to fire than all the other nuclear powers have in total.
Historically, it is this alarming number of Weapons of Mass Destruction that is attributed as having prevented the outbreak of nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union.
This fear of “Mutually Assured Destruction” (MAD) carries over to the present day, making an intentional strategic nuclear exchange between the United States and Russia unthinkable.
However, both the words “intentional” and “strategic” are highly weaselly and dangerous.
Near misses between the United States and the Soviet Union/Russia have occurred alarmingly frequently.
The Cuban Missile Crisis is often considered both the high point and last point of likely intentional strategic nuclear exchange between the Cold War competitors, but it was far from the last near miss.
Accidental nuclear launches have been, and continue to be a major concern. An escalation of a conventional conflict could also conceivably result in nuclear war.
Such a scenario nearly occurred during the Kosovo War, and was narrowly averted by singer James Blunt [seriously], and is increasingly conceivable were “little green men” to appear in the Baltic States.
Were NATO to defeat the Russians in a conventional contest over the Baltic States, which is admittedly not a given outcome, the Russians might respond with what has been deemed as a “deescalatory” nuclear strike, which would use either long or short range nuclear weapons to target military targets anywhere from Europe to the continental United States, in order to bring the opposing force to the negotiating table.
Likely targets would include the NATO nuclear weapon states: the US, United Kingdom, and France as well as NATO allies who “share” US nuclear weapons: Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, and Turkey.
Notably, the use of nuclear weapons of any variety was tightened in Russia’s 2010 doctrinal document, but the risk of an escalation of a conventional conflict, or a tactical strike remains.
In addition to interstate conflict, non state actors are also a troubling consideration in regards to nuclear weapons.
Pakistan and India have traditionally been identified as potential sources for nuclear weapons or material to be stolen from, but great progress has been made on this front.
A less obvious, and thus more insidious, potential source for nuclear weapons is South Africa.
Armed men broke into the Pelindaba in 2007, only narrowly being scared off after stealing a cellphone.
It is unclear exactly what the objective of this raid was, but it was clearly planned well enough to account for disabling alarms and electric fences.
This leads some to believe that the objective was to steal enriched uranium.
Regardless of the specific threat, the prospect of nuclear conflict remains, and is arguably more likely than ever before.
Awareness of specific issues related to nuclear conflict, and how to contain that potential, should then be a priority of a public interested in avoiding the utilization and normalization of these weapons.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us!
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