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Carlos F. Torres
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Carlos Torres is the editor of El Molino Online, a Spanish-language magazine published in New York City. A native of Colombia, Carlos has lived in various US cities as well as in Europe and Latin America.

Entries by Carlos F. Torres

The Real FIFA Scandal is Not About Bribes, Kickbacks and Money Laundered: It's 1,200 Dead Workers in Qatar

(2) Comments | Posted June 1, 2015 | 3:58 PM

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Will the deaths of 1,200 workers in Qatar building the 2022 World Cup facilities be a simple footnote in the ugly face of football?

Will our insatiable appetite for an electrifying sport make us oblivious to a crime of Gulag proportions?

According to...

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What the US Can Learn From the May 24 Electoral Victory in Spain

(4) Comments | Posted May 27, 2015 | 10:24 AM

The tsunami of popular outrage and indignation that in May 2011 led to the take-over of parks across Spain, sparking a worldwide movement made famous by Occupy Wall Street, has done it again this time at the polls, upending that nation's corrupt two-party system, opening the doors of democracy to the poor, the humble, the voiceless victims of the merciless austerity measures, the 99%.

And as was the case in the 2011 mass mobilizations, this major electoral victory is rich with lessons for people who seek social justice in the US.

Spain's May 24 vote was a major embarrassment for the two ruling parties -- the Popular Party (PP) and the Socialist Workers Party of Spain (PSOE) -- that in a Tweetledum-Tweetledee fashion have shared power since the death of fascist dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.

Some 22.5 million Spaniards elected the local and regional goverments of 13 communities and 8,119 city halls.

PP and PSOE ended 3 million votes short from their showing in 2011.

This election could be seen as a dress rehearsal for the November general election when the nation's next president will be elected.

A mosaic of coalitions that grouped activists from the movements against austerity, against corruption, the ecologists, trade unions, community organizations, health care workers, scored big across the nation, including the posts of mayors of Madrid and Barcelona.

Worth noting was the performance of Podemos, unknown in in 2014, and came out of the elections as the third political force in Spain. In the traditional right left scheme, Podemos would rank towards the far left but there is nothing traditional about Podemos.

Podemos now houses many of the 15-M activists that poured to the streets and plazas in 2011.

They have combined participation in the electoral process with marches, demonstrations and direct action. Case in point: Ada Colau, the future mayor of Barcelona and the first woman to hold that post, was the leader of a movement against the "desahucios", bank-ordered evictions of tenants unable to meet their mortgage obligations.

Such movements have been fueled by a major economic crisis with unemployment rates bordering 24%.

This brutal crisis, while a tone-death government presided one corruption scandal after another, involving the royal family, president Mariano Rajoy's inner circle, and the loyal PSOE opposition.

Just as the Occupy Movements in the US learned from the occupations in Spain, that Sunday election results could point the way forward. From them we can learn the importance.

Independent political action: The Spanish victory is directly linked to the realization that voting for those who've caused the crisis in the first place is counterproductive.

Coalitions are key to success: Activists against police brutality, for immigrant rights, for the minimum wage, against mass and unjust incarceration of minorities, for health benefits, against cumbersome educational loans and lots more issues affecting communities across this country can only strengthen by working together toward change.

The need to reach out: Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias, in his may 20 speech closing the campaign in Zaragoza extended his arm to people who've historically voted for the PP and the PSOE: "It's time for you to come home", he said reminding them that the parties that represent the rich do not defend the needs of the rest.

As Occupy Wall Street taught us, in what's a brilliant lesson in mass communication, there's a great schism across our nation: the 99% and the 1%.

And last I checked, the gap was unbridgeable.

Democrats and Republicans have more in common with the 1% than the 99%. Time and again, they have voted for cuts, for wars, for rewards to the very rich; they sit at the heads of corporations that benefit from wars and from destroying our environment; they give priority to profits over human needs.

And those democrats like Bernie Sanders, speak for change, against privilege and corruption, greed and callousness, by remaining in one of the parties that created the problem lose all credibility.

As with Spain, there's ample indignation in our nation and a profound distrust of where things stand.

Perhaps is time to channel that energy and boot our the rascals who've held power to the detriment of democracy.

Maybe we can do it the Spanish way.

Barcelona future mayor Ada Colau arrested as part of the anti eviction movement

 

VIDEO: Podemos charismatic leader Pablo Iglesias closes campaign in...

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How 'Je Suis Charlie' Was Hijacked by Opportunist Politicians

(0) Comments | Posted January 13, 2015 | 12:59 PM

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If a picture tells one thousand words, the photo opportunity at Sunday's massive march in Paris could very tell 1.5 million lies.

Lies and deceit to every one of the participants. And to the world who followed the event.

Heads of state...

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Barbs and Darts But No Bombs or Bullets Will Mark Congressional 'Debate' Over Paramilitary Violence in Colombia

(0) Comments | Posted September 16, 2014 | 8:25 AM

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The upcoming parliamentary "debate" between two leading political figures in polarized Colombia promises to be as riveting, intense and nasty as riveting, intense and nasty can get.

Firebrand leftist Senador Ivan Cepeda, after tortuous procedural maneuvering, has managed to force former president and...

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The Best Way the U.S. Can Help Fight ISIL Is Staying Out

(0) Comments | Posted September 15, 2014 | 3:08 PM

2014-09-14-1024pxTerritorial_control_of_the_ISIS.svg.pngWhen president Obama repeated what has become a ritual for every president since George Bush the Elder and from the White House announced a new war on Iraq, the question that should have come to everyone's mind is, "exactly what Middle East success...

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It Increasingly Looks Like Peace Will Have a Chance in Colombia

(5) Comments | Posted August 22, 2014 | 11:45 AM

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At a time when violence and killing seem to break out everywhere around the world, an increasingly strong beam of hope is being cast from Colombia where a 60-year old conflict between the government and marxist guerrillas may be coming to an end.

...
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In Ferguson the Media Got It All Wrong: The Real Story Is a Community Fighting Back

(8) Comments | Posted August 18, 2014 | 5:40 PM

2014-08-18-Ferguson_Day_4_Photo_48.png Photo: By Loaves of Bread, Creative Commons License.

The real Ferguson‬ story is about a community that's grown so fed up with being pushed around that they've decided to fight back against what amounts to an invading army.

It is a...

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A Bittersweet Ending to The Official Story, Loaded With Learnings for the American People

(0) Comments | Posted August 8, 2014 | 10:38 PM

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Credit: Mónica Hasenberg via Wikimedia Commons

The miraculous finding of the kidnapped-at-birth grandson of the head of a leading Argentine human-rights organization is worthy of noting not just for the closing it brings to this human drama but because it sheds light...

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The Butcher's Bill in Gaza: Far Greater than Casualty Figures

(0) Comments | Posted August 7, 2014 | 10:16 AM

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In the widely-praised naval series by Patrick O'Brian, following each engagement, Captain Jack Aubrey would ask ship doctor Stephen Maturin "What is the butcher's bill"?

With broken masts and burned decks still smoldering, the dead still warm, and the wounded...

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Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos Should Help Broker a Peace Deal in Gaza

(0) Comments | Posted August 5, 2014 | 8:48 AM

The world should call on Juan Manuel Santos, president of Colombia, to help reach a deal in Gaza.

Why Mr. Santos and why Colombia, so far away from the Middle East?

Because his administration has been negotiating a peace deal with FARC, the world's oldest guerrilla organization, and other...

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