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January 03 2014

Police Open Fire on Striking Garment Workers in Cambodia

Four are confirmed dead and dozens injured after police and military clashed with striking garment workers in the industrial area of Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia.

Tens of thousands of garment workers have been on strike since the last week of December after the government refused the demand of unions to raise the monthly minimum wage to $160. The current minimum wage is only $80 dollars and the labor council is only willing to grant a $15 dollar hike in basic pay. As protests intensified, the government agreed to raise the minimum wage by another $5.

But workers have been firm in asserting their $160 minimum wage demand. The garment sector is a $5 billion dollar export industry in Cambodia which employs more than 600,000 workers. Many of the leading clothing brands in the world get their supply from Cambodia, which has one of the lowest minimum wage rates in the Asia-Pacific.

John Vink reported what he saw on the scene of the clash:

At least 3 people were shot dead and several were severely injured by hundreds of bullets fired by armed forces during a brutal crackdown in the morning of January 3rd on barricades set up by thousands of striking workers on Veng Sren road, in the industrial area of Phnom Penh. Several others were arrested and subsequently tasered, beaten up or beaten unconscious

Tension rose yesterday when police arrested several protesters, including monks and human rights activists. In response, protesters set-up road blockades which the police tried to clear in the morning. Witnesses claimed that police used live ammunition in dispersing the protest.

Licadho described the crackdown as the “worst state violence against civilians to hit Cambodia in fifteen years.” The human rights group is demanding that

…security forces must now put an immediate end to the use of live ammunition against civilians and ensure that all those injured are safely transported to hospital without delay

Ou Virak of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights thinks that the police acted violently to protect the interest of big business:

While many of the political demonstrations which have taken place over the last few months have been met with restraint from the security forces, there is an increasingly clear link between the excessive use of force by security forces and the protection of the big business of Cambodia. Of the 25 cases where we noted excessive use of force, 21 were related to strikes by garment workers or protests over land.

Workers got the support of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party which vowed to raise wages by $160 if it is able to assume power in the country.

The opposition has been holding daily protests at the Phnom Penh Freedom Park to press for the ouster of the incumbent government which has been accused of manipulating this year’s election results. Prime Minister Hun Sen has been in power in the past three decades although his party lost many seats in the recent parliamentary polls. The opposition has boycotted the parliament sessions even though it has 55 seats.

Many workers have joined the opposition rally which could further undermine the Hun Sen administration. Labor unions have vowed to continue the protests until their demand is granted by the government.

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy announced their intention to file charges against the government in relation to the bloody crackdown of the strike:

We will lodge a complaint to the ICC so that those criminals in power who today ordered soldiers to open fire on workers, be prosecuted.

For its part, the government accused the opposition of provoking the violence to get public sympathy.

The strike of garment workers and the opposition rally produced the biggest ever street demonstration in Cambodia in recent decades. After today’s violence, the political crisis in Cambodia is expected to worsen.

*Thumbnail used is from Facebook page of CNRP, Cambodia's opposition party.

December 31 2013

Human Trafficking in Southeast Asia

The Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development has published a policy briefer that tackled the extent of human trafficking in Southeast Asia.

Many Southeast Asian countries are at the bottom of a lot of the world's supply chains, including for food, garments, and technology. Yet few countries in the region have adequate laws for addressing corporate responsibility for human trafficking, including in their supply chains.

The primer also provides country-specific recommendations on how to best address the human trafficking issue in the region

December 29 2013

The Challenges And The Future Of Microcredit In Bangladesh

Scott MacMillan and Priom Ahmed at BRAC blog cites a report from the World Bank’s Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) which identifies five trends that will define the next phase of Bangladeshi microfinance.

December 28 2013

PHOTOS: 100,000 South Koreans Protest Election Scandal, Labor Clampdown

A series of different protests as well as a mass strike organized by labor groups rocked South Korea on December 28, 2013. 

From noon till late at night, about 100,000 citizens and labor workers angrily demonstrated against the current government's election manipulation scandal and clampdowns on labor groups as well as moves toward privatization of the nation's railway system, though the administration denies such claims. Some observers are calling the outbreak of demonstrations proof that public anger has nearly “reached its boiling point” [ko].

Although it failed to reach its goal of one million participants, more than 100,000 [ko] were reported to be present till late afternoon. Although police estimate the total number barely reached 20,000, some disputed the number by pointing out that 13,000 riot police were mobilized for the event. 

One image making the rounds online purportedly of the strike turned out to actually be from 2010. Nevertheless, plenty of dramatic photos showing the scale of the main protest in Seoul Plaza circulated the web:

These citizens were not able to enter the plaza as a wall of police bus blocked their way. So instead, the plaza's surrounding roads were fully packed with these people. 

It is hard to guess the real scale of the protest against railway privatization by merely looking at photos. But I will post these three photos, which show protesters who are “in” the Plaza. Please take into account that these are only 70 percent of the total participants. 

Seoul Plaza is already fully packed. 

This is a photo of the No. 6 exit of the City Hall subway station [which leads to the Seoul Plaza]

Though labor unions overwhelmingly counted the largest participation, various non-labor groups also hosted minor protests today, including students, lawyers, media workers [ko] and a particularly unique group, the newly launched KOCA (Korean Online Communities Alliance) [ko], an association of the nation's major online community sites.

We are Not Fine” movement-themed protest (from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.) 

In Seoul, Daejeon, Changwon and Pusan, young protesters, especially students, took turns standing on stage and spelling out “the reasons why they can't be okay” [ko] from 12 p.m. to roughly around 3 p.m. 

A high school girl said some students of Gaepo High School may get reprimanded for posting hand-written posters. She said “we will be feeling ‘fine’ only after expressing our thoughts”. 

Flash mobs (at 3 p.m.)

Flash mobs of citizens singing the revolutionary anthem “Do you hear the people sing?” from the musical “Les Misérables” were held in Seoul, Pusan, Gwangju, Daejeon and Daegu. Here is a video of a flash mob which took place near the Yonsei University in Seoul:

Civil rights lawyers’ protest (from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.)

Civil rights lawyers held a protest at 2 p.m. at Bosingak Bell Pavilion, and around 3 p.m. they marched towards the Seoul Plaza.

Under the slogan of “From the courtroom to the streets” and “There is no injustice that wins the justice”, these lawyers are gathering at Bosingak to call for democracy. This shows how far our democracy and common sense have fallen. 

Mass strike by labor groups (from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.)

Before joined by other groups, labor unions held a fierce demonstration at Seoul Plaza against the government's decision to crack down on fired railway workers and labor leaders.

I give them a round of applause for their strong alliance – many groups, even KLUC [Korea Labor Union Congress] have joined, calling out “We will protect our railway system by having a general strike by Korean Confederation of Trade Unions.”

(as of 2:57 p.m.) The Construction Labor Union is marching to Seoul Plaza from Youngpung Bookstore. I can't see where their line ends.

Main rally

A main demonstration was scheduled to take place around 4 p.m., but Seoul Plaza was already packed with protesters from around 2 p.m.

The photo on the left shows Seoul City Hall Plaza at 1:30 p.m. and the right is taken at 2:55 p.m. Now there is no room for extra feet.

The protest continued into the night.

Photos of Colossal Protests in South Korea

Several ten thousands have gathered at Seoul Plaza (as of 3 pm) to protest against the South Korean government's election manipulation scandal and the latest clampdowns on labor groups. The numbers are rapidly growing and the protest will continue throughout the day. Aiming 1 million Koreans to participate in ‘the December 28th General Strike', a detailed schedule [ko] of a series of protests held by different groups in major cities across the country has been widely shared in South Korean online venues in last few days. There will soon be an extensive Global Voices coverage on this unprecedentedly large-scale event with multiple layers to it.

The December 28 General Strike (and protest) against the fraudulent election is being held at the City Hall Plaza, now as of 3:22 pm. 

Actually it can't be said people are ‘in’ the Seoul Plaza. Even the nearby road is packed with people.

December 27 2013

Cambodia’s Garment Workers Hold Nationwide Strike for Pay Hike

A worker holding a sign calling for a $160 dollar monthly minimum wage. Photo from the blog of Mu Sochua

A worker holding a sign calling for a $160 dollar monthly minimum wage. Photo from the blog of Mu Sochua

Tens of thousands of Cambodia’s garment workers participated in a nationwide strike to press the government to raise the monthly minimum wage to $160 dollars. The current minimum wage is only $80 dollars and the labor council is only willing to grant a $15 dollar hike in basic pay. A government official also told workers that the demand for a $160 minimum wage will be met only in 2018.

The garment sector is a $5 billion dollar export industry in Cambodia which employs more than 600,000 workers.

Striking workers put roadblocks in Phnom Penh aside from protesting in front of the Ministry of Labor. As strikes continued to grow, factories were told to cease operations. John Vink reports:

The roadblock in front of the Ministry of Labour was kept all through the day by workers striking for a salary rise.

Another roadblock, in front of the Special Economic Zone in Kambol, some 19 km outside of Phnom Penh, was set up by striking workers after they were pushed back by riot police when trying to enter the SEZ. The SEZ was sealed off with a double layer of containers and fences with barbed wire.

Below is a video which shows a clash between workers and the police:

Workers got the support of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party which released a statement in favor of the $160 dollar minimum wage demand:

If the minimum wage is not raised to $160 immediately, rising food prices and living expenses will make it impossible for garment workers to address their basic needs, and strikes that have pledged the garment sector lately will continue.

The opposition has been holding daily protests at the Phnom Penh Freedom Park to press for the ouster of the incumbent government which has been accused of manipulating this year’s election results. Prime Minister Hun Sen has been in power in the past three decades although his party lost many seats in the recent parliamentary polls.

Many workers have joined the opposition rally which could further undermine the Hun Sen administration. Labor unions have vowed to continue the protests until their demand is granted by the government.

Meanwhile, factory owners have warned that the ongoing strikes will negatively affect the local economy and the conditions of workers. They also urged the government to adopt a ‘zero tolerance on illegal strikes.’ This appeal was criticized by the Cambodian Center for Human Rights which wants to address the ‘root causes of the labor dispute’:

CCHR is concerned that such statements calling for zero-tolerance on illegal strikes will only exacerbate problems within the garment sector. Regardless of the legality of the strike, a zero-tolerance policy will only ignore the root causes of the labor dispute and most likely lead to further violent crack downs against workers and union members.

The current strike has put a spotlight on the plight of garment workers in Cambodia and in particular the necessity for the government and the garment industry to come up with a better plan on how to improve the welfare of workers.

December 24 2013

4 Women Journalists Defying the Odds in Mexico City

This post is part of our series on gender and sexuality in Latin America and the Caribbean in collaboration with North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA).

Despite the low salaries and the dangers that come with being a reporter in the most dangerous country for journalists in the Americas, some Mexican female journalists continue working and thriving in this profession.

In this post, we introduce you to four of these brave female journalists. With anecdotes about migration, politics, dreams and gender equality, these reporters have given us a glimpse into their lives to see what it's like to be a female journalist in Mexico City. 

Nicole Medgenberg

nacla_nicNicole, a journalist born in Germany, moved to Mexico City when she was starting her bachelor's degree. Today, she works for a non-governmental organization during the day, and at night she works as a freelance journalist covering mainly food and travel. She also started her own recipe blog, called La cocinera con prisa [es] (“A cook in a hurry”).

Her first encounter with journalism happened at age 12, when she designed a magazine with a friend. Nicole explains that her friend would look for pictures in magazines, while she wrote imaginary stories for each image. “I still keep that magazine with me”, she says proudly.

Nicole says that Mexico City has given her the same opportunities given to any man: “I was born in a generation and within cultures in which I no longer question whether I can vote, study or practice my profession any different than men. I am fortunate to have German and Mexican roots, which [my parents] are very open and supportive with my career.”

For her, the main problem journalism faces is low pay: “Some people need to understand that if they want someone who is dedicated and that has good experience, she or he should be treated as such, getting paid at the right time and [the right] amount. It is a profession that requires commitment and self-sacrifice, and sadly, it is not well paid”.

Follow Nicole on Twitter: @NicMedgenberg

Elia Baltazar

nacla_elia“I cannot say I've ever been subjected to any discrimination or preferential treatment for being a woman. I believe it has more to do with the consciousness of my own rights. I would not allow that to happen”, Elia replies when asked if she's been treated differently as a female reporter.

Born and raised in Mexico City, Elia works as a freelance journalist. She starts her day between 4:30 and 5 a.m., when she dedicates 30 minutes to reading a book of her interest (she does not have time later). She then reads the news and prepares her daily schedule. At 10 a.m., she is already interviewing people and investigating possible stories. She stops working at 10 p.m.

Elia always dreamed about being a journalist. She saw journalism as one of the most exciting jobs in the world, always relating it to far-away lands. During high school, she worked in her school's newspaper, and she got her first job as a journalist at age 18.

In her work with the network Periodistas de a Pie, she writes with a human rights and gender perspective: “I always prefer to write from the perspective of equal rights for all, and I just emphasize gender when it is clear that there was a violation of women's rights”. In her organization, they opt not only to write about complaints, but also to find examples of success stories that break the tradition of victims’ misfortune and empowers citizens with their own success stories.

Elia declares herself a feminist; although she's not convinced about all feminist theories, they are a part of her personal and professional growth. For her, the biggest challenge that journalists, both male and female, face in Mexico today are low salaries and labor conditions, “which make it difficult to do real investigations”.

Follow Elia on Twitter: @eliabaltazar

Sandra Apolinar

Nacla_sandyOriginally from Toluca, a city 40 minutes from Mexico City, Sandra is the editor of the music and technology section at Swagger [es]. A normal day for her in the newsroom consists of editing the articles for the website. She also investigates topics to suggest them as possible stories for journalists on her team.

“I am not a big fan of covering music scandals, things related to Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus, but our audience is very interested in that and I have to write about it”, she confesses. Sandra wants to continue her career by reporting on sports. She is a big fan of the local football team Diablos Rojos, but she knows it might take more time to pursue a career as a woman in that field.

Sandra knew she wanted to be a journalist since she was in high school. She says she always wrote for herself, and when she was 16 she started to feel interested in writing for others. For more than six years, she has been traveling every day from Toluca to Mexico City and back, and even if she doesn't live in the city, she says she feels from ‘DF’ and there is no other place she would rather work as a journalist.

“The greatest challenge I see for journalists in Mexico City is that sometimes they forget to be truly objective, at least as much as they can. Journalism in Mexico will not have a big improvement if the ego of journalists keeps on growing”, she concludes.

Follow Sandra on Twitter: @sandiapolinar 

Daliri Oropeza

nacla_dali“I always try to balance the voices I write about. If I have interviewed four men, I try to look for the same number of women. I like to bring justice to my texts in those matters”, Daliri explains.

Born and raised in Mexico City, Daliri comes from a family that has worked in the circus industry for generations. She is the only journalist in her family, and she feels proud about it. Daliri has lived in many neighborhoods in Mexico City, from San Rafael to La Roma, from La Tabacalera to Buena Vista. She is in love with Mexico City, and even if she travels to other cities to study, she confesses that she will always come back to DF.

“I am a woman who likes to experiment with her work. I want to try new things, and I am always looking for new stories, new voices to represent.” Sandra has written several stories about the indigenous people from southern Mexico in the state of Chiapas.

For Daliri, trying to bring an equal number of male and female voices is her contribution to gender equality. “I am not a feminist, but I always want to write about women in my stories”, she says. One of her favorite and most recent stories looks at daughters of politicians who are also working in politics, an investigation she pursued to explore a “minority of a minority.”

“There are differences between men and women when we talk about journalism. Sometimes some men think you can't do a good job as a reporter, but you should not let those comments affect your work. These people are ignorant”, she emphasizes, concluding that working as a journalist is her passion and that there's no other thing she'd rather be doing.

Follow Daliri on Twitter: @Dal_air

7 Rallies that Rocked Southeast Asia in 2013

1. ‘Million People March’ Against Corruption in the Philippines. Filipinos were outraged after a whistleblower exposed how legislators have been systematically stealing from their pork barrel allocations. Netizens called for a massive gathering in Luneta, the biggest park in the country’s capital to push for the abolition of pork barrel. Days before the August 26 rally, the president and congress vowed to abolish pork but it didn’t stop citizens from joining the event. It turned out to be the biggest rally during the administration of President Benigno Aquino III.

2. Thailand protest against the ‘Amnesty Bill.’ Various sectors, including those supportive of the government, rejected the controversial ‘Amnesty Bill’ which was approved by the parliament on November 1. Opposition to the bill emerged after it was reported that the amended version of the measure would benefit corrupt politicians and human rights violators. In particular, the opposition party said the bill will ‘whitewash’ the crimes of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra who fled the country after being found guilty of plunder by a local court. The Senate eventually voted down the measure.

3. Anti-Government protest in Thailand. The shelving of the unpopular ‘Amnesty Bill’ didn’t end the protests in Thailand. More rallies were organized by the opposition but this time they started to demand the ouster of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra whom they accused of being a proxy of her elder brother. Rallies have intensified in the past few weeks and protesters were able to occupy several government buildings. Yingluck announced that the parliament will be dissolved to make way for an election on February. But the opposition said they will boycott the polls and instead they wanted to set-up a People’s Council. Thailand’s political crisis is expected to deepen in the next few weeks. This video shows the size of a rally in Bangkok last November.

4. Cambodia’s post-election protest. Tens of thousands participated in several assemblies, marches, and camp-ins organized by the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party since September to protest the alleged manipulation of electoral results by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party. The ruling party won by slim majority after it took 68 seats compared to the opposition’s 55 seats. It was the ruling party’s worst electoral performance since 1998 which has been in power in the past three decades. This video shows a protest scene at Phnom Penh's Freedom Park last September:

5. Malaysia ‘Black 505’ post-election protest. On May 8, 2013, hundreds of thousands gathered in Kuala Lumpur, the country’s capital, to protest the outcome of the election which gave the administration coalition a slim majority. ‘Black 505’ refers to the May 5 General Election which was tainted by allegations that the ruling coalition committed massive electoral fraud to remain in power. The ruling party, which has been in power since the 1950s, lost in the popular voting but it still retained majority of the parliament seats. The series of protests, which spread to other provinces, was also referred to as the ‘Malay Tsunami’. This video shows the protesting crowd assembled in a stadium:

6. Rallies in Singapore’s Hong Lim Park. Thousands gathered in Singapore’s Hong Lim Freedom Park on May 1, 2013 to protest the government’s White Paper on population. The May Day protest was the second time that a big crowd gathered in the park to speak out against the population program which many Singaporeans criticized since it would mean the hiring of more foreign workers. Then on June 8, 2013, an assembly organized by the ‘Free My Internet’ movement became the ‘largest blogger-led protest’ in Singapore which aimed to oppose the government’s new licensing scheme for news websites. The video below shows some of the Singapore blogs which replaced their homepages with a black image in solidarity with the protest:

7. Indonesia General Strike for Pay Hike. Workers in Indonesia have launched a two-day general strike on October 31-November 1 aimed at pressuring the government to raise the minimum wage. Tens of thousands joined the factory shutdowns, union visits, and rallies across the country although the turnout was smaller compared to last year's general strike.

Thousands of workers left production in a Sanyo factory. Photo from Facebook page of Tia Claudia E. Mboeik

Thousands of workers left production in a Sanyo factory. Photo from Facebook page of Tia Claudia E. Mboeik

South Korea: Brutal Crackdown by 4000 Police is Epic Failure

On 22 December 2013, over 4,000 South Korean riot police stormed the headquarter of the nation's 2nd largest trade union center– an unprecedented event in the country's post-dictatorship history which shows how determined the current regime is in clamping down on labor and democratic organizations.

It was not only the sheer scale of the crackdown which surprised the people, but also these three facts that further enraged the already furious South Korean net users: the police break-in was done without search warrant [ko]; a progressive newspaper building's facilities have been damaged along the way; and police obstructed a peaceful protest that citizens held in support of these labor workers.

Despite making a scene such as the photos below show, police have failed to capture their targets who are accused of leading the latest rail workers’ protests and were thought to be hidden in the building. Now the Dec 22 police crackdown is already remembered as an ‘epic failure [ko]‘, generating considerable mockery [ko] online. Here are tweets shared widely by Korean net users.

The current regime dispatched several thousand police to capture a handful of labor workers. It shows how desperate and fearful they are about the current situation. It is just a year since they grabbed power, but what we see now are the typical symptoms of a lame-duck regime.

You journalists need to know this. This building happens to be also a place shared by the Kyunghyang Newspaper [*note: Nation's top progressive media outlet vocally criticizing the current administration]. Although we are thankful to you guys for covering this news, please document the fact that this building is where your fellow journalists stay. And protest with us!

[summary of what happened] 1. They broke into that place, claiming they were looking for their wanted men. But they were not there to begin with. 2. If they had warrants, they could be able to make excuses (about their forced entrance), but actually it turns out their warrant request was denied. 3. Then yet again, they obstructed ‘legal’ protests. 4. Later, it was caught on camera that these riot police used pepper spray on citizens. This is a proclamation of war against the people.

Once tweets of police's violent clampdown went viral online, many citizens in the city joined to fight with these struggling labor union workers. @sinbi2010 reported [ko] that over 20 thousand citizens gathered voluntarily within few hours and clashed with police. Below are photos of the citizens’ clash with the police later that day.

<Urgent! SOS (distress signal)> We need to besiege the Park Junior's army. [referring to President Park Geun-hye who is a daughter of ex-president Park Chung-hee] @kyhal55: Please everybody come out. Please, citizens come out. 

(on 5:03 pm) Police have blocked citizens who are moving in the direction of the Kyunghyang newspaper building. Now they are chanting ‘Go away you violent police’ and confronting them.

Police now face legal issues [ko] ahead as civic groups and human rights lawyers are preparing for a package of lawsuits.

Police had no search warrant for the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU). An arrest warrant is not legally sufficient for them to break into a place after tearing down locked doors. Moreover, legally speaking, the fact that police broke into the building shared by KCTU and the Kyunghyang newspaper by destroying their facilities, constitutes a felony of home invasion.

December 22 2013

38 Million Chinese Abandon Pension Insurance

About 38 million Chinese stopped contributing to their pension insurance in 2013, accounting for more than 10 percent of the employees who have joined the pension program. The number has revealed serous problems in China’s pension system.

According to the news from China’s state media, around 30 million gave up pension insurance each year since 2011. The reasons behind this big drop in numbers are due to the social security system.

According to China's social security system, one cannot transfer pension insurance between provinces or cities. Thus, many migrant workers have to discard their pension insurance when they move back home.

Some say they stop pension contributions as they have made contributions for 15 years, the minimum period to be eligible to claim a pension.

China’s pension system has been a complaint over the years as many Chinese find it unfair and inefficient. For example, those who work in the public sector are exempt from the pension system. Their pensions are paid for by all taxpayers rather than their own previous payments. Their payment level is much higher than that of the social pension system.

About 38 million Chinese stopped contributing to their pension insurance in 2013. Picture from Sina Weibo

About 38 million Chinese stopped contributing to their pension insurance in 2013. Picture from Sina Weibo

China’s ageing population has also contributed the problem. According to a research report by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, by the end of 2011 more than 2 trillion RMB in the personal pension account was transferred to pay retirees. This year, many opposed the government's decision to postpone the retirement age from 60 to 65 in order to fill the financial gap.

The 38 million figure has again triggered public anxiety about the pension system. Netizen “Chen Yuandao” lamented:

说老实话我在一开始工作的时候就动过这念头。话说回来,还是对政府的不信任。现在老年人多,年轻人少,物价房价一直涨,贪污腐败就不说了。将来退休还指不定能活多少年,政府到是希望你短命。

To be honest, when I started working, I had the idea (of giving up the pension). After all, I do not trust the government. There are more older people than young ones, the prices have gone up, no to mention the corruption. Who knows how many years I will have after retirement, the government just wishes you to have a short life.

Another netizen “Liu Daniang” calls for[zh] the reform of the pension system:

3800万人退交社保,不是这3800万人的错。而是政府的错。是“延迟退休”一味地掏百姓掏腰包的错,是那么多财政资金没有造福于最广大的人民群众,而造福于少数体制内人错。3800万人退保正好倒逼“社会养老”问题的改革。

38 million people have given up their pension, it’s not their fault, it’s the government’s fault. The government tries to ask ordinary people to pay the gap by postponing the retirement age. The government’s financial capital doesn’t benefit the majority of people, but the minority insiders within the system. The fact that 38 million have given up the pension will facilitate the reform of the social pension system.

Sina news created an info graphic comparing paying a pension with saving money in a bank account. However, Professor Lang Xianping from HK University believes relying on bank saving is not the best way. He introduced the American pension system in his blog:

其实我一直在呼吁,我们的政府要正视老百姓的养老保险问题。我们不要只学到美国的皮毛,而要学习美国的灵魂。美国老百姓把他们一生的储蓄不是存在银行里,而是透过社保税、401K计划,还有个人退休账户三种途径“存进”股票市场里面,投入了多少钱呢?一共 17.9万亿美元,足足是美国2011年GDP的1.19倍。这个钱就是美国老百姓的存款,而且这个存款和股市形成了一个良性互动。养老金存得越多,股市越涨;股市越涨,养老金就越多。让美国人能够老有所终、老有所养。

In fact, I have been calling for our government to face the pension problems. We shouldn't just learn the superficial about Americans, but learn from the American soul. American people don't put their life savings in the bank, but into social security taxes, 401K plans, and individual retirement accounts. They “deposit” on the stock market there in three ways. How much money? A total of $17.9 trillion (US dollars), 1.19 times the U.S. GDP in 2011. The money is the American people's deposits, with savings and stock market investments interacting positively. The more pension deposits, the more stocks rises; as the stock market rises, the more pensions rise. This way Americans have a sense of security about their retirement fund.

December 20 2013

Without Regulation, India's Domestic Workers Face Low Pay and Other Abuses

Nari Shakti Manch, a  women's organisation,  celebrates International Workers day 2013 with oppressed domestic workers of Gurgaon. Image by Rajeev R Singh. Copyright Demotix (8/3/2013)

Nari Shakti Manch, a women's organisation, celebrates International Workers Day 2013 with oppressed domestic workers of Gurgaon. Image by Rajeev R Singh. Copyright Demotix (8/3/2013)

The dramatic arrest of India's deputy consul in New York Devyani Khobragade on charges of visa fraud for overstating the wages of her housekeeper have thrust the plight of India's domestic workers into the spotlight. 

Khobragade allegedly lied on documents for her maid, saying that she paid the woman 9.75 US dollars an hour when she actually received about 3 dollars, far below the minimum wage. The arrest has sparked a cooling of relations between India and the US over Khobragade's treatment, which included a strip and cavity searches, while in custody.

Housekeeper Sangeeta Richard claims Khobragade made her work long hours seven days a week, until she walked away one day. Indian officials and Khobragade say the maid tried to blackmail the diplomat. In the first days of the incident, mainstream media largely focused on Khobragade's ordeal, devoting very little coverage to Richard. 

Whatever the case, the story is a familiar one. India's more than nine million domestic workers, about 20 percent of the total workforce, are an indispensable workforce vital to the country's development, but they are often deprived of many rights. Fixed minimum wage, pay for additional hours worked, maternity leave, medical care and other such basic benefits remain illusive to them in the absence of a national policy. They are vulnerable to abuse and poverty. The nature of their work, informal employee-employer relationship, and the workplace being the private household, excludes their coverage from the existing labour laws in place for workers of other industry.

In 2012, a Draft National Policy for Domestic Workers was prepared by the Labor Ministry, giving domestic workers the right to minimum wage, paid leave and regulated working hours, to be sent to the Union Cabinet for approval. The proposal was originally recommended by the National Advisory Council (NAC) in April 2009, aimed at bringing domestic workers under the umbrella of existing labor laws. However, in May 2013 the Indian government deferred the proposal, making the fate of the policy uncertain.

Vidyut at AamJanata pointed out that the rights of domestic workers in India are being ignored from all sides:

Domestic work is probably the only “job sector” in India, where the industrial revolution is never going to make an inroad, because it takes more money added to your electricity bill to use a vacuum cleaner, washing machine or dishwasher daily than to employ a maid, who can do the job better. [..]

India has signed the [International Labour Organization's] convention for rights of domestic workers in 2011, but is yet to ratify it. Calls to fix a domestic worker’s minimum wage to Rs.30 per hour have fallen on deaf ears.

Editor for India Today Gayatri Jayaraman defended the domestic worker profession:

Kamayani Bali Mahabal at Kracktvist reported that last month representatives from 42 countries, including India, came together to create the International Domestic Workers Network (IDWN), a first-ever formal federation of domestic workers.

Shashank Sahay at Mowing the Law blog discussed some ways forward to ensure the rights of domestic workers, suggesting legislation that includes domestic workers in labour law.

‘We Are Not Fine!’ Posters Go Viral at South Korea's Universities

Are we seeing a Korean version of Occupy Wall Street?

A handwritten poster by a university student that spelled out the student's frustration with social injustice and current political developments went viral, both on- and offline in South Korea. Inspired by this so-called “We are not fine” poster, which lists various social issues as the reason why “we are not fine”, young Koreans have started writing their own posters and plastering campus bulletin boards with their messages.

Ju Hyun-woo, a student at Korea University, wrote the message below on two large pieces of paper and posted them on his school bulletin board last week. Ju's manifesto listed major social issues that ignited protests, including the presidential election manipulation scandal; mass layoffs of railroad workers; the struggle of small town Milryang's senior residents against the construction of a high voltage tower; the corrutpion of powerful corporations; and the ever-crunched and insecure job market.

He then called on fellow students: “I just want to ask you, ‘Are you okay?’ Are you fine with ignoring all these issues because they are not your problems? I just wanted to ask whether you feel okay about hiding behind political apathy to justify yourself. And if you are not ‘fine’ after seeing all these problems, then voice your opinions – whatever that may be”.

Ju's hand-written poster which sparked this movement

Ju's handwritten poster explaining his frustration with various social issues inspired many other South Koreans to do the same. Photo posted on the ‘Can't Be Okay’ Facebook page. Used with permission.

Following the explosive reaction on campus to the poster, it has spread like wildfire [ko] to universities across the country. More than 20 major universities within and outside of Seoul have joined so far, including Seoul National University, Yonsei, Hanyang, Ewha, KAIST, Pusan University, and many more. Even a student at University of California at Berkley in the United States and some high school students have followed suit (see photos below).

A Facebook page titled “Can't Be Okay” [ko] was set up to share the flood of photos. In a week, it has received 262,000 likes, and Ju's poster, which started the movement, has earned more than 2,000 likes and been shared more than 440 times. Below are six photos from the Can't Be Okay Facebook page, republished with permission: 

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A student holding a sign in front of the posters. The sign reads, “I am not fine with the nation's democracy, which keeps regressing toward the past.”

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Numerous “We are not fine” posters cover bulletin boards at Korea University. Facebook photo description reads, “Over 40 pages of posters were attached at the back entrance of the Korea University's Politics and Economics Dept. building”.

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Seoul National University's “We are not fine” poster. 

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Yonsei University's “We are not fine” poster

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Hangyang University's “We are not fine” poster

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Pusan University's “We are not fine” poster

Several journalists analyzed [ko] the reason why the poster has become so popular with students, concluding that it is because the poster isn't a political statement from certain interest groups, but is a “frank personal statement written in conversational language by a fellow student” who shares the pain and frustration of young, struggling Koreans.

Many Twitter users also shared photos of handwritten posters:

At Sookmyung Women's University. From one end to the other are “We are not fine” posters. Someone wrote over there, “I wasn't able to sleep till late at night, after reading these posters”. It seems like something about these posters has deeply resonated with students.

A handwritten “We are not fine” poster, written by Shin Eun-je and Park Moo-young. It was posted on [University of California at] Berkley's bulletin board. This has started to spread internationally. 

This is an image of a Hyosung High School senior's “We are not fine” poster. 

After the concept went viral, Korea University decided to preserve [ko] Ju's poster at the university museum and introduce it as “a document of a democratic movement”.

Under the banner of “We are not fine”, a group of students from Korea University went offline and protested on December 14.

At Seoul station, on December 14, 2013

Korea University back entrance, on December 14, 2013

The nation's beloved best-selling author, Gong Ji-young, commented about this viral poster:

The keyword of the year 2013 is “We are not fine”. One student's conscience and courage has shaken up the whole country this winter. One individual is not insignificant at all.

December 16 2013

China's 2014 Holiday Schedule Triggers Complaints

China's holiday system has always been complicated. The 2014 China legal holiday has again triggered complaints on Chinese social media. ChinaSmack has translated some netizens’ comments online. 

December 15 2013

Russia's Year of Pogroms

Locals take to the streets in Arzamas, 10 December 2013, YouTube screenshot.

Locals take to the snowy streets of Arzamas, 10 December 2013, YouTube screenshot.

2013 has been a particularly virulent year for race violence in Russia. RuNet Echo has recently covered two such cases: a riot in the Moscow suburb of Biryulyovo and mass unrest in the city of Pugachev. In both of these cases the riots were a response to the murder of an ethnic Russian by an outsider. The most recent incident, which took place this past weekend in the small city of Arzamas, located 255 miles east of Moscow, was no different. A 26-year-old Russian man died from a knife wound on December 7, 2013, in a street fight outside a local café. Hours later, another young man involved in the brawl passed away in the hospital. An Armenian employee at the café was blamed for the stabbings.

Local authorities tried to smooth things over with the residents of the city, who took to the streets demanding arrests and justice, but weren't particularly effective — according to a local blogger [ru] the city mayor actually blamed the locals for escalating the situation at a December 8 townhall meeting. At the same time, the unrest was used as an excuse to detain a local dissident, member of the “Other Russia” party, Dmitri Isusov [ru]. Isusov [ru] had earlier demanded the resignation of the local authorities for failing to deal with the double homicide. 

Local blogger drugoi_nnover saw the riots as a manifestation of popular distrust, writing [ru]:

Выступающие арзамасцы подвергли жесткой критике правоохранительную и судебную систему города, выразили крайнее недовольство коррупцией, пронизавшей местную власть, сращиванием власти и криминала этнического происхождения, отсутствием реальных шагов по обеспечению общественной безопасности.

Speakers from the Arzamas locals have heavily criticized the law enforcement and judiciary system of the city, expressed extreme dissatisfaction with the corruption that penetrates the local government, the merger of government and ethnic criminals, and the lack of any real steps to ensure public safety.

An activist of the radical political organization, the Left Front, Andrei Rudoi, published an essay [ru] on Ekho Moskvy in which he disagreed with such a reading of the situation — instead he blamed the authorities for creating a false enemy in order to unite Russian society.

On the other hand, LiveJournal blogger kosarex thought [ru] that incidents like Arzamas show that the authorities are afraid to prosecute people from the Caucasus, but that the situation was changing — more and more of those who take to the streets look like they are off-duty policemen. Eva Vasiljeva also asked [ru] in her blog why the authorities are so willing to ignore the incidents that lead up to such events:

Неужели людям надо постоянно устраивать погромы, как в Бирюлево, чтобы следствие выполняло свои обязанности?

Do people need to constantly organize pogroms, like in Biryulyovo, in order for investigators to fulfill their responsibilities?

Political analyst Yevgeny Minchenko said [ru] that the problem actually ran deeper than most people suspect:

Существует действительно много проблем с этническими группировками, с этническим бизнесом, которые пренебрегают местными правилами. На самом деле межнациональных конфликтов даже больше, чем те, что попадают в СМИ. Я часто общаюсь с представителями силовых структур. Они говорят о массовости подобных столкновений.

There really are a lot of problems with ethnic groups, with ethnic businesses, which ignore local rules. In fact, there are more inter-ethnic conflicts than those reported in the media. I often talk with representatives in the law enforcement agencies. They talk about the mass character of such clashes. 

Back in Arzamas, protests were again planned for Saturday evening, a week after the stabbing took place. Unfortunately it seems that the authorities’ need for a common enemy combined with their corruption, laziness, and fear of migrants means these kinds of conflicts will only continue.

December 13 2013

Spanish Television Show Does Not Represent Reality of Expats in Santiago

Madrid native David Sigüenza [es] watched a recent episode [es] of Spanish program “Madrileños por el Mundo,” focusing on Chilean capital Santiago, “hoping to see a representation of the reality of this city, where many young Spanish people have found themselves living due to the crisis faced by our country.”

“Madrileños por el Mundo” shows the lives of Madrileños (people from Madrid) living in other countries. However, David says that the stories about life in Santiago portrayed by the program were unrepresentative of the reality of “the exiled Madrileños in Santiago.”

For example, the program included the story of a Spanish woman married to a lawyer; “Her life consisted of going to the golf club, then to the shops, afterwards to the gym and to look after her children – a typical day for anyone, right?” writes David.

The reality here is much more difficult than [this story], the reality is about people who earn a little more than 1000 Euros a month [a low salary earned by countless Spaniards] but who are better off here in Santiago than filling up unemployment lists in Spain. It's about people who fight to live with dignity and get ahead with the hope of one day returning to their country. It's about people who save month after month to be able to afford a plane ticket that will take them to see their loved ones who are more than 10,000 km and a month's wage away.

The complete entry can be found in his blog [es].

South Korea: Students Voice Dissent Against Korea Railroad's Mass Layoff

South Korea's state-owned railway operator, Korea Railroad Corp., has laid off an unprecedented number of more than 7,600 workers [ko] within a week as it decided to set up a subsidiary for new high-speed train operations, which critics call ‘a prelude to privatization of the national rail system'. Inspired by students at the Korea University in Seoul who posted on their school's offline bulletin board a message criticizing the government's such decision– a longtime symbol of students’ dissent, many universities have followed the moves and posted similar messages on their respective school bulletin boards. A Facebook page entitled ‘안녕하십니까‘ [ko] (meaning hello/how are you? in Korean) was set up to share images of those bulletin board messages posted in their universities. The page was set up on December 12 and it has already received more than 41 thousand likes. 

December 12 2013

‘Negreo Inc.’ Tumblr Blog Exposes Demeaning Job Offers in Argentina

Negreo Inc. [es] is a Tumblr blog dedicated to compiling the harsh working conditions and low wages which Argentine companies currently offer potential employees.

This ad [es], for example, is looking for “an ambitious salesman who wants to work 12 hours a day” for an income “based on results.”

You can help expose demeaning job offers by sending an email to negreoinc@gmail.com.

VIDEOS: Singapore’s First Riot in 40 Years

A riot erupted in central Singapore last Sunday, December 8, after an Indian worker was killed in a bus accident. Hundreds of rioters attacked 16 police cars and burned down an ambulance in the area called Little India. It was Singapore’s worst riot since 1964.

The death of Sakthivel Kumaravelu which ignited the riot also generated an intense online discussion about Singapore’s policy of hiring foreign workers which many local residents blamed for the country’s rising social woes. Singapore has more than 1.3 million foreign workers or about 25 percent of the total population.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong appealed for calm and insisted that the riot was an isolated incident:

This was an isolated incident caused by an unruly mob. The vast majority of foreign workers here obey our laws. We must not let this bad incident tarnish our views of foreigner workers here. Nor should we condone hateful or xenophobic comments, especially online.

This video shows the bus which killed Sakthivel.

Below is a video documenting the burning of several government vehicles:

And another video of the burning of an ambulance:

Kirsten Han hit news reports which highlighted the drunkenness of the victim:

Revealing and dwelling on the fact of Kumaravelu's drunkenness in isolation suggests that he was somehow responsible for his own demise. He could very well be, but it also smacks of victim-blaming, and doesn’t explain anything about what really happened on Sunday night.

Focusing on Mr Kumaravelu’s drinking reveals a lack of concern for a man who met a tragic end, reducing him to little more than a random drunken Indian who was probably somehow responsible for all this trouble.

Cherian George urged foreign media not to describe the event as a ‘race riot’:

The instinct of some foreign media to frame the Little India Riot as race-related may reveal more about their own prejudices than about the reality of what happened on Sunday evening. It is of course true that ethnic minorities here occasionally face subtle and not-so-subtle discrimination, but it would be a stretch to assume that the riot had much to do with that. The existence of racism doesn’t mean that the racial lens is always the right one through which to view events. If the riot reveals any deeper divisions – and most reasonable Singaporeans know that it does – those divisions are probably ones of nationality and class, not race. Not that this would be a less serious social ill; but it is important to get the diagnosis right if we are to treat it effectively.

Urban geography, not race, explains why the riot was an all-South-Asian affair.

Alisa Writes noted that riots are worse in other countries and that the Little India riot in Singapore should not be attributed to nationality or birthplace:

People also riot over soccer, apparently. Any human being who feels discontentment, frustration and anger has the ability to express it if given the right stimulants and conditions. What happened in Little India is simply a result of human behavior, and can’t be attributed to nationality or birthplace.

anyhowonly praised Singapore police for quickly restoring order in the community:

…I am especially proud of those troopers who demonstrated not only their specialist training but also their discernment and restraint! No shots were fired despite the chaos. The mob was dispersed with nary a shot or tear gas fired.

yawning bread analyzed some factors which led to the riot:

These three factors likely came together Sunday night: Brooding frustration from perceived injustices at work creating hostility to authority, resentment at auxiliary police patrols in Little India, and congestion on a damp night with nowhere to sit.

Vernon Chan advised the government to improve the welfare of foreign workers, especially the need to ease the public transportation woes experienced by workers:

…increase the fleet of public buses servicing Little India, and most importantly, institute heavily subsidised rail and bus passes for the more than 300,000 migrant workers in Singapore’s construction industry.

Yan Naung Oak, a Burmese in Singapore, probed deeper into the situation of foreign workers in the country:

The alienating forces that keep people in their shells of political correctness and civility are the same forces that make people violently break out of them. When the disenfranchised are confronted with something that violates their already narrowed turf, like the death of one of their own, the pent-up anger congeals into a mob.

Jentrified Citizen asked the government to draft a better plan on how to improve the living conditions of foreign workers:

When you have such a large number of lowly paid and over worked transient workers here, you must plan for them as human beings and not as mere digits to fulfill an economical need. Did the government work to ensure that their well-being and welfare is taken care of? Are these poor and powerless workers housed in decent lodgings, fed decent food, and given enough time to rest? Did our government plan for sufficient recreational outlets and facilities to cater to the workers’ interests and different needs?

December 03 2013

“I Am a German Street Vendor in Dakar”

Being a street vendor is not an easy job, especially in Senegal. Yet this is the choice that Sebastian Prothmann, a native of Germany, made after he arrived in Dakar, Senegal a few months ago. The following video shows Prothmann at work [fr]:

Prothmann explains in an interview for the Dakaroiseries blog how he came to this unusual job [fr] in a western African country :

Au début de mon séjour j’ai rencontré un jeune homme qui a lors de notre premier contact manifesté son désir ardent de quitter le Sénégal. J’étais curieux de comprendre son ‘’monde vécu’’ pour aboutir à des interprétations socio-culturelles sur  son envie  d’émigrer. Il était marchand ambulant. Donc, un jour je lui ai demandé si je pouvais l’accompagner dans sa routine quotidienne. Ce qu’il a accepté. Il m’a donc fait faire un premier tour, soi-disant pour mon apprentissage.  Il en  était réjoui, car on a fait de bons bénéfices [..] Avec cet engagement, j’ai eu plus des prises de conscience dans le secteur informel, communément appelé aussi « Dóor waar », qui joue un rôle fondamental pour la jeunesse sénégalaise. [..] j’étais souvent confronté à une incrédulité frappante quant à mes origines. La plupart des personnes n’ont pas cru qu’un homme blanc peut s’investir dans un tel travail. Plusieurs fois j’étais aussi confronté à une confiance plus élaboré á mon égard. Il y avait des considérations selon lesquels moi en tant que Blanc devait vendre des produits de bonne qualité.

At the beginning of my stay (in Senegal), I met a young man who at our first meeting expressed his longing to leave Senegal. I wanted to understand why he wanted to leave and how his everyday life was so I could comprehend the socio-cultural interpretations of his desire to leave. He was a peddler. So one day I asked if I could accompany him in his daily routine hhich he accepted. After he made ​​me do a round as a vendor, supposedly for my training. He was glad because he made some good profits [ ..] With this new work, I had a better understanding of the informal sector here, commonly known as “door waar ” which plays a fundamental role in the lives of Senegalese youth . [ ..] I was often faced with disbelief when it came to my origins. Most people did not believe that a white man can get involved in such work here. Several times I was also granted more trust about my products than the other street vendors. There was a prevailing line of thinking that suggested that a white person must be selling good quality products .

 

November 25 2013

‘Las Patronas’ Receive Human Rights Award for Work Feeding Migrants

Las Patronas mural

Las Patronas mural. Photo taken by Dawn Paley in the house of Las Patronas, Amántlan, Veracruz. Image under Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Norma Vázquez Romero, a working-class woman who has lived a very simple life in the coastal state of Veracruz in Mexico, was given the 2013 Mexican Human Rights Award for dedicating the last 15 years of her life to feeding migrants from Central America and Southern Mexico who pass by her town on the train known as “La Bestia” (“The Beast”) with the goal of reaching the United States.

The area where Norma works with her family and other women to feed migrants is called La Patrona – which means “the female boss”. This group of women and Norma's family adopted that name for their group, and now they are locally known as “Las Patronas” (meaning “the female bosses”).

This short film released in 2009 shows the work of Las Patronas:

On Alterinfos Blog [es], Karolina Caicedo Flórez wrote about how the world came to know what Las Patronas do to help migrants in their arduous journey:

Durante más de diez años su labor estuvo casi que en el total anonimato, hasta que en 2005, gracias a un documental que narraba su labor diaria en defensa de los y las migrantes, el proyecto de Las Patronas comenzó a llenar las páginas de internet, los períodicos, revistas, festivales de cine documental y hasta los museos. Comenzaron a recibir por lo menos una visita a la semana, de periodistas, defensores de derechos humanos y curiosxs que deseaban conocer y apoyar personalmente su labor.

Over the last ten years, their work was almost done in total anonymity until 2005, thanks to a documentary chronicling their daily work in defense of the migrants, the project of Las Patronas started being featured on websites, newspapers, magazines, documentary film festivals and even museums. They began to receive at least one visit a week from journalists, human rights defenders and curious people that wanted to know and support their work.

Every day, Norma and her family prepare rice and distribute it in plastic bags for the migrants. Usually, these people have not eaten for long periods of time and they have not had water for entire days. Norma and her family also prepare black beans, bread and fill bottles with water in order to toss the supplies to the migrants on the train, which does not stop for one second.

A single ration. Photo taken by Dawn Paley in the house of Las Patronas, Amántlan, Veracruz. Image under Creative Commons license  (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

A single ration. Photo taken by Dawn Paley in the house of Las Patronas, Amántlan, Veracruz. Image under Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Karolina Caicedo explained in a blog post more about the stigma [es] that Las Patronas have faced when people know that they are helping migrants:

La estigmatización hacia Las Patronas también se ha hecho sentir: “locas, no saben ni a quien ayudan” son algunas de las palabras que utilizan desde los más católicos comprometidos con la iglesia (que va desde el padre hasta los feligreses de La Patrona) hasta los maridos de las mujeres que alguna vez quisieron apoyar este proyecto.

The stigmatization of Las Patronas has also been described as “crazy women who don't know who they're helping” – these are some of the words used from the most committed Catholics (from the priest to the parishioners of La Patrona town) to the husbands of the women who have wanted to support this project.

All over the web many celebrated their humanitarian work.

Frida Lopez described what these women do every day of the year:

Las Patronas are women who give food daily to migrants seeking the American Dream who are passing by on “The Beast” train.

Hibrain Vega expressed his desire to bring down international borders:

Down with the borders! With fraternal love #LasPatronas

 Deena, from the same state as Las Patronas, Veracruz, stated how their case brings her hope in people:

Las Patronas…this type of news give me hope! There are good people in this world… 

Ekhtaí Baruck Serran expressed his support by stating that Las Patronas are international role models:

The world needs more people like Norma Romero Vásquez, head of the group Las Patronas. National Human Rights Award 2013

Finally, Karolina shared what it feels like to be with Las Patronas and give out food to the passing migrants:

El momento preciso en el que el tren de La Bestia pasa por La Patrona, marca una serie de sentimientos a cualquiera que tenga un lonche en su mano para entregar a los migrantes: nervios (si es la primera vez que lo hace), estrés (al escuchar el fuerte ruido del tren y al percibir su alta velocidad), emoción (al ver las manos de los migrantes estirarse para agarrar uno de los lonches), alegría (al escuchar las palabras de agradecimiento) y en algunas ocasiones rabia, al darse cuenta que no todos los migrantes pudieron tomar la comida.

That moment when the La Bestia train passes by La Patrona town, brings with it many feelings for anyone with food to give out: jitters (if it is the first time that he or she does it), stress (to hear the loud noise of the train and to feel the high speed of its movement), emotion (to see the hands of all of the migrants stretching out to grab one of the lunches), joy (when you hear them saying thank you) and sometimes anger, to know that not all migrants were able to take the food.

After receiving so many tweets and comments in support of their work, Las Patronas thanked netizens for their words:

We thank everyone for your words and for your congratulations. We do everything to support the resistance of the migrants and their right to life. Hugs

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