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Archive for the ‘South America’ Category

As I wrote some months ago:

Opium production in Afghanistan has soared to record levels, with an increase on last year of more than a third, the United Nations has said.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime report says the amount of opium produced there has doubled in the last two years. It says Helmand province is now the biggest single drug-producing area in the world, surpassing whole countries such as Colombia. Afghanistan now accounts for more than 93% of the world’s opiates.

Despite billions of dollars of aid and tens of thousands of international troops, the report says 193,000 hectares of opium poppies are being grown in Afghanistan.

[...] The report says growing opium poppies is now closely linked to the insurgency and the instability in the south. And what is to be done? The report recommends more determined efforts to bring that security. It urges the government to get tough on corruption, which it says is driving the drugs trade and it lists poor governance, a weak judiciary and failing eradication programmes for these new frightening record levels.

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World Organization for Human Rights has sued Yahoo! over its policy in China: Look at Yahoo!’s hypocrisy:

Yahoo is being sued by the World Organization for Human Rights for sharing information about its users with the Chinese government. The information has led to the arrests of writers and dissidents. One journalist cited in the case was tracked down and jailed for 10 years for subversion after Yahoo passed on his e-mail and IP address to officials.

In its 40-page response to the lawsuit, filed with a federal court in San Francisco, Yahoo acknowledged releasing information to the Chinese government. But it argued that there was little connection between the information the firm gave and the ensuing arrests and imprisonment of its users.

[...] But Morton Sklar of the World Organization for Human Rights said the company had failed to meet its ethical responsibilities. “Even if it was lawful in China, that does not take away from Yahoo’s obligation to follow not just Chinese law, but US law and international legal standards as well, when they do business abroad,” he said.

Barely, Yahoo! claims this is a merely political case. :mad:

At the same time, Angela Merkel reminds China the West would like to see progress on freedom of the press and Human Rights’ matters (where it has not progressed really):

“The world will be looking at China to a greater extent than it has in past years,” Merkel said. “And people will also be looking at how China presents itself in terms of freedom of speech and freedom of the press.”

Chinese critics of Beijing welcomed Merkel’s remarks.

“Unlike her predecessor Gerhard Schröder, Angela Merkel does not run and hide from this topic,” former university professor and dissident Liu Xiaobo told Deutsche Welle. “She tells it like it is. The pressure she’s put on the Chinese government has already had significant effect.”

Well done, Merkel!

It’s logical, by the way, Merkel’s position. Looks like that the Chinese Government has hacked Merckel’s chancellery and three other Berlin ministries h/t Barcepundit.

Germany’s domestic intelligence service, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, discovered the hacking operation in May, the magazine reported in its new edition, published Monday.

The Chinese government has vehemently denied the report, with the Chinese Embassy in Berlin describing the accusation of state-controlled hacking as “irresponsible speculation without a shred of evidence.”

But Prime Minister Wen Jiabao assured Merkel that measures would be taken to “rule out hacking attacks.” During a news conference in Beijing on Monday, Merkel didn’t comment on the specific allegation but said it was important that “common rules of the game” were observed in a globalised economy.

Well, there has been reports before about industrial spying on Canada, also vehemently denied by China. And on Australia, where they have targeted exiled dissidents.

So worried about foreign lands and yet China is searching for 8 kgs of “missing” uranium. Take a little more care about things which are really dangerous and stop targeting dissidents and foreign governments… :mad:

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In Italy, a mother pregnant of two daughters, went to a clinic to see the state of both fetuses. In the clinic, she was informed that one of them has Down Syndrome so she asks for the abortion of that fetus. In the operation, the fetuses change places and the healthy one is finished. After that, she asked again for the abortion of the unhealthy one, which was done by injecting a solution of digoxine. This method which causes a cardiac stop, is used only in grown-up fetuses, while in this case, they were in the 30th week of pregnancy. The scandal in Italy is great. For a link in English, click here.

Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano has already condemned the abortion of the twins:

L’Osservatore Romano reported: “Two girls have died, assassinated as a consequence of selective abortion. A radical decision has brought about another abortion, that of the little sister that still had life.” No one “has the right to eliminate another life. No person has the right to take the position of God. Not for any motive.”

But that’s not all. In Spain, as I wrote days before, there is a “problem“: doctors working in public health system are not practising abortions as they think it’s a matter of conscience and have objected. Some leftist MSM -specially world-known as very objective El País- began saying that people had a lot of problems to get themselves an abortion, with statements like: “They told me abortion was a crime“, “Leny and Fátima had succeeded in achieving their right (¿? Really didn’t know that was a right) to have an abortion in private clinics paid with public money” or “I had to go to have it to another Autonomous Community“.

There are three causes for legal abortion in Spain: rape, grave illnesses of the fetus or grave danger for the physical or psychological health of the mother. More than 98% of all the abortion held in Spain use this last cause.

So the Spanish Ombudsman, Enrique Múgica, has begun an investigation about the “great difficulties to have a free-willing interruption of pregnancy practised in the public health system“. He also asks to “adopt the pertinent measures to let the users have the guarantee the attention in the Community of residence and in the main hospitals of the National Health System“. So how are they going to do that? Are they going to hire pro-abortion doctors? Or are they going to make pro-life ones make abortions against their conscience and will? I really have a bad feeling about this…

Meanwhile, the Spanish Schools’ Council has passed a resolution by which the State can educate the children on affective-sexual matters without any consentment from parents ( :shock: ). But at the same time, “it rejected to include Cervantes in the minimum required to pass Literature, the Catholic Kings in History and the inversion of €1000 millions in the infants’ education from o-3 years-old (which was in the PSOE’s electoral program) and to liberalise the prices of the books (as stated in the Law passed in the terms requested in this respect from the Culture’s Ministry)”.

Regarding immigration, Zapatero denies it (hmm…) but French Prime Minister maintains that he is totally repented from the immigrants’ regularization.

Zapatero spoke yesterday about the statements of French PM, François Fillon, about the content of the summit between both of them last July in Madrid, to contradict his ally and ask for an immediate rectification which has not happened and most probably, won’t in the future. Fillon has stated that Zapatero admitted then that the regularization of more than 600.000 immigrants in 2005 was an error of which he repented “bitterly” and that he won’t make more in the future (repentance and modification of behaviour: we’re on the right track! Eehh, no, not quite). The President contradicted yesterday French PM, insisting on all the good things that his policy of open borders have brought and said that France was going to “make things clear because it was all probably a bad interpretation”. Sources near Fillon assured EL MUNDO that «there hasn’t been nor there is going to be any rectification in any way». The more similar to tinging his words, was some statements made by the entourage of the French PM, according to which Fillon understands that Zapatero supported the policy of “papers for all” because “he had no options… because of circumstances” (there is always another option, even if it’s very difficult or harder to follow. And in this case, there is). It is not clear if Zapatero has or hasn’t a communication problem or of interpreters when he has to speak about his analysis and compromises over immigration, as Zaplana (PP, center-right) laughed about yesterday, but it is clear that the President puts at risk again the diplomatic relations between France and Spain, because of the massive regularization which affected all Europe because of its awful “calling” effect.

Look here, I do not know who is responsible for this misunterstanding. But if he is not a total idiot -and I don’t think he is, he is just convinced he is going to save Spain from fascism (¡!), yeah I know…-, he knows he was stupid enough to let a lot of immigrants without any kind of control (not even medical, and there are illnesses which did not existed in Spain, which have appeared afterwards). Border control is not a characteristic of being a fascist, it’s just a consequence of common sense. Does Spain need immigrants? I really don’t know, but it’s possible. But what is certain is that we need some kind of immigrants, not every immigrant in the world. Ergo, select them according to the needs here and their qualifications -if we need truck drivers and the people who come are cookers, they are going to be jobless… with all the dangers that implies-. So, please, stop blaming others for your own bad policies’ results, move your ass and begin working on something more profitable than in denying what it’s clear as clean water: it was a HUGE ERROR.

[A friend of mine told me: With all my heart aching, I have to acknowledge that I trust more Fillon than Zapatero... Ejem].

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Christianity’s greatest menace:

Christians around the world suffer daily because of their faith, and it seems the persecution is intensifying.

CBN News looks at the top two offenders– North Korea and Saudi Arabia.

Countries that persecute Christians usually fall into two camps: those with communist governments and those where Islam as the dominant religion.

That is: where there is no freedom, no respect for Human Rights…

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Looks like that Chávez has bought both the military and the Majors from… Evo’s paradise:

One of the accomplices of Hugo Chávez, the head of one ghost Ministry of all that Venezuela has nowadays, has stated to Venezuelan press that Hugo Chávez’s regime has given $6 millions to pay Bolivian military. Meanwhile, the sheepy Bolivian President, Evo Morales, has been photograpphed while giving money checks to Bolivian majors who are Venezuelan friends. The shameless says: “Chávez gave me the money to give it away“.

They do not refer to woodcutters. I wonder if this has something to do with it h/t Kate. :twisted:

But Chávez wants also to infiltrate himself in other weak South-American democracies, like Ecuador or Paraguay. In the latter, the so-called “Yearly operative Planning of the Foreign Relations Ministry of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela” (wow, what a name :shock: ), reveals that he wants to give “Bolivarian indoctrination” to Armed Forces, energetic firms, students and peasants; even it speaks of the recruitment of young doctors from rural areas.

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USA and Europe: Another terrorist attack inevitable. h/t Extreme Centre: Newsweek interviews Redd, Head of the US National counterterrorism center. An excerpt:

Tell us about the threat that emerged earlier this year.
We’ve got this intelligence threat; we’re pretty certain we know what’s going on. We don’t have all the tactical details about it, [but] in some ways it’s not unlike the U.K. aviation threat last year. So we know there is a threat out there. The question is what do we do about it? And the response was, we stood up an interagency task force under NCTC leadership. So you have all the players you would expect: FBI, CIA, DHS, DIA, DoD, the operators—the military side comes into that—participating in an integrated plan, but integrated in a much more granular and tactical way than we’ve ever done before. This is my 40th year in government service, 36 in uniform and almost four as a civilian. This is revolutionary stuff, and it is affecting the way we do business.

Earlier this summer, there was talk that people were picking up chatter that reminded them of the summer before 9/11. The Germans basically said this is like pre-9/11. They said, “We are very worried.” What do you make of this?
We have very strong indicators that Al Qaeda is planning to attack the West and is likely to [try to] attack, and we are pretty sure about that. We know some of the precursors from—

Attack Europe?
Well, they would like to come West, and they would like to come as far West as they can
. What we don’t know is…if it’s going to be Mark Hosenball, and he’s coming in on Flight 727 out of Karachi, he’s stopping in Frankfurt, and he’s coming on through with his European Union passport, and he’s coming into New York, and he’s going to do something. I mean, we don’t have that kind of tactical detail. What we do have, though, is a couple of threads that indicate, you know, some very tactical stuff, and that’s what—you know, that’s what you’re seeing bits and pieces of, and I really can’t go much more into it.

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Yesterday I wrote about Abdulah Gül’s being named new Turkish President. Today I read dissapointing news from French PM Sarkozy:

If this essential inquiry on the future of our Union is undertaken by the 27 member nations, France will not oppose the negotiations between the EU and Turkey that are to take place in the months and years to come,” said the French president addressing the 15th Conference of Ambassadors.
These new discussions must, he stressed, “be compatible with the two visions of future relations between Europe and Turkey, i.e., membership in the EU, or as close an association as possible.”

French blogger Tiberge writes commenting this:

It isn’t clear what Nicolas Sarkozy means by a “close association”, but it is clear that he accepts Turkey as much more than a trading partner or a tourist attraction. A close association implies an alliance, with attendant loyalties and military implications.

With Islamist Gül in the Presidency? Uuuuuuuuuuuyyyyyyyyy, Sarko….

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More about Greek fires: from NYT:

“Up the hill, workers were preparing the grave for Athanasia Karta-Paraskevopoulou, a 35-year-old teacher, and the four children she shielded as the flames closed in on them: Angeliki, 15; Maria, 12; Anastassia, about 10; and Constantinos, 5. They had been on vacation from Athens”.

Requiescat in Pace. She was brave enough and she died to protect these children, while they were waiting for rescue. Unluckily, it ended in a very sad way.

And it is more worrying as:

The danger had by no means passed. In the village of Grillos, just over a ridge from here on the western peninsula, a couple who own a restaurant watched in tears as flames advanced from three directions while fire trucks spewed water in the flames’ path.

“All we need is one of those,” said one owner, Iannis Drakopoulos, 72, as a Russian plane carrying an industrial-sized water bucket passed. “If he dropped it here, it would all have been fine.”

In Artemida and here in Makistos, the flames were already out, and Monday was instead a day for tallying the damage and preparing to bury the dead.

[...] The descriptions from people who saw it were the same: flames moving at an unimaginable rate and no one apart from the police to help.

[...] The fire reportedly came over a ridge first to Makistos, a village of 60 homes. Antonios Kokkaliaris, 80, a farmer, said he had been reading his newspaper, underlining parts he liked, when he heard the bell in St. John’s church ring. “I went out and I saw the flames before me and people running,” he said. He could not leave, he said, because his wife, Koula, 82, is severely disabled. “I told her, ‘Stay put, we’re going to fight this out.’ I grabbed onto the hose and I started dousing left, right and center.”

The town emptied, with only him, a herdsman and Mr. Dimopoulos with his wine staying behind. Mr. Kokkaliaris managed to douse his home, and two next door, well enough that the fires howled past, leaving his house intact.

But when it was over, he did not feel relief.

“I was disappointed, honestly,” he said, “because not only was there no one to help me, there was no one in sight. ‘Am I just standing here alone? What happened to all my townspeople? What is the purpose of life if I am all alone?’ ”

I can only say: :shock: A brave old man.

But we continue:

The region normally produces 10,000 tons of oil, but nearly all the olive trees are now destroyed, along with countless livelihoods. Charred donkeys and chickens litter ruined farms.

This village is literally wiped out,” Ms. Bammi said. “It’s not just those who have been killed. Those who are left have no fields to work in, no olive trees. They have nothing to look forward to.”

It is already a tragedy. And if finally it’s proved they did that with mobile phones, well, the punishment for these bastards must be … great.

More from the Astute Bloggers:

DAY 4 of deadly fires: Fires rage in Greece as SEVEN PEOPLE CHARGED WITH ARSON.
They remain nameless. Why? Those depraved savages set a country on fire, the public deserves to know no matter who it is. I have searched all news sources. Any Atlas readers have a clue?

Well, can it be because they can be charged with terrorism? I really don’t know. Seems strange to me too.

(+) If you want to read a magnificent post about the political consequences of the Greek fires, just go over to Cassandra’s blog.

The other usual suspects in the EU are exploiting the crisis to call for more integrated emergency cooperation, in other words: continued deepening of federal structures. Strangely, among the first countries to send fire-fighters and airplanes were Israel and Switzerland; both countries aren’t EU members.

The press from hell continues: “‘The village of Artimeta in the Peloponnese has become known as the ‘crematorium’, says the BBC’s Malcolm Brabant who is in the village near the town of Olympia.” I have serious doubts about this piece of atheist cynicism! Considering the fact that Greece is 96% Orthodox, a Christian denomination prescribing interment, I ‘d be surpised if most Greeks even know what a crematorium is, as the first is still to be build; it’s highly unlikely that local Greeks would describe a much loved village in such terms!

:shock:

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Chaim writes that “More than 5000 Kassam rockets have been fired at Israeli targets from the Gaza Strip which Israel abandoned to the PLO two years ago, the Sharon government brutally throwing thousands of Jews out of their homes“. Very critical of Olmert as ever:

Israel’s government, as any other government, has an obligation to defend its people. As long as Ehud Allmerde and his cohorts are running at the top they are going to do little more than a few symbolic gestures to make it look like they are defending Israelis. Rather, they seem obsessed with appeasement. Obsessed with a policy that invariably has failed miserably time and again. They seem intent on giving everything up to the terrorists, little realizing that the more they give, the less they get and the more is demanded!

Olmert spoke on Tuesday 28th with Mahmoud Abbas to “agree on measures against terrorism“. As I linked yesterday, this policy is not going to bring them any good.

Meanwhile, Israeli leaders are building themselves shelters to protect them in case of attack. Everyday’s tale…

Also, on related news, the Israeli government’s tourism ministry has reached an agreement to cooperate with the Vatican’s new charter-flight service for pilgrimages to the Holy Land, the Ynetnews agency has reported.

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And now for the thinking post of the day. Pastorius has written it -the scene of Patton is priceless-:

[...] you have to ask yourselves, do you want a world which is ruled by men, or by women?
Hmm???
Obviously, rationality is not arbitrated by force.

Read it all. It’s worth it. (Chauvinist males: this post is not very recommended for you :twisted: ).

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Chávez prepares himself to the war against USA, a war that only his megalomaniac mind can see. But, of course, the weapons are for … a media war.

Venezuelan President Chavez in Russia for Possible Weapons Deal – Voice of America


Caribbean Net News

Venezuelan President Chavez in Russia for Possible Weapons Deal
Voice of America - 47 minutes ago
By Peter Fedynsky

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is inMoscow for discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin about apossible arms deal and expanded economic ties between the twocountries. VOA Correspondent Peter Fedynsky reports from the Russiancapital.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez speaks while opening Venezuela's cultural center in Moscow, 28 June 2007
Hugo Chavez speaks at opening of Venezuela’s cultural center in Moscow, 28 June 2007

PresidentChavez is expected to meet with his Russian counterpart Thursdayevening in the Kremlin. Speaking during the day at the opening of aLatin American cultural center in Moscow, the Venezuelan leader said hedoes not rule out the development of nuclear energy in his country. Ina swipe at the United States, Mr. Chavez also said American troopsshould leave Iraq, and that Iran has a right to nuclear technology.

Mr. Chavez says that Iran has the right to a peaceful atomic energy industry, because it is a sovereign state.

His Moscow agenda includes the possible purchase of Russiandiesel-electric submarines, armed with missiles. Mr. Chavez is alsointerested in buying the Russian TOR-1 missile defense system.

Last year, Mr. Chavez signed a deal with the Kremlin to purchase $3billion worth of weapons, including helicopters, fighter planes andsmall arms.

But Mr. Chavez said weapons are not the aim of his visit.

He says his priorities are culture, ideas and cooperation in energy as well as the military.

Chavez has warm words for Russia Independent Online
Russia keeps tricky Chavez visit low key Washington Post
ForbesMonsters and Critics.comBusiness DayEuronews.net
all 109 news articles

UPDATE: And while he is in Moscow, new protests are held in Venezuela for the freedom of expression: Gateway Pundit.

Read also Free Thoughts: Chávez wants power for life.

technorati tags:, ,

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Here is the video. It’s in Spanish but you can get an overview of what has been going on.

UPDATE: Italian blogger Paolo di Lautreamont has more videos for you to see.

Chávez closes RCTV: CNNReuters (Venezuela TV station says troops seized equipment) – smile_zipit

Photo

Workers of RCTV station cry while singing the national anthem after the channel was forced off the air in Caracas May 28, 2007. The government is not renewing RCTV’s license after 53 years on the air because of accusations that the broadcaster participated in a bungled 2002 coup against Chavez, incited violent demonstrations and aired immoral programming. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Agora Vox (French):

medium_h_9_ill_915595_vene.jpg“The organization of American States (OEA) and Mercosur can say that Hugo Chávez is a democrat but his acts speak otherwise”. Those are the words written in the editorial of the Venezuelan newspaper Tal Cual after the new attack on individual freedoms by president-dictator Hugo Chavez.

 

photo

Supporters of Radio Caracas TV (RCTV) attend a demonstration outside the TV station in Caracas May 27, 2007. RCTV is being forced off the air after President Hugo Chavez’s administration refused to renew its broadcasting license which ends on Sunday. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

 

photo

A supporters of Radio Caracas TV (RCTV) writes a message outside the TV station in Caracas May 27, 2007. RCTV is being forced off the air after President Hugo Chavez’s administration refused to renew its broadcasting license which ends on Sunday. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

Protests: Yahoo! – Students protesting Chávez TV network closure clash with police.

[foto de la noticia]

Venezuelan policemen protect themselves when confronting students at the demonstration. El Mundo.es. 

PhotoVenezuelan policemen take position during a demonstration by government opponents in east Caracas, in the aftermath of the closure of private network RCTV (Radio Caracas Television). President Hugo Chavez’s clampdown on opposition television stations widened Monday as police used rubber bullets and tear gas on demonstrators protesting what they called an attack on free speech(AFP/Juan Barreto)

[foto de la noticia]

A Venezuelan protestor against the police. (El Mundo.es).

Time – At least 3 students injured in clash with Chávez.

[foto de la noticia]

Students protesting against Chávez with Venezuelan flags.

IHT Opposition-alligned Venezuelan TV station goes off the air -( look at this title: looks like Chávez has nothing to do with it):

Venezuelan police fired tear gas and plastic bullets Monday into a crowd of thousands protesting a decision by President Hugo Chavez that forced a television station critical of his leftist government off the air.

Police fired toward the crowd of up to 5,000 protesters from a raised highway, and protesters fled amid clouds of tear gas. They later regrouped in Caracas’ Plaza Brion chanting “freedom!” Some tossed rocks and bottles at police, prompting authorities to scatter demonstrators by firing more gas.

[foto de la noticia]

Venezuelan armed police follow protestors. (El Mundo.es)

Yahoo! – Venezuela moves against second opposition TV channel: This piece of news says the reason which was considered by Chávez to shut the station

Seizing on the momentum of RCTV’s closure, Communications Minister Willian Lara presented a case to the state prosecutor’s office saying experts hired by the ministry had found that opposition broadcaster Globovision was inciting assassination attempts on Chavez.

As evidence, he cited Globovision showing footage of an assassination attempt against Pope John Paul II in 1981 accompanied by the song “This Does Not Stop Here,” sung by Ruben Blades, now Panama’s minister of tourism.

“The conclusion of the specialists … is that (in this segment) they are inciting the assassination of the president of Venezuela,” Lara told reporters at the prosecutor’s office.

Oh, yes? That is the conclusion? Wow, you have an imagination… Comparing John Paul II with Chávez is a little difficult. Not only Chávez is not the Pope, but also Chávez is not related with the Catholic Church at any level…

New State Station: ABC News: Chávez launches New Venezuela TV Station:

The new channel, TVES, launched its transmissions with artists singing pro-Chavez music, then carried an exercise program and a talk show, interspersed with government ads proclaiming, “Now Venezuela belongs to everyone.”

Thousands of government supporters reveled in the streets as they watched the changeover on large TV screens, seeing RCTV’s signal go black and then be replaced by a TVES logo featuring Venezuela’s national colors. Others launched fireworks and danced to the classic salsa tune “Todo tiene su final” “Everything Has Its End.”

In the countdown to the midnight deadline, thousands of RCTV backers banged pots in protest and played recordings of sirens. Some fired gunshots into the air.

Inside the studios of RCTV the sole opposition-aligned TV station with nationwide reach disheartened actors and comedians wept and embraced in the final minutes on the air.

They bowed their heads in prayer, and presenter Nelson Bustamante declared: “Long live Venezuela! We will return soon.”

Chavez says he is democratizing the airwaves by turning the network’s signal over to public use. His opponents condemned the move as an assault on free speech.

Germany, which holds the European Union presidency, expressed concern that Venezuela let RCTV’s license expire “without holding an open competition for the successor license.” It said the EU expects that Venezuela will uphold freedom of speech and “support pluralism.”

Employees of Radio Caracas Television, RCTV, sing the national anthem as the channel’s signal is cut in Caracas, late Sunday, May 27, 2007. Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez decided not to renew the the opposition-aligned channel’s broadcasting license which expired at midnight. (AP Photo/Gregorio Marrero)

More here. Also here -in Spanish-. Also in Fausta’s blog. Prevost -Spanish- has also posted about it.

La Razón.es (Spanish): Chávez is now targeting free radios after closing opposition TV. Also the channel 24 hours Globovisión and the US CNN in Spanish have been also sued for publishing news with errors.

As Kate posted, Chávez has also taken control of the national phone company, with the aim of converting it into a socialist firm.

Venezuelan vice-president: We don’t have any more to say: the concession has ended. Yes, of course, would have been ended if it would have told you how marvellous you are? smile_angry

Venezuelan military men are ordered to salute each other with “Country, socialism or death”.

reliapundit: Venezuela’s state-sponsored land theives reveal core hypocrisy of “land reforms”.

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BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Venezuelans rally for TV station:

Tens of thousands of Venezuelans have rallied in the streets of Caracas to protest against President Hugo Chavez’s plans to close a private TV station. The head of the RCTV station addressed the marchers, urging them to defend freedom and “free independent media”. President Chavez has said he will not renew a licence for the RCTV network which is due to expire on 27 May. He accuses the opposition-allied TV station of supporting a failed coup against him in 2002. He has referred to opposition television stations in general as “horsemen of the apocalypse” and has blamed RCTV in particular for spreading immorality with its steamy soap operas. Mr Chavez plans to replace RCTV with a government-funded TV station.

Well, this is normal, taking how the country is going.

There is protest going on in Internet: Free RCTV, where I have found this video, that proofs that this is a chronicle of an announced death. You can also see this other video.
More in Reuters.
Venezuela: no criticism from pope | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle:

The top spokesman for Venezuela’s leftist government insisted on Monday that the pope’s condemnation of Marxism wasn’t directed at President Hugo Chavez, who says he’s steering Venezuela toward “21st century socialism.” “We all know that the current pope is characterized as a conservative man, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we must automatically think that any word he utters … is against Venezuela,” Information Minister Willian Lara told state television. Pope Benedict XVI concluded a trip to neighboring Brazil on Sunday by telling a bishop’s conference that Marxism — as well as unchecked capitalism and globalization — were to blame for many of the region’s problems. “The Marxist system, where it found its way into government, not only left a sad heritage of economic and ecological destruction, but also a painful destruction of the human spirit,” the pope said. Chavez has explicitly embraced Marxism and is a close ally of communist Cuba. Left-leaning leaders also govern in Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Chile, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, though most do not claim to be Marxist.

Noticias24 :: Actualidad » Brutal asesinato de 2 militares colombianos en Venezuela:

Last week, in a Bogotá’s funeral parlour, there was a sealed coffin. The ceremony was discrete and quickly. Inside there was the dead body of Colombian Captain Camilo González, Official of Militar Intelligence, who belong to the First Division of the Army, widely known as Rime uno, whose base is in Santa Marta. His body had signals of brutal torture: electric shocks, burned parts with acid substances and several rifle shots. Two weeks before, in Bogotá, they had received another dead body with similar signals. He was corporal Gregorio Martínez.

Both military men had been for several months in Venezuela in a secret and covered mission against important chiefs of the FARC that take refuge there. According to newspaper SEMANA, guerrilla fighters from this organization suspected that they were military men. Some days ago, they were followed to Santa Marta, where they corroborated that they were uniformed men. At the end of April, the guerrilla leaders let them get into Venezuela and they were ambushed. They were carried to the main offices of the National Guard in Santa Bárbara del Zulia, near the Maracaibo lake (Venezuela).

It has been impossible to establish if their deaths happened inside or outside the garrison offices. But members of that force, with a guerrilla man from FARC, where they were badly tortured. They could have confessed that they were military men and so were killed. Other international agencies are convinced that the people who killed the 2 Colombian military men were members of the Intelligence service of Venezuela (also known as DIGIT).

Also blogging Reliapundit.

Related matters: Chavez demands apology from Pope.

Related posts: Colombian situation (I): US Dems, FARC and the paramilitaries.

[post en español]

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Some days ago I spoke with my friend Kate from A Colombo-Americana’s Perspective, about Colombian President Uribe. She had written about Nancy Pelosi not considering even considering a meeting with Uribe, although afterwards she had to reconsider it and meet him. Considering that the so-called Plan Colombia is helping the country to combat the narco-lords and to bring peace to the country, this position is, at the very least, idiotic and stupid. The Counterterrorism Blog has a very good analysis of the situation:
[...] according to both long-time critics of Plan Colombia (the multi-billion dollar U.S. aid package to Colombia) and long-time supporters the trip was apparently a debacle. The Democratic congress is not keen on Plan Colombia or a U.S.-Colombia Free Trade pact. The Democrats have been accused of using revelations of human rights abuses as a fig leaf for doing the AFL-CIO’s bidding and killing the Free Trade Agreement. This is not entirely fair, as the human rights situation in Colombia is abysmal (although it has been abysmal for decades now). There have been a steady stream of revelations about high-level contacts between the military, the para-militaries, and politicians close to Uribe. Uribe himself has remained popular.

The Democrats should consider their next moves carefully. It is easy to bash Republican policies (although Plan Colombia was initially formulated under the Clinton Administration.) Only a decade ago, Colombia was on the verge of being a failed state, now the situation has stabilized. But much remains to be done, and it is entirely conceivable that the situation could take a turn for the worse.

At the same the FARC remains a major concern, a well funded terrorist group with both the desire and the capability to wreak havoc not only in Colombia but throughout the hemisphere (for more read this report on the FARC’s hemisphere-wide reach.) While the paramilitaries are absolutely loathesome, they are not expressly political (they were formed when the state proved unable to secure large sections of the country). Despite conventional wisdom that the FARC are really just about drug trafficking, at least some parts of it remain a Maoist guerilla movement that explicitly seeks to overthrow the Colombian state and spread its radical ideology. The FARC needs to be kept under pressure – failure to do so will destabilize Colombia and its neighbors.

Finally, bashing Uribe sends the wrong message to Latin America. If the U.S. turns on its closest, most loyal regional ally, other leaders will not be tempted to support American initiatives. [...]

This last point is without doubt very important for the US. Especially because at the same time, Pelosi wanted to have a chat both with Ahmadinejad, who cannot be considered as a Human Rights’ supporter, and with Chávez, whose last deed has been to close a TV opposed to his Bolivarian regime and whose treatment of the press has been criticized by two reports recently -something which can lead to a new crackdown on disidents-.

Another reason to consider the stupid position of Mrs. Pelosi is the fact that Uribe’s popularity has risen to an astounding 75% of the Colombian people.

Of course, the picture of the Colombian-US relations should be finished by pointing out that the same people who are supporting the Dems’ position, demonstrated heavily against Bush when he visited Colombia some months ago.

The accusation against Uribe is that some of his closed collaborators have some kind of linkage to paramilitaries. As I did not know a lot about them, I asked Jaime Restrepo from Colombian blog Atrabilioso to enlighten me on this subject:

The paramilitaries appeared as an answer from peasants and rich land owners to the abuses of the FARC and the guerrilla in general, as the absence of the State in a lot of Colombian regiones was hugh: till 2002, more than 200 villages (more or less 20% of the total number of villages in Colombia), did not have police, nor teachers, judges nurses or any other civil servant.
Those peasants organised themselves or sponsored some movements of self-defense. Even the State (from 1970 till 1990) promoted them or supported the organization of these movements using the Army for that. In the mid-80’s, the narco-market appeared in Colombia and step by step the so-called Medellín’s cartel begins to control those groups of self-defense not only to defend themselves from guerilla, but also to steal lands, make their enemies and informants disappear and to eliminate in general every suspicious body.
The first thing to consider is that we cannot speak of a paramilitary structure alone, because there are some organizations that appear in different regions, independently, without an organised command and without unified criteria: in practice that is kept till today, as the peace process with the paramilitaries was made with many of these groups, but not with all of them. They were operating without a unified command and only achieved a sort of union for negotiation with State. But they also penetrated the State and involved some corrupted politicians, with no scruples and criminals in their cause.
Of all of these groups that were not in the peace process, the 3rd generation of paramilitaries is created (in 1992 they made another negotiation in only one region of the country that resulted had been a sham). Some weeks ago one of their leaders was captured and the guy shouted that as long as the FARC exist, the paramilitaries will also exist: I believe that this is what a lot of Colombians consider about this, because they consider that the FARC are the main generator of violence and death. The FARC also nearly succeded in coming to power in a sort of peace process made between 1998 and 2001 Distension Zone from San Vicente del Caguán.
Of course, people know that the paramilitaries, like FARC or ELN, have not done any good: in their history they have only caused death and destruction. For me, the difference is that the FARC are the cause and the paramilitaries are the consequence, but this can only explain the facts and never the justification, because the blood split has none.

I have translated what he wrote to me as I think that it is very important to read the people who live in the country without any kind of intermediaries.

Although the situation has really being improved, the FARC are now focusing on kidnapping children. This year alone 27 children have been kidnapped, that is to say that the 22% of the kidnappings which happened this year have been against minors. They are now the favorite target of the criminals, even greater that the businessmen, who are the most affected group by this crime. In 2006, 110 children were kidnapped, while 95 businessmen, 57 employees and 6 civil servants.

Related news:

This is a production for Atrabilioso: freedom for all the kidnapped in Colombia.

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Ya No Mas: Castro’s regime has killed more than 8.000 victims (in Spanish):

The chief executive of the project “Cuba Archive“, María Werlau,presented in Madrid the first data from a registry that documents the deaths that have been produced during the process whose head has been the dictator Fidel Castro.



The partial results of this investigation show that between Jan 1st 1959 and Oct 31st 2006 there has been 5.775 documented cases of executions, 1.231 unlawful murders, 200 cases of disappeared dissidents and y 984 deaths in prison, which sum up to a total of 8.190 deaths. Deaths in prison are up to a total of: 159 murders, 209 deaths because of medical negligence, 264 suicides, 21 accidents and 331 by “supposed natural causes“, about which Werlau said that “the death rate in prisons is higher that the rate shown by the rest of the population”.



The especialist added that the rate of deaths is higher but that the process is slow and difficult as the registry has not only the Castro’s dictaatorship -1959-, but also the Bastista’s dictatorship -since 1952-, to consider all of them as victims.

Thanks to El blog de Martha Colmenares.



Más en ABC.es.



Related with this, Babalu Blog has reported the beatings Guillermo Fariñas, Reporters without Borders Prize 2006, has suffered (link in Spanish) in the city of Santa Clara last March 2nd. He was beaten in the face with evident results: haematomas and inflammation in the face, bruises in the head and injuries in the skin. The independent journalist was handcuffed and driven in the patrol car from the Revolutionary National Police (PNR) to the 3rd unit of the PNR where he was detained for 1 hour, till he was freed by orders from La Habana.



He had been invited by the artist Miriam Fernández and other members of the emergent Cuban civil society in Villa Clara, who had been invited to a show of alternative art to realise in La Habana.

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… ta …cha cha … tchan…

the climate change, and the rich countries, and the fault to comply with Kyoto:

The floods have killed nearly 40, with tens of thousands of people forced from their homes. Health officials have also reported outbreaks of dengue fever.

While aid has arrived, landslides are delaying the evacuation of flood zones.

President Evo Morales blames the floods on developed states failing to tackle climate change. Meteorologists say the El Nino phenomenon is the root cause.

Issuing an appeal for $9.2m, the UN described the flooding as the country’s most devastating disaster ever, warning that water supplies and sanitation conditions have been severely contaminated.

The first shipment of international aid has now started arriving in Bolivia from Venezuela and neighbouring Peru, with Argentina, the United States and others also lending assistance.

The International Red Cross says that more than 350,000 people have been affected, many of them poor indigenous people in remote areas of the country.

One of the main difficulties we’re facing is actually to help proper access to the most forgotten and most affected areas,” said Giorgio Ferrario, the head of the regional delegation for South America of the Red Cross.

Health officials have reported more than 1,600 cases of dengue fever and 1,400 cases of malaria since the current crisis began.

Speaking about the devastation, Mr Morales, an outspoken critic of the US, accused wealthy countries of ignoring the Kyoto Protocol which seeks to halt climate change.

He said poorer nations were being made to bear the brunt of what he described as the uncontrollable quest for industrial growth by richer ones.

This type of action, he said, demonstrated a lack of concern on the part of the developed world in altering climate change and the fate of the planet.

However meteorologists say the extensive rains are connected to El Nino, the periodic phenomenon which begins with a warming of waters in the eastern Pacific.

In its 1997 incarnation, El Nino brought drought to parts of Asia and Australia, and heavy rains and floods to Latin America.

It is not thought likely to reach the same strength this year.

So, he is wrong: this is said to be a consequence of El Niño phenomenon, nothing to do with Kioto or climate change.

This comes to complicate even more the Bolivian situation: last week, some Bolivian miners were to defend their mine with shots and dynamite.

Also the new Parliamentary Regulation obliges MAS (Movimiento al Socialismo, that is Movement to Socialism, Morales’ Party) to seek agreements with the opposition. Another opposition’s conquest is that two thirds of all the Parliament seats are going to be needed to approve the new constitution. Debates for this will begin on Monday.

Bolivian Exterior Minister is going to declare in the Parliament about Evo Morales’ party and government’s relationship with terrorist groups’ such as ETA. The opposition says is very worried about the prespective of their country being converted into a terrorists’ sanctuary.

Resumiendo: ha habido una serie de inundaciones en Bolivia (podeis leer el Mundo), que pueden producir una catástrofe humanitaria porque hay dengue (400 casos confirmados y 1.300 sospechosos) y malaria (1.500 enfermos) y no hay suficientes infraestructuras para que puedan llevarse los medicamentos apropiados. Tampoco están ayudando los corrimientos de tierra, que dificultan o impiden el tránsito hacia Beni, la zona más afectada.

Los metereólogos han señalado que es una consecuencia de El Niño, pero Evo Morales ha echado la culpa a la “búsqueda incontrolable de crecimiento económico por los países ricos y la negativa de éstos a controlar sus emisiones.

Por cierto, que mañana empiezan los debates para la nueva constitución, para cuya aprobación será preciso los 2/3 del Parlamento en una conquista de la oposición. La otra conquista importante es que el nuevo Reglamento Parlamentario obliga al MAS a buscar acuerdos con la oposición.

Asimismo el Ministro de Exteriores Boliviano deberá declarar en el Parlamento sobre la relación del partido y el Gobierno de Evo Morales con grupos terroristas (entre ellos ETA).

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Martha Colmenares quoted in her blog US Subsecretary of State, Mr Burns, saying that “Iran is the first world bank of international terrorism” and that it is possible that “South-America is one of the places chosen by Al-Qaeda terrorists to place their terrorist activities“.

Today I was reading Fausta’s blog and one of the preferred places is … Venezuela:

The group, the Saudi arm of Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network, claimed responsibility for a thwarted February 2006 suicide attack on the world’s largest oil processing facility at Abqaiq in Saudi Arabia’s eastern province. The group also is believed responsible for other attacks against the Saudi energy sector.

Last week’s message is contained in Sawt al-Jihad (Voice of Jihad), the group’s online magazine. A feature article, titled “Bin Laden’s Oil Weapon,” encourages al-Qaeda operatives to continue to follow directives from Mr. bin Laden to strike oil targets not only in Saudi Arabia, but elsewhere, according to a translation by the SITE Institute, a non-profit U.S. group that monitors terrorist websites.

Three western countries are singled out in the call-to-arms — Canada first, followed by Mexico and Venezuela. Would-be attackers are instructed to target oilfields, pipelines, loading platforms and carriers.

As Fausta says, Al-Qaeda’s terrorists are not very moved by the Bolivarian revolution.

(Read Fausta’s link: shortage of doctors, mid-class people fleeing from Venezuela, drug trafficking… A very interesting summary of the real portrait of Venezuela today).


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July, 1994. A bomb explodes in Buenos Aires and 85 are killed and 151 hurt. Objetive: Jewish-Argentine Mutual Association (AMIA) community. Result: the 7-floor building is totally destroyed.
Now, the prosecutor of the case has asked for the international capture of the ex-president of Iran, Alí, Akbar Hashemi Rasfanjani and other 8 Iranians, The list also includes Alí Akbar Velayati, Iranian FM; Alí Fallahijan, Minister of Information and Security; Mohsen Rezai, ex-security chief of the Revolutionary Guard, Imad Fayed Moughnieh, ex-security Chief of the Security service of Hizbullah; Ahmad Vahidi, ex-leader of Quds Forces; and Moshen Rabbani and ahmed Reza Ashgari, both civil servants from Iranian embassy in Buenos Aires -diplomats-.
In the report it is said: “It was a decision taken by the highest authorities of Iran, who gave the job to the terrorist group Hizbullah.
His report has been considered as very good and to the point, and as a result, it’s been considered that Argentina should “denounce this situation in all international forums and specially should be asking for sanctions in UN”.
Of course, Iran has denied the charges, considering it a …, yeah you guessed it, a Zionist plot.
Mr Hoseyni [Iranian FM spokesman]said the charges were intended to divert “world attention from the perpetration of crimes by the Zionists against women and children in Palestine”.

The Center Simon Wiesenthal has issued a statement asking also for international orders against these same leaders.

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Tomorrow will be held on EU Parliament a session to the ZP’s dialogue with ETA terrorists.

Today ETA has robbed 350 pistols, ammunitions for them and other weapons in France after kidnapping the owner, his wife, theVista de la nave de la empresa Sidam donde se produjo el robo de armas. (Foto: EFE)ir son, their daughter in law and their grandson, a child aged 9 years of the factory where they were made (right, the factory), after telling the Government they were not going to get more weapons. PP has said that this is a political statement. In my view, it’s just the proof that they are just using the peace process to get weapons and prepare themselves to kill again, as in the past truces, even if the Basque Socialist Patxi [his name is plainly Francisco López, as you see very Spanish, but he has basquenated it to achieve more sympathies between independentists] considers that “we should admit some of the reasons of the other part“, the other part, being ETA -thanks to El Cerrajero-.

Spanish leftist media even said Catholic Church supported the ETA-Government talks. But this morning, the Madrid’s diocese delegate for the relationship with MSM, Manuel Bru, has declared (tip: El Cerrajero) that “they are attributing a real support of Benedict XVIth to the peace process that is entirely false”. He also added that the Church’s position has not changed since the Pastoral Instruction of 2002, in which it was rejected that ETA, “a terrorist organization incompatible with Catholic doctrine” could be considered as a valid part in the negotiations.

But Spanish Justice has acted well: Otegi, the leader of Batasuna, the ETA’s illegal political party, and the rest of the leadership (other 40 people) are going to be charged with the crime of belonging to terrorist organisation ETA. In the judicial resolution there are sufficient connections between herriko tabernas (sort of bars/pubs where they make money for the band, by i.e. receiving the “revolutionary tax“, that is the quantities people and firms are obliged to pay ETA to maintain it) and the terrorist thugs.

Lastly, as Spanish citizen, I have to thank Chilean Parliament and Government for their support for the autodetermination, that is, independence of the Basque Country (thanks to Espiando a mi vecina). Only Aznar asked for explanations, but Chilean Senator and Demochristian Adolfo Zaldívar, said “What Aznar or any other people thinks just does not matter to us at all. We are interested in this, and what moves us to support this democratic decision of sovereignty from the basqeu Country, is our aim to support any just process in any place and much more in the Basque Land“. Well, I would like this Christian to tell that to the victims who had been killed, to the people maimed, etc. Spanish people should take this into account for future relations with the South American country.

Bachelet, Socialist, who even promised Venezuelan President Chávez, to vote for him at UN -later she quarrelled with red gorilla because of the latter’s insults and did not vote for him-, makes another move in support of the revolutionary.


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El Rincón de la Libertad:

Last Saturday the Leganés’ Town Hall, of which the Socialists are in charge, made with United Left, a act of support to 5 Cubans who are in prison in the USA for spying and organising acts of sabotage against military instalations in south Florida. This 5 also wanted to be admitted in the Cuban dissidence in exile, and had, as had been proved in the processes, a high responsibility in the knocking down of a plane from “Brothers to the Rescue”, which were flying in search of Cuban dissidents to rescue them from the waters.

Cuba democracia y vida has more. The event was presented by Spanish actor (another titiritero, word which describes normally an errant minstrel of the Middle Ages, but now it’s used pejoratively to describe the actors of the anti-Iraqi campaign and pro-PSOE/United Left ideology) Juan Diego Botto.

Para los lectores españoles: ¿a qué les suena esta viñeta?

Bien, pues forme parte del cartel del acto en el que se pidió la liberación de los espías del régimen castrista cubano…. Si es que además tienen poca imaginación ;)

Vídeo buenísimo sobre Cuba y cómo la ha dejado Castro -la música también lo es-, que deberían haber puesto en el festival a ver si dejaban de decir estupideces (ht El Café Cubano):

;)


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Venezuela is running for a UN Security Council, after defeating Guatemala in Monday’s elections for five open UN Security Council seats.

Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez, up for reelection in December, has campaigned hard for the seat in 2007-2008, sending assistance to Latin American countries as well as contributing to food aid in Africa.

And Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro left no doubt during a visit to the United Nations last month his government sees the race as one against the United States.

“Our debate is not with Guatemala,”‘ Maduro told reporters. “Our debate is with Secretary of State of Condoleezza Rice. We are calling for an end to the unipolar world that has been so damaging.”

According to a report of Forecast International (link in Spanish), consulting firm of the militar industry and global intelligence, the self-named “revitalization plan” of the three components of FAN (Venezuelan National Force in Spanish), could cost around $30,700 millions during the period 2006-2012. The cost can double itself if it continues till 2020 and Chávez is still on power, according to a study by Brazilian newspaper O Estado. This way Venezuela would lead the list of countries buying weapons in this decade. smile_sad

Among all the equipment, Chávez is searching for, there are 150 supersonic airplanes, between 10/15 missile-launchers’s submarines, 138 ships, radar defense systems and around 600.000 bombs, both commons and intelligent, guided by lasers and GPS.

The Venezuelan Government has already spent $3.000 millions as part of this revitalization plan, for the acquisition of, among other equipment, war-airplanes Sukoi, 100.000 Russian rifles AK-103 and AK-104 and a tridimensional radar system of Chinese fabrication, which cost $150 millions.

Chávez has defended in his program “Aló Presidente” (Hello, President) of last week, this plan to revitalize the Venezuelan Army, saying that the program is basically defensive and that is just a consequence of their sovereignty, because of the “possible” invasion of the country by USA.

Opposition candidate, Rosales, has remarked that this could be a foolish act, taking into account the levels of unemployment and poverty nowadays Venezuela has. 

There are also experts who point out that Venezuelan purchases of weapons are far greater than the ones made by Colombia, Brazil or Chile, what can lead to a arm race in the region.

So where is the love?

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Here is his “message of love to the people of my Venezuela“. I do not know if this is to cry or to laugh…

This, for English-speaking readers, is what Chavez says in the video:

Always, I have done everything out of love.
For the love of trees and rivers, I became a painter (a painter? what? canvas or brick walls? did he exhibit somewhere?)
For the love of knowledge, studies, I left my dearest village, to study
For the love of sports I became a ball player
For the love of the fatherland I became a soldier
For the love of the people I became President, you made me President (who comes up with these lines? Besides, note the capital P in President which in Spanish is not required and which is a way to increase the symbolism of the job)
I have ruled these years out of love (Please!)
For love we did Barrio Adentro
For love we did Mision Robinson
For love we did Mercal
We have done everything for love (note that these 4 last lines are grouped together and represent the only three social programs that have found wide acceptance and some measure of real success even if the efficacy and real reach is more and more questioned)
There is a lot left to do. I need more time. (observe two important implications, Chavez implicitly acknowledges that this is all he has to show for, and that whomever wrote this should be fired: justifying 8 years on three “achievements” is rather lame, actually demeaning for the reader that is able of second thought process)
I NEED YOUR VOTE. YOUR VOTE FOR LOVE.

Found at Fausta’s blog, translated by Daniel from Venezuela News and Views. He remarks probably is a measure to encourage females’ votes, because in his rallies there are not a lot of women…

Trackbacked to The Dumb Ox and Basil’s Blog.

Para los que entiendan español: simplemente presionen el play… No sé si reír o llorar… Según algunos esto puede ser una estrategia para hacer que las mujeres le voten :(

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From BBC (HT: NoisyRoom.Net):

Tens of thousands of people have marched through the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, in support of the main opposition candidate, Manuel Rosales.

Mr Rosales will face President Hugo Chavez in December’s presidential poll.

The march, which filled the main avenues of the city centre, was the biggest opposition rally Venezuela has seen since early 2004.

Remember Chávez accused Rosales of trying to kill him some weeks ago, before accusing Bush of trying to do the same.

Venezuelan journalist Martha Colmenares has some more photos about this demonstration:

avalanchanoticias24.jpg

avpar4.jpg Impressive, eh?

Big Pharaoh is very happy at these news. Me too.

This week Chávez has also been accused of fanning the flames of anti-Semitism and his relation with air-death squads has been uncovered (HT: Publius Pundit). Not a very good week for Chávez.

UPDATE: Chávez will oblige the Venezuelan senators to learn Marx theories in the Experimental University of the Armed Forces (HT: Batiburrillo).

Also blogging about this: Morning Coffee. Also Right Truth, Jihadi du Jour, Red Hot Chuppa politics. Free Thoughts.
En español:

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From AOL News:

Venezuela President Hugo Chavez said Sunday he has received warnings from within the White House that the Bush administration is plotting to assassinate him or topple his left-leaning government.

Citing what he said were warnings from an alleged White House informant, Chavez told thousands of supporters at a campaign rally that President Bush has ordered him to be killed before he leaves office in 2008.

Bush “has said that before he goes, Hugo Chavez shouldn’t be the president of Venezuela,” Chavez told the crowd. “The president of the United States has said it, especially in recent days. What he doesn’t know is that I have friends in the White House.”

The Venezuelan leader has claimed before that the U.S. government is out to kill him – allegations that U.S. officials deny.

The latest accusation came a day after he alleged that there had been a recent attempt to assassinate him and said those responsible had since fled to neighboring Colombia.

Chavez appeared to link the alleged plot to his main rival in upcoming presidential elections, Gov. Manuel Rosales of Zulia state, claiming that he is in constant danger from opponents seeking to get rid of him.

He said a sniper had waited with a long-range gun and planned to shoot him after he debarked a helicopter, he said. He did not elaborate further on the alleged plot.

Chavez vowed to win the Dec. 3 vote and continue governing this South American nation until 2021. “Fourteen more years, that’s what’s coming,” Chavez said.

Venezuela’s Constitution allows a president to be re-elected only once in immediate succession. If Chavez wins a second six-year term in December, he wouldn’t be able to run again in 2012 – without a legal change.

Chavez has floated the possibility of changing Venezuela’s constitution to allow indefinite re-election.

If you want to laugh, read this post from Rightwinged.com.

The reason why Chávez is giving all of these shows is that he wants a seat on the UN Security Council (via Fausta’s blog):

President Chávez, the man who accuses the U.S. government of such an enormous crime, also said recently: “We are not recognizing the new president of Mexico. We believe that many irregularities went on during that election.” How can the president of a country say such a thing about the democratic electoral process in another country without creating a major diplomatic crisis? The member countries of the Organization of American States (OAS) that already know about these statements by Chávez should think twice before giving him their votes for the seat at the UNSC. If they do, in spite of knowing that the man is not mentally sane and that he harbors dangerous ambitions of world supremacy, they will be accomplices of a crime. I could understand the tiny Caribbean countries, in desperate need of money and oil, kneeling before the madman. But Brazil? Argentina? Chile? On what possible grounds can these countries, which should be true hemispheric leaders, support the ambitions of a mentally insane person to play such an important role in world affairs? They certainly should have considered the potential consequences of their votes. Lula still has a good regional reputation and President Bachelet has or was supposed to have a strong and decisive intellect. About Kirchner no one had much expectations. But they should all be aware that a seat for Hugo Chávez (not Venezuela) at the UNSC would mean an intensification of political instability in the hemisphere. Their prestige as serious, responsible leaders will be put in great doubt.

To achieve this Chávez is expending enourmous quantities of money: The Economist (via Fausta’s blog):

The cost of this to Venezuela is impossible to calculate. Much of the government’s spending is off-budget and at Mr Chavez’s discretion (which violates the constitution he himself introduced). A recent study by CIECA, an opposition-leaning research centre, puts at $50 billion the total foreign spending announced by the government in the past 18 months (though this seems to involve some double counting). It includes a $10 billion anti-poverty fund, which officials say has already financed an electrification plan for Havana, a hospital in Uruguay, and subsidised heating oil for poor districts in the United States.

(…)Despite the outlay, Mr Chavez may still not achieve his goal. To be elected, a country requires 128 votes – two-thirds of the General Assembly. Neither Venezuela nor Guatemala is likely to achieve that. Whichever comes second would normally face pressure to step aside. But this time, neither is likely to do so. The onus will then be on the bigger countries in Latin America to come up with a compromise candidate – diplomats mention Uruguay, the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica.

Argentina has ratified their Government’s support for Chávez, acording to Argentinian newspaper La Nación (via Blogbis). Taiana, Argentinian ambassador to the UN, declared that there was “no doubt” Argentina was going to vote for Venezuela, and denied receiving pressures from Washington to change their vote.

From Devil’s Excrement:

The problem is that the Government seems to ignore market forces and creates distortions on top of distortions, which ignore the basic principles of economics and how human beings react to opportunities. When the Government created its supermarket network Mercal, it was supposed to be a way of delivering cheaper goods to the poor. Mercal could obviously sell goods cheaper than anyone. It paid no custom duty, it received all of the currency it wanted at the official rate of exchange, it was handled by military at all levels so it only had to pay labor for a reduced non-military workforce. Finally, it was not for profit and thus would pay no taxes.

Later, the Government established price controls for certain foodstuffs and they applied to a large fraction of the products sold by Mercal. As inflation drove prices up, the Government allowed controlled prices to increase only slowly or not at all, creating a huge discrepancy between controlled prices and free market prices. Thus, the Government had to start subsidizing many of these products in order to keep prices down. For many products, it was or is impossible for local producers to even compete with Mercal subsidized prices. This has basically become a trap; foodstuff prices are up 19.9% since May so that in the face of the election, the Government does not want to approve any increase of controlled prices and has to spend more money on subsidizing these products.

But market forces have now intervened in the form of the huge work force of street vendors, estimated to be 300,000 in Caracas alone. They simply go to Mercal, buy as much as they are allowed to and go and sell the products in the streets at market prices, thus creating what we can call “Street Vendor Arbitrage”. The differences are huge and so are the profits of the street vendors. A kilo of powdered milk, for example, that sells at Mercal for Bs. 4,700 (US$2.18 at the official rate of exchange) goes for Bs. 15,000 (US$ 6.97) from the street vendors, wheat flower, Bs. 1000 at Mercal goes for Bs. 2,500 in the streets, sugar Bs. 740 at Mercal, Bs. 3,000 in the streets and so on. Of course, you can’t always find all the products at either Mercal or informal markets, with sugar, milk and some vegetables being in short supply regularly.

The Government’s solution to this problem is typical: Next week a decree will be issued prohibiting the sale of Mercal products by anyone. (…)

But the worst thing is that the criminal rate is the highest in all South America, with a total number of 90.027, nearly three times the deaths in Afganistan war and also far great than the deaths in Chechenia war or Iraqi war, according to a report issued by Chacao Major, in Caracas, presented some days ago in Caracas. This sum is even greater than the deaths caused by Colombian armed conflict from 1985 and 2006, which are 73.330. (via El Instituto Independiente)

Chávez ha anunciado que, “a través de un informante que tiene en la Casa Blanca, sabe que Bush ha dado la orden de matarle“. Esta es la segunda vez que, en pocos días, Chávez acusa a alguien de querer asesinarle. Antes le tocó el turno a Rosales, el Gobernador del Estado de Zulia, al tiempo que señalaba que está en constante peligro porque “sus oponentes están buscando la manera de deshacerse de él“.

En el periódico digital Venezuela Today se refieren a la verdadera ambición de Chávez: obtener un sitio en el Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU. Entre otras cosas, se preguntan por qué los grandes países de América del Sur se plegarían a votarle, afirmando que quedaría muy cuestionada su responsabilidad, al incrementarse de esa forma la inestabilidad en la zona. A pesar de eso, Argentina ya ha anunciado a través de su embajador en la ONU que votará a favor de Venezuela.

Pero Chávez insiste en su ambición y se está gastando una verdadera fortuna. Según The Economist -revista que no puede ser considerada como conservadora-, que cita al grupo opositor venezolano CIECA, se ha gastado 10 billones de dólares ya, en financiar la electrificación de la Habana, un hospital en Uruguay y subsidios en forma de petróleo a distritos pobres de los Estados Unidos. A pesar de todo, no parece que vaya a conseguir 128 votos, si no que se elegirá un candidato de compromiso, como Uruguay, República Dominicana o Costa Rica.

Entre otras medidas, Chávez fundó Mercal, un mercado para “gente pobre” en el que los productos se vendían a muy bajo precio. La infración subió, pero el Gobierno no dejó que los precios subieran o dejó que subieran un poco, creando una gran diferencia entre el precio controlado en Mercal y los precios de mercado, por lo que el Gobierno comenzó a subsidiar los productos vendidos en Mercal. Pero las fuerzas del mercado han intervenido y comenzaron a aparecer vendedores por las calles, que compraban sus productos en Mercal -no se necesita ningún permiso especial- y los venden a precio de mercado. Los beneficios son enormes: lo que cuesta en Mercal 2,18 dólares USA, se vende en las calles por 6,97 dólares USA. ¿La solución del gobierno? Dictar un decreto que prohíba vender productos de Mercal fuera del recinto…

Sin duda, el peor dato es el ascenso de la criminalidad:

El número de homicidios registrados entre 1998 y 2004 en Venezuela totalizó 90,027, una cifra que casi triplica el número de muertos en la Guerra de Afganistán (2001-2006), y supera ampliamente las bajas producidas en conflictos como la Guerra de Chechenia (1991-1994) y la Guerra del Golfo Pérsico (1990-1992), indicó un estudio realizado por la Alcaldía de Chacao, en Caracas, presentado esta semana en el Foro Hemisférico de Alcaldes de América Latina.

Según las estadísticas, la violencia venezolana también superó el número de muertos que se han producido en el conflicto armado de Colombia entre 1985 y el 2006, que totaliza hasta ahora 73,330 decesos contabilizados.

Las cifras confirman lo que el año pasado ya había señalado un reporte especial de la Unesco: que Venezuela ocupa el primer lugar en el mundo en muertes causadas por armas de fuego (22.15 por cada 100,000 personas).

‘Venezuela es una localidad actualmente considerada como de `alto riesgo’ tanto por firmas consultoras como por gobiernos”, indicó un informe reciente de la firma de seguridad Armor Group, con sede en Londres, y que presta servicios mundiales de seguridad.

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