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.


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. 😡

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… 😡


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 ( 😯 ). 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].


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…


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. 😈

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 😯 ), 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.


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.


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….


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: 😯 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!



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.


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?
Obviously, rationality is not arbitrated by force.

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

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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


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.



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



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 recentlysomething 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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