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501  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Venezuela Pol?tica on: November 28, 2006, 10:31:39 PM
Venezuela: Beyond the Presidential Election

Venezuelans will go to the polls Dec. 3 to decide between President Hugo Chavez and the more moderate opposition candidate, Manuel Rosales. Chavez, whose victory is almost assured.....

Excuse the language, Stratfor is full of sh*t!

Stratfor is regurgitating the pap that the government has fed visiting reporters. I doubt that Stratfor has a single man on the streets here to verify for himself what is really happening here. If he did, he would not spout such nonsense.

This weekend we had the two closing events. The crowd estimates were around 935,000 for Rosales and 230,000 for Chavez. The second part of the story is that the government blocked access to Caracas on Saturday to reduce the opposition crowd but Caracas, at 6 million, has enough people to fill the alloted space and some extra overflow spaces. I personally made some rough crowd estimates. The distance from Plaza Venezuela to Puente Veracruz, where Rosales gave his speech, is approximately 3.5 KM and the eight lane highway is approximatelly 30 meters wide (You can get these figures from the Google Satelite maps). We are talking about 100,000 square meters with a crowd density anywhere from 3 to 6 people per meter. This main venue can hold 300 to 600 thousand people. But the overflow crowd filled parallel streets and side streets.

The other side of the coin is that the government used 2,300 busses to bring people from all over the country to their "spontaneous" meeting. Government employees were forced to attend and had to be present at two roll calls.

Rosales did not give out T-shirts of flags, oppo demonstrators had to bring their own. One oppo person whose wife works for the government attended both rallies so we have a trusted witness to tell us about the differences.

A curious piece of information surfaced recently. The OAS admitted that they had accepted the Carter Center's recommendation to vouch for the recall referendum to avoid a blood bath in Venezuela. Only a coward like Jimmy Carter could and would propose an infamy like that. It is also true that during the Recall Referendum the opposition was caught flat footed by the electoral fraud. There was no leadership. I remember asking my neighbor on several occasions if an opposition leader would ever appear. For the longest time it appeared most unlikely. The old main-line politicos were all discredited and the "new" ones trying to fill the void simply did not have the right stuff. The talks about an opposition primary led nowhere and reinforced the impression that the opposition was quite clueless. I think this worked in our favor in the long run because Chavez took his eyes off the ball convinced that he was fighting a paper tiger. In the meanwhile, Rosales, a seasoned politician, Governor of the Zulia State, the state that Chavez never managed to win, was biding his time. Rosales had announced his candidacy for the primary but no one gave him much of a chance. When the primary fell through, the various opposition groups huddled to select a coalition leader. In time, every opposition factor agreed to back Rosales.

Rosales has managed to lead a very effective campaign. On the one hand he said he would stop the excesses that Chavez was perpetrating while on the other he was promising that not a single public official (read Chavista) would be fired. Instead of promising to dismantle the Missions, he promised to improve them to the point where they would actually work as planned. Instead of giving oil money to foreign countries he would give it directly to the people via a debit card, Mi Negra. He uses a very powerful campaign slogan: "Atrevete!" (Dare). Dare to vote. Dare to oust Chavez. Dare to build a better future for your family. Rosales campaigned on foot, village by village, kissing babies and pressing the flesh. This long standing tradition has been abandoned in recent memory. Chavez is accused of campaigning like a Carnival Queen on a Carnival float. He no longer walks among the crowds like he once dared. There is another fact to consider. Chavez is not a very bright guy at all but he had one of the wiliest advisors a tyrant could every hope to have. In the beginning Chavez had some very talented Venezuelan godfathers and advisers. During the eight years he has been in power, he has alienated most of them and they have left him. Now Chavez is surrounded by uneducated yes men. That would not be of major consequence if his primary advisor were able to function but Fidel Castro is on his way to hell. I'm convinced that Cuban revolutionaries at this time are more worried about their own future than about Chavez. Anyone present on the local scene would easily have perceived Chavez's flip-flops in the last few months. For a couple of weeks he was an all loving father who traded in his firebrand red shirt for a blue one. Until the day the Minister of Energy and president of PDVSA, the local state oil company, declared (captured on videotape) that PDVSA was "Roja rojita" as red as the revolution and that any state employee who did not back Chavez would be fired "a carajazo limpio." This is Venezuelan slang for beating the sh*t out of you. Chavez decided to back his minister, he put on his red shirt again and declared that the military too was "Roja rojita." Only foreign journalists who go from the airplane to the Ministry of (Dis)Information and straight back home again, can miss what is so obvious to those of us who live here.

All the above would be of little consequence if the whole country were not prepared to fight off a pre-announced government fraud on election day. To the best of my knowledge the opposition has set up plans to defeat the fraud. Instead of transmitting the votes from the voting machines to the CNE, the votes will be counted manually at each polling station. This will give the opposition as much information as the electoral authorities will have.

There is one remaining unknown, at least for me: What side will the military take? I see only two possible outcomes, a win by Rosales or a military dictatorship.

Denny Schlesinger
Caracas, November 28, 2006

Crafty Dog: You can send a copy of this to the guys at Stratfor.

502  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Votar? por quien no se ocupe de m on: November 27, 2006, 05:22:40 PM
Sim?n Alberto Consalvi
El Nacional

Votar? por quien no se ocupe de m??

Dentro de siete d?as, los venezolanos confrontaremos una prueba frente a la cual nadie podr? ser indiferente. Todos debemos asumir la posici?n que nos dicte nuestra conciencia, pensando no en t?rminos personales o ego?stas, sino en el destino del pa?s. El 3 de diciembre vamos a elegir a un presidente de la Rep?blica, pero vamos a optar por mucho m?s que eso; en los tiempos de la democracia representativa era un episodio trascendente, pero no tuvo nunca las implicaciones que tendr? ahora.

Se tratar? de algo mucho m?s profundo, algo que modificar? nuestras vidas, nuestra manera de ser y de comportarnos, que afectar? sustancialmente el sistema pol?tico y social, seg?n sea el veredicto final, seg?n triunfe una u otra de las opciones presidenciales en juego. La una, la oficialista, promete establecer el "socialismo del siglo XXI", llevando hasta sus ?ltimas consecuencias la privatizaci?n del Estado, de sus inmensos recursos, de sus riquezas petroleras, poni?ndolas al servicio de un proyecto pol?tico antidemocr?tico. No quedar? instituci?n p?blica que no sea captada, desde los poderes del Estado hasta la Fuerza Armada, la cual dejar? de ser lo que pauta la Constituci?n de 1999, para convertirse en ej?rcito rojo, o, sea en el brazo armado del proyecto revolucionario.

Ni hay manera de pronosticar el futuro, ni es cuesti?n para consultar los astros. Las cartas est?n echadas. La promesa del oficialismo se traduce en la conquista del Estado y en la abolici?n de todas las alternativas que, en un pa?s de tradici?n pluralista, estuvieron siempre vigentes.

Como un tanque de guerra, el proyecto bolivariano ha venido avanzando de manera sistem?tica.

Adultera la historia, pinta con colores negros el pasado, condena a muerte toda disidencia, mientras aplica las t?cticas y los m?todos que en los tiempos de Juan Vicente G?mez sirvieron para justificar la tesis del "gendarme necesario".

Los te?ricos de la dictadura armaron su doctrina a partir de la premisa de que Venezuela era un pa?s de gente moralmente descalificada, ingobernable, perezosa, an?rquica, y que, por tanto, necesitaba del general G?mez. Ten?an que pintar con colores goyescos a los venezolanos para que la figura del dictador apareciera con el aura de los redentores. En eso se basaba la tesis del "gendarme necesario".

Era una tesis tan falsa, que cuando muri? Juan Vicente G?mez la realidad se encarg? de desmentirla. Nadie se atrevi? a mencionarla. A partir de L?pez Contreras, Venezuela comprob? que no necesitaba de gendarmes, que era un pa?s capaz de optar por un sistema pol?tico que le garantizara a todos la representatividad que progresivamente fue conquistando. Con el tiempo, a aquel sistema se le llam? "imperfecta democracia". No hay duda de que era "imperfecta", pero era democracia, y dejaba abiertas las posibilidades de cambio. Esas son las posibilidades que el proyecto bolivariano promete aniquilar, para consagrar un r?gimen autocr?tico, re?ido con el pluralismo y la libertad de que hemos disfrutado desde 1936, con la excepci?n de los a?os de la dictadura del general P?rez Jim?nez.

La revoluci?n bolivariana promete implantar modelos que han demostrado su inviabilidad y su fracaso en todo el mundo, desde la ca?da del imperio sovi?tico y de todos los pa?ses de la Cortina de Hierro. El modelo que m?s los obsesiona es el modelo cubano. Un modelo que necesita subsidios generosos para subsistir. Esa es la met?fora que se oculta bajo la abstracci?n del "socialismo del siglo XXI".

No es el modelo de socialismo democr?tico de Chile, de Uruguay o de Brasil, donde se respetan los derechos humanos, la propiedad privada, la alternabilidad republicana, el equilibrio (y contrapesos) de los poderes del Estado, el juego de las ideas, la libertad de expresi?n. Ni Michelle Bachelet, ni Tabar? V?squez, ni Luiz In?cio Lula da Silva pretenden quedarse en el poder hasta 2030. Ese castigo parece que estuviera destinado para el pa?s de Bol?var y su "presidencia vitalicia", o para el pa?s rural del "gendarme necesario". Esto es lo que est? en juego este 3 de diciembre.

Frente a perspectivas de esta naturaleza, no hay manera de ser indiferentes. El voto tiene en este diciembre implicaciones que en Venezuela no tuvo antes. Los venezolanos hemos votado durante setenta a?os consecutivos, de 1936 al 2006. Incluso votamos en la ?poca de la dictadura de P?rez Jim?nez. El pa?s supo votar. El repudio a la dictadura fue masivo, su derrumbamiento fue la expresi?n del anhelo popular y de la conciencia civilista de las Fuerzas Armadas, fatigadas de prestar su nombre para el ejercicio personalista del poder.

Este diciembre est? en juego la presidencia de la Rep?blica. Es cierto, pero nos jugamos mucho m?s que eso. Un candidato aspira a ser el jefe de una secta agresiva, pintada de rojo, armada tras los fusiles Kalashnikov de los miles de reservistas o de guardias territoriales que no nos dejar?n paz.

Lo que est? en juego es el destino de 26 millones de venezolanos pac?ficos que no s?lo creen en la democracia, sino que aspiran a reformas m?s profundas de la sociedad, en busca de la equidad y del bienestar, pero no reformas trasplantadas, ajenas al pluralismo y al derecho de decidir por nosotros mismos.

Este diciembre estar? en juego la pol?tica exterior de Venezuela. Debemos votar por quien garantice la paz entre los venezolanos, pero tambi?n la paz entre nuestros pa?ses. Es preciso votar contra los odios estrat?gicos de la Guerra Fr?a.

Contra la invenci?n de guerras asim?tricas y otras demencias. Contra el intervensionismo de Venezuela y el despilfarro proselitista. Venezuela requiere de una pol?tica exterior fundada en los intereses permanentes del Estado y de la naci?n. Una pol?tica que respete a los dem?s y haga respetar a nuestro pa?s.

Es preciso votar contra la demagogia, contra el anacr?nico culto a la personalidad de los reg?menes de la ?rbita sovi?tica. Contra el aburrimiento de un discurso que ocho a?os despu?s se parece demasiado a la visita al odont?logo. Votemos por un presidente que no querr? decirnos qu? debemos leer o qu? debemos dejar de leer. Por alguien que no nos dar? lecciones de historia todos los d?as, que dejar? que nos equivoquemos, y respetar? nuestros errores.

Votar?, en fin, por Manuel Rosales porque no se ocupar? de m?, ni de lo que hago, ni de lo que pienso, ni de lo que escribo.

Porque me dejar? vivir en paz la vida que yo quiero vivir.
503  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Un mill?n cuatrocientas mil personas en la "Avalancha Tricolor" on: November 27, 2006, 03:21:14 AM
Un mill?n cuatrocientas mil personas en la "Avalancha Tricolor"?

Galer?a de fotos, cortes?a de Miguel Osers
Panor?mica a las 10:00am (hora inicio de la Avalancha), cortes?a de Miguel Osers
Panor?mica, cortes?a de
25 de Noviembre de 2006

"La mam? de las avalanchas? que incialmente deb?a concentrarse en el puente Veracruz de la autopista Francisco Fajardo result? masiva y debi? extenderse hacia las adyacencias en busca de m?s espacio.

As? fue como pudo verse un nutrido grupo de personas a lo largo de la Av. R?o de Janeiro, a nivel del Puente Veracruz. Igual sucedi? hacia los lados de El Rosal.

En un mill?n cuatrocientas mil personas calculan los organizadores la asistencia de la "Avalancha Tricolor".

Inicialmente, las expectativas de lo que llamar?an "la mam? de las avalanchas" aspiraba un mill?n de personas, pero para Leopoldo L?pez, coordinador del Comando de campa?a de Rosales en Caracas, "las estimaciones fueron superadas y tuvimos la tatarabuela de las avalanchas".

Antes de la hora y a?n mucho despu?s
Al ritmo de la m?sica, tambores, pitos y consignas, la movilizaci?n comenz? a agarrar forma desde mucho antes de la hora de la convocatoria. A pesar de las dificultades, la restricci?n de algunos accesos, la gente se las ingeni? para llegar al sitio de encuentro con el candidato de la Unidad Nacional, Manuel Rosales.

Diversos lugares de la ciudad, del este y oeste, del norte y del sur, sirvieron como punto de partida para iniciar la marcha del numeroso grupo multicolor que se dirigi? hacia el Puente Veracruz.

La gente que particip? lo hizo con entusiasmo y expres? la convicci?n de tener como futuro Presidente a Manuel Rosales.

Prevaleci? entre la diversidad de banderas, el tricolor nacional matizado con los atuendos pintorescos tradicionales ya en estas caminatas de expresi?n pol?tica.

No falt? la famosa "negrita" de trapo como evocaci?n a la oferta social de Rosales. La de carne y hueso tambi?n estuvo presente, pero en la tarima, acompa?ando a su candidato.

Evidencia del entusiasmo pudo evaluarse en el hecho que a m?s de una hora de finalizar la intervenci?n del aspirante presidencial, la gente permanec?a a?n en la autopista Francisco Fajardo, lugar de la concentraci?n comentando el acontecimiento.

?Por fin desde el aire!
Por primera vez en varios a?os de estar vigente una restricci?n oficial que impide a civiles sobrevolar las concentraciones masivas, los televidentes pudieron ver en sus pantallas tomas a?reas de la verdadera magnitud de una concentraci?n masiva.

El evento extraordinario seg?n trascendi?, habr?a causado inquietud en los organismos de seguridad del Estado y generado nerviosismo ante una posible transgresi?n legal por parte de alg?n piloto "atrevido" o irreverente, pero solo se trat? del "p?jaro azul" un helic?ptero de juguete, que guiado a control remoto y con una c?mara arriba, mostr? lo que desde hace mucho tiempo, muchos venezolanos ansiaban ver, una concentraci?n masiva desde el aire, que en este caso en particular, tiene la estimaci?n de sus organizadores en un mill?n cuatrocientas mil personas, la m?s grande registrada en el pa?s, seg?n algunos.

Diversas edades, distintas razones
De diferentes edades y sectores, con pancartas en mano y la creatividad que caracteriza este tipo de movilizaciones, los marchistas retaron al "cambio", "a atreverse".

Razones de ?ndole personal, colectivas, por motivos del presente, o por el futuro, expresaron los participantes en la manifestaci?n masiva a consecuencia del cierre de campa?a electoral de Rosales en la capital del pa?s.

Desde la Avenida Lecuna, marchistas revelaron que participaban "porque no quiero ni comunismo ni socialismo en este pa?s". Otra persona a su lado refiere que est? ah? "porque no hay seguridad ni empleo en Venezuela".

Otro de los que expres? su apoyo en el d?a de hoy a Rosales indic? que se encontraba all? "demostrando que este pa?s es azul" y "queremos a Manuel Rosales como nuevo Presidente". Unas se?ora en Plaza Venezuela revel? que era miembro de la Misi?n Robinson y "me sal? por el adoctrinamiento que se hace all?".

"Un cambio, por un cambio en Venezuela", es otras de las expresiones comunes en los participantes en la concentraci?n de cierre de campa?a en Caracas del candidato de la unidad.

Una joven desempleada no est? de acuerdo con la situaci?n que vive el pa?s dijo "me vine a atrever". Otra se?ora con m?s edad indic? por qu? asitist?a "vengo a protestar el Castro -Comunismo que quieren imponer en el pa?s". Otra marchista, m?s directa en su declaraci?n dijo sencillamente "quiero que Ch?vez se vaya; esto es comunismo o democracia".

Otra de las asistentes hizo un recuento de la etapa demor?tica venezolana y expres? su deseo de continuar en democracia "por mis hijos por nietos".

Un se?or de edad madura al ser consultado repondi? para despejar toda duda:"Yo vine a m? no me pagaron". A su lado una dama indic? que "no somos 10 sino 26 millones".

Llam? la atenci?n una se?ora que se hizo presente en la concentraci?n a nivel del estadium universitario quien asegur? ser funcionaria p?blica. Dijo estar all? para expresar su descontento con la gesti?n actual del Presidente Ch?vez y repaldar la candidatura de Manuel Rosales.

M?sica y estrellas
Con la participaci?n de estrellas de la animaci?n a nivel nacional e internacional como Erika de La Vega y Nelson Bustamante, transcurri? buena parte de la vocer?a en la tarima mientras aguardaban por la presencia del Candidato Rosales.

Respetadas figuras del mundo del espect?culo, como la legendaria actr?z Marina Baura, tambi?n tuvo su tiempo de intervenci?n ante el micr?fono para llamar al p?blico "a atreverse" y votar.

Tradicionales grupos de gaitas se dieron cita y al son de conocidas canciones, amenizaron la numerosa concentraci?n con las populares "Amparito", "Anda y dile al tamborero", entre otras. La m?sica criolla, con arpa cuatro y maraca tambi?n hizo su antesala a la llegada del Candidato de la Unidad Nacional.

Los marchistas no hicieron menos y durante la caminata tambi?n entonaron sus propias canciones. Al ritmo de canciones famosas, le pusieron su propia letra para protestar el gobierno actual y manifestar su apoyo al candidato de opositor, Manuel Rosales.

Una oraci?n por Venezuela
La concentraci?n dedic? una pausa al recogimiento. En masa rezaron el "Padre Nuestro", oraci?n que Jesucristo ense?? a sus disc?pulos y que en su texto destaca como uno de los rasgos m?s significativos la palabra "nuestro" como un t?rmino notoriamente un inclusivo.

Por toda Venezuela se elev? esta plegaria, dijeron los que dirig?an el solemne momento desde la tarima. Los presentes inmediatamente al inciarse la oraci?n, extendieron sus manos en forma espont?nea y entrelazadas, formaron lo que luc?a como una gruesa y larga cadena humana en la autopista Francisco Fajardo a nivel del Puente Veracruz y sus adyacencias.

Varios, visblemente emocionados por este toque de hermandad, no pudieron evitar las l?grimas que brotaron como consecuencia del acontecimiento espiritual.

"?Se nos qued? chiquita!"
Con esta exclamaci?n salud? el Candidato de la Unidad Nacional, Manuel Rosales a sus seguidores a quienes agredeci? su presencia all?.

Rosales, quien lleg? a la tarima alrededor de la una de la tarde, hizo de esa multitudinaria concentraci?n su verdadera encuesta: "?uds saben lo que dicen las encuestas verdaderas? ?que dentro de unos d?as Venezuela tendr? un nuevo Presidente para la nueva democracia social!"

Emocionado por la asistencia en la mutitutidinaria concentraci?n, Rosales comenz? sin demora a decirles su oferta como presidente en el tono amplio y conciliador que lo ha caracterizado a lo largo de su campa?a. "Lo primero que voy a hacer es firmar el decreto para activar la tarjeta de d?bito Mi Negra, y lo har? en nombre de toda Venezuela y adem?s porque lo llevo dentro del coraz?n". Sin exclusiones. ?De qu? le ha servido al pueblo tanta riqueza y petr?leo? pregunt? el candidato a sus seguidores. "?C?mo han derramado mentiras sobre el pueblo! Lo hicieron ayer y hoy, y c?mo nos duele que Venezuela se encuentre como est?, que viva tan mal pudiendo estar mejor".

Cuestion? la forma actual de hacer pol?tica exterior." C?mo nos duele que dilapiden, que despilfarren el dinero de Venezuela y adem?s de eso que lo est?n regalando. Por eso, a trav?s de la tarjeta de cr?dito Mi negra se cumplir? la justicia para el pueblo de Venezuela". Prometi? al pa?s que "lo que hoy le regalan a otros pa?ses se lo voy a regalar a sus due?os, el pueblo de Venezuela" afirm?.

Reiter? su "respeto a la propiedad privada, a los derechos humanos" y se compreti? a "brindar seguridad f?sica y jur?dica para que vengan los inversionistas"

"El pueblo no quiere m?s migajas ni buruzas. Al pueblo le gusta trabajar. que le den quince y ?ltimo, seguridad social, aguinaldos, empleo estable"; a eso se compromete.

Adem?s de eso "la gente quiere vivienda buena, bien dotadas". Asegur? que se abocar? a bajar las tasas de inter?s social."?De d?nde va a sacar la gente para pagar altas cuotas iniciales si apenas les alcanza para pagar la luz y los servicios b?sicos? por eso es que, refieri?ndose a las tasas de inter?s, " las voy a disminuir en algunas ?reas".

Se comprometi? a dirigir personalmente la pol?tica de seguridad. "yo personalmente voy a dirigir la estrategia de seguridad por la vida".

Nuevamente ret? al Candidato Ch?vez a debatir. "Esos son los temas que yo quiero debatir con ?l. Le digo desde Caracas otra vez que lo estoy esperando el d?a que quiera, donde quiera. Vamos a debatir su propuesta de comunismo y socialismo del siglo XXI y mi propuesta de democracia social. Que no arrugue, que el pueblo est? esperandolo".

A los que han ca?do en esta lucha por la democracia, a los presos pol?ticos, a los que han tenido de irse al exterior, hasta ellos brind? Rosales su saludo y prometi? abrirle las puertas de esas c?rceles.

Anunci? el candidato presidencial que a los alimentos y medicamentos exonerar? del impuesto IVA.

Dijo que incluir? a todos a una sistema de pensionados y jubilados porque "todos merecen respeto".

Pidi? disculpas si ha herido la suceptibilidad de alguien o a quienes no lo respaldan. "Mis disculpas porque yo lo que llevo en el coraz?n es afecto, y quiero lo mejor para este pa?s. Para m? los adversarios no son mis enemigos, son mis adversarios y cuando sean oposici?n los seguir? respetando".

Rosales pidi? un saludo para los tripulantes del helic?ptero oficial que sobrevolando, interrumpi? por momentos la intervenci?n del candidato.

Mostr? respeto por las instituciones al pedir el cabal funcionamiento de los Poderes. "Yo no quiero ser un Presidente que controle los Poderes, sino que los Poderes al presidente lo controlen, lo vigilen; que funcionen los Poderes de verdad verdad, que haya una democracia verdadera".

Inst? a la poblaci?n a votar. "Hay que ir a votar. Los que a?n tienen dudas, hay que votar". "A los que llaman ni ni, a los que est?n confundidos, vioten en nombre de las mujeres, de los hijos, de los j?venes porque ellos son la raz?n de esta lucha".

Recomend? a sus testigos de mesa a ser responsables "a cumplir con Venezuela, a estar temprano, a colaborar con los operativos". Reiter? que "no le tengan miedo a los captahuellas, eso es mentira que eso dice por qui?n ud vot?".

Dijo que el 3D se expresar? la verdadera conspiraci?n "la conspiraci?n democr?tica". Con una avalancha, asegur? de votos le dar? un revolc?n al candidato del gobierno.

El actual gobierno "va a caer a punta de votos el 03 de diciembre a lo largo y ancho de toda Venezuela". "Este pueblo decidi? y no lo para nadie", dijo Rosales convencido de su triunfo.

A la mano
En el lugar se hicieron presentes los vendedores ambulantes con ?raspaos?, comidas e implementos ?tiles para quienes permanecer?an en el lugar durante el acto.

Los organizadores adem?s de la seguridad de la concentraci?n y movilizaci?n, tambi?n garantizaron puntos de hidrataci?n para evitar riesgos innecesarios en los marchistas.

M?s temprano, algunas denuncias...
El jefe del comando de campa?a del candidato Manuel Rosales, Leopoldo L?pez, denuncio una ?guarimba? oficialista para impedir la realizaci?n de la ?mam? de las avalanchas?.

L?pez dijo que ya a las diez de la ma?ana el acto era un ?xito porque hab?a miles de personas, a pesar de que el gobierno cerr? los accesos a Caracas y llam? a las personas que est?n en la cola a gritar ?atr?vete? y tocar las cornetas.

El dirigente Carlos Melo denunci? que se estaba impidiendo la llegada de seguidores del candidato Rosales a Caracas, pero se?al? que en la capital hay suficiente gente para llevar a cabo el acto.

Melo llam? a la los caraque?os a no quedarse en la casa este s?bado.

El dirigente de Primero Justicia Julio Borges afirm? que Caracas se desbord? en el acto de cierre de campa?a del candidato Rosales. Borges considera que la ?mam? de las avalanchas? se convirti? en una manifestaci?n nacional, a pesar del cierre a las entradas de la capital por parte del gobierno.

De la "Gran Avalancha" a "La mam? de las Avanlanchas"
Manuel Rosales realiz? antes de ?ste, tres actos de masa en la ciudad capital. El primero fue la inscripci?n de su candidatura ante el Consejo Nacional Electoral, luego la ?Gran Avalancha de Caracas? realizada en la avenida Libertador y posteriormente la caminata ?26 kil?metros por 26 millones de venezolanos?.

504  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / El candidato que sali? de abajo on: November 24, 2006, 10:09:48 PM
El candidato que sali? de abajo
Hasta 1998 los torneos electorales eran predecibles. Ahora todo cambi?


Si hasta 1998 los torneos electorales resultaban casi predecibles, aun en los resultados, a partir de aquel a?o todo ha cambiado y lo ?nico inalterable es la incertidumbre. Los ritos democr?ticos de anta?o, convertidos en tradici?n, se?alaban que las elecciones eran el primer domingo de diciembre, cada cinco a?os y que el presidente, primero en febrero y luego en marzo, entregar?a el mando a su sucesor. Exist?a una ley que regulaba las finanzas, estipulaba los plazos, med?a la publicidad, controlaba la intervenci?n ilegal del gobierno y reg?a la actuaci?n de un Consejo Supremo Electoral respetado y acatado por la mayor?a de los electores. El clima de la campa?a resultaba festivo y la expectaci?n por los resultados nunca se convirti? en p?bulo para la violencia.

Desde entonces todo ha cambiado y cada elecci?n transcurre en situaciones que var?an constantemente porque se cambian las reglas, se viola sistem?ticamente la ley, el CNE no termina de ganarse la confianza de todo el electorado y la tensi?n sustituye al ambiente de sana competencia que privaba antes, porque nunca se sabe con certeza qu? puede pasar.

La ?ltima gran derrota
Baste s?lo analizar la situaci?n pol?tica y social que priv? durante el largo trance hacia el revocatorio del 15 de agosto del 2004. Un a?o antes, fecha en la cual deb?an celebrarse las votaciones, el Presidente aparec?a en las encuestas con 30% de popularidad y la oposici?n superaba 60%. Fue as? como se fueron superponiendo trabas para impedir y/o, en ?ltima instancia, posponer el R.R. Obst?culos que iban desde la t?ctica de demorar el nombramiento del Directorio del CNE en la Asamblea (al final lo hizo el TSJ), hasta convertir los requisitos de recogida de las firmas en un verdadero calvario que fue corriendo la fecha de las votaciones hasta el momento en que se pudo voltear la tortilla.

Con todos los poderes a su favor, Ch?vez se gan? un a?o de tiempo, durante el cual ech? a andar una gigantesca operaci?n de populismo clientelar que se inici? con la Misi?n Barrio Adentro, planificada y dirigida por Fidel Castro ("si de algo yo s? es de eso") tal y como lo reconoci? en su momento el mismo Ch?vez. A la par surgieron los mecanismos de intimidaci?n y persecuci?n con la lista de Tasc?n, las decisiones del TSJ y el uso abusivo de los recursos del Gobierno en la campa?a.

En la acera de enfrente estaba una oposici?n sumida a?n en la derrota del paro c?vico. La fallida experiencia hab?a demostrado la incapacidad de los liderazgos emergentes, no pol?ticos y la dirigencia del movimiento, a?n intacto, comenz? a ser manejada por una suerte de direcci?n colegiada que fue convirti?ndose en un saco de gatos. ONGs con m?s generales que soldados, partidos que no representaban a nadie y l?deres con un real apoyo popular que al final no asumieron el papel que les correspond?a, hicieron de la Coordinadora Democr?tica un elefante blanco que perdi? la iniciativa y a la postre buena parte de su capital electoral.

Sumida en la resoluci?n de las mil dificultades que le interpuso el Gobierno (recogida de firmas, amparos en el TSJ, reparos) la Coordinadora descuid? la campa?a, se confi? en cuanto a las condiciones para votar, se olvid? de recordar al electorado cu?les eran las razones por las cuales se exig?a la salida de Ch?vez y se escindi? en diferentes estrategias descoordinadas.

El 15 de agosto los testigos de oposici?n estaban ausentes en buena parte de los centros y por la noche a?n los dirigentes de la Coordinadora, confiados en los resultados de los exit poll, supon?an que ten?an el triunfo. El anuncio sobre la victoria de Ch?vez los agarr? de sorpresa. Surgi? la tesis del fraude y ese fue el comienzo del fin, porque nunca pudieron, en comicios posteriores, explicar por qu? llamaban a participar si las elecciones estaban ama?adas.

Si bien la dispersi?n electoral era imposible porque se votaba S? o No, esa unidad forzada y la ausencia de un liderazgo s?lido que la consolidara y mantuviera la ventaja sobre Ch?vez se fue diluyendo sin remedio y nunca se demostr? con solvencia las pruebas de otro fraude (el electr?nico) distinto al descarado ventajismo oficialista. As?, un movimiento nacional que aparec?a unido, movilizado (recordar las multitudinarias marchas) y listo para cobrar su victoria con creces, se redujo en una proporci?n suficiente como para que Ch?vez ganara con comodidad.

El milagro Rosales
Veintiocho meses despu?s la situaci?n pinta de una manera muy distinta y las terribles consecuencias para la oposici?n que signific? la derrota del 15 de agosto, traducidas en desmovilizaci?n, divisi?n, el predominio de posturas derrotistas como el abstencionismo y, sobre todo, la falta de un l?der.
A diferencia de 2004, a principios de 2006 el movimiento opositor aparec?a sumido en una depresi?n insuperable. Por lo menos a corto plazo. Despu?s de la s?bita retirada de las legislativas en diciembre de 2005, cuyo ?nico resultado fue la toma total del Parlamento por el chavismo y a?n en boga las tesis abstencionistas pese al fatal resultado obtenido, los esfuerzos unitarios del llamado "participacionismo", encarnado en tres precandidatos -Rosales, Petkoff y Borges- luc?a como un d?bil intento sin repercusi?n popular. Como si fuera poco, la divisi?n entre abstencionistas y participacionistas, se agravaba por la subdivisi?n, entre estos ?ltimos, algunos de los cuales proclamaban la necesidad de celebrar primarias para elegir el candidato unitario, mientras otros se decantaban por m?todos como las encuestas.

En medio de esa gran confusi?n apareci? la candidatura del Conde del Gu?charo, cuyo objetivo, por una parte, era llenar el vac?o en el cual se debat?a la dirigencia de oposici?n y por el otro morder el electorado chavista descontento con el incumplimiento de las promesas.

La situaci?n no pod?a ser m?s prometedora para las aspiraciones reeleccionistas del Presidente, quien se estaba dando el lujo de dedicarse al frente internacional, seguro de que correr?a solo en la campa?a electoral o, en todo caso, ante varios candidatos debilitados por la dispersi?n y por una cifra abstencionista sin precedentes. La consolidaci?n de la revoluci?n, el avance hacia la reelecci?n indefinida y el sometimiento de los enemigos de la revoluci?n, aparec?an como los frutos poselectorales de 2007.

Sin embargo, de un momento a otro y con una din?mica endiablada, todo comenz? a cambiar. Los participacionistas se acordaron en torno a un candidato y estructuraron una fuerza inicial que resultaba un esperanzador primer paso. Por primera vez en siete a?os insurg?a alguien que pretend?a convertirse, sin ambages, en l?der de la oposici?n. Un l?der pol?tico nato (dirigente estudiantil, concejal, alcalde, gobernador) un profesional que s? sab?a de qu? va la cosa, con nombre, apellido, una obra que mostrar y una peque?a estructura pol?tica regional, entrenada en cuatro contiendas electorales. Un l?der apoyado por Primero Justicia y en poco tiempo por casi todos los partidos de oposici?n.

Sorpresa. Ch?vez se detuvo en Venezuela unos d?as para observar la situaci?n. No se alarm?. Al fin y al cabo la tesis abstencionista, machacada d?a a d?a, hizo mella y la ?nica manera de que Rosales se convirtiera en un candidato de cuidado era que lograra revertir el sentimiento abstencionista. En dos meses lo logr? y ya en septiembre la destartalada m?quinaria opositora aparec?a reparada y los temores de votar, pese a trampas como las captahuellas, se disipaban. Se reconstituy? la unidad, el candidato se concentr? en lo que interesa y dej? a un lado la obsesi?n por las condiciones que, en medio de la adversidad, se han modificado considerablemente.

Mientras tanto, el chavismo se vio obligado a reconsiderar su estrategia, desconcertado por una situaci?n que no estaba en sus planes. Ensay?, entonces, la imagen del Ch?vez amoroso que, en cuesti?n de d?as choc? contra su naturaleza violenta y confrontativa. Aun convencido en una victoria f?cil, Ch?vez se concentra ahora en colocar "piedras fundacionales" e inaugurar obras, como si estuviera comenzando su gobierno y dando muestras de una cierta pereza pol?tica, recorre algunas pocas calles desde las alturas de una carroza. Parece tan seguro de su triunfo que ni se inmuta, mientras Rosales busca descontar la ventaja, toca las puertas de los ni nis y del chavismo descontento, buscando superar la barrera hist?rica de 40% logrado por anteriores candidatos de oposici?n.

?Lo lograr?? ?Lo est? logrando? A juzgar por las impresionantes manifestaciones de apoyo popular, pareciera que s?. El mensaje unificador, la oferta program?tica y la persistencia de un candidato metido de cabeza entre la gente (es el primer l?der de oposici?n que en este siglo visita los barrios) est? convirtiendo lo que parec?a una quimera en una opci?n electoral v?lida y con reales posibilidades.
505  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Fotos de la campa?a de Manuel Rosales on: November 13, 2006, 07:57:39 PM
Fotos de la campa?a de Manuel Rosales

Mas fotos:

Fotos rojo rojito
506  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Rojo rojito por amor al petrodio on: November 13, 2006, 07:53:34 PM
Rojo rojito por amor al petrodio
Por Camilo Ulloa,, 13 de Noviembre de 2006

"Ese video es una muestra de c?mo sembramos el petrodio" (Zapatazos. "El Nacional", 04.11.06, p. A-8). Petrodio-rojo-rojito-arenga pol?tica-a-carajazo-limpio de instigaci?n al delito, que sembr? en las instalaciones de Pdvsa su presidente y a la vez ministro de Energ?a y Petr?leo, Rafael Ram?rez (RR: rojo-rojito). Mientras el rector del CNE, Vicente D?az, calificaba el hecho de "grotesca coacci?n a un grupo de asalariados", la fiscal roja-rojita Luisa Ortega D?az y el vicepresidente rojo-rojito, Jos? Vicente Rangel, declaraban que no existe delito en el video de RR. En tanto el candidato unitario opositor Manuel Rosales expresaba "mis respetos a los empleados p?blicos" durante la ?Avalancha! de punta a punta, realizada en Caracas de oeste a este el s?bado 04, Hugo Ch?vez respaldaba, felicitaba y ordenaba a RR: vaya y rep?tales cien veces m?s lo que dijo.

El petrodio-rojo-rojito alcanz? a la propia Fuerza Armada Nacional (FAN), la cual es, seg?n Ch?vez, roja rojita, bolivariana y revolucionaria. Rosales, desde Barquisimeto, donde tuvo lugar una multitudinaria ?Avalancha!, el domingo 05, le contest?: el presidente irrespeta a la FAN al decir que es roja rojita. Adem?s pidi? reunirse con el alto mando militar, reuni?n que es extempor?nea, en opini?n del ministro de la Defensa, general Ra?l Baduel, para quien la FAN es una instituci?n profesional.

En cambio, el comandante de la Guarnici?n Militar del Zulia, general Juan Vicente Paredes, expres? que no tiene problemas en dialogar con Rosales; descart? que la FAN fuese roja rojita; y aclar? que la FAN es garante de la democracia y un organismo institucional apol?tico, seg?n reza el art?culo 328 de la Constituci?n. Pero politizaron a la FAN el almirante Luis Cabrera Aguirre y el vicealmirante Manuel Y?nez Villegas al declarar que son rojos rojitos.

En medio de esta pugna electoral de petrodio-rojo-rojito, el CNE, por unanimidad, acord? abrir una averiguaci?n administrativa contra RR y tambi?n investigar al roj?simo-violento-manipulador-presentador, por el canal 8, del programa-petrodio "La Hojilla", Mario Silva, quien calific? de camaradas (?comunistas?) a los militares.

A su vez, el secretario general de la CTV, Manuel Cova, revel? que gestionan ante la Comisi?n Interamericana de Derechos Humanos protecci?n para los trabajadores del sector p?blico, en especial para los 80.000 de la industria petrolera. Por su parte, el abogado Gonzalo Himiob indic? que fue formalizada la denuncia ante la Fiscal?a aun cuando es roja rojita. Tambi?n har?n la denuncia contra RR ante instancias internacionales.

Asimismo, el petrodio-rojo-rojito petrodolariza millonariamente a encuestadoras rojas-rojitas para que fabricaran encuestas que favorecieran a Hugo Ch?vez, ignorando, ex profeso, los r?os de gente opositora en la calle (que es la mejor encuesta) frente a las "escu?lidas" "mareas rojas", con el aut?crata montado en una carroza.

El r?gimen-rojo-rojito tiembla ante el ascenso del candidato opositor (seg?n la encuesta Eugenio Escuela, para el s?bado 04, la intenci?n del voto era de 48% para Rosales y 46% para Ch?vez) y radicaliza el petrodio con sabotajes electorales: el Metro cerr? sus puertas al finalizar la caminata de punta a punta, a diferencia de lo que ocurre durante los actos oficialistas cuando el servicio es gratuito. La Guardia Nacional impidi? a Globovisi?n el uso de las microondas, lo cual afect? la transmisi?n en vivo de la llegada de Manuel Rosales al estadio Universitario, donde fue ovacionado durante un partido de b?isbol (Rosales dio jonr?n con las bases llenas. Mancheta de "El Nacional", 09.11.06, p. A-8).

Mientras tanto, Pdvsa es roja-rojita porque se convirti? en guarimba chavista (monse?or Roberto L?ckert). Mientras tanto, las palabras de los rojos rojitos Rangel y Ram?rez son la expresi?n de una implacable estrategia desestabilizadora del r?gimen (Armando Dur?n). En tanto, Venezuela es roja rojita porque es el segundo pa?s m?s corrupto del continente, seg?n Transparencia Internacional.
507  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Representaci?n del PP espa?ol no fue recibida por el pleno del CNE on: November 07, 2006, 06:04:49 PM
Representaci?n del PP espa?ol no fue recibida por el pleno del CNE

La representaci?n del Partido Popular espa?ol no fue recibida por el directorio del Consejo Nacional Electoral durante su visita al organismo. El vocero de la delegaci?n, Jaime Mayor Oreja, inform? que la presidenta del CNE, Tibisay Lucena, no estuvo presente en la visita que realizaron, pero expres? que no se sent?an ofendidos por este hecho.

El representante del Partido Popular espa?ol y eurodiputado? asegur? que Venezuela requiere una ?amplia, nutrida y profunda observaci?n internacional? porque vive una encrucijada por la libertad. En su opini?n, hace falta ?m?s que nunca? estar pendiente de un proceso que tiene ?muy poco de democr?tico?.
El exministro de Relaciones Interiores de Espa?a dijo que Europa no puede estar al margen y en Venezuela no existe una situaci?n normal.
Jaime Mar?a Mayor Oreja se?al? que tiene un prejuicio con el actual proceso de nuestro pa?s porque coincide con muchos venezolanos, aunque tiene cuidado de no inmiscuirse en asuntos internos.
El vocero del PP dijo que est? m?s preocupado por la campa?a que por los aspectos t?cnicos, porque el Presidente exprese que permanecer? en el cargo hasta el 2021 y que la Fuerza Armada es ?roja, rojita?.
El eurodiputado manifest? que tiene la sensaci?n de que en Venezuela se trata de anular al adversario con un lenguaje de odio y no cree en? el amor en los t?rminos que ha escuchado por parte de algunos sectores aqu?.
El ex ministro espa?ol afirm? que conoci? al Presidente Ch?vez antes y no era como ahora, que ha habido un cambio en ?l y ?hoy nos produce dolor ver c?mo se conduce en el ejercicio democr?tico?.
En su opini?n, el Jefe de Estado est? traspasando lo que un gobernante democr?tico puede hacer y al soluci?n est? en las urnas, en las elecciones. ?Venezuela no puede ser arrollada por los autoritarios?, dijo.
El representante del PP se?al? que los espa?oles que viven en Venezuela coinciden en el temor, en la angustia y el miedo por lo que pueda pasar.
Considera que ha habido ya una gran victoria en Venezuela antes del 3 de diciembre porque la oposici?n tiene un candidato ?nico y eso es un ?xito y merece una felicitaci?n. Indic? que despu?s de las elecciones presidenciales, sea cual sea el resultado, vendr? otra etapa.
El eurodiputado sostuvo que el proceso que vive Venezuela est? condenado al fracaso, m?s r?pido de lo que se piensa, y que habr? democracia.
Jaime Mar?a Mayor Oreja se reunir? este martes con la directiva del CNE.

Globovisi?n    Publicado el 07-11-2006
508  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Avalancha en Carcas on: November 05, 2006, 03:11:50 PM
Tengo casi un mes que no escribo porque por estas partes no hab?a nada realmente contundente que informar. Chavez perdi? su sue?o de poder hostigar al imperio desde el Consejo de Seguridad de la NNUU. Bi?n se lo merece por el idiota discurso con olor de azufre.

En Caracas el Ministro de Energ?a y Petr?leo viola la Constituci?n Bolivariana en p?blico y grabado en video adem?s.

Video parte 1 y Video parte 1

Mientras tanto los caraque?os se avalanchan a la calle en pro de Manuel Rosales. Voy a permitir que las fotos hablen por si solas. Se estima que desde el a?o 2002 la oposici?n no hab?a logrado tal multitud.

Las elecciones son el 3 de diciembre. Tengo la esperanza que el pueblo defienda su voto ya que seguramente el gobierno tratar? de rob?rselas de nuevo.
509  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Peru on: November 05, 2006, 02:54:28 PM
Primero desacreditaron a Hugo
Ch?vez y lo convirtieron en el mism?simo demonio

Hugo se convirti? en satan?s solito. ?Acaso no lo viste en la NNUU dando ese discurso con olor de azufre?

Por cierto, en las NNUU tampoco lo quieren y por eso lo derrotaron en su ambici?n de coseguir un puesto en el Consejo de Seguridad.

Por lo visto la clase media peruana tiene mas inteligencia de la que tu le atribuyes, no es que Alan Garc?a sea ning?n santo. Smiley.
510  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / South African reporter banned for being Jewish on: October 27, 2006, 05:48:26 AM
Oct. 26, 2006 23:47 | Updated Oct. 27, 2006 11:46
SA reporter banned for being Jewish
Jerusalem Post
The head of news at the state-owned South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has been accused of acting arbitrarily in unofficially blacklisting eight journalists and commentators. Among the banned journalists is Israel-based freelancer Paula Slier, a Jerusalem Post contributor, who has been barred from reporting because she is a Jew.

SABC management set up a commission under former SABC head Zwelakhe Sisulu and advocate Gilbert Marcus - after complaints about a ruling, allegedly by news head Snuki Zikalala, that certain commentators and analysts not be used because they were critical of South African President Thabo Mbeki.

The commission, which has now released its findings, said AM Live anchor John Perlman was right when he had said that blacklisting of commentators and analysts was happening "by instruction."

Zikalala ordered an outright ban on reports from Slier because, the commission found, he assumed that since Slier was Jewish she supported Israel.

Zikalala admits to supporting the PLO and justified his ban on Slier, who used to report regularly for the SABC until barred in 2004, by calling the conflict in the Middle East a "Jewish war" and saying the corporation needed someone who was "impartial."

But the commission ruled that Slier's reports were impartial and that the ban was in direct conflict with SABC's policies and bylaws.

Zikalala and Perlman have now been instructed to submit statements explaining their actions to a disciplinary hearing.

Here, in a very personal account of her journalistic motivations and experiences, including with the SABC, Slier laments the growing conformism and culture of censorship in South Africa today:

"I couldn't hear the presenter's question as Kassam rockets had started to explode around me. As she asked again what was happening, a rocket landed just 80 meters behind me. A column of dust filled the television frame and smoke choked my lungs. "I was reporting live from the Israel-Gaza border for Russia Today, a 24-hour English-language TV news channel for which I am the Middle East correspondent. Gilad Shalit had just been kidnapped.

"Two weeks later, Hizbullah had kidnapped two other soldiers and I reported under fire again, this time from the Israel-Lebanon border. In flak jacket and helmet, I went live in front of a closed military zone. It was unnerving during one television report when a dozen or so Katyushas flew over my head, slamming into Kiryat Shmona just in front of me. Then too, the anchor's question faded amid the whistle of missiles and the roar of artillery. Such is the job of the journalist - people were diving for safety while we headed the other way for the story.

"Edward R. Murrow, the legendary broadcaster, once said about television: 'This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it is merely wires and lights in a box. There is a great and perhaps decisive battle to be fought against ignorance, intolerance and indifference.'

"These words are among the reasons I became a journalist and I feel the fight is as important now as it ever was. When I reflect on the kind of journalist I aspire to be, and the caliber of other journalists working here in the Middle East, I'm saddened that for my former bosses at the South African Broadcasting Corporation, hard work, dedication, a commitment to truth and a striving for objectivity are not among the criteria of good journalism.

"SABC is South Africa's national public service broadcaster. Its mandate is to provide free, fair and accurate programming. Through its radio and television channels it broadcasts in 11 languages to more than 30 million people. It's a sad day when the head of news and current affairs of the biggest broadcaster in a land with so many freedoms has become notorious for destroying them.

"Snuki Zikalala is quoted in the SABC inquiry report as saying, 'From the movement where I come from we support the PLO... You can't undermine the Palestinian struggle, you can't. For me it's a principle issue.'

"Zikalala describes the conflict in the Middle East as a 'Jewish war' and accuses me of taking sides. His argument, by inference, is that because I'm Jewish I automatically support the policies of the State of Israel without question, which is simply untrue.

"The situation came to a head in November 2004 when then-PLO chairman Yassir Arafat was dying. I was reporting for SABC as a freelancer in Ramallah - I had since left the corporation where I'd been a senior news reporter and anchor for several years. I was covering the story hourly when suddenly I was told my services would no longer be needed. No explanation was given.

"The inquiry found that Zikalala's direct instruction not to use my reports from the Middle East 'because of alleged bias' was 'improper and against SABC policy.'

"Furthermore, it found that his position was 'motivated by a political position... which has no place whatsoever in a public broadcaster.'
"Encouraging words, but it's alarming that they are said about the chief whip of SABC news.

"Like all professional journalists, my faith remains in the distant reaches of my mind and is nowhere to be found when I am reporting. Everybody carries personal baggage, but it is the job of the professional journalist to move beyond it.

"Over the years my reports have drawn equal criticism from both Jews and Muslims in South Africa - in that I am happy that like the great journalists who are accused by politicians of being right wing and left wing at the same time, I belong to no one. It's ludicrous to say that because a journalist has a certain background they cannot report on a particular subject. Eventually you reach the point where you say that only a particular race can cover a particular story, that a white person shouldn't write about Africa or an Arab about Israel.

"Perhaps the biggest irony of all is that I am now working for Russia - once one of the world's greatest censors - and yet I am free to report on whatever I see fit without fear or favor.

"Russia Today is a state-controlled channel, but it is freer than the SABC. The major difference between pre-1990 Moscow and the Johannesburg of 2006 is that back in the USSR the censorship and the muzzling was backed up by a secret police who had labor camps instead of a public service mandate. At least in communist Russia, the lack of political freedom could be blamed on torture, intimidation and the boot.

"Today, in a South Africa that basks in freedom, employees are scared to speak the truth for fear of becoming sidelined, and so-called journalists take hollow pride in groveling in the footsteps of politicians. There's no excuse for that."

511  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Middle East: War, Peace, and SNAFU, TARFU, and FUBAR on: October 18, 2006, 01:41:59 PM
I'm starting a new thread instead of adding this post to the WWIII thread because I think the Middle East is complex enough to warrant it without including worries about North Korean nukes and South American devils.

As I was reading the news I was thinking that war in the Middle East was just a question of time. What I find troubling is that many European countries are aiding and abetting the Islamist: France threatened to fire on the IAF, Italy wants to sell anti aircraft batteries to Lebanon to shoot down IAF planes, Russia (Putin) continues to help Iran. It would seem that Israel can only count on the US and Britain as allies and I have my doubts about Britain at times.

Right On: The coming Middle East war
The Jerusalem Post

The warning signs are everywhere, yet no one wishes to see them. Israel's foes are gearing up for war, and it's time that we opened our eyes to the danger that confronts us.

The conflict may be just weeks or even months away, or perhaps a bit longer. How it will start is anyone's guess, but make no mistake, a major outbreak of hostilities is almost certainly around the corner.

If this sounds like scare-mongering or even an advanced case of paranoia to you, just take a glance at the newspapers from the past few weeks. If you read them with a discerning eye, you will see exactly what I mean.

For whichever direction one chooses to look, be it north, south or east of us, trouble - major trouble - is brewing.

In Lebanon, Hizbullah is busy rebuilding its expansive terrorist infrastructure after this summer's fighting with Israel. Under the protective shield of UN troops, the group has been welcoming large shipments of weapons from Iran and Syria, and fortifying its bunkers in advance of the next round of conflict.

In a speech delivered last month in Beirut, on September 22, Hizbullah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah asserted that his organization still has "more than 20,000 rockets" and that it had "recovered all its organizational and military capabilities."

Even if we allow for an element of boasting and exaggeration, there are clear signs that Nasrallah is steadily engaged in rebuilding his forces.

Indeed, this past Sunday, Brig.-Gen. Yossi Baidatz, head of the IDF intelligence directorate's research department, told the weekly Cabinet meeting that, "There is conclusive and decisive evidence" that Syria is rearming Hizbullah.

"The weapons smuggling from Syria into Lebanon," Baidatz said, "is continuing with official Syrian involvement." He added that Damascus has kept its forces on a war footing, with their artillery and missiles deployed in forward battle positions.

Along these lines, Syrian President Bashar Assad has made a series of public statements in recent weeks, speaking openly about the possibility of military conflict with Israel and his desire to retake the Golan Heights by force.

In an interview with the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Anba on October 6, Assad said that Damascus was ready for war with the Jewish state. Previously, he insisted that the Golan would be "liberated by Syrian arms," and warned Israel to "seek peace or face the threat of defeat."

TURNING SOUTH toward Gaza, the situation is likewise disturbing. Palestinian terrorists continue to fire Kassam rockets into the Negev on a daily basis, hitting Israeli towns and communities such as Sderot and Nir Am.

Since the start of the year, Hamas is said to have smuggled into Gaza over 20 tons of explosives, anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles. According to media reports, Hamas has also assembled an armed military force consisting of 7,500 fighters, which is said to include specialized units such as snipers, missile batteries and anti-tank troops.

As Yediot Aharonot military correspondent Alex Fishman recently put it, "The Palestinians are arming themselves to the teeth, building a military force, defensive systems and preparing Hizbullah-style surprises."

Nor is Hamas hiding its intentions. In a statement issued on Monday, the group's Izzadin al-Kassam brigades declared that it has the "means and arms necessary to confront the Zionist enemy with all our force."

Saying they are "totally ready to resist," Hamas added somewhat ominously that, "We have finished preparations to teach the Zionist enemy a lesson it will not forget."

And then, of course, there is the threat from Teheran to our east, where the Iranian president speaks of wiping Israel off the map even as he continues to pursue his nuclear ambitions.

If anyone thinks that Mr. Ahmadinejad is open to compromise, they should take a look at his latest ramblings. Speaking at a mosque in Teheran on Monday, the Iranian leader insisted that he had received a Divine message indicating that his country would prevail. "One day," he said, "I will be asked whether I have been in touch with someone who told me we would win, and I will respond: 'Yes, I have been in touch with God'."

As if all this were not enough, there have been persistent reports in recent months about a growing al-Qaida presence in the territories, as the international terrorist group seeks to position itself for launching strikes against the Jewish state.

And so, Israel now finds itself surrounded by an arc of hate stretching from Beirut and Damascus in the north, to Teheran in the east, and back to Gaza in the south. Along each chord of this arc, our foes are diligently arming themselves and preparing for battle, both verbally and in practice. It seems safe to assume that these coordinated efforts are no coincidence, and that they are all linked to the seemingly inevitable confrontation that is looming over the region regarding Iran's nuclear program.

Just as Iran sought to send a message to Israel and the US this summer by provoking an outbreak of hostilities in Lebanon, so too Teheran now appears determined to lay the groundwork for a much greater, and far more ambitious, flare-up, one that would threaten to consume the entire region. The Iranians presumably view this as their trump card, thinking that it will give them the means of forestalling a possible US or Israeli attack on their nuclear facilities.

As a result, they have been working to strengthen the extremists throughout the region, who share their desire to hit America and Israel. In all probability, they are merely waiting for the opportune moment with which to set in motion the next provocative act, which will be aimed at igniting the entire Middle East.

HOW SHOULD Israel react to this growing threat? First, we must learn the lesson of this summer's Lebanon war, which was disastrous precisely because we sat back and allowed our enemies to build up their military infrastructure over time.

Instead of making this same mistake once again, Israel should take whatever steps are necessary to interdict weapons shipments to the terrorists, seal off their supply routes, and hit hard at those who are sending them the weapons in the first place.

Second, the government needs to begin seriously contemplating the possibility of launching preemptive and wide-ranging military strikes. Our foes are openly preparing for war, so why should we allow them the luxury to choose when it starts?

Passivity and indecisiveness cost us dearly in the past, and especially in Lebanon this summer. We can not allow ourselves to play by the enemy's rules, or even by his schedule, should this scenario once again come to pass.

I truly hope that I am wrong, and that diplomacy and common sense will somehow prevail. The last thing Israel needs right now is another painful conflict, and we should all pray to God for His mercy and intervention.

But as in the past, our enemies may leave us with no other choice but to fight. This time around, let's just make sure we are ready for the challenge.
512  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Will you help these people? on: October 09, 2006, 03:38:24 PM
Will you help these people?

I have heard baseless rumors as to the death of fidel, or at least as to his aliveness haunting some hospital ward. Who cares if you can cut his real life line? That is right, by helping the people below you can actually help hasten the demise of the Cuban regime by removing from office in Venezuela huguito, the guy that fidel has been pimping for about 7 years now.

Click to enlarge

This past Saturday Rosales launched his Caracas campaign to unseat Chavez and it was a success. Not yet perhaps the huge marches of the 2003-2004 protests, but after 2 years of anesthesia, internal dissension, Chavez abuses of power, buying votes and what not, the Venezuelan opposition has started putting its shit together and is mounting an electoral bid that few would have believed possible a mere three months ago.

This picture is far from the main stage, at the crossing of Los Jabillos and Libertador, and was sent to me by a reader of my blog. I thought that it had a ?je ne sais quoi? of Miami block party flair and I decided to give it to Babalu?s readers. Yes, I want Babalu readers to take some more active action to unseat Chavez because, well, that is the best way to speed up the end of Cuba as we know it. You can do all sorts of things, from giving money to the Rosales campaign (I am not too sure how you can do that from Miami but there is already enough of a Venezuelan exile there that you could figure out a way), to haunt pro Chavez pages, to attend elections at the Venezuelan consulate to show support for those who will go an vote there on December 3, and all sorts of things that creative readers of Babalu can do. OK, so it is a crass appeal, but what else can you do right now besides waiting for his aliveness to kick the bed-pan once and for all?

Meanwhile if you want to read more about the Saturday event in Caracas you can go here, here and here, and you can read how the Rosales campaign is shaping here and at Vcrisis, where for the first time in Venezuelan history a blogger, Alek Boyd, is allowed close to a major candidate in a Venezuelan election. On the other hand you can also read about the creativity in huguito campaign here.

Posted by DanielD at October 9, 2006 11:37 AM
513  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / In Venezuela: the poor find a new candidate who looks like them on: October 09, 2006, 03:06:46 PM
In Venezuela: the poor find a new candidate who looks like them

By Gustavo Coronel

October 10, 2006

Caracas 07.10.06 | Libertador Avenue in Caracas was flooded with people rallying for the new national candidate Manuel Rosales. When he started speaking at noon, there were well over 100,000 people in the several miles long avenue and more kept coming. Italo Luongo, an analyst who is an expert at estimating attendance, spoke of about 200,000 people while polling expert V?ctor Manuel Garc?a estimated upwards of 340,000 people, a crowd that the opposition to the regime of Hugo Ch?vez had not been able to gather since the controversial presidential recall referendum of 2004.


Venezuela is a country that, in spite of having significant oil income, has fallen to levels of under-development and poverty close to Haiti and Zimbabwe and very far from Chile and South Korea, to name only two countries that were below Venezuela's international social and economic rankings in the 1970's. Venezuela's social and economic decline has accelerated in the last eight years, under the tenure of Hugo Ch?vez, due to his extreme ineptness in the management of the national wealth, to the high levels of corruption existing among his collaborators and to his interest in becoming a global revolutionary leader while neglecting domestic problems and needs.


Hugo Ch?vez won the presidency in 1998 on the strength of two main factors: one, his electoral promises and, two, the fact that he looked and talked like the majority of Venezuelans. His adversary, Henrique Salas-R?mer, although much more capable than Ch?vez, was defeated because he did not look or talk like the majority of Venezuelans. He was blonde, blue-eyed and a Yale graduate. He came across almost as an alien to vast sectors of the largely poor and ignorant Venezuelan population. Although I am no sociologist I have come to the conclusion that, in today's Venezuela, the look and cultural baggage of a presidential candidate is more important than his message or administrative experience. This is unfortunate since it limits the presidential possibilities of some of our best people, a fact that has to be taken into account. This particular component of our political equation was determinant in Ch?vez's victory in 1998. The majority saw in him someone who looked like them, spoke like them and, therefore, must have had their best interests in mind. They were wrong. Hugo Ch?vez proved to be a man of tyrannical tendencies, developing quickly an oversized ego, what Venezuelan psychologists such as Doctors Robert Lespinasse, Luis Jose Uzcategui and Franz Delgado Sr. (president of the Venezuelan Association of Psychiatrists), have called a narcissistic personality. Both Delgado Sr. and Dr. Mar?a Cristina Ortega, another Venezuelan psychiatrist, have defined Ch?vez as a sociopath. ("Ch?vez, la mascara de la cordura," Mar?a Cristina Ortega,, June 7, 2006). As a sociopath Ch?vez exhibits disdain for norms and values; lack of sensibility and empathy; inability to learn from his experiences; lack of stable affective links; a low threshold for tolerance; reactions of cholera when his desires are not complied with; hate and feelings of revenge; aggressiveness and tendency to place himself above the law. Aided by record oil income Hugo Ch?vez has developed grandiose aspirations of hemispheric dominance and is trying to create a global anti-U.S. coalition. In these efforts he has spent or committed no less than US$25 billion of Venezuelan money that could have been much better used to alleviate poverty and ignorance in our country. As result of eight years of this tragically inept performance Hugo Ch?vez is no longer perceived as a genuine voice for the poor by many Venezuelans who voted for him in 1998. His alignment with Fidel Castro, Mugabe, Ahmadinejad, Assad, the Colombian narcoterrorists, Hezbollah and Kim Jong-il, have disappointed and alienated millions of democracy-loving Venezuelans.

Enter Manuel Rosales

Early this year the opposition to Hugo Ch?vez started talking about a unified candidate to face Ch?vez on December 3rd of this year. Several possibilities came up and, finally, they agreed on backing the Governor of the State of Zulia, Manuel Rosales. I do not know what led to this selection but it could not have been better. Rosales is a Venezuelan mestizo, who looks like the majority of Venezuelans and who speaks the language of the majority. It is important to distinguish between plain language and gross language. Hugo Ch?vez speaks in a very obscene and aggressive manner. Rosales speaks so that all Venezuelans can understand him but he is not vulgar, he does not use machista expressions and he does not base his message in insults but in rational appeals to collective progress. His speech is all-inclusive; he does not discriminate between poor and rich.


Manuel Rosales exhibits some other features that appeal to the Venezuelan poor and to the middle-class alike. In the first place he is a former member of Acci?n Democr?tica (AD), a party that has had a profound influence on social and political Venezuelan life. AD is the party of Romulo Betancourt, the father of Venezuelan modern democracy, of Romulo Gallegos, the most beloved Venezuelan novelist and of Raul Leoni, a respected former president. This party also had less desirable representatives, such as Jaime Lusinchi, but it is said in Venezuela "all Venezuelans are adecos (AD followers) at heart." In fact, the 1998 electoral victory of Hugo Ch?vez was possible due to the vote of thousands of AD members, who saw Ch?vez as one of them. Now this group is looking to Rosales as the person who best seems to support their hopes and expectations. Also to Rosales' benefit is the fact that he is a winner. He has defeated Ch?vez twice already in his native State of Zulia and Ch?vez is actually afraid of him. Rosales is now capitalizing the immense failures of the Hugo Ch?vez regime, the superficiality of Ch?vez's social programs that are based on handouts. The Venezuelan people now realize that these handouts are only a temporary solution. In a very intelligent campaign, so far, Rosales is emphasizing the contact with the poor, knowing that the middle-class is almost unanimously behind him. He is hammering away at Ch?vez's failures in the barrios (slums) and in the impoverished Venezuelan interior and seems to have taken the initiative away from a Ch?vez who seems paralyzed by his increasing fear of failure. Ch?vez now realizes that he has neglected his own people in his efforts to become a new World leader. He is realizing, a bit late, that unless a leader can bring progress and peace to his/her own people he, she cannot hope to make a permanent impact in World politics. How can Ch?vez pretend to be followed by foreign countries if he is not capable of maintaining the most basic facilities in our Venezuelan hospitals, schools and general infrastructure?


 What will the December Elections look like?

1. Expect no transparency.

I will not attempt to make a specific prediction for the elections of December 3rd. I think there is no real need for that. As the song goes: Que sera, sera?.


I should highlight, however, that the elections will not be transparent. Ch?vez has installed a National Electoral Council Board that is totally (4-vs-1) subservient to him. Ch?vez has contracted a highly suspect company, Smartmatic to supply the electronic voting machines. Ch?vez followers who were given a rigged contract for US$100 million to provide the voting machines own Smartmatic. The electoral roll is deeply flawed, showing enormous irregularities that have been exposed in shocking detail. The Venezuelan opposition will have to go to vote under very heavy odds. Venezuelans now know that Hugo Ch?vez is not going to accept an unfavorable electoral outcome. This is a contingency he has been getting ready for. He has been buying small arms, arming and training people, claiming that his enemies want to assassinate him and that the U.S. wants to invade Venezuela. He is laying the grounds for a violent takeover, if the people vote against him.


2. The Venezuelan people will probably be ready to defend their vote.


Unless I am totally mistaken about my people, Venezuelans will not be willing to roll over and play dead this time around. There is an ample knowledge in Venezuela of the fraudulent ways of the National Electoral Council and Venezuelans will not accept this situation any longer. Unless international observers come to Venezuela in force and pressure the regime into transparency and the automated results are validated by manual, statistically meaningful confirmation, Venezuelans will not accept passively fraudulent results. This time there will be widespread protest, probably including a national strike. The Venezuelan military will be forced to decide between becoming a shameful political tool and demanding transparent electoral results.


3. Even if the opposition loses the December elections in a transparent fashion, Ch?vez will lose his capability to do as he pleases in Venezuela.


As of this writing, a good half of the Venezuelan nation opposes Hugo Ch?vez. In a transparent electoral environment he has a good chance of losing. But even if he wins his drive to convert Venezuela into another Cuba should be permanently stalled. Even the poorest of Venezuelans know that Cuban society is in much worse situation than they are, in terms of freedom and democracy. Cubans live a life of food rationing and of sad political tyranny that Venezuelans will be reluctant to accept. If the opposition to Ch?vez makes a stand in public action and in the Venezuelan Congress, Ch?vez is finished. With the death of Fidel, his mentor will be gone. Who will guide him then?


 Rosales is giving Venezuela a welcome answer to Ch?vez

Rosales is not a political messiah. He is a typical Venezuelan democratic politician, like the ones that emerged during the last 50 years of Venezuelan democratic rule. He is not a genius; there is no need for one. He is not a fanatic, thank God. He is not mentally unstable. He is a hard working, Venezuelan mestizo, who wants to do good for his people. In the context of a rather small, modest, society like the one we truly are, I find Manuel Rosales a true messenger of the role Venezuela can be expected to play in World affairs. We want to be a democratic, progressive country. We want to forget the illusions of stupid grandeur that a vulgar and ignorant madman has brought to our lives and live in peace and happiness. Rosales can walk together with us along that path.
514  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Ch?vez sufri? masiva marcha a poco de las elecciones on: October 09, 2006, 12:21:52 AM
Ch?vez sufri? masiva marcha a poco de las elecciones

En el marco de la protesta y a menos de dos meses de las elecciones presidenciales, el principal opositor, Manuel Rosales, se refiri? al bolivariano como "t?tere del sistema comunista y totalitario que tiene preso a Cuba"

(EFE).- El principal candidato de la oposici?n a la Presidencia de Venezuela, Manuel Rosales, dijo ayer que su pa?s es gobernado actualmente por Cuba, algo que prometi? que se acabar? si ?l gana las elecciones del pr?ximo 3 de diciembre.

"El tipo", como nombr? al actual presidente y candidato a la reelecci?n, Hugo Ch?vez, "es un t?tere del sistema comunista y totalitario que tiene preso al pueblo de Cuba", y son ciudadanos de ese pa?s quienes hoy dirigen los destinos de los venezolanos, "y eso se va a acabar", manifest? Rosales en un mit?n en Caracas.

Sin ofrecer un c?lculo del n?mero de personas que particip? en la multitudinaria manifestaci?n celebrada en una zona del centro-oeste de la capital, alimentada de marchas simult?neas, Rosales exhort? "a los r?os y r?os de venezolanos que colmaron las calles en esta verdadera avalancha" a prepararse para gobernar sin revanchismos.

"Si alguien tiene alguna factura, que la bote", remarc? al descartar represalias contra los "chavistas", quienes han hecho un gobierno "muy malo que se tiene que ir el pr?ximo diciembre", dijo, aunque a la par pidi? a sus seguidores "no ser triunfalistas".

Reiter? sin embargo su confianza en que el 3 de diciembre "le vamos a dar un revolc?n" a las pretensiones de reelecci?n de Ch?vez, e insisti? en que la "actual encrucijada" de Venezuela es mantener el tutelaje cubano o liberarse de ello.

"No es tiempo de doblar las rodillas ni de esconderse (...); es el tiempo de la calle, de la lucha, de la victoria", a?adi?, y remarc? que las elecciones "van a estar cuidadas por dos ej?rcitos: el pueblo y la Fuerza Armada" y "cuando se anuncie mi victoria (...) voy a decretar la noche del gran abrazo de todos los venezolanos".

Por el contrario, si Ch?vez resulta ganador, como vaticinaron las encuestas difundidas el mes pasado y que a?n no se han actualizado, el gobierno "nos dir? c?mo vestirnos, nos van a racionar la comida y nos van a cercenar la libertad", advirti? Rosales.

Ello ser? m?s evidente en el sistema educativo, previ?, porque "a partir del pr?ximo a?o van a ideologizar a nuestros hijos (...), van a hablarle en los colegios y en las escuelas de ideolog?a y pol?tica, de Marx y del comunismo, de la guerrilla, de la muerte, de la violencia, y eso no lo vamos a permitir".

Tambi?n destac? que Venezuela est? entre los pa?ses "m?s ricos del mundo", pero que "tiene un gobierno rico y un pueblo pobre" y que dos de cada tres venezolanos est?n sin empleo o forman parte de la llamada econom?a informal.

Desde que Ch?vez lleg? al poder, en 1999, Venezuela ha recibido por exportaciones de petr?leo 400.000 millones de d?lares, "y sin embargo tenemos desempleados", dijo, y renov? su oferta de entregar en efectivo el equivalente a entre 280 y 465 d?lares mensuales a cada una de las familias "de clase media y del sector popular".

Tambi?n neg? cifras oficiales que aseguran que la producci?n petrolera es de 3,4 millones de barriles diarios y asegur? que llega a un m?ximo de 1,1 millones y que buena parte "la andan regalando".

"En mi gobierno, ni un d?lar, ni un barril" de regalo para nadie, remarc?, e insisti? en que su oferta electoral apunta a entregar una quinta parte de la renta petrolera directamente a sus conciudadanos, a trav?s de una tarjeta bancaria.

Mas fotos:
515  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Venezuela 1998 - 2005 on: October 06, 2006, 07:24:51 PM
Venezuela 1998 - 2005

Un video
516  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Aznar considera que la pol?tica de Ch?vez es "una amenaza" on: October 05, 2006, 07:48:51 PM
Aznar considera que la pol?tica de Ch?vez es "una amenaza"

Santiago de Chile.- El ex presidente del gobierno espa?ol Jos? Mar?a Aznar, quien visita Chile, afirm? que la pol?tica del presidente Hugo Ch?vez "es una amenaza" para Latinoam?rica y sostuvo que Hitler y Osama Bin Laden "son muy parecidos" entre s?.

En una entrevista que publica hoy el diario chileno "El Mercurio" y fue rese?ada por Efe, Aznar piensa que actualmente hay tres fen?menos preocupantes.

El primero es lo que llama "el islamofascismo" que define como "la mayor amenaza que tiene el mundo" y al que define como "la ideolog?a que alimenta al terrorismo".

"Lo que es seguro es que un Islam radical, fundamentalista, le ha declarado la guerra a occidente. Hitler y Bin Laden son muy parecidos".

Los otros dos fen?menos se dan en Latinoam?rica y son, seg?n el pol?tico del Partido Popular espa?ol (PP), "el populismo excluyente y radical, que pretende construir una especie de socialismo real, nuevo, con ra?ces cubanas, y cierto indigenismo basado en criterios ?tnicos que recuerda el nacionalismo excluyente".

Respecto del presidente de Venezuela, Aznar precis? que "la deriva populista excluyente, radical, basada en el castrismo del presidente Ch?vez me parece una amenaza peligrosa para la regi?n".

Tambi?n advirti? sobre el peligro de que aumente la distancia econ?mica entre el mundo desarrollado e Iberoam?rica y que se produzca una divisi?n entre los pa?ses dispuestos por la econom?a de mercado y los que se inclinan por modelos populistas.

Jos? Mar?a Aznar lleg? a Santiago ayer mi?rcoles, cuando fue recibido por la presidenta Michelle Bachelet y se reuni? con el presidente del Senado y ex presidente de Chile, Eduardo Frei.

En unas breves declaraciones a los periodistas al final de estas reuniones, Aznar dijo que "est? retirado de la pol?tica".

Para este jueves tiene prevista la investidura como doctor honoris causa por la universidad privada "Andr?s Bello", adem?s de una serie de reuniones con pol?ticos de diversos sectores.
517  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Cadena de tiendas 7-Eleven deja de comprar gasolina a Citgo on: September 28, 2006, 09:50:53 PM
7 Eleven rechaz? opiniones de Ch?vez

Houston.- La cadena de tiendas 7 Eleven asumi? una posici?n contraria ante los comentarios "despectivos" que el presidente Ch?vez realiz? ante la Organizaci?n de Naciones Unidas e indic? que busca otro suplidor de gasolina distinto a Citgo, filial de Pdvsa, por lo que negocia con Tower Energy, Sinclair Oil y Houston Frontier Oil.

La vocera de 7 Eleven, Margaret Chabris, dijo que "comprendemos el sentimiento de muchos estadounidenses ante los comentarios sobre nuestro pa?s y su liderazgo, que formul? recientemente el presidente venezolano Hugo Ch?vez", destac? AP. El mandatario calific? como "el diablo" a su par, George W. Bush.

Se?al? tambi?n que el boicot que han propuesto algunas organizaciones estadounidenses a las ventas de Citgo perjudicar? a los 4 mil empleados de la filial que no tienen relaci?n con Venezuela.

Citgo inform? hace m?s de dos meses que reducir?a la provisi?n de combustibles a parte de las 14 mil estaciones que abandera en EEUU. En esa ocasi?n, la casa matriz anunci? que el contrato con 7 Eleven no ser?a renovado. En un comunicado, Citgo se?al? ayer que el contrato "no escajaba" en su estrategia de balancear las ventas con la producci?n. "Les deseamos lo mejor", dijo Alan Flagg, gerente general de mercadeo de crudos ligeros.
518  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Despierten on: September 28, 2006, 05:09:30 PM

por Ana Julia Jatar | 25/09/2006 | 06:04:38 am | D?a a D?a

La verdad es que las barbaridades que ha dicho nuestro Presidente en Estados Unidos nos confirman que para ?l, eso de preocuparse por el desempleo, la inseguridad, la inflaci?n, y la vivienda de los venezolanos, eso, ya le qued? muy peque?o. Esas angustias las tendremos que enfrentar nosotros y el candidato Manuel Rosales, porque lo que es ?l, anda muy ocupado por ah? salvando a otros pueblos incluido el estadounidense al que le ha pedido que "despierte" y que elija un mejor presidente.

A esta ins?lita intromisi?n en sus asuntos internos, los estadounidenses, dem?cratas y republicanos por igual, han cerrado filas para defender a su presidente. Hay que darle una significaci?n especial a la reacci?n del congresista dem?crata de Nueva York Charles Rangel, quien le dijera a Ch?vez: "Usted no viene a mi pa?s, usted no viene a mi distrito y usted no condena a mi presidente. Si hay alguna cr?tica al presidente Bush, es problema de los americanos si votamos por ?l o no". Le doy gran importancia a estas declaraciones porque son una medida de la falta de c?lculo de Ch?vez.

Charlie Rangel, como lo llaman con afecto muchos, es miembro de la C?mara de Representantes del Congreso estadounidense desde el a?o 1971, y m?s significativo a?n, es cofundador del llamado Black Caucus del congreso. El Black Caucus, fundado en 1969 para agrupar a los congresistas negros o afroamericanos de Estados Unidos, integrado por m?s de 40 congresistas dem?cratas, ha sido quiz?s el mayor defensor que ha tenido el gobierno de Ch?vez en Washington.

A esta expresi?n de tajante rechazo, se le sumaron inmediatamente el dem?crata de Massachussets Bill De La Hunt y el otro representante de Nueva York y ardiente defensor de Ch?vez, tambi?n miembro del Black Caucus, Gregory Meeks.

S?, el Presidente venezolano cometi? un error de c?lculo. Los estadounidenses, que hasta ayer pensaban que Ch?vez era buen tipo tratando de ayudar a los pobres, v?ctima de una oligarqu?a Venezolana ego?sta, ayer aprendieron lo ofensivo, irrespetuoso, grosero e intolerante que es nuestro Presidente. Ha perdido apoyos claves en Washington, Am?rica Latina, Europa y otros continentes.

Si sigue por ese camino, inventando enemigos y "salvando" a otros pueblos del Diablo, seguir? cometiendo errores de c?lculo que lo llevar?n pronto a su derrota pol?tica.

Los reg?menes facistoides como el que tenemos en Venezuela hoy, tal como lo dice el analista Seth Antiles, se caracterizan por utilizar el impulso democr?tico de la gente en una suerte de constante revoluci?n en la b?squeda de utop?as inalcanzables. En esta b?squeda es muy importante, para la perpetuaci?n del r?gimen, la identificaci?n de enemigos, reales e imaginarios, contra los cuales desatar las fuerzas vengativas que galvanicen a la sociedad tras el l?der.

La mezcla de objetivos inalcanzables con enemigos fabricados es la excusa perfecta para mantener a la sociedad en pie de guerra constante y eternizarse en el poder. Pero esa misma necesidad los lleva, tal como le ha venido sucediendo a Ch?vez en Nueva York, a cometer errores de c?lculo, a extralimitarse, a perder la mayor?a y finalmente a caer. ?Por qu??

Porque lo que dice la historia es que las sociedades dejan de creer en el l?der y su popularidad se derrumba en el momento en el cual entienden que ?ste los ha estado enga?ando. Que el camino por el cual los est? llevando no es otro que el de la deshonra y la miseria.

As? le pas? a Hitler y a Mussolini, y eso es lo que ha comenzado a sucederle a Ch?vez. La m?scara del Presidente venezolano se le ha ca?do frente al mundo, ante los l?deres respetuosos del juego democr?tico y sobre todo para su mal, ante sus "hermanos" jefes de Estado que ahora se escabullen para no fotografiarse con ?l.

Ser el ?dolo de Hezbol? y de Cuba no le trae beneficios a Venezuela. Los pleitos de Ch?vez con el mundo le cuestan muy caro a los venezolanos. ?l ya no defiende nuestros intereses. Es hora de que tambi?n los venezolanos despierten y escojan un nuevo presidente, se acerca diciembre.

Publicado en el Diario El Nacional edici?n del d?a 11/09/06 p?g. A/6
519  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / GPO warns press on doctored photos on: September 28, 2006, 11:58:33 AM
GPO warns press on doctored photos

The Government Press Office held a meeting with heads of foreign news agencies earlier this month to protest the doctoring of photographs of the recent Lebanon war and the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians, and warned them that action could be taken against them if this practice continued, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

The director of the Government Press Office, Danny Seaman, told the Post Israel reserved the right to act against any media outlets working out of Israel if they "fail to conduct themselves in a professional manner."

The foreign journalists' coverage of the Lebanon war was discussed, with the meeting focused on doctored photographs used by news agencies, Seaman said.

"This was something new to the world, but we've seen it before," he said. "We expect them to take precautions in the future. If they are not taking the necessary measures to maintain professional standards then we reserve the right to take action against their offices in Israel."

The GPO cannot act directly against foreign press services, but it can make recommendations to the Communications, Foreign and Defense ministries, Seaman said.

The only action taken by the government against the news agencies during the recent war was to send complaints to their main offices.

Seaman spoke of staged photos from the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, such as people standing in front of destroyed homes and falsely claiming ownership and instances in which photographers asked people to "recreate" reported incidents. He also said Palestinian photographers would sometimes tell children to throw rocks or have adults carry children pretending to be injured.

He also referred to photos making damage in Lebanon appear worse than it actually was.

After American Web blogs publicized the doctoring of a Reuters photograph, Reuters put the freelance photographer on leave and removed the photo from its Web site. The photograph showed a smoky, bombed area in southern Beirut. While the area had been hit in IAF air raids, the photographer added billows of smoke and additional damage to buildings using computer-imaging technology.

Reuters said it took the matter seriously and that its policy was not to alter photos.

Seaman said he had met with the bureau chiefs of Reuters, The Associated Press and the Foreign Press Association in his Jerusalem office to discuss actions that he described as "fueling anti-Israel sentiment."

All the bureau chiefs were barred from commenting on the meeting by their organizations.

Speaking on behalf of AP, international editor John Daniszewski said if one of their photographers was caught doctoring photographs, he would be fired immediately.

"I heard about it in regard to the Reuters stringer," he said in a phone interview from New York. I think they're trying to tar everyone with the same brush.

He said both Israelis and Palestinians often criticized the way they were covered, but that the agency had its own "gold standards" of accuracy and fairness to meet.

"It's such a contentious part of the world and other organizations and parties are going to want to pull coverage into one area or another," said Daniszewski. "We try to go straight down the middle. If anyone wants to raise issues, we are always willing to talk about it."
520  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Bush's information offensive on: September 26, 2006, 05:05:52 PM
Our World: Bush's information offensive

During the past week we learned a great deal about the nature of our enemies. We also learned a great deal about ourselves. If we draw the proper lessons from what we have seen we will go far toward winning the war.

With their ghoulish presentations at the UN General Assembly, both Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez made clear their hostile intent, disdain for freedom and their foes, and their fanatical intent to use all murderous means toward their totalitarian ends. The men were so hostile that even their usual apologists in academia and the political Left were too embarrassed to be seen in their company.

The Chavez and Ahmadinejad show ensured that the Bush administration's gamble in permitting the two entry to the United States had paid off. Given a platform, the dictators demonstrated the gravity of the threat they posed, as the administration had doubtless hoped they would.

Yet laying out a gangplank and hoping the enemy will be stupid enough to walk it is hardly a winning strategy in war. The stark reality of the global Islamist jihad and its strong support from European appeasers to third world dictators makes it necessary for the US to enact an information campaign capable of effectively advancing the stated American war aim of destroying jihad as a governing ideology and social force.

The potential for victory in the information warfare arena is great, and the failure of the US to meet this challenge is a great shame.

INFORMATION operations are a vital part of any war effort. They serve four basic purposes: to rally supporters to the rightness of their cause and the wrongness of their enemies cause; to dissuade any potential allies of one's enemies from joining their forces; to gain an ideological foothold in the enemies' society; and to demoralize enemy societies and so convince them that they have no chance of winning the war.

In both the Muslim world and the West, massive Saudi and other Islamist funding of mosques, Islamic schools, Middle East studies departments in universities, and lobbying arms show that jihadists have placed a premium on their information operations. The jihadists' extensive use of the Internet, cassette tapes, DVDs, videotapes and the print and broadcast media in the Muslim world complement these efforts.

The goals of the jihadists are clear. They wish to recruit soldiers. They wish to buy supporters among Western elites who will act as their apologists. They wish to demonize and delegitimize their ideological opponents in both Muslim societies and in the West by calling them apostates or racists. They wish to convince their enemies that there is no way to defeat the forces of jihad.

While massive, these efforts should be easy enough to undermine. For all the billions of dollars the jihadists have spent indoctrinating Muslims and weakening the West's will to fight them, their cause is anything but attractive. The cause of jihad is the cause of totalitarianism. It is the cause of hatred, misogyny, bigotry, mass murder, slavery, barbarism and humiliation. It is fundamentally unesthetic and unsympathetic.

As a result, attacking those who sponsor jihad, or serve as its apologists or purveyors should be a simple matter that can be undertaken at vastly less expense than that which has already been paid by the other side.

BUT THERE is a catch, of course. In order to conduct information operations effectively you have to be willing to identify your enemies and your allies, and to point fingers at those who refuse to take sides and embarrass them for sitting on the fence. That is, you need moral courage and clarity. You need to be willing to make people angry at you if you wish to earn their respect and support.

For the past five years the Bush administration has shirked this unpleasant task. It has categorized Saudi Arabia, the prime financier and propagator of jihad, as its ally. It has labeled Egypt, the epicenter of jihadist propaganda and incitement, a paragon of moderation and a stalwart ally.

Then there is Pakistan, which created the Taliban and has served as a refuge for Osama bin Laden since November 2001. Pakistan, too, is labeled a great ally, as are the Europeans and the Russians.

Israel, on the other hand, is a problem. Israel is the excuse that all of America's "great allies" give for refusing to act like America's allies. In the interests of pleasing its great allies, America holds Israel at arm's length.

Unfortunately, this policy sends exactly the wrong message. It teaches America's "allies" that they have nothing to lose by double-crossing the US. And it teaches truly liberal forces in the Muslim world and in the non-Islamic world that the US will not keep faith with them, and that they are, essentially on their own if they wish to take on the forces of jihad in their own societies and throughout the world.

THE BUSH administration's refusal to acknowledge the difference between its enemies and its allies was most pronounced last week in the president's meetings with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas.

Earlier in the month Musharraf signed an accord with the Taliban that gave the group control over the Pakistani territories of north and south Waziristan. This agreement, which also involved Pakistan's release of some 2,500 Taliban and al-Qaida fighters from prison, is the Taliban's and al-Qaida's greatest victory since September 11, 2001. As military analyst Bill Roggio has reported on his Web site, The Fourth Rail, Musharraf's decision to hand Waziristan over to the Taliban and al-Qaida makes clear that he is a major enemy of the US.

But the Bush administration refuses to acknowledge this fact. Bush met with Musharraf in the White House and praised his leadership and his strong alliance with the US in fighting al-Qaida. The State Department praised the agreement that has caused NATO commanders to announce that more troops will be required in Afghanistan to fight the resurgent Taliban.

Likewise, Abbas has gone out of his way in recent months to forge an alliance between Fatah and Hamas on Hamas's terms. He agreed to form a unity government with Hamas that would unify their terror forces under one command to better wage war against Israel. He agreed that Hamas would not recognize Israel's right to exist. Fatah itself, which he commands, has committed more attacks against Israel than Hamas in recent years, and was involved in the cross-border attack on Israel in June where Cpl. Gilad Shalit was abducted. Under the agreement he offered, Fatah would maintain its terrorist agenda.

And yet, rather than announce that the US will have nothing to do with Abbas, Bush invited him to the White House and praised his commitment to peace. Rather than acknowledge that the Palestinian leadership - in Fatah and Hamas, as well as all other major parties - has shown by word and deed that it seeks not an independent Palestinian state but the eradication of the Jewish state, Bush has insisted that he wants nothing more than to see the creation of a Palestinian state.

THE BUSH administration's insistence on confusing friends and foes has been complemented by its refusal to make distinctions between jihadist political parties and non-jihadist political parties. Indeed, the US facilitated the participation of Hamas in the Palestinian elections, Hizbullah in the Lebanese elections, the Muslim Brotherhood in the Egyptian elections, and the jihadist Justice and Development party in the Moroccan elections.

In all these cases, these forces of totalitarianism were legitimized by their participation in the elections and their empowerment has enabled them to more ably advance the cause of jihad in their own societies and worldwide, at the expense of those moderate, liberal Muslims that must be empowered if jihad is to be defeated.

The world stands today on the edge of a potential upheaval. In Nicaragua, the Sandinistas are poised to retake power in elections in November. In the US, on November 7, voters will decide the composition of the Congress and Senate and so, in many ways, decide whether the war will continue to be fought to victory or will be abandoned.

Israelis have awoken from the fantasy of appeasement and are poised to bring in a government capable of defending them. In Britain, Tony Blair's heirs operate with the knowledge that they will be better off politically if they abandon the US.

Information operations that expose liberal democratic civilization's foes and support its allies - be they states or individuals - have never been more vital. Yet unless the Bush administration finds the courage to properly identify those foes and allies, its message will do more to confound than to clarify, and US policies will continue to be plagued by confusion - to the detriment of America and humanity as a whole.

521  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Hurricane Ch?vez on: September 24, 2006, 05:00:48 PM
Editorial del Washington Post del 24/9/2006

Hurricane Ch?vez
What's worse for energy security: a natural disaster or a petro-bully?
Sunday, September 24, 2006; Page B06

HUGO CHAVEZ got the attention that he craves by comparing President Bush to Satan last week. But the Venezuelan leader's absurd talk may be less threatening than his equally absurd incompetence. Since Mr. Ch?vez took power seven years ago, Venezuela has mismanaged its oil so disastrously that production may have fallen by almost half, according to the estimates of outsiders, reducing global oil supply by a bit more than 1 percent. Along with natural disasters and Nigerian rebels, Mr. Ch?vez's ineptitude has contributed to high energy prices.

It takes sustained determination to reduce output by that much, and Mr. Ch?vez has provided it. He inherited a competent national oil company that produced three times more per worker than its Mexican counterpart. He immediately starved it of investment capital and dispatched ignorant political cronies to oversee it. When this abuse provoked a strike, Mr. Ch?vez fired the staff en masse, getting rid of two-thirds of the skilled employees and managers.

Mr. Ch?vez imagines that he can damage the United States by rerouting Venezuelan oil to other markets. He fails to understand that oil is fungible: If Venezuela's crude is sold to the Chinese, the Chinese will buy less of it elsewhere, freeing up supplies for U.S. consumers. But Mr. Ch?vez also appears oblivious to the technical difficulties in sending oil halfway round the world rather than selling it in his own hemisphere. Oil tankers do not come cheap, and China will have to build special refineries to process the heavy brand of crude that Venezuela produces. Despite Mr. Ch?vez's bluster about tripling exports to China in three years, Venezuela will depend on Yanqui consumers for the foreseeable future.

To the extent that Mr. Ch?vez's wild talk stirs up anti-American feeling, he must be regarded as an irritant. If he secures a temporary seat on the U.N. Security Council, as he hopes to do next month, he will doubtless render U.N. diplomacy even more challenging than it is already. Yet it is not the United States but rather Mr. Ch?vez's own countrymen who should most fear his intentions. Venezuela's courts, media organizations and civil society groups have been bullied into submission, and Mr. Ch?vez is talking about a constitutional change that would allow him to remain in power indefinitely. "The people should not be stripped of their right if they wish to reelect a compatriot whoever it may be three, four, five, six times," he said recently.
522  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Afirman que Chile pidi? a Venezuela retiro de embajador on: September 23, 2006, 07:46:47 PM
Esto es lo que tiene que suceder cuando se reemplazan diplomaticos de carrera con militantes politicos sacados del fondo de un barril de porquer?a.? Hasta hace poco el canciller venezolano, Nicol?s Maduro, era un guardaespalda.

Afirman que Chile pidi? a Venezuela retiro de embajador
El Universal, 23 de Septiembre de 2006

Chile inform? a Venezuela que espera el relevo de su embajador en el pa?s, V?ctor Delgado, tras calificar de "inaceptables" los dichos del diplom?tico al referirse a uno de los partidos pol?ticos de la coalici?n de gobierno, dijeron hoy diarios chilenos.

Los medios El Mercurio y La Tercera aseguraron que Chile solicit? la salida del diplom?tico venezolano para superar el "impasse" provocado por sus dichos en contra del partido Democracia Cristiana, que se opone a que Caracas ocupe un sill?n no permanente en el Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU, difundi? Reuters.

En el marco de la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas, en Nueva York, la representaci?n chilena encabezada por la presidenta socialista, Michelle Bachelet, decidi? "v?a un emisario" entregar un categ?rico mensaje al canciller venezolano, Nicol?s Maduro, para que releve su embajador, asegur? El Mercurio.

En una entrevista con el portal de internet, el embajador Delgado asegur? que la oposici?n de la Democracia Cristiana (DC) ante las aspiraciones de Venezuela es la misma que tuvo frente al ex presidente chileno Salvador Allende, derrocado por el ex dictador Augusto Pinochet en 1973.

En un declaraci?n difundida la noche del jueves, la canciller?a chilena dijo que Delgado, apart?ndose de toda pr?ctica diplom?tica, se ha "inmiscuido en asuntos internos del pa?s del cual actualmente se encuentra acreditado" y ha emitido opiniones improcedentes "en relaci?n a un importante partido pol?tico".

Por ello, pidi? a Venezuela que adopte "las medidas necesarias" para que estos hechos no afecten las relaciones entre ambas naciones.

Sobre una posible salida del embajador venezolano, el ministro portavoz del gobierno chileno, Ricardo Lagos Weber, dijo el viernes que prefer?a no "prejuzgar en esas materias".

El embajador venezolano se excus? y aclar? el viernes que no fue su intenci?n inmiscuirse en los asuntos internos del pa?s tras emitir sus dichos, ya que fue sacado de contexto y mal interpretado.

El roce diplom?tico se produce en momentos que Chile a?n no define por qu? pa?s de Am?rica Latina votar? para el sill?n en el Consejo de Seguridad.

Venezuela y Guatemala, el candidato de Estados Unidos, son los postulantes a llenar el cupo de la regi?n en el consejo que Argentina dejar? libre el 2007.
523  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / CARACAS GETS RECYCLED RUSSIAN WEAPONS TO REPEL ALLEGED U.S. PLAN TO ATTACK VENEZ on: September 22, 2006, 08:46:23 PM
Esta noticia no es reciente pero es muy informativa sobre la realidad que vive mi pa?s: armas que no nos hacen falta y sobornos (mordidas) millonarias.


By Pavel Felgenhauer

Hugo Chavez, the flamboyant leftist president of Venezuela, visited Russia last week as part of a tour of European and Asian countries that included Belarus and Iran. In Minsk and Tehran Chavez joined his hosts in issuing anti-American and anti-Israeli rhetoric. In Russia, Chavez's rhetoric was less dramatic, but here he did some genuine business. Moscow and Chavez concluded a number of arms deals, reportedly to the tune of $3 billion. The chief of Rosoboroneksport -- the Russian arms-trade monopoly -- told journalists that Venezuela will buy 24 Sukhoi Su-30 jets for $1.5 billion, 53 military helicopters (both attack and transport) for $250 million, and several anti-aircraft Tor-M1 missile systems and Amur submarines for an additional $1 billion (, July 28).

Tom Casey, a deputy spokesman for the U.S. Department of State, announced July 25 that the United States wants Russia to review the deals, pointing out that the weapons purchases exceed Venezuela's needs and undermined regional stability. But Sergei Ivanov, Russia's defense minister and deputy prime minister, rejected that view: "In my opinion,? he declared, ?the 24 planes and the number of helicopters recorded in the contract are not excessive for the defense of a small country such as Venezuela. We will honor the contract" (RIA-Novosti, July 26). The first Su-30K jets may be delivered to Caracas before the year?s end.

The Russian jets will replace old U.S. F-16A fighters that Venezuela?s Air Force has, but cannot operate, because of a U.S. embargo on spare parts. Military experts say that the Sukhoi jets could transform Venezuela's air force into the most powerful in South America within years. Chavez has announced publicly that he needs Russian weapons to repel U.S. plans to invade Venezuela and take control of its huge oil reserves (The Times [London], July 25).

The Su-30K is a two-seater that was converted into an attack jet in the early 1990s, using the basic design of the Soviet-made Su-27UB trainer. A few dozens of these jets were produced and sold to India. New Delhi, in fact, wanted to buy the more sophisticated Su-30MKI, but got the Su-30K on a temporary basis instead, as it took time, effort, and hundreds of millions of dollars, provided by India, to start production of the Su-30MKI. Eventually the Su-30MKI began arriving and the Indian Air Force sent its Su-30K back to Russia.

The Russian Air Force does not have plans to procure any Su-30s. If Chavez will take the first delivery of Su-30s in several months, these jets cannot be newly made ones or taken from the Russian Air Force inventory. It is a good guess they are repainted, second-hand models from India.

The Su-30 deal is huge in size, but militarily senseless. The Venezuelan Air Force will have 24 heavy long-range bombers, but no jet fighters to defend the nation's air space. The Tor-M1 purchase is also a strange deal: This anti-aircraft system is designed to defend large armored formations on the march against incoming air attack. The Tor-M1 missile cannot hit targets higher than six kilometers and cannot defend effectively against the United States? modern stand-off, air-carried weapons.

The announced arms deals would make sense if Chavez were planning a large-scale invasion of neighboring Colombia or Brazil, which he clearly is not. At the same time the Russian weapons that are hastily procured could not seriously impede a possible U.S. onslaught. The Su-30s, which may be second-hand, are also outrageously overpriced at $62.5 million each.

It is an open secret that many of today's Russian "newly made" export arms are not exactly "new." Arms production uses Soviet designs and equipment, Soviet-made components for assembly. Often entire Soviet-made weapons systems are repainted and sold as "newly Russian-made." As a result production costs are low, illegal profits are sky-high, and the veil of secrecy surrounding the arms trade helps to avoid taxes.

Foreign customers, especially from rogue states, are happy to trade with Russia. The weapons they buy in Russia may not be the latest design, but they are usable and reliable. Also, Russian arms traders are ready to pay substantial bribes to customers. Ten percent of the total sum of a contract is considered a "normal" obligatory kickback. In some cases, as arms trade insiders told Jamestown, the ?service fee? may exceed 20% of the contract money. The payback Chavez might get under the table for paying Russian arms traders with cash for weapons Venezuela does not need may be as high as $600 million.

Russian arms traders have told Jamestown that cash paybacks to foreign procurement officials are often paid in advance. Chavez has announced he will be running for reelection later this year and will clearly need a large sum of cash to stay in power.

Its a win-win situation: Russian arms traders dump weapons Russia does not need and get huge profits, Chavez gets a PR boost by publicly defying the mighty United States and at the same time accumulates an electoral war chest under the guise of an overpriced and militarily senseless arms deal. The only losers are the citizens of Venezuela.
524  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Departamento de Estado reprueba "ataques personales" de Ch?vez on: September 21, 2006, 06:31:15 PM
Departamento de Estado reprueba "ataques personales" de Ch?vez


El Departamento de Estado rechaz? hoy los "ataques personales" que el presidente venezolano, Hugo Ch?vez, efectu? hoy contra su hom?logo de EEUU, George W. Bush, en su discurso en la 61 Asamblea General de la ONU.

"Es decepcionante que un jefe de Estado realice ataques personales", dijo hoy en rueda de prensa el portavoz adjunto del Departamento de Estado, Tom Casey, en alusi?n a los comentarios de Ch?vez, que llam? "diablo" a Bush.

No debe sorprender a nadie, a?adi? el portavoz, que el Gobierno estadounidense est? en desacuerdo con las opiniones del mandatario venezolano.

Casey subray? adem?s que hay que tener en cuenta que la ONU es un importante foro mundial al que acuden los l?deres pol?ticos en representaci?n de sus pa?ses.

Los ciudadanos venezolanos, indic?, ser?n los que tendr?n que decidir si Ch?vez es la persona adecuada para representarles de la manera en que les gustar?a.

Desde la Casa Blanca, el portavoz del Consejo de Seguridad, Fred Jones, tambi?n se refiri? hoy a las palabras del mandatario de Venezuela, aunque lo hizo para manifestar que "no merecen una respuesta".

En su discurso en el plenario de la Asamblea General de Naciones Unidas, Ch?vez inst? al mundo a alzarse contra las pretensiones hegem?nicas estadounidenses que, a su juicio, ponen en peligro la supervivencia del planeta, y afirm? que la mayor amenaza en la Tierra son las pretensiones y estrategias "imperialistas" de EEUU.

"El diablo est? en casa. Ayer el diablo vino aqu?. En este lugar huele a azufre", dijo Ch?vez, en referencia a la participaci?n de Bush en la Asamblea General.

El discurso:

El discurso en espa?ol

525  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Mi Negra: ?populismo o poder para la gente? on: September 14, 2006, 06:55:48 PM
Mi Negra: ?populismo o poder para la gente?
por Ana Julia Jatar

El candidato de la unidad nacional, Manuel Rosales, anunci? la semana pasada que de ser electo presidente el 3 de diciembre, repartir? a trav?s de una tarjeta de d?bito bautizada Mi Negra, 20% de la renta petrolera a los venezolanos. Aunque no se han dado a conocer muy bien los detalles, hay que estar atentos pues este programa representar?a un cambio sin precedentes en la estructura de los derechos de propiedad sobre el petr?leo en nuestro pa?s y, por ende, en la distribuci?n del poder pol?tico entre gobierno y el resto de la sociedad. ?Es la direcci?n correcta? Yo creo que s?.

Hace casi un a?o, concretamente el 26 de septiembre de 2005 escrib? en esta misma columna un art?culo en el cual propon?a un mecanismo similar de dividendos petroleros para contener lo que llam? en ese momento la "doctrina fraternal" de nuestro Presidente. En otras palabras, para limitar la regaladera inconsulta de petr?leo por parte del presidente Ch?vez a sus "hermanos" del mundo.

El Estado venezolano, al ser el due?o del subsuelo, ha tenido la responsabilidad de distribuir la renta petrolera para promover el desarrollo del pa?s. En este intento se han cometido en el pasado muchos errores, errores que se han exacerbado de manera grosera en este gobierno. Debido al control f?rreo que ejerce el actual presidente sobre la empresa petrolera nacional Pdvsa, ?l y su partido la han venido utilizando como arma para eternizarse en el poder y como caja chica para comprar votos en los organismos interna cionales. Por ello, quiz?s nos conviene de una vez por todas asumir un sistema que nos cure en parte de estos males y adoptemos un mecanismo mediante el cual los ciudadanos tengan acceso directo a la renta petrolera sin tener que pasar por las alcabalas del gobierno de turno.

Esto ya lo han hecho en otras regiones petroleras. Ese es el caso de Alaska, por ejemplo, donde sus ciudadanos reciben desde 1982 un cheque con un porcentaje de la renta petrolera; o lo escogido por Noruega, donde la renta petrolera se utiliza para pagar las pensiones de sus ciudadanos.

Hay quienes erradamente piensan que esta es una oferta populista pues temen que se convierta en m?s de lo mismo, es decir, repartir dinero sin gan?rselo. El tema hay que verlo desde otra perspectiva. Recordemos que el petr?leo es del Estado y el Estado somos todos: gobierno y gobernados. Hasta hoy hemos decidido como sociedad que la renta se reparta a trav?s de servicios p?blicos colectivos. Sin embargo, lo que est?n haciendo otros pa?ses y lo que propone Rosales es que seamos due?os de una parte en colectivo y de otra parte a t?tulo individual. Con este mecanismo de repartici?n directa de la renta petrolera lo que se pretende, a mi juicio, es alterar la relaci?n de poder entre el gobernante y los gobernados, con ello se logra "empoderar" a los ciudadanos con respecto a su gobierno y m?s bien limitar las tentaciones populistas de los gobiernos de turno.

Adem?s, al repartir de manera individual y directa un porcentaje de la renta, los derechos de los venezolanos sobre esa parte de los ingresos dejan de depender de cierto comportamiento pol?tico. Dejan depender del carnet del partido, o de ir a la marcha o de ponerte la boina roja o azul o verde.

En cierto sentido, es sacar la manipulaci?n pol?tica del petr?leo y darle m?s libertad a los venezolanos. Por otro lado, el control colectivo sobre Pdvsa cambiar?a, se tornar?a m?s exigente tanto relacionado a su desempe?o como a la transparencia de las cuentas. Imagin?monos por un momento la reacci?n de la gente si parte de sus dividendos de Pdvsa son regalados por el presidente de Venezuela a ciudadanos de otro pa?s, sin siquiera consultarle. O si parte de la producci?n se regala a ciudadanos de otros pa?ses como ha sucedido con familias supuestamente m?s pobres en Estados Unidos, Londres, Cuba, las alcald?as sandinistas de El Salvador y ahora en Nicaragua. Imagin?monos igualmente cuales ser?an las decisiones con respecto a Pdvsa que contar?an con mayor respaldo popular. Obviamente no ser?a la de disminuci?n de la producci?n tal como la ha venido haciendo este gobierno, ni la de utilizar los recursos de manera inconsulta.

En fin, la propuesta Mi Negra no s?lo representa una forma de darle a cada venezolano individualmente lo que hasta ahora s?lo ha sido una ilusi?n colectiva, expropiada por el partido pol?tico de turno, sino que transformar? la forma como la sociedad venezolana exigir? que se administre su industria petrolera.

526  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / La izquierda despu?s de Hugo Ch?vez y L?pez Obrador on: September 13, 2006, 08:58:24 PM
La izquierda despu?s de Hugo Ch?vez y L?pez Obrador

Ra?l Tortolero

Ciudad de Mexico 13.09.06 | Ante sus seguidores, o mejor, ante sus ?groupies?, Mr Hugo Ch?vez declar? ayer que no ?reconoc?a? como leg?timo presidente electo de M?xico a Felipe Calder?n, porque notaba que hab?an sucedido ?cosas? extra?as o raras en los pasados comicios del 2 de julio en M?xico. Bueno, esto no es ning?n problema. Porque los ?nicos que deben reconocer o no reconocer al presidente electo son los mexicanos. Y Mr Hugo Ch?vez no es mexicano.

Resulta, empero, extraordinario ?aunque mucho de lo que hace el presidente venezolano lo es- que un mandatario extranjero se autoerija como una suerte de juez electoral internacional, capaz de legitimar con su palmada en la espalda a otros jefes de estado, seg?n lo que le convenga.

Lo bueno es que siempre, en todo momento, neg? toda relaci?n con el PRD mexicano. Pero ahora aboga por el ?Peje?. Que su gobierno no ten?a nada qu? ver, que no hab?a enviado aqu? a su ficha el embajador Vladimir Villegas ?quien apareci? en actos de campa?a del PRD del ahora jefe de gobierno de la Ciudad de M?xico Marcelo Ebrard, violando la ley mexicana de no intervenci?n en pol?tica interior- a ayudar a formar los c?rculos bolivarianos para que se asociaran con las redes ciudadanas. Pero ahora lo apoya, y se suma a la campa?a de inestabilidad pol?tica encabezada en M?xico por unos cuantos a?oradores de una izquierda dogm?tica, estalinista y sumamente autoritaria. Que son personas que portan en la bloqueada calle Reforma estandartes de Lenin y de Stalin (a las fotos me remito). Y eso quiere decir que, en primer lugar, ya no est?n pensando, ya no est?n reflexionando seriamente. Stalin dej? un muerto casi en cada familia durante su gobierno, y esto suma al menos 10 millones de muertos. Eso es lo que admiran y enarbolan estos trasnochados de una izquierda que ya no existe sino en sus cabezas urgidas de figuras autocr?ticas. Esta gente es profundamente antidemocr?tica y, de hecho, as? como en Alemania est?n prohibidas las manifestaciones de neonazis, deber?an estar aqu? prohibidas las manifestaciones de neoestalinistas. No saben lo que dicen estas personas. Alzan en vilo a un carnicero. No necesitamos carnicer?as por ning?n ideal en M?xico. La carnicer?a no es lo que ayudar? a los pobres a comer y a educarse. La carnicer?a no es un m?todo de crecimiento econ?mico. Pero la carnicer?a s? es una mala terapia para el desahogo de la frustraci?n y el resentimiento social de quienes siempre han estado oprimidos y ahora no buscan qui?n se las debe sino qui?n se las pague. Pero no. Las carnicer?as no son lo que les dijeron en los adoctrinamientos: nada justifica que muera nadie. No se puede construir un pa?s dejando en la espalda una carnicer?a. Lo que est?n haciendo es demoler a la verdadera izquierda y tratar de sustituirla por un sistema amparado en la violencia y la sangre.

Ch?vez decidi? expl?citamente apoyar a Andr?s Manuel L?pez Obrador con estas versiones. Con ello, la verdad, lo ?nico que logra es reactivar las amplias sospechas de que hubo respaldo log?stico, pol?tico y econ?mico suyo al tabasque?o durante la campa?a electoral pasada. Ahora no quedan muchas dudas sobre la cercan?a entre ambas partes. M?s bien, ninguna duda.

?De qu? informaci?n dispone este mandatario sudamericano para descalificar lo que el Tribunal Federal Electoral en M?xico revis? y aprob?? Qui?n sabe, porque nunca lo aclar?.

?Cu?les son las ?cosas raras? que advierte?

No me imagino a Felipe Calder?n, por panista que sea, de centro-derecha si ustedes quieren, declarando que no reconoce como presidente a Hugo Ch?vez. No parece algo sensato. ?C?mo puede alguien estar por encima de lo que un pueblo ha decidido en votaciones legales?

Han sido tantas las agresiones que ha recibido M?xico de parte de Mr Ch?vez que no podemos imaginar qu? sigue. Tal vez le gustar?a invadir M?xico de alguna forma. Organizar algo. O a todos los pa?ses cuyos gobiernos no le cuadran. Pero s?lo deber?a ocuparse de sus propios negocios y dejar en paz a los mexicanos. Nosotros no nos ocupamos de ?l sino cuando primero ?l relanza en su agenda el tema M?xico, y habitualmente esto significa insultos, descalificaciones ?como la reciente del presidente electo- y hasta ciertas amenazas veladas.

Para los chavistas uno no puede sentirse libre de expresar sus opiniones en medios democr?ticos y respetuosos del mundo. No puede nadie pensar diferente. Por ejemplo, la Coordinadora Continental Bolivariana, Cap?tulo M?xico, hace al que esto escribe responsable de no s? qu? campa?as. De paso quiero aclararles a los se?ores de esa organizaci?n que yo no encabezo ninguna campa?a contra nadie, ni la secundo, y tambi?n, que no me gusta que Hugo Ch?vez insulte a M?xico, a nuestros gobernantes de cualquier nivel o partido pol?tico y que estoy en mi derecho constitucional de expresar mis opiniones libremente. A ustedes no los conozco. No tengo nada contra ustedes, que quede bien claro, ni mucho menos contra el gran Sim?n Bol?var, pero otra cosa son los caudillos. Y si se sienten iluminados, peor. Eso es todo. Y tambi?n aprovecho para recalcar que no pertenezco ni al PRD, ni al PAN, ni al PRI ni a ninguna otra organizaci?n o gobierno.

Pulverizando a la izquierda

Lo que s? percibo con claridad es que la actitud descalificatoria de Ch?vez, aunada a las molestias de L?pez Obrador contra la propia ciudadan?a que hubiera votado por ?l debidas a los bloqueos, son claros ejemplos no de una lucha inteligente y creativa, sino de la demolici?n total de la izquierda. Al menos de la izquierda moderna, creativa, institucional, pol?tica, moderada. Es antipropaganda plena.

La izquierda extremista no es democr?tica, es autoritaria e implica una franca inestabilidad econ?mica y la entronizaci?n del m?s acendrado autocratismo. Ambos personajes son, en realidad, enemigos de la izquierda internacional. No les preocupa que la ciudadan?a termine repudi?ndolos a ellos y a sus m?todos, porque creen que est?n por encima de las instituciones y a?n de las ideolog?as.

Pero no, no es as?. ?Por qu?? Porque simplemente no existe una ideolog?a que sea impulsada por ellos. ?Cu?l es la ideolog?a de Hugo Ch?vez? ?El bolivarismo? No puede ser, ya que no le interesa la uni?n latinoamericana, de los pueblos, y prueba de esto es que descarta a los gobiernos que no se ajustan a sus intereses. ?Y la de L?pez Obrador? Ganar las elecciones presidenciales. En el fondo, lo que hay en ambos es una fuerte palpitaci?n por el regreso de un seudosocialismo setentero que no puede regresar, ya sea en programas populistas sociales de vivienda, de apoyo clientelar a ancianos o desamparados, como t?cnicas de publicidad personal y s?lo personal.

Habr?a que ver qu? queda de la izquierda latinoamericana luego de Ch?vez y luego de L?pez Obrador. Cenizas. Ser? exactamente lo mismo que en Cuba luego de Fidel. Nadie querr? jam?s saber nada de ese sistema se le llame como se le llame. Qu? puede importar una supuesta "ideolog?a" si la gente no come, no hay luz, agua, ropa, nada. (?Y Fidel en la lista Forbes de los m?s ricos del mundo, bendita igualdad!).

Ya nadie votar? ingenuamente por seguir en tales caminos. En M?xico, s?lo basta consultar en las calles a la gente. Ahora s? supimos los alcances de la otrora noble paloma que daba sus conferencias a las 6 de la ma?ana con voz suave y buen humor. Es la misma palomita que no le importa si los enfermos mueren en las ambulancias por su bloqueo de Reforma. Que cientos de meseros y garroteros y empleados se tengan que ir a Estados Unidos porque est?n quebrando los establecimientos. Que se hayan perdido 368 millones de d?lares, seg?n estimaciones del Consejo Nacional Empresarial Tur?stico (CNET) de la Ciudad de M?xico. ?stas son las secuelas arrojadas por un ex pol?tico, l?der de una coalici?n que se nombr? ?por el bien de todos?. Qu? decepci?n. Y qu? lecci?n.

Coordinadora Continental Bolivariana, Cap?tulo M?xico

527  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Battle of Britain and our battle on: September 13, 2006, 08:53:06 AM
The Battle of Britain and our battle

This September 15, Great Britain will commemorate one of its proudest moments, the 66th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. This is a day that should be remembered and honored not just by the citizens of Britain, but by every inhabitant of this planet who cherishes liberty and freedom.

The Battle of Britain is one of history's turning points. From July to September 1940, the RAF was engaged in a life-and-death struggle with the vaunted Luftwaffe, which until then had known nothing but success in Spain, Poland and France. By the thinnest of margins, the pilots and ground crews of RAF's Fighter Command prevailed, denying the Luftwaffe the air superiority it needed to enable the Wehrmacht to attempt an invasion of Britain.

The victory was not due to the Spitfire's mythical superiority over the Luftwaffe's Messerschmitt fighters. In reality the two aircraft were equally matched, and, it should be remembered, two-thirds of Fighter Command's squadrons flew the older Hawker Hurricanes, which by 1940 were approaching obsolescence, and no match for the ME 109.

The victory was ultimately due to the will power, vision and faith of Winston Churchill and Hugh Dowding, CO RAF Fighter Command. The former, who had been a voice in the wilderness against the appeasement of Nazi Germany, was able at the crucial hour to rally and inspire his country to an extraordinary act of valor. The latter had the very rare ability to think completely creatively.

Dowding realized that the combination of faster monoplane fighters and the invention of radar (in the nick of time) meant that the long-held doctrine of air war - "the bomber will always get through" - no longer applied, and designed, over the opposition of much of his own country's military establishment, the world's first air defense system.

This system, Britain's sole material advantage over Germany, was completed shortly before the war broke out.

TODAY THE West is in a similar mind-set to that of France and Britain after WWI. The horrors of that war generated within Western democracies a profound revulsion of the very idea of war. This led to the policy of appeasement of Nazi Germany.

Following its victory in the Cold War, and the demise of the USSR, the conventional wisdom was that war, as far as the West was concerned, had become a thing of the past and that economics, not politics, would dominate international diplomacy and geopolitics.

Unfortunately large parts of the Arab-Islamic world have not accepted that conventional wisdom. To them the defeat of the Soviet Union was not an opportunity to end war, but one to make war on the West.

Certain Western liberal intellectual circles have proven themselves capable of coming up with a seemingly limitless supply of specious reasons to explain, understand and even justify this visceral hatred of the West by large parts of the Arab-Islamic world.

Ultimately the reason is very simple: resentment of the ascent of the West.

Islam so far has proven congenitally incapable of doing what Christianity has done - allowing the evolution of a society in which the political and religious establishments are independent of one another. It is this evolution that facilitated and expedited the ascent of the West, by enabling the development of a political system based on democracy, freedom of thought and speech, and religious and cultural pluralism. These then spurred the major technological, scientific, economic and social advancements that empowered the West and have enabled it to dominate the globe politically and economically for the past 200 years.

THE ISLAMIC world has had ample opportunity to adopt the values that were instrumental in the West's ascent, but its political and religious establishments have chosen not to. The reason is very clear: They would rather wield total power over a failed society than share power with other groups in a successful one.

To facilitate this they have abused their oil wealth. Instead of using it to promote and develop their societies, they have impoverished them. Petrodollars that could have been spent on creating first-class educational systems have instead been used to create and maintain security apparatuses whose sole purpose is to ensure the absolute rule of a corrupt elite by repressing any sign of dissent.

These same political and religious leaders have constantly aided and abetted the most reactionary elements within their religious establishments, which in return have channeled popular frustrations generated by the regimes' failures outwards, against the "infidel West."

The Islamic world has, for the most part, been willing to buy this, preferring to blame the West for conspiring against it rather than take responsibility for its spectacular failures.

IS THIS perhaps beginning to sound familiar? It should, for all one has to do is replace "Muslim" with "German" and "the West" with "Jews" in order to generate a feeling of d j vu.

For several years the West preferred to ignore the threat posed by Nazi Germany until it was almost too late. In 1940 Britain found itself locked in a life or death struggle with Nazi Germany, outmanned and outgunned. Fortunately it found the required reserves of will power to persevere, and ultimately prevail.

Today we face a similar threat, that of Islamo-fascism. This threat is no less serious than that posed by the Nazis, since it also is founded on an ideology totally incompatible with the core Western values of democracy and freedom. Just as there was ultimately no possibility to compromise with Nazi Germany, so there can be no possibility of compromising and coexisting with Islamo-fascism.

Unlike Britain in 1940, this time Western democracy has entered the battle from a position of relative strength, with all the means needed to prevail. Unfortunately we, or at least much of our political and cultural leadership, seems to be lacking the will to do so. Rather than accept the unpalatable reality that we are faced by an enemy threatened by our values and willing to destroy us in order to eradicate them, there are far too many among us who insist on turning a blind eye toward it.

Just as the democracies deluded themselves into thinking they could coexist with the Nazis, and maintained a policy based on appeasement and compromise, there are unfortunately influential forces within our societies who would rather compromise and appease than face facts and confront.

Churchill's words to Britain and the free world - "It's time to brace ourselves for the coming battle" - uttered after the fall of France, are unfortunately as apt today as they were in the summer of 1940.

However no less important is to fully appreciate the magnitude of what is at stake. The words of Lincoln do this best, because the ultimate targets of the forces of fascism are the very core, idea and values on which "government of the people, for the people, and by the people" is based.

The writer is a former editor-in-chief of Ma'ariv International.
528  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / ?Inflaci?n! on: September 12, 2006, 08:07:53 PM
Nota: Hoy el precio del petr?leo cay? a su nivel mas bajo en 5 meses

But oil's decline was the main catalyst. The price of oil fell 2.78% to close at $63.81 per barrel, its lowest level in five months.

Jos? Toro Hardy

LA ECONOMIA VENEZOLANA se ha vuelto m?s dependiente que nunca del petr?leo. Peor a?n, se ha vuelto dependiente de una sola variable relacionada con el petr?leo: el precio.
De acuerdo con cifras proporcionadas por la OPEP y la Agencia Internacional de la Energ?a, la producci?n petrolera del pa?s ha venido cayendo en t?rminos dram?ticos. Sin embargo, mientras esto ocurre, la incertidumbre que impera en los mercados internacionales se ha traducido en un nivel de precios sin precedentes para los hidrocarburos. Ello le ha permitido al Gobierno unos ingresos petroleros nunca antes so?ados.

Bien manejados, esos ingresos le han debido brindar al pa?s una oportunidad excepcional para dotar de salud y viviendas a todos nuestros compatriotas, as? como atender otros grav?simos problemas sociales, construir carreteras, hospitales, obras sanitarias y de infraestructura, mejorar la educaci?n, el transporte, garantizar la seguridad, fortalecer las instituciones, mejorar la justicia, cancelar deudas y, a la vez, sentar las bases de un crecimiento econ?mico sustentable en el tiempo. Venezuela ha podido ser otra. Lamentablemente no ha ocurrido as?. El petr?leo no se utiliz? para atender las necesidades de la naci?n, sino m?s bien para financiar las prioridades de la revoluci?n y regalar el dinero de los venezolanos en el exterior.

En medio de una incre?ble ineficiencia y de una ausencia casi total de controles, el gasto p?blico se ha expandido de manera vertiginosa.

PERO LA CALIDAD del gasto deja mucho que desear. Muy poco se destina a la inversi?n, en tanto que la meta principal es generar una apariencia de bienestar con fines electorales. Para lograr este objetivo se est? inyectando al circulante un torrente de dinero que inevitablemente se traducir? en un fuerte impacto inflacionario. Ya comenz? a ocurrir.

La explicaci?n es bien sencilla. La inflaci?n se produce cuando la cantidad de dinero que circula crece m?s r?pidamente que los bienes y servicios que se producen. Imaginemos nuestra econom?a como si fuera una balanza. En un platillo vamos a poner todo el dinero que circula, al cual, en un esfuerzo de simplificaci?n voy a denominar "masa monetaria". Y en el otro platillo de esa misma balanza vamos a colocar los "bienes y servicios" que se producen.

Cuando el valor de los "bienes y servicios" colocados en uno de los platillos equivale al de la "masa monetaria" del otro platillo, la econom?a est? en equilibrio y los precios no aumentan. Ahora bien, cuando por cualquier circunstancia, la cantidad de dinero que circula en la econom?a crece m?s r?pidamente que la producci?n de bienes y servicios, el resultado es que la balanza pierde su equilibrio y los precios comienzan a subir. Eso ocurre porque hay demasiado dinero tratando de comprar una cantidad limitada de bienes.

EL CRECIMIENTO del gasto p?blico ha generado una liquidez en poder del p?blico que se acerca a una cifra r?cord de 85 billones de bol?vares. Lamentablemente la inseguridad jur?dica y las amenazas ahuyentan la inversi?n. ?Qui?n va a invertir cuando se pone en duda el derecho de propiedad y adem?s se anuncia un "socialismo del siglo XXI" que cada vez luce m?s amenazador?

El problema es que cuando no hay inversi?n, no puede aumentar la producci?n de bienes y servicios. Ello hace prever un hurac?n inflacionario que arrasar?a con la econom?a en cualquiera de los siguientes casos: si bajan los precios del petr?leo, si sigue cayendo su producci?n o si el crecimiento del gasto hace que el ingreso petrolero sea insuficiente aunque los precios se mantengan elevados.

PARA PODER CUBRIR la demanda de bienes que genera esa enorme masa monetaria que circula en nuestra econom?a, el pa?s depende cada vez m?s de las importaciones. En otras palabras, las pol?ticas gubernamentales resultan incre?blemente positivas para estimular el crecimiento econ?mico y el empleo en Argentina, Bolivia, Cuba, Brasil, Uruguay, China, Ir?n y tantas otras naciones que son hoy en d?as las verdaderas beneficiarias de la bonanza petrolera vene zolana. No ocurre lo mismo con Venezuela.

Pero a pesar de ese crecimiento sin precedentes de las importaciones, as? como de los controles de precios, controles de cambio, subsidios, importaciones gubernamentales exentas de aranceles y de tantos otros mecanismos a los cuales se est? recurriendo para controlar el nivel de los precios, la inevitable realidad que se desprende de las leyes de la econom?a comienza a manifestarse con todo su peso.

DIFICILMENTE LA INFLACION de este a?o ser? inferior a 20%, es decir, m?s del doble de la que hab?a estimado el Gobierno. Sin embargo, esa cifra, la m?s alta de Latinoam?rica, no hace m?s que "enmascarar" una realidad mucho m?s cruda. Lo m?s doloroso es que los rubros que m?s est?n aumentando son los que m?s afectan al pueblo, como es el caso de los alimentos.

Estamos al borde de un abismo inflacionario y al Gobierno poco parece importarle.
529  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / EXPLOSIVE TURN IN BOLIVIA on: September 12, 2006, 12:39:00 AM

Publius Pundit tiene un excelente reportaje gr?fico de los disturbios anticomunistas en Bolivia.
530  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Bolivia refuses to go down the Chavez road on: September 12, 2006, 12:17:54 AM
Bolivia refuses to go down the Chavez road
By Aleksander Boyd

London 10.09.06 | One issue that has somewhat escaped the attention of LatAm opinion makers, political analysts and observers is a supra constitutional mechanism known as the National Constituent Assembly (NCA). Incumbents call for a referendum, whose aim is the formation of a NCA, that in practice dissolves all democratically elected powers and appoint new ones. Venezuela provides a perfect case study of how such mechanism came about and the pernicious effects that it has on democracy, and above all else, on the premise of independence of powers. Hugo Chavez was the first democratically elected leader to have used such a method to install his cronies in power and purportedly to "refound the State."

Having won an almost absolute majority in the NAC called for in 1999, Hugo Chavez's minions effectively did away with all elected officials and institutions, going as far as drafting and passing a new constitution that gave extraordinary powers to the head of the executive. Please do note that the previous constitution, approved in 1961 which was still in effect in 1999 when these events took place, did not have any provisions or other such statutory regulations permitting to form any supra constitutional entities. In fact it was a 'democratic' coup d'etat -probably a first anywhere in the world- for Chavez sought to armour plate his NCA by arguing that it was summoned by 'the will of the people.' Ergo Chavez, disregarding constitutional mandates existing at the time, completely revamped the State to suit his specific political agenda. Presidential re-election was introduced in the constitution, the presidential period was extended from 4 to 6 years, in sum on 22 December 1999 Chavez's NCA -a week before the new Constitution was enacted- decreed a 'transition regime' which ceased the functioning of Congress, legislative assemblies and all other public powers. Then, arguing that the new Constitution had yet to take effect (it had been approved already five days earlier in a referendum on 18/12/99) it created a National Legislative Committee, named the new members of the Supreme Court, the people's Defender, the Attorney General, the National Electoral Commission and the Comptroller. In none of these cases were the procedures established by the new Constitution followed.

That single act did away with the legitimacy of the Venezuelan State as it stands today for in unconstitutional fashion, the independence and democratic origin of powers were impinged. There was no public consultation on the subject whatsoever, the customary parliamentary debate and consensus needed to reach such transcendental decisions were totally obviated. Thus we saw how Chavez illegally abrogated the former constitution and bestowed upon himself extraordinary powers to govern Venezuela. That has proven to be his ultimate political masterstroke.

Emboldened by Venezuela's huge oil income, which Chavez commands unrestrictedly, he nowadays is exporting his try and tested method to weak democracies around the region, in particular to Andean countries. Ollanta Humala wanted a NCA, Chavez puppets in Ecuador -Roldos and Correa- want one, AMLO fancies another and Evo Morales is already half way to 'refounding' the Bolivian State.

In my recent trip to Sao Paulo I warned democrats from Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia and Bolivia about the perils they faced should this democratic aberration devised by Chavez and Castro hold sway. It seems difficult for citizens of those countries to envisage what the future may be under such conditions. As a Venezuelan who knows exactly where that road leads I can only continue warning them and hoping that the model will be rejected at all costs.

Reports out of Bolivia point at fierce resistance to the Morales-sanctioned Chavez travesty. In Santa Cruz, Beni, Tarija and Pando provinces people are up in arms and should continue so until Morales' backs off. To do otherwise will simply mean a transfer of power to Caracas and Havana.

531  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Ecuaci?n invertida on: September 10, 2006, 07:47:36 PM
Argelia R?os // Catalejos
Ecuaci?n invertida

Los vientos no soplan a favor del mandatario. Ya no es aquel hombre capaz de conectarse de inmediato con las gentes humildes. El af?n de transformarse en una referencia del contrapoder internacional le distanci? de los problemas dom?sticos. Su discurso grandilocuente se ha vuelto incomprensible para los sectores populares, en donde las nuevas promesas de Ch?vez suenan huecas, sepultadas en el foso de su interminable "bla-bla"... Lo que el poderoso jefe se ha encontrado a su regreso es un ambiente de indiferencia. La geopol?tica mundial termin? produciendo un creciente desinter?s de las masas, que no comprenden siquiera el glosario empleado por quien cre?an su mejor int?rprete.

El desvanecimiento de la magia con la cual se hab?a recreado la relaci?n m?stica entre los pobres y el Presidente ha abierto paso al desencanto. Los o?dos de la pobrec?a ya no son un monopolio del jefe ?nico que est? viendo c?mo el pueblo pone una sorpresiva atenci?n sobre el nuevo oferente. En medio de la m?s espectacular bonanza experimentada por Venezuela, los sectores m?s humildes van ponderando, cada vez m?s, la parvedad de lo que Ch?vez les ha dado.

La ineficiencia que el Presidente no resuelve _porque todo termina en enroques y cambios cosm?ticos en su equipo_ ha sembrado progresivamente la idea de que el l?der s? tiene una importante cuota de responsabilidad en el desastre de la gesti?n del Gobierno y de que no existe un compromiso de acero con los pobres: s?lo una relaci?n utilitaria, en la que el voto encuentra una retribuci?n apenas simb?lica y residual.

"Probar" con un nuevo l?der ya no es una posibilidad negada a rajatabla. Quienes tienen poco que perder _lo poco que Ch?vez les ha dado_ comienzan a aceptar "que no estar?a mal un cambio": un castigo aleccionador, cuya expresi?n podr?a ser, bien la indiferencia materializada en abstenci?n de la clientela, o bien un decidido salto de ?sta hacia el territorio de lo novedoso... El hecho de que el Presidente ya ni siquiera considere a la pobreza una condici?n deplorable del ser humano (porque lo malo es ser rico, y estrenar en Navidad, y aspirar a una mejor?a de las condiciones de vida), es una sentencia tatuada en el inconsciente de esos humildes que observan con curiosidad al otro rostro.

Ciertamente, no hay decisi?n todav?a, pero s? un merodeo por la alternativa. Como dice Oscar Schemel, de la empresa Hinterlaces, la gente ya reconoce que el Presidente, siendo un "hombre bueno", resulta "inconveniente" para los intereses de Venezuela: porque no ha sabido armar un equipo competente (ni siquiera en este a?o electoral, lo que es revelador de su desinter?s y de su incapacidad para hacerlo); porque no escucha al pueblo y ha involucrado a Venezuela en una maquinaci?n externa que desv?a, hacia otras naciones, recursos que necesitan los pobres para alcanzar una expectativa digna de vida.

En definitiva, los papeles se han invertido. Ahora es Ch?vez quien tiene problemas para reconectarse con el sector popular. Ahora es ?l quien presenta un discurso err?tico y repetitivo. Ahora es ?l el que sufre la divisi?n de su alianza y la amenaza de que muchos de sus aliados _ante el decisivo debate ideol?gico y el "para siempre"_ le jueguen "la cach?a" para debilitarlo... Ch?vez sabe que vienen tiempos de traiciones y reacomodos, tanto en el mundo social, civil, como en el militar... El dinero no le bastar?.
532  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / A general theory of just about everything on: September 10, 2006, 01:32:27 PM
A general theory of just about everything

Now that recluse mathematician Grigory Perelman has proven Poincaire's Conjecture, only a few longstanding conundrums remain to be solved. To name two: Why do Western societies inevitably tend towards appeasement? Why has anti-Semitism migrated to the Left?

The answer to both questions lies in the prevalent Western view of man as a rational pleasure-seeking animal, whose life has no ultimate purpose outside itself and ends with death. As a descriptive matter, that is a fair picture of the way many members of post-Christian, Western societies live their lives.

The question, however, is: Can a society comprised primarily of such people defend itself? For those who experience their lives in this way, war will always be an irrational choice, unless the chance of being killed is very small and the potential reward very great. Only fools who believe in some transcendental values, such as the nation or democracy, or who have a very large stake in the future, will ever go to war, as long as any alternative exists.

Plummeting Western fertility rates have left ever fewer people with that kind of stake in the future. Without children to whom to bequeath the world, or a belief in an afterlife, why sacrifice oneself on the altar of the future?

Even in the face of an aggressive external threat, the rational choice will always be to placate the enemy, hopefully long enough to allow one to shuffle off this mortal coil before the bribe money runs out.

The West has delegitimized the resort to war in almost every circumstance. It enunciates rules of combat that favor non-state actors and terrorists. And its fetish with body counts reflects the belief that every resort to violence is proof of immorality. (As Binyamin Netanyahu pointed out to a BBC interviewer, Germany suffered more casualties in World War II than America and Britain combined, without thereby establishing its superior moral claim.)

The simulacrum of peace is confused with peace itself. As long as the sides are talking, all is well. Europe will still be engaging Iran in further discussions long after the latter has armed its intercontinental missiles with nuclear warheads.

PLEASURE-SEEKING children of the enlightenment mistakenly view all men in their own image.They dwell in a fantasy world, in which men of goodwill can iron out all their differences over a conference table, oblivious to the real threats confronting them.

There is no room in their philosophy for a young British-born Muslim couple who intended to blow up a transatlantic airplane by igniting liquid explosive in their baby's bottle. Nor can they appreciate the impeccable religious logic of nuclear war for the Iranian mullahs. As Ayatollah Khomeini put it: Either we will annihilate all the infidels, and thereby gain our freedom, or we will die trying, and thereby attain the greater freedom of a martyr's death.

Contemplating the jihadists' logic - the logic of those who crave death - is terrifying and causes many to deny the obvious: the West is in a religious war. After Canadian police uncovered a plot to blow up the Parliament buildings and behead the prime minister, the police spokesman described the plotters as coming from a broad cross-section of society - albeit all named Muhammad or Ahmed. And the deputy commissioner of Scotland Yard called those plotting to blow up 10 airliners nothing but common criminals, at most "hiding behind certain faiths."

The intellectuals desperately grasp at the model of a grievance for every man, and a price for every grievance. They cannot acknowledge that Muslims engage in terror not to achieve any definable goal, but because terrorizing the infidels is what they do best, and doing so provides them with a sense of power otherwise absent from their thwarted lives and failed societies.

But not all goals can be reconciled, and it is not always possible to split the difference. The Islamists' goal of imposing Shari'a law on the entire world cannot find a happy modus vivendi with the West's desire to live in peace and comfort.

Even when Westerners glimpse the truth, they flee from it and quickly revert to type. Over half of Britons now view Islam itself as a threat to society. Yet flogged by the BBC, they convince themselves that Islam has grievances and those grievances can be assuaged.

The Muslim MPs and peers who audaciously warned of further terrorist attacks by native-born Muslims unless Prime Minister Tony Blair mends his foreign policy knew their audience. Britons prefer to believe that British foreign policy, not bottomless Islamic rage, breeds suicide bombers. Blair's dismal poll numbers reflect that belief.

THE CONTINUED existence of the Jewish people has always posed an insolvable problem for materialists of every stripe, from Toynbee to Marx, and caused them to rail against the Jews. Today's enlightened humanists rail against Israel in the same way. And increasingly they couch their condemnations of Israel in explicitly religious terms.

Norwegian novelist Jostein Gaarder and Human Rights Watch's Kenneth Roth both attributed Israeli bombing of Lebanon to the primitive Jewish morality of "an eye for an eye" (ignorant that the Talmud interprets the verse as referring to monetary compensation). Toynbee once declared the Jews an "atavism"; today Prof. Tony Judt calls Israel's religious-ethnic state an "anachronism" and prominent European voices bemoan Israel's creation as a costly "mistake."

Intellectuals seek to preserve their fantasy model of a world of rational game-players by turning Israel into the Islamists' only grievance and imagining an idyllic world without the Jewish state.

Just as Neville Chamberlain convinced himself that Hitler would be satisfied with the Sudetenland, so do many Western intellectuals, on far weaker evidence, imagine that the Islamists will be satisfied with Israel, and that only Israel's obstinate determination to exist prevents peace in our time.
533  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Manuel Rosales emboscado el oficialismo on: September 08, 2006, 05:50:12 PM
(Noticiero Digital) El candidato presidencial unitario, Manuel Rosales, fue emboscado por presuntos activistas del oficialismo mientras realizaba un recorrido por Catia, en el oeste de la capital

Hombres no identificados, presuntamente vinculados al gobierno, dispararon a los simpatizantes del Gobernador cuando este marchaba por el sector Boquer?n en Catia.

Colaboradores de ND presentes en el sitio informaron que Rosales result? ileso, pero que algunos miembros de su comitiva fueron heridos y uno de los veh?culos donde se transportaba recibi? dos impactos de bala.

?Quiero decirle a Venezuela que si a mi me pasa algo, si me matan en una de esas emboscadas que me est?n tendiendo es orden de Ch?vez y responsabilizo de Ch?vez. El pueblo sabr? qu? hacer. Si me asesinan el pueblo saldr? a la calle y tumbar? a este gobierno si pretenden eliminar la posibilidad de que sea presidente de Venezuela. No le temo a Ch?vez ni a sus emboscadas, voy pa?lante y voy a llegar a la presidencia a de la Rep?blica?, dijo Rosales minutos despu?s de evacuar el lugar de la refriega.

?Ch?vez est? nervioso?

?El candidato de gobierno y sus ac?litos siguen con sus intentos de parar la avalancha de pueblo que respalda a Rosales?, dijo a ND el periodista William Ojeda, miembro del Comando de la Unidad.

?Est? nervioso porque el candidato de la unidad nacional le cogi? la calle y apelan a grupos violentos pagados para agredir al pueblo. Eran miles de personas que acompa?aban a Rosales, y al ser atacados no se detuvieron?, destac? Ojeda.

Seg?n el periodista, el candidato presidencial est? a salvo, y pas? varios intentos de ser emboscado antes de ser atacado a tiros: ?Vi a tres personas seriamente lesionadas que recibieron botellazos, pero lo que importa ac? es la falta de seguridad en el pa?s, el crimen, la delincuencia. El gobierno no quiere que se hable de 8 a?os de fracasos y por eso trata de sabotear desesperadamente cualquier intento de que la gente sepa la verdad. Mientras m?s ataquen al candidato de la unidad m?s crecer? como la espuma?, subray? Ojeda.

El ND intenta precisar cu?ntas personas resultaron heridas.

534  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Russia to probe Hizbullah weapons on: September 08, 2006, 02:00:56 PM
Russia to probe Hizbullah weapons
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, at her meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Friday, reiterated Israel's concerns that Russian-produced weapons sold to Syria reached Hizbullah.

Israel has complained that Hizbullah had Russian-made anti-tank missiles - which it bought from Syria - in its possession and that these weapons caused many of the casualties the IDF suffered in the war in Lebanon. IDF forces that captured Hizbullah positions found weapons with Russian markings - among them Kornet guided anti-tank missiles - stashed in the group's bunkers. Russia has previously assured Israel that none of the weapons it sold to Syria would reach Hizbullah.

  • Hizbullah weapons cloud Lavrov visit
  • The rocket hunters - best in the world

However, Lavrov said at a press conference after Friday's meeting that his country was now investigating the possibility. "We have clear rules under which a country cannot transfer weapons we sell it to a third party," he said.

Livni said that Lebanon had "a clear and unconditional responsibility to enforce the weapons embargo called for by the Security Council. If Syria does not comply with the resolution, it should face sanctions. Syria must understand that a condition for its acceptance in the international community is ending its support for terror and for Hizbullah."

Addressing the overall situation in the Middle East, Lavrov expressed support for an Arab League initiative proposed earlier this week for an international peace conference under the auspices of the UN Security Council that would bypass the Road Map plan and call for direct negotiations between Israel and its neighbors - Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinians.

Livni said that Israel was opposed to the Arab proposal, and that an international conference was not the right move under the current circumstances. She added however, that Israel was in favor of resuming dialogue with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, and that a meeting with him should take place soon. "That doesn't mean there will be peace tomorrow morning, but we've got to see what we need to do to talk about the future," the foreign minister said.
535  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Breve Historia Pol?tica de Venezuela on: September 07, 2006, 11:47:52 PM
Soy algo mas joven que Gustavo Coronel pero doy f? que su narrativa se apega a la verdad, hemos ido en descenso en lo que a gobiernos y gobernantes se refiere.

De Gonzalo Barrios a Nicol?s Maduro: 50 a?os de involuci?n.

Venezuela vive tiempos terribles

Publicado el 06.01.2005 21:10
Por Gustavo Coronel

Para quienes ya estamos en la s?ptima d?cada de la vida y a?n mentalmente l?cidos, no es dif?cil advertir el tr?gico proceso de involuci?n pol?tica y social que ha sufrido nuestro pa?s desde la d?cada de los 60 hasta hoy. La Venezuela de los a?os 60 era un pa?s en proceso de despegue econ?mico, pol?tico y social.
Reci?n huido Marcos P?rez Jim?nez, con varias maletas llenas de d?lares que le permitieron vivir como un pach? en Madrid hasta que muri? de viejo, pero feliz, el pa?s entr? en una etapa democr?tica que lo convirti? en el modelo a ser imitado por el resto de Am?rica Latina. Centenares de miles de inmigrantes hab?an entrado a Venezuela: italianos, espa?oles, portugueses, checos, yugoeslavos, algunos rusos, todos buscando un pa?s mejor, una oportunidad de comenzar de nuevo en un pa?s democr?tico donde todo parec?a nuevo. El maravilloso impulso que esos inmigrantes le dieron a nuestro pa?s en todos los ?rdenes: cultural, econ?mico, social, todav?a est? por evaluarse en su justa magnitud.

De la gran conjunci?n de nuestro mestizaje con aquella inmigraci?n europea surgieron bell?simas mujeres, grandes atletas, extraordinarios intelectuales, m?sicos, pintores y cient?ficos. Los gobiernos venezolanos post dictadura abrieron el pa?s a un estilo de vida profundamente democr?tico y civilista. La Venezuela que emerg?a de la dictadura y que estaba generando un nuevo y mas ilustrado mestizaje ten?a problemas pero, en retrospectiva, no tengo dudas de que era un gran pa?s. Recuerdo como en la playa, los fines de semana, nos encontr?bamos con los ministros y altos funcionarios del gobierno, sin guardaespaldas, sin la parafernalia armada y hostil que acompa?a a los dictadorzuelos, e intercambi?bamos saludos, a?n sin compartir sus tendencias pol?ticas. Era la ?poca de tener adversarios pero no enemigos.

En su momento, el primer presidente de la Venezuela post Perezjimenista, R?mulo Betancourt, no ten?a las simpat?as de muchos venezolanos, quienes prefer?an a pol?ticos mas conservadores. Y, sin embargo, Betancourt se convirti? en el gran l?der de la democracia latinoamericana, al enfrent?rsele por igual a las dictaduras de derecha (el criminal Chapita Trujillo) y de izquierda (el carnicero cubano, Fidel Castro). En alianza con John Kennedy, Betancourt se coloc? en la vanguardia de la democracia en el hemisferio, derrotando tanto el intento de asesinato hecho por Trujillo como la invasion de mercenarios cubanos enviada por Castro. Los gabinetes de Betancourt fueron de gente preparada, honesta y decorosa: Gonzalo Barrios, Luis Beltran Prieto, Andr?s German Otero, Edmundo Fern?ndez.
Su secretario, Ricardo Montilla, manten?a las puertas de sus oficinas abiertas a los j?venes estudiantes que iban a su despacho en b?squeda de informaci?n. El tono general de ese gobierno era de una profunda sencillez democr?tica. La oposici?n era tomada en cuenta y las conversaciones entre la gente del gobierno y la gente de la oposici?n eran frecuentes y parte del existente estilo democr?tico. Durante ese per?odo y los que vinieron despu?s, los de Leoni y Caldera, la tradici?n de respeto hacia la oposici?n se mantuvo y era motivo de orgullo c?vico ver como nuestros gobernantes se mezclaban libremente con los ciudadanos y como se discut?an los asuntos de significaci?n nacional entre todos los venezolanos. Venezuela era una democracia ejemplar, imitada en todo el hemisferio.

La involuci?n comenz?, de manera insidiosa, con Carlos Andr?s P?rez y con Luis Herrera Campins. Durante esos per?odos, a pesar de los altos ingresos petroleros, el gobierno de Venezuela pareci? perder su rumbo hacia el progreso para convertirse en una organizaci?n fantasiosa (P?rez) y burocr?tica (Herrera), con fuertes indicios de una seria corrupci?n administrativa. P?rez tuvo mucho dinero y mucho poder. Su problema fue, como lo dijo Gonzalo Barrios, que le hizo falta "un poco de ignorancia". El pretend?a saber m?s que todos de todo. Los miembros de sus gabinetes fueron reducidos a meros mirones de palo. Herrera, a t?tulo personal, no fue un corrupto, pero durante su presidencia muchos miembros de su entorno fueron muy corruptos y el pa?s se deterior? debido a su estilo pasivo e indolente de manejar el gobierno.
La involuci?n se aceler? bajo Lusinchi. Los miembros de su equipo de gobierno eran muy mediocres. Su d?bil personalidad permiti? que la corrupci?n llegara a muy altos niveles. RECADI permanece como una de las mayores tragedias administrativas de la Venezuela moderna. Esta involuci?n se acentu? bajo los segundos gobiernos de P?rez y Caldera, no tanto por culpa de los miembros del gobierno sino por la estupidez de los presidentes. P?rez tuvo un grupo de ministros j?venes, casi todos estrellas. Caldera tambi?n tuvo algunos excelentes ministros. Sin embargo, la personalidad absorbente de estos hombres ahog? todo intento de progreso en el pa?s. Durante la segunda presidencia de P?rez se llevaron a cabo dos golpes militares, ambos sangrientos pero ineptos. Los dos fueron derrotados por el gobierno y carecieron de apoyo en la sociedad civil. El gobierno de Caldera fue laxo en el castigo a los culpables de esos golpes.
Hoy, los protagonistas de esos sangrientos golpes est?n en el poder. El jefe del primer golpe, Hugo Ch?vez, es hoy presidente y, m?s que presidente, es un hombre fuerte, a la usanza de Per?n en Argentina, Noriega en Panam? o Fujimori en Per?. Los c?mplices de esos golpes est?n hoy, esencialmente, en posiciones de alto poder pol?tico.
Durante estos ?ltimos a?os de continua involuci?n pol?tica y social la calidad de los actores pol?ticos venezolanos ha bajado de una manera estrepitosa. Por primera vez desde que escribo para la prensa, desde hace 58 a?os, me siento tentado a poner en blanco y negro una expresi?n vulgar. Cuando pienso que en los ?ltimos cincuenta a?os hemos ido de Gonzalo Barrios a Nicol?s Maduro, me provoca decir: co?oooo!.
De Luis Beltran Prieto a Arist?bulo Isturiz? ?De Edmundo Fern?ndez a Roger Capella? ?De Arnoldo Gabaldon a Ana Luisa Osorio? ?De Juan Pablo P?rez Alfonzo a Rafa?l Ram?rez? ?De Andr?s German Otero a Nelson Merentes? ?De Rafa?l Alfonzo Ravard a Hector Ciavaldini o Al? Rodr?guez? ?De Manuel P?rez Guerrero o Jos? Antonio Mayobre a Jorge Giordani? De Mauricio Garc?a Araujo a Tobias N?brega? Coooooo?o!
?De Jos? Antonio P?rez D?az a Pedro Carre?o? ?De Haydee Castillo a Iris Varela? ?De Leopoldo Garc?a Maldonado o Francisco de Venanzi a Trino D?az? De Domingo Alberto Rangel a Dar?o Vivas? Cooooo?o!
De R?mulo Betancourt o Rafael Caldera o Ra?l Leoni a Hugo Ch?vez? Perdonen la expresi?n pero: cooooooo?o!
Lo que tenemos en Venezuela no es una revoluci?n. Es una horrorosa involuci?n, mediante la cu?l vamos de un pa?s que parec?a estar en franco camino hacia el progreso, a un pa?s que se est? hundiendo en el pantano del atraso y de la dictadura.
Y si Jos? Vicente Rang?l cree que se va a salvar de una comparaci?n desfavorable, ?qu? le parece Luis Esteban Rey? Rey fue lo que usted nunca fue: un periodista honesto. Coooooo?o!
 *Gustavo Coronel es un veterano ingeniero de la industria petrolera, miembro director de la primera junta directiva de PDVSA (1975-1979).Actualmente Coronel colabora en Petroleumworld como editor de opini?n de Petroleumworld en Espa?ol.
536  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Encuesta Electoral on: September 07, 2006, 07:05:35 PM
Para el 3 de diciembre est?n pautadas las elecciones presidenciales de Venezuela. Por fin la oposici?n se logr? poner de acuerdo y ahora tiene un candidato ?nico, Manual Rosales, gobernador del Estado Zulia. Hay tambi?n un "outsider," un espontaneo como dicen en los toros, Benjam?n Rausseo, c?mico mejor conocido bajo su nombre de escena, "Er Conde del Guacharo." Est?n empezando a salir las encuestas:

Nelson Bocaranda Sardi // Runrunes
ANGUSTIAS. Por lo que muestra una encuesta secreta encargada por el Comando Miranda en siete regiones del pa?s entre el 15 y el 30 de agosto. Ante la pregunta: "si las elecciones fueran el pr?ximo domingo y los candidatos fueran Hugo Ch?vez y Manuel Rosales como candidato ?nico de la oposici?n, ?por qui?n votar?a usted?" Las respuestas arrojaron lo siguiente: Ch?vez 17,4%; Rosales 72,1% y no sabe/no contesta 10,5%. Donde est? m?s fuerte Ch?vez es en la clase D con 20,2% y entre los mayores de 47 a?os con 19%. La indecisi?n llega a 30,3% en las clases A y B mientras que en la D es de s?lo 6,8%. Principal raz?n: nada nuevo que ofrecer que no se haya ofrecido y no cumplido en estos 8 a?os. Por eso arreciar?n el acoso a medios y opositores...
537  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Two clowns and a country on: September 07, 2006, 02:17:22 PM
Two clowns and a country

Saniora and Nasrallah led Lebanon to brink of destruction but the Arab world has no inquiry commissions

During the war in Lebanon, Israel faced two protagonists: A robe-wearing ranter and a crybaby in a suit. Terrorist chieftain Hassan Nasrallah and Prime Minister Fuad Saniora are both genuine representatives of the Land of the Cedars. It's a state very different from the mighty tree that so proudly symbolizes it on its flag.

The Lebanese character - with all its strengths and weaknesses - was set out in sharp relief during the war. It was a war in which the Lebanese again brought destruction crashing down on their own heads, led by these two leaders, the prevaricator and the nice guy, each competing with the other over who despises Israel more.

Sheikh Nasrallah - enough has been said about him. The leader of the Party of God and the Shi'ite minority is a unique phenomenon. Only in fragmented Lebanon, with its multitude of competing ethnicities and religious sects, could a cleric like him rise to such prominence, set up his own army, and be given free rein.

South Lebanon was turned into what the Golan Heights were in the 1960s under Syrian rule - a military compound threatening Israel's northern border. For six years, the area was dug up and tunneled, turned into a combat zone to threaten the Israeli enemy. Everything was in place, waiting for the right opportunity, the right moment to surprise and attack the complacent Israeli army.

And as in the Golan Heights, the IDF took control of the Hizbullah combat zone too, despite its mistakes and losses and despite the stammering hesitation of the government that sent it. The price of Nasrallah's arrogance is being paid by the entire Lebanese people.

He can console himself with one thing: Nasrallah himself is still breathing and still holding two abducted Israeli soldiers, and consequently he can continue to bargain over the price of their release and cruelly and obdurately stretch the nerves of their families. But that same Hizbullah snake can no longer raise his head. Nasrallah is hiding just like the Sunni terrorist chieftain Osama bin Laden. Nasrallah can no longer afford to give live interviews. He has lowered his profile.

BUT WONDER of wonders: The prime minister of Lebanon, the man with the tears, the leader that wept at the conference of Arab foreign ministers at what was done to his country and especially Beirut its capital, who did not lift a finger to halt the Hizbullah war machine, has now stood up to take the reins of power.

Saniora is trying hard. His good friends in Europe and the United Nations pity him and he is pinning his hopes on their help to rebuild his country. No commission of inquiry threatens him. No one in Lebanon is demanding that he pay the price and resign for his failure to lead, for making possible the destruction of substantial parts of his country. And if anyone expected that perhaps now, after the cease-fire, now that Nasrallah has admitted that he erred and is hiding like a rat in some Lebanese hole, that Prime Minister Saniora would rise up and courageously settle accounts with him - such a person would be very wrong.

Signor Saniora has complaints to only one side - Israel. The very idea that after the cease-fire the man would screw up his courage and try to introduce law and order in his country, that he would send Nasrallah and his suicidal murderers packing, is ludicrous. The man talking about rebuilding is in fact preparing the ground for the next catastrophe.

IT SHOULD not surprise anyone that Lebanon's pathetic excuse for a prime minister is pointing an accusatory finger in just one direction - toward Israel. As he sees it, it is not Hizbullah, which on July 12 crossed Israel's sovereign border, a border recognized by the United Nations, and carried out an unprovoked act of terror, or which has for six years taken control of Lebanese territory, that is to blame. Nor are Nasrallah's hate-filled, inflammatory speeches against Israel and the Jewish people to blame; or those meddling in Lebanon's affairs from Damascus and Iran.

Israel is the one that "started" the war; it is Israel that destroyed 15 years of development and progress, as he put it. Saniora is is frustrated. He is trying to stand tall; to rehabilitate his personal image through attempts to mobilize aid from the West and support from among Arab countries. And even though he and the sane elements in Lebanese society know in their heart of hearts who is really responsible for erasing 15 years of development, the Lebanese premier nevertheless aims his arrows at the neighbor to the south.

And in order to earn a place of honor among the proud Arab leaders, while winking sideways in the direction of Lebanon's true patrons - Ahmadinejad and Bashar Assad - he adds a "threat" to Israel: There will be no peace until it withdraws from Jerusalem, from Lebanon, from the Golan Heights and from all the "occupied territories." And in order to give added weight to his declarations, he valiantly pledges: Lebanon will be the last Arab country to sign a peace agreement with Israel.

FECKLESS, INEFFECTIVE leader? Whining crybaby? Not the remodeled, post-war Fuad Saniora; no way. An intrepid and determined Arab leader has suddenly materialized like a phoenix from the ashes. He is not to blame for anything and neither is Nasrallah.

Here in Israel, the war will be investigated, those culpable will be identified, heads will roll. People want to know how we were surprised, why we had difficulty fighting, why the war's goals were not attained.

None of this will happen in Lebanon, which will continue on the same path, without commissions of inquiry, in the same mafia-like style and with the same Levantine hypocrisy, the same well-known powerlessness - and the same unwillingness to foster a relationship between Beirut and Jerusalem that would benefit both sides of the blue line.

And in a short time, after the current prime minister in Beirut has left the stage, most likely not naturally, but rather in the way most natural in Lebanon, Beirut may once again find itself - because of the irresponsible parties within it and the lack of a strong, central government, and because of some new Nasrallah that may crop up - under the boots of the IDF. Once again, years of development and progress will be erased... and the beat goes on.

WE CAN only hope that Israel doesn't repeat the mistakes of the second Lebanese war - neither on the northern front, nor on the other fronts; nor on the nuclear front, whose frightening clouds are approaching us, and the entire world.

And to Saniora, we will say: Even without a Lebanese commission of inquiry, even if you continue (for a while) as prime minister, even if you strut and swagger in Stockholm or Paris with your finger pointed high - you, more than Nasrallah, are to blame for the fall of the Land of the Cedars.

The writer, director-general of the Jabotinsky Institute, is a former Likud MK. He was chief of staff to former prime minister Yitzhak Shamir.
538  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Middle Israel: To Hassan Nasrallah on: September 01, 2006, 10:31:23 PM
Middle Israel: To Hassan Nasrallah

Mr. Nasrallah - There was something refreshing in your admission this week that you had failed to predict Israel's reaction to the attack you ordered July 12, and that you would not have ordered it had you known its consequences in advance.

Frankly, that's a lot more responsibility than our own leaders are for now prepared to assume, not to mention the political norm across the Arab world, where presidents, princes, monarchs and Generalissimos, like Catholic popes, never err.

Your admission is even more impressive concerning your frequent boasts to have studied us thoroughly. Well Hassan, since at least this one time you actually realize you have still got what to learn about us, let me draw your attention to a few more aspects of the situation of which you are apparently unaware, and which may help you avoid more mistakes in the future.

FIRST, you must understand that the whole world and its sister saw through your statements. They realized that the situation at which you have arrived, whereby you are constantly on the run, is even more difficult for you than it might have been for others, because publicly addressing large audiences has become for you a way of life and a source of energy. Otherwise why did you dedicate to that TV reporter - a poorly veiled blonde female, God forbid - a full two-and-a-half hours of your time?

Similarly, it took no Arabist to understand that the confession you made was meant to address the growing displeasure across Lebanon with the Israeli counterattack's impact, the one you now admit having both caused and failed to predict. Yes, curiously enough the Lebanese masses to whom you promised so conceitedly "a share in the victory" are unhappy, very unhappy, to foot the $10-billion-bill of damages with which your war games have left them, not to mention their displeasure with their human toll.

In other words, Hassan, unlike what you and your Iranian masters believe, even where freedom is scarce there is a limit to the abuse that ordinary folk are prepared to take; at the end of the day they do speak their minds, and those minds in their turn seek life, opportunity and prosperity much more than the bickering, triumphalism, belligerence, chauvinism and eye-rolling piety that you offer them instead.

Secondly, now that you concede having misread us, the question is in what way?

WHAT YOU would like the Lebanese people to believe is that you have merely failed to predict Israel's response to one specific situation, but otherwise you remain convinced, as you have boasted many times, that no one knows Israel better than you. Well, the fact is that what you have misread runs deeper than one situation, and demonstrates that with all due respect to your efforts on this front, too, you are still in no position to say you know us.

Yes, we may now be engaging in the kind of soul-searching which you and your puppeteers in Teheran think you can forever flee, and in the coming months we will be busy probing, despite our leaders' shameful trickery, various aspects of their conduct that we found unsatisfactory. Still, none of this should change the fact that beyond Israel's response to the attack you now admit you regret having launched lurks a popular will to fight that refutes your famous gloating that Israel had lost its will to fight.

Evidently, Hassan, diligent though you may have been in studying the situation you are so obsessed with reinventing, here too you have been doing something fundamentally wrong.

First, you completely misunderstood the very concept of democratic protest. Back in 2000, when you saw ordinary Israeli citizens both protest Israel's Lebanese policy and affect it, you mistook all this for weakness. Well, it turns out that this analysis was no more valid than Vietnam's illusion that it had beaten America - a conventional wisdom that proved so unfounded that the Vietnamese soon afterwards shed their ostensibly victorious communist faith, and in fact begged the US to restore its ties with them.

Never mind the fact that we Jews are convinced that your fundamentalism's aftermath will be the same as communism's, fascism's, and all the other isms that were bent on oppressing their own people and conquering everyone else. What I wonder is - just what makes you think you know us; how do you go about studying us before you jump to your sweeping conclusions?

Do you really think that by getting a daily digest of headlines written somewhere within the journalistic Bermuda Triangle that lies between Yediot, Ma'ariv and Haaretz you can purport to know us? The Jews? How much do you know about our origins, how long we have been around, what we have been through, how many swords have been smashed on our heads over the centuries, and how many pens have been broken in efforts to besmirch, debilitate or even just decipher us?

Surely, no one here expects you to now start exploring, say, Exodus, Isaiah, Ecclesiastes, Philo and Maimonides, or Marx, Spinoza, Freud and Einstein, or S.Y. Agnon, Natan Alterman, Moshe Shamir and A.B. Yehoshua, or even just Ben-Gurion's memoirs, so as to get a somewhat broader perspective about us. Nor do I see you contemplating the many premature eulogies of the Jewish nation delivered by assorted scholars from Hegel to Toynbee, people who were probably even more learned than you.

What we do urge you to do, as long as you live off your current diet of intellectual fast food, is to not take too seriously Israeli admirers on the one hand or European anti-Semites on the other. Your journalistic admirers here are the same ones who only yesterday hailed, and now condemn, our current political and military leaders. As for those Europeans, yes, they may happily accept this baloney about you being merely after the Jews, but they are taking you for a ride when telling you they are still in the business of shaping the Jews' history. In fact they have even given up on shaping their own destiny.

Courting the devil has long been a European specialty, so much so that it took foreigners to save Europe from both fascism and communism. Back in the 1930s, most Europeans remained deaf to warnings that Hitler was after them, preferring to delude themselves he was "merely" after the Jews, and that the beast could be soothed by feeding it the Jewish prey it just could not resist. When Europe finally understood that the Jews were merely Fascism's warm-up act, it was too late.

Today you and your Iranian masters are cleverly following that script, telling Europe all you want is the Jews, while what you are really after is Beirut, the most Western corner of the Arab world, the Paris of the Middle East, the metropolis whose takeover by Iran would be equal in its impact to Constantinople's fall to the Ottomans in 1453.

Unfortunately, many Europeans still respond to all this with the same moral apathy and political appeasement that only a few decades ago set their continent ablaze. Even more unfortunately from your viewpoint, we Jews - that stiff-necked lot you thought you knew so well - are no longer prepared to play our part in the script: We fight.
539  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Amnesty Int'l redefines 'war crimes' on: August 31, 2006, 12:46:20 PM
Amnesty Int'l redefines 'war crimes'
The two principal "human rights" organizations are in a race to the bottom to see which group can demonize Israel with the most absurd legal arguments and most blatant factual mis-statements. Until last week, Human Rights Watch enjoyed a prodigious lead, having "found" - contrary to what every newspaper in the world had reported and what everyone saw with their own eyes on television - "no cases in which Hizbullah deliberately used civilians as shields to protect them from retaliatory IDF attack."

Those of us familiar with Amnesty International's nefarious anti-Israel agenda and notoriously "suggestible" investigative methodology wondered how it could possibly match such a breathtaking lie.

But we didn't have to wait long for AI to announce that Israel was guilty of a slew of war crimes for "widespread attacks against public civilian infrastructure, including power plants, bridges, main roads, seaports, and Beirut's international airport."

There are two problems with the Amnesty report and conclusion. First, Amnesty is wrong about the law. Israel committed no war crimes by attacking parts of the civilian infrastructure in Lebanon.

In fact, through restraint, Israel was able to minimize the number of civilian casualties in Lebanon, despite Hizbullah's best efforts to embed itself in population centers and to use civilians as human shields. The total number of innocent Muslim civilians killed by Israeli weapons during a month of ferocious defensive warfare was a fraction of the number of innocent Muslims killed by other Muslims during that same period in Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan, Algeria, and other areas of Muslim-on-Muslim civil strife. Yet the deaths caused by Muslims received a fraction of the attention devoted to alleged Israeli "crimes."

This lack of concern for Muslims by other Muslims - and the lack of focus by so-called human rights organizations on these deaths - is bigotry, pure and simple.

AMNESTY'S EVIDENCE that Israel's attacks on infrastructure constitute war crimes comes from its own idiosyncratic interpretation of the already-vague word "disproportionate." Unfortunately for Amnesty, no other country in any sort of armed conflict has ever adopted such a narrow definition of the term. Indeed, among the very first military objectives of most modern wars is precisely what Israel did: to disable portions of the opponent's electrical grid and communication network, to destroy bridges and roads, and to do whatever else is necessary to interfere with those parts of the civilian infrastructure that supports the military capability of the enemy.

That's how the American and Britain militaries fought World War II. (In fact, Israel shows far more restraint than Britain did during World War II. Prime Minister Winston Churchill directed the Royal Air Force to bomb the center of towns with the express purpose of killing as many civilians as possible.) Had the Allies been required to fight World War II under the rules of engagement selectively applied to Amnesty International to Israel, our "greatest generation" might have lost that war.

The strategy of destroying some infrastructure was particular imperative against Hizbullah. Israel first had to ensure that its kidnapped soldiers would not be smuggled out of the country (as other soldiers had been and were never returned), then it had to prevent Hizbullah from being re-armed, especially given that Hizbullah damaged a ship using advanced radar technology provided by the Lebanese army and rockets provided by Iran.

Hizbullah was being armed by Syria and Iran - as those countries themselves admitted - and the president, government, and population of Lebanon overwhelmingly supported the militia's indiscriminate rocket attacks against Israeli civilian population centers. The Lebanese army actively supported Hizbullah's military actions. Israel was, in a very real sense, at war with Lebanon itself, and not simply with a renegade faction of militants.

HERE'S HOW law professor David Bernstein answered Amnesty's charge:

The idea that a country at war can't attack the enemy's resupply routes (at least until it has direct evidence that there is a particular military shipment arriving) has nothing to do with human rights or war crimes, and a lot to do with a pacifist attitude that seeks to make war, regardless of the justification for it or the restraint in prosecuting it [at least if it's a Western country doing it], an international "crime."

In other words, if attacking the civilian infrastructure is a war crime, then modern warfare is entirely impermissible, and terrorists have a free hand in attacking democracies and hiding from retaliation among civilians. Terrorists become de facto immune from any consequences for their atrocities.

THE MORE troubling aspect of Amnesty's report is their inattention to Hizbullah. If Israel is guilty of war crimes for targeting civilian infrastructure, imagine how much greater is Hizbullah's moral responsibility for targeting civilians! But Amnesty shows little interest in condemning the terrorist organization that started the conflict, indiscriminately killed both Israeli civilians (directly) and Lebanese civilians (by using them as human shields), and has announced its intention to kill Jews worldwide (already having started by blowing up the Jewish Community Center in Argentina.) Apparently Amnesty has no qualms about Hizbullah six-year war of attrition against Israel following Israel's complete withdrawal from Southern Lebanon.

As has been widely reported, even al-Jazeera expressed surprise at the imbalance in the Amnesty report:

During the four week war Hizbullah fired 3,900 rockets at Israeli towns and cities with the aim of inflicting maximum civilian casualties.

The Israeli government says that 44 Israeli civilians were killed in the bombardments and 1,400 wounded.

AI has not issued a report accusing Hizbullah of war crimes.

Amnesty does not even seem to understand the charges it is making. Take, for example, this paragraph from its report:

Israeli government spokespeople have insisted that they were targeting Hizbullah positions and support facilities, and that damage to civilian infrastructure was incidental or resulted from Hizbullah using the civilian population as a "human shield". However, the pattern and scope of the attacks, as well as the number of civilian casualties and the amount of damage sustained, makes the justification ring hollow.

But the issue of human shields and infrastructure are different. The first relates to civilian casualties; the second concerns property damage. Of course Israel intentionally targeted bridges and roads. It would have been militarily negligent not to have done so under the circumstances. But it did not target innocent civilians. It would have given them no military benefit to do so.

The allegations become even more tenuous, as when Amnesty writes, "a road that can be used for military transport is still primarily civilian in nature." By this reasoning, terrorists could commandeer any structure or road initially constructed for civilian use, and Israel could not touch those bridges or buildings because they were once, and still could be, used by civilians. This is not, and should not be, the law.

Consider another example: "While the use of civilians to shield a combatant from attack is a war crime, under international humanitarian law such use does not release the opposing party from its obligations towards the protection of the civilian population."

Well that's certainly nice sounding. But what does it mean? What would Amnesty suggest a country do in the face of daily rocket attacks launched from civilian populations? Nothing, apparently. The clear implication of Amnesty's arguments is that the only way Israel could have avoided committing "war crimes" would have been if it had taken only such military action that carried with it no risk to civilian shields - that is, to do absolutely nothing.

For Amnesty, "Israeli war crimes" are synonymous with "any military action whatsoever."

The real problem with Amnesty's paper is that its blanket condemnations do not consider the consequences of its arguments. (It doesn't have to; it would never advance these arguments against any country but Israel.)

Amnesty International's conclusions are not based on sound legal arguments. They're certainly not based on compelling moral arguments. They're simply anti-Israel arguments. Amnesty reached a predetermined conclusion - that Israel committed war crimes - and it is marshalling whatever sound-bites it could to support that conclusion.

Amnesty International is not only sacrificing its own credibility when it misstates the law and omits relevant facts in its obsession over Israel. It also harms progressive causes that AI should be championing.

Just last year, for example, Amnesty blamed Palestinian rapes and "honor killings" on - you guessed it - the Israeli occupation. When I pointed out that there was absolutely no statistical evidence to show that domestic violence increased during the occupation, and that Amnesty's report relied exclusively on the conclusory and anecdotal reports of Palestinian NGOs, Amnesty stubbornly repeated that "Israel is implicated in this violence by Palestinian men against Palestinian women."

This episode only underscored AI's predisposition to blame everything on Israel. Even when presented with an ideal opportunity to promote gender equality and feminism in the Arab world, it preferred to take wholly unrelated and absurd shots at Israel.

Amnesty International just can't seem to help itself when it comes to blaming Israel for the evils of the world, but rational observers must not credit the pre-determined conclusions of a once-reputable organization that has destroyed its own credibility by repeatedly applying a double standard to Israel.

The writer is a professor of law at Harvard. His most recent book is Preemption: A Knife That Cuts Both Ways.
540  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Alcald?a Metropolitana decreta ?adquisici?n forzosa? on: August 29, 2006, 09:44:30 PM
No hab?a encontrado esta noticia en espa?ol antes:

Alcald?a Metropolitana decreta ?adquisici?n forzosa? de campos de Golf de Valle Arriba y del Caracas Country Club

Seg?n aparece en la Gaceta Oficial del Distrito Metropolitano de Caracas correspondiente al jueves pasado, y publicada el viernes, se decreta la ?adquisici?n forzosa? de los campos de Golf de Valle Arriba y del Caracas Country Club.
Informa el diario vespertino El Mundo que la medida incluye un lote de tierras de 15.538,90 metros cuadrados en la avenida Intercomunal de Montalb?n-La Vega y otro que pasa de los 466 ,mil mts2 en la urbanizaci?n La Arboleda, carretera Caracas- El Junquito.
Se ordena la ?ocupaci?n temporal? y ?se instruye a la Polic?a Metropolitana para que custodie de forma permanente? las ?reas a las que hace referencia la publicaci?n oficial.
La semana pasada, el alcalde Juan Barreto hab?a declarado que en los terrenos de los campos de golf se pueden construir complejos habitacionales para sectores medios. Los terrenos afectados est?n ubicados en los municipios Chacao y Baruta (este), de los cuales son alcaldes los opositores Leopoldo L?pez y Henrique Capriles.
En la capital hay un tercer campo de golf, en otra zona exclusiva del sureste, el Lagunita Country Club, que no fue expropiado.
Caracas est? dividida en cinco municipios -tres controlados por la oposici?n-, con importantes niveles de autonom?a, pero sobre los cuales ejerce autoridad Juan Barreto en su calidad de alcalde metropolitano.
La semana pasada, en un foro sobre seguridad ciudadana, Barreto arremeti? contra los alcaldes L?pez y Capriles a quienes insult? y agredi?, a la vez que amenaz? con impulsar la expropiaci?n de tierras y propiedades para entregarlas a quienes no tengan vivienda.
"Si tenemos que expropiar un municipio completo, lo haremos (...) no le seguiremos el juego a la clase media putrefacta a quienes L?pez y Capriles representan", dijo en aquel momento.
541  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Chifla en guerra y paz on: August 29, 2006, 07:37:28 AM
Recientemente Juan Barreto, alcalde mayor de Caracas, tom? el micr?fono durante la instalaci?n de un acto municipal para agredir a los alcaldes de la oposici?n, para agredir a la clase media en masa, para amenazar la expropiaci?n de municipios enteros usando las palabras mas soeces que brotaban a su sucia boca. Lo pudo hacer porque fu? un acto organizado y controlado por ?l en un sal?n abarrotado por hinchas del chavismo.

En la vida real encontr? que las cosas son diferentes:

Chifla en guerra y paz?
El alcalde mayor organiz? un concierto en que no pudo usar el micr?fono

[28-08-2006 4:02 ]? Esta vez no hubo encerrona sino entrada libre. La ocasi?n fue m?s inocente que la instalaci?n de un consejo metropolitano: el Concierto contra (precisamente) la Guerra y (precisamente) por la Paz.
El alcalde mayor prepar? su mejor camisa para comunicarse con los j?venes que respondieron a la atractiva oferta de ska y hip hop; incluso, esper? el mejor momento: justo antes de que subiera a escena el invitado especial y m?s esperado, Bersuit Vergarabat, de Argentina.

Subi? a la tarima rodeado por un s?quito de guardaespaldas, aclar? la garganta y tom? el micr?fono. Al principio el alcalde metropolitano no atin? a comprender que el bullicio no era ovaci?n sino chifla. Tard? en captar que no le ped?an otra sino ?c?llate?, ?b?jate? o, peor, ?asesino?. Fue cuando las latas de cerveza comenzaron a llegar al proscenio por el aire y no en bandeja, que Barreto aplic? la de Melqu?ades y tras ?l salieron todos sus protectores. Al parecer no se puede monopolizar el micr?fono ante todos los p?blicos.
542  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Gaza caught in anarchy and thuggery on: August 28, 2006, 08:42:24 AM
Gaza caught in anarchy and thuggery'
"When you walk in the streets of Gaza City, you cannot but close your eyes because of what you see there: unimaginable chaos, careless policemen, young men carrying guns and strutting with pride and families receiving condolences for their dead in the middle of the street."

This is how Ghazi Hamad, spokesman for the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Authority government and a former newspaper editor, described the situation in the Gaza Strip in an article he published on Sunday on some Palestinian news Web sites.

The article, the first of its kind by a senior Hamas official, also questioned the effectiveness of the Kassam rocket attacks and noted that since Israel evacuated the Gaza Strip, the situation there has deteriorated on all levels. It holds the armed groups responsible for the crisis and calls on them to reconsider their tactics and to stop blaming Israel for their mistakes.

"Gaza is suffering under the yoke of anarchy and the swords of thugs," Hamad wrote. "I remember the day when Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip and closed the gates behind. Then, Palestinians across the political spectrum took to the streets to celebrate what many of us regarded as the Israeli defeat or retreat. We heard a lot about a promising future in the Gaza Strip and about turning the area into a trade and industrial zone."

Hamad said the "culture of life" that prevailed in the Strip has since been replaced with a nightmare. "Life became a nightmare and an intolerable burden," he said. "Today I ask myself a daring and frightening question: 'Why did the occupation return to Gaza?' The normal reply: 'The occupation is the reason.'"

Dismissing Israel's responsibility for the growing state of anarchy and lawlessness in the Gaza Strip, Hamad said it was time for the Palestinians to embark on a soul-searching process to see where they erred.

"We're always afraid to talk about our mistakes," he added. "We're used to blaming our mistakes on others. What is the relationship between the chaos, anarchy, lawlessness, indiscriminate murders, theft of land, family rivalries, transgression on public lands and unorganized traffic and the occupation? We are still trapped by the mentality of conspiracy theories - one that has limited our capability to think."

Hamad admitted that the Palestinians have failed in developing the Gaza Strip following the Israeli withdrawal and in imposing law and order. He said about 500 Palestinians have been killed and 3,000 wounded since the Israeli pullout, in addition to the destruction of much of the infrastructure in the area.

By comparison, he said, only three or four Israelis have been killed by the rockets fired from the Gaza Strip over the same period.

"Some will argue that it's not a matter of profit or loss, but that this has an accumulating effect" he said. "This may be true. But isn't there a possibility of decreasing the number of casualties and increasing our gains by using our brains and making the proper calculations away from demagogic statements?"

The Hamas official said that while his government was unable to change the situation, the opposition was sitting on the side and watching and PA President Mahmoud Abbas was as weak as ever.

"We have all been attacked by the bacteria of stupidity," he remarked. "We have lost our sense of direction and we don't know where we're headed."

Addressing the various armed groups in the Gaza Strip, Hamad concluded: "Please have mercy on Gaza. Have mercy on us from your demagogy, chaos, guns, thugs, infighting. Let Gaza breathe a bit. Let it live."
543  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tour de Force on: August 28, 2006, 12:47:27 AM
Beirut Dispatch

Tour de Force
by Annia Ciezadlo
Post date: 08.24.06
Issue date: 09.04.06

Who says Lebanon's tourism industry is dead? Come to Beirut these days and you can take a guided tour of Hell, with Hezbollah as your escort. Every day, the Party of God welcomes visitors to Haret Hreik, in the heart of the city's mostly Shia southern suburbs. Once home to Hezbollah's headquarters and Beirut's most densely populated neighborhood, Haret Hreik is now a smoking swath of wreckage. For the thousands of families who used to live here, the devastation is almost unimaginable. But, for Hezbollah, the ruins of this once-bustling neighborhood have become a tourist attraction--and an invaluable propaganda tool.

Hezbollah began offering tours of Haret Hreik during the war, assembling every morning at eleven o'clock. I went on the first of these excursions on July 20, along with the bulk of the international press corps--about 100 correspondents, from well-known TV anchors to grubby freelancers. Longtime Hezbollah spokesman Hussein Naboulsi showed up with his entourage and delivered a running patter of outrage. "On a daily basis, they come here and turn buildings into rubble, as you see," he shouted, in his frantic, high-pitched voice. "This is where we live! If the Israelis dare to confront us face to face, let them do it on the border, not come with jet fighters from high above in the sky, and just hit civilian targets!" He strode off into the wreckage, still shouting, and we scrambled to keep up.

Every once in a while, as we marched through the rubble, a man (never a woman) would pop out of a destroyed building to shout with carefully rehearsed rage. All of these appearances were orchestrated by Hezbollah for our benefit. Al Arabiya, a Saudi-funded satellite channel that many Lebanese view as U.S.-backed propaganda, even merited its own personal heckler. "Where is Al Arabiya?" demanded a short, angry man, flailing his arms in the middle of the street. "I have something to tell them." When a microphone with the station's logo appeared in front of him, he shouted, "The Saudis want this to happen! These missiles were made in USA, made in Saudi Arabia, made in Jordan, made in Egypt!"

A telling omission from this litany of oppressors was the country that had actually fired the missiles: Israel. (The Saudis don't make missiles, after all.) You can always rely on Hezbollah leaders for anti-Israel rhetoric. But, ever since the war ended, they've been less fixated than usual on their neighbor to the south. Instead, they're cultivating hatred for a larger, more world-historic enemy: the United States. By focusing on the Great Satan, Hezbollah can avoid the delicate subject of who, exactly, started this particular war--and promote itself instead as a defender of the Muslim world against U.S. aggression and the West generally.

Today, the sea of mangled concrete that was once Haret Hreik is a surreal fairground, complete with souvenir stands and parades. Backhoes and cranes are busily clearing the roads, dumping detritus onto the mountains of rubble that mark where buildings used to be. Hezbollah has adorned most of these mounds with giant, red-and-white banners bearing English-language slogans like new middle beast, the divine victory, and made in usa (below which, in smaller letters, it says trademark). Of the hundreds of signs in the shattered neighborhood, only a few mention Israel.

Now that the war is over, Haret Hreik is a popular day trip. If Hezbollah's wartime press tours were all about obtaining sympathy from the outside world, the current carnival is about stoking domestic outrage. As the United States wades back into Lebanon, promising $230 million in aid, Hezbollah offers Haret Hreik up as a graphic reminder of how the United States helped destroy their country--and of how Hezbollah is rebuilding it. Hundreds of Lebanese walk through the rubble, some with cameras and video recorders, many of them families with kids. Most have come to inspect the ruins of their homes and businesses. Others, including a few Christian families, are simply here to sightsee.

The main attraction is the headquarters of Al Manar, Hezbollah's satellite TV station. To get to it, you pass through a little tent Hezbollah has set up, with flyers directing people to eight registration centers where the party will reimburse them for their lost homes and possessions. There's even a bouquet of flowers on a little table. Outside the tent, dozens of sightseers--all Lebanese, many wearing dust masks--press up against a metal railing, pointing and taking pictures. The mood is weirdly festive, with some people holding up their children and others snapping photos with the latest cell phones. Between the souvenir stands, the dust masks, the earth-moving equipment, and the solemn air of commemoration, it's a bit like Ground Zero in the year after September 11. The smell is the same, too: chalky and toxic, utterly inescapable. It's the smell of the insides of things--pulverized concrete, plaster, asbestos, burnt plastic, cordite, and acrid chemicals. A few veiled women hold headscarves over their mouths to keep out the dust.

The spot where Al Manar used to be is a mountain of charred cement, topped with the remains of people's lives: children's books, pillows, pieces of chairs, an ancient manual typewriter. The apartment buildings from which all this flotsam fell loom above the rubble, ringing the site of the station. Some were destroyed, but others only had their outer walls sheared away so that you can see into the individual apartments: In one, a TV set totters on the edge of the void, its back facing what used to be a wall; in another, an old lady fills a plastic can with oil.

Jutting rakishly from the wreckage, a billboard-sized banner touts the staying power of Hezbollah's radio station--which, like Al Manar, never went off the air despite numerous Israeli bombings of its offices and transmitters. Al nour radio, it proclaims, a voice stronger than the aggressor. "We've been broadcasting live from here all day, from ten in the morning until three," says Ahmed Naeem, the Hezbollah functionary in charge, with pride. "We had everyone! NGOs, ambassadors, even the Turkish foreign minister." According to Naeem, Abdullah Gul, the foreign minister, said the damage was worse than that from the Turkish earthquake of 1999.

"We prepared for this," explains Naeem. "We never kept a lot of people in the main building, even before the soldiers were kidnapped. We were always prepared for attack without provocation. We have a couple of different studios, and we evacuated all of them."

A handful of middle-age men in spotless suits clamber up the mountain: It's the Beirut Chamber of Commerce, coming for a photo-op. Two days later, Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora would visit the bomb site as well. Standing in the ruins, flanked by Shia politicians, he denounced Israel's "barbaric acts against Lebanon." As usual, Siniora was in a tight political spot: As a member of the U.S.-backed Future bloc in parliament, he couldn't very well criticize the United States.

Curious to see where all the colorful bunting comes from, I go in search of Hezbollah's graphics unit. I find the army of artists relaxing under a tent, sitting in plastic chairs, while a team of young men pass out posters. These are the guys in charge of the banners and signs that hang everywhere. They've also designed the bright-red trucker hats that many Hezbollah employees are wearing. In Arabic script, the hats declare: nasr min allah--literally, "Victory from God," but also a play on the name of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. They've been cranking out the Hezbollabilia the whole time, even while the bombs were falling, preparing for their divine victory ever since the war began.

"The slogans--we've been getting them from the war itself," says Ghassan Darwish, one of the graphic designers. "They're the slogans that the Americans and Israelis are using." In his hands, for example, Condoleezza Rice's "New Middle East" becomes the new middle beast, with the word beast splattered across the poster like blood. I ask Darwish why so many of the signs are in English. "It's normal for them to be in several different languages, because there are foreign journalists here, asking questions," he replies.

I ask him how people are reacting to the giant signs. "People knew during the war that these were American bombs falling on us, in Israeli hands," he says. "People were receptive to it--especially made in usa."

Annia Ciezadlo is a Beirut-based writer.
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544  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Venezuela Pol?tica on: August 28, 2006, 12:18:27 AM
Alfredo Keller se?ala que el chavismo no est? homog?neo

?Est? logrando Rosales remover el lecho rocoso del abstencionismo en la oposici?n?

Por ahora les ha cerrado la boca a los abstencionistas, dej?ndolos sin argumentos. Y en la medida en que la campa?a avance se ir? imponiendo el entusiasmo por participar. En la oposici?n existe la creencia de que se es mayor?a y que con un candidato fuerte es posible ganar las elecciones.

?Hablas sobre la base de una impresi?n o tienes a la mano soportes estad?sticos?

En este momento estoy haciendo din?micas de grupo. Esa no es una metodolog?a estad?sticamente representativa, pero sirve para tener una idea de la tendencia en los electores. Y el factor que dinamiza la candidatura de Rosales es el hecho de que se presenta como una propuesta unitaria. La hip?tesis seg?n la cual era imposible lograr ese prop?sito ha sido vencida. Al gobernador Rosales se le atribuye el m?rito de haberle ganado a Ch?vez y a sus candidatos en condiciones adversas, adem?s de presentar una obra que, en lo social, resulta m?s eficiente que la del gobierno central.

?Al contrastar personalidades no luce Ch?vez como m?s carism?tico?

Rosales no es un pico 'e plata como Ch?vez, pero lo importante no es lo lindo que hable, sino lo certero de lo que afirma. La din?mica se concentra m?s en los contenidos que en las formas.

?Es Rosales un candidato mejor posicionado para la lucha con Ch?vez que Salas o Arias?

Mejor que Arias s? porque no genera prevenciones en la oposici?n. Exist?a la sospecha de que Arias era una impostura del Gobierno para lograr que la oposici?n participara y esa idea fue ratificada con su nombramiento como embajador ante la ONU.

?No era Ch?vez, en aquel momento, un fen?meno en ascenso mientras que ahora es un mandatario sometido al desgaste luego de 8 a?os de gobierno?

Absolutamente. Lo del desgaste es cierto y este a?o lo hemos visto en varias encuestas. Cada d?a el Presidente goza de menos intenci?n de voto. El Gobierno tiene el viento en contra y en un momento durante el cual emite se?ales de debilidad, aparece una alternativa s?lida. En los ?ltimos a?os, a la pregunta sobre la necesidad de la aparici?n de un l?der alternativo, la respuesta estuvo por encima del 70%. Otra cosa es que el chavismo no es tan homog?neo como se dice y hay personas que, declar?ndose a favor del Presidente, no piensan votar por ?l. Sometidas a un simulacro de debate de elecciones, como las que hacemos con las din?micas de grupo, terminan decidiendo votar por Rosales.

?Cu?l era porcentaje de apoyo de Rosales en el momento de iniciar la campa?a?

El la inici? con 35% de intenci?n de voto, que es mucho para alguien que en enero ten?a apenas dos o tres puntos.

En s?ntesis, ?hasta qu? punto ha logrado Rosales conjurar la abstenci?n?

En 15 d?as no puedes liquidar el problema, pero el tema pas? a un segundo plano cuando Rosales se convirti? en candidato unitario.

?C?mo se va a solventar el tema unitario con la candidatura de el Conde del Gu?charo?

Debemos esperar resultados de encuestas, pero Rausseo impacta s?lo en las ?lites, en aquellos con disponibilidad econ?mica para pagar una entrada a su espect?culo. En las din?micas de grupo los electores no se lo toman en serio y los aprensivos miran su candidatura como sospechosa. No le doy mucha posibilidad.

Queda, entonces, Ch?vez, con casi todo a su favor.

Como presidente ?l hace campa?a sin ninguna limitaci?n y con los recursos del Estado a su servicio. Eso genera una gran asimetr?a. Pero tiene el viento en contra y la agenda del debate lo condena en todo los temas. Si colocamos en una balanza las bondades y los yerros de su gobierno, veremos que los ?ltimos pesan mucho m?s. El Gobierno carece de argumentos y eso abre una tremenda ventana de oportunidades al candidato opositor.

Pero el Presidente conserva una ventaja importante.

No es cierto. Goza de un 55% de popularidad, pero cuando analizas las cifras, encuentras que la mitad no tiene intenci?n de votar por ?l. En el estudio de julio contaba con 27%. El resto siente gran confusi?n sobre sus intenciones y cree que las cosas van por mal camino. Esa gente, a menos de ser captada por un candidato de oposici?n, tiene una gran tendencia a abstenerse. As? que la abstenci?n no es un problema de la oposici?n sino del Gobierno. Por eso Ch?vez baja su meta de 10 a 6 millones, adem?s de que el anuncio aument? irracionalmente la confianza en el triunfo: "estamos sobrados, ya ganamos". Lo envolvi? una arrogancia infinita y ahora, cuando los n?meros no le cuadran, comienza a verse p?nico en el oficialismo.

?Inscribes el caso Barreto en ese supuesto p?nico?

Es un indicador.

?P?nico o estrategia para radicalizar el proceso?

La radicalizaci?n ya no les sirve. Ganar las elecciones es cuesti?n de vida o muerte para ellos. Lo de Barreto es p?nico.

Cuando dices que Ch?vez tiene 27 y Rosales 35, ?te refieres a los mismos renglones?

No. Aqu? anotamos la capacidad de consolidar el voto v?lido de la oposici?n. Por tanto, el 35% de Rosales se convierte en 29%. Pero sigue siendo mayoritario y para un arranque, enfrentado a Ch?vez, est? muy bien.

545  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Medio Oriente on: August 27, 2006, 10:50:59 PM
El problema de los ?rabes sunnitas es que oponerse abiertamente a Hezbollah se interpreta como apoyar a Israel, algo que no pueden hacer por miedo de encender la furia fundamentalista en sus paises. De cierta forma sufren de los mismos demonios que Europa que no se atreve a apoyar a Israel por miedo de inflamar sus respectivas poblaciones musulmanas. Catch-22.
546  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Asco on: August 27, 2006, 10:08:26 PM

Paulina Gamus
Jueves, 24 de agosto de 2006

Ser un asco:? ser indecoroso y despreciable, no valer nada. Cr?pula: acci?n imp?dica o deshonesta (crapuloso, aquel que la comete). Cobarde: sin valor ni esp?ritu. P?rfido: desleal, infiel, traidor. Repulsivo: repugnante, desviado. R?probo: malvado, infame. Cayapear: reunirse muchos para atacar a uno sobre seguro (cayapero, quien realiza tan repudiable acto). Monstruo: producci?n contra el orden regular de la naturaleza, persona muy cruel y perversa.

Elijan ustedes amigos lectores, el calificativo que crean m?s adecuado para ese contrasentido (con apariencia de ser humano) que ocupa hoy la Alcald?a mayor de la ciudad capital de Venezuela.

Es poco lo que puede agregarse a la indignada reacci?n del pa?s decente -chavista y no chavista- ante la conducta abierta de un funcionario, alguien que deber?a comportarse como un servidor del pueblo, que se aprovecha de un acto p?blico -con asistencia masiva de adeptos- para insultar, humillar, exponer al escarnio a dos funcionarios electos como ?l, y luego, tras bastidores, empujarlos y escupirles a la cara. Los antecedentes homicidas del profesor universitario Juan Barreto prueban que su afici?n por la violencia no es solo verbal. Y algo m?s: prueban que es un individuo altamente peligroso que, como dir?a uno de los dirigentes chavistas presentes en el acto, necesita un psiquiatra. Y con urgencia, a?ado.

El bochornoso acto ocurrido en plena campa?a electoral no deja de causar m?s que sorpresa, estupor. La pol?tica se puede definir de muchas maneras, una de ellas es el arte de convencer. Deber?a suponerse que cuando se est? a pocos meses de una elecci?n tan importante como es la presidencial, el equipo de un candidato busca sumarle votos. En este caso ha sucedido todo lo contrario: quien aprovecha un acto p?blico para llamar putrefacta a la clase media y para amenazar a los alcaldes agredidos con expropiarles todo el Municipio, est? de una vez espantando a millones de electores. ?Acaso todos quienes viven en los municipios Chacao o Baruta son esos ricos que tanta repulsa o envidia provocan al alcalde mayor? ?Ignora quien fue jefe de Medios en la primera campa?a presidencial de Ch?vez, en 1998, que hay un porcentaje elevado de los llamados Ni-Ni, a?n no inclinados por ning?n candidato, que podr?an correr despavoridos hacia el candidato de la unidad opositora?

El terror es un arma que utilizaron en su momento todos los fascismos: el nazismo de Adolfo Hitler y luego el comunismo de Lenin, Stalin, Mao y, en nuestro continente, de Fidel Castro. Hitler lo emple? durante doce a?os, Lenin muri? antes de poder desplegar al m?ximo su condici?n de genocida; Stalin, Mao y sobre todo Castro, han contado con el auxilio de su propia longevidad para hacer de sus gobiernos sistemas sostenidos por el miedo. ?Es ese el aporte de Juan Barreto a la perpetuaci?n del r?gimen chavista? Sin duda que cualquier psic?pata con poder causa p?nico, especialmente si ese poder es omn?modo y si no hay posibilidades de derrotarlo. ?Estamos ante un caso as??

Hay algo que falla, una pata que cojea en la misi?n miedo de la revoluci?n chavista y es el af?n de aparecer ante el mundo (que Ch?vez no acepta que sea ancho y ajeno) como dem?crata. Los pa?ses comunistas de la ?rbita sovi?tica pod?an llamarse, con el mayor cinismo, democracias y ser lo diametralmente opuesto. Eso ya no es posible en el mundo globalizado. Es factible que en muchos casos haya una suerte de vista gorda parcializada con respecto a las tendencias autocr?ticas de un gobierno, pero ser un tirano sin parecerlo es bastante dif?cil. Ch?vez va por el mundo alabando la revoluci?n bolchevique, con Stalin al frente, y la de Mao. Ni que decir de la cubana protagonizada ad eternum por Castro. Sin embargo se empe?a en hacer elecci?n tras elecci?n para mostrar a ese mismo mundo, que el es un dem?crata y que su gobierno es leg?timo porque es producto de la voluntad popular. ?Acaso Ch?vez se cree inderrotable y est? convencido de que jam?s perder? una elecci?n?

Los abstencionistas responder?n afirmativamente, precisamente su decisi?n de no votar se basa en la convicci?n de que Ch?vez gobernar? hasta el fin de sus d?as porque ha blindado un sistema electoral fraudulento e imposible de derrotar. Si as? fuera uno tendr?a que preguntarse a qu? se debe que el teniente coronel viva desde hace ocho a?os en una perenne campa?a electoral.

?Acaso ocurr?a eso en la URSS de Stalin, o en la China de Mao? ?Sucede en la Cuba de Fidel Castro? Primero se jact? de que el pr?ximo 3 de diciembre recibir?a diez millones de votos, ahora baj? la cifra de sus aspiraciones a solo seis. ?En raz?n de qu? ocurre esto? Podr?a perfectamente ordenarle al Consejo Nacional Electoral, rendido a sus pies, que fabrique esos diez millones ya que la trampa est? montada y es imbatible. Pero hasta ?l sabe que no es posible hacer un fraude tan obsceno. Guardar las apariencias tiene mucha importancia para un aparente dem?crata.

Visto lo anterior habr?a que saludar el deleznable acto de Barreto como el mejor apoyo al candidato unitario de la oposici?n, Manuel Rosales. Muchos indecisos se habr?n decidido ante esa exposici?n de lo peor y m?s abierto que puede existir en quien ocupa un cargo tan relevante dentro del chavismo.

Y muchos abstencionistas, me consta, han cambiado de parecer y van a votar porque ven con horror unas amenazas que hay que considerar seriamente.

No quisiera terminar esta nota sin expresar admiraci?n y respeto por Marino Alvarado, de la organizaci?n PROVEA, defensora de los derechos humanos. Alguien que tiene el valor de levantarse frente a una masa enardecida por un discurso fascista e incendiario, para expresar su repudio al mismo y solidarizarse con los agredidos, es un hombre, una persona en el sentido m?s integral. Ojala Venezuela contara hoy con muchos Marinos Alvarados, otra ser?a nuestra realidad.

Reprinted by permission of the author.
The opinions emitted in this article are the sole responsibility of the author.
547  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Winston S. Churchill III on Islamic Fundamentalism on: August 23, 2006, 10:01:29 PM
Churchill on Islamic Fundamentalism

Winston Churchill's grandson says radical Islam at war with the world

By CJ Staff

March 03, 2006

Winston S. Churchill III speaking at the John Locke Foundation's 16th anniversary dinner in Raleigh on Feb. 10.

RALEIGH ? Winston S. Churchill III maintains that Islamic fundamentalism is as destructive as the malevolent "isms" of the 20th century: Nazism, Communism and Facism. In a speech on Feb. 10 at the John Locke Foundation's anniversary dinner, the grandson of Winston Churchill urged the West to stay the course in the fight against extremist Islam.

Here is the text of his speech:

It is both an honor and a pleasure to be your guest here tonight and to have the privilege of addressing the John Locke Foundation. First and foremost, may I congratulate you for honouring the memory of John Locke, who was very much involved in the establishment of the Governments of the Carolinas and who, most important of all, was one of the great philosophers of the English-speaking world.

Locke?s message ? the vital importance of resisting authoritarianism ? is as relevant to the strife-torn times of the world in which we live, as it was in the strife-torn times of the 17th Century. Authoritarianism constantly rears its ugly head, even within our own societies on both sides of the Atlantic, in so many guises and disguises, and in every field, be it religion, government or the military.

At its most extreme, authoritarianism is exemplified by the isms of the 20th Century ? Communism, Fascism and Nazism. The Fascists and Nazis were responsible for the deaths of more than 30 million human beings, while more than 50 million are estimated to have been murdered by Stalin and the Russian Communists, while Mao-Tse-Tung and the Chinese Communists are believed to have accounted for some 80 million.

But today a new challenge ? another ism ? confronts us, and that is the challenge of Islamic fundamentalism. Extremist Islam has declared war on the rest of the world, as evidenced by their ruthless attacks across the globe ? overwhelmingly targeted at innocent civilians. Beside the outrage of 9/11, the bombings in Madrid, in Bali, in London and, most recently, in Jordan come to mind.

Those who have declared jihad against the West, and Western values, such as freedom of speech, are doing all in their power to mobilize against us the large Muslim communities living in our midst. In North America, there are an estimated six million Muslims in the USA, plus a further three-quarter million in Canada; while in the European Union, they number an estimated 20 million, including nearly 2 million in Britain. Unlike most other categories of migrant, the Muslims are reluctant to assimilate and, all too often, wish to pursue their own agenda.

Unbelievably, Washington is urging Europe to admit Turkey to the EU. Were that to happen, the Muslim population of Europe would skyrocket to 100 million ? an act, in my view, of consummate folly. Already Judeo-Christian Europe is under siege from a tidal wave of Islamic immigration. The admission of Turkey would hasten its demise. While I have a great regard for the Turks, the only democracy in the Muslim world and stalwart members of NATO, I am firmly opposed to their admission to the EU. I would accord them most-favoured nation status, but not the right to settle in Western Europe and become EU citizens.

The scale of the problem confronting Europe today is epitomized by France, which has a Muslim community of some 6 million, or 10 percent of its population. But, if you take the population aged 20 and below, the figure rockets to 30 percent, such is the birthrate of the immigrant communities. In other words, within one further generation, France will be a Muslim country ? a truly horrifying prospect.

At the same time it is vital that, in our pursuit of the men and women of terror ? we do all we can, not to alienate these large Muslim communities already established among us. For, without the active support of the Muslim communities, we shall never excise this deadly cancer in our midst.

Intriguingly, the dangers of extremist Islam were foreseen by Winston Churchill all of 85 years ago, as I discovered to my amazement, while compiling my most recent book NEVER GIVE IN! The Best of Winston Churchill?s Speeches.

Churchill is, of course, well-known for his gift of prescience and, specifically, for being the first to warn of the menace of Hitler and Nazism as early as 1932, and of the Soviet threat in his famous Iron Curtain speech in 1946 in Fulton, Mo. But how many know that he also warned the world of the dangers of Islamic fundamentalism? I certainly did not!

On 14 June 1921, hard on the heels of the Cairo Conference, at which he had presided over the re-shaping of the Middle East, including the creation of modern day Iraq, he warned the House of Commons:

A large number of [Saudi Arabia?s King] Bin Saud?s followers belong to the Wahabi sect, a form of Mohammedanism which bears, roughly speaking, the same relationship to orthodox Islam as the most militant form of Calvinism would have borne to Rome in the fiercest times of [Europe?s] religious wars.

The Wahabis profess a life of exceeding austerity, and what they practice themselves they rigorously enforce on others. They hold it as an article of duty, as well as of faith, to kill all who do not share their opinions and to make slaves of their wives and children. Women have been put to death in Wahabi villages for simply appearing in the streets.

It is a penal offence to wear a silk garment. Men have been killed for smoking a cigarette and, as for the crime of alcohol, the most energetic supporter of the temperance cause in this country falls far behind them. Austere, intolerant, well-armed, and blood-thirsty, in their own regions the Wahabis are a distinct factor which must be taken into account, and they have been, and still are, very dangerous to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina?

In Churchill?s day, of course, the viciousness and cruelty of the Wahabis was confined to the Saudi Arabia peninsula, and their atrocities were directed exclusively against their fellow Muslims, whom they held to be heretics for not adhering to the Wahabi creed ? but not anymore.

Today the combination of the oil wealth of Saudi Arabia and the supine weakness of the Saudi royal family which ? as the price for not having their own behavior subjected to scrutiny and public criticism by these austere, extremist clerics ? has bank-rolled the Wahabi fundamentalist movement, and given these fanatical zealots a global reach to their vicious creed of hatred and extremism.

The consequence has been that the Wahabis have been able to export their exceptionally intolerant brand of Islamic fundamentalism from Mauritania and Morocco on Africa?s Atlantic shores, through more than two dozen countries including Bosnia, Chechnya, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Middle East, to as far afield as the Philippines and East Timor in the Pacific. This is the stark challenge that today confronts the Western world and I fear it will be with us, not just for a matter of years, but perhaps even for generations.

Just in the past two weeks the temperature in the Middle East has risen markedly with three significant developments. First, we have seen the wild and furious reaction, whipped up by firebrand clerics throughout the Islamic world, to the publication some five months ago in a Danish newspaper of a cartoon depicting the prophet with a smoking bomb in his turban, as tattered suicide bombers were being greeted at the Muslim pearly gates by a gate-keeper shooing them away and shouting: ?Get lost! We?ve run out of Virgins!? The fury that this mild piece of satire engendered, epitomizes the clash of civilizations that is the key factor confronting us today.

Secondly, the stunning election victory in the Palestinian elections of Hamas ? a terrorist organization committed to the destruction of Israel ? provided a rude shock to those in Washington who naively imagined that democracy would provide the answer to the problems of the Middle East. For many within the Beltway, free elections have been an article of faith, even though it was in a free election that Hitler first came to power, before establishing his Nazi dictatorship.

Such is the anger of the Moslem world against the West, inflamed by extremist clerics and fanned by the Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabia television networks, that truly democratic and free elections would result in the election of fundamentalist governments throughout the Muslim world. It is a frightening fact, that in 50 Muslim countries countless millions of Muslims tell pollsters that they regard Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri as more trustworthy than President Bush.

The third and by far the most serious development, is the decision of the Iranian government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to remove the U.N. seals from its nuclear research facilities. He it is who not only denies the Holocaust ever happened, but who declares that Israel is a ?tumor? that should be ?wiped off the map?! Some Western analysts state that the Iranian president doesn?t really mean what he says. There were, of course, many who said just that of Hitler?s Mein Kampf, and we saw the result.

Having reported events ? including two wars ? in the Middle East over the past 45 years, I think I know the Israelis well enough to say that Israel is not about to wait to find out whether or not the Iranian president means what he says. In 1981 Israel took decisive steps to take out Saddam Hussein?s Osirak nuclear facility with a long-range air strike. I do not see how she can fail to do the same in the case of the even greater threat posed to Israel by a nuclear-armed Iran.

This time it will not be so easy, as the mullahs have dispersed their nuclear facilities across 16 sites and built them deep underground, making them far more difficult to attack. But with 500 ?bunker-busting? bombs from the U.S. and precision-guidance technology they will certainly make a mess of the place. The whole Muslim world will be enflamed with outrage and Iran?s reaction may well be to deploy 100,000 guerrilla fighters to Iraq to fight the Americans and British ? not a happy thought.

But even before these developments, siren voices could already be heard on Capitol Hill, raising the cry: ?Bring the Boys home.? I tell you: Nothing could be more disastrous than if, at this juncture, the United States were to cut and run. It would, at a stroke, undermine those forces of moderation we are seeking to establish in power, betray our troops as they fight a difficult, but necessary, battle, and break faith with those of our soldiers who have sacrificed their lives to establish a free Iraq.

Gravest of all, we should be handing a victory of gigantic proportions to our sworn enemies. Let no one imagine that by pulling out of Iraq, the threat will simply evaporate. On the contrary, it will redouble, it will come closer to home and our enemies will have established in Iraq the very base that, by our defeat of the Taliban, we have denied them in Afghanistan. We shall see a desperately weakened United States, with its armed forces undermined and demoralized, increasingly at the mercy of our terrorist enemies.

Precipitate withdrawal is the counsel of defeatism and cowardice, which, if it holds sway, will immeasurably increase the dangers that today confront, not just America, but the entire Western world. It is something for which we shall pay a terrible price in the years ahead. When great nations go to war ? and they should do so only as a last resort ? they must expect to suffer grievous losses and must commit to war with an unconquerable resolve to secure victory.

In Iraq the United States has lost some 2,200 men and women, Britain just over 100. Compare that to the first day of the Battle of the Somme ? 1 July 1916 ? when the British Army in a single day, nay, before breakfast, lost 55,000 men killed, wounded or missing in action. Did we talk of quitting?
What has happened to the mighty United States? Is it going soft? Are the elected representatives of the American people ready to surrender to those who threaten their homeland ? indeed their civilian population ? with death and destruction? I pray that they are not, and I call to mind the words of my grandfather, addressing the Canadian Parliament on New Year's Day 1941, in which ? referring to the British nation dwelling around the globe, but it applies equally to our American cousins today ? when he declared:

 are a tough and hardy people! We have not travelled across the centuries, across the oceans, across the mountains & across the prairies, because we're made of sugar candy!

In conclusion, I would remind you ? and especially the legislators on Capitol Hill ? of Winston Churchill?s words to the House of Commons on becoming prime minister in May 1940, which applies every bit as much to the situation that confronts us today.

You ask: What is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is victory. Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror. However long or hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival.

Provided we have the courage to stay the course, I am convinced that we can, in the end, prevail. Any alternative is too terrible to contemplate. There are no quick, easy solutions; on the contrary it will be a long, hard slog. But more leadership is needed from on high and, above all, more guts and determination if we are to see this through to victory.

Let us fight the good fight ? and let us fight it together! How pleased my grandfather would be to know that ? 40 years on from his death ? the Anglo-American alliance is still strong and that British and American soldiers stand shoulder-to-shoulder in Iraq and in Afghanistan, confronting the peril of the hour! Long may we stand together! God bless America!
548  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Cuban doctors defect, speak out on: August 23, 2006, 09:19:47 PM
Cuban doctors defect, speak out
By Steven Dudley

McClatchy Newspapers


CARTAGENA, Colombia - Carlos Rodriguez and his girlfriend, Johan Mary Jimenez, had little hope of leaving Cuba. They were both physicians, her father was a known dissident, and Rodriguez himself was an outspoken critic of the system.

Still, in May 2004, a Cuban government seemingly desperate to satisfy Venezuela's need for doctors slotted the two into Mision Barrio Adentro, President Hugo Chavez's campaign to provide healthcare for his country's poorest people.

They fled to Colombia seven months later and obtained political asylum. They are now scratching out a living doing odd jobs near this Caribbean city - and offering insights into the Cuban doctors program in Venezuela.

Since taking power in 1999, Chavez has increased trade with Cuba and sought to benefit from its expertise in health, education and defense. Barrio Adentro, or ''Inside the Neighborhoods,'' was one of several programs Chavez set up with the help of Cubans, and an estimated 20,000 Cuban medical personnel are working in Venezuela.

Many of these Cubans wind up defecting. Exact numbers are impossible to get, but Julio Cesar Alfonso of the Miami-based Solidarity without Borders, a group that helps Cuban doctors abroad who defect, estimates that more than 500 have escaped the programs in many countries.

Cuban doctors working abroad do not have an easy life.

Cuban officials monitor them closely, Rodriguez and Jimenez told The Miami Herald. They could not speak with the media, and there were regular ''code reds'' - alerts for unspecified reasons during which they couldn't leave home.

Rodriguez, 30, and Jimenez, 28, were working in the town of Lagunillas, near Venezuela's northwestern border with Colombia. Like many Cuban medical personnel, they went to Venezuela with the hope of saving a little money, or at least returning home with some consumer goods hard to find on the island.

''Cubans look for a way to change their lives,'' Rodriguez said. "Going to another country to work was one way to do that."

Venezuela turned out to offer few benefits, however.

The couple said they each received the equivalent of about $200 a month as salary. The Venezuelan government provided them with separate housing and the state oil company, PDVSA, subsidized their food.

But money was still tight because of Venezuela's high cost of living, they said, and other doctors did not even receive the PDVSA food subsidy.

Barrio Adentro was also disappointing, they said.

Although it was promoted as a way to help poor people who had minor illnesses, aches, pains and infections, Rodriguez and Jimenez said their Cuban supervisor made it clear that they also had to campaign for Chavez in the lead up to a 2004 recall referendum, which Chavez won handily.

''The idea is good,'' Rodriguez said of the mission. "But that wasn't what the mission was for. The coordinator told us that our job was to keep Chavez in power."

The coordinator also required the doctors to put up Chavez posters in the small clinics they established in poor barrios, and told them to tell patients "to vote for Chavez."

''I wouldn't do it,'' Rodriguez added. "I told them that I was happy to do the work as a doctor, but I won't campaign."

Not all of the barrio residents were sympathetic to the Cubans. Anti-Chavez neighbors called them ''Fidel's ambassadors'' and refused to go to their clinics, the couple said.

The Cuban medical personnel also provided the Venezuelans with Cuban medicines. Rodriguez, who was part of the team that distributed the medicine to neighborhoods, said ''boxes and boxes and boxes'' arrived weekly from Cuba via military aircraft.

Whether Cuba donated the medicines, or the Venezuelan government paid for them, was impossible to establish.

Since the Venezuelan program was launched, Cubans on the island have complained about a significant drop in the number of doctors there and the already low supplies of medicines there.

"I was worried about all this medicine leaving Cuba," Jimenez said. "What about the Cubans?"

In the past, Chavez has alluded to the medical program as a swap of Cuba's human resources for Venezuela's natural resources - mostly oil - and part of his campaign to strengthen relations with Latin American nations and distance them from the United States.

Cuba, for instance, receives upwards of 90,000 barrels a day of crude oil from Venezuela on easy repayment terms. Most nations that host Cuban medical personnel also make per-doctor cash payments directly to the Cuban government, but it's not clear whether Venezuela is making such payments or writing off the amounts against its oil deliveries.

Neither Venezuela nor Cuba has provided any public accounting of the costs for their Cuban doctors arrangement, but a recent Bush administration report estimated Venezuelan energy subsidies to Cuba at $1 billion.

For Rodriguez and Jimenez, the best part of their deployment to Venezuela was that it offered them an escape hatch.

They met with a Colombian friend of another doctor, who arranged for them to cross the Colombian border in a car for about $50. They left in the early morning hours of Dec. 11. By noon, they were in Cartagena.
549  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: WW3 on: August 23, 2006, 06:13:23 PM
Good for you.? I sure am glad Hugo Chavez is president of Venezuela.

Figures! Wink? <== the "wink" smily is missing
550  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: WW3 on: August 23, 2006, 05:04:11 PM
"We're not leaving, so long as I'm the president."

What exactly can we take this to mean?

Sounds perfectly clear to me: as long as Mr. Bush is president of the United States of America he will endeavor by all legal means to keep the American armed presence in Iraq. I'm sure glad that Mr. Bush is the American president.?

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