Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Bolivia - Who's Left?

Has Anyone seen where Bolivian leftist intellectuals, professionals, and politicians from the 70's, 80's, and 90's are? Bolivia had an active, sophisticated left, with the parties around the UDP alliance among others - some who were in exile during Banzer.

These were the people who made up the MIR-ADN government, the ones who formed the earliest NGO's, and the ones who Goni brought in to work on decentralization.

Not being blind to reality after the Berlin Wall fell, many of these folks moved more to what in the sane world is considered the center. After the collapse of the traditional parties, you can now find them in the Civic Committees, opposition parties, business, academia/research institutes, NGO's and the pages of editorial pages - mainly criticizing the Evo.

As for those who "remained left" (or far left) they were often the least prepared, the most intransigent, the blind, the half-wits, and the delusional. And that is why the MAS government makes the "politqueros" from Podemos, Civicos, and past governments seem wise and competent in comparison. Besides angry syndicalist dynamite throwers, they have a few educated ideologues who have kicked around, but not many people with useful skills or talents for anything except conspiracy, agitation, and the very Bolivian art of playing politics.

And that also explains why the Evo government is so thoroughly criticized. Many people are up to his game. Besides having a thorough understanding of Bolivian history they know how 'hardcore' the hard-left hold-outs in Evo's party are. People familiar with far left ideologies, understand perfectly the double talk and lies used by Leninists to advance positions, and consequently mistrust a government which talks out of three not two mouths.

The foreign press is caught up too much in the "indigenous president" angle, and of seeing everyone opposed to Evo being on the "right". Instead they should look where the opposition to Evo comes from, because they would find many people formerly "of the left", who have moved to modern, social-democratic positions. They are in such nerve centers of opposition to Evo like the Santa Cruz Prefecture and the editorial pages. And their is a lot more to their criticism of the Morales government than a simple "white vs. indigenous" or "oligarch vs. poor".

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

COLOMBIA: FARC Treatment of Baby Emanuel


The FARC are worse than criminals....the Miami Herald fills the gaps in the case of baby Emanuel: "born in a FARC jungle camp to one-time vice presidential candidate Clara Rojas, kidnapped by the rebels along with presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt nearly six years ago during a campaign trip to a rural area. The father was reported to be a rebel who had a consensual relationship with Rojas."
The child was handed off by the guerrillas to a resident:

In early June 2005, José Crisanto Gómez, a 37-year-old peasant, arrived here by boat after a one-day trip from his tiny village of La Paz, according to several residents. La Paz was then under the control of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, a leftist guerrilla group better known as FARC.

Gómez arrived with two sickly children, seeking medical care for them. One, a boy of about 11 months, had what medical personnel here described as one of the worst health profiles they had seen: malaria, a broken arm, severe malnutrition, anemia, a high fever, diarrhea and leishmaniasis, a serious skin disease common in the jungle.


The public clinic here immediately transferred him to the hospital in the provincial capital, San José del Guaviare, only 17 miles but a 40-minute drive away.
The public clinic here immediately transferred him to the hospital in the provincial capital, San José del Guaviare, only 17 miles but a 40-minute drive away.

''It is not common to receive children in the [bad] health that Juan David arrived,'' said Rosario Neira, director of the San José hospital. ``It was depressing, everything that had come together on just one child. It made for sadness.''

''Anyone would have fallen apart before this child, with so many diseases,'' she added. ``He didn't raise his eyes. He got toys but did not pick them up. He did not stand but dragged himself on his butt. He cried but no tears came because of the malnutrition.''

Given what is now known about the boy, his poor health is not surprising.

In criminal court I have seen thiefs, drug dealers, even murderers who behaved with more basic decency towards "civilians". With all their dope money the FARC did not have the decency to provide the man with money to look after the kid properly. Self-styled revolutionaries are supposed to know the political and monetary value of keeping their "star" captives - and their kids- alive. Even the most hardened gangster knows a hostages kid, is money in the bank, and out of self-interest would at least look after him. They deserve no mercy.

Tip Of The Hat to

Monday, January 07, 2008

COLOMBIA: The Real Number of FARC Hostages

This is something that has bugged me for a long time. Discussion about FARC hostages in Colombia invariably boils down to the Presidential candidate with French citizenship, the American contractors, and other 45 "prominent" people held by the FARC:

But such high-profile hostages represent a mere 4 percent of all the 3,000-plus kidnapping victims in Colombia, according to the Free Country Foundation [], a non-governmental organization that fights against kidnappings and helps victims' families. Aside from the 45, the FARC alone currently holds at least 700 others for monetary ransoms.

'Those are the `anonymous hostages,' '' said Olga Lucia Gómez, director of Free Country, ``the ones no one talks about.''

They are typically middle-class men who own small businesses, butcher shops, small-town bakeries and mom-and-pop stores. They are kidnapped for ransom, either by the FARC, the smaller rebel group National Liberation Army, common criminals or right-wing paramilitary groups. Captors often demand exorbitant amounts of money from the families.

Rest of Article Here.

There are people who have been held for a decade in captivity, like the soldier whose father crossed Colombia to bring attention to his plight. Just this week, the Colombian military found a mass grave where hostages were executed by the FARC apparently for not coming up with the payment.

This context of the scope of the kidnappings by the FARC, shows why it is such a major issue for the Uribe government. It affects a wide spectrum of Colombian society, and does not even account for people (sometimes kids) who were "pressed" into service by the guerillas.

The FARC are at this point a sectarian militia operating as a criminal enterprise, which tears at the Colombian government and society. Like the paramilitaries they have no reason to exist, except as part of a history of 60 years of violence, gangsterism and blood feuds that have perpetuated themselves for too long in the Colombian hinterlands.

Frozen Iguanas & Violated Goats.....Fun Florida

Proof Florida is seriously warped:
Here in Miami, Iguanas affected by the recent cold temperature, "froze up" and fell out of trees. Now really big lizards in suspended animation falling to the ground is the sort of potentially traumatizing sight Floridians are used to. And some of us are apparently responsible for them being here in the first place, since unwanted/escaped pets are the reason the non-native reptiles live in places like Key Biscayne. No worries about that from my relatives, my aunts can make a mean iguana soup, though I prefer it barbecued with lemon and worchestire sauce - yes, it does taste like chicken


Miami Santeros have been known to sacrifice the random goat to honor assorted deities, no doubt further inflaming the sensibilities of those who see the magic city as an unasimilated enclave in fair Florida.

But, it takes some backwoods 48 yr old from the northern panhandle of Florida to really show how warped the entire State is.

The offenses, as set out in this article, stealing a pregnant pet goat, having his way with the poor creature, and in serial killer tradition ending the poor creatures life. And apparently, this was an ongoing pattern with said defendant:

[T]he rape and asphyxiation last year of a family pet goat named Meg -- who was pregnant with twins -- in the town of Mossy Head in rural Walton County.

A suspect in the case, a 48-year-old man, is serving an 11-month, 29-day jail sentence on animal-theft charges in connection with the attempted abduction of another goat in a separate case, according to Walton County Assistant State Attorney James Parker.

Parker said he couldn't prosecute the suspect in the death of Meg because DNA samples taken with a sheriff's office rape kit were inconclusive.

Parker said he asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement last week to retest the evidence.

But even if there's a DNA match, Parker said the suspect could only be charged with misdemeanor trespassing and animal cruelty, a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

The Scandaaaaaaaal..has so far earned the censure of our governor and..moved our legislature into action to correct the fact that there is no bestiality statutes. No Alabama jokes please.

After a goat was raped and killed in a Panhandle town, animal activists, police and citizens were almost as shocked to find out that bestiality isn't a crime in Florida.

But it might be soon.

And for those animal rights people (and assorted goat fetishists) here is the text of the legislation.