[A] very good way to judge a political leader is by what he leaves behind, and so far the tumult and mismanagement in Venezuela does not speak in Chávez’s favor. Instead, it seems as if recent Venezuelan history, often so farcical, were attempting to replay itself, and ending up as tragedy instead.
For what it’s worth, here are some of my thoughts on the de-institutionalization of the Chávez regime—and its consequences.
It would be useful if those who uncritically praised Chávez would read some of the history of other populist regimes, whether Peronism in Argentina or Nasserism in Egypt, of the 1950s. What was said about the “progressive” nature of those regimes then? What is said of them now?
The sad reality is that “revolutionary” regimes in developing countries have been used by Westerners—on the right and left—as proxies for their own internal domestic ideological disputes. In the end, the critiques descend into “it’s all about me” (look at the comments on to the above linked piece, and see how quickly they descend into name calling about left/right stereotypes of Americans). For those of us looking in at this debate from the outside, it rings hollow. At least those on the right are defending their interests. But those on the left? Using the very real, lived history of other people as backdrop for anecdotes in abstract disputes—without bothering to actually learn about the actual “facts on the ground”—is remarkably disingenuous. I get a clear sense that, deep down inside, most Western Chávez supporters don’t really care about the Venezuelan people and their issues—they care about what chavismo as a “brand” does for them.
Emphasis my own.
Henry D’Arthenay is a graduate of the University of Navarro in Media Studies and the lead singer/guitarist of Venezuelan rock group La Vida Boheme. He and his bandmates live in the country’s capital of Caracas where lots of political turmoil continues since the presidential elections on Sunday April 14th.
I spoke with D’Arthenay in his home in Caracas via Skype about the unrest. He also explained the voting process in Venezuela, the role the country’s media plays, and much more.
An excerpt from PT. 1 of the interview:
When you vote here, fuck, we have such a complicated way. It’s not like you go to a place, put a vote and put it in a basket which, in my opinion, should be enough. No! You go to your Centro Electoral, the place where you vote. First, they take your fingerprint into a data system, then you step into this tiny box and there’s a screen. It’s an automated electoral system. You push the button on the candidate you want and that machine prints a tiny paper with the name of the guy you voted for. You fold it, you put it in a box. Then, before stepping out, you have to sign a book with your signature and you put your fingerprint.
Is that why there are all those pictures of people with their pinkie fingers dipped in ink?
Yes! After they put your finger, they moist it in this ink and, well maybe you can’t see it from here but I still have some because it’s indelible ink. That way they don’t have people voting two times. It’s made up to be fail-proof but it actually isn’t.
An excerpt from PT. 2 of the interview:
Inside the Chavismo, it’s very diverse, as diverse as it always was in every country of the world. With the opposition, it’s the same. What was the only thing that was tying them up? The left being with Chavez and the others being against Chavez. That was it! Their moral compass was set by being with Chavez or being against Chavez.
So what’s happening here is like losing the best character. It’s like when Friends was over and Joey started and people started watching Joey and they said “this sucks.” It’s like having Seinfeld without [Jerry] Seinfeld. We’ve been living a Chavez-centric policy for almost 15 years. Now that he’s gone, the institutions and how trustworthy they are, it’s all coming afloat because Chavismo now has a challenge. They have to try to gather their forces around an idea that’s not a person. They lost a lot of people during these elections and it was because a lot of the people, they weren’t voting for the socialist project as much as they were voting for Chavez.
I was made aware of the odd mix of gain and loss when I went back to Atlanta to see my beloved grandmother. She told me not to hold change between my lips while groping for a pocket to put it in—“That might have been in a nigger’s mouth.” Once, when she took me to Mass, she walked out of the church when a black priest came out to celebrate. I wondered why, since she would sit and eat with a black woman who helped her with housework. “It is the dignity—I would not let him take the Lord in his hands.” Tradition dies hard, hardest among those who cannot admit to the toll it has taken on them. That is why the worst aspects of the South are resurfacing under Obama’s presidency. It is the dignity. That a black should have not merely rights but prominence, authority, and even awe—that is what many Southerners cannot stomach. They would let him ride on the bus, or get into Ivy League schools. But he must be kept from the altar; he cannot perform the secular equivalent of taking the Lord in his hands. It is the dignity. This is the thing that makes the South the distillation point for all the fugitive extremisms of our time, the heart of Say-No Republicanism, the home of lost causes and nostalgic lunacy. It is as if the whole continent were tipped upward, so that the scattered crazinesses might slide down to the bottom. The South has often been defeated. Now it is defeating itself.
By TED HESSON
Dreamers in California now have access to in-state tuition and state-funded financial aid for college.
The California Dream Act took effect on January 1, helping level the playing field for undocumented students seeking higher education. Some 20,000 Dreamers are expected to apply, NBC’s San Diego affiliate reports.
Márquez: ‘This Win Is for the New President of Mexico’
Juan Manuel Márquez knocks out Pacquiao in the sixth round, dedicates fight to EPN; firestorm of criticism is unleashed
Juan Manuel Márquez delivered a devastating right hand in the last second of the sixth round to knock out his arch-rival, Filipino Manny Pacquiao.
Márquez avenges the two losses and a draw from their three previous fights, which many in the boxing world considered an inaccurate record of this matchup.
Pacquiao attributed his loss to being “overconfident,” but at the end, it was the experience and savviness of Márquez and his trainer, Nacho Beristáin, that finally gave Márquez a definitive win.
Although a great fight, it’s what happened after that had many talking.
“This win is for my family, all of Mexico … and this win is for the new president of Mexico. It’s dedicated to him,” said Márquez, referring to the highly polarizing and newly inaugurated Peña Nieto.
The post-fight interview was aired on TV Azteca’s national broadcast of the fight, which meant that millions saw it live.
Soon after, the hashtag #ChingaTuMadreMarquez, (#FuckYourMotherMarquez), quickly became a worldwide trending topic on Twitter. On Facebook, the posts and comments criticizing Márquez blew up as well.
Some defended Márquez, saying it’s a matter of free speech; others suggested athletes should stay out of politics.
Regardless, the issue is problematic considering past PRI presidents have used athletes, specifically boxers to promote them and their party, as was the case with Carlos Salinas de Gortari and Julio César Chávez.
Image Credit: Ring Magazine
Yeah, it matters.
What? BJ Upton signed to the Braves for $75 million over the next five years. His signing bonus was $3 million. Why should anyone give a shit about multi-millionaires paying 4% more in taxes? This is weak, even for y’all.
I guess there’s something beyond the bottom of the barrel after all.
As with any story that is covered online and fed quickly through social media, there is always a desire to get as much accurate information as possible. Stories that organically grow and spread through online circles will always be that way. It is the new journalism, an uneasy balance between on-the-ground tweets, pics, videos, and posts, and official news outlets. In this day and age, where news can happen with a smart phone, we find that immediacy of news is a reality that will not go way, but at the same time a combination of different sources will always give as full of a picture as possible.
Such is the case of #1DMx, the hashtag that was used for the marches against allegations that Mexico’s newest President, Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), was fraudulently elected. Much has been written about that, and as with any story, you will have those who believe that the PRI’s return to power after 12 years is just an example of democracy in action (the PRI ruled Mexico for 71 consecutive years) and those who believe that the PRI’s will revive the party’s ugly history of political repression and control. Both of those opinions and the gray areas between those opinions are being published and played out online, not only through social media, but through media outlets. It is a battle of opinions, and those opinions have been quite strong, no matter where you look.
We will try here to share what a few of those organizations outlets are reporting and let readers decide about the information that is being shared. As with any story that is constantly moving online, there will be always be quick reactions and more information. Social media plays a role in that, and the speed of information is just the new normal. Consider this post a pause from the barrage of information that is getting shared right now.
- The #YoSoy132 movement, which has been protesting against Peña Nieto since early this spring, has been quick to condemn and distance itself from many of the violent acts that were reported yesterday. The movement’s focus has been to share the news about claims that the Mexican government has repressed many protesters, how some protesters are missing, and how many have been injured. Sources like YoSoy132Media.org continue to provide constant updates about recent events, and they continue to move rather quickly. For example, it was originally reported that a protester had died last night, when in fact he is still alive but in grave condition. That is what happens when news is shared so quickly.
- A lot of photos are being uploaded and it can feel overwhelming. This #1DMx source provides many of the more popular ones being shared. Some photos show peaceful demonstrations, while other photos are more troubling. Images are indeed powerful, and they are open for interpretation, both good and bad. Another fact of social media reporting.
- As with any movement or event that is now being covered online, there are many sources that report the information. As with any story or movement, bias is everywhere. All media is biased, no matter how independent it claims to be. For us, besides checking out the YoSoy132 pages, we also tend to check out Proceso, which presents a full picture in Spanish about yesterday’s events here (15 civilians wounded, 20 uniformed police wounded and 65 arrested), as well as La Jornada and Milenio to see how else the news is being reported. We tend to look at these outlets with a critical eye, as we do with anything we read and share.
- American news outlets appear to be showing just a small slice of the story, as the Associated Press lumps all the protesters as “vandals,” also reporting that “at least 76 people were treated for injuries, including 29 who hospitalized, as the result of clashes between protesters and tear-gas firing police, the Red Cross said. City officials said 103 people were detained, including 11 minors.” The New York Times this morning barely made mention of the protests, focusing instead of Peña Nieto’s speech, but it did report the following: “Later, outside the national palace, scores of mostly young masked people, shouting anti-PRI slogans, clashed with the police, set fires, threw rocks and vandalized hotels and stores along several blocks. More than 90 were arrested and several were injured, and Mayor Marcelo Ebrard later blamed anarchist groups for the trouble.”
- The Occupy movement is also covering the news from Mexico and it reported the following: ”the protesters marched on Congress in Mexico City and were met with large squadrons of riot police, enormous barricades, rubber bullets, tear gas, and gas bombs. Reports claim approximately 30 people have been injured, several critically.” The Occupy page also shared several links on social media that are sharing the story.
There is saying that there are two sides to every story, and that the truth is somewhere in between. So, while the AP posts this video without any context, other videos, like the ones that follow, are being shared on YouTube.
Other Videos from YouTube. There are so many, we have lost count.
We would expect that anyone who is interested in what is happening in Mexico continue to check different reports and sources. Our page does not claim to be the definitive source (and it never will). Anyone who expects that will be disappointed. What we can promise is that we will try to curate content that seems interesting and newsworthy so that our readers can decide and determine for themselves what they think about these recent developments.
As for us? We do think that the current political system in Mexico is a quasi-oligarchy and that true democracy is still a pipe dream there (many would say that this is the case of the United States as well). Events like #1DMx bring out the worst and best in people, but at least people are talking and sharing opinions. Will such dialogue lead to change, and if so, what will that change look like? Those questions continued to be asked, but have yet to be answered.
via LatinoRebels.com http://bit.ly/RujEmx
Here is the paradox and the tragedy of Israeli-Palestinian politics in a few words. The Palestinian Authority (PA) is committed to the establishment of a state alongside Israel; its officials work hard to repress Palestinian terrorists, in close cooperation with Israeli police. And the Israeli government refuses to negotiate with them. Hamas, by contrast, is committed to the destruction of Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian state in its place; its leaders fire rockets aimed indiscriminately at Israeli towns and cities and sponsor and boast about organizing terrorist attacks inside Israel. And with them Israel is right now negotiating.
The Paradox and Tragedy of Israeli-Palestinian Politics - Michael Walzer
Andrew Gumbel in “How America Didn’t Win the Cold War:”
Reagan himself traveled back to Berlin in late 1990 and gave a speech congratulating himself on engineering the end of the Cold War. His signal achievement, he said, had been the decision to station nuclear cruise missiles in West Germany and his pursuit of the Strategic Defense Initiative, the missile shield program also known as Star Wars. But this, as Berliners knew better than anybody, was a convenient and self-serving rewrite of history. It was not true, as Reagan and other conservatives liked to argue, that aggressive increases in military spending had caused the Soviet empire to bankrupt itself as it scrambled for a response; the Soviet economy was already in tatters when Reagan took over, and there was no evidence of significant change in Soviet military spending in the 1980s. Reagan’s 1987 visit to Berlin had been a diplomatic near-disaster, marked by rioting young westerners angry about the cruise missile deployment, and about US policy in central America. The president’s call to tear down the Wall seemed generic at the time — every western political leader who passed through said much the same thing — and had no discernible effect on either the East Germans or the Soviet leadership.
Far from giving Reagan a hero’s welcome on his return, Berliners ignored him; he spoke to row upon row of empty seats. If any foreign leader deserved credit, they felt, it was Gorbachev, who had promised to keep his tanks and troops out of Eastern Europe and issued a striking warning to Honecker on that anniversary visit, that “life punishes those who drag their feet.” Still, it was not Gorbachev who ordered the Wall to be opened. He was in no position to, because it happened largely by accident.
Good evening, this is All Things Considered. I’m Robert Seagle and I’m Melissa Bloc. Today the news will be in the order of importance.
Our first story tonight is about the end of the family favorite Hostess line, the preferred treat among schoolchildren and fans of simpler times in America.
Next we will discuss the Director of the CIA’s unauthorized dick moistening and how this will change politics as we know it.
And finally, we will discuss an estimated 2 dozen Palestinians killed by Israeli bombs in the past 48 hours. We will bring in 3 special guests, one to defend the Israelis, one to defend Hamas and be continuously derailed by questions that could be answered in a history book and another to assure you everything is alright and you’re worrying yourself over nothing important.
From NPR News Studios, this is All Things Considered
Why I rarely listen to NPR nowadays