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August 31, 2010

Strange case of serial murder in Argentina

You want more creepy? You got it:

A young man of 22 was arrested last weekend in Buenos Aires, accused of killing six persons in four weeks to fulfill a promise to "San La Muerte" (St. Death), a "saint" venerated in prisons and rural parts of Argentina, according to a police source on Tuesday.

"The killer made a pact with 'St. Death', in which he promised a death a week in exchange for the protection of his family," said the source.

Marcelo Antelo was arrested on Saturday, August 28, accused of having killed a philosophy student, 27 years old, who was found with a bullet wound to the chest in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Flores, south of the Argentine capital, near the accused killer's home.

Upon his arrest after an intense gunfight, the police confiscated a .38 calibre pistol, similar to those used by federal police officers.

At the moment, "Marcelito", as he was known in the barrio, is in custody for the murder of the philosophy student, but the police suspect that he may be the killer of five others, including a double homicide on August 15, five days before he celebrated the day of "St. Death".

"A half-dozen witnesses have already come forward. One of them gave us details of the pact with 'St. Death'," said an investigator in the case.

"St. Death" is a traditional figure of folk worship in the rural northeast of Argentina, particularly in the provinces of Corrientes, Chaco, and Formosa, and is also venerated in many prisons. His devotees invoke him for ordinary favors, such as to protect a harvest, but he is also sometimes called upon to bring death to an enemy.

In routine raids on the homes of suspects, the police have often found the image of "St. Death", in the form of a tiny human skeleton.

Translation mine.

The veneration of "St. Death" under various names (La Muerte, La Santa Muerte, San La Muerte, etc.) is not limited to Argentina. Mexicans, too, are known for their veneration of the unorthodox "saint", particularly on the Day of the Dead. He (or sometimes, she) is commonly invoked by members of crime gangs, for fairly obvious reasons. When even St. Jude, the patron of lost causes, won't do, St. Death seems the natural choice for drug-dealers locked in endless turf wars, or battles with the police (or both, simultaneously).

Of course, invoking Death brings karma down on you like a duck on a junebug, as this one unlucky Argentine found out. The elaborate tombs of Mexican drug-gangsters are also testimony to how well the double-edged sword of "St." Death can slice. Just something to consider, if ever you're tempted to make a pact with Death.

May 26, 2010

Chavecito and the tweeter

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From Cubadebate via Aporrea, a little newsy item:

Spokespersons for the Twitter social networking site, Laura Gómez and Jenna Dawn, "are delighted" that presidents, including Hugo Chávez with his @chavezcandanga, are opening accounts.

"Presidents in general, as in the case of Venezuela, generate a lot of traffic; we're happy that President Hugo Chávez uses the platform."

Dawn and Gómez were the two representatives of Twitter who participated in the first congress of the network in Latin America called "Hey, what are you tweeting? #140Mexico", organized by El Universal de México. The conference played host to representatives of the Daily Newspapers Group of America.

The spokeswomen confirmed that Chávez, along with his counterparts Sebastián Piñera of Chile, Alvaro Uribe of Colombia, and Felipe Calderón, of Mexico, contacted them to verify their accounts.

In Venezuela, there were 3,839 Twitter accounts in January 2009. By December 31 of the same year, there were 225,807.

Translation mine.

And now there are way more than that. And Chavecito currently stands at how many followers?

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(I love his current tweet--it's the local equivalent to "It's raining, it's pouring, the old man is snoring!" Only it's an old woman and she's in a cave. I bet it's sung to the same tune, too.)

Compare that to Piñera:

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And El Narco:

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Heh.

I couldn't find one for Calderón yet. I guess he's not tweeting after all? Better get it in gear, Felipe, there are an awful lot of parodists out there impersonating you, and some are downright rude.

May 17, 2010

Eat THIS, Arizona.

Best cartoon commentary I've seen so far on Arizona's fucking ridiculous anti-Latino law:

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You can learn a lot from Lalo Alcaraz, no?

April 21, 2010

Taxing the patience of a nation

And no, I'm not referring to the gummint. I'm referring to these tea-tards here:

Note the doctrinaire (but ill-informed) rhetoric, the crazy accusations, the deer-in-the-headlights looks of a lot of them when pressed for specifics. These are people who are very angry about things they haven't thought through. Be sure to watch for former comedienne Victoria Jackson in a very sad and unamusing turn as a retarded rightard, and enjoy the ironic spectacle provided by a bug-eyed British lord (at a "patriotic American" rally? In a Stars 'n' Stripes tie??? Remind me what the revolution was about, again...)

Saddest of all is the woman in the cranberry turtleneck, who really should not be there. She's been deluded into thinking the government is out to rob public services, when its job (as she herself acknowledges) is to provide them. And what's up with the Mexican guy speaking out against immigration? And the token black dude rapping? He's rolling out the astroturf while claiming not to. How far through the Looking Glass ARE these people? And do they not see the extreme irony of their position?

One thing is for sure: the educational system is indeed badly underfunded if it turns out sorry people like these. And civics classes are more desperately needed now than at any previous time in history. If it weren't for all the wars and imperialism, they'd all get one hell of an education.

Whether they wanted it or not.

March 7, 2010

Music for a Sunday: Holy guacamole with awesome sauce

See if you can detect a common element in these two very different tunes. First, the country:

I have a confession to make: This song is one of my earliest childhood faves. Even when I was barely talking (at less than a year old!), I already knew this man's voice. Whenever he came on the radio, it didn't matter what the song was--someone always asked, "Hey, Bina, who's that singing?" And I was bound to reply, lisping: "Dzonny Cass!" Yup...even as a baby, I knew badass when I heard it. And I still love this song.

Now, the Brit-pop. Sorry, I couldn't embed this. (Damn you, EMI, learn how the Internets work!) But listen muy, muy closely and you'll hear one of the few instances ever of a jackhammer being deployed to musical effect. If you're not laughing your ass off at that juncture, you're not human.

And no, the jackhammer is NOT the common element. (Bonus points for anyone who can tell me what the girl yells in the #2 song.)

PS: I've now heard from two people that they couldn't get to the #2 song. It's Thomas Dolby's "Hot Sauce", the "saucy version", digitally remastered just last year. Gotta love EMI for really not knowing how to make the Internets work for them.

March 2, 2010

Bad news all around for El NarcoPresidente

In Mexico City, family and friends of the Mexican students killed in Colombia's illegal bombing of a FARC camp in the Sucumbíos border region of Ecuador two years ago held a protest, calling for Alvaro Uribe to stand trial as a war criminal.

And that's not all that's dogging El Narco. He lost his bid to get re-elected, he disgraced himself in Cancún, and now, his popularity at home is dropping:

The popularity of Alvaro Uribe has fallen five points, according to the latest bi-monthly Gallup poll. His personal approval rating is at 63%, down from last December's rating of 68%.

According to the poll, his disapproval rating rose 4 points and now stands at 29%.

Approval of his performance as president has dropped 5 points, and now stands at 68%.

Another important fact revealed by the poll is the negative perception of Colombians over their healthcare services.

In December, 39% of those polled believed that the quality of healthcare in Colombia was worsening. Today, following the declaration of a social emergency on the part of the government, 59% felt that way.

It can only go downhill from there. Crappy healthcare tends to be something that people remember, and a quick PR campaign can't make any positive impact there. Mainly because it's a problem that tends to stick around...unlike reports of mass graves, say. Or seven army bases full of meddling gringos. Think about it--people keep getting sick, getting injured, getting shot (especially that last, in Colombia). If the health system stinks, they find out about it firsthand, and fast.

February 22, 2010

Oh noes! Axis of Evo creeping closer to our borders...

Just south of the Río Grande, to be specific:

Indigenous leaders of Mexico held a special ceremony this week, complete with the handing over of a staff of office, recognizing Evo Morales as a moral leader.

November 30, 2009

Stupid Sex Tricks: Anybody for a little refried sausage?

Mexican cooking just got a whole lot spicier, thanks to someone who is VERY hearing-impaired:

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Don't you just love closed captioning sometimes?

November 13, 2009

Lou Dobbs photoshop du jour

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Well, if FUX Snooze doesn't take him, he can always go into porn.

November 11, 2009

This just in from CNN...

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...via Democracy Now:

Lou Dobbs Resigns From CNN

The controversial TV anchor has resigned from CNN amid a campaign to force him off the air due to his reporting on Latinos and immigrants.

(rubbing eyes)

Can it be?

Is it true?

I have to check this out further...

Dear Goddess, it IS true. TIME just posted an article on "departing CNN anchor Lou Dobbs", 30 minutes ago.

Good riddance to a journalist gone bad. Publicly subscribing to anti-immigrant AND birther nonsense means he's no longer competent to report.

Plus, let's not forget that racists loved him. And the feeling is definitely mutual.

Adios, cabrón.

October 21, 2009

OMG, they really think Michael Moore was serious!

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Teh Stoopid! It BURNS!!!

Well, this is par for the course at El Luniversal, since they never fact-check a goddamned thing they write anyway (and neither does the AP, which inhabits the same building.) They also have no sense of humor, and their hatred for all things Chavecito would blind them to what the rest of us can see is an obvious joke.

But really, Eva Golinger, I expected better of you, because I know you're smarter than that. Have you been living out of the US so long that you've forgotten Michael Moore's ironic sense of humor, which he turns quite mercilessly on his own country? (And Franz Lee, that goes for you, too. Lighten up, comrade!)

Fortunately, someone at Complutense University in Madrid gets the joke. I'll let Juan Carlos Monedero explain it to you:

Michael Moore, Nasty Liar

Dear friends:

I've been watching the video in which Michael Moore supposedly disrespects President Chávez and lies repeatedly about him to sully the revolution. How is he a traitor? How the strategy of the opposition has caused us to lose perspective. It's all a big joke. What happened to the irony?

Let's look at this with some tranquility. What was Moore doing in that interview before the viewers of that program? He was laughing at North Americans and their gringo stereotype of the president and all Latin Americans, not at President Chávez and the Venezuelan people! It's just a joke.

Moore is on board with what's happening in Latin America, but his public persona is precisely that: a guy who seems not to know much about anything, constantly telling jokes and pointing out ironies. If we damn him to hell or think he's a liar, it's because we don't understand what he's trying to say! I reiterate: Let's not let the constant lies of the opposition cause us to lose sight of when someone is being serious, and when he is joking.

It's abundantly clear that what he's saying, from the get-go, is just one big leg-pull. He points out Foreign Minister Maduro and says he's a bodyguard! It's obvious that he doesn't want to look like an imbecile who confuses Maduro with one of the security men.

On the other hand, what does the Empire think of Latin America? (1) That all its inhabitants are the same, whatever country they are from and whatever ethnic group they happen to be; (2) that all of them are not only alike, they are like the Mexicans; (3) that the Mexicans, the prototype of all Latin Americans, are people who make noise at all hours (especially in the night and in hotels where honored gringos are trying to rest below them) and that they all drink tequila. That's the joke which Moore repeats in the interview! If we take it as real, we're falling for the same cliché that Moore is laughing at!

Revolutions have to be able to laugh at themselves.

Translation mine.

I don't know about you, but I love to laugh. There's plenty of humor and irony in the Bolivarian Revolution, and while I'm totally down with it, that doesn't mean I can't giggle over goofy pictures of Chavecito doing something wacky and silly. He's often funny on purpose; he's not, in fact, the buffoon the oppos make him out to be. (Real buffoons are funny only by accident--as many of Chavecito's predecessors and opponents definitely are.) I take his serious deeds seriously, and his funny deeds in the spirit they were intended.

Same goes for Michael Moore. The man sticks a whoopee cushion under every pompous ass he meets, the better to get us thinking seriously about what we need to do. In other words: Just like Chavecito! I absolutely loved it that they got together in Venice and had a good chat. I figured they were two peas in a pod for having serious minds and light hearts. It did my heart good to see them getting along famously, as I knew they would.

And I bet Chavecito gets this joke, too. Let's see if and when he weighs in. I bet he'll be chuckling. (Anyone wanna lose some money betting against me? A quick hundred or two?)

So what's the punchline of this joke? Simple: The oppos got punked...again. By none other than the gringo they were hoping to co-opt.

What's less funny is that some serious good people still don't seem to get it. Once more, with feeling:

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See? It's okay to laugh. Go on now...giggle. You know you wanna.

September 18, 2009

Quebec blogger murdered in Mexico

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One of the last pictures published on Renée Wathelet's blog, En direct des îles. "Jeux d'eau" ("water games") is from her Flickr page.

A very sad note from the Canadian blogosphere. Thanks to "Monmick", who sent me this article in French from the Montreal newspaper, La Presse:

Quebec blogger murdered in Mexico

A 60-year-old woman from Quebec was savagely murdered yesterday morning in her apartment on Isla Mujeres in Mexico. Her killer, a 24-year-old man, stabbed her at least 36 times with a knife before being arrested.

Once more, the circumstances have been ignored surrounding the ugly deed which cost the life of Renée Wathelet, who for years had been sailing between Montreal and Mexico.

The victim, born in Belgium, had decided a few months ago to settle down for good on the island, just off the coast of Yucatan.

The murder happened at her apartment, in a condominium complex facing out on the Caribbean Sea.

The suspected killer, José Joaquin Palacios, was arrested on the spot while trying to flee. According to Mexican authorities, he was not intoxicated, but may be suffering from mental health problems. Palacios appears to have claimed to have killed Mme Wathelet for personal reasons. The connections between the victim and her killer have yet to be determined.

Well-known in cyberspace, Renée Wathelet kept at least two personal blogs, endirectdesiles.com and professionnomade.com, and was a fixture on Twitter and Facebook.

The news of her death has shaken those close to her, and many members of the blogging community.

The mother of three had worked as a financial advisor. In Mexico, she was dedicated to her blogs, as well as looking after stray animals with a veterinarian friend.

This morning, one of the victim's sons prepared to leave for Mexico. According to him, his mother had interrupted a break-in as it happened. "She was a marvellous person, devoted to everyone, a pacifist. I'm going to carry out her last wishes," said her son, visibly shaken by the senseless-seeming crime.

Renée Wathelet had asked that her ashes be scattered over the sea. Passionate about her travels, the sea, and swimming, she had decided to put down roots in Mexico because of the sun and the warmth of the people, her son said.

The last contact he had had with his mother was a few days ago, when she sent him a picture taken September 15.

The death of Renée Wathelet has created a shock wave through the blogging community. "If there is one truly kind person in the blogging world, it's her. She is something like a spiritual mother to bloggers," said Michelle Blanc. She and her friends had organized a little celebration for Wathelet at her apartment in Outremont just before her departure for Mexico. "We are really in shock," Blanc said.

"I knew her as a super-humanistic person. She cared a lot about animals. I can't understand how anyone could break into her place and kill her. It's really horrible!" said Cécile Gladel, an independent journalist and blogger, who reported the death of her friend on her blogue, cecilegladel.blogspot.com.

Just before having been killed, Renée Wathelet published an entry on her blog, endirectdesiles.com, about the beach she loved. "Lost in thought, I arrive at the little cove where every morning, I take time to take time. A moment in which I can attune my breathing to the rhythm of the waves; a moment in which I look to the north, towards Montréal--hello everyone, yes I think of you every morning!"

About an hour later, she whom her friends called "the nomad", lost her life.

The suspected killer is in jail, and the police are continuing their investigation.

Translation mine.

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My thoughts go out to all she left behind. You are her footprints on the sand.

Blessed be the name of Renée, now and always.

May 1, 2009

Simply disgraceful

According to YVKE Mundial, this t-shirt is now selling in the US:

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Sick, tasteless and disgusting. Bet it sells well at Stormfront, though!

April 29, 2009

Swine flu: How profitable at such an opportune time...

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Maybe Tamiflu should be called RummyFlu?

How profitable? Very, according to YVKE Mundial and Telesur:

The transnational drug companies Roche and GlaxoSmithKline are the only two laboratories that produce oseltamivir and zanamivir, used to treat patients with swine flu. Oseltamivir, produced by Roche under the name Tamiflu, is the same drug used to treat avian flu; zanamivir, sold under the name Relenza, is produced by GlaxoSmithKline.

What is not so well known is that Roche and Glaxo were both close to bankruptcy just before the outbreak. The latest indicators from the Zurich stock exchange show that Roche lost 8.47% of its share value, while Glaxo, in just the first quarter of 2009, lost 1.5%. According to analysts, this is evidence of a steep drop for the companies.

As the number of persons ill with influenza climbs, however, Roche has announced that only 3 million doses of Tamiflu, recommended by the World Health Organization, are available. The Swiss pharmaceutical firm said that it would be prepared to send the WHO that number of doses, which, along with the 2 million it already has, would be enough for 5 million affected people.

The possibility that these two multinationals required a production boost to reduce their losses and increase their profits cannot be ruled out, and at this time, there could not be a more opportune moment for it.

Translation mine.

Just another of the many things that make you go hmmmm...

And here are some more:

The Australian province of Queensland reports "massive demand" for Tamiflu, even though so far, no cases have been reported in Australia. The reason for the panic? New Zealand's flu count is 11 probable cases, all of them students who recently travelled to Mexico, with another 56 suspected. That was enough for the NZ government to make Tamiflu available over the counter. NZ has 1.2 million doses on hand, going for NZ $75 per course. Cha-ching!

Meanwhile, in the US, major pharmacy chain CVS is also stocking up. Its share price is on the rise, compared to rival Walgreens, which isn't reporting increased sales and IS reporting a 29% share price drop. Hmmmm.

And looky here! Bloomberg reports that Roche has boosted Tamiflu production and is "in touch" with governments. How very opportune.

But ooooo, spoiler alert #1: India is making a generic version of the drug. Spoiler #2: The Toronto Star reports that Tamiflu is no guarantee that you won't get sick, that you will have a shorter recovery, or even that the flu won't kill you. What is it a guarantee of? More profits for its manufacturers, Roche and Gilead. Cha-ching!

Meanwhile, Singapore reports that it has "enough" (one million doses, or a quarter of the population of Singapore) in stock, while Trindad and Tobago, much closer to the disease's epicentre, don't have any. Cha-ching!

Nasty story of the day: A Mexican student in New Zealand was refused Tamiflu. Now is that any way to treat a visitor?

But the clincher headline of the day has got to be this one from the UK Telegraph: "Pharmacies cashing in on swine flu fears". Cha-ching!

April 27, 2009

Why they hate the US, part umpteen hundred and umpty-ump

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When life is discovered on other planets, we already know how it's gonna react to its first Earthling visitors...

If you ever wanna know why Latin Americans keep yelling "Yankee Go Home" or "Gringo maldito", I think I've just found another clue, this time on Gadling:

An Air France flight from Paris to Mexico had to make an unscheduled stop in Martinique when US air traffic controllers notified the jet that it would not be receiving permission to fly over US airspace.

That's right - the plane was not en route to the US, just passing over some of it, on its way to Mexico.

On board the plane was Colombian Journalist Hernando Calvo Ospina, who works for Le Monde Diplomatique.

What makes the whole incident even more interesting is that Air France had only sent its passenger manifest to the Mexicans, but now it is clear that Mexico shares this information with the United States.

Hernando Calvo Ospina has written articles about the United States involvement in Latin America, and is currently writing a book about he CIA. The exact reason for him being on the terrorist watch list is unknown, and we'll probably never know what criteria are used for adding people to it.

I'll bet the "exact reason" has something to do with him writing (a) for Le Monde Diplomatique, which is not only factually accurate but has all the goods on US interference in LatAm, and (b) a critical word about the CIA in anything, anywhere. They're kind of itchy that way.

October 18, 2008

Unreported news from Morelos, Mexico

Did you know a massacre took place there on October 9?

Here's the lowdown on what it's all about, courtesy Angry White Kid:

For almost two months, the teachers union in the Mexican state of Morelos rose up against the "Alliance for Quality Education", a neo-liberal plan akin to "No Child Left Behind" that would pave the way to the privatization of education, among other things.

They were supported by the people of Morelos in their marches, encampments in public plazas, and blockades of interstate highways. On Oct. 7, 8, and 9, the army and state and federal paramilitary police were sent in to brutally smash the movement. This model is a mirror of the crackdown that occurred in Oaxaca in 2006 and has enraged teachers and the public across Mexico.

The struggle in Morelos echoes exactly what is going on in Oaxaca, where a teachers' strike turned into a full-fledged rebellion against a bad local governor in 2006 and the resistance is still going strong--and also, largely unreported by mainstream media.

But what's really taboo here, in terms of mainstream reporting, is exactly what both these rebellions--which are not isolated events--really mean. The fact that the last Mexican federal election was blatantly stolen from the progressive Andres Manuel López Obrador (or AMLO, for short) has never been forgotten, and never been forgiven, either. George Dubya Bush's handpicked candidate "won"--with a little help from his gringo friends. Greg Palast has evidence that the fraud wasn't even subtle. And that fraud is what's really being protested here; the privatization of education is part of Felipe Calderon's neoliberal/neo-con agenda. An agenda that was imposed very much against the will of a majority of Mexicans from all states, not only Oaxaca and Morelos (which is, incidentally, the birthplace of the great revolutionary, Emiliano Zapata.)

Gee, I can't imagine why the lamestream media want to hush all this rebellion up and fixate on the phony drug war instead, can you?

September 1, 2008

Something is very wrong with this picture

From Aporrea, some shocking facts about soap operas in Mexico:

Each episode of the soap opera "Fire in the Blood", one of the most-watched in Mexico, contains an average of 50 scenes of violence against women, according to a study presented by an association of Mexican non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

The tracking, which ran for ten episodes between July 14 and 25, detected a total of 498 scenes "in which various forms of violence against women occurred or were justified", according to the study, conducted by the Citizens' Council for Gender Equality in the Media.

Of the 498 scenes, 313 enacted acts of psycho-emotional violence, 66 physical violence, 17 femicidal violence, and 5 sexual violence, according to the EFE news agency.

Continue reading "Something is very wrong with this picture" »

August 28, 2008

Two "prestigious" Chavez-haters get owned by a Russky

Yes, folks, I'm talking about those two once-notable authors, Mario Vargas Llosa and Carlos Fuentes, who have both decided to keep their names in the news by turning their pens to machetes in the name of right-wing hackery.

Since it's currently fashionable in certain circles to bash Chavecito for everything from his impoverished background to his military career to his friendship with Fidel to, yes, his nonwhiteness--well, when talent deserts you, you just gotta turn your hand to something, and why not something fashionable? It's either that or the bottle of Victory Gin (and I wouldn't put that past either one of these sour old boys, either. Hey, it worked out fine for Christopher Hitchens--he gets to crapagandize and drink himself insensible with the proceeds.)

Now, Russia doesn't have a notable journalistic tradition that I'm aware of. (Mind you, Pravda may not be the best thing to go by on this one.) No more than it has a lengthy and illustrious history of parliamentary democracy. But I can see I shall have to visit Tiwy.com more often, because this is one Russia-based news site that strives to get things right.

Case in point: Nil Nikandrov's excellent piece on the two writers-turned-crapagandists. Nikandrov definitely seems to have Vargas Llosa's number--and on speed-dial, at that:

Continue reading "Two "prestigious" Chavez-haters get owned by a Russky" »

August 20, 2008

What? No mourning for lost capitalism?

Nope.

Backed by national guard troops and cheering crowds, government representatives moved in on three Cemex plants at the stroke of midnight Monday, the end of a 60-day deadline set by President Hugo Chavez for imposing state control over Venezuela's largest cement maker.

Chavez has long criticized Venezuela's private-sector cement makers for high prices and tight supplies that he says have hampered government efforts to build housing for the poor. Pro-nationalization supporters who had gathered outside a Cemex facility in eastern Venezuela sang the national anthem while fireworks exploded overhead, according to news reports.

Of course, this being reported in the Denver Post, someone still felt duty-bound to note for the sake of "fairness and balance":

But Mexico's ambassador to Venezuela, Mario Chacon, made his displeasure clear. Chavez's hard line with Cemex, one of Mexico's most admired companies, has irritated the conservative administration of Mexican President Felipe Calderon.

"As a government, we respect Venezuela's decision, but we are obligated to look out for the interests of our companies," Chacon said. "We believe there has been discriminatory treatment against Cemex, and we don't understand why."

Good job, D-Post. Now go back to sleep. You've got a Dem convention coming up to report on. And you need your beauty rest, especially since you got scooped on the secret prisons in your city, built specially for the occasion.

August 19, 2008

Yep, that Catholic church is sure progressing...

What century is this again?

Rev. Sergio G. Roman sounded the alarm against miniskirts in an online publication to prepare Catholics for a church family-values forum next year in Mexico City.

"When we show our body without prudence, without modesty, we are prostituting ourselves," wrote Roman, a Mexico City priest.

Continue reading "Yep, that Catholic church is sure progressing..." »

June 19, 2008

Help! I think I'm starting to like Felipe Calderon!

He's done two things that are very decent, all things considered.

First, he's put a freeze on food prices so that poorer Mexicans can quit dying of NAFTA-induced starvation (or at least, slow it down a bit.) If he's smart, he'll decree a price rollback and make it permanent. And if he's REALLY smart, he'll tear up NAFTA. (Oh 'Bina, you really are a dreamer, aren't you.)

He's also advocated that Europe lift its sanctions against Cuba. Meaning Cubans can also quit starving for lack of Euros. Yay!

Now, if only he'd admit that his "election" was a sham, and cede to AMLO like he should have done in the first place, things could really get rockin'.

April 17, 2008

Nicaragua offers refuge to Lucia Morett

This just in from Telesur (via Aporrea):

The Government of Nicaragua offered protection to the Mexican, Lucia Morett, who survived the massacre that Colombia perpetrated March 1, in Ecuadorian territory.

This was announced by the Latin American Association for Human Rights (ALDHU), which informed that Morett, who received treatment for injuries sustained during the bombing in a military hospital in Quito, left for Managua on Wednesday. She was received there by Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega.

"The Government of Nicaragua has offered protection and aid to this victim of the massacre of March 1, in addition to that offered by Ecuador. Lucia Morett will arrive in Mexico next week," said ALDHU secretary-general Juan de Dios Parra, of Chile.

Parra added that Morett, who was the only Mexican survivor of the attack, travelled to the Nicaraguan capital in the company of her parents and functionaries of ALDHU, a non-governmental organization with headquarters in Quito.

In the military incursion, which Quito maintains ruptured diplomatic relations with Colombia, four Mexican university students were killed, along with FARC guerrilla chief Raul Reyes and an Ecuadorian citizen.

Translation mine.

Kudos to Daniel Ortega. Typically, you can count on a Sandinista to do the decent thing.

April 16, 2008

They were accomplices, so they had it coming

Yep, Alvaro Uribe really IS a lawless, psychopathic little thug. Get a load of his latest bons mots:

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe said Wednesday that he doesn't regret ordering a cross-border raid on a rebel camp in Ecuador, despite the death of four Mexican students there.

Uribe told Mexico's Televisa network that the students were seen in a video with the guerrillas, indicating they were in league with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

"They were not doing humanitarian work. They were not hostages. So why were they there?" Uribe said. "They were there as accomplices of this activity. They were there as agents of terrorism."

Continue reading "They were accomplices, so they had it coming" »

April 11, 2008

Festive Left Friday Blogging: Viva Zapata!

Hugo Chavez in a replica of Emiliano Zapata's sombrero

Why is Chavecito wearing a big sombrero? Because the daughter of a rather important Mexican hero has just delivered a big honor to him.

Continue reading "Festive Left Friday Blogging: Viva Zapata!" »

April 7, 2008

Mexico's cement overshoes

Ever have one of those days when everything you hear and see just somehow seems...off? Well, I must be having one of those days. Because look what I found that's just so skewy and screwy:

Mexico yesterday condemned Venezuela's planned nationalization of the cement industry, which will affect Cemex, a major Mexican company.

"We can only condemn this action," Finance Minister Agustín Carstens said in the city of Acapulco.

"The property and rights of Mexicans are not being respected," by the leftist government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, Carstens said.

Continue reading "Mexico's cement overshoes" »

March 15, 2008

They were no angels, so we killed them

Can you believe this bit of breathtaking logic?

The Colombian defence minister, Juan Manuel Santos, justified at a press conference on Friday the killings of four Mexican students during the attack by Colombia on Ecuadorian territory.

The minister assured that these young people "were no little angels", and attempted to link them to the FARC guerrillas in order to defend the murders.

Continue reading "They were no angels, so we killed them" »

February 2, 2008

Rebellion of the Oaxaquenas

The women of Oaxaca, Mexico, were a key force in the organization of the popular dissent that began in 2006 and continues to this day. They took over a TV station for an hour when they realized that the local media was full of shit and would not tell the truth about the popular rebellion. Even women who had never been politically active in their lives said no to the old roles of oppressor and oppressed that are so deeply engrained in gender relations all over the world (and especially in machista societies in Latin America.) They left the kitchen, ignored the soap operas (those reinforcers of the old victim role of their gender) and joined a march of more than 20,000 women.

Being a female activist is fraught with danger; men can be killed, but women can be raped first. And even if rape doesn't happen, genderized humiliation and assault are common. One of the women, an indigenous Mixteca, tells of how the police hacked off her hair in an attempt to debase her not only on the grounds of gender, but ethnicity as well.

Ironically, though, after some initial shock, the men rallied around the women. Men saw the women's takeover of Channel 9, and were inspired to take up other grassroots media activities because of it. Husbands showed up at the jails to cheer their incarcerated wives; while mothers were imprisoned, the fathers looked after the children and told them to take pride in what their mothers were doing. The ongoing rebellion in Oaxaca is not only against a corrupt government and political system, but also a way of looking at gender and power relations at the root of society itself.

January 30, 2008

Oaxaca in revolt

"Compromiso Cumplido" (True to My Pledge)--the first part of a two-part documentary about the ongoing revolt in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Part of this film concerns the death of Brad Will, the Indymedia reporter who got directly involved--and paid with his life for the footage he shot. At the time this documentary was made, 25 activists had died. All their murders were state-sanctioned and committed either by police or plain-clothes paramilitary infiltrators, which is why the perpetrators have not been brought to justice. The corrupt political system in Mexico is as much a villain in these deaths as the gunmen who pulled the trigger.

What began as a teachers' strike for better wages has since grown into a full-blown social justice movement--there is now a push on to get rid of the crooked governor, Ulises Ruiz, who played a part in the election fraud that put the current right-wing Mexican president into power. Oaxaca, it turns out, was a scene of massive electoral fraud. And the people are angry; they know that they were cheated of a free, fair election. This is why they want more than just more money for teachers or the removal of a bought-and-sold governor. They want a system-wide change--a full-fledged democracy that Mexico has yet to achieve. Elections alone are not enough, especially in light of how the last one was fouled. And the major media, who are complicit in the whole crime, must also be held accountable.

The struggle continues. You can read all about it at NarcoNews.

August 24, 2007

Headline Howler: Hurricane Dean blows mixed messages

Poor Yahoo News. They're so confused. On the one hand, they report that "Dean leaves Mexico relatively unscathed"; on the other, "Hurricane robs Maya of vital fruit trees".

What are we to make of this, other than that, as usual, Mayan people don't count for a whole lot in Mexico?

(See also the un-starlike treatment Rigoberta Menchu--Mayan, activist, Guatemalan presidential candidate and Nobel prizewinner--recently got there. Ouch.)

August 22, 2007

It's just as I thought.

Fortress North America, a.k.a. the Security and Prosperity Partnership? It's a fascist power grab. And just as it worked out all peachy for PNAC, the Reichstag Fire 9-11 provided the perfect pretext for these people to create a three-way Anschluss between us, the US, and Mexico.

For anyone naively thinking this will lead to warmer and fuzzier trilateral relations, I have bad news: it won't. Our borders will not be easier or safer to cross for business, shopping, pleasure, or just spending time with relatives on the other side; they will be meaner and nastier and far more nerve-wracking. Already, Canada's border guards are armed and dangerous; meanwhile, Mexico is getting an apartheid fence and a passel of racist pottymouths and useful idiots from El Norte to "defend" the boondoggle from the Yanqui side while the corporatists keep laughing all the way to the bank (having built a portion of it using the very people they claim they are trying to shut out).

What it all means: Canada and Mexico will still be on the ass-end of the "free trade" sodomy, only this time it will be a much harder, nastier bum-fucking than ever before. But at least we're united in one concrete way. After all, we're both taking an unfair amount of blame for terrorism--never mind that 9-11's triggermen got in quite legitimately through US international airports, NOT across our borders! How about that...they were LEGAL aliens.

Now, kindly 'scuse me while I scope around for some Scope. I think I just threw up in my mouth. No, don't send me any get-well cards. I'll be okay. It's a logical reaction to the devil's brew of racism, fascism and corporatism we're all having jammed down our throats.

July 3, 2007

Flying witches in Mexico?

Personally, I think it looks like a balloon...or a scrunched-up black garbage bag full of helium. People, I am a Witch, and if I want to fly, I have to do it by plane--the same as everyone else!

March 15, 2007

It's hard work!

Dubya crates lettuce; it's hard work!

First honest work he's ever done in his life. Better late than never, I suppose.

Hola, amigos!

BTW, Dubya--did you cause this?

Oh, that's right. You weren't in Honduras. You were too busy lifting a leg elsewhere, pissing off everyone in sight while your country rapidly falls apart at the seams. My mistake!

December 21, 2006

Gold, myrrh...and Frankenpot?

I always knew marijuana was a remarkable weed, but this is ridiculous.

Soldiers trying to seize control of one Mexico's top drug-producing regions found the countryside teeming with a new hybrid marijuana plant that can be cultivated year-round and cannot be killed with pesticides.

Soldiers fanned out across some of the new fields Tuesday, pulling up plants by the root and burning them, as helicopter gunships clattered overhead to give them cover from a raging drug war in the western state of Michoacan. The plants' roots survive if they are doused with herbicide, said army Gen. Manuel Garcia.

"These plants have been genetically improved," he told a handful of journalists allowed to accompany soldiers on a daylong raid of some 70 marijuana fields. "Before we could cut the plant and destroy it, but this plant will come back to life unless it's taken out by the roots."

Continue reading "Gold, myrrh...and Frankenpot?" »

December 15, 2006

Oh, what a tangled web they weave...

...when building fences to keep out the very people they're panting to employ for substandard wages!

A fence-building company in Southern California agrees to pay nearly $5 million in fines for hiring illegal immigrants. Two executives from the company may also serve jail time. The Golden State Fence Company's work includes some of the border fence between San Diego and Mexico.

After an immigration check in 1999 found undocumented workers on its payroll, Golden State promised to clean house. But when followup checks were made in 2004 and 2005, some of those same illegal workers were still on the job. In fact, U-S Attorney Carol Lam says as many as a third of the company's 750 workers may have been in the country illegally.

Continue reading "Oh, what a tangled web they weave..." »

November 1, 2006

Why the Mexican elections were stolen

It's the oil, stupid!

Even as popular pressure grows around Latin America for a stronger state hand in developing natural resources such as oil and gas, Mexico's president-elect Felipe Calderón may be forced to consider putting more power in private hands.

The country's flagship oil company Pemex, has been a point of pride since the industry was wrenched from foreign hands and nationalized in 1938. Its revenues alone cover one-third of Mexico's budget.

But prosperity from years of record oil prices has allowed Mexico to postpone what most agree are much-needed reforms. And now, as production at Pemex's top oil field declines, pressure to find new fields is mounting. But industry analysts say Mexico's constitutional restriction on foreign direct investment will hamstring costly exploration efforts, and possibly disrupt the flow of oil, 80 percent of which heads to the US.

Indeed, with his fragile political mandate, Mr. Calderón may find that oil becomes the issue that will define his presidency.

Continue reading "Why the Mexican elections were stolen" »

October 26, 2006

Minutemen make monkeys of themselves

A couple of days ago I blogged on a certain noteworthy Zapatista demonstrating just how easy it is to get past a Minuteman (pronounced "myNOOTman", as in very small and not well endowed) patrol.

Well, today, Raw Story has revealed confirmation as to just what fools these myNOOTmen be--and how foolish they want you and me to be:

The Minuteman Project sent out a press release late Tuesday evening hyping their Web site, which is showcasing 1,000 documents allegedly obtained in a Freedom of Information Act request to the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) by World Net Daily columnist Jerome Corsi. Most widely known for his longtime attacks on Democratic Senator John Kerry's military record, Corsi also co-authored a book about the Minuteman "battle" to secure America's borders.

SPP was launched in March of 2005 as a trilateral effort by the United States, Canada and Mexico to increase the security and improve the quality of life of North Americans through greater cooperation and information sharing. Many conservative critics view the trilateral initiative as a threat to U.S. sovereignty.

"The documents give clear evidence that the Bush administration has created a 'shadow government,'" Corsi said in the press release.

Corsi claims to have "hundreds of pages of e-mails from U.S. executive branch administrators who are copying the e-mail to somewhere between 25 to 100 people, a third of whom are in the U.S. bureaucracy, a third of whom are in the Mexican bureaucracy and a third of whom are in the Canadian bureaucracy."

"They are sharing their laws and regulations so we can 'harmonize' and 'integrate' our laws into a North American structure, not a USA structure," Corsi said.

In plain English, I believe that translates to BOOGAboogabooga! Evil Canadians! Evil Mexicans! We should be dominating them, but instead, they are dominating us! And they do it by pretending to be collaborating with us!

Raw Story continues:

The documents can be viewed on the Minuteman Project's Stop the Security and Prosperity Project page, but there's no mention of any particular "smoking gun" which could proves the contention that the White House has created a shadow government. The anti-immigration group appears to consider the mere existence of communications among bureaucrats from the three countries as proof of their assertions.

One series of letters show U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez writing to North American Steel Association leaders in all three countries thanking them for their "suggestions on enhancing the competitiveness of the steel industry" in North America ....

"The North American industries' recommendations for launching a North American steel strategy were well received and formed the basis for the Committee's discussions on a program of work going forward," Gutierrez wrote to assorted Steel Association chairmen and presidents.

A RAW STORY examination of documents related to the "steel strategy" as presented at the Minuteman Web site did not turn up anything untoward.

But Corsi maintains that the "documentation he received is missing key pieces."

"We received very few actual agreements, though many are referenced," Corsi said. "Many of the work plans described lack the work products which the groups say they produced."

Translation: We got nuttin', but we're still soiling ourselves with fear.

Yes, folks, things is mighty desperate in Wingnuttia right now. They are soiling themselves with stuff they pulled out of their own asses.

(Not that they hadn't always, but they're really reaching for it this time.)

October 23, 2006

Making monkeys of the Minutemen

Not that they needed much help, since they are all flying monkeys already. But the ever obliging Zapatista, Subcomandante Marcos, recently demonstrated just how stupid they are...and how futile it is to try to fence off the US/Mexico border:

Subcomandante Marcos crosses the border without permission

Narco News has some insight into what he's really up to.

October 7, 2006

Toe-sucker Morris puts foot in mouth...again!

Too bad the end result is just as obscene as what he did with that hooker:

Continue reading "Toe-sucker Morris puts foot in mouth...again!" »

July 7, 2006

Headline Howler: The "ebbtide" that ain't

How's this for stupid, from the AP's Mark Stevenson:

"NEWS ANALYSIS: Leftist tide may be ebbing"

Conservative Felipe Calderon's apparent victory could signal that the leftist tide sweeping Latin America has reached its high-water mark, as voters frightened by the radicalism of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez seek refuge in more mainstream ideas across the region.

That trend has emerged with Mexico's presidential vote count Thursday, the setback dealt to Bolivian President Evo Morales in a referendum Sunday, and Peruvian moderate Alan Garcia's victory over Chavez ally Ollanta Humala last month.

Intolerance, confrontation, messianic attitudes and stridency — once staples of Latin America's left — are proving less attractive than leaders who can provide stability and strengthen historically weak institutions, like the separation of powers, independent central banks and judiciaries.

Continue reading "Headline Howler: The "ebbtide" that ain't" »

July 5, 2006

So much for the "miracle" of DDT!

There are some 'tards in this world who want to bring back DDT--to control malarial mosquitoes.

I have just one question for them: Were you breast-fed?

Children exposed to the pesticide DDT while in the womb experience development problems, researchers say.

The pesticide was banned in the US and UK in the 1970s, but it is still used in some countries to kill malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

It was already known DDT was linked to premature births and low birthweight.

Continue reading "So much for the "miracle" of DDT!" »

May 11, 2006

Raped by the cops in Mexico

The Beeb delivers a shocker:

A Mexican human rights group has accused police of raping or sexually abusing almost two dozen women during riots in San Salvador Atenco last week.

The National Human Rights Committee, a government agency, said police raped seven and sexually abused 16.

Continue reading "Raped by the cops in Mexico" »

May 1, 2006

Un dia sin...

...ropa???

Si, puede ser en Mexico:

Members of a movement from the Gulf Coast state of Veracruz called the 400 Villages, the protesters strip with regularity, their nakedness stressing demands that the government resolve a long-running land dispute.

"We are asking for justice," said Alfonsina Sandoval, 54, a leader of the women who disrobe. "Undressing ourselves is an act of desperation and helplessness. We don't know what else to do to get their attention."

Continue reading "Un dia sin..." »

March 16, 2006

Big new oilfield found in Mexico

And with it, one more reason to broom out the toadying Vicente Fox:

Mexican President Vicente Fox has announced the discovery of a new deep-water oil field, which is believed to contain 10bn barrels of crude.

The field is in the Gulf of Mexico, and Mexico says it could be bigger than its largest oil field, Cantarell.

Production there is said to have declined sharply in recent years.

Continue reading "Big new oilfield found in Mexico" »

March 9, 2006

Taking the machismo out of rape

A blow-up sex doll illustrates an anti-rape campaign poster in Mexico

One more look at how certain countries are lagging behind in human rights: Mexico's huge misogyny problem. From the Beeb:

Mexico's government is using blow-up sex dolls in a new TV campaign against sexual harassment in the workplace.

The ads feature dolls, dressed as secretaries and maids, who have to put up with leering and groping from male colleagues.

Officials say the aim of the campaign is to make clear that women are not sexual objects.

Continue reading "Taking the machismo out of rape" »

March 7, 2006

Mexico: sneak preview for America's future

Hey, Americans...wanna know where your country's headed under BushCo, NAFTA, the NRA, the whole shebang? Clicky-clicky...but you'll no likey:

In an overwhelmingly Catholic country, abortion is illegal in Mexico unless the woman concerned was raped.

However, according to the report, many women are still denied safe abortions even if their pregnancy was a result of this crime.

Pregnant rape victims are intimidated, insulted and threatened.

Continue reading "Mexico: sneak preview for America's future" »

January 1, 2006

Things I look forward to this New Year

Happy 2006, everyone...hope you're not too hung over to read. I'm sure as hell not too drunk to write...

Since everyone and their dog seems to have a top five or ten or whatever of the year's past stories, I'm not going to go that route. Instead, I'll be looking into the ol' crystal ball for mine. Consider this to be Swami Sabinananda's psychic Top 10 News Stories of 2006:

Continue reading "Things I look forward to this New Year" »