Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Latin America

 

 

They passed away: Uruguay writer Eduardo Galeano and Gunter Grass (Nobel prize for literature in 2009

Uruguayan writer and journalist Eduardo Galeano, author of “Las venas abiertas de América Latina”, among other masterpieces, died today, aged 74, in Montevideo, where he lived.

His best-known works are “Las venas abiertas de América Latina” (Open Veins of Latin America, 1971) and “Memoria del fuego” (Memory of Fire Trilogy, 1982–86), which have both been translated into 20 languages and transcend orthodox genres, combining journalism, political analysis, and history.

The author himself has proclaimed his obsession as a writer saying, “I’m a writer obsessed with remembering, with remembering the past of America and above all that of Latin America, intimate land condemned to amnesia.”

 posted in July 23, 2013:

Most mornings it’s the same. At the breakfast table Uruguayan-born author, Eduardo Galeano, 72, and his wife, Helena Villagra, discuss their dreams from the night before.

“Mine are always stupid,” says Galeano. “Usually I don’t remember them and when I do, they are about silly things like missing planes and bureaucratic troubles. But my wife has these beautiful dreams.”

“There is a tradition that sees journalism as the dark side of literature, with book writing at its zenith,” he told the Spanish newspaper El Pais recently.

“I don’t agree. I think that all written work constitutes literature, even graffiti. I have been writing books for many years now, but I trained as a journalist, and the stamp is still on me. I am grateful to journalism for waking me up to the realities of the world.”

Those realities appear bleak.

“This world is not democratic at all,” he says. “The most powerful institutions, the IMF [International Monetary Fund] and the World Bank, belong to three or four countries. The others are watching. The world is organised by the war economy and the war culture.”

And yet there is nothing in either Galeano’s work or his demeanour that smacks of despair or even melancholy.

While in Spain during the youth uprisings of the indignados two years ago, he met some young protesters at Madrid’s Puerta del Sol. Galeano took heart from the demonstrations.

“These were young people who believed in what they were doing,” he said. “It’s not easy to find that in political fields. I’m really grateful for them.”

One of them asked him how long he thought their struggle could continue. “Don’t worry,” Galeano replied. “It’s like making love. It’s infinite while it’s alive. It doesn’t matter if it lasts for one minute. Because in the moment it is happening, one minute can feel like more than one year.”

Galeano talks like this a lot – not in riddles but enigmatically and playfully, using time as his foil.

When I ask him whether he is optimistic about the state of the world, he says: “It depends on when you ask me during the day. From 8am until noon I am pessimistic. Then from 1pm until 4 I feel optimistic.” I met him in a hotel lobby in downtown Chicago at 5pm, sitting with a large glass of wine, looking quite happy.

His world view is not complicated – military and economic interests are destroying the world, amassing increasing power in the hands of the wealthy and crushing the poor.

Given the broad historical sweep of his work, examples from the 15th century and beyond are not uncommon.

He understands the present situation not as a new development, but a continuum on a planet permanently plagued by conquest and resistance. “History never really says goodbye,” he says. “History says, see you later.”

He is anything but simplistic.

A strident critic of Obama’s foreign policy who lived in exile from Uruguay for over a decade during the 70s and 80s, he nonetheless enjoyed the symbolic resonance of Obama’s election with few illusions.

“I was very happy when he was elected, because this is a country with a fresh tradition of racism.”

He tells the story of how the Pentagon in 1942 ordered that no black people’s blood be used for transfusions for whites. “In history that is nothing. 70 years is like a minute. So in such a country Obama’s victory was worth celebrating.”

All of these qualities – the enigmatic, the playful, the historical and the realist – blend in his latest book, Children of the Days, in which he crafts a historical vignette for each day of the year. (That’s exactly what Grass did for each year in the 20thcentury)

The aim is to reveal moments from the past while contextualising them in the present, weaving in and out of centuries to illustrate the continuities.

What he achieves is a kind of epigrammatic excavation, uprooting stories that have been mislaid or misappropriated, and presenting them in their full glory, horror or absurdity.

His entry for 1 July, for example, is entitled: One Terrorist Fewer. It reads simply.

“In the year 2008, the government of the United States decided to erase Nelson Mandela’s name from its list of dangerous terrorists. The most revered African in the world had featured on that sinister roll for 60 years.” He named 12 October Discovery, and starts with the line: “In 1492 the natives discovered they were Indians, they discovered they lived in America.”

Meanwhile 10 December is called Blessed War and is dedicated to Obama’s receipt of the Nobel prize, when Obama said there are “times when nations will find the use of force not only necessary, but morally justified.”

Galeano writes: “Four and a half centuries before, when the Nobel prize did not exist and evil resided in countries not with oil but with gold and silver, Spanish jurist Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda also defended war as ‘not only necessary but morally justified’.”

And so he flits from past to present and back again, making connections with a wry and scathing wit.

His desire is to refurbish what he calls the “human rainbow. It is much more beautiful than the rainbow in the sky,” he insists. “But our militarism, machismo, racism all blinds us to it. There are so many ways of becoming blind. We are blind to small things and small people.”

And the most likely route to becoming blind, he believes, is not losing our sight but our memory.

My great fear is that we are all suffering from amnesia. I wrote to recover the memory of the human rainbow, which is in danger of being mutilated.”

By way of example he cites Robert Carter III – of whom I had not heard – who was the only one of the US’s founding fathers to free his slaves. “For having committed this unforgivable sin he was condemned to historical oblivion.”

Who, I ask, is responsible for this forgetfulness? “It’s not a person,” he explains. “It’s a system of power that is always deciding in the name of humanity who deserves to be remembered and who deserves to be forgotten … We are much more than we are told. We are much more beautiful.”

Note 1: A post I published on Galeano.

https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/voices-of-the-time-in-very-short-stories-by-eduardo-galeano/

Andrew Bossone shared this link on FB

To quote Oscar Guardiola-Rivera: veins are still open

 

Mexico’s Zapatista rebel leader resigns

Subcomandante Marcos flashes the "v" sign as he takes part in a march in Mexico City, May 1, 2006.
Subcomandante Marcos said he no longer spoke on behalf of the Zapatista rebels

The head of the Zapatista rebels in southern Mexico, known as Subcomandante Marcos, has announced that he is leaving the group’s leadership.

In a statement, he said he no longer spoke on behalf of the movement.

He added he was stepping down because of “internal changes” within the 20-year-old, far-left guerrilla group, and denied rumours that he was unwell.

The group has been fighting for greater recognition of the rights of indigenous people in the state of Chiapas.

“I declare that the one known as Insurgent Subcomandante Marcos no longer exists,” Rafael Guillen Vicente, better known by his nom-de-guerre Subcomandante Marcos, said on a Zapatista website.

“The voice of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) will no longer come from my voice,” he added.

Subcomandante Marcos wears his trademark ski mask and holds an assault rifle in Chiapas, August 20, 1997.
Subcomandante Marcos led an armed uprising in 1994

For some time there have been rumours that he was in ill health, but he rejected those out of hand, saying that such reports had been spread by the rebel army for their own benefit.

‘Unexpected’

His announcement comes just a day after he was seen in public for the first time in many months, when the enigmatic masked rebel attended a memorial for another key Zapatista leader in Chiapas, one of the poorest regions of Mexico.

The BBC’s Will Grant in Mexico City says there appeared to be little outward sign that the rebel leader was about to retire from public life.

Subcomandante Marcos has reinvented himself in the past, launching himself as an alternative presidential candidate one year.

But it seems likely his time at the forefront of an organisation which once rocked the Mexican political establishment to its core has come to an end, our correspondent adds.

Subcomandante Marcos led an armed uprising in Chiapas on New Year’s Day 1994.

The rebellion sparked several days of sustained fighting with the federal government, leaving dozens of people dead.

A peace pact was later signed but the Zapatistas’ demands were never met and they created their own autonomous justice, health and education systems in several communities.

World  also posted this May 26, 2014

Subcomandante Marcos, an iconic revolutionary figure in Latin America and a symbol for anti-globalization movements, said he was stepping aside for younger leaders to take his place.

Get
Circa News
CC BY-ND WikiCommons

“The voice of the Zapatista National Liberation Army [EZLN] will no longer come from my voice… Marcos no longer exists.” Subcommandante Marcos

Marcos posted a lengthy message May 25. He denied rumors that he was ill, as well as the government’s assertion that he is a former philosophy professor named Rafael Sebastian Guillen. He appeared in public days earlier for the first time in months, or possibly since 2009.

Chiapas, Mexico

January 1, 1994

The EZLN, known as the Zapatistas, launched on Jan. 1, 1994, the same day as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which the group opposes.

It set off 12 days of clashes with the Mexican army that claimed at least 140 lives.

The government eventually signed a peace treaty with the group.

The Zapatistas have championed rights for indigenous populations, the poor, women, and farmers.

The Mexican government created laws to give more rights to indigenous people in 2001, but the group rejected it and set up autonomous justice, health, and education systems and sustainable farming in impoverished rural areas.

The impact of the departure of the mysterious Marcos on the Zapatistas is uncertain but likely minimal.

He has shunned the spotlight for years, and recently others have spoken on behalf of the group. The Zapatistas have also established links with like-minded groups around the world.

Is Afghanistan Strategic? Ever more so, though too late for the USA… 

Did you hear of Carlos Bulgeroni?

There is great avidity for the oil and gas originating from Central Asia (Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kirghistan, and particularly Kazakhstan)

He is an Argentine entrepreneur, founder of Bridas, the 4th largest oil company in Latin America.

In 1992, Carlos snatched a couple of pipeline oil and gas concessions from Turkmenistan. One of the pipeline was to end in Multan (Pakistan port) and must cross Afghanistan from north to south and passing in the valleys of Afghanistan close to Kandahar. This was the $3 bn Daulatabad project.

Unocal (12th largest US oil company) and founded by Roger Beach join in the project. Unocal brought in the Saudi oil company Delta Oil in order to bypass the signed deal with Bridas.

Another planned pipeline was the Chardzhou pipeline joining Turkmenistan to Gwadar (Pakistan port on the Gulf) and crossing Afghanistan and passing close to Herat.

Otherwise, the pipelines had to cross Russia, Iran, and pass by Azerbaijan and eventually end on the Mediterranean Sea (Turkey and Syria)

In 1994, the US, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan fully supported the new militia forces of Taliban (Students in religion) in Kandahar on the premise that this force is not tribal and can bring security and stability to Afghanistan.

These students attended religious madrassa tightly linked to the Indian Koranic school of Deobandi, a sect that prohibits the cult of saints. This sect is mainly a Wahhabi brand of Sunni sect as predominant in Saudi Arabia.

Taliban did bring security and stability at the expense of everything else: freedom of opinion, of expression, of education, and denial of women’s basic rights… and demolishing all the monuments that are not related to their Wahhabi brand of Islam.

The only lukewarm condition of the US was to kick out Ussama bin Ladden and his Qaeda from Afghanistan.

The Taliban were happy to oblige, but they failed to reckon with the large web of Ussama in the Afghan’s fabrics.

Ussama decided to punish the US and started to plan the blasting of the World Trade Center (1996) and partially succeeded.

In September 11, 2001, the Twin Towers fell. Most of the kamikaze were Saudi Wahhabi.

Mind you that Ussama made sure that the strong leader Massoud of the Tajik forces in North-East Afghanistan is assassinated: He was trying to prevent the US from finding a unified front to launch its ground invasion.

Too late. Russia got hold of 90% of the oil and gas concessions in central Asia and signed deals with China to buy of the oil and gas for the next decade.

The central Asia pipelines are crossing Russia toward china and many of them are done and functional.

Note: The late Saudi Turki Al Faisal was the chief of Saudi secret services GID at the period and this monarchy has been supporting the terrorist Islamic factions for over 3 decades.

Currently, these factions are pissed off with their “monarchy and the 5,000 princes” who used and abused of them for so long and refuse to admit them back home after serving in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and Syria… Saudi Arabia is about to brace for a civil war, with trained and extremists “revolutionaries”, more obscurantist than their monarchy.

Yesterday, the monarch Abdullah announced that the former minister of the interior and GID chief Mokri, the youngest son (35 of them) of the founder Saud bi Abdul Aziz, to become the third in line for the monarchy.

 

 

 

Uruguay in Latin America: Voted the Best country this year

How many Reasons do you You Need To Move To Uruguay?

Looking for a new adventure? Maybe you should head down south.

, BuzzFeed Staff, posted this December 10, 2013

1. They have the BEST President ever.

They have the BEST President ever.

Andres Stapff / Reuters

This is Jose Mujica, better known as Pepe.

He’s considered the ‘poorest President’ because he donates 90 percent of his salary to those in need.

Here’s Uruguay, right next to Argentina and Brazil.

Here's Uruguay, right next to Argentina and Brazil.
gibgalich/gibgalich

Home to 3.3 million awesome Uruguayans.

He's considered the 'poorest President' because he donates 90 percent of his salary to those in need.

Handout / Reuters

He even drives his own car, an old light blue Volkswagen Beetle.

He and his wife are super chill.

He and his wife are super chill.

Oscar Cassini / Via fusion.net

And even pose to passersby during their vacations.

His speeches are always pure perfection. youtube.com

To live you need freedom, and to have freedom you need time.

No, really, he’s the coolest President.

No, really, he's the coolest President.

Handout / Reuters

Here he is being all happy with a guitar signed by Aerosmith.

2. It was once dubbed “the Switzerland of America,” mainly for its banking stability.

It was once dubbed "the Switzerland of America," mainly for its banking stability.

Vepar5/Vepar5

So your savings will be safe!

3. Education is free and secular.

Education is free and secular.

4. Same sex marriage is legal – and celebrated.

Same sex marriage is legal - and celebrated.

5. So is marijuana legal

So is marijuana.

JeremyNathan/JeremyNathan

6. It is one of the VERY few countries in Latin America where abortion is legal.

It is one of the VERY few countries in Latin America where abortion is legal.

AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico

7. The opposition to the abortion law wanted a referendum but less than 10% of the population supported it so the law was maintained.

The opposition to the abortion law wanted a referendum but less than 10% of the population supported it so the law was maintainted.

AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico

8. Its beaches are one of the best kept secrets in South America.

Its beaches are one of the best kept secrets in South America.

fotoember/fotoember

Very very very nice beaches.

9. But there’s more to see than just sand…

Uruguay is one of the leading meat producers in the world, as that is its main industry.

But there's more to see than just sand... Uruguay is one of the leading meat producers in the world, as that is its main industry.

ToniFlap/ToniFlap

10. It’s estimated that there are 3.5 cows per every person in the country.

It's estimated that there are 3.5 cows per every person in the country.

Tobias Schwarz / Reuters / Reuters

Which means you can either have a bunch as pets or eat a lot of meat.

11. You will hardly ever be stuck in a traffic jam.

You will hardly ever be stuck in a traffic jam.

12. They have a replacement for coffee: It’s called mate and it will amp you up when you drink it.

They have a replacement for coffee: It's called mate and it will amp you up when you drink it.

13. There’s a little town called Cabo Polonio where there’s no electricity ON PURPOSE. Perfect place to get over your Instagram addiction, huh?

There's a little town called Cabo Polonio where there's no electricity ON PURPOSE. Perfect place to get over your Instagram addiction, huh?

joaowendel/joaowendel

14. But if you’re looking for less silence, Punta del Este is considered one of the best party cities in the world.

But if you're looking for less silence, Punta del Este is considered one of the best party cities in the world.

15. Their music will get you out of any chair. youtube.com

Hit play and test yourself.

16. And they definitely know how to party…

And they definitely know how to party...

17. They not only hosted the first World Cup but also won it. And they’re hoping to win again next year.

They not only hosted the first World Cup but also won it. And they're hoping to win again next year.

Pablo La Rosa / Reuters

They have so much confidence they’ll win that when they qualified they made fun of Brazil. youtube.com

Because why not?

18. It’s a fantastic place to buy cheap and beautiful antiques.

It's a fantastic place to buy cheap and beautiful antiques.

19. Uruguayan men are a very well kept secret. Just look at Forlan’s abs…

Uruguayan men are a very well kept secret. Just look at Forlan's abs...

Kevin Granja / Reuters

20. And so are Uruguayan women, like Natalia Oreiro.

And so are Uruguayan women, like Natalia Oreiro.

Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images

21. But above all, they’re considered the nicest and warmest people in South America.

But above all, they're considered the nicest and warmest people in South America.

The Economist published this Dec. 21, 2013:

Country of the year: Uruguay in Latin America

HUMAN life isn’t all bad, but it sometimes feels that way.

Good news is no news: the headlines mostly tell of strife and bail-outs, failure and folly.

2013 has witnessed glory as well as calamity. When the time comes for year-end accounting, both the accomplishments and the cock-ups tend to be judged the offspring of lone egomaniacs or saints, rather than the joint efforts that characterise most human endeavour.

To redress the balance from the individual to the collective, and from gloom to cheer, The Economist has decided, for the first time, to nominate a country of the year.

But how to choose it?

Readers might expect our materialistic outlook to point us to simple measures of economic performance, but they can be misleading.

Focusing on GDP growth would lead us to opt for South Sudan, which will probably notch up a stonking 30% increase in 2013—more the consequence of a 55% drop the previous year, caused by the closure of its only oil pipeline as a result of its divorce from Sudan, than a reason for optimism about a troubled land.

Or we might choose a nation that has endured economic trials and lived to tell the tale. Ireland has come through its bail-out and cuts with exemplary fortitude and calm; Estonia has the lowest level of debt in the European Union. But we worry that this econometric method would confirm the worst caricatures of us as flint-hearted number-crunchers; and not every triumph shows up in a country’s balance of payments.

Another problem is whether to evaluate governments or their people.

In some cases their merits are inversely proportional: consider Ukraine, with its thuggish president, Viktor Yanukovych, and its plucky citizens, freezing for democracy in the streets of Kiev, even though 9 years ago they went to the trouble of having a revolution to keep the same man out of office.

Or remember Turkey, where tens of thousands protested against the creeping autocracy and Islamism of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the prime minister-cum-sultan. Alas, neither movement has yet been all that successful.

Advertisement?

Definitional questions creep in, too. One possible candidate, Somaliland, has kept both piracy and Islamic extremism at bay, yet on most reckonings it is not a country at all, rather a renegade province of Somalia—which has struggled to contain either.

As well as countries yet to be, we might celebrate one that could soon disintegrate: the United Kingdom, which hasn’t fared too badly, all things considered, since coming into being in 1707, but could fracture in 2014 should the Scots be foolhardy enough to vote for secession.

And the winner is?

When other publications conduct this sort of exercise, but for individuals, they generally reward impact rather than virtue. Thus they end up nominating the likes of Vladimir Putin, Ayatollah Khomeini or, in 1938, Adolf Hitler.

Adapting that realpolitic rationale, we might choose Bashar Assad’s Syria, from which millions of benighted refugees have now been scattered to freezing camps across the Levant.

If we were swayed by influence per head of population, we might plump for the Senkaku (or Diaoyu) islands, the clutch of barren rocks in the East China Sea that have periodically threatened to incite a third world war—though that might imply their independence, leading both China and Japan to invade us.

Alternatively, applying the Hippocratic principle to statecraft, we might suggest a country from which no reports of harm or excitement have emanated. Kiribati seems to have had a quiet year.

But the accomplishments that most deserve commendation, we think, are path-breaking reforms that do not merely improve a single nation but, if emulated, might benefit the world. Gay marriage is one such border-crossing policy, which has increased the global sum of human happiness at no financial cost.

Several countries have implemented it in 2013—including Uruguay, which also, uniquely, passed a law to legalise and regulate the production, sale and consumption of cannabis. This is a change so obviously sensible, squeezing out the crooks and allowing the authorities to concentrate on graver crimes, that no other country has made it.

If others followed suit, and other narcotics were included, the damage such drugs wreak on the world would be drastically reduced.

Better yet, the man at the top, President José Mujica, is admirably self-effacing.

With unusual frankness for a politician, he referred to the new law as an experiment. He lives in a humble cottage, drives himself to work in a Volkswagen Beetle and flies economy class.

Modest yet bold, liberal and fun-loving, Uruguay is our country of the year. ¡Felicitaciones!

From the print edition: Leaders

Simon Bolivar (1783-1830): “Slavery is the worst human indignity”.

Biography of a leader who freed Latin America from Spanish colonial power

Before Simon Bolivar freed all of Latin America in 1826 from Spanish colonialism, many revolutions in this continent preceded him and few were successful.

Already Independent Haiti re-armed and supported two expeditionary attempts by Simon Bolivar.  The second landing in Venezuela secured the success of the revolution.

Toussaint L’ Ouverture (1743-1803) was a Haitian mulatto who became a general in the French army during Napoleon; he was sent to the island of Haiti/Dominican to dislodge the Spanish troops.   He did the job and then revolted against the French troops in the island to free the slaves and install an autonomous regime.   He sent Napoleon a respectful letter in 1801 declaring a new Constitution to Haiti and the wish to stay part of French protectorate.

The constitution written by Toussaint stated that f

1. “there cannot exist slaves on the territory of Haiti”;

2. “slavery is abolished and all men, regardless of color of skin, are born, live, and die free men”;

3. “Any man is admissible to all kinds of jobs and employment”; and

4. “The constitution guarantees liberty and security to all citizens”.

Napoleon responded to the letter by dispatching an expeditionary force.  Toussaint was made prisoner and died in a prison in the Jura region in France.

In 1802, a lieutenant to Toussaint, Jean-Jacque Dessalines defeated the French troops in “La Verriere” and was appointed Emperor to the Haiti Empire.  The new constitution of 1805 stated that

1. “The people living in the island decided to live in a free State, sovereign, and independent of any foreign powers”;

2. “Slavery is abolished and no white individual will be permitted to own properties as master”; and

3. “Every citizen will be called Black regardless of the color of his skin and will enjoy the same equal citizenship rights”.  That was the first time that Negro or “negritude” was advanced as a culture.

In 1801, local militants in Guadeloupe pressured the French General Lacross to return to France because he discriminated against colored officers in the army. Louis Delgres (1766-1802) led an insurrection in the island of Guadeloupe but refrained to go on the offensive to keep peace with France. The declaration of emancipation stated:

“Citizens of Guadeloupe; we are revolting as one people regardless of color of our skin.  Resistance to oppression is a natural right. Even divinity cannot be offended that we are defending a rightful cause: justice and humanity to all.  We will refrain to soil our cause by crimes.  Our forces are to defend your life, properties, and children by all means.  And you, posterity! Accord us a tear to our miseries and we will die satisfied”

As Bolivar was born in the valley of Aragua (Venezuela), Spain was controlling south America with the exception of Brazil that was a Portuguese colony.

In the 15th century, the Pope of Rome mediated between the two monarchs of Portugal and Spain and divided the world into two parts for colonization: West and East. Brazil was within the Easter part to belong to Portugal that started colonizing the world 50 years before Christopher Columbus discovered Americas at the sold of the Spanish monarchs.

Spain divided south America into four regions headed by viceroys appointed by the monarch:  New Spain (current Mexico), New Grenada (Colombia, Equator, Panama, and Venezuela), Peru, and Rio Plata (Argentina and Uruguay).

Up north, the same year Bolivar was born, 13 colonies of the USA won their independence.

In 1789, Joachim Jose Da Siva Javier demands the independence of Brazil.  The French Revolution has started. Bolivar, the fourth new-born is breast-fed by the slave Hipolita.

In 1792, Bolivar is orphaned at the age of nine:  His mother died of tuberculosis.  His uncle appoints Simon Carreno (a freemason) to educate him for two years, before Bolivar is sent to the academy preparing Spanish officers; he graduates at the age of 15 as Lieutenant of the white volunteer militias in Aragua:  His father was colonel before he died. Bolivar’s uncle sent him on a long trip to Europe in 1799.  Bolivar witnesses the poor conditions of rural Spain but is impressed by Paris and Napoleon and starts to appreciating Republican regimes.

Bolivar returns to Madrid and fall in love with Maria Theresa; they got married in 1802.  He is 19 and she is 21.  They reach Caracas in 1803.

Simon decided for a settled life-style, as his father, and take care of the vast plantation.  History changed when his wife died of fever 4 months later.  Bolivar is back to Europe.  He meets the geographer Alexander of Humboldt who had crisscrossed south America and explored the Andes mountain chains.  Humboldt told Bolivar that south America is ripe for independence and what it lacks is a leader.  Bolivar had the privilege of assisting to the coronation of Napoleon as Emperor in 1804.

Bolivar is in Italy with his former preceptor Carreno.  The anecdote goes that while on the Palatine Hill in Rome Bolivar swore: “On my honor, I will never find rest until the Spanish chains are broken in Venezuela“.  Carreno inducts Bolivar a freemason at the Scottish loge in Paris in 1805.

In 1806, England financed a revolt in Venezuela as the French troops of Napoleon occupied Spain:  It is a failure. Bolivar reached Charleston in 1807 and visits the battle fields and discovered the “rational liberty”.  In 1810, independence revolts starts in Mexico by two priests Hidalgo and Morelos as well as in Buenos Aires (Argentina) and the port of Cartagena in (Columbia).

In 1811, Bolivar urges the “Supreme Junta” to declare the independence of Venezuela and pronounced this speech in front of the national congress: “We are discussing what should have been decided long time ago.  Are you suggesting that we have to wait for the political outcome in Spain?  Why should we care if Spain sells its slaves in Venezuela to Bonaparte or retain them for its own profit since we have decided to be free?”  Venezuela became the first Spanish province to declare independence in south America.

By 1812, Spanish loyal to the monarchy recapture Venezuela.  Bolivar flee to the island of Curacao under the control of the Netherlands and manages to borrow money for another attempt from Cartagena.  He crosses the Andes with 573 armed men and captured the village of Merida, the first village in Venezuela .  His small troop increases; he tells the peasants: “The nation is the common land to all who were born and live in, regardless of caste, race, or religion.” It is June 23, 1813 and Bolivar, 30 of age, enters Caracas as the Liberator.

By September 1814, Bolivar is again taking the road to exile.He is badly received in Cartagena, and in Jamaica; he ends up in independent Haiti under president Alexander Petion who supports and arms Bolivar for another come back.  The expedition fails.  Unexpectedly, Petion supports and finances another campaign writing to Bolivar: “You failed: it happens in life to the better men.  Something tells me that this time around you will succeed.”

Things began to move faster in 1816.

The monarch of Portugal recognizes the autonomy of Brazil and the first university is founded.  General Jose de San Martin liberate Argentina and Uruguay and then march on to Chili and rescues the insurrection of general O’Higgins.

Chili is liberated in 1818.  San Martin advances to Peru and is liberated and then toward Equator.  Bolivar will meet San Martin in Guayalquil (Equator) in 1822.  San Martin is 45 of age and receives a dispatch informing that his wife is very ill. San Martin renounce all his functions as president of Argentine and as commander of a conquering army to be close to his ailing wife.  That is strength of character: refusing glory and power to be able to closely support his immediate family.

In 1817, Bolivar is re-conquering parts of Venezuela and consolidating his hold; he declares during a congress for writing a constitution: “It is far more difficult to maintaining the stability of acquired liberty than enduring the weight of tyranny.  It is the people who generally carry dictators to power.

Bolivar would admit: “Convoking the congress gave me more reputation than all my previous services: The surest way of pleasing people is to convene them to participating at the glory of the commander.

Bolivar appoints general Santander vice-president of Venezuela and marches on to Bogota (Columbia) and stays there for a year till 1820.  He liberates Equator and advance to rescue the independence forces of Peru.  The US is already worried of the European alliances to dividing Canada and south America; President James Monroe proclaims that any European interventions in the Americas would be considered as a declaration of enmity toward the USA.

In 1826, all south America is liberated and Bolivar is the man of the year in Europe and the USA.  He tried to convene a congress in Panama for a constitution to a federated south America but the US made sure to torpedo the convention.

Bolivar had his text ready: First,the constitution is for all the countries, including Mexico,  Argentina, Brazil, and Chili. Second, right to vote is not solely based on owning property but also on education and honorable conduct. Third, the supreme magistrate is for life and the vice magistrate is hereditary.  Fourth, a legislative branch divided in three chambers, one of the chambers the senate is constituted for the purpose of election crisis when politicians works for re-election instead of catering for the interest of the people. Fifth, the total abolition of slavery. Sixth, separation of State from religions; and Seventh, liberty of religious beliefs.

In 1830, Bolivar realizes that the federation of south America is not for any time soon and renounces all his power and functions.  He said: “Learn from nature:  Nature is an infallible master for mankind; nature will tell you the necessary laws. You will find your guide in the identity of our country from the Andes to the Orinoco River.

Bolivar is readying to embark to Europe when he is told that his most faithful general Sucre was assassinated.  Bolivar lost all hopes and died in the village of Santa Marta.

The body of Bolivar was repatriated to Caracas in 1842; the head was missing!

I am revisiting history; (Apr. 21, 2010)

            History is a collection of stories that need to be revisited frequently; stories to be revised with new eyes and new knowledge.  Human behavior did not change perceptibly; if any, human cruelty to mankind and nature increased by several notches.  Suppose the worst despots of antiquity or even two century ago witnessed the two world wars that afflicted mankind within 30 years and then he watched the news of the dropping of two atomic bombs within a week then, how would he react comparing his atrocities compared to current mankind behaviors?

            In general, history stories are recounted Hollywood style packed with actions, heroes, traitors, smart generals, and foresighted leaders and monarchs.  Sure, the new Anglo-Saxon of Protestants landing in the US killed and massacred far more Indians than the Spanish Conquistadors managed to inflict in Latin America but these behaviors do not account for the disappearance of the Indians in the USA.  It is the slow and steady holocaust strategies applied on the Indians that did the trick. Indians died the slow death from new diseases they were not immune to them; they died the non hero death in more pain and suffering than gunshot wounds. The Indian were first chased out of fertile lands and then even the bison was denied them. As the herd of bisons arrived from the Canadian plains they were slaughtered for their fur by the new white comers. Indians who might have acquired some immunity to white diseases had to die of famine, depression, and loss of all hope in a future for the survival of their descendents. Thus, Indians stopped procreating in this new world of cruelty and blatant discrimination.

            The Moslem Ibn Khaldoun in 15th century North Africa, considered to be the prime sociologist and ethnographer, wrote that when a people lose hope in a better future then they decline procreating; when a people has high hope for their descendents then population increase.  If you revise history stories you can link, with high positive correlation, between periods of luxury and fast and increase in procreation. Once people realize that their sons have high chances to die in successive wars, be maimed or and made prisoners for nothing in return then they refrain from procreating; thus, the Empire starts a slow but steady decline.  Moslem Arab armies with rudimentary arms defeated the two main Empires of Byzantium and Persia within 20 years: thirty years ago, Byzantium and Persia waged non stop wars against one another to recapture a district here and another one there. The two people were already exhausted emotionally to enlisting soldiers and bankrupt economically to hiring mercenaries.

            You might offer a counterpoint: “How come after 70 years of slow and steady holocaust process inflicted by the Zionist movement (Israel State) on the Palestinian people this strategy did not slow the increased procreation of the Palestinians?”  My conjecture is that most Palestinians live in camps: Camp life is too depressing if devoid of kids playing, laughing, and cheering up the camp.  The more kids are playing around the more hope is sustained. Camp creates community supports and discrepancies among classes are not noticeable to prevent sharing the little families have and caring for kids of neighboring families.

Calendar and time going decimal; (Apr. 16, 2010)

            Soon, the day is of 10 hours, the hour of 100 minutes, and the minute is of 100 seconds.  Financial multinationals and Western Globalization programs have decided that it is easier for businesses to have decimal calendar: it is easier to compute returns on interest rates and traveling across time zones is reduced greatly.  For example, latitudes are divided in portions of 15% so that the USA has 4 time zones; with the new calendar, the time portions will be of 36% and the USA will have to deal with only two time zones.

            The French Revolution in 1792 had already begun a new calendar of 10 days a week and thus, a day had 1000 minutes and the minute 1000 seconds; this calendar didn’t last long.  Maybe the real objective for the new calendar is to forget that there was an ancient highly developed civilization called Babylonian very advanced in astronomy and whose metric system was based on 12 and multiples of 12 such as 60.

            I am not sure; this article was written on April the first.  Even today, the normal and natural civil people such as in Latin America, Persia, and many parts of the world start their year March 23 or the beginning of spring.  Celebrations last for a week; the date of April 1st is the effective working day for the New Year.  Sacrifices of animal and humans are to exorcise last year evils into giving mankind reprieve from pain and suffering and abundance.

Mono-idolatry (monolatry) or monotheism? (Nov. 6, 2009)

Monotheism is a totally abstract concept that no human was yet able to feel physically loyal to a one, all-encompassing God.

The reality is that people are more inclined to be loyal to a saint, a shrine, or an honored Imam, or apostle.

People have need to use their senses to get connected to a spiritual entity: you cannot expect human to think exclusively of an abstract notion without the intermediary of their senses of seeing a representative picture, of smelling incense, of touching a bust, or of listening to a hymn.

I noticed that my dad, at each pass in front of the Virgin Mary or Mar Charbel (a national Saint), has to touch these pictures in the house with his index, kiss his index, and then sign the cross.  Dad is 85 years old and has refrained attending mass for years.

Mother is also devoted to the Virgin and all the national female saints such as Rafqa; she never misses an occasion to get in the car or a bus going to pay tributes to shrines; she pay money for the Saint that she has Not, so that the church make “good” use of it; obviously, Mar Charbel is in her pantheon too, along with the newly beatified Hardini.  It is interesting that most “miracles” occur at election times.

In all ages, whether a religion claim to be monotheist or polytheist people end up selecting a particular idol to pay allegiance to and write ex-votos to Him in order to be cured, enjoy prosperity, safety to the family, and safe travels.

Indeed, people are loyal idolaters to whom they perceive to be pretty much handy, accessible, and an excellent intermediary to the One God.

For example, in Latin America people are loyal to the Virgin Mary and cannot think of any other Saint to turn to in time of distress; thus, St. Mary of (name a city or a village), or the Virgin of (name a city or a town) and you have hundreds of Virgin Marie, tailored made to a specific locality, ready to come to the rescue.

The Greek Orthodox Church cannot think of more than two female saints to name girls at baptism ceremonies: it must be either Mary or Elizabeth; as for male kids you have an assortment of complicated and long Greek saints with plenty of X and Ch.

In Muslim Egypt and generally in North Africa, you have St. Fatima, Aicha, Ali, Hussein, the Imam of the legal sect, or the shrine of the veneered Sheikh of a locality is paid more attention and visits to any other worshiping figures.

Pictures of Muslim saints are prohibited in public places or in mosques but that do not prevent homes to hang pictures of their preferred saint as relevant to current standards of beauty for both genders.

There is this myth that the Jewish religion is the first to adopt monotheism; it is just a myth.

Ancient civilizations were never monotheists; they all had an overall God, nominally superior to the other demigods but that nobody paid much attention to or prayed to Him or even remembered asking his help in ex-votos.

El was the all-encompassing God in the Middle East as was Allah in the Arabian Peninsula or Zeus for the Greeks but He never generated a dime to tribes that had exclusive rights to his worship.

People converged to more palpable and understandable demigods and cities and towns adopted one of them as symbol and recognition of their trades or power.

In general, more weight was given to the “messengers of a God” (they were written in plural) than to a specific God.

Yahweh (God of thunder and war) was always one of the Gods to the Jews after Moses but might have converged to be the unique God to the Jews in Judea in the second century BC.

Many of Canaan demigods were far more beneficial and interesting than this newly created Yahweh that came into the picture during war periods. Then, Jewish mercenaries were asked to support Baal under the banner of the dusted off Temple and bust of Yahweh.

Salomon worshipped Ashtarout (the Goddess of Sidon of Lebanon) and Baal had many Temples in Jerusalem while Yahweh had only a small one.

One common denominator to all salafist or extremist religious sects (Christian, Jewish, Muslims, or cults) is being totally peeved and obfuscated that the One True God is being sidetracked for substitutes.

Joshua offered the Jews choices of keeping Yahweh as sole God or accepting other demigods.

When the Jews decided to keep exclusively a “tribal” God, then Joshua ordered all strangers’ Gods destroyed.

In ancient time, destroying the bust of a God didn’t mean that he no longer existed but that the local God was to be more efficient to the survival of the tribe or community.

When the Prophet Muhammad entered Mecca without a fight he ordered all the 160 idols destroyed or effaced (pictures) save two: Allah and the Virgin Mary.

Mary was not bestowed virginity at all, but she was veneered as the mother of the latest great prophet Jesus (Issa).

In Islam, idols were no longer Gods and never existed as was the case in ancient cultures. The early Protestants erased pictures and destroyed busts of all Saints except crucified Jesus.

For the Protestants, erasing pictures of Saints didn’t mean that Saints didn’t exist but they were not that worthy to be worshiped and supplant God through interceding.

The most honest monotheists were the “heretic” Christian sects that the Orthodox Christian Church during the Byzantine Empire persecuted relentlessly.

Most of these sects would not even bestow a divine nature to Jesus and Marie was not virgin by any means; no pictures or drawings were permitted for any Saints.

The farthest that these sects could indulge in is to veneer the apostle whom they claimed to have written the “true” Testament they adopted and read in.

I have noticed that centralized churches promote many saints with pictures and busts; it is a tactic to please the people so that it may enjoy total control over their temporal existence.

These centralized churches inherited pagan religions and aided a lot to that widespread propagation of multiple idols for each locality.

Decentralized religions have no urge to promoting idols and pictures such as in Islam: it is the temporal power at every state that appoints clerics, Imams, and sheiks.

I don’t see why all that fuss for monotheism.

If a few tribes still refuse to believe that it is earth rotating around the sun or that earth is flat why then submerge them with an extra abstract notion?

Killing and committing suicide attacks in the name of a God is not an abstract act; this does not mean that human mind cannot reach a level of distortion that far surpasses the mere abstraction of a One God, creator of man and the universe.

Seduction Tales (June 9, 2009)

Are you an avid reader?  A few reminders of what you have read on seduction might be touching.

The French lady writer George Sand seduced the Venetian physician Pagello who was treating her sickly lover the poet Alfred de Musset by writing to him a series of questions such as:

“Would you be a master or a support?”

“Would you consol me of the suffering before I got to know you?”

“Would you understand why I am sad?”

“Do you know compassion, patience, and friendship?”

“Do you know that women have a soul even though you were raised to believe the contrary?”

“Would I be your companion or your slave?”

“Do you desire me or love me?”

“When you satisfy your passional urges would you thank me?”

“When I pleasure you would you tell me?”

“Do you know the soul desire that no human caress can numb or tire you?”

“When your lover sleeps in your arms do you keep awake gazing at her, praying and crying?”

“Does sex exhaust the moron in you or you are driven to divine ecstasy?”

“Does your soul survive to your body when you leave the bosom of your lover?”

The French novelist Stendhal fell in love with the divorced lady Mathilda.  He sent her letters such as:

“I know myself. I love you for the rest of my life.  Whatever you will do can never change the idea of you that stroke my soul; the idea of happiness of being loved by you; the idea that I have contempt for all that gave me pleasure without you.

I need you.  I am thirsty for you. I will give the rest of my life to have the luxury of talking with you of indifferent matters for just a quarter of an hour. I am leaving you to be present with you more frequently, to dare speak with you leisurely with al the energy and passion that devour me.”

Another one of Stendhal’s seductive letters reads:

“I have courage only when far from you. Close to you I am timid, like a boy as words expires on his lips; I just cannot resist but contemplating and admiring you.

Do I have to be reduced to an inferior state and as flat?  Love me Mathilda but never despise me. That agony is way above my forces.  I am afraid to displease you.”

Seduction is a patient and persistent act of proving generosity, attention to details in the loved one, and being “present” most of the time which is the best publicity for reminding the loved one that she can never feel lonely if she cares.

Seduction is a cultural phenomenon; warm and colorful environmental climate help a lot.

Did you visit the puritanical USA New England region or the northern cold part of Europe?  You might realize that seducing is an exceptionally rare occurrence there; people do not dare look at you frankly for fear of “losing control of the self” and of being caught unprepared.

Now visit Latin America, the non –Arab Africa, or the Philippines and you discover the dancing gait of people, the colorful dresses, and the generous genuine smiles.  The entire posture of the body, the gesture, and the gazing are seductive.

Seductive cultures show openness, readiness to please people they cross and meet, and openness for opinions and discussions; they act as if they are used to caressing and extending compassion.

It is such a fresh air to mix with cultured seduction.

Learn to seduce; abuse of seduction and let people feel appreciated, wanted, and desirable.

The simple generosity for pleasing others is the characteristic of genuine and confident people.

To seduce is to kill reality and to metamorphose into lure“.

Islam never neglected seduction; seducing in Islam used to be a culture of refinement; the process of knowing and learning how to seduce used to be part and parcel of constant discovering and an attitude of good behavior.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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