As reported daily, tensions with Iran continue to escalate. The Iranian assassination attempts on the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. last summer, on the Israeli Ambassador to Azerbaijan last month and on Israeli diplomats in Georgia, India, and Thailand this week serve to only further discredit the government of Iran’s legitimacy to rule. Iran’s threats to shut down the Strait of Hormuz (and risk a major disruption to global oil supply, causing higher energy prices) show that the Iranian government continues to favor global politics over smart policy that seeks the interests of its own people.
This week, Iran claimed additional major advances in its nuclear program. Iran appears to be at the threshold of a nuclear weapons capability. Even though the Stuxnet computer virus derailed the 2009 Iranian effort to expand its enrichment capability for about a year, the enrichment expansion effort has recently recovered. Direct actions, ... Read More
Two prominent U.S.-based Jewish organizations condemned on Friday as anti-Semitism a wave of verbal and written attacks by President Hugo Chavez’s supporters against Venezuela’s opposition leader.
Henrique Capriles, the grandson of Polish Jews who survived the Holocaust, has faced a barrage of insults since winning the Democratic Unity coalition’s presidential candidacy on Sunday. One that caused particular outrage was a profile by a state radio commentator entitled “The Enemy is Zionism.”
The full gamut of attacks, though, has ranged from Chavez calling him a “pig” to a prominent TV commentator accusing him of being caught in a car having sex with another man.
With official after official lining up to condemn Capriles as a flag bearer of the “bourgeoisie” and “Yankee imperialism,” some Chavez supporters have even been circulating a cartoon of him in pink underwear with a Nazi Swastika on his arm.
Capriles, who is a Catholic, has kept quiet about ... Read More
CARACAS (Reuters) – Dos prominentes organizaciones judías basadas en Estados Unidos condenaron el viernes los ataques “antisemitas” de partidarios del presidente venezolano Hugo Chávez hacia el candidato de la oposición Henrique Capriles.
Después de arrasar en unas primarias el domingo y convertirse en el candidato que correrá en las presidenciales de octubre contra Chávez, los ataques arreciaron contra el joven gobernador del segundo estado más poblado del país, Miranda, e incluso llegaron a llamarlo “nazi”.
Un perfil publicado en la web de la estatal Radio Nacional de Venezuela describió a Capriles como “sionista”, mientras que durante la semana un presentador de la televisión estatal lo acusó de homosexual y hasta circuló una caricatura que lo muestra con ropa interior rosada y una esvástica en el brazo.
“Como hemos visto en el pasado, el flagrante y persistente antisemitismo es usado por el presidente Hugo Chávez y su aparato gubernamental como un instrumento de división ... Read More
En un acto, en el que estaba presente el actor estadounidense Sean Penn, el presidente Chávez arremetió conta Capriles, un abogado de 39 años, acusándole de ser el representante del “poder de la burguesía y de la olirgaquía”. “Esto es una lucha de poder. Yo tengo el poder popular, ... Read More
Un artículo publicado en el sitio web de la Radio Nacional de Venezuela, publicado inmediatamente después de la victoria de Capriles Radonski en las elecciones primarias del 12 de febrero, trató de desprestigiar al candidato usando su ascendencia judía. El artículo, titulado “el enemigo es el sionismo,” también promovió el clásico estereotipo antisemítico sobre una conspiración mundial judía que recuerda a los ‘Protocolos de los Sabios de Sión’. Los comentarios y las publicaciones en otros sitios web afiliados o controlados por el gobierno venezolano han hecho referencia a los temas antisemitas del artículo.
Abraham H. Foxham, director nacional de la Liga Anti-Difamación, emitió la siguiente declaración:
An article published on the web site of the Venezuelan National Radio immediately after Capriles’ Feb. 12 primary victory attempted to discredit the candidate’s credentials based on his Jewish ancestry. The article, titled “The Enemy is Zionism,” also promoted the classic anti-Semitic stereotype of a global Jewish cabal reminiscent of the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. Comments and postings on other government affiliated and controlled web sites have picked up on the article’s anti-Semitic themes.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
Iran’s increasingly isolated regime retains friends in Latin America, most notably Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
U.S. Democratic Senator Robert Menendez had a stern message for the region.
“Unfortunately, there are some countries in this hemisphere that, for political or financial gain, have courted Iranian overtures. They proceed at their own risk: the risk of sanctions from the United States, and the risk of abetting a terrorist state,” he said.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio echoed that message. “The leaders of these [Latin American] countries are playing with fire,” Rubio said.
Researcher Douglas Farah said Iran’s intentions in Latin America are twofold. “To develop the capacity and capability to wreak havoc in Latin America and ... Read More
“El majunche tiene unos asesores que le han dicho que no debe confrontarme y yo te digo: majunche tienes que confrontar a Chávez porque la cosa es conmigo, y me tienes que confrontar con ideas porque Chávez es el pueblo”, dijo el primer mandatario. “Mientras más te empeñes en disfrazarte más te vas a conseguir conmigo, todo los días de este mundo majunche, no me vas a ... Read More
La Policía colombiana detuvo en varias ciudades a nueve supuestos carceleros de rehenes de las Fuerzas Armada Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), según un alto mando de esa institución. El subdirector de la Policía, general José Roberto León, dijo a periodistas que en esas operaciones, practicadas en las ciudades de Bogotá, Villavicencio, Neiva y Girón, “fue desmantelada la red de secuestros del fallecido ’Mono Jojoy”.
Este guerrillero, de nombre Víctor Julio Suárez Rojas, era el jefe militar de las FARC y murió en un bombardeo a su campamento en septiembre de 2010.
Los capturados, añadió el alto mando policial, participaron en la ocupación de la base militar de Miraflores, en el departamento sureño del Guaviare, en 1998, en la que 129 uniformados fueron secuestrados por ese grupo guerrillero. Del grueso de secuestrados en Miraflores, aún permanecen en cautiverio los sargentos Robinson Salcedo Guarín y Luis Alfredo Moreno, ambos del Ejército.
Los nueve detenidos deberán responder ante la justicia ... Read More
Me formé como periodista en una escuela que tenía varios íconos, dos de ellos casi intocables: Julio Scherer García y Manuel Becerra Acosta, que habían sido el director y el subdirector del viejo Excélsior y que habían fundado Proceso y el Unomásuno, dos medios sin los que no se podría entender el proceso de transición democrática que vivió el país desde los años ochenta.
De las luces y sombras, de la genialidad y las debilidades de donManuel, que fue mi director durante varios años y un verdadero maestro, ya hemos escrito en varias oportunidades. De Scherer lo hicimos muchas veces y sobre todo cuando publicó uno de sus últimos libros, llamado La terca memoria, que me gustó realmente mucho. Ahí escribeScherer que le escuchó decir al periodista uruguayo Carlos Quijano“que la verdad, la verdad incontrovertible, es tema de Dios y la verosimilitud, asunto de los hombres”. Es verdad, agrega Scherer, “y si alguien cree poseerla, sólo se encierra ... Read More
Interesante la selección de Elba Esther Gordillo para candidato presidencial del Partido Nueva Alianza (Panal): un ecologista, sin experiencia política, bastante desconocido. Parecería que la maestra no quiso hacerle daño a ninguno de los otros tres candidatos a la Presidencia. Y es que creo que el ingeniero Gabriel Quadri no va a sacar ni 1% de la votación total nacional. En este sentido, no le va a quitar votos ni a Peña Nieto ni a Vázquez Mota ni a López Obrador.
No conozco a Quadri. Lo que sé es que fue presidente del Instituto Nacional de Ecología en el sexenio de Zedillo. Lo he escuchado en su espacio radiofónico en el noticiero que conduce Leonardo Curzio en Radio Mil. Generalmente habla de temas ambientalistas y de desarrollo urbano. Tiene un blog titulado Verde en serio, donde ayer publicó las razones de por qué aceptó la oferta del Panal de ser su candidato presidencial, así como su plataforma.
Tiene puntos interesantes. ... Read More
Colombia is redesigning its fight against Marxist guerrillas, making the destruction of key rebel military and financial units as much of a goal as killing their leaders, sources familiar with the plan say.
Helped by billions of dollars in U.S. aid during the last decade, Colombia’s armed forces have used better intelligence and mobility to batter guerrilla armies, pushing their fighters into ever more remote hideouts.
The largest group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, has adjusted its tactics, however, by returning to its guerrilla roots and using smaller units – in contrast to the 1990s when it seized swathes of territory.
So while the army has killed top FARC commanders such as Raul Reyes in 2008, Mono Jojoy in 2010 and Alfonso Cano in 2011, the war goes on.
Military and civilian sources familiar with the new strategy say the main change is to increase ... Read More
The billboard, which is in English and weighs 3 tons, was placed near an international bridge in Ciudad Juarez and can be seen from the United States.
‘Mexico needs your help’ Calderon said the billboard’s letters were made with weapons seized by local, state and federal authorities.
“Dear friends of the United States, Mexico needs your help to stop this terrible violence that we’re suffering,” Calderon said in English during the unveiling ceremony.
“The best way to do this is to stop the flow of automatic weapons into Mexico,” he added.
Before unveiling the billboard, Calderon supervised the destruction of more than 7,500 automatic rifles and handguns at a military base in Ciudad Juarez.
Calderon said more than 140,000 weapons have been seized ... Read More
QUITO — Panama on Thursday granted asylum to Ecuadoran newspaper publisher Carlos Perez, one of three executives facing prison after losing a libel suit seen as a key test of press freedoms in Ecuador.
The announcement came shortly after Ecuador’s high court ruled against the El Universo newspaper in the suit filed by leftist President Rafael Correa.
Panama’s embassy in Ecuador said the request was granted because there was “a reasonable fear” for the personal security of Perez, who was in the embassy when the statement was released.
Correa told reporters in Quito that he was “surprised” by the move from Panama, which has a long tradition of offering political asylum. “These men are not politically persecuted but common convicted criminals,” Correa said.
Ecuador’s National Court of Justice (CNJ) on Thursday confirmed a lower court ruling that sentenced the three top El Universo executives and former opinion page editor Emilio Palacio to ... Read More
Venezuela’s economy expanded at the fastest pace since 2008 in the fourth quarter as record oil revenue allowed President Hugo Chavez to boost fiscal spending ahead of elections this year.
The economy expanded 4.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 from a year earlier, the central bank said today in an e- mailed statement. GDP exceeded the 4.5 percent median estimate of five economists in a Bloomberg survey and was the fastest expansion since the economy grew 7.8 percent in the second quarter of 2008. For 2011, GDP expanded 4.2 percent.
President Hugo Chavez, who is preparing to campaign for a third six-year term in the Oct. 7 election, was able to ramp up spending last year after state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA annual revenue rose 35 percent to $127.8 billion. A raft of new social programs for the elderly and children in extreme ... Read More
Democracy is not a fragile flower, as Ronald Reagan told the British Parliament 30 years ago, but it does require tending. What was true in Eastern Europe in the 1980’s and also the Middle East in the aftermath of the Arab Spring is equally true in the Americas, where democracy has been the norm for a generation.
Despite this, leaders of countries including Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Nicaragua are working to have Cuba’s Raúl Castro invited to the next Summit of the Americas in Colombia. If he is not, they are threatening to boycott the summit.
Now is when the steady voice of the United States in conjunction with other like-minded hemispheric nations is critically needed to tend the democratic garden in the Americas. Washington should embrace this manufactured crisis in order to stand for the fundamental point — enshrined by the Inter-American Democratic Charter signed by all hemispheric governments ... Read More
WASHINGTON – With a visit from Pope Benedict XVI scheduled next month, one of Cuba’s best-known political dissidents on Thursday called on the Roman Catholic leader to use his power and visibility to shine a light on human rights abuses and political oppression under the Castro regime.
If he has an opportunity to meet with the pope, he will ask him to be an advocate for the oppressed, Oscar Elias Biscet told a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee. He spoke through a translator, in testimony telephoned from Cuba.
“I would say to him that I would love for him to lobby for our freedom of speech and for a multi-party system, so that everyone can participate and be represented,” Biscet said. “We hope that his coming will bring great change to our country.”
President George W. Bush awarded Biscet the Medal of Freedom in 2007 while he was still imprisoned for his opposition ... Read More
U.S. senators are warning Latin American nations against deepening financial and military ties with Iran, pledging heightened U.S. vigilance of Iranian activities in the Western Hemisphere. The Senate’s Foreign Relations Subcommittee took a close look on February 16 at Tehran’s dealings with Latin America. Iran’s increasingly isolated regime retains friends in Latin America, most notably Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
U.S. Democratic Senator Robert Menendez had a stern message for the region. “Unfortunately, there are some countries in this hemisphere that, for political or financial gain, have courted Iranian overtures. They proceed at their own risk: the risk of sanctions from the United States, and the risk of abetting a terrorist state,” he said.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio echoed that message. “The leaders of these [Latin American] countries are playing with fire,” Rubio said.
Researcher Douglas Farah said Iran’s intentions in Latin America are twofold. “To develop the capacity and capability to wreak havoc in ... Read More
CARACAS – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez tore into opposition candidate Henrique Capriles again on Thursday, calling him a “low-life pig” in an ever-more vitriolic campaign ahead of the October election.
“Now we have the loser, welcome! We’re going to pulverize you in the October 7 election,” Chavez said of the Democratic Unity coalition candidate in a speech to an audience that included friend and U.S. actor Sean Penn.
“You have a pig’s tail, a pig’s ears, you snort like a pig, you’re a low-life pig. You’re a pig, don’t try and hide it,” the socialist leader added at the ceremony for graduating medical students in Vargas province.
Since his landslide win in the opposition primary last weekend, Capriles, the 39-year-old governor of Miranda state who comes from a wealthy family, has faced a barrage of verbal attacks and insults.
State commentators and Chavez supporters have questioned his sexuality and said his Jewish ... Read More
Mexico has landed some hard punches against the drug cartels that have stirred violence in parts of the country — at least on paper.
In 2011, against just the notorious Zetas cartel, Mexico ended the reign of 16 leaders who ran cartel operations at the state or national level. Thugs with nicknames like “El Piolin,” “El Lucky” and “El Amarillo.”
But the violence attributed to the Zetas has not decreased even after these busts, and critics wonder if names are meaningless if they are so quickly replaced.
And a majority of Mexico’s most-wanted drug traffickers, 22 out of 37, have been put out of commission, but to what benefit? At what cost?
“Mexico has paid an enormous price: almost 50,000 dead, almost $50 billion in additional security costs, ever more numerous human rights violations, (and) a great discrediting of the country to the world,” wrote Jorge Castaneda, a former Mexican foreign minister ... Read More