Publius Pundit
Americas Archives

Battleground Che

Filed under: Americas

Needless to say, I am popping open a bottle of champagne. The 40th anniversary of the death of Che Guevara is a cause for celebration. Doing so, and on other days like this, are sure to keep you pretty drunk 365 days a year (all the more reason to do so). The biggest problem I have with this day though is that, for every one person like myself celebrating his death, there is at least one person out there celebrating his life. I divide us into three groups: people who knows the truth, idealist idiots who don't, and blind intellectuals. We all see a different side of who Che was, though obviously the latter two see simply half-truths.

The idealistic idiots are the college students who hang banners emblazoned with his face up in their dorm rooms, wear the t-shirts, and generally feed the ironic Che money making machine. I had a friend from college back in Boston who had one of those flags hanging above his bed. Underneath the caricature of Che were the words, "Hasta la victoria siempre." Very strange, given that he's a white, upper-class Bolivian guy, but nonetheless very idealistic and perhaps just not knowledgeable.

It really made me want to puke sometimes. Not only is Marxist revolutionary rhetoric nauseating to me, but to be so close to it makes me asthmatic.

I remember asking him about it. He did know the background of Che, as he well should, where most people did not. But fully knowing this, he said that he looked up to him not for what he was, but for what he represents. Notice the change from past tense to present -- what he was, but for what he represents today. And what does he represent? Fearlessness, bravery, a desire to change the world. These are the things every college kid, among others, sees in Che without bothering to look any further into his story. In reality, these are in many ways true. Yet it is not the whole truth, simply an exaggerated single side of this personality cult exaggerated by the marketing of his face.

The latter, the blind intellectual, is called so because he is a smart man who knows what he sees in front of him, but turns a blind eye to it perhaps unconsciously in favor of the better traits that he sees. The French existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre once called Che "the most complete human being of our age." He was completely enamored of the Cuban revolution from the very beginning, and as history goes, fell in love with the intellect and actions of Che Guevara that so surpassed his own. The hundreds of executions committed alongside his brother in arms Raul Castro could be overlooked. In fact, they were not noteworthy, because they lacked the sparkle of his testaments, poetry, and words. Sartre latched on to one side of Che because that's the side he liked; his humanity, supposed desire for justice and equality for all, is hard to reconcile with his absolute disdain for black Cubans when considered. He had obviously never seen the writings where Che writes of his lust for blood either.

Just like anyone who believes in the promises of Marxism, Sartre was enamored by the words rather than the inherent contradictions present in the actions taken to achieve the ongoing victory. The blind intellectual sees a godlike figure where really there is a beast that can speak.

The truth about Che is more complicated than either of these views, but we cannot deny them completely. Even before he was put on t-shirts, the very base of his actions -- fighting for what he believed in, regardless of your agreement with it -- inspired people all over the world. And while he is not personally inspiring to me, I have met people working for democracy in their countries who are, in that very base amount, inspired simply by the bravery of fighting for ones beliefs rather than the beliefs Che actually had.

And even while the atrocities committed are well-known, some still to this day find beauty in his words. This essay I found on the internet is written by someone who, fully knowledgeable, is able to find beauty and truth in the words of a man he knows to have not lived up to them.

So who is Che Guevara? The question is almost pointless to answer, because regardless of the constant dissemination of whole information, people will continue to choose which pieces to filter out in order to fit their views regardless of the truth. One can can that he is a people person, a racist, a demagogue, an idealist, a revolutionary, a mass murderer, a poet, a beast, "the most complete human of our age," or a cold-hearted bastard. More than anything, though, the word that may best describe him is contradiction.

However, I cannot subscribe to such a soft word. While the latter two groups may see all of these good qualities as mitigating factors, a true humanist cannot mitigate the horrible things he did to others based on perceived personal good qualities. I will go with the phrase "racist demagogue mass murderer beast cold-hearted bastard." To me, this best describes the truth of the real Che Guevara, based not on any perceptions about him, but simply based on his lasting impact on other people and the world.

Social Bookmarking: this | digg this digg | Add to Technorati technorati | StumbleUpon Toolbar stumble upon | Furl this furl | Reddit this reddit

Ecuador: If you have to deny you're an idiot...

Filed under: Americas

"I am not an idiot!"
Source: Prensa Latina (Cuba)

Is there any clearer way to prove one is an idiot than to insist one is not?

The idiot who proved himself just that is President Rafael Correa, the Marxist prettyboy president of Ecuador, an ally of Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, who makes John Edwards look like an august man of substance.

Ecuador has a long tradition of buffoons in high office, but none approach the idiocy and corruption of Correa and his cabinet. Desperate to be a dictator like his hero Hugo Chavez, he's rapidly sunk Ecuador to new lows. He's "fired" Congress to get rid of opposition lawmakers, stacked Ecuador's courts, jacked international bond markets through manipulative threats to default on on the sovereign debt that amount to 'dump and pump,' lied and cheated the World Bank, called on the world pay him $350 million not to pump oil, endorsed the confiscation of a billion dollars in assets from Oxy Petroleum, his top foreign investor, instituted baying mob rule against opponents, vowed to sic illegal immigrants on the U.S., hurled lawsuits at Colombia, sheltered FARC guerrillas, installed phony cameras on the streets of Quito as security measures to fool the public into thinking they're safe instead of making them so, and as cherry on this cowpie, had Daryl Hannah come to Ecuador to denounce another major U.S. investor, Chevron, as 'genocidal.' Oh what an investment climate he's created! Oh what a stable foundation for prosperity he's fostered! Oh what a picture of trust and responsibility he's projected.

I blasted his government over free trade in a piece I wrote for another publication and was surprised to get a furious reply from the Ecuadorean government, obviously a sign that I'd hit a nerve with these touchy devils.

But that's nothing compared to what writer Carlos Alberto Montaner got from Correa himself. Montaner, you may recall, wrote a masterpiece, 'Guide To The Perfect Latin American Idiot,' with with Alvaro Vargas Llosa and Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza, outlining every political pathology that plagues Latin America. That recently led to a sequel appropriatedly called 'The Idiot Returns' focusing on the new wave of populism hitting the region, from Hugo Chavez on down.

In the second book, Montaner & Co. included a special section on Rafael Correa as a perfect specimen of the populist idiocy that has kept Latin America poor, backward, stupid and hopeless, as the rest of the world progressed on. Correa was a textbook example of what they were talking about, so he made the text.

You'd think Correa would have been pleased to have merited a chapter in a book by such distinguished authors, or else just kept his mouth shut given the topic and his pedestaled place in it, but not so in the case of this big-headed Marxist egomaniac.

Carlos Alberto Montaner, in a hilarious essay, (in Spanish) described how he'd actually got a raging letter from Correa himself, insisting he was not, repeat, not an idiot. Hear that? Take it from him, pal, he's not stupid at all. He said so himself, spitting mad.

Memo to Rafael Correa: If, as head of state, you have to deny being stupid to the author of a book whose title is 'The Idiot Returns' where he's made you Exhibit A, it's a pretty forgone conclusion that you are even stupider than you were written about! If you had a lick of sense, and you don't, you might like to keep it all as quiet as possible.

For the rest of us, it'll probably be impossible not to buy a copy of that new book as soon as it hits Amazon just to see how it pushed the vain fool's buttons! Doggone idiot, and funny as heck, a thrashing man we truly laugh at, not with. I hope Montaner frames the damning letter from the president of Ecuador and smiles. What a bozo to get 'fan' mail from!

Hat tip: ECrisis

Social Bookmarking: this | digg this digg | Add to Technorati technorati | StumbleUpon Toolbar stumble upon | Furl this furl | Reddit this reddit

Sorry, Colombia! Officially Launches

Filed under: Americas

A website I've been working on since Congress announced that it would not seek a free trade agreement with Colombia has officially launched. It's called Sorry, Colombia!, a play on, where users submit their apology photos for letting GWB get elected.

In this campaign, we are seeking photos from readers who are sorry that their Congressional leaders voted against the FTA, the disrespect is shows in the relationship, and the embarrassment that it brings upon us.

I implore you to check out the site and add your picture. Also, vote in the poll so that Colombians can see just how many people support them.

We will have blog posts, news updates, and podcasts that you can view. In fact, there is already some news and a podcast that you can check out already.

So like I said, check it out, blog about it, and tell everyone you know who may be interested!

UPDATE: By the way, I have created a Facebook group that you can join as well. Join it to make our numbers known! It is also a convenient place to upload the photo that you create, and I will add it to the main campaign site as well.

Social Bookmarking: this | digg this digg | Add to Technorati technorati | StumbleUpon Toolbar stumble upon | Furl this furl | Reddit this reddit

A New Campaign in Support of Colombia

Filed under: Americas

We at Publius are starting a new campaign in support of ratification of a free trade agreement with Colombia called, "Sorry, Colombia!" The name derives from the fact that the Democrat-controlled American Congress has rejected the FTA on extremely dubious grounds. It also plays on the "Sorry Everybody!" campaign started by Americans who wanted to apologize for George W. Bush's reelection in 2004.

We are aiming to do something similar. Beside an official apology and the latest news, developments, and information regarding the FTA and related scandals, we also want to create a photo gallery of Americans apologizing for Congress' ludicrous decision. I am asking for you help.

We need volunteers with a little bit of time and a wide variety of abilities, including:
- Knowledge about photo gallery and photo submission web apps that can be used
- Connections with journalists, government officials on both sides, or simply interested individuals who will pass on the word
- Good, persuasive writing ability and a knowledge of Colombian and American politics
- Use of email and social networking sites such as Digg and Facebook
- And just good ideas in general!

If you would like to help in any way and can offer any of your time, please contact me at robertmayer @

Thanks! And look for the launch shortly!

Social Bookmarking: this | digg this digg | Add to Technorati technorati | StumbleUpon Toolbar stumble upon | Furl this furl | Reddit this reddit

Millions Of Colombians March Against FARC Marxist Narcoterrorists

Filed under: Americas

Millions of Colombians marched as a nation together to protest the Marxist FARC's kidnappings of innocents
Source: AP, via Yahoo! News

As in Cuba and Venezuela, white is rapidly becoming the color of freedom and democratic revolution through the Western hemisphere.

In Medellin
Source: Reuters, via Yahoo! News

In Cali
Source: AP, via Yahoo! News

Millions of Colombians, all clad in white, marched through Bogota, Cali, Medellin and other cities to protest the murderous kidnappings by the FARC Marxist narcoterrorist guerrillas, who have made war on this unlucky country for more than 44 years. FARC currently holds 3000 people hostage in its jungle redoubts, in the name of forcing Marxism on an unwilling nation. Three of those hostages are Americans. This protest was triggered by the coldblooded murder of 11 elected legislators, who were held hostage for five long years in the broiling hot jungle hideouts of the terrorists, only to be shot dead when rescuers arrived for them. These terrorists easily shot their hostages dead rather than let them be rescued without a cash ransom or the achievement of their unsellable political aims.

Colombians wave the flag - their nation is at stake.
Source: AP, via Yahoo! News

Little children, standing up against Marxist narcoterror, stand up for democracy
Source: Reuters, via Yahoo! News

These Marxist monsters are detested by Colombians and have the lowest approval rating of any group in the country, something like less than 1%. It's no surprise as to why. They are well known for the inhumanity. They keep hostages tied to trees for years, and demand massive ransoms from innocents. Those who survive come out looking like feral animals. They invented the necklace bomb, grabbing farmers who refused to grow coca for their cocaine operations, putting a sort of ticking mechanical collar around their necks and letting them listen to the ticks until time runs out and they feel their head literally blow off. They invented horse bombs, where horses go into village marketplaces and explode, like random roaming car bombs. They have massacred Colombians in churches during mass, their blazing machine guns firing away on people worshipping God. They have forced children into soldierhood, and turning them into Marxist-indoctrinated automatons, and robbed others of their childhood by blocking all school routes. Some Colombian children have had to attend school through swinging pulleys across the jungle canopy just to avoid the FARC guerrilla activity below and the inevitable kidnapping. They have trafficked drugs to milllions, raining horror and misery on inner cities across America. There is no evil that they will not stoop to in the name of their Marxist 'revolution,' none.

A Colombian demonstrator demands that the chains of Marxist narcoterror be broken in Colombia.
Source: Reuters, via Yahoo! News

Starting their war against Colombia in the 1960s, with the complicity of Fidel Castro, who's always viewed the ultra-strategic Colombian nation as his biggest takeover prize, they've turned Colombia into a lawless hellhole and damaged and corrupted Colombian society in a way no other terrorist group on a sustained basis has ever done. They have stepped up their plans to attack American troops stationed there and Colombian troops foiled a plot against them just this past 4th of July. They seem to have forged an alliance with Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, whose ultimate aim seems to be war with Colombia. He's confident that America will never come to Colombia's aid.

The FARC is denounced as cowards by a protestor.
Source: AP, via Yahoo! News

FARC Marxist narcoterrorists are hanged in effigy - this is no soft soggy give peace a chance rally, these Colombians are willing to fight.
Source: Reuters, via Yahoo! News

The misery these Marxists have wrought on Colombia is horrendous. That's why Colombians defied guerrilla threats to massacre them in their voting lines back in 2002, and elected President Alvaro Uribe, a man who has known Marxist narcoterror up close. In fact, no one has seen Marxist narcoterror as closely as he has. The FARC murdered his father during an attempted kidnapping. They tied his foreign minister to a tree for six years - he only escaped their monstrous clutches by running through a minefield and into a jungle for two weeks to escape. Other drug traffickers, their remnants now since aligned to the FARC, held his vice president hostage for eight months, tied to a bed. It's not that common that a president leads a pprotest rally in a democratic revolution, but in his case, there is no one more appropriate. He's leading the fight for his country's freedom.

The man leading the national rally - President Uribe of Colombia, who prays at mass beforehand
Source: AP, via Yahoo! News

His suffering was emblematic of the suffering of all Colombians. The FARC has killed 200,000 people during the course of its four-decade brutal war for Marxism. They've kidnapped about 18,000. Colombians know this. But the rest of the world doesn't. That's why they've taken to the streets to show the world that their ordeal is not over, that they need the support of everyone, and that the FARC must be completely disbanded or destroyed. They love their President Uribe - who has an 80% approval rating at the last count. With a notably Catholic devotion, he's shown a long-suffering and prudent wisdom in refusing to negotiate with terrorists, refusing to give them the land they are demanding, refusing to heed anyone but the people he elected. His sufferings are many as his nation is reviled in the halls of U.S. Congress by ruling Democrats who literally know nothing about the place and its sufferings and seem to seek only to buttress the FARC and all its Marxist narcoterror.

It's like Venezuela's freedom marches, there's a majesty.
Source: AP, via Yahoo! News

Like the Venezuelans, the Colombians make gestures in the streets. Note that each tshirt represents the face of a FARC victim.
Source: AP, via Yahoo! News

A couple weeks ago, Uribe released a coterie of about 500 FARC terrorists from prison as a goodwill gesture. Requested by Nicolas Sarkozy of France, who misread the Colombian situation, this weeks ago. Naturally, the FARC returned the gesture with bombs, violence and new kidnappings. It's significant that Uribe said there won't be any more of this, thus, keeping his support from the people of Colombia intact.

The crowds were incredible in narcoterror-ravaged Cali
Source: Reuters, via Yahoo! News

What's needed now is support from the people of the world for Colombia which has consistently shown resolve in creating peace in their country. When is the United States, through aid and free trade, going to give it to them? We're waiting for the Congressional Democrats.

GatewayPundit has much more.

The Church is a major player in calling for peace from the narcoterrorists.
Source: AP, via Yahoo! News

The Cardinals join too, demanding peace from the FARC.
Source: AP, via Yahoo! News

Candlelight vigil at Bolivar Square in Bogota.
Source: Reuters, via Yahoo! News

Social Bookmarking: this | digg this digg | Add to Technorati technorati | StumbleUpon Toolbar stumble upon | Furl this furl | Reddit this reddit

Colombia's President Responds to U.S. Democrats' Idiocy

Filed under: Americas

A reader sends forward a translation of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe's remarks regarding he U.S. Congress' decision to deny a free trade agreement with his country, translated by a Colombian writer and blogger Max Vergara Poeti whose blog you can visit here.

His words are powerful and damning. He says that Congress is completely lacking in both history as well as facts. He says that Colombia will not be treated as a servile tinpot dictatorship. Have the Democrats pushed away our only true ally in the Americas, giving the likes of Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro exactly what they want?

You can read the statements below. I am sure that readers from Colombia will be interested to know what our stateside readers think about what Congress did as well as Uribe's reaction.

Social Bookmarking: this | digg this digg | Add to Technorati technorati | StumbleUpon Toolbar stumble upon | Furl this furl | Reddit this reddit

Colombia Hurled Into The Cold - with a kiss

Filed under: Americas

Congressional Democrats are really doing a number on our ally Colombia, shutting it out of free trade. They say that because Colombia has some vaguely defined 'violence,' (Amnesty lists 6 cases) 46 million Colombians should get the door to free trade slammed shut in their faces. It's something they've been doing for awhile. After that, Democrats then assure us that all they want to do is 'help' Colombia.


The imperial majesties of the House Ways and Means Committee weighed in with who lives and who dies on free trade. Being anything but Solomons, they decided to split the baby, allowing safe passage for free trade to friendly Panama and friendly Peru.

But for allied, courageous, and dramatically beautified Colombia - the cudgel and the back of their Congressional hand - sealed with a creepy Judas kiss.

Congress put this statement out:

With regard to the Colombia FTA, the House of Representatives recently passed the 2008 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, which redirects U.S. foreign assistance in Colombia. All of us regard Colombia as a crucial ally in a region that deserves our active engagement, and the bill represents an effort to have U.S. funds help address the root of numerous problems there. There is widespread concern in Congress about the level of violence in Colombia, the impunity, the lack of investigations and prosecutions, and the role of the paramilitary. Issues of this nature cannot solely be resolved through language in a trade agreement.

We believe there must first be concrete evidence of sustained results on the ground in Colombia, and Members of Congress will continue working with all interested parties to help achieve this end before consideration of any FTA. Consequently, we cannot support the Colombia FTA at this time.

So you read right - because there is some violence in a society that's been engulfed by war for 44 years, 46 million Colombians are to be denied the right to free trade with America for as long as it takes for Congress to be convinced it's over. That's Congress' idea of a solution. That'll fix 'em.

Instead of a free trade agreement, all Colombia's getting from Congress is the same deal that loudly anti-American Ecuador is getting: ad-hoc trade privileges under the ATPDEA program to fight drugs, which keep American companies out of Colombian markets but allow Colombian companies to trade here in the U.S. freely so long as the U.S. says so.

Colombia doesn't want that. Colombia wants the solid permanent treaty of free trade instead. It WANTS to open its markets to the U.S. as its means of securing permanent growth, but the Democrats in Congress won't let them. Colombia wants the assurance of a permanent pact so that it can continue growing. It wants it so bad it's bent over backwards and gone through every hoop Congress has asked them to.

And it still isn't good enough.

Shunning Colombia, look at how vague those Congressional demands are - Colombia has knocked down deaths of unionists by 90% as of April 2007, and that's not good enough for Congress. It's given 1500 trade unionists bodyguards, bulletproof cars, prosecutors, special protections that ordinary Colombians don't get - all for nothing. I called the House Ways and Means Committee today and pleaded with them: What is it going to take to satisfy you? What does Colombia have to do? How can the agony end? And they had no answer for me. "I'll have to get back to you," they said - for every single one of my queries. It was painful.

But it did convince me that Colombia is being strung along with no relief in sight, and nothing it does will please the leftists who run Congress, nothing short of the overthrow of President Uribe, a democratically elected president that they don't like.

It's absolute horrible to think that the U.S. would do this to an ally that's done so much for us and asked so little in return.

I see signs of weakness in this untenable stand, in that Congress keeps falsely saying it wants to help Colombia, signalling that it fears those of us who state that their act is unfriendly, hurts Colombia's huge private sector and helps only Hugo Chavez. Therefore, there is room for fightback. Congress wants a free hand to abuse Colombia (as Al Gore has) but they don't want to be called its enemy, called to account, by bloggers like me.

Congress, I got one message for you - you are Colombia's enemy and you are harming Colombia. You are on the side of narcotraffickers. You are helping Hugo Chavez - and not doing one thing for Colombia's well-being.

Colombia has risen from the monstrous ashes of a terrifying war to become a nation that has grown into free trade and needs free trade to grow into a first world country. It's been the U.S.'s most faithful ally in the entire hemisphere, it's been a friend to Democratic and Republican administrations alike without fear or favor. The only thing that can be concluded is that Democrats can't stand this country because it's ruled by a rightwinger, a man who won office with 70% of the popular vote, and who now holds an 80% approval rating .... for Congress, this noble nation must be cut down. Colombia's on the hit list of various Soros-funded leftwing think tanks that wield tremendous influence in Washington - that's probably another reason for the unreasonable stance and why they all need to be exposed. Congress' action is a slap in the face of a U.S. ally unlike any other in history. This nation did anything for us, anything, and look how our Congress is treating it!

I am so angry I could throw things. I burn with hatred, I want to break something. How could Congress be so unethical? How could they throw away something so precious?

Colombia and the U.S. are united together by so much! We both share Atlantic and Pacific coasts. We became independent at the same time and with largely through same idea forces. We almost took Colombia's name, except that Colombia got it first, so we used the name 'Columbia' in our capital. We have so much in common, our histories and experiences intertwine. We bought Panama from Colombia and developed the mighty Panama canal from it. We share the drug war, one side buyers and the other side sellers, a war that wreaks havoc at any nation in its way and therefore have an important mission to solve together. Colombians who come here are so like us they blend in and assimilate right away. Colombia is becoming more like us in that it's developing a capitalist economy quite unlike any other in Latin America. How could we betray Colombia, which is our precious ally?

Colombia is going to be traumatized by this. The charges against it are exaggerated, and cutting off free trade as a solution is way too draconian and disproportionate. The failure to give Colombia the free trade pact it's earned is only likely to increase the violence as Colombia's economy tanks. Leaving 46 million people in the cold is no way to make them want to be your ally. Betraying a nation like this will have consequences for us and I shudder to think what they are.

Congress, I curse you!

UPDATE: Jim Hoft at GatewayPundit has an absolutely dazzling item, a must-read here.

UPDATE: Fausta has much more with lots of good newer links here.

Social Bookmarking: this | digg this digg | Add to Technorati technorati | StumbleUpon Toolbar stumble upon | Furl this furl | Reddit this reddit

Mexico Gets Back To Normal

Filed under: Americas ~ Humor

Remember this anxious crowd at the Zocalo in Mexico City last summer? At the time, supporters of Mexican presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador demonstrated and agonized over the narrow presidential election returns that they saw as depriving their presidential candidate of legitimate victory. They were so upset they gathered in Mexico City's public square and camped out. They refused to budge. They shut down the city. And there were questions as to whether Mexican democracy could survive at all:

Source: AP, via

Today, Mexico's democracy is alive and well, and it's got a popular president who's loved on all sides of the political spectrum. Felipe Calderon today commands a 65% political approval rating by Mexicans as citizens grow confident that he's the right man for the job and he won that job fairly. But that doesn't mean the Zocalo is empty, not by any means. It just means that the crowd scene there is now something very different:


Nekkid people! Everybody taking it off and showing their birthday suits. Errrr, I mean, doing art! Yes, art photographer Spenser Tunick is back, and has he ever brought out the naked people to downtown Mexico City! Like last AMLO Summer, the crowds are as big as ever in pursuit of a common purpose. But this time, instead of common political misery, it's all about common participation in art and feelin' groovy. Lotsa art! Mexico's changed since AMLO's vigil, and for most, it's for the better!

Or at least a happy ending! Viva Mexico!

Social Bookmarking: this | digg this digg | Add to Technorati technorati | StumbleUpon Toolbar stumble upon | Furl this furl | Reddit this reddit

Free Trade In Peril

Filed under: Americas ~ Economics

Three U.S. free trade pacts are about to go down in flames.

Colombia, Peru and Panama, three friendly countries, are about to see the door slammed shut on them by a lunatic U.S. Congress, whose idiots extend to both sides of the aisles.

For Long Beach, whose Press-Telegram reported the story, billions of dollars of trade income is about to be thrown into the dumpster. They might as well take a few warehouses every day and burn them, because that illlustrates the kind of money they are going to throw away. As for the poor black kids in the Long Beach area who have nothing but drugs and gangs in front of them, and no longer any port job opportunities, well, too bad. Democrats (it's mostly them) have better things to do than provide jobs for them.

Like insult our friends.

And what good friends they are indeed. Colombia, Panama, and Peru are at the forefront of defying the leftist push of Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez. All three have stood up to him on multiple fronts. It's not just in public forums but in what they are doing. They are defying conventional wisdom about free markets in Latin America and engaging them. That, instead of crony porkbarrel handouts. They also have the highest pro-American sentiment in the region, which is otherwise full of anti-Americanism. Panama's is the highest in all Latin America.

What does this say about us that we would throw out our money and screw our allies? It is O-U-T-R-A-G-E-O-U-S!

And that's not the only outrage. In the absence of a free trade pact, these economies will not just sit there. They can go two ways. One is to move closer to Hugo Chavez, who is offering his 'ALBA' Latins-only free trade pact as an alternative to any trade with America. Won't that be nice to see them move to that circle instead of ours, because they cannot get free trade?

Two is that they will move closer to Red China. They won't be able to sell anything here and they won't be able to buy any American goods, so what's left is China's goods. They'll buy from China and move into China's orbit, their interests fully aligned and set in that direction.

Meanwhile, instead of being able to buy from our choice of Peruvian, Panamanian, Colombian, or Chinese goods, and pick the best prices, we will be stuck buying just from China, Made In China, that's all we'll get.

In both cases, China makes out like a bandit.

And our good and noble friends in Panama, Peru and Colombia, will be stuck on the outside, forever looking in.

This is insanity.

Social Bookmarking: this | digg this digg | Add to Technorati technorati | StumbleUpon Toolbar stumble upon | Furl this furl | Reddit this reddit

Michael Moore: A Big, Fat Sicko

Filed under: Americas ~ Cuba

A New York Post exclusive reveals that Michael Moore, for his new fraudumentary called "Sicko", is taking a bunch of 9/11 workers down to Cuba so that they can experience the joys of free national healthcare. Cuba's healthcare system is considered by many so-called experts and governments as the best in the world, so what Moore is trying to do is make the argument that America should mimic the Cuban system.

Only, it isn't the best. Not near it. Those foreigners and wealthy people who go to Cuba, including the people that Michael Moore are bringing down, are only shown the few top of the line facilities which probably are some of the best in the world. It's a huge propaganda campaign aimed at deceiving people into believing that Cuba does, in fact, have the best healthcare system in the world. This is totally false. The clinics and hospitals that the everyday Cuban sees, if they see one at all, are cockroach infested hovels that one might be wise to stay away from lest they get worse.

Michael Moore is just aiding in promoting Fidel Castro's mythology. If he gets away with it, he'll have all blue-state Americans believing it rather than just most of them.

In case you missed it nearly two years ago, here are the photos of real Cuban clinics accompanying a story written by Carlos Wotzkow and María Elena Morejón for Gentiuno.

Social Bookmarking: this | digg this digg | Add to Technorati technorati | StumbleUpon Toolbar stumble upon | Furl this furl | Reddit this reddit

Hail, Colombia!

Filed under: Americas

Colombians protest the Marxist violence of FARC's vile narcoterrorists
Source: AP, via Yahoo! News

Two hundred thousand Colombians protested Thursday in the city of Cali. They marched against terrorism brought on to them by the Marxist FARC narcoterrorists, who, for the first time in years, were emboldened to blow up a police station in the city. Instead of getting cheers from the populist mobs, or indifference, as would have happened in the past, the FARC got an earful and eyeful from the citizens who spontaneously - in their hundreds of thousands - took to the streets to send a message that these dirtbag fishes will never have a sea to swim in in Cali, as the Maoist saying about revolution goes. Instead, they'll have every Colombian against them, daring them in the open streets to try to stop them, not flinching.

Bear in mind that this is Cali, Colombia's third largest city. It used to be one of the world's most odious narcoterrorist nests. It was a dreaded hellhole twenty years ago. If you've ever seen the movie "Our Lady Of The Assassins" you will know how narcoterrorism saps the life and spirit of a city, making everyone corrupt - churches, pregnant women, toddlers, doctors, absolutely everyone. The net result is that everyone turns inward and looks out only for themselves. Eventually, everyone just dies.

Now, like a bad dream, it's just a movie. With the great leadership of President Alvaro Uribe, that scenario no longer exists. The city of Cali has been transformed. Not just with new buildings, which is exciting enough. But in the hearts of the people, the hardest thing in the world to change. Civil society has blossomed. People care about each other again. They are not turning inward but turning outward, and turning to each other! They are no longer terrified and they won't let themselves be intimidated. Never again will leftist terror be permitted to take over, ever so cynically 'in the name of the people.' The message to the FARC is that here are the people all right and they don't like leftist clowns who bomb in what they claim is the name of the people. The people have spoken. And they've struck a blow for democracy.

Hail Colombia!!!!

Source: Semana

Social Bookmarking: this | digg this digg | Add to Technorati technorati | StumbleUpon Toolbar stumble upon | Furl this furl | Reddit this reddit

Chavez Goes Mullah On Easter Celebrations

Filed under: Americas ~ Venezuela

"It is really ridiculous, like implementing a Muslim regime," said Jorge Dominguez, 36, leaving a liquor store at 4.55 p.m. with two chinking carrier bags full of beer.

"I got nervous. I thought Chavez had prohibited the sale of liquor seeing how he talks about Cuba, socialism and the (Iranian) ayatollahs," said 67-year-old retiree Enrique Salazar after buying three bottles to last him through the holiday.

Hugo's really done it now. He's relegated all of Venezuela to the status of college freshmen. Until the end of Easter, alcohol sales will be limited in public services such as restaurants to between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. while sales altogether are explicitly banned throughout the holy weekend. You heard me right. No spring break for Venezuelans.

The reason for the ban is because alcohol drinking infuriates Chavez. He blames Venezuela's love of whiskey on the great enemy up north, the United States. You see, it's all a plot to degrade the moral fiber of the country, leading to the 100 or so deaths every Easter blamed on drinking. It's no simple criminal act in which people need to be thrown in jail; it's an enemy plot!

What he didn't anticipate was that people would not simply submit to his edict. They're doing what all of us did at some point in college, only worse. Coca-Cola is ordered with a wink, a smile, and some extra tip. Bottles are being bid on as if liquor stores were stock exchanges. Given that everyone found out at the last minute, the mad rush to get the weekend wine has assured not only that everyone will get what they want, but Chavez will look like he's kowtowing to an Islamic regime on a Christian holiday.

Oh yeah, and he'll look like an idiot. Even Russian President Vladimir Putin lost some of his highly acclaimed popularity when, early last year, Russia experience an extreme vodka shortage. Because whiskey is to Venezuelans what vodka is to Russians, there is just no telling how far down Chavez may go!

Social Bookmarking: this | digg this digg | Add to Technorati technorati | StumbleUpon Toolbar stumble upon | Furl this furl | Reddit this reddit

Chavista Mobs Howl For RCTV Private Media Expropriation

Filed under: Americas

The mobs put "expropriation" at the top of their graffiti spree, signaling what they really wanted.

Here, the graffiti comes from a "campesino" group in Yaracuy, a western state. The militants there were totally nuts when I met them in Yaracuy, they discussed 'revolutionary tourism' and had a raving 'thing' against Christopher Colombus. I am not surprised they showed up in Caracas. Notice that they condemn Nixon Moreno, an antichavez student leader, and the Vatican, both of which have stood up for RCTV.

You can see that they made a pigpen of the place, that looks like a once-nice building.

And the sidewalk graffiti! They were all over that, too.

Along with the dead dog, there are a lot of communistic epithets here, calling people 'dirty lackeys' - I think that must be 'running dogs' to us, and the statement at the bottom, which says 'The class struggle is the poor against the rich.' Yeah, right.

Here we have more uglying the place up in Technicolor, in the name of 'poder popular' or, people power.

RCTV is under fire. The big television station, which has been broadcasting under license in Venezuela for 54 years, sort of the equivalent of FoxNews or CBS, officially loses its right to broadcast at the end of today. But that wasn't all that happened.

Like furies, red tshirted Chavista mobs gathered and bayed liked wolves in the days leading up to this end of an era, graffiting and spray-painting the TV station with words like 'expropriacion' along with filthy slogans that if you know Spanish, you can see the equivalent of 'f word' among, racism charges, campesino movement slogans, anti-Vatican slogans (the Vatican actually defended this TV station, which is run by a devout Catholic) and 'RCTV out' slogans. They also left plenty of garbage and mess, including what looks like a dead dog - a mob symbol if there ever was one, behind.

This is how Venezuela is being ruled right now - not just by arbitrary "legal" rulings based on what Chavez likes, but by the added calling card of the Chavista mob, spray painting its vile messages in its 'revolutionary' fervor to get the point across that this isn't about law or the public interest anymore, this is about bloodthirsty mob rule.

One little fact that will make you sick to hear is that I know exactly who organized the attack. I hung out with him in Caracas because I was curious how the other side thought and I went to his "Bolivarian Circle" meeting and I got literature - it was 100% against the dissident TV stations - and I even got drunk with him in one of the mayor's offices out in the western slums. I know who he is and how he thinks. He had a string of "community" television stations of his own, and he told me the pbig rivate TV stations were "against democracy." His people were after Globovision and its broadcasting equipment at the time but they rapidly moved against RCTV and have been talking about destroying them through violence. He even had state-funded pamphlets, with the little Venezuelan government jumping-people logo on them to give to me and I still have them. His bile against private media finally came to fruition yesterday. And he will be the beneficiary of the spoils.

The injury added to insult against RCTV shows that not only is the law against the existence of the dissident TV station, it's also against enforcing even civic laws against the integrity of the property itself. Think about how you would feel for your personal safety in the wake of these attacks. These thugs would have thrown a bomb or set a fire if they could but the government wants to steal the equipment for its own 'public broadcast' service, which will fall into the hands of this rapcious graffiti mob. This is violence, from top to bottom, with the state making common cause with the criminal elements to make Venezuela a holy hell for anyone who produces anything of value.

God help Venezuela.

UPDATE: Alek Boyd at VCrisis sends me a correction - RCTV is slated for closure on May 31, not March 31 as had been reported earlier. Thanks Alek! Read Alek's item on RCTV, complete with more strings of photos, here.

UPDATE: Venezuela Today has a whole special section on RCTV with all the coverage and all the photos for easy viewing here.

Social Bookmarking: this | digg this digg | Add to Technorati technorati | StumbleUpon Toolbar stumble upon | Furl this furl | Reddit this reddit

Latest article on the U.S.-Brazil alliance

Filed under: Americas

A.M. Mora y Leon has written a fantastic article about the ethanol alliance between the United States and Brazil, where she describes it as going far beyond ethanol. It's a must-read, so follow the link.

(And just in case you're wondering, articles are exclusive Publius feature stories that are much longer and much more analytical and descriptive than the everyday commentary you see in this space. You can see the latest ones on the right hand side, see all of them by clicking on the articles tab above, or even subscribe to the RSS feed under the syndication bar. Enjoy!)

Social Bookmarking: this | digg this digg | Add to Technorati technorati | StumbleUpon Toolbar stumble upon | Furl this furl | Reddit this reddit

Fidel: Philosopher Extreme

Filed under: Americas ~ Cuba

Did you know that Fidel Castro, as much as being a thug and a tyrant, is also a writer and philosopher? He had suggested it at his online dating profile on, but I didn't believe it until now. In an article published in Granma, "Castro" ponders the implications of the America use of converted ethanol from corn and sugar as fuel. After concentrating so hard that the universe (as well as those tender intestines of his) almost exploded, he came to the conclusion that should have only been obvious had we underlings had the brain capacity that he does: "Condemned to premature death by hunger and thirst more than 3bn people of the world!"
Cuban President Fidel Castro has strongly criticised the use of biofuels by the US, in his first article since undergoing surgery last year.

He said George W Bush's support for the use of food crops in fuel production would cause 3bn deaths from hunger.
In it, he says he has been "meditating quite a bit since President Bush's meeting with North American automobile makers".

During that meeting on Monday, Mr Castro writes, "the sinister idea of converting food into combustibles was definitively established as the economic line of foreign policy of the United States".
Yet the Darth Vader outfit keeping him alive now must be more of an echo chamber than an amplifier, because his intense meditations are entirely false. Fausta seems to know the deal, though, and I wonder if Granma would be willing to take a counter-editorial?
As more and more corn grain is diverted to make ethanol, there have been public concerns about food shortages. However, ethanol made from cellulosic materials instead of corn grain, renders the food vs. fuel debate moot, according to research by a Michigan State University ethanol expert.
Personally, I don't even eat corn all that often, so I guess in Castro's theoretical situation I'm safe. But what if, in fact, he's somehow correct about this and real science is wrong? What if three billion people are going to die from hunger? What will the poor and oppressed people of Cuba do, already living on the brink of existence due to the imperialist swine? The Northern invaders have a cunning plan indeed. From an article via Babalu blog:
Washington's sanctions choke off most trade with Cuba, but a law passed by Congress in 2000 authorized cash-only purchases of U.S. food and agricultural products and was cheered by major U.S. farm firms like Archer Daniels Midland Co. interested in the untapped Cuban market.

Cuba refused to import one grain of rice for more than a year because of a dispute over financing, but finally agreed to take advantage of the law after Hurricane Michelle in 2001 cut into food stocks.

Since then, Cuba has paid more than $1.5 billion for American food and agricultural products, said John Kavulich, senior policy adviser at the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council of New York.
Is there really anything to say after this? The only reason that the Cuban people aren't completely starving is because the United States is allowing the communist government to import food. The hilarity with which we can now reread his "article" is enormous. If anything, though, Fidel Castro is no philosopher. He is a fool.
Social Bookmarking: this | digg this digg | Add to Technorati technorati | StumbleUpon Toolbar stumble upon | Furl this furl | Reddit this reddit

McCain warns against the spread of socialism

Filed under: Americas

While Mitt Romney is my favorite in terms of domestic priorities, McCain takes the cake for his foreign policy stances. He has been consistently pro-democracy and pro-free trade. He visited Ukraine following the Orange Revolution, vows to make Latin America a top priority, and consistently bashes Russia for its slide into dictatorship. What's not to love about that? Here's what he had to say in a speech delivered in Miami:
MIAMI (AP) - Republican presidential candidate John McCain warned on Wednesday against the spread of socialism in Latin America and pledged to give the region renewed U.S. attention if elected.

Appearing in Little Havana, McCain carefully avoided criticism of President Bush but said the Iraq war "has diverted attention from our hemisphere and we have paid a penalty for that" in the form of a growing leftism embodied by leaders Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and Evo Morales in Bolivia.

In a speech to veterans of the ill-fated, CIA-backed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961, McCain said his first trip if elected to the White House in 2008 would be to Mexico, Canada and Latin America "to reaffirm my commitment to our hemisphere and the importance of relations within our hemisphere."

The Arizona senator said that "everyone should understand the connections" between Chavez, Morales and communist Cuban President Fidel Castro.

"They inspire each other. They assist each other. They get ideas from each other," McCain said. "It's very disturbing."

Cuban-Americans are a key voting bloc in electoral-rich Florida and typically cast their ballots for Republicans.

As president, McCain said he would work on political, diplomatic and economic fronts to counter the rise of socialism, including efforts to spread free trade. Yet the United States must also stress the advantages of capitalism and democracy to win "a war of ideas" in the region, he said.
Again, what's not to like about this? Unfortunately, we wouldn't even be talking about this today if something had been followed through with 45 years ago...
Social Bookmarking: this | digg this digg | Add to Technorati technorati | StumbleUpon Toolbar stumble upon | Furl this furl | Reddit this reddit