Archive for the ‘Fausta’s blog’ Category
The UN believes statistics put out by totalitarian regimes, so, obscene as this may be, it comes as no surprise:
UN Elects Cuba to Chair World Health Assembly Even as Cubans Lack Aspirin, Basic Health
The consensus election today by 194 WHO member states chose the sole candidate, Cuban Health Minister Roberto Tomas Morales Ojeda.
“The sole candidate” makes me suspect that no one reputable would risk their credibility chairing this farce, n’est-ce pas?
UN Watch condemns “UN handing propaganda victory to a dictatorship” and lists several instances of the abhorrent medical conditions Cubans must endure in the island-prison:
While the Cuban articles claimed the Castro regime has achieved numerous health milestones, experts and international observers say the health system is in disarray.
- “I haven’t seen Aspirin in a Cuban store here for more than a year. If you have any pills in your purse, I’ll take them. Even if they have passed their expiry date.” (Castro’s health care system is paid for through onerous taxation and cannot provide even basic drugs, National Post)
- According to Al Jazeera’s Latin America editor and former CNN reporter Lucia Newman, “I saw many hospitals where there was often no running water, the toilets did not flush, and the risk of infections – by the hospital’s own admission – was extremely high.” Health workers “smuggle the medicine out of the hospitals.” (“The truths and tales of Cuban healthcare.”)
- Doctors suffer lamentable working conditions. (Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D, published in Surgical Neurology 2004, http://www.haciendapub.com/articles/socialized-medicine-cuba-part-ii-doctor-diplomacy-sex-tourism-and-medical-apartheid).
- The country prioritizes healthcare for tourists instead of their own poor. (Source; http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/cuba/health-myth.htm.) The former chief neurosurgeon of Cuba lost her job for opposing this discrimination.
- Doctors serving in the government health agencies or ministering to patients in clinics and hospitals are not informed about basic new technology or medical breakthroughs. (Source:http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0090301903007468)
Although Cuba has sent thousands of doctors to Venezuela in exchange for oil, their doctors are considered poorly trained:
Brazilian medical associations determined that Cuban doctors’ training is substandard. (Source:http://www.caribbean-events.com/article/brazil-plans-hire-6000-cuban-doctors-work-rural-areas#sthash.CcP5L55n.dpuf)
Cuban doctors’ exam results are said to be “among the worst of the average of 600 professionals – ranging in homelands from Argentina, Bolivia, the United States and European countries. (Source:http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/health/2011/10/24/cuban-doctors-get-sickly-results-in-brazilian-medical-exams/ )
Back in 2008 Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez described how, if you’re admitted to a hospital, you must bring everything:
The room has a thin light and the air smells of pain. I begin to unpack what I’ve brought. I take out the little sack of detergent and the aromatic with which I’ll clean the bath; its aroma floods everything. With the bucket we can bathe the lady, using the cup to pour, because the water faucet doesn’t work. For the great scrubbing I brought a pair of yellow gloves, afraid of the germs that spread in a hospital. Mónica tells me to continue unpacking and I extract the package of food and a puree especially for the sick. The pillow has been a wonder and the set of clean sheets manages to cover the mattress, stained with successive effluvia.
The most welcome is the fan, which I connect to two peeled wires hanging from the wall. I continue to unpack and come to the little bag of medical supplies. I have obtained some needles appropriate for the IV, because the one in her arm is very thick and causes pain. I also bought some gauze and cotton on the black market. The most difficult thing—which cost me days and incredible swaps—is the suture thread for the surgery they are going to do tomorrow. I also brought a box of disposable syringes since she yells to high heaven when she sees the nurse with a glass one.
If you want photos, The Real Cuba posts them in all their gut-churning detail.
Could someone please explain why the U.S. continues to host and fund the UN?
Today is May 5th, in Spanish cinco de mayo, and whether you celebrate or not, ignore the insecure who don’t want you to avail yourself of business opportunities.
(Juan Solo via Doug Mataconis‘s FaceBook feed)
ARGENTINA Y LA NARCO-CORRUPCION
Poll Shows Brazil President Could Face Runoff
The latest poll of Brazilian voters is showing for the first time that President Dilma Rousseff may face a runoff in October’s presidential election due to a lackluster economy.
Inflation is running around 6%, while economic growth isn’t expected to surpass 2% this year.
A Dutch Guerillera: The Foreign Face of FARC’s Civil War
Tanja Nijmeijer of Holland spent more than 10 years fighting with the rebel group FARC in the jungles of Colombia. More recently, she has been part of the guerillas’ peace negotiating team in Cuba. What drives her?
Ecuadorian president demands that indigenous group give up defamers
Rafael Correa accuses Kichwa leaders of acting above the law in holding three opposition activists convicted of defaming him
El Salvador: Ex-President Faces Charges
Former President Francisco Flores will face embezzlement and other corruption charges related to what prosecutors said Wednesday was the misappropriation of at least $5.3 million in loans from Taiwan during his tenure, from 1999 to 2004.
Attorney General in Guatemala Excluded From Re-election Bid
Claudia Paz y Paz, who has taken on a former dictator and top drug traffickers, was left off of a shortlist of candidates to be considered for re-election.
Jamaica scraps bank withdrawal tax, but Paco Santos may have had a business opportunity:
Last month, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said his country was “committed to further strengthening and modernising the army” with the help of any country willing to provide aid.
He did not give details of an agreement between Nicaragua and Russia.
But Russia’s ambassador in Managua had confirmed in March that Moscow is interested in building a military resupply base in Nicaragua.
Russian defense chief Sergei Shoigu has said that Russia is weighing increasing its military presence in countries including Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela – particularly bases to refuel Russian warplanes far from home.
Panama’s economy has grown by an average of more than 8% in recent years and is expected to expand by 7% this year, by far the best performance in the Americas. Since 2002, poverty has been slashed from more than 40% to a quarter of the population.
“One good thing is that that there are no big ideological differences,” Nicolás Ardito-Barletta, a former World Bank economist who served less than a year as president in the mid-1980s, said before the vote. “Nobody’s going to kill the goose.”
In Panama Vote, a Noncandidate Matters
Presidential elections in Panama on Sunday feature a crowded field of seven candidates, but are widely seen here as a referendum on one man who won’t appear on the ballot: conservative President Ricardo Martinelli.
Venezuelan government arrests 58 foreigners ‘for inciting protests’
Interior Minister denounces alleged plot to promote unrest and overthrow Venezuela’s government as it is revealed dozens of foreign nationals are among the detained
Chávez initially promised that Coppelia ice cream would be made with Venezuelan products and supplies. Milk products from Lacteos Los Andes (now practically bankrupt), sugar from CVA Azucar (now shut down, see first post) and orange, guava, mango, peach and coconut.
Well, 18 months later and now Chávez is dead, Coppelia produces ice cream, mostly creamy flavors, in irregular and limited fashion. Raw materials and supplies are all imported. Forget about all those fruit flavors, but its manager says raw materials come from Lacteos Los Andes, which is practically shut down. [See also Chavez’s Farming Utopia Withers as Pet Projects Abandoned]
Which brings us, finally, to the million-dollar question: In post-Chávez Venezuela, who has the political capital to institute the deep and painful reforms the country requires to break out of this wicked cycle? If Chávez himself — who was the closest to God you can get in Venezuelan politics — didn’t dare to touch the gasoline subsidy or move against the Armed Forces’ involvement in organized crime, who would dare? In the answer to that question, more than in the epic battles painted by the likes of María Corina Machado, lies the key to Venezuela’s long term future.
The official corruption
The General Comptroller’s Office just published its latest report, and between lines, front firms which got away with dollars came to the spotlight again. The following list presents the irregularities admitted by the Venezuelan Government
The week’s posts and podcast:
Nestor fever #PoneleNestorATodo: Tympanoctomys Kirchnerorum UPDATED
A post for us, lit geeks:
On Valentine’s Day, 1976, in Mexico City, Gabriel García Márquez was photographed showing off a shiner (and possibly a broken nose?):
What is known:
On February 12, 1976,
in a Mexico City movie theater packed with people attending the premiere of a film about the plane crash survivors in the Andes who turned to cannibalism.
At one point Mr. Vargas Llosa rushes up to Mr. García Márquez, who innocently tries to embrace him. Instead Mr. Vargas Llosa decks him, Mr. García Márquez’s blood gushing everywhere.
Of course, there’s plenty of speculation as to why. Photographer Rodrigo Moya, who took the above photo, said in 2007
Some had surmised that the fight may have been over politics, since Mr. García Márquez has always been on the left and Mr. Vargas Llosa at the time had begun to migrate to the right. (He later made an unsuccessful attempt to run for president of Peru in 1990 as a free marketeer.) But, as Mr. Moya explains, the cause was a woman, specifically, Mr. Vargas Llosa’s wife, whom Mr. García Márquez consoled during a difficult period in the marriage.
When I first heard of this, I thought the lady in question was Julia Urquidi, the Aunt Julia of Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, who was the first Mrs. Vargas Llosa, but it must have been the second Mrs. Vargas Llosa, cousin Patricia Llosa (also mentioned in Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter), who has been married to him since 1965.
“There’s a pact between Garcia Marquez and myself (not to talk about it),” Vargas Llosa, 78, said at a meeting of right-wing intellectuals in Caracas when a journalist popped the inevitable question following the Colombian’s death last week.
“He respected it until his death, and I will do the same. Let’s leave it to our biographers, if we deserve them, to investigate that issue.”
Which shows you one can throw a punch, be a great writer, and still come out as a gentleman.
Yes, being pro-democracy and civil rights makes you “right-ring”, in the eyes of Reuters.
Linked to by Babalu. Thank you!
American Arrested in Venezuela on Murder Charges. The Miami Herald has more: Venezuela accuses U.S. man of arms trafficking, attempted murder
A criminal court in the Venezuelan border state of Táchira on Wednesday ordered the detention of a U.S. citizen pending investigation into allegations of arms trafficking, criminal association and attempted homicide, the Ministry of Information reported.
The ministry said that Todd Michael Leininger, who authorities have described as a 32-year-old from Florida, was detained after allegedly shooting and injuring Jorge Santos Sandoval. Leininger’s Florida hometown was not released.
Authorities said Leininger was detained on Monday and that they recovered five weapons from his home, including two handguns and three rifles. One of the rifles had a telescopic site. Authorities said they also confiscated eight “camouflage” uniforms.
Leininger’s mom, who lives in Miami, asserts her son acted in self-defense when the intruder broke into the house.
A blessed and happy Easter to you and your loved ones,
Easter Thoughts from Roger Kimball.
American leftist websites proclaim that “Venezuela is one of the most democratic nations on Earth.” So democratic, that now the government may censor crossword puzzles:
Venezuelan newspaper accused of devising revolutionary crossword clues
Delcy Rodríguez, minister of information, calls for investigation of El Aragueño for allegedly printing anti-government puzzle
She tweeted that beaut, after which dozens of Venezuelans tweeted back mocking her. Some even made up a crossword (no hay means “there isn’t any”) listing shortages of staples – sugar, rice, milk, meat – and “what supermarkets have”, number 15 across, is “shortage”:
“Here’s the crossword they’re sending Delcy Rodríguez”
Este es el crucigrama que le mandan a Delcy Rodríguez pic.twitter.com/6OepzChgLh
— Revista NI IDEA (@revistaniidea) March 27, 2014
Let’s point out that Twitter and other social media have not been successfully blocked by the government – unlike print, radio and TV. Which, of course, the Left can’t believe because Mark Weisbrot says it ain’t so, just as they believe that Chavez “improved the economy drastically and ameliorated poverty drastically”:
This in NOT a demonstration, this is a line to buy food in Venezuela. The result of 15 years of Chavismo.
Esto NO es una manifestación, sino una cola para comprar alimentos en Venezuela. El resultado de 15 años de chavismo pic.twitter.com/Iq0M9RrG6x
— adriana cabrera (@adrianabravista) March 6, 2014
Those who believe that Chavez “improved the economy drastically and ameliorated poverty drastically”, on the other hand, will affirm that he had nothing to do with shortages, no matter what the Venezuelans themselves have been saying on the matter for the past four years.
Over in Miami, Thor Halvorssen of the Human Rights Foundation filed a lawsuit accusing the president of Venezuela’s National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, of receiving at least $50 million in bribes from Derwick Associates for kickbacks on electric plants.
Alek Boyd posts on Diosdado Cabello & Wikileaks
Wikileaks provides examples of how American authorities perceive Cabello, and so it is relevant to showcase these opinions, to get a measure of the man. I have chosen a few, among the 116 cables (2003-2010) that mention Cabello.
Go to his blog Infodio more.
If you check Alek’s twitter feed, you’ll see that he posts links specifically for Venezuela that bypass the government’s censorship, which of course Mark will have you believe doesn’t exist – no matter that Alek was banned in Caracas,
It seems, though, as if Infodio has been rocking a few too many boats - a few weeks ago, the site was banned in Venezuela.
At this point even Dilma – who is facing falling approval ratings and is not impressed with Venezuela’s government public relations b.s. – is getting tired of the regime’s shenanigans, and wants to get paid: Brazil grows wary of Venezuela under Maduro, reduces support
Rousseff is worried the Venezuelan government’s repression of recent street protests, and Maduro’s refusal to hold genuine dialogue with opposition leaders, may make the political crisis worse over time, the officials said.
Worsening turmoil could, in turn, endanger the sizeable interests of Brazilian companies in Venezuela. They include conglomerate Odebrecht SA.
Brazilian newspaper Valor Economico reported this month that Venezuelan public-sector companies already owe Brazilian companies as much as $2.5 billion in debt.
You know you’re in trouble when Odebrecht starts complaining.
Linked to be Pirate’s Cove. Thank you!
Fascinating article in Popular Science on Radio Tecnico: How The Zetas Cartel Took Over Mexico With Walkie-Talkies
Inside the communications infrastructure of the ultraviolent syndicate
Why walkie-talkies? To enable communication even in locations without cellular service.
How Jose Luis Del Toro Estrada was tapped to develop the covert radio network also remains a mystery, but as his system grew, it supplied the Zetas with what’s called a command-and-control capacity. “It essentially linked all the different members of the cartel—the people doing the trafficking and the people doing the protection—so there was a communication between them,” says Pike, the DEA special agent. Armed with handheld radios, the cartel’s street-corner halcones, or hawks, could help commanders avoid arrest by alerting them whenever police set up checkpoints. A midlevel boss in Nuevo Laredo could monitor a semitruck carrying several tons of cocaine as it trundled across the border into Texas. Most crucially, Zetas gunmen could use the system to attack and seize plazas, or smuggling corridors, held by other drug gangs.
The Zetas’ military training and ultraviolent tactics were crucial for propelling their rise to power, but one other factor was essential: After splitting from the Gulf Cartel, it was the Zetas who maintained control of the radio network.
Read the whole thing.