MEMRI pulled a second map from the Iranian website that had no accompanying description, but showed a number of western countries in different colors, including the U.S., Cuba, Venezuela, Panama, Ecuador and Brazil. See Below:
The step-by-step subversion led by the Havana-Caracas axis and followed by the presidents of Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ecuador and others, includes the following measures:
• Stacking the judiciary and/or intimidation of independent jurists who might rule edicts unconstitutional or fail to properly “prosecute” political opponents.
• Gradual elimination of constitutional separation of powers, including removing any checks and balances to the executive branch and giving it effective control over the legislative and judicial branches.
• Harassment, intimidation and eventual neutralization or takeover of news media.
• Establishment of “official,” “national” or otherwise government-controlled civil institutions, such as labor unions or trade associations.
• Militarization of society, which includes indoctrination of students in the virtues of socialism, the creation of armed “people’s militias” to serve the ruling political party and the purging of the professional military to leave only loyalists within the ranks.
• Control of police forces by the ruling political party and the elimination of any independent citizen access to protection from abuse by government officials.
• Criminalization of peaceful dissent and of political differences.
This list, sad to say, is far from comprehensive. Nor are its internal control measures original, having all been used by 20th-century dictatorial regimes.
What President Correa is trying to do — and let’s hope he will choose not to do after the referendum results are known — is demolish the foundation of the “liberal democracy” and replace it with a “dictatorial democracy.” This is by no means a word game. A liberal democracy is the type of government in which people consent to being governed — provided that their individual rights, including property rights, are protected by the Constitution; in which a division of powers limits the authority of those who govern; and where there is a market economy whose production function falls, fundamentally, on the civil society. In other words, the model of coexistence found in the 30 most developed and happiest countries on the planet.
On the other hand, the dictatorial democracy, as described and defended by the Dominican Juan Bosch in a 1969 essay titled “Dictatorship With Popular Support,” and revived by Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez in the so-called 21st Century Socialism, is in turn rooted in the enlightened despotism of the 17th and 18th centuries. It’s a type of government in which the authority — exercised by an exceptional caudillo legitimized in the polls by a majority of voters who renounce their rights and their control over their lives — is imposed upon the masses allegedly for their own glory and benefit, something that hardly ever occurs in practice as evidenced by the 30 poorest and unhappiest countries that fall in this category.
Mr. Fortuño has a much different view of the problem: He thinks high taxes have destroyed the Puerto Rican economy. He has already signed into law a five-year property tax holiday for real estate purchased through June of next year and waivers on fees for those transactions. Last week he handed his legislature a radical plan to simplify the tax code and sharply reduce corporate and individual rates.
Mr. Fortuño says that Puerto Rico’s recession—which began two years before the U.S. recession—only partly explains the current crisis. “If you look at the past decade, Puerto Rico has had negative growth for the entire period.” (According to his office, the economy contracted 0.2% in the 2000s.) This shows, he argues, that “we are in need of a major overhaul. If we just tweak it a little, we won’t accomplish what we need.”
The governor says he cut 20% of the budget but “it was not enough.” Puerto Rico needs “to provide an environment for our people to flourish and to let their ingenuity take them where they want to go.” He adds: “Puerto Rico has not been competitive. Investors have been going to Singapore and Ireland. Our system was failing us.” And it wasn’t for lack of capital. Commonwealth debt offerings, he says, always sell out quickly. “There is plenty of money here but it has not been worthwhile taking risk” in private-sector ventures.
To change that risk-reward profile, the Fortuño plan dramatically reduces corporate tax rates and raises the income levels in which higher rates kick in. The new schedule will replace six brackets with three and move the top corporate rate of 41% on income over $500,000 down to 30% on income over $2.5 million.
Puerto Rican governor Luis Fortuño has given his backing to a project for a dedicated gas pipeline that will exploit the natural gas deposits of the country in an effort to find alternatives to oil for power generation, according to a report in El Nuevo Día.
“The price of oil has kept rising and we see this in the petrol we buy, while the price of natural gas is not going up.
“As governors we must adapt to the times and in these two years that is what has happened and I believe that it is important to eliminate oil because it is more expensive, dirtier for the environment and much more dangerous,” Fortuño said.
According to the governor, he also signed two pieces of legislation this summer that will help increase the generation of renewable energy “from virtually zero to 15 per cent”.
Santos is credited with delivering some of the biggest blows against the FARC while serving as defense minister from 2006 to 2008. These include the 2008 rescue of 15 hostages including French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt and three U.S. defense contractors. He also ordered the raid into Ecuador that killed the group’s second in command, Raul Reyes.
Relations between Bolivia and the United States are still on a roller-coaster, two years after Bolivia expelled the U.S. ambassador, with Bolivian President Evo Morales now threatening to kick out the main U.S. government aid agency.