A blessed and happy Easter to you and your loved ones,
Easter Thoughts from Roger Kimball.
Faustam fortuna adiuvat
American and Latin American Politics, Society, and Culture.
A blessed and happy Easter to you and your loved ones,
Easter Thoughts from Roger Kimball.
Mexico City had 71 seconds of warning before shaking from a 7.2 earthquake about 200 miles away rumbled into the capital, thanks to central Mexico’s 21-year-old early quake warning system, officials said Friday. It’s a system that California still lacks.
The Mexican warning system could be seen on television (video below), when Televisa news announcer Eduardo Salazar calmly tells viewers that at 9:27 a.m. a seismic alert went off, triggering a shrieking whine on the broadcast. “At this moment, we have felt absolutely nothing,” the anchor says initially.
More than a minute after the first warning, shaking rolls through the television studio in Mexico City, strong enough to knock the news anchor from his stance. His voice strains as the shaking worsens, and he says the studios’s lights are swaying and that some of his staff are preparing to leave. He speaks louder: “It’s a strong earthquake.”
There were no reported injuries.
That a human being would waste his prodigious talent in the service of a monstrous dictator after having witnessed such event speaks of a blindness, a void of the soul.
But then, Fidel had gifted García Márquez a fully-furnished mansion in Havana’s best neighborhood (link in Spanish), and a Mercedes, complete with staff, after the 1982 Nobel award was announced.
Read my full post at Da Tech Guy’s blog to find out what event I’m referring to.
While on the subject,
In addition to being Fidel’s pal, Gabo also gave us “Lateeen-ohs” a reputation for being nonsensical and less than rational. His so-called “magical realism” pegged us all as totally out of touch with reality, and tagged us as noble savages — endearing, perhaps, but also annoyingly savage and inferior to rational North Americans and Europeans.
García Márquez also reduced us Puerto Ricans to cultural stereotypes, No se les hable de lógica, pues eso implica razonamiento y mesura y los puertorriqueños son hiperbólicos y exagerados. “Don’t speak to them of logic, since that implies reasoning and restraint, and Puerto Ricans are hyperbolic and exaggerated.”
Charming, wasn’t he?
[Note:I am told that the essay on Puerto Ricans was not written by García Márquez. If anyone has the name of the original author, please leave a link in the comments section.]
In a fellational tribute to Fidel Castro, García Márquez sounds like he wrote copy for Dos Equis in his spare time,
His devotion is to the word. His power is of seduction. He goes to seek out problems where they are. The impetus of inspiration is very much part of his style. Books reflect the breadth of his tastes very well. He stopped smoking to have the moral authority to combat tobacco addiction. He likes to prepare food recipes with a kind of scientific fervour. He keeps himself in excellent physical condition with various hours of gymnastics daily and frequent swimming. Invincible patience. Ironclad discipline. The force of his imagination stretches him to the unforeseen.
And he’s been known to cure insomnia by just walking into a room, yeah.
Make sure you bring your own soap and toilet paper: “Get up close and personal with the locals that make up the melange of Communism.”
The Sydney Morning Herald calls it ‘Travel for the mind’ with George Negus – Venezuela & Cuba
READER OFFER: With George’s instinctive journalistic interest, this two-country excursion will awaken and engage your mind.
“Of course, I’d rather fly,” he said. “But there are no seats available.” Cordova said that he had tried for a month to get a seat on an airplane, to no avail. That’s because the economic policies that have driven him to leave Venezuela have also made it exceedingly hard for people to depart by air.
That’s the “melange of Communism” for you.
Michael Totten continues his travel journals,
I heard no end of horror stories about soap shortages, both before and after I got there. A journalist friend of mine who visits Cuba semi-regularly brings little bars of hotel soap with him and hands them out to his interview subjects.
“They break down in tears when I give them soap,” he told me. “How often does that happen?” I said. “A hundred percent of the time,” he said.
I too brought soap with me to the island—full-size bars from the store, not small ones from hotels—but I didn’t want to make people cry wherever I went, so I left them discreetly for hotel staff, waiters, taxi drivers, and so on. And I tipped everyone as generously as I could since the government refuses to pay them.
None of this economic impoverishment is the result of American policy. The United States is hardly the world’s only soap manufacturer, for instance. Cuba can buy it from Mexico. Or Canada. Or the Dominican Republic. Cuba can make its own soap. It fact, it does make its own soap. The reason the country does not have enough is because the government historically hasn’t cared if the little people can’t wash. Soap is just one item among thousands that is strictly for the elite, for the “haves,” and for those lucky enough to find some in the shops before it runs out.
In a non-communist country where such a basic product is in short supply, somebody would mass-produce it and sell it. Soap-making doesn’t require nuclear physics. You can make it at home. Google “soap recipe” and you’ll see how easy it is. But Cuba is a communist country where private commerce is banned. If you make stuff and sell stuff, you might become “rich” and “bourgeois,” and the authorities will send you to prison.
Read the whole thing.
Condom shortage hits Cuba
Marxist Nicolas Maduro’s making a fashion statement inspired by Marx.
Groucho Marx, that is:
Nicolás Maduro introduced the new symbol of the revolution: The mustache cap.
The Venezuelan president surprised all during at event by showing the new icon of chavismo, by which all his followers can have his mustache.
Nicolás Maduro presentó el nuevo símbolo de la revolución: la “gorra del bigote”
El presidente venezolano sorprendió en un acto al mostrar un nuevo dispositivo del chavismo, gracias al cual sus seguidores pueden tener su bigote
The cap has a detachable mustache you can place under your nose.
I’m not making this up,
Maduro wore a blue one, but it’s also available in red or green.
Just in time for Mother’s Day!
Linked to by Babalu. Thank you!
Unlike the prior season, this season’s opener had me glued to the TV set from beginning to end. The episode is titled Time Zones, and Joel Murray as Freddy Rumsen opened it with an entrancing monologue (an ad for Accutron watches) that also serves both as a metaphor on time, and on the value of objects for those of us who are fond of our material possessions – especially our watches.
The pitch of Rumsen’s voice, the flat delivery, and the use of this monologue as the opener for the final season brings us into a Twilight Zone* of sorts, in keeping with the T-Zone title.
Read the rest of my review at Da Tech Guy Blog.
talking about The latest from Colombia plus other US-Latin America stories of the week with Silvio and Cecilia Torres.
Live at 8PM Eastern, and archived for your convenience.
The Venezuelan government has dismissed calls by the opposition for an amnesty for jailed protest leaders.
Government and opposition representatives met for a second time on Tuesday to try to put an end to two months of anti-government protests.
Following the meeting, Ramon Aveledo of the opposition MUD coalition said his proposal for an amnesty law had been rejected.
It’s all par for the course: Having put the Cubans in charge of Venezuela’s public notaries and civil registries, and of the computer systems of the presidency, ministries, social programs, police and security services as well as the national oil company,
Chávez’s successor, Nicolás Maduro, has deepened Caracas’s dependency on Havana even further. As students have taken to the streets in protest against an increasingly authoritarian regime the government has responded with a brutal repression that relies on many of the tools and tactics perfected by the police state that has run Cuba for too long.
Among those who would be denied amnesty are 30 military officials arrested for conspiracy to topple Cuba-controlled dictatorship
Among those arrested are the brothers Riviera Lago, one a colonel and the other a lieutenant colonel. Also two members of the National Guard, two from the navy, and one from the army. These are added to the generals arrested three weeks earlier, Oswaldo Hernandez Sanchez, Jose Machillanda Diaz, and Carlos Millan Yaguaracuto. The generals are all from the air force, like the majority of those involved in the alleged conspiracy.
Up to now, there have been very few military showing support for the protesters.
Other Venezuela items:
[T]he supply of currency in the economy [has] dried up almost completely.