18.3.10

Libertad de expresion en #superpowernation

El encuentro global de twiteros y blogueros, denominado superpowernation y organizado por la BBC, ha comenzado. Estaremos discutiendo las problemáticas de distintos países.



17.3.10

Teme Colombia a Chavez?

Ayer tuve la oportunidad de asistir a la presentación, por parte del Vice Presidente de Colombia Francisco Santos Calderon, de un documental sobre la producción de cocaína en ese país, titulado "Sniffing the Forest". Debo decir que me causó gran impresión, por cuanto puede observarse la utilización de cemento, químicos y gasolina en el proceso de producción de la pasta de coca, así como también la destrucción, y contaminación ambiental que el cultivo de coca, y producción de cocaína dejan tras sí. Debo confesar que ignoraba el hecho de que Colombia es el país con mayor bio-diversidad por kilometro cuadrado, o que las minas anti persona utilizadas por la narco guerrilla han cobrado mas de 30 vidas. En suma, un documental sumamente interesante. Considero significativo y loable, el hecho de que el Vice Presidente de Colombia, quien en una oportunidad fue secuestrado por Pablo Escobar, haya tomado una posición tan activa en la diseminación de información sobre el flagelo de la cocaína. A ese fin, el gobierno de Uribe ha iniciado un programa, llamado "Shared Responsibility" (responsabilidad compartida), cuyo objetivo es alertar e informar a la ciudadanía, en mercados de consumo, sobre lo que hay detrás de la cocaína. Uno de los argumentos de Santos Calderon que me pareció mas contundente fue el exponer la hipocresía de quienes en Europa se dicen preocupados por el medio ambiente, reciclaje, cambio climático, etc., y a la vez consumen cocaína, cuya producción incrementa los indices de criminalidad, obliga a millones de familias a desplazarse, causa miles de muertes, y atenta contra el medio ambiente, contribuyendo, dice Santos, con el cambio climático.

Ahora bien, el propósito de mi visita era principalmente el de increpar al Vice Presidente Santos sobre la posición de su gobierno con respecto, en primer lugar, al hecho de que Venezuela se ha convertido en puerto de salida de la mayor parte de la cocaína que se produce en Colombia, y, en segundo lugar, la posición de Colombia con respecto a la relación de apoyo y connivencia del régimen de Hugo Chavez para con las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC). Lamentablemente, para la credibilidad de los admirables esfuerzos que la administración de Uribe ha hecho hasta los momentos en combatir la narco guerrilla, el Sr. Santos, luego de reírse ante la incomoda pregunta, que causó revuelo en el auditorio, dijo que no podía contestar, salvo mencionar que su gobierno esta tratando de restablecer el dialogo, a través de canales diplomáticos, con el régimen de Chavez. En conversación posterior le indiqué al Sr. Santos que mi intención era tan solo un reflejo de lo que muchos venezolanos pensaban, por cuanto es hecho publico y notorio, que Colombia posee una cantidad considerable de evidencia, que demuestra que lo de Chavez y las FARC va mucho mas allá de simples reuniones en Miraflores. Por tanto, me parece hipócrita, afirmar que Colombia esta combatiendo en todos los frentes posibles a las FARC, cuando es igualmente notorio que no se esta haciendo nada con respecto a quien apoya, financia, y protege a las FARC.

En respuesta a una de las preguntas, Santos Calderon dijo que, finalmente, la responsabilidad de combatir el crimen organizado y el narco-terrorismo, recae sobre cada uno de los países de la región, con lo cual estoy en completo acuerdo. No obstante, si Colombia no se atreve, por cuestiones de índole político o comercial, a confrontar a Chavez con toda la evidencia acumulada en los últimos años, por lo menos que comparta con el mundo la información que posee sobre Chavez y las FARC. Si de lo que se trata es de responsabilidad compartida, de crear conciencia, y el esfuerzo es sincero, eso es lo menos que  Colombia podría hacer. Por la paz y bienestar de sus ciudadanos, y del mundo.

15.3.10

ETA in Venezuela

Justice Eloy Velasco, of Spain's High Court, indicted a number of ETA terrorists, and shed light on the professional relationship that some of them have with the Chavez regime. This has rattled the Venezuelan caudillo, who seems somewhat uncomfortable about people being able to post this kind of information online. Since Velasco's indictment, there's been a lot of talk about ETA presence in Venezuela in the media. Arturo Cubillas Fontan, ETA member at the centre of the accusations, and who has been in Venezuela since late 80ies, is married to Goizeder Odriozola Lataillade, who once was Chavez secretary. Cubillas Fontan works as head of security of Venezuela's Ministry of Land, and has Venezuelan citizenship. Chavez, being his customary thuggish self, has denied everything, and is yet to announce anything indicative of an investigation, dismissal, or arrest of Cubillas Fontan. As Francisco Toro argues, the "Venezuelan government isn't obliquely "sponsoring" terrorists; it's employing them outright."

This whole ETA issue brings a lot of memories. In 1978, my grand parents and mother, of Basque origin and living in Venezuela at the time, decided to move back to the Basque country. During my years in Zarauz, between 1978 and 1984, I developed a close friendship with a guy called Javi (Javier or Xavier) Mutiozabal. "Mutio," as we used to call him, had two brothers: one called Felix and, the eldest, called Jose Angel. For us kids, the fact that Jose Angel used to boast that he belonged to ETA meant nothing. I never gave a second thought to it, despite the fact that my grand father, arrested on trumped charges, and tortured during Franco's years, kept slamming the antics of ETA, arguing that those, so called ETA nationalists, were nowhere to be found when the Gudaris, as nationalists are called in the Basque country, decided to fight Franco. In my grand father's opinion, there was no point in fighting against the Spanish State for Basque language, culture, or right to exist, post Franco's death. "One doesn't fight with terror in a democracy," he often told me.

The reality in the street was different though, for the death of Franco, and arrival of democracy had just emboldened ETA. Jose Angel was living proof of it, everyone about town knew of his involvement with ETA, and no one did anything about it. Further, he wasn't the only one who openly supported ETA. However when GAL appeared on the scene, and ETA's members corpses started popping up everywhere, Jose Angel, and many others, got scared and decided to flee. Thus I got privy, because of my friendship with Mutio, that his brother Jose Angel had gone to Venezuela, and was working in Caracas' Centro Vasco. So I started researching about him, and what follows is what I have been able to find, thus far.

Jose Angel Mutiozabal Galarraga, Venezuelan ID. 24.227.276, D.O.B. 23/12/1962, pops up in a ruling, which demonstrates, yet again, that Venezuelan authorities, as recently as March 2006, have been made aware of commercial activities in Venezuela of ETA members. In the ruling one can read names such as Eugenio Barrutiabengoa Zabarte, and Ignacio Lequerica Urresti. Barrutiabengoa Zabarte has caused some diplomatic incidents between the governments of Spain and Venezuela in the past. He was arrested, and freed, in 1996. An arrest warrant to apprehend him was issued by the Attorney's Office in May 2002, which was reiterated by Venezuela's Supreme Court in March 2006. In 2006, the Chavez regime assured that it would not grant citizenship to Barrutiabengoa Zabarte and other wanted ETA members. In 2002, Arturo Cubillas Fontan was arrested for "preventing the course of justice", read for protecting Barrutiabengoa and other ETA terrorists. He was promptly released. The fact that Jose Angel Mutiozabal had the chutzpah of seeking redress from authorities, about business transactions of ETA's underworld in Venezuela, shows just how comfortable these people are with the current regime. Intelligence sources in Venezuela have been aware of their presence, and whereabouts, in the country since they arrived, and yet arrest warrants issued in 2002 need reiteration in 2006, owing to lack of action on behalf of authorities. So how can Chavez dare argue that his regime does not protect terrorists? How come ETA members, and people suspected of connections to ETA, have been granted Venezuelan citizenship? How come Chavez has not ordered the arrest of a man who's married to his  former secretary?

Chavez is in bed with terrorist groups. Chavez has suspended relations with Colombia, on four occasions, over FARC issues, meets, and poses, with internationally wanted criminals in Miraflores. He also employs them. Let's see if he can prevent this information to be posted online.

Addendum: as news that a another member of ETA employed by Chavez emerge, I have been able to connect, what I think could be another dot in the network of ETA in Venezuela. In the ruling where the names of Jose Angel Mutiozabal, Eugenio Barrutiabengoa and Ignacio Lequerica can be read, there's another one that caught my attention: Maria Eizaguirre. It is entirely possible that whoever transcribed those names made spelling mistakes, which is quite common in the case of Basque last names. In the late 80ies I bought motorbikes, and got involved in motocross, and enduro racing. In that setting, I met people like Ronald Morett, and I also met Fernando Arias, whose mother, Maria Izaguirre de Arias, ID. 6114620, D.O.B. 25/06/1938, also of Basque origin, was involved in some form of ETA-support network, whereby newly arrived ETA terrorists were helped by members of the Basque community in Venezuela. Could the Maria Eizaguirre cited in the ruling be the same as Maria Izaguirre de Arias involved in helping ETA terrorists? Authorities would do well in pondering on that question.

14.3.10

Chavez to control internet?

The latest from the insanely-deranged, terrorism-supporter, dictator-loving, drug-trafic-allowing, coup leading, militaristic, Venezuelan kingpin is just laughable: he says internet ought to be controlled: I'd say bring it on MoFo! Now some may perceive my words as inappropriate. Some may think that having CANTV (Venezuela's telecom company) under his thumb, Chavez can easily filter what sites can be accessed from the country. In theory he could, but bear with me. Cuba, widely known as one of the countries where internet access is most restricted, has not been able to stop the blogging phenomenon by Yoani Sanchez and the like. Cuba, a failed state by all counts, lacking modern infrastructure, with an appalling and half dysfunctional telecom network, with one of the most efficient repressive and intelligence apparatuses, and with a technology-impaired population that can hardly afford mobile phones, has not been able to make the slightest of dents in the flow of information from the island onto the web with the advent of blogs, twitter, sms, etc.

Venezuela’s mobile penetration, on the other hand, has passed the 100% milestone, positioning itself well above the Latin American average. And I shall quote further: "Venezuela’s per- capita use of smart phones outpaces Europe’s, according to Research in Motion Ltd., BlackBerry’s manufacturer." Now does anyone with an iota of brain really think that Chavez, and the bunch of incompetent thugs that work for him, will be able to somewhat affect the flow of information to and fro the web? Mind you, over the years I have been able to, singlehandedly and without much resources, trash nearly all attempts Chavez's sycophants have made to establish a half decent chavista online reputation. In whatever particular subject pertaining to Chavez / Venezuela I have failed to shed an independent light on, my fellow Venezuelan bloggers have done an equally fantastic job, of their own, at exposing "the turpitude" of chavismo, as Daniel says. Miguel gets constantly quoted by Bloomberg and other financial publications, Quico writes every so often for international 'liberal' media, Pedro gets replies from the OAS Sec Gen, and this is only a handful. Nelson Bocaranda has more than 115,000 followers in his twitter account (@nelsonbocaranda) and retweets regularly updates of mine, while Alberto Ravell, former CEO of Globovision and Chavez's favourite punchbag lately, has got another 100K followers (@albertoravell).

Pardon my language here, but these fucking thugs have no clue about what they're getting on. They protect ETA and FARC terrorists all right. They have turned Venezuela, for all intents and purposes, in a criminals' Eden. They can bring an octogenarian creep, who has probably never written a blog in his life, from Cuba all they like. But from there to control internet? They have got to be taking the piss, for this is not forcing cable companies to drop a TV signal, as they did with RCTV. Internet has got its own life, and it's unstoppable, as all dictators are only too aware.

11.3.10

Enemies of a free Cuba

Here's a list of last names of MEPs (pag. 12), who voted against a resolution condemning deplorable human rights situation in Cuba, and the death of political prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo:

ALDE: Vattimo
ECR: Cymański, Czarnecki
GUE/NGL: Angourakis, Bisky, Chountis, de Brún, Ernst, Ferreira João, Figueiredo, Hadjigeorgiou, Händel, Klute, Kohlíček, Le Hyaric, Maštálka, Matias, Meyer, Portas, Ransdorf, Remek, Rubiks, Scholz, Søndergaard, Svensson Eva-Britt, Vergiat, Wils
NI: Sinclaire
PPE: Jiménez-Becerril Barrio*
S&D: Gierek

May their names be remembered as that of enemies of democracy, human rights, and freedom.

* Juan Salafranca from EPP, has emailed saying that Jimenez-Becerril Barrio pushed the wrong button by mistake.

10.3.10

EU Parliament condemns Cuba dictatorship

So the European Parliament issued a strong condemnation against the Cuban tyrants today, basically due to the state-sponsored violation of human rights in the prison island. Last week, Spain's highest court issued an indictment against the Venezuelan caudillo, owing to his relationship with ETA and FARC, both considered terrorist organisations by civilised nations. Seriously though, what do these condemnations / indictments achieve on the ground? Do these measures in any way ameliorate the otherwise destitute life of Cubans or Venezuelans? Do the Cuban or the Venezuelan regimes in any way change policy, or cease in their dictatorial behaviour? Are institutions, in Cuba and Venezuela, any more than just appendixes of Castro and Chavez after such pronouncements are announced? More importantly, do these resolutions impede European governments and businesses to actively seek, and get, lucrative deals, in Cuba and Venezuela, while conveniently brushing aside the human suffering they are contributing to, and fostering?

No, to all of the above, and no, to any hope that dictators will heed calls for moderation, restraint, and respect for human rights. No, to any hope that EU governments and businesses will pull the plug on tyrants. No, to any hope that multilaterals will shun dictatorships, and its very effective diplomatic representatives. No, to any change in foreign policy. No, to any hope that the world's media will start referring to Castro and Chavez, as dictators, instead of presidents, under whose watch untold crimes take place, and barbarism reigns supreme. No, to any hope that the world's most powerful human rights NGOs will admit that the conditions in Guantanamo Bay prison are a luxury beyond the wildest dreams of inmates of Cuban and Venezuelan prisons. No, to any hope that the Church will demand to be granted access to Cuban prisons. No, to any hope that the Red Cross will demand to be granted access to Cuban prisons. So I'd say, is high time these so called defenders of human rights stop posturing, for they're nothing more than a barking dog that never, ever, bites.

9.3.10

An invitation to Sean Penn

The latest from Sean Penn is just amazing. Mind, this is a Hollywood type, who hasn't got the slightest clue about the realities of our country, yet he feels informed enough, on the basis of a couple of trips on expenses paid for by the Venezuelan taxpayer, to state that anyone who calls Chavez a dictator should be put in jail. Mind, this is someone who seems totally unaware of this list of reports / indictments, from reputable bodies, not least of all the Inter American Commission on Human Rights. There a few things from / about Venezuela that upset me these days. However the sheer racism of these bloody advocates, of a military dictator let's never forget, pontificating from the distance about how our country should be run, or giving their opinion, as if they knew, as if actually someone cared for what they think, still gets into me. So here's an invitation to Sean Penn: leave the comfort of your life and move, permanently, say for a year, to Venezuela, or Cuba. Spend some time there, away from official protection, and try to earn a living as that 80% you say Chavez has given the chance to dream. Then, after a while,  go back to your pampered, meaningless, and decadent existence, and talk about the realities of living under a megalomanic strongman.

Perhaps then, you will understand how unfounded your opinions about our country are. Perhaps then, you will understand half of the story, and you will be able to see things within proper context. Can you put your money where your mouth is Sean?

3.3.10

Chavez borrows from Hitler

So upon learning that Spain's High Court indicted a few terrorists from ETA and FARC, one of them and his wife still employed by the Venezuelan State, Hugo Chavez, ever respectful of rule of law, mocked the whole situation, and said: "history will absolve me." Some have, wrongly, attributed the putschist's statement to Fidel Castro, who said the words in the trial after failing to oust Batista. However the Cuban dictator lifted it in turn from Hitler's self defence spiel, after its own failed attempt, known as the Beer Hall Putsch.

1.3.10

Venezuela: ETA, FARC, Chavez relation revealed in Spain

This is another "I told you so moment". In October 2006, I posted this on vcrisis.com:
ETA terrorist Jose Arturo Cubillas Fontan arrived in Venezuela in May 1989... Cubillas, who as a member of ETA's "Comando Oker" took part in the assassination of Frenchmen Joseph Couchot and Spaniards Angel Facal Soto and Máximo García Kleinte (policeman), complained in 2003 that he was being harassed in Venezuela by Spanish police forces... Cubillas married Venezuelan of Basque descent Goizeder Odriozola. For that reason he has Venezuelan citizenship. Its worth bearing in mind that terrorist Rodrigo Granda of Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) claimed that his deportation to Colombia -after his capture in Caracas- was illegal for he was a Venezuelan citizen... Venezuelan officials argue that no ETA member works for the Chavez regime. However Cubillas' wife -Goizeder Odriozola- has had different position within the current administration, the latest being director of Hugo Chavez' presidential office. Before this Odriozola was in charge of information and public relations in the Agriculture Ministry where her husband is working since October 2005. Will anyone believe that Mrs. Cubillas is unaware of the background of her husband and in light of it how come she got an ETA terrorist a job as a civil servant? How come Hugo Chavez has the wife of an ETA terrorist working directly with him?
Now read what Justice Eloy Velasco Nuñez indictment says (page 4):
... y por la parte de la ETA ARTURO CUBlLLAS FONTAN... 
 No further comments needed.