By William J. Dobson
By William J. Dobson | 01:32 PM ET, 05/06/2011
El planeta, la humanidad, el mundo, necesita urgentemente de personas como tú y yo; que nos ocupemos en trabajar por él. Tolerancia, justicia, educación, conservación, nos interesan todas, y todas son necesarias.
By Alvaro Vargas Llosa
Updated: Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Any time a bunch of soldiers break into a presidential palace, pick up the president and put him on a flight to exile, as happened in Honduras last Sunday, you have a “coup.” But, unlike most coup targets in Latin America’s tortuous republican history, Honduras’s deposed president, Manuel Zelaya, bears the biggest responsibility for his overthrow.
A member of the rancid oligarchy he now decries, Zelaya took office in 2006 as the leader of one of the two center-right parties that have dominated Honduran politics for decades. His general platform, his support for the Central American Free Trade Agreement with the United States and his alliances with business organizations gave no inkling of the fact that halfway into his term he would become a political cross-dresser.
Suddenly, in 2007, he declared himself a socialist and began to establish close ties with Venezuela. In December of that year, he incorporated Honduras into Petrocaribe, a mechanism set up by Hugo Chávez for lavishing oil subsidies on Latin American and Caribbean countries in exchange for political subservience. Then his government joined the Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America and the Caribbean (ALBA), Venezuela’s answer to the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas, ostensibly a commercial alliance but in practice a political conspiracy that seeks to expand populist dictatorship to the rest of Latin America.
Last year, following the script originally laid out by Chávez in Venezuela and adopted by Evo Morales in Bolivia and Rafael Correa in Ecuador, Zelaya announced that he would hold a referendum to set upa constituent assembly that would change the constitution that barred him from reelection. In the next few months, every legal body in Honduras — the electoral tribunal, the Supreme Court, the attorney general, the human rights ombudsman — declared the referendum unconstitutional. According to the Honduran constitution (articles 5, 373 and 374), presidential term limits cannot be changed under any circumstance; only Congress can modify the constitution; and political institutions are not subject to referendums. Honduras’s Congress, Zelaya’s own Liberal Party and a majority of Hondurans (in various polls) expressed their horror at the prospect of having Zelaya perpetuate himself and bring Honduras into the Chávez fold. In defiance of court orders, Zelaya persisted. Surrounded by a friendly mob, he broke into the military installations where the ballots were kept and ordered them distributed. The courts declared that Zelaya had placed himself outside the law, and Congress began an impeachment procedure.
This is the context in which the military, in an ill-advised move that turned a perfectly legal mechanism for stopping Zelaya into a coup, expelled the president. The fact that the constitutional procedure was subsequently followed by having Congress appoint the head of the legislative body, Roberto Micheletti, as interim president, and that the elections scheduled for November have not been canceled, is not enough to dissipate the cloud of illegitimacy that hangs over the new government. This factor has disarmed Zelaya’s critics in the international community in the face of a well-coordinated campaign led by Chávez to reinstate him and denounce the coup as an oligarchic assault on democracy.
That said, the international response, seeking to reinstate Zelaya without any mention of his illegal acts, has been highly inadequate. The Organization of American States, led by its secretary general, José Miguel Insulza, has acted like Venezuela’s poodle. At Chávez’s request, Insulza went to Nicaragua, where a summit of the anti-democratic ALBA group became the hemisphere’s political center of gravity after the coup. Insulza and other populist presidents said nothing about Zelaya’s dictatorial conduct leading up to last Sunday’s events and simply echoed Venezuela’s self-serving stance. Efforts by other countries, including the United States and many South American governments, to put some nuance into the public statements were neutralized by the spectacle unfolding in Nicaragua, which was widely reported across the Spanish-speaking world. It was sad to see Insulza suddenly remember his organization’s Inter-American Democratic charter in relation to Honduras — the same rules of democratic conduct that Chávez, Morales, Correa and Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega have violated on numerous occasions while the OAS looked the other way.
The crisis in Honduras should bring to people’s attention this truth about Latin America today: The gravest threat to liberty comes from elected populists who are seeking to subject the institutions of the law to their megalomaniac whims. Given that scenario, the hemisphere’s response to Honduras’s crisis has undermined those who are trying to prevent populism from taking the region back to the times when it was forced to choose between left-wing revolution and military dictatorships.
Alvaro Vargas Llosa is the editor of “Lessons From the Poor” and director of the Center on Global Prosperity at the Independent Institute. He is syndicated by the Washington Post Writers Group. His e-mail address is AVLlosa@independent.org .
By Monte Reel
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, August 10, 2007; A09
BUENOS AIRES, Aug. 9 — Days after authorities discovered a suitcase full of nearly $800,000 that had been taken on a private airplane carrying Argentine and Venezuelan officials, one of those officials has resigned and suspicions of a government scandal have grown.
A Venezuelan businessman was detained at a Buenos Aires airport Saturday when customs officials found $790,550 in undeclared cash in his luggage. The incident preceded Monday’s arrival here of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, leading to questions about the possibility of a link between the businessman and the Venezuelan or Argentine governments.
© 2007 The Washington Post Company
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Claims the needs of workers put ahead of profits
By Juan Forero, Washington Post | August 10, 2007
CARACAS — At a sleek, airy factory built by Venezuela’s populist government, 80 workers churn out shoes — basic and black and all of them to be shipped to Fidel Castro’s Cuba, a leading economic partner.
With no manager or owner, the workers have an equal stake in a business celebrated as a shining alternative to the “savage capitalism” President Hugo Chávez constantly disparages.
“Here there are no chiefs, no managers,” said Gustavo Zuniga, one of the workers, explaining that a workers’ assembly makes the big decisions.
There is also no need to compete — production is wholly sustained by government orders.
© Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company
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As increedible as this might appear, I still think there is some good in the politics Chavez do. As I have expressed before, the countries need to help each other, with the intention of stopping genocides, or helping the poor out of their misery, or to get rid of dictators (Fidel, Hugo, etc). Some of this efforts may not be recoverable in economics terms. However, they must be done. Without opportunity and justice for all, the world will never see peace. Chavez does what he does not for the good of the people – he would not do all other criminal acts if that was the case – but in this case, Morales seems to at least be giving away this money in a sort of less political tint way as Hugo does.
Bankrolling Morales’s Social Initiatives, Chávez Steers Bolivia From Washington
By Peter S. Goodman
Allama-wool hat swathing his head, Santos Paredes took the floor with photos in hand — images of a half-built medical clinic in his village on the high plains of the Andes. Paredes, the mayor, entreated Bolivia’s president, Evo Morales, for money to finish the job.
“I ask for your blessing,” Paredes said, laying the pictures across a red-velvet tablecloth as the president leaned in for a look. Morales was here to distribute aid supplied by his ideological kinsman, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.