Saturday, December 20, 2008

"There is no cholera"

"There is no cholera" is what Robert Mugabe was saying late this week at a three conference he holds weekly outside of Zimbabwe's capital. This comes on the tail of a declaration of a "cholera disaster zone" in a neighboring region of South Africa.

Mugabe was also quoted at this same meeting as having said: "Zimbabwe is mine". He also went on to say that among growing pressure from the rest of the African Union and the world, the only people who could remove him from power were the people of Zimbabwe.

All I have to say is this: They did Mr Mugabe, they told you to leave last time you held an election. You just refused to go anywhere.

Muchacho Enfermo

Friday, December 19, 2008

Mariela Castro and US agree on Human Rights

The US this week was the only western nation to vote a against a non-binding declaration proposed by the UN to decriminalize homosexuality. In voting against this motion the US is sending a clear message that although it has signed the Declaration of Human Rights 60 years ago, it seems that it considers homosexuality to be outside of that declaration and that sexual preference is not a basic Human Right.

In Cuba, Mariela Castro (daughter of Raul Castro and director of the Cuban National Center for Sex Education) was holding a conference on the inclusion of homosexuals and transgendered people into Cuban society. At this conference she was asked by Yoani Sanchez (author of Generation Y)if Cuba's acceptance of gay and transgendered rights would open the door for a more widespread reform on Human Rights, such as giving Cubans the right to have political opinions. Mariela answered that this was outside her field of responsibility. Later in a letter she wrote, she more or less indicates that a discussion about gay rights is in no way related to a discussion about greater Human Rights.

So.... without even talking to each other about it both Cuba and the US seem to think that sexual preference is not really related to Human Rights. Maybe these two feuding nations have more in common then they like to admit.

Muchacho Enfermo

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Castro: Wants to trade political prisoners for the "Cuban Five"

In Brazil today President Castro, little brother of Fidel Castro, has said that he is willing to send political prisoners and their families to the US in exchange for the "Cuban Five". The Cuban five are currently imprisoned in the US for espionage and attempted murder.

Castro has stated that he do "gesture for gesture" as a show of goodwill to the president elect Barack Obama and hopefully spur talks about ending the embargo. This comes on the heals of the other 32 South American and Caribbean nations having urged the US, last Tuesday, to end the embargo against Cuba.

We will have to wait and see if this pans out for Castro. If it does it would mean a major image boost in Cuba for his regime that has done their best to portray the "Cuban Five" as the "Five Heroes".

Nobody knows how this will play out on either side. Will Cuba hold their end of the proposed deal? Will the US cave and make the trade? This could be a chance to help the US rebuild their international reputation that has suffered worldwide in the last few years. International pressure has been mounting in the last few months for the US to lift the embargo, since both the UN and the EU have both voted to oppose it.

In my opinion, nothing will come of this, both sides are too entrenched in their self-righteousness to make a move and both sides have to deal with tremendous opposition pressure from within. I think this was just another volley in an ongoing war of words between the two nations.

For more information please visit Reuters.

Muchacho Enfermo

Why Danny Willaims is awesome.

Good morning everyone, I just wanted to get this off my chest. Danny Williams is awesome. He is the most interesting person in Canadian politics since Jean Chretien or Brian Tobin.

I remember about a year ago Report on Business had an interesting exposé on Mr. Williams called: That's Danny Billions to You.
Which is basically a short biography of Danny's adult life. Now Danny is back in the news, seizing the assets of AbitiBowater in Newfoundland-Labrador. When Danny heard the company wanted to close a plant, put people out of work, leave the province and sell off its natural resource rights Danny Williams stepped in and said that the “honourable thing” would have been for the company to have handed over its assets “free of charge.”

I don't always agree with Mr Williams and I most certainly don't usually with seizure of assets by governments. I just think Mr Williams is immensely entertaining and it's nice to see someone in Canadian politics with such fire. The last time I remember someone this dedicated to the voters was Brian Tobin standing in front of the UN on a pile of fish defending himself for having shot at Portuguese fishermen.

Another thing that I love about Williams is that everything he does he does for his voters or to get re-elected which is pretty much the same thing. Like the time he had all the Canadian flags taken down from government buildings in protest when he felt that Newfoundland-Labrador wasn't getting their fair share of equalization payments.

All that to say love him or hate him, Danny Williams is still awesome!

Muchacho Enfermo

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New legislation in Russia brings back ghost of the KGB

New Vladimir Putin backed legislation would make it treason to pass "state secrets" to an NGO. Now we all know Russia and we all know Putin so the term "state secret" is a very loose term. Basically it means that anyone who criticizes the government or opposes them would be punishable by a 20 year term in prison. Russia has over 200 thousand NGOs according to wikipedia.

Let me put this in perspective: If this law were put in place in Canada, I could be arrested for my blog. Or if I criticized the government and donated money to Canadian Feed the Children.... Bam! 20 years in prison.

Between this law, the state appropriation of almost all the oil fields, that whole Georgia business and the talks of having a military presence in Cuba it feels like we're almost back in the bad old times of the Soviet Union.

Also check out The Jurist for a short and very concise explanation.

Muchacho Enfermo

Bolivia: stopped before it even starts

It was reported today in Cuban Colada by Renato Perez Pizarro that the President of Bolivia Evo Morales proposed to Latin American nations to recall their ambassadors to the US as a way of pressuring Obama to lift the embargo within a prescribed time frame. Needless to say that this measure was not adopted at the end of the summit and all the ambassadors are still safe and sound in DC.

I don't know much about Morales except that he's a socialist and a fan of Che, that he plays soccer on weekends and never finished high school... Except for being a socialist, a pal of Hugo Chavez and Che fan he didn't seem all that bad, but if he'd finished high school maybe he would have seen that recalling his ambassador would not have been a smart move... that and I think he also kicked out a US ambassador back in September. Good job Evo Morales, way to alienate your country even more.

Muchacho Enfermo

Blogfather update December 17th

Andisheh reported this morning that Hossein Derakhshan was arrested in his family residence by 6 plain clothed officers, his equipment taken away and he is being held at Branch 1 of the Revolutionary court, he hasn't been charged but he is accused of insulting religion.

Reading this has raised a few questions for me:
1- Why are the reports of the accusations against him different?
2- When his family was interviewed the Associated Press they claimed to have not seen him in a month, but never mentioned he was arrested in their home.

Until I find a more reliable source I'll keep looking through Persian blogs and news agencies to keep you all posted.

Muchacho Enfermo

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Gays being killed in Brazil... by whom?

The Huffington Post reported this a few days back: Brazilian police suspected in the killing of gays. The brief report states a sergeant may be involved in some way in the killing of 13 gay men in Sao Paulo. Today the AFP has put out a brief news clip saying that the State Police now believe it's a serial killer and make no mention of the original suspected officer.

I'm not sure what this world is coming to if it took 13 victims before the cops realized something wasn't right. That or they just didn't care very much. Either way it's wrong and something should be done.

Muchacho Enfermo

What happened to the shoe thrower?

The associated press today put out a video by Ed Donahue in which he reports that the Iraqi journalist that threw his shoes at Dubya hasn't been seen since being handed over to the Iraqi judicial system directly after the incident. The man's employer says he was seriously harmed in the aftermath of the shoe hurling while other officials say he is in good health. The White House also states they have confidence in the Iraqi judicial system.

One wonders if the Iraqis will judge him harshly to cozy up to the US or if they will grant him clemency because of world wide press coverage...

Muchacho Enfermo

Now in English

Claudia Cadelo's blog is now being translated into English! For those of you who haven't had the pleasure, or just weren't able to read her Spanish one I'm putting a link to her English version in my blogroll. If you liked Generation Y (which links to her as well) you will also love this blog. Check it out.

Muchacho Enfermo

Monday, December 15, 2008

Shirin Ebadi urges Iran to release the BlogFather

As reported in the Globe and Mail Nobel peace prize laureate Shirin Ebadi spoke to the media at a news conference in England and is speaking out against the reported arrest of Hossein Derakhshan on November 1st in Tehran.

The BlogFather has dual citizenship (Iranian and Canadian) and as such he should be entitled to some form of Canadian support. I urge all of you to contact your MPs in Ottawa and urge them to take action. Here is a list of all current MPs in Ottawa. Please call, write or email and show your support for one of our own.

Send something like this: "It has come to my attention, as a Canadian voter, taxpayer and citizen that a citizen of Canada is being held in captivity in Iran without any information being supplied to Ottawa, I would urge you, (insert MPs name here), to make the necessary inquiries and do everything in your power as an elected official of this great country to help secure the release of Hossein Derakhshan. Thank you, sincerely (insert you name here)"

Regardless if you agree with his views or not; no Canadian, no blogger, no one, should ever be arrested for speaking his or her mind. FREE THE BLOGFATHER!

Muchacho Enfermo

Sunday, December 14, 2008