Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New years eve reflections and wishes for the new year

I'm sitting in my kitchen sipping on a beer and reflecting back on 2008. The whole tumultuous year that has seen Canada through another election, one in Quebec, the financial meltdown, renewed violence in Gaza, the whole business with Irak, my travels throughout the Americas and Canada. Looking back on the amazing people I've met (you all know who you are, despite the fact that some of you can't even view my blog), the things I've seen and done. Looking back on all this... I'm happy. I'm happy I went where I went, I'm in some strange way glad for the meltdown that forced me into a new life. All in all, 2008 was a huge success for me and I'm sad to see it go.

For 2009, despite the fact I'm sad to see 2008 finish, I'm looking forward to 2009, if only for my friends my Cuba. One more year forward is one year closer to change. I keep this little island country in my heart everyday and everyday I knock on wood for change.

For 2009 here are my wishes:
-For my blog: I want to increase my traffic, figuring this out is tough for me but I hope I can get more people here and spark some meaningful debates.
-For Canada: I wish that our politicians grow up and step up and figure out what we need in this time of crisis.
-For Gaza: I wish that there is a compromise that will finally end decades of bloodshed.
-For Africa: I wish an end to corruption of government, for the world to finally realize that Africa needs us.
-For South America: To realize that they are all sovereign nations without the need for radical views or extremist governments (ie Bolivia, Venezuela).
-For Russia: For Putin not to pass the laws he plans on passing.
-For Hoder: Freedom from Iranian jail and for the spotlight to be brought to Human Rights in that country.
-For Burma: For the struggle for human rights come to an end. For my friend and fellow blogger Ashin Mettacara not go to prison.
-For the US: That Obama really is change for the better.
-For Cuba: I wish for Cuba freedom, all sorts of freedoms. I wish for free elections, for reforms and for freedom of thought and expression. For Yoani Sanchez to continue paving the way for other revolutionaries.
-For my fellow bloggers: I wish the strength to carry on the good fight in the face of adversity or low readership. You are all making a difference no matter how small, you change the world one person at a time. Never give up.

In conclusion that's my motto for 2009: Never give up.

Muchacho Enfermo

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Iran finally admits it is holding the Blogfather

Iran finally admitted that it was holding the Blogfather. Hossein, an Iranian-Canadian blogger, has been held since November 1st and Tehran states that he is currently in the target of a preliminary investigation by the Revolutionary Court (why are courts in countries with no justice always called Revolutionary?).

Many prominent figures, including Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi, have been lobbying for his release. Tehran insists that the Blogfather has been spying on behalf of Israel and his case is a matter of national security.

To follow his case a little closer please see Free Hoder on Wordpress. Also as Canadians, please write to your local MP and pressure them to bring this issue to foreign affairs.

Weather you like Hoder or not, or like what he blogs about, no one should be held because of their views on government or human rights. Show your support.

Muchacho Enfermo

Monday, December 29, 2008

My year in Blogs

In a break from my normal more serious posts, I'd like to recap 2008 be talking about a few blogs that I read regularly. In no particular order, for no particular reason and with no definitive number... here they are.

Today I'll talk about a few blogs that check out that aren't political at all (for the most part) but that I've found to be entertaining and worth reading. We'll call them my "Recommended reading for Shits and Giggles" blogs.

Punk Rock HR is the first on this list. I discovered this blog entirely by mistake while googling some time wasters from the office one Wednesday morning. Laurie Ruettimann, the blog's author describes herself as a punk rock HR professional that believes you should spay and nutter your pets. She talks about everything from workplace ethics to the election. Check her out. She's worth the read.

The daily Coyote is here because everyone loves cute pictures of animals. I was touched when I heard the story of an adopted coyote that was raised as a house pet. Let's dace it he's cute as a button!

The Slumbering Lungfish is a blog by Lore Sjoberg of ... His commentaries about movies, toys, games and anything geeky have kept me entertained on a weekly basis for a very long time. Enjoy.

Muchacho Enfermo

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Conservatives want to reopen abortion debate

It was reported by the Canadian Press that a secretive parliamentary caucus wants to reopen the abortion debate in Canada. It's been over 20 years since a court ruling made it legal for women to chose the fate of a fetus. But the pro-lifers in the Conservative party are willing to present a bill that would recognize the fetus as a living person for the purpose of criminal law. In short if a pregnant woman were to be murdered her fetus would be counted as a second person.

Pro-choice activists feel that this law would reopen the entire debate about the legality of pregnancy terminations. I think they're right.

While there are valid points to be made on either side of the debate; I believe that the pro-choice arguments are stronger. Should a woman made pregnant as a result of rape be forced to be reminded of the horrific even daily? Should that child be that reminder? How fair is that to the mother and to the child? Should a woman be forced to carry a child to term if it means risking her own life? Should it be criminal to choose what you do with your body?

The best question of all though: Should the Conservative government stay the hell out of a woman's uterus? The answer to that one is YES.

Muchacho Enfermo

Gaza is on its knees

After another day of air strikes and an apparent ground invasion of the Gaza strip by Israeli forces Palestinians rushed the Egyptian border in an effort to leave the strip where the death toll is now close to 300.

The press from all over the world has covered these stories, despite the reports the world has remained mostly silent in its response to this latest Israeli assault. The UN called on both sides to halt the violence and many Arab nations have called Israel's acts criminal... but what about Canada? What about the US? What about England? Why isn't the world putting more pressure on Israel and on Palestine? How can we in the west sit idly and watch hundreds of people get slaughtered by planes on one side and buses blown up on the other and do nothing?

The better question is what could we do?
I hope someone has the answer, because Israel and Palestine certainly don't look like they have it.

Muchacho Enfermo

Saturday, December 27, 2008

"Now the time has come to fight"

"Now the time has come to fight" were the words of the Israeli defense minister today following the bloodiest day on the Gaza strip in over 60 years. Air strikes were launched from Israel killing over 200 and injuring hundreds more. Morgues in Gaza are said to be running out of room and hospitals in Gaza city are saying that they are running out of supplies to treat the wounded. Aid groups operating in the area fear that Israel's attacks will cause a humanitarian crisis in a place where over half of the population depend on aid to meet their daily needs.

I've held back about writing about Israel/Palestine for a little while. Not only because at the root of it all I'm torn, but also because my opinions aren't always the most popular but here it goes.

Coming from a country where Church and State are separate I may have a hard time understanding the inner workings of a religious government, on either side. But to me this is an absurd fight that doesn't need to be fought.
We, the old WW2 allies, started this fight when we decided to carve out Israel and give to the Jewish people what wasn't ours to give. There was nothing altruistic or symbolic about it, none of the allied countries wanted them living here so we sent them back to their ancestral lands. The problem with that is that there were already people living there... but we didn't care. People can argue with me about this and say it's their land, it was theirs 2000 years ago so they should have it... If that's your argument then all of us in North America need to get on boats back to Europe and give the First Nations people back their land. We took it, carved out reserves, and we keep violating the land treaties to build highways and golf courses.

The other thing is this... The people of Palestine are pretty much stuck in their assigned territories, a lot of them displaced by Jewish settlers. If someone moved into my house and said it was their ancestral right and I had to move out. I'd be pretty pissed off too and I'd probably put up a hell of a fight.

But to add to this already volatile situation there's Hamas... Which at its roots doesn't like Jews and wants to hurt them. This also, is utterly stupid and I in no way support their actions against Israel.

The bottom line is that these two religions have a lot of things on common, they are from the same region and they share many of the same values. It's beyond my scope of comprehension that one would want the other eliminated. I really hope that this isn't just a ploy to help the outgoing Israeli Prime Minister retain his job after the February elections. What makes me even more mad is that Israel just brought a tank to a knife fight and they keep doing it. The people of Palestine have nothing and they keep being pounded into the ground. This will never pave the way for peace talks, it will only increase the likelihood of bloodshed on either side.

For more please see the Globe and Mail.

Mucacho Enfermo

Desmond Tutu speaks against Mugabe

Desmond Tutu, the Nobel laureate and archbishop, has renewed calls for Zimbabwe's power hungry president Robert Mugabe to step down. Mr Tutu is now saying that it might be time to threaten Mugabe with forceful removal.

This, to me, is something very significant. When a Nobel Peace Prize winner says that someone should be removed by force, the world should listen. Sure, there have been sanctions against Mugabe and Zimbabwe, but sanctions against Zimbabwe only hurt the people and gives Mugabe even more of am excuse to hold on to power against an outside aggressor that wants to renew colonial values.

It's high time for the world to wake up and pay attention to Desmond Tutu's words. It's too bad, because he keeps speaking out, he keep talking to the media, addressing the west but no one listens. We can talk all we want but talk is cheap. People are hungry and people are dying, something should be done. I don't have the solutions but someone out there does and it's time to speak out.

For more on Mr Tutu's words please see the Globe and Mail.

Muchacho Enfermo

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Evil never rests...

While the rest of us are enjoying our Turkeys and exchanging gifts with loved ones on the other side of the side of the world injustice and government crackdowns still rules supreme. The Associated Press reported today that 59 Tibetans have been arrested on charges of spreading "rumors" about the Chinese occupation of Tibet and "rumors" against the communist party. Of these 59 it was reported that 5 of them are being held on charges of selling "reactionary music"... whatever that was the authorities just aren't saying.

In addition, China has accused Tibet's leader in exile the Dalai Lama of inciting these people to spread rumors and they also maintain that he was responsible for the March uprisings in Tibet, the largest anti-China protest in almost 50 years. The Buddhist monk, currently residing in India, has denied these accusation and stated that he wants what he has always wanted: a greater autonomy for his people.

I wish I had better news for everyone on Christmas day. Please keep Tibet and all oppressed peoples of the world in your hearts and minds today and think of how lucky we are here in are homes far from the fears of government reprisals.

Muchacho Enfermo

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

New book on Castro... again?

Propoganda author extraordinaire Luis Baez has done it again... He's collected even more useless quotes of people around the world praising Fidel Castro in his latest book Asi Es Fidel.

My loathing for this author began last time I was in a Cuban airport waiting for my flight home. I had nothing to read and had 12cucs (convertible pesos) left. So I bought a TuCola and I bought a book from a little stand. The only 10cuc book they had was a little book called Absolved by History by Luis Baez.

As the plane took off into the sunset and I was once again leaving my adopted home I opened the book and decided to start reading. The first thing I read was an introduction about Fidel Castro called: Maestro of Generosity. It talks about Fidel's giving nature and his deep love and commitment to his people. Despite my instant surge of anger I read on. Each quote more ludicrous and out of context then the next. None of the quotes are dated, none of them properly documented, but they're mostly by great political minds such as Kevin Costner and Naomi Campbell.

Later when I came home and was finally reunited with my beloved high speed internet I did some research and found out that in his long list of pro-Castro titles was a book called dissidents. A book which talks about the 75 conviction of the 2003 of "dissidents". His book supports the regime and back up their tactics and even attempts to justify the reasons these people are still jailed.

His latest stab at journalism and authorship promises to be equally as great. It was read December 22nd at the opening of the Reading History Festival in Havana along with Che notebooks and the book 50 Songs in Time of Revolution.

Although I am loathe to say this, I can't bash him just because he's a crony and a biased author... Heck I'm a biased author and most of the people I read and support are also biased. The only thing I have going for me that he doesn't is that I do it out of my own free will and not at the behest of a dictatorship.

Muchacho Enfermo

Celebrating the Saffron Revolution

For all of you who wondered what happened to all those monks in Burma we saw on the news last year peacefully protesting against the Junta, sitting peacefully while being beaten and arrested? Here it is... the Saffron Revolution is still going on.

Ashin Mettacara, a Burmese monk, gives us a ton of insight on this on his website, please go read his article on the anniversary of these events that forever changed the face of Burma.

Let these monks and these people know they are not alone! Comment on his site, post about it on yours, worldwide solidarity will change everything!

Muchacho Enfermo

Monday, December 22, 2008

Not exactly political

This time of year we are all bombarded with adds about being charitable at Christmas and helping out our fellow man. The radio also pounds out that Paul McCartney song that makes us all feel guilty (you know the one). I thought I'd take this opportunity to write a little bit about causes that I believe in; some of them are free, some of them cost time others just cost donations but all of them make you feel good.

Locally in Montreal we have quite a few organizations that help cater to the less fortunate all year round:
There is the long established Sun Youth which we strongly supported through my old employer, they help provide everything from food banks, to rec centers to shelters for battered women.
Dans la Rue is one of my favorite charitable organizations ever, Montreal being a large urban center we attract a lot of disenfranchised youth that ends up living on the streets. Dans la Rue provides them with an education and career training center, shelter and every night they drive around the city in a few RVs distributing food, blankets, medical services and condoms to street workers. I have donated time and money to this organization and have loved every minute spent with these street kids.
Food Banks Canada is another central hub for donation and volunteering campaigns throughout the country worth checking out.

Short of having money or time to donate? Donate your time online, from your lunch hour at work to a few minutes from home... Pick a cause, any cause. If you want to get involved with Human Rights, find a blog that talks about it and start commenting, start your own website and talk about it. With blogging software it takes about 2 minutes. All of us have a need for some sort of activism or some void to fill because we feel we aren't doing enough. Well this is your chance, do something now. Even if it's just writing about it. Who knows maybe you can inspire people.

It's that time of year people, families are hungry, homeless people are cold, Zimbabwe is dying of cholera, Hoder is in jail, Cuba is still under the thumb of the Castros, the Dalai Lama is still in exile, Burmese monks are still going to jail for no reason and children are going to school without breakfast. What will you do about it?

Merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, irie kwanzaa!

Muchacho Enfermo

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Protest in support of "Shoe Thrower" held in Montreal and Toronto

The Canadian Press reported that yesterday protest were were held in Toronto and Montreal to show support for the shoe thrower who tried to hit outgoing President George Bush with both of his shoes.

40 or so protesters in Montreal went to the US consulate and threw shoes at black and white pictures of the president. One of the first to do this was new elected Amir Khadir who ran for the separatist party Quebec Solidaire. Protesters spoke to anyone they could find in the media and made sure to mention that this was a "humorous protest". After the shoe throwing was over the Montreal protesters walked over to the Canadian Armed Forces recruiting Center and protested something else.

In the Toronto group of protesters was an Iraqi refugee by the name Ahmed Habib who stated he hopes that Canadian journalists start throwing shoes at Stephen Harper.

Normally, I like protest and I'm really happy that as Canadians we have the right to protest. I just wish people would pick their causes a little better. Don't get me wrong I was the first to laugh when the reporter threw his shoes at Bush but holding protests in solidarity of him and trying to equate his actions towards Bush as something that should somehow be done against our Prime Minister? I don't think so, I'm pretty sure if you asked the shoe thrower himself what he though of Stephen Harper he wouldn't even know or care about who he was.

Also, I just think the manner in which this protest was conducted, especially in Montreal, exhibited a complete lack of control and is a black eye on this city.

Not to mention that if any protest should be in Canada right now it should be about having blogger and fellow Canadian Hossein Derakhshan released from jail in Iran for speaking his mind. This seems a little bit more important to me then showing your solidarity for the shoe thrower. Just my two cents.

Muchacho Enfermo

China block access to NY Times website

As of late last Friday the New York Times website has been unavailable in China and could only be accessed from a virtual private network. As we all know China has taken great pains to try to explain to the world that it has the right to censure material it deems illegal or offensive. I'm guessing the Times had reported on something China didn't like.

For more see the Globe and Mail or Reuters.

Muchacho Enfermo

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

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Nobel laureates demand release of Burmese opposition leader

As reported by the AFP, Nobel peace laureates have strongly urged the European Union and the United Nations to increase pressure on Myanmar to begin to move towards democracy and respect human rights. The opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, was a Nobel peace prize winner in 1991 and has been imprisoned for the better part of the last 20 years. To read the full story and more on the subject please visit Ashin Mettacara's website.

Muchacho Enfermo

Cuba passes new Anti-Blogging law?

I was reported this morning by Claudia Cadero on her Octavo Cerco that the Cuban government has passed an anti-blogging law, check it out. Good job, yet again, on your progressive views Cuba! (please note the sarcasm in that last sentence)

Muchacho Enfermo

Free the BlogFather

I figured this is important so I put it here too...

Last week I posted about Cuban bloggers Yoani Sanchez, Reinaldo Escobar and Claudia Cadelo who were all summoned by the Ministry of the Interior to "discuss" their dissident views. A few days later I posted about the BlogFather who had been arrested in Iran after being accused of being a spy for Israel. Many other blogs reported this, including a blog by Mark Mackinnon a prominent foreign correspondent and author.

I wanted to say that for those of you who have facebook, there is a group dedicated to his release: . Our feelow blogger faces death in Iran, his home country and we might be able to help. Please join this facebook group or visit the page and see what you can do!

Muchacho Enfermo (changing my logo in honor of the BlogFather)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Western separatism? WTF people!

Alright... the redbull and the coffee have finally kicked in. Time to get serious folks the bartender has just put the Clash on the stereo and I'm feeling a little confrontational.

My good friend over at the Nexus of Assholery has posted today about how Preston Manning is trying to tell western Canadians not to separate. I think it's the first good thing this guy has done in his entire political career... I can't even begin to describe the disdain I have for good old boy Preston, but that's not the point of this post.

The point is that the West feels like they were left out of the coalition of NDP/Liberals some of them seem to think it's a giant conspiracy by Toronto to run the country. I got news for you folks. You voted conservative. The rest of us who didn't are well represented within this coalition. Don't get me wrong, I don't like the idea of a coalition any more than you do. But I would never complain, for example, that Stephen Harper doesn't represent me. Ever. The bottom line is I didn't vote for him and I don't feel he has my best interests at heart. Does that mean I want Quebec (where I live) to separate. No. Never. Ever.

People who think that the western provinces should separate should have a gigantic bbq at the nuthouse along with the Quebec separatists because it's basically the same load of crap that they are spouting. The only difference is one is saying it in English and the other is saying it in French.

You see? We have more in common then most people think. Why can't we all just get along.

Muchacho Enfermo

The world according to me (dec 12 2008)

Ecuador: Defaulting on debts owed to their own people is okay? Ecuador says that it is fighting foreign monsters as it decides to defaults on 2012 bonds... Good jobs Ecuador, how many of those bonds were bought by your own citizens?

US/CUBA: Portugal decides to take in detainees from Guantanamo. The US has hailed this as a great idea as they slowly move towards closing this Human Rights black hole, but now they are also saying the closure, set for January 20th 2009, will have to wait. It will have to wait because the US is all of a sudden concerned that the current prisoners might not be treated humanely in other countries... my question is: Were they treated humanely in Guantanamo?

Tibet: Sovereign leaders are not allowed to speak with the Dalai Lama. China has stated their discontent in the face of recent meetings between the French Prime Minister, the Polish Government and the Dalai Lama. China seems to think that meeting with the Dalai Lama as a spiritual leader also strengthens his position as a leader in exile. Good job China, just cause your big... doesn't mean you're the boss.

Cuba (as always) : Here's a kind of not really well researched but still interesting enough article on the realities of life as a counter-revolutionary in Cuba. Read it and learn people, then go check out Generation Y and all of Yoani's links on my blogroll.

Canada : I decided to google the question: Does Canada suck... here's what I found out from yahoo answers : No!

That's about it for tonight... I'm more then a little drunk sitting at the pub... so I'll probably post more when I can actually type. Have a great weekend everyone!

Muchacho Enfermo

Human rights and First Nations people in Canada

I read here on Metis Bare Facts something that I remembered reading a small blurb about a few years back, about Canada having refused to sign the UN Declaration of Human rights of Indigenous Peoples. It really didn't make headlines though and I had forgotten about it until this morning. How can Canada criticize the Human Rights records of other countries if we can even recognize the rights of our First Nations?

Muchacho Enfermo

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Chavez is at it again!

Hugo Chavez is at it again... he has had the leader of the official opposition indicted on corruption charges. These charges come on the heals of the opposition leader's election as the mayor of Venezuela's second largest city.

Chavez is also planning a vote (again) to amend to constitution allowing him to remain in control after his 8 year maximum. This opposition leader is seen as the front runner in the upcoming 2012 election.

Reminds me of Russia when all the opposition leaders and party members started disappearing right before the last election and Putin made sure his puppet won the election. (I might be totally wrong on this and please correct me if I am)

Muchacho Enfermo

Speaking of Human Rights....

The Globe (yes I know... I need to read a different paper)and Mail has run a story called: Torture of Afghan detainees continues, say human rights group. Might be worth reading for all of you who are interested in this stuff...

Muchacho Enfermo

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Human rights day

Today being International Human Rights Day, something we often take for granted here, I feel the need to be reminded by others of how lucky I am to live here. that being said here's some reminders that I think we all should read:

Message from a Cuban dissident
A brave monk from Burma
How China celebrates Human Rights Day
In Belarus

And that is just to name a few...

Muchacho Enfermo

Iranian-Canadian blogger arrested

Hossein Derakhshan a Iranian born Canadian citizen has been arrested while in Tehran over 30 days ago. The arrest has been confirmed by his family as reported in the Globe and Mail. He was one of Iran's first bloggers and has been one of the most vocal critics of the government. He has apparently been charged with spying on behalf of Israel. The Globe also reports that Iran might not recognized his Canadian citizenship and if this is the case they would not be obliged to inform the Canadian embassy of his arrest. Again, this is why I'm happy to live in Canada where I can do and say what I want, anytime.

Muchacho Enfermo

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Screw you Bob Rae

Bob Rae has dropped out of leadership race for the Liberal Party of Canada. This guy was one of the main backers of the opposition party coalition I was complaining about a few days ago. I don't mind that he has dropped out, believe me. What I do mind however is WHEN he dropped out. He stayed long enough to help push this ridiculous idea into a reality and he leaves just in time to leave Ignatieff run for party leadership unopposed. Good job Bob Rae. You've just screwed Canada the same way you once screwed Ontario.

Muchacho Enfermo

We win!

The Liberals have a majority. That means four years of peace from the PQ's separatist agenda!
This is a fine morning indeed!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Coffee on election day...

Good morning everyone,
It is 7:46am and about -15 degrees celcius outside. I every paper that I have read this morning a majority government is projected to be won by the Provincial Liberal party of Quebec today. This is a good thing, according to me. We need a majority government in Quebec to counter the effects of all that crap going on in Ottawa. A strong vote of confidence for a provincial leader might be able to offset whatever damage is done by those clowns on the federal level.
that's it for now.... Polls open in an hour and 45 minutes!

Muchacho Enfermo

Sunday, December 7, 2008


There is now officially 100 Canadian soldiers dead in the current Afghanistan mission. My heart goes out to the families of the of these young men and women. While I'm not a huge fan of the mission I am a huge fan of the courage that our young people show.

Muchacho Enfermo

Friday, December 5, 2008

The world according to me-dec 6th 2008

Nobel peace laureate Desmond Tutu said African countries should use military force to depose Mugabe if he refuses to relinquish power. Does anyone else but me think this statement speaks volumes?

DR of Congo:
Congo finally agrees to talk to rebels about peace, they enter a cease-fire.

Ricardo Gonzalez, a Cuban reporter currently serving 20 years in jail in Havana, is named journalist of the year by Reporters without Borders. Prison can't hold your thoughts from the world.

It's time to vote on Monday and various polls show that we might be in for a third straight Provincial Liberal government. Woohoo! Take that separatists!

Economic Crisis:
The Big 3 auto-makers are still hoping to stay in business, their CEOs traded their corporate jets for Hybrid cars and the CEO of Ford announced he was cutting his salary to 1$. Too little too late guys, I feel sorry for all the fine folks employed by these companies because the Big 3 are now dinosaurs due to their lack of vision and innovation and it will cost hundreds of thousands of people their jobs.

My Street (seriously):
A middle of the night shoot-out near my house went unnoticed by everyone on my street, even my two dogs. No victims were found, no blood, just dozens of bullet casings and holes in peoples' homes. To think I moved here cause I thought it would be safe. Yay me!

that's it for now... I doubt anybody will even read this far :D
Have a good one people.

Muchacho Enfermo

Canadian Parliament Suspended, The government's on vacation!

The Governor General of Canada has granted Prime Minister Stephen Harper's request to suspend parliament until January 25th.

Closing down parliament this week will stop a coalition formed by the opposition parties from taking down the Harper government on Monday; a no confidence vote was scheduled for Monday. Harper hopes to be able to present a revamped budget to Canadians on January 27th, one that would also be acceptable to the opposition and allow him to cling to power.

What this all means people is this:
1- The opposition doesn't care about Canada, only their paycheques and they formed a coalition because Harper threatened to cut their funding.
2- Harper is a fool for trying to run a country the way he does and running away from this fight speaks volumes about his integrity.

Again, my two cents!

Muchacho Enfermo

Have you seen this girl?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

injustice for all! Another Cuban blogger summoned

I woke up again this morning to find an email in my inbox saying that another Cuban blogger had been summoned to 21 and C. Claudia Cadelo is due to appear this afternoon at 2pm at same police station and probably interrogation room where Generation Y blogger Yoani Sanchez was summoned yesterday.

Stay tuned to Black Sheep of Exile for updates on Claudia's situation.

I'd like everyone who reads it to post about it in their blog, just because she isn't famous doesn't mean she isn't a blogger like the rest of us. Raise awareness people. Give a voice to the voiceless. Thanks

Muchacho Enfermo