Saturday, February 14, 2009

Cuban author threatened, they even called his mother!

A book launch planned for Monday February 16th in Havana, hosted by world famous blogger Yoani Sanchez, for the new book of Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo called Boring Home is now threatened by the government.

Early this morning a blog post on Octavo Cerco showed an email that is circulating on the intranet. An email that is a not so subtle threat to OLPL and to those planning to attend the meeting. Yoani Sanchez has posted about it on Generation Y a few hours following the post on Octavo Cerco and shows the same email.

OLPL`s mother also received a call to tell her to warn her son not to go. I mean seriously, how sad is that when a government resorts to calling your mom?

I'll post a copy of the email here but please refer to the above mentioned websites for more insight and details:

I’ve heard a there’s a message circulating, by email, promoting the presentation on this coming Monday, the 16th, outside La Cabaña, of a book by Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, and that it will be presented by the infamous and counterrevolutionary blogger, Yoanni Sánchez, who is well compensated by the empire.

A few months ago a photo of Pardo Lazo also circulated, masturbating over a Cuban flag, an act that outrages all the sons of this country and of other latitudes because this is an insult to a symbol of the country. His literary work is little known, however this fact was disclosed as part of the propaganda against Cuba.

Pardo Lazo has become a puppet at the service of Yoanni and her clique.

I don’t think they would carry out this stupid activity, to do so will give them a fright like that I’ve read in the “summons,” and I’ve also had news of some disagreeable surprises they are going to find there.

I still can't believe they called his mom...

Muchacho Enfermo

Canada, my valentine...

In a rare exhibition of patriotism I'll post this... just for kicks.

Valentine’s day...
Dear Canada,
I love the way your moods change with the seasons,
I love the way your government is prorogued for no reason,
I love the way separatists get paid with my federal tax dollars,
I love that Jean Chretien grabbed a sovereignist by the collar,
I love your endless prairies,
And the way the sky is kissed by your rockies,
I love the east and I love the west,
From ocean to ocean and all the rest,
I love that your army is tiny,
I love that your government is a minority,
I love that you try to negate my privacy,
For the good of all humanity,
I love your gun control,
I love that our governor general isn’t old,
I love your freedom of the press,
I love that we can put our politicians to the test,
With all your imperfections,
At least I know you’re mine,
I know you’ll never leave me behind,
Your social welfare system takes care of our poorest,
Your healthcare of our sickest,
Your (almost) free education is great for our children,
Because of you, we’ll be smart for generations,
When I think about your population,
From different roots and different origins,
I almost burst with pride,
Knowing that your open heart is by my side,
Oh Canada, as the song goes,
The bilingual words that all of us know,
I stand on guard for thee,
You know that you can count on me,
So tonight when I close my eyes for sleep,
I’ll sleep easy without needing to count sheep,
Because I know I can count on you,
Canada, there’s no other place like you.

Muchacho Enfermo

Friday, February 13, 2009

Ottawa wants to read your Emails.

As reported by Bill Curry in the Globe and Mail the government in Ottawa is trying to push through legislation that would allow them to monitor emails, phone calls and chats without a warrant. Without going into details about Marlene Jennings' 30 plus page private members bill, I just want to take a few lines and comment about this.

There are arguments on both sides that I find valid. Those for the bill will argue that law abiding Canadians have nothing to fear from this bill, as the powers it grants would be used to monitor and track criminals and gods know the internet is full of sick people that need stopping.

On the flipside, I don't like the idea that Ottawa can read the emails exchanges I have with my accountant about how to better shelter my money from taxes, or about my political stance or about anything else for that matter.

The bill would force internet service providers to acknowledge requests from law enforcement without the need for a warrant. Warrants are in place to make sure that there is probable cause, that all bases were covered and that our privacy is respected. As has already happened in Ontario.

Imagine if a cop thinks his wife is having an affair and has the ISP track her emails and chat logs to satisfy his own curiosity? This could very well happen.

Personally, I think law enforcement needs better tools to catch and track criminals online... but not to the detriment of my (and your) right to privacy.

Muchacho Enfermo

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Conspiracies everywhere!

I was having coffee with my financial adviser this afternoon and for some reason we got on the topic of conspiracy theories... From the truly far stretching to the not so hard to believe, it’s truly amazing how most of us are more than willing to accept that the governments cover things up and plan things behind our backs considering how inept governments seem to be in every other aspects of their jobs.

The funny thing is that most of us, in one way or another, have witnessed things with our own eyes that make us think that there has to be someone behind the scenes pulling the strings. Recently my life has been nothing but conspiracy after conspiracy... each one crazier than the next. I see conspiracies everywhere... I was talking to an accountant yesterday and she went on at length about how the current financial crisis is directly related to the 9/11 attacks. I’ll try to make a brief summary of what she was saying:
1-The Taliban wanted to crush the economic might of the US.
2-They rammed the towers
3-While the stock market was briefly affected directly after 9/11 we are now feeling the aftermath of the ensuing war in Iraq that just keeps draining money out of the treasury.
4-The Taliban achieved their goal; the US is now in recession... Their plan wasn’t to kill 5000 people in one day; it was to kill the economy over time and the US took the bait.

As insane as it sounds it might make sense if you’re drunk enough and looking at things in a specific way.

All that to say that everything can make sense if you spin it right... I can probably come up with a theory that links the success of Jean Chretien to the Bolshevik Revolution and the rise of China as super power to the price fluctuation of bananas in the Dominican Republic if I tried hard enough... And if any of you were drunk enough you just might believe me.

I’m not saying that all of these theories are wrong, what I’m saying is that some of them are really far fetched and some of them are actually credible... For more on the subject I recommend renting Conspiracy Theory starring Mel Gibson (he wears a tin foil hat in the movie... I swear!)

If anyone wants to comment, why not list your favourite conspiracy theory?

Muchacho Enfermo

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Daily dose of Terrorism

Something occurred to me yesterday in an email exchange with a friend, we were talking about the Cuban bloggers that we both enjoy reading (you can see links to their blogs in my "Stuff to Read" on the right hand side of your screen) and about the goings on within the island. We were talking about how recently (as you may have read on this blog) the state was still harassing the outspoken members of Porno Para Ricardo.

What occurred to me was this: would these young people be qualified as terrorists under Cuban law? So I started digging and found this: Law Number 93 : Law against acts of terrorism. So I read the 7 page document, although I'm no law expert, the section 8 was of special interest because it refers to the use of Information Technology in terrorism.

Like every other country Cuba has wide ranging definitions of the term terrorism, which leaves it open to interpretation on the part of the state. From the use of violence to cause terror all the way to "any person who incites or induces another or other persons by spoken word, in writing or in any other form, publicly or privately, to carry out some of the offenses envisaged in this Law."

One can argue that this doesn't specifically state that using the internet and email for blogging against the government or posting different opinions from that of the state are considered terrorist acts. But in section 8 we see the words anyone who "uses or allows use of electronic mail, other internet services..." So it's not hard to imagine that these bloggers with a little creative interpretation of the law could be considered terrorists.

In a state that considers a ceremony to remember 3 youths executed by the government as a terrorist act, can easily interpret what these bloggers are doing on a daily basis as terrorism.

I tip my hat to to them, because I enjoy reading what they write, because what they do is important, because they have guts, because they are trailblazers... and with that comes great burden and responsibility, they have become the voice of dissidence, the voice of the oppressed and the afraid, they are the guerillas of the Cuban internet.

The same way some considered Fidel to be a freedom fighter in the 50s, some people look at these bloggers as the freedom fighters of today. By the same token Fidel was a terrorist by Batista's standards and they are now terrorists by Fidel's standards.

Muchacho Enfermo

Monday, February 9, 2009

Where I blog

In an attempt to bring some levity to my blog that seems to forever be filled with horrible stories about razor blade abortions, nazi-bishops, repressive regimes and unjust trials; I decided to implement a (maybe)weekly feature that I will call "Where I blog". In this new weekly section I'll take a picture of where I'm currently blogging from. I'll try to blog from as many places as possible throughout the city and post about these places.

Every place has a different vibe, gives you a different perspective on the world around you... it's interesting to see how blogging from my basement differs from blogging (as pictured above) sitting on my jacket with my laptop plugged into the wall of one of Montreal's institutions of higher learning.

Seeing these fresh face students walking around their eyes full of hope and belief that they can change the world is refreshing. When you're 18 and life hasn't yet kicked you in the balls it must be pretty amazing to think that the world is your oyster. I don't remember that feeling, but I'm sure it was great...

In some ways I still believe the world is mine for the taking though, that's why I blog, it's why I travel, it's why I love to discuss and learn. I've been fortunate enough to have people in my life that have taught me more than I could ever learn in a university, I've had drinks with people that have explained macro-economics to me better than any of my teachers ever did, I've shared meals with homeless people that have spoken to me about the beauty of an F sharp in a symphony composed in a minor scale, I've been lucky enough to read books and blogs that have made me laugh and cry and fume with rage, made fireworks go off in head and awakened something inside me that no philosophy or ethics class ever could have.

So no matter where you write from, your apartment, an internet cafe, a pub, a subway station, the floor of a college; Where you are from, the US, the UK, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Cuba, Iran, Africa; keep doing whatever it is your doing because it is making a difference in someone's life, somewhere, somehow.

Muchacho Enfermo