Isabel Allende to lead Chilean Socialist Party

isabel-allende

No, not Isabel Allende the author; she’s the niece of the fallen president, who died on the heels of a coup in 1973. This one is the other Isabel Allende, the late former president’s daughter. And here’s what she had to say upon being elected to lead her father’s old, proud party:

“It’s an immense honor to be the first woman to lead you in 82 years of [the Chilean Socialist Party’s] existence,” said Senator Isabel Allende, upon officially assuming the presidency of the party, replacing Osvaldo Andrade.

The daughter of [late former president] Salvador Allende committed to continue supporting the programs of president Michelle Bachelet, at the same time placing an accent on strengthening democracy in the midst of the crisis of credibility affecting Chilean politics.

“When politics weaken, it’s the people who suffer, because they lose they only tool for social change that they really hold in their hands. We already know what the absence of democracy is, we know what it is to suffer under a dictatorship. For that reason, we value democracy, even when it is weakened; we respect it, in the same way as we commit to respecting it,” she said.

Translation mine.

The ongoing weakness of Chilean democracy is a problem that has afflicted the country ever since it was “restored” in 1995, with the resignation of the dictator, Augusto Pinochet. Many Chilean laws, policies and systems today are direct holdovers from the Pinochet era. And there is tremendous resistance to change on the part of Pinochet’s conservative partisan successors, who are all members of the same repugnant old oligarchy that supported the coup in the first place.

Here’s hoping that when she becomes president, Isabel Allende will restore the Chile that her father worked so hard to build. Let’s also hope that she can improve upon it with strong democracy, like what we’ve been seeing in Venezuela since Chavecito came to power. Above all, let’s hope that she does not meet the same sad, awful fate as her father did — and that if there ever is another coup, the Chilean people will take inspiration from their Venezuelan counterparts and restore their democratic leadership with courage and decision.

Another paramilitary band broken up in Venezuela

gustavo-gonzalez-lopez

Venezuelan federal authorities are always on the lookout for paramilitaries. And no wonder: Ever since Chavecito rose to power (and Madurito succeeded him), the old ruling classes have had this ongoing problem with actual, functioning, democratically-elected government. They don’t want to fade into irrelevance; they always have to do something to keep their profile up. But since they are terminally discredited, with barely any support even among their upper-class cohort, well…they have a little problem on their well-manicured hands. And to cover up that, they have resorted to creating other problems, big ones, which they can then blame on the Bolivarian government. They hire paramilitaries from Colombia, import them to whichever part of Venezuela they’re looking to create chaos in, and turn them loose on the unsuspecting locals.

There’s only one problem with that little scheme. Namely, that the paramilitaries keep getting busted by those aforementioned, ever-alert federales:

Following operations of dissuasion, prevention and intelligence, the criminal band “Gamma”, which operated in the municipality of Sucre in the state of Miranda, was dismantled, according to the minister of Interior Relations, Justice and Peace, Gustavo González López.

In a press conference at the headquarters of the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN), in Caracas, González explained that the criminal organization was dedicated to creating fake identity cards, kidnapping, extortion, robbery, as well as assassinations, drug and weapons trafficking, and intimidating the locals.

In a broadcast on VTV, González stated that the members of the criminal band are now in custody. Among them: Minimo de Jesús González Prieto (head of the gang); Alexis Prieto (lieutenant); Roberto Prieto (chief of logistics), García Granado (chief tough guy), and the assassin. Four other persons are still being sought.

“We are after the financiers, with elements who operated in the same industrial sector of La Dolorita, in Sucre, Miranda, and we are sure that with our criminal and strategic intelligence work, we will continue to escalate until we find all the elements who are linked to the political use of criminal gangs,” said González López.

He added, as well, that other criminal gangs have been identified which operate in Sucre municipality, and reiterated the government’s intention to continue combating paramilitarism.

“Paramilitarism is basically a reaction, a structure of an economic elite, a financial elite, a political elite that seeks to maintain, in a crude and persistent manner, its power by whatever means or form,” said the minister.

González pointed out that the assassinations of political leaders, such as the revolutionary deputy Robert Serra, in October of last year, are not due to common crime, but paramilitarism.

“This perverse manner of attempting to confuse [the people] with the notion that we are in the presence of a small problem of common crime keeps mutating. I want to bring to your attention that this is not a problem of common crime, it is the use of common crime by paramilitaries in criminal gangs with processes,” added the minister.

Translation mine.

And here’s some video (in Spanish), in which the minister — a major-general of the Venezuelan armed forces — talks in detail about the criminal gang, its organizational structure and membership:

As you can see, these are no common criminals, although they may be using common crime as a front. They used fake IDs claiming them to be workers or unionists, but they aren’t. These are highly organized criminals whose behavioral patterns bear an unmistakable stamp of paramilitarism. Their hideout even had a tunnel leading from the bathroom to a wooded area, designed for quick escapes. They’ve also been recruiting local minors — teens ranging in age from 13 to 17 — and possibly have ties to the infamous, Colombian-led group that assassinated Robert Serra, whose members are all currently in custody and awaiting trial. Their crimes serve a blatant set of political interests: namely, those of the discredited old ruling class, who are currently glorified in the media as “the opposition”. And that’s what makes them political criminals.

Music for a Sunday: Sounding Out

I’m gonna be in the garden for most of today, so please enjoy this little documentary about the late, great bluesman, B.B. King. This was shot in 1972, just as he was starting to finally make the big time. His virtuosity on the guitar spans at least four genres, and he’s superb in them all.

Quotable: B.B. King on women

Mike-jacking moron gets a mike check…and a pink slip

Warning: This video is infuriating.

Yeah, that’s right…even under the watchful eyes of the security guy, these bozos tried to spring a “Fuck her right in the pussy!” on CityTV’s Shauna Hunt as she tried to report from outside a Toronto FC soccer game Sunday night.

Contrary to what the one wank-stain says, though, this is neither “substantial” (nice choice of words, dudebro) nor “fuckin’ hilarious”. It’s old, it’s tired, it’s based on a bullshit hoax, and nobody over the age of 12 with more than two brain cells to rub together finds it funny. Least of all a reporter who has to hear it about a dozen times daily, as Shauna Hunt says she does.

And of course, it invariably gets sprung on female reporters. Because “weaker sex”, and blahblah.

Well, looks like the laugh’s on the wankers, because Shauna not only talked back, she made sure this story went viral:

shauna-hunt-tweet

And everyone from the Kingston Police to the Premier of Ontario got to boosting that signal.

And now, one of the unfunny jokesters has reaped some substantial consequences:

Ontario’s largest electricity provider, Hydro One, issued a statement today saying it has fired one of its employees in connection with the lewd disruption.

A Hydro One official identified the employee as Shawn Simoes, but spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to name him for privacy reasons.

Simoes is shown in the video using an expletive and calling his friend’s remark hilarious before telling the reporter she is lucky they didn’t have a vibrator.

[…]

The men also face a one year-ban from all games of the soccer club and other teams owned by Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment, which include the NHL Maple Leafs and NBA Toronto Raptors.

‘We’re appalled that this trend of disrespectful behavior would make its way to our city, let alone anywhere near our stadium,’ MLSE said in a statement.

‘We are working to identify the individuals, and when we do they will be banned from all of our facilities.’

Guess you shouldn’t have had so much to drink before the game, eh fellas?

And yeah…if you’re gonna yell stupid shit into a live TV mike, you should be aware that your boss could be watching. And that the security guy standing right next to the reporter will be remembering your faces and your names, too.

More Music for a Sunday: Whatchoo lookin’ at?

This talented kid has a message for the street harassers who pester his mom: Lay off and let her stay free. And, given that mothers have died (some quite recently) as a result of street harassers not leaving them alone, it’s one that bears repeating. And replaying!

Posted in Music for a Sunday. Comments Off on More Music for a Sunday: Whatchoo lookin’ at? »

Music for a Sunday: Mother, let me fight

I know I’ve posted this before, but Alí Primera’s great song about revolutionary mothers and the lessons they teach their children bears repeating. Especially in light of the fact that Mother’s Day didn’t start out as a commercialization of motherhood and sentimentality, but a revolutionary statement against capitalism and its wars, by mothers of those who died in them. Alí turns the issue around, recognizing a need to fight against capitalism and imperialism because his mother taught him to love his people and nature. It’s a song that has inspired many a Venezuelan (and other Latin Americans, too) to fight for their rights against a commercial juggernaut that would only too gladly swallow them…mothers and all.

Posted in Huguito Chavecito, Music for a Sunday, Uppity Wimmin. Comments Off on Music for a Sunday: Mother, let me fight »

Venezuelan lieutenant: Leamsy Salazar was a CIA agent

christian-medina

Meet Christian Medina. The Venezuelan soldier, a former aide to Chavecito, knows a thing or two about the traitor, Leamsy Salazar, a former aide who “defected” to the US recently. And he was not reluctant to share it with a leading opposition-aligned TV channel, either:

Venezuelan lieutenant Christian Medina, former aide-de-camp to president Hugo Chávez, stated today that former bodyguard to the late head of state, corvette captain Leamsy Salazar, collaborated with the CIA.

“This functionary of the CIA, unfortunately a man who was aide-de-camp to Comandante Chávez, and also on the security team of parliamentary president Diosdado Cabello, was captured, bought off, and suborned” by the CIA, said Medina, in an interview with Globovisión.

The lieutenant told Globovisión that it was part of the US plan against the Bolivarian Revolution. “Every destabilizing plan and coup d’état we have lived through” can be explained, said Medina, by the actions of the US government against governments it believes will not guarantee it control of local oil.

Asked whether he believes that Salazar was a CIA agent when he was assistant to Chávez and later a member of Cabello’s security team, Medina said that “maybe, at a given moment, he was not [yet] touched or captured by these North American strategies.”

In any case, Medina added, Salazar “did not at the time develop what was fundamental, namely his principles and values. All of us who are in the revolution are susceptible when the empire seeks to capture some sector in order to immediately generate instability.”

Translation mine.

Certainly, Salazar’s duplicitous actions speak for themselves. Diosdado Cabello, for one, has gone on record saying that Salazar “didn’t look right” to him, which prompted Cabello to remove him from his security team and send him for additional training. Salazar never completed it; instead, he fucked off to the US, resurfacing as a self-proclaimed defector. Cabello, like Christian Medina, has good reason to believe that Salazar was “captured”, in spy parlance, and “turned” by the CIA against his own president. Did he feed them vital data on the movements of the late leader? No doubt he did, because it was part of his job, as security captain, to know all that. Was he also instrumental in a plot to infect Chávez with cancer? Maybe; the evidence has yet to arise, if there is any.

One thing for sure, though, is that Salazar’s real loyalties lie not with his country of origin, but with the country where he conveniently bobbed back up again, babbling all over the Miami talk shows. And that makes him the worst kind of traitor: a sellout and a backstabber. As Medina says, the man has no values. And that makes everything he says to the media utterly worthless, in turn.

Posted in Huguito Chavecito, Spooks, The United States of Amnesia. Comments Off on Venezuelan lieutenant: Leamsy Salazar was a CIA agent »

Omar Khadr is free

…and here’s what he had to say today:

“I’m better than the person he thinks I am”, is what this scapegoated, tortured and war-wounded former child soldier has to say to Stephen Fucking Harper, his unrelenting would-be jailer. He also advocates for education over extremism. He sounds like he has a better head on his shoulders than his fanatical family members AND the warmongers who condemned him.

Now, let’s see when his conviction (which was wrongful) is overturned, and his name cleared, as it deserves to be.

Posted in Canadian Counterpunch, Law-Law Land, The United States of Amnesia, The War on Terra. Comments Off on Omar Khadr is free »

Good morning, Alberta!

Like my man Robin says, this is not a test. Last night, out West, THIS happened:

orange-new-blue

No, your eyes are not deceiving you, and you don’t need to adjust your monitor. Mordor has a new premier, and she’s a progressive. Rachel Notley is in the house!

Is that a bleat of fear in Harpo’s voice? Maybe the tiniest little oily black track of a bituminous tear down his cheek when he woke up seeing his “base” turned such an un-Albertan color? Maybe. But don’t forget, kiddies, his actual origins are in the very same Toronto elites he pretends he’s not from. He’s no more a real Albertan than Dubya was ever a real Texan. Any tears he sheds over this will be strictly the crocodile variety. But he should be afraid, VERY afraid, because if Alberta could throw his cronies out in such a big way, guess who might just get the bum’s rush next, come federal election day? (And on that note, don’t forget to send him a message on C-51 today. If THAT gets rammed through, he’s gonna damn well deserve all the bum-rushing he gets.)

Meanwhile, Jim Prentice, the former premier of Oilpatch Inc., has taken his ball and gone home in a snit. He won’t even be occupying his local seat in the legislature. Bitter, Party of One? Right this way to your table behind the door, sir. One silver platter of sour grapes, coming right up.

As for the rest of the arrogant, smug, old-line politicians, let this be a lesson to you. If you can’t coast on your establishment status even in Alberta, you can’t coast anywhere. Better start listening to the people and learn to lead by following the popular will. Otherwise, it’s the bum’s rush for YOU, too.

Posted in Canadian Counterpunch, Schadenfreude, Uppity Wimmin. Comments Off on Good morning, Alberta! »