Brazilian women: beyond the media icons

Video in Portuguese (with Spanish subtitles — no English, sorry).

And if the first thing that came into your head when you read “Brazilian women” was a blond supermodel, or a pair of muscular buttocks wiggling in a teeny bikini, congratulations: You’ve been sucked in by a media bullshit campaign. Brazil’s TV stations are owned by just six families, and heavily invested in promoting (or rather, pimping) just ONE picture of Brazilian women: white, rich, with straight blond hair, tall and slim, heterosexual, usually surgically enhanced…and a constant, parsley-like sexual accessory to the menfolks. (In one scene, a businessman is seen talking away to another man at his desk while his bare foot is fondling the rump of a bikini-clad model lying on a lounge-chair next to him. Yes, really!)

But the “icon” of Brazilian womanhood is being challenged…by Brazilian women themselves. Black, brown, Asian and white, they’ve taken up the fight against this media campaign. The Slutwalk movement, which began here in Canada as a response to a Toronto cop who stupidly told women not to “dress like sluts” in order to avoid rape, has caught on big-time in South America, where women — over-sexualized in the media for decades, and in the minds of church and state for centuries — are now marching and chanting slogans like: “Beware, beware, beware, machista! Latin America is turning feminista!” Women are challenging not only their false image in the media, but capitalism itself…for, after all, that phoney image is there to sell things, by presenting an “aspirational” world that ignores reality, and poverty, completely. And when the media in one country — a land with a population in the hundred-millions — are owned by just six wealthy families, it’s glaringly obvious what the real problem is. And so is why women everywhere — in Canada as well as Brazil — are sick and tired of it.

A few random thoughts on yesterday’s Ontario election

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So, the Ontario Liberals have formed our new government. And it’s a majority. We now have our first elected woman premier (who is also our first elected out gay premier). Tim Hudak was handed his Not-So-Progressive Conservative ass, and has resigned in the wake of his resounding defeat. Meanwhile, Andrea Horwath, who led the provincial NDP — supposedly the most progressive of the three mainstream parties — got handed an object lesson in how NOT to win new friends and influence people. People who neglected to vote got just what they deserved, too: NOTHING.

And I, who swore over a decade ago never again to hold my nose and vote for a Liberal when the party lost to Ernie Eves and his nasty band of Harrisite leftovers (of which Hudak was one), have voted for a Liberal. I did not hold my nose this time.

And I’m not even sorry.

I didn’t leave the NDP; they left me. And they did it right around the time that Andrea Horwath decided it was clever to court the business vote and maybe pick off a few disgruntled SupposiTories, and throw the real, long-time NDPers under the big orange bus. And to cap off the ignominy, the provincial New Democrats ignored my demands to be taken off their call list, and instead deluged me with donation requests by phone and e-mail, as well as robocalls trying to rope me into an “unscripted” town-hall that I had no desire to take part in. I was pissed as hell over that. And yesterday, around 3 o’clock in the afternoon, I finally took my frustrations out in the only way I knew. I voted for the local Liberal in my riding. And he won.

And that’s why I’m not sorry. My riding is a swing riding; it could go either way in any given election, and vacillates between Lib and Con. An NDP vote would be wasted here, and doubly so under the circumstances. The Liberal I voted for unseated the Conservative doofus who’d been squatting uselessly in Queen’s Park on our supposed behalf, making idiotic proposals to attract more tourists to our area by building covered bridges. Yeah, that’s right: he was shooting for The Bridges of Madison County. Only this is NOT Madison County, and it doesn’t have a lengthy tradition of covered bridges to preserve, let alone add to. But hey — wouldn’t it have looked cute? Guess that would have created maybe a couple dozen of those million new jobs Timmy promised us. No wait, that would be public-sector jobs. And Timmy was for chopping 100,000 of those. He seemed to think that with fewer taxes to pay and less accountability than ever, the private sector would pick up the slack. Since when has it ever done that? Since, oh, about NEVER. The only thing that trickles down from Uncle Miltie Friedman’s economics is raw sewage — and, if you have the misfortune to live and work in Alberta, tar-sands waste.

And Ontario voters, those who showed up yesterday at any rate, aren’t stupid. You can’t piss on our heads out here and tell us it’s raining. Which is what Tim Hudak was trying to do. And Andrea Horwath, too. The one was handed a harsh lesson in how not to do economics, and the other, in how not to do progressive politics. On both counts, they are bullets that I chose to dodge. As for the Greens, they’ve long been off the progressive radar here, because their environmental solution boils down to too much capitalism and not enough socialism. And again, Ontario voters not being stupid, we know that that’s not enough to keep our province clean and healthy. Trying to appeal to the goodness of a businessman’s heart is a losing proposition, because they don’t have one. Big Business will almost always pay only the merest of lip service to progressive causes, and very rarely do things differently out of a knowledge that the common good is also good for business. If you don’t believe me, watch The Corporation. If corporations are legally persons, then the kind of persons they are is diagnosably psychopathic. (And just think: That’s who Andrea Horwath was trying to court, too. Oy.)

So, all bullet-dodging and ass-handing aside, what was this election about?

In the end, the “surprising” Liberal majority tells me that there was something more at work here than just avoiding the worst and punishing their fellow-travellers for jumping on the dumb populist bandwagon. Hazel McCallion, the mayor of Mississauga (and the longest-serving mayor in the country), nailed it when she picked Kathleen Wynne for her endorsement. Hurricane Hazel is no lightweight; she shepherded her city through the great train derailment of 1979, when she was newly elected, and Mississauga was newly amalgamated. It could have been the kiss of death for her, but it proved to be her finest hour, because that was when she proved not only her political mettle, but her unswerving dedication to her constituents. Hazel McCallion has never lied or played her people false. She always stood up for them, and that’s why they kept voting for her, term after term after term. So her recommendation bore some weight with me. And lots of other Ontarians too, it seems.

And then there was the Globe & Mail’s editorial board. They all endorsed Wynne too, in a consensus that took time and thought to reach, only to have orders come down from on high to throw their weight behind Hudak instead. Now, those board members were not idiots, either. Whoever told them they were going with Hudak was. But then, the Grope & Flail has always endorsed the Tories, so I guess that was to be expected. Even though the party leader was a complete twit, it didn’t matter; tradition is tradition. And the editorial high command ended up mopping egg yolks out of their beards for that.

But then, is that really so shocking? Ontarians can’t afford to vote based on tradition anymore. And neither can politicians rely on conventional, traditional strategies for roping them in. The conservative base is aging and dying. They can’t be counted on in the numbers they once had. And that’s a good thing for progressives, even in this ludicrous first-past-the-post system we have. Because we younger voters of Generations X and Y are informed by grassroots movements like Occupy, Uncut, and the 99%. We are restless, and we don’t give a hang for party loyalty when the parties betray us. We are the untapped progressive vein that the traditional party strategists are missing. They think we’ll fall for some right-wing yutz when, in fact, we are much further to the left than any of the big parties. And we are the ones with an increasing power to force the most progressive candidates to the top. In this case, it was Kathleen Wynne…who ran as a Liberal, but sounded a lot more like a New Democrat than the NDP did. For me, she was a no-brainer choice.

My polling station was surprisingly busy, given that I live in a fairly small town. Line-ups are uncommon on voting day at any station here. Usually you’re in and out in less than five minutes. But yesterday, I found myself waiting behind another woman, who was waiting for yet another woman to vote. I wonder if we all voted for the same candidate. I wouldn’t be surprised if we did! I smelled motivation in the air…and desperation in the Conservative camp, which indeed there was. Maybe my single vote wasn’t much on its own, but then again, lots of others were probably thinking the same thing. And, quite possibly, that was what put our local Liberal very soundly over the top, with several thousand votes over the incumbent Conservative doofus. If you vote, you can still make a difference; if not, you might just end up getting not the government you want, but the one you deserve.

And now that that’s all over, it’s time for the next step: holding all the new electees’ feet to the fire, as well as those of the losers, and making sure they don’t get away with more of the same old. Which is to say, politics by, of and for the money, rather than by, of and for the people. We have to make sure they don’t go throwing a “surprise” austerity budget at us. Let’s hope they’re learning a thing or two from the Eurocrisis, and specifically, the French, who are throwing debt out the window in favor of the public interest. Ontarians should get a referendum on whether a “balanced budget” is really a worthwhile priority, instead of an inflexible law. It’s time to scrap the legacy of Mike Harris and Ernie Eves once and for all. No more tax cuts for big business, and no more austerity budgets to appease the suits. For that, we’ll need concerted action.

And a lot more of it than just dutifully turning out on election day.

The scandals of King Juan Carlos

Video in Spanish, detailing a lot of things you probably never knew about the soon-to-abdicate king of Spain. That he squandered thousands of euros of public money per day on a canned hunt in Botswana is well known; not so obvious, however, is the fact that his “man of the people” image is a carefully cultivated myth. And that it all began with Generalissimo Franco, who covered up the fact that Juan Carlos killed his own brother, Alfonso, with a revolver as a boy. (The Wikipedia entry on Alfonso perpetuates this myth, claiming it was a gun accident, and that the pistol went off as Alfonso was cleaning it. The article cites only two sources.)

Of course, a killer-king is one thing nobody wants on the throne…and most Spaniards never knew they had one until recently, as Franco-fascism gradually gave way to more press freedom. But, as my most recent entry shows, there is still not nearly enough of that…because the whole damn world doesn’t know about this yet. And because the whole damn world still doesn’t know how badly Spain wants to be a republic again.

Spanish media gloss over demands for “Real Democracy NOW!”

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An inconvenient truth is emerging in the public squares of Spain: Demonstrators like those above, demanding a referendum on the monarchy, and the right to a real democracy after eight decades of first dictatorship, and then sham “democracy” (note the quotes, there for a reason). And the media? Well, they find that reality so inconvenient that they choose to gloss over it or ignore it altogether:

On Monday, following the abdication of King Juan Carlos I, thousands of Spaniards took to the streets of the land in favor of the abolition of the monarchy and the installation of a Third Republic by way of a constitutional referendum. The media of the European nation omitted these gatherings, which, in places such as the Puerta del Sol, in Madrid, reached up to 20,000 persons.

The majority of the Spanish press opted to headline their reports with the abdication of the king in favor of his son, Prince Felipe, 46, obviating the gatherings that took place in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Zaragoza, and Seville, among other regions, where the demonstrators expressed their rejection of the monarchy.

Media such as El País, ABC, El Mundo, La Razón, La Vanguardia, El Correo, El Periódico, Heraldo de Áragon, La Voz de Galicia, El Diario Vasco, among others, decided to emphasize headlines such as: “The King abdicates in order to push reforms which the country demands”, “Felipe VI faces ascension amid institutional crisis”, “The hour of Felipe VI”, “Juan Carlos gives way to Felipe VI”, “A new era”, and “New transition”, among others.

Meanwhile, only El Punto Avui, of Barcelona, and El Diario de Mayorca gave headline space to the multitudinous demonstrations demanding “real democracy, now”.

The streets and squares of Coruña, Pontevedra, Ourense, Ferrol, Vigo, Santiago de Compostela, Oviedo, Gijón, Bilbao, Santander, Burgos, Logroño, Toledo, Ciudad Real, Albacete, Mallorca, Málaga, Granada and Huelva, among others, played host to demonstrations.

Amid all this, the United Left party (IU) has called for the political, social, cultural and citizen forces to maintain demonstrations and demand a referendum “so that the people can decide, and set out on the path toward a more just nation, with more solidarity.”

“They can’t substitute the right of [royal] blood for the rights of the people,” said IU federal co-ordinator Cayo Lara.

The Spanish Congress forecasts that the proclamation of the new king, Felipe VI, will be before the General Courts as of June 18, a date on which the organic law regulating the abdication of King Juan Carlos will be approved, according to Publico.es.

The king has been in power for 37 years, a position he assumed following the death of dictator Francisco Franco on November 22, 1975, after swearing fidelity to him.

Translation mine.

So you can see why the call for a Third Republic is gaining momentum so fast. Who wants an institution put in place by a brutal dictator, and one in which the twit-in-chief swore loyalty to said dictator, to boot?

But don’t expect the Spanish mainstream media to be overly forthcoming about THAT part. Expect, instead, absurd and undeserved praise for the king, the prince, the prince’s fashion-plate wife, and a whole lot of other stupid, superficial crapola.

Expect, also, the real wishes of thousands of fed-up Spaniards to go on being ignored until, inevitably, a riot breaks out. And when that happens, expect that it will have been the army or the police behind it, not the demonstrators themselves. After all, it’s never a riot until the cops show up.

Maria Conchita Alonso’s latest load of bat guano

Oh, oh…what have we here?

Poor dear. It sounds like she’s trying to sing. She’s not doing a very good job. But then again, there are a lot of things Conchita isn’t very good at. Like acting, for example. Or, hell…just acting like a friggin’ human being. Take, for example, this:

Cuban-Venezuelan actress María Conchita Alonso, now a US citizen, has said that she would like for the United States to invade Venezuela “with bullets to get all those damn communists out” of the country.

That was how she put it during an interview on “La Voz de América”, in an audio clip rebroadcast curing the VTV show “Con el Mazo Dando”, hosted by the president of the Venezuelan national assembly, Diosdado Cabello. The clip was also tweeted by the minister of communication and information, Delcy Rodríguez.

On the clip, Alonso, who was born in Cuba but emigrated to Venezuela at a young age, said that what was happening in Venezuela “has repercussions in all of Latin America and even in the United States”.

For that reason, she considers it “very important” to impose sanctions on Venezuela, and proposed “taking visas away from Chavistas, who have been indoctrinated for years, as in Cuba, against this country, but who come here (to the US) and buy houses, horses, and everything.”

The actress added that another sanction should be to freeze their bank accounts, “since this money isn’t theirs, it belongs to Venezuelans.”

“In my opinion, invade the country, since the Cubans invaded without firing a shot, because they’re handing Venezuela over to Cuba, I want the United States to invade with bullets to get all those damn communists out of Venezuela,” said the actress.

Regarding those declarations, Communication and Information minister Delcy Rodríguez stated on her website that “beyond the worrisome threat of invasion to Venezuela, even more serious is the complicity of self-exiled Venezuelans in Miami.” Such is the case, she says, of María Conchita Alonso, “who, rending her garments out of a false love of her country, irresponsibly incites the invasion of the US Marines.”

“We all know the harmful consequences which a North American military invasion would bring about in our land. If we consider the lived experiences of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria, we know that a gringo military invasion would affect the entire nation, and the family lives of the people would be destroyed,” said the minister.

Translation mine. Linkage added.

So we can see that here is another so-called Venezuelan who doesn’t give a shit if the country she claims to love (in such terrible songs) is invaded and destroyed by the US war machine. In fact, as it stands, Conchita doesn’t care that her beloved “freedom-loving” opposition is holding the country for ransom, and has killed at least 40 people in the latest round of violence alone. No, she won’t be happy, and she won’t consider Venezuela free and peaceful, until an overwhelming majority of Venezuelans are shot and killed. For, after all, six out of every ten Venezuelans are Chavistas.

And as we can see, her idea of “freedom” is strange even in the US, where the so-called Venezuelan exiles are anti-Chavista, and in any case, those are the only ones rich enough to buy “houses, horses and everything”. The others, who immigrated due to dire poverty back before Chávez, and who support the Revolution because they remember what life used to be like there, are invisible. They don’t count. After all, they live in the inner cities, indistinguishable from all the other poor, brown Latinos. Does she want to see THEIR bank accounts frozen? There’s not much in them to freeze. Maybe she should call for the freezing of rich “exile” bank accounts, instead. But no, that would be an infringement on good ol’ Murrican freedumb…

As for the part about that money belonging to the Venezuelan people…well, duh! It belongs to the people who brought it, and they do so happen to be Venezuelan. But I don’t hear her saying boo about Jota-Jota. Maybe because his money doesn’t come from Venezuela, but from the Colombian drug trade (among other things)? Maybe. I guess it doesn’t deserve to be part of the latest hypocritical round of sanctions, called for by right-wing dunderheads like Marco “The Clown” Rubio and Bob “The John” Menendez.

And of course, let’s not forget that Conchita’s brother Robert (not Roberto, ROBERT) has a long and extensive history of putschist activities…and an ocean of innocent Venezuelan blood on his hands.

In any case, she has some nerve, clamoring for invasion out of supposed love for a country she hasn’t actually been in for longer than she claims to have been watching it go to hell. “Hell”, of course, being a vast improvement over what it used to be when Conchita was still squatting there.

J.J. Rendón and the dirty politics of Latin American narcotrafficking

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“I have ties to narcotrafficking? Those are just rumors!” Sure, Jota-Jota…we believe you.

The more one looks at Juan José Rendón, the more this silly “samurai” takes on a sinister overtone. Because according to J.M. Karg, a journalist based in Buenos Aires, wherever Jota-Jota goes, drug money is not far behind:

Following the recent denunciation of ties between political advisor J.J. Rendón and Colombian narcos, which resulted in Rendón’s withdrawal from the re-election campaign of Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos, Latin American public opinion once more debates the relationship between two worlds that seem separate, but whose interrelatedness continues to grow: politics and narcotrafficking. Which directors have been questioned over probable ties with money stemming from this merchandise? And why is the collaboration between these two spheres increasing?

It is known that the world of narcotrafficking and its lavish generation of monetary liquidity at low cost and amazing speed, has brought various political campaigns to involve themselves with this wasteland of illegality. Some leaders seem to prefer to pay the political cost which the revelation of this connection could signify, as long as they have important funds to compete in elections, whether internal — within their own party — or general — for executive and or/legislative offices in each country. On the other hand, it guarantees a certain juridical “impunity” to be able to operate, creating a kind of “virtuous circle” in which both parties benefit in the short term. The problem, clearly, is the revelation in the medium to long term, and its possible juridico-mediatic repercussions, to the point where political careers end or those involved go directly to prison.

The Colombian capo, Javier Antonio Calle, was the one who revealed, from the United States, that Rendón had received, over the last three years, $12 million from the three biggest narcotraffickers in Colombia, supposedly to get an agreement for surrender in exchange for no extradition [to the US], from the Santos government for them. The non-consummation of the plan does not negate Calle’s revelation: the ties between Rendón and these events, now under investigation by Colombian justice.

Do these facts soil only the campaign of Juan Manuel Santos? In no way. Rendón has advised, during these years, a handful of well-known political leaders in various countries: Peña Nieto in Mexico, Capriles in Venezuela, Juan Orlando Hernández in Honduras, Santos himself — and also Uribe — in Colombia, De Narváez in Argentina, and Quijano in El Salvador. If the current denunciation comes at a time of collaboration between Rendón and Santos, this revelation indirectly taints all those leaders, who also share a conservative vision in the politico-economic ambit. Why? No relation of this type comes overnight, and the hypothesis that Rendón had begun in these last few months to have dealings of this sort is certainly not very factual — or credible.

Two cases can serve as examples to illustrate what we have said. Firstly, the declaration of a former DEA chief in Mexico, Phil Jordan, who, following the arrest of the narco-capo “Chapo” Guzmán, appeared surprised by the case, saying that “I never thought that the PRI [party] would arrest him, because ‘Chapo’ Guzmán gave a lot of money to the Peña Nieto campaign. He has always been involved in politics by way of money.” After that, Jordan stated that the ties between Guzmán and the PRI are documented in US intelligence reports. The circle appears to close: Rendón has been heavily involved as advisor to the Peña Nieto presidential campaign.

Secondly, the parliamentary deputy Francisco de Narváez was investigated by Argentine authorities for his suspected ties to Mario Roberto Segovia, of Rosario, sentenced in 2012 to 14 years in prison for 91 shipments of ephedrine to Mexico. What happened next? Years later, from a telephone registered to De Narváez, three cellphone calls were made to Segovia, according to a report by the newspaper La Capital de Rosario. While testifying as a witness in the case, De Narváez said he did not make those calls, although he admitted that the telephone from which they were made did indeed belong to a group of them registered to him, thus recognizing the connection indirectly. Who advised De Narváez during the 2011 campaign? J.J. Rendón, of course.

Following these new revelations over Rendón, there remain many open questions about the connectionsn between the “narco” world and the politics of our continent, a complex, non-linear relationship with unpredictable consequences in the medium and long term, with the political and media sensitivity which these cases generate. Certainly, for every revelation made in the matter, such as those we describe in this article, numerous other connections are not visible; in this way, the various directors are “protected” from the possible media and judicial implications which new revelations could bring to bear. Is it possible, in the judicial ambit alone, to regulate the linkage between both spheres, with the goal of putting an end to a phenomenon which seems to have spread throughout the continent? Will the interrelation keep growing, assuring “mutual benefits” to all parties?

Translation mine.

So it’s not only in Colombia that drug money has been tied to Rendón’s “political” work. Argentina and Mexico, likewise, have seen him tied to politicians with well-established drug connections. Is it really so shocking, then, that a group of well-heeled Colombian narcotraffickers have seen fit to call on him to act as go-between in their attempts to negotiate with the local government?

And just to underscore how serious the charges against Rendón are, now there’s word out of Venezuela that he’s under investigation for money-laundering, as announced by attorney-general Luisa Ortega Díaz.

Gee, for mere “rumors”, there sure is a lot to substantiate all that idle gossip!

Narcotrafficking ties place J.J. Rendón’s “refugee” claim in jeopardy

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Seven Colombian drug mafiosi, all allegedly tied to J.J. Rendón, samurai cosplayer and dirty political trickster, and until recently, advisor to the re-election campaign of current Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos. The fallout from this affair is going to keep right on falling…and right now, some downright radioactive ashes are raining down on Jota-Jota’s Miami penthouse…an unlikely place to find a self-styled political refugee from Venezuela, no?

The US residency of controversial political advisor J.J. Rendón could be at risk thanks to allegations that he received $12 million from the mafia to put before the Colombian government a proposal to dismantle narcotrafficking three years ago, according to Colombia’s El Tiempo newspaper.

Federal sources assured El Tiempo that for months, the narcotrafficker Javier Calle, alias “Comba”, had told members of the Colombian Attorney General’s office and the Department of Justice details of the so-called “narcocolecta”. And it is clear that while this is an investigation on the part of Colombia, the Obama government is interested in the matter because it involves a Venezuelan citizen who is seeking status as a refugee from the Venezuelan government: J.J. Rendón.

“Mr. Calle’s declarations on the case are under oath in his acceptance of culpability. He knows that if he lies, it will break the agreement with the United States, which includes the transfer of property and of 12 men who have already been extradited,” explained a source in New York.

The source added that it is clear that if there is a probe into the matter, in any case it would lead to an “evaluation” of Rendón’s refugee claim.

What the US authorities — and now, the Colombians — are trying to establish is whether or not Rendón received money resulting from a criminal activity, which would constitute illicit enrichment.

What is certain is that the proposal in which Rendón served as intermediary did not prosper. The Santos government discarded it after the Attorney General’s office considered that it was not viable.

In any case, the possibility that through this type of mediation — a mechanism used in the past to facilitate the surrender of illegal groups — Rendón may have taken payments from capos, is what is in the eye of the hurricane of an electoral campaign in full swing. In fact, the controversy caused him to step down from the Santos campaign this week, to dedicate himself to his [legal] defence.

One of the things which needs to be explained and which draws the attention of investigators, is the purchase of a $4 million penthouse in Florida, which Rendón signed ten days after the Colombian Attorney General’s office received the offer from the “Comba” emissaries. This took place on July 5, 2011, at 3:05 p.m., in the office of the then-attorney general, Viviane Morales.

Also under investigation is whether it is true that the mafia handed over some of the money in the United States, and some in Mexico. For that purpose, an ex-government official, Germán Chica, met with his then partner, J.J. Rendón, in late 2011.

To that end, the Venezuelan advisor says that they could probe the licitude of his property. And Chica, who also stepped down as director of the Federation of Departments due to the denunciations, also denies any ties to narco-payments.

But in the acceptance of culpability “Comba” assures, on at least two occasions, that money went to J.J. Rendón and one of his partners, yet to be identified.

The mafioso broached the subject upon referral to his attorney, Ignacio Londoño, an intermediary to the offer to surrender and from whom he says, he was distanced by his alleged connections to the crime of a nephew alias “Rasguño”.

“In 2010 they started using (Londoño) for the Colombian project with Juan José Rendón, alias J.J. the Venezuelan…I got nothing out of it, and on top of that, they robbed me of $12 million. All that money was the product of narcotrafficking, and it went to Juan José Rendón and his partner,” reads the document.

While the case moves forward in Colombia, the United States will state in the coming weeks if it will approve the refugee claim of J.J. Rendón in light of this scandal.

In their defence before the authorities and the media, those involved in this scandal have mentioned several persons who might have information about the frustrated proposal by the mafia and the whereabouts of the $12 million. One of them is Luis David Duque, a former collaborator of Germán Chica, who ended up working for J.J. Rendón. Also, the capos who provided the narcodollars will be investigated: Daniel “El Loco” Barrera, who gave $4 million; “Diego Rastrojo”, who gave $2.5 million, and “Comba”, with $3 million. The remaining $2.5 million were from “Cuchillo”, who was killed in a police sting. The property of Germán Chica will also be investigated.

Translation mine.

I find it hard to believe that Jota-Jota will be able to continue on as a refugee claimant in any case, because he has suffered no hardship since leaving Venezuela claiming to be “persecuted”, and indeed has only prospered since he washed up in Miami. HIs propensity for dirty-tricks campaigns is another strike against him, although I’m sure the US government is going to try very hard to overlook that, seeing as it works out (or so they’d hope) in their favor. After all, they’ve had a hate-on for Bolivarian politics ever since Chavecito was elected in 1998. Jota-Jota’s clownish antics as campaign advisor to Henrique Capriles will not be probed, which is kind of a shame, since he deserves to be exposed as a fraud there, too. But his ties to Colombian drug barons, and the interesting timing of his acquisition of that fancy Miami pad, will certainly do nicely for the time being. And if he gets kicked out — which, at the present time, is only a possibility, not a certainty — it would be sweet indeed to see him dragged kicking and screaming back to Caracas, to face some long-overdue home justice.

The company J. J. Rendón keeps

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Remember our ol’ buddy Jota-Jota, the samurai of silliness? Remember all the dirty-tricks campaigns he’s launched against Chavecito and Madurito? Well, get a load of the kind of company he runs with…and all for top dollar, of course:

J. J. Rendón, preferred advisor to known right-wing politicians from Venezuela, Colombia and Central America — among them, Henrique Capriles — has received $12 million US over the last three years from three major Colombian narcotraffickers, presumably to get them an agreement from the Santos government for surrender in exchange for no extradition [to the US].

So said drug lord Javier Antonio Calle Serna, one of the two “Comba” brothers, in the US, on January 10 of this year, in a confession to a Colombian prosecutor. During the meeting, the criminal affirmed that between 2010 and 2011, he and other narcotrafficking capos, such as Diego Rastrojo, “Cuchillo” and “Loco” Barrera, wanted to propose to the government that they would disarm their mafias and cease drug trafficking in the country.

These revelations have just been published by the Colombian daily, El Espectador, which tells how the three capos confided in Rendón to obtain from the government an acceptance of their plan to submit to justice, and to convey that plan to the president.

According to El Espectador, the proposal was sent by way of a document with the signatures of the mafiosi and a video, but “in the end it didn’t work out”, because, according to Serna, they demanded an accompaniment from the US government that never arrived.

“The Colombian government strung out the project and started capturing my people; when I saw that time was passing and nothing was happening, I decided in favor of the American government and turned myself in,” Serna said.

Consulted by the newspaper, Rendón denied having received any money, and stated that “due to his closeness with the president”, Santos, in 2011, some lawyers representing the capos asked him to serve as a bridge to the authorities.

Rendón, a fugitive from Venezuelan justice who is famous for the cynicism of his methods, assured that he “simply acted as a channel to bring that correspondence” to the Prosecutor’s Office.

“There was a meeting. I met with the president, I handed him that, and left. The president said that the Prosecutor’s office would take charge of that,” said the organizer of electoral campaigns characterized by their dirtiness. “This denunciation looks like another plot against me,” suggested Rendón, now living in Miami despite the denunciations of the Venezuelan government and an Interpol warrant against him.

During an interview, Rendón’s attorney, Abelardo de las Espriella, admitted enigmatically that although the president and the then attorney-general, Viviane Morales, “knew about J. J.’s approaches, that they had as their sole proposition the surrender of a significant group of narcotraffickers and to generate a political event favorable to the government.”

Upon investigating the case, El Espectador came across an extensive document, of 109 pages, titled “Agenda for solving the problem of narcotrafficking and the violence it generates”, dated June 2011, in which it is established that J. J. Rendón was officiating as “general strategist” of said proposal.

El Espectador states that various sources confirmed that this project was known not only by the high government, the former attorney-general Morales, the chief of police, the intermediaries of the process, and President Santos, but also by functionaries of the embassy of the United States.

The author of the article writes: “Even though J. J. Rendón told this paper that there is nothing secret about these approaches, what is certain is that only now does the country know of the proposal in detail, which in the year 2011 was formalized by the top drug lords.”

Sources confirmed to El Espectador that J. J. Rendón participated actively in the management of the plan, even though “he maintains that he acted as a simple messenger and hardly knew of the minutiae of the process.”

“Now [Rendón] must respond to the accusation that he received $12 million US for advancing this proposal, an accusation which he reduces to a new plot against him,” concludes the journalist, Juan David Laverde Palma.

Over the last 27 years, Rendón has advised the presidential campaigns of Enrique Peña Nieto, Juan Manuel Santos, Álvaro Uribe Vélez, and Porfirio Lobo, among others. Discredit, disparagement, and the grossest of lies are his principal strategies.

The unscrupulous Rendón declared, in an interview with Colombian journalist María Jimena Duzán, that he is an anti-ethical advisor because “that ethical thing is for philosophers”.

In Miami, Rendón stays in touch with the criminal network of terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, advisor to each conspiracy to bring down, by all means, the Venezuelan government. This was confirmed by the recent publication in Caracas of an exchange of letters between Rendón and Ricardo Koesling, a Cuban-Venezuelan who, for decades, has been moving in Posada’s circles.

Even though he is under an Interpol capture order, by request of the Venezuelan government, Rendón remains in the US with the total complacency and protection of the immigration authorities and the FBI.

Though he rebuffs the accusations over the million-dollar proposal he made to the Colombian government, Rendón does not deny his relations with some of the most dangerous drug lords in the world, who saw in him a man they could trust.

He calls himself a “samurai”, but the dubious relations he maintains, the secrecy which he always cherishes, the immorality of the defamation campaigns he peddles, all surely place his claims in doubt.

Translation mine.

Somehow, I can’t imagine someone like Jota-Jota doing anything for anyone just out of the goodness of his heart…mainly because, as his own “anti-ethical” statements show, he hasn’t got a heart, let alone any goodness in it. So of course I find it hard to believe that a bunch of Colombian drug lords would ask him to ferry a few documents to Juan Manuel Santos’s office, in exchange for nothing. Samurai kitsch doesn’t come cheap, and neither does Miami real estate. $12 million US, spread out over three years and at least as many drug barons, sounds about right.

The funny part is that this grand (and costly) scheme, like everything else Jota-Jota has done, has basically blown up all over him like a beached dead whale. As the informant who turned himself over to the US government has testified, Santos did nothing about the proposal, other than maybe use it to line the seat of his chair. One drug runner after another was getting caught, and nothing was guaranteed…least of all protection from extradition to the US. Meaning that even as a simple messenger boy, if we are to take Jota-Jota at his untrustworthy word, the Samurai of Silliness is an epic failure.

And an expensive one, too.

UPDATE: The Correo del Orinoco reports that Jota-Jota is stepping down as Santos’ campaign manager, “voluntarily”, with a sanctimonious little speech about the “enemies of peace” using him “as an instrument” against the credibility of Santos. Whatever could it mean? Ha, ha.

Another black eye for Maricori

maricori-black-eyes

No, Maricori hasn’t suffered any violence at the hands of anyone lately. If she had, she wouldn’t be able to see out of those eyes, much less glare like that. Nobody has laid a finger on her. This photo is not meant to be taken literally. She just got her second metaphorical black eye of the week, at the hands of a group of Europarliament deputies:

On Wednesday, several Euro-deputies denounced in an open letter the “lobby” against the government of Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro, which according to them is being brought by opposition member María Corina Machado in the Europarliament.

“We denounce before international public opinion the intent being carried out these days of seeking support in the European Parliament for putschist manoeuvres against the legitimate, democratic government of Venezuela”, state the signatories of the letter.

They are the Spanish Euro-deputies Vicente Garcés, Dolores García Hierro and Andrés Perelló, all of the PSOE, and Willy Meyer of the IU, as well as Italian liberal Gianni Vattimo.

Machado and the director of the TV news channel NTN25, Claudia Gurusatti, appeared this week before the External Affairs Commission of the European Parliament, and met with representatives of various parliamentary groups.

According to the signatories, “the European right-wing is using the Parliament to take positions which violate the efforts toward peaceful national dialogue, made by the government of Venezuela and the regional institutions of Latin America.”

They state that Machado “supported the failed coup d’état against president Hugo Chávez in 2002″.

The Venezuelan opposition member asked the Europarliament to send a delegation of deputies to her country to “see firsthand the repression of the Maduro government”.

Translation mine.

So it’s not just Willy Meyer now, but several others…and not only from Spain, but Italy as well.

At this rate, Maricori shouldn’t be too surprised when the Europarliament decides to do what the OAS did when she pretended to represent Panama, and ignore her blatant, and increasingly clownish, media show.

The ironies of the Venezuelan opposition, part 47

ven-tupamaros

Actual Venezuelan Tupamaros, above, aren’t afraid to display their colors and logos and flags. This is in stark contrast to their ideological opponents, whose name isn’t the only thing ironic about them:

Ismael León, the national director of the opposition party “Voluntad Popular” (“Popular Will”, VP), presented a series of photographs, purportedly about the Revolutionary Tupamaro Movement (MRT), accusing them of being an armed party.

The national directorate of the MRT denied it via their Twitter account, @TupamaroMRT, in which they assured that the photographs published by León were not of members of the Tupamaro party.

On VP’s Twitter account, they claimed that the armed persons seen in the photographs are from the MRT, stating that the subjects are wearing hoods with colors alluding to the pro-government organization.

The VP directorate claims that their own party was born of social actions, while that of the MRT was born of weapons. One thing that the persons who know of the social activities of the Tupamaros might want to question, since the MRT party is characterized by a struggle to make the most impoverished communities visible through cultural, social and political activities.

Translation mine.

Obviously, Voluntad Popular represents nothing near half of the popular will, since the Bolivarian parties (supporting Nicolás Maduro) got more than half the vote in the last presidential and municipal elections. So there’s one irony.

The other? The fact that VP actually has its origins in armed putschism. Leopoldo López, its official leader, is currently in jail for that. It is most certainly NOT a party of social actions, unless by “social action”, you mean strategic bribery around election time. And terrorism after your party invariably loses. In which case, yeah, they’re a party of social action, all right.

But back to the MRT, the Tupamaros of Venezuela. These should not be confused with the Uruguayan guerrillas of the same name, who DID wage an armed struggle…way back in the late 1960s and early 1970s. They were rounded up, jailed and tortured by the US-complicit government of the day. The movement ceased its activities long after, with members either imprisoned, gone to ground, or having fled the land. Today, one former Uruguayan Tupamaro is president: Pepe Mujica, himself a prisoner back in the bad old days. But the Tupamaros as an armed urban guerrilla movement are no more in Uruguay, and in Venezuela, the group named after them is not an armed guerrilla movement either…even though their enemies would love to paint them as such:

jose-bombace-tweet

José Ignacio Bombace tweets back at the VP liars:

“@VoluntadPopular That photo is NOT of the @TupamaroMRT. Here’s the link to the page they took it from…”

And the official Tupamaro tweeter sez:

tupamaro-tweet

“Origin of the photos. Neither our colors nor our logos in them. @VoluntadPopular [are] desperate clowns.”

tupamaro-tweet2

“@VoluntadPopular Wrong again! Here’s the link…and the photo.”

So there you go. For a bunch that are trying so desperately to tweet out the “truth” about Venezuela (note the quotes, there for a reason), the party of un-Popular Will sure has to resort to an awful lot of bullshit.

PS: And for added hilarity at the oppos’ expense, here’s a Google translation of a recent screed by Benito Mussolini’s great-granddaughter in defence of the poor widdle dears, saying they just want a better life, an education, food, etc. Yup, nothing says democratic credibility quite like a fascist scion, defending other fascist scions by claiming they’re not fascists, they’re just hungry! (Which, of course, is not true either. Ruffles chips are too expensive for poorer Venezuelans to afford, after all.)