Month: March 2007

An Inconvenient Truth: Al Gore and the domestication of dissent!

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Just saw Al Gore’s self-important, self-glorifying even, documentary film about global warming. Some good presentations about the complex and often paradoxical and scary chain effective nature of, well nature. If it had not been interspersed with his own claim to fame, if Gory Al-Narcissus would have not dabbled so melodramatically in his own childhood and career as a statesman with “integrity”, it could have been quite a good first half of the film.

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Correa and Econofascism: a mere rant with grains of truth.

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The Econofascist writes, as compiled by Ecuador Rising:

With his enormous popularity rating of more than 70%, Mr Correa can be expected to vigorously pursue his radical reform plans. The referendum is likely to take place as planned, probably with the support of at least one opposition party, the Partido Social Patriótico (PSP, of former President Lucio Gutiérrez), the second-largest party in congress. Moreover, the public is apt to vote overwhelmingly in favour of the constituent assembly and reform of the constitution, in a clear victory for the president.

Yet Mr Correa now is likely to find it difficult to achieve consensus on the specific responsibilities of the constituent assembly and the finer details of the reforms. Moreover, even if the PSP backs the process, this support will be fragile, as its leader, Mr Gutiérrez, seeks concessions that will increase his own political influence. Absent these, he could withdraw his support.

Finally, the main features of Ecuadorean politics—social and regional tensions, weak and divided institutions, and frequent popular protest—will keep the risk of instability, and the threats to Mr Correa’s ability to govern, very high.”

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Calling on all Globalisation Pirates and Cultural Rebels: the boat is leaving any minute!

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Calling on all Globalisation Pirates and Cultural Rebels: the boat is leaving any minute!

Having realised that political organising (in Amazonia, everywhere?) all too often falls prey to the lures of power corrupting even the best of intentions once the gap between representer and the represented grows to an irreconcilable division of minds, bodies and communities, or, even worse, realising that political organising simply bores people (refer in particular to the previous point for justification of that sentiment), and simply does not cut deep enough (how could technocratic thinking actually reach communities embedded in a poetic cosmovision?), we call for a story-telling, myth-carrying, ideas inter-changing and multifariously cultural boat to float down the river!

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Ayahuasca in San Francisco: coming down the Cordillera Blanca and back up with spirit juice.

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It had been two long days, coming down from the Cordillera Blanca from Huaraz via La Union and Huanuco at the door step to the Peruvian Amazon. As far as the mines, some hours before La Union, there had been decent roads, of course for the trucks carrying away the sub-terranean resources to the Canadian bottom line. The ugly appearance of mining facilities and the steady stream of full-sized lorries carrying ton after ton tears your heart apart, -like the mines tear the heart out of the mountains. The Cordillera Blanca is an outstandingly beautiful area – never quite seen anything like it.

In 1966, the Alpamayo mountain was declared “the most beautiful mountain in the world” by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization“.

The (swim in the) Chinancocha lake speaks for itself:

But the mining business is growing and the mountains shrinking, and the water quality around the mines – down the rivers far away – becoming an ever more dismal health threat:

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Bienvenidos a Ecuador: a permanent state of exception

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Finally back home in Ecuador after 8-9000 km´s journey over land, with buses, shared cars and one train (from Cusco to Puno), we were met with the familiar set of circumstances: the permanent state of exception that sets Ecuador apart from Peru and Bolivia – and many other countries. After crossing the border in Southern Ecuador, coming from Tumbes in Peru, we were subjected to 5 (five!) full-on check points over the course of 4-5 hours - everyone out of the bus, bags searched by arrogant, macho, shades-wearing uniforms (are there humans behind those facades?).

“There are many peruanos”, said one policeman at the fourth or fifth check point, as I had asked him what the score was, told him questioningly that this was the fourth or fifth time today that we all had to get out of the bus – “Oh..”, he smiled and that was that: welcome to Ecuador, where the authorities are tough all over.

The next day we were in Quito – and get “involved” in a little fight with the police at Plaza Grande. A woman had been doing her usual business, namely selling things to people – but she had no license to do so and was consequently mistreated by the police. A fairly well-clad man came to her “rescue” – well, he offered her support and soon one thing led to another and the pepper spray (and/or tear gas) were in use. Right in the face – it was another 10-15 minutes before he could speak or see anything and the scuffle continued all along, now involving more citizens than police, who then slowly withdrew from the scene of their own crime.

In other words, everything is back to normal!

Left so say is only that Mr. Correa has a lot of reform to perform with regards to the military and the police force, a task that befalls the replacement of Guadalupe Larriva (who was killed due to “human errors“), Lorena Escudero. (At some other point I shall return to another serious illness in not only Ecuador and in the Amazon, not only in Latin America, but in the entire world: the cancer of X-tianity)