Friday, December 26, 2003

HAPPY HOLIDAYS: State-Induced Psychological Terror

Raven and I are very busy these days, but we want to say just how horrified we are at the Bush Adminstration's (Petrocrimnals') policy of continuing to terrorize the US public. The latest caper of canceling Air France Christmas flights from Paris to LA--although Air France found absolutely nothing out of the ordinary in regard to passengers on any of the flights--on the basis that terrorists were going to fly to LA and perpetrate an act of terrorism, was another turn of the screw in the campaign to keep folks in the US scared shitless.

We will say it again: here are two regimes in the world that need to be changed ASAP: those of the US and Israel. They are without a doubt the most dangerous, ruthless and cynical regimes in history. Atilla, Genghis Khan, Hitler and Stalin had nothing on these guys.

Raven: "Give them the bird for the holidays. Tar and feather them, too. I will gladly donate my tailfeathers for this project!"

(For those of you who read Spanish, LA JORNADA has an excellent article on this topic today:

Friday, December 12, 2003

Raven and I have been doing some hard travelling. His wings are a little worse for wear, and I am hobbling with an ankle support--thanks to Guayaquil taking a final shot at me before we flew off back to Mexico.

But we're still watching what's going on out there--Bush wants to create paramilitaries in Iraq: Hello El Salvador, Hello Iran-Contra Scandal, Hello Colombia, Hello Chiapas--not to mention the big bummer of Viet Nam! Right Rave?

"You didn't hear it here first, but we'll keep saying it: US past due for a regime change!"

It may go down the drain into that good night, along with the dollar--nosediving against the Euro and the Yen, OPEC threatening to switch to Euro only payments (Uh ah, Chavez no se va.)

Saturday, November 15, 2003


Raven discovers
that the fort he visited,
El Zamuro, means
vulture; here they are very
prominent in the landscape.

He is invading
their territory: winging
over waterfalls,
swooping down on the thatch-roofed
villages; he is whooping,

shrieking his song
in honor of the tepuis—
table mountains
spread with their feast of secrets
served up by hermetic clouds.

Predator he is:
despite noble intentions
of myth and spirit,
he’s ever on the lookout
for victims of his capers.

Buzzing the capped heads
of waders in the river,
Raven is martial
as the red jasper under
their feet; dodging the arrows

the indigenous
artisans fire at him to
demonstrate their wares,
what, after all, does he care?
He is in his element:

The gold uncontrolled
water crashing on the slabs
imitates his laugh,
the mountains his wingspread
and the grasslands his feathers

ruffling in the breeze.
His beady eyes, diamonds
shining in water,
are carbonized creation
dreaming of becoming stars.

Santa Elena de Uairen

Thursday, November 13, 2003


Perched on the little
fort's roof, Raven listens to
a guide recounting
stories of the place to a
gaggle of high school students.

Raven has flown here
from the river to hear what
goes on when humans
think they have a bird's eye view,
but he hears nothing startling.

He takes for granted
his privileged position,
and wouldn't trade it
for a rung higher up on
the food chain. He knows the trade

offs well enough to
feel satisfied with his lot
of mobility.
The relativity of
historical consciousness

doesn't bother him:
his is a spirit moving
back and forth in time;
banking his wings cloudward,
or diving down hard for his prey.

He changes his mind
at the drop of a feather;
this is the secret
of Raven: he spins the world
on his axis of caprice.

Ciudad Bolivar

Monday, November 10, 2003


Raven is circling
the chandeliers, searching in
their crystals for his
eyes, the shadows of his wings
dancing like black diamonds.

Above the hammock
swaying its pendulum of
Orinoco dreams,
Raven imitates a flute
piping in counterpoint to

the cathedral bells
groaning the hour: five o'clock
in the afternoon,
time to light the chandeliers,
not for nothing called spiders

in Spanish, holding
in their interstices the
webs of fugitive,
but very real spiders
spinning in Raven's dark light.

Raven's is manic
light, creation reflected
over and over
in peeling mirrors whose scales
silver off and disappear

as the light withdraws
into his vital organs.
He is Minotaur
crouching in his labyrinth,
Theseus tracking himself

down, Ariadne's
string dribbling from his own beak.
And still he is lost,
unable to break out of
the egg of unconsciousness,

spread his wings and speak
in rational language.
The bells shout again,
marking another hour in
Raven's crystal conundrum.

Ciudad Bolivar

Wednesday, November 05, 2003


Raven is watching
the photographs, waiting for
the crocodiles to
leave their two-dimensional
circumstance, and play with him.

Raven sees his face
in the glass—of jeep trails in
la Gran Sabana;
his is the delirium
presupposing creation

of the earth itself:
in the mountainous darkness
he navegates back
in time to starless, moonless
nights, even days without sun.

How did he miss this
sacred place on the planet
when he scattered stars?
A flat mountain top calls him
to enter the foggy shot

the photographer
has carved from primeval mud.
He tries touching down
on the grass, but the glass stops
his feet in their tracks, and makes

Raven feel anger
ruffling his feathers like wind.
In the mirror of
time well past and time present,
he shivers like the future.

Saturday, November 01, 2003


Raven has returned,
reluctantly, to his digs
in the grey city.
His image is on the door,
but no birds come calling—just

a tiny kitten,
crying in the dark hallway.
Raven is having
nothing of paternity—
adoptive or otherwise.

He is poised to pack
his bags, figuratively,
for Venezuela,
and preens in the mirror to
put his best feathers forward.

Soaring once again
over the Andes, he will
touch down in the dream
of Bolivar, turn loose his
raucus laugh in Caracas.

Guayaquil, Ecuador

Wednesday, October 29, 2003


Raven is flying
tired—and without instruments—
through dense mountain fog.
He can barely see his beak
in front of him, but he hunts

for more volcanoes,
needing to see in their mouths
his own reflection.
Black is the color of all
energies combined, he says.

With his wings drooping,
he makes a shaky landing
in snow at the rim
of a crater, peers inside,
and sees absolutely nothing.

Guaranda, Ecuador

Tuesday, October 28, 2003


Raven is slicing
the water with his wings while
it falls from the cliff,
and keeps falling, forever.
His is this precious instant

repeating itself
in a prism of silver
threads stitching the stones
to the trees to the morning.
His dance becomes the roaring

drop as he dives, beak forward
into the black pool
of volcanic reflection,
erupts in cosmic laughter.

Ba?os de Agua Santa,

Monday, October 27, 2003


Raven and I have had a few run-ins with Nescafe instant coffee the past few days. The Bird is adamant: he’s not having any of that.

“This is a coffee-producing country, for Pete’s sake—and they are guzzling this garbage!”

Rave, of course you’re right. The infamous Pete notwithstanding, the Third World folks will never be free until they stop selling their products for peanuts and buying them back again—manufactured, pulverized, petrified and chemically treated—for big bucks. In the meantime, let’s make do with a couple of teabags—barnsweepings from another part of the Third World, undoubtedly.

Raven dunks a bag in his cup and lets it dribble from his beak as he mutters a few well-chosen Third World obscenities which cast a lot of doubt on his mother.

Rave, didn’t your mother ever tell you not to swear with a teabag in your beak?

He leaves the bag in the cup.

“Let’s change the subject. I noticed in yesterday’s LA JORNADA that Durito (note: Durito is a beetle who accompanies the EZLN leader in his meanderings and musings—in short, his muse) ended up with more than half of Subcomandante Marcos’ speech.”

What are you saying, guy? You want to make a speech? You think you’re not getting your fair share of the blogs?

“A speech? Hmmm, I’ll have to think about that. You think Durito took a class in speeches or something?”

I’m not sure they have those classes in the mountains of southeastern Mexico. Anyway, you have as much—if not more—autonomy than Durito.

“Autonomy is not freedom, baby. Remember when ex-president Zedillo sent the federal cops in to break heads in the “Autonomous National University” in Mexico City?

He was still president then—don’t mislead our faithful five readers. But I get your drift. Like the autonomous nervous system isn’t free of the body—it just allows knees to jerk.

“Weak analogy, given that I don’t have knees.”

Raven dumps a bunch of aji (chile sauce, in Ecuadorese) on his scrambled eggs.

Go easy with that stuff. What did Durito have to say in his speech?

“A lot of stuff about anti-globalization. He compared the globe of the earth to a ‘globo’ (balloon), and he labels as ‘tienderos’ (store clerks) people at the head of puppet governments of countries that have given up their sovereignty to the globalizers—multinational companies and imperialist regimes like the U.S.”

Like that gringo in Bolivia, I guess?

“He made no specific mentions. But he says that it doesn’t matter that they have no idea how to govern—just that they know how to watch the “tienda” (store) and render clear accounts to the owner—Big Money.”

Durito is pretty sharp, Rave. Almost as sharp as you?

“And equally as modest. His final point was that therefore in the globalization of power the world no longer is round, like an inflated bladder, but it bursts—and in its place there’s a big store. And those stores, as everybody knows, are square—not round. And that’s how, he says, globalization functions—or as if we were to call it ‘bladderization’.”

Bladderization? I take it all back, guy. You wouldn’t come up with a goofy term like that! Or would you?

Raven lets loose with one of his ear-splitting cackles.

“Why not? If Bush can block the congressional investigation into 9/11—which he and his henchmen engineered—why couldn’t I popularize as asshole term like that?”

Asshole? No, Rave—the bladder is for doing Number 1, not Number 2.

“With folks like the Bush Gang bladderizing the world barrio—folks who in terms of normal activities cannot find their butts with both hands—Numbers 1 and 2 are the same.”

He might have a point, that Birdbrain.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Raven under the Volcano

Raven rose early;
like smoke from the volcanoes.
He was fluttering
his inky wings all morning,
landing with a coat of ash

on his feathers, and
a tender smile on his beak;
his eyes are glassy
and green from his dive bombing
cows in their grassy pastures.

On his way to bathe
in the waterfall, he shakes
his feathers free of
ash, set for his next attempt
to wash himself white again.

Above him, laughing,
Tungurahua spews his
black birds every
few minutes. He knows Raven’s
doomed to be black forever.

Baños de Agua Santa, Ecuador
October 26, 2003

Friday, October 24, 2003

Raven has been raving about the latest CIA shenanagins in Venezuela. He's also, however, traveling in the Andes with me, as the poem below will confirm:


Raven is transfixed,
frozen like a Morris Graves
bird on a canvas,
lapis lazuli pastels
barely whimpering his tune.

It’s the mountain light
that snagged him in its talons:
bird caught by cloud’s
song. Circling the cathedral,
mocking its bricks and mortar,

suddenly he saw
his Raven face reflected
in the dome. Behind
his flutter of feathers: clouds
burled by the sun, blue stone sky

poised like a closed vein
to receive Raven’s knife cry
as he roughly cuts
himself free, bathing the late
afternoon sky with his blood.

Cuenca, Ecuador
October 14, 2003

Tuesday, October 14, 2003


Raven is napping on a cushion in one of the rattan chairs. He looks tuckered out, so I tiptoe around as I make myself a cup of tea and a sandwich.

“What kind of sandwich is that?”

Raven is perched on the cushion, suddenly bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Sort of.

The typical: ham and cheese on raisin. I thought you were crashed for the morning.

“So did I. I was trying to escape.”

He yawns, flutters over to the table and edges toward my sandwich.

From me?

“From the latest round of patent hypocrisy, double-talk—you know—the Bush Gang’s usual M.O. This time expounded by Condoleezza Rice. About Bolivia.”

Raven extracts a raisin from my sandwich.

Don’t be a martyr, guy. I’ll make myself another one.

“Thought you’d never offer.” He tucks in.

So what did Miss Petrobucks say about Bolivia?

“You’ll love it. She announced to the Sociedad Interamericana de Prensa that it was absolutely imperative to support the “constitutional government of Bolivia”!

Constitutional? The US IMPOSED Sanchez de Lozada! The US Ambassador advised the Bolivian Congress that if they put Evo Morales in the presidential chair that the US would call in all loans and they would never see a red cent of loans or aid in the future.

“Don’t you see something else a bit strange?”

Yes, Rave, I do. The Bush Gang is insisting on propping up that guy—whom everybody calls “The Gringo” because he has spent most of his life in the US, and speaks Spanish more poorly than I do—as the supposed constitutional president of Bolivia, while at the same time they are doing everything they can think of to overthrow Hugo Chavez—who IS the constitutional president of Venezuela!

Raven buzzes over to the computer screen, cocks a dark eye at me?

“Double standard? Racism, perhaps? Here’s another good follow-up quote, from US spokesman Richard Boucher: ‘The internacional community and the United States will not tolerate any interruption of constitucional order and WILL NOT SUPPORT any regime which arises through antidemocratic means.' Wow! And they couldn’t wait last year to be the first to announce their support for the government—in quotes—of Carmona in Venezuela."

Double-speak, Rave. In the case of Bolivia, they know that if Sanchez de Lozada falls—and 4 of his ministers resigned yesterday—they won’t be seeing the gas shipments. And, in the case of Venezuela, we know they want to control the oil AND the gas from there.

“Not to mention that they hate Chavez because he doesn’t kiss their asses.”

Crude language, Rave.

“Crude situations call for crude language. Any more raisin bread around here?”

Wednesday, October 08, 2003


Tomorrow we commemorate the 36th anniversary of the assassination of Ernesto “Che” Guevara in a pesthole called La Higuera, Bolivia, at the hands of the CIA , the Green Berets and the Bolivians—yellow for the general cowardice displayed by the majority of the actors in that scenario.

Raven and I made a little poster of Che—with the famous Korda image above one taken by an undesignated photographer in Bolivia—probably in November or December of 1966, as he still looks partially in the disguise he created in order to get into the country. While Che was in Bolivia in April of 1967, cut off from Cuba and from just about everything else apart from the stands of jungle in front of the machetes of his companions, his famous “Message to the Tri-continental” was published in Cuba. This was the “Create two, three, many Vietnams” speech. Rather than talk about it, we’re going to give you an English translation of just part of that speech, as it rings very current for something written in 1966:

Vietnam and the World Struggle for Freedom
(Message to the Tricontinental)

published on April 16, 1967

"It is the hour of the furnace, and the light is all that can be seen."
-- Jose Marti

An excerpt:

….Everything seems to indicate that peace, the precarious peace that bears that name only because no global conflagration has occurred, is again in danger of being broken by some irreversible and unacceptable step taken by the United States.

What is the role that we, the exploited of the world, must play?

The peoples of three continents are watching and learning a lesson for themselves in Vietnam. Since the imperialists are using the threat of war to blackmail humanity, the correct response is not to fear war. Attack hard and without letup at every point of confrontation--that must be the general tactic of the peoples.

But in those places where this miserable peace that we endure has not been broken, what shall our task be?

To liberate ourselves at any price.

The world panorama is one of great complexity. The task of winning liberation still lies ahead even for some countries of old Europe, sufficiently developed to experience all the contradictions of capitalism but so weak that they can no longer follow the course of imperialism or embark on that road. In those countries the contradictions will become explosive in the coming years. But their problems, and hence their solutions, are different from those facing our dependent and economically backward peoples.

….Little by little, the obsolete weapons that suffice to repress the small armed bands will turn into modern weapons, and the groups of advisers into U.S. combatants, until at a certain point they find themselves obliged to send growing numbers of regular troops to secure the relative stability of a power whose national puppet army is disintegrating in the face of the guerrillas' struggles.

This is the road of Vietnam. It is the road that the peoples must follow. It is the road that Latin America will follow, with the special feature that the armed groups might establish something such as coordinating committees to make the repressive tasks of Yankee imperialism more diffcult and to help their own cause.

….We must definitely keep in mind that imperialism is a world system, the final stage of capitalism, and that it must be beaten in a great worldwide confrontation. The strategic objective of that struggle must be the destruction of imperialism.

The contribution that falls to us, the exploited and backward of the world, is to eliminate the foundations sustaining imperialism: our oppressed nations, from which capital, raw materials, and cheap labor (both workers and technicians) are extracted, and to which new capital (tools of domination), arms, and all kinds of goods are exported, sinking us into absolute dependence. The fundamental element of that strategic objective, then, will be the real liberation of the peoples, a liberation that will be the result of armed struggle in the majority of cases, and that, in Latin America, will almost unfailingly turn into a socialist revolution.

In focusing on the destruction of imperialism, it is necessary to identify its head, which is none other than the United States of North America.

We must carry out a task of a general kind, the tactical aim of which is to draw the enemy out of his environment, compelling him to fight in places where his living habits clash with existing conditions. The adversary must not be underestimated; the U.S. soldier has technical ability and is backed by means of such magnitude as to make him formidable. What he lacks essentially is the ideological motivation, which his most hated rivals of today--the Vietnamese soldiers--have to the highest degree. We will be able to triumph over this army only to the extent that we succeed in undermining its morale. And this is done by inflicting defeats on it and causing it repeated sufferings.

….Our mission, in the first hour, is to survive; then, to act, the perennial example of the guerrilla carrying on armed propaganda in the Vietnamese meaning of the term, that is, the propaganda of bullets, of battles that are won or lost--but that are waged--against the enemy.

We must carry the war as far as the enemy carries it: into his home, into his places of recreation, make it total. He must be prevented from having a moment's peace, a moment's quiet outside the barracks and even inside them. Attack him wherever he may be; make him feel like a hunted animal wherever he goes. Then his morale will begin to decline. He will become even more bestial, but the signs of the coming decline will appear.

….Let us sum up as follows our aspirations for victory. Destruction of imperialism by means of eliminating its strongest bulwark: the imperialist domination of the United States of North America. To take as a tactical line the gradual liberation of the peoples, one by one or in groups, involving the enemy in a difficult struggle outside his terrain; destroying his bases of support, that is, his dependent territories.

This means a long war. And, we repeat once again, a cruel war. Let no one deceive himself when he sets out to begin, and let no one hesitate to begin out of fear of the results it can bring upon his own people. It is almost the only hope for victory.

We cannot evade the call of the hour. Vietnam teaches us this with its permanent lesson in heroism, its tragic daily lesson of struggle and death in order to gain the final victory.

Over there, the soldiers of imperialism encounter the discomforts of those who, accustomed to the standard of living that the United States boasts, have to confront a hostile land; the insecurity of those who cannot move without feeling that they are stepping on enemy territory; death for those who go outside of fortified compounds; the permanent hostility of the entire population. All this is provoking repercussions inside the United States. It is leading to the appearance of a factor that was attenuated by imperialism at full strength: the class struggle inside its own territory.

How close and bright would the future appear if two, three, many Vietnams flowered on the face of the globe, with their quota of death and their immense tragedies, with their daily heroism, with their repeated blows against imperialism, forcing it to disperse its forces under the lash of the growing hatred of the peoples of the world!

And if we were all capable of uniting in order to give our blows greater solidity and certainty, so that the aid of all kinds to the peoples in struggle was even more effective--how great the future would be, and how near!

....Wherever death may surprise us, let it be welcome if our battle cry has reached even one receptive ear, if another hand reaches out to take up our arms, and other men come forward to join in our funeral dirge with the rattling of machine guns and with new cries of battle and victory.

And a final comment from Raven: “Hasta la victoria siempre!”

Friday, October 03, 2003


Raven is reading, with increasingly narrowed eyes, an article in the online version of US News and World Report.

“These guys have some nerve.”

What’s happened now, Rave?

Raven reaches for his cup of Ceylon tea, slurps, then smears peanut butter on a cracker.

“These shills for the Bush Gang of petrocriminals are at it again. First, Chavez calls a press conference to announce he has recommended that OPEC increase the price band from 22 to 28 dollars a barrel to 25 to 32 dollars a barrel. Second, oil futures rise. Third, the US News and World Report comes out with this 100% libellous story, “Terror Close to Home”—four pages of spurious reportage and quotes from unnamed US government sources saying that Chavez is sponsoring the minions of Al Qaeda, lodging Colombian guerrillas all along the border, and that Cubans are involved in paramilitary operations in Venezuela.”

Interesting fantasies. This goes way beyond yellow journalism. Venezuela doesn’t have any paramilitary operations.

“I know. Gregory Wilpert takes the article apart on And apparently Sha-perro, the Ambassador, was supposed to appear for a meeting at the chancellor’s office to discuss this latest round of attacks on Venezuela.”

Reeks of oil, Rave. Remember that surfer scene in “Apocalypse Now” where Robert Duvall says, “I love the smell of napalm in the morning”? Sounds like the Bush Gang, by accusing Chavez of “flirting with terrorism”, is more than flirting with a libel action. The smell wafting off the polluted waves on Lake Maracaibo must have addled their pates.

“More than usual? That’s like saying there is a degree lower than Absolute Zero.”

Raven is now scraping out peanut butter with his claw.

I know you’re outraged, Rave. But Chavez can take care of himself. He didn’t say he was going to be in the snipers’ crosshairs for many years just to be saying something.

“No, whistling “Dixie” he wasn’t.”

Nor would he be inclined to that tune, anyway. I think we need to get you something better to eat than peanut butter and crackers. You’re too agitated.

“The cupboard is bare,” sighs Raven.

I know. But the shelves of Supermaxi aren’t. Let’s fly out of here.

“You’re not just whistling “Dixie”, either.” Raven looks dramatically less dour. “I vote for tortellini.”

Whew. I thought, with your Venezuela fixation, you’d be demanding arepas.

“Not a chance. Those are for playing pool with. Not eating.”

Raven is looping the loop in the hallway, his feathers shining like oil in the leaden afternoon sun of Guayaquil.

Friday, September 26, 2003


Raven is starting to crawl out from behind beakfuls of Kleenex to look like his old, feathered self. He also looks angry.

“Can you believe this!”

He spins away from the computer screen to get my attention.

What’s going on now?

“Immeasurable nerve, that’s what. Remember all the fur and feathers that were flying a couple of days ago because Chavez accused the US of harboring and training terrorists who were plotting his assassination?”

But of course, Rave. That was at the International Women’s Forum. He said he had given a full color photo of the terrorists in training someplace in Florida that had been published in a Florida newspaper to the US Ambassador, and was still waiting for an explanation.

“Ah, yes. Charley Sha-perro I think he’s being called these days. Anyway, there was a photo on the news services of Chavez holding a rose and…”

You mean THAT photo, Rave?

I am pointing to a print out of a color photo taped onto the bulletin board. An Associated Press photo.

“Precisely that photo. A newspaper in Caracas doctored the photo and ran it with Chavez holding a revolver instead of a rose!”

I hope heads will roll as a result of that!

“It says here they are going to make a complaint to the Organization of American States. And sue the paper, too, apparently.”

Good. And meanwhile, under all the hoo-hah, Chavez is quietly nationalizing the diamond mines.

“It’s the least he can do, don’t you think?”

Raven turns a baleful eye in my direction, cackles. He’s back to normal.

Thursday, September 25, 2003


Raven and I have pretty much kicked The Crud.
But there are other kinds of crud
floating around out there
that kick back.
One of them is called Bad Karma—
a particularly prevalent kind of
crud that circles around
in our Universe and sticks
its psychic suction devices onto
The Usual Suspects
(at least in the fantasies of Raven and me,
they are the logical targets.)

Meanwhile, we learn that the Milky Way
(the galaxy, not the candy bar)
is eating Sagittarius.
Maybe that’s why the bird and I,
sojourning in the eye of Chiron,
have been under the weather lately.
Maybe there is becoming less of us all the time….?

Monday, September 22, 2003


Raven and I have had The Crud. After a year of living as far as possible from any industry, here we are in the middle of The Big Muddy of pollution, sneezing our brains out and spitting up unmentionable stuff here in Guayaquil (aka Galveston South). Kleenex litters the apartment, and the garbage can is full of chicken bones from the Traditional Soup Cure. Tea cups with suspicious smears of cough syrup are lined up on the kitchen counter.

This place stinks, Rave.

Raven, prostrate on the springless sofa, glares at me. And coughs.

“Tell me about it. When are we leaving?”

No, I mean the apartment stinks. Even with all the windows open it reeks of virus.

“It’s a microcosm, that’s all.”

You mean the Universe is sick?

Raven covers his beak with a Kleenex, spits.

“Let’s put it this way: it’s not having a bad hair day.”

I pull up a chair next to the bird.

Rave, we’ve got to pull ourselves together.

“Don’t do counselling mode with me. Please. The world is going to hell in a handbasket and you say we need to pull ourselves together. This can’t be my life I am living. Did you even look at any of the news commentaries today?”

I confess, no. I have done nothing but read Vargas Llosa’s “La Guerra del fin del mundo.”

“We’re LIVING the war of the end of the world. Why read about it. Look, people are even writing books about it.”

Raven flutters off the couch—like a limp handkerchief—and plops himself in front of the computer screen.

“Listen. It’s an article in The Globe about a book by John Newhouse called “Imperial America: The Bush Assault on the World Order”, describing it as: "cri de coeur" from that lost Washington world that favors diplomacy over dictate, working with allies rather than unilaterialism, and "sensible pragmatic policy" rather than the "ritual truculence" that has become the hallmark of America's international relations.”

And just what does that “cri de coeur” say?

“ ‘Newhouse traces the right's bid for power to the attempt to take over the Ford administration in the so-called Halloween Massacre of 1975, when Donald Rumsfeld was White House chief of staff and Cheney his deputy. Rumsfeld maneuvered Secretary of State Henry Kissinger out of his dual role as national security adviser, got Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger fired to be replaced by Rumsfeld himself, with Cheney promoted to chief of staff. Vice President Nelson Rockefeller was told he would not be on the ticket when Ford ran for president the following year. Rumsfeld was not interested in Kissinger's efforts to limit nuclear weapons -- he wanted a harder line -- nor did the right want the moderates associated with Rockefeller's branch of the party.

Ford lost the election. But the right wing tried again during the first Bush administration with a proposed doctrine "cobbled together" after the first Gulf War by Paul Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld's deputy today, and Lewis Libby, now Cheney's chief of staff. The new doctrine spoke of not just remaining number one in the world but of destroying any state that might in the future challenge the United States -- i.e., preemptive offense without benefit of allies, without UN sanction, with a stress on raw military power over containment, persuasion, and diplomacy. It was not a doctrine that gained any purchase with Bush senior's administration. But after 9/11 in a new Bush administration, its day has come. Rumsfeld and others were angling for an attack on Iraq before Afghanistan, a suggestion which Bush wisely rejected. But it is now clear that for this administration, regime change always trumped disarming Iraq -- thus the intelligence skewing that has now been exposed. ‘”

Sounds like more of the same to me, guy. The incredible persistence of the bad guys. What else have they had to do BUT be persistent? But I take umbrage at the idea that Bush did anything “wisely”.

“Well, yeah. But everything is relative.

No, Rave. Everything isn’t relative. That’s like saying compared to serving a life sentence having a cold in Guayaquil is a happy event. It simply isn’t.

Raven sighs.


Wednesday, September 10, 2003


Raven is stirring a bit of milk into his tea. This is an affectation he has taken up only recently, and I do not intend to share it with him.

“Did you know that Nixon called Salvador Allende a bastard and a son of a bitch?”

Raven, the asker of disingenuous questions.

I didn’t hear him say it, Rave. But I believe it. Nixon had a very dirty mouth. In fact, about the only clean talk I remember from him was when he said, “I am not a crook”—and that was a lie. In the Checkers Speech, I think it was. Along with referring to his wife, the long-suffering Pat’s “good republican cloth coat.”


Don’t you remember? That was the Nixons’ dog.

“Oh, yeah. How could I forget that much-maligned long-suffering beast? Anyway, in today’s LA JORNADA Helms of the CIA reports Nixon called Allende both of those after he won the 1970 election in Chile.”

Nixon and Kissinger were gunning for Allende from Day 1. Between the CIA and the Nixon Dirty Tricksters, and his not having a majority in the Chilean Congress, Allende was a Sisyphean stone rolling uphill during his whole almost-3-years in office.

“Listen to how they describe the “democratic way” Allende was removed from the presidency:

‘Eight million dollars were spent secretly between 1970 and the military coup of 1973, according to the Church Report—during which time the CIA and US military officers established contacts with Chilean military officers with the end of gathering intelligence and permitting the US to enter into communication with the group with the most possibility of taking the power from Allende. The collaborationist press, headed by the right-wing daily “El Mercurio”, was the voice of the terror campaign that contributed to the political polarization and financial panic of the time. Also strikes and terrorist attacks were financed, and shortages of necessary items were created, and a galloping inflation set in.

‘Philip Agee, ex-CIA agent, confessed years later: “The agency, by financing truckers and businessmen to organize against Allende (stopping the flow of merchandise and paralyzing the country) could create the appearance of chaos and disorganization which always is attractive to right-wing military leaders who advocate order and discipline. This creates the opportunity for them to intervene to restore order, peace and dignity to the nation.”’”

Sounds fishily like Caracas 2002, doesn’t it? In addition to military and CIA funds channelled to Venezuelan “opposition” groups, almost a million bucks on the books was given them by the US government through the National Endowment for Democracy. Are there any more figures on the Chilean buy-off?

“Yeah. It says here:
‘The sabotage of Allende was gigantic: US aid that in 1965—during the government of Eduardo Frei—was 35 million dollars, dropped to a million and a half in 1971. And from a record 234.6 million dollars in credits from Eximbank to Chile in 1967, the number fell to zero in 1971, at the same time as Chile was given the lowest credit rating. The Inter-american Development Bank, which early in 1970 loaned Chile 45.6 million dollars, loaned Chile 2.1 million in 1972, at the same time that the World Bank loaned Chile exactly one dollar. The Club of Paris, pressured by the US, refused to renegotiate the enormous debt Allende inherited from his predecessors.’”

Nothing like a big time slap in the face, right?

“This article indicates that the plan of Allende’s government that was extremely worrisome to Washington was that its goal was to improve the living conditions of the people by way of a fair redistribution of income, and by way of the ballot box to advance toward democratic socialism. When it looked like Allende might actually receive a majority in the Congress is he was able to complete his government’s plan, all the alarms went off in the White House, the Pentagon and the CIA. Nixon said to do everything posible to bring Allende down.”

Great guy, Nixon—running around like a latter-day Perry at the same time, opening up China for exploitation by the West.

“Yeah, but Kissinger was the one who wrote the plan. And even then all the money the US used to buy people didn’t stop Allende's party from receiving more votes in March of 1973 than they did when he was elected in 1970.”

So that’s when the decided to take him out. He had said that only being shot would he not implement the people’s program. And they decided to take him at his word.

“That’s right. It says here: ‘In Washington they filed their sights for “D Day”—the day of the coup. All they needed was to define the date and the person to head it. The date was September 11, 1973. It was headed by general Augusto Pinochet.’”

And the rest, as they say is history. Unfortunately, it is a history that the Usual Suspects (aka the CIA, the White House and the Pentagon) keep trying to repeat in Venezuela, where another president is struggling to program dignity for his people. Last week, in a particularly cynical gesture, US Ambassador to Venezuela Charley Shapiro marched over to the National Election Commission and offered it the services of the same folks that stole the presidential election for George W. Bush 3 years ago.

“Some nerve!”

Raven pours his milk-laden tea down the kitchen sink’s drain.

I hope his tea is the only thing going down the drain.

In memory of Salvador Allende, who died in La Moneda, Santiago de Chile, Sept. 11, 1973. An enormously destructive Sept. 11th brought to us by the Usual Suspects--the CIA, the White House and the Pentagon--just 28 years before they gave us Sept. 11, 2001--with its destructive pyrotecnics and its even more destructive aftermath. Thanks guys.

Friday, September 05, 2003

PRINCES (continued)

“Wow, right on the nail!” Raven spits a beakful of granola across the breakfast table.

What’s up, guy? Tools in the newspaper?

“Yesterday we were talking about “reconstructive” contracts in Iraq being the sop to the Petrocriminals, aka “nobles”, in Maquiavellian terms. Now there’s an article in LA JORNADA that’s right on the nail.”

You mean that hits the nail right on the head, I think. Is my bird buddy piddling in the puddles of Bushisms?

“God, I hope not. Anyway, this guy goes so far as to call Halliburton a “parallel army” in the Iraqui context.”

Raven wipes up the spat granola with his napkin.

Sounds great. Let’s hear it.

Raven takes a deep breath.

“’ “The war on terrorism, highest phase of capitalism, has signified for the company Halliburton and its subsidiaries one of the most fabulous businesses in corporate history. In full view of everybody, its open association with the US government represents a paradigmatic case of influence trafficking, as well as the supreme example of just how profitable the war is for hawks and buzzards. Above all, if to that are added comfortable tax exemptions.’”

Hmmm. You’re right that we were right. Does the article total up the windfall for the buzzards?

“Yeah. “Operation Iraqui Freedom” gives them 1.9 billion dollars, plus more related to the Army Corps of Engineers. Then one third of the budget for maintaining US troops in Iraq (3.9 billion dollars) goes directly to Halliburton, and to a lesser degree to Bechtel and DynaCorp.”

This is a bit beyond the bones thrown to camp followers, I think.

“The JORNADA article quotes the WASHINGTON POST’s revelation that they are even wearing military uniforms—but with their company insignias on their shoulders.”

Halliburton maybe should just be called Dick Cheney, Inc.?

“Or Ubiquitous Dick Cheney, Inc. The article goes on to say that Michael Scherer, correspondent in Washington for the magazine Mother Jones, just announced their scope of operation, complete with an interactive map of “The World According to Halliburton”. ‘The reporter notes that the past two years have been excellent for Halliburton—After 9/11, the Bush government has awarded the second largest petroleum services company in the world with at least 2 billion 200 million dollars in defense-related contracts—the majority to support military operations overseas. The map illustrates the location of the bellicose investments of Halliburton: Guantanamo, Bosnia, Kosovo, Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan, Jordan, The Philippines, Russia, Georgia, Uzbekistan y Djibuti and Somalia. Not to mention domestic investments from coast to coast, plus Alaska, Hawaii, Guam y Puerto Rico. No less impressive is the geographic diversity of the “fiscal paradises” where they launder and keep their money: The Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Barbados, Nevis, Santa Lucia, Panama, Liechtenstein, Jersey, Mauricio. And they advanced 58 percent on the Forbes 500 list in 2002.’”

Just a mom and pop operation, Rave.

“Right. And just to put icing on the cake—by the way, we haven’t had cake around here in awhile—maybe chocolate would hit the nail on the head—Halliburton just received a contract for 391 million dollars to maintain the National Lab at Los Alamos, New Mexico—our old stomping ground—and another 200 million to “update” the security of the strategic biological research in the national Institute of Health, in Maryland. Not small change, either.”

I wonder what they mean by “maintain” the Lab at Los Alamos?

“Probably looking for Chinese Americans to blame security leaks on.”

Is that Wu Lee guy still in the New Mexico Penitentiary?

“No, they let him out when in the clean-up after that fire we watched so anxiously from the friendly confines of Espanola in 2000 they found top security hard drives collecting ashes and dust in broom closets. Sort of blew their case.”

I would think so.

“Now, can we talk about taking a walk for chocolate cake?”

Just what I need: A cakewalk with the Bird for All Seasons.


And speaking of cakewalks--this, from yesterday's TORONTO STAR piece, "Bailing Bush Out of His Iraq Fiasco" (reprinted today on COMMON DREAMS:

'Bush is now spending $1 billion a week to keep 150,000 troops in Iraq, along with 11,000 British troops and 10,000 others. Yet he has precious little to show for it. Saddam Hussein is still on the loose, and Iraq is being infiltrated by fighters bent on driving the Americans out.

This explodes the neo-conservative fiction that rebuilding Iraq as a stable democracy would be a cakewalk, once Saddam was deposed.

(As Bush might say--Great minds think by the same set of rules....)

Thursday, September 04, 2003


Raven has spent most of the morning deeply immersed in Maquiavelli’s THE PRINCE, from time to time shrieking out “Aha!”, and cackling uproariously at apparently crucial moments in the text.

Fun, is he, Rave?

Raven comes up for air from a particularly prolonged cackle, wiping a tear from one of his beady eyes.

“Reading the gems in this book is more fun than picking raisins out of the raisin bread from Supermaxi.”

Really? Would you mind sharing a few of those jewels of Renaissance wisdom?

“I’m more than happy to oblige. What if I read some of the classic examples of uncommon common sense, and we decide who among our contemporary “princes” we can apply those comments to?”

Fire away, guy.

“Okay. ‘When a prince finds himself effectively bathed in popularity’—I’m translating pretty freely from Spanish here—‘he should not be too afraid of being conspired against. But if instead of affection, he inspires hatred, the attitudes of the people can be terrible. Sensible governments and prudent princes will attend to pleasing the nobles, but they must exhaust all means to keep the people satisfied. This is one of the points that must never be forgotten.’”

Hmmm. If we apply that to the current imperial model—there are no “nobles”, but there are folks who wield an undue influence—the Petrocriminals, for example—a category which includes 90% of the Bush Gang, including “His Highness George W.” To those folks he has handed over the Keys to the Kingdom—ionospherically lucrative “reconstructive” contracts in Iraq, for example.

“Nice phrase—Keys to the Kingdom”. And what about the part of Maquiavelli’s comment that he said never should be forgotten?”

You mean keeping the people satisfied?

“Precisely. What is the Bush government doing to keep the people satisfied?”

Giving huge tax cuts?

“I don’t think you’re getting this. Those enormous tax cuts didn’t go to the people, but to the “nobles”.

Oh yeah. I knew that. How about slashing social, health and educational programs?

“Now there you ARE talking about actions directed towards the people. But I seriously doubt that those actions have resulted in a widespread feeling of satisfaction.”

Maybe not. How about making big bankrupt companies find the money that disappeared from people’s pension funds?

Raven narrows his eyes, sighs deeply.

“I don’t remember that anybody did that. I think George W just patted Kenny Boy on the back for that one. I’m afraid the satisfaction level is low among those people, too.”

I know. What about all those Middle America moms and dads who have been receiving surprise packages from Iraq?

“If you are referring to their sons coming home in body bags, I think their satisfaction level is particularly low. You’re not even catching the basic concept here. You could be one of Maquiavelli’s examples of how NOT to be an effective Prince, I think.”

I thought we were talking about Bush, Rave.

“I guess we were. If Maquiavelli were alive today, he’s be spinning in his grave.”

Raven lets out a buzzard-sized shriek. Tears fill his eyes again.

That was a Bushism, right?

“Right up there with knowing how hard it was to put food on his family. Imitation is, after all, the sincerest form of flattery.”

Maquiavelli again?

Raven gives me a baleful stare from a Kleenex-cleansed eye.

“Uh—I don’t think so….”


Friday, August 29, 2003


Raven, that rascal, is indulging his sweet tooth—er, beak—with apple strudel from Oro Verde delicatessen.

Rave, would you mind giving me a bite or two?

He looks up, faintly mocking the image of a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car.

“Why, sure. In fact”—he picks up a knife and begins to divide the fairly big brick of strudel—“I think giving you half would be fair.”

Good thinking, birdbrain—considering that I bought the strudel and brought it home.

“Between dessert fantasies I have been reading an article in Common Dreams by Ariel Dorfman called “Martin Luther King: A Latin American Perspective”. It was written to remember the 40th anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech, and it’s good.”

Raven is chasing a raisin around on his plate. A pregnant pause ensues. Continues.


He pops the raisin in his beak.

“Sorry. Dorfman mentions that he first heard the speech on television April 4, 1968—the day that King was killed—a week after he arrived in Berekely , California.”

People remember things like that—like I remember walking into the English House at Seattle University the day JFK was killed—or coming home from classes at San Francisco State the evening of that same April 4, 1968 to watch probably the very same newscast that Dorfman was watching in Berekely, on the other side of San Francisco Bay. What was his reaction to the speech?

“He relates it to the situation surrounding the golpe de estado in Chile. He says:

‘It was to be Allende's fate to echo the fate of Martin Luther King; it was his choice to die three years later. Yes, on September 11, 1973, almost ten years to the day after King's "I have a dream" speech in Washington, Allende chose to die defending his own dream, promising us, in his last speech, that sooner rather than later -- m?s temprano que tarde -- a day would come when the free men and women of Chile would walk through las amplias alamedas, the great avenues full of trees, towards a better society.

‘It was in the immediate aftermath of that terrible defeat, as we watched the powerful of Chile impose upon us the terror that we had not wanted to visit upon them, it was then, as our non-violence was met with executions and torture and disappearances, it was only then, after the military coup of 1973, that I first began to seriously commune with Martin Luther King, that his speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial came back to haunt and question me. As I headed into an exile that would last for many years, King's voice and message began to filter fully, word by word, into my life. After all, if ever there was a situation where violence could be justified, it would have been against the junta in Chile. Pinochet and his generals had overthrown a constitutional government and were killing and persecuting citizens whose radical sin had been to imagine a world where you do not need to massacre your opponents in order to allow the waters of justice to flow. And yet, very wisely, almost instinctively, the Chilean resistance embraced a different route: to slowly, resolutely, dangerously, take over the surface of the country, isolate the dictatorship inside and outside our nation, and make Chile ungovernable through civil disobedience. Not entirely different from the strategy that the civil rights movement had espoused in the United States. And indeed, I never felt closer to Martin Luther King than during the seventeen years it took us to free Chile of its dictatorship. His words to the militants who thronged to Washington, D.C., in 1963, demanding that they not lose faith, resonated with me, comforted my sad heart.

‘He was speaking prophetically to me, to us, when he said, "I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells." Speaking to us, Dr. King, speaking to me, when he thundered: "Some of you come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering."

Creative suffering. Such a great description of meanspiritedness as the mother of social injustice.

“There’s more:

‘He understood that more difficult than going to your first protest, was to awaken the next day and go to the next protest and then the next one, the daily grind of small acts that can lead to large and lethal consequences. The dogs and sheriffs of Alabama and Mississippi were alive and well in the streets of Santiago and Valparaiso, and so was the spirit that had encouraged defenseless men and women and children to be mowed down, beaten, bombed, harassed, and yet continue confronting their oppressors with the only weapons available to them: the suffering of their bodies and the conviction that nothing could make them turn back. And just like the blacks in the United States, so in Chile we also sang in the streets of the cities that had been stolen from us. Not spirituals, for every land has its own songs. In Chile we sang, over and over, the Ode to Joy from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, the hope that a day would come when all men would be brothers.’

Beautiful image: Joy as a strategy for resistance!

“Dorfman turns grim, though, when he talks about the situation in the US now:
‘What would Martin Luther King say if he contemplated what his country has become? If he could see how the terror and death brought to bear upon New York and Washington on September 11, 2001 had turned his people into a fearful nation, ready to stop dreaming, ready to abridge their own freedoms in order to be secure? What would he say if he could observe how that fear has been manipulated in order to justify the invasion of a foreign land, the occupation of that land against the will of its own people? What alternative way would he have advised to be rid of a tyrant like Saddam Hussein? And how would he react to the Bush doctrine that states that some people on this planet, Americans to be precise, have more rights than the other citizens of the world? What would he say if he were to see his fellow countrymen proclaiming that because of their pain and their military and economic might they can do as they please, flaunt international law, withdraw from nuclear treaties, deceive and pollute the world? Would he warn them that such arrogance will not go unpunished? Would he tell those who oppose these policies inside the United States to stand up and be counted, to march ahead, never to wallow in the valley of despair?’”

A lot of folks wallowing in the valley of despair—or in the words of John Bunyan in PILGRIM’S PROGRESS, Slough of Despond—would like to know how to answer those questions, Rave.

“Well, he does give a response:

'It is my belief that he would repeat some of the words he delivered on that faraway day in August of 1963 in the shadow of the statue of Abraham Lincoln. I believe he would declare again his faith in his country and remind us of how deeply his dream is rooted in the American dream, of how, despite the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, his dream is still alive and how his nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

Let us hope that he is right. Let us hope and pray, for his sake and ours, that Martin Luther King's faith in his own country was not misplaced and that forty years later his compatriots will once again listen to his fierce and gentle voice calling to them from beyond death and beyond fear, calling on all of us to stand together for freedom and justice in our time. '

Well, Rave, it’s hard to add anything to that. Definitely, let us hope and pray that he is right.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003


Raven and I are catching up on the local papers from the weekend—a respectable activity in itself, but more fun accompanied by linguini with pesto sauce—albeit pesto from a jar.

“Sad mess of potage they have here in Ecuador, it seems.”

Anything specific, Rave—is this about the food? Or in general?

“Might be in general, but what I am seeing is that after Colombia’s president Uribe
shot his mouth off about Chavez leading the Colombian guerrillas—obviously following the script of the US State Department—he rolled over here to shill for Plan Colombia with Gutierrez."

Oh? And did he say anything about those poor people along the Ecuador/Colombia border who are biting the dust from the Plan Colombia anti-coca herbicides?

“Yeah. In diplomatic language, too. But the message was that they could rot in hell before they would see any compensation from the Colombian government. Maybe we could put a few basil leaves in the pasta the next time we make it—just to give the illusion of freshness?”

Anything you say, guy. And all the Colombian refugees that have been streaming in here like the water we cooked the pasta in going through the colander? Did he have any Colin Powell-forged nuggets of wisdom about them?

“Hmmm. Sounds like both governments are colluding to indicate that they are only a handful of folks. But a guy running a Non-governmental Organization for the Jesuits says they are close to a couple hundred thousand over the past few months.”

I see. If the problem doesn’t exist they don’t have to solve it. Sounds like doublespeak to me, Rave. Or maybe they think enough Ecuadoreans will be able to sneak into Spain—despite the fascist vigilance there—that they will simply be replaced by Colombians?

“Would anybody notice the difference?”

I don’t know. We wouldn’t, but we’re not from here. And they wouldn’t care about our opinion anyway. Even though we are refugees, too. Sort of.

Raven tears apart a few basil leaves and strews them over the remains of the pasta.

“It won’t be the same as cooking them with the sauce, but…”

He beaks in.

“Not bad. I think Uribe was given the task of getting Ecuador’s president to agree to accept all possible fall out from Plan Colombia. Which he will, obviously, as it was he, after all, who submitted the proposal at the Rio Summit in May for the United Nations or the Organization of American States to intervene in Colombia.”

When Chavez disagreed, and said that Gutierrez’ proposal was opening the door for South American countries to be invaded—with an appropriate quote from Simon Bolivar about the “US appearing to be predestined by Providence to plague America with misery and death in the name of Democracy”.

“Bolivar was right. Fortunately, in between misery and death there falls the shadow: of linguini with pesto sauce.”

Raven leans back and rubs his tummy, content.

You’re impossible.

Friday, August 22, 2003


Raven is savoring one of his beloved cinnamon rolls, when an ominous shadow flutters across his eyes. And now they are perceptibly narrowing.

Uh oh. Something wrong with the roll?

“The roll WAS just fine. You weren’t listening to the news, were you?”

Rave, that’s rhetorical. I have had no visible relationship with television since you’ve known me.

“Yeah, okay. The roll tastes bitter now because bitter is the flavor of cynicism. Odd that Rumsfeld pays a visit to Colombia to talk about amping up Plan Colombia, and immediately Uribe´s presidential puss is plastered on the tv screen accusing Hugo Chavez of leading the guerrillas—he asks Chavez to tell the guerrillas that he wants to negotiate peace….”

Did he indicate which ones? It was my perception that Uribe was in charge of paramilitary guerrillas. I don’t remember if those were the ones Chavez bombed when they entered Venezuelan territory, or if it was the FARC, or the ELN. Or quien sabe quienes. I see your point about cynicism. Apparently the Bush petrocriminals don’t feel they have to dissimulate their control over Colombia´s president. They have decided to answer Chavez’ accusations of interventionism by trying to make him look like the one intervening in Colombia. Wow, what a guy! Not only is he running around the capitals in the Southern Cone promoting a united and sovereign South America, but also at the same moment he is charging around the Colombian jungles trying to overthrow the government of a sovereign country. Who are these people kidding?

“Remember that nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public—P. T. Barnum I think said that. That applies as well in the austral parts of the globe.”

Raven wraps the remains of the roll in an Oro Verde takeout paper napkin.

Hmmm. Another synchronicity rearing its head. There’s an interview with Chavez as he was leaving Buenos Aires in today’s La Jornada. The correspondent asks him about the collection of signatures for the referendum against his presidency:

“Looking at this strong opposition advance, that coincides with an intense rhetoric of US functionaries against Chavez, how do you see the coming days?”

To which Chavez replies:

“One blow after another. Since I appeared on the scene this has been happening. Back in 94 they called me “el carapintada venezolano”, comparing me with a military movement in Argentina. This was towards the south, where because of the dictatorships there was a strong antimilitary feeling. In the area of the Caribe, they said that Fidel Castro and I were creating a Bolivarian guerrilla, a resurgence of the historical “great Colombia”. Then, when we decided to go the electoral route with a political movement to define a constitutional plan, they activated all the Venezuelan reactionary sectors, even preparing a coup in December 1998—in case we won the election. We were at the point of a coup, but they found themselves in the middle of an avalanche of votes, as well as with Bolivarian nationalistic soldiers that weren´t disposed toward that adventure to align themselves with the Venezuelan oligarchy against their country. They couldn’t do anything about the electoral victory and in December of 2001 was the beginning of what would be the coup of April of 2002.

“Since then they didn’t stop until the April coup where they were defeated and something happened which had never been seen before: a brave people and patriotic soldiers recovering the stricken government. Lets not forget that the US immediately recognized the coup leaders, and called those who shut down the Congress, annulled the Constitution and the court system, and who were pursuing and killing and terrorizing the Venezuelan people the “transitional government”. They showed their real faces. “The tyrant is out”, they said in Washington.

“The next step was the “petroleum coup”—two months of paralyzing that industry—until February of this year—with grave economic and social consequences for the country.”

In essence, Rumsfeld’s decision to speak from the mouth of Colombia’s President is just another flank of the US’s opposition to Chavez’ (and Bolivar’s) dream of a free, united South America. The antediluvian cynicism of the Bush Gang at the thought of another door slamming in their faces: the chance to control Venezuela’s vast petroleum and gas reserves and to impose a market zone for the “dumping” of superfluous US products.

Raven pours himself a cup of coffee, and dumps in half a ton of sugar.

“In short: Business as usual, with the usual suspects conducting it.”

And anyone who doesn’t buy it—Chavez, the rest of us—taking it in the shorts.

“If I were a woodpecker, I could give you Woody’s laugh.”

I think George W. already gave us that, Rave.

Thursday, August 21, 2003


Raven was cackling his way through a bowl of popcorn and reading the Commondreams web site when I came in.

“Listen to this:

‘Sally Baron passed away Monday in Stoughton at age 71. Baron did not make a lot of news in her lifetime - she was busy working and raising six kids - but she went out with a message that warmed the hearts of Davis and a lot of other small-town Wisconsin progressives.

No one should slip the mortal coil without raging one last time against the dying of the light. And so Sally Baron did.

"Memorials in her honor can be made to any organization working for the removal of President Bush," reads Baron's obituary in today's editions of The Capital Times.’”


“Tough old bird—pardon the attribution—should be many more like her.”

Raven tossed a popcorn kernel into the air and caught it in his beak.

Show off….

Wednesday, August 20, 2003


Raven has found a few smaller ravens in our neighborhood. They showed up after we put his image on the door of the apartment—which indicates they cruise around urban patios checking for bird buddies? We’re not sure—but he’s cheerier. This morning he went to kibbitz with them in the parking lot of the Policentro shopping mall, and when I came home in the afternoon he was picking raisins out of a loaf of bread with his old gusto….

So, Rave. You have some friends now.

“Little by little I guess we feathered friends will gather together. Adapting to a new place is a little like trying to put the UN headquarters in Baghdad back together again.”

Or Humpty Dumpty.

“I wish I could continue the sequence with the name George W. Bush. But my own homicidal inclinations are another matter.”

I suppose. Has any group taken responsibility for the car bombing? What’s the word out their in Birdland?

“It’s pretty quiet. I don’t think many birds here in Guayaquil are politically active. The politics here have a real cartoon quality:”

Are we talking Doonesbury?

“More like Wyle E. Coyote and The Roadrunner from what I have heard. One politician from here who became President of the country ran his campaign on the level of his sperm count.”

I assume you’re joking.

“As they say here, lamentablemente, no.”

Ouch. Well, I did read a piece in Internet by Robert Fisk called, “Who Wants to Go to Iraq Now?” He talks about how the attack was labelled by the US government’s spin doctors:

“Within hours of the car bomb explosion, we were being told that this was an attack on a "soft target," a blow against the United Nations itself. True, it was a "soft" target, although the machine gun nest on the roof of the U.N. building might have suggested that even the international body was militarizing itself. True, too, it was a shattering assault on the United Nations as an institution. But in reality, yesterday's attack was against the United States.”

“Not a strain on logical thinking to come to that conclusion. Who else is occupying the country?”

Raven is back in form, tail feathers peeking out of the refrigerator.

“What happened to those imported from God-knows-where Granny Smith apples?”

I ate the last one last night with some Ecuadorean camembert cheese. You didn’t notice?

“Ah, yes. I remember smelling the cheese while I was watching the news from Baghdad. Between the dearth of bird chums and a cornucopia of US foreign policy bunglers, I was, frankly, feeling in the pit between a rock and a hard place.”

Sounds like you’ve been reading the I Ching again, Rave.

“Aesop’s fables, more likely. Baghdad is buzzing with buzzards—multiplying like mosquitoes every day, and nobody in the White House is reading the handwriting on the wall.”

That would imply literacy on the part of the current resident, an assumption I am not sure is a valid one. But your reference is well taken—I think the handwriting on the wall originally appeared on a wall in Babylon. Creepily close to the scene of yesterday’s crime, don’t you think?

“Daniel the Prophet interpreted it to mean that the king and his kingdom were going to bite the dust, and the king bit it that very night.”

Perhaps Daniel was more than a prophet?

“Well, he wasn’t in his own land, anyway. If anything is to come of the handwriting on the former wall of the UN headquarters in Babylon—er, Baghdad, somebody should be planting C-4 plastic explosives under Bush’s desk in the Oval Office.”

A subtle change from the under the desk antics of the Clinton days, Rave. Fisk says: “Bush was happy to show his scorn for the United Nations when its inspectors failed to find any weapons of mass destruction and when its Security Council would not agree to the Anglo-American invasion. Now he cannot even protect U.N. lives in Iraq.”

"In any event, Bush’s caper of cajoling other countries into jumping on the peacekeeping bandwagon seems to have been blown out of the water.”

That’s what Fisk said—something like “slamming the door shut on that escape route.”

“Hopefully, with Bush’s nose in it.”

And if the handwriting on the wall in Baghdad leads to the C-4 plastic explosives in the White House, will we be able to say that the Universe stepped into the vacuum of power?

“We would have to consult the I Ching about that….”

Monday, August 18, 2003


Raven finally
hears the voice of another
bird that is not a
pigeon: perched on the corner
of the roof of the building

just across the street,
that bird closes the social
contract with Raven—
sending him its morning song,
that he grabs ahold of like

a life preserver.
His own song bursts loose; he knows
he is not alone!
He flutters like an arrow
on the early morning breeze,

rising to the roof
to join his lyric with that
of the unknown bird—
who slices the day like a
fat orange, then disappears.

Friday, August 08, 2003


Raven is not having the easiest time being a bird out of his normal air currents, and going from bumming on the beach in Puerto Angel to circling the shopping malls in Guayaquil is making him feel like a buzzard. Our favourite ave is down in the beak. But he was loaded for bear when he started reading Al Gore’s speech in NYC to

“He’s calling his speech 'The President's Ideologically Narrow Agenda Has Seriously Divided America...' I guess you can divide something into a tiny part and a big part—the tiny part having the money and the power and the gall to wave the emblems of same in people’s faces all the time. But the word divide someone implies a more equal distribution of mass.”

Okay, Rave. I hear what you’re saying. I also think you’re being picky. What was the real point—or the real points—of Gore’s speech?

“He mentions two main problems: ‘First, powerful and wealthy groups and individuals who work their way into the inner circle -- with political support or large campaign contributions -- are able to add their own narrow special interests to the list of favored goals without having them weighed against the public interest or subjected to the rule of reason. And the greater the conflict between what they want and what's good for the rest of us, the greater incentive they have to bypass the normal procedures and keep it secret.’”

I suppose we are talking Halliburton and other petrocriminal operations?

“Well, they scrapped the Kyoto Treaty on Global Warming. Gore continues, saying ‘Secondly, when leaders make up their minds on a policy without ever having to answer hard questions about whether or not it's good or bad for the American people as a whole, they can pretty quickly get into situations where it's really uncomfortable for them to defend what they've done with simple and truthful explanations. That's when they're tempted to fuzz up the facts and create false impressions. And when other facts start to come out that undermine the impression they're trying to maintain, they have a big incentive to try to keep the truth bottled up if -- they can -- or distort it.’”

So, first comes secrecy, and then come the lies to maintain it. Special interest groups gobble up the pie, and the rest of the people fight over the crumbs?

“Well, Gore did mention that he was the first person laid off in the Bush economy that has seen millions of jobs lost.”

Is he expecting folks to identify with him, or what?

“He starts out his speech using pretty folksy language—so maybe he wants to grab the ear of the folks who actually have listen to the Bush malapropisms. But seriously, he continues by saying ‘Perhaps the biggest false impression of all lies in the hidden social objectives of this Administration that are advertised with the phrase "compassionate conservatism" -- which they claim is a new departure with substantive meaning. But in reality, to be compassionate is meaningless, if compassion is limited to the mere awareness of the suffering of others. The test of compassion is action.’”

And healing the wrongs—not adding to them.

“That’s you talking from your Chiron line—but maybe that’s the new wave, as Gore talks about it, too. He says ’If the 21st century is to be well started, we need a national agenda that is worked out in concert with the people, a healing agenda that is built on a true national consensus. Millions of Americans got the impression that George W. Bush wanted to be a "healer, not a divider", a president devoted first and foremost to "honor and integrity." Yet far from uniting the people, the president's ideologically narrow agenda has seriously divided America. His most partisan supporters have launched a kind of 'civil cold war' against those with whom they disagree.’”

Oh oh. Rave, if you remember—the last civil war was won by the industrialized north—big business, as it were, of the mid-nineteenth century.

“Are you saying that maybe this civil cold war is the revenge of the south? Cotton then, and now oil?”

I have no idea. I am not sure I even want to go there. All I know is that something is bitterly wrong with actions, and with the ideological posture of the US government.

“Not feeling very funny today, are we?”

You’re not the only buzzard on the block, buddy. Let’s pray for our incredible lightness of being to return….

Monday, August 04, 2003


Raven is licking
his wounds next to the river—
invisible wounds
(invisible as his tongue)—
but he knows that they are there:

living in this time
is like sailing down a vein
away from the heart,
bound for the extremities
(marginality in love,

stupidity in
the place of awareness,
trenchant cowardice
that can’t tell a white flag from
a black feather at midnight.)

The bird feels lonely
swimming against the current.
The sluggish river
groans its way to the ocean
as Raven aims oxygen

like an arrow at
our collective unconscious—
holding his breath for
apocalyptic vision
to explode, and set him free.

Friday, July 25, 2003


“Two days ago everything was taken away from me by people I had helped. Never again will I be able to trust the treacherous Americans. I am now ready for war.”
(Nez Perce Chief Looking Glass to Chief Joseph, Cottonwood, July 3, 1877)

Raven is flying
east over the Clearwater.
Suddenly his breath
begins coming in short spurts,
tears seeping from his eyes

like a sad surprise
and he knows that something bad
happened in this place.
He flutters down on a rock
on the bank of the river,

enters his old heart
and listens to the chief’s voice
as Looking Glass tells
his people to abandon
their village. Shots echoing

across years bury
themselves deep in Raven’s brain,
and he sees, as if
on an interior screen,
soldiers aiming their rifles

at women, children
and the defenseless elders.
As the July light
edges over the tall pines,
Raven sees the same sun that

in the year eighteen
seventy seven witnessed
another milestone
of Manifest Destiny—
the myth of the white man’s right

to take away all
the lands of native peoples
and keep them for his
own use—genocide as the
motor for development.

Raven hides his eyes
behind his wings, feels ashamed
of putting the sun
in the sky so many years
ago to make us conscious—

only to project
the mutual savagery
of human beings
on the celestial screen.
And again he hears the voice,

through the swaying pines,
of Looking Glass trying to
surrender, to save
his people from extinction.
Raven has heard the same words,

now, too many times,
in too many languages;
he wants to take back
the sun from the sky, return
the world to its earned darkness.

But he can’t do it:
the human juggernaut keeps
staggering forward,
blindly drowning the planet
in petroleum, in blood—

while Raven hunches
on a rock in Idaho,
imploring the Great
Creator to forgive him
for usurping his function.

Monday, June 30, 2003


After days of rain
that very nearly drowned him,
raven is drying
his brain in welcome sunlight,
getting ready to pack his

beak and beat it south.
The little rock and roller
wants to play with the
big birds high in the Andes,
string his song down to the coast

again, and stop just
short of the Galapagos:
to meet up with Whale,
who’s been waiting to give him
back his immortality.

Raven’s been pushing
his luck, playing beach bummer
in this tiny bay
where the magnitude of Whale
can’t enter even in dreams:

this briny hide-out
is only a pirate’s cache
of Cuban cigars
in the intense panoply
of contraband that’s Whale’s grace.

Raven deserves to
receive Whale’s forgiveness,
now, for barging in
and gutting him like a fish,
trying to eat his power.

He has learned that small
can also be enormous,
can feel the great pulse
of the ocean in his eye—
the heartbeat of Whale, who drags

the Pacific like
a sweater unraveling
in waves behind him.
He has learned that he doesn’t
have to eat Whale to be him,

that he can dance on
his back as he plows the sea
seeding new beings,
and sing his clouds into bloom
like flowers, or like prayers.

Friday, June 27, 2003


Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain.
A pause.
Raven’s voice calling me from the rooftop:

“I feel like Noah after the flood!”

Uh, just a minute Rave. I think you should be feeling like the bird Noah sent out to find land.

“Doves and pigeons are suckers. Who, with a normal set of brains, would bring back a branch of a tree in his beak under those circumstances? You can’t eat stuff like that.”

You don’t know what he did BEFORE he came back to the Ark with the branch. He could very well have eaten something tasty, then grabbed the branch to bring back.

“At least it couldn’t have been a MacDonald’s hamburger. Is that anti-MacDonald’s French guy still in jail?”

I thought that you would be up on all the news, guy. What’s the deal here?

“The deal is that this wheeler and dealer’s brain has been too rain-logged to process information.”

Raven flutters down next to me on the stone steps.

Thanks, Rave. I was getting a stiff neck looking up at you. I haven’t been too with it, either, but it seems to me that after they dragged him out of bed and crammed him in the slammer that something must have happened because I think I saw something about house arrest.

“At least if he’s in his house he won’t have any prison guards slipping him genetically manipulated gruel….And, speaking of snacks….”

Now what?

“Mind if I swipe the last packet of rye crackers?”

You know, some people have sent me e-mails commenting that you are obsessed with food.

“I’m a bird! A basic creature. Bound to the base of Maslow’s bird-feeder of needs—or whatever it’s called. Birds spend a lot of time looking for food and eating food. That’s not obsession; that’s survival. Birds like me don’t live to be 80 years old on a diet of self-actualization.”

Oh. How old are you, anyway?

“I’m not exactly sure. But I’m getting up there. Let’s just say 40-something.” Raven beaks into the last cracker, and crumples the wrapper. “But let’s get back to the anti-genetics guy.”

José Bové. He was supposed to turn up in Caracas in April, but he didn’t.

“Probably had other fish to fry.”

Rave, please. You’re doing it again. Somebody has to drive tractors into fast food spots. And somebody has to destroy genetically manipulated stuff that doesn’t even reproduce normally. All that weird DNA in the Darwinian soup has got to bode ill for our future.

“And if birds like me eat genetically manipulated garbage? What will happen to us?”

Are you complaining about the crackers?

“Naw, they were great. I was asking a serious question.”

I’m not sure if the eggshells would open and mutants would emerge. But something would happen. Eventually.

“Mercifully, I am not a producer of eggs. But I’d hate to see my descendants breaking millennial Raven traditions. A mutant sounds pretty unappealing as a grandson.”

Rave, is there a point to all this? A needle hiding in a haystack somewhere?

“Why does there have to be a point? Can’t I start my brain cells working again batting around a few random thoughts?”

A few random thoughts can be pretty dangerous. Look at Baby Bush.

“I said a FEW random thoughts. Not A random thought. And certainly not the same random thought over and over: Bomb someplace!

You forgot about: Put food on your family.

“Genetically manipulated mashed potatoes, no doubt. Just what people need: a smearer for president. And you think birds are obsessed with food! At least we eat what we find. We don’t smear it on our fledglings.”

Nor, I’d wager, do you bomb their nests.

“That would not be usual.”

Let’s hope that one of his random synapses puts the Oval Office in the crosshairs.

“Fouling his nest. Big time. Works for me!”

Friday, June 20, 2003


Raven and I have been watching with great interest the incandescent bulbs lighting up above people’s heads who have finally realized that they were suckered into accepting and supporting the invasion of the sovereign country, Iraq—an invasion that is still going on, with daily deaths from confrontations between Iraquis trying to defend THEIR country and U.S. soldiers who’ve been brainwashed into believing they’re back in—where?—Indiana?

It warms our hearts to see folks finally demanding a bipartisan congressional committee to investigate the machinations/manipulations/manufacturing of evidence and just plain lies (we come from the country and we know manure when we see it) strung together by the petrocriminals of the Bush Gang in order to get their hands—er, drills—into the second largest petroleum reserves on the planet.

“After that investigation shows just how guilty those guys are, do you think that people will look at the invasion of Afghanistan and be able to muster up enough historical memory to connect 9/11 with the Reichstag Fire?” Raven clamps his beak into a rye cracker.

A wry question from the rye cracker monster, huh? I’d like to hope so, Rave. I really would. But you have to remember that the bulbs that we’ve been seeing begin to give off some light are nowhere near the majority. In most of the bulbs there still beats the heart of darkness.

“Wretched analogy. It would be better to say still persists the peristalsis of stupidity.”

You’re too sensitive to images of darkness, and you’re getting too far out, guy—too close to Poe’s “detestable” putrescence from “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar.”

“Poe! Of course. A saint of my devotion. Or maybe I am the saint of his devotion? A second-class saint though—all he had me say was “Nevermore”. Not even “One day at a time.”

Ouch, Rave. I fear we’re heading into a fog of alcoholic imagery.

“He WAS an alcoholic.” Raven unwraps another little packet of rye.

Poe? I suppose so. It didn’t seem to hurt his writing, though.

“I was talking about Bush. The leader of the Gang. The born-again bonehead who—as we indicated a few months back—should be impeached.”

Who would—in fact—do better falling off a barstool in Texas.

“Both of them would do better.” Raven lies down on the windowsill, ready for a snooze in the sun.

Bush and Poe?

I had a terrible feeling—even before I finished my question—that I had been had.

“Of course not.” Raven closes one eye. “Bush and the horse he rode in on.”

To the bar in Texas.

“To the Oval Office. It’s high time they cleaned out the manure in there.”

Raven closes the other eye, and a discreet snore begins to escape from his beak.

Monday, June 16, 2003


Raven is in conspicuously bad humor this morning. Both of us despise rain, but he takes every drop as a personal insult.

Gee, guy, try to cheer up. We have to think about more important stuff than the weather.

Raven sniffs. “I think I am getting a cold. And you—who spent almost the whole day DRY in bed yesterday—you could show a little more sensitivity to your fellow creatures.”

I wasn’t just loafing, Rave. I was suffering the slings and arrows of my dental adventure of Saturday. Well, the aftermath of anesthesia, anyway. Now I remember why it had been 10 years since I last put myself in the hands of a dentist.

“I wish I could identify with you. Maybe teeth weren’t such an evolutionary bargain after all.” Raven looks down his beak in the mirror. “I don’t have tonsils, either.”

Rave, you are way ahead of the pack by anybody’s standards. I am reading a piece by Charley Reese. My friend Maryanne forwards me his stuff regularly—he is always a breath of fresh air, or at least a breath of common sense. I think you’ll appreciate that he agrees with you about the lack of evolutionary progress by the human race. Listen:

“It's too bad we can't force political leaders to settle their quarrels personally with pistols or swords. If that were their only choice, then most conflicts would be settled by negotiations. But instead, political leaders have the power to spend the lives of the nation's youth as if these precious lives were just another appropriation in the budget.

There is nothing I can do about it, but I don't like it. I suspect the human race has not changed appreciably since the cave man's days. Men have always settled conflicts with force and violence, and I suspect they will right up to the point where they wipe the human race off the face of the Earth.

If there is such a thing as evolution, it ain't working, at least as far as the human brain is concerned.”

“I told you so. Humans are an embarrassment to the animal kingdom—weak, conflictive, INSENSITIVE TO THEIR FELLOW CREATURES.”

Okay, I get the message. What would you like me to do to make you feel better?

“How about a cup of tea, for starters? With a smidge of Broncolin dumped into it. And—let’s see—soft-boiled eggs and toast and maybe some slices of papaya with a little lime juice dribbled over them and….

”Too bad we live at the end of the earth, Rave—sounds like a trip to the breakfast buffet at the Caracas Hilton is in order for you.

“Too far to fly in my tender condition. I guess I will just have to depend on your kindness….

”Blanche Dubois, in the flesh—er, feathers. Just what I needed.

Friday, June 13, 2003


Raven is trying to scrunch up my black boina small enough to get it to stay on his tiny head.

Rave, I just don’t think it’s going to work. You will have to commemorate the 75th birthday of Che Guevara some other way.

“Phooey. If anyone is the New Bird—it’s me.”

We are going to have people reading poems and parts of Che’s diaries and I think we might even have a cake. Your wearing the boina would really be a superfluous touch. Try pinning a star to one of your feathers.

“Savage. That’s what you are. I don’t suggest you poke holes in yourself.”

It’s not much different from putting a barrette in my hair, guy. You’re over-reacting.

Raven sniffs, offended.

You don’t have to be a star, baby—to be in my life. This is the time to remember Che—and others who have had the now increasingly rare habit of standing up for their principles and beliefs.

“I suppose. What kind of cake did you say we were having?”

When I looked at the chronology of Che’s life that Lucinda had written for us on the whiteboard, I thought about how carefully Che’s life has been picked over:


tu vida atrapada
como mariposa por un aguja—
pero ¡vuelas, vuelas!


your life trapped
like a butterfly by a needle—
but you fly, you fly!


Wednesday, June 11, 2003


Yesterday Raven nearly deafened me, but he also entertained me--in the highest sense--with his translation of a little part of Hugo Chávez' comments from Sunday's "Aló Presidente". We think it's important that more people read the text, as the little part that was picked up my the news services was very distorted. It begins with a few lines from a song:

“I’m not a little gold coin that everybody likes.
I was born this way and I am this way.
Those who don’t like me—too bad.”

I am not, nor am trying to be a little gold coin. Some people don’t like my wart, but is it my fault I was born with that wart? I am not going to get rid of it. Some people don’t like my big lips—well, I was born with them, and how is that my fault? Some people don’t like my eyes because they aren’t blue—this is the way they are: eyes of the savannah--the color of the honey of the Aricas, said a writer. Some people don’t like my hair because it is curly—because it’s not blond and straight. This is the way I was born: I’m ugly—well, black or black with Indian—that’s the way I am. I’m not refined or anything—I’m a little crude sometimes—but how is that my fault? That’s the way I am and will always be—I’m not going to change; I am almost 49—how am I going to change? Some people don’t like my ideas, they don’t like the bolivarian revolution, they don’t like nationalism. Some may have the idea as one leader of the opposition said—well, a pseudo-leader—said in those days of the lock-out—they asked him what his aspirations for Venezuela were, and he said that he dreamed that Venezuela would become Miami Beach: “I dream of Miami Beach here in Venezuela.”

Okay, there are people who have their mind set on another country or another way of life—they would like those of us who are black, brown, indians mixed with white and so forth to disappear and that there would be an elite society. That’s fascism. There are others who have different political ideas and those are respected—some of you aren’t in agreement with Ch?vez and I respect your reasons—even those that seem absurd—that’s okay—everybody has his own heart and mind. Those who would like everybody to be white with green eyes—that’s okay—it’s their problem—but our little world here is made up of blacks and whites and yellows and browns and mixes—that’s the way we are and that’s how we’ll continue to be. Thanks be to God that the world is like that. We respect white people with green eyes—they’re our brothers. No one can be racist there or here.

No, no—we are all equal before God, before the law. There can’t be privileges nor distinctions by race or color. Some people don’t like it that I talk about Christ the way I do. Well, I conceive of him that way; some people see him as weak and foolis; Christ is no fool—Christ for me is a revolutionary, a man who goes around with the people fighting for justice. Some people don’t like me to say that Christ is a revolutionary—because they have a much more middle-class idea of Christ. How could Christ have been middle class if he was born in a stable? Christ was born in a stable, the son of a carpenter and the Virgin Mary and he grew up among poor kids and died crucified. Who crucified him? The powers that be of that time—the fascists of that time crucified our King and Lord and Commander in Chief, Jesus of Nazareth. Some people don’t like it that I talk this way about Jesus—they say I am sinning. Okay—I respect them because there are some who like to go to church; I almost never go to church—I don’t have time. I pray though—what I am saying now is my prayer. I love the Lord and I go around with Him and we go around in the streets, in the roads fighting for the people. That’s my Christ—I love him that way; I don’t like to see him crucified and with the fool’s face they put on him sometimes. My Christ goes around in the streets, goes around alive, not dead and crucified. Some people don’t like this; I respect their ideas.

Okay, I respect whatever difference with Ch?vez or with the idea of Ch?vez. Some people don’t like my idea about the economy, the participation of the State. I am not a communist—if I were a communist you can be sure I would say so. I don’t have hairs in my tongue, I’m not going to be hiding stuff—no. I haven’t even studied communism; even being a communist—if I were one—in this moment in Venezuela the project can’t be communist….Fidel Castro, my friend and brother, is a communist—but the project of Venezuela isn’t communist. It’s written here for whoever wants to know the economic project—in the Constitution….There are some Venezuelans—some of whom have doctorates and so forth that believe Ch?vez is pushing Venezuela towards communism, but they have been mislead. I am a nationalist, a revolutionary, a bolivariano—that’s me, I like that ideological classification—bolivariano is an ideological definition—a healthy nationalism, latin american internationalism, unity—these are some of the ideological lines which I navigate with—the same as Jesus.

**No tengo pelos en la lengua--literally I don't have hairs in my tongue--is an expression in Spanish that means I say exactly what I mean.

****Raven wants to add this description of himself that he found on eBay (his reward for the labor of translating):

In the spiritual world he is a bird who brings protection, a messenger, he warns the forces of light of oncoming destruction and battle therefore giving us the power to guard and time for preparation... he has the ability to see into the past, the future, and beyond the veil of death. He has the great ability to travel from this world to the next.