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.