Saturday, April 23, 2005


"Wow, get this: 'The Washington Post Fears Chávez May Take Advantage of Ecuadorian Crisis'".

You're kidding, Rave. Just HOW is he going to take advantage of the Ecuadorian crisis?

"This is what was quoted in Caracas in El Universal:

In its editorial published Friday, The Washington Post regretted the fact that the United States does not have any strategy regarding Latin America. The newspaper also claimed it fears that Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez may attempt to take advantage of the Ecuadorian crisis, news agency AFP reported.

According to the daily, "Chávez, who considers Ecuador as part of the 'Bolivarian' territory, may try to promote fresh populist riots as the one in Bolivia."

"The Bush administration lacks a strategy to curb Latin American wild spring," The Post said. It added that "a growing number of countries" in the region "are badly in need of assistance to support their democratic institutions."

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's trip to Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and El Salvador next week "will provide for the opportunity to approach Washington's democratic allies in the region."

Well, the Bush Gang is getting desperate. Let's look at the current situation that has unfolded around the Ecuador regime change:

1. The Free Trade Agreement talks have been suspended. Because the newly appointed president, Alfredo Palacio, has apparently appointed a Minister of Economy who is against the Free Trade Agreement, the US has pulled the plug on the talks.

2. Gutierrez was Washington's second main man in South America--after Colombia's Uribe--so they have not recognized the new government. He cowtowed to the FMI, and he allowed for more US military penetration--more bases--in Ecuador, and he agreed to give immunity to US soldiers--which the new government says it will not do.

"Have to interrupt here--other news involving Chavez is that he cancelled a military exchange agreement with the US--and that 4 officers and 1 student who were working with the Venezuelan military were told to go home."

That underlines my point that the Bush Gang is getting desperate. They want to maintain the colonial mandate here and it is slipping through their fingers. And of course they point the finger at Chavez because he has the most influence in the region. Let's move on to

3. Gutierrez is still in the Brazilian Embassy here in Quito. Yesterday he violated the rules of political asylum by making his case by telephone, and at least a couple of the t.v. channels broadcast his harangue. He has not accepted his asylum.

4. In Bogota yesterday Uribe tried, on the behalf of the US, to get visiting chilean president Lagos to join him en exhorting that the OAS--which was meeting at the same time in Washington--apply the Carta Democratica against Ecuador. Lagos refused. The OAS apparently is half-heartedly applying the Carta and sending a delegation to Ecuador.

5. Top military were removed from their commands here yesterday by the new president. There had been rumors of a golpe de estado on their part to restore Gutierrez to the power. The US is pushing hard for that, and Gutierrez' brother is agitating the military but an imposition of Gutierrez would undoubtedly result in civil war here.

6. The US staged an evacuation of its embassy here yesterday afternoon--arguing that protestors outside made for an unsafe situation.

"I don't remember seeing anybody protesting there yesterday." Raven scratches his head.

Apparently there weren't any. It was a media caper, so they could say they were forced to evacuate because conditions of anarchy prevailed in Quito. The same old b.s. of disinformation.

"Well, sounds like the epilogue to this drama could be longer than the five acts we witnessed."

Yep--the US--er Gutierrez-- isn't going to give up easily and go "gentle into that good night". In the words of Yogi Berra, "It ain't over till it's over."

"On it says that the Ecuadorian military may issue a statement of support for Gutierrez in a few hours. So a golpe de estado is a apparently a real possibility. And radio stations are calling for mobilizations in the street. I guess we expect the honking to begin any time."

I'm going out to look for earplugs.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Wow, Rave, it's really raining out there!

"It's a hard rain that's falling on the now ex-president of Ecuador."

I see you've been glued to the computer and the t.v. So, where's he going--Panama or the Dominican Republic?

"On a couple of channels they said Panama."

Hmm. Well, the honking has petered out, so I thought you'd want to celebrate with a piece of chocolate cake.

"I'm definitely ready for that. I thought you were going to bring me leftovers from your lunch. What happened to you?"

They sent someone to tell me that classes had been cancelled. One of our students was killed this morning. So I took a walk. Then I stopped in an Internet cafe to see if there was commentary on the web from other countries. When I read in aporrea that the armed forces had withdrawn their support of the president, I figured it was over, that the government had fallen. So I went for the cake and some cheese. Couldn't get any bread. All of the shops around here are either closed or are closing. So what's the situation now?

"There are a lot of folks calling for the congress to go out, too. It seems the vice-president is being sworn in, and elections are up in the air."

Well, it's been the only excitement since we got here. And we couldn't even participate. But at least the Quiteños decided to throw the bum out.

"Time to turn our attention to other problems, if you ask me. Oops, just a minute. Did you hear someone just mention the possibilityof his going to Venezuela?"

On the t.v. screen a helicopter approaches a small white military plane on a rain-soaked airstrip.

If he goes to Venezuela there will be no doubt that he is no Hugo Chavez, but my money's on Panama. It's a tradition, after all. And ex-president Bucaram just got back from about 9 years of exile there.

"It doesn't matter. What matters is whether the indigenous people will really have a place in the NEXT government here in Bananalandia."

While you're working on that, Rave, give some thought to what to do about the election of The Grand Inquisitor as pope.

"Ratzinger--er pope Benedict XVI? The nazi who silenced Leonardo Boff, Hans Kung, your friend Matthew Fox and others? What to do is hope he dies quickly. He's 78, after all. There's a real hue and cry in this hemisphere against him. Even THE SEATTLE TIMES, not exactly a leftist paper, editorialized against him today. Both Boff and Kung indicated their disappointment. I didn't see anything from Matt Fox. In Africa and South America a pall has fallen over the scene."

I'm sure the Opus Dei types are cheering, though.

"You bet. In Foxilandia--er Mexico--Fox is sending Martita to the Vatican to be a cheerleader."

On t.v., the shout of "Que se vayan todos" (Everybody, get out) continue in the streets of Quito. But the rain is letting up.

"Que se vayan todos a la chingada: Gutierrez, Vicente Fox, Martita, Pope Ratzo, the Bush Gang...."

Very optimistic scenario, Rave.

"Hey, I want to live into my eighties. Do you think the place where you bought the cake is still open?"

Governments come and go, but Raven's stomach soldiers on.

When I come in Raven is lying on his back on the table with is eyes closed and his feet in the air.

Rave, what's going on? Is this a new meditation technique?

He opens one beady eye.

"I should be so lucky as to be transported to an ashram in rural India--where the cows poop impunely and there are NO cars!"

I noticed that they began honking again a few hours ago when I was going to the bakery.

"Did you happen to stop at a travel agency?"

No, Rave. I'm sorry. I was just trying to get a few provisions before I went to class.

"Don't these folks know that between noise pollution and an incompetent president there is very little to choose?"

It's pretty low consciousness, I'll grant you that. But they did put up a pretty nice website to protest. Probably nobody here is visiting it, though. I saw the link on the Venezuela site.

"Of course they're not visiting it! If they were visiting the website, they wouldn't all be in the streets burning up fossil fuel and HONKING!"

Raven rolls over and inches toward the computer.

"Did you write down the site?"

I hand him my notebook, open to the correct page, and turn on the t.v.

Protestors are barely visible behind the clouds of tear gas.

In the Congress, several guys are demanding that the president be tried politically for incompetent.

"For being no Hugo Chávez", Rave opines.

Indigenous men and women in hats speak to the reporter in halting Spanish. One very articulate leader indicates the need for indigenous representation in the Supreme Court.

Raven is cackling to himself in front of the screen.

"The photo of Gutierrez with Botame (Kick me out) is great."

Outside, the honking continues.

A reporter from Chile who was covering the protest march died from a heart attack after being tear-gassed.

Monday, April 18, 2005


Raven was up early this morning fiddling with the radio.

"It's definitely gone, Radio La Luna", he informs me as I head to the shower.

What do you mean, gone?

"The government jammed it with interference, and now it's entirely gone. It was the station that was transmitting all the protests."

Check in Venezuela--they are more on top of things in Quito than anyone here.

When I come out of the shower, Raven is listening to a scratchy transmission on the computer.

"They're back, retransmitting through another site."

Great. What's the news?

"Gutierrez says he won't resign. We heard that yesterday. And now the Congress has to start the process to designate another Supreme Court."

So they approved the dissolution.

"Finally, yeah. Wonder how many more Supreme Courts they're going to install while we're here."

And how many more times the president will refuse to resign.

"And how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?"

Sunday, April 17, 2005


Rave, do you notice anything different this morning?

"I love the sound of car alarms in the morning. Cars being broken into all over Quito. A return to normalcy. And no more of that damned honking!"

I appreciate it, too. That "beepbeep, beepbeepbeep" nearly pushed me over the edge yeserday. It must have got to the president of Bananalandia, too. When I was eating chicken curry across the street and re-reading "La eternidad por fin empieza un lunes", he appeared on the t.v. mumbling something about God and consensus, and his ears looked decidedly droopy.

"It would have been easier to buy a pair of earplugs and spare us the Lord's name in vain. And the warhorse of consensus looks like one of the horses of the Apocalypse. By the way, the chicken curry you brought me was tasty, but skimpy."

I know. I felt sorry for those guys opening a new restaurant. I mean we've been here less than 3 weeks, and that location has already seen one die and the nameless Indian open. I told them their portions were too big.

"Next time you get an urge to be noble, remember the hungry Raven waiting for take-out, will you?"

Sorry; Rave. It's this goofy place. I am sure on the Hierarchy of Political Goofiness, Ecuador is in first place--with Panama and the Dominican Republic--hideouts for expresidents who don't want to try Miami--hot on its heels.

"The Latin American Hierarchy, you mean. Some of those African countries that change their names every 20 minutes are right up there on the Goofymeter, too."

Well, we're not there. The thing that really puzzles me most, Rave, is....

"You want to know where they get all those judges to be able to fire the Supreme Court every couple of months. Maybe they aren't judges at all, but winos off the street."

Actually, no. I wonder, with all the honking and beating on pots and pans and waving the flag in the street and calling for the president's resignation, how this place still manages to be so boring.

"Uh oh, trouble. Do I see a Boeing 757 in our immediate future?"

Maybe. I dunno, Rave. Wouldn't you rather be in Caracas?

"Where I'd honestly like to be is in my normal habitat--somewhere above 10 degrees north latitude--instead of roosting on the equator."

Just north of here is a spot where you can put one foot in each hemisphere. We could go there next weekend.

"Big deal. I don't want to be humored. I am just tired of being one of a kind here."

If we go back to Foxilandia--er, Mexico--you'll be spitting nails in your coffee every morning because your candidate, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, probably won't get to run for president next year.

"Those dirty bastards who are subverting the law to eliminate him have given almost as big a black eye to democracy as Bush has."

"True. And Fox at the pope's funeral in Rome telling everybody that Mexico has set an example for the world.

"An example of shameless skullduggery. That Fox makes a bigger fool of himself every time he goes to Europe. It must be a requirement of his frequent flyer plan."

So, which is it, Rave--Bananalandia, Venezuela or Foxilandia?

"Let me sleep on it. If I wake up to 'beepbeep, beepbeepbeep', I may want to wave adios to Bananalandia from a window over the wing."

Or e-mail Acme Products for a heat-seeking hand grenade?