Sunday, December 10, 2006


"He did it! The old sonofabitch, Augusto Pinochet, danced off to prepare for the next lifetime, leaving everybody in Chile holding the bag--including its current president."

Raven tosses the crust of his french toast into the garbage can.

We knew he would. I really would have appreciated seeing him rotting in jail, but at least he will be rotting someplace.

"He must have started stinking before he died, then."

Rave, that's a line from Mother Courage. I didn't know you were a Brecht fan.

"There are a lot of things you don't know about me. I am a veritable Renaissance Bird."

Don't you mean virtual Renaissance Bird?


Raven slurps espresso and turns back to the computer screen.

"At least they aren't going to give him a State funeral. Probably because this president of Chile was tortured by Pipnochet's goons. If he had kicked the bucket on Lagos' watch they would have dressed him up like a pinata and wrapped him in the chilean flag."

I would like to think that this means that the Manichean weighting of our moment in history to the side of evil might be lightening up.

"I would be cautious about thinking that. But there is a little bit to back that up."

And what might that be, Rave?

"Hugo Chavez is currently leading the votation for Time's Person of the Year at 28%. Followed hotly by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, our veritable next-door neighbor at 23%."

How many times did you vote, Rave?

Raven turns his beady eyes heavenword.

"I'll never tell."

Thursday, December 07, 2006


Raven is enjoying his breakfast toast more than usual. Butter is running off it into his beak. His laugh is that of a young bird.

Rave, you are in fine form this morning. What’s the deal?

“I am still celebrating the Venezuela presidential election. That Mexican creep, Jorge Castaneda, sure won’t be celebrating it—and this gives me intense pleasure. He had an article in Newsweek this week where he mouthed off as an expert on Latin America—give me a break—and absolutely EVERYTHING in the article was a lie—dates of Venezuela’s elections, poverty percentages—and especially his predictions about the election results—where his most extreme example of a Chavez victory—6 million votes—was not even close to the landslide that happened. I mean, what else is out there to celebrate?

Pinochet’s imminent demise?

“Naw. That’s a crock. They probably didn’t do surgery on his heart nor give him the last rites. I think he just wanted to be taken off house arrest. He will be dancing in his toe shoes in no time. I remember in 2000 how he got on a plane in England in a wheelchair, and was doing the chachacha when he got off it in Santiago—and into the arms of his old torture orgy compinches. No, I’m afraid that Hugo Chavez’ 63% victory is the only game in town.”

Yep. Speaking of crocks, the US government mouthpiece for Latin America, Thomas Shannon, was blithering in London about Venezuela and democracy—mumble mumble—and how they want to have an excellent relationship with Venezuela—grumble grumble—but that the ball was in Venezuela’s court.

“Right. Chavez is plotting coups against them every 30 minutes. He’s spending hundreds of millions of Venezuelan citizens’ tax monies on US election propaganda and US intelligence commissions. Not to mention that he has the Venezuelan navy playing war games in Chesapeake Bay even as we speak. Where do those guys get off?”

He called them on it, though. Said he’d like to have a good relationship with the US, too—but on an equal basis—and that he didn’t believe they were sincere, anyway.

“So, in whose court is the ball NOW?”

Raven has finished the toast, and is peering around for something else.

Still hungry, Rave?

“Not exactly hungry. More like unsatisfied. I don’t know what I want, though.”

Hmmm. Seems like the ball is in YOUR court, then.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Raven's eyes are circling like vultures this afternoon.

Too much coffee, guy?

"Too much happening in the world. I am discombobulated. Frangipanied. Flibberdegibbeted, even."

Are those real words, Rave? That sounds like birdspeak to me.

"Doesn't matter. Look at everything that's been happening since we left Mexico and came here to be bored in Bahrain: Your buddy Ortega finally got in in Nicaragua; this new guy Correa will be the next president of Ecuador. Chavez is being re-elected by a landslide even as we speak."

Ortega, first off, is not my buddy. I barely know him. Just because he claims to be a leftist doesn't make him my friend. I just hope he learned something from all the mistakes he made the last time he was in the power.

"Like the expensive sunglasses caper he pulled his first trip to New York?"

If that was part of maintaining the Latin American tradition of rampant corruption, yes. Second off, being the next president of Ecuador is no big deal. I think there have been eight in the last ten years. Remember that last year when we were in Quito Gutierrez was drummed out, and then Palacios took over. That's two in less than two years. If this guy turns about to be just another banana republic bozo, he won't last either. As for landslides in Venezuela, they are pretty common--remember the one in 1999 soon after Chavez took office where half of Vargas state fell into the Caribbean?

"I suppose you're right. Still, it's a lot of excitement compared to anything happening here in the Arabian Gulf."

Don't worry, we'll be back in the hot seat in Mexico soon. Then you can fly down to Oaxaca and be tear-gassed and shot at by the federal police.

"Never thought I would be nostalgic for that, but I am. Even makes me hungry. Can you heat up some of that chicken with cashews stuff from Swan Lake?"

So long as you're bushwhacked by nostalgia, consider this: Pinochet justt had a heart attack.

"Great news. Is he kicking the bucket?"

It says on Yahoo News that he's in the hospital in serious but stable condition. Maybe he just wanted a change of scene from being under house arrest.

"Naw, he's a pro at house arrest. he was under house arrest for about 15 months in London."

That's right. Maybe he IS kicking the bucket. It would be just llike him to die before they bring him to trial for crimes against humanity.

"There's no justice. Forget the chicken. I've lost my appetite."

Friday, October 06, 2006


Well, Rave, you were right about the Posadas case. The US government is just stalling.

"Of course they are. Posadas was their fair-haired cubano--did all the CIA dirty work and then some. A fanatic as a terrorist. Blowing up that plane 30 years ago and killing 73 people was like eating a donut for that guy."

Yesterday was supposed to be the final day for shitting around. But all they did was submit a document to the INS court in Texas saying that he was a bad guy who had committed terrorist acts and that they wanted a chance if he was going to be set free to submit another document saying that he was a "danger to the community". They have had almost 18 months to act on Venezuela's request for extradition of the guy--since he escaped from prison there (dressed as a priest--el terrorista en sotana) while in the process of being tried for blowing up the Cuban plane. They tried getting another country to take him in a deportation process--and nobody was willing to accept him.

Raven helps himself to the last piece of whole wheat pecan cake.

"Look, they are going to keep shitting around, as you call it, indefinitely. They want to avoid at any cost a trial of the guy because someone could ask about the CIA's role in blowing up the Cuban airplane AND the role of the person who was the CIA Director in 1976: Bush Padre. On they had a story where the president of Cuba's National Assembly said just that."

You're spitting a lot of crumbs around, guy.

"One of those crumbs should be Luis Posada Carriles."

I agree--in addition to the 73 people he offed in the airplane explosion, there's the Italian tourist he ADMITTED to killing in those bombings in 1997 in La Habana. And then that 200 pounds of C-4 plastics caper he tried to pull in 2000 in Panama with Fidel--and everyone else in the stadium--as a target. He went to prison for that, too, but in 2004 when Mireya Moscoso (mas bien "mocosa"--snot nose) was going out of the presidency she accepted a bribe of several million dollars from the Miami Mafia to pardon him and his partners in crime.

"Right. Which is how he ended up bouncing around Central America and finally ended up entering the US from Mexico under mysterious circumstances."

Not THAT mysterious, Rave. Money is never all that mysterious.

"True. Who was it that said "No one can resist a cannon-blast of 50 thousand pesos"?

A little out-of-date, considering inflation and all, but it was Alvaro Obregon.

"Funny. I could've sworn it was George Orwell."

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Rave, we have entered the heart of darkness.

"What now?"

Didn't you read the the US Congress passed a law making torture "legal"?

"Yeah. What's new about that? They have been torturing folks in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Guatanamo and in all their Gulag of secret spots ever since the Bush Gang engineered 9/11."

But that was all illegal!

"What difference does that make? There have been no recupercussions from it." Raven helps himself to a whole-grain chocolate cookie. "These are not bad, you know."

How can you stuff your beak when I am so ashamed of carrying a US passport I could crawl in a hole someplace?

"We birds don't need passports. Nor any stinkin' badges, come to think of it".

Geez, Rave--I didn't realize that you were a Mel Brooks fan.

"You learn something new every day. Mel Brooks was funny. Torture is legal. War is peace. Ignorance is strength. Those don't come from Conrad, but Orwell is close."

You're such a cynic.

"Not really--this is just another instance of your species confusing being at the top of the food chain with being superior."

I think we're in the banality of evil territory now, Rave.

"Maybe. Or maybe just in Mexico. It's the same thing."

Monday, September 25, 2006


Raven and I have been negligent about blogging for some time now.

The crackpots, racists and right-wing fanatics who have come out of the woodwork since Chavez' wonderfully entertaining Smells of Sulphur Speech last week in the UN have enticed us out of our hammocks and at least briefly, back into the fray.

We are still not up to speed. At this point I am doing the spouting off, and Rave is playing typist. I guess he is disdainful of having a real dialog with our species, and I can't say I blame him:

Anyway, a few highlights from our posts on the right-wing blog site,

Sept. 22:

I would be willing to bet just about any amount of money that I am the only person posting here who has actually gone to Venezuela several times and sat down with Hugo Chavez to talk about what's needed in Latin America (I live in Mexico) and the world today.

Getting information from the horse's mouth sure beats getting it from the horse's other end--the propaganda machine of the Bush administration....

Before one shoots his/her keyboard off with opinions, it would be useful and also ethical to find out what's really going on in Venezuela. Where, by the way, NO elections have been suspended--for any reason. Where the Supreme Court is considerable less partial than the US Supreme Court (although I was glad to see the US version finally show some spine in regard to the inhumane treatment of prisoners in Guatanamo). Where people's opinions are freely voiced and peaceful protesters are NOT dragged away in paddy wagons like they are in NYC.

As for leftists dying right next to folks on the right at the hands of US enemies--some of us leftists are not going to be dying anywhere near the US. Some of us left the belly of the beast many years ago.

I see nationalization of resources as a positive step here in Latin America--in Mexico Lazaro Cardenas nationalized the petroleum resources in 1938.

In Venezuela Chavez did not create the national petroleum company PDVSA--but he has forced other countries' petroleum companies to cooperate in joint ventures with it. And to pay the hundreds of millions of dollars in back taxes and royalties that they owed. Since they are still operating in Venezuela, they must view the operation as being in their interest.

Unused agricultural land may be expropriated (not nationalized) by the state. That's not a novelty--in the US the state may expropriate any land under what is called "emminent domain".

All opposition newspapers are alive and operating in Venezuela. None have been closed. If you have info to the contrary, post it here.The Supreme Court has not been subverted--unlike in the US.

"Overriding the rule of law with government fiat" is a phrase which makes absolutely no sense, linguistically or otherwise. Are you perhaps not a native English speaker, and would like to repost that phrase in your first language?

There is nothing in the Venezuelan Constitution that was created in 1999 that indicates an increase in presidential powers (perhaps you are thinking about passed laws, not the Constitution?), jailing political opponents or inciting revolution in neighboring countries. Do you have a copy of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela? I do.

These well-documented facts--show us the doumentation. Don't just tell us that we should believe that The Usual Suspects have been rounded up and are guility.

As for Human Rights Watch--do a little research about where they are coming from. It's always disappointing to find out that funding for such groups at HRW and Reporters without Borders is not free of influence.

A good example of what I am talking about: Last week's scandal about the reporters from the Miami Herald that were fired because they were being paid by the US government to write anti-Cuban propaganda. Fidel is no dummy--when he asked one of those very reporters in public in response to a rude question "¿Quien te paga?"--he knew who was paying him.

Another good plan if you're wanting to try to write about Latin America would be for you to learn Spanish. That way you would be able to read websites in that language as well as the Venezuelan opposition newspapers. The Washington Post and Fox News are not what we call primary sources in journalism.

Sept. 25:

I am glad to hear that you have been reading up on Chavez and Venezuela. They have a very interesting--and hopeful--social project going there--which is why I have made several visits there and spent time talking to all kinds of Venezuelans--from street vendors to the president--about what seems to be one of the very few positive projects at this moment in time on the planet.

The Bush adminstration bashes Chavez daily--not because they believe he is a dictator, or a bad guy--or any of that stuff. They want him OUT so that they can grab Venezuela's petroleum. And the tone has risen since they found out that apparently Venezuela's petroleum reserves are much larger than those of Saudi Arabia.

Folks who bash Chavez on this forum or in other venues are not even after Venezuela's oil--since most of them are in no position to get their hands on anything except a shrinking salary and a credit card to keep them in debt for life. What they are after is acceptance--a sense of belonging to the group in power. That's toadying--and they don't need educations or good jobs or even average IQs to do that.

They turn mean as hell when confronted--and out comes the racism, xenophobia, homophobia, and all their other phobias packaged in right wing ideology. All that behavior means is that they are scared.

Why scared? Because every time there is a scandal on the horizon the Bushies trot out a planned terrorist attack, abuse the airline travelers and have their lapdog (another expert at toadying) Blair round up the Usual 22 Pakistanu Suspects. The media toadies hop on the bandwagon and shriek that everyone must be scared.

Remember the Dylan song, "Everybody Must Get Stoned"? This is the version for the first decade of the Twentyfirst Century: "Everybody Must Get Scared".

Why? Because scared people don't challenge their leaders. Remember, Bush said he was The War President. In times of war everybody must get scared and get together to march like lemmings into the sea of imperialistic slaughter.

What these poor folks do not realize is the following: THE REAL TARGET OF THE US GOVERNMENT IS THE US CITIZEN. The really big lies are told to him/her. Substandard education is given to him/her. Outrageously inflated and incompetent medical care (far inferior to what we have here in Mexico, even) is provided to him/her--and if one has to go into hock to pay for it, all the better.

The US government, the Bush Gang--they don't care about you folks. You are only an inconvenience to them in their paranoid power plans--because, theoretically, even with the Patriot Act locked around your wrists, you COULD HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE.

Why not stop toadying, stop salivating for SUVs and other garbage you don't need, stop squandering the fragile future of this planet?

Why not learn how to think for yourselves?

Why not get off your duffs and get a life beyond the remote control?

Even if your government tells you that your only function is to shut up, shop at the mall and pay taxes to support their global massacres.

Just do it.


Raven is giving me the eye.

What's the matter, guy?

"Nothing. I just wonder if any of this ever does any good for anybody...."

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Chavez of Arabia

Raven is wearing a dishcloth on his head today.

What's the deal?

"I am trying to look like Peter O'Toole."

Lawrence of Arabia?

"Yep. Although, according to the scuttlebutt on Yahoo News, it's now Chavez of Arabia."

I see. Does that have anything to do with his recalling his ambassador to Israel?

"Among other acts, yes. Apparently there are thoiusands in the Middle East who want him for their president."

And what are they going to do with those two-bit dictators that are running their countries? I did not see rampant revolution when we were there last year.

"Maybe it's just a dream?"