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Paranoid Or Political? Deconstructing Maduro’s State Of Mind


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Last January, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced that he and Venezuelan parliament president Diosdado Cabello were both the target of an assassination plan – without unveiling the conspirators’ identity.

In March, he said the Pentagon and the CIA were hatching a plan to murder opposition leader Henrique Capriles and frame him for it. In April, he said U.S Ambassador to Venezuela Otto Reich and Assistant Secretary of State Roger Noriega were conspiring with Salvadoran hit men to assassinate him.

This month, former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe was added to the conspiracy theory list. He also said that the spirit of dead President Hugo Chavez had visited him in the form of a little bird. If we add all those stories together, we might suspect that Nicolas Maduro is suffering from paranoia and has lost his sense of reality.

At first glance, Maduro’s ill-tempered reaction to a statement by Peruvian Foreign Minister Rafael Roncagliolo asking Unasur, the Union of South American Nations to call for “tolerance and dialogue” in Venezuela only reinforces this impression. Maduro called the Venezuelan ambassador in Lima for some tough talks and ended up settling the matter with Peruvian President Ollanta Humala himself.

“You may be Peru’s foreign minister, Roncagliolo, I know you well, but you cannot give your opinion on Venezuela,” Maduro said in a televised speech. “I hope that is not the position of President Ollanta Humala.”

Roncaglioli has since resigned “for health reasons.”

Peru currently holds the chair of Unasur. After Maduro was elected president in April, Unasur indeed made a Roncagliolo-inspired statement calling for dialogue and the “preservation of a climate of tolerance for the good of the entire Venezuelan people.”

I would suggest however that there is a clear political calculation behind all of Maduro’s actions. Even if the strain of the mess he is in causes him to make mistakes, Maduro is essentially a rational political actor.

Let’s take for example his visceral and disproportionate reaction to Roncagliolo’s statement. Like Fidel Castro and Chavez showed, there is nothing less novel during difficult times than to invoke the specter of foreign conspiracies and threats in an effort to try and unite the home front.

This is particular necessary as Maduro’s leadership is being pilloried, even from within his own political movement. In great part, the reason for this is because the double-digit polling lead Maduro enjoyed during the campaign transformed into a 1.5% margin victory against Capriles.

However, the response to the Roncagliolo statement serves a different purpose on the external front. It is there to prevent other countries from agreeing with the Peruvian foreign minister, and avoid the risk of Unasur interfering in the Venezuelan crisis.

In this context, Maduro’s recent tour of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay serves the same purpose. Maduro’s trip coincided with another statement by a Unasur minister. Uruguayan Foreign Minister Luis Almagro recently said there was no need for another Unasur meeting to discuss the political situation in Venezuela. The meeting had been called… by Peru. “The situation has developed positively, political tensions have eased and social tensions have practically disappeared,” said Almagro.

Neutralizing the neighbors

Maduro’s behavior is aimed at making sure there is no regional intervention in the Venezuelan situation. Every time it seems there could be some meddling from South American neighbors, the Venezuelan government makes a minor concession to neutralize its neighbors’ intrusion.

For instance, after the elections, the partial vote recount that opposition leader Capriles has asked for and threatened to appeal to Unasur if he didn’t get – and that Supreme Court had initially said was “impossible” – was finally approved by the Venezuelan National Election Board (CNE) just hours before the Unasur summit.

Thus, the recount did not look as though it was the product of international pressure, but a governmental initiative instead. As a result, the summit limited itself to declare it took “positive note on the CNE’s decision.”

Similarly, Maduro’s reaction to the Rancogliolo statement led to a “gentlemen’s agreement” to restore legislative work in the Venezuelan parliament. Since the election, the pro-government majority within the parliament had been barring the opposition from participating in parliament and refusing to pay the opposition MP’s salaries.

This is the carrot-and-stick method. The greater the threats or the bigger the stick the Venezuelan government brandishes, the smaller the carrot or peace offering has to be.

A final element that has to be taken into account is the foreign aid Venezuela provides to its allies – there is no shortage of examples. After the Uruguayan foreign minister’s positive statement, some were quick to point out that 40% of the oil Uruguay consumes is imported from Venezuela under very preferential terms.

In itself this is proof enough of the influence that Venezuela has on Uruguay. On the other hand, the same thing could be said about foreign aid doled out by the U.S. government. A 2006 USAID document states: The 1950 Point Four Program focused on two goals: Creating markets for the United States by reducing poverty and increasing production in developing countries; diminishing the threat of communism by helping countries prosper under capitalism.

Clearly, Venezuela is not the only country with a political agenda when granting aid. That being said, the purpose of that help does not usually tend to be something as crass as the buying of consciences. We should remember that until recently, USAID operated in Bolivia, headed by proudly socialist President Evo Morales.

Read the article in the original language.

Photo by – Nicolas Maduro Facebook page

via Paranoid Or Political? Deconstructing Maduro’s State Of Mind – All News Is Global |.

Hungary Destroys All Monsanto GMO Corn Fields


Hungary has taken a bold stand against biotech giant Monsanto and genetic modification by destroying 1000 acres of maize found to have been grown with genetically modified seeds, according to Hungary deputy state secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development Lajos Bognar. Unlike many European Union countries, Hungary is a nation where genetically modified (GM) seeds are banned. In a similar stance against GM ingredients, Peru has also passed a 10 year ban on GM foods.

Almost 1000 acres of maize found to have been ground with genetically modified seeds have been destroyed throughout Hungary, deputy state secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development Lajos Bognar said. The GMO maize has been ploughed under, said Lajos Bognar, but pollen has not spread from the maize, he added.

Unlike several EU members, GMO seeds are banned in Hungary. The checks will continue despite the fact that seek traders are obliged to make sure that their products are GMO free, Bognar said.

During the invesigation, controllers have found Pioneer Monsanto products among the seeds planted.

The free movement of goods within the EU means that authorities will not investigate how the seeds arrived in Hungary, but they will check where the goods can be found, Bognar said. Regional public radio reported that the two biggest international seed producing companies are affected in the matter and GMO seeds could have been sown on up to the thousands of hectares in the country. Most of the local farmers have complained since they just discovered they were using GMO seeds.

With season already under way, it is too late to sow new seeds, so this years harvest has been lost.

And to make things even worse for the farmers, the company that distributed the seeds in Baranya county is under liquidation. Therefore, if any compensation is paid by the international seed producers, the money will be paid primarily to that company’s creditors, rather than the farmers.

via Hungary Destroys All Monsanto GMO Corn Fields | REALfarmacy.com | Healthy News and Information.

via Hungary Destroys All Monsanto GMO Corn Fields | REALfarmacy.com | Healthy News and Information.

Is There a connection between Dolphin deaths in Mayo With Dolphin Deaths in Peru


Is There a connection between Dolphin deaths in Mayo With Dolphin Deaths in Peru

Mayo News

At least a dozen dead dolphins were found on a number of beaches along the Achill and Erris coastline. Mystery surrounds the dolphins’ deaths, but the National Parks and Wildlife Service is to carry out postmortems on a sample of the carcasses to try to determine what could have happened.

John O’Shea, a Irish Whale and Dolphin Group representative on Achill Island, told The Mayo News that he has never seen so many dolphins washed ashore at one time.

Dolphins Dying by the Thousands in Peru – Seismic Surveys by oil Companies and Pollution Suspected by Candace Calloway Whiting – Seattle PI

Filmmaker and author Hardy Jones and his crew had to stop counting the dead dolphins that were scattered along the Peruvian beach when the number reached 615. The incoming tide made it impossible to continue a task that must have been heartbreaking and exhausting – yet nothing short of a relentless tide or total darkness would have gotten in the way of this man. In a career that has stretched over 30 years, Jones has been a voice for dolphins worldwide, and has taken his message to the world through his films and book. He battles a form of cancer that would render most of us content to spend our days puttering in our gardens. He has faced the brutal dolphin hunters in Taiji, and filmed the slaughter of the animals he loves.

So when he was informed of the mass dolphin deaths he did not hesitate to travel from his home in Florida to the remote shores of Peru, and soon found himself counting the endless procession of dolphin carcasses, photographing and filming the scene while scientists took samples and tried to establish the cause.

The first message he was able to send and post on the Blue Voice website read:

HORRIFIC DOLPHIN MORTALITY NORTH COAST OF PERU.

I arrived here yesterday, Tuesday 3/28. In that one day we found 615 dead dolphins on 135 kilometers of beach north of San Jose, Peru. This tragedy is unspeakable. BlueVoice is working with Dr. Carlos Yaipen Llanos of ORCA Peru. Tissue samples have been obtained and will be analyzed. Never heard of this level of UME [Unusual Mortality Event].

 

Dolphins worldwide are struggling with the consequences of pollution, and Jones, working with Dr. Carlos Yaipen Llanos of the Peruvian-based marine mammal rescue organization ORCA has discovered a link between the consumption of the dolphins’ meat with the presence of diabetes in humans, an appalling demonstration of the level of toxicity in dolphins.  If people continue to eat the flesh from marine mammals they may also be increasing their own chances of an early death, and world health organizations need to step in to protect the unwitting victims of this practice.

From Eating Dolphin Meat Linked to Diabetes Epidemic in Peru:

It has long been known that Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) are estrogen-imitators and endocrine disruptors. More recently it has been shown that in humans a high body burden of these chemicals causes insulin resistance and can lead to diabetes and obesity.

Dr. Yaipen Llanos has found that diabetes appears especially prevalent among those who eat the meat of dolphins. It is illegal to hunt dolphins in Peru but it is done with impunity and the practice appears to be growing.

The recent uptick in dolphin deaths is also correlated with oil exploration off Peru’s coasts, a serious double whammy for cetacean populations.

The human need and greed for oil has again started a rush to tap Peru’s sources of fossil fuels, and the techniques to locate oil fields under the oceans can be damaging or lethal to ocean life.  Included in these techniques are seismic surveys which destroy the hearing and navigation abilities of cetaceans.

Airgun. The marine airgun is the most widely used energy source for offshore seismic exploration. Airguns produce high levels of predominantly low frequency sound by releasing controlled volumes of high pressure air into the water creating an oscillating bubble which produces 90 per cent of its energy in the band 70 to 140 Hz

To increase the power and focus the low frequencies downward, individual airguns are deployed as an array that is towed behind a vessel.

The energy propagates in three dimensions as a series of lobes defined by the array geometry, tow depth, and interaction of each array element. The seismic source utilizes the air-water interface to reflect the wave-front downwards thus improving the overall efficiency.

The area around Block Z34 (above, right) and to the south is where hundreds to thousands of dead dolphins have been found, and is an area of active oil

This story is vital on many levels – the tragic loss of so many dolphins and porpoises, the planned plunder of much of Peru’s land and coasts, and the coming impact to an ancient culture are all at odds with powerful corporate strategies.

A second hydrocarbon boom threatens the Peruvian Amazon: trends, projections, and policy implications

We show that an unprecedented 48.6% of the Peruvian Amazon has been recently covered by oil and gas concessions, up from just 7.1% in 2003. These oil and gas concessions overlap 17.1% of the Peruvian Amazon protected area system and over half of all titled indigenous lands. Moreover, we found that up to 72% of the Peruvian Amazon has been zoned for hydrocarbon activities (concessions plus technical evaluation agreements and proposed concessions) in the past two years, and over 84% at some point during the past 40 years. We project that the recent rapid proliferation of hydrocarbon zones will lead to a second exploration boom, characterized by over 20 000 km of new seismic testing and construction of over 180 new exploratory wells in remote, intact, and sensitive forest areas.

The indigenous people of Peru are locked in a struggle to protect their way of life from planned dams, mines, pipelines, and oil fields.

Dying by the Thousands in Peru – Seismic Surveys by Oil Companies and Pollution Suspected | Shell to Sea.

via Dolphins Dying by the Thousands in Peru – Seismic Surveys by Oil Companies and Pollution Suspected | Shell to Sea.

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