All Notebook Entries

  • Monday Afternoon: No One Moving in Bolivia

    The uncertainty in Bolivia is growing. The National Congress has decided to meet tomorrow to consider Mesa’s resignation. Evo Morales’ Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) party, for its part, is meeting right now and evaluating the situation. The people of El Alto are waiting until early tomorrow morning to have a general assembly of neighborhood presidents. And the only thing that is clear is that the agitation here is great.

    All of Bolivia is discussing and criticizing President Carlos Mesa in different ways. Nevertheless, despite the fact that it is his decision, the first conclusion that emerges is that the National Congress has a huge responsibility. Members of Congress received Mesa’s resignation letter and have decided not to meet until tomorrow, arguing that it would be impossible to bring together every congressman from the distant corners of the country.

  • El Alto: Don't Blame Us

    Although El Alto’s decision about the resignation of Carlos Mesa hangs in suspense until 7 am tomorrow morning, the people of El Alto have already made two things clear: that Mesa can leave on his own, but that it will be under his responsibility and not theirs, and that their mobilization will not stop until Aguas de Illimani, the property of the French-based multinational Suez corporation, leaves for good.
  • Lunes en la tarde: Nadie se mueve en Bolivia

    La situación de vacío se generaliza en Bolivia. EL Congreso Nacional ha decidido reunirse hasta mañana para considerar la renuncia de Mesa. Por su lado el MAS de Evo Morales está en estos momentos reunido evaluando la situación.b Los alteños esperan hasta mañana temprano para tener una asamblea de presidentes. Y lo único claro es que la agitación es grande...
  • El Alto: que no nos eche la culpa

    Aunque finalmente la decisión de El Alto sobre la renuncia de Carlos Mesa se queda en suspenso hasta mañana a las 7 am, los alteños ya dejaron claras dos cosas: que Mesa se puede ir solo, sin hacerlos responsables, y que su movilización no se detiene hasta que Aguas del Illimani, propiedad de la transnacional francesa Suez, no sa vaya para siempre.
  • Bolivian President Carlos Mesa Submits His Resignation for Congress to Decide

    Translated from tonight's report, below and in Spanish, by Luis Gomez in La Paz and El Alto, Bolivia...

    Bolivia President Carlos Mesa Submits His Resignation for Congress to Decide

    By Luis Gomez
    Via the Narcosphere

    In a televised message, Bolivian President Carlos Mesa attacked social leaders Evo Morales and Abel Mamani (from the city of El Alto) for trying to use him. With a series of accusations against all sides in the dispute (the business community, the oligarchy of Santa Cruz), Mesa announced to Bolivia that he will present his resignation tomorrow afternoon to the National Congress.

    Between the residents of El Alto, who call, primarily, for the immediate exit by the French multi-national water corporation Suez, and the groups close to Evo Morales and his Movement Toward Socialism party (MAS, in its Spanish initials) fighting to change the new gas law (that doesn’t benefit the Bolivian people), Mesa has opted to “half resign,” and his statement now (it’s 11:36 p.m. in Bolivia) has begun to provoke a more open confrontation in the country.

    The State intelligence agency has informed Carlos Mesa that by Thursday the main roads of the entire country will be completely blockaded. However, there has not been any order to repress the demonstrations, neither by the police or the military forces who are remaining on their bases...

  • Mesa pone su renuncia a consideración del Congreso

    En un mensaje transmitido por televisión, el Presidente Carlos Mesa atacó a los líderes sociales Evo Morales y Abel Mamani (de El Alto) de estar pretendiendo utilizarlo. Con una serie de acusaciones contra todos los sectores en punga (empresarios, la oligarquía de Santa Cruz), Mesa anunció a Bolivia que estaría presentando mañana en la tarde su renuncia al Congreso Nacional.
  • Bolivian President Carlos Mesa resigns

    President Carlos Mesa announced his resignation on radio and television tonight.  According to Reuters he said he would "present his resignation formally to Congress on Monday."  

    I've been told that would make the President of the chamber of deputies, Hormando Vaca Diez, next in line for the presidency to finish out Mesa's term.  

  • Apple Computers vs. Internet Press Freedom

    A county court judge in California has ruled that Internet journalists do not share First Amendment protections enjoyed by the Commercial Media, and seeks to force two online publications to reveal their sources to the Apple computer company (makers of Macintosh products).

    (Guerrilla News has the story.)

    All is not lost, though: It's only a "preliminary ruling" (made before hearing oral testimony), and it's only a lowly county court judge, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation is on the case trying to turn this latest attack on Internet press freedom around.

    The lawsuit was brought by Apple computers, upset about (truthful) reports about upcoming products by the company, against the online publications PowerPage (www.power and Apple Insider (www.appleinsider .com). The company filed a distinct lawsuit suit against Think Secret (www.thinksecret .com).

    This decision ignores the precedent set in our own 2001 legal victory in the New York Supreme Court, when the court ruled that Narco News, your correspondent, and Internet journalists by extension do indeed enjoy equal First Amendment protection under the law.


  • Mexico's Pro-Democracy Fight Reaches NYT Op-Ed Page

    Professors Bruce Ackerman and John Ackerman warn:

    "ALTHOUGH the world has hardly noticed, Mexico is confronting the first great test of its commitment to democracy. Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the mayor of Mexico City, is the leading candidate for the presidency in 2006, ahead of his rivals by five to 15 percentage points in the polls. His adversaries are responding by abusing the law to bar him from the race. The Mexican Chamber of Deputies is now considering whether to strip Mr. López of his legal immunity from criminal prosecution - the first step toward eliminating him from the presidential contest...

    They write that the proposed "desafuero" against Mexico City Governor Andrés Manuel Lópéz Obrador "endangers the great progress Mexico has made over the last decade."

    Noting that the desafuero "lacks a plausible legal foundation" they call, on the eve of Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice's March 10 visit to Mexico City, upon "friends of Mexican democracy to voice their concern... democracy-building is a continuing project, not a one-time achievement."

    That the column appears in, of all places, the Op Ed page of Saturday's New York Times is the latest indication that the attack on Mexican democracy called a desafuero is overflowing North of the Border.

    More exerpts from this legal-political opinion, with some added analysis, appear at the jump...

  • Test of the Ring: No One Has Ever Passed It, Some Go Crazy, Some Just Cry

    The Test of the Ring can assist you in smashing your brain-washing and to actualize the severe changes that dignity and honor call down upon our thinking, the clarity of our goals, the design processes of our strategies for change and the purpose and operations of the institutions that shape our lives and our deaths.
  • Narco News Needs Our Help Today

    "It's been months of reporting story after story since the last time we asked you for help.  Now it's time for we, the readers to do our part again."  

    Please go on to read the letter below.  We need to raise $5000 for Narco News in just over two weeks or Narco News will face having to cut back coverage.  Thank you.

  • Hispanic federal agents back Conrad for Commish

    Mark Conrad, a former supervisory special agent with U.S. Customs, has landed a major endorsement in his bid for a top post within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

    The Federal Hispanic Law Enforcement Officers Association (FHLEOA) is now officially in Conrad’s corner. FHLEOA describes itself as “a network of federal law enforcement professionals committed to finding positive and creative solutions to the challenges facing the federal Hispanic law enforcement community in the United States.”

    In an endorsement letter, send to White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, FHLEOA’s national president states the following:

  • A Desafuero that Provoked a Revolution in Mexico in 1910... or 2006?

    A Mexican president is frightened that another politician can beat his team in the upcoming presidential election. He throws the full weight of the “law” against the popular opponent, removing his right to run for president, and locks up the adversary in jail. The pretext to eliminate the opponent from the presidential contest is an accusation that he illegally invaded a piece of private property and disregarded a court order against the land-taking. In this, the “president” had the tacit support of Washington.

    Are we speaking of President Vicente Fox vs. Andrés Manuel López Obrador?

    Not yet.

    This is the true story of what occurred in Mexico in 1910, when President Porfirio Diaz used near-identical pretexts to remove Francisco Madero from the presidential election contest. Having eliminated Madero from the ballot box, Diaz went on to win the pre-fixed “election” of July 1910.

    But four months later, by November 20 of that year, the Mexican people rose up in arms, led by General Emiliano Zapata, and the Mexican Revolution of 1910 toppled the dictator Porfirio Diaz.

    That’s why today’s communiqué by Zapatista Subcomandante Marcos (more of it translated, below), opposing the desafuero plot by Fox and friends against López Obrador, must be viewed in the context of Mexican history.

    Mexican national journalist Ricardo Rocha takes a walk down amnesia lane, and recounts the historic parallels in his commentary today on Radio Formula…

  • Report: Zapatistas Warn of the "Preventative Coup d'Etat" in Mexico

    The Univision TV network reports tonight that Subcomandante Marcos, spokesman for the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN, in its Spanish initials) has issued a communiqué calling for nonviolent actions against the desafuero plot to remove Mexico City Governor Andrés Manuel López Obrador from the 2006 presidential race in Mexico.

    According to the TV network, the spokesman for the Zapatistas wrote:

    "The desafuero of the Mexico City governor would set the country back one hundred years: to 1910. It would mean, in fact, the anullment of the electoral path as a means of coming to power..."

    And he added:

    "We are discussing the ways (take note: nonviolent ways) in which we will demonstrate to oppose this coup d'etat..."

    There's more, much more, to the communiqué. (Here's a link to the entire text in Spanish). It places all of Mexico - indeed, all of América - on tenterhooks. When the Zapatistas say they're discussing ways to act, it's regularly been an understatement. Deepening...

  • Argentina: Mystery and Slow-Breaking News on the Cocaine Suitcases

    Argentina has made international news for the drug trafficking scandal going on at the Southern Winds airline.

    Though the news just broke a few days ago, in the month of September 2004, four suitcases with 400 kilos of cocaine were found in the Barajas terminal of the Madrid airport.

    The origin of the suitcases was Ezeiza, Argentina, and they had been transported by the Southern Winds airline. Starting there, information has kept coming out about the investigations, those responsible for the events, the confusing explanations of those involved, and the dismissal of important government functionaries. Finally, President Nestor Kirchner said firmly in his speech before Congress: “There was complicity among those who should have been controlling the criminals.” “The most important thing is that our actions put the criminals on the defensive and make clear that there will be no place for impunity or complicit silence.”

  • Argentina: Misterio y noticia tardia sobre las valijas de cocaina

    Por estos días Argentina, vuelve a ser noticia internacional bajo  el escándalo por el tráfico de drogas en la empresa aérea Southern Winds.

    Aunque la noticia se conoció hace pocos días, en el mes de setiembre del 2004, se encontraron 4 valijas con 400 kilos de cocaína en la terminal aérea española de Barajas en la ciudad de Madrid.

    La procedencia de las valijas era Ezeiza, Argentina, y habrían sido transportadas por la empresa Southern Winds. Desde allí se fueron sucediendo informaciones sobre las investigaciones, las responsabilidades en los hechos, las confusas explicaciones de los involucrados, las destituciones de importantes funcionarios. Hasta el presidente Nestor Kirchner pronunció firmemente en su discurso en el Congreso “Hubo complicidad entre los que tenían que controlar y los delincuentes” “Lo más importante es que nuestra acción ponga a los delincuentes a la defensiva y quede establecido que no habrá lugar para la impunidad ni el silencio cómplice.“

  • Huelga de hambre en Bolivia en contra de Aguas del Illimani

    Este es el comunicado de prensa de el primer piquete de huelga de hambre que se instalo en apoyo a los compañeros de la FEJUVE de la ciudad de El Alto, que demandan hace 8 dias la rescision del contrato con la Transnacional Aguas del Illimani y la aprobacion de una ley de  Hidrocarburos Nacionalizadora , convocatoria a una Asamblea Constituyente Popular y negando cualquier tratado de Libre Comercio, hoy se instalo el segundo piquete de huelga  de hambre con trabajadores de la Empresa de Aguas SEMAPA de Cochabamba y trabajadores petroleros, mañana se instalara otro piquete de huelga de hambre con la participacion de regantes, personas independientes, de esta manera las medidas se radicalizaran  de manera escalonada:
  • In Memory, My Grandmother

    "Do all the right things."
          Johanna Wagner Natkin (Jean)
          4 June 1925 — 28 February 2005
  • Las Cruces NM

    Next weekend I plan to attend events related to the release of my book, Contrabando. Saturday I will be in El Paso at a booksigning event and Sunday in Las Cruces. Monday evening I am scheduled to give a reading and a talk at NMSU which I hope turns into a forum to discuss drug policies and their affect on our countries.

    Here's a link to today's El Paso Times announcing the events.

    Anyone wishing to attend is welcome.

  • Banamex at Core of Fox-López Obrador Dispute - But AP Protects the Bankers

    Associated Press correspondent Lisa J. Adams filed a story last night about the escalating war of words between Mexico City Governor Andrés Manuel López Obrador and President Vicente Fox.

    But she omitted the quote-of-the-day, considered most newsworthy by the Mexican Press, when López Obrador responded to Fox's attacks on "populism" by saying:

    "I would like to respond to the President... Populism is not the programs that the (Mexico City) government promotes but, rather, actions such as not collecting 30 billion pesos (about three billion US dollars) from his friend Roberto Hernández for the debt imposed by the sale of Banamex."

    Hernández sold the National Bank of Mexico, known as Banamex, to Citigroup and joined the gringo bank's board of directors in 2001. This frontal assault on Fox's allowing this bank robbery to go through tax-free was quoted by Mexico's largest daily, El Universal (which added a readers forum - more than 100 comments so far - asking "Who Is the Populist: Fox or AMLO?") It was the page one story in the nation's third largest daily Por Esto. Others, like La Jornada, devoted significant space to it as well.

    But Lisa J. Adams of Associated Press chose, instead, to quote only Fox and protect Citigroup-Banamex from the mounting public outrage...

  • Sieze the View (and th e Power) to Change the World

    Capitalism – NO! – Community Serving Markets – YES ! –

    ... we live unable to exercise our imaginations, nimbyism is everywhere – in our heads , in our proposals in our values. Like in Colombia where people support Uribe...

    Without honesty among and within ourselves are we even human? Are responsibility and honor now expunged from that thing we once held so high: humanity and brotherly love?

  • Venezuela: Waterloo or Dien Bien Phu?

    (Revised and Corrected Version)

    As we know, in 1991, the USA launched its Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program, that supposedly has the noble objective to destroy all types of Weapons Of Mass Destruction (WMD'S) that were produced during the Cold War era. Apart from scrapping some obsolete models of its very own arsenal, and those of its allies, like Israel, the USA itself continues producing all kinds of new varieties of mortal and lethal arms.

  • El Mundo Sabe: El Consejo de Iglesias exige derechos para los internados de Guantánamo

    Traducción: Bridget Huber

    La mayor coalición mundial de Cristianos no-Católicas denunció el maltratamiento de prisioneros en la base naval estadounidense de la bahía de Guantánamo, reportó Reuters ayer. El Consejo Mundial de Iglesias apeló a la administración Bush para que deje de violar la ley internacional y conceda derechos legales completos a las más que 600 personas, la mayoría Musulmanes, detenidas ilegalmente en el campo de interrogatorios de la base.

  • U.S. Government has it in for Venezuela: and Venezuela is Ready

    "If they kill me, the name of the person responsible is George Bush," Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez Frias said in his weekly television talk.  His statement comes on the heels of a new initiative in the United States Congress to interfere further in the affairs of Latin American countries – and propaganda in the Washington Post justify it – this time in the guise of controlling not drugs, but guns.

    Chavez offered no evidence to back his claim that the U.S. government has plans to assassinate him, wrote the BBC in its report on Monday.

    For a motive, though, the BBC needn't have looked any farther than their own 2004 November article, "Venezuela ignores IMF advice on oil money," by Iain Bruce.

    For opportunity, George W. Bush's second term following a second fraudulent election will suffice.

    As for means, well, that's exactly what the government and people of Venezuela are trying to deny the Bush regime.

  • Latin America: In Defense of the Venezuelan Revolution

    Enjoy the following inportant article, written by by Zack Krasuk.

    Latin America: In Defense of the Venezuelan Revolution
    Contributed by Zack on Monday, February 21 @ 08:43:32 AST
    VenezuelaBy Zack Krasuk
    2/15/2005 - Updated: 2/24/2005


    Large political and socio economic changes in a third world country do not happen when things are complacent and well for the masses. Neither was this the case with Venezuela. In December 6, 1998, Hugo Chávez of the MVR Party (Movimiento de la Quinta República—Movement of the Fifth Republic) won the presidential election by a whopping 56.2%, one of the largest majority of votes attained in the history of Venezuela and breaking the pattern of a two party political system that offered little practical variation at all for the previous 40 years. Indeed, the election of 1998 marked a new and brighter beginning for Venezuela and its citizens.

  • State Dept. homicide stats put Narco-bogeyman scare on ice

    In late January, only a few weeks into the new year, the U.S. State Department issued a travel warning to U.S. citizens that urged them to avoid the border area in Mexico because of escalating violence due to narco-trafficking activities.

    Few in the media questioned the veracity of the warning. After all, if the government says it’s so, it must be so. But what do the numbers tell us?

    If U.S. citizens are facing a greater risk to their safety along the border, shouldn’t there be a way of measuring that increased risk, an accounting of the increase in murders, kidnappings and disappearances?

    The State Department warning began as follows:

  • Mexico Poll: Fox-Creel Attacks on López Obrador Have Backfired

    A new poll, published today by the daily Milenio of Mexico City (subscribers only), reveals that the attempts by President Vicente Fox and his chief of staff (and hand-chosen successor) Santiago Creel to remove Mexico City Governor Andrés Manuel López Obrador from the contest have significantly backfired.

    There has been a significant shift in public opinion toward López Obrador (of the Democratic Revolution Party, or PRD) for President in the 2006 elections, and against Creel (of the National Action Party, or PAN) since November. Support for the other major candidate, second-place contendor Roberto Madrazo of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI) remained virtually unchanged since November.

    As it currently stands, if the election were held today, the results would be:

    • López Obrador (PRD) 37%
    • Madrazo (PRI) 33%
    • Creel (PAN) 23%
    (Independent candidate Jorge Castaneda remains where he was in November, at five percent support, and Green party candidate González Torres remains frozen as well, at two percent of the preferences.)

    The same poll, last November, showed a close three-way race:

    • López Obrador (PRD) 34%
    • Madrazo (PRI) 32%
    • Creel (PAN) 28%
    López Obrador is thus winning the propaganda war over the efforts by Fox and Creel to drive him out of the contest. Other details of the new poll are also interesting…

  • U.S. Losing Propaganda War with Terrorists

    "How can all this look to the Muslim world?" human rights attorney Michael Ratner asked, referring to courts of conviction proposed for prisoners at the Guantánamo interrogation camp, in the final chapter of a book on the Guantánamo interrogation camp, posted today on Narco News.

    An answer came Sunday from a videotape purporting to show Osama bin Laden's deputy, Ayman Zawahri, who said the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, "explains the truth about reforms and democracy that America alleges it wants to impose in our countries."

    The United States government may be losing a battle for hearts and minds with the world’s most reviled terrorists, and the abuse of illegally imprisoned people at the Guantánamo naval base is part of the reason why.  The video, part of which was played on Arabic satellite channel Al-Jazeera, is billed as a new Al Qaeda statement and pointed out the camp as proof of the U.S. government’s malign intent.

  • Brazil Culture Minister Gilberto Gil: "Legalize Marijuana"

    In an interview with the Brazilian national news magazine Veja (subscriber access only), the musician-turned-cabinet-member Gilberto Gil voiced his support for decriminalizing marijuana:

    "I believe that drugs should be treated like pharmaceuticals, legalized, although under the same regulations and monitoring as medicines...

    The Spaniard EFE news agency reports:

    Gil said that he has discussed the matter with other cabinet members and congressmen from the Workers Party (PT, in its Portuguese initials) that is led by (Brazilian President Lula da Silva)...

    Attorney General Marcio Thomaz Bastos has said that he shares the idea and that "the horizon of liberation (of marijuana consumption) is what we have ahead of us."

    Narco News Authentic Journalism Scholar Natalia Viana, in Sao Paulo, is preparing a report on the status of drug policy reforms promised by the Brazilian government last November but not yet delivered.


  • Attack on Haiti's Prison Had Nothing to Do with Lavalas Leaders

    The high-profile political prisoners briefly removed from Haiti's National Penitentiary in Port-au-Prince during the Saturday afternoon attack had nothing to do with the attack, either as targets for rescuing or an attempt by attackers to cast blame on Lavalas for the attack.  Fellow inmates, at least one of whom happens to be former military from the army President Aristide disbanded in 1995, took the leaders of Aristide's Lavalas from the prison out of concern for their safety.  Former prime minister Yvon Neptune and former interior minister Jocelerme Privert then called the UN to be returned to prison because they do not want to flee or live as fugitives.

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