About Dan Feder

I was a member of the Narco News team in various capacities, from webmaster to Editor-in-Chief, from 2002-2008. Since 2006 I have also been a member of the International Peace Observatory, which performs human rights accompaniment for Colombian campesino organizations in conflict zones. I am now living in Boston and working as a website developer for DigitalAid, Inc.

Dan Feder's Comments

Honduras' Coup Congress Cancels Five Basic Liberties
Jul 2 2009 - 9:40pm
Honduras' Dictator-for-a-Day Rails vs. Obama & Chávez, Declares Martial Law
Jun 28 2009 - 10:08pm
State Violence in Iran Hits New Extreme
Jun 24 2009 - 4:48pm
Brainstorming Iran: An X-Ray of Immediate History
Jun 24 2009 - 4:44pm
State Violence in Iran Hits New Extreme
Jun 24 2009 - 2:46pm

U.S. Plans for Military Conflict With Venezuela?

William Arkin, who blogs on defense issues for the Washington Post, has been ruffling feathers for the last two days with his Tuesday entry:

Internal documents associated with the 2005 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) and preparation of the fiscal year 2008-2013 future defense plan identify five specific "threat" countries in three groups requiring "full-spectrum" planning.

The first group includes North Korea and Iran, both justified for their involvement in the development of weapons of mass destruction. China is listed as a "growing peer competitor" and threat of tomorrow. Syria and Venezuela are listed as "rogue nations."

Venezuela is identified in Defense Department briefings and documents as a "pop up" threat, an example of an unanticipated and asymmetric challenge. In the military mind, Venezuela's proximity to the United States also elevates it to a "homeland security" threat, instantly increasing the priority for planning.

There is another bureaucratic reality of Venezuela as the pop up threat and recipient of contingency planner attention: U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), which is responsible for Latin America, needs something to do…

The claims have received enough attention to warrant a denial from the Pentagon. This story is worth keeping one’s eye on…

Lines in the Sand: A Week of Drug War Summits in South America

The northern Colombian city of Santa Marta — and Colombian president Álvaro Uribe — played host this week to the 15th Summit of the Heads of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies (HONLEA) of Latin America and the Caribbean. President Uribe, addressing the delegations of about forty nations, took the opportunity to bash the drug legalization movement and demand that its neighbors do more to stop Colombian drugs from reaching consuming countries. Meanwhile, one of those neighbors — Venezuela — made some blunt criticisms of Plan Colombia and joined another one of Uribe’s neighbors — Ecuador — in complaining that the effects of the U.S.-sponsored crop fumigation program are spilling over the border and causing environmental and other damages…

Colombian Farmers Occupy Town to Protest Drug War

The following story, originally published in Spanish on Indymedia, is the latest example of popular resistance in Colombia to the drug war, and specifically to the brutal policy of aerial fumigation.

Fumigated Rural Communities Take Over Downtown Cantagallo

By César Jerez
Agencia Prensa Rural
September 26, 2005

Around 300 people, including several woman and children, from the 22 outlying rural zones of the town of Catagallo, have been occupying the municipality’s downtown area since Saturday, September 24...

Ecuador remueve de su cargo a ministro controvertido

Los rumores que hemos estado escuchando por varios días ya han sido confirmados: Ecuador removerá su canciller, Antonio Parra Gil. De hecho, será enviado hasta Madrid para cambiar de cargo con el embajador ecuatoriano en España, Francisco Carrión. Este último, según el presidente Alfredo Palacio, “mantendrá la misma política nacionalista y soberana de su antecesor pero con un discurso menos beligerante.”

En un detalle revelador, Palacio confirmó a los medios el intercambio, justo antes de llevar a cabo su primer viaje a Estados Unidos como Presidente de la República. La maniobra se constituye como un golpe bajo para los movimientos sociales ecuatorianos, que habían llegado a ver a Parra como uno de sus pocos aliados de confianza dentro del gobierno. Pero las consecuencias más graves de todo esto, probablemente, afectarán  especialmente las relaciones con Colombia, sobre todo cuando hay de por medio, actualmente, una fuerte polémica referida a la guerra antidrogas que se lleva a cabo en este país.

U.S. Decertifies Venezuela on Drug Control

The Cubanization of United States policy toward Venezuela has begun in earnest. Yesterday, President George W. Bush released his findings on drug war “certification” – the highly politicized list the White House has produced since the mid-1980s of which countries are doing their part in “international” drug control efforts, and which have “failed demonstrably.”

Only two countries did not make the cut this year. The first was perennially-decertified Myanmar (Burma). The second was, as the State Department threatened last month, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela…

Ecuador Removes Controversial Foriegn Minister

The rumors that we have been hearing for some time now have been confirmed: Ecuador is going to remove its foreign secretary, Antonio Parra Gil. More precisely,  Parra will be sent off to Madrid to switch places with Ecuador’s ambassador to Spain, Francisco Carrión, who, according to President Alfredo Palacio, will “maintain the same nationalistic and sovereign policies of his predecessor, but with a less belligerent discourse.”

Tellingly, Palacio confirmed the switch to the media just as he headed off for his visit as president to the United States. The move is a blow to the Ecuadorian social movements, who had come to count on Parra as one of their few trusted allies in the government. The biggest effect will be likely be on Ecuador’s relationship with neighboring Colombia, especially in terms of one of the most controversial issues of the drug war in that country…

Venezuela: NED Will Send More Money to Súmate

The Miami Herald reports that the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which gets most of its funding directly from the U.S. Congress, has approved another grant for Venezuelan opposition group Súmate. The group organized last year’s recall referendum against President Hugo Chávez while it was receiving money from the NED, which has led the government to file legal charges against it. As attorney and researcher Eva Golinger predicted when she spoke to Narco News in May, the amount of money going from the U.S. government into Venezuelan opposition groups seems to be  increasing; Súmate’s new grant is three times greater than the one in 2004 that first got it into trouble…

Uribe, Unable to Make Progress Against the FARC, Turns to the ELN

Colombia’s next presidential elections are only nine months away, and the country’s Supreme Court has yet to rule on whether current president Álvaro Uribe Vélez will be allowed to run for reelection (the Colombian constitution currently forbids this but through a series of political dirty tricks Uribe has won support for the change in Congress). The optimistic Uribe is shifting more every day into campaign mode, looking for ways to ensure a victory if reelection is indeed approved.

And so Uribe, who seems to think that his games of language and semantics have the power to define reality in Colombia, has offered to change that reality in exchange for a peace agreement with the guerrilla insurgents of the National Liberation Army (ELN in its Spanish initials)…

Juanes: Legalizing Drugs the Only Way Out for Colombia

Juan Esteban Aristizábal – better known as Juanes, the biggest male pop star in Colombia if not all of Latin America – calls for drug legalization in an interview with the Catalonian newspaper El Periodico today. A translation of and some brief comments follow…

Washington Post: Shhhh, Pat, You're Embarrassing Us All!

There has been no shortage of universally negative attention in the mainstream media to Pat Robertson’s  call for the U.S. government to send in its “covert operatives” to “take out” Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez (see my earlier post. Every major media outlet has carried something on this story. No other story received so much attention from the blogosphere this week, either. On Wednesday, Robertson made a sad attempt to deny he had said what everyone knew he said, then apologized for speaking out of “frustration.” (“August is a slow news day [sic] but it seems like the whole world is talking about my comments about Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez,” quotes CBS news from his statements on the Wednesday episode of The 700 Club.)

But the most interesting response by far was the staff editorial published yesterday in the leading U.S. daily The Washington Post. The editorial strongly objected to Robertson’s remarks, but the tone was similar to many of its recent editorials on Iraq. The “liberal” newspaper, in both cases, is quick to attack Republican or “conservative” figures – not because of their anti-democratic adventures, but because their excesses make such adventures harder to sell, breaking the carefully constructed good-U.S.-versus-evil-foreign-dictators narrative that media such as the Post work so hard to construct…

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