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Around América on February 19, 2004

I'll be publishing some questions about Haiti and the coup attempt (see my notebook entry of yesterday) on Narco News later today.

Meanwhile, there is lots of news around the hemisphere...

Honduran television journalist Renato Alvarez, 38, sentenced to 32 months in prison for "defamation" of a National Party politician who he labeled a "narco-trafficker," according to AP Español. It's a horrible precedent, but the glass is half-full: His prison time is suspended and he'll pay a fine of $800 dollars and do some community service work. The authorities want to intimidate journalists, but not, apparently, create martyrs for the international press. Still, heed Alvarez's warning:

"They've now begun with the journalists and tomorrow (the government) will restrict the freedom of speech of Honduran citizens who fight against the current State... The people are tired of so much injustice in the country."

More of today's Narco News Round-up, with reports and links from Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela, below...

How We Got Here

Hi folks.  Al Giordano suggested a regular blog from the treasurer of The Fund for Authentic Journalism would be a great way to keep people involved in the fundraising end of this operation, up to date with our progress and fully informed about the twists and turns that come up along the way.  Our aim is more than just keeping the Narco News funded.  We want to demonstrate a new model of financial support for journalism that provides the resources necessary to produce the finest journalism without any of the corrupting pressures inherent in advertising and other models.  So hopefully this space will keep your interest.  I'm humbled by having a blog appear alongside such fantastic writers as are lined up for the NarcoSphere, but I'll do my best to keep up.  

First, I want to tell you a bit about where we are and how we got here….


Coup Attempt in Haiti

A Narco News reader, Thomas, writes me that he's "disappointed" that we're not reporting from Haiti.

I'm disappointed too. We don't yet count with the resources to put a reporter on the ground there. (The Fund for Authentic Journalism treasurer, Andrew Grice, will shortly appear here in the Narcosphere to explain that we're still waiting on pledged funds.)

But I have thought of who could do the job, if resources suddenly became available: Paging Stan Goff.

Meanwhile, click the "read more" link for a round up of links to the latest news reports on what is occuring in this Caribbean country...

Welcome to the Narcosphere

Veteran journalist Chris Lydon has a name for it: "the transformation."

A fundamental shift is underway in how politics and fundraising are practiced: from dependence on the financiers at the top levels of the economy to a more authentically democratic model of a wide base of support from below.

The God of Shit

Shit was a word that was prohibited in my childhood home.  We tried alternatives:

"Oh, crap!"

"You're not going to use that word in this household!"

"Oh, crud!"

"That means the same thing!"

Thus three four-letter words were eliminated from my useful vocabulary at a very early age.  I grew up not liking them.  I advanced in wisdom and age not using them.

Now it wasn't that there was no strong language used around our house. One of my sisters mentioned that my father spoke five or six languages.  My mother only three:  English, German and Profanity.  English was the language used with the natives and the kids; German with the few Austrians and Germans in Cheyenne, Wyoming who weren't ashamed to continue speaking it while World War II raged on; and, Profanity which was reserved to use on my father on special occasions when my mother had a need to verbally dump on him.  There is an explanation as to how my mother learned each of these three languages but I will share that another day.  I would also like to add that I think my mother was a very holy person.

The point that I would like to establish at the very beginning of my blogging life is that I grew up hating the word "shit."

Some Autobiographical Notes

Hitler invaded Austria in March 1938.  I was born the next year of Austrian parents who had migrated to Cheyenne, Wyoming in the early '20s.

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