Bus Crashed at Busville University #cmm457 #finalexam

On Monday night a shuttle bus from Busville University has crashed on Stephen Drive.  The Busville Fire Department has released a press release stating that 15 student were on the bus at the time of the crash.  There is no report on what kind of injuries the students have suffered but they are being evaluated.

 

Bachelet for Round Two #cmm457

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Michelle Bachelet is the leading candidate for the Chilean Presidency having consolidated support from key supporters on Thursday.  Telesurtv.net reports that the candidate received, “very diverse political support highlighted by the country’s Communist Party, The Progressive Party (Military group,) and Franco Parisi.”  Parisi was an ex-candidate for the presidency and a leader of the business class.

The election will take place on December 14 and polls by Telesur indicate that Bachelet leads in public opinion by 46 percent.  The candidate next to her on the polls is Evelyn Matthei, which is from the incumbent party, with 25 percent.

If Bachelet is victorious, which is likely to be the case, it will mark the second time she reaches the presidency.  Bachelet served as head of state from 2006 to 2010.  Her campaign slogan this time around is “I want” which allows the citizens to finish the sentence.  For example, “I want a better life,” or “I want peace.”  The slogan and song are very catchy.

Mass Grave Found in Mexico #cmm457

Courtesy of AP

On Saturday investigators uncovered a mass grave in Michoacan, Mexico.  The grave contained 18 bodies that have not yet been identified, but Al-Jazeera reports that, “Some of the bodies were gagged and showed signs of torture, and one of them was a woman.”

The information regarding the location of the grave came from two dozen police officers who admitted working with the cartels, reports Al-Jazeera.  An unnamed investigator said in a press conference, “”The Assistant Attorney General specializing in Investigation of Organized Crime and the Criminal Investigative Agency have located eight clandestine graves in an area close to (the community) La Barca.”  There is no word yet as to how many bodies those graves could hold.

 

The violence is Mexico due to the drug war is very alarming.  Since 2011 Vanguardia, Mexican newspaper, reports that 6,496 bodies have been found in mass graves.

Obama Asks for Rational Policy Toward Cuba #cmm457

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On Friday President Obama was in Miami addressing the Cuban American National Foundation a group which has supported his re-election campaign.  The president asked for a rational and “creative” approach towards relationship with Cuba.

During his speech Obama said: “Keep in mind that when Castro came to power I was just born, so the notion that the same policies that we put in place in 1961 would somehow still be as effective as they are today in the age of the Internet, Google and world travel doesn’t make sense.”

The Anti-Castro groups in South Florida applauded the new tactics from Washington.  Guillermo Farinas, spokesperson for the Cuban Patriotic Union of Cuba, said to the Miami Herald: “This has been a triumph for the entire opposition, above all for democracy in Cuba, for those who are on the island and those outside, those who died trying to get out and those who live outside.”

The embargo towards Cuba has been in place since 1962 and has had tremendous devastating economic effect on the island.  It has been a very controversial policy and in October the United Nations General Assembly voted to repeal the embargo for the 22nd time, yahoo news reported.  Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla commented on the vote: “The US policy against Cuba is suffering from an absolute international isolation and discredit and lacks every ethical or legal ground.”

Destabilization Prophecy Coming True #cmm457

A few weeks ago the President of Ecuador Rafael Correa gave a speech on his weekly TV show warning other leftists’ governments in Latin America about possible coups and destabilization efforts supported by the United States.  This week President of Venezuela Nicola Maduro provides evidence of these aggressive actions to undermine his government.

Venezuelan-American journalist Eva Golinger reported in her website documents leaked from the Democratic International Foundation, a group headed by Colombian ex-President Alvaro Uribe, and the US consulting firm FTI; the document called Venezuela Strategic Plan puts in motion methods to destabilize the Maduro administration.  The primary objective is to weaken the support for Maduro by “debilitating the government before the December 8municipal elections.” Golinger writes.

During the past few months Venezuela has undergone problems in its infrastructure, mainly the country’s electric system.  The constant blackouts have been seen as a failure of big government.  Eva Golinger discovered that these problems stem from a very well-orchestrated plan: “The document also details the strategy to sabotage the electrical system in Venezuela, with the objective of blaming the government for a weak infrastructure and therefore projecting an image of crisis in Venezuela on an international level.”

Police Brutality on Steroids in Brazil #cmm457

Image (Courtesy of the guardian.com)

When you hear the words “Rio de Janeiro” most people think of the beach, sun, and samba.  However, a much darker and violent side of Brazil has been exposed by a study revealing that in Brazil five people die every day due to police actions.  The Brazilian Public Safety Forum released their study via the newspaper O Globo indicating that in 2012 the police killed 1,890 civilians.

Lawyer and specialists on the issue, Theodomiro Dias, explains this alarming reality to O Globo: “There is a plurality of factors to explain these numbers.  The police are traditionally violent; there is a culture of violence in the departments and control methods of conduct do not exist.”  He continues to explain: “For example, in Sao Paulo in simple change in the Secretary of Public Safety has made all the difference by reducing the level of deaths per month to 64 per cent.”

Sao Paulo, however, tops the list with 563 cases of civilians killed by police.  Rio de Janeiro follows next with 415 cases.  The confrontations with civilians in 2012 led to the casualty of 89 police officers, according to the report.

The Executive Director of the Brazilian Public Safety Forum Samira Bueno also provided another interesting statistic to O Globo: “In the United States, a country with a population 60 per cent greater than Brazil, 410 people died at the hands of police officers last year.”  Although Ms. Bueno is using the number to highlight the enormous violent problem Brazil is facing; the number of 410 deaths at the hands of cops in the United States is disturbing for a department whose motto is “Protect and Serve.”

The Sanctification of Hugo Chavez #cmm457

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Miraculous appearances are mostly reserved for the likes of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary.  However, on Wednesday President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, claimed that the face of previous President Hugo Chavez has appeared in a subway tunnel in Caracas.

During a press conference President Maduro showed a picture of with the face of Hugo Chavez.  The president claims that a construction worker building a new subway line, Linea 5, which was commissioned by the late President Chavez, saw the apparition on a dirt wall and snapped a picture with his cell phone.  President Maduro was quick to politicize the image in stating that “it was the stare of the patriot which is everywhere.”  The patriot is of course Hugo Chavez.  President Maduro also said that the image has mysteriously disappeared and all that remains is the photo.

This is not the first time President Maduro makes claims of mysticism in regards to his mentor, Hugo Chavez.  Last April during Maduro’s election campaign he made a public statement claiming that Hugo Chavez came to him reincarnated in the form of a bird to give him advice.

In the meantime, Venezuela is suffering from very high crime and inflation which makes basic goods scarcer.

FARC Frees American Military Member #cmm457

ImagePhoto by: Paz Farc

           On the Sunday the leftist Colombian guerrilla group FARC freed a former US military member, Kevin Scott Sutay, who had been held captive since June 20, 2013.  The Daily Beast reported that Sutay had served in Afghanistan in 2010 and 2011.

 

            FARC did not comment on the reasons for Mr. Sutay’s release but the move can be seen as a good gesture in order to spark the peace negotiations that have deteriorated in Havana earlier this month.

 

            It is not very clear why Mr. Sutay visited Colombia, in particular the jungle area.  He was kidnapped in Guaviare state, which is in the south of the country, and it’s an area not very well developed.  Earlier this month FARC released a letter, via Colombia Reports, written by Sutay for proof of his well-being:

 

            “I am enjoying my time here in the jungle, it’s a shame that you [FARC] are telling me that I cannot stay here much longer, you really are good people, I would like to stay for longer, but if you tell me that it’s better for me to leave, I believe you. Will you come to visit me? We can go to parties and have a good time.”

 

             FARC labeled Mr. Sutay a prisoner of war because they believe he is a mercenary working for a private security firm.  Companies like Academi, formerly known as Blackwater, operate in Colombia.  Journalist Eva Golinger reported in 2008 the largest military expansion in Latin America by Washington: “The U.S. Army Missile Command and Space Defense awarded contracts in the amount of 15 billion dollars to a group of private contractors, including Blackwater.”    

 

             Sutay is not the first American kidnaped by the group.  In 2003 ABC News reported three Americans, who worked for Northrop Grumman, a global security company, were captured when their surveillance plane crashed in the jungle.

Chilean Students Clash Violently with Police #cmm457

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In a scene reminiscent of the 1968 student protests, Chilean students clash with police during a mass student protest in the country’s capital, Santiago, on Thursday.  The students are demanding educational reform.

Chilean newspaper La Tercera states: “Officials believe some 18,000 demonstrators took part in the march, which was organized by the Confederation of Chilean Students (CONFECH) and two secondary school student groups, Aces and Cones. The demonstration resulted in 34 arrests while 14 police officers were said to be hurt.”

The violent confrontations with police are nothing new to Chile as student led marches tends to erupt every so often with similar response from the authority.  RT reports that the students are demanding a: “greater role in the decision making process in the run-up to the country’s presidential election on November 17.”  Chilean President Sebastian Piñera has hit a new low in his approval rating.

Student protests are becoming more popular in South America as in Colombia students are demanding a roll-back of the privatization of the educational system.  However, the student march in Colombia has been peaceful.