Friday, October 31, 2008

Jean Friedman-Rudovsky is cute

...and a good journalist covering Bolivia, so it is time for another "Achiever Award".

One of the founding editors of Ukhampacha Bolivia, she is Time´s Bolivia coorespondant and tends to break little stories like "Peace Corps, Fulbright Scholar Asked to Spy on Cubans, Venezuelans".

She also writes for retiree news, hippy and uppity womyn publications. It´s enough to make a boy blush. The Dude most definitely tips his drink to this hip lady.

P.S., MGrace had a crush on her first.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Rapping in Aymara

My posting of Ukamau y Ke´s Tupak Katari recieved an blogosphere buzz awhile back so here is an article Ben Dangl wrote on the El Alto hip hop scene, for some added context.

Ben Dangl

At 13,000 feet, the hip hop movement in El Alto, Bolivia is probably the highest in the world. The music blends ancient Andean folk styles and new hip hop beats with lyrics about revolution and social change.

As the sun set over the nearby snow capped mountains, I sat down with Abraham Bojorquez, a well known El Alto hip hop artist. We opened up a bag of coca leaves and began to talk about what he calls a new "instrument of struggle."

continue reading...

Ain´t all Indians

When they talk about promoting diversity in Bolivia it is not just about indigenous peoples. Annie Murphy gives us a glimpse (SFChronicle) of the struggle for recongition Afrobolivians are simultenously fighting, equally included in the proposed constitution. After you are done reading about the Afro-Bolivian Cultural Movement go visit their website and listen to some good music.

Monday, October 27, 2008

AP again passes blind eye to US meddling

In this anonymous piece, "Bolivia alledges US role in violent jungle clash" the AP misrepresents the presentation of Presidential Minister Juan Ramon Quintana and ignores the facts of US meddling in Bolivia.
AP claims Quintana "did not provide any evidence for the charge or elaborate on what he meant by the word ´participate,` [in "participated in the massacare"]...Quintana also accused the U.S. Agency for International Development of unspecified ´direct involvement` in the province."
Actually Quintana was very specific and careful in his language, stating (paraphrase) "that the US, through USAID, helped to create an unconstitutional and criminal government in Pando, making them complicit in the crimes of its Prefect". Quintana does not need to say anymore than that because, as 90 western acadamics already noted, USAID (OTI) admits on their Bolivia website to having directed funding towards departmental governments for the purpose of supporting their [autonomous] governing capacity. So yes, USAID carries complicity in the Pando massacre, unless of course their internal documents, which they refuse to release publicily, show otherwise.
Quintana was also very specific as to what he ment by USAID "direct involvement", stating that its "purpose was to promote disunity and conflict between MAS [Morales´ political party] and indigenous organizations." Again, that is exactly the activity internal USAID documents aquired by Jerry Bigwood show. But of course only the Mexican La Jornada picked up on the story.
This anonymous AP stringer could have also mentioned that Quintana made these statements at an internaional solidarity summit in support of Evo´s democratic and constitutional government in Santa Cruz. Or that the 18 international organizations participating in this meeting officially called for Evo to be named the international voice advocate for indigenous peoples and be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Little stuff like that.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Ronaldo Alacrán - Si Somos Americanos

In response to Bush cancelling of Bolivia trade preferences.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


It has been noted far and wide, Evo is a badass. And I have some pictures to prove it. This Dude made sure he was present for one of the most historic days in Bolivian history, when the Bolivian people finally got their constitution past the last oligarchic roadblock. It´s on bitches! Ain´t no one going to stop this train now! January 25th people.

The day of the ninteenth began with the ponchos rojos (here CSUTCB) entering La Paz from the march and later in the afternoon the Plaza Murrillo with Evo and everyone else following. For any idiots out there who think the ponchos rojos are vicious racists, please explain why they were more than happy to have me (one of the whitest gringos around) hang out with them all day and shoot the shit. Although, I guess I need to confess that I don´t think joking about what jackass former US ambassador Goldberg is as "anti-american" or "racist".

Evo enters surrounded by everyone and their granma.

some of the 300,000! who filled into Plaza Murrillo and the surrounding streets

more fools telling the douchebag opposition in Congress what is up.

There where literally Bolivians from every part of this supposed "divided" country. Here representing the Santa Cruz Plan 3000, fresh from defending their homes against fascist thugs. The marchers turned the Plaza into one giant party, going for 20 hours! Music, dancing, revolution. I stopped taking pictures when it got dark which is too bad because I got within ten feet of Evo´s tent and he waived(!) at me when I did a little dancing. You have to give respect to Evo and his supporters who stayed through the night, I crapped out about 2am. Even though it´s spring, La Paz still gets very cold in the night. No easy feat.

Next day, waiting for Congress (above) to finish approval.
Evo right before announcing passage of the referendum.
You guys seriously have no idea how popular Evo is right now. That was honestly one of the most exhilerating and beautiful experiences of my life. Not only does this march and demonstration mark the truimph of the new constitution after two years of struggle but it is also marks the demise of the contemporary opposition and "Media Luna". The fascists lost, suck it haters.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Special note on spooks

Otto at Inca Kola News caused a bit of commotion when he exposed a CIA spook monitoring the blog of an uppity Peace Corps volunteer. Then Down South stepped up and noted that he has had special visitors as well. So I guess I need to say that this blog has also had interesting visitors, but it is nothing new and has been going on for some time now. I don't even get excited finding certain IP addresses on Sitemeter anymore.

As with the editorial desks of news outlets, the whole range of US government employee websurfers are welcome to use this crappy blog as a resource, especially if you are some disguised peacenik working to take the Man down from the inside. All I ask from bored US bureaucrats wasting their timeclocks away steaming at Evo's "communism" is that they conduct themselves with a certain amount of dignity, because I will expose those who post incediary and disinformation comments- as this jackass did on the Ron Larsen post. I will not let this blog's comment sections devolve through harassment from "anonymous" commentators as Jim Schultz let his go.

Last thing. One of the more humorous past visits was the Pentagon's apparent interest in Bolivia's female wrestlers. (I shit you not!) Do you ever wonder why the US government seems so interested in Bolivia's internal politics? Seriously, what could these people possibly do to harm the US? As Otto said, "Threaten to destabilize democracy by halting supplies of alpaca knitwear?" Just knock it off, would ya'. Truly, all Bolivians want from the US is to be treated with some basic respect. Is that too much to ask?

Monday, October 13, 2008

70 Peace Corps volunteers quit in defiance of pullout

That's right. As many as 70 volunteers (of the 113 total stationed in Bolivia!) have left the Peace Corps in order to return to Bolivia. Amazingly AP broke this one, "Ex-volunteers angry at Peace Corps Bolivia pullout". As previously demonstrated in the letter published by AIN, these decent hearted gringos have no delusions as to what really motived the pull out, the State Department's posturing so ridiculous that the AP is willing to effectively call Thomas Shannon a liar. The AP!:
The hasty pullout came directly on the heels of Bolivian President Evo Morales’ Sept. 10 expulsion of the U. S. ambassador for allegedly inciting opposition protests. Arnstein was among disappointed volunteers who believe their government overreacted, hurting U. S. interests with the blanket withdrawal. True, some parts of Bolivia were dangerously unstable, but most volunteers felt no security threat, several of them told the Associated Press.

“Peace Corps, unfortunately, has become another weapon in the U. S. diplomatic arsenal,” said Sarah Nourse, 27, of Mechanicsville, Md., another volunteer who opted out.

The top U. S. diplomat for Latin America, Thomas Shannon, told the Associated Press that security was the only reason behind the “saddening” pullout.

“We don’t politicize the Peace Corps,” he said

“Remember, the Bolivians on at least two occasions that I’m aware of said that they thought the Peace Corps was part of a larger intelligence network that they thought we had constructed in Bolivia. Those kind of statements we find very worrisome,” Shannon said.

In fact, a U. S. Embassy security officer suggested to a group of Peace Corps volunteers during a briefing last year that they report any sightings of Venezuelan or Cuban activists. After the incident was publicized, the embassy said the officer had not been authorized to make such a request and he left the country.
Interestingly, noted at Democratic Underground, the Houston Chronicle decided not to publish the last two paragraphs (above) of the story. I wonder why?

The hard truth is that if/when the Peace Corps return to Bolivia they will have these 70 volunteers to thank for standing up for the integrity of their projects above politics by staying in Bolivia. Remember that.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Happy Indigenous Resistance Day!

What the "March of Progress" looks like to the rest of us.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Jeremy Bigwood on US subversion


October 11, 2008 - This morning at a press conference in La Paz, American photo and investigative journalist, Jeremy Bigwood, revealed new documents uncovered through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and other sources that show clear US government interference in Bolivia´s internal affairs.

Of the seven original documents shown during the press conference, and available online at the reporters blog as of 11am this morning: / Mr. Bigwood made reference to two documents that showed clear intent on the part of the US government and its international development agencies to weaken Bolivia's President Evo Morales' MAS political party and foster opposition to the current government.

At the Radisson Hotel in La Paz, where the press conference was held, the American journalist presented a leaked internal email between USAID employees working in Bolivia. According to Bigwood, the email showed that "former Ambassador Philip Goldberg worked through various US government entities, including United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in an attempt to cultivate opposition and in at least one case to attempt to provide support to create indigenous organizations to confront the MAS party and Bolivia's first indigenous president, Evo Morales."

Journalists who attended the press conference received copies of the original documents uncovered by Mr. Bigwood and had the opportunity to ask questions following his presentation. As this is an ongoing investigation, Mr. Bigwood also provided information on where soon to be revealed information could be found over the coming months and cited his blog on Bolivia.

hat tip: Democratic Underground

Corrupt press. What corruption?

Still wondering why press coverage of the Pando Massacre was/is so varied, contradictory, and difficult to sift through? As it turns out, a large portion of Pando's "journalists" on which Bolivia and the world relied to gain news as to what was go on only happen to have been payed off by Pando's former Prefect Leopoldo Fernández, now in prison for the massacre.

Government Minister Juan Ramón Quintana explains in this damning presentation who is who and payed what. Then watch as Bolivia's corporate press corps tries to ignore the allegations against their integrity during the Q&A, retorting with their own disgusting delusion that the widely distributed video showing campesinos being slaughtered in a river by Fernandez's goons was somehow doctored.

If I were running a western news outlet, I'd watch Quintana's presentation carefully and run the names cited past my list of stringers to see if there are any match ups. It would be really embarrassing for a news organization to be found having any connections with a man currently facing genocide charges.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Reuter's gives us the otherside of Santa Cruz

Remember how the fascist Santa Cruz Youth Union made its first English language press appearance in a Patrick McDonnell LATimes' article on the death of a unionista from an alleged "ambush" by Morales supporters in Tiquipaya, Santa Cruz. Well, Reuters has published the honest account of one US journalist with the town's residents during the "Battle of Tiquipaya", giving us what it looked like on the other side. Kudos again Reuters!

Hat Tip: The Scarlet Pimpernel

Patrick Henry was a violent hate monger

In the valiant defense of human rights (sticking it to despicable faux rights organizations "undermining capitalism" such as Human Rights Watch) the Human Rights Foundation (HRF) has finally issued a scathing report exposing the "appalling" rabble rousing oratory "defending racial hatred" against the British Empire of a man "literally calling on the people of his nation to choose between his political agenda and death." "In direct violation of article 13 of the American Convention of Human Rights, which prohibits any propaganda for war or racial hatred", Patrick Henry spoke before his fellow countrymen during a time of great political confrontation, saying "Give me Liberty or give me Death!". A call HRF deplores as "threatening freedom of the press and inciting conflict", rightly insinuating Henry's discourse in the spread of political conflict resulting in 5 deaths during an incident known as the "Boston Massacre".

The young HRF has shown great courage in advocating for human rights in the 13 British colonies, also reminding the public and international community that these include the sacred individual right to own 350,000 acres of land while exploiting slave labor. Surely, contemporary advocates of human freedom would be lost without the Human Rights Foundation's sober and reassuring voice.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Democracy back to the USA

I've been on a blogging break and was going to do several make up posts on Bolivia today but instead came across this Naomi Wolf interview and decided it was to important to sit on. This blog has been one of many working to expose coup plotters against democracy in Bolivia, its time to bring that back to the USA. If Naomi Wolf's concerns are ultimately proven false, we will all be happy to forgive her later, but now is not the time to sit on your ass!

She is not crazy:

Leahy Concerned about NorthCom’s New Army Unit
Matthew Rothschild, The Progressive