Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (C) addresses the
audience during a meeting of the annual Mercosur trade bloc presidential
summit in Mendoza June 29, 2012. (Credit: Reuters/Enrique Marcarian)

Chinese leader woos Latin America with deals

Chinese leader woos Latin America with deals
Chinese President Xi Jinping (4-L, first row) poses with leaders of the CELAC group of Latin American and Caribbean states, in Brasilia, on July 17, 2014 (AFP Photo/Nelson Almeida)
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."

"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)

Map of Latin America showing countries where major protests have occurred in recent months (AFP Photo)
A student holds a sign reading "Don't shoot, listen!!!" during a protest
on June 17, 2013 in Brasilia (AFP, Evaristo)

Paraguay police search S. American football HQ

Paraguay police search S. American football HQ
The Conmebol headquarters in Luque, Paraguay, is seen on January 7, 2016, during a raid within the framework of the FIFA corruption scandal (AFP Photo/Norberto Duarte)

'Panama Papers' law firm under the media's lenses

'Panama Papers' law firm under the media's lenses
The Panama Papers: key facts on the huge journalists' investigation into tax evasion (AFP Photo/Thomas Saint-Cricq, Philippe Mouche)

Mossack Fonseca

Mossack Fonseca


"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Mayans Win Legal Battle to Ban GM Soya in Mexico’s Campeche Region

Sustainable Pulse, Mar 13 2014

Following a ban on the cultivation of GM Maize in Mexico in 2013, the Campeche region of the country has now prohibited the growing of  GM Soybeans following a two year court battle.

The Second District Court in Campeche ruled this week in favor of three Mayan communities from the Hopelchén township who had taken on the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock , Rural Development, Fisheries and Food ( Sagarpa) and the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources ( SEMARNAT).

In a landmark ruling, the Court granted in favor of  the Pac -chen and Cancabchen communities in Hopelchén and determined that the effects of the ruling it applied to all municipalities affected by the permit for GM soybean cultivation in Campeche. Sagarpa now has an obligation to ensure that no GM Soybeans are planted in the state.

The problem began on June 6, 2012 , when the Sagarpa , with the support of SEMARNAT permitted the release of Monsanto’s Roundup-Ready GM Soybeans into the environment. The planting of 253 000 hectares was allowed in seven states of Mexico , including the municipalities of Campeche, Hopelchén , Tenabo , Calkiní , Escárcega , Carmen and Palisade.

In Campeche the Mayan authorities reacted angrily to the government authorization and Pac- Chen, Cancabchen and various associations of Campeche beekeepers decided to go to court to prevent the planting, because it affects the honey industry through GM ‘pollution of  production’, which has resulted in the closure of some of the beekeepers’ international markets.

The Mayan communities stated that the planting of GM Soybeans affected the traditional historical practices of the people (beekeeping) and that there was a violation of their right to a healthy environment through the overuse of herbicides and deforestation that GMOs encourage.

After nearly two years of litigation, the Second District Court  supported the indigenous communities’ claims.

In addition , the Directorate General of Environmental Impact and Risk of SEMARNAT , when giving the approval for the permit, was found to have violated the procedure laid down in its Rules of Procedure , by omitting three binding rulings Conabio , CONANP and INE, which advised against planting of genetically modified soy in marked polygons.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Nuclear security summit comes to a close, with joint declaration, Tuesday 25 March 2014

The official group portrait. Photo: NSS2014

The nuclear security summit in The Hague drew to a close on Tuesday afternoon with the publication of the final communiqué.

The communiqué states that the 58 world leaders who took part made concrete agreements to stop terrorists getting their hands on nuclear material which further reduces the threat of a nuclear attack.

Among the new agreements are measures to reduce the amount of dangerous nuclear material in the world, to improve the security of radioactive material which can be used to make a 'dirty' bomb and to improve the international exchange of information and international cooperation.

The outcome of this nuclear security summit is 'a major step towards a safer world', the communiqué says.


Not all the delegates stayed until the end. By early afternoon, several world leaders were heading home, including German chancellor Angel Merkel, French president François Hollande and Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi.

They did, however, attend the informal lunch catered by Jonnie and Thérèse Boer, owners of the three-star De Librije restaurant. The meal included a starter of cod from the North Sea with Dutch asparagus and a main dish of Dutch lamb with organic vegetables.

Prior to the lunch, the leaders also gathered for a group photo with host and Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte and US president Barack Obama front and centre.


One agreement made earlier in the day by 32 of the participating countries was to allow experts from other countries to inspect their storage of nuclear waste.

Among them are the US and most of the EU countries. Russia and China are among those who refused to take part.

Also earlier in the day, Dutch foreign minister Frans Timmermans said that countries should do more to make the world nuclear weapons free. Timmermans said that the security of nuclear waste cannot be seen as separate from stock piles of nuclear weapons.

Obama remains in the Netherlands until later in the day. He has a series of meetings in The Hague before flying out to Belgium where he will visit various EU organisations on Wednesday.

Related Articles:

"Fast-Tracking" - Feb 8, 2014 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Reference to Fukushima / H-bomb nuclear pollution and a warning about nuclear  (> 20 Min)

Venezuela arrests three generals for alleged coup plot

Google – AFP, 25 March 2014

Members of the National Police look at anti-government activists during a protest
 against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas, on March 20,
2014 (AFP/File, Juan Barreto)

Caracas — Venezuela has arrested three air force generals suspected of plotting an uprising against the leftist government, President Nicolas Maduro said Tuesday.

Maduro told a meeting of South American foreign ministers that the three generals, who were not identified, had been in contact with the opposition and "were trying to rise up against the legitimately constituted government."

"This group that was captured has direct links with sectors of the opposition and they were saying that this week was the decisive week," Maduro said.

He said the generals had already been summoned before a court martial, adding that the plot was discovered because other officers had come forward to say they were being recruited.

The disclosure comes amid a broadening government crackdown against Maduro's opponents after weeks of street protests that have left at least 34 dead.

On Monday, National Assembly president Diosdado Cabello announced that a prominent opposition deputy, Maria Corina Machado, had lost her seat and parliamentary immunity, and could be arrested at any moment.

At a news conference in Lima, a defiant Machado said she would return to Caracas on Wednesday, adding she feared she would be arrested on her arrival.

She said she was returning "because I am a Venezuelan deputy and I will enter Venezuela as such to continue fighting in the streets without rest until we achieve democracy and freedom."

Machado angered the government by going before the Organization of American States last week as a guest of Panama to discuss the crisis in Venezuela.

Panama's representative to the OAS, Arturo Vallarino, said the move to take away Machado's seat was "proof of the arbitrary acts being committed in Venezuela."

Last week, two opposition mayors were arrested, and another prominent opposition leader has been in jailed for a month, accused of inciting violence.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Venezuela police facing murder probe: attorney general

Google – AFP, 23 March 2014

Riot policemen shoot tear gas during a protest against Venezuelan President
Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, on March 22, 2014 (AFP, Juan Barreto)

Caracas — Venezuela's attorney general admitted Sunday that demonstrators have been abused during weeks of protests that have rocked the country and 60 complaints, including murder allegations against police, are being probed.

"Yes, there has been police excess, we are not going to deny that... we are investigating," Luisa Ortega Diaz told local television station Televen.

Among the 60 possible cases "there are three police officers from Chacao who are attributed as having allegedly committed murder," she said.

Ortega added that authorities have detained 15 officials, but stressed that instances of abuse were isolated and were not in response to instruction from above.

Venezuela has been shaken by near daily protests that began on February 4, fueled by public anger over violent crime, inflation, shortages of such basic goods as toilet paper and further stoked by often heavy-handed police tactics.

At least 31 people have been killed and hundreds wounded in the student-led protests that represent the biggest challenge yet to President Nicolas Maduro, the elected socialist heir to late president Hugo Chavez.

General view of an anti-government protest in Caracas, on March 22, 2014 (AFP/File)

The top prosecutor added that of those killed in the violence six were public officials, one of whom one was a public prosecutor."

Several weeks ago, the government reported that five intelligence agents had been detained for their alleged involvement in the death of two protesters after Caracas's first massive demonstration on February 12.

The Foro Penal rights group, meanwhile, has said it has found 59 cases of possible torture by security agents against protesters.

Meanwhile, the National Union of Press Workers on Sunday denounced police aggression at protests during which journalists were detained and equipment was destroyed.

The organization said that two journalists were detained on Saturday in the Altamira region of Chacao during a police and national guard operation against protesters who attempted to block roads. Only one of the journalists was later released.

Police fired tear gas and made several arrests as 20,000 people marched in Caracas on Saturday.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Is the Bermuda Triangle Really Dangerous?

LiveScience, Michelle Bryner, Life's Little Mysteries Contributor, November 04, 2012

Pin It The Bermuda Triangle is no more dangerous than any other
area. Credit: doctorjools | dreamstime

It’s been called the Devil's Triangle, Limbo of the Lost, Twilight Zone, and most famously the Bermuda Triangle.

The semi-triangular area surrounded by Bermuda, Puerto Rico, and Florida is known for its voracious appetite for planes and boats. The legend began at 2:10 p.m. Dec. 5, 1945, when, reportedly, experienced aviators lifted off on a routine training mission, in supposedly  crystal clear weather. Upon becoming disoriented, the pilots of Flight 19 radioed for help and then disappeared.

Bizarre explanations for this and other vanishing acts include:  aliens hiding under the sea, a portal leading to another dimension, and ship-size methane gas bubbles.

There is a logical answer to the disappearances, however. The Triangle is heavily traveled, and proportionally sees no more accidents than other areas. The region is vulnerable to unpredictable storms. And, according to the Navy, the Gulf Stream there "is extremely swift and turbulent and can quickly erase any evidence of a disaster." Finally, the sea in that area is up to 30,000 feet deep.

As for Flight 19, the pilots were actually trainees, and the weather was far from crystal clear that day.

Related Articles:

Question: My question is about the Bermuda Triangle. What is the significance of this part of the world? Has this anything to do with vortexes or portals? Why have so many ships and aircraft gone missing in this area? Is there a spiritual significance?

Question: Dear Kryon/Lee, what is in the Bermuda Triangle? Can knowledge about it be of any use to us now? Is there really anything there?

Answer: This area of the planet is a profound combination of anomalies in the earth’s magnetics, combined with attributes of interactions with the weather and water. There’s a process that has been seen, yet not understood. These are not ETs, and it’s not spiritual. Your science will eventually discover it, analyze it, and understand it. It’s about the earth.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Colombia closes in on a peace deal that could end world's longest civil war

President Juan Manuel Santos predicts talks taking place in Havana will see an agreement with the Farc by end of 2014

The Guardian, Jonathan Watts and Sibylla Brodzinsky in Bogotá, Sunday 16 March 2014

Soldiers of the guerrilla group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia
(the Farc). Photograph: Sipa Press / Rex Features

Colombia is nearing a peace deal that could end the longest-running civil war on the planet and significantly reduce the global supply of cocaine, according to President Juan Manuel Santos, who predicts an agreement with Farc guerrillas that will include the eradication of coca plantations.

Speaking to the Guardian, Santos said that peace talks taking place in Havana had shown sufficient progress to make 2014 a historic year.

"Hopefully by the end of the year, we will have this deal done," he said. "It is a tipping point. We have started not only conversations with the Farc, but a process whereby we are building the conditions to build peace for ever, not just for one or two years, but to change the history of this country."

Before a presidential election in May, Santos has every reason to talk up the prospects of a deal.

Most voters have known nothing but conflict for their entire lives: when the Farc rose up against the state in 1964, Lyndon Johnson was in the White House, Nikita Khrushchev was in the Kremlin and the cold war was at its height.

Over the following 50 years, Colombia's low-intensity war has caused more than 250,000 deaths and the displacement of more than 5 million people as rebels from the Farc, ELN and other leftwing groups clashed with government troops and rightwing paramilitaries. Many of the armed factions finance themselves through kidnappings and drug trafficking.

If a deal can be reached, Santos says the biggest peace dividend for the outside world is likely to be a cut in the supply of cocaine.

"If we can agree to fight drug trafficking and substitute coca crops for legal crops it will have a big impact on the world because, unfortunately, for 40 years we have been the principal supplier of that drug."

Although the talks in Havana are being carried out behind closed doors, some commentators expect progress on the topic of drugs – one of five main items – to be announced shortly as a pre-election boost for the president.

Santos is already comfortably ahead of his rivals – the polls put him at 38% – but his victory is not yet certain because of the high number of voters who are undecided or threaten to express disapproval by leaving their ballots blank.

In congressional elections in early March, his ruling coalition maintained control but saw its majority shrink under the challenge of a new party created by the former president Álvaro Uribe.

As these results suggest, Santos is by no means a unifying figure for this deeply divided nation. Instead, the president is more of a Blairite pragmatist – a political shape-shifter who has moved successfully to occupy the central ground and now seems intent to leave his mark on history.

Born into a powerful newspaper-owning family, Santos studied at Kansas University and the London School of Economics, then rose to prominence as a minister under the rightwing administration of Uribe.

Later, however, he enraged his former mentor when he became president, declared Venezuelan socialist leader Hugo Chávez to be his "new best friend" and then opened up peace talks.

His willingness to put peace above other principles may be no bad thing in a country that has been left bleeding and battered by decades of war.

But critics call him fickle and rivals accuse him of making too many concessions to the Farc groups, which have been weakened by a series of military strikes.

"There are no conditions. The guerrillas are still attacking. They continue to be narco-terrorists. Nothing has changed since the peace talks started," said Óscar Iván Zuluaga, a presidential candidate for the new rightwing party Democratic Centre, which was founded by Uribe.

Following a succession of failed peace efforts over the past 30 years, Zuluaga also voiced doubts that this time will be any different.

"President Santos said there would be six months of talks, then a year, then more. He has made this his main election issue, but he is playing with the talks. There is no sign of real progress," Zuluaga said.

But diplomatic and academic observers say the current negotiations have a greater chance of success than past efforts because they have the backing of Cuba and Venezuela, which have helped to bring the Farc to the table.

Venezuela is now bogged down in protests and some have suggested that its president, Nicolás Maduro, is less involved in the peace talks than his predecessor, Chávez, but Santos said the unrest across the border had not had an impact on the negotiations, and expressed thanks to Maduro for being "very supportive".

Speaking at the presidential palace, Santos said he shared widespread scepticism about the Farc's motives for entering the talks.

That is why, he said, he could not yet elaborate on key details under discussion – such as arms decommissioning, punishment for war crimes and participation of the Farc's candidates in future elections: "Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. I use the analogy of a painter. He doesn't allow a potential buyer to inspect the painting when it is 20% or half done, he wants to show it when it is completed."

But he said the overall goal was not to humiliate the Farc but to persuade the guerrillas to swap their guns for votes – including the Farc's smaller rival, the National Liberation Army (ELN), which has not yet formerly entered into peace talks.

"They can continue their objectives but through legal democratic channels. I am willing to give them all the guarantees necessary for them to have this chance. It is up to them if they can win or not.

"I tell them that many former guerrillas in Latin America are now heads of state, so think about it – let's stop the war."

His strategy is based on peace talks around the world, including Northern Ireland. Negotiators from the British government and the IRA have given advice.

"The preliminary agreement we announced with the Farc was inspired by the framework agreement with the IRA," said Santos. "The British people who have helped us have been extremely valuable."

If a deal is done, the president said the help of the international community would be even more important to legitimise the implementation of the deal and to provide funds and knowledge to help the reintegration of combatants into modern life.

As soon as the ink was dry, he said, it would be important to move quickly or frustration, old animosities and the logic of the drug business would erode trust and goodwill.

"What we have is the oldest conflict in the world, the only conflict in the Americas, and it has been a very sui generis conflict," said Santos.

"The post-conflict is going to be as difficult as the peace process itself. And it is there where I see the international community helping. We have a golden opportunity for international co-operation and peace."

Two bloody centuries

For most of its 200-year history, Colombia has been racked with deadly unrest. After eight civil wars in the 19th century, the current conflict has its origins in the 1948 riots sparked by the assassination of Liberal leader Jorge Eliécer Gaitán. La Violencia, as that episode was known, was followed five years later by a military coup.

Campesinos in the countryside – who long felt abandoned by urban politicians – formed rebel groups. Full-scale civil war erupted in 1962, when leftwing guerrilla organisations, including the Farc, ELN (National Liberation Army) and M-19 (The 19 April Movement) clashed repeatedly with the army, rightwing paramilitaries and each other for control of land, funds and drug plantations.

It is estimated that the fighting has killed 220,000 people and displaced 4.3 million.

The current peace talks come amid stronger backing from Venezuela and other neighbouring countries and signs that the Farc – easily the largest of the guerrilla groups – is losing strength because of army campaigns and desertion.

However, the experience of the past two bloody centuries suggests that any deal has to be comprehensive and inclusive or it will generate new resentments and fresh causes of violence.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Australians, Canadians held for stripping at Machu Picchu

Google – AFP, 13 March 2014

Police detained four male tourists, two Australians and two Canadians, for 
several hours after filming and taking nude photos at Peru's famed Machu
Picchu, local authorities said (AFP/File, Cris Bouroncle)

Lima — Police detained four male tourists, two Australians and two Canadians, for several hours after filming and taking nude photos at Peru's famed Machu Picchu, local authorities said.

The culture ministry has put up signs at the world-famous Inca site warning that people taking their clothes off there is a "crime against culture" and would lead to immediate expulsion from the area.

The latest incidents came after Peru vowed to step up surveillance at its famous historical sites to counter a growing trend of tourists taking nude photos, including at Machu Picchu, and then posting them online.

The Australians, 22 and 24, used a camcorder and the Canadians, both 20, used an iPhone, police at a local police station told AFP.

It was not immediately clear if the four men acted together, separately or individually.

Machu Picchu, an Inca citadel from the 1400s, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Brazilian parliament investigating SBM Offshore corruption claims, Wednesday 12 March 2014

A ship of SBM Offshore off the coast
of Rio de Janeiro. (NOS/SBM Offshore)
The Brazilian parliament is launching an inquiry into Dutch maritime services company SBM Offshore over corruption claims, the Telegraaf reports on Wednesday.

A former employee of SBM Offshore claims the company paid out over $250m in bribes to officials and companies in various countries between 2005 and 2011, including Brazil.

The Telegraaf says last month researchers from Brazilian state-owned company Petrobras were at SBM Offshore’s office in Schiedam as part of their investigation into the claims.

In addition, Brazilian parliamentarians are coming to the Netherlands to follow the investigation into the claims launched by the Dutch public prosecution department, the paper says.

Petrobras is one of SBM Offshore’s most important clients.

Related Article:

Monday, March 10, 2014

Doctors stage protest in Venezuela

Google – AFP, 10 March 2014

Venezuelan public health workers scuffle with riot police during a protest in
Caracas on March 10, 2014 (AFP, Juan Barreto)

Caracas — Several hundred doctors and medical students protested conditions in Venezuela's hospitals Monday, citing shortages of medicines and critical supplies in the troubled oil-rich country.

As police held back the demonstrators in the city's Plaza Venezuela, other health workers marched without incident through the center to the presidential palace in a government-organized show of support for President Nicolas Maduro.

The rival protests were the latest in an unresolved, nearly five-week-old crisis that has claimed the lives of at least 20 people.

Another victim was reported over the weekend in the western Andean city of Merida, Giselle Rubilar, a 47-year-old Chilean national.

Chile's outgoing President Sebastian Pinera said in Santiago Monday he had asked Venezuela to investigate her death of a gunshot wound to the head.

"Apparently there was a barricade near where she was living. She approached it and that's where she was reportedly hit by the bullet that caused her death," Chilean Foreign Minister Alfredo Moreno said.

Venezuelan doctors and medical students turned out in their white lab coats with signs denouncing the state of health care in the country.

Venezuelan public health personnel face riot police during a protest in
Caracas on March 10, 2014 (AFP, Juan Barreto)

"Not only bullets kill, the lack of medicine does too," read one sign.

The president of the Venezuelan Medical Federation, Douglas Leon, said 95 percent of hospitals have only five percent of the supplies needed to take care of patients.

"The hospitals are deteriorated, supplies aren't available and we have to tell patients to buy their own," medical student Caterine Acosta, 20, told AFP.

Meanwhile, at the Miraflores presidential palace, Maduro touted the 2,500 medical students who he said will graduate this year from programs in partnership with allies like Cuba.

Cuba provides an estimated 40,000 doctors and health care workers to staff clinics for poor and hard to reach populations in Venezuela.

In exchange, Venezuela supplies Cuba with 100,000 barrels of oil a day at preferential rates. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Birthplace of Venezuela demos becomes barricade city

Google – AFP, Laurent Thomet (AFP), 8 March 2014

A man walks by a barricade set up by anti-government activists in 
San Cristobal, Tachira state, on March 6, 2014 (AFP, Leo Ramirez)

San Cristobal — Barricades made of burning trash, metal fences, tree stumps and washing machines block several streets in the western city where Venezuela's protest movement was born.

It is no longer just students who are building barriers in San Cristobal. Doctors, lawyers, shopkeepers and retirees fed up with the government of President Nicolas Maduro have joined the action.

They are angry at the massive lines at supermarkets lacking flour or toilet paper.
They are tired of being afraid at night because motorcycle gangs roam the streets. They are furious at the national guard's crackdown and arrests of protesters.

Zulay Molina (L), 37, and her three children, 
wait for the opening of a "Bicentenario"
 chain government market in San Cristobal,
Tachira state, on March 7, 2014 (AFP, Leo
One month after the first demonstration, the defiant students and residents of this opposition stronghold warn that they will keep up pressure until Maduro listens to their grievances or steps down.

"This is the epicenter of the bomb that made everything explode," said Liscar Depablos, a 22-year-old medical student from Los Andes University. "This will not stop."

Students first protested here on February 4 after the attempted rape of a young woman. The muscular police response led to more protests that eventually spread across the country.

At least 20 people have died since then in Venezuela. More than 1,000 protesters were detained, but most have since been released.

- 'Like Ukraine' -

The barricades across San Cristobal were initially built to block riot police and armored cars after the first protest erupted on February 4.

But many residents in the city of 260,000 are now blocking streets to deter gangs that roam the streets after dark, robbing and shooting.

The protesters used sewer grates, boulders, mounds of dirt, billboards and even an old armoured vehicle that was ripped from a military monument and marked with the word "peace."

At each student-built barricade, a half-dozen to 20 masked young men guard their turf with sling-shots, rocks and metal tubes that launch fireworks.

Depablos lives on a cul-de-sac whose residents made a barrier with bamboo and barbed wire after the national guard fired tear gas into homes two weeks ago, breaking windows and denting doors.

"My dog fainted. We hid in the bathroom and turned on the water to counter the tear gas," Deplabos said.

Residents showed a "made in Brazil" tear gas grenade and several empty birdshot cartridges marked with the words "anti-riot."

They say the national guard fired after they banged pots outside their homes, a traditional Venezuelan way of protesting.

"We are like in the Ukraine here, waiting for trouble," said Jarriz Ordonez, a 33-year-old chef, referring to last month's Kiev uprising that caused the Ukrainian president to flee his country.

But analysts say Venezuela is far from seeing a Ukraine-style revolt.

Maduro's socialist government still enjoys vast support among the poor, who were deeply loyal to his late predecessor, Hugo Chavez.

The government held one of its newly established "peace conferences" in San Cristobal on Thursday, but the opposition shunned the meeting, saying demanding protesters be released.

"We won't recognize a conference of lies while there is repression and armed 'colectivos'," San Cristobal's opposition Mayor Daniel Ceballos told AFP, referring to leftist pro-government gangs.

- Disrupting city life -

The mayor supports the protests despite the disruption to daily life in his city.

An anti-government activist holds rocks in a barricade set up by anti-government 
activists in San Cristobal, Tachira state, on March 6, 2014 (AFP, Leo Ramirez)

Few shops are open across the city of 260,000 people, located in the Andean state of Tachira, whose economy includes trade -- legal and illegal -- with neighboring Colombia.

Some shopkeepers are frustrated with the barricades, saying they have exacerbated the city's food scarcity because delivery trucks are shying away.

"They are hurting the city," said Jesus Robles, a 35-year-old manager of a small kitchen that sells arepas, a Venezuelan maize flatbread. "We don't have products and everything is expensive."

At supermarkets, hundreds of people stand in line before dawn every day to buy the few available items, but the problem existed before the demonstrations.

Government supporters say shelves are empty because people take advantage of Venezuela's weak currency to sell goods at a hefty profit in nearby Colombia.

The protesters, who blame the shortages on the government's price and foreign exchange controls, acknowledge they are affecting residents but they say it is the best way to keep pressure on Maduro.

While the protesters here vow to never stand down, some worry that their peers in Caracas will lose steam.

"If we don't awaken all the other states, we won't reach our objectives," said Johan, a 31-year-old waiter manning a barricade on a major avenue who refused to give his last name.

Fernando Marquez, a 20-year-old student leader at Catholic University of Tachira, was optimistic as he stood at another boulevard with scattered barricades.

"We will continue resisting in the streets until we see change in the country," he said. "There is a saying now: 'We must follow Tachira's example.'"

Cuba agrees to negotiate with EU on normalizing ties

Google – AFP, Carlos Batista (AFP), 7 March 2014

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez gives a press conference in Havana
on March 6, 2014 (AFP, Yamil Lage)

Havana — Cuba said Thursday it had agreed to begin negotiations with the European Union on normalizing ties, after a decade of differences and sanctions.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said his government "accepts with satisfaction" a proposal made last month by EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton to open negotiations.

Rodriguez said the talks would "mean the end of the European Union's unilateral policies on Cuba."

The EU officially suspended relations with Cuba, governed by the Americas' only one-party Communist regime, in 2003 over the jailing of dozens of Cuban dissidents.

At talks in Brussels last month, EU foreign ministers voted to launch political talks that could eventually open the way to broader trade and economic ties.

Rodriguez said that Havana would "act constructively and believes that the principles set forth are fully justified and should continue to be the reference point for our relationship."

These principles, according to the minister, are that the talks should be nondiscriminatory, respect national sovereignty and abide by the idea of non-interference in the internal affairs of the nations involved.

Asked about the message the negotiations would send to the United States, the minister said the European Union's decision "shows unilateral politics don't work and have no place in modern times."

The United States, which does not have full bilateral relations with Cuba, has imposed crippling economic sanctions on Havana for more than a half-century.

- A 'long' process -

Rodriguez said diplomats from both sides would work to determine a timetable for the talks, adding the process would "certainly be a long one."

The EU delegation to Cuba "warmly welcomed the positive decision of the Cuban government to advance the negotiation process and its interest to resume dialogue at a ministerial level."

"The two sides will begin the process as soon as possible, in a constructive and mutually respectful spirit," a statement from the EU delegation to Havana said.

While individual EU nations have signed bilateral accords with Cuba, the bloc's policy as a whole remained based on a 1996 position linking relations to an improvement in human rights.

Havana had considered this interference in its internal affairs.

Rodriguez said Cuba was willing to deal with the EU on "any issue, including the issue of human rights," adding that Havana had "concerns" on the right countries in some European countries.

In 2003, after authorities in Havana handed down heavy prison sentences to 75 dissidents, the European Union adopted a series of sanctions against Cuba.

But starting in 2005, those sanctions were gradually lifted as the government opponents were released, and the 28-nation bloc resumed preliminary talks with Cuba in 2008.

Since 2008, the EU has channeled some 80 million euros ($110 million) in development aid to Cuba.

Most of the dissidents sentenced during Cuba's "Black Spring" in 2003 were eventually freed and authorized to go into exile in Spain, following a dialogue between authorities in Havana, Cuban church leaders and Madrid. The last dissidents were released from prison in 2011.

Since 2008, about 15 EU countries have resumed cooperation projects with Cuba.

While the United States has maintained its trade embargo with Cuba, the EU is the Caribbean island's second biggest trading partner after Venezuela and a leading source of foreign investment.

Besides cigars and sugar, Cuba's beaches attract thousands of holidaymakers from Europe each year, offering potential investments to EU firms.

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Frans Timmermans (left) and Bruno Rodriguez signed
 an agreement to engage in political consultations. Photograph:
Yamil Lage/AFP/Getty Images

Question (2005): Dear Kryon: I read in a spiritual article that Fidel Castro's mission is to show how to do things without money, that this is the reason why he and the tropical revolution have been kept alive. Is that true? If not, then why didn’t Cuba change when Eastern Europe changed? Has Fidel Castro been working for the light or is he a part of the old energy?

Answer: This leader is of the old energy, but was needed for the time. The real reason was to bring the Soviet Union close to your shores in order to help with the year 2000 Armageddon scenario that didn’t happen. His earthly masters would have played a very important part in Cuba with the nuclear war you didn’t have.

That’s the whole reason, and now he exists as a relic of what didn’t happen. His society is poor, and the culture is not elevated or pleased with itself. This energy will change soon… sooner than you think. Then you will see a Cuba that has been “hiding” for a very long time, and also realize the unbalance and cultural richness that has been there all along.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Colombian election seen as referendum on peace talks

Google – AFP, Philippe Zygel (AFP), 7 March 2014

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos in Bogota, on February 21,
2014 (AFP/File, Luis Acosta)

Bogota — Colombia holds legislative elections Sunday that are seen as a referendum on peace talks with FARC leftist guerrillas and a trial run for a presidential vote in May.

Since they opened in late 2012 in Cuba, the talks that President Jose Manuel Santos has held with the Marxist rebels have dominated political life in Colombia.

The FARC, or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, have been fighting successive governments for 50 years and are Latin America's oldest insurgency.

Santos is seeking a second term, and his three party coalition government is expected to retain control of both chambers of Congress.

A billboard with the image of former Colombian
 president Alvaro Uribe, leader of the Democratic
 Center party, is seen in Medellin, Antioquia
 department, Colombia on March 6, 2014
(AFP/File, Raul Arboleda)
That would be key for the peace process, which so far enjoys the support of most Colombians.
Santos officially announced his candidacy for another term this week, and said he wanted to "finish up the job" of bringing peace to a country that has endured decades of bloodshed.

"It is highly likely that the president will retain a strong majority because it is very hard to defeat a coalition," said Sandra Borda, professor of political science at the University of the Andes in Bogota. The peace process is key, she added.

"Although many Colombians have their doubts about the process, they will not go so far as to reject it. They do not want it to end," she said.

The big question Sunday will be how Santos' predecessor Alvaro Uribe does in his quest for a seat in the Senate.

Uribe accuses Santos, his former defense minister, of treason by turning the FARC into "political players" with a high profile stage in Havana where the peace talks are being held.

- 'Uribe's dissonant voice' -

Uribe, a conservative, is still popular for his no-holds-barred fight against the FARC while in power from 2002 to 2010. Campaigning on the slogan "No to impunity," he is Colombia's first ex-president to seek a seat in the Senate, from which he aims to challenge the course of the talks.

But his new party, the Democratic Center, is only projected to win about 14 percent of the votes, which would give it just 19 of 102 seats in the upper chamber.

"Uribe's list is not going to win a majority, but to some extent it will allow him to shape the national agenda," said Luis Guillermo Patino, head of the political science department at the Pontifical Bolivarian University in Medellin.

"It will be very difficult to prevent a ratification of peace accords but if those accords are put to a referendum a dissonant voice like that of Uribe can resonate powerfully," Patino said.

Hundreds of thousands of people have died in the half century old conflict, which stems from gaping inequality between landless peasants and rich landowners.

Over the years, the war has become a complex mix of rebels, paramilitary militia, drug traffickers and criminal gangs.

The possibility of rebels rejoining political life without first serving prison time -- something being discussed in the negotiations -- is a highly sensitive one in Colombia.

- 'Pressure and intimidation' -

Leftist parties are traditionally weak in Colombia and they have failed to benefit from the peace talks.

"The left is in a very delicate position because it supports the peace process advocated by the government," said Borda.

At the same time, although the leftist parties are legal and democratic, they are associated with the armed struggle, said Patino.

An added complication is the lack of a ceasefire during the peace process.

The People's Ombudsman, or national mediator, Jorge Armando Otalora, has said that illegal groups including the FARC have exercised "pressure and intimidation" on voters to keep them from voting in at least a fifth of the national territory.

The elections have seen the rebirth of the once defunct Patriotic Union, the FARC's political ally during a first, failed round of peace talks in the 1980s, before suffering a wave of murders at the hands of paramilitary groups.

Its main candidate is Aida Avella, who survived an assassination attempt in 1996 and went into exile for 17 years.

She returned to Colombia to run in Sunday's elections but is not expected to do well.

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