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20/10/2017

Columnistas invitados/Guest columnists

La política de la anti política

  • Aldo Cassinelli Capurro
  • Visto: 46

La política de la anti-política, esa parece ser la noción que algunos candidatos han levantado como bandera de lucha en esta elección presidencial. ¿Resistirá Chile el embate populista?, ¿Serán las instituciones lo suficientemente sólidas para soportar una ofensiva en esta línea?, ¿Podrán los electores discriminar entre propuestas claramente irrealizables y demagógicas? Estas son dudas que no pocos en este último tiempo se han formulado sobre el futuro de nuestro país.

Esta idea de estar por sobre los partidos, permite el surgimiento de personas que se sitúan al margen de la política. Serían actores que no provienen del campo político, pero entran a su arena para competir un espacio, mediante un discurso que precisamente va en contra del mismo sistema en el cual desean participar y eventualmente dirigir.

Esta es una versión más sofisticada del viejo caudillo populista, ya que se nutre precisamente de la modernización lograda por los países en los cuales surge, tiene su apoyo electoral en los sectores pobres, pero se suman a ellos la denominada élite emergente, aquellos grupos que han logrado movilidad social ascendente, los que precisamente se han beneficiado del desarrollo alcanzado sintiéndose aún excluidos de la mayor parte del producto precisamente de esta expansión económica.

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Cuba in Angola: an old and lucrative business of the Castro brothers

  • Alberto de la Cruz
  • Visto: 236

In 1975, Fidel Castro launched “Operation Carlota” –according to official figures from Havana it would take 377,033 military personnel and over 50,000 civilian aid workers from Cuban combatants in Angola. Foto: CubanetCuba during the 16 years it lasted (1975-1991).[1] The official explanation for the Cuban intervention was that self-proclaimed Angolan president Agosthino Neto, a historical communist and ally of the USSR, had requested military aid from Cuba. The truth was otherwise. A former senior intelligence official of Cuba confirms that the Soviet Union (USSR) - which supported Cuba with billions of dollars a year- asked Fidel Castro to send the Cuban military force, promising to pay for all the war material. Portugal has initiated a process for the independence of its colonies in Africa and, the USSR was seeking to bring Angola into the Soviet orbit by consolidating Neto in power, but it was not convenient for the USSR to appear as the invading force supportive of Neto.[2] In the cold war scenario, the USSR supported Neto’s MPLA (Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola) and the SWAPO (South African People's Organization), that was fighting for Namibia's independence, while the United States, together with

South Africa, supported UNITA (National Union for the Total Independence of Angola) and the FNLA (National Liberation Front of Angola).

Cuba did not act out in sheer revolutionary solidarity, it actually received payment for its services that are estimated between US $300 and US$ 600 million annually[3] (if so, this would represent between US $4.8 and US $9.6 billion in 16 years of struggle). The author of a recent book on the Angolan war, engineer Carlos Pedre –a former Cuban soldier in Angola– obtained a confidential testimony from a former FAR (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba) officer that Angola was paying Cuba $2,000 per soldier per month.[4] Cuba also developed millionaire businesses, managed by senior FAR officials, through the systematic plunder of ivory, diamonds, and timber from Angola, as well as equipment newly arrived for various factories in Angola that was diverted to Havana.[5] It is an open secret that the Cuban military also "stole as much as they could," including vehicles, and home furnishings, and it is alleged that they were even trafficking drugs.[6]

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A brief Report Card on corruption in Latin America

  • Luis Fleischman
  • Visto: 145

Another important development has taken place in the anti-corruption wave in Latin America.

This incident involved the vice president of Uruguay who resigned after months of accusations that he made personal use of the Uruguayan national oil company’s credit cards. The Vice President, Raul Sendic, was the president of the oil company called ANCAP from 2009 to 2013. It was proven that he used the company’s credit card for personal shopping to purchase jewelry, sports clothing and electronics. Likewise, he was ethically questioned by a forum of his own political coalition as he lied about his academic credentials. Sendic claimed he held a degree in genetics from a Cuban university, an argument he strongly defended but later admitted he never received.

This may sound like a joke to the average Latin American especially after the scandals involving the giant Brazilian company, Odebrecht. That scandal involved several Latin American governments, high level leaders and political parties which were implicated in a bribery scheme making the Uruguayan situation sound meaningless. Indeed, the impeachment of Brazilian former president, Dilma Rousseff, and the incarceration of the former speaker of the Brazilian House of Representatives are major acts of corruption where millions of dollars in bribes involved the highest levels of government in various countries.

Yet,the Sendic case is not a meaningless case. In fact, it is a symptom of something more important. It is not a matter of how little or big the scandal was or how much money it involved. Sendic was investigated by his own ruling coalition, the Broad Front, which found Sendic’s behavior ethically and politically unacceptable. The ethics committee of the Broad Front reprimanded him for denying wrong doing and found his behavior unbecoming as he was the one who set up the rules and regulations regarding the use of credit cards in the company he then presided over.

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El Terror de Estado

  • Carlos Espinosa Domínguez
  • Visto: 171

La Gran Purga no fue, como algunas interpretaciones pretenden, un hecho accidental y descontrolado, ni una rutinaria oleada de arrestos. Fue una política concienzudamente organizada de asesinato masivo, con la cual Stalin se perpetuó en el poder.

CHISTE POPULAR EN LA ÉPOCA SOVIÉTICA

Tres prisioneros de un gulag se cuentan las razones por las que fueron sentenciados.

—Estoy aquí porque siempre llegaba cinco minutos antes a la fábrica y me acusaron de espía —cuenta el primero.
—¡Qué curioso! —dice el segundo. A mí me condenaron por sabotaje porque siempre llegaba cinco minutos tarde.
El tercero comenta sorprendido:
—Estoy aquí porque siempre llegaba puntualmente a la fábrica, y me acusaron de comprar un reloj suizo en el mercado negro.


En La revolución traicionada, Trotski apuntó: “El viejo partido bolchevique ha muerto y ninguna fuerza será capaz de resucitarlo”. En efecto, durante la Gran Purga el estado mayor leninista fue aniquilado: de la media docena de integrantes del Politburó, solo Stalin sobrevivió. Cuatro fueron ejecutados y el propio Trotski fue asesinado en México. De los 1.966 delegados al XVII Congreso del Partido celebrado en 1934, 1.108 fueron arrestados. De ellos, casi todos fueron condenados a la pena de muerte o murieron en prisión. Stalin pudo deshacerse así de los antiguos dirigentes de la revolución de 1917, compañeros de partido a quienes no tuvo ninguna compasión en exterminar. Con eso logró promocionar a una nueva generación de fanáticos y leales a él. Aunque el número de víctimas es difícil de precisar, debido a la opacidad del régimen, se afirma que Stalin mató más comunistas que Hitler y Mussolini juntos.

Sin embargo, las ejecuciones de los antiguos dirigentes bolcheviques, pese a ser la parte más visible, solo representaban una pequeña parte de las purgas. El Gran Terror afectó a todos los segmentos de la población, y la inmensa mayoría de las víctimas eran ciudadanos comunes. La posibilidad de ser arrestado dependía esencialmente del hecho de pertenecer a una de las categorías incluidas en las “órdenes operativas” del NKVD o de los vínculos que se tuviese con quienes habían sido detenidos antes. 

A Stalin no le importaba si se asesinaba a personas inocentes y defendía que estas debían ser sacrificadas para garantizar que los enemigos reales fueran eliminados: “Cada comunista es un posible enemigo oculto. Y puesto que no es fácil reconocer al enemigo, el objetivo se logra incluso cuando solo el 5 por ciento de los ejecutados fueran enemigos reales”.

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Learning about the US Civil War often depends on where the classroom is

  • Will Weissert
  • Visto: 168

Austin, Texas.– The Civil War lessons taught to American students often depend on where the classroom is, with schools presenting accounts of the conflict that vary from state to state and even district to district.  This statue of Confederate Gral. Robert E. Lee was vandalized in Dallas in August 19th.

Some schools emphasize states’ rights in addition to slavery and stress how economic and cultural differences stoked tensions between North and South. Others highlight the battlefield acumen of Confederate commanders alongside their Union counterparts. At least one suggests that abolition represented the first time the nation lived up to its founding ideals.

The differences don’t always break down neatly along geographic lines.

“You don’t know, as you speak to folks around the country, what kind of assumptions they have about things like the Civil War,” said Dustin Kidd, a sociology professor at Temple University in Philadelphia.

Lessons on the war and its causes usually begin in the fifth through eighth grades. That means attitudes toward the war may be influenced by what people learned at an age when many were choosing a favorite color or imagining what they wanted to be when they grew up.

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