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Saturday, August 29, 2009
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Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Who needs Miami anyway?
While shopping might be good in Miami, it's just as good in Panama City...so if you were planning a shopping trip stateside, think outside the box and go to Panama instead...you'll be glad you did. It's a nice place...modern, safe, good restaurants, and excellent shopping!!
And while you're at it, buy that condo in Panama City...they're a better value for the money than Miami.
Bottom line, if the U.S. government wants to hurt ordinary people, don't let them do it. Vacation, wine, dine, shop, and invest elsewhere...Let them be the ones to suffer instead.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Below are excerpts from the blog Inside South America by Tyler Bridges, a journalist based in Caracas
I'm supposed to report on South America in this blog. But since I find myself reporting from Tegucigalpa this week, I thought I would extend the blog's boundaries as well.
I find Tegucigalpa to be an unlovely city. The setting is pretty, nestled in the hills. But there seems to have been too much U.S. influence in the city's development.
As with Houston and too many other U.S. cities, Tegucigalpa expanded without planning controls. Most of the downtown colonial buildings have been lost. The central square lacks harmony and is uninteresting, other than the cathedral.
And there are fast-food franchises everywhere: McDonald's, of course, but also Burger King, Popeyes, Subway, Quizmos, Little Caesars, Chili's, TGI Friday's, Applebee's, Dunkin' Donuts, Pizza Hut. There's even a Dunkin' Donuts directly across the street from the Casa Presidencial.
The best thing about Honduras that I've found in my short term here: the people. They are quite friendly.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Much to my dismay, the BBC's coverage of the crisis in Honduras has been extremely biased in favor of Comandante Cowboy and his followers. They have tended to report on every small protest involving Zelayalistas and portray them as brave victims while ignoring the tens of thousands of peaceful pro-government supporters.
So it comes as a great surprise that BBC didn't have a report on yesterday's demonstrations showing the random attack and burning of a bus (with people on board scrambling to get off) and the burning of a restaurant as well as other random destruction of property. Well, actually, it wasn't a demonstration or protest; it was riot. And, to make matters worse, many of the rioters were reportedly paid to participate, so it wasn't out of conviction. They are kinda like football (soccer) hooligans.
So what happened to your reporting BBC? Did your reporter just forget to file his report for the day or was it his day off? Or maybe, just maybe, the Zelayalistas didn't appear as sympathetic as you wanted (or needed)? Maybe their burning and violence didn't serve as good propaganda or garner support for the cause? Mr. BBC editor, please feel free to leave your comments in my comment section.
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
U.S. appears to soften support for Honduras's Zelaya
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. policy on Honduras' political crisis is not aimed at supporting any particular individual, the State Department said in a new letter that implied softening support for ousted President Manuel Zelaya.
The letter to Republican Senator Richard Lugar contained criticism of Zelaya, saying the left-leaning former leader had taken "provocative" actions ahead of his removal by the Honduran military on June 28.
The State Department also indicated severe U.S. economic sanctions were not being considered against the de facto government of Roberto Micheletti, which took over in Honduras after Zelaya removed from office.
"Our policy and strategy for engagement is not based on supporting any particular politician or individual. Rather, it is based on finding a resolution that best serves the Honduran people and their democratic aspirations," Richard Verma, the assistant secretary for legislative affairs, said in the letter.
"We have rejected calls for crippling economic sanctions and made clear that all states should seek to facilitate a solution without calls for violence and with respect for the principle of nonintervention," he said. The letter was dated Tuesday and obtained by Reuters on Wednesday.
President Barack Obama has condemned Zelaya's ouster, refused to recognize Micheletti, cut $16.5 million in military aid to Honduras and thrown his support behind the mediation efforts of Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, whose proposals include Zelaya's reinstatement.
Last week the U.S. government announced it was revoking diplomatic visas for several members of Micheletti's administration.
But the State Department letter, while "energetically" condemning Zelaya's ouster on June 28, noted that the coup had been preceded by a political conflict between Zelaya and other institutions inside Honduras.
"We also recognize that President Zelaya's insistence on undertaking provocative actions contributed to the polarization of Honduran society and led to a confrontation that unleashed the events that led to his removal," it said.
Zelaya was pushing for constitutional reforms that included changing term limits for presidents. His opponents accused him of trying to seek re-election, but he denies the allegation.
The Supreme Court ordered his arrest and the Honduran Congress later approved his ouster.
In the letter to Lugar, the State Department also indicated the Obama administration has still not made a definite decision as to whether Zelaya's ouster constituted a coup.
"We have suspended certain assistance as a policy matter pending an ongoing determination under U.S. law about the applicability of the provisions requiring termination of assistance in the event of a military coup."
Lugar, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, had asked the government to explain its policy on the Honduran political crisis, warning that Senate confirmation may be delayed for a diplomatic nominee for Latin America without it.
The letter appeared to be a response to this request.
Because of U.S. support for Zelaya, conservative Republican Senator Jim DeMint has threatened to delay a Senate vote on the nomination of Arturo Valenzuela to be assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs.
DeMint welcomed the State Department letter but said the Obama administration had not gone far enough.
"I'm glad to see the State Department is finally beginning to walk back its support for Manuel Zelaya and admit that his 'provocative' actions were responsible for his removal," he said through a spokesman.
"These admissions are helpful, but what is necessary is for President Obama to end his support for Zelaya who broke the law and sought to become a Chavez-style dictator," DeMint said, referring to Venezuela's socialist president Hugo Chavez, an ally of Zelaya.
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
Monday, August 03, 2009
All this diplomatic rancor has led to economic consequences for Columbia. Ecuador has imposed tariffs on Columbian goods and Chavez is threatening to do the same. (Please see BBC News article "Columbia's Rocky Regional Relations", dated July 30, 2009).
Wouldn't this be a good time for Columbian President Alvaro Uribe to strike a blow at the Chavez axis by recognizing the new anti-Chavez government in Honduras? Come on Mr. Uribe, take a stand for democracy: Recognize the Honduran Government.