Tuesday, January 21, 2014

South America News Roundup Oct 18, 2011: Argentina, Venezuela, Bolivia

article from October 18, 2011
By Jamie Douglas

Argentina: Vog

For those of us living in some parts of Argentina, yesterday morning brought a renewal of the ash fall from Chile’s Puyehue Volcano. Instead of the crisp blue skies we have been getting accustomed to, we are under a blanket of vog (volcanic smog). On Sunday, I got up around dawn to let the dog out, and there was a heavy layer of what I thought was fog about 300 meters to the south which, it turns out, was that unpleasant ash, having drifted north and then east, once again wreaking havoc with air transportation across the region. All flights in and out of Buenos Aires, Córdoba, Mendoza and Montevideo have been grounded, and there is absolutely no service to the rest of the country. Hopefully we will not see another repeat of the situation a few months ago, when Australia and New Zealand were affected likewise. Sleep sweet Puyehue, sleep!

Venezuela: Hugo

Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez is back in Cuba for a complete checkup, after his fourth and final chemotherapy treatment. He appeared at the airport, joking that he was going to grow an afro when his hair resumed growing. The opposition has demanded that he come clean with his health status, stating that he was very ill, and he owed it to the country to reveal what type of cancer he had (probably prostate) as well as what his actual condition is and not treat it like a state secret. El Maximum Líder countered that he was in excellent health and that he would “sail” through the coming elections next year and be reelected. I think Venezuela could use a change!

Bolivia: Evo

Meanwhile in Bolivia, the coca-farmer president, Evo Morales, got spanked again by his constituents when close to 70% of the ballots for the election of his handpicked judges were turned in blank or spoiled. He not only had his cronies change the constitution to allow him to run again, but now he is going to stack the deck in every court having any constitutional powers. The people who put him into office, the indigenous masses of the country, are plenty pissed off at him for several breaches of trust, the latest being when police and military attacked peaceful protesters walking to the capital of La Paz to voice their protests against a Brazilian-financed four-lane highway through their tribal lands, which are supposed to be guaranteed to them. Evo ¿que pasa? Is the power of the presidency blinding you to your people’s needs?

You say “Falklands”, I say “Malvinas”

When it comes to delusional politicians, Argentina certainly has its share. Take for instance Argentine representative at the United Nations Jorge Argüello. His recent statements before the world body in regard to the Falkland Islands would make more sense if they had been uttered by a 3rd-world despot, but unfortunately, these moronic statements were made by the official representative of Argentina. Argüello claimed that the British government “hides information in London to the Europeans in Brussels and to the rest of the world” (whatever he means by that).

Also, in a recent address to an audience at the top Mexican university, UNAM, Ambassador Argüello said about the Falklands that, “England knows that if it cuts the social assistance and employment budget of the islands as it has done with other territories, it will lead to emigration to Argentina or South America, where the opposite thing is happening.” Huh?

While there is no doubt that the citizens of the islands lead a somewhat isolated existence, you would be hard-pressed to find even one resident of those cold and windy islands that would choose to live in Argentina or South America. But it makes for good propaganda. With the possibility of commercially viable deposits of crude oil, the residents of the Falkland Islands may end up being quite wealthy. It is solely for this reason that Argentina is rattling its plastic sabers all over the world, trying to get the support of other countries. But the United Nations made it quite clear how the destiny of the islands will be chosen: By a plebiscite of the residents living there! So come on Argentina, give it up. They were never your islands, and your claims are so far in the past.

Jamie Douglas
San Rafael, Mendoza
Where we have sheep, too, along with that Fine Malbec Wine!

I encourage you to write me at cruzansailor [at] gmail [dot] com with any questions or suggestions you may have. Disclaimer: I am not in any travel-related business. My advice is based on my own experiences and is free of charge (Donations welcome). It is always my pleasure to act as a beneficial counselor to those who are seekers of the next adventure.