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Bus Users Fight Over Seat in Peruvian Bus and You Can't Imagine How This Ends

Captura de pantalla de video publicado en Facebook.

Screenshot of the video posted on Facebook.

A video posted on Facebook by user PeruRec show two men almost coming to blows over a seat in a bus of the Metropolitano, Peruvian capital public transportation system. At one point, the stockier guy sits over the other guy, while other bus users laugh out loud. Immersed as they were in their quarrel, none of them realize there is an empty seat just in front of them.

On Facebook, some made fun of that and others got to some conclussions:

Johnny Jecs Si estaban jugando a las sillas , en que momento fue que paro la música ? XD

Johnny Jecs If they were playing musical chairs, when did the music stop? XD

Juan Carlos Ortiz esos son un par de choros, hacen un “quilombo” para robarle la cartera a la señorita de azul

Juan Carlos Ortiz those two are “choros” (petty burglars) that make a fuss to steal the purse from the lady in blue.

Other users took to Twitter to express themselves:

LOL! This is ridiculous! Such old guys…

Are they really fighting over a seat in the Metropolitano? Underclass.

So idiotic: I fight over a seat in the Metropolitano while there is another one free.

The Media's Role in Mexico's ‘Warped’ Democracy

Fotografía extraída del blog de Fernando Vazques Rigada, utilizada con autorización

Photo from Fernando Vazquez Rigada's blog, used with permission

Blogger Fernando Vázquez Rigada reflects on the role of the media in Mexico, a country where he says democracy is “warped” because it only works on a formal level, and society isn't adequately represented by the political institutions.

He adds that Mexican media bear a huge responsibility in this issue. There are a variety of media in Mexico, however, quantity does not always goes hand in hand with quality, especially considering that the political power is closely linked to the media system:

El estado mexicano gasta una cantidad descomunal de recursos anualmente en pago a medios de comunicación. Sabemos que el poder ejecutivo federal invierte alrededor de 6 mil millones de pesos al año. Esa cifra, sin embargo, excluye a los otros poderes, a los 31 estados, al DF y a los 2,457 municipios y a las 16 delegaciones del DF. Tampoco incluye al gasto de los partidos políticos. La cifra debe multiplicarse al menos por diez.

Así, los medios en México deben recibir de dinero público algo así como 70 mil millones de pesos anuales. 191 millones de pesos cada día. Casi 8 millones de pesos cada hora.

Eso explica la enorme laguna informativa que ahoga a México.

The Mexican state spends an enormous amount of money in payments to media outlets. We know that the federal executive branch invests about six billion Mexican pesos a year. That figure, however, excludes other powers, the 31 Mexican states, Mexico DF, 2,457 municipalities and 16 delegations in Mexico City. Nor does it include the expenditure of political parties. So, that figure should be multiplied at least, tenfold.

Thus, the media in Mexico should receive annually from public money around 70 billion Mexican pesos. 191 million pesos every day. Nearly 8 million pesos per hour.

That explains the huge information gap in Mexico.

Vázquez Rigada concludes that its links with political power and its economic dependence prevent the media from reporting freely and fulfilling its role of monitoring those in power, pointing out flaws and opening political debate.

You can follow Fernando Vázquez Rigada on Twitter.

This post was part of the 44th #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on February 23, 2015.

Prisoner of Conscience Pedro Canché's Letter to Journalist Carmen Aristegui

From jail, Pedro Canché wrote a letter to fellow journalist Carmen Aristegui after her recent and controversial exit from media group MVS. This letter was published on his Tumblr blog “Diary of a prisoner of conscience“.

15 de marzo de 2015 Carta a Carmen AristeguiA propósito del consumado golpe al equipo de investigación de MVS, en específico a tu equipo de noticias, Carmen Aristegui, ¿cuándo tendremos en México un canal de televisión o cadena de radio nacional exclusivo de periodistas?
¿Qué necesitas?
Si don Julio Scherer demostró con la revista Proceso la independencia del poder plutocrático y oligárquico del periodismo auténtico ahora le toca a una mujer aterrizar un proyecto nacional al estilo Aristegui. Todo nuestro apoyo. Es hora y tiempo de que los nuevos vientos soplen en favor del viejo arte del periodismo honesto.
Toda mi solidaridad con Daniel Lizarraga e Irving Huerta. Pero no basta con ser solidarios y pronunciarse cómodos desde el celular o la computadora ¿Qué necesitas Carmen Aristegui?
Basta con apelar a la buena voluntad de todos los mexicanos, esa minoría. Pero de férrea voluntad que lee y a la que Televisa y Tv Azteca no le han logrado chupar el cerebro y convertirlos en zombies, todo un manjar para la clase política, en especial al PRI. El PRI maldito.Todos le entramos a la cooperación Carmen Aristegui. Es muy incómodo hacer periodismo desde la palestra de la oligarquía. Bastante incómodo. Como mexicana, y sobretodo como periodista, considéralo.
Aterriza el proyecto ¿dinero? todos le entramos. Todos. Todos los que no queremos ver arder a nuestro México.

March 15, 2015. Letter to Carmen Aristegui. On behalf of the coup done to the MVS research team, specifically to your news team, Carmen Aristegui, when will we have a TV or radio channel just for journalists in Mexico?

What do you need?

If Mr. Julio Scherer while at Proceso magazine showed independence from plutocratic and oligarchic power for authentic journalism, now is the time for a woman to land a national project, Aristegui style. You have all our support. It is time for new winds to blow in favor of the old, honest art of journalism.

All my support to Daniel Lizarraga and Irving Huerta. But supporting is not enough, nor is taking a stance comfortably from your cell phone or your computer. What do you need, Carmen Aristegui?

It should be enough appealing to the good will of all Mexicans, that minority with iron will who reads and to whom Televisa and Tv Azteca have not yet brain washed and turned into zombies, into a nice feast for the political class, PRI especially. That dreadful PRI. We all cooperate, Carmen Aristegui. It is very uncomfortable to make journalism from the arena of oligarchy. Quite uncomfortable. As a Mexican woman, and above all a journalist, think about it.

Start the project, money? We all will help out. Everybody. Everybody who doesn't want to see our Mexico burn.

Pedro Canché was detained on August 30, 2014, accused of sabotage, after covering a protest against the rise in water service fees at Felipe Carrillo Puerto city hall in Quintana Roo, Mexico. As he awaits sentencing, he regularly publishes on his blog images, videos, phrases and thoughts about freedom of expression with the help of organizacion Article19.

Indigenous Activists Threatened and Attacked in El Cauca, Colombia

Several indigenous communities in Colombia continue to be victims of human rights violations and threats by paramilitary groups. Moreover, activists also report being attacked by public security forces and ESMAD, Colombia's mobile anti-riot squad, as exposed by Ama Pachamama in a Facebook post from March 11, 2015:

[...] A la fecha, se reportan 57 indígenas heridos, producto de agresiones directas de la Fuerza Pública; nueve heridos por artefactos no convencionales utilizados por el ESMAD; varios por arma de fuego disparada de manera directa.

La situación en la zona es denunciada como crítica, donde se informa la desaparición y posterior asesinato de dos comuneros a mediados de febrero, y que se relaciona con el actual y “continuo patrullaje de hombres armados, presuntos paramilitares en las Haciendas La Emperatriz y el Municipio de Caloto”. Y se agrava por los actos de estigmatización del alcalde de Corinto, Oscar Quintero, quien califica de manera permanente de “terroristas” a las comunidades, y por las amenazas a la vida que se dan a través de “la circulación de panfletos emitidos por grupos paramilitares – Rastrojos y Águilas Negras – anunciando limpieza social y amenazando de manera directa a organizaciones y dirigentes. Quienes tildan a la comunidad y sus dirigentes de ‘Roba tierras’.”

To date, 57 indigenous protesters have been reported injured as a result of direct attacks by security forces; nine wounded by riot police using unconventional devices; several others deliberately shot at. The situation in the area is said to be critical. In mid-February, two villagers disappeared and were later murdered—all connected to the current “continuous patrols by armed men, presumed paramilitary agents in Haciendas La Imperatriz and the town of Caloto.” And this is aggravated by acts of intimidation against the mayor of Corinto, Oscar Quintero, who has called the actions a form of permanent ‘terrorism’  as well as by the threats to the lives of residents through the “circulation of flyers put out by paramilitary groups—the Rastrojos and Aguilas Negras—warning of social cleansing and directly threatening organizations and their leaders. Who branded the community and its leaders ‘land-grabbers.'” 

The Internet gave voice to the fear engendered by the Colombian paramilitary groups knowns as Águilas Negras and Rastrojos, who disseminate threatening leaflets designed to intimidate the social activists of the Cauca region. As a result, many users are condemning their actions and denouncing the situation on Twitter:

New massive threats by Aguilas Negras and Rastrojos in Bta and Cauca

Colombian paramilitary groups Rastrojos and Aguilas Negras are threatening the indigenous people fighting for land in northern Cauca with “social cleansing.” 

Paramilitary groups (Rastrojos and Aguilas Negras) are circulating flyers that directly threaten INDIGENOUS protesters.

Águilas Negras and Rastrojos, among the illegal organizations that most threaten activists in Colombia

For first time Aguilas Negras and Rastrojos sign joint death threat against indigenous leaders in Cauca

#Pyrawebs: Online Activism Against Metadata Retention Bill in Paraguay

The retention of metadata coming from the digital environment has special relevance in Latin America, where throughout history several dictatorships have spied and collected private data to implement a policy of terror. Paraguay is not an exception. Nowadays, Paraguay is a democracy, but the use of data recalls the dangers of when dictator Alfredo Stroessner was in power. The draft bill, dubbed “Pyrawebs” (“pyragüés” means “informant” in Guarani), is generating resistance and discussions among Internet users.

Paraguay: They want Internet providers to keep users’ information for a year

The activist website Pyrawebs.tedic.org explains:

El gobierno paraguayo está a punto de ordenar a los ISP a rastrear y almacenar los datos de tráficos de los IP durante 12 meses. Estos planes se hacen con el pretexto de combatir el terrorismo, pedofilia y narcotráfico, pero que en realidad pertenecen en un Estado policial. Las políticas de retención de datos obligatorias tratan a cada uno de los ciudadanos como sospechosos con una constante e intrusiva vigilancia masiva.

Además compromete el anonimato en línea, que es crucial para los investigadores, periodistas, movimientos sociales, ONGs de derechos humanos, todos y todas aquellas que se dedican a la expresión política.

The Paraguayan goverment is at this point ordering ISPs to track and record IP information for 12 months.These plans are made with the excuse of combating terrorism, pedophilia and drug trafficking, but they really belong to a state policy. Obligatory retention policies treat every citizen as a suspect withconstant and intrusive monitoring. 

Moreover, it compromises online anonymity, which is crucial for researchers, journalists and social movements, human rights NGOs and every person who makes political expressions.

Opponents of the project object to the magnitude of the information that will be stored:

This is what they will know about you if the law is approved #pyrawebs… How much they want to know?

INFOGRAPHIC: What information does metadata tell about you?

-What you search for on the Internet and the sites you visit
-Where you work and study and all the places that you've visited
-What time you wake up
-Your political and sexual preferences
-Who you know and with whom you communicate
-Where you live

Opponents also want to follow the example of Germany, Austria or Argentina, where metadata retention has been declared unconstitutional:

MT @derechosdigital: Many countries avoid regulations on metadata retention. Why do they want to use it in Paraguay? 

The topic was on the March 5 agenda at the Paraguayan Congress, but the vote was postponed:

#Pyrawebs is postponed for 8 days. We have a week to fight and prevent idiots like Tuma having our information.

Pyrawebs invites people to sign a petition to stop the law's passage. Keep tabs on any updates by following the hashtag #Pyrawebs.

Ecuadorians Take to the Streets to Protest Government

La marcha recorriendo la Avenida Universitaria en Loja Foto: Gina Yauri

Protest taking place on Avenida Universitaria in Loja, Ecuador.
Photo: Gina Yauri

Despite the rain, on March 19 citizens participated in a protest in Loja, Ecuador, which spread over seven blocks, to express their discontent of the current government. Labor code reforms, extended reelections, free access to education, and the recent exchange rate safeguards on imports were some of the issues that caused hundreds of demonstrators from several Ecuadorian cities to take to the streets. 

El rechazo a la reelección indefinida por parte de los manifestantes de oposición. Foto: Gina Yauri

Opposition demonstrators reject extended reelections.  
Photo: Gina Yauri

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. No to extended reelection!” 

Several organizations gathered in Plaza de San Sebastián de Loja; from there, they marched through the streets of Bernardo Valdivieso, Azuay, Avenida Universitaria, Colón, and Bolívar, finally arriving at Plaza Central where government sympathizers were found to be assembled. 

Simpatizantes del oficialismo en los bajos de la Gobernación de Loja, resguardados por la Policía Nacional Foto: Gina Yauri

Regime sympathizers, protected by the National Police, outside government offices in Loja.
Photo: Gina Yauri

There was a gathering of around 600 regime supporters waving green flags, of which represent the ruling party, Alianza País, in addition to police protection outside government buildings. Fortunately, neither group was reported to have caused any incidents.  

Publicist Stefany Rivera (@StefyRivera) compares the March 19 (19M) demonstrators to government sympathizers. 

Protests were also carried out by both opposition and government sympathizers in other cities from around the country such as Quito, Guayaquil, Cuenca, Loja, Ambato, Latacunga, Ibarra, Portoviejo, and Orellana.  

However, in Quito, the nation's capital, demonstratos caused unrest, of which included assulting media outlets such as Teleamazonas and Gamatv that were covering the march. 

Anchorwoman Diana León (@Diana_LeonRe) uploaded a photo to her Twitter account depicting the aggression. 

In this march, Andre Aguirre (@AndreRakoon) expresses her euphoria. 

Psychologist Lilith לילית (@LilithdBeauvoir) tweeted the following: 

Eerie Similarities Between Germanwings Tragedy and Argentinian-Spanish Film ‘Wild Tales’

More than once, screenwriters have found inspiration in reality for their fiction. This time, it seems reality was inspired by fiction. The news that the co-pilot of German airline Germanwings‘ Flight 9525 is suspected of intentionally crashing the plane, taking the lives of 149 people with him, seems to be one of these cases.

The tragedy shares some similarities with Argentinean-Spanish film “Wild Tales“, directed by Damián Szifrón. The movie compiles six episodes connected by the topic of the relief of anger and the violence contained by different characters. The first of these stories is about a mentally disturbed pilot named Pasternak, who decides to commit suicide by crashing an airplane — which is filled with everyone who has harmed him since childhood — into his parents’ home:

On Twitter, several users from different countries could not help but notice the similarities between the air disaster and the movie:

For those who have watched the movie @rsalvajes_ok it is inevitable that they remember the first scene. Reality always exceeds fiction

The tragedy is more and more reminiscent one of the episodes in the movie Wild Tales #unconceivable #Germanwings

Film Documents Alleged Human Rights Crimes by Peru's Military in the 80s

Recovering Latin American historical memory and raising awareness of the atrocities committed in the past are crucial steps to take in order to ensure they are never repeated and that, instead, we continue to work towards strengthening our democracies. To that end, film can play a crucial role in compiling testimonies that constitute our collective memory, in this case the history of Peru.

Spanish filmmaker Luis Cintora unveiled his new documentary at the Latin American Film Festival and the Melbourne International Film Festival. It recounts the alleged crimes committed by the Peruvian army in their fight against the militant group Shining Path from 1983-84 in the Ayacucho region. The documentary “Wecome to Los Cabitos” features testimony from survivors, relatives of missing persons, academics and soldiers, who provide moving testimony about the alleged crimes against humanity perpetrated on the former military base.

Documentary filmmaker reveals that young people in #Ayacucho are unaware of the era of terror.

It is not the first time that the Spanish filmmaker has focused on this dark period in Peru's history. In 2012 he made “The footprints of the Shining Path“, which explores the shadow cast by this violent organization on the country's collective memory, one which not surprisingly elicits conflicting emotions.

Filomena Sanchez disappeared in Huanta in 1988; they found her body among the cadavers uncovered in the Los Cabitos barracks.

One more from the PROTERRORISTS, based on the CVR [Truth and Reconciliation Commission] report.

Firing of Mexican Journalist Carmen Aristegui Unleashes Heated Comments on Twitter

At the launching of MéxicoLeaks, a platform that collects leaked information about possible corruption, journalist Carmen Aristegui and her research team declared that they would back the project. This lead MVS Radio, their employer, to fire Aristegui's collaborators, Daniel Lizarraga and Iriving Huerta, for supposedly compromising the company name. In response, Aristegui demanded that the radio station rehire Lizarraga and Huerta, after which the company let her go as well.

This led to an outcry of support from followers on Twitter, who openly displayed their indignation for MVS News with the hashtags #EnDefensaDeAristegui (Defending Aristegui), #EnDefenesaDeAristegui2, and #AristeguiSeQueda (Aristegui stays). Users also discussed the state of freedom of expression in Mexico.  

MVS is accused of being linked to the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (Institutional Revolutionary Party, PRI in Spanish).

On the flip side, the hashtag #LárgateAristegui (Get out Aristegui) spewed criticism and verbal attacks at the Mexican journalist: 

The governing party, PRI, is accused of creating this hashtag: 

Peñabots are presumed to be fake accounts set up by President Peña Nieto's administration in order to counteract any opposition towards the government.

Spain and Latin America Celebrate Open Data Day

One again, bloggers, hackers, designers, experts, as well as citizens interested in open data and transparency will meet to celebrate International Open Data Day 2015 all over the world to promote the opening of government data. The event is expected to have online meetings but also in-person activities all over the globe, requiring exceptional coordination and organization. 

Open Data Day 2015, imagen extraída de la página Escuela de Datos, utilizada con autorización

Open Data Day 2015, image from Escuela de Datos. Used by permission

Faeriedevilish, blogging for School of Data, informs us on the Open Data Day festivities to take place on Saturday, February 21st in Spain and various cities in Latin America. Here you'll find information about the organization and event coordination in Buenos Aires, Lima, Medellín, Madrid, Mexico City, Xalapa, Monterrey, San Salvador, Panama City, etc., where many different activities will be held:

Alerta – Nos unimos a Abierto al Público: queremos que #datosabiertos se vuelva trending topic mundial en Twitter el 21 de febrero. Para lograrlo, las organizaciones participantes tuitearemos con este hashtag (y pediremos a lxs participantes que también lo hagan) el sábado 21 a partir de las 10:00 hora México, 11:00 hora Lima, 13:00 hora Buenos Aires, 17:00 hora Madrid. Importante: no usar el hashtag antes de esta hora.

Alert – We're meeting at Abierto al Público: we want #datosabiertos (#opendata) to trend on Twitter on February 21st. To do so, we'll be tweeting participating organizations with this hashtag (and we ask participants to do the same) on Saturday, February 21st starting at 10:00 in Mexico City, 11:00 in Buenos Aires, 17:00 in Madrid. Important: do not use the hashtag before this time. 

Click here for more information on the International Open Data Day festivities. 

You can follow @faeriedevilish and Escuela de Datos on Twitter.

This selected article participated in the 43rd edition of #LunesdeBlogsGV on February 16, 2015. 

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