Stories from Quick Reads and Venezuela
The #SmartCityHack event was simultaneously organized in 27 cities by Global Datafest.
— Carolina (@cmr0311) April 9, 2015
5 histories from behind #SmartCityHack Caracas showing that where there is a will, there is a way
The Venezuelan edition, organized by SDI Innovation and Wayra accelerator, yielded positive results, serving as inspiration for innovative projects aiming to improve citizens’ quality of life. Estefanía Salazar, a Global Voices contributor, wrote a review of the event for the Spanish-language website Komunumo, highlighting some of these projects:
- CCSMoveOn: es un “Waze” del transporte público. Permite al usuario generar rutas con su teléfono inteligente, con la posibilidad de enviar alertas por SMS sobre posibles eventualidades.
- Compártelo: es un sistema de referencias para Pequeñas y Medianas Empresas basadas en recomendaciones cara a cara.
- Caracas CityCare: Conecta problemas urbanos con propuestas de solución en una misma interfaz.
- Favor x Favor: sistema para favorecer el intercambio gratuito de servicios y bienes entre vecinos de una comunidad.
- Identidad en Línea: sistema de nube para facilitar la difusión encriptada de información y procesamiento de documentación de usuarios de servicios públicos o privados.
- Iniciativa Yokoima: comunidad de intercambio de información y servicios interesados en la recuperación del río Yokoima en la ciudad de Upata (estado Bolívar) […]
- CCSMoveOn: “Waze” for public transport, allowing the user to generate routes using a smartphone, with the ability to send SMS alerts about possible eventualities.
- Share it: a reference system for small and medium-size businesses based on face-to-face recommendations.
- Caracas CityCare: Connects urban issues with proposed solutions in a single interface.
- Favor x Favor: a system that encourages free exchange of goods and services between community members.
- Online Identity: a cloud system to facilitate the spread of encrypted information and process public or private user’s documentation.
- Yokoima Initiative: an information and service exchange community aiming to recover the Yokoima River in the city of Upata (Bolivar state) […]
Global Datafest is organizing the Smart Cities Hackathon, held simultaneously in 27 different cities around the world. The Venezuelan edition of the Smart Cities Hackathon calls on programmers, big data experts, urbanists, public officers and communications specialists who have an interest in developing technological solutions for issues related with the security, mobility, services, e-government, environment and sustainability of Venezuelan cities.
— Carmen Riera (@carmenchu33) marzo 1, 2015
We are a week away of meeting us at the Smart Cities Hackathon!
How can you participate?
Puedes participar de dos maneras:
1. VOTA POR UN RETO
El Instituto Metropolitano de Urbanismo Taller Caracas, el Instituto de Estudios Urbanos de la USB y la Facultad de Urbanismo de la UCV propusieron los desafíos en los que se debería trabajar.
Estamos consultando a los ciudadanos para que voten por alguno de estos retos y así validen los que consideran necesarios. Entra ya a El Nacional y su programa Caracas, Cómo Vamos Y participa en la encuesta!
2. VEN A TRABAJAR EN UN PROYECTO
Durante una intensa jornada, únete a urbanistas, programadores, expertos en data, coach de emprendimiento, periodistas y diseñadores, para crear una solución digital.
There are two ways to participate:
1. VOTE FOR A CHALLENGE
El Metropolitan Urbanism Institute Taller Caracas, the USB Urban Studies Institute and the UCV Urban Planing School proposed the challenges we should be working on.
We are surveying citizens to vote for any of these challenges to figure out which ones they consider necessary. Go visit El Nacional y su programa Caracas, Cómo Vamos and take the survey!
2. COME WORK ON A PROJECT
During an intense work day, join urban planners, programmers, data, experts, entrepreneur coaches, journalists and designers to create a digital solution.
From 5:00 pm, March 6, 2015
To 7:00 pm, March 8, 2015
Academia Wayra, Torre Xerox, Av Ávila with Av Libertador, Caracas.
The Smart Cities Hackaton organization is sponsored by developers community 4Geeks and the firms Vikua Grupo Intech and EstoEs.co. Besides that, it was supported by Caracas en un Click, Regional and Urban Studies Institute (Simón Bolivar University), El Nacional, RunRunes, Center of Studies for Bicycle Mobility (CEMBI) and Forum Media.
Under the hashtag #SmartCityHack, you can find out everything about the Smart Cities Hackathon on Twitter.
Marita Seara, who blogs for Voces Visibles (Visibles voices), invites us to reflect on the discrimination that affects girls and teenagers — access to education — and the need of educating our girls today so they can be the empowered women of the future.
According to data backed up by Amenisty International, 41 million girls can't even access elementary education. Illiteracy, child marriage, teen pregnancy are part of a vicious cycle that especially affects our girls. Thus, Latina America isn't exempted from this global issue, mainly about teen pregnancy:
Venezuela ostenta el primer lugar en Suramérica y el tercer lugar en América Latina al ser el país con mayor cantidad de embarazos precoces. De cada 100 mujeres venezolanas que quedan embarazadas anualmente, 25 son adolescentes, de acuerdo al programa de Telemedicina de la Universidad Central de Venezuela.
Venezuela is top of the list in South America and third place in Latin America with the highest rate of early pregnancy. Out of 100 Venezuelan women that get pregnant each year, 25 are teenagers, according to Telemedicine program at the Central University of Venezuela.
Among the causes of teen pregnancy, it's worth mentioning that one-third of unwanted pregnancies are a result of not using protection, and half of the girls affected didn't receive proper sexual and reproductive education before getting pregnant.
So, education is the only way. By educating our girls today, we are empowering women of tomorrow, and therefore, their families and communities.
You can follow Marita Seara on Twitter.
The Venezuelan government has finished evacuating thousands of squatters from the Tower of David, which overlooks Caracas’ slums, and is the tallest and most distinct building in the capital city's skyline.
The one-time office tower is a symbol of how prosperous Venezuela once was and its current dilapidated state reflects growing inflation and poverty problems in the country. Some of the squatters were people seeking refuge from growing daily violence in the sprawling city.
“This is not an eviction, this is a coordinate operation, harmoniously carried out with the community of the Confinanzas towers, that implies moving from here to units in Misión Vivienda”, stated Ernesto Villegas, minister for the Transformation of Gran Caracas, to a local TV station. Those units are located in Valles del Tuy.
On Twitter, users are posting some images from the so called skyscraper-favela of Caracas:
— SuNoticiero (@SuNoticiero) julio 22, 2014
Know why the famous Tower of David is being evicted (PHOTOS).
— Reportero24 (@Reportero24) julio 22, 2014
CARACAS: Since last night, the “Tower of David” is being evicted. Since 2007 the building was invaded by squatters.
Una de las temporadas de la serie tv Homeland fue ambientada en Torre de David. En este reportaje se observa> https://t.co/bLbye6WSgF
— Beatriz Adrián (@Beadrian) julio 22, 2014
One of the seasons of TV show Homeland was set in the Tower of David. On this report, we watch.
From Venezuela, Marita Seara Fernández, a member of the collective Mujeres Construyendo [es] (Women Building), an online community that aims to end the digital gap among women, took part in the “First International Women Bloggers Conference” [es] in Mexico on October 2013. She notes that women barely represent 25 percent of the Spanish-speaking blogsophere and that this kind of event are still “uncommon” among them, as they need to express freely and uncensored and without limits.
Fernández writes [es]:
Hay muchísimas voces femeninas en el mundo, sobre todo en países donde la represión, discriminación y desigualdad es parte de su día a día. ¿Pero qué hay de blogs escritos por mujeres latinoamericanas?, ¿de voces que presenten una realidad en sus comunidades o reflejen el empoderamiento y el liderazgo que muchas representan?. Hay pocas.
Si comenzamos con que el acceso igualitario a internet es un derecho, para disminuir esta brecha es esencial el cambio o implantación de nuevas políticas públicas que van desde la alfabetización y la educación desde edades tempranas hasta la ayuda en el manejo y redistribución del tiempo de las mujeres, de manera así que puedan acceder al aprendizaje de estos recursos.
There are many female voices in the world, mostly in countries where repression, discrimination and inequality are part of their daily lives. But what about blogs written by Latin American women? Voices that present a reality for their communities or reflect the empowerment and leadership that many of them represent? There are few of them.
If we start by saying that equal access to Internet is a right, to shorten this gap what is fundamental is change or new public policies from literacy and education from very young ages to helping with the management and redistribution of women's time, so they can have access to learning about those resources.
Among other things, she notes that “women work 2 to 3 hours more than men, “that's why they don't have the necessary time to learn how to use digital resorces“. You can read more on her post [es].
The first international conference on community radio and free software will be held in Cochabama, Bolivia from June 11-13, 2015. So far, the community radio stations from Spanish-speaking countries that have confirmed their assistance are: Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Uruguay, Venezuela, and of course, the host, Bolivia.
The preliminary agenda includes a forum discussing the advances taking place in Latin America regarding free software, telecommunication legislation, and a migration plan. There will also be workshops and simultaneous talks on free software tools such as Shamatari, Ardour, Audacity, and Creative Commons, amongst others.
Several websites, such as Radios Libres (Free Radio Stations) and Corresponsales del Pueblo (The People's Correspondents), have helped to spread the information found on the official site, liberaturadio.org, while others have stepped up to the task of getting communities to attend the event, such as the Comisión Nacional de Telecomunicaciones de Venezuela, Conatel (National Commission of Telecommunications of Venezuela), which in addition underlines its support for these initiatives:
En Venezuela las emisoras de radio comunitarias también cuentan con apoyo para su independencia. En enero de 2015 fue lanzada otra aplicación libre ideal para medios comunitarios: Shatamari 15.01., que tiene 260 aplicaciones preinstaladas y configuradas para trabajar en medios digitales, audiovisuales, automatización de emisoras radiales y medios impresos.
Community radio station independence also receives support in Venezuela. Shatamari 15.01, another free application ideal for community media, was launched in January 2015, of which contains 260 configured, pre-installed applications made to work with digital, audiovisual, and print media along with the automatization of radio stations.
Twitter users also began to spread the word of the event to others as well as to motivate internet users and community radio stations to meet up at the conference.
We'll be at the 1st International Community Radio and Free Software Conference. Will you join up with us?
#Bolivia's 1st International Community Radio and Free Software Conference.
1st International Community Radio and Free Software Conference in #Cochabamba, Bolivia, June 11-13, 2015.
Sign up starts on April 1; for more information, visit the event's official page at liberaturadio.org.
Desireé Lozano, a blogger for the Spanish-language website Voces Visibles (Visible Voices), reflects on the existing limitations on women’s political participation in Venezuela. According to the sociologist Evangelina García Prince, a kind of political apartheid that excludes women from decision-making reigns in the Venezuelan parties:
En los partidos venezolanos, el discurso oficial no incluye una perspectiva de género ni una propuesta de las mujeres sobre las mujeres o de la organización sobre sus frentes internos o externos. Estos esconden la exclusión efectiva de la consideración del tema de la igualdad y la atención a las diferencias de género
In the Venezuelan parties, the official discourse does not include a gender perspective or any proposal from women about women, or a perspective on the organization of their internal and external fronts. These hide the effective exclusion from considering the issue of equality and focus on gender differences.
On the other hand, Sonia Sgambatti, a lawyer and professor at the Central University of Venezuela, explains that there is still a long way to go in this matter. For example, the Chamber of Deputies of the National Assembly of Venezuela consists of 167 deputies, out of which only 31 are women, representing 18.6% of the total:
Con la mirada en el futuro, Sgambatti indica que las mujeres venezolanas deben, con valentía y tenacidad, participar activamente de la vida política y social del país. “Por la tanto debemos exigir a la Asamblea Nacional reformar la Ley Orgánica de Procesos Electorales para incorporar la cuota electoral femenina o promulgar una Ley Orgánica de Cuotas Electorales Femeninas, con el objetivo de lograr la igualdad de género en esta materia”.
Looking ahead, Sgambatti indicates that Venezuelan women must, with courage and tenacity, actively participate in the political and social life of the country. “Therefore, we must demand the National Assembly to reform the Organic Law on Electoral Processes to incorporate a female electoral quota or to enact an Organic Law of Women's Electoral Quotas, with the goal of achieving gender equality in this matter.”
On Friday June 25, 2015, Venezuela government announced the suspension of all flights between Venezuela and the Netherlands Antilles (Aruba, Curazao, Bonaire, Saint Marteen and other islands).
According to Venezuelan newspaper El Universal, the action would be a consequence of the detention of Venezuelan Army general Hugo Carvajal –former director of intelligence between 2004 and 2009– by request of the American government, due to Carvajal's alleged ties with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (known as FARC) and with drug trafficking. Carvajal was appointed as consul in Aruba, but he didn't have the blessing of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, that is in charge of Aruba's foreign affairs.
Note: later, the decision was revoked, and flights between the two countries were resumed.
Félix Moronta Barrios is a Venezuelan biologist who spreads scientific culture among Spanih speaking community. He recently explained the researches and biotechnologic findongs about transgenic bananas in Uganda and the United States.
The banane cultivated in Uganda has no A vitamin. That's why its modification is necessary. Moronta Barrios warns the skeptical:
Antes de que piensen cosas como “natural es mejor”, “otra vez los científicos jugando a ser dios”, “lo modificado genéticamente es malo malísimo”, etc, etc, etc. sepan que la transgénesis también ocurre naturalmente, como expliqué aquí. Que el plátano, banana o cambur que consumimos hoy en día es un invento humano, tal como explica Ciencia de Sofá en “El oscuro pasado de los plátanos“. Y para que no termine ahí la sorpresa, les cuento que es un alimento radiactivo por su alto contenido en potasio; tanto, que camiones cargados de plátanos hacen saltar las alarmas en algunas aduanas. Incluso hay una unidad de medida al respecto, la dosis equivalente a un plátano.
Before you think of things such as “natural is best”, “again scientists playing God”, “genetically modified is not good”, etc, you better know that transgenesis goes on naturally, as explained here. The bananas we eat are human creation, as stated by Ciencia de Sofá on “The dark past of bananas“. And for more surprises, let me tell you this is a radiactive fruit, due to its high content of potasium. So much that banana trucks start the alarms in some customs control. There even is a measuring unit about that, the dose equivalent to a banana.
After reading an interview [es] on Spiegel Online to German sociologist Heinz Dieterich, who purposts “Socialism of the 21st Century“, Adriana Vigilanza commented [es] on the blog Apertura Venezuela what Dieterich said. Below, a couple of them. Adriana's comments are italicized:
S O: What has happened that people are ready to risk their lives in the srweets?
Dieterich: There is a combination of factors: first, infinite death rhetoric by president Nicolas Maduro, that divides Venezuelans in “fascists” and “loyals.” To add on this, we have the prison of oppostion leader Leopoldo López and the serious problems that country is having, which allowed radical sectors to movilized frustrated people.
Dieterich has the wrong information about Venezuela. “The infinite death rhetoric”, that exists without a doubt, was created by [late president Hugo] Chávez, who even invented the slogan “Socialist nation or death”. Nicolas Maduro only continues what the other one started, adviced Dieterich.
S O: Is it likely for the president to be toppled?
Dieterich: On the guidelines of Chavismo, the discussion will go on about an effective way out to the crisis without considering this as a toppling. Meanwhile, it's clear to everybody that Maduro has no concept nor tools for modernizing the country. He used to think and thinks that it's enough to emulate his predecessor Hugo Chávez on the rhetoric and choreography and to keep the economic model.
Better said than that, impossible. The “Socialism of the 21st Century” he invented and that Chávez implemented, was (and still) pure “rethoric and choreography.”