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Venezuela Suspends -and Brings Back- Flights to Netherlands Antilles

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Note: later, the decision was revoked, and flights between the two countries were resumed.

Biofortified Bananas for Beta Carotene Deficiency

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.

For updates about biology and biotechnology by an expert written in Spanish with a simple language, visit the blog by Felix Moronta or follow his tweets on morontafelix.

This post was part of the eleventh #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on July 14, 2014.

Venezuela: Answering Dieterich

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.”

The post reviewd here was part of the fourth #LunesDeBlogsGV [Monday of blogs on GV] on May 26, 2014.

Venezuela: Pro-government Website Goes Briefly Offline

After website Aporrea [es] went briefly offline on May 10, 2014, a number of comments appeared on Twitter. Apparently the portal domain was withdrawn for a while, thus revealing that the page is hosted somewhere in the United States. To many people, that the most important portal for Venezuelan pro-government opinions depends on services based in the US opens up criticism and discussion about the problem foreign currency blockade and its inevitable consequences.

This is the evidence. RT @victoramaya: dollar shortage finally affected Aporrea… their domain expired and they haven't paid for it.

Anthonny Arias outilnes the irony in the situation:

Really, I've been laughing as Aporrea doesn't have the big bucks to pay for the domain. LOL!

Lastly, Publio Escipión expresses doubts from the critical texts published on the portal in the last months:

Aporrea got pounded. The domain expired yesterday. There are no dollars or they were closed due to the criticism?

Protesting in Venezuela Will Require Authorization

(All links are in Spanish otherwise noted as [en] for English)

As the protests [en] in Venezuela draw upon 100 continuous days of demonstrations, the Venezuelan Supreme Tribunal of Justice's recent verdict rules that the right to protest “is not an absolute right.” In order to carry out any type of demonstration, one needs to have an express permit from the corresponding mayor's office. 

Humberto Decarli writes on the blog, El Libertario [The Libertarian], about a punitive focus of the constitution's consecrated right. 

During one of his interminable speeches, the late president asserted that authorization is not needed in order to protest or express opinions in public spaces. Nevertheless, a Copernican twist happens in the “revolution's” military political committee, this being understood that a right as important as this requires a non-existent blessing. 

Reactions on Twitter show equal rejection. 

Enough said!!!!!

When the scroungers ask for permission to KILL, we'll ask for permission to PROTEST.

There are also those who agree with the regulation, even though they have to use false information.

Hey Ciberguarimberos [cyber guarimberos], stateless ones, before criticizing our TSJ [Supreme Tribunal of Justice], check out how protests are in your beloved U.S.A. 

Why don't guarimbas exist in the United States? Sanctions: 30 years jail for attacking security agents or civilians with dangerous weapons. 10 years jail for calling to pressure the government from a public setting. Up to 35 years jail time for causing harm to security agents. 25 years imprisonment for destruction or harm to facilities or vehicles. 10 years jail for supporting or financing an unauthorized demonstration. 6 months detention for foreigners that participate in a protest.

It is worth clarifying that the term “guarimberos” is used for the people that carry out barricades and street blockades as a means of protesting.  

Twitter user @ProtestaCivil posts an article of the constitution affected by the tribunal's decision. 

Article 350 and 68 for those that don't know and so that it's clear for the Sapos.

Article 68: Citizens have the right to protest, peacefully and without weapons, without any other requirements that the law establishes. The use of firearms and toxic substances is prohibited during peaceful demonstrations. The law will regulate police action and the security in control of public order.

Venezuela Clears the Tower of David, the “World's Tallest Slum,” of Squatters

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:

Know why the famous Tower of David is being evicted (PHOTOS).

CARACAS: Since last night, the “Tower of David” is being evicted. Since 2007 the building was invaded by squatters.

One of the seasons of TV show Homeland was set in the Tower of David. On this report, we watch.

‘Women Work 2 to 3 Hours More Than Men’

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].

This post was part of the fifth #LunesDeBlogsGV [Mopnday of blogs] on June 2, 2014.

Atletico Madrid Football Club Campaign

Américo Alvarado wrote on Barataria about the campaign by Atletico Madrid Football Club:

Sometimes, we witness real life stories, worthy of the seventh art. And right now we are witnessing one of those stories, somehow we are living it in the thrilling world of football. Heroic and inspiring are just a couple of adjectives that come to my mind to, somehow, classify the season Atletico Madrid Football Club is going through, with “Cholo” Simeone. A team that, against all odds, is two matches away from becoming monarch of the so called Star League and, besides all that, the team has seeped, after forty years, in the final match of the tournament of the most important clubs in the world: the UEFA Champions League.

The post reviewed here was part of the second #LunesDeBlogsGV [Monday of blogs on GV] on May 12, 2014, submitted by @rennygranda.

Venezuela: Confusion and Attacks Discussed on Twitter

Using the hashsags #UcabCaracas and #SOSColectivosDelTerrorAtacanUCAB [SOS terror groups attack UCAB], comments and images of assaults on students on protests that apparently happened at Andrés Bello Catholic University [es] in Caracas have been widely shared. Among those tweeting inside the university campus, that has suspended it academic activities, we find the group UCAB student movement [es] sharing information and posting images of injured students .

5:24PM Tense situation goes on in UCAB CARACAS. Patrols keep coming and going to the university main entrance.

With the same hashtags, a series of tweets by supportes of chavismo try to deny the information, or criticize students protests. Also, with #SocialismoProductivo [productive socialism] this group aims to highlight what they consider unjustified protests and condemn violent acts.

These are gullible kids who beleive that the point is encouraging violence withour being aware of the consequences of their acts.

There are reports of protests in other universities in provinces and those that have decided not to join the protests are harshly criticized. All this reflects the informative confusion and the different visions, the main topics of the conflict in Venezuela.

Venezuela: Conclusions on the Dialogue

"El mapa que no queremos ver". Imagen del usuario Juan Carlos Aristimuño en Flickr. Usada bajo licencia  Atribución-SinDerivadas 2.0 Genérica (CC BY-ND 2.0).

“The map we don't want to see.” Image by Juan Carlos Aristimuño on Flickr. Used under the license  Atribución-SinDerivadas 2.0 Genérica (CC BY-ND 2.0).

(Links in Spanish are signaled as [es])

Daniel Lara Farías, @DLaraF [es], writes [es] on Infociudadanos about the dialogue [es] between the government and the opposition. He launches criticism against the president of the National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello (links added). 

Due to Diosdado's lack of credibility within the fraction of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela itself, parliament is unable to parley. Therefore, a dialogue must be set up in Miraflores Palace with international and ecclesiastical guarantors. This is because thanks to Diosdado's ways and means, nobody believes the conversations with a regime that in full debate, calls a female representative opponent a prostitute, splits the head open of a Democratic Action representative, and prohibits the rest from speaking. In other words, Diosdado prohibited the parley in parliament.

But he also criticizes opponent, Henrique Capriles:

But if Capriles is right when he says that the political crisis begun in April 2013 when he was robbed of the election, there is nothing left to do but to also make him responsible for it. He spent a year driving upwards in idle, without pressing the accelerator! A year later, violence is ignited by the citizen's frustration knowing that problems mount up and the government doesn't resolve them. We can't vote out the government because the elections are fixed. Who are the responsible ones? The ones on the street, risking the threat of jail, death, and persecution? Or the ones that robbed the election and the idiots that allow themselves to be robbed?

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