I've always been a fan of etymologies. I believe that they give a greater insight into a word's meaning. The title of this post means to be inclined to fight, but comes from the name Bellona, the Roman Goddess of War.
All this is to lead up to Hugo Chavez's recent bellicosity towards Colombia. Boz has been doing yeoman work covering this story in the last week. You can read his accounts in chronological order here, here, here, here and here.
As Boz notes in his most recent post, most Venezuelans are not happy about this. Indeed, one would imagine that they would prefer consistent power and water than a war.
If this reminds me of anything, it reminds me of the Argentine Junta's decision to invade the Falklands (no, I'm not saying Chavez is like Galtieri and Videla); an attempt at using a war to rally the nation against domestic problems.
I meant to link to this editorial in Friday's New York Times regarding a possible third term for President Uribe of Colombia, but Greg Weeks beat me to it. So, with imitation being the most sincere form of flattery, Ill quote the relevant paragraph that Greg quoted:
The region needs democracy, underpinned by strong institutions. It does not need more strongmen — however popular they may be or indispensable they may consider themselves. Mr. Uribe should make clear — now — that this will be his last term.
The cult of personality may be one of Latin America's biggest banes. It's long past time to put it in its grave.
While Colombia and Ecuador came to the edge of war, my neighborhood, filled with Colombianos and Ecuatorianos, remained peaceful.
Did Diego Maradona, promise help for someone imprisoned in Cuba, through his contacts with Fidel Castro, accept $50,000 for it and do nothing.
Right now it's little more than he said, he said, but I wouldn't put it past him. Nothing Maradona does or is accused of doing would surprise me. Nothing.
I'm not entirely certain what to make of this, but I do find it interesting:
Cuba is deporting reputed drug kingpin Luis Hernando Gomez Bustamante to Colombia, which plans to extradite him to the United States, a government official told The Associated Press.
The Colombian official said Gomez was expected to arrive in Bogota on Thursday and would be held at its heavily fortified chief prosecutor's office compound before being extradited to the United States.
I know that in unofficial talks the US and Cuban governments have met to discuss issues of common concern such as drug trafficking and immigration, however, this seems different.
Bustamante had been in Cuba since 2004. Fidel Castro has handed power over to Raúl Castro. Now Bustamante is facing extradition and will likely face trial in the US. It seems hard to believe that this is coincidence.
Colombia is holding its presidential election today and all indications are that President Uribe will be reëlected. I'm certainly not enthusiastic about this. I think that Uribe, while having accomplished some good, is also deeply enamored of a policy that will give great ebenfits to the leaders of the AUC, who I believe should fac the consequences of their vicious crimes and should be forced to give up the rewards of their criminal activity. I also happen to think that this criticism is apt:
But as Mr. Uribe prepares for what will most likely be another four-year term, political analysts, opposition politicians and human rights groups have raised concern about the concentrated power he will amass and his often heavy-handed style of governing.
Sixty-one percent of Congress is allied with the president. Another four years will most likely put government allies on the Constitutional Court and in the comptroller's office, both now independent institutions prone to oppose Mr. Uribe.
"The Uribe supporters would say this is the price of victory," wrote María Jimena Duzán, a columnist in El Tiempo and critic of Mr. Uribe's policies. "If Uribe is re-elected, he will have omnipotent power without precedent in our history."
as is this one:
Experts say he is vulnerable to charges that he has been overly generous in disarmament negotiations with right-wing paramilitary groups, helping them morph into secretive drug-trafficking groups.
The government was also wounded by news reports that the intelligence service collaborated with paramilitaries to assassinate leftist union activists and provided secret information to drug traffickers. Mr. Uribe has angrily denied the allegations.
One of Colombia's incisive analysts, Antonio Caballero, said Mr. Uribe avoided the scandals by separating himself from ministers or generals who blundered. "His role is not to take responsibility in the acts of his government," Mr. Caballero wrote in the newsweekly Semana.
Mr. Uribe often gives little thought to the potential consequences of his statements:
Critics often come under withering attack from Mr. Uribe, be they former allies, like Senator Rafael Pardo, or rights groups. He has even accused opponents of ties to Marxist guerrillas, a dangerous charge where death squads frequently go after allies of the FARC rebels.
More on that here. This, of course is an issue for Colombians to decide. But it is also an issue for the US to consider as per the amount of aid it gives to Colombia. If the Uribe administration refuses to abide by the Constitutional Court's recent decision regarding
impunity amnesty for the drug warlords of the AUC, then the Bush administration will have to acknowledge that there are two authoritarian governments in South America: one in Colombia and one in Venezuela.
Please read this great post by Adam Isacson as to who really benefots from the drug trade here and in Colombia.
Today my neighborhood is festooned in these colors:
This is the Colombian flag, and although the official Independence Day is July 20, today at nearby Flushing Meadows Corona Park the Colombian community, a significant part of the ethnic makeup of Queens, has been celebrating Colombia's Independence today.
With all the troubles the country has it is easy to forget that Colombia is a land with a lot to offer. There are more species of birds found in Colombia than anywhere in the world. Colombian Spanish is arguably the most musical and pleasing to the ear in all of Latin America. It is the only country in South America with a Pacific and Atlantic coast and it's territory encompasses, the Andes, the Caribbean, and the Amazon basin.
Colombia also is the home of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, possibly Latin America's greatest writer.
There is so much more to this country than drugs and violence. So for the people of Colombia proud of their country and yearning for peace, let me say this:
Deseo para la justicia, la paz y la prosperidad muy pronto para toda la Colombia.