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Bolivia’s Morales Moves To Deport Anti-Castro Cuban Dissident

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On Tuesday morning, after two days of silence, the Bolivian Interior Ministry announced the arrest and imminent extradition to Cuba of Cuban dissident Dr. Amauri Sanmartino Flores at his home in Santa Cruz, according to The Miami Herald.

A refugee in Bolivia for the past six years, Sanmartino, who is a medical doctor, was arrested on Saturday by armed men in plain clothes, according to eyewitnesses. He was then transported to the Bolivian capital of La Paz to await extradition.

Sanmartino was originally granted refugee status in Bolivia after having defected from Cuba by swimming to Guantanamo Bay. Under the controversial “wet foot/dry foot” policy of the US Immigration Service, Cubans are granted asylum in the US only if they actually land on American soil (“dry foot”). Because Guantanamo Bay is not US territory (it is leased from the Cuban Government), Sanmartino could not be granted residence in the US, and American authorities arranged asylum for him in Bolivia.

A prominent member of the Cuban dissident colony in Bolivia, Sanmartino has increasingly become an embarrassment to the government of President Evo Morales, a close ally of Fidel Castro. In recent years, he has arranged for and encouraged the defection of more than 100 Cuban doctors from the ranks of the more than 2,000 Cuban medical personnel currently in Bolivia on loan from the Castro government.

Santa Cruz, where Dr. Sanmartino resides, is known as a center of opposition activity against the Morales regime.

Spokesmen for the Cuban dissident community in Bolivia say Sanmartino is “A victim of the long arm of the (Castro) dictatorship,” and the Morales government is complicit in delivering a Cuban citizen to “The gloomy machinery of the Castro gulag for the simple act of having expressed opinions in opposition to the system of disinformation, manipulation and indoctrination of that regime,” according to the Spanish political blog, HispaLibertas (translated from Spanish by this author).

Osvaldo Peredo, spokesman for Morales’ political party, Movement Toward Socialism ( Movimiento Al Socialismo, MAS) declared, “Mr. Sanmartino has violated his refugee status through his political activities and repeated attacks against the government.”

The United States embassy in La Paz issued the following statement on Tuesday:

“We are aware of Mr. Sanmartino’s case and we are in contact with the Bolivian government about it,” the embassy said. “In addition to local law, we believe that this case involves international conventions and agreements to which Bolivia is a signatory.”

Oscar Urenda, a spokesman of the opposition party, Podemos, has called for habeas corpus in an effort to free Sanmartino.

Podemos has also been in the forefront of opposition to the burgeoning alliance between Morales and Hugo Chávez, the socialist president of Venezuela. The party has demanded that Venezuelan ambassador Julio Montes be declared Persona Non Grata for “interfering in Bolivia’s internal affairs,” by remarking recently that “If for some reason this pretty Bolivian revolution were threatened, and they asked us for our blood and our lives, we would be here.”

According to World Peace Herald, members of Podemos insist that Sanmartino’s criticism and activities are directed mainly at the Castro regime and that he has a right to speak his mind. “This violates international agreements for the protection of refugees. It’s the worst thing that has happened under the Morales regime, which is trying to emulate the Castro regime,” asserted Walter Arrazola, a Santa Cruz deputy of the Podemos party.

Sanmartino is married to a Bolivian, Normina Chávez. She told reporters yesterday that she was able to speak with her husband by telephone, and that he had told her he was driven to a series of safe houses before being flown to La Paz to begin deportation proceedings.

Meanwhile, Sanmartino is reported to be suffering from heart problems and has been admitted to a police clinic for “observation.”

Incidents like the Sanmartino arrest point to the accelerating spread of the totalitarianism practiced by left wing socialists in Latin America. Suppression of opposition voices is one of the first measures taken by dictators bent on consolidating their strength, and the Morales government’s actions are in that classic mold.

Egged on by Venezuela’s Chávez, Morales may have moved too far with the arrest of Sanmartino. Human rights organizations worldwide and Cuban exile groups in Miami and Spain are rallying to defend the detained Cuban doctor, as world opinion turns against the Morales government’s latest faux pas and his approval rating in the polls at home slips.

Unlike Chávez, however, Morales is not rich. Though Bolivia sits on the second-largest natural gas deposits in South America (after Venezuela’s), and though the country also has substantial oil reserves, they have not been exploited to the degree that Venezuela has exploited its oil. Thus, though Morales did seize ownership of the gas fields last May, he needs the former owners, foreign companies including Brasil’s Petrobras and Spain’s Repsol YPF, to operate them for him. Production is still limited, providing Morales far less revenue to finance his agenda than Chávez controls.

Ever since the National Revolution in 1952, the indigenous population of Bolivia has steadily gained influence and power in Bolivian politics, culminating in the election of one of their own, Evo Morales, who is an Aymara, to the presidency in December, 2005. Morales parlayed his leadership of the cocaleros (coca leaf farmers) to a 54% majority in the December election, taking office as the country’s first indigenous president in January, 2006.

Though he has made much-publicized visits to both Cuba and Venezuela in which he pledged “solidarity” with Castro and Chávez, Morales has also met with the US ambassador and termed his meetings “cordial.” Washington, however, has adopted a “wait and see” attitude.

The Sanmartino arrest may change that.

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About Clavos

Raised in Mexico by American parents, Clavos is proudly bi-cultural, and considers both Spanish and English as his native languages. A lifelong boating enthusiast, Clavos lives aboard his ancient trawler, Second Act, in Coconut Grove, Florida and enjoys cruising the Bahamas and Florida Keys from that base. When not dealing with the never-ending maintenance issues inherent in ancient trawlers, Clavos sells yachts to finance his boat habit, but his real love (after boating, of course) is writing and editing; a craft he has practiced at Blogcritics since 2006.
  • troll

    well presented opinion piece once again Clavos – it is sure to generate a lively discussion…I’ll have to troll around developing some (academic) knowledge about Bolivia in order to participate

    for now: Cuba’s medical foreign aid sure is impressive isn’t it – ?

  • Clavos

    Thanks, troll. If moonraven gets involved, you might want to actually hop a plane down to La Paz to do your research, otherwise you’ll have no cred with her. :>)

    While doing my own research I came across an interesting tidbit about Bolivia, which wasn’t germane to my central point, so I didn’t include it in the article:

    Bolivia has a thriving business in slavery; or as it’s called officially: “trafficking in persons.”

    It’s a source and serves as a distribution center for both labor and sexual slaves. Its primary markets in that heinous activity are Spain, Argentina, Chile, and Brasil.

    I’m working on an article on that.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Good lord, they aren’t selling slaves to the Saudis? I’m surprised – everyone else is.

    Dave

  • Franco

    Good work Clavos,

    When were talking about Dr. Amauri Sanmartino Flores we are talking about a new Bolivian Government Gestapo of silencing freedom of speech and that includes individuals as well as public media.

    We do not have to wonder if it is happening. It is happening and this is only the start. Here are updates, which includes Venezuela, as they and Bolivia are two peas in the same pod. Ecuador will be next on suppression of these freedoms and will be worth watching. Cuba is getting huge and doing so very quickly.

    Dec 21, 2006
    CARACAS, Venezuela (AP — Venezuela’s information minister accused the international press freedom group Reporters Without Borders on Thursday of lying about government plans to call a referendum on the future of an opposition-aligned TV station.

    Willian Lara said the Paris-based watchdog tried to “mislead public opinion” and falsely create the impression that private broadcaster Radio Caracas Television, or RCTV, was being targeted by the government.

    Paris-based Reporters Without Borders said in a statement that if the Venezuelan government is threatening to take action against private broadcaster Radio Caracas Television, or RCTV, “because it is an opposition network, then it is clearly a violation of editorial diversity.”

    Concessions held by some privately owned TV networks expire early next year, and Chavez during his recent campaign for re-election backed holding a national referendum on whether they should be renewed.

    Dec 28, 2006
    Today, Radio Caracas Television became the first victim, when Chávez announced that he will not renew its license in March of next year. “Start shutting down the equipment,” Chávez said in a speech at Fuerte Tiuna, Caracas military headquarters. He told Marcel Granier, the owner of Radio Caracas Television, to “pack your bags and turn off the lights.”

    Chavez also said he will seek to change the name of the country’s military to the Bolivarian Armed Forces of Venezuela, adding the name of 19th century South American liberator Simon Bolivar.

    The name change would be part of an overhaul of the constitution next year, Chavez said. The president this month said he will seek to change the constitution to end term limits on presidential re-election.

    In other news on freedom of the press for Bolivia and Venezuela

    Bolivia – 13 DÉC. 2006
    Santa Cruz TV station target of arson attack, threats

    Bolivia – 15 DÉC. 2006
    Radio Erbol director assaulted, threatened; journalists in Santa Cruz, Beni, Pando and Tarija departments in danger, says RSF

    Bolivia – 18 DÉC. 2006
    Assaults on journalists critical of Santa Cruz department’s secessionist movement continue

    Bolivia – 20 DÉC. 2006
    Nine journalists assaulted in San Julián during confrontations over Santa Cruz secession proposal; two “La Razón” reporters beaten in Cochabamba

    Bolivia News

    Venezuela – 08 DEC 2006
    Telemundo television network prevented from broadcasting on elections

    Venezuela – 18 DEC 2006
    Government supporters assault Globovision television station journalists

    Venezuela – 21 DEC 2006
    Future of private television network may be subject to referendum and its broadcast frequency offered to cooperatives

    Venexuela News

  • http://traveldangers.blogspot.com Howard Dratch

    Excellent reportage, Clavos. I think it is time to drop the terms “left” and “right” for all these countries and movements.

    I also thought I was “left” and here Chavez makes it seem terrible. I never considered Fidel Castro “left” since he is such a dictator and used to want to vaporize me in Tampa when I was a boy. Now Evo Morales, who I thought would be a fair, ex-farmer bringing justice to Bolivia begins to ape Chavez.

    Allende was “left” and trying hard, Pinochet was said to be “right” and was filled with torture and murder.

    Perhaps it is time to speak about the “good guys” and the “bad guys”. Sanmartino sounds like one of the good guys. Up with freedom! Support the good guys!

  • Clavos

    Thanks, Howard.

    Excellent point about the “left/right” labels, especially in Latin America. I’m keeping it in mind for my next article.

    I just re-read this one to see if I’d used the terms. I did, once, and redundantly at that:

    Incidents like the Sanmartino arrest point to the accelerating spread of the totalitarianism practiced by left wing socialists in Latin America.

  • STM

    Perhaps the US Government should offer him asylum.

    That would seem the right thing to do in the circumstances, as he undoubtedly faces jail or ostacism at the very least should he return to Cuba. The high profile of this probably means he won’t just disappear, but he will face retribution.

    Which now makes him a genuine refugee.

  • Clavos

    Couldn’t agree with you more, Mate. Here’s an ideal opportunity for the US to really put its principles to good use.

    We should also can that stupid wet foot/dry foot policy.

    I’ve actually seen film footage on the evening news where a hapless group of refugees actually makes it to water shallow enough off Miami Beach that they can stand, and the Border Patrol and local cops herd them back to deeper water, where the Coast Guard takes them aboard and takes them back to Cuba!

    And you can well imagine the treatment they receive when they get back there, after having tried to escape.

    The policy also infuriates the Haitians, who by and large are coming here for the same reasons as the Cubans, but who have no such “free pass.”

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Today, Radio Caracas Television became the first victim, when Chávez announced that he will not renew its license in March of next year…. The president this month said he will seek to change the constitution to end term limits on presidential re-election.

    How deeply embedded are the heads of people like Moonraven that they can continue to babble nonsensically about Chavez not becoming a dictator?

    Dave

  • STM

    “We should also can that stupid wet foot/dry foot policy.

    I’ve actually seen film footage on the evening news where a hapless group of refugees actually makes it to water shallow enough off Miami Beach that they can stand, and the Border Patrol and local cops herd them back to deeper water, where the Coast Guard takes them aboard and takes them back to Cuba!”

    Mate, we put all our refugees/asylum seekers in special detention centres (children, too) while their cases are being reviewed, or are going through the courts. They are very well cared for, and have many of the comforts of home (more, I guess for some of them) but it’s a process that can take some years.

    Others arriving by boat (very common, with many flying or sailing to Indo and then boarding rickety boats for the last leg of the trip to Oz) have been held in camps offshore, in places like Christmas Island and Nauru. Often, they are intercepted by the Royal Australian Navy before they touch our soil and are found to be victims of people-smuggling operations. Many have forked out their life savings believing the process to be above board.

    My view is, allow people to be held in the community rather the camps (unless they are shown to be would-be illegal migrants coming here for purely economic or more nefarious reasons), but still investigate each case.

    While some are certainly queue jumpers, including those who overstay their visas, for many there is actually no queue in the countries they come from.

  • Donnie Marler

    Excellent piece, Clavos! Informative and interesting reporting.
    I hope the doctor’s case is resolved before he’s deported back to Cuba. Evidentally, Mr. Morales is attempting to emulate his pal, Mr. Chavez, and to impress Castro, who, since he’s busy dying, probably doesn’t give a damn.
    I’d offer him asylum in the U.S. if it were in my power to do so. He’s a brave man.

  • http://www.paris.fr Joe

    Hi Clavos!

    Excellent article however I must admit that coming back from business trip that included Bolivia just yesterday, my feelings are a bit mixed about Dr. Sanmartino’s case.

    Bolivian television showed several times Dr. Sanmartino calling for the secession of Santa Cruz region and being part of violent riots that RSF has reported about.

    Doing that kind of action in the US would have cost the same to Dr. Sanmartino IMHO.

    I believe we have to worry about any attack to our democratic values but in this case I would take the case with a bit of caution.

    Greetings from Paris!

    Joe

  • Clavos

    Hi joe,

    Thanks for the compliment!

    I think that if Dr. Sanmartino lived here in Miami and called for the secession of South Florida, it would merely be regarded as him exercising his right to free speech.

    Participating in riots IS frowned upon here, but, based on the outcomes of other violent protests in this country in recent years, that probably would only earn him a few relatively minor charges such as unlawful assembly and disturbing the peace, and they would probably be dropped before he went to trial.

    What Morales is trying to do to him is far more severe, and if he’s sent back to Cuba, is almost certain to result in his imprisonment and mistreatment at the hands of Castro’s secret police.

    Bon soir, M’sieu.

  • Clavos

    Donnie, thank you.

    I’d offer him asylum in the U.S. if it were in my power to do so. He’s a brave man.

    Another reader suggested the same. I agree with you both; the US should resolve the conflict by doing so.

  • moonraven

    As usual, clavos gives us a completely bogus piece, indicating that the government of Bolivia is being “totalitarian” by ending the political asylum of an anti-castrista.

    It is normally a condition of political asylum that the person refrain from political activity in the host country. That includes political activity directed at his/her home country as well as interference in host country matters.

    This is not the first refugee that shot his mouth off and had his aslyum ended. Carlos Ortega, 2002 coup leader and lockout promoter in Venezuela was given the boot from Costa Rica for violating the terms of asylum. He returned to Venezuela, was arrested, convicted and escaped from prison last August. He is currently on the lam–some say still in Venezuela, others claim he is in Miami–where another convicted Venezuelan, ex-president Carlos Andres Perez regularly hangs out when not in his official asylum country, the Dominican Republic.

    Clavos turns violation of laws in Bolivia into a violation of the human rights of the violator.

    Nice work, if you can get uninformed folks who are too lazy to check it out for themselves to believe you. This site is, as usual, chock-ablock with those folks.

  • Clavos

    martita,

    See #13.

  • moonraven

    Wrong again, nails.

    Your number 13 does NOT address the issue of his violating the conditions of aslyum.

    Nice try, but no cigar–cubano or otherwise.

  • moonraven

    Bolivia has asked the US to take the guy, as Cuba doesn’t want him:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061228/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/bolivia_cuban_dissident_1

    According to this story–but US press always suspect–he was not a refugee but an immigrant.

    In either event, the ball is back in the Bush Gang’s court.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Hard to believe Cuba would reject him – I’d think they would have a nice damp cell reserved for him. Shows what the pressure of public opinion can do even to the most unrepentant tyrants.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    It is normally a condition of political asylum that the person refrain from political activity in the host country. That includes political activity directed at his/her home country as well as interference in host country matters.

    Funny, but here in the US, Cuban and other exiles are permitted complete freedom to speak out against their home country’s policies. Cubans (and others) are also allowed to speak out against the Castro government in other countries, such as Spain and the UK, to name just two.

  • moonraven

    Sorry, nails, you are trying to pull another fast one.

    Cuban exiles in the US are able to call for the assassination of Castro every 30 seconds because the US actively forments that behavior–that’s why since the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966 Cubans who make it to the US automatically qualify as political refugees when their toes touch US soil and do not have to go through the application process that folks from other nationalities do.

    If they were calling for the assassination of George W. Bush every 30 seconds it would be a whole other story–and they would be booted out on their collective ass immediately.

    No matter how you throw up that horseshit, the fact remains that your hero in Bolivia was calling for the fall of the Bolivian government as well as for succession of eastern Bolivia.

    Imagine him in the US calling for the fall of the Bush Gang and the succession of Florida, Alabama and Mississippi–especially in a public march against said Gang–er, government. He’d be back twinkling his toes on Guantanamo.

    Stop making up stories and go back to selling boats.

  • Clavos

    Thanks for the update, Martita. Good to hear Sanmartino won’t be facing return to Cuba.

    Here’s a quote from an article in the International Herald Tribune, Americas edition:

    “We’ve spoken with Cuba and Cuba doesn’t want him,” Interior Vice Minister Ruben Gamarra said Thursday, apparently putting to rest Sanmartino’s stated fears that he would be killed upon returning home.

    Dr. Sanmartino must be quite relieved.

  • moonraven

    He’s not smart enough to feel relieved. Anyone who has acted out and jeopardized his future the way he has in Bolivia has a brain the size of a gnat’s.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Why is it no surprise that Marthe is defending this extradition?

    I understand why the Morales government is doing it. Something similar happened in America when it pressured the USSR to release a fellow named Solzhenitsyn. They did. He was everybody’s favorite refugee until he went to Harvard and told off the elites in America and let them know what the thought of them. Then he was a non-person. If the elite establishment in the States would have felt comfortable sending Solzhenitsyn back to the USSR, they would have in the twinkling of an eye. Instead, he is (or was?) a non-person living in anonymity in the good old USA.

  • Clavos

    Anyone who has acted out and jeopardized his future the way he has in Bolivia has a brain the size of a gnat’s.

    So, you endorse suppression of freedom of speech?

  • moonraven

    Ruvvy,

    You are out of your element here.

    First, extradition is not involved. Extradition is when a country in which someone committed a crime asks another country to send that person to the country where the crime was committed or where the person was being tried for a crime in the event that he/she fled the country (Posadas is a case in point). That has nothing to do with this situation. Nobosy is asking for him. Nobody wants him.

    Nor does the case you mentioned of Solzhenitsyn. What he did or did not do at a private US university regarding his opinion of Harvard faculty is not at all comparable to this cubano numbskull’s calling for the fall of the Bolivian government and the secession of part of its territory.

    Pears don’t fall from oak trees.

  • Clavos

    If the elite establishment in the States would have felt comfortable sending Solzhenitsyn back to the USSR, they would have in the twinkling of an eye.

    But, unlike Morales, they didn’t…

  • moonraven

    Clavos, Don’t try to be a smartass. Of course I am in favor of freedom of speech–even your pathetic variety. I am simply explaining something about how political asylum works in most of the countries on the planet.

    Go ahead, call for the assassination of George W. You are not a political refugee–you are even a US citizen–from what you say. Your ass will be grass in the blink of an eyelid.

    That’s how much your freedom of speech matters in the US.

    Now, if that guy pulled the same caper here in Mexico, he would already be back in Cuba. There would have been zero discussion. Here no foreigner is permitted to “inmiscuirse” in politics. (Article 33 of the Mexican Constitution)

    Folks in precarious standing in a country who deliberately committ seditious acts are not looked upon with big smiles much of anywhere.

    Not even you, nails, are above the law.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    I hate to say this Clavos, but not many people care what happens in Bolivia. They do not care if a refugee calls for the country’s splitting apart, or whatnot. Harvard is at the center of the universe of the ruling elites of America.

    I’m sure that grounds could have been found to send Solzhenitsyn back to the USSR. But it would have embarrassed the prissy bastards at Harvard and the elites that they represent.

  • moonraven

    Clavos doesn’t care what happens in Bolvia, either. He’s never been there, knows no Bolivians and knows zip about the country.

    He is just putting on airs.

  • Clavos

    Imagine him in the US calling for the fall of the Bush Gang and the succession of Florida, Alabama and Mississippi–especially in a public march

    First of all, it’s secession, not succession. They’re entirely different.

    People call for the fall of the Bush administration and even the jailing of Bush about a million times a day in this country, including right here on this blog , with no reprisals whatever.

    People call for secession of areas and entire states in the US regularly, too. Some years back, the citizens of California’s San Fernando valley started a movement to secede from L.A. Don’t know whether they succeeded or not. Groups in Montana and Wyoming constantly call for the secession of those states. Apart from laughter, no one’s taking any action against them, either.

    You’re way off base (as usual) on this one, Martita.

  • Clavos

    Go ahead, call for the assassination of George W.

    You’re raising strawmen again, Martita.

    Sanmartino didn’t call for the assassination of anybody.

  • Clavos

    He’s never been there, knows no Bolivians

    And your proof of that would be…?

  • moonraven

    The folks you mention were not political refugees.

    Again, peras de olmos.

    See number 26 for spelling of secession.

  • moonraven

    Proof: You would not have missed a chance to tell us if you had been there or knew any Bolivians.

    Obviously, you have not–and you don’t.

    Hey, I am no expert on Bolivia, either–I only know one Bolivian: Evo Morales.

  • Clavos

    I hate to say this Clavos, but not many people care what happens in Bolivia.

    That’s obvious from the paltry number of comments on the thread, Ruvy.

    One of my reasons for writing the article was to raise awareness about what’s going on there…

    And in checking around, I’m finding that the article’s been picked up by several news feed services around the world, so maybe an increase in awareness (if not concern) will result from it.

  • moonraven

    Clavos,

    This will have to be my last comment for the day.

    You say that the guy did not call for the assassination of Morales. I am not at all sure of that. My experience of Latin America is that when someone publically calls for the fall of a country’s government, that is all too frequently what they are calling for.

    I fail to see why you have taken up this idiot’s case. Except as a pretext for blithering on blogcritics….

  • Clavos

    The folks you mention were not political refugees.

    Ah, so now you ARE in favor of freedom of speech, but not for political refugees?

    Who will you deny it to next?

  • Clavos

    “putting on airs?”

    Well, la de da, Miz Scarlett…

  • moonraven

    Sedition is not freedom of speech. In this case the guy was abusing his legal situation in Bolvia, daring the government of Morales to take action.

    They took him up on it.

    Clavos, you just do not have the level of awareness of Latin America–or apparently, even of the US–to make a credible argument. Your logic is: let him do whatever he wants since he’s in Bolivia–a country with an indigenous majority and a president with whom you do not share a political ideology.

    In the offchace that the Bush Gang won’t take the guy in (why did they not want him in the first place–and palmed him off on Bolivia–there’s more to this story), I have a suggestion: Call Evo Morales and tell him that you personally will put your hand in the fire for this pendejo, and have him shipped freight collect to your digs in South Florida.

    Keep us posted on your houseguest.

  • Clavos

    Sedition is not freedom of speech.

    The only justification you have for calling what he was doing “sedition” is allegations by the Morales government, who, of course, are trying to justify their decision to deport him.

    Your logic is: let him do whatever he wants since he’s in Bolivia

    My logic, and my point, is that Evo Morales is beginning to take on the appearance of another typical LatAm strong man, just like your hero Hugo “el payaso” Chávez and their mentor, Fidel “al paredón” Castro, and this case is excellent evidence of that.

    Morales is persecuting a man who has done nothing more than exercise his human right to express his disagreement with the Cuban government.

    He denies the other charges, regarding his opposition to Morales, and, until and unless those charges are proven in a fair trial, he’s innocent of them.

    Or maybe you don’t believe in that, either.

    You have only straw men, not an argument, Martita.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Sedition is not freedom of speech.

    It is in America, and ought to be everywhere. If we’re not free to criticize our government are we really free at all?

    Plus, criticizing the Cuban government when you’re in Bolivia isn’t sedition – unless, of course, Cuba secretly rules Bolivia. Are you privy to something we don’t know yet, Marthe?

    Dave

  • moonraven

    Dave,

    I probably should not dignify your question with a reply, but the reason the guy is up for deportation from Bolivia is for calling for the fall of ITS government–not Cuba’s–and for the secession of eastern Bolivia. That is sedition as well as interference in political affairs of the HOST country.

    Of course you know zip about Latin America, but to inform you a little: All of the countries I have spent time in here have articles in their constitutions prohibiting foreigners to interfere in the politics of the host country. Mexico has article 33, and I don’t remember the number of the article in Ecuador, but in both countries the Immigration folks are quite zealous about booting folks out for even being close to a political manifestation in the street.

    Before your dramatic firing squad finish here in Mexico (payment in advance, please) you could always try your luck at turning up at a street march in Oaxaca….

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    I probably should not dignify your question with a reply,

    Or 8 replies for that matter…

    but the reason the guy is up for deportation from Bolivia is for calling for the fall of ITS government–not Cuba’s–and for the secession of eastern Bolivia. That is sedition as well as interference in political affairs of the HOST country.

    Yep, if that’s true he should probably be deported. Not that I believe anything you post, but an emerging socialist dictatorship can’t afford critics.

    Of course you know zip about Latin America,

    True, I’m incapable of reading or learning.

    but to inform you a little: All of the countries I have spent time in here have articles in their constitutions prohibiting foreigners to interfere in the politics of the host country.

    With good reason since many of their governments were started by interfering foreigners – oops, I’m not allowed to know about that, am I.

    Mexico has article 33, and I don’t remember the number of the article in Ecuador, but in both countries the Immigration folks are quite zealous about booting folks out for even being close to a political manifestation in the street.

    Like I said before, oppressive governments can ill-afford outspoken critics.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    but to inform you a little: All of the countries I have spent time in here have articles in their constitutions prohibiting foreigners to interfere in the politics of the host country.

    Which is precisely proves the central point of my article:

    The Morales government (and, as you say, most LatAm governments, including my own) is repressive.

    Thanks for the confirmation!

  • Mohjho

    Hey moon, your wasting your facts on this crowd.

  • Clavos

    Except they’re not facts, Mohjo.

    They’re as yet unproven accusations by a repressive left-wing government.

  • moonraven

    The guy committed sedition. And if his heart condition is real, he was a damn fool to take chances with his health as well as the place he was allowed to live! He has no sympathy from me. Let him pay the price of his actions.

    When you are not a citizen of a country you are there by permission of its government. They do nothave to put you on trial for crimes you may or may not be guilty of. They just give you the boot. That’s the way the system works, whether YOU like it or not.

    And whether or not you agree with the ideological posture of a government, if you are a GUEST in the country it is incumbent upon you to respect its laws. If you don’t, expect to pay the consequences of your actions.

    As a longtime GUEST in Latin America, I am not disrespectful enough to flaunt its laws–nor that stupid.

    Apparently there are posters on this site who believe that they are above the law wherever they go.

    Those folks had better stay in their home country.

  • Clavos

    Did you even read the article, Mohjo?

  • moonraven

    Uh, Clavos:

    Just so you don’t think you’re off the hook,

    1. WHERE IS THE EVIDENCE THAT THE CURRENT GOVERNMENT OF BOLIVIA IS A REPRESSIVE ONE?
    (Leftwing does not equate with repressive in Latin America–but rightwing sure does; one of your rightwing heroes, Augusto Pinochet, just bought the farm–did you send flowers?)

    2. WHAT ARRANGEMENTS HAVE YOU MADE FOR YOUR HOUSEGUEST?

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    For what it’s worth, Reporters Without Borders gives Bolivia a pretty good rating for freedom of the press, way way higher than Venezuela which is currently tied with Cambodia and Zambia near the bottom of the list.

    Dave

  • moonraven

    Check out the funding source for Reporters Without Borders.

    1. According to wikipedia, 19% of funding comes from Western governments–including from the US NED which funded the 2002 coup attempt in Venezuela.

    2. And then we have: (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Reporters_Without_Borders)

    Funding Sources
    Robert Menard, the Secretary General of RSF, was forced to confess that RSF’s budget was primarily provided by “US organizations strictly linked with US foreign policy” (Thibodeau, La Presse).

    NED (US$39,900 paid 14 Jan 2005)
    Center for a Free Cuba (USAID and NED funded) $50,000 per year NED grant. Contract was signed by Otto Reich
    European Union (1.2m Euro) — currently contested in EU parliament
    Rights & Democracy in 2004 supported Reporters Without Borders-Canada [1]

    Principal focus of RSF activities
    Cuba
    Venezuela
    Haiti
    Otto Reich connection
    “The man who links RSF to these activities is Otto Reich, who worked on the coups first as assistant secretary of state for Latin American affairs, and, after Nov. 2002, as a special envoy to Latin America on the National Security Council. Besides being a trustee of the government-funded Center for a Free Cuba, which gives RSF $50,000 a year, Reich has worked since the early 1980’s with the IRI.’s senior vice president, Georges Fauriol, another member of the Center for a Free Cuba. But it is Reich’s experience in propaganda that is especially relevant.”

    They have about as much credibility these days as folks like you, Dave. You are so fond of the word, SHILL–these guys are shills.

  • Clavos

    1. WHERE IS THE EVIDENCE THAT THE CURRENT GOVERNMENT OF BOLIVIA IS A REPRESSIVE ONE?

    IT ACCUSES PEOPLE OF SEDITION AND WITHOUT DUE PROCESS ATTEMPTS TO DEPORT THEM BACK INTO THE HANDS OF A MURDEROUS REGIME.

    And for all your blathering about laws in Constitutions, ANY government that codifies prohibitions against criticism BY ANYBODY, “guest” or not, is ipso facto, repressive.

    And that goes for los Estados Unidos Mexicanos también (unlike you, I can legally say that).

  • moonraven

    Clavos, Man, are you full of it!

    Now you are trying to justify your blanket statements by ONE EXAMPLE that is NOT repressive in the least.

    I guess enforcing LAWS is ALWAYS repressive in your book?

    You have managed to create a new political category: RIGHT WING ANARCHIST!

    Congratulations.

    You seem so content there in South Florida not to have anything to do with Latin America–especially not to be informed about it. Guess the US is now white as the driven snow and never violates anyone’s rights?

    What about the Mexicans (your former paisanos, according to you) it hunts down, shoots and tortures and deports when all they did was cross the border?

    What about the former Cat Stevens–who was deported before he even entered and all he did was have an apparently Arabic name?

    WHEN IS YOUR SEDITIOUS HOUSEGUEST ARRIVING?

  • moonraven

    You are going to be one busy little anarchist, nails–between providing 24/7 nursing care for your seditious houseguest and running the Meals on Wheels in Prison operation for that aspirant to US citizenship, Cuban arch-terrorist Luis Posada Carriles!

    Happy 2007!

  • Esteban

    Those who think Morales is a bastion of freedom for all, need to watch what will happen in the near future, if he has his way,and changes the Consitution.

    ¡Feliz Año Nuevo para todos!

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Wow, Marthe, you really are wooden headed.

    Check out the funding source for Reporters Without Borders.

    You understand that I brought up RSF in SUPPORT of your pro Morales position, right? Well, clearly not…

    1. According to wikipedia, 19% of funding comes from Western governments–including from the US NED which funded the 2002 coup attempt in Venezuela.

    So that means that they are overwhelmingly NOT funded by western governments, in fact when taken as a proportion of GNP the underrepresentation of western backers is so pronounced as to be suspicious.

    And BTW, RSF recently downgraded the US 20 positions to a rating almost as low as Bolivia’s mediocre rating, so they’re not exactly pro-US despite your paranoid and contradictory rantings.

    Dave

  • moonraven

    Now, Dave: Just how did I rant paranoidly by quoting from two CITED sources? That’s a pretty good trick.

    You were not trying to support MY (how did Morales become MINE, Homeboy?) position at all. You were trying to smear Venezuela, as usual.

    Still too poor to visit Latin America and learn something about it? Maybe 2007 will bring you the bucks to tour the area and…be deported.

  • moonraven

    Esteban:

    Webster’s Online Dictionary has this for you:

    Main Entry: bas·tion
    Pronunciation: ‘bas-ch&n
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Middle French, from Old Italian bastione, augmentative of bastia fortress, derivative from dialect form of bastire to build, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German besten to patch
    1 : a projecting part of a fortification
    2 : a fortified area or position
    3 : STRONGHOLD 2 – bas·tioned /-ch&nd/ adjective

    It does not refer to a person.

    Make your New Year’s resolution to get a GED.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Now, Dave: Just how did I rant paranoidly by quoting from two CITED sources? That’s a pretty good trick.

    First, because you were using those sources to dispute a comment in which I agreed with you – that takes some seriously twisted mental processes.

    Second, because your interpretation of the data you presented was directly contrary to what it actually indicated – suggesting fudnamental disassociation from reality.

    Classic paranoid delusion. Everyone’s out to get you, even those who are supporting you, and everything is a sign of a conspiracy, even when it’s demonstrably not.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    What about the Mexicans (your former paisanos, according to you) it hunts down, shoots and tortures and deports when all they did was cross the border?

    Your wheels have finally come off totally, Martita.

    Nobody in the US is shooting OR torturing paisanos who have simply crossed the border illegally, and damned few of them even get deported.

    In fact, the REAL right wingers in the US and here on BC are up in arms because they think that nobody is doing anything to stop them, while both Dave and I have been vilified for saying that they are beneficial to the US and that a good guest worker program should be put in place so that the chaos can be eliminated, while still offering them the opportunity to work here legally.

  • Clavos

    Guess the US is now white as the driven snow and never violates anyone’s rights?

    So, if the US is violating people’s rights, I can’t say anything about Evo Morales?

    Do you have ANY sense of logic, Martita?

  • Clavos

    I guess enforcing LAWS is ALWAYS repressive in your book?

    Most definitely, when the laws themselves are repressive.

    What about the former Cat Stevens–who was deported before he even entered and all he did was have an apparently Arabic name?

    You’re losing it, Marthe.

    Cat Stevens was NOT “deported,” he was denied entry into the US, and he’s not a US citizen; he’s a Brit. There’s no parallel there.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    cember 31, 2006 @ 18:15PM — Clavos

    Guess the US is now white as the driven snow and never violates anyone’s rights?

    So, if the US is violating people’s rights, I can’t say anything about Evo Morales?

    That’s an example of my favorite form of bad argument – it’s related to ‘guild by association’ arguments, but it’s subtly different, combining elements of the ad hominem fallacy as well. It’s extraordinarily popular with the left.

    It really needs its own unique name. It’s basically argument by fallaciously disqualifying a participant because of his own perceived shortcomings when they aren’t relevant to the issue being discussed.

    A very poor form of argument given how popular it is.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    Dave,

    That’s an example of my favorite form of bad argument

    I believe it’s called “Tuquoque”

    Here’s a website that has a definition and an excellent list of fallacies.

  • moonraven

    Wow, what a meltdown.

    For sheer idiocy, Clavois takes the cake with his statement that “Nobody in the US is shooting OR torturing paisanos who have simply crossed the border illegally, and damned few of them even get deported.”

    And you say you are from Mexico?!?! Do you ever read a newspaper, or even watch t.v.? Start following the events in the State of Arizona regarding hunting and killing of undocumented Mexicans. The term is “cazamigrantes”.

    Come to Mexico, bigshot, and say anywhere what you wrote in the quote above. See what the reaction is.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    For sheer idiocy, Clavois takes the cake with his statement that “Nobody in the US is shooting OR torturing paisanos who have simply crossed the border illegally, and damned few of them even get deported.”

    I hate to support Marthe again, but living here in Texas I raised an eyebrow at that comment too. Ranchers on the border down here and in Arizona and New Mexico as well have been shooting ‘rabbits’ for years and just leaving the bodies where they lie or burying them in shallow graves. I’m not sure how much they do it these days with the heightened scrutiny on the border, but it was certainly commonplace up until the last decade or so.

    Dave

  • moonraven

    In Arizona those racists who hunt down, torture and muurder undocumented folks from south of the border call themselves the “Minuteman Project”.

    Google their asses.

  • Clavos

    From an editorial, “Vocal Cuban Doctor At Risk In Bolivia,” in The Miami Herald: (Free registration required)

    “U.S. authorities, who helped to settle him in Bolivia six years ago, should offer Dr. Samartino a humanitarian parole to the United States. Laws here would protect his right to free speech and his beliefs”…

    “A presidential spokesman said that Dr. Samartino was in the country ‘illegally, appearing on the communications media on various occasions to denigrate President Fidel Castro’ (emphasis mine)

    Dr. Samartino’s real offense was to publicly criticize Havana’s regime, particularly for its interference with the Morales government. He also has admitted to helping several of the Cuban doctors sent to work in Bolivia to defect.

    ‘The only thing I have done here is to talk about Cuba’s reality,’ he told El Nuevo Herald reporter Wilfedo Cancio”…

    …Some see Cuba’s hand in the Bolivian action against Dr. Samartino. Even Bolivia’s human-rights monitor, Public Defender Walter Albarracín, strongly recommended against deporting Dr. Samartino.”

    Apparently even Morales’ own government officials disagree with him.

    That seems to correlate with his recent drop in the polls mentioned in the article.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Again, moonraven can’t tell fantasy from reality. The Minutemen have behaved extremely well. One or two isolated incidents are insignificant considering what they are trying to do and the conditions they are doing it under. They may be racist and nuts, but they are trying to play by the rules. If you’re concerned about dead undocumented immigrants they aren’t the ones to point the finger at.

    Dave

  • moonraven

    Dave,

    They are just ONE group of cazamigrantes.

    The fact that they are racist and nuts DOES bother me. As it should any sane person.

    Trying to play by the rules, indeed.

  • moonraven

    Geez, Now clavos quotes an EDITORIAL from anti-Castro rag, The Miami Herald, and calls that DOCUMENTATION? Next he will be citing his own OPINION piece and calling it documentation.

    No way, Jose. Opinions are neither facts nor information. They are ALWAYS propaganda.

    I am surprised that you aren’t ranting and raving at YOUR rights being violated because of TODAY’s new from Bolivia: That US citizens now will have to go to the Bolivian consulate and apply for visas in order to enter the country.

    On the other hand, since you don’t keep up with current events, maybe I should NOT be surprised….

  • Clavos

    “A presidential spokesman said that Dr. Samartino was in the country ‘illegally, appearing on the communications media on various occasions to denigrate President Fidel Castro'”

    What part of direct quote don’t you understand?

  • moonraven

    Lack of understanding both the English and Spanish languages is YOUR problem, clavos.

    That and lying, of course.

  • Clavos

    Heh.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Moonraven, there’s something inherently flawed in a world view which in which being anti-castro is anything but the proper norm for the editorial perspective of ANY paper in the free world.

    Dave

  • moonraven

    I see, Homeboy: Being a member of the Cuban Mafia is just fine because its premise is anti-Castro.

    And the Cosa Nostra?

    There is something inherently flawed in a worldview that only promotes fascism. That got the planet into a lot of trouble a few years back….

    But then I guess you are in mourning because one of your heroes, Pinochet, died.

    I should be more sympathetic.

    But I am not inclined to sympathize with fascists. No matter how many of their heroes kick the bucket.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    But I am not inclined to sympathize with fascists.

    No, you’re inclined to sympathize with communist dictators. I’m just siding with those who’d like to see the people of Cuba free. You operate under the delusion that their current status as slaves of a totalitarian state is a good thing.

    Dave

  • moonraven

    As usual, you didn’t answer my question, Homeboy:

    And the Cosa Nostra?

    I am on the side of those who would like to see the people of the US free, Homeboy, but with folks like you making up a big chunk of the population, I am not going to hold my breath….

    The people of Cuba, so far as I know, have not ordained you to speak in their behalf.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    The people of Cuba get thrown in jail if they speak on their own behalf, so those of us who live in freedom have to speak for them. I know you’d prefer the silencing of all dissent, but thankfully you haven’t got the power to force that on anyone.

    As for the Cosa Nosta, wtf are you jabbering about?

    Dave

  • moonraven

    Mafias, Homebody.

    You’re all for the Miami Cuban Mafia–but what about the Cosa Nostra?

    Homeboy, luckily, you speak for only the Mobutos of the US. Speaking for Cubans, indeed–you have some nerve, especially since you don’t even speak their language!

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Ah, the same old argument again- you can’t support people being free unless you speak their language. What an arrogant and ridiculous position to take.

    As for the Cuban mafia, I haven’t said one word about them. I support the rights of all people to be free. That has nothing to do with any crime organizations.

    Dave

  • moonraven

    Not one word, huh? Well, when you stroked old clavos for quoting an opinion piece from The Miami Herald, you were sure as hell mentioning the Miami Cuban Mafia.

    You cannot interpret the wishes of people when you cannot speak their language. Stop poking your snout in other folks’ countries and cultures that you don’t understand.

    You have more than your hands full trying tounderstand your own.

  • Clavos

    Oye, martita,

    As you well know, the “Miami Cuban Mafia” is an artificial construct from Fidel’s twisted, fevered, fanatical brain, and has no relationship whatever with organized crime.

    The phrase refers to the Cuban exile community in Miami generally, and specifically to its leaders, such as Jorge Mas Canosa (now deceased), José Basulto, and Ramón Saul Sanchez and their organizations, CANF (Cuban American National Foundation), Brothers to the Rescue, and the Democracy Movement.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Not one word, huh? Well, when you stroked old clavos for quoting an opinion piece from The Miami Herald, you were sure as hell mentioning the Miami Cuban Mafia.

    Odd, I thought I was mentioning a newspaper.

    Miami Herald Executives:

    Steve Landsberg, Publisher (Jewish?)
    Tom Fiedler, Executive Editor (Jewish?)
    Susan Rosenthal, CFO (Jewish)
    Craig Woishwill, VP Operations (Jewish)

    So what you’re saying is that a bunch of Jews are the Cuban Mafia, right?

    BTW, they do have cubans on their staff. Their web page is run by Raul Lopez.

    You cannot interpret the wishes of people when you cannot speak their language.

    What if they speak my language? What if some trustworthy fellow like Clavos translates for me?
    Or howabout if I just assume that all people want to be free?

    Dave

  • STM

    Dave asked: “What if they speak my language?”

    Why bother going to America in the first place if you don’t??

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Lots of people go places where they don’t speak the local language, STM. But I’m sure that Marthe thinks that tourism is a form of capitalist exploitation.

    Dave

  • STM

    I’m talking about mass immigration, though, Dave. Surely one needs to need to learn the lingo first. If I was moving to the US, I’d learn American first as I’ve always had a great deal of trouble making myself understood over there, especially after 10 beers.

    Marthe also thinks Chavez is the most influential man in the hemisphere, possibly even the world. Hemisphere-wise, my money’s on Graham Henry, the New Zealand rugby coach, as he has a much wider TV audience, sells a far more interesting product – and doesn’t have a head like a smashed crab.

  • troll

    on the other hand…tourism/voyeurism is disrespectful

    I live in in the Southwest US and wouldn’t consider going on Pueblo land except on the invitation of a family – why treat any culture/country differently – ?

    if your just going to ‘learn’ and gawk then don’t bother I guess

    (though my observation is that plenty of the gawkees don’t mind if the tourista drops some loot on them)

  • Clavos

    He’s probably smarter too, STM.

    And as a coach, I’ll bet he’s a waaay better motivator than our friend Hugo.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Idi Amid coached basketball and oppressed Uganda for decades. The two jobs – coach and dictator – may be compatible.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    My wife worked for one of the best motivators I ever met in my life.

    He had been a football coach at a high school in a small, rural southern town when his mother died without life insurance.

    By the time he hired my wife as his Director of Customer Service, he had built a business of selling term life insurance into the largest such firm in the world, with 90,000 (no typo) salespeople worldwide, and was well on the way to his first billion.

    I used to go to his sales meetings to watch him work; the man was amazing. He once told me that all he was doing was using the same techniques that he had used with his football players.

    The guy could have motivated cadavers to sell insurance for him.

    And he wasn’t a dictator; in fact, he was a very charming and likeable guy.

  • STM

    Dave said: “Idi Amin coached basketball and oppressed Uganda for decades. The two jobs – coach and dictator – may be compatible.”

    I’ll call Mr Henry and let him know there’s a country available on the north-eastern coast of South America. I’ll even show him where it is on the map.

    He’s probably not that interested though: coaching the All Blacks is considered a far more important and financially rewarding job in New Zealand than being the Prime Minister. Until they lose, of course, which doesn’t happen often but is likely to happen at the World Cup, where they have habit of choking against teams like Australia and France.

    Well, that’s what I’M hoping, anyhow.

    Now, back to Chavez: he could be a chance to make an appearance in an All Black guernsey, having as he does a head like a badly smashed crab.

  • STM

    PS, I notice Moonraven’s been let out of her box again. Her job must be to search the internet looking for posts on that well-known rugby player, “Dirty” Chavez.

  • moonraven

    Moonraven doesn’t have to have a job.

    The first law of money: Money comes to you when you do the right thing.

  • STM

    “The first law of money: Money comes to you when you do the right thing.”

    You must be struggling then, dear … as we’d expect of you, of course.

    The socialist manifesto encourages constant struggle, particularly against the bourgeoisie.

  • moonraven

    There is no such thing as a socialist manifesto.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Well then, get to work writing one, Moon.

    Dave

  • STM

    “There is no such thing as a socialist manifesto.”

    Que? What rock have you been hiding under. There are many, although one could lump them all together generically if one wanted to, particularly for the purposes of a gee-up of someone who seems to lack even a smidgeon of genuine humour.

  • moonraven

    STM–I suggest you lump them all together then. I could not possibly be less interested in ideological promotion of that sort.