Archive for south america

Crossing the Darién Gap (2013)


Darien Gap

From YouTube

Darién Gap is one of the most difficult areas on earth to travel and it is considered to be extremely dangerous. This documentary film tells about crossing of the Darién Gap. It includes footage from the speedboat ride from Turbo to Capurganá, border towns, and the jungle on the both sides of the Panama-Colombia border. There are interviews of two travellers, one from Switzerland and another from Peru.


Dep't. of Our Bad! 11-year-old detainee is U.S. citizen



our bad, embarrassed, detainee story

So didja hear the one about the 11-year-old boy who spent more than a month at a New Mexico detention? Turns out he was a U.S. citizen! What a knee-slapper, amIright ladies and germs?

Via the Los Angeles Times:

An 11-year-old boy — one of hundreds who have been shuttled to an immigration detention facility in the middle of the New Mexican desert — was released this week after it was discovered that he is a U.S. citizen, according to the child's attorney. [...]

There have also been reports of abuses and inadequate access to attorneys, healthcare and food at new detention facilities, specifically in Artesia.

oops sorry

This child was held prisoner for more than a month. More than a month.

Laura Lichter, an immigration attorney and former president of American Immigration Lawyers Assn. who provides free legal counsel to detainees, said this:

"I think the fact that a U.S. citizen was detained and for this long before anyone actually realized that there was even the possibility that they had detained a U.S. citizen shows you just how little respect and attention is being given to people's cases... What this shows you is that there really is no due process here and that the system is only working in a way to deport people from the country. It is not working to protect people's claims."

Human rights, schuman schmights. Justice, schmustice. All that counts is rounding up as many of them "illegals" as possible who have that weird, non-white skin color. Throw 'em all in the hoosegow, pack 'em into a bus, and boot 'em out of our monochromatic Amurika. Who cares if they're citizens? They look different!

What's that? We've never been a monochromatic nation?

oopsie cat

Family values, my ass.

Freedom, my ass.

Exceptional, my ass.


Venezuela: The Tower of David: Highest Vertical Squat in the World


I first read about the Tower of David in the New Yorker magazine last year, in these stories:


Slumlord and its successor piece The Real “Tower of David”, both written by Jon Lee Anderson.

The Guardian has also written about The Tower of David here

Here's a BBC video about it.

From YouTube

n Venezuela, Hugo Chavez has been dead for a year. Since then the country has been engulfed by runaway inflation, rampant crime, food and housing shortages. The crisis is clearest in one building in downtown Caracas. It's called the Tower of David - an unfinished skyscraper planned as a glittering monument to capitalism, It's now home to thousands of squatters. They police it, renovate its rooms, and plumb it into the city's electricity and water, and all for peppercorn rent. Olly Lambert has been to the Tower. He met three of its residents: Elvys Merclan, elected president of the tower cooperative, Miriam Figueroa - a shop keeper on the 22nd floor, and Yecenia Polanco, a young mum with 5 children.


"It's Arm the Rebels o'clock. Do you know where your Senator John McCain is?"


john mccain arm rebels

How many times have we been subjected to John McCain's myopic rants about arming the rebels in any given civil war or in any given area of conflict?

Rachel Maddow:

It's Arm the Rebels o'clock. Do you know where your Senator John McCain is?

Per McCain, it really doesn't matter much where or who they are, if they're rebels, just arm them. Especially if President Obama is taking a more measured approach. Grampy McDrumbeat is just itching to hand over lethal weapons of war to someone, anyone, because if fits into his whole Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Bomb [insert country here] mentality: the more explosions the better. Especially if we aid and abet some of them. Blow 'em up! Kill [insert bad guys' name here]! What a blast! (Pun intended.)

weeee smaller

There's just one problem with that mania, Senator McDrumbeat. It can backfire.

Take Guatemala, for example. Via the Los Angeles Times:

Perez Molina said the violence and crime in Guatemala were a byproduct of the Cold War when the U.S. and the Soviet Union were funding opposite sides of civil wars in Central America to gain influence.

Perez Molina was a top intelligence officer in the Guatemalan military in the 1980s and ’90s.

Moral of the story: Don't listen to John McCain.

Real moral of the story: A more rational, measured approach is most often very wise and can save lives.

Other moral of the story: The road to more violence and crime is paved with shortsighted intentions.

Immoral of the story: Stop treating horribly abused child refugees like criminals.

In related news, there was an L.A. Times letter to the editor that is worth a share. I'd link to it, but I can't find it on the Times site, so I'm transcribing it verbatim:

Re: "Texas to send Guard troops to border," July 22

I hear echoes of Kent State University. What are the National Guard troops to do to these migrant children in Texas: shoot them?

Pat Mauer, Pasadena

What is it with Republican presidential hopefuls and violent troubleshooting? (Pun intended.)