Double Standards and Human Rights

On the second week of September, a picture taken by Kerstin Langenberger went viral as it showed a really skinny polar bear. This is the picture everybody was talking about:

skinnypolarbear

Sad looking image, and as it has been said by scientists and the international community, global warming is a real threat, regardless of the sceptics who keep on cherry picking information to justify the argument that this isn’t more than a conspiracy theory.

Global Warming 2

“I felt total pity. What a horrible sight! “We all love the bears, I don’t think there’s anyone who does not feel sympathy for them. Seeing a bear on the brink of death is a horrible sight, no question about it.” said Kerstin to Daily Starfish

Friends of mine posted this picture on their social networks, with quotes like: “This really makes me sick” or “This is so sad, and this happens very often and most of us are just indifferent to this outrage”. Must be said that the social media activists reacted immediately to the picture, with anger, sadness, broken hearts, disappointed on humankind.

Anyway, so that was that, and this is this: On Wednesday dozen of pictures of dead Syrian refugees started to be shared by the international media. These refugees drowned close to the coasts of Europe, where their bodies were found on the shores of Turkey, in front of the resort Bodrum.

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According to The Guardian they were part of a group of at least 12 Syrians that were trying to get to the Greek island of Kos. They were running away from the military conflict held in the Syrian town of Kobani, where ISIS and the Kurdish forces struggle in a fierce battle.

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As said by The Guardian: “The UNHCR calculates that some 205,000 Europe-bound refugees have entered Greece, mostly via its outlying Aegean isles, this year alone. The vast majority (69%) are Syrians, Afghans (18 %), Iraqis and Somalis fleeing conflict in their countries.”

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The Greek government states that this is the biggest migration crisis in living memory. So, there you go, 200,000+ have fled these middle eastern and northern African States, willing to risks their lives to find a better place, or at least, one less worse. But social media, and Western Society aren’t willing to share their thoughts on this, nor to express their concern towards other human beings. We rather “feel sick” and say “shame on you, humankind” because of a starving polar bear, than to love and care for our neighbours.

How are we going to “save the planet” if we aren’t capable of helping our own kind?

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Due to Trump’s Recent Remarks…

Due to the recent derogatory statements made by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, specifically Mexicans; Tacos and Politics’ staff (myself and my mate who proofreads the posts before I publish them), its board members and collaborators (still my mate and I), is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump.

We are addressing either him or his hair...

We are addressing either him or his hair…

We deeply regret these racist and inappropriate remarks, which not only offend the Mexican community in Mexico, but those who have crossed the border pursuing the American Dream (which nowadays is known as the Canadian Dream, but hey, still neighbours, right?).

Pretty much the routes Mexicans take to get into the US

Pretty much the routes Mexicans take to get into the US

Even though we are a tier 3 online media outlet, not at all relevant to the American public, nor capable of reverting the effects of Global Warming, Tacos and Politics has decided to halt any current or future endeavors with Mr Trump (Take that, Trump!)

Or his hair...

Or his hair…

We deeply condemn those who applaud and agree with Donald’s expressions full of hatred. You are supporting a hateful and narcissistic individual without any kind of values, both personal and business wise. As well, by supporting Trump’s presidential aspirations you are also supporting a growing trend of bigotry and division in the US and A.

Love

T&P Staff

Ps. If you haven’t watched or heard what he recently said, please feel free click on the following youtube clip:

Ps2. Here, have a Trump Piñata, which are becoming very popular on this side of the border.

You know you want one...

You know you want one…

McCartney, Kanye and #JeSuisCharlie (not really)

Let´s start with something sort of funny stuff in order to soften it down for the second topic of this post.

So, shocking news, apparently one of the last two members of the most popular band in music history, The Beatles, Paul McCartney, is going to partner with Kanye West, and will be releasing some new material. That´s sort of great news, right?  I´ve heard a cover of the first song, “Only One” and is extremely sweet and Beatle-ish, cute lyrics, charming and catchy.

This partnership represents the return of McCartney to the music industry targeting younger audiences, gosh, we really needed this comeback, there isn´t much going on in music at the moment. Oh, where´s the “shocking” part of this announcement? Well, the fact that many of Kayne´s fans didn´t know who Sir Paul McCartney is.

AFP ENTERTAINMENT-US-MUSIC-JACKSON I PEO FRA PA

What do you mean that´s not Kanye?

 True story.

Tweets like these were all over the social network:

  • “Kanye has a great ear for talent. This Paul McCartney guy gonna be huge.”
  • “I usually don’t pay much attention to Kanye West, but it’s cool he’s launched this ‘Paul McCartney’ dude’s career”
  • “Who is Paul McCartney? Some are wondering who this “upcoming” artist singing w/Kanye West is”

As one tweet said “people on Twitter are asking who Paul McCartney is and now I understand domestic terrorism”, this historic reference missed by the new generations came as a surprise for everybody.

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Charlie Hebdo

We all learnt about the tragic events that happened in Paris, France, at the Charlie Hebdo´s offices last week. 12 people were murdered as part of a terrorist attack performed by religious fundamentalists upset by the satirical cartoons published by this weekly journal.

That´s right... tolerance at its finest

That´s right… tolerance at its finest

The humour used by the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo to make fun of hardcore Islamists was also used against Hollande´s administration, and pretty much to criticize everyone else.

"If Mahoma comes back"

“If Mahoma comes back”

The French society is confused and hurt, and still hasn´t fully digested what happened. The suspects have been hunted down by the authorities, and millions in France and around Europe have shown their support for stability and peace under the claim #JeSuisCharlie (I am Charlie). Abroad, the free press and the international community have shown its indignation and have condemned the attacks. 000_ARP40679741

Now that I think about it, this will mean the resurge of Marine Le Pen as a strong political player in the French arena, and will be pushing for stronger laws for immigrants and religious tolerance in France. Seriously, as one colleague said to me this morning, it isn´t about the number of deaths, but traditionally, Europe sees immigrants from Middle East and Africa as a threat to their societies.

‘Not in my name’ by Helen Davidson

‘Not in my name’ by Helen Davidson

We should condemn this act of terrorism, however, #JeSuisPasCharlie, because we shouldn´t praise Charlie Hebdo´s type of press, as it preaches intolerance and portraits Muslims as ignorant fundamentalists, harming those members of the French Society followers of this faith.

Ps. I don´t want you to leave feeling bad about the  world and human kind, so, enjoy the following youtube clip:

Ayotzinapa; The Disappearance of the 43

So, imagine that the mayor of, I don´t know, Charleston, South Carolina, has been experiencing certain social unrest due to an administration tainted with corruption and a strong linkage with some criminal groups. Are you following?

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Now imagine that his wife is having an event, and there´s a group of students, regardless of their motifs, that are joining other civil groups to rally on an annual protest. Then the wife of this lad decides that the best way to stop them is not to actually stop them and, let´s be nice here, detain them after the event is over, she decides to tell the municipal police (together with some gang members) to just “disappear them” and “take care of these people”.

So, they follow her instructions and disappear 43 students. Now, this happened in Iguala, Guerrero, south of Mexico, on the 26th of September, where 6 people were shot death by the local police officers and members of a criminal organization, and 43 students were detained and taken into the offices of the police department of Cocula, where they were later taken by the criminal group “Guerreros Unidos” and never seen again.

Ayotzinapa_estudiantes-desaparecidos

The New Yorker referred to this event in its October 24th article as the “Crisis in Mexico: The Disappearance of the 43“, as the national and international community still don´t know what happened to these students that were trained to become teachers. According to witnesses, relatives and journalists, like John Gibler and Marcela Turati (from the weekly magazine Proceso), these students were to block highway to ask for travel funds to go to Mexico City for the annual October the 2nd march in the capital.

Long story short, they disappeared, while neither the Mexican Attorney General, Jesus Murillo Karam, nor the Secretary of the Interior, Osorio Chong, the international observers or the Human Rights bodies in Mexico have a single clue on where they were taken.

"It was the State" - they claim

“It was the State” – they claim

What is surprising is the arrogance and cynicism the current administration has handled this matter. In recent press conferences Murillo Karam has been seen upset and unease whenever the international media questions him not only on the whereabouts of the students, but also on the identities of at least 20 bodies that have been found in massive clandestine graves. Aye, that´s right, they haven´t found the 43, but they did find two tenths of bodies nobody knew were missing, and his response was “That´s for a different line of investigation, as we are currently focused on finding the students”.  Oh, by the way, 56 people have been arrested because they “might” be related to the case.

Mexicans tend to forget that people like him are public servers, and should respond to our questions because that´s their job.

Mexicans tend to forget that people like him are public servers, and should respond to our questions because that´s their job.

This crisis has forced the governor of Guerrero to “take leave” last week, pushed by the massive criticism from different authorities and NGOs of the state’s handling of the case and its political support of Abarca (Iguala´s fugitive mayor). I mean, he didn´t resign, he just asked for some “time off”, which translates to “I´m not in the mood for this right now, I´ll see you around, not now, but around”.

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People from around the world have raised their voices to demand the Mexican government to clarify and bring back the 43 students to their families. Like the following video with people from all over the globe, aware of the critical situation Mexico is going through, with a clear demand: Bring them back

I insist, even Time Magazine, media outlet that once considered Peña Nieto the savior of Mexico, now gives coverage to this possible massacre and puts Peña´s administration on the spot.

That´s right, these guys...

That´s right, these guys…

The families of the 43 missing still hope they could find them alive, honestly, knowing how criminal groups work in Mexico, I´m more pessimistic on how this crisis is going to unfold.

Sources:

Ps. The October the 2nd march commemorates the 1968 massacre of student protestors in the Tlatelolco Plaza by the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) government of Díaz Ordaz.

Ps2. Highly recommend you to watch the video on the Huffington Post link.

Saving Mexico (?)

logo mexico[1]

The February 2014 cover of TIME Magazine portrayed Enrique Pena Nieto, President of Mexico, and his sweeping reforms as the key points to transform and improve the country after four years of violence. Alright, we sort of mocked him, we made fun of him, we were like “Yeah right” about it, but we never expected that the country could get this worse, and I mean, just stop watching “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo*” and google Mexico, and tell me what the top results are.

SavingMexico

But this situation didn´t just “happen”, violence didn´t just appear out of the cover of a magazine, nor when the Energy Reform was approved, violence was there, nurtured by authorities, society, private sector and weak law enforcement institutions.

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Just to put into context, from 2006 to 2012, during Felipe Calderon´s administration, a war on drugs was held, and by many, this war followed a wrong and violent strategy. By targeting and weakening rival drug cartels and criminal organizations, Calderon found himself, with the rest of the country, inside a beehive, full of violent groups, which were upset, aggressive, fearless and with no loyalty towards any authority, political party or another criminal group.

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His strategy was questioned by human rights NGOs, the opposition parties, the private sector (internationally and nationally), civil organizations and the international community. The fact that it seemed that he was just going against the drug cartels and criminal groups opposed to “El Chapo” Gúzman, made his efforts fall into suspicion and questioned by everyone. At the end of his administration, with over 80,000 deaths, millions spent on security, and urban centres 77874_600dismembered, socially and economically, the people just had enough. Many of us, many from the north of the country, understood that things would never be the same.

Urban centres in the north and centre of the country were reshaped by this war on drugs.

Entire families crossed the border into the US, and I mean medium-high to high income families. This left these regions without a strong national private investment, and a lack of entrepreneurial force to boost local economies around the country.

My point is, the violence that we are currently seeing in many parts of Mexico (not only the southern state of Guerrero) is a result of an aggressive security policy coming from the past administration and the absence of a real national security initiative from Pena´s team.

It seems that the Revolutionary Institutional Party (PRI), doesn´t know how to manage the criminal organizations, finds out of line those who criticize the way they react toward violent events, and seems more interested on not scaring away the foreign investment the Structural Reforms were designed to attract.

In conclusion, maybe it was way too soon for TIME Magazine to make the assumption that Enrique Pena Nieto (a person that during his administration as governor of the Estado de Mexico, was responsible of the human rights violations against civilians in the municipality of Atenco) was the factor that will save Mexico.

Saving-Mexico-meme101

Maybe we just need to wait and see.

Ps: *Uhh, this just in, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo got cancelled!

What´s New: Ferguson, Missouri; and Kent Brantly

It is Monday and among the many things that happened last week there were some news more interesting than others, or more viral, however some things happened less known to the public but extremely relevant to all of us.

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Racial tension

Two weeks ago, in Ferguson, Missouri, a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed black young man, it has been the sixth consecutive day without any public protest or the presence of heavy armed forces. The murder of Michael Brown (18 years old) by (apparently) police officer Darren Wilson, has brought public opinion to question the use of plenty of police force to intimidate the protesters.

Analysts, media and key opinion leaders suggested that the police´s response was unusual and unnecessary, and many questioned the fact that Ferguson, Missouri looked more like a scene you´d see in Afghanistan or Iraq, because, let´s face it, the cops did look like freaking soldiers. According to this article by Reuters on the matter, “President Barack Obama has ordered a review of the distribution of military hardware to state and local police, a senior administration official said on Saturday”.

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What happened in Ferguson reminded the national and international community that the United States still has a lot of issues in terms of racial discrimination and, now, the implementation of a new legislation by the local police to re use military equipment given by the government to strengthen their local forces: “How Ferguson could be America’s future

An Update on the Ebola Virus in Murica

Remember that the US received a couple patients diagnosed with the Ebola virus, the were flown from Africa in order to be treated and cured in American soil. Well, Dr. Kent Brantly, one of these two infected, was finally released from the hospital where he was receiving treatment, and he seems OK. According to the doctors who treated him (and Nancy Writebol, the other American infected by Ebola) he represents no public health threat.

Well, and the lad made it

Well, and the lad made it

However, according to the World Health Organization, at least 1,350 people have died in Africa since the Ebola outbreak in March. And, according to their latest research, the Ebola virus could live up to 3 months in vaginal fluid and semen.

In other news

The viral campaign: the Ice Bucket Challenge  is known to create awareness and get donations from the general public for research on ASL. It was a huge success, at least now people around the world, no just within the US, know what Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is, often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease. If you want to know more about the disease and how to donate to fight it, go to the ALS Association website and find out.

Enjoy watching Charlie Sheen doing it the right way:

 

Mexican Censorship Reform

Hey lads out there, haven´t you noticed that the Telecommunications Initiative presented by the Mexican President, Enrique Pena Nieto, to the Senate last week, clearly violates freedom of speech and access to information?:

“A particularly undesirable aspect of the document is an attempt to establish a mechanism for discretionary censorship of social media through the possibility that the authorities could order Internet providers to suspend service “during events and at critical locations for reasons of public and national security”, which opens prospects of authoritarian control and opaqueness for ends incompatible with any democratic purpose.” La Jornada

Because screw you, that´s why

This pretty much means that if any authority (still isn´t clear which one) determines that something posted on the web affects national security or there´s a relevant event happening, well, the internet or certain websites shall be banned/blocked. And by relevant events let´s say that a massive protest “Venezuela Style” happens, the authorities could just demand the internet providers to shut down broadband signal.

Good old fashion authoritarianism, ladies and gens!

And just like countries as North Korea, Syria, Egypt, Iran, and even Venezuela, the Mexican authorities are moving into the path of blocking telecommunications and censoring the internet under the argument of national security.

Literally, if there´s a relevant event that the government wouldn´t like outsiders to find out, well, blocking any way of communication seems appropriate.

This will stop real time broadcasting of human right abuses preformed by the authorities in case of a public display of discomfort by the Mexican citizens, this according to the article 197 of the Telecommunications Secondary Law Initiative presented by Pena Nieto last week.

And under the argument of regulating the wealthy, the rest must settle for nothing but censorship

Let´s go further, not only human rights violations or relevant events to the public would be blocked from the rest of the country, also in the next presidential elections this seems very beneficial for the State Party candidate. Even if the other candidates are having a successful campaign, if the government decides which information threatens national security, maybe its opponents also pose a threat to the state´s national security.

It´s a Me, El Chapo

So, El Chapo was recaptured in a Mexican-American joint operation last weekend in the coastal city of Mazatlan in the State of Sinaloa, Mexico. The former Mexican drug lord, leader of  the Sinaloa Cartel  was re-arrested after 13 years of being off the leash.

It looked a lot like this… according to some witnesses

He “escaped” the prison of Puente Grande in 2001, and according to the information found, he bribed the prison guards, however it is known that some Mexican Security officials visited the offices of this prison the days prior his escape. No need to say that later these officials served as close members of Felipe Calderon´s team during his administration (2006-2012) or performed as corporate intelligence executives at major corporations like, let´s say, the third largest cement company in the world (wink, wink)

Ok, it was more like this, but don´t  tell me that the mariachi SWAT team looks more awesome? Huh? Nah? Anyone?

Considered the “most powerful drug trafficker in the world” by the United States Department of the Treasury, El Chapo was the protagonist of many conspiracy theories throughout his life.

Not the actual cover

Some said that he was instructing the Fox and Calderon administration on how to handle national security issues, and the best strategy for the elimination of other drug cartels in the  northeast of the country and all the borderline with the United States.

Others said that he could pay off Mexico´s international debt with his fortune if they let him handle his “business” without being disturbed by the authorities. Oh wait, that was Caro Quintero, now free. According to the, very recently updated, entry in Wikipedia (my favourite source of information these days), “El Chapo” was found inside his 4th floor condo at 608 Av del Mar in the beachfront Miramar condominium in MazatlánSinaloa, and he was captured without a single shot fired.

Are you bloody kidding me? 

The most wanted drug lord in the world, accused of killing over 6,000 people himself, and ranked by Forbes magazine as one of the most powerful people in the world (No, seriously: ranked 41st, 60th and 55th every year since 2009), was recaptured peacefully and without a sweat.

He was found just wearing his… well, now very trendy mustache.

I wish I could grow a mustache like that, look at it, perfect.

You gotta love the conspiracy theorists who have made viral a couple pictures of El Chapo from 2001 and El Chapo from last week, claiming that it isn´t the same person.

Honestly, I don´t know what to make of this nonsense.

Nah, El Chapo has been recaptured and there´s no doubt about this. Regardless of how critic I´ve been to Enrique Pena´s administration, I must acknowledge this milestone, and the efforts made by the Mexican Intelligence Unit on finding this awful human being (regardless of how cool his  mustache is).

Good boy

Ps. But why was he captured until now? Don´t you reckon the timing is sort of perfect as the group of Vigilantes in the State of Michoacan, fighting back the drug cartels, was getting too much attention from the media? I have too many goddamn questions.

No kidding, these are civilians (probably financed by other drug cartels) defending themselves from the the criminal groups

Ps2. so, the governor of the State of Sinaloa knew nothing about El Chapo drinking beer and watching Dora in his state all this time? Was it a staged apprehension? Will this affect the stability shown lately by the different drug cartels in Mexico, restarting the War on Drugs that the Mexicans suffered from 2007 until 2012? (Who am i kidding here, the war never ended). And why the heck can´t I grow  a mustache like that? Just look at it, is beautiful.

Ps3. Oh, did I mention that he was captured a few days after Barack Obama left Mexico, he was attending the Leaders of NorthAmerica Summit. I mean… conditions were perfect.

#100HappyDays

I know what you are thinking, “Really? Are you honestly going to follow one of these obnoxious trends on the internet? Are you willing to keep track of 100 happy moments in your life for 100 days?”…

Seriously, I know this is weird, but when a friend told me she was doing this I got sort of excited about it; not because she is doing it, but the fact that she presents herself to others as a bitter-grinchy-realistic person. Although we all know she is a freaking cotton ball, nice and with a kind heart, however, the fact that she was into it, looking for that happy moment of her day for a 100 days, got my attention.

As explained on the website: http://100happydays.com/ this activity is simple, you just go looking for that happy moment every day, post it online, either using Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (these are the ones I´ve chosen), with the hashtag #100HappyDays and the day you are posting from the challenge. It isn´t that hard really, and is fun! 

I´ve always considered my self an optimistic person, and I reckon that the reason others are pessimistic or always feeling blue is because they look at life from the wrong angle. Happiness is all around us, and if you are reading this you have a lot to be grateful (Unless you are a gay person living in Uganda, an unhappy Venezuelan in Venezuela, or a revolutionary chap in Ukraine… Hey, at least you have wifi).

The website starts with this great sentence: “Can you be happy for a 100 days in a row?” It later says that 71% of people didn´t complete the challenge arguing that they didn´t have enough time and they were “super” busy.

The website says it all if you are smart enough to notice what it implies. What they are really saying is: “Happiness depends on you, and in order to be happy you ought to give yourself some time to… well, to make yourself happy”.

Why would I do that? People successfully completing the challenge claimed to:

  •  Start noticing what makes them happy every day;
  •  Be in a better mood every day;
  •  Start receiving more compliments from other people;
  •  Realize how lucky they are to have the life they have;
  •  Become more optimistic;
  •  Fall in love during the challenge.

Now, what are you waiting for? Go for it, you have nothing to lose, unless you don´t have a smartphone or a digital camera or… well you know, “some time”.

Every time I need to put a smile on my face, I just look at this picture for a couple of minutes 🙂

Ps. My boss recently lent me a cooking book, like a really Mexican traditional dishes cooking book, she said “There you go, have it for a couple of weeks and cook something from the book”. So, I´ll be posting one of its recipes this weekend, wait for it.

 

Venezuela is not Alone

This is merely inspirational and bias,  and does not represent the opinion of the Venezuelan people whatsoever. It´s my own, because you know why? This is my damn blog and I can talk about politics from the bottom of my heart if I want to. I can express myself about Venezuela without needing to show you reliable sources or academics´opinion backing up my thoughts on the matter.

Nicolas Maduro´s government is wrong, period. 

Regardless of the people protesting on the streets, the international media criticizing his government and the international human rights organizations following closely how the Venezuelans are being treated by the authority, Maduro´s administration lacks common sense, respect for civil rights and severe violations to universal human rights.

I just finished watching an interview to the Venezuelan Ambassador in Dominican Republic. The lad was disrespectful, rude and obnoxious to the journalists who granted him some time on live television to present the point of view of the government he represents abroad. He served only as a repeating machine for Maduro´s rhetoric, shallow, loud and ignorant. Claiming that the fascists, the American Empire and the international media are responsible for the chaos that Venezuela is currently facing. This guy is incredibly wrong, and the people who back up Maduro´s administration are wrong as well. Why? Simply because he is repressing his own people, not only during the recent protests, but since the 2000´s started, Venezuela hasn´t really reached its potential, and its people haven´t enjoyed freedom nor peace.

Nowadays, Maduro isn´t only hurting Venezuela, he is strangulating the freedom of its people, scarring the Venezuelan society from the inside.

Venezuela, a country of millions of bright men and women is being silenced by this dictator; while the Venezuelans abroad cry for help and restless send the same message to their friends and relatives:

“You are not alone, help is on its way”. 

Ps. Mexico isn´t doing great either by the way, while the president goes abroad presenting Mexico as an investors haven, our society crumbles while violent groups have overthrown the authorities. Some regions now have civilians defending themselves, and as far as I know, this is supposed to be the government´s responsibility.