Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Die Studenten und Chávez

Die Guardia Nacional, eine Art paramilitärische Polizei Venezuelas, tut nicht viel gegen die Kriminalität, aber schon viel für Chávez. Heute hat sie mehrere Busse festgehalten, die im Bundestaat Carabobo Studenten zu einer Demo bringen sollten. Drei der Studenten sind festgenommen worden. Der Grund: sie hätten Widerstand geleistet. Die Studenten bestreiten das.

In den folgenden Wochen werden wir immer wieder sehen, wie die Polizei, die Guardia Nacional und das Militär Strassen und Autobahnen versperren, um zu verhindern, dass Leute zu Demonstrationen fahren, die gegen den erneuten Versuch Chavez für die unbegrenzte Wiederwahl sind.

Schon wieder werden Beamten zu Demonstrationen fahren müssen, die Chávez unterstützen. Und schon wieder werden alle Staatsmittel dafür benutzt werden, Chávez zu unterstützen.

Und dies ist ein Foto aus einer anderen Protestaktion, aber das ist schon anderswo. Das ist in Caracas und das ist nicht unsere liebe Guardia Civil, sondern unsere Policía Metropolitana:

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Chavez and our Indians

The Economist has published an interesting article about native Americans in Venezuela and their problems. You can check it out here.

The article is specifically about the Yukpas, but there are a lot more and worst issues affecting other tribes. I will be posting on that and some ideas in my Spanish blog next week.

Below just some images of the Yukpas.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Venezuelans once again destroying their heritage

I just want to post a link to a video from The Independent about an ancient Indian city in Venezuela that is about to be covered by a dam.

Does someone have more details on it?

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

The Eurokinder again

I read this article from Neues Deutschland. There you can read:
The parties of the oposition opposed the initiative because they lack as always political support, Chacón says. "They have not been able to build a leadership in order to oppose Chávez (in the comming elections in 2012, editor), the minister said".
Hm...I wonder if any of their usual readers gives a thought to that: the opposition has not been able to build a leadership to oppose Chávez for the 2012 elections. They also said "there are no limits for reelection of political positions in countries of the EU like Germany and Spain".

Well, there are some differences between Germany, Spain and Venezuela. Just a few:

- Venezuela has a strong presidential system. Germany and Spain have parlamentarian systems
- In Venezuela most posts now have to be approved by the central government
- In Venezuela the regions have much less powers than in Germany or Spain and the government illegally reduces the flow of money to the regions where the opposition rules

There are lots of differences in the very strong presidential system Venezuela has and the parlamentarian ones of Europe. But then I have to go to sleep.

Well, I can sleep soundly. Neues Deutschland has a circulation of less than 50000 exemplars, which is very low in Germany. It is one of those relicts of Eastern Germany. Most people in Europe at this stage have another opinion of what Chavismo is.

Monday, 12 January 2009

This is NOT a joke

As El Nacional tells us today, the question that the National Electoral Committee will present for the referendum to allow the indefinite reelection of Hugo Chávez (i.e. the indefinite reelection within a very strong presidential, not parliamentarian system of the president and since shortly, mayors and governors) is the following:

"Do you agree with the amplification of the political rights of Venezuelan women and men in the terms established in the amendment of articles 230, 160, 174, 192 and 162 of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, proposed by initiative of the National Assembly, so that the postulation for all public posts is allowed in order to make their election exclusive expression of the people's vote?"

Chávez really is afraid to lose. He is really in a hurry, as Quico writes.

Question in Spanish:
"¿Aprueba usted la ampliacion de los derechos politicos de las venezolanas y los venezolanos en los terminos contemplados en la enmienda de los articulos 230, 160, 174,192 y 162 de la Constitucion de la Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela, tramitada por iniciativa de la Asamblea Nacional al permitirse la postulacion para todos los cargos de eleccion popular de modo que su eleccion sea expresion exclusiva del voto del pueblo?"

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Understanding Venezuela through the United States

This book is not about Venezuela, it is about one of Venezuela's big neighbours . Still, if you want to understand a little bit about Venezuela, it would not hurt to read this. The United States has been influencing one way or the other the rest of the Americas ever since it became an independent nation. Howard Zinn presents different views about how it came to be and how it has acted ever since.

Unfortunately, in Venezuela we tend to have a lot of people who are either extremely sympathetic with everything that comes from the USA, in every aspect, without any nuance, without any critical view, or completely against anything coming from there (or pretending to be).

This book helps us a new understanding of the history of a country with many of the best universities in the world as well as one of the worst results for OECD countries in the PISA programme, a country with many Nobel prizes and where over half the population still are creationists, a country where many a European capitalist would be considered a Marxist (never mind most US citizens really have no idea about what Marxism is).

This book, combined with this book and this one, present some interesting ideas about why Venezuela, Europe and the US have developed (or not) in the way they have and why the people in those respective regions think the way they do.

I haven't read much decent on history of Venezuela in English so far and very little of it in Spanish. You can read some interesting things about what we had in Venezuela in 1789-1810 from Alexander von Humboldt's writings:
1 (look for "printing") and 2. A programme from BBC on Humboldt here.
I will point at other works in the future.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

My Venezuelan roots: out of Africa the brutal way

As I have mentioned in some other posts (1, 2, 3 and 4), I am taking part in the Genographic Project. To my surprise I turned out to have as marker J2 from my dad's side. Now I got my results for my mother and it turned out to be L1c3. The first one is a paternal marker originating from the Middle East with also a lot of representation in the Mediterranean. The second comes from black Africa.

I thought other haplogroups were much more likely based on the stories I had from my family plus the phenotypes I could see: the most common Western European haplogroup from my dad's side (R1b) or perhaps an Indian or an African one from him and an European or Indian from my mother's: she looked very European, my grandmother looked more Indian and her grandmother came from an area with fewer slaves than the one from which my dad's grandfather came from. I see more African traits from my dad's side. I knew all the time I had about all the typical mixes from both sides, one way or the other, my family is like a Benetton picture. Anything was possible.

So, in any case, if this is correct, one of my female ancestors (my mother's mother's mother's...mother) definitely came from Black Africa just some centuries ago (i.d. not way back during the Out of Africa migrations). That gives 2 possibilities:

1) the most likely case is that there was a poor lady, born in Western Africa or Mozambique, who some time between 1528 and 1810 was kidnapped and placed in chains into a slave ship heading to the Americas.
2) the least likely case is that a female descendant of black Africans but integrated into the Moor culture came to Spain with the Muslim expansion and her female descendants assimilated into the Spanish society.

I want to do some experiments with trying to cluster the genetic profiles, specially the J2 (as there is much more data on it) to see if I can find out more about specific migrations. Specially, I want to develop a simulator to try to recreate the possible ways in which the different ethnic groups interacted.

Here an interesting article (the abstract at least) about a recent study of Venezuelans and genetic background.