Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Ecuador Prepares For Second Round in Presidential Elections
Alvaro Noboa will dispute the position with Rafael Correa.

South America is in the midst of crucial elections in several countries. On Oct.29, Lula Da Silva was reelected for another four years as President of Brazil, the biggest country in the continent. Also Venezuela (Dec 3.) and Ecuador (Nov. 26) are preparing for elections. In Ecuador the first round left two candidates with a chance : Alvaro Noboa a millionaire banana exporter and Rafael Correa, a left wing economist. Since Correa obtained 22,86% against Noboa´s 26,83% , the economist has decided to tone down his expressions of admiration for Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, that is running for reelection. This link was well capitalized by Alvaro Noboa, that has accused Correa of receiving funds from Chavez . " We don't want Ecuador to become another Venezuela, run by a communist such as Chavez. I am very pleased with the first round results and I am sure to win," said Noboa after the first round results were revealed. On the other hand Correa replied that "there is nothing wrong with being a friend of Chavez, or of President Kirchner of Argentina. I have never said I am close to Chavez , I will never allow any foreign intervention , be it from Venezuela, the U.S. or whatever."
"Noboa inherited all his money from his father, he got more checks than brain cells," said Correa. It seems that Correa learnt the lesson from other Chavez backed candidates that lost recently lost elections, such as Ollanta Humala (Peru) and Andres lopez Obrador (Mexico). An Ecuadorian political expert, Wladimir Sierra, stated that Correa has distanced himself from Chavez in order to avoid defeat and is trying to win the support of the middle class. According to Sierra, Alvaro Noboa has good chances of winning on November 26.

Monday, October 30, 2006



On Nov. 3, the first three matches of this year´s World Cup took place in Copacabana beach in Rio. Brazil defeated Poland 9-2, Japan beat the U.S 8-4, Canada defeated Iran in a penalty shootout and France (last year's champion) beat Spain by 3-2.There are sixteen teams taking part that are divided into four groups, these are:
Group A : Brazil, Poland, USA, Japan.
Group B : Spain , France, Canada, Iran.
Group C : Solomon Islands, Cameroon, Portugal, Uruguay
Group D : Italy, Argentina, Nigeria, Bahrain
One of the captivating dancers who kept the crowds entertained during the intervals of every game.


Deadly Ambush By Left Wing Guerrillas in Colombia
FARC rebels Kill 17 Soldiers and Wound 4

As reported by local newspaper “El Tiempo”, on November 30, at 23:00 hours local time a battalion of the Colombian army’s XXX Brigade was carrying out an inspection mission in an area known as “Abego” in the north east jungle area on the border with Venezuela when it was ambushed by members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia ( FARC).
As a result of the attack, 2 officers and 15 soldiers were killed while four were seriously wounded. The Colombian army informed that it sent troops belonging to the Second Division in order to pursue the FARC rebels and the fighting is continuing until today.
The Army also informed that a “wagon-bomb” has been left in the main road leading into the combat area but has yet to disactivated since the anti-bomb squad suspects it may be booby-trapped. This year 35 Army soldiers have been killed in similar ambushes carried out by left wing insurgents.
Meanwhile “El Tiempo” informed that the FARC is recruiting Peruvian peasants on the border with Colombia and is paying them US$ 20 in order to transport “base cocaine” from Peruto its bases in the Colombian jungle.
“About a year ago some men that said they were Colombians arrived here and began to hire people to work in a timber company. Five of my friends joined them but only two returned and said that the men belonged to FARC and made them work in a coca plantation,” said a peasant to “El Tiempo”.
According to the peasants, the FARC is not only dealing in cocaine, but also in timber and have formed an alliance with drug traffickers.
“The traffickers ask the guerrillas to protect them as they transport cocaine and timber up the Putumayo river,” said another peasant. In this area, 1300 hectares of coca plants have been detected, and the FARC charges for planting and protecting the plants.

....and the ambulance crashes on the way to hospital

On October 24, El Tiempo, a local newspaper reported on yet another bloody episode of the Colombian civil war that has been going on for nearly forty years. The incident occurred in the province of Huila, as the local city council carried out an anti-terrorist exercise that had been planned since two months ago. Alexander Peralta,(33) a police officer with five years experience in desactivating car bombs, booby trapped explosives and other dangerous devices planted by the left wing guerrillas, lost his hand after an accidental explosion of a device. The exercise was organized to prepare the civil servants on what to do in case of a terrorist attack or other emergency situations.
On Monday 23, the bomb experts of the Colombian police installed sevaral explosive devices in the building, and detonated three of the bombs at 6:00 a.m.The civil servants began to leave the building in an organized manner, without magining that a tragedy had occurred. Officer Peralta had been instructed to leave a noise bomb (an explosive device that does not cause any material damage)in a toilet but inexplicably the device exploded and tore off his hand.
Officer Peralta was evacuated in an ambulance that had been used to carry people simulating to be injured but unfortunately the vehicle crashed against a motorcycle, whose two passengers were seriously injured.

The Commander of the Police in Huila province,Coronel Miguel Bojaca stated that the causes of the accident are being investigated. Also he was shocked that it had occurred to one of his top bomb disposal experts.


An Assortment of Hugo Chavez Quotes
Venezuelan President Plans To Rule Until 2021

After his recent landslide victory in the Dec. 3 elections, President Hugo Chavez has a further six years in office and this time with a higher percentage of support that nears 70%. Chavez has made it quite clear that his next goal is to call for a referendum that will reform the Constitution and allow for his indefinite reelection . Chavez hopes that Venezuela will end up as a one party state like Cuba. Since 1998, Chavez has shaken the political map in South America with controversial and aggressive declarations against other Heads of State and countries, among which are the following:

On George W. Bush : " I am sure the Devil spoke here recently, it smells of sulfur until now !" (during speech at United Nations in 2006).
"You are a donkey, Mister Danger, a coward, murderer and a drunkard," (TV interview in 2006.)

On Tony Blair : " A shameless rogue, a pawn of U.S imperialism ".

On Fidel Castro : " An example to follow. I am not sure if I should call him a brother or a father. I hope he lasts for a hundred years."

Vladimir Putin : "Putin is my ally."

Daniel Ortega : (President of Nicaragua) " He saw his comrades die in the war and he has assumed his historic responsibility."

Carlos Menem (former President of Argentina) : "A real servant of U.S imperialism. He should be in jail for what he did to his people."

Evo Morales (President of Bolivia) : " My brother, the first native to become president . The empire wants him out but we will defend him to the death."

Alan Garcia (President of Peru) : "We will have nothing to do with that thief, that con-man . Maybe I´ll meet him in a summit and he will steal my wallet !"

Axis of Evil : "The Axis of Evil is formed by Washington and its allies, they are the ones that invade and that kill. We are forming the Axis of Good."

On Socialism : "Socialism wasn't dead, it was only having a break, it is the only option for the future."

On Communism : "I've been called a communist, which is not true, but I am also not an anticommunist."

On Imperialism : " The future of the human race is at risk due to the hegemonic desires of the U.S empire ."

China : "The Chinese Revolution is the forefather of the Bolivarian revolution."

Chavez Assails U.S. and Israel at United Nations
Venezuelan leader calls President Bush 'the devil'

Tension continues to mount between Venezuela and the United States after another round of hostile comments between President Hugo Chavez and President George W. Bush. Both have been taking part in the 61st General Assembly of the United Nations in New York.

On Tuesday 20 September 2006, Bush gave his speech and did not alter his stance on current world affairs as he accused Syria and Iran of "sponsoring terrorism." Iran is a major ally of Venezuela and recently Chavez visited that country, where he defended Iran's right to continue with its nuclear program.

On Wednesday, it was Chavez's turn to get involved in the international debate.

"The devil [Bush] spoke here and gave recipes on how to exploit and dominate the people of the world," Chavez said.

"American citizens, I give you this advice, read Noam Chomski's book 'Hegemony and Survival' and you will understand why the United States empire is making desperate efforts to consolidate its control on the world, we cannot allow this world empire to continue," Chavez said.

With regard to Bush's view on terrorism, Chavez hit back by accusing the CIA of carrying out the assassination of Chilean politician Orlando Letelier in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 21, 1976, and of planting a bomb on a Cuban airliner that caused the death of 77 passengers.

"We are only a few days from the thirtieth anniversary of the murder of Orlando Letelier and an American citizen, Ronnie Moffit, and that crime was committed by CIA agents, but they are all free. The leader was Luis Posada Carriles that escaped from a Venezuelan jail thanks to the CIA and corrupt government officials of the time. Now Posada Carriles is here in the U.S. and being protected by Bush's government," Chavez said.

During another moment of the speech, Chavez accused the U.S. of being "imperialist, fascist and murderers due to its support of Israel's recent attacks on the Lebanon." At this moment, several Israeli officials got up from their seats and left the U.N. auditorium.

Chavez is also carrying out intense lobbies among many delegations in order to secure the votes Venezuela needs to be elected as a member of the Security Council.

"If elected, Venezuela will be the voice of the Third World," Chavez said.


DORANCEL VARGAS, the Venezuelan "Man-Eater"

In September, 2006, a Chilean reporter working for Megavision (a local TV channel) traveled to San Cristobal, Venezuela, to interview Dorancel Vargas, a man that at present is jail after having been accused of killing at least 20 men. Dorancel has been diagnosed as a "paranoid psychopath" by psychiatrists that have examined him and so there is a dispute whether he is a criminal or a mentally ill person. Dorancel was raised in a peasant family that lived in a border area with Colombia. Due to his strange behavior, the family believed that Dorancel was possessed by "evil spirits". Most of his family are members of a guerrilla group known as "Venezuelan Liberation Forces", that controls the jungle area where they live, and it is not clear if Dorancel was also a member of this group in his youth. At fifteen years of age, Dorancel ended up in San Cristobal, one of the main cities in Venezuela, and it seems he began to take drugs and drink heavily. He began to live under an expressway bridge called "Autopista Libertador", an extremely dark place at night and frequently used by drunkards, drug addicts and beggars as a shelter. During the decade of the 90´s, several people that lived near to the bridge complained to the Police that their relatives had gone missing, after which an investigation began. As there was a bar near the bridge, many drunkards would wander late at night or fall asleep in that place, and this was when Dorancel would strike, and kill the people with a bamboo spear. Afterwards Dorancel would dismember the bodies, cut the meat that he wanted, bury the heads in the ground and throw the bones and remains into the river. In 1995, police began to search the area under the bridge after a brother of one of the missing persons said that he had last seen him drinking and talking to Dorancel . During a search the police found the remains of several men and began to search for Dorancel, that lived in the nearby bushes.
That year during his first TV interview, Dorancel stated that "human meat is nice, but I eat all kinds of meat, dog, cats , lizards. I buried the heads and feet and throw the other bones into the river. I also stored some meat in containers. The heart and the liver must be spiced up, If I was hungry I used to kill men, never women because they do no harm."
Dorancel was arrested but after a bureaucratic mess up, (the judge had ordered that Dorancel be sent to a psychiatric hospital), he was set free and returned to the "Libertador Bridge".
Dorancel was arrested again in 1999, after more people denounced that their relatives had gone missing.
Juan Carlos Meneses was lucky, one night he was coming out from a motel with his girlfriend and at about 2:00 a.m. near the Libertador bridge had to stop to change a flat tyre. "I heard shouts and when I turned around I saw that Dorancel was about to hit me with a baseball bat, a motorcycle cop arrived and caught him just in time. I could have been another victim," said Juan Carlos.
Since he is considered neither a criminal nor a psychopath, Dorancel is now under solitary confinement in a police station, where he has been found to be wandering around with knives on several occasions. Even the murderers fear him. "He used to kill whoever got drunk with him , " said a policeman that guards Dorancel. Nowadays the "man-eater" is at the initial stages of Parkinson´s disease and spends his time sweeping floors and washing his clothes.
"I used to eat the thighs, not the nose ears or hands because they are too hard . If I saw a drunkard sleeping, I would kill him with my spear, cut his head off and feel happy, I want to go back there and dig a big hole to bury them I don't feel ashamed of anything. They have put me in this jail for nothing, " ended Dorancel.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Gonzalez defeated by Federer in the Basel Tennis Open (yet again)

Photo by
Chilean Player Loses 9th match against world's No. 1

The last time Fernando Gonzalez had played Roger Federer was on Oct. 22 during the final of the Madrid ATP Tournament and on that occasion the Swiss player had won by 7-5,6-1,and 6-0. On Oct. 29, the two met again but this time it was in Roger Federer´s hometown of Basel. Federer had a lot to prove in this final since for some strange reason he had never been able to win this ATP tournament, (losing both previous finals in 2000 and 2001). The Swiss player that many experts are already considering as the best player of all time arrived at the indoor tennis court with an impressive match record of 86 wins and only 5 defeats during the 2006 season, and a total of 8045 ATP points. On the hard surface in Basle, Federer got off to an impressive start as he slammed two aces past Fernando Gonzalez. The serve must be one of the Federer´s strongest weapons since he hits the ball at an average of between 190 to 200 km/h. Gonzalez seemed to be playing against a brick wall as the Swiss player returned nearly every shot made by the Chilean, that went down in the first two sets by 6-3 and 6-2. However, even with the support that Federer was getting from his home crowd, Gonzalez managed to fight back and broke Federer´s serve for the first time in the third set to leave the score at 3-2. Then came a controversial period in play as Gonzalez became distracted as he began to argue with the umpire over several serves that the Chilean player thought had gone in but had been called out. Finally Federer recovered and the third set ended in a tiebreak that the Swiss "tennis machine" won by 7-3. The crowd in Basle cheered in delight and Federer sighed in relief as he must have thought that the match was not going his way in the third set. Fernando Gonzalez has a had a great year, specially in the past months as he has qualified to three consecutive ATP finals in a row, in Vienna where he lost to the world's third ranked player , Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia, Madrid and Basle, where he was defeated by Roger Federer, that now has a career total of 478 wins in 603 matches, a 79 percent victory rate.At the time this article was written, Gonzalez was ranked 9th by the INDESIT ATP 2006 race, eight points behind Tommy Robredo and nine points behind James Blake and may still qualify to the most important tournament of the year, the Shanghai Masters Cup, where the eight best players in the world take part, and that will be played between November 12-19.

Friday, October 27, 2006

No Blood Shed During Argentine-Chilean Football match

There had been a lot of expectation before the second leg match that was played on October 26 in La Plata, Argentina between the local team, Gimnasia and Chilean club Colo Colo. It was a quarterfinal match of the "Copa Sudamericana" (not to be confused with the Copa Libertadores which is the most important South American football tournament at club level, and that has been held since 1960). The "Sudamericana" is a new tournament being played since 2002 and that is sponsored by "Nissan", while the Libertadores is sponsored by "Toyota". The match was held at Gimnasia´s stadium in La Plata, some 70 kilometers south of Buenos Aires. The Gimnasia fans had promised to get revenge on the Colo Colo fans after the incidents that occurred during the first match on Oct. 19 in Santiago. As the Gimnasia players arrived at the Colo Colo Stadium in a bus, they were attacked by local fans that broke all its windows with stones. Also about 50 Gimnasia fans that traveled to Santiago to support their team were constantly harassed and attacked by the Colo Colo fans. The Chilean team had an easy time during the match itself and with two minutes before the end of the match was winning 4-1 but then a disgraceful episode occurred as a local fan threw a rock that hit an Argentine player on the back of the head. The player suffered light injuries and play resumed but this time with a few scuffles between the players. The match was nearly suspended by the referee, that managed to control the players and continued with the few remaining minutes. Some days later, the South American Football Federation (Conmebol) suspended the Colo Colo stadium for its next two matches of the "Sudamericana".
During the return match in Argentina, Colo Colo showed great form and won its place in the semifinals with goals by Hector Suazo in the 47th minute (after a penalty on Matias Fernandez that was recently transferred to Villarreal of the Spanish first division) and Gonzalo Fierro in the 78th minute. At the end of the match the Colo Colo players had to run off the pitch under a hail of stones and other missiles thrown by the Gimnasia fans. The curious note of the encounter was that Claudio Borghi, the Colo Colo coach traveled approximately 1500 kilometers in 16 hours by car to La Plata since he is afraid of flying in airplanes !
Now Colo Colo must await the winner of the tie between the winner of the 2002 edition, San Lorenzo of Argentina and Toluca (Mexico).

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Did Pinochet Hide US$180 million in gold in H.Kong?

According to a report by the South China Morning Post, on Wednesday, October 25, the Hong Kong financial authorities confirmed that it has begun an investigation in order to verify whether General Augusto Pinochet, the ruler of Chile from 1973 to 1990, did deposit 1000 gold ingots in a vault at the local Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC).

In Chile, “La Nacion” a local newspaper reported that the Chilean State Defense Council (CDE in the spanish acronym) had presented a demand in court to confiscate the 9,000 kilograms of gold valued at approximately US$180 million. The CDE has been carrying out legal actions against Pinochet after the discovery in 2004 of USS 23 million in secret accounts at the Riggs Bank in Washington D.C. Due to the scandal, in 2005 the Riggs Bank, known as the “bank of the Diplomats” since nearly all the embassies in the American capital had their accounts at that institution , merged with the PNC Bank. According to the CDE, the Riggs Bank was used by Pinochet to deposit large amounts of money under false identities.The CDE believes that Pinochet also has more secret accounts in many other parts of the world, as may be the case in Hong Kong.According to La Nacion, since the news originated in Hong Kong, it was the local authorities that informed the Chilean embassy that Pinochet had deposited the lingots in that Asian city. Chile´s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alejandro Foxley confirmed this version by stating that “we received this information through one of our diplomatic offices abroad. We gave all this information to the CDE.” At present, the Chilean Court has confiscated several of Pinochet’s bank deposits and properties, such as his vacation home in the outskirts of Santiago, the capital, valued at several million dollars.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Beautiful People versus the Ugly People

Can this Theory be applied to South America?
Hear the podcast By Claire George at:

According to a recent study in human evolution by Doctor Oliver Curry of the London School of Economics ( within 10,000 years the human species will have divided itself into two branches: the Genetic Upper Class (Gracile group) and the Genetic Lower Class (Robust Group). The "Big Bang" for the human race will happen in a thousand years time when science and technology will have evolved to such an extent that an ideal habitat for humans will have been created. Humans will be at least two meters tall (six to seven feet) and have a life span of 120 years. Genetic engineering, cybernetic implants and other technological breakthroughs will create nearly perfect human beings. This process will continue for the next 10,000 years as humans will become more selective when choosing a partner, thus causing the species to divide in two subspecies, one of tall, thin, healthy, attractive, intelligent and creative humans and another of short, less intelligent and ugly human beings.Whether you may agree with Doctor Curry's interesting and revolutionary theory or not, it has some striking similarities to the current situation in South America, where gigantic socio-economic differences have appeared among its citizens. Santiago, the capital of Chile, can be used as an excellent case study, since its reality is not very different from other South American cities. Santiago is clearly divided into two areas, known as the "Beautiful People "(BP) districts that cover approximately one quarter of the total area and the "Ugly People" (UP) districts that cover the remaining area, with some transition spaces in between. The average monthly income of a BP family can range from US$5,000 to US$10,000 or more while that of a UP family is of around US$200 to US$400. A BP family will consist of five individuals living in a spacious house with garden, swimming pool and a garage for 2 to 3 cars. A UP family will usually consist of 8-10 individuals living in a state funded housing project where the houses are paired one next to the other. These houses, nicknamed "Teletubby homes" by their owners (in a comparison to the popular children's TV program) are built of cheap, poor quality materials and whose roofs have been known to leak during the rainy and cold winter months. The State housing projects are usually two-story structures in order to save space and reduce building costs. The BP families have access to vast leisure activities such as parks, shopping centers and sports fields. The UP families live in high-density neighborhoods with poor public transport and far away from BP districts. In the UP districts crime, drug trafficking and consumption is common and at night the citizens are confined to their houses. Children from BP families receive private education at the "The Grange School", St.George´s School or Santiago College where the monthly tuition fee ranges from US$500 upwards. When choosing universities the BP individuals compete for a vacancy at the Catholic University (run by the Roman Catholic Church), the Finis Terrae or Gabriela Mistral Universities where the monthly tuition fees range from US$ 500 to US$1000,(or more depending on the course).Obviously these fees are well beyond an average UP family's budget.
In a BP household it is common for both parents to work, mainly as C.E.Os of big companies, state officials or as liberal professionals, whose responsibility is to supervise the work carried out by the large majority of UP individuals, usually construction workers, farm laborers, miners or office clerks. However, all is not well, since BP families live in constant fear of being robbed by UP individuals and so have fortified their large properties with high garden walls, electric fences, surveillance cameras, armed guards and attack docks. It is becoming common for BP individuals to suffer "Express burglaries" where their homes are invaded by gangs of individuals (mostly from UP districts) armed with guns and knives and that are not precisely very polite. The robbers overpower the BP family members , collect all the valuables and usually drive off in the BPs own cars. Every year, on September 11 ( anniversary of the 1973 military coup against the Allende government) the UP districts have their "Day of Rage" where violent acts and looting occur as youngsters take the opportunity to express all their anger against society. All Chilean governments are constantly publicizing their "anti-poverty" campaigns and showing that public spending figures have increased, but why isn't the majority of the population seeing the effects of these "campaigns"?. Apart from all this, Chile´s supposedly buoyant economic situation has attracted hundreds of thousands of legal and illegal immigrants from neighboring countries such as Peru,Argentina,Ecuador and Colombia, that mostly live in worse conditions than the Chilean UPs. Also there doesn't seem much interest on behalf of the current center-left administration to change the situation. Most of the leaders of the government coalition live in the BP neighborhoods and it is not very likely that President Michelle Bachelet will make her daughter go and study at a state school after being at the posh "La Girouette School". Or are you Mrs. Bachelet ?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Oh No!!, Not Roger Federer Again !

Chile's Fernando Gonzalez Loses Final of Madrid Tennis Open

The day before the final of the Madrid Tennis Open, during a local television program where viewers can phone to give their opinions, most Chilean fans congratulated Fernando Gonzalez for reaching his second ATP Tour final in a row (last week in Vienna). Also many said that it would be hard to defeat the number one ranked player of the moment, Roger Federer of Switzerland.
"Federer is a tennis machine", "I hope Gonzalez wins, but it will be very difficult" "I don't think Gonzalez will win, Federer is just too good", were some of the opinions given by the fans.
On Oct 22, Gonzalez went onto the court in Madrid in order to face Federer, that until today had won 42 ATP tournaments and during the past three years had lost only 15 matches. Gonzalez also had a very bad record against Federer, having lost all seven previous encounters.
Gonzalez put up a fight in the first set to go down by 7-5, but Federer´s strong serves were just too difficult to control as the Swiss "tennis machine" scored 9 aces. Near the end of the first set Federer tripped as he hit a ball and slightly twisted his right ankle. The ATP medic had to bandage Federer´s ankle and many Chilean fans thought that this would be an opportunity for Gonzalez to hit back. However, the injury did not affect the Swiss player in any way , and Federer continued to crush Gonzalez by 6-1 and 6-0. Anyway it was a good chance for Chilean fans to see the best tennis player in action against Fernando Gonzalez , and that under the guidance of his new coach, Larry Stefanski is now 9th in the ATP rankings and may still qualify for this years "Masters Series " tournament in Shanghai. During his career Gonzalez has won 7 ATP tournaments and one of his finest moments came in the 2004 Olympic Games as together with Nicholas Massu, they won a gold medal for Chile in doubles , Massu won the gold medal and Gonzalez won the bronze medal in the singles.

Mark Gonzalez Injured during Liverpool-Man.Utd Derby

Chilean footballer replaced against traditional rivals.

During a recent interview Mark Gonzalez had stated that "his dream would be coming true as" he would play for Liverpool against Manchester United on October 22 at Old Trafford. Gonzalez (no relation to Fernando Gonzalez, the tennis player) became the first Chilean to play in such an important match that faces the two English teams that have won most titles. Liverpool has won 18 English League Titles and 5 UEFA Champions titles while Manchester United has won 15 English Championships and 2 European Titles. There was a sellout crowd of 76,000 fans at Manchester United ´s home ground and the match got off to a fast and furious pace. The initial play was very balanced since both teams applied man to man marking and so there were few open spaces on the pitch. Gonzalez created the first scoring chance for Liverpool as he ran clear on the left wing but a defender blocked his cross. Manchester United replied with a good hard shot by Louis Saha in the 23rd minute. Gonzalez was the only effective attacker for Liverpool as he made another good cross from the left to Dirk Kuyt in the 27th minute, but the Dutch international player could not head the ball into the net. A few minutes later during another good run. Mark Gonzalez was injured in his left foot as he clashed with a United defender. Then tragedy struck for the visitors as Ryan Giggs made a fast break on the left and crossed to Paul Scholes whose shot ended in the Liverpool net. Gonzalez could not recover from his injury since he was replaced in the 51st minute by Jermaine Pennant. Gonzalez absence caused the Liverpool attack to disappear from a match whose fate was sealed in the 65th minute a defender Rio Ferdinand scored a marvelous goal as he trapped a ball in the area , eluded John Riise and sent a left footed shot into the Liverpool net. Now all experts agree that Rafa Benitez, the Liverpool coach is in danger of losing his job since his team is only in the 11th place of the points table. In another "Derby" match played in London today, Tottenham Hotspur defeated West Ham United by 1-0.

Starting Lineups :

Manchester United (2) : Erwin Van der Sar (gk), Gary Neville, Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra,Louis Saha, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Wayne Rooney, Paul Scholes, Fletcher.

Liverpool (0) : Pepe Reina (gk), Sami Hyypia,Jamie Carragher, Xabi Alonso, Steve Finnan, Mohammed Sissoko, Luis Garcia, Steven Gerrard, John Riise, Dirk Kuyt, Mark Gonzalez,

Friday, October 20, 2006

Mark Gonzalez refuses to play for Chile´s national team

Forget it Mark, just stay in Liverpool and do well there .....
A big controversy has began in the South American country due to the Liverpool striker's refusal to play for Chile in the near future. On Sept 23, 2006, Gonzalez was the man of the match during Liverpool's 3-0 win over Tottenham Hotspurs and the Chilean player is becoming a favorite with the local fans. Gonzalez scored the first goal that was the turning point of the match since until the middle of the second half the match was equalized. Rafa Benitez , the Liverpool coach, must now surely make Gonzalez a regular player since he is fundamental in creating goal scoring chances. Why doesn't Mark Gonzalez want to play for his country? The dispute with Nelson Acosta, (the Chilean coach) began in May 2006, when Chile went on a 3 match European tour. The first stop was Dublin, Ireland, where the South Americans defeated the local team by 1-0 and Gonzalez showed great form. According to Acosta, the night after the match in the hotel, Gonzalez and another player, Reinaldo Navia invited some young ladies to their room. Acosta went into the room and told the women to leave. The players argued that the women were asking for photographs, the only problem was that it was 1:00 a.m and they should have been resting and getting ready for the match in France against Ivory Coast some days later. Acosta then expelled Gonzalez and Navia from the national team and both left the hotel. Since then Navia has apologized to Acosta and has been allowed back into the Chilean national team, while Gonzalez has stated that he will not play for Chile as long as Acosta is the coach. My opinion is that he should concentrate on playing for Liverpool and consolidate his position at the English Premier League club. It is pointless for Gonzalez to make a 15 hour trip to Chile to play friendly matches against second rate teams . Forget it Mark, just stay in Liverpool and do well there, you'll have plenty of time to play for Chile.

"Magic Cheese" Hoax Hits Thousands in Chile and Peru

International gang led by a french-belgian woman tricks 28,000 citizens.

On July 17,2006, the Chilean police arrested Victor Mella and Fernando Jara, two Chilean men that acted as agents of a firm called "Fermex". Mella and Jara have been accused of taking part in a massive pyramidal fraud that duped 6000 Chileans and 21,000 Peruvians . Until today the police have confiscated approximately US$ 4 million, but many of the victims fear that they will never recover their investments again. The story began four years ago in Peru where a French woman identified as Giselle van Erpen (a.k.a "Madame Gil") set up a firm named "Labomax". The fraud consisted in selling people a pack of "Yo Flex", a powder that according to Giselle van Erpen would ferment milk into a special cheese. Giselle said that this "Magic Cheese" was the latest fashion in France, where women used it as a skin cosmetic. Also a partner of Madame Gil, an African man known as the "Doctor" claimed that in his continent the cheese was used as a food supplement. The fraud was discovered in Peru, but Madame Gil and the Doctor escaped from that country, only to appear two years ago in Chile, where they formed "Fermex" and continued with their hoax.
In Chile the pack of "Yo Flex" would be sold at US$500, but scientific analysis determined that the powder was a dairy ferment worth only US$ 4. Mella and Jara told the victims that Yo Flex should be mixed with milk and that the cheese should be returned to Fermex that would export it to France and Africa. The agents promised the people that thay would double their money in three months. Initially Fermex did pay the victims the profits, but this was a ploy to convince more people to join and invest their money. Soon many citizens were investing sums ranging from US$5000 to US$40,000. Many would sell their cars, property or get bank loans to buy the packs of "Yo Flex".
One of the most affected areas was Coltauco, a rural town of 17,000 citizens located 100 kms to the south of Santiago, the Chilean capital. In March of this year, 200 of Coltauco´s citizens took part in a dinner in honor of Madame Gil that was described by the owner of the restaurant as an "attractive and tall blonde woman that spoke with a strong French accent."
It seems that a few weeks ago Giselle and the Doctor decided that they had made enough profit and have disappeared from sight and it seems that worst is still to come, since Fermex had branches in 17 Chilean cities. A few weeks later a Chilean TV crew discovered the woman in Paris, confronted her but of course she denied everything, now she has gone into hiding and Interpol is after her, will they arrest Madame GIL? Now many jokes are being made about these poor people that were tricked.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Attack Dogs Spark Debate in Chile

Should they be banned or not?

During a recent drug bust carried out by the police in Santiago, the Chilean capital, a large deposit of cocaine was discovered hidden a in house's sewer tank. However, the only problem faced by the police was that sitting on top of the tank's cover was an "Argentine Dogo", one of the most fiercest guard dogs in the world. The traffickers had left the dog there to guard the illegal drugs, and they could not have thought of a better specimen for the task. The police were able to control the "Dogo" thanks to its specialized K-9 unit and without harming the animal.
Due to the many cases of burglaries, many Chilean families have decided to adopt these dogs in order to guard their property. Unfortunately, there have been many incidents where innocent people and children have been killed or badly maimed by attack dogs such as the Dogo, Pitbull and Rottweiler. In 2005 there was a debate in the Chilean congress to pass a law that would impose tougher controls on these breeds of attack dogs. Along with the Brazilian "Fila", the "Dogo" is a South American breed that was the product of intensive breeding with imported dogs. In 1925, two Argentine brothers, Antonio and Agustin Nores set upon creating a breed of dog that would be both a brave hunter and a loyal companion to its owners.

Brazilian Fila
They began with a local breed called "Cordoba Fighting Dog" and bred it with a Pointer to get a dog with good smelling senses. The Boxer was used to make its temper slightly more sociable, the Great Dane to get height (63.5 cm /25 inches in males and 59.7 cm /23.5 inches in females) and the Bulldog to get a balanced body structure. The Bull Terrier was used during the initial breeding to add bravery, the Irish Woolhound increased the height and hunting instinct and the Pyrinees Mountain Dog provided the traditional white fur. Finally the Spanish Mastiff was added to secure that the dog would have a large size (weight of between 36 to 45 Kilograms (80 to 100 pounds).
During its first trials, the Dogo proved to be not only a very good hunting dog but also a reliable guardian. Another peculiar characteristic of this breed is that it has small ears and also it is common for owners to cut them to give the Dogo the appearance similar to a fighting dog such as the "Pitbull". The Dogo has a good character with the owner and also with the family's children. However, the breeding process did have one flaw: at least 10% of the Dogos are born with deafness, it is recommended that before adopting the dog must be checked that it hears properly.
The Brazilian "Fila" is taller than the Dogo (between 65 to 70 cm/25.6 to 27.6 inches in males and 60 cm/23.6 inches in females) and differs in the color since it can never be white, always dark grey or a tigrish color. "Faithful like a Fila" is a well-known Brazilian proverb, this dog is always looking after its owner and is very gentle with the children of the house. On the other hand, the Fila´s main trait is the mistrust towards strangers and during exhibition shows the judges must never touch a Fila, otherwise they will suffer the consequences! The ancestors of this dog are the "Fila Terceirense", a race brought in from Portugal at the beginning of the sixteenth century. The Terceirense was a guardian of cattle and soon the Portuguese began to breed it with other races in order to adapt the dog to the tropical climate of Brazil. The Fila also inherited the characteristics of the Bulldog or Doggen Engelsen ( very aggressive and stubborn character ), English mastiff (strength and lockjaw bite) and the Bloodhound (good at tracking and a higher pitch bark when angry). Soon the Fila proved to be extremely efficient in the tracking down of runaway prisoners and slaves and to guard large herds of cattle.
In recent years the Brazilian Army has used the Fila during operations in the dense Amazon jungle. The Army also carried out a five year experiment to compare the Fila´s performance against that of the Doberman and German Sheperd. This experiment concluded that the Fila was the most suitable dog to perform under hostile jungle conditions. Currently the Fila is used by the K-9 unit of the U.S police and as a guard dog in countries such as Israel and Nigeria.

Chile's Love Parade

This was the second edition of the Trance , techno music festival held in Santiago on Jan. 6, 2006, About 500,000 people turnd up.Last year it ended with some riots but most probably it will be organized again this year, it was success.I was there ! I took some photos , I hope you like them!

Drunk Drivers Cause Alarm in Chile

Death of three students after illegal race shocks the country

Even if Chile was the first South American country to make the use of seat belts obligatory in 1984 , the death toll caused by car crashes is not diminishing. On September 28 at 2.30 a.m., three university students were killed instantly as the car in which they were riding crashed in one of Santiago's high speed expressways. According to witnesses and the vigilance cameras of the "Costanera Norte Highway", the youngsters attempted to enter the route at a very high speed. In a TV interview, a security guard said that he saw the white sports car racing in the streets with another unidentified car as they headed towards the highway entry lane. The vigilance cameras of "Costanera Norte" filmed the car as it overpassed other cars at speeds of over150 kilometers per hour. The youngsters tried to enter the expressway at nearly 100 kph in a curve where the speed limit was 60 kph. The driver, that has been identified as Javier Carracedo (20) lost control of the car that was lifted two meters in the air and ended its trajectory against a signpost. Carracedo was ejected from the front window and ended 50 meters in front of the car. The other two young men, Ignacio Leay and Armando Olavarria , both 20 years of age, died instantly from head traumatism. The police report stated that "Carracedo was driving under the influence of alcohol (D.U.I) and at an irresponsible and reckless speed." The police found several bottles of alcoholic drinks inside the car and registered that the needle in the tachometer was at 148 kph. According to press reports, Carracedo had been arrested in December 2005 for drunk driving, and at the time of the crash did not carry his driving license or car documents.
The pattern seems to be the same as youngsters from the richer Chilean families are given powerful sports cars by their parents (as is the case of these three young men), which they use during weekends to drive around the cities at high speeds. Frequently the youngsters are under the influence of drugs and "Pisco", a local spirit that is similar to Vodka and that has alcohol levels of between 35° to 45° proof. Police statistics show that nearly forty percent of those killed in car crashes are in the 18 to 30 age group and under the influence of alcohol.
Last year, 1626 Chileans were killed as a result of careless driving. During the past "Independence Day" holidays from 16 to 19 September, 40 people were killed in the highways and roads of the country. The most frequent causes of the crashes were D.U.I and reckless driving.
The latest craze among youngsters is "car tuning", whereby normal streetcars are customized in order to reach higher than normal speeds in order to compete with other cars at illegal races held during the weekends. The craze began after the exhibition of an American movie called "Fast and Furious" and these races draw thousands of people, and until now several participants and bystanders have been killed or seriously injured. Such is the popularity of this new fashion that there is a local web page, "" where the fixture for races is published. You may see some videos of their irresponsible behavior in this website.
A related issue is the bad security record in intercity buses, which is the main type of public transport throughout the country. In May 2006, a bus fell into a river and 24 passengers were killed. The Chilean Bus Driver's Union has denounced that they are made to drive loner hours than normal, with little time to rest and poor lodging facilities during trips were frequently they must drive for hundreds and thousands of kilometers. This situation has caused many citizens to demand stricter traffic laws and control by police.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Chile Has Best Airplane Safety Record in Latin America

No commercial airline crashes since 1990.

The recent crash of a Brazilian commercial airplane in the Amazon jungle that caused the death of 155 people has began a debate in Chile regarding the local standards of air travel safety. In stark contrast to Chile's road safety record which is not among the best in the world, no air traffic crashes involving commercial passenger airplanes has occurred since 1990, when a local airplane went down in the south of the country causing the death of 24 persons.
According to the local Civil Aviation Agency (DGAC), Chile has been classified in the first category of the international ranking , in other words, the country complies with the international standards of operational safety and also its airports have at present the most advanced safety technology in operation.
According to Lorenzo Sepulveda, Director of Operational safety for the DGAC, Chile is a leader among countries with fewer airplane accidents.
"The incident rates show that for every million takeoffs there is a major accident or a plane malfunction, but until now we have carried out 2 million takeoffs, higher rates that those of more developed countries. All our officials and technicians are well trained and make sure that the safety standards are implemented. Our Civil Aviation Code is very strict, a safety violation is not a fault, it is considered a crime with legal penalties," said Sepulveda.
On March 29, 2006 , Chile was the first member state of the International Air Transport Association ( IATA) to formally announce that it would declare the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) a condition of its airline certification process. "Chile has always been a regional leader in aviation safety. Today's announcement puts Chile at the forefront of using IOSA - the industry's first global benchmark for safety - to complement its safety oversight program," said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA's Director General and CEO.
In December 2005, the Latin American Air Transport Association (AITAL) declared Santiago's international airport as the "Best Latin American Air Terminal". Santiago airport has a capacity to transfer more than 12 million passengers per year, and has the most modern warehouses for imports and exports, making it the gateway for Asian products into South America and vice versa. In 2005, the airport carried out 67,900 air operations and at present the airport is undergoing an expansion process with a total investment of US$ 15 million, whereby new reception areas will be built, increasing passenger handling capacity. Also, nearly US$500,000 is being spent to continue installing "Air Field Turf", a synthetic turf that prevents birds from settling near the runways and colliding with airplanes, one of the main causes of accidents worldwide. "Air Field Turf" is the only product of its kind authorized by the United States Federal Aviation Authority (
Important links :,

Mark Gonzalez at Liverpool F.C

Speedy Gonzalez Gets Liverpool Back On Winning Track
Chilean Footballer Scores First P. League Goal Against Spurs

On September 23, Liverpool coach Rafa Benitez made a good decision and put on Chilean national team player Mark "Speedy" Gonzales from the first minute during the English Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspurs. The action took place at Anfield Road, the home ground of England's most successful football club. Liverpool's rival was another of England's most traditional clubs, also known as the "Spurs", that in recent years has been always in the middle of the points table. Tottenham´s last major trophy was in 2001, when the north London club won the "Worthington Cup".
Yet again the Liverpool fans were rewarded with a sunny day and filled up the grandstands at Anfield Road to cheer on their team, that has been struggling to show consistency in its play. Mark Gonzales was fundamental in bringing back optimism to the local fans that had not been very pleased with the previous results (defeats to Everton and Chelsea and a victory over Newcastle United. With his dangerous runs up the left wing, Gonzales showed that he is the man to lead the Liverpool attack and bring danger to rival areas. Speedy was first applauded by the fans in the 19th minute as he approached the Spurs area but was brought down by a defender, and again in the 34th minute as the Chilean player took a corner from the right, where the ball rebounded off a Spurs player and hit the left hand post.
Liverpool controlled the match in the first half and in the second came out to get the victory. The play became more open and there were several scoring chances for both teams. In the 60th minute , Dutch international Edgar Davids replaced Teemu Tainiu for Spurs, and in his first touch of the ball a minute later, Davids broke away clear on the left wing and gave a good pass to Jenas, but incredibly, as he was alone in front of Reina ,the Spurs player took a shot that missed the goal completely. These kinds of opportunities cannot be missed at this level and this situation clearly demoralized the Spurs players.
Then came the turning point in the match as immediately Liverpool went on a fast counterattack where Gerrard crossed the ball from the right, Bellamy´s shot hit the left goalpost but Mark Gonzales ran in and sent the ball into the bottom right corner of the Spurs net. This is the first Premier league goal scored by Speedy and it could not have come at a better moment.
In the 72nd minute Gonzales was involved in a good combination of passes that ended with Dirk Kuyt scoring the second goal for Liverpool. Coach Rafa Benitez must have sensed that the result was secured since in the 76th minute he replaced Mark Gonzales with Fabio Aurelio and the Chilean player was given a standing ovation by the local fans as he left the pitch. Speedy was undoubtedly the man of the match for Liverpool, making no mistakes and always creating goal-scoring chances for his team.
The match had a spectacular ending in the 89th minute as Riise struck a very powerful shot nearly forty meters away from the Spurs goal that entered the left hand corner of Robinson's net. This goal will surely be included in the "Top Goals of the Year" competition. As the match ended, the Liverpool fans left the ground singing their traditional victory song, "You´ll never walk alone", showing that they have recovered confidence in their team.

Starting lineups :
Liverpool : Reina (gk), M.Sissoko, Alonso, Agger, Gerrard, Hyypia, Finnan, Riise, Bellamy, Kuyt and Mark Gonzales.

Tottenham Hotspurs : P.Robinson (gk), Dawson, King, Jenas, Zokora, Murphy, Ekoto, Defoe, Chimbonda., Tainiu and Robbie Keane.

Goals : Mark Gonzalez (min 63 ), Dirk Kuyt (min 72) and Riise (min 89)