Wednesday, November 29, 2006


On Dec 23, the Brazilian Federal Police arrested El Al Yoram as he strolled along the posh Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro.(Maybe he was looking for that famous "girl of Ipanema"). Yoram was on the DEA's most wanted list since 2004 after attempting to smuggle 1.4 million "Extasis" pills into the United States. On that occassion the contraband was confiscated by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency). It is a common practice for Extasis dealers to be paid by the buyers even if the cargo is confiscated and Yoram made an audatious move as he travelled illegally into the U.S to collect the cash.Apparently Yoram collected some of the cash and fled to Punta del Este, Uruguay one of the most exclusive beach resorts in South America. At this point Yoram had arrest warrants from the Israeli police, DEA, Interpol and was arrested by the Uruguayan police and was sent into detention at the "Libertad" jail. On Oct 4, 2005 , Yoram escaped from the jail at 2:00 a.m after his brother paid a prison guard US$100,000 as a bribe. On that night, men posing as police officers arrived at the jail and said that Yoram was to be transferred to another facility. The prison guard authorized Yoram`s exit that immediately fled with Nissim to Brazil.
Yoram had become the world`s most wanted Extasis trafficker after taking over from Zeev Rosenstein two years ago. Yoram ordered Rosenstein`s assassination and during the attack three people died. However, Rosenstein got the message and went out of the business.
According to Interpol,the consumption of Extasis or Metilendioximetanfetamine(MDMA), has been increasing specially among the followers of "Rave" electronic music, mostly teenagers, young adults and also among older adults.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


The Kingdom of Spain eagerly set about colonizing large portions of North, Central and South America , throughout the 16th century to the beginning of the 19th century, and obtained a colossal financial benefit from this endeavor, that transformed the small European country into the superpower of that era. The first Spaniards to arrive in the Americas were given the honorary title of "Conquistadores" (Conquerors) whose mission was to claim whatever territory they came across in the name of the Spanish Crown, by any means including violence. In turn, the Spanish monarchy allowed the Conquistadores to possess a certain area of land and gave them the right to rule over the American natives.
At the height of their power, the Spaniards had settled from California in the North to Patagonia in the south, except for Brazil, that had been shared with their cousins, the Portuguese. The Spaniards mixed with the American natives and formed a new race called the Creoles, that would in turn become the rulers of the new republics formed after independence from Spain. It is estimated that during the colonial era some 2 million Spaniards and other Europeans arrived in the Americas, mostly unemployed individuals, pardoned criminals and adventurers. Other major waves of European immigrants arrived in South America during most of the 19th century after independence from Spain and Portugal when the newly independent republics demanded a qualified and skilled labor force. During the twentieth century, the wars and economic crisis in Europe forced millions of Spaniards, Italians , Germans and other nationalities to immigrate to South America. One of the countries that received huge numbers of Europeans was Argentina, mainly Spaniards and Italians, forming an explosive racial mixture that together with an extremely wealthy economy caused the Argentineans to acquire a superiority complex. Many Argentineans considered themselves as "Italians that spoke Spanish" and their arrogant personality and prosperity caused them to be hated and envied by the other South Americans. Due to the famine and unemployment that hit Europe after World War 1 and World War II, Argentina became the main supplier of foodstuffs to Europe, specially Spain and Italy, whose economies were on the floor. Argentina even donated millions of tons of meat and corn to feed the starving masses in those countries. Argentina's economy continued booming until the decade of the 70s, but then, as in the rest of the continent, political and economic turmoil struck the proud birthplace of Evita Peron. To make a long story short, an economic crisis along with the psychological impact of the defeat in the Falklands War brought Argentineans back to reality and forced hundreds of thousands of them to return to their "homelands", Spain and Italy, whose economies were now in expansion. The Spanish government has 3 million individuals registered with dual Spanish-Argentinean nationalities, that at present do not need entry visas into Spain. However, many of these people travel to Spain allegedly as tourists but with the intention of staying there to work, and this influx has caused a strong demand on housing and medical services, not to mention pressure on the labor market. Thousands of Italo-Argentineans gather every day outside the Italian embassy in Buenos Aires in order to apply for passports or entry visas, but due to their numbers, the embassy has stated that many applicants will have to wait for as long as two years to obtain the documents. The Spanish government has confirmed that there are 800,000 legal South American residents, mostly from Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia and Peru, but the numbers of illegal immigrants could add up to much more. This situation has caused the Spanish immigration authorities to consider demanding entry visas to Argentineans and Bolivians, as it has already done with Colombians, Ecuadorians and Peruvians. So many Ecuadorians have arrived in Spain that they have occupied whole towns, causing violent clashes with the locals, that have resent the presence of these modern day "invaders". Recently a common catchphrase among Spaniards has been "Beware of the Argentineans, they will trick you, the Colombians will kill you and the Chileans will rob you". Chileans do not need an entry visa into Spain, but gangs of local criminals known as "Cogoteros" have made use of this opportunity to travel to Spain to commit their crimes where they can "earn" more. The "Cogoteros" have become so notorious with their bank robberies, shoplifting, pickpocketing and burglaries that they have forced the Spanish police to set up a special branch to combat their activities.
Is history backfiring on the Spaniards ? Did the "Conquistadores" ever imagine that their colonizing venture began five centuries ago would bring these results ? As the old saying goes "Sow winds and you will reap a storm"

Monday, November 20, 2006


Chilean Squad Does Well In S.American Championship
Plays well against Brazil

During the final round of matches in the South American U-20 tournament being hosted by Paraguay, the Chilean national team faced its toughest challenge against Brazil , that has been several times World champions in this category. This tournament is being organized by the Conmebol, the continental football federation and is very important since the first two teams will qualify to play in the 2008 Beijing Olympics while the first four teams will take part in the forthcoming U-20 World Cup to be held in Canada in June 2007.
The game was played on Jan 22 at the Feliciano Caceres Stadium in Luque, in front of approximately 12,000 fans. It was the second of a three match meeting that did not start off very well for the local team since Paraguay went down to Argentina by 1-0. The fans were soon supporting Chile that completely outplayed Brazil in the first half but were unable to score the crucial first goal. In the second half Chile suffered a heavy blow as Nicholas Larrondo , one of its best defenders was sent off in the 58th due to a late tackle on a Brazilian player. Larrondo´s absence left a gap in the Chilean defense that was soon capitalized by Brazil that scored ten minutes later with a header by Alexandre Pato, a striker that plays for S.American club champions Internacional. Tempers were rising as some minutes later a Brazilian attempted to deceive the referee by scoring a Maradona style goal with his hand. A scuffle began between players from both teams and ended with each team having a man sent off. However the Chileans showed great fighting spirit and continued advancing towards the Brazilian area. This paid off in the 85th minute as Nicholas Medina was fouled in the area and the penalty was scored by Arturo Vidal. The Chilean players were still celebrating when Brazil scored a minute later as Tcho fired in a loose ball in the area. It seemed that all was lost for Chile with only three minutes remaining but the team counterattacked and this caused a Brazilian defender to commit another foul in his own area. It was the 95th minute of play but the referee allowed Arturo Vidal to take the penalty and equalize for Chile. The Brazilian players could not believe what had happened and swarmed around the referee to complain and ended up pushing him onto the ground. The riot police entered the pitch immediately and controlled the Brazilian players, but this will bring serious consequences since it seems that those players that assaulted the referee will be suspended for several matches by the Conmebol.
Since Chile won its first match against Colombia by 5-0 it only needs two more points to qualify for the Canada World Cup. Chile is now the highest scoring team of the championship with 15 goals and its next match will be against Argentina on Jan 23.
On that same day Brazil will face Uruguay and Paraguay will play Colombia.

The points table is as follows :

1) Uruguay : 6 points
2) Chile and Argentina : 4 points
3) Brazil: 2 points
4) Paraguay and Colombia : 0 points

5 Dead, 40 wounded in Football Match in Colombia
Lightning Strikes during amateur championship match

El Tiempo, a local newspaper, reported that on Nov. 19 in Llano del Poso, a small town in the northeastern region of Colombia, a lightning ray struck a plastic tent under which some 60 people had taken shelter from the rain. Surprise tropical rainstorms are common in this region of the country that is in a jungle area near the border with Venezuela. The police reported that 40 people were injured , 8 in critical condition, including 4 children.
The freak occurrence occurred at 3:30 local time as two amateur teams from nearby villages faced each other.
Dr. Juan Carlos Casas, of the local hospital declared that most of the wounded had skin burns of different degrees of seriousness.
“When the lightning ray hit us everything shook and we felt as if the ground was sinking under our feet,” said Carlos Perez, a peasant that survived the incredible accident caused by nature.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

South American Footballers

Chilean Striker is World’s Top Goalscorer
Humberto Suazo presented with trophy in Salzburg, Austria

Who was the top goalscorer in 2006? Ronaldinho (Barcelona)? Andrei Shevchenko (Chelsea)? Park Ji Sung (Manchester United) ? Didier Drogba (Chelsea)? No, it was none of these players. According to the International Federation of Football History & Statistics ( IFFHS), it is Humberto Suazo, a Chilean striker currently playing for Colo Colo, the champion club in that South American country and that this year was also the highest goalscorer ever in Chilean first division history, with 51 goals.
On Jan 8, the IFFHS held a ceremony in Salzburg Austria, where Suazo was presented with the trophy to the “Highest Goalscorer in 2006” with 17 goals scored in top level international matches played both for his national team and club. Suazo left behind players such as Peter Crouch (Liverpool) with 16 goals, Miroslav Klose (Werder Bremen) 13 goals and Lukas Podolski (Bayern Munich) at 13 goals.
Suazo was also awarded the IFFHS “Silver Ball” award for being the second highest goalscorer in a first division tournament. The top goalscorer was Klaas Jan Huntelaar of Ajax (Netherlands) that scored 35 times in the Dutch tournament.
According to the IFFHS, the best club in the world was Sevilla of the Spanish First Division, the Best Coach was Frank Rijkaard of Barcelona while Horacio Elizondo of Argentina was the best “Man In Black” (referee) in 2006.
You may see the IFFHS full list of top goalscorers at

CHILEAN IS BEST SOUTH AMERICAN FOOTBALLEROn Dec. 30, 2006, Matias Fernandez, a 20 year old attacking midfielder won the annual election held among specialized journalists from South America and Europe. The election is organized by “El Pais” a Uruguayan newspaper. Fernandez was recently transferred from Chilean champion Colo Colo to Villarreal in the Spanish First division for 7 million Euros won the election with 62 votes. In second place was Rodrigo Palacio, (Boca Juniors, Argentina) with 53 votes, third was Fernando Gago, also of Boca Juniors (50 votes) and fourth was Rogelio Ceni (Sao Paulo, Brazil) with 45 votes.
Matias Fernandez is the third Chilean footballer to win the competition after Elias Figueroa (1974,1975 ,1976) and Marcelo Salas (1997). Fernandez was crucial in helping Colo Colo win its second chilean championship in a row and also reaching the final of the Copa Sudamericana in Dec. 2006 that the Chilean club lost to Pachuca of Mexico.
Colo Colo`s coach, Claudio Borghi, was voted “Best Coach of the Year” by El Pais, with 52 votes, followed by Alfil Basile (Argentina) with 50 votes, Abel Braga of Internacional (Brazil) and Luis Fernando Suarez of the Ecuador national team both got 49 while Diego Simeone, coach of the Argentinean champion, Estudiantes de La Plata got 33 votes.
According to El Pais, the South American “Dream Team” would be formed by the following players :
Rogelio Ceni (goalkeeper), Hugo Ibarra, Daniel Díaz, Juan Veron, Fernando Gago , Rodrigo Palacio, Gonzalo Higuain (Argentina), Fabao and Fernandao (Brazil), Matias Fernandez and Humberto Suazo (Chile).

Portsmouth Gets Valuable Draw against Arsenal
Premier League match ends 2-2 in London

The match was held on Dec. 16 at Arsenal's impressive new "Emirates Stadium" with an attendance of 60,037 spectators. The game did not begin very well for the "Gunners" since Freddie Ljungberg was injured in the sixth minute and was replaced by Theo Walcott. Portsmouth, the surprise team of the season were happy to hang on to the draw and goalkeeper David James played a crucial role in blocking all of Arsenal's goal attempts. The match was becoming quite monotonous but came back to life in the 45th minute. Surprisingly, during one of Pompey´s few attacks, Matt Taylor took a free kick that hit the right post, and the rebound was connected by Noe Pamarot into the Arsenal net.
As the second half began, Portsmouth gave another surprise as a shot by David Thompson bounced near the Arsenal goal, and Matt Taylor scored with another spectacular volley into the top left hand corner of Jens Lehmann´s net.
In the 55th minute Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger took the right decision as he replaced Jeremie Aliadiere with Emmanuel Adebayor that brought his team back to life as he scored only two minutes later. Not only did the goal wake the fans up, but also the whole Arsenal team, that continued attacking at the Portsmouth goal and were rewarded in the 59th minute, when Kolo Toure took a hard long range shot that was rebounded by James. Gilberto Silva, Brazilian national team player and captain of Arsenal came running into the area and scored the equalizer with a low shot. Arsenal was really speeding up the pace, and this forced Pompey coach Harry Redknapp to make two substitutions, as Nico Kranjcar and Richard Hughes came on in the next fifteen minutes to slow down the action.
Gilberto Silva nearly wrapped up the match for Arsenal as he narrowly missed with a good low shot that went near the left hand post of James’s goal. The Arsenal players felt the effort of the second half and just played to maintain the result. A good result for Portsmouth that was visiting and that after this result is now in fourth place in the Premier League with 20 points while Arsenal is third with 30 points.

Arsenal: Jens Lehmann, Gael Clichy, Johan Djourou, Emmanuel Eboue (Mathieu Flamini 78), Kolo Toure, Cesc Fabregas, Fredrik Ljungberg (Theo Walcott 6), Aleksandr Hleb, Gilberto Silva, Robin van Persie, Jeremie Aliadiere (Emmanuel Adebayor 55)
Coach: Arsene Wenger

Portsmouth: David James, Linvoy Primus, Noe Pamarot, Matthew Taylor, Sol Campbell, Glen Johnson, David Thompson (Niko Kranjcar 71), Gary O'Neil, Pedro Mendes, Sean Davis, Nwankwo Kanu (Richard Hughes 85)
Coach : Harry Redknapp

Thrilling Draw Between Manchester United and Chelsea
Clash of Leaders at Old Trafford Ends 1-1

The match was played on Nov. 27 between the English premier League`s first placed team, Manchester United and Chelsea. At the start of the match Man. United was three points ahead of Chelsea. Both teams fielded their most powerful lineups, full of 2006 World Cup players such as Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast) that with 8 goals is the Premier League's highest goalscorer , Wayne Rooney (England) that has scored 7 times this season and Gabriel Heinze, an Argentine defender that was crucial in neutralizing the Chelsea forwards in the first half of the match . Man. Utd had a very good record at Old Trafford since it had only conceded two goals in the six matches previous home matches. The pitch was in excellent condition and helped the action to get underway at an extremely fast pace, at typical English style football. Man. Utd had taken control of the action and the 75,000 fans were on their feet in the 17th minute as Michael Ballack accidentally handled the ball outside the Chelsea area. Cristiano Ronaldo took a hard free kick that was deflected by Carlo Cudicini, the Chelsea goalkeeper, over the bar.
Manchester Utd. continued pounding at the Chelsea goal and the results came in the 28th minute as Rooney sent in a great low pass from the halfway line to Louis Saha that was in the Chelsea area. Saha turned very well and placed a low shot into the right hand corner of the Chelsea goal.
Until the goal Chelsea had not shown much attacking play, and its first chance came in the 37th minute as Geremi took a hard long range shot that was blocked by Erwin Van der Sar, the Dutch national team goalkeeper. With Shevchenko isolated from his teammates by the Chelsea defenders, there were no other dangerous attacks until the end of the first half. During the break Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho replaced Geremi with Arjen Robben to strengthen its attack and this made came onto the pitch with a more aggressive attitude and the Blues controlled play for the first 15 minutes, with Frank Lampard taking three shots at goal. Mourinho´s move paid off in the 68th minute as Lampard made a good cross from the right corner that defender Ricardo Carvalho headed into the Man Utd net. It seems that at this point Sir Alex Ferguson sensed that if the did not put more weight in defence Chelsea would overrun Manchester United and so he replaced Cristiano Ronaldo and Saha with Darren Fletcher and John O' Shea. Meanwhile as in the previous moments of the match, Didier Drogba continued to be cancelled out by the Man. Utd defense. The result of Fergusson’s defensive tactics was that Man.Utd kept its three point lead from Chelsea, but with Blues playing as they are, will it be enough of a lead for Man.Utd to win the Championship?

Starting Lineups:
Man. Utd (1) : Edwin v. Der Sar (gk), Michael Carrick, Gary Neville, Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Louis Saha, Gabriel Heinze, Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Wayne Rooney.

Coach: Alex Fergusson

Chelsea (1) : Carlo Cudicini (gk), Geremi, Ricardo Carvalho, John Terry, Ashley Cole, Michael Ballack, Michael Essien, Frank Lampard, Claude Makelele, Andrei Shevechenko, Didier Drogba.

Another matchday of the UEFA Champions League was played on Nov.22 and in Milan at the Giuseppe Meazza Stadium, the home team Inter Milan played host to Sporting Lisbon.
Several South American players were on the pitch (for Inter Hernan Crespo , Javier Zanetti,(Argentina), Julio Cesar and Maicon (Brazil) and Ivan Cordoba (Colombia) while Sporting fielded Rodrigo Tello (Chile) and Carlos Paredes (Paraguay)
Inter needed to win to qualify for the next round of the tournament. Inter Milan has yet to win the Champions League as it is today, but it has won its predecessor, the European Champions Cup in the 1963-64 and 1964-65 seasons. From the start, with some hard tackles, the Inter Milan defenders made a point to the Portuguese players that they were in for a rough match. Play went on from one end of the pitch to the other at a fast pace but the first scoring chance happened in the 12th min as Fabio Grosso, the man that scored the winning penalty in the final of this years World Cup hit a hard mid level free kick past Ricardo´s right post. The first casualty for Sporting came in the 16th minute as Marco Materazzi, another Italian hero made famous as he received Zidane´s head butt during the final against France injured Marco Caneira out of the match. Caneira was replaced by Abel and play progressed under the same pattern, with Sporting crashing time and time again with the tough Inter defense. In the 36th minute , after an Inter Milan counterattack, Crespo was left alone in front of Ricardo to volley in a hard shot into the Sporting net. Abel was yet another victim of Inter´s hard tackling and also had to leave the pitch.
During the 73rd minute of the second half, Crespo could have wrapped up the match for Inter as Grosso sent in a hard low cross from the left, as the Argentine player slid feet first into the area but missed the ball by a few inches. Grosso was replaced ten minutes later by another Argentine player, Esteban Cambiasso. Sporting´s first clear scoring chance came too late, in the 85th minute as Rodrigo Tello sent in a good corner from the left that Alecasandro headed in at close range next to Julio Cesar´s left post. During the final spell of the match the Inter defense showed that it was just too efficient for the Sporting players to defeat. Now Inter Milan has qualified for the next round of the Champions League along with Bayern Munich, the leader of Group B.

Starting Lineups :

Inter Milan (1) : Julio Cesar (gk), Javier Zanetti, Ivan Cordoba, Marco Materazzi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Maicon, Olivier Dacourt, Patrick Vieira, Fabio Grosso, Hernan Crespo.

Sporting Lisbon (0) : Ricardo (gk), Custodio, Anderson Polga, Tonel, Marco Caneira, Carlos Paredes, R.Tello, Alecsandro, Nani, Joao Moutinho, Joao Alves.

Results from other Champions League matches played on Nov 22 :
Celtic 1- Manchester United 0, CSKA 0 - Porto 2, Benfica 3 - Copenhague F.C -1 ,
AEK Athens 1 - AC Milan 0, Lille 2 - Anderlecht 2, Spartak Moscow 2 - Bayern Munich 2, Dynamo Kiev 1 - Steua Bucarest 1, Arsenal 3 - Hamburg 1.

Another intercity derby was played on Nov. 18 at Stamford Bridge, London, home ground of Chelsea, a club that is competing for a historic hat-trick of English Premier League titles. The only team in history that has been able to win three English championships in a row has been Manchester United , that incidentally is leading in the points table and is three points ahead of Chelsea. West Ham is having a dreadful season and is currently in 16th place in the championship. It was a chance for South American football fans to see two Argentine national team players such as Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano in action, that arrived at West Ham at the start of this season from Corinthians, the Brazilian champions. However neither have been able to show good form, and several press reports from Brazil mention that Tevez and Mascherano will return and play for Flamengo in Rio de Janeiro. Mascherano was not in the starting lineup and Tevez just cannot keep up with the fast pace of the English premier League. Tevez is a skilful player that likes to dribble a lot, but since the English style of play leaves few open spaces, he is rarely able to show all his qualities. Chelsea did not show much clear scoring chances in the first twenty minutes and West Ham even less, making the match quite monotonous. Howver in the 21st minute , the Premier League's top scorer with eight goals, Didier Drogba ran off free towards the W. Ham goal and was fouled outside the semi circle. Instants later, Cameroonian international player, Geremi scored with a well placed free kick past goalkeeper Robert Green. West Ham continued at its medium pace trying to equalize but with no clarity, only a few crosses and corners into the area where the Hammers had no players that can head the ball at goal.
In the second half the match followed the same pattern as in the first half, with Chelsea not really playing at their best level, instead waiting to see what West Ham could produce.
Didier Drogba, finally appeared in the 68th minute with his first shot at goal that went into the hands of Green. In the 72th minute Essien took a hard and low long range shot that hit the left post of the West Ham goal and went out.
W. Ham continued with its ineffective play and in the last moments of the game Tevez showed that he is not adjusting to the pace in the Premier League, as he tried to dribble a Chelsea defender that easily won the ball away from him. From then on Chelsea continued to control the match and won another three points with little effort.

Starting Lineups :
Chelsea (1) Carlo Cudicini, Ricardo Carvalho, Ashley Cole, John Terry, Michael Essien, Geremi, Frank Lampard, Claude Makelele, Didier Drogba, Arjen Robben , Andrei Shevchenko.

West Ham (0) : Robert Green , Anton Ferdinand , Daniel Gabbidon , Paul Konchesky, Hayden Mullins, Jonathan Spector, Lee Bowyer , Matthew Etherington, Nigel Reo-Coker , Carlos Tevez , Bobby Zamora

Ohter results (Nov. 18) Sheffield Utd 1 - Manchester Utd. 2
Manchester City 3 - Fulham 1

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Surprise Victory by Left Wing Candidate in Ecuador
Economist Rafael Correa wins elections with 60% of votes

Against all forecasts made by several opinion poll companies before Nov. 26, it was Rafael Correa, a 43 year old economist that was chosen by the Ecuadorian electorate to be the president of the South American country for the next four years.
Correa is the leader of the “Christian Left” party that defeated Ecuador´s richest man, Alvaro Noboa a banana export tycoon with a fortune estimated at US$1.4 billion, Until Nov. 27, Noboa had refused to accept the election results and demanded “that votes be counted one by one”. Correa carried out graduate studies in U.S and Belgian universities and was Minister of Economy in Ecuador during 2005, and will have a hard job ahead of him since his three predecessors were either ousted from power by military coups or popular revolt.
Correa´s first post-election promises were to close a U.S military base in the country and also to scrap plans to sign a “Free Trade Agreement” with the North American nation.
During his victory speech on Sunday night, Correa stated that “the people’s victory is irreversible. I invite all Ecuadorians, even those that voted for my opponent to join our project, we are open to reaching a consensus. David has defeated Goliath.”
Correa’s speech had a surprising ending as he shouted “Always forward until victory” a phrase coined by South American left wing revolutionary , Ernesto “Che” Guevara.
Correa will officially begin his term on January 15, 2007 and during his first press interview rejected that he would be a follower of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
“ I am a friend of Hugo Chavez, so what? I will be in charge , not Chavez,” said Correa.
Meanwhile, Hugo Chavez gets ready for the Dec. 3 elections with mass rallies all over Venezuela. “We will win by knockout ,” said Chavez during a speech.

Lula Da Silva´s first official state visit after being reelected as President of Brazil was to Venezuela, renamed by President Hugo Chavez, as the "Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela", in honor of Simon Bolivar, one of the leaders of the 19th century's continental independence war against Spain. "I will support any candidate that proposes the same ideas as Hugo Chavez," said Lula during a speech in Venezuela, in stark contrast to his stance during the election campaigns, where he seldom mentioned the controversial Venezuelan leader. Hugo Chavez has divided the continent with his policy of intervention in the political affairs of neighboring countries. In some cases he has been successful, such as in Bolivia, where his petrodollars helped a coca farmer such as Evo Morales to win the elections and become the first Native American head of state. In other cases such as Peru, Hugo Chavez publicly gave his support to Ollanta Humala, the leader of an indigenous-nationalist movement. The other candidate, Alan Garcia, that had already been President of Peru in 1985, used this situation as his main election platform, denouncing that Chavez wanted to make the country a client state of Venezuela. Chavez replied by calling Garcia a "common thief" and promised that his country would break diplomatic relations with Peru if Garcia was elected. Finally Garcia won the election in mid July after forming a strategic alliance with the leader of a right wing coalition and since then the relation between Peru and Venezuela is not on very good terms.
Another crucial battle will be fought in Ecuador on Nov. 26 where 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. 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 Nestor 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 has more bank checks than brain cells," said Correa. It seems that Correa learnt the lesson from other Chavez backed candidates that 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.
This situation, along with the election of Daniel Ortega clearly shows a pattern where the Latin American electorate is changing its preference from the elegant, suit and tie graduates from foreign universities of the past two decades, that have not really been able to reduce the levels of extreme poverty in the continent, and instead is voting for more unconventional candidates, such as Evo Morales, (coca plantation farmer), Hugo Chavez (military officer), Lula da Silva (factory worker), Nestor Kirchner (former left wing guerrilla) or Michelle Bachelet , South America's first female head of state. Chile has a swavering attitude in its foreign relations, but it can be said that it is part of a less radical block of countries, a "Western Block", that includes Colombia and Peru that has preferred to maintain good ties with the United States, since both will receive large amounts of U.S. financial and military aid in the future, compared to the "Eastern Block" of countries formed by Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina and Bolivia, that want to show a more independent attitude.

Monday, November 13, 2006


Global Warming in Patagonia
A region that expects arrival of millions of "climatic refugees"

Recently it has become common during weather reports in Chilean television, newspapers and other media to inform about the levels of Ultra Violet (UV) Radiation. The degree of danger faced by humans when exposed to the harmful UV rays is measured from 1 to 12, or from low (white color) to very high (dark red color). For example at the time this article was written, the levels in Santiago, the Chilean capital were reported at level 8 or high. The Chilean Cancer Institute ( has recommended that people should take care between 11:00 a.m and 3 p.m, when UV radiation is at its highest levels and the risk of contracting skin cancer or vision problems are greater. Men and women have been discouraged from "sunbathing" in beaches or swimming pools, as even if the aesthetic effect may be attractive, experts agree that the probabilities of contracting cancer are high. According to statistics given by Conac, the rate of skin cancer cases in Chile increases by 3% each year. Conac has also begun a campaign where a bracelet known as "Sun Alert" is sold to children for US$2 dollars, to help youngsters become aware of the dangers of overexposure to sunlight. According to measurements carried out by Conac, the levels of solar radiation for January 2006 were higher than in January 2005, and the color used for this period was violet (extremely dangerous). Conac estimates that due to the reduction in the ozone layer, by the age of 18, a Chilean individual has already been exposed to radiation that normally would have been received in 50 years. Since 2004, Conac has set up several UV ray sensor equipment in beach resorts all over Chile.
Recently the local Dermatologist Society has warned against the exposure to UV rays in solariums, ( another popular practice) since "the skin is directly exposed to UV rays".
In the central region of Chile, where most of its population is concentrated, the global warming phenomenon has caused abnormally high temperatures during winter, from May to September, and at present some lower temperatures and cloudier days have been experienced since October, when the temperatures are normally higher.
Also the higher temperatures have caused an increase in rat population in rural areas. This has provoked the appearance of an until now unknown virus, "Hanta" that is contracted when humans come into contact with areas infested by rats. This year, several people have died from Hanta and the authorities have launched public information campaigns to on how citizens can prevent the transmission of this disease.

In the Patagonia, in the far south of the continent and only two hours by plane from the Antarctic, the levels of UV radiation area are much higher, since the gap in the Ozone layer is directly over this territory that is shared by Argentina and Chile. Citizens on both sides of the border are exposed to the same levels of radiation and so people of all ages have become used to wearing sunglasses all year round. This situation became more apparent after sheep farmers noticed that high levels of exposure of UV rays were blinding many of their animals, as the sheep remain grazing all day in the fields. During winter, the Antarctic region is isolated from the continental winds due to the "Polar Jet", a phenomenon where a circular mass of intense winds causes the lowest temperatures in the planet and also the highest losses of Ozone. Polar clouds containing high contents of chlorine are formed that prevent the UV radiation from being filtered by the Ozone layer, since one molecule of chlorine can destroy thousands of molecules of Ozone. Along with many other countries, Chile and Argentina have set up scientific bases in the Antarctic and are constantly monitoring the situation in the ozone layer.

Global warming has also caused geopolitical tension between Argentina and Chile such as occurred in 2006 over the "Southern Ice Fields". These glaciers are located in the Andes Mountains approximately 1000 kms from Santiago, the Chilean capital and are one of the largest water reserves in the planet, but since they are exactly on the border between the two countries, the border has not yet been officially established. Argentina caused a diplomatic incident after its Ministry of Tourism published a map in its website where all the "Southern Ice Fields" appeared as Argentine territory. Chile complained to the Argentine government and the map was taken off the website. These glaciers are constantly melting at an alarmingly fast rate, creating large blocks of ice that increase the level of the seas.
It is estimated that during the next 50 years, the temperatures in the planet will increase by 2 degrees Celsius, causing a negative impact on the planet's agricultural production and obviously a shortage of food. Argentina, Chile and Brazil will be faced with the arrival of millions of "climatic refugees" from all over the world as land mass, water supplies and food production decrease.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Chilean Footballers

Jeonbuk Hyundai Hires Jose Luis Villanueva

Villanueva is a 25 year old forward that was recently playing for Morelia in the Mexican First Division. The Chilean striker played 16 matches for Morelia during the “Opening Tournament” and scored 4 goals. Villanueva must be in Korea on January 4 to start training with his new club, Jeonbuk, the Korean and Asian champion that also took part in FIFA’s World Club Championship some weeks ago. Villanueva was also wanted by Argentine First division clubs such as San Lorenzo and Racing, and in this last club he played during the 2005 season so many were surprised by his decision.
“When the Koreans contacted me I didn’t think twice about it. I accepted immediately and I don´t care when people say that the Korean league is not very well known. They forget that Korea was third in the 2002 World Cup, there are Korean players in the English Premier League. I like the challenge of seeing a new culture, maybe I will also become a businessman. The Korean style of play is fast and strong and I like that,” said Villanueva during an interview with Chilean newspaper “Las Ultimas Noticias”.
Villanueva’s manager Leo Rodriguez stated to the press that “the one year contract arrived by fax from Korea and the salary is quite high, but I cannot reveal how much Jose luis will earn,”
Villanueva started his career as as footballer in Chilean clubs Palestino, Cobreloa and Universidad Catolica.

Arsenal Fires Three Goals Past Liverpool
Chile´s Mark Gonzalez is replaced in second half.

Arsenal played its 6th English Premier League match at the recently built "Emirates Stadium" on November 12th in front of a full capacity crowd of 60,110 spectators. This is the most modern stadium in the world and was built at a cost of 580 million euros. The main sponsor is "Emirates airlines" and part of the deal with the London club is that the airline will have the main publicity rights for the next fifteen years.
Arsenal is getting used to playing at its new stadium, and its form has not been as good as at Highbury, since in the past 5 matches the "Gunners" have won two matches and drawn three. On the other hand Liverpool has had a very bad record as a visitor with only one draw and five defeats. The local press rumors that coach Rafa Benitez may be near to losing his job if the results continue to be negative. Benitez made a lot of Chilean fans when he put on Mark Gonzalez on from the first minute, even if the Chilean midfielder is recovering from muscle fatigue. The match began at a nonstop pace and it was Liverpool that had the first scoring chance as Dirk Kuyt´s shot went over the Arsenal goal defended by Manuel Almunia. It was interesting to see that both teams have Spanish goalkeepers and that Arsenal did not field any English players, instead several French players, , two Ivorians a Bielorussian ( Alexander Hleb) , and Gilberto Silva, a Brazilian defender that along with Gonzalez were the only South Americans on the pitch.
Both teams played with a man to man marking system that left very few open spaces for Mark Gonzalez or any other player to run freely. Gonzalez was yet again the only dangerous striker for Liverpool, with a dangerous low cross from the left in the 27th minute to Boudewijn Zenden , that sent the ball over the crossbar.
However it was Liverpool that made the first defensive mistake that cost them the first goal by Arsenal. Hleb ran into the Liverpool area and made a good pass to Francesc Fabregas that in turn crossed a low ball to Mathieu Flamini whose shot gave Arsenal the lead after 40 minutes of play.
Liverpool controlled the first ten minutes of the second half in a desperate attempt to equalize but another defensive error in the 55th minute sealed the fate for the northern club. Robin Van Persie saw a space in the Liverpool defense and made a long pass to Kolo Toure that was left alone in front of Jose Reina and hit a low shot into the left corner of the net.
In the 60th minute, Rafa Benitez made another questionable substitution as he replaced Mark Gonzalez , the only man that had created danger for Liverpool in the left wing, and replaced him with Jermaine Pennant (that usually plays on the right wing).
Peter Crouch, that along with Kuyt had not shown much during the match was substituted by Craig Bellamy in the 70th minute. A curious note was added to the match as referee Mark Clutterbuck fell to the ground the next minute with an apparent knee injury, but the man in black was soon recovered by the medical assistants. The deathblow to Liverpool came ten minutes later as Van Persie took a corner from the right and incredibly William Gallas was left alone to head the ball past Reina. Liverpool's defense is its weak point this season, and no team can do well if they give advantage in this area of the field. The rest of the match continued with Sami Hyypia being substituted by Philippe Senderos and an on-the-pitch argument between Steven Gerrard and John Riise. Arsene Wenger´s tactics were superior to those of Rafa Benitez, whose days as Liverpool coach seem numbered.

Starting Lineups :

Arsenal (3) : Manuel Almunia, Emmanuel Eboue, Kolo Toure, William Gallas, Gael Clichy, Gilberto Silva, Francesc Fabregas, Robin Van Persie, Mathieu Flamini, Alexander Hleb, Thierry Henry.
Coach: Arsene Wenger

Liverpool (0) : Jose Reina, Sami Hyypia, Daniel Agger, Jamie Carragher, Xabi Alonso, John Arne Riise, Steven Gerrard, Mark Gonzalez, Peter Crouch, Dirk Kuyt, Boudewijn Zenden,
Coach : Rafa Benitez.

Chile´s New Generation Of Footballers
Who are they and where are they playing?

Like the majority of South American players, Chile´s professional footballers are tempted to emigrate to Europe in search of higher salaries and living standards. Never has there been so many Chilean players playing in foreign leagues and along with the election of a top FIFA official such as Harold Mayne -Nicholls to head the local federation and who promises to bring about radical changes, the stage is set for Chilean football to get back on the map. As follows is the list of the Chilean players and their clubs:

Italian Serie A ( First division) :

David Pizarro, Roma F.C : On Nov. 12, this midfielder played during the whole match against A.C Milan and helped his team to an important 2-1 victory over one of Italy's most famous clubs. Roma is also taking part in this year's edition of the UEFA Champions league.

During the last qualifying round for Germany 2006, Pizarro resigned from Chile´s national team after quarrelling with the coach but now it seems he will reconsider and return to help his country qualify for South Africa 2010.

Nicolas Cordova , Messina
: Another rebel that has refused to play for Chile due to personal differences with the coach, Cordova is a midfielder that has won a regular place in his team. Messina is currently in seventh place in the Serie A and with the forthcoming change of coach in the national team, Cordova has shown his willingness to play for Chile again .

Jaime Valdes, Lecce : Even if his team is in the second division, to be playing in Italy means that Valdes has been exposed to higher requirements and must surely be considered to play for Chile.

English Premier League :

Mark Gonzalez, Liverpool : Has been showing great form at one of England's top clubs and is winning the approval of the local fans. Also refuses to play for Chile (due to an act of indiscipline) but this striker will surely return when the new national team coach is appointed.

Scottish Premier League :

Mauricio Pinilla, Hearts : This striker was once considered the great young promise of Chilean football. After passing through several clubs in Italy, Spain and Portugal, it seems Pinilla is finally maturing and is settling down to his new club. Also a sure shot to play in the national team.

Spanish Liga Primera (Premier League) :

Claudio Bravo, Real Sociedad : Bravo is at present the first choice goalkeeper for the national team, and during his first season in Europe, is sure to gain valuable playing experience for the future.

Pablo Contreras, Celta : A defender with many years experience in Europe, has won a regular place in this club that recently defeated Real Madrid by 2-1 in its own stadium.

Portuguese First Division :
Rodrigo Tello, Sporting Lisbon : This midfielder has won a regular place in the squad, and has shown good form during this year's edition of the UEFA Champions League. A player of Tello´s experience cannot be overlooked by the new national team coach.

Alex Von Schwedler, Maritimo : Before moving to Europe he played many seasons for Universidad de Chile, one of the country's top clubs. Von Schwedler is a reliable defender that has helped his team to be in fifth place of the points table.

Dutch First Division:
Sebastian Pardo, Feyenoord : Pardo has been playing for several seasons in one of Holland's most popular clubs, so this midfielder cannot be left out of the Chilean national team lineup.

Brasileirao ( Brazilian first division) :

Jorge Valdivia, Palmeiras : Just to be chosen to play in the most competitive league in the world is a major achievement, but Valdivia has done more than that, he has become a favorite with the local fans due to his skilful "Brazilian" style of play in midfield.

Claudio Maldonado , Santos : A defender that has made a name for himself in the Brazilian championship after several years. A regular in the national team but that is nearing the end of his career.

Alejandro Escalona, Gremio : Also playing for one of Brazil's top clubs, Escalona is a midfielder whose club is fighting for a place in next year's edition of the Libertadores Cup (South American Champions league).

Mexican First Division :

Reinaldo Navia, San Luis : Like many other Chilean players, Navia was attracted to this up and coming league due to the high salaries paid by clubs. Navia is a dangerous striker that has been a regular with the Chilean national team.

Sebastian Gonzalez, Tigres Monterrey : Another goal scoring striker that has been highly successful in Mexico and just cannot be left out of any future lineup.

Hugo Droguett, Tecos de Guadalajara:
Recently transferred from Universidad de Chile, Droguett, an attacking midfielder has scored four goals during fifteen official matches in the Mexican league.

Hector Mancilla, Veracruz : Like Droguett, Mancilla was hired to Mexico at the beginning of 2006 and is doing his job as a striker with six goals in thirteen matches.

Chilean First Division :

Humberto Suazo , Colo Colo : Recently chosen by FIFA as one of the world's top strikers, Suazo has nothing else to prove in Chile and at the moment is considering several proposals by foreign clubs.

Matias Fernandez , Colo Colo : The golden boy of Chilean football. A skilful midfielder that was transferred in October to Villarreal of the Spanish first division, but will play for Colo Colo until January 2007.

Friday, November 10, 2006


144th-ranked Andreev upsets fifth-ranked Gonzalez
In first-round Davis Cup action this weekend, Russia defeated Chile at home in the resort city of La Serena, Chile.In the first of two singles matches on Friday 4 sept, Marat Safin of Russia (ranked 24th) beat Nicholas Massu of Chile (ranked 42nd), 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. Massu has shown a slump in his form in the past year. As is tradition, the local team had been allowed to choose the location and pitch. The Chileans had picked a clay surface at sea level in an effort to slow down the hard-hitting Russians.In the next game, local fans were certain that Fernando Gonzalez, the world's No. 5 player, would easily overcome Igor Andreev, ranked 144th. Against all odds, however, Andreev struck a heavy blow to the home team's morale, defeating Gonzalez in three straight sets.The Chilean team went to rest that night without disclosing who would take part in the doubles match.A few minutes before the start of the game on Saturday morning, the crowd of 9,000 cheered as they saw that Gonzalez and Massu would try to keep Chile in the series. The two Chilean players have been playing together since the junior division. In 2004, they won the gold medal in doubles at the Athens Olympic Games.The Russians, Safin and Andreev, were no match for the Chileans, who won 7-6, 6-3, 6-4. Now all was set for the final and decisive match day, when Gonzalez would face Safin and Massu would play against Andreev.Gonzalez recovered his form on Sunday and defeated Safin, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4, boosting the crowd's spirit.Now all the attention was focused on whether Massu could defeat Andreev, the surprise player of the series. The Russian started by playing nearly perfect tennis at the beginning and won the first two sets, 6-2, 6-1. Spurred on by the local fans, Massu made a comeback in the third set to win, 7-1, in the tiebreak. Unfortunately, in the fourth set, Andreev played as well as he did earlier, winning with a final score of 6-2, 6-1, 6-7, 6-4.Chile must now await the draw by the International Tennis Federation to see which country will be its rival in September. Whoever it might be, Chile must win in order to continue in the top flight of world tennis.Other 1st Round ResultsArgentina 4, Austria 1USA 4, Czech Republic 1France 4, Romania 1Germany 3, Croatia 2Spain 3, Switzerland 2Sweden 3, Belarus 2Australia 2, Belgium 3

Chile’s Top Polo Player Dies After Freak Accident
Gabriel Donoso Was A Good Friend Of Prince Charles
(Photo by La
The Fleni Clinic in Buenos Aires, Argentina informed that on November 10, Gabriel Donoso, Chile´s best polo player of all time, had been confirmed dead at 05:45 a.m.,. On, Nov.5, Donoso, aged 46 had suffered an unusual accident as he trained with his horse some minutes before a match in Pilar, a suburb on the outskirts of the Argentine capital. According to TV news reports, the horse became nervous and threw Donoso onto the ground. Donoso broke his spine and had been in coma and breathing through artificial ventilation.
Gabriel Donoso was also considered one of the best polo players in the world alter having achieved a handicap of nine goals, a mark that very few polo players can boast. Another of his feats occurred in 2004 when he led Chile to defeat England by 10-8 at the Guards Polo Club in London. On that occasion Donoso was honored to receive the trophy from Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, of whom Gabriel Donoso was a close friend and teammate. Donoso was married to a english woman and leaves two children.
Also known as the “Sport of Kings”, Polo originated in what is now Iran and is the most exclusive sport, placed only by high income individuals and royalty. At present only a few countries Duch as U.S.A, Argentina, England, Pakistan and Australia have professional tournaments. Argentina won the World Cup since 1949 and most of the 10-goal (highest ranking) players are from this South American country. Also Argentina’s “Campeonato Abierto de Polo” (Polo Open) is one of the most prestigious in the world and has been played for the past 100 years.

Monday, November 06, 2006


The relationship between Salvador Allende and Augusto Pinochet
Chile´s most influential figures in the 20th century

How General Augusto Pinochet´s spent his last day on earth would be the best way to describe his whole life , one full of controversy and conflict. After being officially pronounced dead at 2:15 p.m. on Sunday December 10, Pinochet´s body was taken to the Military Academy in Santiago, where it was displayed in a coffin surrounded by a guard of honor formed by Army cadets. From that moment on thousands of his supporters gathered outside the building and were allowed to line up and walk past the coffin to pay their last respects, and the procession continued until the next day. Official estimates are that at least 60,000 people walked by Pinochet´s coffin. The funeral ceremony was carried out on Dec. 11, but President Michelle Bachelet only allowed a funeral as Head of the Armed Forces. According to an opinion poll carried out by " La Tercera", one of Chile´s most influential newspapers, 72% of those questioned were against calling for a national mourning period and 55% were against giving Pinochet a State Funeral.

Many foreign journalists had gathered to cover the event outside the Academy and were attacked and insulted by Pinochet´s supporters, as were many local reporters. Maria Jose Ramudo, a journalist with a Spanish TV station was carrying out a live transmission to her country when objects were thrown at her. A man identified as Rene Araya took the microphone away from her and shouted high caliber insults against Spaniards.
On Dec.14, Araya gave a press conference at the Chilean Journalists Association where he publicly apologized to Spain and the Spanish people for his behavior. Also an Argentine journalist that was broadcasting to his country, mentioned that "Pinochet, the Chilean dictator is being mourned in this building" and was physically and verbally attacked by Pinochet supporters. Most Pinochet supporters blamed the press for all of Pinochet´s legal problems. During the funeral ceremony, Pinochet´s grandson, an Army captain also named Augusto, gave an improvised speech where he praised his grandfather for "saving Chile from the Marxist regime" and criticized the Chilean Supreme court for "harassing his grandfather and his family". The next day Captain Augusto Pinochet was expelled from the Chilean army. After the speeches and a brief march in a horse drawn carriage, Pinochet´s body was taken aboard a helicopter and flown to a cemetery in Vina del Mar, 130 kilometers to the west of Santiago, where Pinochet was cremated and his ashes were handed to the family. The destinies of Allende and Pinochet were linked from the beginning, since by a strange twist of fate, both were born in Valparaiso, Chile´s main seaport . Allende (born in 1908) was the son of a lawyer that also had the privilege of being a "Notary Public", a much-coveted position in Chile due to its high income. Pinochet (1915) was the son of a Port Customs inspector and as a child was educated in Roman Catholic schools.

After ending secondary education, Pinochet applied for entry to the "Military Academy" in Santiago, where he was finally admitted after a third attempt in 1933.
In the same year as Pinochet began instruction at the "Military Academy", Salvador Allende had graduated from the faculty of medicine at the "University of Chile", the country's most prestigious establishment of higher education. By this time Allende was also a high ranking member of the "Freemason Society" a very influential organization in Chilean society, while Pinochet was rejected entry into the Freemasons.
While Allende was heading for a successful and glamorous political career in the Chilean congress, Pinochet was stationed in different points of the country as an Army officer, in charge of provincial regiments far from the capital. However, in 1943, Pinochet took a step that changed his fortune since he married Lucia Hiriart, the daughter of an influential politician, that convinced her father to exert his influence and obtain better postings for her husband.
In 1945 Allende is elected "Senator" and also becomes the leader of Chile´s left wing coalition of parties. During the middle of the 1950´s , the Chilean government, following the example of Senator MacCarthy in the United States, outlaws the Communist Party and many of its members are sent to prison camps, one of which is headed by Augusto Pinochet . In 1961 Salvador Allende meets for the first time with Ernesto "Che" Guevara , while Pinochet travels to "The School of the Americas" in Panama, a training center run by the U.S Army where Latin American officers are trained in counter insurgency methods. Pinochet specializes in "Intelligence Operations" and many of his classmates will also become the rulers their respective countries during the 1970s.
In September, 1970 during his third presidential campaign, Allende is the highest voted candidate with 36.6% and according to Chilean law is the winner of the election. Initially Allende wanted to maintain good relations with both the Western and Eastern Blocks, but his decision in July 1971 to nationalize the local copper mines, ( the world's largest deposits), earned him the wrath of the Richard Nixon administration since the majority of the mines were owned by U.S. companies. Immediately Nixon blocked all financial credits to Chile and ordered covert operations aimed at collapsing the Allende government. At this point the Allende government strengthened its ties with Soviet block and the conflict intensified. Meanwhile Augusto Pinochet had reached the highest ranks of the Army and apparently had won the confidence of Allende that appointed him Commander in Chief of the Armed forces on August 25, 1973. Until then Pinochet had given the impression of being loyal to Allende, but in fact he was a master of deception that had already began to plot the military intervention that reached its climax on September 11, 1973.
Salvador Allende died that day in the presidential palace without knowing that Pinochet was heading the armed "Coup d' Etat". Such was the conspirational skill of Pinochet that only a few high ranking officers such as the head of the Navy and Air Force knew that he was part of the plot.
During his first days in power, Pinochet was appointed head of the military "Junta" (group of leaders) and promised that new presidential elections would be held as soon as possible. However, his behavior arose suspicions when Pinochet set up a new organization called "National Directorate of Intelligence " (DINA in the Spanish acronym). One of the first intelligence reports by the U.S. Department of Defense stated that "many senior Chilean military officers regard that DINA may become a modern day Gestapo". Pinochet appointed Coronel Manuel Contreras as head of DINA, that would become his right hand man and with whom he would meet every morning to give instructions. In December 1974, Pinochet appoints himself "President of Chile" and "Supreme Leader of the Nation". The first years of the Pinochet regime were marked by the repression of the left wing parties such as the Socialist Party, Communist Party and the MIR, a guerrilla organization. Under Pinochet , Chile became one of the first countries to introduce "Neo-Liberal" economic reforms based on the theory of Milton Friedmann, a professor at the University of Chicago. As a result, unemployment increased dramatically and hundreds of thousands were forced to emigrate.
Meanwhile DINA continued with its actions within and outside Chile, and its agents were the first foreigners to carry out a terrorist attack in U.S territory. In 1976 , Orlando Letelier, the leader of the opposition was killed by a car bomb in in Washington D.C. Along with Letelier died Ronnie Moffit, an American citizen. Many years later when Manuel Contreras was arrested, he testified that "C.I.A" agents had carried out the assassination.
In 1980 Pinochet created a new Constitution for Chile and prolonged his term in office for another eight years, a decision that caused massive streets protests , labor strikes and armed guerrilla operations, such as the 1986 ambush that nearly cost Pinochet his life. Finally in 1988 Pinochet was forced to call for a plebiscite, with two options: Pinochet would continue until 1997 "SI" (yes option) or "NO" (an end to his government). The "NO" option came out on top with 55% of the votes and Pinochet called for free elections in 1989. Pinochet continued as Commander in Chief of the Chilean Armed Forces until 1998, when he became an "Institutional Senator", and also a sort of commission agent for the Chilean Armed Forces, sealing arms deals in other countries. In one such trip Pinochet traveled in October 1998 to London , where he had to undergo an emergency surgery. On October 16, while recovering at the "London Clinic" , Pinochet was arrested by the British police. A Spanish judge, Baltasar Garzon had requested Pinochet´s extradition to be questioned about the whereabouts of some 100 Chilean-Spanish citizens. The French, German, Italian, Swedish and Belgian courts presented similar extradition warrants against Pinochet. After 503 days of house arrest in London, the British and Chilean governments made a secret agreement to return Pinochet back to Chile due to his "poor health". After arriving in Chile, Pinochet was faced with more than 300 legal accusations of murder, torture and kidnapping. For example, Pinochet was accused of trying to cover up the illegal detention and death of 119 left wing militants. A single edition of a newspaper was published in Brazil, where the names of the 119 Chilean citizens appeared and a story claimed that they had been killed in an "internal feud".

Pinochet had good contacts in the Chilean Supreme Court, and so many judges aided him by slowing down the legal accusations and putting obstacles into the investigation of the cases, but even so, Pinochet was put under house arrest on several occasions. Another scandal occurred in 2005, as during the course of an internal investigation by U.S authorities, nearly US$30 million appeared in secret bank accounts linked to Pinochet. The U.S. authorities were implementing the "Patriot Act" that was aimed at discovering possible accounts used by terrorists to finance their activities. While Allende was never accused of any acts of corruption, Pinochet´s family will inherit the legal accusations faced by Pinochet. Already many politicians are requesting that Pïnochet´s fortune be confiscated by the Chilean state.

Chileans Celebrate Pinochet's Death
Rally on news of dictator's death at 91 turns violent

Santiago: Chile, Sunday, December 10, 2.35 p.m. local time

I was getting ready to indulge in what has become my favorite pastime this year, watching English Premier League on television. The match between Chelsea and Arsenal had just begun when I was rudely interrupted by a newsflash. The commentator said that the Military Hospital had announced that General Augusto Pinochet had died at 2:15 p.m. local time from heart complications.
My initial reaction was to get on my feet and cheer, but then I thought, "What if he is faking it again?" After all, Pinochet had been said to have been "dying" several times before. On TV I saw that people were gathering at "Plaza Italia," a central meeting point in the city where citizens gather to celebrate sporting victories or other important events. Meanwhile, the television showed the outside of the Military Hospital, where some Pinochet supporters were in tears.

A sudden rush of excitement took hold of me and I picked up my digital camera and headed off to the Plaza Italia. It was 4 p.m. when I arrived by bus (time was going fast). I saw people in cars blasting their horns towards Plaza Italia. When I got there, thousands of people were already celebrating, most of them left wingers with their traditional red flags.
Some fifteen minutes later I was outside La Moneda where some thousands of people had gathered. The riot police had formed a barrier to stop people from going near the palace. Some of the leaders of the left-wing parties were allowed to go to the palace; probably they went to ask for permission to march past it. This idea came too late as the heat and excitement made some of the marchers begin throwing missiles at the police, and obviously violence erupted. The police's water cannon vehicles got into action, but this only provoked the protesters even more, who began to set up barricades with whatever they could find. Later the police attacked with tear gas vehicles, which managed to disperse the crowd outside the Palace after about an hour of clashes.

The tear gas had hit me hard. I could not continue taking more photos, and after drinking my third can of beer, I headed out of the "combat zone". My impression is that today the majority of the Chilean people showed their anger against Pinochet and did indeed celebrate -- some more energetically than others.
It seems that Pinochet has some numerological connection with the number "11," He took part in the military coup in 1973 on Sept. 11 (which he did not organize and only joined at the last minute), and now his funeral will be on Dec. 11. There was a controversy over whether he will get a funeral as a former "head of state," but President Michelle Bachelet announced that there will be no such ceremony. Bachelet's father was a pro-Allende Air Force general who was tortured to death in prison some months after the coup.
Pinochet was appointed head of the Armed Forces by President Allende only fifteen days before Sept. 11, 1973, when the military took power. General Pinochet initially was the head of a military junta (a Spanish word that means gathering or group) formed by the head of the army, navy, air force and police.

From that date on he was the head of an undercover operation along with the military rulers of Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay, whose objective was to wipe out left-wing militants. "Operation Condor" led to the death of approximately 40,000 people in these countries, the most common method being the kidnapping of individuals who were then tortured to obtain information, and finally killed. Most of the left-wing militants' bodies were thrown into the sea from helicopters. After several years of street protests and guerrilla operations, Pinochet was forced to call for elections in 1988, which he lost, giving way for the 16-year rule of a center-left wing coalition of parties known as "Concertacion."

My personal opinion is that Chile will be much more peaceful after Pinochet's death. The curse is over, let's try to turn over the page and move forward together.

Bill Gates sparks anger among Chilean natives

During an interview given by Aucan Huilcaman to AtinaChile ( on August 12, 2005, the leader of the Mapuche nation denounced that he would sue Microsoft Corporation on behalf of his people since the software company planned to release a version of its “Windows XP” operating system in “Mapundungun” (the native language) without their authorization.
“We sent a letter to Bill Gates expressing our concern about this situation since we believe it is an act of intellectual piracy.We are the natural heirs of the Mapuche language and it is up to us to decide what we do with it. The Chilean government and Microsoft did not ask for our opinion on how to implement the Windows version, they just went ahead and did it,” said Huilcaman to Atinachile.
The elders of the Mapuche Nation carried out a ceremony called “Kimkeche Nutramkan” (gathering of Wise Men and Custodians of the Mapuche Culture) after which they agreed on sending the letter to Bill Gates that included the following paragraphs : “Mapundungun is a fundamental part of our culture and it is our right as an indigenous nation to preserve and develop our cultural heritage............Your decision to implement Windows in Mapundungun may be a good contribution to its technical-linguistic development, but the way it has been done has shown a total disrespect and lack of consultation with the Mapuche Nation.”
Since there was no reply from Bill Gates, Aucan Huilcaman presented several legal actions among others at the Interamerican Commission for Human Rights in Washington D.C and also in the Chilean Courts of Justice.
“I am not against Internet, I am only defending our Nation’s rights and culture, it is the speakers of Mapundungun that should decide whether our language is used in the Web or not.” said Huilcaman to Atinachile.
On Nov 23,2006 the Appeals Court in the city of Temuco, the heartland of the Mapuche territory, declared the “Protection Order” admisible and so the judges will study the case against Microsoft Windows XP and the Chilean Ministry of Education, that signed an agreement in October 2006 to launch the operating system in the Mapuche language.
The Mapuche are a native ethnic group that inhabit the south of Chile and Argentina. It is estimated that nearly 400,000 people speak Mapundungun at present. The Mapuches are an extremely warlike people that first resisted domination by the Inca empire and later by the Spaniards. During the past 5 years there have been many armed clashes between Mapuches and Chilean police over ownership of large areas of land claimed by the natives.

Chilean Women Defy Gravity To Get Better Housing
Housewives Climb On Top Of Traffic Signpost to protest

On Friday, Nov 3, a group of eight women that are members of Chile´s "National Association of Housing Debtors" (ANDHA in the Spanish acronym) carried out a spectacular protest in downtown Santiago, the Chilean capital. At approximately midday, the women climbed on top of a traffic signpost directly over the city's main avenue, the Alameda. The women declared to the reporters that gathered to cover the event that they would remain there until the Minister of Housing Patricia Poblete stopped a court order whereby their low income houses would be auctioned due to unpaid installments. Most of the women were also taking part in a temporary employment scheme for poor families called P.E.T that included sweeping streets, collecting litter and mowing lawns. ANDHA argues that their members will be unable to pay the monthly installments since these are far too high, the houses are of poor quality and also the majority were taking part in the P.E.T ., and since this plan was terminated a few months ago, the women are now without any stable sources of income.

The group that climbed on top of the signpost were supported from the street by a group of nearly a hundred people that chanted slogans and insults against Minister Poblete, the police and the government. This is not the first time that ANDHA carries out this kind of actions, and the last time some of the women ended up jumping from a signpost towards a plastic landing bag set up by the police. At approximately 7:30 p.m. the police blocked the traffic with two buses, one water cannon truck and several patrol cars.

Some members of ANDHA on the street were arrested and then police officers used ladders to climb up to the signpost. A yellow landing bag was placed under the signpost and the officers forced the women to climb down. The whole operation lasted 45 minutes and none of the protesters were injured, but had to spend the night in detention. On Saturday night, members of ANDHA set up barricades near their homes with burning tires and clashed with the Police yet again


Kramer in court by La Tercera

Drugs, Fans and Chilean Football
Top Local Club Hit by Police Undercover Operation

An important sports promoter and the leader of an organized fan club linked to "Universidad de Chile", one of the country's most popular clubs have been arrested in connection with a drug trafficking organization. Jorge Barrera (35) and Claudio Hernandez (aka Kramer) were arrested on Nov. 16 in Santiago by officers of Chile´s "Investigaciones" (civilian police ). The plain clothed officers intercepted the two men in a car, and discovered a bag of 12 "Extasis" pills, cocaine and US$10,000 in cash. During the trial, the police officers stated that Barrera had dropped the Extasis pills to the ground, in order to deny responsability. The police also also stated that according to interceptions of mobile phone calls between the two accused Barrera wanted to buy from Kramer dosis of Extasis worth US$ 400. Jorge Barrera is the C.E.O of "Mercom", a company that specializes in sports marketing and representing professional football players. For the past four years , Mercom has been in charge of hiring players for "Universidad de Chile", such as Marcelo Salas, that was transferred in 2005 from River Plate of Argentina. Also several Colombian footballers such as Faustino Asprilla (that played for Parma (Italy) and Newcastle United among others), Mayer Candelo and Harly Alcazar arrived at Universidad de Chile after being hired by Mercom. Also Barrera has been responsible for transferring Chilean footballers such as Hugo Droguett to the Mexican league, where it seems he has good contacts. During the court hearing on Nov.21, Barrera was set free on bail for US$2000 after his lawyer argued that Barrera had to travel to Mexico for an important business meeting. The Judge allowed Barrera to travel to Mexico but he must return to Chile within ten days, after which he must report every week to Santiago police.
"He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Kramer had promised Barrera to give him some tickets to the next Universidad de Chile match," said Rainiero Garcia, Barrera´s lawyer.
Claudio Hernandez, or "Kramer" as he is called by his friends, is one of the founding members of an organized fan club called "Los de Abajo", whose main activity is to support the club during matches. Kramer has had several criminal convictions such as carrying firearms, assault with bodily harm, damages to private property and now it seems he is linked to a drug trafficking organization that deals in "Extasis", an illegal drug that is sold for US$30 per pill in the Chilean market. After the trial, Kramer was sent into custody at Santiago´s “Maximum Security jail”.
"If a police officer is arrested for corruption, is all the Police force corrupt? Kramer may have made a mistake, but not all our fans are to blame," said "Anarkia", another leader of "Los de Abajo" during a TV interview.

The friendly match played on Nov.15 between Chile and Paraguay was a good occasion to bid farewell to Nelson Acosta, coach of the national football team since 1996. As in other parts of the world many South American national teams used the occasion to prepare for future tournaments, such as the "Copa America" (South American Nations Cup) and the qualifying matches for the 2010 World Cup. The venue was the Sausalito Stadium in Vina del Mar, a ground that was incidentally built for the 1962 World Cup held in Chile.

The match itself could be used as a parallel for Nelson Acosta´s career as national team coach , full of ups and downs, with moments of glory and despair. By the first ten minutes of the second half, Chile was winning by 3-0, but in the next five minutes Paraguay scored twice, causing disapproval among the nearly 12,000 fans that showed up at the Sausalito. Near the end of the first half, Mauricio Pinilla,a striker with Hearts in the Scottish Premier league, had to be replaced since he had a muscle injury, a hard blow for Pinilla that is trying to recover his form and settle down to his new club.

However Chile managed to hang on and the man of the match was Jorge Valdivia,that scored the third goal and is currently playing for Palmeiras in the Brazilian First division.

Nelson Acosta was in fact born in Uruguay, and began his football career with Penarol, one of that country´s top clubs. In 1977 he moved to Chile where he played for Everton, O' Higgins and Fernandez Vial. Acosta began coaching with Fernandez Vial in 1984 and then continued with O'Higgins. In 1992 he began coaching Union Espanola, and led this club to be Chilean champions in 1993 and 1994. In 1996 Acosta had his first internacional success as he took Union Espanola to quarterfinals of the Copa Libertadores, the most important South American club tournament. Acosta had made himself a name at international level and in June 1996, he was brought in as a replacement for Xavier Azkargorta, Chile´s national team coach that was taking part in the qualifying rounds for the 1998 World Cup in France. Azkargorta had an awful campaign, and received violent criticism from the fans and press.

In Acosta´s first match in Santiago, Chile defeated Paraguay by 4-1 (ironically the same team he would face in his farewell match in 2006) and Acosta was hailed as a savior. Acosta managed to lead Chile to qualify for France 98, where the national team had a mediocre performance with draws against Italy (2-2), Austria (1-1) and Cameroon (1-1). In the next round Brazil (4-1) knocked Chile out of the competition and Acosta received some criticism by the press for not preparing for this match, since he took the players to a shopping center some hours before. It seems that Acosta had been satisfied with his performance and thought that he had done as much as he could. However, the Chilean Football Federation (ANFP) renewed his contract and Acosta continued as coach, this time with the responsibility of qualifying Chile to the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan. In 2000 Acosta qualified Chile to the Olympic Games in Sydney, Asutralia, where his team won the bronze medal. Then came the responsibility of qualifying Chile to the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan, that ended in disaster. In 2001, after a string of disappointing results, Acosta was replaced by a succession of two other coaches, but the national team was already in chaos and Chile did not qualify. During the qualifiers for Germany 2006, the starting coach was Juvenal Olmos, that also had a poor performance and so with a third of the matches left, Nelson Acosta was brought in as an emergency option. Acosta did raise the hopes among the fans with some positive results, but Olmos had already left Chile too far down the points ladder, and the gap with the other teams was made it impossible for Acosta to catch up. With the recent election of a new ANFP president, Harold Mayne-Nicholls, Acosta sensed he was not in Mayne-Nicholl´s plans and presented his resignation. To Acosta´s credit it can be said that he did qualify his adopted country to a World Cup, was very well liked by many players but hated by others, a fitting end to a respectable career.

Journalist Elected Head of Chilean Football
Harold Mayne-Nicholls Promises to Put House in Order

On Nov. 3, with an absolute majority of 47 votes in favor and one abstention, Harold Mayne-Nicholls was elected as new the President of Chile´s Football Federation ( for the next four years. The most important task for Mayne-Nicholls will be to recover Chilean football and put it back where it deserves to be. The finest moment for Chilean football was during 1950 to 1960, when the country had the most competitive league in South America and climaxed in 1962 when FIFA appointed Chile to host the fifth edition of the World Cup. New stadiums were built specially for the occasion and the home team got a respectable third place, after Brazil that won the event. Since then, very few stadiums have been built, and the current infrastructure is in decay. Also crowd violence has driven out many fans from going to see matches, which has had an impact on the revenues of professional clubs. The last time Chile qualified for a World Cup was in 1998 and since then the fans have seen a string of disappointing result. Compared to the rest of the South American nations, Chile has quite a balanced economy, as was proven during the qualifying matches for Germany 2006, where Chile had highest spectator attendance record in the continent. This means that the fans have money to spend to go and see matches, but who will want to go if they are in danger of being attacked by hooligans and will be seated in uncomfortable stadiums? This is precisely what Harold Mayne-Nicholls wants to change. During a recent TV interview, the new president of Chile´s football promised to "show zero tolerance with hooligans, a prosecuting office will be set up to punish these people that only want to cause destruction. If they want to make trouble, they will have to go somewhere else."

The main pillars of Mayne-Nicholls modernization plan will be :
1) After carrying out opinion polls among the fans, a new tournament system for the first division will begin in 2008. Since Chile has such a vast territory, some teams must travel thousands of kilometers to play official matches. An idea is to divide the teams into North , Central and Southern groups from which the best teams will move on to a play-off stage.
2) A Director for the National Team will be appointed, whose task will be to oversee development of the players from youth to adult level.It seems most probable that current coach Nelson Acosta will not continue, since Mayne-Nicholls favors Manuel Pellegrini, that is the coach of Villarreal in the Spanish first division.
3) Stamp out violence from stadiums and improve its infrastructure. Chile will honor its commitment to stage the U-20 Women's World Cup in 2008.
Harold Mayne-Nicholls was born in 1961 and has an impeccable career as a football official. Mayne-Nicholls is a graduate in journalism from Chile´s Catholic University, and his first job was as an official of the University's professional football team, one of the most popular in the country. After a spell in the South American Football Federation (Conmebol), Mayne-Nicholls moved up the ranks and joined FIFA , the world's most important sports institution. During the past World Cup, Mayne-Nicholls was in charge of organizing the opening ceremony and the matches in Munich. At present he is also in charge of FIFA´s Goal Project for South America.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Central American News

Nicaragua Plans To Build New Interocean Canal
Will the Panama Canal go out of business?

On the weekend of Oct.22, the citizens of Panama approved the expansion plans for the interoceanic canal that has been in operation for the past 92 years. One of the main reasons for this result was the news that one of its neighboring countries, Nicaragua, is also very near to beginning construction of an alternative passage through its territory, that will allow ships of higher tonnage to cross from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean and vice versa. In the mid nineteenth century , Nicaragua had been the first option to build a canal, but it was discarded due to the technological limitations of that time, instead Panama was chosen and the Canal was inaugurated in 1914.
Other countries that may be affected are Argentina and Chile, since at present some of the more modern vessels and supertankers cannot pass through the Panama Canal, and must circumnavigate around the Cape Horn, a 36 day trip that increases costs by approximately US$2 million. The main advantage of building a canal through Nicaragua is that the route between New York and California will be shortened by 800 kilometers and will also reduce costs for ships that travel between Asia and Europe. Even with the recently approved expansion plans that will give the Panama Canal a new length of 80 kilometers and the capacity to allow ships of up to 130,000 tons, the Nicaragua Canal will have a capacity for ships of up to 250,000 tons.
At the beginning of this month, the President of Nicaragua , Enrique Bolaños presented the project during an international defense conference . "This is a matter of continental security. What was a dream before, can now become a reality," said Bolanos. Also the Nicaraguan government has set up a "Commission for a Great Interoceannic Canal Through Nicaragua", that has identified the most convenient route. (see map). The canal will have a length of 286 meters, including an 80 km stretch with special dikes that will cross through Lake Nicaragua, the biggest in Central America. Ships will take 26 hours to cross the new canal, compared to the current 8 hours through Panama. The Nicaragua Canal would begin operations in 2019, and its construction will cost US$18 billion, that will be invested by local and foreign companies. During the construction, 40,000 direct jobs will be created and for its operation, the Canal will employ between 5,000 to 10,000 people. The project estimates that by 2025, the "Great Canal" will allow the transit of 573 million tons of cargo , or 4,5 % of global trade. The canal will increase Nicaragua's per capita income will increase from today's US$ 857 to US$2258 in 2025. An estimated US$300 million will be invested to preserve the tropical jungles and the habitat of native communities, as 40,000 square kilometers will be reforested.

Brazilian Footballers

Kaka Helps A.C Milan Destroy Anderlecht
Brazilian footballer scores three goals in Champions League

On November 1, it was A.C Milan's turn to play host to Belgian champions Anderlecht at the Giusseppe Meazza Stadium. It was one of the matches in Group H of this year's edition of the UEFA Champions league, Europe's most important club championship. A.C Milan had defeated Anderlecht by 1-0 in Brussels and so this was the last chance for the Belgians to get a good result and continue in the competition. The action began very badly for Anderlecht since in the sixth minute Alberto Gilardino was fouled in the area by a Belgian defender and Brazilian midfielder Kaka scored the penalty past goalkeeper Daniel Zitka. A.C Milan had come out to secure the result as early as possible and continued to harass the Anderlecht goal. In the 19th minute defender Alessandro Nesta went out injured and was replaced by another Brazilian, Cafu. Just three minutes later Kaka broke away clear on the right wing and received a good return pass from Cafu to place the ball into the Belgian net. Anderlecht was inoffensive for the rest of the first half and A.C Milan controlled the field.
It seems that the Belgian players were given some inspiration by their coach during the break as they showed a much more aggressive attitude in the second half and had two good chances that were missed by Tchite whose shots were off target.However,in the 55th minute Kaka struck a heavy blow as he ran down the left wing, sidestepped to his right and from near the edge of the area sent the ball with hard shot into the top right corner of Zitka´s goal. This goal must surely be included in the "Best goal competition" for this edition of the Champions league. Anderlecht had woken up and continued trying to score and in the 60th minute Juhasz headed in the ball past Brazilian goalkeeper Dida . From then on there were several dangerous situations on both sides of the pitch and also A.C Milan sent on two 2006 World Champions, Gennaro Gattuso and Andrea Pirlo.
It was Gilardino, another member of Italy's recent World Cup squad that wrapped up the match for A.C Milan in the 87th minute as he volleyed in a great pass by Pirlo. Maybe if Anderlecht had shown in the first half the attitude of the second half, a different story could have been written in Milan.