Monday, December 17, 2007

Venezuelans Demand Freedom for Carlos "The Jackal"

President Chavez Supports Liberation of Countryman Jailed in France

On June 27, 1975, a group of agents from the French Secret Service (DST) attempted to enter an apartment at Nº 9 Rue Toullier in Paris.A shootout began and as a result two DST agents and an informant called Michel Moukharbal were killed, while another DST agent was seriously wounded. From that day on, Ilich Ramirez, a Venezuelan citizen, became France's number 1 public enemy. The hunt for Ramirez, also known as "Carlos" or the "Jackal" (as he was baptized by the international tabloid press in relation with the novel written by Frederick Forsyth "The Day of the Jackal" ), ended nearly twenty tears later in Khartoum, Sudan, when Ramirez was kidnapped and secretly taken to France. Today an organization headed by his brother Vladimir and whose aim is to obtain the liberation of Carlos and his extradition continues to act in his native Venezuela . Support for this cause is increasing not only in the country but also in other South American countries and among public figures such as President Hugo Chavez that like Ilich Ramirez is also a devout Marxist. After a recent televised message where the president of France, Nicholas Sarkozy, pleads to the leader of FARC,(a Colombian guerrilla organization) to free Ingrid Betancourt, a French citizen, the case of Carlos once again gains importance. Since the French government wants to recover Betancourt that is prisoner of a South American organization, then there is a possibility for an exchange and that Carlos can return to Venezuela.

In a recent interview published in a Venezuelan blog ( Vladimir Ramirez explains why the French authorities must release his brother.
"During the trial the French judges never interviewed any witnesses or allowed to question any of the witnesses that were walking along Rue Toullier that day in 1975. Ilich never had a fair trial, the only evidence given by the prosecutors have been press reports published by the western media since 1975 until now," said Vladimir to ICR2021.

ICR2021 : Why are the Europeans so shocked by your extradition request since there have been similar cases in the involving citizens from those countries?

Vladimir: It is normal for western countries to do this. For example there was a woman from the U.S that was jailed in Peru accused of being a member of a left wing guerilla group. One of Bill Clinton´s last actions before ending his term in office was to plead with Fujimori to release her. Now the lady is finishing her sentence in a U.S jail and she is even allowed visits by her relatives, something that didn't happen in Peru. In those days Clinton was not accused of trying to destabilize the world, or of supporting revolutions and terrorist activities. Clinton knew that as a President his duty was to defend the rights of U.S citizens wherever they may be. Until now, none of our presidents acted like Clinton, only Chavez has done this.

ICR: Since he was kidnapped in Sudan, what are Ilich´s living conditions like?
Vladimir: They have been the same since 1994, with variations in the brutality shown by the French government. Ilich has been shown inhumane treatment, with eight years in solitary confinement, which is a violation of all the international treaties regarding jail conditions. Right now he has been transferred to a jail in very remote location, making it very difficult for his lawyers to visit him since they have to travel for two days. The French authorities want to break Ilich´s morale completely.
ICR: Is it true that some people that are planning to free Ilich through violent methods?:

Vladimir: Yes, I know that Ilich stirs up passions. There are some comrades that have called me and said that they are ready to carry out actions such as bombing the French Embassy, or kidnap the Ambassador etc., but Ilich has told me several times that his freedom must be obtained by political pressure not through military actions such as those he carried out in the past.

Excerpts from "The Only Biography Authorized by Ilich Ramirez (Carlos) by Vladimir Ramirez" and published in on March 30, 2007.

Ilich Ramirez was born in 1949 in Venezuela, the eldest son of Altagracia Ramírez Navas , a successful lawyer . In 1966 Altagracia designed an educational plan whereby Ilich and his two other brothers , Lenin and Vladimir would travel to Europe to learn English, French and German as well as the cultures of those countries. In 1968, Ilich traveled to Moscow, (then Soviet Union) to continue his studies at the Patrice Lumumba University. In Moscow Ilich met a Palestinian named Waddi Haddad, that invited him to join the People's Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). In 1970 Ilich travels to Jordania for military training at a PFLP refugee camp, where Haddad gives him the codename of "Khalid" the Arab equivalent for the name Carlos in Spanish, that Ilich would continue to use until today. In September of 1970, the Jordanian Army tried to expel the Palestinians from the country, and Carlos gets his first combat experience in a conflict that ends with 3000 dead refugees. After this episode, the PFLP decided to form an international military branch called "Black September" that would carry out acts of sabotage against pro western Arab governments, the United States and Israel.
On December 21, 1976 Carlos headed a commando formed with members of several nationalities and storms the headquarters of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in Vienna,Austria. A total of 62 hostages are captured among Ministers of the Member countries , aides and security guards. The objective of the operation was to denounce the plight of the Palestinian people, the aggression it faces from the governments of Israel and United States, as well as the collaboration of the regimes in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Iran (that was then ruled by the Shah). The local police attempted a rescue operation that failed after three people were killed. The next day Carlos and his commando was flown along with the 42 hostages to Algeria, where they were freed on December 24.
After the success of the operation in Vienna, the international tabloid press began to create the myth of Carlos by slandering him with the nickname of "The Jackal". Also many armed operations carried out by Palestinian fighters were attributed to Carlos such as the hijack of the Air France airliner to Entebbe, Uganda, where Ilich did not take part. From then on Ilich and his comrades were indeed involved in the war between East and West, Arabs and Zionists, oppressed and oppressors, and their theater of operations was in Europe and the Middle East, and their main enemies were the secret services of Israel, United States and its allies.
After 1990, due to the disappearance of the Soviet Union and the Eastern Block, Ilich´s movements are restricted to the Middle East due to the pressure that the United States, Israel and Europe put on former allies of Ilich to turn his back on him. By the end of 1993, Ilich was granted refuge by the government of Sudan, but the pressure that the imperialists put on the Sudanese makes them reach an agreement to hand over Ilich in return for military aid to continue the war against the rebel forces in southern Sudan.

On August 15,1994 , while Ilich was recovering from a surgery, the Sudanese delivered him to French agents that kidnap him in a jet plane to France.
At the Air Force base of Villacoublay, Ilich was shown a "national arrest warrant" that is only valid for persons that have been arrested within French territory. This is why we consider that Ilich was kidnapped by the French state and therefore the whole court case against him is invalid since there was no previous extradition process as is the custom, and therefore he must be released immediately and repatriated to Venezuela.
We also denounce that during the twelve years that Ilich has been jailed in France, he has been physically tortured, attacked and has suffered assassination attempts by other inmates paid by the prison wardens, and has until now been under solitary confinement for a total of ten years.
In December 1997 Ilich was sentenced to two counts of life imprisonment for the supposed murder of two French security agents.

Other operations in Europe where Carlos may have been involved:

In February 1971, the FPLP sent Carlos on a mission to London to gather information such as home addresses, telephone numbers, nick names and as many personal details about prominent pro-Israeli figures living in Europe.
After some months the list of names given by Carlos to the FPLP included famous film stars, entertainers, politicians and prominent business figures such as Joseph Sieff owner of the most famous department store in the UK, Marks and Spencer and also vice-president of the British Zionist Federation. On December 30, 1973 , Sieff was in his home on the outskirts of London when a young man of dark complexion that spoke with a foreign accent forced the butler at gunpoint to take him to his employer's room. The man shot Sieff once in the face at point blank range, but could not continue firing since the gun jammed. Luckily for Sieff the police arrived within a few minutes but the lone gunman managed to escape, leaving the businessman with a nine-millimeter bullet lodged in his jaw.

September 15, 1974: Grenade attack against the "Le Drugstore" café , Paris.
March 29, 1982: Bombing of the Paris to Toulouse train.
April 22, 1982: Explosion of car bomb at Rue Marbeuf, Paris.
December 31,1983: Bombing of the Marseille to Paris train.
December 31,1983: Bomb attack at the Marseille train station.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Relatives of Colombian hostages demand Chavez mediation

Keith Stansell is held prisoner by Farc rebels in Colombia

Female Guerrilla deserts to Army with 4 year old prisoner

On Dec 4, a female member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC to use the Spanish acronym) escaped from a jungle base along with a four year old boy that was in her custody. According to the Colombian Army, Brian Rincon was kidnapped in June of this year from his kindergarten in the city of Cucuta, in the northern province of Santander. The small boy was taken to a jungle base of the FARC´s 10th Front where he was placed under the care of the woman whose name has not been revealed. A few days later FARC contacted Brian's parents and demanded a ransom of 500 million Colombian pesos (approximately US$245,000). However after nearly six months in her care, the woman took pity of Brian and decided to run away from the base and deliver the boy back to his family. Such was the bond created between the former guerilla and the boy that at first Brian refused to go with his real mother and instead demanded to continue with the woman that seems to be in her mid twenties. The woman also informed the Colombian Army that there are more children being held hostage in the jungle on the border with Venezuela.
This event adds further importance to the recent negotiations that have been carried out between the President of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe
and his Venezuelan counterpart, Hugo Chavez, in order to organize an exchange of prisoners between the Colombian government and FARC.
On Nov 30, Uribe angered the relatives of the many hostages held by FARC after refusing to continue negotiating with Chavez. The relatives claim that Chavez was near to convincing the leader of FARC, Manuel Marulanda also known as "Tirofijo" (The Sureshot in Spanish), to release hundreds of Army officers, politicians and civilians imprisoned in the rebel bases. Today the mother of Ingrid Betancourt, a member of the Colombian congress that was captured by FARC five years ago has traveled to Caracas, Venezuela and asked President Chavez to continue negotiating in spite of Uribe´s refusal. Since Betancourt has dual nationality, the president of France, Nicholas Sarkozy, also met recently with Chavez to discuss the progress of the negotiations. Sarkozy recently proposed to Uribe and FARC that a demilitarized zone be created in some part of FARC controlled territory so that the prisoners can be exchanged. Also the U.S government is interested in reaching a solution since among the prisoners held by FARC are three American military advisers. In February 2003, Thomas Howes, Keith Stansell and Mark Gonsalves were piloting a Colombian airplane over FARC territory when the rebels shot it down with a Stinger missile. Since then the three Americans have been imprisoned in an unknown FARC base deep in the Colombian jungle.

Thomas Howes, American military adviser currently prisoner in Colombia

Only a few days ago, the Colombian Army captured some young women as they headed from the jungle towards a city. Inside their belongings the Army soldiers discovered photos of Ingrid Betancourt, the three Americans and many other hostages that may have been taken very recently, as well as letters for their relatives. It seems that FARC tried to keep the promise made to Hugo Chavez that "proof of life" would be delivered before continuing with negotiations. The relatives have also criticized the Army for revealing the content of the mail, among which are a letter from Keith Stansell to his Colombian wife and last will testaments by the other two Americans.
In an interview earlier this year with Clarin , a well known Argentine newspaper, the spokesman of FARC, Raul Reyes explained why Betancourt and the three Americans are kept as prisoners and also what FARC demands from the Colombian government.

Clarin Reporter : Why has it taken so long to free the prisoners, since some have been held for as long as ten years in the jungle?

Raul Reyes : The last time we negotiated with the government, we released 300 Army soldiers and only 14 of our members that were ill were released. Betancourt has not been "held hostage", to us she is a political prisoner because she is part of the system that were are fighting against.

C.R: What about the three Americans that you hold since 2003?
They are north American agents. FARC did not capture them in
Washington, Nueva York, Texas or Boston, but as they spied in Colombian territory .

C.R : The U.S Government says they are civil contractors......

R.R : That's a big lie. They were spying in Colombia, violating our sovereignty and independence. So we will only release them in exchange for our leaders Simon Trinidad and Sonia that are jailed in the United States, as well as the rest of our troops that are prisoners in Colombian jails.

C.R: Chavez offered his territory to do the prisoner swap. Do you accept this?
R.R: Through Clarin, I want to thank President Chavez for this gesture, for his generosity with Colombia and the relatives of the prisoners. However we have decided that this is a problem caused by the internal conflict in Colombia, so the swap must be done in Colombian territory.

C.R: So you refuse to hand over prisoners in Venezuela?

R.R: Yes, what we want is that first a demilitarized zone be created in Colombia before exchanging prisoners. We also want President Chavez to continue contributing in order to reach an agreement with the Government.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Chilean Base Saves 154 Castaways in Antarctica

"Canadian Explorer" sinks and may cause a huge oil spill

Near midnight on November 22, the "Explorer" a Canadian cruise ship hit a floating iceberg near the Presidente Eduardo Frei Base of the Chilean Air Force. In the collision with the ice, a gap was formed in the right side of the ship, very similar to what happened in the famous incident involving the Titanic. Fortunately another cruise ship, the Norde Norge was nearby and at approximately 6:30 a.m. was able to pick up the passengers that were in life rafts and take them to King George Island, very near to the Chilean Air Force base.
A Chilean Air Force plane was the first to sight the Explorer as it banked on a 45 degree angle and also took photos of the people escaping in four life boats and 8 Zodiac boats.
According to the company that owns the Explorer, among the passengers are 23 British citizens, 13 Americans, 10 Canadians , 10 Australians and one person from Hong Kong.
Facing temperatures of -2 ° Celsius the castaways were reported to have disembarked at the Presidente Frei Base, at 9 p.m on Nov. 23. The rescued passengers will be accommodated at the base's gym and will be transported by Chilean Air Force "Hercules" plane to Punta Arenas as soon as the weather conditions improve.
Also the Chilean Navy sent the "Viel" , one of its Icebreakers to the area to evaluate if the Explorer could be saved but the cruise ship was reported to have sunk by 8 p.m on Friday.
A Chilean Air Force plane was the first to sight the Explorer as it banked on a 45 degree angle and also took photos of the people escaping in the life boats.
The Explorer was built in 1969 and had already been involved in three shipwreck incidents, the most serious being in 1979 when the Chilean Navy rescued a crew of 70 persons that had been filming a movie in the Antarctica.

This year's incident could not have come at a better time since it reinforces the Chilean claim to sovereignty over this territory, contrary to a recent British claim to a huge amount of land. The British pretension includes most of the Chilean Antarctic Territory that has been established between 53° West and 90° West of Greenwich. According to the Chilean government, the South American country has most rights to the area due to the legal concept of "Uti Possedetis", whereby the former colonial power, the Kingdom of Spain had already established its borders since the 16th century. Also the peninsula were the Presidente Frei base is located is a natural extension of the Andes Mountains that has its southernmost tip in Chilean territory.

A Chilean naval mission was the first to land in Antarctica in 1820 captained by a Scotsman called Andrew MacFarlane. Along with his crew of Chilean sailors MacFarlane was the first to land in the Antartica as proven by the captain's log kept by Robert Fildes of the "Cora of Liverpool". In November of 1820 Fildes wrote that his ship came into contact with the "Dragon of Valparaiso" and was told by Captain Macfarlane said that the Chilean ship had been in the area for the past seven weeks and had even landed at Deception Island.

This is not the first time that Chile has come to the rescue of foreigners, a most memorable case is that occurred in 1914 as a British expedition commanded by Ernest Shackleton became stranded in the ice aboard its ship, the "Endurance" that finally sank in November of that year. With five other crew members Shackleton set off in a safety boat to the South Georgia Islands, the Falkland Islands and Uruguay, but failed to get help to rescue his remaining 17 comrades. Shackleton then traveled to the port of Punta Arenas,Chile where the local navy organized an expedition headed by Pilot Luis Pardo that rescued the men on August 30, 1916 under temperatures of minus 24 ° Celsius. Pardo´s ship returned to Punta Arenas five days later and was given a heroes welcome by the population and by many foreign press reporters that had traveled to cover the event due to the international interest of the story. The British government offered to pay Pardo a reward of 25,000 pounds for saving Shackleton and his crew but the Chilean officer did not accept the sum and stated that he had only "carried out his duty". Pilot Luis Pardo was promoted by the Chilean navy and in 1919 was appointed Consul in Liverpool, England.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Chilean Football Gets Historic Result Against Uruguay

Nearly beats local team but ends with a valuable 2-2 draw in Montevideo

Another round of the South American qualifying tournament that will hopefully end with Chile going to play in the next World Cup to be held in 2010 was held between November 17 and November 18. On Saturday the first match ended with an expected 3-0 win by Argentina over Bolivia at the "Monumental" Stadium in Buenos Aires.
The second match began shortly after at the "El Campin" Stadium in Bogota, Colombia where the home team could only defeat up and coming Venezuela by 1-0 after Ruben Bustos scored from a free kick with only eight minutes of play remaining.
The last match was held in the evening at the "Defensores del Chaco" Stadium in Asuncion, capital of Paraguay, where the host team demolished Ecuador by 5-1. This result caused the resignation of the Ecuadorian coach Luis Fernando Suarez, that in the previous tournament managed to qualify Ecuador to the 2006 World Cup. In spite of the respect that Suarez has among the Ecuadorian fans, the coach just could not continue after his team has had 11 goals scored against it and has lost the first three matches.
On Nov. 18 at 4:00 p.m. local time, Chile faced Uruguay at the mythical "Centenario" Stadium in Montevideo, the same where the "Sky Blues" (as the Uruguayans are nicknamed) won the first World Cup in 1930.
After this first World Title, the Uruguayans have built up a reputation for being one of the toughest teams in S.America and its players are renowned for their fighting spirit. On the week prior to the match the main topic for conversation among Chilean fans and football reporters was whether the national team could finally change the course of history and manage to get a positive result at the "Centenario", since it has lost all four previous World Cup qualifying matches played there. Sebastian Abreu, a Uruguayan striker, also known as "El Loco" (the Madman) added further controversy as he accused the Chilean players of being scared to go onto the pitch at the Centenario and that the pressure would help his team win the match. After 40 minutes of play, most Chilean fans felt that history would repeat itself as Luis Suarez scored with a hard low shot for Uruguay. In the second half Chile's coach Marcelo Bielsa made a long awaited substitution as Eduardo Rubio gave his place to Carlos Villanueva, the leading goalscorer in his country's first division championship. Bielsa´s move paid off as in the 58th minute Villanueva made a great cross from the left wing to team captain Marcelo Salas that scored with a spectacular diving header. However the best was yet to come as ten minutes later Matias Fernandez (Villarreal,Spain) dribbled into the Uruguayan area and was brought down by Diego Lugano. With all the calm earned through years of experience in such famous clubs as River Plate(Argentina), Lazio and Juventus (Italy) Salas scored the penalty with a precise left footed shot. The three thousand Chilean fans that traveled to Montevideo (some for as long as 50 hours by bus) went into ecstasy since now it seemed that their team would end up with the three points for the first time in history. With twenty minutes of play left, it seems that finally the pressure of playing at the "Centenario" took its toll on the Chilean players as they began to make incredible mistakes, bad passes and avoidable fouls against he locals, that once again made use of their traditional fighting spirit and equalized in the 80th minute as Sebastian Abreu finished off a fast counterattack. The last ten minutes seemed like an eternity for the brave three thousand that were at the Centenerio as well as for millions that were watching the live television broadcast. Chilean goalkeeper became the hero of the afternoon as he thwarted Uruguay from scoring on several occasions, including a one on one situation with a Uruguayan striker that nearly scored after leaving the defenders behind.
Finally the magic moment came as the referee blew the final whistle to end the match, that left Chilean fans with the feeling that the national team could have ended up with the victory. A fan interviewed by a TV crew in a bar in Santiago described the match perfectly. "After all it was the Uruguayans that drew the match, we were winning, they were the lucky ones." Now Chile gets ready to face Paraguay on Nov 21 at the National Stadium in Santiago, and it seems that under the firm leadership of Marcelo Bielsa, many may be getting their baggage ready to travel to South Africa in 2010. The final match was played in Lima, Peru as the local team obtained a respectable 1-1 draw against five time World champions Brazil, and now the points table is as follows:

1) Argentina (9 points)
2) Paraguay (7 points)
3) Brazil (5 points)
4) Colombia (5 points)
5) Uruguay (4 points)
6) Chile (4 points)
7) Venezuela (3 points)
8) Peru (2 points)
9) Bolivia (1 point)
10) Ecuador (0 points)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Venezuelan leader is main attraction during summit in Chile

Chavez gets mobile phone call from Fidel Castro

The recent trip by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to Santiago, Chile, to attend the 17th version Ibero-American Summit will long be remembered due to the controversy caused by his statements.

Chavez during his two hour speech

The Ibero-American Summit, which took place from Nov. 9-11, is a forum between Spain and Portugal, two former colonial powers that ruled Latin America for nearly 300 years and all the Latin American countries that gained independence from them at the beginning of the 19th century.


The main goal of the summits is to increase cooperation and improve relations among these countries, but after the recent events in Santiago, many analysts doubt that another one will be held in the near future. Until this year, the summits had been quite a boring affair, with the most interesting activities being posh dinners, folk singing and dance shows, and finally meetings that always seem to end inconclusively.

Many Chilean citizens interviewed by TV crews on the street were unable to explain exactly the aim of the summit. But now, thanks to the charismatic and eccentric Chavez, the summit has become the favorite topic for debates.

The controversy began on the first day, Nov. 8, when the local press noted that Raul Reyes, second in command of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC, to use the Spanish acronym), had arrived secretly in Santiago.

Raul Reyes,No.2 of the FARC

Speaking in Bogota, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe demanded that Reyes be immediately arrested. Afterward, the Chilean police confirmed that Reyes was not in the country but in some undisclosed jungle area near the border between Colombia and Venezuela.


It seems that Reyes was in fact meeting with Hugo Chavez, who is acting as a mediator between the Uribe administration and the FARC on an agreement to exchange hundreds of jailed FARC militants for an equal number of government prisoners. The FARC rebels are holding many Colombian army soldiers, government officials and politicians hostage in their jungle bases in western Colombia. This may account for why Chavez arrived in Santiago at 6:00 a.m. on Nov. 9 in his brand new Sukhoi aircraft, which was recently acquired in Russia, along with many fighter planes, helicopters, submarines and 100,000 AK-47 assault rifles.

The Singing President

Chavez has become the "singing" president of South America. After walking down from his airplane, Chavez greeted reporters with a traditional folk song called "The Little Gold Coin." The main chorus of this song is as follows: "I am not a little gold coin, and this is why many people do not like me." Chavez immediately began to create tension as he criticized the slogan of the summit, which aims at creating "social cohesion" in Latin America. "This is not enough for me, we need socialism, it's the only way to end poverty in our continent," said Chavez. Then he left for a hotel, which he had demanded not be one of the many American chains in the Chilean capital.

Chilean and Venezuelan Flags

The rest of the day, the press anxiously waited for Chavez's next appearance. During the first meeting with the other heads of state, Chavez caused another controversy by speaking for half an hour instead of the traditional five minutes, then again by not attending the traditional state dinner held that evening at the "La Moneda" presidential palace. One of his major allies in the region, Bolivian President Evo Morales was also absent from the dinner. Morales chose instead to play a football match against a team of Chilean politicians and reporters. Along with a team formed by his bodyguards, Morales scored two goals during the 8-1 victory over the Chilean team.

Heated Argument With the King of Spain

Most international news agencies reported the next incident to occur. On Saturday morning, during the final meeting, Chavez began to accuse former Spanish Premier Jose Maria Aznar of an attempted overthrow of the Chavez government in 2002.

"I said it yesterday and I'll say it again today, Aznar is a fascist," said Chavez.

At this point, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Zapatero, who was sitting four chairs to Chavez's left, replied by saying, "Let me remind you that former President Aznar was elected by the Spanish people, so I cannot accept those comments about him."

A heated debate ensued between Chavez and Zapatero, but it could not be heard clearly because the Venezuelan leader's microphone had been switched off.

Sitting next to Zapatero was the King of Spain, Juan Carlos. He pointed his finger at Chavez and shouted, "Why don't you shut up?"

At this point Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, acting as mediator of the meeting, tried to intervene. "Please, gentlemen, can we continue with the normal discussion," she said.

But the shouting match between Zapatero and Chavez continued.

Sitting next to Chavez was the Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, a close ally. He defended Chavez by criticizing the Spaniards since he had only been allowed to speak once, "While they had been given two chances to give their opinions."

For possibly the first time in his life, the King of Spain lost his temper in public, stood up and left the room.

After a brief conversation with Bachelet, who tried to convince him to return to the meeting, the King of Spain departed with his bodyguards for the airport and left the country immediately.

The general opinion among the Spanish reporters present was that they had never seen their king so angry. They were surprised by his reaction to the opinions given by Chavez.

The Alternate "People`s Summit"

Bolivian delegation

On Nov 10, at 3:00 p.m., Hugo Chavez appeared at the "Summit for the Friendship and Integration of the Ibero-American People," also known as "The Summit of the People." It was organized by Chilean left wing parties. Many delegations from neighboring countries were present, such as the "Landless Movement" (MST) from Brazil, representatives of Bolivian and Chilean native groups, and representatives of university students from Argentina.

Aucan Huilcaman,Mapuche leader with supporters

Next was Chavez, who for two hours made a constant attack on the United States government, praised the examples of Fidel Castro, Salvador Allende, Che Guevara and even quoted Mao Tse-tung, who once stated, "Capitalism will end as a paper tiger."

But the most spectacular part of Chavez's speech occurred as Carlos Lage handed him a mobile phone. Chavez claimed to be speaking to Fidel Castro. Castro's voice was heard faintly as Chavez placed the mobile next to the microphone. Then the Venezuelan president attempted to connect the mobile's loudspeaker but was unable to do so. "I don't know how this model works, but anyway, Fidel sends his regards to all of you," Chavez saidDuring his speech, Chavez announced that he had made an agreement with the Chinese government to build the first South American satellite, which will be sent into orbit to broadcast Telesur, a television network that already has stations in Brazil and Bolivia. Chavez also stated that Telesur would broadcast in conjunction with Al-Jazeera, the Arab news network.

New Venezuelan flag created by Hugo Chavez

Finally, Chavez issued a warning to the United States: If it invades any South American country, it would be faced with "many Vietnams."
"The Venezuelan revolution is armed. We will not end up like Allende, who had no weapons and was not a soldier. However, in my case I am a professional soldier, I am ready for war," Chavez said.
Next to speak was President Ortega of Nicaragua. He also attacked the United States. In addition, he praised Hugo Chavez and called for an end to the Organization of American States (OAS). According to Ortega, Washington controls the OAS. Because of this, Latin American countries should form a new organization, which would include Cuba but not the United States, in opposition to the OAS.

The ceremony ended with Chavez, Ortega, Morales and Lage saluting the crowd to the tune of the traditional Chilean revolutionary song "El Pueblo Unido Jamas Sera Vencido" ("The United People Will Never Be Defeated").

Monday, November 12, 2007

Fernando Gonzalez Finally Defeats Roger Federer

Chilean tennis player defeats World's N°1 at Shanghai Masters Cup

November 12, 2007 will be a day that Fernando Gonzalez and many Chilean tennis fans are sure to remember for the rest of their lives. For the first time the Chilean player was able to beat Roger Federer after having lost on ten previous occasions. It was a major feat for Gonzalez since his opponent has been described as "the most perfect player in history" by a former tennis great such as John MacEnroe, or as "the best player I have faced " by Andre Agassi.
At 25, Roger Federer has been in the first place of the ATP rankings since 2004 and until now has won a total of 52 tournaments in his career and in 2007 alone has earned a total of US$7.405.620 in prize money. At the indoor arena in Shanghai it seemed that Federer would yet again defeat Gonzalez since the Swiss player won the first set easily by 6-3. In the second set Gonzalez fought back and won the support of the Chinese crowd by winning 7-6 after a tiebreak and so the final result would have to be settled in a thrilling third set. The action continued quite balanced but in a spectacular turn of events, Gonzalez broke Federer´s serve in the 11th game to go up 6-5 and would be serving for the match in the next game. After two hours of play, Gonzalez was winning by 40-15 when Federer hit the ball outside the boundaries of the court and the crowd roared as the Chilean player lifted his arms in a sign of victory. Andy Roddick of the U.S. ( ranked N° 5 by the ATP) will be Gonzalez´s next opponent on Wednesday.
During his career Gonzalez has won 8 ATP tournaments and one of his finest moments came in the 2004 Olympic Games as together with Nicholas Massu, they won the gold medal for Chile in doubles and also Gonzalez won a bronze medal in the singles. This victory by Gonzalez was not the first upset of this years Masters Cup since on Sunday David Ferrer of Spain defeated Novak Djokovic, a Serbian player that has been in great form this year and is currently ranked third by the ATP.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Fernando Gonzalez Qualifies for Shanghai Masters Cup

Chilean tennis player is among eight best in the World

First the good news: for the first time in his career, Chile´s Fernando Gonzalez qualified directly to play in this year's version of an event that has become the most prestigious in the professional tennis circuit and that will begin on November 11 in the Chinese city. The bad news: Gonzalez has been drawn to play in the same group as Roger Federer, probably the best tennis player of all time and currently in first place of the ATP rankings with 3.400 points, whom he has never been able to beat Federer in their ten previous matches. In 2007 Gonzalez is currently in 7th place of the ranking with 785 points, has only won at the Beijing Open, but has accumulated total prize money of US$1.219.330. Even so the Swiss master is not invincible, but he is to be respected since he was the champion of the Shanghai Tournament in 2006. The other two players drawn in the same group as Federer and Gonzalez are Nikolai Davidenko of Russia with 1.300 points and Andy Roddick of the U.S.A with a total of 955 points. There may be old scores to settle when Gonzalez plays Roddick since this last player was part of the U.S. team that knocked Chile out of the Davis Cup in 2006 during a controversial series played in Rancho Mirage, California. The other group will include two Spanish players, Rafael Nadal (2nd in ATP rankings with 2100 points), David Ferrer (710 points) , Novak Djokovic of Serbia with 1750 points and Richard Gasquet (France) with 670 points.
Even if they don't win the tournament, each player will be rewarded with a life size replica of one of the famous Ming Dynasty "Terracota Warriors" that were discovered some years ago in the tomb of Emperor Kin, that ruled China from 210 to 209 B.C.

Top Int'l Clubs Target Chilean Footballer

Carlos Villanueva could play in Brazil, France or Holland

Audax Italiano is not one of Chile´s most popular football teams, but thanks to the brilliant play shown by 21 year old Carlos Villanueva, the Santiago based club is now in first place in the 2007 first division championship.

Carlos Villanueva by UPI

Each week the club's president, Valentin Cantergiani gets offers from clubs all over the world that want to hire Villanueva, the leading goalscorer in the 2007 Chilean First Division tournament with 17 goals, many of them scored from free kicks. Until now the most famous clubs that have inquired about Villanueva are Palmeiras (Brazil), River Plate (Argentina), Ajax and PSV Eindhoven (Holland) , and Toulouse and Racing Strasbourg (France).
Palmeiras have offered Cantergiani US$7 million for Villanueva´s transfer, but Audax´s president has stated that "we are not in a hurry to make a decision about Villanueva´s future". Another famous South American club, River Plate has also held conversations with Audax, while Toulouse of France is also willing to pay the US$7 million transfer fee for the talented midfielder. Two very important European clubs, Ajax and PSV Eindhoven have also declared that they are interested in Villanueva since these clubs are always keen to hire talented and young South American players.
The Chilean press has commented that Audax Italiano may transfer Villanueva after the end of the local championship in December and the player would be travelling to Europe in January 2008 or otherwise at the beginning of the summer in that continent.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


The recent announcement by the British Foreign Office that it will make a formal claim to the United Nations to demand sovereignty over all Antarctic territory between the longitudes of 80°West and 20°West has alarmed the Chilean government.

On Oct. 24 a Chilean Congressional committee traveled to the Antarctic to make an inspection of Chile´s bases in the continent with the planet's largest reserves of oil (estimated at 60 billion barrels), natural gas, coal and fresh water.

The most important bases are the General Bernardo O´Higgins Base that is administered by the Army and the Lieutenant Marsh Air Force base (that has the most important landing strip in the area). There are two scientific bases, the President Eduardo Frei meteorological base and the Professor Julio Escudero Base, which is run by the Chilean Antarctic Institute, where important experiments regarding the ozone layer are carried out.

The Arturo Prat Naval base that had been closed in 2004 will be reopened and the Chilean government has granted the Navy a total of US$150 million to continue activity at that installation until 2024. Based on the work of Professor Julio Escudero, on Nov. 6, 1940 the Chilean Congress approved Law Decree N°1.747.

This decree states that "Chile has sovereignty over all Antarctic territory, including islands, reefs, glaciers and others to be discovered and its corresponding territorial waters between the limit formed by the meridian of longitude 53°West of Greenwich and longitude 90°West of Greenwich."

Until now Chile´s most serious conflict was with neighboring Argentina, that has claimed territory between longitude 25°West and 74°West, but now the situation is more complex due to the British claim that must be presented to the United Nations by May 2009.

According to the 1959 Antarctic Treaty, all the before mentioned natural resources can only be exploited as from 2048, so this seems to be the main reason why the British government has shown such sudden interest in the area. According to the Chilean version the South American country has most rights to the area due to the legal concept of "Uti Possedetis", whereby the country had won its independence from the Kingdom of Spain in 1818, after 300 years of colonial rule.

A Chilean naval mission was sent in 1820 to hunt for seals, and ironically was captained by a Scotsman called Andrew MacFarlane. Along with his crew of Chilean sailors MacFarlane was the first to land in the Antartica as proven by the captain's log kept by Robert Fildes of the "Cora of Liverpool."

In November of 1820 Fildes wrote that his ship came into contact with the "Dragon of Valparaiso" and was told by Captain Macfarlane said that the Chilean ship had been in the area for the past seven weeks and had even landed at Deception Island.

Another important episode that proves Chilean presence in the Antarctica occurred in 1916 as a British expedition commanded by Ernest Shackleton became stranded in the ice aboard its ship, the "Endurance" that finally sank in November of that year.

With five other crew members Shackleton set off in a safety boat to the South Georgia Islands, the Falkland Islands and Uruguay, but failed to get help to rescue his remaining 17 comrades. Shackleton then traveled to the port of Punta Arenas, where the Chilean navy organized an expedition headed by Pilot Luis Pardo that rescued the men on Aug. 30, 1916 under temperatures of minus 24° Celsius.

Pardo's ship returned to Punta Arenas five days later and was given a heroes welcome by the population and by many foreign press reporters that had traveled to cover the event due to the international interest of the story.

The British government offered to pay Pardo a reward of 25,000 pounds for saving Shackleton and his crew but the Chilean officer did not accept the sum and that stated that he had only "carried out his duty." Pilot Luis Pardo was promoted by the Chilean navy and in 1919 was appointed Consul in Liverpool, England.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Chile Recovers Form with Victory over Peru

Second matchday of S.American qualifiers

The Chilean national team defeated its Peruvian counterpart by 2-0 on October 17 at the National Stadium in Santiago. Both teams were under pressure to obtain a positive result since the visiting team had only gotten a goalless draw against Paraguay while the Chileans had traveled to Buenos Aires where they lost 2-0 to Argentina. Chile was lucky to score after only eleven minutes of play due to a header by Humberto Suazo. Peru tried to counterattack but some good saves by local goalkeeper Claudio Bravo prevented the equalizing goal. The final result was obtained in the 54th minute after a good pass by Arturo Vidal (currently playing for Bayer Leverkusen of Germany) was finished off with a hard low shot by Matias Fernandez that sent the ball into the net. This positive result has calmed down the 60,000 fans that showed up at the stadium and the local press that expect more than average results from the national team specially after the spectacular signing of coach Marcelo Bielsa. The former Argentina coach has also become the best paid coach in South America with a yearly salary of US$1.5 million and after the match described the performance of the Chilean national team as "acceptable". Even if the team won three points for the victory, the general opinion is that the players must improve if they want to qualify for the 2010 Fifa World Cup that will be held in South Africa. Chile’s next matches will be on November 17 in Montevideo against Uruguay and on Nov. 21 in Santiago against Paraguay.
On Oct. 16, Argentina defeated the home team Venezuela by 2-0 , and is now the leader in the points table with 6 points. On Wednesday night at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil crushed Ecuador by 5-0, while in the Paraguayan capital of Asuncion, the home team beat Uruguay by 1-0 and in La Paz, Bolivia could only draw 0-0 with Colombia.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Qualifying matches for 2010 World Cup begin in South America

Argentina and Uruguay score three points in first match

Another grueling series of matches began for the ten South American countries on October 13 in different stadiums throughout the continent. For the next two years, the national teams of Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela must play a total of 18 matches (one at home and the other away) against each of the other nine countries. The match that attracted the most attention was that played between Argentina and Chile in Buenos Aires on Saturday afternoon. The Chilean national team arrived with optimism at the Monumental Stadium in the Argentine capital due to its recent successful tour in Europe where it showed good form by losing narrowly by 2-1 to Switzerland and beating Austria by 2-0. Also the Chilean fans counted on the experience of the new coach, Marcelo Bielsa, to lead the players to a historic first ever win against its traditional rivals. However, the former coach of Argentina from 1998 to 2002 was unable to guide the team to put up an effective match strategy and after 26 minutes was already losing thanks to a precise free kick goal scored by Juan Roman Riquelme. Also the refereeing had a negative impact on the Chilean team since by the end of the first half five players had been yellow carded. In the last minute of the first half Riquelme scored yet another free kick, nearly identical to the first goal, to strike another blow to the visiting team's morale.
The fate of the match was sealed after ten minutes of the second half as Chilean defender Christian Alvarez was sent off due to a second yellow card.
The Chilean team returned on the same night from Buenos Aires and immediately went to the football federation's training center in Santiago to prepare for the next match to be played on October 17 at the National Stadium against Peru. The Peruvians also had a bad start to their campaign since in Lima they were only able to get a 0-0 draw against Paraguay. Now both teams are under pressure to get a positive result, specially Chile that will be playing in front of its home crowd, while the Peruvian Football Federation has promised to pay an undisclosed amount in prize money to each player in case they defeat Chile.
Two hours before the match in Buenos Aires, Uruguay scored its first three points as it defeated Bolivia by 5-0 at the Centenario Stadium in Montevideo.The surprise result of the fixture was the 0-1 home defeat by Ecuador at the hands of Venezuela, traditionally the weakest South American national team. Later on in neighboring Bogota, the Colombian capital, the home team was unable to defeat five time World Champions Brazil and ended with one point after a goalless draw. On Oct. 16 Venezuela will be visited by Argentina, while on Oct 17. Brazil will play host to Ecuador, Colombia will travel to play against Bolivia and Paraguay will receive Uruguay.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Formula 1 Set for Thrilling Final in Brazil


With 25 laps remaining in the Chinese Grand Prix held on September 7 in Shanghai, Lewis Hamilton of the McClaren Mercedes team made an incredible mistake as he entered the entry lane for a pitstop. Hamilton was surely going to change his set of tires that were completely worn out, but instead lost control of his car and ended up in a gravel area on the side of the lane. Due to the worn out tires, Hamilton´s car was unable to get out of that uneven surface and so the British driver had to abandon the race. It was expected that Hamilton would win this year's Formula 1 championship at Shanghai, but after this result the winner will only be decided on October 21 at the Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The race at Shanghai was won by Kimi Raikkonen of the Ferrari team, second was Fernando Alonso (McClaren) and third was Felipe Massa , also of the Ferrari team. It is interesting to note that even if Hamilton and Alonso are on the same team, they have become bitter rivals due to personal differences and will fight each other until the end in Interlagos, specially Alonso, that wants to win his third driver's championship.
Raikkonen´s victory at Shanghai was also the 200th in the history of the Ferrari racing team and now the stage is set for a spectacular finish to the 2007 F1 championship. In the driver's championship, Lewis Hamilton is first on the table with 107 points, followed closely by Fernando Alonso with 103 and Kimi Raikkonen with 100.
According to F! experts, these are some of the the options to decide this year´s champion:
Lewis Hamilton will be champion if......
He wins at Interlagos.
He finishes in second place.
He ends in 3rd, 4th or 5thplace and Fernando Alonso does not win.
He ends in 6th or 7th place, Alonso is not in first two places. and Raikkonen does not win.

Fernando Alonso will be champion if.....
He wins at Interlagos and Hamilton does not come in second place.
He is second and Hamilton is not among first five.
He is third, Hanilton is not among top seven and Raikkonen does not win

Kimi Raikkonen will be champion if.......
He wins at Interlagos, Alonso is second and Hamilton is not among first six places.

He is second but Alonso does not get into the first five places and Hamilton does not score any points.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Pinochet Family Arrested in Chile

Along with 13 military officers and 4 civilians

Just when most Chilean citizens had thought the Pinochet case had been forgotten by the local justice system, 23 people were arrested on Oct 4 by members of the Civilian police (known as Investigaciones).

At 7.00 a.m. the officers raided Pinochet`s mansión in the posh La Dehesa suburb and arrested the former Chilean dictators`s wife, Lucia Hiriart of 87 years of age. Due to the shock caused by the forceful entry of the police into her home, Mrs. Hiriart suffered an increase in her blood pressure and was taken in an ambulante to Santiago`s military hospital.
Simultaneously in other areas of the city, Investigaciones arrested Pinochet´s sons , Augusto and Marco Antonio and two daughters, Lucia, Jacqueline, and Verónica. All were taken to the Independencia Headquarters in downtown Santiago in police cars.

According to Judge Cerda, there is enough evidence to accuse the Pinochet family of having stolen approximately US$ 8.3 million from a state institution known as “Casa Militar” (Military House) , a Branch of the Army that must distribute funds to military personnel that are on missions in provincial regiments or in diplomatic embassies abroad. It is alleged that for two years (during the eighties) , Marco Antonio and his wife were paid a monthly allowance of US$30.000 while they were living in the United States.

Also several high ranking military officers were arrested in relation to the “Casa Militar” case, such as General Jorge Ballerino that was in charge of the “Casa Militar” from 1981 to 1984, Genaro Ramon Castro, a former assistant to Pinochet and General Guillermo Garin, former vicecommander of the Chilean army and also in charge of Casa Militar in 1985.
Among the most important civilians are Oscar Aitken,Pinochet`s financial adviser, Monica Ananias (personal secretary) and Coronel Gustavo Collao,(defense lawyer in human rights cases). The men were transferred at 16:00 hours local time to Santiago Uno, the new jail inaugurated last year, while the women were taken to the “Feminine Detention Center”.

Judge Carlos Cerda also investigates the origin of a bank account of US$28 million that was discovered in 2002 at the Riggs National Bank in Washington D.C.since there may be a connection with the funds diverted from “Casa Militar”.

Friday, July 20, 2007

German Referee Causes Chile´s Loss in World Cup semifinal

Referee Causes Chile´s Loss in World Cup semifinal
Toronto police attack and arrest Chilean players after match

Nine Chilean players injured, handcuffed and locked up by the police in the dressing rooms at the Toronto National Stadium. A diplomatic incident between Canadian and Chilean authorities. Bomb threats against the Canadian and German embassies in Santiago. These are just some of the consequences of the incompetent performance by the trio of referees headed by Wolfgang Stark of Germany that was supposed to control play during the semifinal of the U20 World Cup.
Once again FIFA made a terrible mistake and on July 19 appointed three inexperienced and innocent referees to oversee a match of tremendous importance since Chile and Argentina were disputing a place in a World Cup final.
According to the FIFA webpage, Stark only speaks German and English, so why was he appointed to be the referee in a match between two teams whose players speak spanish?
Wolfgang Stark was unable to control the actions from the first minute by not punishing the flagrant acts of provocation carried out by the Argentinean players against their opponents. After only six minutes of play Nicholas Medina of Chile was running off alone towards the Argentine goal but was tripped and brought down to the ground by Mathias Cahais of Argentina with a sliding tackle. According to FIFA rules Cahais should have been sent off either for the late tackle or also for fouling a player that was alone in front of the goalkeeper with a clear goal scoring chance. However, Stark only showed the Argentine player a yellow card, causing the anger of the Chilean players and coaching staff. Also the Argentine players were constantly provoking and assaulting the Chilean players whenever Stark or his associates were not watching them. The Chilean players fell into the trap set by their rivals and lost their concentration, and in the 11th minute Demaria scored a legitimate goal for Argentina past goalkeeper Chris Toselli, that should have blocked the shot that came from an impossible angle. Even so Chile continued to put pressure on the rival area, but in a childish mistake midfielder Gary Medel reacted violently after being kicked without the ball by Gabriel Mercado. Medel did indeed feint to kick Mercado as he lay on the ground, but Wolfgang Stark was fooled by the Argentinean that acted as if Medel really had struck him in the face. Instead of showing both players a red or yellow card it was only Gary Medel that was sent off in the 14th minute. Obviously with one man less on the field the Chilean team was left in a disadvantageous situation from a very early stage, while for the remainder of the first half Stark continuously favored the Argentinean players by overlooking whenever they committed a foul or by awarding free kicks against Chile. To the credit of the Argentineans it must be recognized that their provocation tactics certainly caused the desired effect on their Chilean counterparts that had been in an overconfident and relaxed mood during the three days previous to the match. The second half continued in a similar fashion with the Chilean players completely in discontrol which was capitalized in the 63rd minute by Claudio Jacob that scored the second goal for Argentina. But the spark that set off the blaze that would follow after the match was set off by Wolfgang Stark as he sent off Dagoberto Currimilla in the 77th minute and also in the 92nd minute as he did not award a clear penalty against Arturo Vidal that was brought down in the penalty area. Also near the end of the match a Chilean fan ran onto the pitch and tried to assault the German referee. As the three referees tried to walk towards the dressing rooms, they were prevented from doing so for several minutes as angry Chilean fans threw bottles and objects at them, that finally escaped by running in to the tunnel.
Half an hour later Chilean television stations reported with news flashes that several players had been beaten up and arrested by Toronto police. Also the security guards at the stadium assaulted and prevented Chilean press reporters from filming as the players were handcuffed and retained in their dressing rooms. The version of the Chilean delegation is that as the players were walking towards the bus that would take them back to their hotel they were cheered by Chilean fans that were behind the police barriers. Some players tried to shake hands with the fans but were immediately beaten up and tazered by the police officers. This caused a fight between the officers and the Chilean players that ended up barricading themselves in their bus along with some ANFP (Chile football federation) officials. Some minutes later they were violently taken down from the bus by riot police that used tear gas and tazers to subdue the players.
Alexis Sanchez, one of the best players of the Chilean team was seen on television as he was handcuffed with his hands behind his back by Toronto police officers. Sanchez was recovering from an elbow injury and could be heard screaming as the police officers tightened their grip on him. FIFA’s version has been given through their spokesman John Schumacher that has surprised the Chilean press and fans after saying that the players were only “taken to a room so that the situation could de-escalate.”
The Mayor of Toronto David Miller has denied that he described police response to the repression against Chile´s U-20 soccer brawl as "rough," but expressed regret over incident. The Chilean authoritites have described the incident as “unjustified aggression” and have ordered the Consul n that city to demande a formal explanation from the Mayor of Toronto. Josè Sulantay,the Chilean coach has commented that his players lost control after being exposed to tremendous pressure before the match, ans also that it is very unlikely that Chile will play Austria this Sunday in the match for third place since many of the players are injured as well as psychologically and physically unfit to play.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Chile Advances to Semifinal of U20 World Cup

Goalkeeper Toselli sets world record in 4-0 win over Nigeria

On July 15 Chile´s U20 squad continued showing its impressive form at the World Cup being held in Canada. The rival this time was Nigeria (current African sub-champions in this category) that also became the first team to put up serious resistance to the South Americans. From the kick off at the Montreal Olympic Stadium, the Nigerians surprised the crowd of 35,000 as it pinned Chile in its own half, but the poor aim of its players prevented the Africans from scoring on three clear chances during the first fifteen minutes. Chile's players could not find a formula to break open the Nigerian defense and it was only in the 18th minute that they had their first goalscoring opportunity. Nicholas Medina was left alone in the area but goalkeeper Ezenwa deflected the striker's shot over the crossbar. Meanwhile Chile´s star player Alexis Sanchez had been neutralized by the Nigerians with a string of fouls and hard tackles. In the 43rd minute Nigeria could also have scored but Ezequiel Bala´s header hit the crossbar of the goal defended by Christopher Toselli.
In the second half Chilean coach Jose Sulantay made some risky replacements as he put on Carlos Carmona and Jaime Grondona for Alexis Sanchez , but the move worked since from then on until the end of the match Chile began taking control of the match. For the first time in the tournament the Chilean squad had been unable to score during normal time and was forced to continue with a further thirty minutes of extra play.
In the 95th minute Chile was awarded a free kick from forty meters that as usual was taken by Mauricio Isla, one of the best players of the afternoon. Isla's high ball caused a mix-up among the Nigerian defenders that ended up with Jaime Grondona tapping the ball into the net from close range with his head. With the crucial goal having been scored, Nigeria went into disarray as it advanced desperately towards the Chilean half in search of the equalizer. This left far too many spaces in Nigeria's defense that was easily capitalized by Chile with fast counterattacks. In the 112th minute Isla and Mathias Vidangossy ran off alone towards the Nigerian goal and as the latter player entered the penalty area he was fouled by Sodiq that was immediately sent off by the referee Howard Webb. Isla wrapped up the match for Chile through a penalty but along with Vidangossy would add yet another two goals in the 119th and 121st minute respectively. Apart from the brilliant achievement of having qualified to the semifinal that will be played on July 19, the Chilean squad has also set a world record in U20 championships. Goalkeeper Chris Toselli has not conceded a single goal after 480 minutes of play, breaking the previous record set by Uruguayan goalkeeper Fernando Alvarez in the 1979 U20 World Cup played in Japan, that played for 442 minutes without conceding a goal.
Now Chilean fans expect Toselli to continue with his record and help the team continue towards the final, a feat that does not seem impossible for these players that have put on a brilliant performance.


Brazil Crushes Argentina in final of Copa America
Dunga´s team humiliates traditional rivals BY 3-0

On July 15, thanks to its impressive form in the previous matches, Argentina was the clear favorite to win the final of the 2007 Copa America. Its rival was Brazil that had been much criticized by the local press after losing the first match against Mexico and only managing to draw with Ecuador in the second. The match was played at the Pachencho Romero Stadium in Maracaibo, and apart from bringing together the two most powerful squads in the continent was also the chance to see who would win the personal duel between Lionel Messi and Robinho. Messi plays for Barcelona in the Spanish first division, while Robinho plays for its arch-rival Real Madrid, that recently became champions of the 2006-2007 season. Robinho arrived at the match as the leading goalscorer of Copa America with six goals, but it had been Messi that had become a crowd favorite with his skilful play, including a fantastic goal against Mexico in the semifinal.
However Brazil struck the first blow after only three minutes of play as Julio Baptista scored a spectacular long range goal from nearly thirty meters. Only four minutes later Juan Roman Riquelme nearly equalized after a great combination of passes but his hard shot hit the crossbar of Doni´s goal. It seemed that after this missed opportunity the Argentinean players sensed that it would not be their afternoon, and they would be further demoralized in the 40th minute as captain Roberto Ayala scored an own goal while trying to intercept a cross by a Daniel Alves of Brazil.
Brazil continued playing its effective football during the rest of the first half and Argentina's attempts to score were constantly blocked.
It would be Alves gain that would give the knockout punch for Brazil in the 68th minute as he finished off a well-created counterattack with a precise low shot. From then on Argentina became completely demoralized and gave up trying to equalize.
After this victory, Brazil has won the Copa America on eight occasions, while Mexico obtained the third place after defeating Uruguay by 3-1 on July 14. The general opinion is that this year's edition of Copa America has been a success due to the impressive new stadiums built specially for the occasion by the Venezuelan government and the many goals scored during the competition (86).

Starting Libneups
Brasil: Doni; Maicon, Alex, Juan , Gilberto; Mineiro, Josué, Elano , Julio Baptista; Wagner Love ,Robinho .
Coach: Dunga.
Argentina: R.Abbondanzieri; J.Zanetti, R.Ayala, G. Milito , G.Heinze; J.Mascherano, Cambiasso ,J.Verón.J.R. Riquelme; Messi y Tevez.
Coach: Alfio Basile.
Referee: Carlos Amarilla (Paraguay).

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Chile Is Favorite to Win FIFA U20 World Cup

National team to play Nigeria in quarterfinal

Chilean football fans have nothing to complain about since the players of the U20 squad have kept their promise and shown a great performance in the 2007 FIFA U20 World Cup being held in Canada. Chile qualified in first place of Group A after victories over Canada (3-0), Congo Republic (3-0) and a 0-0 draw with Austria. On July 12 the U20 squad faced Portugal at the Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton and continued its unbeaten streak with a 1-0 win. The match was played in front of 25,000 spectators and under very hot conditions, according to the TV broadcast at a temperature of 32 ° Celsius. The Chilean team took control of the action from the kick off and was only prevented from scoring thanks to great saves by Rui Patricio, the Portuguese goalkeeper. Alexis Sanchez yet again became the most dangerous player for Chile and could have scored twice in the first 15 minutes had it not been for Patricio. The Portuguese players could only try to stop Sanchez with some rough tackles that nearly left the Chilean striker off the field in the 19th minute due to an elbow injury. Sanchez was bandaged by the paramedics and continued to play, causing havoc in Portugal's area.
still Chile had 63% of ball possession, while Sanchez had to be replaced in the 76th minute by Gerardo Cortes.
Finally Chile was able to obtain its well-deserved goal in the 45th minute as midfielder Arturo Vidal deflected the ball into the net from close range after a high free kick taken by Mauricio Isla.
In the second half Portugal attempted to attack more but according to the television broadcast its toll on the South Americans, leaving more space for Portugal to go forward. However, the Portuguese players lost their calm and in the 88th minute two of its players were sent off. Mano came from behind and pushed a Chilean player to the ground and as referee Mohd Salleh of Malaysia showed him the red card, it was rudely snatched from his hand by Zequinha, that also had to be escorted off the pitch by security guards due to his violent reaction. Everything did not end well for Chile since in the 94th minute, Arturo Vidal was also sent off for apparently wasting time before taking a free kick. This is a major loss for Chile since Vidal is one of the leaders of the team due to his optimism and decisive play. After the match Vidal stated that he "could not understand why he was sent off, or what the referee was saying. Anyhow, we are now three matches away from being World Champions." Vidal has been voted among the best players in this year's event, and has scored two goals. Chile will play Nigeria on July 19 in Montreal and in case of a victory will have to play the winner of the match between Austria and U.S.A. This last country has also become a favorite to win the Cup since three of its players (Freddy Adu, Danny Szetela and Josmer Altidore) are among the top goalscorers of the event with three goals each. The other South American team that continues in competition is Argentina that defeated Poland 3-1 and must play Mexico in its next match. Argentina's Sergio Aguero is the leading goalscorer of the tournament with five strikes and has also become a candidate for the "best player" award. U.S.A (2-1) and Spain (4-2) knocked out Uruguay and Brazil respectively, and the Spaniards will play the Czech Republic on July 18.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Historic Result For Venezuela in Copa America

On July 3, the Venezuelan national team qualified first in Group A after a goalless draw against Uruguay at the Merida Stadium. This is an historic achievement as it is the first time that Venezuela goes on to the second round of Copa America. Always known as the "pushover" team in South American football, Venezuelan football is definitely improving, both at national team level and at club level. This situation was proven at the recent of the Libertadores Cup, where Caracas F.C. made it to the quarterfinals with victories over Nacional of Uruguay (both at home and away). At Merida, Venezuela went immediately on the attack against Uruguay from the first minute, trying to get an early goal. At the end of the first half, the televised transmission showed that ball possession had favored Venezuela by 55% to Uruguay's 45%. However neither of the teams managed to capitalize their goal scoring chances, and there still is a rumor among fans and press that there may have been a tacit agreement between both sides to be satisfied with the 0-0 draw, that sent both to the second round.
On July 4 at the impressive "Olimpico" Stadium in the city of Puerto la Cruz, Chile and Mexico played the last match of Group B. Mexico was had already qualified after an impressive 2-0 victory over Brazil and a 2-1 win over Ecuador, so it fielded a reserve team against Chile, that only needed to draw to qualify. Both teams played with a defensive style, broken only by the occasional counterattack. The only clear goalscoring chance of the match went to Chile, as in the second half striker Juan Lorca was apparently brought down in the area, but the referee did not award the expected penalty. Anyhow, the match ended in another 0-0 draw and the result has raised suspicions among the press that another "tacit" agreement may have been reached before the match between the Mexican and the Chilean players, since several play in Mexican clubs. The second match of the evening was played between Brazil and Ecuador, with a 1-0 victory for the five time World champions, thanks to a penalty scored by Robinho. According to the tournament rules, Venezuela must play Uruguay again this Saturday, July 7, in what has been the only curious arrangement in the tournament. In the same manner, Brazil must also face Chile again, but this time both teams have promised a "do or die" match in this knockout stage, and maybe Chile can get revenge on the 3-0 defeat against Brazil that occurred on July 1.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Brazil Recovers Form in Copa America

Robinho hat-trick destroys Chile

On July 1, at the brand new Maturin Stadium, Chilean national team coach Nelson Acosta added yet another humiliating defeat to his record of matches against Brazil.

Acosta just cannot find a formula to defeat the five-time World champions. In six encounters, he has lost on five occasions. Acosta beat Brazil once by 3-0 during a World Cup qualifying match in Santiago in 2001.

Earlier, Chile had a great start after beating Ecuador 3-2 in the first match, while Brazil lost 2-0 to Mexico and was forced to get a victory in order to continue at Copa America.

Once again, Acosta gambled on a defensive strategy and gave Brazil the initiative and control of the field.

Since the Brazilians were constantly attacking, they were constantly in the Chilean danger zone. During a clash between a defender and striker Wagner Love, the referee thought that Love had been pushed in the penalty area.

Robinho, the Real Madrid star, scored the penalty in the 33rd minute, signaling the failure of Acosta's defensive strategy that hoped to get a goalless draw. Also, an unexpected injury forced Acosta to replace central defender Rodrigo Melendez with Manuel Iturra, further disrupting the coach's plans.

During the second half, Chile took control of the action but its strikers missed several goal-scoring chances that could have changed the final result.

Twenty minutes from the end, Chile was hit by another injury and Jaime Vargas came on for Miguel Riffo. Vargas had not warmed up properly and it showed as he left plenty of open spaces for Robinho, who finished off Chile with two goals in the 83rd and 86th minutes.

The final 3-0 result was an exaggerated score for what happened during the match, but even so, Chile still has a chance to qualify, as Mexico defeated Ecuador by 2-1. Because Mexico qualified, it will field its reserve team during the last match of the first round. Since Brazil is forced to defeat Ecuador, a draw with Mexico next Wednesday will send Chile to the second round of Copa America.

Maturin Stadium, 55,000 spectators.

Starting Lineups

Brazil (3): Doni (gk), Maicon, Alex, Juan, Gilberto, Mineiro, Elano, Gilberto Silva, Robinho, Anderson and Wagner Love. Coach: Dunga.

Chile (0): C. Bravo (gk), A. Ormeno, M. Riffo, I. Fuentes, G. Jara, P. Contreras, M. Gonzalez, A. Sanhueza, R. Melendez, J. Valdivia and H. Suazo. Coach: Nelson Acosta.

Great Start for Chile in U20 World Cup

On the same day as the adult team was crushed 3-0 by Brazil at Copa America, Chile's U20 players raised the spirits of the fans as it demolished Canada in the Toronto National Stadium.

It was the first match of Group A and the South Americans showed no respect for the host nation as it controlled the run of play from the first minute to the last. Chile attacked constantly pinning Canada in its own half. Canada's players could only resist with hard tackling and many fouls that were strangely overlooked by the referee.

Mathias Vidangossy became the playmaker for Chile and his dangerous dribbling caused havoc in the Canadian area. Chile's ground level passing and constant pressure paid off as Nicholas Medina capitalized on a mistake by a Canadian defender and scored the first goal in the 25th minute.

The match continued as usual for most of the first half and it was only thanks to the many saves of the Canadian goalkeeper that Chile did not increase its lead.

In the second half, the Canadian coach made several replacements and did improve its play, at least finally managing to get near the Chilean area.

Canada's resistance ended in the 53rd minute as captain Carlos Carmona headed in Chile's second goal. The final result was sealed in the 81st minute with another header by Jaime Grondona, who had replaced Nicholas Medina only two minutes before.

After the match, midfielder Arturo Vidal, recently hired by Bayer Leverkusen of the German Bundesliga, declared, "If we keep playing like this no one can beat us." Most Chilean fans hope the U20 players can continue showing this form and keep their promise of winning the 2007 FIFA U20 World Cup.

The other South American teams did not do so well, since Brazil lost on June 30 to Poland by 1-0, Argentina drew with the Czech Republic by 0-0 and Uruguay drew with Spain 2-2.

Chile's next match is on Thursday against Congo Republic, current African U20 champions

Saturday, June 30, 2007

FARC and Government blames each other for massacre

On June 30 , the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC in the spanish acronym) informed the relatives of eleven politicians killed recently in the southwestern province of Narino, on the border with Ecuador, that they will hand over the corpses only if the Colombian Army ceases all military activity in that area. It seems that the eleven men were shot on June 28, and it is still not clear how it happened. FARC claims that the hostages were killed during crossfire between its members and a Colombian Army rescue team while the President of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe, has accused FARC of having killed the hostages.
"The hostages were murdered in cold blood, no rebels or soldiers were killed, and this proves that there was no crossfire," said Uribe during a television interview. Uribe added that he had never ordered the Army to carry out a rescue operation since there was no information about the exact location of the hostages retained by FARC. Uribe has requested an international commission to establish the real causes of the massacre and to recover the bodies of the dead politicians that were kidnapped by FARC in 2002.
On June 30 FARC informed the relatives of the dead hostages that they will hand over the corpses only if the army ceases all military activity in the area.
According to the Colombian press, there are four possible reasons why the hostages were killed:
1) Constant flyovers by Army helicopters and movements by navy ships could have made the members of FARC think a rescue operation was underway, forcing them to kill the hostages.
2) A shootout may have occurred between members of FARC and the ELN, another left wing group that plans to take control of that jungle area.
3) A group of armed drug traffickers known as the "Rastrojos" may have wandered near to the place where the hostages were detained causing a gun battle with the FARC rebels.
4) A right wing paramilitary group that is also operating in the area may have clashed with the FARC.
This incident occurs just as the Colombian government and FARC are negotiating an exchange of 57 politicians and military personnel for 500 FARC prisoners. Among the group captured by FARC is Ingrid Betancourt, a member of the Colombian parliament that has been hostage for the past five years. Since Betancourt has dual French and Colombian nationality, the President of France, Nicholas Sarkozy has been acting as a mediator between President Uribe and FARC in order to secure the release of Betancourt and the other hostages. Recently Sarkozy convinced Uribe to free Rodrigo Granda, one of the main leaders of FARC, which was sent to Cuba. Also President Uribe has been in contact with President George Bush because there are three U.S. citizens among the group of 57 hostages that have been declared "negotiable" by FARC.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Brazil Stunned By Mexico in Copa America

Clash of favorites ends 2-0 for Aztecs

The second match of Group B faced Brazil (current champions of Copa America) against Mexico, that is not the pushover team that it was 20 years ago. Both countries have played each other 5 times in this tournament with four victories for the "yellow-greens" and one for Mexico in 2004. The first twenty minutes of the match were played at such a fast pace that even if play went from one end of the pitch to the other, there were no clear scoring chances for either of the teams. The deadlock was broken in the 21st minute with an amazing goal, similar to that scored by Pele for Brazil against Sweden in the final of the 1958 World Cup. Nery Castillo received a pass in the Brazil area and touched the ball over the head of a Brazil defender and then dribbled another before scoring for Mexico. But that would not be all as in the 29th minute Ramon Morales scored the second for Mexico with a precise left footed free kick from the right wing. Brazil was certainly surprised by what had happened and could not react during the remainder of the first half. However this situation would be corrected by coach Dunga , (that as a player was part of the Brazilian squad that won the 1994 World Cup in USA) as he made several replacements that left Brazil in total control of play under the command of Real Madrid star Robinho. But Brazil's many goal-scoring chances were all blocked by goalkeeper Ochoa that became one of the heroes for Mexico during this match. The Mexicans could only reply with the occasional but dangerous counterattack, that could have increased their lead at least twice more. If Castillo´s goal in the first half will be remembered as a masterpiece, his missed opportunity in the 93rd minute can only be classified as one of the biggest blunders in football history. Castillo received the ball near the halfway line and ran off toward the Brazilian goal , leaving a defender behind. Castillo was also able to evade goalkeeper Doni that tried to block him but with an open goal, the Mexican striker kicked the ball over the crossbar! Now Brazil must defeat Chile on Sunday to keep its chances of qualifying for the next round, while Mexico will also have a tough time against Ecuador, that desperately needs the three points after having lost 3-2 to Chile.

Starting lineups :

Brazil (0) : Doni, (gk) Gilberto, Elton, Maicon, Alex, Juan, Mineiro, Elano, G.Silva, Diego, Wagner Love, Robinho.
Coach: Dunga

Mexico (2) : G.Ochoa (gk), I.Castro, J. Magallon, R. Morales , R.Marquez, N.Castillo,J.Correa,F.Arce, J.C.Cacho R.Morales, F.Pinto.

Coach : Hugo Sanchez

June 28, Cachamay Stadium

Chile Fights Back to Defeat Ecuador

Amazing 3-2 win in Copa America

Chile played its first match of the 2007 "Copa America" on June 28 at the Cachamay Stadium in Puerto Ordaz. There had been a lot of uncertainty as to how the Chilean team would perform in its debut since due to the frequent tropical rainstorms it had been unable to train for the two previous days. This may have been the reason why Ecuador controlled the first half and opened up the score board in the 16th minute with a fast counterattack that was finished off by Antonio Valencia. However Chile struck back only 4 minutes later after a set of passes between captain Jorge Valdivia (Palmeiras,Brazil) and Humberto Suazo ended up with the latter player sending a high long range shot into Ecuador’s net. Chile was still showing a lot of distractions in its defense that was capitalized by Ecuador in the 22nd minute as Benitez headed in a loose ball in the area that Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo was unable able to catch. Ten minutes before the end of the first half Ecuador could have increased its lead as a striker's shot rebounded against the left post.
At the start of the second half Chile´s Coach Nelson Acosta (whose job is on the line at this tournament) made some correct replacements and brought on midfielder Miguel Riffo and striker Juan Lorca for Matias Fernandez and Reinaldo Navia respectively. Also the goalkeeper Claudio Bravo improved his play and prevented Ecuador from scoring twice near the 60th minute. Acosta would make yet another crucial move in the 65th minute as he brought on attacking midfielder Carlos Villanueva and from then on Chile became another team and took control of play with its short ground level passing. In the 79th minute a good combination of passes ended with Suazo equalizing again with a close range shot in the Ecuador area. But the best was yet to come as in the 85th minute Valdivia was brought down just outside the Ecuador area and it was Carlos Villanueva that became the hero of the night as he scored the winning goal with a precise left footed free kick. As the match ended the crowd of 40,000 fans applauded Chile for its fighting spirit and hopefully the team will continue playing at this level since next Sunday its rival will be none other than Brazil.

Starting Lineups :

Chile (3) : Claudio Bravo (gk), Alvaro Ormeño, Pablo Contreras, Jorge Vargas, Mark González - Arturo Sanhueza, Rodrigo Meléndez (Carlos Villanueva, 73), Jorge Valdivia, Matías Fernández , Reinaldo Navia Humberto Suazo. Coach: Nelson Acosta.
Ecuador (2) : Cristian Mora (gk), Ulises de la Cruz, Iván Hurtado, Giovanni Espinoza, Oscar Bagui , Segundo Castillo, Edwin Tenorio, Antonio Valencia, Edison Méndez - Cristian Benítez , Carlos Tenorio. Coach : Luis Fernando Suarez.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Copa America 2007 Kicks Off in Venezuela

Many goals scored during match day 1

On Jun 26, the 42nd version of the world's oldest football tournament got off to an exciting start at 6:00 p.m. local time at the "Metropolitano" Stadium in the city of Merida. The first match of Group C ended in an unexpected 3-0 victory for Peru over Uruguay, since this last country has won the tournament on fourteen occasions.
Peru showed off its impressive forward line that includes Claudio Pizarro (recently transferred to Chelsea of the English Premier League), and Paolo Guerrero that plays for Hamburg in the German Bundesliga. Pizarro was in great form and tore the Uruguay defense apart with his dangerous runs into the area, a performance that he nearly topped off with a goal in the first half. It was a defender, Miguel Villalta, that scored the first goal of the Copa America with a close range header in the 26th minute. Uruguay tried to reply but its main striker, Diego Forlan (Villarreal, Spain) was completely ineffective. Peru was clearly in control of the match with the precise ground level passes made between its players. In the second
half, Peru proved that it was completely superior to Uruguay as it secured a valuable three point victory thanks to goals by Juan Carlos Marino and Paolo Guerrero in the 69th and 88th minute respectively.
However, the official opening ceremony was held at 8:00 p.m. local time in the city of San Cristobal before the match between the home team and Bolivia. As expected, President Hugo Chavez stole the show as he appeared on the middle of the pitch together with the president of Bolivia, Evo Morales and former Argentine football star, Diego Maradona. The three passed a ball among themselves and to the delight of more that 50,000 spectators it was Evo Morales that gave the "first kick" of the ball with a spectacular high shot into the air. The first match of Group A ended in a 2-2 draw between Venezuela and Bolivia.
On Jun. 24 the Venezuelan Football Federation (FVF in the Spanish acronym) declared that it would propose to the President of FIFA, Joseph Blatter, its willingness to organize the next editions of the U-17 and U-20 World Cups. There are good chances of this happening since the Chavez administration has spent nearly US$ 700 million to build nine new stadiums, that are now the most modern in South America. With these stadiums Venezuela also becomes a good candidate to host the 2014 World Cup as may be an ambition for Chavez that has described them as "having nothing to envy those stadiums seen in the Olympic Games, World Cup or other events."
The Copa America continues today with a two match fixture in Puerto Ordaz that features Chile against Ecuador followed by Brazil versus Mexico.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Violent shootout between Rio de Janeiro Drug Gangs and Police

The "Cariocas" (citizens of Rio de Janeiro) are becoming increasingly accustomed to constant episodes of intense violence, caused mainly by drug gangs that battle each other and against the local police for control of the "favelas" or shantytowns that spread all over the hills that surround the city. This is exactly what happened on April 17 at the Favela Mineira, located within short distance of the central business district, known by locals as "Centro". Ar 5:00 a.m. a large group of men belonging to the Comando Vermelho (Red Commando or CV in the Portuguese acronym) , Rio´s most powerful drug gang, attempted to take control of the Mineira. The men were armed with powerful automatic assault weapons, mostly AR-15 and UZIs, but were met with fierce resistance by members of the "Amigos dos Amigos" gang, (Friends of our Friends or ADA in the acronym)that control drug trafficking operations at the Mineira. Alerted by the loud noise caused by the shootout, the Rio de Janeiro police also deployed to the Mineira hill in an attempt to restore order.The members of the CV were rejected by the ADA and as they tried to retreat were also intercepted by the police officers that were reaching the area. According to the police, at this stage the officers killed four gansgters, while later on thirteen other corpses were found higher up the Mineira hill.
An ironic situation occured at 10:00 a.m. as some members of the CV attempted to flee through the nearby Catumbi cemetery. Many of the funerals that were taking place at this stage had to be cancelled abruptly as innoent people were caught in the crossfire between police officers and fleeing gangsters.
One of the gangsters jumped through a window into a chapel full of mourning relatives and hid under the coffin."For the love of God, please don´t tell the police where I am," said the panic stricken member of the CV. A local newspaper printed a photograph in its afternoon edition that showed a police officer shooting next to a coffin of a dead person.Due to its location, the shootout at the Favela Mineira cut the city in two, paralizing traffic from the poorer "North Zone" to the
more posh southern suburbs such as Copacabana and Ipanema. Several citizens that were caught in the crossfire were wounded by stray bullets that were fired from all directions.Such was the case of Jorge Henrique dos Santos, that at 8:00 a.m was travelling to work in a public bus when he was shot in the head. Luckily for Jorge it was only a superficial wound. Diego Felipe Lima, aged 22 was shot in the chest and abdomen, while Reginla da Silva was shot in the stomach.According to TV news reports, they were both recovering after emergency surgery at a nearby hospital. Ina separate incident that occurred at the "Centro" at lunchtime, two men were shot dead during a robbery.Carlos Alberto Mendes, a 55 year old accountant had just withdrawn a large sum of money from a bank when he was attacked by two robbers. mendes was shot in the back and died instantly but a passerby began to grapple with the robbers, took the gun from one of them and killed the robber with a shot in the back of the head. Other pedestrians nearly beat the other robber to death but were controlled by police officers.This fateful day occurs just as Sergio Cabral, the Governor of Rio de Janeiro had pleaded to President Lula da Silva to allow the Brazilian army to move in and pacify the city. Cabral is a first hand witness to the situation of insecurity since last week one of his bodyguards was shot dead after being identified by drug traffickers at at discoteque. The situation is close to becoming one of civil war since the gangsters do not hesitate when they have a chance to kill a police officer, such as in the case of Cabral´s bodyguard.
According to the local press, the Comando Vermelho is losing ground against the Amigos dos Amigos gang, that has expelled the CV from several profitable favelas. Also a newer organization called the "Terceiro Comando"(Third Commando)is becoming more powerful and has also taken control of several favelas in Rio de Janeiro.