Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Chile Gets Morale Boosting Win over ROK

South Americans defeat locals by 1-0 in Seoul

The preparation match played on Jan. 30 at the Seoul National Stadium was a clash between similar forces in World football. On one side was the Republic of Korea, a country whose national team has improved tremendously and at present can stand its own ground against any other, while its opponent was Chile, whose team is always overshadowed by neighboring superpowers such as Brazil and Argentina. Both teams are preparing for its next 2010 World Cup qualifying matches, Korea will play Turkmenistan in a weeks time, while Chile has more time since its next rival will be Bolivia in July. Also both teams did not show its strongest lineup, as the Korean coach decided to sideline Park Ji Sung (Manchester United) and Lee Young Pyo (Tottenham Hotspur), while Marcelo Bielsa of Chile had the chance to try out many players that had not previously been in the national team.
The match was broadcasted by TV live at 8:00 a.m. in Chile, while in Seoul did not draw such a large crowd at the National Stadium, probably due to the low temperatures that were near to -8 degrees Celsius.
In the first half, ROK had many chances to score but all were blocked due to a fine performance by Chile´s reserve goalkeeper Miguel Pinto.
Gonzalo Fierro broke the deadlock in the scoreboard in the 55TH minute of the second half, and Chile was lucky to be able to end up with the victory, mainly due to the ineffective shooting shown by the Korean players and Pinto’s inspired play.
This was the eighth time that Chile had played Korea, the first being in the 1966 World Cup when the South Americans drew 1-1 with North Korea. In 1984 a Chilean U-21 team traveled to Seoul and lost by 3-1 against the locals, while two further matches were played in 1985 during the Independence Cup played in Indonesia. Chile won on both occasions by 4-0 and 1-0 and the next two results were a 0-0 draw in 1987 and a 1-0 victory by the ROK during the 2000 Sydney Olympic games.

Starting lineups:

Republic of Korea : Kim Byung-Ji (46' Jung Sung-Ryong); Cho Sung-Hwan, Cho Won-Hee, Cho Yong-Hyung, Kim Chi-Woo; Hwang Ji-Soo (70' Lee Jong Min), Lee Kwan Woo (46' Hwang Jae-Won), Yeom Ki-Hun, Kim Nam-Il; Kwak Tae-Hwi y Jung Jo-Gook (34' Cho Jin-Soo. 77' Park Chu-Young).

Chile : Miguel Pinto; Gary Medel, Gonzalo Jara, Hans Martínez; Roberto Cereceda, Manuel Iturra, Marco Estrada, Pedro Morales (90' Pedro Morales); Gonzalo Fierro, Eduardo Rubio (92' Osvaldo González), Jean Beausejour.

Friday, January 18, 2008

S.Americans Face Biased Trials in European Courts

Recently three cases of abuse against citizens of South American countries that are jailed in Europe have caused the indignation of many in the continent. The first case is that of Ilich Ramirez from Venezuela, that became famous during the 70s and 80s due to his involvement in urban guerrilla operations alongside Palestinian fighters. Ramirez was then known as “Carlos” and became France’s number 1 public enemy due to an incident that occurred in Paris in 1975. The French authorities accuse Ilich Ramirez of being responsible for the death of two Secret Service agents and one Lebanese citizen during a shootout in the apartment where Ramirez was living. In 1994 the French Secret Service tracked down Ramirez to Khartoum, Sudan, and in a questionable covert operation abducted Ramirez from that African country and transferred the Venezuelan in an executive jet to Paris. It was only at his arrival in France that Ramirez was shown the “national arrest warrant” in order to justify that the Venezuelan had been arrested in French territory. From then on Ramirez has been submitted to constant physical and psychological abuse by French police and prison guards, as well as several aggressions by other inmates that most likely are protected by the guards. The latest aggression occurred on December 26,2006 at Clairvaux Prison while Ramirez was speaking by telephone to his lawyer, Isabelle Coutant. Another inmate called Nabil Soltane was allowed to attack Ramirez from behind and caused several cuts and bruises on the Venezuelan’s face with a sharp edged ring. Coutant has declared that this latest incident is just another attempt to murder Ramirez. By some strange coincidence, on January 8, 2007, the French authorities allowed Ramirez to give a phone interview with several news reporters that were in Caracas, and for the first time in decades Ramirez was actually able to answer questions and give his opinion about his situation. Ramirez has declared to the “Venezuelan Repatriation Committee” that is headed by his brother Vladimir, that his release must be obtained by political pressure, and there is hope in many South Americans that “Carlos” will be released in the near future, especially after President Hugo Chavez expressed his support for the Venezuelans citizen’s return.

Another case involving a South American is that of Tito Beltran (42), a Chilean opera singer that moved to Sweden twenty years ago. Such was Beltran´s success in that country that he acquired a considerable fortune and earned the friendship of many Swedes, including the King of that Scandinavian country. At present Beltran is jailed in Ystad accused of having raped a babysitter in 1999. Beltran´s defense lawyer has declared that Beltran´s case is part of xenophobic plot and an attempt by the singer’s former wife to obtain money. It is alleged that Beltran sexually abused the 18 year old after a show in the southern town of Notesjo. In court Beltran did admit that he caressed and kissed the young woman in the hotel bedroom , but that he never had sexual intercourse with her.
According to the prosecutor Anna Hakansson, there is plenty of evidence to convict Tito Beltran.
.“Even if the supposed rape occurred in 1999, this doesn’t mean that we don’t have any evidence, we do have many testimonies that support the version given by the victim,” said Hakansson to La Tercera, a Chilean newspaper. On January 18, Beltran suffered a nervous breakdown in the courtroom as he listened to the declaration by Robert Wells the director of the show in 1999, that denied having been informed about a the sexual abuse that Beltran may have committed against the 18 year old babysitter.

The last case concerns two Chilean students, Rodrigo Ianza and Alex Cisternas and also an Argentinean, Juan Pintos, that are accused of having severely injured a policeman in the City of Barcelona, Spain. On the night of February 4, 2006, a riot occurred in a suburb of that city that ended with a violent clash between local police and several hundred members of the “Okupa”, a youth organization that occupies rundown and vacant houses and use them to carry out cultural activities. Many youngsters were arrested, but it was finally only the South Americans that have remained in jail since then and have been accused by the local court of having attacked the policeman with a rock or a flower pot. Since then the Spanish police officer has been in critical condition in hospital and could either die or remain in permanent coma for the rest of his life. The relatives of the three students have denounced that they have suffered constant physical abuse by the prison guards and have been insulted and discriminated due to their South American origin. The latest court proceeding were also irregular since Spanish police officers entered the courtroom and attacked the relatives of the youngsters, while the Argentine and Chilean consuls could not assist the trail due to the large number of people that were present. After local forensic experts gave evidence that the youths did not have enough physical strength to carry out the damage suffered by the police officer, Alex Cisternas and Juan Pintos were released on January 15, 2008, while Rodrigo Ianza´s fate will be decided during the next days.

The relatives have created a blog to support the “4F prisoners” as they have been called:

Monday, January 14, 2008

Chile TV Joins Media War Against Hugo Chavez

Chilean journalists repeat version given by Pro-US news agencies

No one can deny that throughout its history, the printed press in Chile has been controlled by the right wing oligarchy, and recent events prove that this situation also affects all television stations.

For those not familiar with it, as follows is a brief description of how the Chilean television system is organized at present. A considerable percentage of the population has access to international cable television, but the majority must still choose between “open” TV stations, that in general show programs dubbed in Mexico such as “America’s Next Top Model”, a large variety of oriental martial arts films or reality shows.

The most important are Channel 13 (UCTV) run by the Roman Catholic Church’s university, Channel 9 (Megavision) owned by Ricardo Claro, one of Chile´s wealthiest businessmen, Channel 11 (Chilevision) (also owned by another local tycoon and former presidential candidate Sebastian Piñera. Channel 4 (La Red) is linked to another of the country’s main “economic groups”, (the Matte family) and finally there is Channel 7 (Television Nacional), the state owned channel that in theory should be plural and give the opinion of all sectors of Chilean society left, right and center. It was surprising to see during how similar the coverage given by TVN of the recent release of prisoners made by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) was to the other TV stations that clearly have a pro U.S and right wing opinion, and whose main enemy at present is Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela.

On Christmas day 2007, all the before mentioned stations gave extensive coverage of how FARC had failed to deliver Clara Rojas and Consuelo Gonzalez to a delegation of Venezuelan government officials, Red Cross volunteers and well known figures such as film director Oliver Stone. The original plan was that FARC would hand over the two women in a jungle area near the border between both countries, but the rebels issued a statement explaining that due to constant patrolling by the Colombian Army, the operation would have to be postponed until a later date. However Chilean news commentators rarely mentioned this statement and gave the “CNN” version: FARC had lied to Hugo Chavez and were never going to release any of the prisoners. On January 10,2008, TVN and all the other TV stations gave very brief coverage when Clara Rojas and Consuelo Gonzalez were finally released by FARC. President Hugo Chavez announced at approximately 3 p.m. local time that the two women were ready to board a helicopter that would take them from the border area to Caracas, the Venezuelan capital. At the 6 p.m. edition of its daily newscast, La Red gave a brief five minute segment to inform that the “hostages had been rescued” but did not mention how or by whom.

At the 9 p.m. edition of “24 horas”, TVN´s news program, a young reporter named Jose Antonio Neme (probably a relative of Antonio Neme, a well-known journalist at Channel 13 during General Pinochet´s 17 year dictatorship), spent nearly 20 minutes analyzing the situation in Venezuela. With a photo of President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia in the background, Neme hardly mentioned that it was in fact Hugo Chavez that had convinced FARC to release the two women. Neme declared that among the many prisoners held by FARC are some “American diplomats”. There are indeed three U.S citizens that FARC has recognized to be holding as prisoners: Keith Stansell, Marc Gonsalves and Thomas Howes. The U.S government has described the three men as “civilian contractors”, but most probably their real occupation is that of “military advisers”, as they were known during the Reagan era.

The three men were in a Colombian Army helicopter that was shot down by FARC rebels in February 2003 as they flew over a jungle area. In an interview given in 2006, one of the leaders of FARC, Raul Reyes, declared that the three Americans “are spies that were trying to find out the locations of our bases, so it is very difficult that they will go free in the near future.”

Megavision has a Colombian news commentator called Libardo Buitrago that is obviously not sympathetic to Chavez or FARC, while at Chilevision (Channel 11), Monica Sanhueza described FARC as “definitely a terrorist organization”. FARC has been battling the Colombian army many years before Monica was even born, so how can she be so “definitely” sure that FARC is a terrorist organization? At Channel 13 (UCTV), the main international news commentator is Constanza Santa Maria, a graduate of Chile´s most right wing and posh university, and has continued voicing this channel’s traditional anti-left wing opinion, identical to that it had in the seventies, when it played a crucial role in destabilizing the government of Salvador Allende. In those days UCTV´s main commentator was a priest called Raul Hasbun, that is now making comments against FARC at “Megavision”. With regards to Constanza, she described how Clara Rojas and Consuelo Gonzalez had suffered “terrible hardships and constant torture” during their five years as prisoners of FARC. Maybe Constanza did not see the moment the two women were handed over to the Venezuelan authorities, both were in perfect condition. While a prisoner, Rojas even gave birth to a baby in a FARC base, unlike the many pregnant left wing militants in Argentina, Chile Uruguay and Paraguay, whose babies were snatched from them before being murdered by U.S trained soldiers and thrown into the sea from planes and helicopters. Most of these children were given in adoption to the same people that had murdered their mothers, and until today the relatives are searching for them.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Chavez Achieves Freedom of Two Farc Prisoners

images by Venezuelan TV ( See the moment of reunion Venezuelan President wins important media victory At approximately 3 p.m local time of January 10, President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela announced that he had spoken by satellite telephone with Clara Rojas and Consuelo Gonzalez. Both women had just been freed in good condition in some remote area of the jungle near the border of Colombia and Venezuela by members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The rebels handed over the Colombian citizens to a delegation that included Red Cross volunteers, Colombian Senator Piedad Cordova and the Cuban Ambassador to Venezuela. In a spectacular live broadcast the Venezuelan State television network showed as the two former hostages spoke with Chavez. “A thousand thanks for your good work Mr. President, please don’t lower your guard and continue with your efforts to free the other prisoners,” said Consuelo Gonzalez. “I am very grateful for your mediation President Chavez, I am very grateful,” said Clara Rojas in a very emotional conversation. (by Both women were retained nearly six years ago by the rebels in separate incidents as they entered FARC controlled territory without the necessary authorization. Both women are members of political parties that are involved in the official Colombian parliamentary system, as opposed to FARC that has waged a brutal guerrilla war against the Colombian Army for the past 50 years. Also the Venezuelan television network broadcasted as the women entered an M-17 helicopter of the local airforce that had Red Cross markings and began their flight to Maiquetia International airport near Caracas, the capital of that South American nation. In an emotional interview the elderly mother of Clara Rojas stated that “this has been the biggest miracle that God could have given me.” Clara Rojas was retained by the FARC rebels along with Ingrid Betancourt that was then a candidate in the Colombian presidential election. On that occasion Rojas made a heroic gesture, since she decided to accompany her friend Ingrid into captivity, even if the rebels told her she could go free. During her captivity, Rojas had an affair with a FARC rebel, and gave birth toa boy named Emmanuel in a jungle base. Emmanuel was also supposed to be included in this liberation operation, but one month ago the Colombian government announced that Emmanuel was really in a state run orphanage. Recently the mother of Clara Rojas other relatives had DNA tests and it seems very likely that the boy in the orphanage is Emmanuel, but his real identity is yet to be confirmed. This delicate operation carried out by FARC should have occurred on Christmas day of last year but the rebels informed Chavez that it was impossible to deliver the hostages due to the intense activity carried out by helicopters and patrols of the Colombian Army. It is now clear that the Colombian authorities tried to prevent the liberation of the hostages at all costs, as was proven some months ago when two women were arrested. They were members of FARC whose mission was to deliver “proof of life” to Chavez in the form of recent photographs and personal letters. All these were immediately published by the official press and caused the outrage among the relatives of the hostages. Among the many prisoners retained by FARC that include officers and soldiers of the Colombian Army are three American military advisers Keith Stansell, Marc Gonsalves and Thomas Howes whose helicopter was shot down by FARC rebels in February 2003 as they flew over a jungle area. In a recent interview, one of the leaders of FARC, Raul Reyes declared that the three Americans “are spies that were trying to find out the locations of our bases, so it is very difficult that they will go free in the near future.” The main conclusion that can be gathered from this happy ending is that the hero is President Hugo Chavez, while the villain of the plot is his Colombian counterpart Alvaro Uribe, that has been described in harsh terms by Chavez as “ a puppet of Bush and U.S imperialism.” Also today Chavez declared that his next goal will be to free Ingrid Betancourt , that has both dual French and Colombian nationalities. In the last months of 2007, President Nicholas Sarkozy of France made a televised appeal to the leader of FARC, Manuel “Sureshot” Marulanda to release Betancourt. After the success obtained by Chavez, maybe to obtain Betancourt´s release Sarkozy will have to accept the repatriation of Ilich Ramirez, a.k.a Carlos, a Venezuelan revolutionary that has been confined at Clairvaux prison in northeast France since 1994.

Ilich Ramirez (Carlos) Is Attacked and Injured in French Jail

Interview with Muhammad Abdallah, webmaster of Venezuelan revolutionary’s blog

It has become common practice for the superpowers to apprehend individuals of other nationalities and transfer them to jails thousands of kilometers from their homelands. To give a few examples, the prisoners at Guantanamo Base (taken from the Middle East to Cuba), General Manuel Noriega (from Panama to U.S.A in 1990), FARC leaders Simon Trinidad and Sonia (from Colombia to U.S.A in 2002). Such is the case of a Venezuelan citizen, Ilich Ramirez (a.k.a. Carlos) that was abducted in 1994 from Khartoum, Sudan by agents of the French Secret Service and taken first to La Sante prison near Paris and later to Clairvaux prison in a remote area of northwest France.

A few days before giving this interview, Muhammad Abdallah, webmaster of a blog that demands the liberation of Ilich Ramirez informed me via email that on December 26,2007, Ilich had suffered yet another cowardly aggression at the hands of an inmate called Nabil Soltane, as several prison guards looked on without trying to stop the attacker. Also this inmate was allowed to hit Ilich Ramirez with a sharp edged ring that caused a 15-mm scar and other cuts. Most probably it was a weapon similar to the “Protek Ring”, that according to its makers “reveals a hidden, retractable 1.4 inch stainless steel blade by simply applying pressure to the spring loaded top. This ring gives the wearer a great advantage by having the element of surprise on his or her side”.
Why did the guards at Clairvaux prison allow Soltane to wear such a ring inside a prison, attack Carlos from behind and by some strange coincidence just when the Venezuelan was having a telephone conversation with Isabelle Coutant, his lawyer?.
Until when will this situation continue? Not only has Ilich Ramirez already been sentenced to carry out two terms of life imprisonment but must also suffer daily harassment and physical abuse such as this latest incident. It seems that the French authorities have realized that the abduction, trial and imprisonment of Ilich Ramirez was totally illegal and are now trying to cover up their blunder. Due to this emergency, Vladimir Sanchez, Ilich´s younger brother and also the leader of the “Venezuelan Committee for the Repatriation of Commander Carlos” had to travel to Caracas for a meeting with the Minister of Foreign Relations, Nicolas Maduro, in order to discuss this situation and so was unable to take part in the interview. (It must be noted that in 1999 President Hugo Chavez declared that Ilich Ramirez should return to Venezuela) . Instead thanks to the wonders of communication via internet Muhammad answered the questions on behalf of the Committee in the following interview and explains the current situation of Ilich Ramirez, (something that would have been nearly impossible some years ago):

Question : Muhammad, since when have you been the webmaster of

Muhammad Abdallah : From its beginnings. In fact it may sound pretentious on my behalf, but I consider myself responsible not only for creating the first authentic web page about Ilich, but also for the creation of the current “Committee for the Repatriation of Commander Carlos to Venezuela” (there was a first committee formed in 1991). A couple of years ago there were some sporadic initiatives to remember Ilich´s struggle. There were campaigns by our comrades from the Venezuelan Communist Party, the activity maintained by Ilich´s relatives, the sympathy of some Bolivarian revolutionaries and the gratitude shown by my Palestinian brothers, but I always noticed that they had no contact between each other.
So I spoke with the comrades from the Young Communists, I located Vladimir Ramirez and Ligia Rojas and connected them with M.Gonzalez (and other former comrades of Ilich) and also with childhood friends such as Jeronimo Carreras, J.R Castillo and others. Finally when they realized that they were not alone a decision was taken to create the Committee.

The webpage or blog has only been the presentation in Internet of our attempts to reunite all those people that in one way or another sympathized with Ilich´s struggle and had not met before. Of course, one of the main objectives of the blog is to counteract against the fierce campaign of lies that have been published about Commander Carlos during the past thirty years. Also I try to take Ilich´s message to Palestine, I make copies and translate of videos or programs aired by Al Jazeera, as well as all the articles and books published about Ilich.

Q: Muhammad, have you ever met Ilich in person?

M.A : Unfortunately, due my age, I was unable to meet Ilich, but I have had telephone conversations and received some letters from him. However I hope that when we obtain his repatriation to Venezuela we will meet personally. I do know his work and struggle for Palestine and I try to continue with his example of solidarity and international commitment. Especially now that Palestine is dying as the world watches without doing anything. The webpage is the loudspeaker that conveys his message to Palestine and the whole world.

Q: On December 28,2007,some French citizens that had been arrested and tried in Chad (Africa) were repatriated and allowed to carry out their sentence in France. What is your opinion regarding this situation? Why can’t the same be done in Ilich´s case?

M.A: You said it, brother. The law should be applied in equal terms to all. But this is not the case with Ilich. Ilich, like Che Guevara, Al Khattab or Tanja Nijmeijer, is more than just a guerrilla fighter that went to a country different than his to fight for the freedom of those people, that were also not his own. Ilich is a myth and also knows all the secrets of international politics throughout the 1970s and 1980s, and this is why, in a transgression of all laws he has been in solitary confinement for more than 13 years. In fact this last aggression he suffered a few days ago, is a just a trap to force him to fight back, be punished and sent back to solitary confinement so that he won’t be able to speak. Obviously a figure such as Ilich Ramirez cannot be compared to an NGO like the Ark of Zoe that poses no threat to any imperialist power. Also, don’t forget that the French Secret Service abducted Ilich from Sudan in an illegal operation. Ilich was never arrested legally, not to mention the sham trial where he ended up being convicted without any proof of being involved in the “crimes” he was accused of.

Q: Exactly what is Ilich´s prison status in France? Is he considered a war prisoner, political prisoner or what?

M.A: Of course Ilich is a political prisoner despite being abducted and being for so many years in isolation, without even being able to meet with his lawyers. Ilich has been jailed next to common criminals, drug traffickers, rapists and psychopaths maybe in an attempt that, like a few days ago, someone will murder him at the jail before being repatriated to Venezuela. This is why it is so important to inform President Hugo Chavez so that the Bolivarian government can take urgent action.

Q: What is Ilich´s routine at Clairvaux prison? How many hours a day is he locked up?

M..A: His routine at the jail is the same as the other high security prisoners. Worst of all is what happens when he has to be transferred to Paris during trials. Ilich must make the 300-kilometer trip inside a metal cage, with chains in his hands and feet, just like an animal.
At 58 years of age and with his physical corpulence, Ilich must remain inside this metal cage that is quite small for seven to eight hours without drinking water or going to the toilet. However these transfers are not happening at present and so his lawyers cannot defend him.

Q: Does Ilich have regular access to press, radio, television or internet?

M.A : We send him our statements and he receives some newspapers and books, that are all previously censored by the prison guards, but he has no access to internet. It is his wife and lawyer Isabelle Coutant that sends me Ilich´s statements and suggestions via email that I later upload to the blog. Until recently he could make phone calls once a week, but not to whomever he wanted. Ilich can only phone those numbers authorized by the Prison warden, such as that of his brother Vladimir. Even so Ilich has had problems lately since his telephone conversations are recorded and on many occasions we have heard sound interference or interruptions during the calls. We believe that the French Secret Service have caused this interference and have made our communication totally impossible.

Q: How often can he have contact with his relatives and friends?

M.A : That is another good question. For more than 13 years Ilich has not been allowed visits or contact with anyone. It is illegal, immoral and inhuman to keep a person isolated for such a long time. There are also other problems since his brothers and mother are unable to visit Ilich since they have been threatened in Europe and will be in serious danger in case they dare to enter France. In fact no one can visit him, his only contact with his family is via telephone. There is another worry, since despite all the lies that are published Ilich has never received any legal and financial assistance from the Venezuelan government. We work in the Committee voluntarily and all the legal costs have been met by his family and through donations by his friends. In order to call his relatives by phone he must use very expensive call cards so I have insisted with the Committee that a bank account be opened to receive donations in order to pay for his legal fees and also to buy his medicine. Ilich is now a stress diabetic and the hardships of life at Clairvaux Prison only worsen his condition and so the special medicines he needs imply an additional cost.

Q: What has been the Venezuelan government’s attitude towards Ilich´s case?
M.A: Recently I uploaded at the blog an audio recording of the “Alo Presidente” radio program where President Hugo Chavez once more speaks with sympathy and affection of Ilich Ramirez. However he is the only member of the government that has the courage to do so. We (the committee) have spoken on many occasions with Venezuelan ambassadors and consuls from different countries, for example the one in Spain, but they all see Ilich´s case as uncomfortable and dangerous. Very recently I also published in the blog a statement by Ilich´s wife and lawyer, Isabelle Coutant, where she describes the shameful behavior by Arnaldo Perez , the Venezuelan Ambassador in Paris.

Q: Which Palestinian organization does Ilich support at present?
M.A : Ilich arrived in Palestine in the early 1970s thanks to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), founded by Dr. George Habash, that is still active, but in a different way. This organization has changed much through the years, but where other famous fighters such as Layla Khaleb took part. Layla continues to struggle for Palestine and I hope to convince her to write an article for my blog very soon. Now many young Palestinians have continued with this 60 year struggle against Israeli occupation, but unfortunately when I speak about Ilich in Ramallah, Jenin, Nablus or even the Gaza Strip, most of the resistance fighters are too young to know the story of Commander Carlos and the comrades in arms of Ilich at the PFLP have been killed by the Israeli occupation army.
You can’t imagine how much we need someone like Ilich Ramirez in the Gaza Strip at present.

What would be Ilich´s opinion about the recent conferences between Mahmoud Abas, President George Bush and Israel?

“Absolute nonsense. These are excuses so that the politicians, analysts and advisers continue to get rich and receive media exposure while we continue in agony. They have been meeting for 60 years and can continue to meet for another 60 years.
Nothing will change, Palestine will only be in peace when the Israeli occupation army stops arresting and torturing all children over 15, when they stop occupying Palestinian homes and property and giving it to Jewish colonizers. Also when they eliminate the checkpoints and restrictions to water and electricity, when they bring down the wall of shame that divides entire families and the attacks and bombings of civilian population cease.
Surely only those of us that have lost relatives, (unarmed women and children), during Israeli bombings can understand the magnificence and generosity of a Venezuelan, that like President Hugo Chavez denounced the 2006 invasion and bombing of Lebanon by Israel by saying “Enough is Enough!”

Q: Did Ilich ever meet Che Guevara?
M.A : No, because when Che Guevara was murdered Ilich had not even began studying at Patrice Lumumba University. However, if today Che Guevara could see his reflection in mirror, he would see Ilich and viceversa.

Interview carried out via email between Venezuela and Chile from Jan 8 to Jan 10 ,2008.

Brief glossary of names and places: During his 40 year struggle Ilich Ramirez has obviously met many people and been to many places, here are some mentioned in this interview :

Clairvaux Prison: Originally an abbey built in 1115 by a religious order in a mountainous area of Northeast France. Today it is the country’s main maximum-security prison. On January 16, 2006, several inmates imprisoned with life sentences published a statement that described life at the prison as “a place where the death sentence has been replaced by a regime of slow and continuous punishment, every activity at the prison is planned to constantly mistreat prisoners.”

Patrice Lumumba University : Located in Moscow, during the Soviet era became a center for the formation of Communist Party militants from all over the world.

L'Arche de Zoé: French NGO dedicated to humanitarian aid.

Layla Khaleb : Female Palestinian resistance fighter that took part in spectacular actions such as the 1968 hijacking of an El Al passenger aircraft that was en route from Rome to Tel Aviv. In 1969 she also successfully hijacked a TWA plane from Europe to Damascus, Syria.

Tanja Nijmeier : A Netherlands volunteer currently with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), an organization that has been at war with the government army for more than forty years.

Al Khatabb : Saudi Arabian fighter, took part in several wars as part of the First International Islamic battalion. Killed in Chechnya in 2002 when the Russian secret service delivered him a poisoned letter..

Alo Presidente ! : A weekly live radio broadcast where common citizens can phone and talk to President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.

Ligia.Rojas : Ilich´s first schoolteacher.

Jeronimo Carreras : Founder of the Venezuelan Communist party

M.Gonzalez, J.R Castillo : Venezuelan friends and comrades of Ilich Ramirez.

Mahmoud Abas : Current president of the Palestinian National Authority

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Chile Organizes World´s Biggest Fireworks Display

Chile Has World’s Biggest Fireworks Display
Valparaiso hosts spectacular New Year’s celebration

For the past five years ago the city council of Valparaiso, Chile´s main sea port, has organized a fireworks display that is now reputed to be the best of its kind in the world. To mark the start of 2008 a total of 28 tons of fireworks and 23,500 rockets (30% more than last year) were fired from rafts in the sea and from 17 points along the hilltops surrounding the Bay of Valparaiso and the adjacent resort city of Viña del Mar. A total of one million tourists arrived at the bay area mostly from the capital city of Santiago, located 130 kilometers to the east to see the fireworks show . Many people decided to camp near the coastline in order to get the best view of the show that lasted for nearly half an hour and left everybody in ecstasy.

One of the best places from which to see the fireworks is the top of Cerro Artilleria (Artillery Hill in Spanish) that can be reached by a lift or by a rather difficult 15 minute walk up the streets. Close to midnight the street leading up to Artillery Hill was full of people wearing colorful party hats, drinking champagne and shooting off “party poppers” into the air. One of the most famous neighbors at

Artillery Hill is Lidia Jara that runs a shop where she sells drinks and food to the many tourists that arrive there throughout the year. Lidia complained that little has changed in Chile after Pinochet and declared that she was tired of the current government officials that “are only interested in getting rich by stealing state funds”. In the 80s Lidia was arrested and beaten up by Pinochet´s security agents but now she says she will not collaborate with the ruling “Concertacion” coalition in the next elections. “Forget about it, I won’t help them get votes. They have done nothing to help the poor, nothing has changed in Chile after Pinochet,” said Lidia.
At the end of the spectacular display, most of the people walked down the hill towards Valparaiso´s main square, Plaza Sotomayor, where a musical show had been organized. According to some tourists from Germany, France and Brazil that were at the square, Valparaiso´s fireworks display is definitely the most spectacular in the world.

However, what until then had been a peaceful celebration turned sour as drunk youths fought against each other and littered the square with bottles of alcoholic drinks. The police were hard pressed to control the nearly 50,000 people that danced to the music at Plaza Sotomayor since many persons denounced that they had been attacked or robbed by drunkards. The Chilean police announced that from the long weekend that began on December 29 until January 1, 39 persons had been killed in 855 car crashes or traffic incidents, and the victims were mostly drunk pedestrians that that were run over by cars as they crossed the street. While the New Year´s celebration in Valparaiso was a complete success, the situation was completely opposite in Santiago. At approximately 9 p.m on January 31, a blackout left 15 districts without electricity, spoiling the celebration for hundreds of thousands of citizens. In one neighborhood, a drunk man volunteered to climb up lamp post to try and restore energy but was killed immediately by the electric current.
According to Chilectra, the national electricity company that is now controlled by Spanish investors, the blackout was caused by vandals that threw chains against the power lines in order to cause chaos or also by the firing of “party poppers” that can shoot sheets of aluminum paper for nearly thirty meters . Also many violent incidents were reported by citizens in Santiago, such as an eight year old boy that was killed by a stray bullet during a shootout between rival gangs, or the case of an 18 year old college student that was wounded by another stray bullet that hit the window of the house. In another incident, two men were killed and another seriously wounded during a knife fight in Santiago’s southern suburbs.

Viña del Mar (The Garden City): Located to the north of Valparaiso, this city was founded in 1870, and its name means “Vineyard by the Sea” and the land where the city is now located was donated by Francisco Vergara. Today Viña del Mar is Chile´s main tourist center, especially during the summer season that is just beginning.

Monument to an unbeatable record

A monument to an unbeatable record:

Recently a monument was erected in Viña del Mar to commemorate an incredible record that was set on February 5, 1949. On that day, Captain Alberto Larraguibel of the Chilean Army, mounting a horse named “Huaso” jumped an obstacle at a height of 2.47 meters (7.41 feet) to set a world record for horse jumping that has never been beaten since then. The statue is a life size replica of Larraguibel and Huaso, and is flanked by a Titan that depicts strength and courage and also by a female figure that represents victory. Huaso´s original name was “Faithful”, and his owner planned a successful career at the racecourse for the young stallion.

However, Faithful didn’t make the grade in horseracing and so was donated to the Chilean army, that discovered that the horse had a talent for jumping obstacles. After a year of training, Captain Larraguibel decided that Huaso (as he had been renamed) was ready to better the mark set a few months earlier by an Italian rider. Near the same spot where the monument stands today, Larraguibel and Huaso broke the record at their third attempt, and entered the history books for ever. See the original film footage from 1949 as Huaso jumps over the obstacle.

see the video for yourself at :