Writer Carlos Fuentes Dies

Carlos Fuentes Macias was born in 1928 and died a few days ago on May 15, 2012. He was a famous Mexican writer and commentator. He was one of the most admired Spanish writers in the world best known for his novels “The Old Gringo” (which was turned into a movie) and “The Death of Artemio Cruz.” He was one of the people who was very influential in the 1960s and 70s when there was an explosion of Latin American literature. He received many awards for his writing.

Fuentes was born in Panama City to Rafael Fuentes and Berta Macias. His father, Rafael, was a Mexican diplomat. Carlos spent most of his childhood in various Latin American capitals because of his father’s line of work. He counted these frequent moves as a blessing saying they gave him a view of Latin America as a critical outsider. Between 1934-40 the Fuentes family was assigned to Washington DC where Carlos attended English language school and became fluent in English. It was during that time also that he began to write and created his own magazine which he shared with apartments on his street block. In 1938 Mexico nationalized its foreign oil holdings resulting in an outcry from the US. It was during that time that Carlos was ostracized by his classmates and he began to understand himself as a Mexican he once said.

In 1940 the Fuentes family was transferred to Santiago, Chile and Carlos became interested in socialism which would become one of his lifelong passions over the years. This would be due partially to his interest in the poetry of Pablo Neruda a famous Hispanic poet. When Carlos was 16 years old he lived in Mexico for the first time in his life and he studied law there at the National Autonomous University of Mexico with the intention of launching a diplomatic career upon his graduation. During his time in Mexico City he also worked for the daily newspaper “Hoy” and wrote short stories.

Carlos was named as the head of cultural relations at the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs in 1957 and in the following year he published “Where the Air is Clear” which immediately made him a national celebrity. He then began to write full time and in 1959 moved to Havana, Cuba in the wake of the Cuban revolution. In Cuba, Carlos wrote several pro-Castro essays and articles. He also married Mexican actress Rita Macedo during that same year. Carlos was deemed “dashingly handsome” at the time. He married a second time also. Journalist Silvia Lemus became his second wife. From 1975-77 Carlos served as Mexico’s ambassador to France resigning in protest over Mexican President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz’s appointment as ambassador to Spain. Carlos detested the former presidents order to kill several student in Mexico City during his tenure as president. He also taught at several universities in the US during his lifetime including Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, and Brown universities.

Carlos Fuentes supported the cause of the Sandinistas in Nicaragua and this caused him some problems. In fact, it estranged him from his close friend poet Octavio Paz in the 1980’s and in 1988 Paz’s magazine “Vuelta” printed an attack on the legitimacy of Carlos’ Mexican identity. That article opened up a war between Fuentes and Paz that lasted until Paz died in 1998. The two friends were never reconciled sadly.

There is no doubt that Carlos Fuentes was controversial in many circles but one thing is for certain and that is that he was an influential and intelligent author and commentator. He once posted on Twitter the following:

 

There must be something beyond slaughter and barbarism to support

the existence of mankind and we must all help search for it.”

 

These are profound words and whatever your political views are I’m sure you yearn for what all humanity yearns for and that is a better way, a better tomorrow. That is what Carlos Fuentes was calling for. An end to the human slaughter and barbarism and a search for something beyond, for something MORE. And it takes us all to find that better way.

There is an old saying that says “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Carlos believed that to be so and added once, “Do words need anything else?” Carlos realized the power of the written word and the spoken word as well. Further, it is said, “The bestsellers are written from the heart.” Fuentes believed that as well and once when asked about his writing process he simply said that when he begins to write he begins by asking, “Who am I writing for?”.

As noted above, Fuentes’ first successful novel was “La Region Mas Transparente” (Where the Air is Clear). This was a novel centered around the story of Federico Robles who abandoned his revolutionary ideals to become a powerful financier. The book offers several vignettes of Mexico City also. The novel makes heavy use of interior monologue and explorations of the subconscious for which the book was highly praised for. It also presents a stark portrait of inequality and moral corruption in modern Mexico.

Another of Fuentes’ successful books was “Las Buenas Conciencias” (The Good Conscience) which was a depiction of privileged middle class people living in a medium-sized town like Guanajuato. It was described as a “classic Marxist novel” by many at the time it was published. It tells the story of a privileged middle class young man whose impulses towards social equality are suffocated by his family’s gross materialism.

Perhaps his best novel was “La Muerte de Artemio Cruz” (The Death of Artemio Cruz) published in 1962. Today this novel is widely acclaimed as a seminal work of modern Spanish-American literature. The novel uses several rotating narrators, like many other of Fuentes’ works and it was heavily influenced by Orson Welles’ book “Citizen Kane.” In the novel Cruz is dying and looking back on his life as a former soldier in the Mexican Revolution who became wealthy over the years and powerful through the use of bribery, violence, and the violent exploitation of workers. The novel explores the corrupting effects of power and criticizes the distortion of the original aim of the revolution through class domination, Americanization, economic corruption, and the failure of Mexican land reform.

Fuentes undertook a massive writing project in his 1975 “Terro Nostra” which is a massive work telling the story of Hispanic civilization. The storyline shifts between the 16th and 20th centuries seeking the roots of contemporary Latin American society in the struggle between the Conquistadors and Native Americans.

In 1985 Fuentes published “Gringo Viejo” (The Old Gringo) which was a novel loosely based on the disappearance of American journalist Ambrose Bierce during the Mexican Revolution. This novel became the first bestseller written by a Mexican author and was later made into a Hollywood movie starring Gregory Peck, Jane Fonda, and Jimmy Smits.

Fuentes continued to write right up until the day of his death last week. On the day he died his latest writing appeared in the Reforma newspaper in Mexico which was an essay on the newly elected socialist government of France.

Carlos Fuentes was very controversial as a public figure and author over his lifetime.

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlos_Fuentes

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/15/carlos-fuentes-dead-dies_n_1518883.html?ref=latino-voices

 

 

 

 

Mexico Arrests Generals for Drug Cartel Links!!

Several Mexican former and current Mexican generals have been arrested in the past week and the news of their arrest has been missed. Don’t be surprised however. This past Thursday (May 17) a third general was detained and questioned by Mexican investigators in Mexico City. This came only hours after two other officers were put on house arrest as they were being investigated for ties to the Beltran Leyva drug cartel.

The general is Ricardo Escorcia and he was detained and questioned by investigators. General Escorcia is now retired and it is believed he has ties to the drug cartel along with two other generals who were detained and questioned on Tuesday. The Mexican Defense Department released a statement but gave no specifics. It did say, however, that the order to detain Escoria was issued simultaneously with the other two detentions ordered and that the aim of the detentions is to have them testify in ongoing investigations into the drug cartel that are being conducted by civilian investigators.

Escoria retired in 2010. He had served as chief of the military base in Cuernavaca which is a city south of Mexico City and is believed to be within the territory of the Beltran Leyva drug cartel. Leyva was killed in a shootout with Mexican Marines in Cuernavaca in 2009. The Mexican Marines were called in after authorities said the army in the region was acting to slowly on intelligence received from the US on the drug lord’s location. Escoria was the head of that slow acting army.

The other two Mexican Generals detained this past week are Roberto Dawe Gonzalez and Tomas Angeles Dauahare. Both are now under arrest and will remain so for at least 40 days as investigators try to strengthen their case. The Attorney Generals office is alleging that these generals protected members of the drug cartel in the Leyba cartel’s conflict with the Sinaloa cartel which has gone on since 2008. General Angeles Dauahare served as the Assistant Defense Secretary in 2006 until 2008 under current Mexican President Felipe Calderon. Thus far he is the highest ranking government official to be linked to the drug cartels in the Calderon administration.
Genreal Dawe Gonzalez is still an active military member serving in a base in the western Mexican state of Colima.

Dauahare’s attorney says that the general told his wife that he’s being accused of taking money from Edgar Valdez Villareal who is a former top hit man for the Beltran Leyba cartel. Villareal was arrested in 2010.

Back in February of this year yet another high ranking member of the military was arrested. Retired General Juan Manuel Barragan Espinosa was arrested for alleged ties to organized crime. Also, General Manuel Moreno Avina and 29 other soldiers under his command in the town of Ojinaga (across the border from Presidio, TX) are being tried on charges of torture, homicide, drug trafficking, and other high crimes. Back in 1997 General Jesus Gutierrez Rebollo was arrested while serving as Mexico’s drug czar. He was charged with protecting Amado Carrillo Fuentes who was a cocaine kingpin at the time.

Since Mexican President Calderon declared war on the drug cartels it is believed that more than 47,000 people have been killed in drug violence according to Mexican government figures.

So for those of us who use our brains none of these arrests come as a surprise to us as we pretty much had figured out government and military involvement with the drug cartels. Corruption runs high and deep in Mexico as I’ve said many times before.

Source:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/17/mexico-army-generals_n_1525899.html?ref=latino-voices&ir=Latino%20Voices

Reporter Kidnapped by Gunmen in Sonora

The latest journalist to be kidnapped in Mexico is Marcos Antonio Avila Garcia.  He was taken by masked gunmen in Sonora while waiting for his car to be washed in the city of Ciudad Obregon.  Three masked gunman with automatic rifles were involved in the kidnapping according to reports in Sonora.  No ransom has been demanded as of this report.  Avila-Garcia was a police news reporter for the Diario Sonora de la Tarde and El Regional media.  Police are looking into the possibility that the reporters was kidnapped by a drug cartel as he often reported on organized crime inside Mexico.

In recent years Mexico has become one of the most dangerous countries on earth for journalists.  Reporters are frequently targeted by drug cartels in their conflict with the Mexican government that has been waging an offensive against the cartels.  Fighting between the various cartels has also resulted in thousands of people in Mexico being killed, kidnapped, or extorted.  Just last week gunmen opened fire on the offices of El Manana newspaper in Nuevo Loredo and the week before that Mexican police found mutilated bodies of three photo-journalists inside plastic bags dumped in a canal in Veracruz.  Also recently police found 49 bodies along a Mexican highway all missing their heads, hands, and feet as we previously reported on at SDNP.

The Mexican government rarely prosecutes journalist killings or any other homicide focusing instead on “serious crimes.”  One often wonders just what the Mexican government considers “serious crimes” if murder doesn’t fit that definition.

Between 2000-2011 there were 79 journalists killed in Mexico according to statistics from the Mexican National Commission on Human Rights.  In addition at least 14 of them disappeared and have never been found.  Numbers vary among human rights groups however.

Source:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/18/marcos-antonio-avila-garcia-journalist-kidnapped-mexico_n_1528050.html?ref=topbar

Obama Administration’s War on a Free Press

It’s Friday and as we all know the Obama Administration loves doing things on Fridays.  Especially things that it wants to slip under the cover so not many people will notice including the press.  Take the now infamous NDAA law that Obama signed into law on New Years Eve 2012 which allows for the military to arrest and detain Americans without charges or trial indefinitely.  The Obama Administration was hoping the whole nation was out partying and no one would pay any attention.  I guess they over-generalized that assumption because plenty of people were not getting drunk that night and they did notice including the press.  Keeping in their normal M.O. Justice Dept lawyers today attacked “Reporter’s Privilege” which has long been an icon of the free media as part of their broader war against the media and government leaks.  DOJ lawyers appeared before the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals and argued that a NY Times reporter should be forced to testify in a trial of former CIA agent Jeffrey Sterling.  The NYT reporter is James Risen.  Sterling was charged with leaking classified info to Risen concerning a botched plot against the Iranian government.  DOJ lawyer, Robert Parker, argued today that there is no reporter’s privilege whenever a reporter receives illegally leaked info on national security secrets.

Appeals Court Judge Robert Gregory asked Parker why he thought the public’s interest in a free press outweighs circumstances in the case.  Parker declined to answer the judge and refused to explain to the judge saying he did not think there would be a “balancing test” because there is no reporter’s privilege “in the first place.”  Judge Gregory responded by pointing out a Supreme Court case, Branzburg vs Hayes, decision involved the witnessing of another crime and not the disclosure itself when Parker cited the case to the judge as proof that there is no reporter’s privilege.

DOJ lawyer Parker equated what Risen did to someone receiving drugs from a confidential source and then turning around and refusing to testify about it in court.  Judge Gregory was not convinced as he responded with, “You think so?”.  The judge went on to elaborate telling Parker that the “beneficiary of the privilege is the public…the people’s right to know.”  He added, “We need to know what the government is doing.  The king never wants anyone to disclose.”

One of the other Appeals Court judges, Judge Albert Diaz, looked surprised when Parker said the Supreme Court case mentioned above was clear.  Diaz responded by saying, “Clear as mud!”.

This case has been ongoing since 2008 when Risen published a book entitled “State of War:  The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration.”  In July 2011 US District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema ruled that Risen had a qualified reporter’s privilege against Sterling and said, “A criminal trial subpoena is not a free pass for the government to rifle through a reporter’s notebook!”

Continue reading

Arizona Officials Speak Out About Operation Fast and Furious

Patrick Henningson a reporter for inforwars.com went to Arizona recently and filmed the following interviews with Arizona State Senators and Representatives regarding the ATF gun running operation known as Fast & Furious.  Many of these officials believe that the federal government was attempting to set Arizona up because of their liberal pro-Second Amendment gun laws.  Further, many of them believe that this operation had an even wider objective.  That being, to further restrict the sale and ownership of firearms in the US.  As is pointed out in the interviews with State government officials, the Mexican government has been corrupted by the drug cartels and that is something Mexico is going to have to confront and resolve themselves.  Additionally, the federal US government has been fighting with Arizona over illegal immigration for over ten years now and as one Arizona official puts it it will probably take something like an invasion of a border town in Arizona to get the US government to deploy the National Guard along the border and to get serious about stopping human and drug trafficking across the US-Mexico border.

Several US agents including Border Patrolman Brian Terry and hundreds of Mexican citizens have been killed by these estimated 2000 guns that crossed out of the US and into Mexico as a result of this operation.  There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the Obama administration in conducting this operation other than it was an elementary effort to restrict the 2nd Amendment in the US.  Such programs also existed under the Bush and Clinton administrations but those operations were conducted differently as the guns were never to be lost out of the sight of US agents.  In Fast & Furious there seems to have been no tracking of these guns at all and Arizona and Texas gun store owners were encouraged and outright told to sell firearms to convicted felons.  In at least one incident a gun store owner in Arizona was almost set up by the ATF to be prosecuted.  That gun owner recorded a phone conversation he had with a US law enforcement agency telling them he did not think he should sell guns to a certain individual.  The official told him to sell the guns to the person anyway and, in fact, order the gun shop owner to do so.  Luckily for the gun store owner he recorded that conversation which kept him from being used as a scapegoat and prosecuted.

Whatever the reasoning (or lack thereof) the Obama administration one thing is for certain.  Operation Fast & Furious has resulted in arming the drug cartels heavily and that has proven today to be extremely dangerous.  Case in point, early this morning 49 human bodies were found dumbed along a highway in Mexico near Monterrey.  All of the bodies had no heads, no hands, and no feet.  It is believed that many of these people were immigrants from Central America killed by the drug cartels.  Mexico has a real problem and so does the US.  Operations like Fast & Furious only make those problems worse.

Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/13/monterrey-drug-war-bodies-highway_n_1512811.html

http://www.infowars.com/infowars-exclusive-open-borders-fast-furious-high-quality/

Dean Says GOP Does Not Like Latinos!

 

Former Vermont Governor and DNC Chairman Howard Dean says Republicans don’t like Latino voters!  Dean made that comment on MSNBC’s Ed Shultz show.  Dean has said in the past on CBS’ Face the Nation that “Latinos are terrified of the Republicans because they seem to have a total tin ear when it comes to the basic needs of treating people with dignity.”

Dean went further telling Shultz that Republicans do not care about anyone but themselves and their “corporate masters, like the Koch brothers.”  He added that Republicans have “one master, and that’s money.”  Dean also said Republicans don’t care about the average working American but only about “the corporations who are giving them all that money to put them into office.”  Dean then posed the question, “So who are they going to serve?”.  That’s a good question but, honestly, I’m wondering the same about the Democrats.  Who do they serve?  Do they really care about Hispanics and working Americans or only about the corporations who fund their election campaigns?  Further, I’m not placing much faith in the words of Howard Dean as I’m still reeling from his insane yelling rant when he was chairman of the DNC.  Anyone remember that?

In all honesty I have to say one thing about this issue.  That is I’m wondering if EITHER party likes Latino voters!  I see a lot of the same behavior from both parties and I really question their sincerity.  I know members of both parties are owned and paid for by some big corporations and I know that they vote the way their owners, not the voters, want them to.  In fact, it seems to me that Republican and Democrat politicians have a “tin ear” when it comes to almost anything voters want.  Case in point:  Obamacare!  The health insurance companies wanted it and helped fashion it but the voters did not yet we got it rammed down our throats anyway.  So, as I said, I question the sincerity of both parties.  And as for not liking Latino voters?  Well the FACT is we ARE here and we ARE a voting block to be reckoned with and, in fact, we are a growing voting block so we really don’t care if you like us or not!!  In other words….STICK IT!!

Buenos Noches mi Amigos 🙂

Source:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/09/howard-dean-republicans-latinos_n_1502975.html

Where Does Romney Stand on Immigration? Who Knows?

Just what is presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s stance on immigration?  It appears to most people that he’s still trying to figure that stance out unfortunately and Hispanic lawmakers in Washington DC agree.  Earlier today an official of the GOP National Committee said that Romney is “still deciding what his position is” on the issue, however, Hispanic Caucus members in Congress responded by letting it be known that Romney decided his position long ago.

US Representative Charles Gonzalez D-TX who is Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus told reporters that Romney’s position on immigration is very clear.  Gonzalez pointed out that Romney has not in any way advanced a positive immigration policy “other than to criticize this president and support Arizona SB1070 type laws.”  He also pointed out that Romney has said he would veto the Dream Act if passed by Congress.

Gonzalez’s firey response came after RNC Hispanic Outreach coordinator Bettina Inclan said Romney has not decided his position on immigration policy and she also said that the RNC is NOT ready to discuss the matter with Hispanic voters.  That’s amazing in consideration of the fact that the election is only six month away.  Inclan later hit Tweeter and said she had “misspoke” and her message was clarified by RNC spokeswoman Kukowski who said coordination between the RNC and Romney is still in the early stages of development.  However, Gonzalez and members of the Hispanic Caucus aren’t about to let Romney slide by on this issue.

US Representative Luis Gutierrez D-ILL has a suggestion for Romney.  He said this, “Here’s a suggestion for anyone who wants to run for the highest office in the land.  Come up with an immigration policy BEFORE you compete in 30 or 40 primaries.”  Gutierrez is chairman of the House Immigration Task Force.  Gutierrez went on to say that Romney does in fact have a position on immigration and that stance is support for laws like Arizona’s SB1070.  He went on to add, “…he cannot even say what his basic approach to immigration will be? That isn’t just sad, it is disappointing to the millions of Americans whose lives are in limbo because our immigration issues are unresolved and loved ones are deported, kept out, or locked up for years.”

Gonzalez pointed to Romney’s record as Governor of Massachusetts and to his public statements made in 2008 and 2012 during presidential primary races.  When he was a governor, Romney vetoed the DREAM Act legislation in Massachusetts.  Gonzalez also says Romney has said he would veto similar legislation if elected president.  Further, Gonzalez said that Romney has praised Arizona’s SB1070 law calling it “a model for the nation.”  In addition, Romney has also stated that he supports what is being called self-deportation policies.  Such policies would make it difficult for illegal immigrants to find jobs or get public benefits so they would eventually decide to leave the US.  It must be noted that many illegals have decided to return to their own countries as a direct result of the poor US job market lately and many others are choosing not to come to the US for job seeking.

So what is Romney’s position on this hot issue?  Is it what he has stated in the past or is it what the GOP official said today (ie: still in development)?  Romney is obviously a politician trying to wear a mask and we’ve known that for a very long time now.  He’s trying to be something he’s not and, frankly, he seems a bit wishy-washy on his positions.  Whom is he trying to appease to gain votes and/or financial support?

It seems like Romney is trying to play both sides of the fence on this issue.  On the one hand he likely is attempting to alienate Hispanic voters by not having a clearly outlined immigration policy.  Yet, on the other hand he’s likely trying not to alienate Republican voters who are anti-immigration.  So he’s walking a tight rope and that seldom works in the world of politics.  Romney is going to have to develop a clear immigration policy stance or both are going to have their doubts about him.  In the end, if he continues to be wishy-washy, Romney might just lose the Hispanic and anti-immigration votes and that would be a huge boost to Obama’s chances of being re-elected.

America wants leaders.  We do not want wishy-washy politicians who change with every shifting “viento” (wind).  We want leaders who are clear and decisive and Romney is acting like he’s not either.  Most Americans have had enough of politicians playing both sides of the fence and, honestly, they have often felt betrayed by elected officials because of this.  Romney should have developed a clear stance on immigration policy long ago.  Waiting until the election is only six months away doesn’t cut the ticket with many voters on either side of this issue.  If this is an example of how he will be POTUS (ie: waiting until the last-minute) then that example is leaving much to be desired and such behavior will NOT be beneficial for America.

Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/09/hispanic-caucus-chairman-mitt-romney-position-immigration-very-clear_n_1503399.html