Violencia con Armas de Fuego: El Viejo Mundo v. El Nuevo Mundo.

“Ejecución y difamación es una táctica del Nuevo Orden Mundial para censurar a la gente.”

“El Nuevo Orden Mundial pretende destruir las tradiciones y monumentos que llevan cientos o miles de años de existencia. Es un club internacional de hombres poderosos que tienen más en común entre ellos que sus propios compatriotas como militares, políticos y socios económicos.  Exterminan y difaman a toda la gente en su camino y esperan que se les olviden.”

Sólo a veces es la muerte evitable. A veces a propósito, mayormente sin saber, nosotros construimos sociedades peligrosas con fallos en la estructura social que a consecuencia, trabaja para aislar a la gente para privar de derechos civiles y empujarles a la periferia. La clase baja tiene limitaciones económicas, educativas y representativas (para votar) porque la clase media apoya las leyes y la política de la clase gobernante que pretenden mantener el sometimiento de los pobres.

La gente que vive en la periferia luchan entre ellos porque compiten para pocos recursos. El “centro” del capital no es para ellos porque está siendo guardado por la policia, pagado por los ricos. Aquí es donde el poder legislativo, político y económico controla los elementos del estado – el estado semi-fallido.

La violencia con armas de fuego en toda América (salvo Canadá), desde los Estados Unidos hasta el punto de Argentina y Chile es muy diferente que la violencia con armas en África, Europa, Asia y Oceanía. Los motivos de la violencia con armas difiere de como está distribuida y su prevalencia. La similitud de violencia con armas entre el viejo mundo y el nuevo mundo se trata del control del territorio, espacio, tierra, región, zona, estado, país, califato, comunidad, manzana, ciudad, pueblo, isla, ruta de comercio y sobre todo, recursos naturales (el dinero). Aunque puedes decir que el robo cuenta por mucho del uso ilegal de armas de fuego, los países de América tienen las problemas graves del narcotráfico y la guerra contra las drogas que contribuye a la mayor parte del día a día violencia con armas.

El tráfico de las drogas a través de América va de sur a norte y acaba en las manos de los norteamericanos y europeos para consumir. Los estadounidenses consumen más drogas ilegales que cualquier otro país del mundo. Brasil, Colombia, Venezuela, México y todos los países de sus alrededores están plagados de violencia de bandas de narcotraficantes que amasan sus imperios y reciben protección personal a través del dinero generado del trafico de drogas, la extorsión y los sobornos pagados a agentes policiales. El comercio ilegal de las armas es por lo tanto parte a las drogan porque uno es necesario para proteger al otro. Algunos países de Centroamérica y el Caribe sufren de mucha violencia del narcotráfico a causa de su geografía. Los cárteles pasan por ¨caminos¨ estrechos y como un embudo, la violencia se concentra en países como Honduras. Con una cifra de homicidio a 82 por cada 100,000 residentes, Honduras es el país con más homicidios con armas de fuego en el mundo. Nicaragua, Guatemala y El Salvador también están estirados por el narcotráfico y violencia que han causado una crisis humanitaria que es la inmigración irregular de niños desde Centroamérica hacia los Estados Unidos.

La violencia actual que ocurre en países centroamericanos ha llegado a niveles bélicos principalmente por la política americana durante las administraciones de Ronald Reagan y George H.W. Bush que apoyaron a los ¨Contras¨ (comandos anti-izquierdista) para cumplir las campañas anticomunistas a través de golpes de estado y operaciones secretas contra ideologías izquierdistas como marxismo-leninismo, comunismo, o cualquier banda afiliada con las ideas y creencias de Che Guevara y Fidel Castro. Reagan autorizó la asistencia de la CIA para fundar y entrenar a los ¨Contras¨ para luchar contra los Sandinistas en Nicaragua.  Y quién puede olvidar la invasión estadounidense de Panamá en 1989 para deshacerse de Manuel Noriega, un antiguo empleado de la CIA y narcotraficante dictador militar. El gobierno estadounidense ayudaba establecer los cárteles de drogas con los mismos Contras, prácticamente en paro, que luchaba contra los izquierdistas (soldados a narcotraficantes).  El escándalo Irán-Contra era real, no una conspiración elaborado por periodistas. El acontecimiento del escándalo destaca lo poco que sabemos sobre la profundidad de las operaciones en América Latina.

La guerra contra las drogas continúa clandestinamente cuando el gobierno estadounidense ayuda crear parte del caos. Un ejemplo es la ¨Operación Rápido y Furioso¨ . El nombre tomado de una película de acción, describe el escándalo de la venta de armas de los Estados Unidos a cárteles mexicanos. Entre 2006 y 2011, la agencia de Alcohol, Tabaco, Armas de fuego y Explosivos (ATF) vendían armas a los que creían que formaban parte de bandas narcotraficantes para ¨rastrearlos.¨ Al final, las armas de fuego de la ATF se encontraban en escenas de crímenes brutales en México y el gobierno mexicano perplejo porque no tenía información previa de la operación.

Cuanto más hacen esfuerzo para parar el tráfico de drogas, la gente tiene que pagar más dinero y los cárteles ganan más dinero, se compran más armas, se ponen más violentos y controlan más territorio. Los cárteles siempre están buscando nuevas rutas para transportar las drogas y las armas. La violencia ¨se atasca¨ en países pequeños como Honduras, El Salvador y Jamaica, países que tiene lo más homicidios (por 100,000 habitantes) con armas del mundo. Jamaica ha llegado a ser muy peligroso últimamente porque envíos de cocaína y otro contrabando ha desviado para viajar a través del Caribe vía Jamaica. Si las drogas fuesen legalizadas o parcialmente legalizadas los cárteles tendrían menos dinero para fundar su conflicto armado. También los norteamericanos y europeos pueden dejar de tomar drogas completamente lo cual nunca pasará.

Hay menos violencia con armas en Europa y Asia que América. Las leyes de Europa preserva el derecho a las armas para los que tienen permiso de caza o si son agentes policiales. En España por ejemplo, si quieres comprar una escopeta primero hay que conseguir un permiso de caza. Las pistolas están muy restringidas para el público general.  En los Estados Unidos, comprar un arma no requiere nada más que el dinero porque la Constitución de los Estados Unidos dice que poseer armas y formar una milicia son partes de su independencia y seguridad nacional. Entonces, poseer un arma en Estados Unidos es una cosa de cultura. Resulta que para cada 100 estadounidenses hay 88 armas. Es el pueblo con mayor cantidad de armas del mundo. Puede ser porque ciudades como Chicago, Il ,USA, cuenta más de 500 homicidios por año, la mayoría a bases de violencia con pistolas. Altas cifras de homicidios con armas son comunes en ciudades con 100,000 habitantes o más. No debe ser así.

Algunos países en Europa tienen muchos propietarios de armas pero no padecen de la violencia con armas como América. Las capitales Europeas como Madrid, España, que tiene una población parecida a Chicago (incluyendo las cercanías) tiene aproximadamente 30 homicidios al año, y sólo una parte de la cifra incluye homicidios con armas de fuego. Oceanía (Australia, Nueva Zelanda, Polinesia) tienen cifras de homicidios con armas parecidas a Europa.

Sólo Suiza y Finlandia acerca a los Estados Unidos en cantidad de propietarios de armas de fuego con una cifra de 47 por 100 suecos o finlandeses respectivo a sus países. Violencia con armas no es muy común entre agente de policía en Europa tampoco:

“Según Der Spiegel de Alemania, la policía alemana dispararon solo 85 balas en todo de 2011. Un recuerdo de que no todos los países del mundo son tan locos por pistolas como los Estados Unidos…La mayoría de los disparos no se apuntaron a nadie: 49 disparos de aviso, 36 disparos a perpetradores, 15 personas heridas y 6 personas muertas.” thewire.com

 En los Estados Unidos es común oír una historia de un policía que disparó 90 veces a una persona.

Las temas de raza, etnia y protección policial son partes de una sociedad que es más peligroso para las minorías, especialmente los afroamericanos que los europeo-americanos. En 2002, la policía americana mataron a 313 hombres afroamericanos. Las ejecuciones de hombres negros fue calculado como ¨cada 28 horas un hombre negro es matado por la policía.¨ La violencia con armas sale de personas que han perdido totalmente su humanidad. Es la mecanización de matar.

En Asia, casi no tiene violencia con armas en China y Japón. Japón tiene casi 1/2 de la población de los Estados Unidos (128,000,000 est. 2010) metidos en un país el tamaño del estado de California, pero sólo hay aproximadamente 2 homicidios con armas de fuego al año. Comprar una pistola en Japón es un proceso agotador, hay limitaciones del modelo, análisis psicológicos, hay que tomar un curso y hay rutinas de inspecciones. En China, posesión de armas de fuego está prohibida para los ciudadanos. La falta de acceso a las armas y bajos niveles de violencia con armas están relacionados, pero en países menos industriales es más complicado.

Una de las cosas que separa la violencia de armas en los Estados Unidos a Europa o Asia es cultura. Los estadounidenses sienten que necesitan tener un arma porque fue fundamental en formar las fronteras de América del Norte al estilo ¨Wild Wild West.¨ Al contraste,  Europa y Asia tiene estado-países antiguos formados con matrimonios, diplomacia, rutas de comercio, batallas con espadas, cañones, y mamutes cruzando los Alpes  suizos. Ir a campos de tiros o disparar a cosas en el jardín es una forma de diversión para los estadounidenses (al resto del mundo no tanto). A veces, son demasiado listos para disparar a cosas o personas que no amenace a nadie.

El continente de África y la región del Oriente Próximo tienen violencia con armas de fuego pero los conflictos del ¨viejo mundo¨ son problemas propagados por el Nuevo Orden Mundial. Reinos antiguos en África y el Oriente Próximo se formaban hace muchos siglos, interrumpidos por las invasiones de Europeos que re-dibujó estas zonas durante los siglos XVIII, XIX y XX. Países modernos como India, Pakistán, Nigeria, Argelia, Sudan, Egipto, e Israel son zonas donde los británicos y franceses bordeaban y cruzaban países ignorando vínculos culturales,  lingüísticos y étnicos cuando formaban países nuevos.

Zonas de conflicto armado como Siria, Libia, Sudan, Malí, Israel, Yemen, Pakistán y otros, requiere armamentos de países occidentales (EE.UU, Europa Occidental y Rusia). Debido a la inundación de armas, la violencia continúa para borrar las linea que los Europeos han dejado hace un siglo. Es una puerta giratoria, pero los países occidentales tiene lo más para ganar mientras los países de conflicto sigan comprando y lanzando las armas.

Aunque parece que quitar las armas de la gente para reducir homicidios es una solución simple, no es así de fácil. Si la gente quiere matar a otro, lo harán. En Sudáfrica, donde la cifra de homicidios es más alta que los Estados Unidos, homicidios con armas de fuego sólo cuenta por 45% de ellos, pero 67% en los Estados Unidos. Hay problemas profundas que provocan la tensión entre ciudadanos en cada país.  La disponibilidad de las armas sólo exacerba las problemas, luchan una falta de recursos. Lo que es verdad es que aunque países en América están en un estado de ¨paz¨ las cifras de homicidios competen con zonas de conflictos armados. Hay que llamar la atención al público para acabar con el despliegue rápido de policías militares al estilo futurista, distópica y Orwelliano. No más tanques, granadas, y metralletas en las calles de América apuntados a los ciudadanos. El estado policial, pre Segunda Guerra Mundial del siglo XX era malo, el estado policial del siglo XXI será peor.

Por: Opton A. Martin

The Positive Correlation between Women in Parliament and Standard of Living in High Income Nations.

¨The religious heterosexual male majority has homogeneously denied women´s inclusion¨

For high income nations there is a correlation between the percentage of women in parliament (congress) and the standard of living in a society. According to the World Bank, a high income nation can be described as a country whose working citizens earn above $12,746 per capita (2013). Countries with high incomes have intricate and diverse economies that allocate taxes in order to provide services for the population that support it. The doctrine of ¨No Taxation Without Representation¨ was part of the English-speaking world´s Enlightenment period, but it still rings true today in that women, who represent 50% or more of the human population, are not properly represented in various governments worldwide.

¨Rich¨ countries are able to provide more social services from taxes than ¨poor¨ countries. High income nations have a focus on the family, health, education, equality, and security; while acts of aggression like war, the death penalty, and lengthy incarceration are not priority. In all these cases, the United States and Japan seems to be the outliers, but in two distinct ways.

Data provided for this opinion and social commentary come from a website that monitors women in government. Because of failure of transparency and disclosure of information, commentaries are made based only on the number of women in the lower house of parliament. For Americans, the graph represents the percentage of women in the House of Representatives, not the Senate.

 

women in parliaments

 

Not included on this graph is the country of Rwanda, whose parliament is composed of 63.8% women. It is currently the only country in the world where women form the majority of the lower or single house. Rwanda, although it had a devastating civil war and genocide in the 1990s is beginning to recuperate and reconcile with those who had committed atrocities. Now it is one of the fastest growing economies in Africa.

Andorra, a principality located between Spain and France, has a General Council that is 50% women.  The country has the third highest life expectancy in the world at 82 years. Andorra, like many European nations, enjoy a free healthcare system and free higher education.

Nordic countries like Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, and Denmark have a range between 39% – 45% women in their lower houses of parliament. These countries are known for their high standards of living, low crime, human rights, and gender equality. Free education and healthcare are values that have become a thing of culture, not politics.

The Romance-speaking countries like Spain, France, Italy and Portugal vary with respect to women and their representation in government. Spain has the highest number of women in their lower house (Congress of Deputies) at 39.7%; France has the lowest at 26.2%. These countries are still bastions for Catholicism, whose doctrines are opposed to women´s reproductive rights like abortion, birth control instruments like the IUD, and contraception medication, yet politics and religion do not get in the way of women´s health.

All four of these countries also have a higher life expectancy than the United States maybe because their healthcare system is subsidized by the everyone, including the government, much like the Nordic countries, to ensure  that a larger portion of the population have free and easy access to a doctor. There is recognition among political leaders and citizens in these countries that contraception medication is not only for preventing pregnancy, but for preventative health against tumors, to regulate hormones, and some types of cancers. The Spanish government, currently ruled by the conservative People´s Party, decided to restrict women´s access to abortion and birth control. No one is really sure how the law works, or when it goes into effect, but it is understood that state-run hospitals (under social security) no longer provide abortions, it must be provided by a privately-run hospital with private healthcare*.

Anglophone countries like New Zealand, Australia, United Kingdom and Canada also have free healthcare and free higher education. They also have higher life expectancies than the United States as well.  Generally, Western Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have higher life expectancies based on their social systems that have more women in government. These high income nations can afford to balance their mixed economies in order to provide for a well-educated public where political debate on whether or not citizens should be offered free health services is a ¨no brainer.¨

¨On a substantive level, studies systematically show that female politicians are more likely to concentrate on issues that matter more to women such as daycare, gender equality, reproductive rights, flex time, elderly care, children’s welfare.1 It seems pretty intuitive that there are some issues that are more important to women and affect them more. It also seems like common sense that women would be more likely to focus on these issues than men.¨ Christine Cheng

Maternity leave, which also includes paternity leave in progressive countries, is another concept foreign to the general American citizen. Although Americans would claim that they live in the richest and best country in the world, it provides about as much subsidized, ¨free¨ healthcare and maternity leave as the Democratic Republic of the Congo – zero.

 

Maternity-leave-chart-final

 

The United States government does not have provisions for maternity leave. After giving birth, you basically have to get back to work in 3 days or quit your job.

The United States has a lot in common with countries that have poor records in human rights or countries that have very restrictive women´s reproductive rights. At 27.7% and 25.3%, Afghanistan and Iraq both currently have more women in their lower house than the United States. Only 18.2% of the House of Representatives is represented by women in the United States.  Saudi Arabia has 19.9% in their lower house and women aren´t even allowed to drive! Qatar, a major U.S. ally in the Middle East currently has 0.0% women in their government. Apparently, they currently have no restrictions on women running for positions in an Advisory Council. Qatar is technically the richest country in the world per capita, and like Saudi Arabia, is ruled by a family monarchy.

Ireland, although lauded for its high standard of living and general health of the public, has maintained a strict anti-abortion policy. There was a fire storm in Ireland in 2012 when a woman of Indian heritage, who had severe pain and was miscarrying, was repeatedly denied an abortion. She was denied because ¨Ireland is a Catholic country and the fetus still had a heartbeat.¨ She eventually died of sepsis (septicemia). Another case involves a woman in Ireland – apparently suicidal – who was also repeatedly denied an abortion. They ¨legally¨forced her to submit to a C-section at only 25 weeks of pregnancy after her attempts at a hunger strike.

Pro Life Campaign spokeswoman, Dr Ruth Cullen, said the news “underlines the horror and deep-seated flaws of the government’s legislation”.

“To induce a pregnancy at such an early stage inevitably puts the baby at risk of serious harm, such as brain damage, blindness or even death,” she said.

The lower house in Ireland is composed of only  15.7% women. This could be a direct correlation of how women´s health is buried beneath the apparent Catholic theocracy in Ireland.

India, the world´s largest democracy has a huge problem with women´s rights, rape, sexual assault and other indigenous beliefs that force underage women into marriages with significantly older men. In a country with more than 1 billion people, women are only 11% of the lower and upper house of parliament. The lack of representation in India has serious consequences in that male sex offenders are often not punished for violating women.  In the heart of Africa, there is the problem of female genital mutilation, which is performed in countries, where women represent less than 11% of the parliament (Kenya, Nigeria, Cote d´Ivoire, Mali, Sudan, Congo etc). They are forced against their will to submit to a barbaric practice for the benefit of men who want women to remain virgins.

The main outlier in this correlation between standard of living and women in parliament is Japan, where women represent only 8.1% of their 480 seats of the house. Japan, which has one of the lowest birthrates in the world and second highest life expectancy, is struggling with internal issues that would need to be further studied by sociologist and anthropologists specializing in Japan. Recent sexist comments by Japanese parliament members like ¨ Breed, don´t lead¨  have cause a wave of protests. Low birth rates were attributed to both men and women: women, who under threat of losing their jobs after taking maternity leave, prefer to keep working in order to maintain their careers; and men, who have similar goals, have replaced physical contact with ¨digital contact.¨

In Iran, the Ayatollah called for a ¨population boost¨ effectively banning ¨permanent¨ birth control for men and women in various forms. Doctors can be imprisoned for performing vasectomies, abortions or other operations like installing an IUD. This is an example of a theocratic government controlling reproductive rights for men and women in a country where their lower house in parliament is only 3% women. Controlling the population by prohibiting birth control can be seen as an act of aggression in that more soldiers are wanted for an anticipated war.

The United States still hovers around 20% women in the House of Representatives and 20% in the Senate. In 2016, American citizens might have the opportunity to elect the first female U.S. president. Hillary Clinton is closer than any other women in history due to her popularity among Americans of all walks of life. But electing just the first female president is not enough to close the gender gap in congress. Hopefully in the midterm elections there will be a cultural shift to honor the demands of the nation´s women and promote the diversity that makes the United States unique. LBGT peoples and minorities should also be represented in all facets of life and protected by the law (the religious heterosexual male majority has homogeneously denied their inclusion). Americans have to decide whether civil rights for all people will be distributed by force or by principle. As Abraham Lincoln famously said:

¨A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free.¨

 

By: Opton A. Martin

 

* http://www.para-abortar.es/aborto/ley-actual-del-aborto-2014-enero/

If I Buy Freedom and It Doesn’t Work, Can I Return it and Get My Money Back?

“We know that freedom isn’t free, but how much does it cost? Is there a discount on freedom? Can I use a freedom coupon? Where is my buy 2 countries, get 1 free card? If I buy freedom, and it doesn’t work, can I return it and get my money back…I have the receipt!”

I as a former resident of Torrington, Connecticut, United States of America, since 2001 would have contributed about $6,812 to the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and beyond. The website nationalpriorities.org has been tracking the U.S. cost of war since 2001 and allows Americans to see how much of their tax dollars, down to local populations, have been contributed to the efforts overseas.  Torrington’s citizens since 2001 have paid out $119,212,900 (15-aug-2014) to a multiple-front war. Since there are about 35,000 residents in Torrington, and about 1/2 are working or paying income taxes, 1/2 of all Torringtonians have contributed over $6,000 to the war on terror. But the real question is are we safer now because of the war on terror? Have we made the world safer? Is the war on terror actually producing more terrorist organizations? How long until it’s finally over?

Since September 11th 2001, there has been a liquidation sale on “freedom” worldwide when then president of the United States, George W. Bush and his administration, soon announced a global war on terror. At first the cross hairs were focused on Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, the Taliban and their sympathizers. Then, Bush decided to put Osama Bin Laden on the back burner and continue what could be seen as a Bush family legacy – Iraq. The American military’s focus switched rapidly to Iraq, where the regime of Saddam Hussein was suspected to have had weapons of mass destruction and links to Al Qaeda.

Before, during, and after the deposition of Saddam Hussein, investigators claimed that Iraq did not possess high caliber (nuclear material) weapons of mass destruction nor had been working with Al Qaeda. In fact,  Al Qaeda and other extremist groups were natural enemies of Saddam’s regime. If Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein had been working together, why would they have kept it secret? Their unity would have been seen as a sign of strength in the region. Luckily, their distinct ideologies did not allow for a military or political union – their conflicting personalities and dislikes were greater than their hatred for the United States.

Under current president Barack Obama, who more or less has been progressive concerning local and social matters within the USA, has not only continued the legacy of Bush-era military campaigns, but has amplified a seek-and-destroy, extrajudicial drone program that could be considered crimes against humanity. Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan are what I would like to call “Drone Zones” in that no real formal declaration of war has been made, but are part of a continuous bombing campaign in which civilians are unfortunately part of the casualties.  These bombing campaigns are simply not effective in changing hearts and minds. Whose ideology is going to favor Westerners when their neighbor, perhaps a civilian, had been killed by them?  Spreading democracy doesn’t come from without, but from within.

So what is freedom in 21st century terms? Which country is most free? Is freedom being able to do literally whatever you want? Or is freedom being able to have social and economic mobility in the form of one’s access to a good education, housing, food, medicine, and other facilities or amenities that First World inhabitants encounter with less difficulty.

Spreading freedom and democracy as part of a bombing campaign can be seen as a vice, like any other, freedom is aggression, anger, addiction, greed, censorship, gluttony, hatred, hysteria, lust, perversion, vanity and wrath. Although this may not be our ideal of what freedom is, the countries that suffer from “American Freedom” by way of military operations, heavy policing and lengthy occupations, fear cultural infiltration or annihilation.

Freedom, by way of material objects, is in a sense purely economical, in that freedom is for the rich; oppression is for the poor. If you live in a conflict zone, and you are rich, you might have more freedom to leave, through legal means or not, than a poor person. If you live in a country where women’s access to reproductive services are restricted, as a rich person, you might have the freedom to travel to another country where women’s reproductive laws are different. This is not to say that a poor person cannot escape a conflict zone or access healthcare, but the pyramidal structure of modern and post-industrial human society shows that the upper echelon of society, the wealthy and powerful, are the ones who make and break the laws.  Materialistic freedom in terms of commodities is not universal.

Human beings are political property of the state in which they were born, reside or had resided. A stateless person is one who has no rights, and paradoxically has total freedom, yet no freedom. On the other hand, something like spiritual freedom is closer to universality in that one’s beliefs and thoughts are tangible within one’s mind, where no one else can truly restrict their beliefs, whether they practice them or not.

Spreading democracy and freedom after the Second World War was a bit different than how it is done today. After Mussolini, Hitler, and Hideki Tojo were disposed of, and the war had been won by the Allied Forces. After obliterating the Axis Powers, the Allied Forces wanted to help their former enemies rebuild and prosper – and they did.  Italy, Germany and Japan became stable economic powerhouses in which their citizens currently enjoy high personal income, well developed infrastructure, universal healthcare, stable borders, and relatively few internal conflicts that lead to deaths or executions. The citizens of these counties are generally considered to be free.

The Second World War cost the United States more than 4 trillion dollars (in 2014) according to some estimates. After about a five-year campaign, the U.S. and its soldiers were treated like true liberators, like “winners” of WWII. They are still considered the greatest generation of humans to ever walk the Earth. As we fast forward to 2014, after 10+ years of war in the Middle East, combining the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, all military operations, and  everywhere else terror resides, 4.4 trillion dollars is the current cost of war (total cost of all services related to conflicts), and Americans are not treated as liberators, nor winners, and things are worse now than when we started.

What does the future hold now that Hussein, Bin Laden, Hosni Mubarak, Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi, and other life-term dictators have been disposed of? Will the countries of Libya, Egypt, Afghanistan, and Iraq become economic powerhouses like Germany, Japan, or even South Korea? Not likely. The reason: the war economy. Peace and stability is just as important a factor to the global economy as war and conflict zones.

Now that there are currently more heavy conflict zones since before the U.S. and Allies’ invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, defense contractors are making more profits and bigger sales than ever. For the profit-driven industry of arms dealing, shame from not being able to reduce violence and bring about stability after a military campaign is less important. As long as the guns are firing and the bombs are dropping, there is profit to be made. Therefore, it is conducive to the industry to provoke or procreate areas of conflict. It is even better if they could sell arms to both sides of the conflict through conspiracies and inside deals. If both sides have the same weapons, one will be forced to upgrade.

With respect to dark-horse terrorist organizations with plenty of cash, the rise of ISIS or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is currently driving a wedge in concurrent conflict zones in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. They plan on taking over territories that roughly stretch from Morocco to India, to eliminate all borders between “Islamic” countries – high hopes for a group with few allies and many enemies.

Current conflict zones: Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Nigeria, Mali, Columbia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Turkey, Kurdistan, Pakistan, India, North & South Korea, China, Japan, South Sudan, Mexico, Egypt, Ukraine, Russia, Central African Republic, Libya, and many more, including the United States.

As military hardware reaches a level of surplus, state and local police forces worldwide have been either given or have been purchasing this equipment. In the before mentioned conflict zones, it is not uncommon to see the military acting as a civilian “peace-keeping force” (like what we have seen in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt). Yet in recent years, many countries like Spain, Italy, Malaysia and the United States have riot police or S.W.A.T. (Special Weapons And Tactics) who use military equipment on a regular basis to intimidate and scare local populations from demonstrating, protesting, and having their voices heard. This is an undemocratic way of maintaining social justice and order in that people will get the sensation of an authoritarian police state – people will stay home, be complacent and compliant, and be afraid to speak ill of the government for fear of persecution. This makes the U.S.A no better than the countries it invades to “spread democracy” if it continues to terrorize its citizens.

As the world has recently seen how the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri rang out and connected with other oppressed people as distant as Palestine, it is important for all people to try and invest in other industries, besides the arms trade, that aim to save lives, not take them.

Are Reparations Still Relevant? Who Deserves it and When is It Acceptable?

 The controversial topic that debates whether or not monetary reparations are justifiable for people of African descent in the 21st Century.

It might be too late for some reparations, but not soon enough for others.

The question of whether or not European and American governments should give reparations for slavery to people of African descent in the form of money or land comes from a few different sources: African-Americans (in all of the Americas); Haiti, for declaring their independence in 1804; and the people of the continent of Africa, for the European Scramble for Africa.

Every region of the world has experienced epic tragedies that involved the massive loss of human life in the most inhumane ways possible. In order to recuperate from past injustices of human culture, sovereign nations have been trying to readjust their societies in order to prevent dissent, violence and mass-murder, but when profits are to be made from chaos, consolidation of power, and human exploitation, morality takes a dive, and unethical laws are written in order to protect the ruling class from future prosecution.

Using the logic of those in favor of reparations, there are a myriad of historical events in which those who had suffered, or their descendents, should also be given compensation for their suffering: The Nigerian Civil War, the Colonization of the Americas, Rwandan Genocide, Genocides in Armenia, Cambodia, and Bosnia are just a few examples of people being singled-out because of their religion or race, and subjected to imprisonment, forced labor and death.

Reparation activists worldwide point to the fact that other peoples have been offered reparations by governments for forced labor, genocide, confiscation of lands, and for losing an armed conflict (war reparations). West Germany paid $35 billion to Israel between 1953 and 1992 in an attempt to pay for subjecting the Jewish communities to forced labor, “apologize” for the rise of Nazi Germany, and for how they were brutally and systematically round up, forced into concentration camps, tortured, and killed. They were stripped of all their assets, wealth, and above all, were subject to genocide as part of a fascist, anti-Semitic ideology.

African-American reparation activists point to other examples of reparations like the Native-American community and their inclusion in the U.S. Government’s policy of establishing Indian Reservations and paying out millions of dollars to compensate for 19th Century Manifest Destiny land grabs.

Reparations for people of African-American descent: Should it be a reality? The answer is, it should have been, but now it is too late. Those who had lived through slavery, or at least their children, were going to be honored a small compensation for their labor in the form of property ownership, one of the pillars of capitalism, but the U.S. Government at the time had a history of breaking promises not only to Native-Americans, but African-Americans as well. Considering that the British and U.S. Governments had broken over 500 treaties with Native-Americans over profitable and valuable land, African-Americans were also denied what was promised, especially those promises that were made after the American Civil War during what historians refer to as the Reconstruction Era.

40 acres and a mule was an agreement met between African-American ministers, abolitionists and Union General William T. Sherman, who promised to some 40,000 freedmen land and seafront property, which was confiscated from the Confederates. Sherman’s Special Field Order No. 15, which occurred shortly after the American Civil War, was a way to punish the South for their attempts at succession, attacking the Union, and to break the link holding the finances between southern slavery and the Confederacy (not because of 250 years of chattel slavery). The 400,000- acre strip of land from South Carolina to Florida could have changed almost everything about modern American society and race relations in terms of education, culture, equality, and wealth in the African-American community.

The reason why so many people, black and white, are against reparations is that there is a cultural and temporal disconnect with previous generations in that Americans do not want to be held accountable, and are generally ashamed for their ancestors’ actions. Most importantly, in terms of the U.S. economy, the methodology of calculating and paying out 250 years worth of labor to descendents of Africans and African-Americans is culturally complex in that people will always contend whether or not some people of African descent deserve remuneration or not.

Whether or not reparations should be paid out, it will never happen because there are conflicts between American culture and economics. The majority of Americans are against reparations. The idea of giving a minority group of people ¨free money¨ because of a past injustice might not have the effect one would think from a cultural point of view.

Reparations for the people of Haiti: Should it be a reality? The answer is yes. The Haitian Revolution that resulted in the declaration of independence from France in 1804 came with extreme consequences. France demanded that Haiti pay 90 million gold francs for the loss of slaves and the French side of the island Hispaniola, which was called St. Dominique at the time, or risk another French invasion. From 1825 to 1947 Haiti continued to pay its “declaration of independence debt” to France, which was estimated to be more than $20 billion. Decades of economic warfare by the international community; the coup d’ état, which was suspected to be supported by the U.S., France, and allies; and the 2010 earthquake, which killed 100,000 civilians or more, were all recent events that have further crippled the sovereign nation of Haiti. At the very least, Haiti’s external debt was cancelled amidst the devastating earthquake, and $9 billion was giving in relief efforts, but it still falls short of the $20 billion that was extorted from Haiti post-independence.

Reparations for the people of Africa: Should it be a reality? The answer is yes, but not in the form of a simple payout. Reparations will come only in the form of true socioeconomic development. But first, bribery, corruption, and theft of capital must be identified, exposed, and dealt with in a way that prevents net wealth from leaving the continent.

An obvious, but not popular solution to corruption and embezzlement is transparency. Being able to track the flow of money between companies, governments, and banks will better inform the public of how their labor is paid, taxed and redistributed. To prevent government leaders from funneling money back to the U.S. or Europe, limiting the amount of money one can have in foreign bank accounts could help. However corrupt dictators may seem to the Western world, there are always enablers (Westerners) who permit this collusion of foreign aid by giving Africa money with one hand, while robbing with the other.

During the past few decades, government-to-government aid has not worked at all for economic development on the continent. Although the continent receives about $50 billion in aid each year, it is estimated that $1 trillion is stolen each year.  Most of that money ends up right back in Europe, the United States, and island tax havens. One of the best ways for economic development is to stop foreign aid as Zambian-born economist Dambisa Moyo describes in her critique of decades of failed policy.

“A constant stream of “free” money is a perfect way to keep an inefficient or simply bad government in power. As aid flows in, there is nothing more for the government to do — it doesn’t need to raise taxes, and as long as it pays the army, it doesn’t have to take account of its disgruntled citizens. No matter that its citizens are disenfranchised (as with no taxation there can be no representation). All the government really needs to do is to court and cater to its foreign donors to stay in power.”

Economic development cannot occur if local markets are flooded with free goods that could be produced locally. Agriculture and manufacturing take a big hit when products are routinely sent to Africa. One might think that it is generous to do so, but it effectively puts local companies out of business. Moyo offers another simple example of how foreign aid is having a reverse effect.

“A Western government-inspired program generously supplies the affected region with 100,000 free mosquito nets. This promptly puts the mosquito net manufacturer out of business, and now his 10 employees can no longer support their 150 dependents. In a couple of years, most of the donated nets will be torn and useless, but now there is no mosquito net maker to go to. They’ll have to get more aid. And African governments once again get to abdicate their responsibilities.”

In order to properly gird these concepts into the theme of reparations I must say that foreign aid to Africa does not count as reparations. The scramble for Africa by European powers in the 19th and 20th centuries absorbed all but two (Ethiopia and Liberia) sovereign states into their empires, and the amount of wealth that was stolen by declaration of war against indigenous people continues to this day with the extraction of minerals and precious metals and the round-the-clock coup d’états that occur with the help of Western interests. The exigency in which raw materials are extracted from the continent to be sent to manufacturing plants in the European Union, China, U.S.A. and Russia, leave very little to be circulated within the continent – the flow of raw materials needs to be diverted inward.

The best kind of reparation high-income nations can give to Africa is to offer something tangible like renewable energy in the form of wind turbines and solar panels to help with their energy crisis. Combining the aforementioned with proper water irrigation systems and desalinization plants are also other true forms of economic development in which all citizens could eventually build upon and stabilize their societies. Only then will much of the conflict areas soon turn into places with cultural standards in which subsisting on foreign aid and pity will be a thing of the past.

 

By Opton A. Martin

Perspective of a system in which everyone can benefit: clean energy, full employment, and reduction of illegal immigration.

Could Spain and Nigeria be great business partners for resolving unemployment and energy crisis?

 

The recent global economic crisis has left its mark on the most prosperous of nations and the least. Governments all over the world decided to “rescue” the banks by giving them loans and injecting an absurd amount of money to prevent what would be another economic catastrophe.

What happens to average citizens now that the banks and governments are back on their feet? We still have to resolve the difficulties of unemployment, climate change, and irregular immigration, and very few people in the public eye have real solutions to these problems. Politicians adopt the rhetoric of their political parties; maintain circular arguments, which have no specific solutions, in order to confuse the public.

One of these countries suffering from high unemployment, climate change, and irregular immigration is the Kingdom of Spain, which is one of the ten largest economies of the European Union (five times larger than Greece). It is recorded that over 25% of the viable workforce is unemployed – double the average in the European Union.

Recently, austerity measures that the government and companies have taken in order to lower the unemployment rate and external debt seems to be contrary to popular opinion as many employees have to work more hours, take a reduction in salary, pay more taxes, take less vacation time, and among other things, accept a hike in costs of transportation and energy. All of these factors contribute to the reduction of local spending and consumption.

Although local industries like tourism, hospitality, and manufacturing are growing, there is still a market for diversifying exports to less industrial countries that desperately need the building blocks for their economies. It should be mentioned that Spain is the only European country that has a boarder that physically touches the African continent (Ceuta and Melilla). Spain has an advantage should it choose to invest in the market of exporting renewable energy.

Increasing exports of renewable energy to countries that lack facilities to produce sufficient electricity can lower the unemployment rate both in Spain and the destined country because it opens doors to other industries. Fabricating solar panels and wind turbines for export and developing the logistics for new agricultural industries (energy efficient greenhouses and water treatment plants) are necessary for elevating the standard of living.

The most industrial countries in the world have been investing in clean energy projects to reduce global warming and climate change, but started they too late, and are not working fast enough. As the price of petroleum based products fluctuate dramatically because of oil embargoes, high tariffs, reductions in production due to sabotage, oil spills, wars, and scandals involving stolen petroleum, now more than ever is the time to abandon fossil fuels, and embrace clean energy to meet our energy needs.

The least industrial countries of the world also want to increase their economic output in order to lift their citizens out of poverty. The problem is that there is a direct correlation between rich countries with large populations and their excessive demand for petroleum and natural gas. This sends a bad message to the countries that have the largest reserves of petroleum.

Inversely, the countries that export the largest quantities of the world’s petroleum, like those that pertain to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), are known for their low levels of human rights, high levels of poverty, and lack of economic diversity, which puts the environment and their socioeconomic structure at risk. It should also be mentioned that with the exception of hydroelectric dams, no country included in OPEC currently has a clean energy program. Perhaps they are going to wait until the oil wells run dry before investing in alternative forms of energy.

Popular belief states that if a country or region wants to lift itself out of poverty, it must produce and export more commodities, but it is not that easy. The fact is that less developed countries lack the infrastructure necessary to produce enough electricity, which impedes further industrialization: without sufficient electricity; there is no industry.

Nigeria is an example of a country that depends heavily on the export of petroleum for its GDP. It also suffers from an energy crisis. To put the country profile in perspective, Nigeria has a population of about 170,000,000 people, but produces less electricity than Ireland, which has about 4,800,000 people.

Nor money, nor time should be an obstacle for not having already installed some form of clean energy in Nigeria or any other country. The once world’s largest wind farm in the year 2009 is located in Roscoe, Texas. Roscoe Wind Farm, with a price tag of about $ 1.000 million, has 634 wind turbines that stretch beyond 400km2 of land. All of this took about two years to construct and gives electricity to about 250,000 homes.

For Nigeria and other countries in the African continent to diversify their economies for inter-continental trade, they need to resolve their energy crisis. To start, Nigeria would have to import wind turbines and solar panels. This year, Nigeria has opened its doors to investors, professionals and companies for the Nigeria Alternative Energy Expo. With luck, we will see not only companies interested in selling modes of alternative energy, but also those involved in ways of developing a domestic industry for African clean energy.

With respect to wind turbines, the United States, Germany, Denmark, Spain and India are home to companies that fabricate and install wind turbines in their home countries as well as in foreign countries. Due to high unemployment in Spain especially, they should be at the forefront of investments in the export of wind turbines and solar panels to open markets in Africa; they should do it before other countries in the European Union especially Germany since they have already recovered from the economic recession. Spain produces about 20% of all of its energy from renewable sources.

The current administration of Spain and other highly industrialized Western nations have recently reduced their investments in clean energy. They have taken two steps back in their attempts to reduce human dependence on fossil fuels and produce new employment opportunities in a necessary and burgeoning industry. If Spain would intend on doing more business with companies and government in the north and west of Africa by exporting wind turbines and solar panels, both partners would grow economically. Perhaps with new-found economic industries and resources less Africans would not have to risk their lives traveling by raft or crossing the Sahara to get to the barb-wired fences of Ceuta or Melilla. Unemployment is exacerbating xenophobia and racism in Europe and North America with far-right political parties blaming immigrants for ills in society.

The production of clean energy in Africa would have a two-pronged effect. First, in addition to being able to produce alternative energy locally, more industries will be possible thus, empowering the local workforce. After proper investment clean energy should be fabricated locally as many of the raw materials to make wind turbines and solar panels are mined locally. New urban centers should spring up, which can alleviate the congestion of the squalid slums of mega-cities like Lagos or Luanda.

Second, African nations can modernize their social and economic life without dependence on fossil fuel industrialization of the 20th Century, while maintaining its status as the inhabited continent that contributes the least to global warming.

There are plenty of social and political battles to confront; people of the world have to realize that we are all suffering the consequences of global warming and the rise in ocean sea levels from the contamination of fossil fuels regardless of where we live. We cannot separate social and economic problems from ecology.

Now more than ever is the time to take advantage of such an old technology like harvesting the kinetic energy from the wind, and such a new technology like photovoltaic solar cells to resolve the problems of the 21st Century.

 

By  Opton A. Martin

Perspectiva de un sistema en el que todo el mundo gana: la energía limpia, el pleno empleo y la reducción de la inmigración ilegal.

 

La reciente crisis financiera mundial ha dejado su huella en los países más prósperos y en los menos. Gobiernos de todo el mundo decidieron rescatar a los bancos ofreciéndoles préstamos para evitar lo que sería otra catástrofe financiera, según dicen.

¿Qué pasa con los ciudadanos ahora que los bancos y gobiernos están en tierra firme? Todavía hay que resolver los problemas de desempleo, el cambio climático y la inmigración irregular, y poca gente con influencias tienen soluciones reales. Los políticos siguen con la retórica banal, la cual no ofrece soluciones específicas.

España representa una de las grandes economías de la Unión Europea pero padece de un nivel de desempleo del 25%, el doble de la media de la Unión Europea. Últimamente las medidas económicas que el gobierno y las empresas han tomado para bajar el nivel del desempleo son contrarias a la opinion popular. Multitudes de empleados tienen que trabajar más horas y aguantar medidas de austeridad como reducción de los salarios, subida del IVA o reducción de días de vacaciones entre otros, por no hablar de la subida de costes de transporte y energía. Todos estos factores contribuyen a la reducción del consumo local.

Aunque industrias como el turismo y las industrias manufactureras están creciendo hay que diversificar los productos que se exportan a los países en desarrollo, que desesperadamente los necesitan para sus economías. Teniendo esto en cuenta es posible que España tenga ventaja en el mercado para exportar la energía renovable al extranjero.

Aumentar las exportaciones de energía renovable a países en los que no hay suficiente electricidad puede reducir el desempleo y abrir las puertas a otras industrias. Producir módulos fotovoltaicos, turbinas eólicas para exportar o desarrollar la logística para la industria agrícola en otros países (como los invernaderos o la potabilización del agua) es necesario para elevar el nivel de vida.

Los países más industriales del mundo ya están implementando medidas para detener o reducir el calentamiento global con inversiones en la energía limpia, pero no la suficiente velocidad. Como el precio de productos derivados del petróleo fluctúa dramáticamente dependiendo de los embargos, tarifas, reducciones de producción, derrames de petróleo, guerras y escándalos relacionados con este recurso natural, ahora más que nunca es el mejor tiempo para abandonar la dependencia de la energía derivada del petróleo y del carbón y hacer una campaña mundial para promover la producción de la energía limpia.

Los países con menos industria quieren desarrollarse en este campo para que sus ciudadanos salgan de la pobreza y participen en

el negocio del comercio mundial. El problema es que la correlación entre países ricos y el consumo del petróleo envía un mensaje equivocado a los países que con grandes reservas petrolíferas. Del mismo modo que los países que exportan la mayoría del petróleo, como los de la Organización de Países Exportadores de Petróleo (OPEP), son conocidos por su falta de derechos humanos, sus altos niveles de pobreza, y por la falta de diversidad económica, lo cual pone en riesgo al medio ambiente y al desarrollo socio-económico. También debe mencionarse que, excepto por las centrales hidroeléctricas, ningún país en la OPEP tiene proyectos de energía limpia. Tal vez vayan a esperar hasta que los pozos se sequen antes de implementar programas de energía limpia.

La creencia popular difunde la idea de que si los países más pobres quieren salir de lo que el mundo occidental considera ¨pobreza¨, tendrían que exportar más productos, pero no es así de fácil. El hecho de que estos países tengan problemas para cumplir con sus necesidades energéticas básicas les impide seguir desarrollándose, el principal obstáculo es que si un país no tiene suficiente electricidad no puede tener industria.

Nigeria es buen ejemplo de un país que depende mayormente de exportaciones de petróleo para el producto interior bruto (PIB), pero al mismo tiempo sufre de una crisis energética. Para ponerlo en perspectiva, Nigeria tiene una población de más de 170.000.000 habitantes, pero produce menos electricidad que Irlanda, la cual tiene una población de alrededor de 4.800.000.

Ni el dinero ni el tiempo deben ser un obstáculo o una excusa para no haber instalado ya energía eólica en un país como Nigeria. El precio para construir el parque eólico más grande del mundo en 2009 fue $1.000 millones. Roscoe Wind Farm, en Roscoe, Texas, tiene 634 turbinas que abarcan 400km2 de tierra. Se tardó alrededor de dos años en terminar el parque eólico en Roscoe que da electricidad a 250,000 casas.

Para que Nigeria y otros países en el continente africano diversifiquen sus intereses económicos, habría que resolver sus problemas energéticos. Para ello habría que empezar por importar turbinas eólicas y placas solares. Este año, Nigeria tiene las puertas abiertas a inversores, empresas y profesionales para la exposición de energía alternativa de Nigeria. Con suerte, veremos empresas interesadas en el desarrollo de energía limpia local.

Con respecto a las turbinas eólicas, empresas con sede en Los Estados Unidos, Alemania, Dinamarca, España, e India instalan turbinas eólicas tanto en sus propios países como en otros. Debido a la alta tasa de desempleo de España, este país debe invertir más en la exportación de aerogeneradores y placas solares a los mercados abiertos en África, y debería anticiparse a otros países de la Unión Europea, especialmente a Alemania, que ya se ha recuperado de la crisis financiera mundial.

La actual administración de España junto con los países más ricos del mundo han reducido sus inversiones en energía limpia. Han dado dos pasos atrás en su intento para reducir la dependencia de la energía no renovable y de bajar el nivel del paro a escala nacional.

Si España hiciera más negocios con empresas o gobiernos del norte y oeste de África mediante la exportación de energía eólica y solar, crecerían económicamente. Tal vez habría menos jóvenes africanos saliendo de su país, y se evitaría que esas personas pasaran meses o años viajando a través de tierras hostiles para llegar a las vallas de Ceuta o Melilla.

La producción de energía limpia tendría un efecto doble en África. Primero, con más electricidad más industrias son posibles, especialmente en el desarrollo de nuevos centros urbanos, lo cual puede aliviar la congestión e inmundicia de mega-ciudades como Lagos o Luanda. El potencial de fabricar turbinas eólicas y placas solares en África se puede propagar de forma exponencial, y por lo tanto reducir la inmigración irregular. Aumentar las industrias africanas como la fabricación textil, los suministros médicos, la maquinaría y la agricultura son necesarios para la mano de obra local, por lo tanto, reduce la inmigración irregular.

Segundo, África puede modernizarse mientras tanto y mantener su posición como el continente que contribuye menos al calentamiento global.

Hay muchas batallas sociales y políticas por luchar, pero desafortunadamente la humanidad en su conjunto se está derrotando a sí misma con combustibles fósiles. No se puede separar la ecología de los problemas sociales o económicos.

Ahora más que nunca es nuestra responsabilidad sacar provecho de una tecnología tan vieja como utilizar la energía cinética del viento, y una tecnología tan nueva como la energía solar fotovoltaica para resolver los problemas del siglo XXI.

 

Por Opton A. Martin