Archive for the ‘News’ Category
Monday, May 5th, 2014
Virginia proposal would limit size of gatherings at private homes
By Kenric Ward
Published May 05, 2014
A plan to ban "frequent and large gatherings at neighborhood homes" is a lawsuit waiting to happen, a Fairfax County supervisor predicts.
Officials will get an idea Wednesday when public-comment hearings begin in Virginia’s most populous county.
"I believe the county is risking a lawsuit and/or a Constitution challenge by interfering with peoples’ right to assemble," Supervisor Pat Herrity said in a statement.
The proposed zoning ordinance limits "group assembly" at residences to 49 people a day. Such gatherings "shall not occur more frequently than three times in any 40-day period."
County officials say they have received complaints about group meetings at homes. But Herrity said "they haven’t even reached 1 percent of the thousands of complaints our Department of Code Compliance investigates a year."
"This is yet another instance where we appear to be punishing the many for the actions of the few," said Herrity, who reported a total of six complaints were received last year.
Church groups, scouting organizations or even sports fans drawn to a home’s big-screen TV during playoffs could be potential targets of the proposed county law. Realtors worry that even open houses would invite civil penalties.
John Whitehead, an attorney and president of the civil-libertarian Rutherford Institute, calls the Fairfax plan "nefarious."
Wednesday, April 30th, 2014
THIS IS NOT ABOUT RACE AND MORE ABOUT JEALOUSY, CONTROL AND *PRIVACY*
LET’S NOT FORGET THAT RECORDING PEOPLE LIKE THIS IS AN ILLEGAL ACTION
I know some will want to jump down my throat but keep in mind I am black on my father’s side. I am not into sports, at all. (Except boxing)
• I believe that Sterling’s statements, though obnoxious, where not racist per se. He was being controlling; he never used the N word. If my girlfriend showed up publicly with Irish or Chinese men, I would say stop showing up with those Chinese (or Irish guys). I believe it was a jealousy-control thing.
• I am also concerned that this was a private conversation. Sometimes we say things privately for shock or out of emotion, things we would never and have never said in public. Things we may not really believe.
• This woman is not an idealist; she’s looking for a buck. How you can “turn someone in”, that you have had a long relationship in this manner makes it difficult for me to sympathize with her supposed self-righteous indignation.
• Are we going to have to be afraid that we are being taped at all times now? It’s bad enough that the NSA is filtering our communications, the FBI already has 52 million of us in their facial recognition files, the City is giving us tickets with their traffic cameras, etc. Now you can get exiled from your business because you had an argument and said something to your girlfriend?
Sterling has been very generous to African American and Native American organizations. If he was such a blatant racist why bother? We have a kneejerk reaction to make things racial. This woman has decided to capitalize on that. It is rumored that she is “negotiating” to keep the rest of the tape from the press.
This was a private beef between Sterling and his Chilla, (paramour) nothing more. Racialization of this situation is not the way to go. If anything Sterling should know better than to become a chump for skanks.
Thursday, April 17th, 2014
Más que un colega, Cheo fue un amigo. Compartimos las rumbas en las calles del Nueva York en clubes de mala muerte y escenarios prestigiosos. Aunque Cheo nació en Ponce el hombre era un nuyorican oficial. Empezaba un vacilón en Español lo seguía en Inglés y volvía a la Isla. Totalmente 100% bilingüe, aunque hay algunos por ahí que cree que hablan inglés Cheo tenía una soltura y chispa en los dos idiomas que había que abrirle paso. Sobre todo hay que destacar que Cheo era un hombre super inteligente. Eso es imprecindible para ser un gran sonero del la talla de Ismael Rivera y Héctor LaVoe. Ya el último miembro de la Trinidad de los Soneros Mayores se integra en el cielo.
Cheo aprendió su arte desde lo más bajo y básico. Empezó como atrilero, pero no descartaba la oportunidad de rumbear las rumbas cubanas de Machito. Tenía una gracia y maña que muy pocos tienen. Yo diría que hoy no queda nadie con ese talento de cantar y ese sentido de humor, que nosotros llamamos “malicia”.
Con el Sexteto de Joe Cuba crearon un puente entre los afro-americanos, los de descendencia boricua que no hablaban español y los boricuas en la isla. Yo quise ser Malote por culpa de Joe Cuba y Cheo Feliciano. Hay algunos cantantes que se hicieron ricos y famosos imitando a Cheo y sus técnicas.
De que hay Buenos soneros hoy en día, los hay. Pero son muy pocos que le lleguen al nivel de un Cheo Feliciano. Cheo, un barítono en un mundo de cantantes chillones, sobresalía por la calidad de su voz. Pero si eso no fuera suficiente tenía una sincopa y una clave asombrosa. También soneaba melódicamente como ningún otro. Encima de todo eso una pronunciación impecable y para rematar unos soneos contundentes, sea humor o sentimiento. Cheo era un verdadero comunicador en una época de cantantes con papelitos en la mano.
Para Cheo nada le vino facil, tuvo que ganarse todo con fuerza y trabajo. No voy a abundar mucho sobre el tema, por eso voy a limitar mis comentarios públicos. Pero como siempre vendrán los grandes que podiendo ayudarlo decidieron no grabarlo o no darle trabajo o no colaborar con él. Todos vendrán llorando y alabando.
Sobre todo lo que me encantaba de Cheo era su sonrisa y manera de ser. Cheo y Cocó son como familia y hemos pasados por buenas y malas. Sin Cocó le hubiera sido difícil mantenerse en este negocio duro y complicado.
Todos tenemos nuestros demonios y Cheo no era diferente. Pocos pueden como Cheo recuperarse y creo que su escudo y su arma paras sobrevivir fueron Cocó y su noble corazón junto al gran corazón y sentido de humor cortante que Cheo tenía.
Es mala suerte decirle a un artista “Buena suerte” cuando va subir a la tarima. Cheo me decía “Ojala te caigan la luces encima.” Entre nosotros eso era como decir bendición. Siempre nos despedíamos hablando de que deberíamos grabar un disco juntos.
Cheo mi pana, que dolor siento. Siempre será uno de mis héroes. QDEP Rumbero de mi corazón.
Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014
IN FIRST WAVE OF UPK IMPLEMENTATION, MAYOR DE BLASIO ANNOUNCES MORE THAN 4,200 NEW FULL-DAY PRE-K SEATS ADDED TO PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Tags: new york city, new york city school, bill de blasio, education news
With state funding secured, Department of Education brings first wave of new public school seats online as part of expansion to all 73,000 eligible 4-year-olds
NEW YORK—Mayor de Blasio today announced that New York City will open a record-breaking 4,268 new full-day pre-kindergarten seats in public schools by September 2014. These seats represent the first of tens of thousands of new full-day seats funded in this year’s state budget that will soon be made available. The Department of Education is undertaking new outreach to parents to encourage them to apply.
The new seats are the first to become available as part of the city’s plan to provide high quality pre-K programs to all 73,250 eligible students by the 2015-2016 school year, and approximately 53,000 in September 2014.
With these additional new seats, the Department of Education will offer 20,387 full-day pre-K seats in public schools by September 2014, marking a 26 percent spike from the current school year—and the most full-day pre-K seats in city history. Thousands more seats will be made available through community-based organizations later this spring.
The new full-day pre-K seats will open across 140 schools, spanning all five boroughs, and reaching nearly all 32 community school districts—including many high-need neighborhoods. These new available seats represent half-day pre-K programs that have been upgraded to full-day, additional classes in existing full-day programs, and entirely new full-day programs.
“Today, we are more than 4,000 seats closer to ensuring that every 4-year-old has access to high quality full-day pre-K,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “For months, we have been planning every facet of these programs to ensure we were ready to launch the moment funding was secured. Today, the rubber hits the road, and families will have more options for their children.”
“For decades, families have clamored for more high quality full-day pre-K seats in their communities,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “Today, this becomes reality. Families are eager, teachers are ready, and we have an unprecedented commitment that will ensure the highest quality pre-K that every 4-year-old so deeply deserves.”
In order for a school to be considered for additional or new pre-K seats, principals needed to submit a comprehensive proposal demonstrating how they plan to offer high quality instruction and family engagement in space suitable for young children. The Department of Education reviewed each proposal to ensure children entering full-day pre-K classrooms in September have an enriching and supportive pre-K experience.
Children born in 2010 who live in New York City are eligible to apply to the variety of offerings available for September 2014. The application deadline for public school options is April 23, and the Department of Education will notify families about public school placements in June. Families will also have an opportunity to apply for slots at community-based organizations later this spring.
Parents can learn about and apply for public school pre-K options online at schools.nyc.gov/prek or by visiting a Borough Enrollment Office.
The Pre-K Expansion Guide, which lists the new public school options, is also available at schools.nyc.gov/prek.
Additional information and updates can be found by texting “prek” to 877877.
Sunday, March 30th, 2014
Habló el General Néstor Gonzalez Gonzalez"
Mis hermanos y compañeros de armas del verdadero Ejercito de Venezuela que son demócratas y que le juraron a la Bandera de Venezuela ser verdaderos militares para defender la soberanía de Venezuela saben en donde y como van a dar el golpe seco a la Revolución Bolivariana de Venezuela., No se crean que ustedes seguirán en el poder pues en este momento en Venezuela los verdaderos militares Venezolanos están midiendo todos los flancos …para terminar con este Gobierno de asesinos y fascistas que se han enquistado en nuestro país.
Los vídeos y las pruebas de todos los asesinatos y desmanes que ustedes hacen a diario están en buenas manos y ya se encuentran en el congreso de los Estados Unidos.
La caída de esta Revolución Bolivariana viene en caída LIBRE…Ni el suelo los va a parar.
General: Nestor Gozalez Gonzalez
Fuente: ATCNoticias Internacionales…
Saturday, March 29th, 2014
Nicolás Maduro’s regime has added burning people’s cars to his list of terrorist acts
Joined by Cuban troops and street gangs (colectivos) GNB forces burn cars
They arrive at residential neighborhood with no other mission than to burn their cars
GOVERNMENT troops arrive to burn residents cars.
Venezuelans must now suffer government terrorism without leaving their neighborhoods.
Monday, March 24th, 2014
Egyptian Court Sentences 529 Muslim Brotherhood Supporters to Death
The Middle East Channel
Egyptian Court Sentences 529 Muslim Brotherhood Supporters to Death
A court in southern Egyptian city of Minya on Monday sentenced 529 Muslim Brotherhood supporters to death on charges including murdering a policeman and attacking other officers in riots after security forces broke up two protest camps on August 14, 2013. The group is among more than 1,200 supporters of Mohamed Morsi on trial since a crackdown on Islamists after the military removed the president in July. In December, the government declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization. Only about 147 defendants were present at the unprecedentedly rushed hearings, which began Saturday. Others were released or are on the run being tried in absentia. Sixteen defendants were acquitted. The verdict, the largest capital punishment verdict in the history of the Egyptian judiciary, and the sentences are subject to appeal, and are likely to be overturned, according to lawyers.
Turkish fighter jets shot down a Syrian warplane Sunday after it breached Turkish airspace, according to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Speaking at a campaign rally ahead of March 30 local elections, Erdogan congratulated the air force on its actions, saying, "If you violate our border, our slap will be hard." Syria condemned the strike as an act of "blatant aggression" saying the jet had been over Syrian territory targeting rebel fighters. According to Turkish sources, a control center detected two Syrian jets and warned them four times as they approached the Turkish border. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said initial reports indicated that the plane caught fire and crashed in Syrian territory. Rebel fighters, from mainly Islamist factions, seized the small predominantly Armenian Christian town of Kasab Sunday in northwestern Syrian, near the Turkish border, as well as a border crossing. The advances have come as part of an offensive along the coastal region of Latakia province traditionally a stronghold of support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Syria’s state news agency and opposition activists reported that President Assad’s cousin, Hilal al-Assad, head of the National Defense paramilitary forces in Latakia, was killed in the fighting.
"In addition, Hezbollah distributed basic services to thousands of Lebanese Shiites, along with Lebanese of other sects, in the form of housing, water, electricity, education, health, vocational training, and agricultural extension; it also repaired infrastructure damaged by Israeli attacks and by warring domestic factions. In sum, Hezbollah filled the void of a Lebanese state mired in internal factionalism and external meddling, and helped to deliver Lebanese Shiites from disenfranchisement and destitution to military empowerment, political relevance, and economic prosperity.
And yet, regardless of all its achievements — or perhaps because of them — Hezbollah has recently faced growing discontent and mounting criticism, not only from other Lebanese factions but from its own Shiite constituents. What are the sources of this discontent and criticism? Some experts believe that Hezbollah’s erosion of domestic support originated with its recent intervention in Syria. This Brief argues, however, that Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria only exacerbated a crisis of popular legitimacy that began in the mid-2000s. In the years since, Hezbollah, in its dual status as both a militia and a political party, both engaged in military confrontation with Israel and entered the Lebanese cabinet."
"In January 2014, Tunisia passed a landmark constitution and undertook the first peaceful transfer of power in an Arab democracy. Successful consolidation of Tunisia’s democratic gains will set an important example in the region, but recent successes will remain at risk unless the country’s transition maintains momentum. You recently said, ‘We’re hopeful that Tunisia is going to succeed, and we’re going to help… We’re going to try to do all we can in this age of constrained budgets and difficult choices.’ As you prepare to launch the Strategic Dialogue with Tunisia, we urge you to follow through on and deepen U.S. commitments to help build an enduring Tunisian democracy by bolstering support for its economic, political, and security needs.
Tunisia faces serious obstacles despite recent successes. Its struggling economy — a root cause of the revolution — remains unable to generate jobs for its well-educated population. The country’s weak security apparatus has failed to address burgeoning extremist threats and has increasingly targeted human rights and political activists critical of its conduct. To maintain momentum, Tunisian leadership must make important decisions to avoid exacerbating political polarization."
– Mary Casey & Cortni Kerr
Sunday, March 23rd, 2014
They Kept a Lower East Side Lot Vacant for Decades
They Kept a Lower East Side Lot Vacant for Decades – NYTimes.com
Oh NYS Attorney General Schneiderman! Is this as bad as the Puerto Rican parade problem you so diligently dove into? We better see some action here. Sheldon Silver and William E. Rapfogel kept LOISAIDA Lots Vacant for Decades to prevent low income housing.
They Kept a Lower East Side Lot Vacant for Decades
By RUSS BUETTNERMARCH 21, 2014
A vacant lot along Delancey Street, circa 1980. Credit Brian Rose and Edward Fausty
Nearly four decades ago, a new assemblyman named Sheldon Silver and his young protégé escorted Edward I. Koch, then a mayoral candidate, through the Orthodox Jewish enclave on Manhattan’s Lower East Side where the two had both grown up.
It was the first day of Rosh Hashana, 1977, and Mr. Koch and his opponent, Mario M. Cuomo, had agreed not to campaign, even as they were locked in a frantic runoff for the Democratic nomination.
But the air of religious observance provided cover for Mr. Koch to walk along Grand Street with his two new friends, shaking the hands of influential rabbis and throwing bread into the East River, part of the ritual casting off of sins.
Six days later, Mr. Koch carried the Jewish vote and won the primary. His team long remained grateful for the guided tour by Mr. Silver and the protégé, William E. Rapfogel, then a recent college graduate who ran his own Jewish newspaper.
“They helped us big time in the runoff,” recalled John LoCicero, Mr. Koch’s chief political adviser. “It revved up the Jewish vote for Koch against Cuomo.”
From left, Sheldon Silver, Edward I. Koch and William E. Rapfogel in 1977. Credit Chester Higgins, Jr./The New York Times
The long-ago walk was the first public display of an alliance that became central to the lives and careers of both Mr. Rapfogel and Mr. Silver. They worked together across the decades while climbing parallel ladders: Mr. Silver to Assembly speaker and Mr. Rapfogel to leadership of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, a large, publicly financed charity.
But their long affiliation came to an abrupt end last year when Mr. Rapfogel, 59, was arrested and charged in a scheme that had allegedly looted more than $7 million in kickbacks from Met Council’s insurance broker over the years. He is due back in court in April.
The arrest cast new light on a relationship about which little was known beyond the obvious: Mr. Silver has funneled millions of public dollars to the organization that Mr. Rapfogel led, and he employs Mr. Rapfogel’s wife, Judy, as his chief of staff.
A primary focus of their alliance had been a struggle to preserve the Jewish identity of the neighborhood they delivered for Mr. Koch all those years ago.
Their battleground was some 20 barren acres along the southern side of Delancey Street, where, in 1967, the city leveled blocks of rundown apartment buildings. More than 1,800 low-income families, largely Puerto Rican, were sent packing and promised a chance to return to new apartments someday. Now, nearly 50 years later, the land is still a fallow stretch of weed- and rat-ridden parking lots, though in the waning days of the Bloomberg administration, the city announced that the land would finally be developed into a complex called Essex Crossing, to include retail markets, restaurants, office and cultural space. And new apartments.
Mr. Silver has long characterized his role in plans for the site, known as the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area, or Spura, as limited to insisting that all groups have a voice in the outcome, not promoting a specific plan or developer. “The speaker’s position was always that any development at Spura had to be achieved by consensus among all of the diverse communities that make up the Lower East Side,” his spokesman, Michael Whyland, said in a recent written statement.
But an extensive review of the archives of four mayors and more than two dozen interviews show Mr. Silver and Mr. Rapfogel diligently working behind the scenes to promote specific plans and favored developers. Mr. Rapfogel made clear that the goal was to maintain the area’s Jewish identity, seemingly at the expense of other communities.
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Mr. Silver and Mr. Rapfogel steadfastly opposed any mention of affordable housing, which would have altered the demographics of the neighborhood and put Mr. Silver’s political base in question. And Mr. Silver appears to have occasionally misrepresented the desires of his Chinese and Hispanic constituents in conversations with city officials to quash housing plans for the site.
“They’re the reason that this site has been empty for 50 years,” said Edward Delgado, known as Tito, who was a teenager when the city cleared the blocks and his family was evicted. He has been advocating for affordable homes at the site in the decades since.
Mr. Rapfogel, who led the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, was arrested last year and accused of looting the agency. Credit Anthony Lanzilote for The New York Times
Mr. Silver and Mr. Rapfogel were born in the neighborhood to Jewish parents. Mr. Silver, 70, grew up in a tenement on Henry Street. His father owned a neighborhood hardware business. Mr. Rapfogel’s father was a clerk for city government.
When they were boys, the blocks along Grand Street teemed with Jewish peddlers and dozens of small synagogues. Unions were building 12 apartment buildings in the neighborhood to house 4,500 families, mostly garment workers. Known as Cooperative Village, the apartments would anchor a new Jewish middle class.
It was the quaint urban hamlet that served as the home of Bubbie in the movie “Crossing Delancey.” But it was also an island apart.
Cooperative Village was surrounded by more than 14,000 units of public housing to the north, east and south. Those buildings were full of less prosperous African-Americans and more recent Hispanic arrivals. Chinatown, to the south and west, was expanding, as Jewish numbers declined.
From the perspective of Grand Street’s Jewish leaders, any development with affordable housing that replaced the cleared tenements would tilt the balance of the entire neighborhood.
Mr. Silver and Mr. Rapfogel fought that possibility, chiefly through a community group called United Jewish Council of the East Side. Mr. Rapfogel’s father, Hyman, was a co-founder and Judy Rapfogel was on its board of directors in the 1970s. Mr. Silver was the group’s lawyer and headed one of its housing corporations.
In the early 1970s, the city built a 360-unit housing project on a corner of the site. But that project wound up the subject of a court dispute when Jews were given many of the apartments. And the fate of rest of the site was still deadlocked.
By December 1977, Mr. Silver was still serving as United Jewish Council’s lawyer. He wrote to members of the departing administration of Mayor Abraham D. Beame about a plan he and the group had submitted years earlier for a “mini shopping center” on the Spura site. In drawings, it resembled a massive airplane hangar. It included no housing, but the group said it would create needed jobs.
“I would very much appreciate meeting with you or members of your staff in order to set up a program of incentive to get this plan off the ground,” Mr. Silver wrote. “It has been quite some time since the proposal was submitted and, to date, there has been no action.”
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A rendering of the proposed Essex Crossing development. Credit SHoP Architects
Mr. Koch took office weeks later. He hired Mr. Rapfogel, then 23, as a spokesman at a city agency. Mr. Silver was pleased. He was sure Mr. Rapfogel would be “a capable spokesman in such a sensitive area of your administration,” he wrote to Mr. Koch.
Soon after, United Jewish Council began pushing its friends in the administration to support the “international mall” plan, and its handpicked developer, Howard Blitman, arguing that the neighborhood was “clearly saturated” with public housing.
Mr. Rapfogel, Mr. Silver and others discussed the plan with city officials at several private meetings. During one, talk turned to the “political problem” presented by a request from a Chinatown group to sponsor 150 units of low-income housing for senior citizens in the development.
“Assemblyman Silver announced that he had a compromise,” according to minutes of the meeting, which was to move the Chinatown project out of the area.
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Asked about the agreement recently, Allen Cohen, who was then executive director of the Chinatown Planning Council, said Mr. Silver never asked his organization to agree to any such plan.
“We were not involved in that,” he said.
Eventually, the Koch administration selected the Chinatown Planning Council to build a 156-unit building for seniors on a lot near the main site. United Jewish Council, working with the Bialystoker Synagogue, was awarded 124 senior units in a different project nearby.
The mall plan briefly got traction, but city officials backed off when other groups got wind of it and complained.
Three years later, in April 1980, another proposal that included low-income housing was considered by the city’s Board of Estimate. It was opposed by Mr. Silver and United Jewish Council, according to records and former city officials.
More than 1,800 low-income families, mostly Puerto Rican, were promised a chance to move into new apartments in the Lower East Side lot, after a 1967 clearance. But plans were blocked over the years, with affordable housing the usual sticking point. Credit Bryan Thomas for The New York Times
“This is a compromise, and like all good compromises, no one is completely happy,” wrote a planning department official, Jolie B. Hammer, in a letter to a former colleague. “Off the record, however,” she continued “the only true objections are coming from U.J.C.”
Mr. LoCicero, the political adviser to Mr. Koch, said Mr. Silver made his opposition clear and won the support of Harrison (Jay) Goldin, then the city comptroller, who had a crucial vote on the board and coveted the Grand Street Jewish vote for future elections.
“Shelly said: ‘Are you crazy? We’ve got enough low income housing,’ ” Mr. LoCicero recalled. “He aligned himself with Jay Goldin at the Board of Estimate, and they beat us.”
Mr. LoCicero said he appreciated the concerns of the Jewish community, but opposing the Koch administration’s compromise plan just a few years after Mr. Koch’s walk along Grand Street felt like a betrayal. “You put us in here, and now you’re going to destroy us?” Mr. LoCicero said.
Soon after, Mr. Rapfogel took a post in Mr. Goldin’s office as liaison to the Jewish community. He also became head of United Jewish Council’s development arm, South Manhattan Development Corporation, and soon after wrote an article in the group’s newspaper saying his mission was to “retain the distinctly Jewish religious and cultural identity of our community.”
“We wait with bated breath for the development of the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area,” he wrote in 1985. “City government must never again believe that it will force more low-income housing on a community that has been made into a poverty ghetto.”
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Mr. Silver and Mr. Rapfogel co-hosted annual legislative meetings put on by U.J.C., and later by Met Council, with the affable Mr. Rapfogel serving as the master of ceremonies and the taciturn Mr. Silver lending gravitas. Plans for the site were an occasional focus of those meetings.
That was the case in 1988, after the Koch administration selected the Lefrak Organization to build a project with a mix of commercial and residential projects on the site. Advocates for the poor opposed the plan’s dearth of low-income housing. At U.J.C.’s annual legislative conference, Mr. Silver introduced the city housing commissioner, Abe Biderman, to promote the plan.
“Our job now is to follow up throughout the year to check on the progress of the items discussed,” Mr. Rapfogel wrote in U.J.C.’s newspaper regarding the proposal.
Mr. Silver, the Assembly speaker, says he has severed ties with Mr. Rapfogel, his protégé. Credit Mike Groll/Associated Press
That plan was eventually dropped by the city.
In 1994, Mr. Silver became speaker of the Assembly in Albany. Almost 30 years after it was cleared, the vast space on the Lower East Side remained desolate. That year he faced renewed accusations from housing advocates that he and U.J.C. had blocked plans for housing on the site to preserve his power and keep out other groups.
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“They would rather have the vacant lots and rats than have minority people there,” said Frances Goldin, a leader in the Lower East Side Joint Planning Council, which fought for housing on the site, speaking to The New York Times that year.
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2 hours ago
If you’ve work in state politics, or maybe just have your eyes open, you learn that competing interest groups, such as land developers,…
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The article asserts that a Jewish enclave was protected from low income housing arriving at this site after the predominantly Latino…
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Local writes: "Further we are talking about a time 20-30 years before the neighborhood was gentrified, where crime was rampant and nobody…
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In response, Mr. Silver said he only wanted “a buildable consensus plan” in a neighborhood that was too split to proceed.
But months later, he and Mr. Rapfogel quietly put their weight behind yet another new plan, from a handpicked developer who included no housing. According to official memos, Mr. Silver asked city officials to approve a “big box” store, like Costco, on the site. The developer, Bruce Ratner, would build it. The sponsor would be the South Manhattan Development Corporation, which Mr. Rapfogel then headed.
“This proposal’s most prominent supporter is Assemblyman Sheldon Silver,” wrote Deborah C. Wright, the city’s housing commissioner under Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, in an internal memo. “I would love to see something positive happen here under our administration, but the conflicts here rival Bosnia!”
Charles Millard, then the head of the city’s Economic Development Corporation, wrote in another memo that Mr. Silver told him “the community does not want housing on the site.”
The plan was never publicly discussed and went nowhere.
“We had no idea Silver had done that,” said Harriet Cohen, who argued for affordable housing on the site as co-chairwoman of the Seward Park Area Redevelopment Coalition.
Articles about plans for developing the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area, or Spura, in The New York Times.
In the years that followed, the neighborhood underwent major changes. Jewish dominance waned. A wave of fashionable urban professionals changed the look and feel of the shops and restaurants.
Stores that sold skullcaps or kosher wine were replaced by hip wine bars and cafes. Kossar’s Hot Bialys, a Jewish institution on Grand Street, remains, but two doors down is Doughnut Plant, which sells things like Valrhona chocolate doughnuts, for as much as $3 apiece.
At Cooperative Village, where the Rapfogels and Silvers raised their children and still live, tenants were allowed to sell on the open market beginning in 2000, after decades of values’ being capped. One two-bedroom apartment was recently on the market for $965,000.
And the ties between Mr. Silver, Mr. Rapfogel and Mr. Ratner strengthened.
The Rapfogels’ eldest son, Michael, finished law school in 2005 and soon went to work for Mr. Ratner. The job was seen internally as a way to please Mr. Silver, say people familiar with the son’s work; Mr. Ratner’s company rejects the notion.
“Michael Rapfogel was hired in 2005 as a young lawyer because he is smart, a hard worker and interested in community and economic development,” said Ashley Cotton, a senior vice president at Forest City Ratner Companies. “He is a valued member of our staff.”
In 2006, the Public Authorities Control Board, over which Mr. Silver has significant control, approved Mr. Ratner’s Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn. Intervention by Mr. Silver and others enabled the project to retain a lucrative tax break, even as that break was actually being phased out.
In 2008, Forest City Ratner, which compared to other developers makes few political contributions, gave $58,420 to the Democratic Assembly Housekeeping Committee, which is controlled by Mr. Silver.
That same year, Mr. Ratner helped raise $1 million for Met Council and was honored at a luncheon given by Mr. Rapfogel and Mr. Silver. “Bruce is responsible for much of the development and growth that’s gone on in Brooklyn and in Manhattan,” Mr. Silver said at the event. “He is a major force in New York City for the good.”
By 2011, with all the neighborhood changes, consensus finally seemed possible. The local community board adopted development guidelines that included 800 to 1,000 apartments, with 20 percent, or as few as 160 units, set aside for low-income tenants. Mr. Silver gave the guidelines his blessing. Longtime advocates went along, seeing a portion of something as better than all of nothing.
“Hopefully it will move forward, but it should not have taken 40 years,” said Mr. Delgado. “It’s sad because the truth is that they have more in common with us than with the millionaires moving in now.”
Developers bidding for the Seward Park site were required to team up with a local nonprofit. Mr. Ratner chose Mr. Rapfogel’s Met Council. As the process was nearing a close last year, Mr. Rapfogel was arrested. On Sept. 18, another bidder was selected.
In announcing the new plan, the city said priority would be given to some of the mostly Puerto Rican families displaced four decades ago. Construction is expected to begin next year.
Mr. Delgado says he has kept in touch with some former neighborhood occupants, and though most are scattered apart and elderly, he hopes their children will have a chance to return.
Mr. Silver has steadfastly stood by Judy Rapfogel. But as to his long alliance with Mr. Rapfogel, that is done. “Let’s be clear,” he said in a recent interview, “I have nothing to do with Willie Rapfogel.”
Correction: March 22, 2014
An earlier version of the headline with this article misstated the length of time Sheldon Silver and William E. Rapfogel worked together to keep a Manhattan lot vacant. It was nearly four decades, not the entire 47 years that the lot has been vacant.
Thomas Kaplan contributed reporting.
Sunday, March 23rd, 2014
WHY DIDN’T CNN ASK ABOUT THE OBVIOUS CUBANIZATION OF VENEZUELA?
HOW CAN THE GUARDIAN DISMISS A NATIONAL PROTEST AGAINST A BRUTAL IMCOMPETANT GOVERNMENT AS A FEW UPPER CLASS PEOPLE?
$$$ PERHAPS WE NEED TO FOLLOW THE MONEY $$$
is this the wealthy elite that the Guardian is refering to?
ARE THESE THE IMPERIALIST OLIGARCHS YOU’RE REFERING TO?
Townspeople and student protesting non-violently
Gob. Merida, Escoltas y Estudiantes de El Vigia en su derecho a la protesta.
Chavista attempts to intimidate students
Sunday, March 23rd, 2014
Despite Critics, de Blasio Finds Success in Pursuit of Liberal Agenda – NYTimes.com
Despite Critics, de Blasio Finds Success…
By MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM and NIKITA STEWARTMARCH 20, 2014
Mayor Bill de Blasio joined City Council members and others in Brooklyn on Thursday to sign a bill expanding paid sick leave. Credit Michael Nagle for The New York Times
On the surface, these are rocky days for Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose infant tenure has endured impasse in Albany, speeding police escorts, and poll numbers that have rapidly diminished.
But in fits and starts, Mr. de Blasio has steadily found ways to impose his uncompromising liberalism onto New York, exploiting the powers of his office to further an agenda that allies say is far more consequential than day-to-day squabbles and scandals.
Stymied by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and state lawmakers on his tax-the-rich plan, Mr. de Blasio used a compliant City Council to enact a bill expanding the ability of workers to take paid days off when they or a family member falls ill. He signed the bill into law on Thursday with the flick of a commemorative pen — no approval from Albany required.
And the mayor has moved aggressively to settle longstanding lawsuits over racial inequities in the Fire and Police Departments that Mr. Bloomberg had vigorously fought.
Now, Mr. de Blasio is set to unveil his next unilateral
steps: At his order, the city’s legal team will abandon its efforts, begun under Mr. Bloomberg, to block two pieces of legislation that guarantee higher pay for workers on development projects where the city provides large subsidies or is a major tenant.
The city will drop its challenge to one, the so-called living wage law, on Friday. Later, officials said, the administration plans to quit fighting against the “prevailing wage” law — even though the Bloomberg administration had, so far, been successful in blocking it in court.
The very lawyers who once voiced Mr. Bloomberg’s objections to the measures are now arguing in their favor.
“There is a mandate to change policy,” said Zachary W. Carter, the mayor’s corporation counsel, in an interview, adding, “We take our direction from the client.”
That client is now Mr. de Blasio.
In flexing the powers of his office, Mr. de Blasio has displayed a tactical agility and aggressive style that he has struggled at times to project publicly.
Significant positions in his government, like buildings commissioner, remain unfilled, and the mayor’s unforced errors, such as calling police officials about the arrest of a political supporter, have prompted concern about his readiness for the job.
Aides and allies of the mayor insist that New Yorkers, who in a recent poll gave Mr. de Blasio a mediocre approval rating of 45 percent, will ultimately focus on his efforts to raise wages and make the city more affordable.
“If you pull the camera back, the mayor’s wins are adding up,” said Bill Lipton, the state director for the Working Families Party, whose yearslong effort to enact sick-leave legislation culminated in Mr. de Blasio’s signature on Thursday.
“People will see that Bill has delivered on his campaign promise and has actually made a difference in the lives of working people,” Mr. Lipton said.
Still, Mr. de Blasio’s team is painfully aware of its early missteps, particularly the virtually guaranteed defeat in Albany of his plan to raise taxes on the wealthy to pay for prekindergarten and after-school classes.
Eager to reframe his administration as fulfilling campaign promises, not fumbling them, the mayor’s team began talks in the past few days with Related, one of the city’s most politically powerful developers, about including more affordable apartments at its giant Hudson Yards project on the Far West Side, which is receiving major tax breaks.
It is highly unusual to renegotiate a development project already approved by the city, and it was virtually unthinkable in the Bloomberg era. But officials at Related, who are embarking on a long-term relationship with the new mayor, agreed to increase the number of affordable units.
Even more strikingly, the developer agreed to give up a long-fought-for exemption from paying higher wages to some building workers at Hudson Yards.
It was a sign that, poor poll numbers aside, Mr. de Blasio is unequivocally the new boss in town — and that the business community is facing a stark reality: Where government money touches something, it comes with liberal strings attached.
The liberal grass roots, meanwhile, had their own symbolic moment on Thursday, when activists joined Mr. de Blasio in South Williamsburg to celebrate his signing of the sick-leave bill.
“We have prevailed at last,” Mr. de Blasio said, a broad smile on his face, as his remarks were frequently drowned out by applause.
When the mayor sat to sign the bill, he picked up the first of several pens and looked out at the crowd watching.
“Here comes the fun part,” he said.
Sunday, March 23rd, 2014
25 facts about Mayor Bill de Blasio – NY Daily News
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Wednesday, January 1, 2014, 1:10 AMSteve Sands/Getty Images
Meet mayor, Bill de Blasio.
1. Bill de Blasio was born across the street from Gracie Mansion in the now-closed Doctors Hospital. His mother was 44.
2. His mother graduated from Smith College, one of only two Italian-Americans in her Class of 1938.
3. He grew up in Cambridge, Mass., but claims he never had a Boston accent since his parents were New Yorkers.
4. He’s the youngest of three: brother Steven is 13 years his senior, and Donald is eight years older.
5. He’s had three legal names: Warren Wilhelm Jr., Warren de Blasio-Wilhelm and Bill de Blasio.
6. He went to high school with Patrick Ewing, but says he can’t dunk even though he’s 6-feet-5.
Patrick Ewing sure can dunk, but his former classmate Bill de Blasio can’t.
7. His 1979 high school yearbook identified him as “future president of the U.S.A. — the Untied Sneakers Association.”
8. His first cousin is labor leader John Wilhelm, former president of Unite Here International Union.
9. He was baptized Catholic, but is nonpracticing and describes himself as “spiritual.”
10. He speaks Italian.
11. His father was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Yale University.
Robert Redford in ‘The Candidate,’ Bill de Blasio’s favorite film.
12. His paternal grandfather, Donald Wilhelm, graduated from Harvard University, wrote nine books and collaborated with Franklin D. Roosevelt on a Saturday Evening Post article.
13. He was evicted from his first New York apartment, a SoHo walkup that he later found out was an illegal sublet.
14. His scariest moment was traveling through a war zone on the road to Nuevo Leon in Nicaragua in 1988.
15. He’s six years younger than wife Chirlane McCray.
16. They honeymooned in Cuba.
JohnTracy for New York Daily News
Di Fara Pizza in Midwood, Brooklyn, is tops with Bill de Blasio.
17. He named his kids Dante and Chiara to honor his Italian heritage.
18. His daughter Chiara was a flower girl at the wedding of his friend Patrick Gaspard, now the U.S. ambassador to South Africa.
19. He keeps Louis Armstrong LPs that used to belong to his parents in his office.
20. His favorite book is “Nothing to Fear” by Adam Cohen, and his favorite movie is “The Candidate.”
21. He decorates his Park Slope living room with an anti-apartheid poster from the group Art Against Apartheid .
Bill de Blasio’s beloved sports team is best left unsaid.
22. He’s a huge fan of “The Wire.”
23. His favorite athlete is (my buddy) David Ortiz, star slugger for his beloved Boston Red Sox.
24. He loves Di Fara’s pizza in Midwood, Brooklyn, because it uses buffalo-milk mozzarella, beloved in his grandmother’s province in Italy.
25. If he could get one musician to appear at his inauguration, he said it would be Bruce Springsteen. [His wish apparently didn’t come true.]
Saturday, March 22nd, 2014
A Threat to Male Fertility – NYTimes.com
Poison Pen March 21, 2014, 1:31 pm
Threat to Male Fertility
By DEBORAH BLUM
Richard Gary/The New York Times
To study the impact of everyday chemicals on fertility, federal researchers recently spent four years tracking 501 couples as they tried to have children. One of the findings stood out: while both men and women were exposed to known toxic chemicals, men seemed much more likely to suffer fertility problems as a result.
The gender gap was particularly wide when it came to phthalates, those ubiquitous compounds used to make plastics more flexible and cosmetic lotions slide on more smoothly. Women who wore cosmetics often had higher levels of phthalates in their bodies, as measured by urinalysis. But only in their male partners were phthalate levels correlated with infertility.
“It’s the males in the study that are driving the effect,” said Germaine Buck Louis, an epidemiologist at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and lead author of the report, published in February in Fertility and Sterility. “They’re the signal.”
Deborah Blum writes about chemicals and the environment.
Phthalates belong to a group of industrial compounds known as endocrine disruptors because they interfere with the endocrine system, which governs the production and distribution of hormones in the body. The chemicals have been implicated in a range of health problems, including birth defects, cancers and diabetes.
But it is their effect on the human reproductive system that has most worried researchers. A growing body of work over the last two decades suggests that phthalates can rewire the male reproductive system, interfering with the operation of androgenic hormones, such as testosterone, that play key roles in male development. That mechanism, some experts believe, explains findings that link phthalate exposure to changes in everything from testicular development to sperm quality.
“I wasn’t surprised at all by this finding,” Andrea Gore, a professor of pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Texas, and editor in chief of the journal Endocrinology, said of the new report. “We see the cell studies, the animal studies and now the human epidemiology work, and they are all showing us a similar picture.”
The focus on male fertility dates back to the early 1990s, when researchers in the United States and Europe published a paper suggesting chemical exposures could be linked to a steady decline in semen quality. One of the authors, Niels Skakkebaek, a reproduction researcher at the University of Copenhagen, has since suggested that an increase in malformations in male reproductive systems, which he calls “testicular dysgenesis syndrome,” may be linked to environmental exposure to compounds including endocrine disruptors like phthalates.
“They interfere with how testosterone is made,” explained Heather Patisaul, a biology professor at North Carolina State University who is studying the effect of endocrine-disrupting compounds during puberty. “Anything you can think of that’s testosterone-dependent is likely to be affected.”
Women also have androgenic hormones, but to a lesser degree, and according to some theories this accounts for the smaller but still observable effects of phthalates on female fertility. (Testosterone, for instance, is part of the cascade of hormones that leads to egg production.)
There are plenty of uncertainties in this picture. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that while studies suggest that phthalate exposure is “widespread in the U.S. population,” it’s difficult to know what those levels are. Health effects from very low levels are still not well understood.
While the “evidence for an effect on male fertility is compelling,” said Tracey Woodruff, director of the program on reproductive health and the environment at the University of California, San Francisco, it’s still difficult to gauge the impact. “We are still pulling the tricky aspects together.”
There are different kinds of phthalates complicating the picture; some seem to have a much larger effect than others. And these are far from the only factors, chemical and otherwise, that influence human fertility. Dr. Buck Louis’s group is looking at a broad range of industrial compounds, including heavy metals like lead and cadmium, that tend to accumulate in the body.
Phthalates, by contrast, tend to be metabolized within a few hours. Their impact would not be so profound if it were not that people are constantly exposed from multiple sources.
These include not only cosmetics and plastics, but also packaging, textiles, detergents and other household products. Phthalates are found in the tubing used in hospitals to deliver medications; enteric coatings on pills, including some aspirin; materials used to create time-release capsules; and countless other products. In 2008, the government banned them in children’s toys, and the European Union is also moving forward on restrictions.
“The W.H.O. called them ‘pseudopersistent’ in one report,” Dr. Woodruff said, because continued exposure keeps phthalates in the body. But here’s the silver lining: the transient nature of these compounds also means that consumers can take fairly simple measures to reduce their phthalate levels.
One is to read the labels on cosmetics and other personal care products and to choose those without phthalates. Another is to be cautious with plastic food containers, and to avoid using them to heat food and drink, as the phthalates in them may get transferred to what you consume.
“These compounds leach from plastics,” Dr. Buck Louis said. “You can switch to glass for drinking. You can cook your frozen dinners on paper plates.”
Studies have shown that these kinds of actions do make a difference; experiments have found measurably lower levels within several days in people who make these changes.
“Lifestyle has an important place here,” said Dr. Buck Louis.
Saturday, March 22nd, 2014
Petrocaribe: El peor negocio de Venezuela
Cuba paga el crudo con médicos, deportistas y personal de inteligencia
Petrocaribe "desangra" a PDVSA
El convenio de cooperación energética Petrocaribe, definido por Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) como el "escudo antimiseria" de las naciones de Centroamérica y el Caribe, es a juicio de los expertos el peor negocio que entabló el país en los últimos años.
José Toro Hardy, experto en materia energética, afirmó que el acuerdo que se suscribió en 2005 por iniciativa del presidente Hugo Chávez ofrece ventajas a los Estados miembros mientras "desangra" a la empresa petrolera venezolana.
El convenio establece que los países integrantes reciben determinadas cuotas de petróleo diariamente bajo ventajosas modalidades de pago, que representan "una carga para Venezuela".
Contrario a las exportaciones hacia países como Estados Unidos o Europa, donde cada barril enviado representa ingresos para el país, los despachos en el marco de Petrocaribe no proporcionan recursos inmediatos.
El acuerdo establece que, cuando los precios del petróleo están por encima de 50 dólares, los miembros deben pagar 60 por ciento de la factura por adelantado, mientras que el resto es financiado con interés de uno por ciento a lo largo de 25 años.
Toro Hardy aseguró que el esquema de cancelación que mantiene el programa tiene un valor presente neto igual a cero. "Si Venezuela intentara vender en el mercado esas facturas no le darían ni un centavo por ellas".
Las cuentas por cobrar de PDVSA entre 2004 y 2008 aumentaron 93,2 por ciento. El incremento se debió básicamente al esquema de negocio que se fijó en Petrocaribe.
Rafael Ramírez, ministro de Energía y Petróleo, aseguró que entre 2007 y 2009 se registró un alza de 105 por ciento en el suministro de crudo a través del convenio. El jefe de la cartera precisó que los volúmenes adjudicados pasaron de 59 mil a 121 mil barriles diarios.
Pocos números oficiales:
La página oficial de PDVSA detalló que:
"la factura total por concepto de suministro de hidrocarburos alcanzó (entre 2007 y 2009) un monto de 6,9 millardos de dólares, de los cuales 1,4 millardos de dólares representa el ahorro tangible, mientras que 2,9 millardos de dólares corresponden a la cantidad financiada a largo plazo".
Ramírez informó en el VI Consejo Ministerial de Petrocaribe que el acuerdo no se limitó a la entrega de crudo y combustibles, sino que contempla inversiones en proyectos de infraestructura para el desarrollo de sistemas de distribución de carburantes en países miembros.
El acuerdo permite, además de las facilidades de pago, la modalidad del "trueque", es decir, petróleo a cambio de servicios, productos agrícolas o alimentos procesados.
Toro Hardy comentó que países como Cuba pagan el crudo con: médicos, deportistas y personal de inteligencia; Nicaragua, con vaquillas; mientras que República Dominicana cancela con servicios hoteleros y granos.
PDVSA suministra a través del acuerdo unos 200 mil barriles diarios de crudo a los países de Centroamérica y el Caribe, de los cuales 90 mil están destinados a La Habana.
Petrocaribe lo integran: Antigua y Barbuda, Bahamas, Belice, Cuba, Dominica, Granada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haití, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, República Dominicana, San Cristóbal y Nieves, San Vicente y las Granadinas, Santa Lucía, Surinam y Venezuela.
Por Daniela García
Friday, March 21st, 2014
pThis post was republished to Willie Colón – News Blog at 9:11:47 PM 3/21/2014/p h2Taliban Attack Serena Hotel in Kabul /h2 pbarch 21, 2014/b/p pa href=”http://williecolon.com/news/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/clip_image002.jpg”img title=”clip_image002″ style=”border-left-width: 0px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; display: inline; border-top-width: 0px” border=”0″ alt=”clip_image002″ src=”http://williecolon.com/news/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/clip_image002_thumb.jpg” width=”825″ height=”158″ //a/p p/p h3NYPD Counterterrorism Bureau br /Terrorism Threat Analysis Group br /Open Source Assessment/h3 h2Taliban Attack Serena Hotel in Kabul/h2 h3Information Cutoff: 12:00 p.m. on March 21, 2014/h3 h2bKe/bby Points/b/h2 h3§ On the evening of Thursday, March 20, the Taliban attacked the Serena Hotel in central Kabul./h3 h3§ The Serena Hotel is a five-star luxury hotel, often regarded as the most secure place to stay in Kabul./h3 h3§ Security officials stated that all four attackers were killed and that the hotel is now secure./h3 h3§ Nine people were killed, including four foreign nationals (two women from New Zealand and Canada and two men from India and Pakistan). The remaining victims were Afghans and/h3 h2included two children./h2 h3§ The attackers are reported to have been teenagers, who smuggled their pistols into the hotel by hiding them in/h3 h3their socks. They arrived at the hotel claiming to attend a special dinner to celebrate Nowruz, the spring equinox, and began shooting at guests in the hotel restaurant./h3 h3§ Several United Nations employees and foreign delegations are currently staying at the hotel to monitor next/h3 h3month’s presidential elections, which will be held on April 5./h3 h3§ The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. The group has threatened to carry out attacks to disrupt the elections./h3 h2bT/bbh/bbr/bbea/bbt Assessment/b/h2 h3The Serena Hotel has several layers of security. For example, to enter the hotel, guests must pass through an exterior gate and are searched at a checkpoint with a metal detector. The fact that the attackers were able to smuggle in pistols hidden in their socks indicates a failure in the hotel’s security system. The hotel is popular with visiting foreign officials and the hotel restaurant is also popular with senior Afghan officials and foreigners based in Kabul. Several United Nations employees and foreign delegations are currently staying at the hotel to monitor next month’s presidential elections, which will be held on April 5. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack. The group has threatened to carry out attacks to disrupt the presidential elections. On March 10, the Taliban issued its strongest threats yet against the upcoming elections, warning that it would use “all force at its disposal” to disrupt the elections. The group also urged Afghans not to participate in the elections and to stay away from polling stations. The group has already carried out several attacks in recent weeks as part of its campaign to disrupt the elections. Earlier on March 20, the Taliban attacked a police station in Jalalabad, killing at least 11 people. table cellspacing=”0″ cellpadding=”0″tbody tr/tr /tbody/table /h3 p table cellspacing=”0″ cellpadding=”0″tbody tr td width=”723″#160;/td /tr /tbody/table /p h3 table cellspacing=”0″ cellpadding=”0″tbody tr/tr /tbody/table The Serena Hotel has been targeted in the past. In June 2008, Taliban militants targeted the hotel, detonating a vehicle borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) and inserting suicide bombers armed with AK-47 assault rifles, hand grenades, and explosive jackets. At the time of the attack, a Norwegian foreign ministry delegation was present. This attack led to six casualties, including a well-known Norwegian journalist and a member of the foreign ministry delegation. The hotel was also targeted in rocket attacks in 2009 and 2010./h3 h2Previous Significant Attacks on Hotels/h2 h3· bSep/bbtember 2008/b: The Islamabad Marriott Hotel in Pakistan was struck in a VBIED attack carried out by the/h3 h2Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)./h2 h3· bN/bbo/bbv/bbe/bbmber 2008/b: In one of the deadliest attacks on hotels in recent years, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba assailants attacked several targets in Mumbai,/h3 h3India, including the Taj Mahal Palace amp; Tower and the Oberoi Trident Hotels./h3 h3· bJun/bbe 2009/b: The Pearl Continental Hotel in Peshawar, Pakistan, was subjected to a VBIED attack, supported by/h3 h3gunmen. The TTP is also believed to have been responsible for this attack./h3 h3· bJu/bbl/bby 2009/bb: /bThe Ritz-Carlton and Marriott hotels in Jakarta were attacked by Jemaah Islamiyah militants. The two bomb attacks, which/h3 h3took place within minutes of one another, left eight people dead./h3 h3· bJun/bbe 2011: /bThe Taliban attacked the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul, killing 21 people./h3 h2bI/bbmplications for New York City/b/h2 h3· Although the Serena Hotel is one of the most heavily secured locations in Kabul, Thursday’s attack highlights how even the most/h3 h3secure locations are targeted for attacks./h3 h3· Attacks on high-secure targets such as popular, luxury hotels require pre-operation surveillance and/or inside information to exploit/h3 h3vulnerabilities in the security program./h3 h3· The latest issue of Inspire magazine, which was released this week and is published by al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula, mentions /h3 h3the Savoy Hotel in central London as a potential target for a car bomb attack. This highlights how hotels continue to be among terrorists’ /h3 h2top targets./h2 h3· New York City has always been among the top terrorist targets, given its status as the financial and cultural center of the U.S. /h3 h3New York City hotels continue to be vulnerable to potential terrorist attacks./h3 h3· Hotels in New York City are also highly vulnerable to terrorist attacks given the high number of tourists and other travelers in#160; the city year round. While not directly targeting a hotel, Faisal Shahzad’s failed Times Square plot also illustrates that popular tourist sites remain favorite targets for terrorists./h3 h3bSou/bbrc/bbe/bbs/b/h3 h31. a href=”http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/20/us-afghanistan-attacks-idUSBREA2J1TA20140320″“ Gunmen attack major hotel in Afghan capital,” /aReuters, March 20, 2014./h3 h32. a href=”http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-26675253″“ Gunmen ‘attack Kabul luxury hotel’,” /aBBC, March 20, 2014./h3 h33. a href=”http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/taliban-kill-10-policemen-eastern-afghanistan-22981478″“ Gunmen Open Fire in Luxury Hotel in Afghan Capital,” /aAssociated Press, March 20, 2014./h3 h34. a href=”http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-26675253″“ Nine killed in Kabul hotel gun attack ,” /aBBC, March 21, 2014./h3 h35. a href=”http://www.voanews.com/articleprintview/1876000.html”“ Taliban Kabul Hotel Att ack K ills 9,” /aVoice of America, March 21, 2014./h3 h3bI/bbf You See Something, Say Something – 1-888-NYC-SAFE (1-888-692-7233)/b/h3
Friday, March 21st, 2014
This post was republished to Willie Colón – News Blog at 9:11:47 PM 3/21/2014
Taliban Attack Serena Hotel in Kabul
March 21, 2014
NYPD Counterterrorism Bureau
Terrorism Threat Analysis Group
Open Source Assessment
Taliban Attack Serena Hotel in Kabul
Information Cutoff: 12:00 p.m. on March 21, 2014
§ On the evening of Thursday, March 20, the Taliban attacked the Serena Hotel in central Kabul.
§ The Serena Hotel is a five-star luxury hotel, often regarded as the most secure place to stay in Kabul.
§ Security officials stated that all four attackers were killed and that the hotel is now secure.
§ Nine people were killed, including four foreign nationals (two women from New Zealand and Canada and two men from India and Pakistan). The remaining victims were Afghans and
included two children.
§ The attackers are reported to have been teenagers, who smuggled their pistols into the hotel by hiding them in
their socks. They arrived at the hotel claiming to attend a special dinner to celebrate Nowruz, the spring equinox, and began shooting at guests in the hotel restaurant.
§ Several United Nations employees and foreign delegations are currently staying at the hotel to monitor next
month’s presidential elections, which will be held on April 5.
§ The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. The group has threatened to carry out attacks to disrupt the elections.
The Serena Hotel has several layers of security. For example, to enter the hotel, guests must pass through an exterior gate and are searched at a checkpoint with a metal detector. The fact that the attackers were able to smuggle in pistols hidden in their socks indicates a failure in the hotel’s security system. The hotel is popular with visiting foreign officials and the hotel restaurant is also popular with senior Afghan officials and foreigners based in Kabul. Several United Nations employees and foreign delegations are currently staying at the hotel to monitor next month’s presidential elections, which will be held on April 5. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack. The group has threatened to carry out attacks to disrupt the presidential elections. On March 10, the Taliban issued its strongest threats yet against the upcoming elections, warning that it would use “all force at its disposal” to disrupt the elections. The group also urged Afghans not to participate in the elections and to stay away from polling stations. The group has already carried out several attacks in recent weeks as part of its campaign to disrupt the elections. Earlier on March 20, the Taliban attacked a police station in Jalalabad, killing at least 11 people.
The Serena Hotel has been targeted in the past. In June 2008, Taliban militants targeted the hotel, detonating a vehicle borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) and inserting suicide bombers armed with AK-47 assault rifles, hand grenades, and explosive jackets. At the time of the attack, a Norwegian foreign ministry delegation was present. This attack led to six casualties, including a well-known Norwegian journalist and a member of the foreign ministry delegation. The hotel was also targeted in rocket attacks in 2009 and 2010.
Previous Significant Attacks on Hotels
· September 2008: The Islamabad Marriott Hotel in Pakistan was struck in a VBIED attack carried out by the
Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
· November 2008: In one of the deadliest attacks on hotels in recent years, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba assailants attacked several targets in Mumbai,
India, including the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower and the Oberoi Trident Hotels.
· June 2009: The Pearl Continental Hotel in Peshawar, Pakistan, was subjected to a VBIED attack, supported by
gunmen. The TTP is also believed to have been responsible for this attack.
· July 2009: The Ritz-Carlton and Marriott hotels in Jakarta were attacked by Jemaah Islamiyah militants. The two bomb attacks, which
took place within minutes of one another, left eight people dead.
· June 2011: The Taliban attacked the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul, killing 21 people.
Implications for New York City
· Although the Serena Hotel is one of the most heavily secured locations in Kabul, Thursday’s attack highlights how even the most
secure locations are targeted for attacks.
· Attacks on high-secure targets such as popular, luxury hotels require pre-operation surveillance and/or inside information to exploit
vulnerabilities in the security program.
· The latest issue of Inspire magazine, which was released this week and is published by al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula, mentions
the Savoy Hotel in central London as a potential target for a car bomb attack. This highlights how hotels continue to be among terrorists’
· New York City has always been among the top terrorist targets, given its status as the financial and cultural center of the U.S.
New York City hotels continue to be vulnerable to potential terrorist attacks.
· Hotels in New York City are also highly vulnerable to terrorist attacks given the high number of tourists and other travelers in the city year round. While not directly targeting a hotel, Faisal Shahzad’s failed Times Square plot also illustrates that popular tourist sites remain favorite targets for terrorists.
If You See Something, Say Something – 1-888-NYC-SAFE (1-888-692-7233)
Friday, March 21st, 2014
Expresidentes de 63 paises respaldan la lucha por la
democracia en Venezuela | Impacto CNA
Expresidentes de 63 paises respaldan la lucha por la democracia en Venezuela
Expresidentes de 63 paises respaldan la lucha por la democracia en Venezuela
Publicado marzo 21, 2014 |
El Club de Madrid se adhiere a la Declaración sobre Venezuela de sus Miembros Arias, Cardoso, Lagos y Toledo
El Club de Madrid, organización formada por 96 ex Presidentes y ex Primeros Ministros democráticamente elegidos en 63 países de todo el mundo y dedicada a la promoción global de la democracia y sus valores, está siguiendo con profunda preocupación los acontecimientos en Venezuela.Por ello, la organización ha decidido sumarse a la Declaración Conjunta que cuatro de sus integrantes, Oscar Arias Sánchez, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Ricardo Lagos y Alejandro Toledo, suscribieron el pasado 4 de marzo:
“Quienes suscriben, Oscar Arias Sánchez, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Ricardo Lagos y Alejandro Toledo, hemos acordado formular la siguiente Declaración Conjunta:
Hemos venido observando con preocupación y alarma los acontecimientos que se han desarrollado en Venezuela durante las últimas semanas. Manifestaciones estudiantiles de protesta pacífica contra las políticas del gobierno, que son normales en cualquier sociedad democrática, han sido objeto de una represión desproporcionada por parte de la fuerza pública y de ataques por parte de grupos armados ilegales que algunos medios vinculan con partidos políticos en el gobierno.
A partir de esos hechos ha venido produciéndose una alarmante escalada de violencia y un rápido deterioro de la situación de los derechos humanos en el país. La violencia ha cobrado ya varias vidas por heridas de bala; estudiantes detenidos han informado públicamente que han sufrido torturas y tratos inhumanos y degradantes por parte de las autoridades; se ha hostigado a la prensa independiente y se ha obstaculizado que los medios de comunicación que informen sobre los acontecimientos, incluyendo la eliminación del aire de un canal internacional de televisión y la amenaza de hacer lo mismo con otro, agresiones físicas a periodistas y la falta de papel para la prensa escrita.
Adicionalmente, la protesta cívica y la oposición democrática han sido criminalizadas. Se amenaza con procesos penales a numerosos estudiantes presos; el señor Leopoldo López, líder de un partido opositor, ha sido precipitadamente privado de su libertad e inculpado por diversos delitos, con un sesgo notoriamente político y otros líderes democráticos son perseguidos penalmente por razones políticas..
Condenamos esos hechos y urgimos al Gobierno venezolano y a todos los partidos y actores políticos a establecer un debate constructivo, conforme a los cánones de la democracia reconocidos universalmente y plasmados en la Carta Democrática Interamericana.
Llamamos muy especialmente al Gobierno para que contribuya a crear sin demora las condiciones propicias para ese debate, con una agenda compartida y sin exclusiones. Para ello es indispensable que se ponga cese de inmediato a la persecución contra los estudiantes y los líderes de oposición, incluida la liberación del señor Leopoldo López y de todos los detenidos o perseguidos por razones políticas. Igualmente, es imperativo que se adelante una investigación independiente y transparente sobre las denuncias de torturas y otras violaciones a los derechos humanos y que se ponga cese al hostigamiento a la prensa independiente, incluido el restablecimiento de la señal del canal internacional de TV abolido por el Gobierno. Es también indispensable que las manifestaciones de protesta de los partidos de la oposición y de otras organizaciones sociales se mantengan dentro de los cauces pacíficos que han de regir en una sociedad democrática y del respeto debido al mandato de las distintas autoridades del país, en los términos pautados por la Constitución venezolana.
Como amigos que somos de la democracia venezolana, confiamos que ese país logre superar la extrema polarización y la intolerancia que han dominado la escena política en los últimos años, males que han venido erosionando la eficacia de las diversas instancias internas para el debate democrático así como la confianza en la independencia e imparcialidad de numerosas y relevantes instituciones. Al mismo tiempo, hacemos un llamado a la comunidad internacional a sumarse a un esfuerzo concertado para el fortalecimiento de la democracia y la preservación de la paz en Venezuela”.
OSCAR ARIAS SÁNCHEZ FERNANDO HENRIQUE CARDOSO
RICARDO LAGOS ALEJANDRO TOLEDO
Listado completo de sus Miembros:
MEMBERS OF THE CLUB OF MADRID BY REGION
AFRICA AND THE MIDDLE EAST
Al-Eryani, Abdul-Kareem – Prime Minister of Yemen (1980-1983; 1998-2001)
Al Mahdi, Sadig – Prime Minister of Sudan (1966-1967; 1986-1989)
Banda, Rupiah – President of Zambia (2008-2011)
Chissano, Joaquim – President of Mozambique (1986-2005)
Diogo, Luisa – Prime Minister of Mozambique (2004-2010)
Gemayel, Amine – President of Lebanon, (1982-1988)
Konare, Alpha Oumar – President of Mali (1992-2002)
Kufuor, John – President of Ghana, (2001-2009)
Mancham, James – President of the Seychelles (1976-1977)
Mascarenhas Monteiro, Antonio – President of Cape Verde (1991-2001)
Masire, Ketumile – President of Botswana (1980-1998)
Mbeki, Thabo – President of South Africa (1999-2008)
Mkapa, Benjamin – President of Tanzania (1995-2005)
Mogae, Festus – President of Botswana (1998-2008)
Obasanjo, Olusegun – President of Nigeria (1976-1979; 1999-2007)
Siniora, Fuad – Prime Minister of Lebanon (2005-2009)
Uteem, Cassam – President of the Republic of Mauritius, (1992-2002)
Arias, Óscar – President of Costa Rica (1986-1990; 2006-2010)
Arzú, Alvaro – President of Guatemala (1996-2000)
Aylwin, Patricio – President of Chile (1990-1994)
Bachelet, Michelle – President of Chile (2006-2010)
Betancur, Belisario – President of Colombia (1982-1986)
Calderón, Felipe – President of Mexico (2006-2012)
Campbell, Kim – Prime Minister of Canada (1993)
Cardoso, Fernando Henrique – President of Brazil (1995-2003)
Chrétien, Jean – Prime Minister of Canada (1993-2003)
Clinton, William J. – President of the United States of America (1993-2001). Honorary Co-Chair of the Club of Madrid
Fernández, Leonel – President of the Dominican Republic (1996-2000; and 2004 – 2012)
Figueres, José María – President of Costa Rica (1994-1998)
Fox, Vicente – President of Mexico (2000-2006)
Frei Ruiz-Tagle, Eduardo – President of Chile (1994-2000)
Gaviria, César – President of Colombia (1990-1994).
Hurtado, Osvaldo – President of Ecuador (1981-1984)
Lacalle Herrera, Luis Alberto – President of Uruguay (1990-1995)
Lagos, Ricardo – President of Chile (2000-2006)
Pastrana, Andrés – President of Colombia (1998-2002)
Patterson, Percival Noel James – Prime Minister of Jamaica (1992-2006)
Pérez de Cuéllar, Javier – President of the Council of Ministers of Peru (2000-2001)
Quiroga, Jorge – President of Bolivia (2001-2002). Vice-President of the Club of Madrid
Sánchez de Lozada, Gonzalo – President of Bolivia (1993-1997; 2002-2003)
Sanguinetti, Julio María – President of Uruguay (1985-1990; 1995-2000)
Toledo, Alejandro – President of Peru (2001-2006)
Torrijos, Martín – President of Panama (2004-2009)
Zedillo, Ernesto – President of Mexico (1994-2000)
Fukuda, Yasuo – Prime Minister of Japan (2007-2008)
Habibie, Bacharuddin Juzuf – President of Indonesia (1998-1999)
Han Seung-soo – Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea (2008-2009)
Kumaratunga, Chandrika – President of Sri Lanka (1994-2005)
Lee, Hong Koo – Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea (1994-1995)
Otunbayeva, Roza – President of the Kyrgyz Republic (2010-2011)
Panyarachun, Anand – Prime Minister of Thailand (1991-1992)
Ramos, Fidel Valdez – President of the Philippines (1992-1998)
Ramos-Horta, José Manuel – President of Timor-Leste (2007-2012)
Shipley, Jennifer Mary – Prime Minister of New Zealand (1997-1999). Vice-President of the Club of Madrid
Adamkus, Valdas – President of Lithuania (1998-2003; 2004-2009)
Aho, Esko – Prime Minister of Finland (1991-1995)
Ahtisaari, Martti – President of Finland (1994-2000)
Aznar, José María – President of the Government of Spain (1996-2004)
Bildt, Carl (on leave) – Prime Minister of Sweden (1991-1994)
Birkavs, Valdis – Prime Minister of Latvia (1993-1994)
Bondevik, Kjell Magne – Prime Minister of Norway (1997-2000; 2001-2005)
Brundtland, Gro Harlem – Prime Minister of Norway (1981; 1986-1989; 1990-1996)
Bruton, John – Prime Minister of the Republic of Ireland (1994-1997)
Buzek, Jerzy – Prime Minister of Poland (1997-2001)
Calmy-Rey, Micheline – President of Switzerland (2007-2011)
Cavaco Silva, Aníbal (on leave) – Prime Minister of Portugal, (1985-1995) and President of Portugal, (2006 – present)
Dimitrov, Philip – Prime Minister of Bulgaria (1991-1992)
Finnbogadottír, Vigdís – President of Iceland (1980-1996)
González, Felipe – President of the Government of Spain (1982-1996)
Gorbachev, Mikhail – President of the Soviet Union (1990-1991)
Gusenbauer, Alfred – Federal Chancellor of Austria (2007-2008)
Guterres, António – Prime Minister of Portugal (1995-2002)
Halonen, Tarja – President of Finland (2000-2012)
Juppé, Alain – Prime Minister of France (1995-1997)
Kohl, Helmut – Chancellor of Germany (1982-1998)
Köhler, Horst – President of Germany (20004-2010)
Kok, Wim – Prime Minister of the Netherlands (1994-2002). President of the Club of Madrid
Kucan, Milan – President of Slovenia (1991-2002)
Kwasniewski, Aleksander – President of Poland (1995-2005)
Lagumdžija, Zlatko – Prime Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina (2001-2002)
Lubbers, Ruud F.M – Prime Minister of the Netherlands (1982-1994)
Meidani, Rexhep – President of Albania (1997-2002)
Papandreou, George – Prime Minister of Greece (2009-2011)
Prodi, Romano – President of the Council of Ministers of Italy (1996-1998; 2006-2008)
Rasmussen, Poul Nyrup – Prime Minister of Denmark (1993-2001)
Robinson, Mary – President of the Republic of Ireland (1990-1997)
Rodriguez Zapatero, José Luis – President of the Government of Spain (2004-2011)
Roman, Petre – Prime Minister of Romania (1989-1991)
Sampaio, Jorge – President of Portugal (1996-2006)
Soares, Mario – Prime Minister of Portugal (1976-1978; 1983-1985); and President of Portugal (1986-1996)
Suárez, Adolfo – President of the Government of Spain (1976-1981)
Suchocka, Hanna – Prime Minister of Poland (1992-1993)
Tadic, Boris – President of Serbia (2004-2012)
Turk, Danilo – President of Slovenia (2007-2012)
Verhofstadt, Guy – Prime Minister of Belgium (1999-2008)
Vike-Freiberga, Vaira – President of Latvia (1999-2007)
Alfonsín, Raúl – President of Argentina (1983-1989)
Calvo Sotelo, Leopoldo – President of the Government of Spain (1981-1982)
Gujral, Inder Kumar – Prime Minister of India (1997-1998)
Havel, Václav – President of Czechoslovakia (1989-1992) and President of the Czech Republic (1993-2003)
Mádl, Ferenc – President of Hungary (2000-2005)
Mazowiecki, Tadeusz – Prime Minister of Poland (1989-1991)
Meri, Lennart – President of Estonia (1992-2001)
Paniagua, Valentín – President of Peru (2000-2001)
Annan, Kofi – Secretary General of the United Nations (1997-2007)
Aung San Suu Kyi – Member of Burmese Parliament
Carter, Jimmy – President of the United States of America (1977-1981)
Iglesias, Enrique –President of the Inter-American Development Bank (1988-2005) and Secretary General of the Ibero-American Cooperation Secretariat (2005-2013)
Delors, Jacques – President of the European Commission (1985-1995)
Solana, Javier – Secretary General of NATO (1995-1999) and E.U. High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (1999-2009)
MEMBERS OF THE CONSTITUENT FOUNDATIONS
Hidalgo, Diego – Honorary President of Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior (FRIDE)
Jones, T. Anthony – Vice-President and Executive Director of the Gorbachev Foundation of North America (GFNA)
Matthews, George – Chairman of the Gorbachev Foundation of North America (GFNA)
Romero Moreno, José Manuel – Vice-President of Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior (FRIDE)
Regional Government of Madrid
Government of Spain
Madrid City Council
Friday, March 21st, 2014
marzo 20, 2014 9:31 pmPublicado en: Opinión
por @RoderickNavarro de @VFutura
El régimen de Nicolás Maduro se alzó en armas en contra del pueblo de Venezuela. Defiende a ultranza a los agentes del castro comunismo que están infiltrados en nuestro país, con el objetivo de instaurar el modelo de dominación cubano y hacernos dependientes de su sistema político y económico.
La Junta Patriótica Estudiantil y Popular, en su manifiesto de Mérida, ha conjugado el espíritu Nacional de la protesta en torno al ideal patriótico de esta Generación de luchadores: la Libertad.
La represión por parte de la GN y de los colectivos armados, ha quedado impune. Siguen muriendo jóvenes, los siguen hiriendo, apresando, torturando, secuestrando y desapareciendo por querer conquistar un futuro diferente al que este sistema político nos plantea. Por eso el mundo está con los ojos puestos en Venezuela: estamos en guerra.
Ahora bien, nosotros tenemos una verdadera ventaja en este conflicto social, frente a los que nos quieren dominar. Podemos ganar realmente y ser libres.
En todo el territorio nacional existen menos de 8000 efectivos de la Guardia Nacional. Solamente en la ciudad de Caracas hay alrededor de 3200 efectivos. Es decir, los otros 4800 están distribuidos en el resto del territorio. Hagamos un pequeño ejercicio: en los otros Estados, si dividiéramos en partes iguales la cantidad de efectivos, habrían 209 Guardias Nacionales en los otros 23 Estados. Pero mejor hagamos ese ejercicio en el campo de batalla: dividamos a los 4800 efectivos en Carabobo, Zulia, Aragua, Lara, Táchira, Mérida, Trujillo, Anzoátegui, Miranda, Bolívar, Barinas, Falcón y Nueva Esparta: existirían alrededor de 370 efectivos en cada Estado.
Ya va más de un mes de conflicto. Estos Guardias Nacionales están cansados: duermen con el mismo uniforme, no han dejado la guardia y muchos han desacatado la orden de reprimirnos.
En cambio nosotros somos millones. Millones de estudiantes y jóvenes en todo el territorio nacional. Son millones los familiares de estos jóvenes y estudiantes que están pasando trabajo por culpa de este régimen y de su sistema político.
Nosotros no estamos cansados: estamos indignados. Nosotros queremos Libertad: ellos quieren descansar. Nosotros somos hombres libres, luchamos por convicción: ellos son esclavos, deben obedecer órdenes que van incluso en contra de ellos mismos.
Ese es el punto débil de la Guardia Nacional. En número no nos superan. En fuerza espiritual tampoco.
Esta guerra que nos declaró el régimen la vamos a ganar. Venezuela transitará de nuevo a un proceso de reinstitucionalización del Estado y con ello, caminaremos hacia un sistema de libertades que nos garanticen a nosotros una digna existencia. Eso es lo que vamos a lograr con esta gesta heroica, por eso vamos con todo hasta el final.
En la calle demostramos de qué estamos hechos. Nosotros somos civiles que estamos desarmados pero nos estamos defendiendo con nuestras propias manos, estamos en nuestro legítimo derecho a preservar nuestras vidas.
El Guardia Nacional que utilice sus armas para disparar en contra de nuestros hogares, de nuestras familias y nuestras propiedades, se encontrará con las Trincheras de la Libertad. Barricadas que representan la dignidad de un pueblo que no se dejará dominar por los comunistas.
La Guardia Nacional tiene perdigones y bombas lacrimógenas: nosotros tenemos dignidad y honor.
Libertad o Nada
Wednesday, March 19th, 2014
EN VIDEO: Así le dieron un “parao” a este chavista por andar rompiendo pancartas | Maduradas.com
Toda acción tiene una reacción, la intolerancia que vive nuestro país se evidenció este #16M en el C.C Puente Real de Barcelona, donde un grupo de jóvenes protestaban pacíficamente, y un joven llegó a querer romper las pancartas y recibió una sorpresa
Wednesday, March 19th, 2014
Panamá cederá su asiento a María Corina Machado para que hable en OEA | Diario El Carabobeño
VALENCIA – VENEZUELA, miércoles 19 de marzo, 2014
18 marzo 2014
Panamá cederá su asiento a María Corina Machado para que hable en OEA
EE.UU. y Canadá han expresado su apoyo a la iniciativa de Panamá. (Foto Archivo)
El embajador de Panamá ante la Organización de Estados Americanos (OEA), Arturo Vallarino, anunció este martes que prevé ceder el viernes su asiento en el Consejo Permanente del organismo a la diputada venezolana María Corina Machado para que hable sobre las protestas que vive Venezuela.
En una entrevista telefónica con Efe, Vallarino explicó que este martes se decidió en una reunión de coordinación de grupos de embajadores de la OEA convocar una sesión ordinaria del Consejo Permanente para el viernes e incluir entre los temas a debatir "la situación de Venezuela y la solicitud de Panamá para que se escuche a la diputada María Corina Machado".
"Hay bastante resistencia para permitir que la diputada intervenga en el Consejo y es lo más probable que sea negado este punto del orden del día" en la votación que los embajadores hacen al inicio de cada sesión para aprobar la agenda del día, reconoció.
"Si se le negara eso, Panamá ha manifestado estar dispuesta a cederle su silla, para que cuando llegue el momento de otros asuntos, la diputada pueda dirigirse al pleno del Consejo Permanente", agregó Vallarino.
El viaje de Machado a Washington para participar en la sesión la ha obligado a "reprogramar" su visita a Panamá, que estaba prevista para este jueves, pero que ha decidido posponer debido a que se esperaba que la reunión en la OEA fuera el miércoles, pero finalmente se ha convocado para el viernes, explicó Vallarino.
EE.UU. y Canadá han expresado su apoyo a la iniciativa de Panamá para traer a Machado ante el Consejo, mientras que Perú se mostró a favor de "dar seguimiento al tema de Venezuela en la OEA" más allá de la sesión extraordinaria dedicada al asunto el 6 y 7 de marzo, según Vallarino.
"Otros (países) no se opusieron, pero tímidamente dijeron que mejor era esperar a más adelante, porque el diálogo es una cosa lenta y que debíamos ver los resultados de (la misión de) Unasur para después tomar algún tipo de acción", dijo.
Vallarino se refería a la decisión de la Unión de Naciones Suramericanas (Unasur) de enviar en abril una misión de cancilleres a Venezuela para asesorar al Gobierno del presidente Nicolás Maduro en un diálogo para solucionar la tensión que desde hace un mes ha dejado cerca de 30 muertos, cientos de heridos y más de un millar de detenidos.
La misión de Panamá ante la OEA propuso formalmente el pasado viernes que Machado hablara ante el Consejo, porque considera "que la OEA debe jugar un papel activo en el tema de Venezuela", y "seguir informada" sobre lo que ocurre en el país, como indica uno de los puntos de la declaración conjunta aprobada este mes.
"Pensamos que hasta ahora solamente hemos escuchado la posición del Ejecutivo a través del embajador (venezolano ante la OEA, Roy) Chaderton, y que hemos dictado una declaración, pero no hemos escuchado la versión de quienes protestan, que están indicando que ha habido una violación de los derechos humanos y no han querido asistir al diálogo" convocado por Maduro, apuntó Vallarino.
"Es bueno que la OEA escuche a la parte opuesta", añadió.
La práctica de que un embajador de la OEA ceda su asiento a otra persona se ha registrado en varias ocasiones en la historia de la organización, una de ellas tras el golpe de Estado en Honduras en 2009, cuando precisamente el embajador de Venezuela dejó su silla a Patricia Rodas, canciller del depuesto mandatario hondureño Manuel Zelaya.
Además de promover la visita de Machado, Panamá planea pedir próximamente "a la Secretaría General de la OEA que utilice una cantidad de los expertos y técnicos que tiene aquí en materia de derechos humanos, de seguridad, de democracia, para rendir un informe, hacer un análisis sobre la situación venezolana", adelantó.
Ese análisis podría hacerse a través de las denuncias recabadas por la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH) y la observación de la situación desde la oficina de la OEA en Caracas, matizó.
Tuesday, March 18th, 2014