Tuesday, February 26, 2019


las impactantes imágenes que muestran el drama de la severa desnutrición infantil en Venezuela

Exclusivo BBC Mundo: las impactantes imágenes que muestran el drama de la severa desnutrición infantil en Venezuela

Exclusivo BBC Mundo: las impactantes imágenes que muestran el drama de la severa desnutrición infantil en Venezuela

Venezuela está azotado por una grave crisis económica y los más jóvenes son los más vulnerables.
Las últimas cifras publicadas por el ministerio de Salud del país muestran un aumento en la mortalidad infantil. A su vez, Cáritas, una organización no gubernamental, detectó niveles alarmantes de desnutrición infantil en las provincias de Miranda, Vargas, Zulia y Distrito Capital.
En Valles del Tuy, en el estado de Miranda, la madre de Germain dice que no sabe cómo ayudar a su hijo, que pesa la mitad de lo que debería a sus 11 años de edad.
La misma preocupación tiene la abuela de Agnely. Su nieta, que tiene 7 años y peso 18 kilos, solo come una o dos veces al día.
Los adultos también se ven afectados por el hambre.
La severa escasez de alimentos y una inflación del 700% empuja cada vez a más gente a buscar comida en la basura.
"Ahora conseguir comida es un lío, de alguna forma tengo que alimentar a mi hija", dice una mujer desde las calles de Caracas.
Vladimir Hernández, periodista de la BBC, habló con personal médico y con familias afectadas por la desnutrición, un problema que alarma a muchos en Venezuela.
La BBC también intentó contactar con el gobierno sobre este tema y no obtuvo respuesta.
Hay imágenes de este reportaje que pueden herir tu sensibilidad.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

For evil to succeed, all it needs is for good men to do nothing

There is only one way to stop Maduro's strangle hold on Venezuela: ARMED INTERVENTION

Members of The Pact of RIO, OAS and the United Nations should unite put together a military force to rescue Venezuela from the Maduro dictatorship.
Canada has recognized Juan Guaidó as the legitimate interim President of Venezuela.

Several European Union countries recognized Mr. Guaidó as Venezuela’s interim president in a push for fresh presidential elections to end a deepening political crisis and an economic meltdown. Their declarations on Monday came as the Lima Group, a coalition of countries in the Americas that backs Mr. Guaidó as Venezuela’s rightful leader, met in Ottawa to discuss a solution to Venezuela’s turmoil. Canada is the OAS's largest economic supporter. 

The recent death of 5 venezuelans and the wounding of 12 others by Maduro's troops against an international aid effort; and the subsequent burning of the trucks containing that humanitarian assistance.These are attacks against the people of Venezuela and acts of war against its legitimate government.Nicholás Maduro and all that support him through force should be neutralized by an international military intervention.

Amid chaos and defiance, Venezuelan opposition faces off against security forces as Maduro digs in

The scene as Venezuelan opposition leader Guaidó and supporters protest Maduro’s blockade of humanitarian aid

The standoff between Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaidó intensified as the two sides clashed over delivery of aid into the impoverished country.

By Mariana Zuñiga ,
Anthony Faiola and
Dylan Baddour

February 23 at 6:27 PM

SAN ANTONIO, Venezuela — A massive effort to break President Nicolás Maduro’s blockade of humanitarian aid descended into violence and chaos Saturday across the string of border flash points — showing both the growing defiance of Juan Guaidó and the U.S.-backed opposition but also Maduro’s willingness to fight back.

In a day of fast-moving developments at various points, anti-Maduro crowds at a Colombian border town faced tear gas fired by Venezuelan units, cheered as dozens of Venezuelan security forces switched sides and tried to rescue desperately needed aid packages from burning trucks.

In all, 285 people were injured and 37 hospitalized on the Colombian side of the border, according to Colombia’s foreign minister. At least four were killed on the Venezuela-Brazil border after clashing with pro-government militias.

In the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, the embattled Maduro danced at a pro-government rally, mocked the United States and broke off ties with neighboring Colombia. Late in the day, Venezuelan navy vessels threatened to open fire on a ship carrying 200 tons of aid from Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló, governor of Puerto Rico, said in a statement. He said he had ordered the vessels to abandon the area temporarily, decrying the threat as “unacceptable.”

Yet in a way, this day was meant to be as much about provocation as about the aid itself.

A day of violence at Venezuela's border

Thousands marched at the border, calling for trucks filled with foreign aid be allowed into the country—only to be met with tear gas and rubber bullets. (Jon Gerberg/The Washington Post)

“I ask for your trust, I ask to move forward, we will keep mobilizing to end tyranny,” Guaidó told reporters late Saturday. “We have said it, change is irreversible in Venezuela.”

In a tweet late Saturday, Guaidó suggested that he would entertain more radical solutions to try to oust Maduro, a reference taken by observers to mean that he may broach the subject of additional steps by the United States, which has already imposed deep sanctions on Venezuela. The Trump administration has also repeatedly said that a military option in Venezuela is not off the table.

“Today’s events force me to make a decision: to pose to the international community in a formal way that we must have all options open to achieve the liberation of this country that is fighting and will continue to fight,” Guaidó tweeted.

He also said he would meet on Monday with the opposition’s allies, referencing a meeting that Vice President Pence was also set to attend. Pence is expected to meet with Guaidó, a U.S. official said.

The attempt to move humanitarian aid into Venezuela, opposition leaders hoped, would prompt members of the Venezuelan armed forces to defy Maduro by refusing to carry out orders to block delivery of aid to fellow countrymen in desperate need of food and medicine. The plan worked, to a degree: Roughly 60 members of Maduro’s military and security forces abandoned posts, denounced him and sought refuge with the opposition on Colombian soil.

But as night fell, there was no massive shipment of food and medicine headed to Venezuela’s neediest. One truckload of aid made its way into Venezuela from Brazil and several others inched across the Colombian border into Venezuela before being blocked by government forces. And there was no political resolution, with two men — Maduro and Guaidó — still claiming the presidential mantle. 

The chaos was evident throughout towns on both sides of the border.

In San Antonio, just across the Simón Bolívar Bridge from Colombia, tear gas billowed and protesters responded by throwing rocks at Venezuelan forces. Then a warning cry went up: “Colectivos! Colectivos!” — the name for pro-Maduro vigilantes.

Suddenly, a group of 20 large men on motorbikes, their faces partially covered by black masks, roared into the road. They were members of the feared pro-government militias, frequently deployed by Maduro’s loyalists, and who were widely blamed by the opposition for unleashing a torrent of fear at multiple border points on Saturday.

Protesters, aid workers, volunteers and journalists began running for shelter, dashing into buildings and cars and boarding motorcycles in an attempt to escape, as the militia members opened fire.

“It was horrifying, horrifying,” said opposition politician Carlos Valero, who was present for the San Antonio attacks. “The last thing we imagined was that Nicolás Maduro was going to put out so many irregular forces. They shot at us, and the national guards threw tear gas. We didn’t expect that level of irrationality in response to humanitarian aid.”

The events spiraled close to the realm of international conflict. On the Simón Bolívar Bridge, tear gas volleys and rocks flew from both the Venezuelan and Colombian sides, with Colombian authorities arresting at least two irregular Venezuelan militiamen on the Colombian side of the border.

“#MaduroRegime has fired into territory of #Colombia,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who has closely advised President Trump on Venezuela, tweeted on Saturday. “Receiving reports of injuries after this attack on sovereign Colombian territory. The United States WILL help Colombia confront any aggression against them.”

National security adviser John Bolton tweeted that Maduro’s response to trucks of humanitarian aid had been “masked thugs, civilians killed by live rounds, and the burning of trucks carrying badly-needed food and medicine.” He suggested that more sanctions were coming.

Pence, who will go to Colombia on Monday to give a speech reiterating U.S. support for Guaidó, also took to Twitter to show solidarity with the opposition: “Estamos con ustedes. We are with you.”

Guaidó, the opposition leader, began the day Saturday by tweeting, almost optimistically, about the mission at hand.

“Venezuela, the day has arrived in which we will take the step to enter humanitarian aid. From our borders, by land and sea, we will bring hope, food and medicines for the ones who need it the most,” he wrote. “We call everyone to go out massively to the streets in the whole country, to protest in peace at barracks, to urge the armed forces to let humanitarian aid in.”

Yet after an attack by the Venezuelan military near the Brazilian border that left two civilians dead and 11 wounded on Friday, fears mounted that the attempt to move aid into Venezuela could be marred by further violence. By Saturday morning, the Venezuelan government had temporarily closed three key border crossings with Colombia. Just before the 8 a.m. start time for the effort to try to break the blockade, a violent confrontation broke out on the Santander bridge in the western border town in Ureña — one of the crossings to Colombia ordered closed by the Maduro government.

On the Colombian side of the border near Cúcuta, the day got off to a promising start for the opposition when defectors from Maduro’s armed forces rammed a barricade installed to stop aid from getting through, then turned themselves over to Colombian authorities.

In a dramatic moment, opposition leader Jose Manuel Olivares led a throng of volunteers halfway across the Simón Bolívar bridge linking Colombia and Venezuela, prompting a rank of Venezuelan border guards to line up with riot shields. Through a bullhorn, he addressed the Venezuelan guards.

“I tell you my brothers, stand by the constitution and on the right side of history!” Olivares shouted. “I ask you to end this blockade, and let aid in. I bless you, and hope we hug when we pass.”

Soon after, though, a Venezuelan column with riot gear blocked the bridge. As protesters sought to pass anyway, the Venezuelan side began intense volleys of tear gas that sent protesters in a stampeding retreat down the bridge that left several people injured.

Then came the buzz of rubber bullets. Later, protesters who’d gone under the bridge to hurl rocks came running back out, saying colectivos and Venezuelan border guards had opened fire on them from the other side of the border. At least two young men came from under the bridge with gaping wounds.

Dozens of tear gas canisters were lobbed well across the river dividing the two countries, prompting crowds and police to fall back deeper into Colombia. Volleys of tear gas also came from the Colombian side, though it was not clear who was firing.

Beneath the bridge, dozens of young men gathered around a Colombian soldier who asked if it was true that Venezuelan guards beneath the bridge were firing weapons.

“They are there, I saw them,” said Leonard Castillo, 19. “They shot my friend in the eye.”

About 20 members of the Venezuelan guard defected and turned themselves in at the bridge, presenting themselves to a crowd that sometimes beat them before Colombian police intervened. Authorities reported that 60 members of the guard turned themselves in Saturday across all of the Colombian border.

As night fell, hundreds of people remained under and on the bridge, throwing stones and occasional fire bombs. The tear gas and smoke from a brush fire under the bridge formed a thick curtain over the Venezuelan side as protesters and organizers here attempt to regroup, clearly in lower spirits than several hours ago

Although organizers initially said they would create a human chain to hand boxes of humanitarian aid person to person across the bridge, the trucks were never unloaded. They fled the Bolívar bridge in the midafternoon as it became clear the Venezuelan guards would not yield.

As he gathered rocks to throw at the loyalists from under the bridge, a young opposition protester, Oscar Arcilla, 19, said “the war has begun.”

Faiola reported from San Cristóbal, Venezuela, and Zuñiga from San Antonio, Venezuela. Rachelle Krygier in San Cristóbal, Anggy Polanco in Ureña, Venezuela, and Carol Morello in Washington contributed to this report.

Why you should delete your social media accounts

Inside Japan’s Chicano Subculture | NYT

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Finally, justice has been served.

Cost COBA Millions

Seabrook Gets 58 Mos. (4.8 yrs) 

For Taking $60G Bribe

Feb 11, 2019


PUTTING ON A HAPPY FACE: Ex-Correction Officers Benevolent Association President Norman Seabrook hardly looked like a man who had just been sentenced to nearly five years in prison when he emerged from the Federal Courthouse in lower Manhattan. Prior to being given the prison term, he stated to Judge Alvin Hellerstein, ‘I will emerge stronger and better. I will find a way to continue to fight for working men and women.’
Former Correction Officers Benevolent Association President Norman Seabrook was sentenced Feb. 8 to 58 months in Federal prison for accepting a $60,000 bribe in return for investing $20 million in union money in a hedge fund that eventually went bankrupt, with the Judge describing him as “a force for good” who had committed “the sin of hubris.”
The man who had led his union for 21 years, among other things winning correction officers who retired with at least 20 years on the job a  $12,000-a-year Variable Supplements Fund payment, did not admit guilt and told U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein, “I never betrayed my members, Judge. Never.”
50 Supporters vs. 3 ‘Victims’
Roughly 50 supporters of Mr. Seabrook—family, fellow correction officers and people involved with a Brooklyn church where he had mentored young men in recent years—sat in the 14th-floor courtroom. But there were also three correction officers who spoke as victims of the scheme hatched by Mr. Seabrook, Platinum Partners then-managing partner Murray Huberfeld, and Jona Rechnitz, who wound up a key witness against Mr. Seabrook, ranking police officers accused of corruption in separate schemes, and two of his business partners—Mr. Huberfeld and Jeremy Reichberg.
One ex-CO, Celestino Monclova, attempted to counter the image painted by the former union leader’s lawyer, Paul Shectman, of Mr. Seabrook as someone “who grew up with nothing except for love of family and became one of the most-successful labor leaders in the city.”
Mr. Monclova called Mr. Seabrook “a greedy and manipulating bully” and said he intimidated other members of the COBA board to such a degree that neither the current president, Elias Husamudeen, nor the treasurer, Mike Maiello, notified law-enforcement authorities when they learned about a $5 million investment he had made from the union’s general fund without getting the board’s approval.
Mr. Husamudeen during the trial last summer testified that he had demanded of Mr. Seabrook in June 2014 after learning of the improper investment in violating of the union’s bylaws, “What the f--- are you doing?” But Mr. Monclova, who ran against Mr. Seabrook in a 2012 union election and faulted him for not adequately representing him when he was subsequently fired by the Correction Department, said he and Mr. Maiello failed to take further action because “they feared being transferred to serve in a jail” if they incurred Mr. Seabrook’s wrath. That concern was great enough, he said, that “they risked being criminally charged themselves” for not reporting that unauthorized investment.
Thought Gamble Was Sound
Mr. Shechtman, in seeking leniency for his client, argued that Mr. Seabrook did not believe at the time that he made that investment, or two other investments totaling $15 million for which he did gain board approval, that COBA would lose money, saying that it should not be held against him in sentencing that $19 million of the money was lost as a result of Platinum Partners filing for bankruptcy protection not long after the arrests in June 2016 of the union leader and Mr. Huberfeld.
“Norman’s investment adviser told Norman and the board that it was a good investment,” Mr. Shechtman said. “It turned out not to be…Norman thought he was investing in a five-star fund run by two billionaires.”
He was taken in, his attorney said, by Mr. Rechnitz, who led him to believe that he owned two of the city’s most-valuable buildings in the Wall St. area, as well as a yacht. In fact, Mr. Rechnitz at one point managed those two buildings, and the yacht had been rented on the day he took Mr. Seabrook on it.
Mr. Shechtman said the loss of members’ money “will haunt him his whole life. But it should not affect his sentence.”
Judge Hellerstein disagreed, saying that the bribe Mr. Seabrook received raised questions about whether he let his judgment be colored by the money paid to him by Mr. Rechnitz on Mr. Huberfeld’s behalf.
‘Felt He was Owed’
Assistant U.S. Attorney Martin Bell, after acknowledging that for much of his tenure running the union, Mr. Seabrook “was the best thing that happened to the Correction Officers Benevolent Association and its members,” said that he came to believe that “he was bigger than the people he represented, who had invested their trust in him. He felt he was owed,” citing a conversation he had with Mr. Rechnitz in a hotel room in the Dominican Republic in December 2013—not long before he convinced fellow board members to make the initial $10-million investment—in which he allegedly declared, “It’s time Norman Seabrook got paid.”
The sentencing guidelines for the crime, given that the union leader had no prior record, called for him to receive between 51 and 63 months in prison. Mr. Bell, in asking that he be given the top term within those guidelines, told Judge Hellerstein, “It would be perverse, your honor, I submit, for Norman Seabrook’s accomplishments to get him off the hook.”
But the Judge said he had to consider the reality that Mr. Seabrook “has done major good in his life for people who entrusted their welfare to him…Mr. Seabrook, I believe, was blinded by his own sense of self-importance and a desire to benefit himself.”
He allowed Mr. Seabrook to continue to remain free on bail after Mr. Shechtman said the union leader would, in addition to the bond previously posted, put up his house as further collateral, pending the outcome of his planned appeal of the verdict. The attorney said a key element of the appeal would focus on the fact that, after ruling during an earlier trial in the fall of 2017 that ended in a hung jury that the $19-million loss the union suffered from the hedge-fund investments would not be permitted as evidence, Judge Hellerstein had allowed it to be introduced during last summer’s case.
The Judge also ordered that Mr. Seabrook be liable for a portion of that $19-million loss in the form of restitution to COBA, along with Mr. Huberfeld, Mr. Rechnitz, and “possibly” Mr. Reichberg. Noting that those three men—particularly Mr. Huberfeld—were better off financially than the union leader, he ordered Mr. Seabrook to pay $10,000 within the next 60 days, and then 10 percent of his income once he completes his prison term and begins 1-to-3 years of supervised release.
Sought Financial Mercy
When Mr. Shechtman responded that Mr. Seabrook—who as COBA president was reportedly paid $300,000 a year—at this point would have to borrow to come up with even $5,000 within 60 days, the Judge reduced the payment to $2,500.
Mr. Huberfeld, who is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty last spring to a reduced charge, recently agreed to pay $7 million to COBA to settle a lawsuit it had brought against him individually. The union has continuing litigation against other partners within the failed hedge fund.
Mr. Husamudeen released a statement following sentencing in which he declined to comment directly on Mr. Seabrook, his longtime union colleague and friend until he provided damaging testimony against him that, in the second trial, undoubtedly played a role in overcoming  the doubts about Mr. Rechnitz’s credibility that several jurors expressed following their verdict.
He did say, “From day one, our main priority has been the recovery of our investments that were lost as a result of the egregious acts committed by the individuals associated with this fraudulent scheme, a scheme that betrayed the trust of every single New York City Correction Officer. To date, we have successful recovered $7 million, or 40% of the monies lost, which gives us confidence about our prospects to recover the remaining investments.”      

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Sunday, February 17, 2019


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez es una estrella en ascenso. Y ello es una muy peligrosa señal. (Flickr)
Es la estrella del Partido Demócrata. La cool. La bonita. La que baila cuando no debe. La morena, la joven, la de Instagram. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez es la nueva gran figura política de Washington. La joven prometedora. Dispuesta a revolucionar y desbaratar el establishment. La socialista, tenía que ser.
Y así llegó al estrellato. Llamándose socialista. Pero siendo la verdadera —insistiendo en ello—. La que realmente se preocupa de los problemas sociales que atraviesa la sociedad americana.
Hay que cuidarse de ella, porque asciende con rapidez. Robin Hood de la política estadounidense. Con propuestas demagógicas, populistas y extremadamente peligrosas. Enfocada solo en el bien común —¡su bien común!— por el que todos, y los ricos sobre todo, se deberán sacrificar. Y así son ellos.
Los que piensan que son los otros los que deben poner su dinero. Dijo recientemente al periodista Anderson Cooper que, a medida que triunfes, que seas próspero, deberás sacrificarte más por sus ideas (insisto: por sus ideas. Por sus retorcidas ideas). Darle el 70% de tu salario al Estado para esta cosa que ella llamó el Green New Deal (un proyecto sobre el cambio climático) fue su última brillante propuesta. Una locura.
Y así piensa concretar todo. Robando. Quitando. Lo llama taxes. Pero los piensa imponer. Para su educación gratuita, su salud gratuita; seguridad gratuita, comida gratuita, casa, poste, valla, pavimento, ¡todo!
Cuando le preguntan que cómo, dice que el dinero está. Así alzó su campaña. “Los recursos están”. Pero no los de ella, claro. Porque cuando le tocó mudarse a Washington, dijo que no tenía ni cómo pagar la residencia. Y cómo puede ser esto con una egresada de la prestigiosa Boston University. Cómo no hay dinero.
Es inteligente, no hay duda. Y por ello es peligrosa. Armó su narrativa en su momento y llegó a la capital de Estados Unidos quejándose. Que no tenía con qué. Entonces apareció en los diarios como la joven del Bronx, hija de puertorriqueños, víctima de los crueles políticos viejos, blancos, que por años han gobernado en Washington y a quienes jamás les han importado los pobres.
Aunque hace tiempo que la carta de self-victimization no es mercadeable (o al menos así parecía). Políticos que ni se pueden mantener a sí mismos y pretenden administrar a otros. Muy poco cautivador, pienso. Pero ella triunfó en las elecciones. Qué peligro.
Porque no es rica, que sería el enemigo —según ella—. Es pobre —que es el nuevo gran valor, según ella—. Entonces, cuando le preguntan que cómo, y dice que el dinero está, habla de la pasta de los millonarios. De esos que generan empleo, mueven la economía y han vuelto a Estados Unidos una gran potencia. Malagradecida, más bien. Resentida.
Pero allí está. En los diarios. Como la nueva gran estrella del Partido Demócrata. Joven y bonita. Pero también mentirosa. Porque cuando intenta sostener sus absurdas ideas sobre que si el 1%, que si se gasta mucho, el medio ambiente, los ricos son malos y los pobres son víctimas, miente. Da unas cifras que no corresponden con la realidad. Exagera. Tergiversa todo. Miente tanto que hasta el Washington Post —un medio no necesariamente de derecha— lo ha señalado: en su test de mentiras, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ha sacado cuatro «Pinochos».
Y cuando le dicen que sus facts están distorsionados, es honesta y esgrime la mayor verdad sobre la que se erigen sus peligrosas ideas socialistas: no importan los hechos, importa es el bien común —«mi bien común».
“Creo que hay muchas personas que están más preocupadas en ser precisas, objetiva y semánticamente correctas, que por ser moralmente correctas”, respondió al periodista Cooper.
Qué peligro —¡qué terrible peligro!—. Su causa es justa, dice. No importa que los hechos, las cifras y la experiencia la desmonten. No importa que el socialismo haya fracasado siempre, en todo lugar, y que los ejemplos europeos que ella utiliza no son sino naciones con envidiables economías, plenamente libres y prósperas. Nada de ello importa cuando se ha designado un bien común, al margen de los hechos, y cada individuo de la sociedad debe dejar de serlo en favor del colectivo. De ese gran grupo de gentes, desalmadas, abolidas, cuya vida se someterá al «gran plan». Y, como último gran guiño, la apostasía no es permitida.
Pero ahí anda la gran estrella, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Tan simpática que reprobarla incomoda. Es un fenómeno. Bastante peligroso. No queda sino evitar que de su ascenso venga agarrado el desplome de la política sensata en Estados Unidos. Que ganen los ultra y se hagan espacio en Washington. Que se degenere el debate y se invierta en peligrosas contiendas estériles.
Cuidado con la chica hermosa. La simpática. Porque miente —y bastante—.