COVID-19, Cuba, DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, Humor, Montreal, Opinion, Wordpress

An Ode to Bars and Those Who Tend Them – Take 2

Brazen

Yours truly, and Mrs. Truly, on a recent visit to Dublin’s Brazen Head Pub

Not that I’m a lush, but I like bars. Not just the establishments that are known as bars, pubs, or watering holes, but the actual bar itself. I find much comfort in sitting on a comfortable stool – with back if you please – and sipping a cold beer or two, on tap or cold in a bottle while taking in the goings-on. Perhaps engaging in idle chitchat on one side and a more serious conversation on the other. The smooth top, either shiny wood or metallic, is cool and pleasing to the touch. The glasses and bottles sparkle in the lights.

Before too long I’d find myself traipsing through a stranger’s house in stockinged feet in search of a bathroom, hoping against hope that there would not be a lineup. Certainly not my idea of fun.

I recall as a university student having friends who lived out in the suburbs and for whom ‘house parties’ were the socializing mainstay. I was never a big fan. Upon arrival I would seek out a comfortable spot near or even in the kitchen because that’s where the fridge was, the one cooling the beer I brought that very mysteriously seemed to disappear faster than I was consuming them. Before too long I’d find myself traipsing through a total stranger’s house in stockinged feet in search of a bathroom, hoping against hope that there would not be a lineup. Certainly not my idea of fun. Worrying about finding my boots and coat when it – thankfully – came time to leave was yet another annoyance to be borne. (I used to threaten to take the best coat I could find; this usually brought much assistance in securing my coat from the giant pile on the bed.)

For me, as an urbanite right down to the bone, bars were the way to go. Coat safely checked (assuming, of course, you didn’t lose the chit and have to wait until all the coats and jackets were claimed, hoping yours would remain), and a place at the bar and I was set. Back in the day people plunked themselves down at the bar and, much like a tiger peeing in the jungle, set up their turf, they marked their perimeter, by placing their cigarette package, lighter and ashtray within easy reach. With smoking now verboten in public places. the main tool for staking your spot at the bar is the placing of a mobile phone.

Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway statue in La Floridita, Havana

I’m not alone in my preference for bars. Dylan Thomas and Brendan Behan were fond of the occasional foray into a cozy barroom to recharge and energize their creativity. Ernest Hemingway spent so much time in La Floridita in Havana that there is a life-sized statue of him standing at the bar.

Now that I’m sixty I rarely find myself in a bar at night, preferring the comfort of home and a bit of telly, maybe even an early night. Yet I’ve not abandoned my ways entirely, I have discovered the pleasure of the afternoon bar session. Devoid of the social jockeying that renders the night bar experience unpleasant after the age of about forty, the atmosphere in the afternoon is a much friendlier one, conducive to conversation.

Releasing teachers and young students from lockdown before allowing bars and pubs to reopen seems a wee bit arse-end foremost to me

When it comes to proprietary rights at a bar, while patrons may have their usual spot, the real ‘owner’ of that bar is the bartender. Regardless of whether that man or woman is, in fact, the legal owner of the establishment or not, when they are behind the bar it’s theirs! I have had the pleasure of knowing several bartenders over the years (lest you think I’m displaying symptoms of dipsomania, rest assured many of them were friends of mine before they became mixologists). In my younger days a good friend of mine explained that while he very much liked having regulars spend the evening sitting at his bar, it was the three of four rows of standees behind them who were his bread and butter. Passing drinks and payment and change over the heads of those seated at the bar was where the money was.

The afternoon bartender not only mixes drinks and pulls pints, but he or she also assumes the role of cruise director or animator. Making introductions where suitable, while directing regulars away from seated customers who are less than a match, smoothly including others in conversations, and leaving to themselves those in search of thoughtful peace, keeping places at the bar for regulars running late, all while remembering regulars’ usual tipple, these are just some of the skills required to be a successful daytime barkeep.

But now this is just a memory. COVID-19 has caused the closure of restaurants and bars. There is a plan to re-open the economy; first, some construction sites will resume building, then certain retail outlets will be allowed to open under strict guidelines to ensure the highest degree of public safety. Finally, elementary schools are scheduled to reopen (although there is significant push-back from many sides on this one).

Releasing teachers and young students from lockdown before allowing bars and pubs to reopen seems a wee bit arse-end foremost to me. But then that’s not based on any science.

 

DCS_Grad_2 DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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Cuba, DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, Humor, Montreal, Opinion, Wordpress

An Ode to Bars and Those Who Tend Them

Bar

Not that I’m a lush, but I like bars. Not just the establishments known as bars, pubs or watering holes, but the actual bar itself. I find much comfort in sitting on a comfortable stool – with back if you please – and sipping a cold beer or two, on tap or cold in a bottle while taking in the goings on. Perhaps engaging in idle chitchat on one side and a more serious conversation on the other. The smooth top, either shiny wood or metallic, is cool and pleasing to the touch. The glasses and bottles sparkle in the lights.

Before too long I’d find myself traipsing through a stranger’s house in stockinged feet in search of a bathroom, hoping against hope that there would not be a lineup. Certainly not my idea of fun.

I recall as a university student having friends who lived out in the suburbs and for whom ‘house parties’ were the socializing mainstay. I was never a big fan. Upon arrival I would seek out a comfortable spot near or even in the kitchen, because that’s where the fridge was, the one cooling the beer I brought that very mysteriously seemed to disappear faster than I was consuming them. Before too long I’d find myself traipsing through a total stranger’s house in stockinged feet in search of a bathroom, hoping against hope that there would not be a lineup. Certainly not my idea of fun. Worrying about finding my boots and coat when it – thankfully – came time to leave was yet another annoyance to be borne. (I used to threaten to take the best coat I could find; this usually brought much assistance in securing my coat from the giant pile on the bed.)

For me, as an urbanite right down to the bone, bars were the way to go. Coat safely checked (assuming of course you didn’t lose the chit and have to wait until all the coats and jackets were claimed, hoping yours would remain), and a place at the bar and I was set. Back in the day people plunked themselves down at the bar and, much like a tiger peeing in the jungle, set up their turf, they marked their perimeter, by placing their cigarette package, lighter and ashtray within easy reach. With smoking now verboten in public places. the main tool for staking your spot at the bar is the placing of a mobile phone.

Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway statue in La Floridita, Havana

I’m not alone in my preference for bars. Dylan Thomas and Brendan Behan were fond of the occasional foray into a cozy barroom to recharge and energize their creativity. Ernest Hemingway spent so much time in La Floridita in Havana that there is a life-sized statue of him standing at the bar.

Now in my late-fifties I rarely find myself in a bar at night, preferring the comfort of home and a bit of telly, maybe even an early night. Yet I’ve not abandoned my ways entirely, I have discovered the pleasure of the afternoon bar session. Devoid of the social jockeying that renders the night bar experience unpleasant after the age of about forty, the atmosphere in the afternoon is a much friendlier one, conducive to conversation.

I could go on, but frankly I think it’s time for me to conduct a bit of research on my topic. Cheers!

When it comes to proprietary rights at a bar, while patrons may have their usual spot, the real ‘owner’ of that bar is the bartender. Regardless of whether that man or woman is in fact the legal owner of the establishment or not, when they are behind the bar it’s theirs! I have had the pleasure of knowing several bartenders over the years (lest you think I’m displaying symptoms of dipsomania, rest assured many of them were friends of mine before they became mixologists). In my younger days a good friend of mine explained that while he very much liked having regulars spend the evening sitting at his bar, it was the three of four rows of standees behind them that were his bread and butter. Passing drinks and payment and change over the heads of those seated at the bar was were the money was.

The afternoon bartender not only mixes drinks and pulls pints, but he or she also assumes the role of cruise director or animator. Making introductions where suitable, while  directing regulars away from seated customers who are less than a match, smoothly including others in conversations, and leaving to themselves those in search of thoughtful peace, keeping places at the bar for regulars running late, all while remembering regulars’ usual tipple, these are just some of the skills required to be a successful daytime barkeep.

I could go on, but frankly I think it’s time for me to conduct a bit of research on my topic. Cheers!

DCS_Grad_2 DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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Venezuelan President Maduro Reacts to Fidel Castro’s Death

nico

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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My Meeting With Pierre Elliott Trudeau

This week Canadian Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau will be soon in as the country’s twenty-third Prime Minister. Since his Liberal Party of Canada’s majority election victory much has been said and written about what to expect from Trudeau. I am pleased that for the most part the attention has been focussed on Justin, and not his father Pierre Elliott Trudeau who was our fifteenth PM. It is up to Justin to succeed or fail based on his own merits, not his father’s legacy.

I consider myself fortunate to have had a short, one-on-one meeting with Mr. Trudeau during this time. He a former Prime Minister and me a young political organizer.

However hearing the Trudeau name repeatedly brought back a personal memory of my meeting with Trudeau Senior.  When he left politics in the early eighties he was offered and accepted a partnership with a prestigious Montreal law firm. This is a fairly common occurrence; Montreal being, among many other things, the city of former Prime Ministers. I suspect the deal is more about giving former Prime Ministers a place to do their thing – memoirs, speaking engagements – in return for placing their name on the firm’s letterhead.

I consider myself fortunate to have had a short, one-on-one meeting with Mr. Trudeau during this time. He a former Prime Minister and me a young political organizer. The encounter started out with neither of us seeing eye-to-eye with the other, but ended with smiles.

Let me explain. In the spring of 1985 I was a contracted coordinator of political conventions. I played no part in policy, but was responsible for putting microphones in front of guest speakers, food on plates and delegates in accommodations. I was also the coordinator of several committees involved with the convention I was working on at that time. The chairmen of one of those committees was a lawyer at Mr. Trudeau’s firm, and I needed to meet with him.

One fine morning I arrived at the lobby of the building that housed this firm only to discover that the bank of elevators destined for the upper floors was, with one execution, out of order. As the crowd grew in the lobby, and a security guard did his best to manage traffic in the one elevator, many folks opted to go off for a coffee, and return when things were back to normal. (Had this been Toronto there would have been much weeping and gnashing of teeth at the thought of lost office time.)

We stood there in the ‘men at a urinal’ stance – look anywhere but at the other person – employed when only two people are in an elevator …

I finally squeezed into the lone functioning elevator, the door closed and we shot up to the building’s midway point before the car stopped and people started to get off. This continued for several floors, winnowing down the number of passengers until there were but two of us; Mr. Trudeau and myself. I had not even noticed he was there at first. We stood there in the ‘men at a urinal’ stance – look anywhere but at the other person – employed when only two people are in an elevator when suddenly the elevator stopped, and the lights went out.

For the next few moments I experienced a combination of claustrophobia and a tied-tongue. What to say? I would like to tell you I asked him some pretty pointed questions about his time in office, but the truth is that neither of us said a word. After a few moments the lights came back on, the elevator jerked to life, moved up to our floor and we got off. Over the years I have toyed with embellishing the experience, saying we had made plans to meet up for lunch, or go canoeing, but I always thought better of it.

CBC

When Mr. Trudeau passed away in 2000, among his honorary pallbearers were Jimmy Carter and Fidel Castro. There is a photograph of these two men talking outside Montreal’s Notre Dame Basilica.  I often wonder if they were discussing Trudeau’s story of being stuck in an elevator with me. Guess not.  

DCS_Grad_2 DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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Ukraine, Malaysian Flight 370 and The Cuban Missile Crisis: Media Coverage

During the last two weeks of October 1962 I was only three, so I certainly can’t claim to have any memory of the events that have come to be known as the Cuban Missile Crisis. Mind you like most people I am now familiar with the stand-off between the United States and the USSR that had the recently post-WWII world on tenterhooks, as both parties were readying missiles aimed at the other, the US in Turkey and the Soviets in Cuba.  The situation came to a head with the US naval blockade  of Cuba and was extinguished when the USSR backed down.

Cuban Missile CrisesCurrently we have another potential problem brewing, once again involving Russia, the USSR having broken up, and the US over the situation in Ukraine. Gone are Kennedy and Khrushchev but presidents Obama and Putin are playing a similar game of chicken, fortunately this time in the form of diplomatic tit-for-tat, sanctions and bravado, at least so far. Hopefully, like the Cuban Crisis this situation won’t escalate into a shooting war.

What I find interesting is how these two confrontations afford us an excellent opportunity to see just how media coverage of world events has changed in 52 years. Or have they? A quick scan of the archives shows that the Cuban Crisis was front page news around the world. Nightly news broadcasts provided information as did radio. News bulletins broke into regular television programming when warranted. In 1962 there were no 24-hour news stations, CNN was just a gleam in Ted Turner’s eye, and of course the Internet was still a few decades from its present ubiquity, therefore much of the angst that was felt by North Americans, and I imagine Russians, may have been attributable to a lack of information. There was a lot of wondering and worrying  going on.

In terms of hours of coverage there can be no doubt that the modern day viewer is getting much more than in 1962. But whether we are getting more actual ‘news’ or not is debatable.

But watching the coverage of the uprising in Kiev followed by the wall-to-wall analysis of the missing Malaysian Airlines flight 370 I wonder if people were indeed less informed in 1962. The amount of repeated information is astonishing – when there’s nothing new, just re-run something old seems to be the plan. The number of talking heads giving their take on the disappearance of the plane seems to be infinite. Yet the very few actual known facts remain the same; the rest is essentially filler, hypothesizing. Would people in 1962 have been better off with 24-hour analysis of the Cuban Crisis or would they have been prone to even more panic as panel members ratcheted-up possible doomsday scenarios?

Chandra Levy

Chandra Levy/From Wikipedia,

It has always struck me the way CNN can switch from covering one story extensively to breaking a major event and then completely ignore the original story. In late August 2001 CNN was chock-a-block with the story of  missing intern Chandra Levy, an alleged paramour of Gary Condit, a Democratic Representative. Where was Chandra? Who saw her last? Were they lovers? The questions and possible answers filled the screen all day, it was all Chandra all the time. Then the attack on the World Trade Center, soon to become known simply as 9/11, occurred and, naturally, that pushed all other items off the news. But completely off the news! No mention was made of the missing intern for months. Can CNN viewers (and I am one myself) not handle more than one thing at a time? The BBC seems to be able to offer extensive coverage of multiple events around the world, yet North American news channels evidently prefer to focus on one thing at a time. The Ukraine and the brewing trouble in Venezuela are on the back burner, but way back.

In terms of  hours of coverage there can be no doubt that the modern day viewer is getting much more than in 1962. But whether we are getting more actual ‘news’ or not is debatable.

Me DCMontreal is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and Freans and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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Cuba, DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, Hugo Chavez, Media, News, Nicolas Maduro, Politics, Venezuela, Wordpress

Venezuela: Maduro Welcomes Castro – Hope He Likes Ketchup – While Cuban Flag Runs for Freedom

… during the welcoming ceremonies the Cuban flag, like so many of its citizens, made a break for freedom!
As the juxtaposed photos below indicate, the old adage that full shelves are better for sales is being put to the test in Venezuela. On the left we see the bare milk and meat section while on the right is enough ketchup to float a battleship. Bear in mind that this country is a member of OPEC and, one would think, very wealthy. sadly that wealth isn’t making its way down to the person in the street, or in the supermarket.

In yet another juxtaposition today several leaders of like-minded countries, Raoul Castro of Cuba at the forefront, are gathering in Caracas to commemorate the late Hugo Chavez. While hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans will hold their positions at street barricades in protest of the policies that Chavez set in place and that current president Nicholas Maduro is  maintaining.

I have a sneaking suspicion the honored guests will not be eating ketchup soup with ketchup pie and ketchup ice cream.

Godspeed Venezuela! Chévere!

Grocery

As if the ketchup-laced menu wasn’t bad enough, during the welcoming ceremonies the Cuban flag, like so many of its citizens, made a run for freedom!

Cuban flag makes a break for freedom!

Cuban flag makes a break for freedom!

MeDCMontreal is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and Freans and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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Venezuelan Protesters to Forgo Carnivals

NoCarnToday is the Friday before the long weekend that ends on Tuesday, or Mardi Gras, also known in Latin America as carnivals. The last big blow out before Lent, the forty day period of abstinence on the Catholic calendar.  Rio de Janeiro has its samba schools with ladies in elaborate but barely-there costumes, New Orleans has its jazz parades and women flashing their breasts for plastic beads – true devil’s playground of licentiousness. Venezuelans tend to be more down to earth and look forward to spending some down-time at the beach over the four-day weekend.

With that in mind the roads and highways should be chock-a-block with cars as people take some time off and make their way to the beach. But not this year. The streets may well be impassable, not due to heavy traffic volume, but because anti-government protesters have not left their posts and are still maintaining the barricades. To have fought in the streets for weeks, losing several colleagues, and then take a break to go catch some rays at the beach would have sent a terrible message to the world, a world that is finally starting to sit up and take notice.

But no: the protesters were one step ahead of Maduro and began to spread the word that if they were to be taken as genuinely attempting to foster political change, they would have to forgo carnivals for this year. Bravo.

President Maduro even tried  to entice the protesters into making the “carnivals” error by declaring yesterday and today national holidays allegedly to commemorate the Caracazo, the 1998 series of riots against the government’s planned economic reforms including the raising of gasoline prices. Who could resist six days at the beach instead of the usual four? Wouldn’t he have loved to be filmed strolling down a deserted avenue pointing out that all the protesters had abandoned their fight to lounge at the seaside, clearly indicating a lack of commitment and seriousness?

But no: the protesters were one step ahead of Maduro and began to spread the word that if they were to be taken as genuinely attempting to foster political change, they would have to forgo carnivals for this year. Bravo. There will be other carnivals and other long weekends, hopefully in a truly democratic Venezuela. Fight the good fight, God bless and Chévere!

MeDCMontreal is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and Freans and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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Senator Marco Rubio Comes Out Swinging Against Venezuela’s Maduro

AP Photo

AP Photo

Marco Rubio, the junior senator from Florida and possible contender to be the 2016 Republican Presidential candidate has come out swinging against Venezuelan tyrant Nicholas Maduro. In interviews in English with CNN and in Spanish with CNN en Español, Rubio says he believes the time has come to apply sanctions against the government of Venezuela. He suggests a ban on US investment in Venezuela, as well as taking a look at what can be done with Venezuelan assets in the US.

Senator Rubio has also been active on Twitter, pulling no punches in his criticism of Maduro. They say that politics makes strange bedfellows, and while I certainly am never mistaken for a conservative, sometimes the planets do align. When it comes to Rubio’s take on Venezuela, as the old saying goes, even a broken clock is right twice a day!

Unfortunately in the Tweet below Senator Rubio trotted out the old conservative hobbyhorse socialism, as if Nicholas Maduro is the poster child for socialism. The only things Maduro embodies are corruption and tyranny. Maduro certainly claims to run a socialist regime;  I can claim to be able to swim, but chuck me in a pool and the truth will out – quickly. I understand that the world’s media may be spread thin, which may account for the late start to the coverage of Venezuela’s current plight, but I’ve not seen any huge marches, burning barricades nor murdered students in the streets of Oslo or Stockholm.

MeDCMontreal is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and Freans and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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SOS Venezuela: Godspeed and Chévere!

yahoo.news

yahoo.news

Abajo puede ver la traducción en español

Dear Venezuelan Opposition,

It is easy for me to sit here safely, some 4000 kilometers away, and urge you to keep up that momentum, to stay in the streets and maintain pressure on the government, but I believe that’s what must be done, and that you are showing you have the mettle to win this struggle.

I suppose, given the current state of the world, this was bound to happen, wasn’t it? I’m referring to the social upheaval you are presently facing; huge daily protests, sometimes merely inconvenient, often violent and on several sad occasions tragic. When I write that it was bound to happen I do so because I believe everyone has their breaking point, that moment when something just goes click and they decide they’ve had enough – the proverbial last straw. We have seen this with change in the Middle-East and can witness it live in Kiev at the present moment. It would appear there were numerous clicks over the past two weeks in Venezuela, enough to bring you out in great numbers to apply pressure and invoke change.

As a result of these clicks you have evidently decided that you are thoroughly fed up with the de facto dictatorship that has been in effect since the 1998 election of the late Hugo Chavez, and which continues to cause you misery under Chavez’ hand-picked successor Nicholas Maduro.

It is not surprising that there should be significant opposition to the present regime, but what is a bit perplexing is why it has taken you so long to protest, your patience has been saintly. Your country is a modern one that has a vast reserve of oil, indeed is a member of OPEC. The potential wealth that could be derived from Venezuela’s natural resources, including tourism, is incalculable. But the continued bellicose approach to governing of your president – jawing at the ‘evil’ United States and cozying up with the Castros in Cuba, and repressing basic freedoms – has taken its toll on you. (If I’m to be honest I’ve benefited from the repressions that you have been fighting; my better half immigrated to Canada so she could live in a free society. Your loss is my, and Canada’s, gain.)

The shortages of basic products are nothing short of unacceptable; from the national staple corn flour to sanitary products such as toilet paper, to the rampant crime and the highest rate of inflation in the world and possibly unparalleled levels of corruption. Having come to the end of your tether you have taken to the streets in peaceful protest of these conditions only to be met with resistance from heavily armed and trained soldiers.  But you must continue to do so now that the momentum has grown. Even with the proliferation of communications technology the world is sometimes slow to focus its attention on situations that need to be exposed.

It is easy for me to sit here safely, some 4000 kilometers away, and urge you to keep up that momentum, to stay in the streets and maintain pressure on the government, but I believe that’s what must be done, and that you are showing you have the mettle to win this struggle.

Godspeed Venezuela. Chévere!

Querida oposición venezolana,

Es muy fácil para mí sentarme aquí en la seguridad de mi casa y país, a unos 4000 kilómetros, y pedirles que mantengan este momento, que sigan en las calles y que sigan presionando al gobierno, ya que siento que es lo que se tiene que hacer, y que ustedes están demostrando que tienen el temple para ganar esta pelea.

Dado a la situación actual en que se encuentra el mundo, supongo que esto tendría que pasar, o ¿no? Me refiero a la situación de enfrentamientos sociales que están sucediendo en estos momentos, grandes protestas diarias, a veces un poco intempestivas, otras violentas y en otras ocasiones trágicas. Cuando escribí que esto tenía que pasar lo hice porque creo que todo el mundo tiene su límite, ese momento cuando algo sólo hace clic y un hasta aquí, como dice el dicho, ¨la última gota¨. Hemos visto estos cambios en el Oriente Medio y en el presente estamos siendo testigos de lo ocurrido en Kiev. Pareciera que ha habido numerosos clics en las últimas dos semanas en Venezuela, lo suficiente como para salir masivamente, presionar y pedir el cambio.

Como resultado de estos clics, ustedes que ya están hasta la coronilla con la dictadura de facto que comenzó en 1998 con la elección del fallecido presidente Hugo Chávez y que continúa provocándoles sufrimientos con su sucesor, primero escogido a dedo, y luego en elecciones, Nicolás Maduro.

No es de sorprenderse que hay una vasta mayoría opositora al actual régimen, pero sí me deja un poco perplejo el por qué les ha tomado tanto tiempo protestar, su paciencia ha sido de santos. Tienen un país moderno con una gran reserva petrolera, de hecho son miembros de la OPEP. La riqueza que se ha podido obtener de los recursos naturales que posee Venezuela, incluyendo el turismo debería ser incalculable. Aunque el punto de vista bélico para gobernar de su presidente, acusando constantemente al ¨demonio¨ de los Estados Unidos, manteniendo cómodos a los Castros de Cuba y reprimiendo las libertades básicas se están cobrando su precio. (Si soy sincero, yo me he beneficiado de estas represiones de las cuales ustedes ahora están luchando, ya que mi media naranja emigró a Canadá para poder vivir en una sociedad libre. Ustedes perdieron y Canadá y yo ganamos.)

Es inaceptable la escasez de los productos básicos, desde el producto nacional que es la harina pan, a los productos de higiene personal como el papel toilette, los niveles en que ha llegado el crimen y el alto índice inflacionario, uno de los mayores del mundo y los incomparables niveles de corrupción. Al no poder aguantar más y habiendo llegado al límite, pues decidieron tomar las calles con protestas pacíficas para sólo encontrarse con la resistencia de la Guardia Nacional armada. Deben continuar ya que el ¨momentum¨ está en pleno apogeo. Aunque la tecnología comunicacional ha proliferado, muchas veces el mundo es lento para centrar la atención en situaciones que necesitan ser destacadas.

Es muy fácil para mí sentarme aquí en la seguridad de mi casa y país, a unos 4000 kilómetros, y pedirles que mantengan este momento, que sigan en las calles y que sigan presionando al gobierno, ya que siento que es lo que se tiene que hacer, y que ustedes están demostrando que tienen el temple para ganar esta pelea.

¡Suerte Venezuela. Chévere!

MeDCMontreal is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and Freans and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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Nicaraguan Canal project will create a floating sub-continent

New landmass – Nicaricama – will be able to travel the world

In the news a few days ago was an item about China wanting to invest $40 Billion to create a canal through Nicaragua in Central America. As an isthmus – it is a little know fact that the country’s coat of arms has the words Merry Isthmus on it – Nicaragua offers an appropriate setting for a canal. TIME reported that on Thursday afternoon, the “Nicaraguan government of President Daniel Ortega muscled into law a sensational 50-year concession that grants a little-known private Chinese company the authority to “design, develop, engineer, finance, construct, possess, operate, maintain and administer” the Great Nicaragua Canal mega-project.” Sure glad he didn’t sell out the people of Nicaragua, but that’s another matter.

Unless I’m mistaken (and that’s a real possibility) by creating a new trans-continental canal in Nicaragua a portion of that country, all of Costa Rica and some of Panama will be cut loose from the mainland

I’m not a geographer, cartographer nor geopolitical expert, but it seems to me that this mega-project hasn’t been very well thought out. As the map below indicates, the proposed canal will cut through Nicaragua at some point allowing vessels to travel interoceanically between Atlantic and Pacific. The only problem I see is that a little way down the continent, southward through Costa Rica and into Panama one finds an existing canal, the Panama Canal, that already bisects the land.

Nicaragua_Canal

Nicaragua, known for revolutionary leaders and baseball players, could coast on over to Cuba and engage in both pastimes

Unless I’m mistaken (and that’s a real possibility) by creating a new trans-continental canal in Nicaragua a portion of that country, all of Costa Rica and some of Panama will be cut loose from the mainland. Not that this doesn’t hold great potential. The magnificent eco-tourism of Costa Rica could come to people rather than vice versa. The newly chiseled sub-continent could be propelled around the world as the image below shows. Panama could pull up beside California and sell its goods (which, by the way, does not include the Panama Hat which comes from Ecuador – go figure). Nicaragua, known for revolutionary leaders and baseball players, could coast on over to Cuba and engage in both pastimes.

… while environmentally concerned Costa Rica will stick with barge poles, thereby creating employment as well

Nicaragua_Canal_2

The possibilities are endless once the question of locomotion is answered. I’m thinking Nicaragua and Panama will use diesel and gas and whatever other means are available while environmentally concerned Costa Rica will stick with barge poles, thereby creating employment as well.

I don’t know if they’ve given this enough consideration, but I’d be pleased to discuss the matter with them as they seem to be missing some great opportunities!

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