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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Central America

30 November 2014. Gen Alzate, Cpl Jorge Rodriguez and lawyer Gloria Urrego were released in good health.
Colombia and FARC have been fighting for 50 years. They are currently talking in Havana, supposedly about peace. A couple of weeks ago a Colombian general went into the jungle wearing civilian clothes, supposedly 'to help the people'. FARC 'kidnapped' him. The army goes on full alert, troops are mobilized, lots of people make a big fuss, and then two weeks later the General and his lawyer (!?!?) are released unharmed. Who are these people running Colombia's press office? Are they idiots? Or do they think everyone else is an idiot? I suppose the two go hand in hand.
     Now the General is retired. Right. He went into the jungle to talk to FARC. He used all his brownie points that he had built up during his career with the army to do so. I doubt it will have any long term effect. As long as the American drug distribution cartel* is calling the shots, nothing substantial is going to change. Still, he tried, and he may have accomplished some short term bridge building, or negotiated a little bonus for his pension fund.

     Meanwhile, on the other side of Panama, Nicaragua is ginning up a deal with the Chinese and the Russians to build a new inter-oceanic canal to compete with Panama's. The Chinese want it so their containerized cargoes can get to New York City without any interference from the US/Panamanian monopoly. The Russians want it so they can send warships from St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad to Vladivostok and back without having to go via Antarctica. I imagine they would not be interested in filling out forms to get their warships through the Panama canal. I wonder if a Typhoon class submarine would even fit through the Panama canal (maybe), or the new one for that matter (probably). That is, if there are any Typhoons left (yes, a couple).
    Nicaragua and Colombia are squabbling about who owns which parts of the ocean floor in the Caribbean. Seems some people think there might be oil down there. That's not a big surprise, we've been sucking oil out of the gulf for at least as long as FARC has been fighting the government.
    Colombia, since they are friends with the USA, has a much bigger navy than poor, impoverished Nicaragua. But now Nicaragua has new friends, new friends with money. See what happens when you stir up shit in people's backyards (i.e. the Ukraine)? The come over and start stirring up shit in your backyard. Funny how that works. Of course, given that people naturally tend to stir up shit where ever they are it would have happened eventually anyway.
    Near as I can tell the big difference between the communists and the capitalists is that the capitalists are a little more deft in their manipulation of the economy. The communists (and any other totalitarian regimes) use a hard line approach to getting what they want: arresting and/or killing people who complain. Their propaganda is almost unbelievably stupid. The capitalists prefer to lead the cattle around by the nose. Our propaganda is carefully constructed by the spin doctors. Do a good job of this and you don't need an army of secret police and all the bad publicity that entails. Though sometimes the amount of crap flying through the air gets a little annoying. Fortunately televisions can be turned off.

*Google "American drug distribution cartel" and Mexico is all that shows up.

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