“The real problem is not that we are different, nor that we disagree and have conflict. It's that most of us automatically view conflict as something negative rather than as a tool God can use to help us better understand ourselves and one another.

--Robert Ricciardelli”

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

12/11 Morning Report

Hugo Chavez is making a lot of moves these days, despite having lost his referendum push at home. The Banco del Sur is slated to take the place of the IMF, which Chavez describes as a “tool of Washington.”

Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela have all joined the initiative.

Chile and Peru decided to remain on the sidelines, while Colombia, which had expressed interest, has put its decision on hold following recent disagreements between Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and Mr Chavez.
Believing the IMF plays favorites with developed nations over emerging and developing ones, Chavez has been pushing this since December 2006. Some of the difficulty getting funds is due to a wave of industry nationalization in the region. Of course, withdrawing from the World Bank and IMF would mean Venezuela would default on its bonds.

(…can’t imagine why a dictator would want to get out of his debts…can you?...)

In other South American news, Christina Frenandez has been sworm in as President of Argentina. She ran a very unorthodox campaign.
Refusing to debate any of her rivals and granting few interviews, Fernandez preferred to be photographed overseas meeting world leaders - projecting a flair for diplomacy while masking a lack of executive branch experience.
She faces a lot of tough challenges. High on the list are strengthening the courts, continuing economic improvement. She expected to govern from the center-left political position. She also expected to continue the relationship with Chavez.

(…unfortunately she is being compared to Hillary Clinton, too…)

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, NATO and Afghan troops took back a Taliban stronghold. Breaking a deal with the British back in February, the Taliban took over the town and began terrorizing the area, bringing a death toll of some 6000. French media reports the Taliban simply walked out of town, supposedly to protect civilians from bombings. But, according to the BBC report, reminiscent of al-Qaeda tactics in Iraq, people seem to be turning against the Taliban once again.
President Hamid Karzai said the decision to enter Musa Qala came after local Taliban commanders agreed to side with the Afghan government because of brutality committed against townspeople by the Taliban, al-Qaeda and foreign fighters.


He told of a 15-year-old boy accused of spying by the Taliban who was hung from a ceiling and roasted to death by a gas-fed fire started beneath him. The next morning the militants told the boy's mother she could pick up her son, the president said.

(…fear will keep people cowed for a while…but hope of something better will bring a change…amazing how with all it’s problems, people keep turning to coalition forces for that help…)