Interview with President Fernando Lugo


On my recent trip to Paraguay, right after the coup d’etat, which removed President Fernando Lugo from power, I was able to interview people of all kinds of types in relation to what happened. One of the interviews that most interest was shown for abroad was that with Fernando Lugo himself.

The interview, which I have posted below, was published in slightly different versions in:

Klassekampen (Norwegian): http://klassekampen.no/60453/article/item/null/-fortsatt-folkets-leder

Junge Welt (German): http://www.jungewelt.de/2012/07-23/045.php

Upside Down World (English): http://upsidedownworld.org/main/paraguay-archives-44/3766-post-coup-paraguay-an-interview-with-fernando-lugo

Berdikari (Malay): http://www.berdikarionline.com/dunia-bergerak/20120719/pasca-kudeta-di-paraguay-wawancara-fernando-lugo.html

La Radio del Sur (Spanish, audio): http://mexicoahoraonunca.org/entrevista-fernando-lugo/

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Against the expulsion of Erlin and Kely from the Honduran Pedagogical University!

In Spanish

At the end of April, I passed through Tegucigalpa, Honduras and spoke there with Kely Estefanie Nuñez and Erlin Guitierrez. Both are activists of the “Socialist Student Front” (FES), a group that emerged after the military coup in 2009 in the second public university, the National Pedagogical University Francisco Morazan (UPNFM). The FES has been one of the most active groups at the university since then.

I interviewed Kely and several of the other FES activists last year on their activities (in Spanish):

Now the two activists have been excluded from the university. The management accuses the two having started and led student protests. Specifically, they are accused of violating Article 114 of the Academic Rules of the UPNFM in the following points:

  • Intentional disobedience manifested towards UPNFM authorities on issues with institutional interest, with a tendency of insubordination,
  • Organizing events involving the name of the UPNFM or association of students for personal gain,
  • Suspend work in order to perform tasks or activities without prior approval of the rectory or leadership of the center
  • Encourage students to revolt against the authorities or against established rules that are to insure the efficient operation of the UPNFM,
  • perform acts that damage the public image of the institution,
  • publicly denigrate the institution internally or externally.

In other words, there is nothing of substance in the accusations – any young person going will break such ‘rules’ any day if the institution decides to interpret it that way.

And this is not the first time they are accused of this “crime”. The last time (last year), Kely was ordered to seek “psychological therapy” to get rid of their rebellious tendencies. Although both Kely and Erlin were quite active, on this particular day (the 7th of March, when there was a peaceful march against increments in gas prices which ended in an attack by the police), the two told me they were not even among the main organizers. Erlin was at home, and Kely was in class (organic chemistry).

I was contacted by the activists of the FES due to the links te UPNFM has with Germany – such as the collaboration with the University of Flensburg and the training the staff of the UPNFM has received from the GTZ.

Yesterday they had an activity, and finished with 17 arrested and one person was still being held this morning.

You can find the campaign against the expulsion in Facebook:

Assange/Žižek not really all that leftist after-all?

Finally got to see the second episode of Julian Assange tv show in which he interviews David Horowitz and Slavoj Žižek. While the interview is certainly original and much better than what western tv has produced for the past few decades, it still seems as if all three take a bunch of conservative premises for granted. Some issues, such as that Latin American leftist leaders are "dictators" as Horowitz claims, are just left unanswered in the room and one can only imagine that Assange/Žižek did not refute such charges as they were simply too far out to be answerable.
In other fields they seemed to have arrived at a pro-capitalist consensus. For example, is it really true that:

1. The natural state of human existence is war (at all times)? There may have been many wars in the past, but if full-scale wars were to start now between the major powers, then that would mean nuclear destruction of everybody. At the same time, the internet has made that we are no longer that isolated from one-another. War seems less and less like something "sell-able" to the world’s populations (the US seems like an exception, but hopefully not much longer. Once the empire crumbles, hopefully most will notice that they are just humans like everybody else)

2. Either the US or western Europe up to some years ago were the most perfect places imaginable in the world? Both depended on heavy exploitation of third world countries, and on actively killing leaders of movements there who tried to better the situation in their countries.

3. The will of the people will at all times be a problem for those wishing to create another, more humane (=socialist/communist) society? Much technology has been invited that would allow participatory budgeting and a collectively planed economy.

Assange’s proposal of testing out different systems in different countries and then letting people move between these countries according to what they prefer seems to have been one of the more revolutionary proposals mentioned in the program. But then again — what to do if one of those systems eats up more natural resources than what is available for everyone (such as is the case right now with 1st world countries)?

At any rate, one of the more intelligent tv programs of our times.

Norwegian anthropologist

Wow! My Nicaragua book is listed as a publication by a Norwegian anthropologist in 2011 by the corresponding Norwegian trade association. I thought the Norsk Antropologisk Forening had decided long ago that they wouldn’t touch me with a barge-pole because I’m too dirty/activist. Maybe I should actually sign up and pay member fees.

Norsk antropologisk forening :: Nye bøker on Antropologi

Bangstad, Sindre, Oddbjørn Leirvik og Ingvill Thorson Plesner (red.): Sekularisme – med norske briller. Oslo: Unipub. ISBN: 9788274775367. BIBSYS: http://ask.bibsys.no/ask/action/show?kid=biblio&cmd=reload&pid=114843902 Forlagsside: http://www.uni…

Western media don’t like competition?

US and UK media seem a bit envious that suddenly Russian media gets to play in the same league as them in terms of global opinion shaping. They don’t seem to be able to agree on any points of content except that they don’t like what is going on. Take the following two excerpts for example:

"On his talk show Mr. Assange was a little stiff but sounded rational, didn’t talk much about himself and asked Mr. Nasrallah some tough questions about Hezbollah’s support for President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. He even cited reports, found by WikiLeaks, that suggested corruption and high living among some members of Hezbollah."

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/18/arts/television/julian-assange-starts-talk-show-on-russian-tv.html

"But Assange’s debut interview wasn’t quite the incendiary event that Russia Today had promised. The questions were clearly agreed in advance. Some were softball, others fawning, with Nasrallah’s answers unchallenged."
The TV Watch: Julian Assange Starts Talk Show on Russian TV on Nytimes
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/apr/17/world-tomorrow-julian-assange-wikileaks

Western media don’t like competition?

US and UK media seem a bit envious that suddenly Russian media gets to play in the same league as them in terms of global opinion shaping. They don’t seem to be able to agree on any points of content except that they don’t like what is going on. Take the following two excerpts for example:

"On his talk show Mr. Assange was a little stiff but sounded rational, didn’t talk much about himself and asked Mr. Nasrallah some tough questions about Hezbollah’s support for President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. He even cited reports, found by WikiLeaks, that suggested corruption and high living among some members of Hezbollah."

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/18/arts/television/julian-assange-starts-talk-show-on-russian-tv.html

"But Assange’s debut interview wasn’t quite the incendiary event that Russia Today had promised. The questions were clearly agreed in advance. Some were softball, others fawning, with Nasrallah’s answers unchallenged."
The TV Watch: Julian Assange Starts Talk Show on Russian TV on Nytimes
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/apr/17/world-tomorrow-julian-assange-wikileaks

Can we NOW remove the name of of AP Møller?

Danish oligarch Møller has died — and everybody from queen to leader of the social democrats feels the need to say what a great human being he was. Somehow I cannot remember anything similar happening when a labor union leader trying to organize Møller’s company was killed under mysterious circumstances in El Salvador a few years. Møller decided to sponsor a school to the Danish minority in Germany a few years ago. The school association then decided to give it the name of Møller’s father, "A.P. Møller", who had made the company big. Any criticism that Møller had made his fortune in part by selling weapons to the nazis and in more recent years by having an extra-ordinarily good deal on pumping up the Danish oil was swept under the carpet. Now that Møller Jr. is gone, can we maybe get to talk about changing the name of the school again? How much longer do the Danes of northern Germany want to be associated with nazi weapon production?

http://www.johanneswilm.org/2008/11/23/change-the-name-of-the-apmoller-school/
Change the name of A.P. Møller-skolen | Johannes Wilm’s World on Johanneswilm

This is a campaign I started a little over a month ago. And yes, I happened to take the initiative, but the fact that the name wasn’t very well chosen was something many people had been thinking about before. Basically, it’s this Danish company t…

This is only beta stuff, but something like this may be all

This is only beta stuff, but something like this may be all that is needed to replace much/most of today’s education and CV system. Learning can happen in many different contexts — online or in class or wherever, and testing skills can happen independently thereof. Instead of taking entire degrees one can take individual exams corresponding exactly to what one needs to do something or other and display once technical skills in an easily accessible and universally understandable format. http://openbadges.org/

Swung by the Plaza de la Revolución tonight to listen to Da

Swung by the Plaza de la Revolución tonight to listen to Daniel Ortega’s interpretation of the Cartagena meeting of American states: He is angry at Canada and USA for voting against Cuban participation in future summits. He believes the governments of those countries don’t really speak for their populations and challenges them to hold referendas to determine what the people really want. He also accused the governments of those countries of thinking they are privileged to determine who is democratic, while repressing the Occupy protests violently.

Ah, så flott. da har jeg noe å glede meg til når jeg blir

Ah, så flott. da har jeg noe å glede meg til når jeg blir 80! Men hvorfor stoppe med planene der? Hvorfor ikke sette opp en plan om å utvide Oslos trikkesystem til månen rundt år 2334 og til mars i år 3872?

"…I Ruters strategidokument er det lagt opp til egne buss- og trikketraseer i indre by fra 2060. …"

http://oslopuls.aftenposten.no/byliv/article712902.ece