International Africa Day

Monday, May 31, 2010

We have been in debt with Africa for centuries, but especially since the 1980s when the wealthy countries took the reins of global governance and forgot their promises of aid and international cooperation…. .

They replaced aid with loans granted with under draconian conditions.

They replaced cooperation with exploitation.

They replaced a multilateral system with a plutocracy (G7, G8…).

They replaced democratic principles with the laws of the market.

They replaced a global development project with an economy of speculation and war.

The corruptors then accused the corrupt who, logically, didn’t deserve subsidies!

The time for “We, the Peoples …” has arrived, in which civil society can no longer remain silent.

It is time for NGOs and the United Nations system, joining their hands and voices to close gaps and heal wounds.

It is time to listen to Africa: to do what Africa’s immense wisdom tells us it needs.

It is time to demand that Europe cease the activities of multinationals that are exhausting fishing stocks, unduly and without compensation exploiting coltan in the Kivu region of the Congo, bauxite in Guinea-Conakry… or gold, with mining procedures that seriously damage the environment.

It is time to demand that the large communications media enterprises generously distribute in Africa the colossal media profits they will reap from the World Cup, huge profits that will otherwise fall into so few hands.

Yes: today, International Africa Day is the time to reaffirm our love for that continent, which has given so much in exchange for so little. And to ask their forgiveness. And to thank them for their smiles, despite it all.

It is time to fulfill what I wrote on the Island of Goreé in July, 1992:

…The last


of his island,

of his homeland

of one

who now sails

the seas of disaffection

toward places unknown.


we do so cherish

that last

fading glance,

so brutally


of the countryside,

of his home,

of its shores.

They were sold

by weight.


must pay the price.

Teachers, priests… We must separate the chaff, not throw out the wheat

Friday, May 28, 2010



A teacher who did not behave correctly… and all educators are undeservedly criticized! (over 800,000 in Spain).

Priests who have committed an offence… and we rake all priests over the coals, forgetting –independently of our religious beliefs- the immense majority who with exemplary generosity devote themselves daily to the service of others.

The priests who fulfill their missions with exemplary vocation do not deserve this generalized condemnation.

It is the hierarchy that silenced what it shouldn’t have, which did not react by seeking “human” solutions to secular problems such as mandatory celibacy. It is the church of solemn rites and tiaras of precious stones, while they talk of eradicating hunger… It is the hierarchy determined to invade so many areas of scientific knowledge, instead of devoting themselves to the spirit (which is their much needed task).

I am writing this for teachers who don’t deserve a news item that always describes something atypical and unusual, and which reflects badly on all of them.

And for the faithful of all religions who don’t deserve that all of their ministers be judged for matters that affect only a few who should indeed be treated as criminal offenders.

We must separate the chaff, but take great care of the wheat.

Flags of Convenience

Thursday, May 27, 2010



All of those ships with flags from Liberia, Panama

What a disgrace! Everything is false, simulated, shipowners, charterers, insurers, reinsurers…

All of this is an immense sham to avoid responsibility, earn more money –as is to be expected in a market economy!- in detriment to the environment, with tax fraud and the violation of international law.

Only a strong United Nations, endowed with sufficient resources would be able to enforce the law and control these excesses.

A Misunderstanding?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

On May 6, 2010 during a radio interview on “Onda Cero” Mr. Rajoy said, “Camps will be the Popular Party candidate in Valencia no matter what the courts say”.

They always speak before they think! Before considering alternative proposals.

Now it turns out that he was “misinterpreted”. No, sir! It would be more elegant to simply admit that his answer was unfortunate. But he blames it on the audience… To courageously say what one thinks is admirable. To impetuously speak one’s mind and later pass the responsibility on to another is wrong.

Say what you think, but think before you speak. That’s the key.

Speculation Ruling the World? No!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

We must all pitch in to correct so many errors, but commencing with the most affluent. From the “top”, because the “top” has received the most aid, the “top” is the sector that has most benefited from real estate excesses and the delocalization of production.

It isn’t a problem of Spain or Greece. It’s Europe. The dollar zone started this fiasco. And now (and I’ll comment on this in detail below) the dollar zone once again intends to be the single world monetary reference.

This crisis was initially a financial crisis, then an economic crisis, and now a political one. And if it is not firmly addressed at the level that must prevail over all others, it will become a social crisis with very serious consequences.

The whole EU must correct itself and resume its political authority. In that regard, it is shameful that the president of our Business Organizations Association has proposed further reductions of Spain’s aid to development… and that the Madrid Savings and Loan Association plans to reduce its social programs, when this is exactly what differentiates such institutions from other banks! Now the rescued markets are holding the governments that saved them hostage… and politicians react with such incongruent measures as the cutbacks proposed by the opposition party leader, for an amount similar to a well-known Spanish banker’s recently-revealed golden parachute.

What is certain is that capital is conditioning the EU’s political decisions, sacrificing social welfare on the altar of the market. And this has occurred because the democratic values of social justice, solidarity and equality have been replaced by the laws of the market. I have been warning that this would happen for the last twenty years. Let’s now reinstate those principles!

After President Obama had been elected, in November, 2008 it was a huge error to offer Bush the leadership role in resolving the crisis since (“free market, free trade”) he passed the task on to the G-20 (the group of the richest countries) instead of seeking innovative and courageous solutions (to eliminate tax havens and set up appropriate regulations) in what could have been the commencement of a true renewal of the United Nations system, which had been cast aside at the end of the 1980s precisely by the helmsmen of neoliberalism.

Vast amounts of money were spent to rescue the same financial institutions that in a large measure caused this multiple (economic, environmental, food, ethical…) crisis, and which today instead of contributing to a final solution impose their demands on those who naively saved them from their downfall. But both have forgotten that the citizens of 2010 are not the same as those who endured their prior “bubbles”. In less time than they can imagine, citizens are now capable of decisively influencing events, and molding genuine democracies.

It is essential to dodge the final blows of the “globalizers”. The dominant powers don’t want to acknowledge that their (long, too long) time has come and that a “new beginning” is commencing, a new era in which “the Peoples …”, as the United Nations Charter predicted, will take the reins of their own destinies.

And they will do so thanks to the opportunities for distance participation afforded by modern communications technology. In a few years they will finally erect the pillars of genuine democracy at the local, national, regional and global levels.

The economies of war and speculation will be replaced by an economy of global sustainable development. Peace will be maintained and defended by forces from the United Nations, whose General Assembly will have adequate representation from civil society, and the Security Council will take on new “economic, environmental, health…” dimensions. In a few years justice at the supranational level and the appropriate regulations will be strengthened, thanks to broad popular participation led by the academic, artistic, scientific and intellectual communities, bringing transgressors and offenders to justice and finally doing away with tax havens, mafias and trafficking in arms, drugs and people.

Regional unions in Europe Africa and Latin America will be strengthened…

We live in an exciting age in which for the first time in history citizen awareness will enable us to prevent a few from dominating the majority, imposing their undisputed plans (often even asking that we give up our lives without so much as a whimper).

Based on biased newscasts and the rumor mill (they still control the media) they seek to continue to impose by force their anachronistic formulas and their “market”.

Production has been delocalized to countries that enable them to increase their profits at minimal costs, looking the other way so as to ignore the precarious conditions of the workforce in those countries. It is essential to adopt a new economy. A new economy that will only be possible if at the international level the United Nations system has the authority and is endowed with the human, financial and technical resources required to establish the necessary equilibrium, while being prepared to deploy its forces in those cases that seriously violate human rights and rapidly coordinate international efforts to reduce, within a much broader security framework, the impact of natural disasters for which we are today totally unprepared. (We are prepared for war, with hundreds of planes, ships and submarines… but we are helpless when faced with floods, earthquakes, etc.).

The world can’t continue to play the game of those who, senselessly and blinded by greed, circulate rumors and lies to bring down stock market values so that the can buy low and sell high… All of this is speculation; prices drop and I buy; prices rise and I sell (and I launder and stash the profits in a tax haven). And in the meantime, enterprises lack the means to do business, production is confined to a few internally impoverished countries… The moment to put a stop to all of this has come. We must dodge the final blows. We must do our part to bring down this giant framework that for so long has supported male dominance in the world, and which is finally teetering on the brink.

We are aware that the future has yet to be forged. I will never tire of repeating this, because I truly believe it. It all depends on us. All of us joining hands. All of us with a single voice.

Drug trafficking must be done away with, once and for all

Monday, May 24, 2010

Drug trafficking is an authentic and gravely serious threat to world stability and, after so many years, we now have a worst-case scenario: trafficking in drugs is now accepted as a “collateral effect” of the economic system, of our imbalanced and confused global leadership that has made the marketplace the protagonist of world politics, replacing democratic principles.

As long as there is demand, there will be offer. The high price of drugs doesn’t prevent those who first seek them, and then need them, from obtaining them. They will do everything imaginable (and unimaginable) to get the dose they require.

As is the case with alcohol, drugs should be available to those who decide to consume them, at affordable prices, very cheap. This would rapidly put the drug mafias out of business. It would be a decisive blow, which would erase one of the greatest blights on the face of the earth. I sincerely believe that this would be the only way to eliminate drugs. It has already been shown that they cannot be eradicated by force.

A huge anti-drug campaign should be launched, with the collaboration of all of the communications media and the participation of civil society, to convince people not to use drugs.

Some may object, as I as a neuroscientist did years ago, that this would risk increasing drug consumption... But that’s not true. At all levels the traffickers are already making drugs readily available in the streets to consumers who are progressively younger and more gullible.

Drug addiction produces very negative health effects, especially neurological damage that affects the will and in the lives of drug addicts... and their families. I have seen so many families destroyed, impoverished, ruined in all senses of the word, by drug consumption. And ultimately, given the dimension of drug trafficking and its economic and criminal impact, drug consumption affects society as a whole.

We must combat drug addiction with the same efforts that we have dedicated to the consumption of tobacco, and with the influence we use to convince society to combat climate change, poverty or AIDS. This is a huge challenge. The welfare of many human beings depends on a radical rethinking of this problem, which should not be considered an irremediable “affliction” of today’s world.

Drug users should not be stigmatized, but rather involvement must be sought from all governments, which to date have consented trafficking on a supranational scale, and which have shown themselves incapable of closing down tax havens once and for all. As long as there are tax havens, there will be trafficking, international crime and mafias. From the richest and the most powerful to the poor neighborhoods and alienated ghettos, all are ultimately emissaries of this evil capillary system.

We must help addicts rebuild their lives, to take responsibility for themselves, to be themselves again, so that they can fully enjoy the mystery of their existence. And drug traffickers must be brought before the courts or, better still, we must make them disappear by rendering their “merchandise” worthless.

Memory Without Borders. Justice Without Borders

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Forgetting is impossible. And wrong. Remembering, especially after so many years, does not imply feelings of vengeance or hostility. At this day and time the victims are aware that knowing the truth will permit them to condemn the crime, but not the perpetrator. But, nevertheless, they will be able to participate in building democracies in which the ideas and attitudes that give rise to such violence can never be repeated, and those who continue to maintain such positions must rectify their behavior.

The truth of exactly what happened must be revealed, without limitations, in order to ease the pain of the victims’ families and friends, and so they may “know” the events that occurred and receive the compensation that may be warranted.

Only through this collective memory, with a profound knowledge of the past, will we be capable of building the appropriate future for our common destiny. Memory of the future. History has already been recorded. It should be described accurately. But I like to repeat that the future has yet to be written. And we can only do so with memories without borders, with justice without borders.

Justice that applies laws which have progressively been perfected with impartiality, with the utmost objectivity... so that we will never again witness the incomprehensible and embarrassing spectacle of judges interpreting laws according to their ideology and political affiliation.

Justice without borders for memory without borders, which is essential for the harmonious coexistence we all desire.

As a scientist I know that the future is the only thing that matters and that it cannot be forged from vagueness, ambiguity, lies or simulation. The people who accuse those who demand the truth about the past and justice of putting democracy at risk should know that we will only have genuine democracy when we can all look at both the past and to the future freely and together as one.

"I don’t want to be critical, but I think Spain doesn’t sell itself well"

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

(The Ambassador of the United States to Spain, "El País", April 22, 2010)

I know what you meant to say, Mr. Ambassador, and this time I won’t take offense. But please don’t repeat that.

Spain can’t be bought or sold. It’s true that some people have tried to do so repeatedly (both buy it and sell it). But it’s equally true that they haven’t been successful.

I know what you meant: that we need to better demonstrate who we are and what we can do. But not to “sell” ourselves better, but rather to “be” better, to help more, to have greater influence in building a world in which it isn’t the marketplace (selling, buying), but rather democratic values (social justice, solidarity, equality) that prevail.

"Without a Single Republican Vote"

Monday, May 17, 2010

With much difficulty and a few concessions, President Obama was finally able to pass a reform of healthcare legislation, where many generations and several former U.S. presidents had failed. The law increases access to healthcare to over 30 million U.S. citizens who cannot afford private medical insurance. But it is sad to admit that the immense influence of insurance companies has created a situation in which the more fortunate show little solidarity for those who aren’t.

I am quite perplexed and rather ashamed of blind obedience to party politics. “Party discipline” must be limited by conscience and by respect for values and human rights, which are so often on the tongues but less so in the hearts of those who, in order to preserve what they deem essential, should learn how to transform that which is not.

How was it possible, as was the case in Spain, to blindly vote in favor of the invasion of Iraq, based on lies, but as a “matter of discipline”, when I know for a fact that many who did so did not agree or had problems of conscience?

With these strict and obstinate conditions, bridges of concord and good governance will never be built between opposing groups in Washington or in Madrid.

But “representatives” of the people should be aware that in a few years the people –who are still so distant and so often ignored- will no longer accept incongruities of this nature, especially when they violate the most prized ethical principles.

People will no longer continue to observe in silence “what is going on,” “what they are doing"...

Let the parliamentarians of both here and there take note. Listen continually to your constituents, because if you don’t you will soon be “cut free”, having lost the links and support that citizens, disillusioned with the way laws are passed, can no longer give you... especially when they later discover that the essential rule of democracy is ignored: respect for the results.

And I say this because what is worse than having been passed “without a single republican vote”, is that some states governed by conservatives threaten not to implement the law. And the same situation exists in our own country with the “rebellion” preached by certain ultraconservative leaders.

A few years ago I wrote these verses about the “silent representatives of the people": "they merely seek / to remain / silent, / unnoticed, / pale, / in their stuffed / chairs. / They won’t lift / their voices / nor their eyes..."

I hope with all my heart that the “Obamas” in the world are successful and that once aware of citizens’ imminent reaction, parliamentarians will finally decide to vote on key issues according to the dictates of their conscience. Then they will learn how good that feels.

The Criminal Court Awaits Garzón

Monday, May 3, 2010

How hurriedly and with what irrepressible expectation did the “ABC” newspaper publish this headline on March 26, 2010!

And it added: "The Supreme Court dismissed the judge’s appeal and cleared the way to trying him for knowingly rendering unfair judgments".

"The Madrid Superior Court of Justice of Madrid has excluded all wiretap evidence ordered by the judge in the Gürtel case".

With regard to the first subheading, it is incredible that, in the end, the judge investigating persons who disappeared during the Civil War and who commenced proceedings against certain post-war acts of the former regime... is now being prosecuted by those who represent the executioners. The prosecuting judge is being prosecuted!

And with respect to the exclusion of wiretap evidence... this is an attempt, based on legal technicalities, to erase competent evidence that is certainly inerasable.

In both cases, what is important is getting to the truth. I won’t tire of repeating that we must know what happened to ensure that some of these events are never repeated. And in true respect for the victims who have the right to personal knowledge of the truth of the events that so directly affect them, it is clear that in a genuinely democratic system legal proceedings must be conducted without obstacles or procedural maneuvers.

The Parliament can’t maintain its "dribblings" with the courts for much longer.

But I am confident. Don’t worry. If Judge Garzón is prosecuted, he will emerge unscathed.

Any other hypothesis would be inconceivable in a country that strives to perfect a system of true public liberties.