Friday, April 29, 2011

  • Much has been said about the need to “calm the markets”… when what should be done sufficiently in advance is to calm the people, who won’t tolerate much longer the social inequities and this entirely disrupted economic system, with biased rating agencies.
  • In Italy the Coliseum is intended to be privatized… when a cultural symbol of such magnitude should be totally "italian”, totally "roman”, of a creative people who are in the hands of a few unscrupulous citizens.
  • I’ve read in the press: “The scandal of mass layoffs will bring down Chávez and Griñán”, in the opinion of the Popular Party candidate to the Andalusian regional government, while they are presenting a handful of candidates who are presently under criminal investigation and who actually have good perspectives of being elected, according to the opinion polls. Is it true that “with more corruption, more votes”? Despite party loyalty and blindness toward certain cases, I refuse to believe this.
  • Petroleum consumption is on the rise… and so are oil prices! And, thus, carbon dioxide emissions are also increasing. With increased consumption, you would expect prices to go down… . It is urgent to support renewable energies! It is one of our foremost commitments to future generations.
  • There’s no money to fight extreme poverty, nor to maintain the healthcare in the United States that President Obama had achieved despite the Republicans’ lack of solidarity… and there’s no way on earth to get them to even minimally cut military expending.
  • “Microcredits” provided excellent mini-solutions for many people… but as I warned many years ago, there was a risk that the “macrocredits” for development cooperation granted to replace exploitation would soon dry up.
  • Instead of admitting the reality of citizens’ quality of life, international financial institutions and the World Bank insist on using indices such as the GDP and per capita income. And, thus, it turns out that Uganda and Ruanda have shown “spectacular growth”. But this is mostly due to the coltan mined in the Kivu region by huge multinational consortia, which leaves the country via Kampala and Kigali, but which in no way benefits the native Congolese. So I must insist: if we ignore reality, we will never be able to provide appropriate solutions.
  • We talk of the overriding need to guarantee freedom of the press… while watching so many television channels concentrated in the same hands and, at the newsstands, choosing from so many biased newspapers that only reflect their “master’s voice”...
  • The markets must be regulated and tax havens must be shut down… In the end it is they who are regulating daily politics and providing selfish citizens opportunities to commit tax fraud. We’ve read in the press that “The European Union has reinforced its rescue fund in exchange for a strict social adjustment program”. I am sure that in a few months this type of news will no longer be published, because distance participation will enable citizens to make the right decisions in democracies consolidated through their intervention.
  • The social programs supported by savings banks have also been greatly cut back… . Another incongruency: the social programs have always been the “popular difference” that distinguished savings banks from other financial institutions. It’s clear that, until now, the chain always breaks at the weakest link. But, once again, take note of the “virtual tidal wave” and before they know it they will no longer be able to continue with this type of incongruencies.

Incongruencies, incongruencies… but for how long?

Inadmissible lacks of solidarity!

1) The lack of solidarity of those who fail to pay their taxes –to share democratically and ensure that everyone has access to the social security system and health care, free education, and basic quality services…., choosing instead to deposit their money in tax “havens” that zealously keep the identity of their investors secret. This is a collective shame. Europe is scattered with countries whose largest source of revenue are funds deposited by selfish tax evaders.

When the failing financial institutions were rescued in November, 2008, the G-20 plutocrats assured law-abiding tax payers that this time the global banking system would be regulated and tax havens would be closed down for once and for all… But once again they broke their promises.

Governments should penalize this shameful situation for the social damage it causes, and regulate it through a reinforced United Nations backed by the whole of its member states.

A news item published not long ago underscored that thousands of Spaniards maintain accounts in Switzerland. Well, let it be known because if it is “normal” it should be transparent… and if it’s not transparent, then it’s certainly suspect.

3) The lack of solidarity of those who promote or tolerate a black market economy… who are often also those who rail against the high unemployment rate, whose “official” figures include a large percentage of “non-VAT” workers. This is another instance of a lack of employer solidarity that must be urgently remedied.

4) The lack of solidarity of those who for greed excessively “delocalize” production, just as Spain was used when we were a “developing country”. A huge amount of production has been transferred to countries in which labor costs are much lower (and where workplace conditions are often intolerably inhumane).

5) The lack of solidarity of those who file tax returns to pay less than they should, using every possible loophole (even legal ones…)

We are presently plagued by a systemic crisis, and the irreducible beneficiaries of globalization continue to work to ensure their survival and permanence.

Citizens must urgently take action to close down tax havens, to flush out the underground economy, to bring home the production of goods from places so distant from consumers that it cannot be justified, even in environmental terms.

If we act with solidarity, our problems will be resolved. Otherwise, our government leaders will continue to be trapped by opaque and protected markets, and politicians will continue to make empty promises aimed to attract voters, knowing all the while that if elected they will have to do what the system dictates… or simply look ridiculous, like those leaders who fly on low-cost airlines while drastically decreasing subventions for education and raising taxes…

Lack of solidarity, no. “The Peoples” will no longer tolerate it.

The Courts’ Unequal Diligence… is of much concern

In addition to interpreting laws according to their “progressive” or “conservative” political affiliations, which is a recurring issue that is difficult to explain and casts doubts as to the impartiality of certain judges, another related matter of much concern is the different level of diligence evident in certain courts. Thus, to cite two well-known examples, in Castellon and Valencia days, months and even years may pass, even beyond the statute of limitations for criminal prosecutions, while in Seville, to mention another more recent example, cases are diligently expedited, being enthusiastically supported by those accused in the “slower” prosecutions.

Let there be no mistake: the “democratic principles” so well proclaimed in the UNESCO Constitution commence with the judicial system. Let’s all work together to foster a quick “normalization” of this cornerstone of the future we all desire.

Otherwise, the peoples, who now have a voice, will no longer tolerate these time unbalances or the biased and partial verdicts of our judicial system.

Uncovering the “shadow” economy...

This is good news for the economy and for dignity. As a scientist, I will never tire of repeating that reality can only be transformed to the extent that it is actually known. If only partially known, solutions will likewise be partial.

We were aware that there were many people and companies working “underground”, unknown, and the level of tax fraud and lack of solidarity that this represents.

In the interest of everyone, transparency, true knowledge of reality, will facilitate radical changes.

Are there any “just” wars?

Throughout history many wars have been proclaimed “just..." by those who started them. As the United Nations Charter very clearly indicates, an armed conflict may only be initiated when preventive mechanisms have failed, and all –or a large majority- of countries deem confrontation with the aggressor warranted. Confrontation may become inevitable, but it is not "just".

Once again, Forges’ masterly comic strip, published in "El País" on March 22, says it better than any treatise could:

There are not just wars and unjust wars: there are only abominable wars

How could you paint it in the sky?

Because the truth is written even in the air

2011, the whirlwind year

Like humanity itself, the wind that carries the voice of the peoples, secularly silent, silenced, originated in Africa. It will now reach the whole world.

We must react wisely and timely. Not like in Libya. The time for dominating powers, for groups of plutocrats, is over.

It is time to unite, for a strong United Nations with a General Assembly that represents all of “the Peoples”. And an expanded and balanced Security Council, with the appropriate advisors, to likewise deal with questions of economic, environmental, energy and food security nature.

A United Nations to “save the future generations from the scourge of war”, the supreme commitment.

Do we realize how perfectly the UN Charter’s luminous mandate is being drawn?:

the Peoples

building peace

future generations

It is essential to achieve democracies that are “less formal” than the present ones in which obedience and biased interests drown out debate and the possibility for advancement and progress. Democracies hounded by the markets that, surreptitiously, are actually those in command.

Will our present political leaders be capable of rising to this great challenge?

Agreements are reached without threats

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Do those who are now champions in the use of force, under strict limitations and for the specific purposes authorized by the Security Council, really believe that they will find a solution to the fratricidal excesses in Libya by threatening to drag the Libyan leader, who they so strongly armed, before the Criminal Court?

Do those who until only a few weeks ago received the now “dictator” Gaddafi with honors really believe this? Those who allowed him to set up his tent in prominent venues, awarded him medals –and even academic degrees- and sold him immense arsenals of war material?

They must now seek a clever way out of this mess. And after…

After seeing that the oil and profits to be made will go to the Libyan people (in that regard, who is now exploiting the oilfields in Iraq?)... Let’s not let that happen in Libya.

Later, after calmly considering what has happened in Iraq –millions of displaced people, thousands of dead and injured by an invasion based on lies and strategic and oil interests-… and in Gaza, for example…

Then, and only then, may Gaddafi and other autocrats be judged with reliable evidence.

Later. But right now find a peaceful solution that, as I have repeatedly underscored, should have been sought before, through the United Nations with the support of the world’s superpowers (which continue to attempt to govern the world with groups of plutocrats).

Later, perhaps. Now, urgently stop the conflict.

Get angry!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Not everything is permissible, neither in form or substance, in order to mislead citizens for electoral purposes.

Following Stéphane Hessel’s wise recommendation, let’s get angry. Let’s cease to remain passive when once again we observe politicians who, offering no solutions and some of whom are surrounded by scandal and accused of corruption, who even came to power in questionable circumstances involving well-compensated vote-switching, are now at the highest level –those involved in the 1998 negotiations and in the Azores- slinging accusations against the Government and the police forces based on documents from ETA!

There is a limit to everything, especially in light of the great progress made in the fight against terrorism. Giving this group credibility will have consequences that this improper attitude deserves. It will truly have a boomerang effect.

It is not acceptable for the communications media to repeat not only the same insidious claims, but also to use language inappropriate from a democratic perspective and unwarranted for many citizens who, unaware, risk actually believing these outrageous remarks.

This is intolerable. It’s disgraceful.

Let’s raise our voices in protest. It’s a crime to remain silent.

Make Peace, Not War!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A new lesson, to endow the United Nations with the authority that is essential if it is to promptly fulfill its mission of preventing the “scourge of war ".

When the present powers that be, who only know how to use force, turn to the United Nations, it is only at the last minute in situations such as the present one when there’s no alternative to war, but which is better than ignoring the UN as was the case in Iraq.

The G-8 and G20 should disappear from the international scene once and for all, because their decisions always come too late, at the wrong time, or never.

If 20 days ago they had unanimously supported the United Nations, peace could have been negotiated because all countries in the world oppose Gaddafi’s brutal tactics. Now, once again, we must resort to the language of bombs. But since until only a few weeks ago they were selling arms to the “dictator”, the weapons used on each side are the same and are known to all...

Let’s once and for all rid ourselves of the embarrassment of these “acrobat” leaders who without compass or measure one day embrace him and the next day disown him. And although they don’t want to recognize it, this is a systemic crisis and what they must promptly do is to turn world governance upside down and with courage and intelligence replace the G20 with a G-196, with all nations... because all countries suffer the consequences of the current plutocracy.

It’s true, we could not consent to what was happening. No one can fire on his own people with impunity... but when political determination was needed to promptly and unanimously apply diplomatic and economic pressure, force was used instead, with results that will always be unpredictable and considerable “collateral effects”.

They now commit acts of war with the same diligence with which they sold him weapons just a month ago. It’s essential that we learn this terrible lesson and take measures to ensure that similar opprobrium is not repeated.

Look at what is happening in Bahrain and Yemen. Isn’t it time to end the dreams of domination of Reagan, Thatcher and the groups of plutocrats to return to a United Nations as it should be, and quickly make it strong, efficient and respected by all?

Only a strong United Nations

Monday, April 11, 2011

Only a strong… and united (!) United Nations will be able...

To serve as a valid and efficient spokesman, representing all countries and not merely a few (European Union, OECD, Arab League... each, moreover, with its “less than exemplary” history) to intervene –and prevent- situations that Gaddafi’s Libya so dramatically represents...

As was to be expected, we are reaching a point of no return, and we will lose a historic opportunity, with many victims and much suffering.

The G-8 and G-20 continue to crumble, while the United Nations isn’t receiving –and this would be the moment to do so- the support needs to play the role that only it can play.

If it receives the support of all of the “globalizers” who seek to be the dominant power, and having been entrusted with an unpostponable universal commitment to the future generations, the United Nations is the only institution capable of reaching a global energy agreement that respects the environment, to henceforth regulate the consumption, use and characteristics of different energy sources (including, and foremost, oil and nuclear energy).

Only the United Nations system has the capacity to coordinate and implement the appropriate courses of action to respond to natural or man-made disasters and to reduce their impact, with the right technology and properly trained personnel...

Only a strong and united United Nations can provide a universally-recognized reference for the arbitration of such “new” and urgent global matters such as the management of Internet...

The time for neo-liberal globalization, for G groups and dominant powers is over. “The Peoples” referred to in the United Nations Charter are now beginning to make their voices heard.

Crime of silence: the time has come. It’s time for action

Friday, April 8, 2011

Editorial Comanegra has just released “Crime of Silence: the time has come. It’s time for action", a publication in which its author, Federico Mayor Zaragoza urges citizens to take a stand and take the reins of their destinies into their own hands, rather than remaining silent spectators, and to say ENOUGH!


Awareness, foresight, prevention. Behaving in such as way as to forge the future and invent a tomorrow in consonance with equal dignity for all human beings. This commitment to the future generations requires profound transformations and radical changes, but also that we preserve the essential values that must guide our steps and serve as a point of reference when responding to the great challenges that we face.

Thus, against the wind, we must plow our fields and plant our seeds, even in bad weather and hostile environments. For centuries, in male-dominated circles of power there has been a culture of imposition, violence and dominance. And people, as obedient vassals, have remained silent and fearful.

But at last the time has come for the peoples, the women and men of the whole world, to take the reins of their destinies into their own hands. The time has come to refuse to accept the unacceptable. To rise up, to raise our voices and to offer an outstretched hand.

Information and communications technologies now make distance participation possible. And, thus, they can facilitate a transition from an economy of speculation and war to an economy of sustainable global development. From subjects to citizens. From force to words.

The time has come. It’s time for action, and to cease being passive spectators.

The time for silence is over.

Libya: at last, “We the Peoples!..."

Thursday, April 7, 2011

This “tidal wave” can only be contained by a United Nations duly endowed with the necessary authority.

Now it turns out that the solution to the crisis in Libya “will be political and not military,” according to the same European leader who SOME days ago frenetically unleashed all possible military resources...

It’s clear. This “tidal wave” was foreseeable, commencing with the neighboring countries.

It was foreseeable that groups of globalizing plutocrats, hounded by the markets, would be unable to provide good governance.

It was foreseeable that, as designed by Roosevelt, only a strong United Nations with sufficient authority could now undisputedly offer the only possible solution.

To all of those who finally opted for a military solution rather than having previously chosen a political one: we must now recommend that they not delay taking these decisions, as they did before... because this “tidal wave” can no longer be stopped.

Diplomacy, from the beginning

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

For many years, as Director General of UNESCO, created to “avoid war” and “build peace in the minds of men,” I have underscored the need to come together in dialogue and conciliation before conflicts arise or, at least, as soon as they commence.

Instead of seeking the Security Council’s permission last hour to reduce Gaddafi by force, the United Nations’ Member States should have unanimously supported earlier the UN as the major negotiator in preventing the conflict.

Maximo’s cartoon in the March 25th issue of ABC is excellent. It says so much in so few words! (and it certainly stands out among so many words that say so little.)


Friday, April 1, 2011

Yes, we should stop Gaddafi’s deadly acts against his dissident citizens. This has been authorized by the United Nations Security Council. But simultaneously we must do what should have been done a long time ago: talk. Talk under the supervision of the United Nations. There have been proposals for mediation from Venezuela, Russia, Brazil, BRIC

The United Nations, which authorized this military action, should now force the parties to mediate. This is essential. And this is the UN’s principal role.

And it should be made quite clear for the future that the “world’s leaders” cannot continue to attempt to govern through the G-8 or the G-20, only seeking the United Nations’ “placet” when there is no other option.

From now on, instead of turning to the United Nations as a last resort, that’s where we should start. All countries must unite with the United Nations… instead of permanently alienating the UN.

In that regard, it is simply immoral to compare a military action such as this one, limited exclusively to stopping an intolerable repression, with the invasion of Iraq, based on lies and on energy and geo-strategic ambitions. Those who promoted it knowing that no arsenals of mass destruction existed will be seriously accountable to history.


Democracy should not tolerate such abuse

In today’s ABC, Gabriel Albiac published a column entitled “An Honorable Exit”. It was devoted to the President of the Government, to whom he referred in different paragraphs of his article as a “smiling nobody”, a “fool armed with resounding nonsense” and the “dumb one in the tribe”. He ends the article by saying, “I don’t know whether it’s true that he is planning to resign now, after having botched everything in both word and deed, to later return home as if nothing had happened. In his place, the least I would do would be to blow my brains out. With dignity.”

This is intolerable. This final paragraph borders on the criminal, and demands rectification and apologies.

Mr. Albiac should not have written this. ABC should not have published this.

As a tireless promoter of a culture of peace, I respect all types of criticism –and praise!-, all points of view and all opinions, although they may be radically opposed to my own. But violence, no. Imposition, no. Threats, no. Given the extent of this defamation, it is obvious that Mr. Albiac’s brain isn’t functioning properly. I trust that his mental disorder will only be temporary.