“This is not a damn game"

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Mr. Boehner, Republican leader of the United States, determined at any cost to avoid the "Medicare", which would benefit millions of Americans living in precarious conditions, has said that "this is not a damn game."

It's a damn injustice that his party is protecting for more than 70 years (¡!) in favor of the huge profits of insurance companies. And those who cannot afford health insurance, to suffer and die. "You have deserved it," was the brief and dreadful reaction of one of the representatives of this party that should now not only receive the rejection of an American majority but widespread rejection of humanity that, for so many years, is witness -and often victim- of a ruthless, autocratic and exclusive ideology based on the hegemonic power of the United States. 

“Some examples will suffice to prove it": in 1919, after World War I, President Woodrow Wilson, horrified by the number of victims and the conditions of that terrible conflict, proposes a "Permanent Peace Treaty", and sets up the League of Nations and the International Court of Justice ... Soon warned the President, especially the weapons manufacturers, that their role was not to promote world peace but to ensure the security of the United States ... and the succeeding Republican Party did not authorize the United States to be part of the League of Nations that President Wilson had created! 

In 1945, President Harry Truman –it was time for international solidarity, the Marshall Plan, of cooperation, of sharing, of "We, the peoples ..." in the Charter of the United Nations, of the promotion of a peaceful coexistence- tried to adopt "Medicare" in such a way that international solidarity corresponded the intranational. It failed. 

And then Kennedy failed. And then did Clinton. It was necessary for Obama to come, in order that cleverly, shrewdly, the Federal Administration achieve the social goal of health for all, operating already in many countries without a conservative and classist burden of this nature. 

But do not forget -the humanity should not forget- that the Republicans are the ones that have opposed the recognition of the Convention on the Rights of the Child; that they have prevented the adoption of the right to food; those who have positioned the International Trade Organization outside the United Nations System, those who have not signed the International Criminal Court; those who have weakened the Nation-State and have replaced the United Nations by the plutocratic groups; those who, with greed and irresponsibility, replaced the values by the laws of the market; that have stopped progress in regulating the drugs; those who have used force, especially in Latin America (Condor Operation) and who invaded Iraq based on lies; those who are in second-term concerning the urgent environmental measures; those who have led the United States to invest eight times more on security than any other power (about 800 billion dollars a year, followed by China with 100 billion ); those who have supported the productive relocation; that have discretionary distributed the nuclear power ... and those who remain committed , with acolytes as persevering as discredited, to maintain the neoliberal system that puts the markets where it should be the people and the oligarchic groups (G7, G8 , G20) where must be the re-founded United Nations. 

"The damn game" of the Republican leader Boehner must be finished. Not only by the radical opposition of many of the American people but by a global outcry. 

The Internet users are already a greater number than the Chinese population. The citizen power begins to be a "great power". 

Let’s apply it.

15th of September “International Day of Democracy”

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The "International Day of Democracy" is the right time to think out loud about democracy, what means, what represents as everyday behaviour at a personal, local, regional and international scale, how the “democratic principles enshrined in the UNESCO’s Constitution in 1945can be better respected and implemented worldwide as the best solution   to face the present challenges.

 The situation is especially complex and difficult, especially in Europe, where have been the markets that have conditioned the political action to the point of, in the cradle of democracy such as Greece and Italy, to appoint the governments without elections. It was a terrible mistake allow to the “neoliberal globalizers” to substitute the ethical values by the market laws and the United Nations by plutocratic groups (G-6, G-7, G-8… G-20).  The systemic crisis is so profound that a “new beginning” is to be promptly envisaged. 

This year “leit motiv” of the International Day is “to reinforce voices in favour of democracy”. “In the heart of democracy –has written the Secretary General of the United Nations- lies the capacity to express the voice of the people to decide the way in which is to be governed”.

Today is possible, for the first time in history, the on-line participation thanks to modern communication technology. Use it, join voices, thousands, millions of voices, in order that "formal" democracy loses weight and genuine democracy, taking  into account permanently the citizens that represents, is strengthened.

I will never forget when, talking one day about "true" democracy, my father said to me: "Democracy is based on sharing". Those who have more, those more fortunate must show solidarity and offer equal opportunities to those who have less. Those who accumulate, those that evade their tax responsibilities, must not forget this: democracy is to share, to take permanently the others, specially the most vulnerable, into account.

The Charter of the UN, which was adopted on behalf of the «Peoples of the United Nations», reaffirms the «faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small»… However, the term “democracy” is not used in any of its provisions.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights only mentions democracy once in Article 29.2: “…human rights based mainly, but not solely, on the requirements “of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society”.

During the “cold war” democracy took shelter in the regional Organizations (the European Council, the Organization of American States and, some time later, the European Union). Since 1989 democracy has continuously been dealt with   by international Organizations: United Nations, the African Union, the Inter-Parliamentary Union… which this year, precisely, promotes the celebration of the International Day in all its associated Parliaments in 162 countries.

Democracy can only exist if human rights are respected and protected, while human rights may in turn only flourish within a democratic regime.

For all the reasons mentioned above, some years ago we drafted –with Karel Vasak, Juan Antonio Carrillo Salcedo, Mario Soares, Edgar Morin, Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, François de Bernard…- one project of a “Universal Declaration of Democracy” that was presented in October 2012 in the European Council and, afterwards, has incorporated important remarks and comments from many specialists. The Declaration has right now a very important number of signatories (http://www.fund-culturadepaz.org/democracia_esp.php ).

It is the first time that democracy is dealt with in all its facets: political, economic, social, cultural and international democracy.

I think that is interesting to quote here the following articles of the Declaration:
“Article 1.     Democracy is a political, economic, social, cultural and international regime, based on the respect for human being, the supremacy and independence of justice and law, as well as on the possibility for any individual to participate in the life and development of society, in freedom and peace and in a favourable natural and cultural environment, being always fully conscious of the equal dignity and interdependence of the human beings”.
“Article 11.1 Democracy shall develop economic systems based on social justice, to which all the other aspects and dimensions of the economic life will be always subordinated, in a context of competence and fair and free cooperation,  in order to achieve a human and sustainable economic development  growth, shared prosperity, the promotion  of employment and labour, and a rational use of economic, nutritional, natural and energy resources, with the main objective of ensuring  to  everybody  to  have  access to  the goods and   services - particularly health services- necessary for a dignified life”.

Since it is based on freedom and human rights, the democratic regime is indeed the best guarantee for national and international peace, combining the efforts of all actors in social life: States, individuals, public and private organizations. Only in such conditions can a transition from a culture of imposition, domination, violence and war to a culture of conversation, conciliation, alliance and peace take place. Summing up: from force to word.

President Obama: Don’t Repeat in Syria the Tragic Error of Irak

Friday, September 6, 2013

For years –with the terrible outcome of the unlawful invasion of Iraq in my memory and heart, and later given the obscene spectacle of Gaddafi’s assassination– I have continuously insisted that a re-founding of the United Nations it is both indispensable and urgent. Another attack, without awaiting the report of the UN’s inspectors –as was the case in Iraq with the concocted lie suggesting that Saddam Hussein’s regime possessed “weapons of mass destruction”- would once again constitute a blood-stained affront to the United Nations’ jurisdiction. 

“There is only one emergency exit: a re-united United Nations!”, I insisted a few days later. And on February 13, 2012: “Syria? The Only Solution: a Unanimously-supported United Nations”. I then proposed a “re-founding” of the United Nations in two stages: an immediate one in which the General Assembly would unanimously appoint a spokesperson to establish the appropriate contacts with the al-Assad government to reach the pertinent agreements, thanks to the immense authority with which he would be vested. In a second stage a General Assembly would be constituted with 50% of its representatives from member states and the other 50% comprising representatives drawn from civil society. In other respects, the present Security Council, in which there would be weighted votes but no veto powers, would be joined by a Socio-economic Security Council and an Environmental Security Council. 

The Western countries –due to global ambitions for hegemony that promoted plutocracy and the markets- has lost its authority and legitimacy. It lacks political and moral leadership. Europe, frightened, intimidated, with a security system dependent on others, obsessed with risk premiums and ambiguous “economic upturns”, hasn’t known how to play the “major role that it should in the recent crises, confrontations and upheavals” (August 24, 2013). 

President Obama: take action with the United Nations. Only you, with the actual and virtual participation of the peoples, can repeat in your second mandate the achievements of President Roosevelt… but this time taking into account the people, the peoples. 

Don’t intervene without information from United Nations –and not from other discredited intelligence channels- indicating those who are responsible for this conflict. And don’t intervene without the approval of the Security Council. It would be a great deception and another act of irresponsibility to attack Syria with missiles launched from aircraft carriers to demonstrate to its government the strength of the West while ignoring the “collateral effects” –that have never worried the “great lobby”- and without really knowing who that will benefit (because so little is known about the “opposition” and what is known isn’t to be trusted). 

Before shooting, Mr. President, look at who is urging you to pull that trigger. Think of the “people” on both sides. And don’t do it. President Obama: today you have the opportunity to prompt a significant turning-point from oligarchy to democracy, from a culture of dominance, imposition and violence to a culture of conciliation, alliance and peace. From force to words. 

Take advantage of it.

GNP (Gross National Product) or GNH (Gross National Happiness)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Nowadays, it has been commented that in the last twenty years almost one billion people “have left from the extreme poverty threshold." 

Other one billion are living in conditions of great poverty... and most of those born will be in areas of great precariousness. 

However, investment of huge amounts on military expenditures and arms will continue because “security comes first." 

China is the main protagonist of these "advances”... but what does “free from poverty” mean"? It is to ensure that there are no deaths from starving? It is necessary to repeat over and over again to the powerful that it is not about the right to life ... but to have a dinified life, so that all human beings can thoroughly exercise the distinctive faculties -think, imagine, anticipate, create!- of our human species. 

It is, therefore, urgent to transit from the GNP, so well known by the most prosperous, in whose hands the GNP is concentrated in a considerable extent, to the GIH, in other words, from the "gross inner product", in monetary and commercial terms, to the "inner happiness”, in a context of peaceful coexistence, without intolerable inequalities and asymmetries, in which everyone can be "free and responsible", as stated in the incomparable definition of education enshrined in Article 1 of the UNESCO’s Constitution. 

To this effect, the following transitions are necessary: 

- From a world governance by plutocratic groups (G7, G8...) of a neoliberal design, based on the laws of the market, to a re-founded United Nations, based on universal “democratic principles”. 

- From an economy of speculation, delocalization of production and war to a global economy of sustainable and human development, taking care of the major global priorities: food, water, health, environment, education, peace. 

- From a culture of imposition, domination and violence to a culture of dialogue, reconciliation, alliance and peace. 

- From force to word. 

The formula of GIH instead of GNP is being tested in Bhutan and in some States of Brazil. 

In a few years, it will be a reality because these related will be less every time and those in favour of the GIH will increase. Because, peacefully but firmly, “the peoples” can now express themselves freely. Because, in the cyberspace, the mobilization of those who as John Lennon’s want the GIH, want to be happy and not, even if they are fed, vassals of a system that imply being simple numbers, anonymous and invisible consumers and workers, will be unstoppable. 

In a few years, let the GNP die and long live to GIH!

Intergenerational Responsibility

“I despised them because being able to do so much,
they ventured so little”
Albert Camus

Could the next generations say they waited in vain for the present generations to carry out the supreme commitment that is, in the words of President Nelson Mandela, to act in such a way that our intellectual and material heritage does not mean a setback? What Earth's habitability is not worse than the one we have lived? What benchmarks, principles and ethical basis do not allow them to start their morning with hope? 

We are still dully cling, especially in the West, to a system that substituting values for commercial laws and democratic multilateralism for oligarchic groups, has led to a situation of enormous social inequalities and exclusion, as 80% of humanity finds no shelter in the prosperous neighborhood of the global village on which only 17-18% of the population lives. 

We are aware of the daily genocide of thousands of people dying of starvation and abandonment. But we keep paying attention at the fluctuations of the markets that do no benefit the majority of the inhabitants of Earth. And we let ourselves entertain by the enormous media power, which standardizes, turning citizens into passive spectators, radicalizing partisanship in the extreme, especially the sport one. 

Noam Chomsky has written recently, that the current economic and political system is a form of plutocracy that strongly differ from democracy, if by this concept we refer to political agreements in which the rule is influenced significantly by the public will ". 

With an eye exclusively on the short-term economic benefits, yesterday formulas are still being applied for today's challenges, perishable and ineffective, instead of protecting the living conditions that the “future generations” deserve, as enshrined at the beginning of the unique text of the Charter of the United Nations. 

Intergenerational solidarity requires a special way to address those potentially irreversible issues in which the treatment should be applied in due course, before it is too late and points of no return have been reached. The priorities, is worth repeating, are: food, access to water, health services for all, environmental care, education, renewable energy, peace. 

The culpable irresponsibility of some governors, in particular the Republican Party of the United States, has come to favor an education that, as the Exxon Mobile Foundation did for years, denies the climate change and the deleterious consequence of excessive combustion ... while, with great personal suffering, many human beings are seriously affected by the harmful "side effects" that are disguised or silenced. 

Scientific rigor. And adoption of attitudes widely seconded, in person or virtually, by millions of people in order to expose those who are opposed to providing truthful information that people deserve. 

Democracy at a global scale, with a United Nations of great moral and physical authority; democracy at regional level especially urgent in Europe; and democracy at the local level, in which citizens can really count and participate -now it is possible due to new communication technologies-, and with corrective mechanisms of the offence to democracy that represent absolute parliamentary majority, especially when is based on past electoral results. 

Let us raise our voice to foster of the transition from an economy of speculation, delocalization of production and war to a sustainable global economy and human development. Planetary security cannot be ensured in another way. Let's make possible that the fuel consumption is moderated by a great development of renewable sources of energy. And let’s clean up the sea, which occupies 70% of the skin of the Earth and it is the major "lung"... of the present and future generations. 

The clathrens, "submarine gold", and the fuels obtained by "fracking", should be used with criteria guided by scientific knowledge and not by the economic benefits... 

Let’s think of our intergenerational responsibilities. 

Now we can. Do we dare?

The President of the United States and the First Lady in the House of Slaves of Goré, Senegal

Monday, July 15, 2013

It is very striking that those who today appear at the “no return gate” in the House of Slaves are the President and First Lady of the United States. 

The most horrifying offenses committed against human beings are just left to our permanent memory. We now see that black people embody such powerful worldwide symbols like Nelson Mandela, imprisoned for 27 years for his dark skin, and the leader of the most powerful country on Earth. 

Those painful memories are left behind but they should always be kept alive to guide our daily behavior. 

In July 1992 I wrote a poem in the Island of Goré, a place declared as World Heritage by UNESCO: 

His last
before lying down 
in the hold. 

His last 
through the narrow 
 at the island 
that land 
of his 
now sailing 
through waves of indifference 
towards unknown shores. 

We still hear 
today those sobs, 
still see 
the last traveller’s glance 
from his land, 
from his home, 
from his shores. 

They were sold 
by weight. 

We must 
pay the debt. 

This is the true debt of our past. It must inspire future paths.

“I am hurted by this starving child, as I had a big thorn” (Miguel Hernández)

Friday, February 1, 2013

Let’s make from the great collective injustice, the great shame of our time, the "side effects" of a system based on the absolute power of money, the main reason of our daily actions, our mobilization for a life worth for all human beings. 

“Poverty is the most terrible way of violence," said Mahatma Gandhi. 

Let’s tend our hands to the needy versus superfluous consumption and waste. 

The underdevelopment and subordination’s spiral can only be avoided with endogenous training, help and knowledge. 

It is necessary to reach the unreached, to make visible the invisible yet, because "out of sight, out of mind".

Hitherto the progress and wealth have been distributed between the closed and protected limit from the inhabitants of the prosperous village that represent only 20% of humanity. 

“Each generation of children offers the possibility of rebuilding the world from its ruin to humanity”, said Eglantyne Jebb, Founder of Save the Children, in 1919. 

Unfortunately, the Republican Party of the United States has not allowed its country to sign the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989. Later, in June 2002, the Bush Administration avoided any reference to the Convention in the General Assembly of the United Nations. They also refused unanimously to sign the human right to food in the Conference organized by FAO at this respect. 

In 2000 when the Objectives of the Millennium were established, the richest countries were unable to approve a fund of 40,000 million dollars in order to quickly help the neediest. This is the amount currently invested in ten days in military expenditures and arms! I will never tire of repeating this: between 25,000 and 35,000 children under five die of hunger each day while “preparing for war” costs 4 billion dollars. 

Jon Sobrino has underscored the following terrible message and we should not forget: “The most widespread way of terrorism is to kill people by starvation”. 

Yes, every hungry child should hurt us as a big thorn...


Unrestricted freedom of expression UNESCO, in Article 1 of its Constitution, establishes the need to ensure the "free flow of ideas by word and image" - and right to accurate information. 

When writing, the journalist can say whatever he wants. When describing, he must convey exactly what has happened. If he receives information, he should verify it, because if the news are not credible, the reader or listener receives biased or even false descriptions. 

I insist today on this question and I reiterate this right because in relation with video-communication on the recent demonstration in Bilbao on the moving closer the prisoners not only some journalist (whose name and media I don't like to remember) have given a completely inaccurate and misleading information but they have written nothing true on my own as well. They have invented all, following their ideological hostility and blind compliance with the instructions received. 

I did not attend the protest nor, since then, did I declare a single word in favour of amnesty. Neither did I support the demands of people who apparently attended said protest. Anyone who wants can listen to the video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQvaeg80S4k) and verify that it is a shameful distortion and manipulation that has been used by fanatics who think, "If you throw enough mud, something will stick."

What they do is up to them. From my side, “Do they bark?. We go riding”. I will continue working in favour of good journalism. I will continue seeking the application of human rights within a genuinely democratic context. As Quevedo warned, 

"I must not stay silent, no matter that, 
with a finger touching the lips or brow, 
you advise silence or threaten fear." 

Right to accurate information.

Human Rights, duty of word

The full exercise of human rights will not be achieved until human beings can express themselves freely, until their voices are heard and heeded by those who exercise power in their names and on their behalf. It’s not by chance that in the UNESCO Constitution the “free flow of ideas by word and image” appears in the same article (Article I) in which education is defined as the means for achieving the supreme gift of the human species, freedom, together with its essential companion, responsibility. “Free and responsible”.

Centuries ago, a few people who were ahead of their age underscored the need to express opinions in order to live “humanly”. Quevedo’s poem is famous in that regard: “I shall not remain silent, despite your advising silence or threatening fear / with a finger touching lips or brow. / Can’t there be at least one valiant spirit? / Must we always feel what we say? / Are we never to say what we feel?”

But the majority of citizens continued to be silent subjects, passive spectators, mute and terrified witnesses of the events around them. And gave up their lives without a word.

I have been impressed by the capacity of several leaders to attempt to interpret unspoken and repressed voices and cries: “Let me listen to that deafening silence”, said President François Mitterrand.
In 1969, Professor José Luis Aranguren wrote “Intellectuals give voices to some as their spokesmen, and with their own voices they attempt to awaken the voices of others, those who are alienated and manipulated, those who in the words of Ortega aren’t conscious of their own existence which, as I have said, isn’t only their own, but rather is always entwined with the existence of all others”.

“We still have words”… repeated Fernando Buesa in the plenary sessions of the General Assembly of Alava (1983-1989). A victim of ETA, the Foundation that bears his name perpetuates his shining memory under the title “The Value of Words”. The assassins put an end to his physical existence, but we certainly have, and will always have words, his words.

Duty o word, of speakin up, to give full effect to human rights. For the transition from a culture of imposition, violence and domination to a culture of dialogue, conciliation, alliance and peace. In inspired verses, Luis García Montero has reflected the dawning of a new era of understanding and conflict resolution through dialogue: “Come to me, / in the eyes of that child who raises his hand / and asks to be heard, / and who simply places his trust in words…”.

As we grow older we tend to remain silent instead of learning to be less inhibited and to openly express what we think.

Years ago I read that “parents teach their little children to speak; and once they have grown, children teach their parents to remain silent”.

The silence of the peoples strengthens absolute power, the arbitrary acts of government leaders, and the obedient behavior of parliamentary representatives who ignore the meaning of “parlare”, who tow the party line and follow orders without any objection.

“In the times in which we live,” wrote Manuel Cruz recently in “El País”, “no one should remain silent concerning matters that affect us all”.

Today, luckily, (and I like to repeat this because it’s a basic element of the hope for change) the time for silence is over. “The crime of silence”!... because thanks to modern communications and information technologies the historical turning point from force to words is near.

Human rights, duty of word.

Concerning an Oversight and Two Surprising Interferences

1.     The King’s Televised 75th Birthday Interview:
I’m not going to comment on his statements or the interviewer’s questions, or on the observations of a series of well known personalities –women and men- from the King’s generation.

I would merely like to underscore the lack in all of those interventions of a single mention concerning the Queen. That’s surprising and, from a totally impartial perspective, inadequate and undeserved.

2.     Interference of the army in politics:
Neither am I going to comment upon the Defense Minister’s statements of 6 January 2013… but it’s obvious that the “anti-separatists” are certainly capable of out-doing the “separatists” in terms of drama, unfortunate remarks and bad-timing.

These matters can’t be resolved by force, but rather through dialogue. And by adequately reinforcing the structure of the State with the necessary Constitutional amendments.

3.     Interference of the Church in Venezuelan politics:
What is the Venezuelan Conference of Bishops doing, intervening in strictly political matters and declaring with obvious bias that it would be “morally unacceptable” not to take into account the January 10th date for swearing of the reelected president? This is a very serious intromission. This is not the Church that we the believers want.