In his budget address a few weeks ag or governor Fortuño Referred to public, affordable higher education as a "privilege" that Puerto Rico Provides to its students at no small cost to its Citizens. To Reinforce the message, tuition prices have UPR Compared to the much higher ones of other, private, higher education institutions in the island, and of colleges and universities in the United States.
In an "us vs. them" move seemingly designed to conceptually place responsible tax payers against protesting students, I Stated That "tuition paid by students, When They do pay, is but a 3% of the university's budget ... the rest is paid by us Taxpayers. Which is why our people, just and noble yes, But Also democratic and respectful of law and order, get upset When They see what info we have all seen in the University These past two days. "As the strike grew bigger and more complicated, Involving today all of the 11 campuses, a number of public and private Citizens have echoed the governor's overall message, portraying the students as selfish, privileged, disorderly, and "ideologically" driven. As I write this column, the president of the UPR's Board of Regents is Stating, on the radio, That the striking students are "breaking down the institution".
At the heart of this image is the notion That the university is too inexpensive for the single students and too expensive for the state, rendering Malthus student complaints about the elimination of tuition waivers, and Their insistence That tuition rates stay low, as shallow. I propose we examine this notion. Is the university really "too cheap"? Is it a "cost" to the state? "Cheap" and "expensive" are relative terms, and They Arise From Comparing the costs of the UPR With Other Institutions. However, is the comparison with private institutions in the island, and with public and private universities in the U.S., an Appropriate comparison?
Private institutions in the island have Helped the country meet an Increasing demand for higher education degrees but in terms of efficiency and value, economic studies Have Shown That the University of Puerto Rico, with double the graduation rate and producing 95% of the island's research output , dealer to the best return on investment for public funds.
Universities across the United States, a country traditionally Known for its excellence in higher education, are experiencing problems That the states are concerned With. Two (related) ones are 1) access issues faced by minorities and l ow-income students and 2) the production of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) degrees. Access problems are in great part due to Increasing tuition costs Precisely in 4 year colleges and universities. STEM degrees hover around 20% of U.S. degrees, at a time When the country desperately needs to Increase the domestic STEM workforce. Mainland universities have an average of only 14% of Their student body qualifying for need-based Pell Grants. A number of Efforts in the United States, treats including the intensive use of federal ARRA funds, are directed at Increasing the number of underrepresented students and of STEM degrees.
In contrast, at the University of Puerto Rico, 40% of the degrees are STEM, and two-Thirds of its student body qualifies for need-based aid. The UPR today produces 16% of the Hispanic STEM workforce in the U.S.. Historically, the people of Puerto Rico have Their public university viewed not as a cost or as a burden but as an investment-the kind of investment Most needed in times of economic crisis.
The governor is fond of the "family" metaphor. Often I compare Puerto Rico and its current financial crisis, with a Family That needs to make hard choices to face periods of economic crisis, and wonders out loud why the UPR acerca can not seem to Be Able to "tighten its belt" like so many families have done around the island. But even Within the metaphor, choosing to take resources away from the public university in times of financial crisis, would be akin to taking away children's educational opportunities. Few families would agree with this choice.
The constitution of Puerto Rico (section 5, article 2) Provides for a free public education system covering grades 1 through 12. This was in 1952, When a high school diploma Brought to Un certain amount of prestige and a number of job opportunities. It Could easily be Argued That what the high school diploma meant for the fifties, the college degree means for today.
Affordable, public higher education can not be seen as cost or expense, but as value. It is one of Those Things where Puerto Rico consistently "does it better." It is one of the best investments info we have made as a collectivity, as a society. Let us protect it.
"... The sign that hung on the neck of the cow was an exemplary of the way in which the inhabitants of Macondo were prepared to fight against forgetting: This is the cow must be milked every morning to produce milk and the have to boil milk to mix with coffee and make coffee. They continued living in an elusive reality, momentarily captured by words, but that was to escape irremediably when they forgot the values of the written word .... But the system demanded so much vigilance and moral strength that many succumbed to the spell of a reality imaginary, invented by themselves, which they found less practical but more comforting. "
- G. García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude
When a little over a year I started writing this blog, I described it as a place to "look in disbelief everyday life, humanity and seek what we think 'exotic'." It still seems that that is what this exercise more or less weekly, to write, to blink. And looking at everyday thus requires assuming a distance-not cold detachment laboratory prescriptions postulate (and creative scientists do not always follow), but the curious eyes and open-eyed Martian.
Or the tourist. Or the anthropologist tourist.
That passage unforgettable, best in a novel that certainly has to be one of the best ever, it was the first thing that came to mind when, entering Merida in a taxi, I came across the first of many examples what immediately christened "literalism": A sign stating, unequivocally, the name of an establishment as "PHARMACY SIMILAR", and just in case it was not clear, finished off in the subtitle sold there "SAME BUT CHEAPER . "
In the days that followed, between one thing and another, I noted other examples of wording in the notebook that Martians, say, anthropologists, usually (with a mixture of shame and pride) carry with us wherever we go. I found names like the following:
- SERVI-FRESH, a servicarro where they sell soft drinks ...
- TYPE-HOTEL in a setting like a hotel but no frills, and cheaper ...
- X MAS PLAN LEAST a phone plan with more minutes for less money ...
- GLASS AND ALUMINIUM, in a shop ... glass and aluminum ....
- -COLD BEER, selling beers, and are cold ...
- ACEROFERTAS, best prices around Merida steel ...
- OAXACA HONEY, honey imported from Oaxaca ...
- MERIDA-HIGHWAY CANCUN, no names of heroes living or dead, that there the highways are named with the formula point A-point B ...
- AUTO TUR - buses for tours. At some point we got one ...
- CAFI-ASPIRIN, the winning combination to treat headache. Caffeine and aspirin. Together ...
- CATTLE, a steakhouse, or in good puertorro, "steak house" ...
And so on. Once you look at the first two or three, we were surrounded by exquisite examples of such literal, lovely, everyday and exotic at the same time. And we loved. Why? Perhaps because it was a little familiar, they brought us an aftertaste business town, a childhood memory, of spaces called "Furniture Z" because selling furniture, "Pharmacy X" if they sold drugs, or "Windows Fulano" if sold windows and the owner called John Doe. No "Rooms to Go", which sounds a service trolley tables and chairs, or "Walgreens", which suggests a maze of bushes emerald or "Wendy's" that you sell are burgers and where the owner is not called Wendy. Perhaps because both see labels that in my country, rather than designate the thing appeals to a complex symbolism where children learn to revere and want the thing before you know what else is it (what does the word PEPSI • How many degrees of separation between the phrase meaning "THREE MUSKETEERS" and a simple chocolate? And who the hell was MacDonald, and how and when he had the unfortunate idea of frying potatoes?)
Take for example the case of Cafiaspirina. Same as Excedrin. Is not the first name clearly superior, more beautiful, and more clear? I guess corporations find it more convenient to develop consumer brand loyalty, not necessarily to use original product - so can sell more, exploiting the tendency we have to buy what is familiar (though we do not need ). Thus, not only Tylenol sells us the original painkiller (which in my Macondo could be labeled as "ASPIRIN LIGHT"), but liquids for sinusitis, the monga-with-fever, monga-no-fever, the almost-monga the-monga-of-day, the monga-of-night ... and so on.
Sometimes one can glimpse the original literal labels today. So, the thing becomes clear when I explain to my children that KFC was called Kentucky Fried Chicken, when we allow speculation tasty, between bites, on the habits chocolatiers Athos, Porthos and Aramis, when we discovered that the daughter of the founder of Wendy's Wenda was nicknamed ... (close enough).
As in the Macondo he described García Márquez, we use the explanation, real, imagined, both, to vaccinate against forgetting. Perhaps that's why despite the constant pressure so that we become more and more superficial, yet preserve the inclination to study history and all those other arts (literature cine.. Poetry. Ethnography. Gossip. Legend.) That allow us, as Pilar Veal, articulate the memory, connections, explanation. The common humanity. Life.
Perhaps for that to be an anthropologist, or perhaps inquisitive, the first thing I felt was not anger, but the question: Why? What were they thinking physicians smiling, watching us from the photos, or black beer in hand patient's leg? What motivates the smile? And stranger still, what motivates the picture?
Maybe they are to good people, these doctors who appear in the photos . After all, they were there to help. But the pictures reveal something shady. Or is confirmed, because there is usually clouding everything that has to do with the way the world treats Haiti. Even through the exercise of charity.
I looked in the press and on Facebook, where the scandal began. But I did not find many answers. I found just indignation. Probably justified, by the way. A half-naked woman who would add up over the molestation of semi-nudity and tragedy of imminent amputation, humiliation Photo. Maybe you have not seen it, maybe not known to have photographed, I , to comfort a little. worse But then I riposto. do not even know if they had the decency to ask permission, to alert you, then worse ...
I see another photo, this one of a boy or girl. A little body amputee. My eyes itch, I knotted the soul and throat, I feel guilty .. I do not know exactly what, but something. I close my eyes, I press next.
The photo that follows contains no Haitian. Only Puerto Rican doctor, armed with a rifle and a smile. And I still do not understand why (why have a rifle? Why smile?), But begin to have something familiar. Both photos No smiles. Where have I seen smiles like that before?
Several answers come to mind. 1. In the Abu Ghraib scandal, the smiles of the martyred soldiers and their Iraqi victims who posed with them in situations that clearly left the power difference between prisoner and soldier. Two. In the photos visitors to zoos usually taken next to the cages, especially those whose guests are thought to be particularly dangerous (tigers, lions, snakes) or, perhaps more frequently, particularly funny (dolphins, chimpanzees, ostriches.) three. Colorados Tourists take a picture near the "native" visiting.
All these situations have in common a particular combination of two beings: One camera owner or friend / spouse / colleague carrying it, smiling for insurance audience will see the photo and that he / she knows, because it will be him / her on the show; Another, perhaps invited, maybe not the first, maybe smiling, maybe not, perhaps aware of being photographed, maybe not, a being taken as an "other", as "different" in some fundamental way, intrinsically, an "other" that the photo will not show anyone because you do not own the camera, or the situation.
Of course the three situations I outlined above are morally different. The smile of the soldier in Abu Ghraib prisoner chained to a dog, or requires you to pose naked and in open violation of what their religion (the victim), ideology (the victim), you indicate as correct, it is morally much more serious than the visitor to take a photo next to the dolphin or Zoo chimpanzee, or that of the tourist to take a picture next to a native who at the end of the day, perhaps to be agree.
But the three exemplify a smile that suggests satisfaction, delight, a relatively well be a mobile traveler, visitor, warrior, posing, happy, with someone who considers not only different, but somehow inferior. Because if we thought that "other" as an equal, we would ask permission, we would offer you a copy of the photo, would care, respect, none of the examples shown.
(An apparent exception: The photos people take with artists, and political figures. There have also often smile, but the smile that generates the situation I am describing here. Artist or public figure is no less powerful than the owner of the camera, is master of the situation, and is equivalent to a monument, a marvel. Typically the object of the admiration of taking photo.'s perceived as an "other", but higher, not lower. And resulting smile is different, childish, grateful.)
The scandal of doctors sent by the Senate to Haiti it seems, more than any other picture in the content, in the smiles at Abu Ghraib. Different, yes, after all they were not tortured but curing, alleviating, the "other", but similar in the sense that the picture produced on the beholder. Anyone suffering and someone happy in the same picture. And the contented dominates the camera and the situation. Racial difference adds another layer of discomfort to the subject - the happy has lighter skin than the suffering. And I do not know if the photo sufferer knows, or cares. In fact we know nothing of suffering, is a prop, a sign, a show, in a scene where the protagonist, who has name and profession, is the doctor. The suffering we know only suffering. He has been denied his story, his humanity, his prominence. Could be any of the many amputees, victims of the earthquake, slavery, international banks, of globalization, of local and global tyrants, of indifference, of racism, disinterest. 's first country to abolish slavery, and cursed forever punished for having the gall to take this abolition in their hands instead of waiting for the generosity and diplomacy white.
Charity is better than indifference. But even in the midst of charity arise, such as a chemical precipitate bubbling, unexpected but inevitable ideologies governing our attitude (and the world) to Haiti.
Postscript: I was thinking about this post while doing other things and went back to clarify something that I think is important: this examines another angle - the idea that the type of picture shown (especially those containing patients) are suggestive of that perpetual otherness, that racism, that contempt, that the world has shown for the Haitian people for so long, and that shows even while you help. That the Haitian patient privacy is not worth the same, or seriousness, that the ordinary patient. We feel sympathy but empathy we fall short.
I do not think these doctors deserve a punishment to annul their careers or radically affect their lives. I do not accuse for drinking beer (I probably would have drunk several, after a day working in a tragedy like that) or what some are calling internet, with contempt, "partying" in full tragedy. In fact I think that with all their faults, the doctor who chooses to go to Haiti to help in free is impressive-after all, most of our doctors were here, some by many guys. Perhaps, if they were part of a contingent more experienced, like Vargas Vidot, this had not happened. Hopefully the ones in the photos continue to cultivate the generosity they showed in making the decision to go to help, and that in turn choose to examine their prejudices them, and us. That, and not punishment, would be the best outcome of this whole episode.
Some time ago I read something about which I wanted to write, but I did then. I think he was very busy, he had no time, I had no energy ... or he did not know for sure what to say. I wanted to say SOMETHING, surely, but what?
What about the news, in November, we announced cheerfully that p ronto perfume would be available based on the DNA of Michael Jackson ?
It's one of those stories that matter little and import simultaneously much. Garbage is news, really. A huge nonsense. And simultaneously, extremely significant, revealing.
Let's see. On the one hand, there are news like the burning of CAPECO (or the spill of Exxon), the slaughter of the Tombola (or Darfur) Copenhagen summit (or Kyoto), Evo wins the election (or Chavez or Zapatero ...) Such news can unabashedly call "important", such that we are proud to know or want to know because we make as people concerned, sane citizens, thinking beings.
Then there are those who are definitely speck news, which shames us slightly further: Another girl but claims to have been the mistress of Tiger Woods, the new Maripili plastic surgery, a divorce, obesity, addiction public life .... private celebrities.
I have a memory very clear, very clear, to be a child standing in front of the cash register waiting to pay my grandmother ended our purchase. For some reason, the eyes of the children are optimally located off the Veas, the TeveGuías and Jasmine of life. Suddenly I turn around, and announced to my grandmother, in that loud children reserved for news inappropriate "Viejita, Wilkins says here that sleeping naked." Went out, or rather took me by the arm of the Local scandalized . I think we have almost purchase there. And I was not only reading, innocently, a "banner". And I should clarify that there was no nudity on the cover.
You call "headline" those on the front lines denote who sleep naked, who is divorced, or who just transferred fat from the buttocks to a sweet potato-or vice versa? Or just call them headlines when "news"? I do not know. But when I posed the question, here, right now, in "real time", I opened the cover of the electronic edition of the New Day and the "owner" notify me that Madonna prefers buying shoes to having sex.
Well, but let that not Madonna or shoes (or sex) that is this blog post. I was saying that there is a perfume that is based on the genetic material of Michael Jackson, and for some reason that made me wanted to say something but was not sure what ... I think it's because it's one of those "news "which CAPECO contrary to the Tombola or does not say much, empirically, but reveals much, metaphorically, if you will.
When I read about Michael and perfumito that allows access to a "piece" of it, I remembered that long ago I read a story somewhere historical novel type, frightening and charming on the transit of the corpse of San Juan de Cross (I think it was San Juan) of a region to another for burial. Apparently the whole body began the journey (with all his hair, his limbs, his clothes, his rosary, you understand) and came across ... somewhat impaired, call in some way. He was missing hair, nails, fingers, pieces of clothing, clothing, meat cantitos ... And this was not vandalism - it was an act of worship of his faithful followers posthumously.
Is it that in the 16th century saints were like celebrities now? What if Madonna or Ricky Martin are dying, and gives the bad luck that gives us a donkey for transport, slowly, through the United States, without much supervision, integers come across?
I suppose it's the brand's loyal fan, slather the perfume that. It's like pulling a bit to the being that is mortal but beyond us. Mortal but not exactly human. Perhaps celebrities occupy the gray area of Hercules, or Achilles - are almost human. San Juan by the fame of his miracles, miracles Michael for his fame.
And speaking of perfumes, do you remember that scene in the novel "Perfume"? If you do not have read it, do so. It is wonderful, spectacular and horrific. Do not ruin it, in case the read-only will allow me to allude to a time where after obtaining, criminally, the essence perfect, a man who is not able to dismiss any odor or pest perfume smeared ideal approaches a crowd, and the aroma is so successful that ... no, not mockery. But there will advance bites. Many. Loving inevitable. Everyone wanted a little song intended.
Could it be that? Do you have a bit of Michael, of the poor being tormented? What will the audience of the product, the niche market? Do the fans who want to have some of the idol in themselves, the morbid wanting to see what it smells like the essence of a crazy great, novelero?
I remember reading another novel for years. I do not remember what it was called. In it, a woman in love decides to eat her boyfriend. The novel is quite stark as the murder is concerned - almost every page, if I recall, describe the strategy to preserve and consume great body, and thus preserve and consummate the great love.
I guess when I see the sign announces that Michael fragrance is available at the counter to my left, not buy it. [I think either would have ripped a finger to San Juan de la Cruz.] But probably I'll turn around, and with big eyes and louder of'll watch because my husband and say "Look, my life, Michael has a perfume after death. They did it with their DNA. "And maybe my grandmother, from somewhere, and I know incorrigible sigh.
Listen to the podcast ...
In the radio program on Monday December 14:
The applause was for teeny ... Alvaro Pilar, executive director of the Port Authority. No, I'm not being sarcastic. The man deserves applause because he accepted responsibility for the much talked about cruise disaster could not reach. I mean, that confronted with the sad reality of the ship that did not fit and had to go to the Dominican Republic , Pilar not blamed or the previous government, or the opposition party, or Carnival. She took it and began to look for solutions. Very different that reaction of his boss the governor, which immediately followed the algorithm used whenever something goes wrong: A) say "not our fault, we did not", followed by B) is the fault of the administration of (Sulla, Hannibal) and C) will solve it with a Public Private Partnership. Fortuño Let's quote:
"That we submit it as a problem that we design, especially in the spring 3 that was made in the last years. Design is a very serious problem, because the larger ships have outgrown there. We know we have a big problem on the docks design that were made in recent years. We have to plow with oxen have at the moment, but we know we have to change some of our piers and for that are included in our list of Public-Private Partnership, "said the governor in a radio interview (WKAQ).
In the first segment criticize Alvaro Pilar history (especially the planned privatization of the airport), and cautiously applaud the refreshing acceptance of responsibility with the subject of the cruise.
In the second segment we talk about Jorge de Castro Font, former senator recently charged with 182 counts of corruption. Without losing sight of the importance of prosecuting those who illegally and immorally enrich themselves at the expense of the people, we review the continuum of practices, many culturally or legally accepted, culminating with the unlawful practices in the bill of indictment of Castro Font.
And in the third section, we review the great oxymoron - a president who in the midst of two wars and having recently climbed one, not only accepts the Nobel Peace Prize but also does it with a discourse of war " fair "and" necessary ".
In preparing the program, plus news and academic sources, we use as usual the rich content of the Puerto Rican blogosphere, and now the third segment mentioned blogs paísciego.blogspot.com and madrescontralaguerra.blogspot.com .
Note: Listen to the podcast by pressing "play". You can also subscribe to the podcast looking "flashing" on the iTunes Music Store or by visiting the following direct link: Blinking Podcasts . Remember that you can access the radio broadcast Blinking, live every Monday from 1:00 to 2:00 PM in www.wpra990.com.Print
The online version of First Time Wednesday cites an Associated Press story which in turn refers to a Newsweek column that says PH, Fortuño mentioned as a possible running mate for Palin. When I spent a little fright, looked original column Andrew Romano in newsweek.com. It appears, first, that the chain formed by Newsweek, AP and PH went a bit like children in that game where someone says a message to the front of the line, I passed from ear to ear and finally reaches become otherwise. Because the original column, entitled Absurdly Premature 2012 Watch ... the Governor or Puerto Rico ... for President? Than he talks is Fortuño as a possible candidate (without Palin) to the presidency.
Then I turned the shock. But I am one of those unfortunate beings are frightened that when more is when they have to look - of which for example, have to examine the needle, with eyes wide open, while they take the blood in the clinical laboratory. So I kept reading. And writing this to share with you my alarm so in "real time". The Roman column, which begins by acknowledging openly and from the title itself discuss the absurdity of Republican candidates with three years in advance, relates what is fundamentally an interesting tidbit a political faranduleo charming. He divides the possible candidates for president in four categories - the obvious (people like Romney and Huckabee), the "wild cards" as Palin or Gingrich, the "long shots" (prominent Republicans who might be, if they wanted to), and ... Fortuño.
Why Fortuño? Because the author personally mentioned as a possible candidate, a character named Grover Norquist, very mented and influential in Republican circles, he understands that Fortuño could quickly emerge as a viable national candidate and has accomplished things "impressive" in Puerto Rico:
"He Could pop up on the national level like that," Norquist said, snapping his fingers. "Both'm very impressed with his presentation and what he's Accomplished so far."
Who is this Mr. Norquist? 's a Republican firmly to the right of the right, issuing the famous quote "I do not want to abolish government [federal]. I simply want to reduce it to a size that you can drag into the bathroom and drown in the bathtub. ("I do not want to abolish the government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.") Most talked Its cause has been the reduction of government and taxes used to hold, and is the author of Leave us alone: Getting the government's hands off our money, our guns, and our lives.
Why this person is "impressed" with Fortuño? Because, says Roman column, Fortuño has managed to effectively utilize the stimulus resulting from the policies of "big government" Obama to do the opposite - cut the government payroll. Also, Romano says Norquist said, Fortuño profit should have a "Republican legislature" (ahem ... reality check for most lawmakers, who thought Democrats) to spend two measures, the taste of his colleagues on the continent: A project of "school choice" (read privatization of the public education system) and a "tax ceiling reduction" that generate more revenue.
The author of the column makes it clear that the idea of a candidate Fortuño is remote enough to get away even from the category of "long shot". But one thing is clear: Public policies and ideologies that Fortuño here are making less and less re-eligible Puerto Rican elections are sweet bait to the U.S. extreme right, which has proven to be able to accept as part of a political club minoritiarios ultra-conservatives (remember Condoleeza Rice? And Alberto Gonzalez?) and needs new and young faces with mouths that emit much the word "change".
... But I can not. I can not instinctively, for immediate reaction, but more so, I can not therefore I read in the spaces that you are more sympathetic to this new-old form of government. Today I decided to give them the conceptual break the apepés (Public Private Partnership) looking at two sources that even the most conservative of my readers might criticize: the weekly Caribbean Business (which incidentally, warns that the apepés are our last chance, in front) and the portal itself of PPPs .
First the website, which informs us that The Authority's mission is to guide and facilitate the establishment of partnerships between government and private entities ... to facilitate further economic development and enrichment of the quality of life in Puerto Rico. So far, so good. Sounds even pretty. The private and the public come together in order to achieve the common good. Not the "profit" necessarily, but the common good. This is consistent with the governor's insistence that PPPs are not a case of privatization, but something "new". What, did not clear, so I'll most prominent section of the site (a website nice, by the way, with mills and ports that whisper a possible future), art that invites me to access the contents of the recent conference. A conference that was why, incidentally, of a protest against the "privatization" suspicion that the people behind all this.
But nothing, I look for the plan, explanation, whatever it is that makes the different apepés stark and failed privatizations in the failed model we've seen in recent decades in Chile, Argentina, Russia, Poland, Bolivia, Iraq, New Orleans, South Africa ... I look because I believe, and I believe because apparently, I am told my representatives of democracy, I have no choice, everything is broken, everything is a mess ...
I find that the plan be proposed at the site to begin with, it includes ... everything. Here is the list copied whole piece:
Sanitary landfills; Reservoirs; Plants That for electrical power production are alternatives to oil; Mass transportation systems, Health, Security, Education, and Correction and Rehabilitation facilities; Affordable housing projects; Sports, entertainment recreation and culture facilities; Wireless and land communication networks; High technology and mechanization systems; And other kinds of activity or facilities That Are Identified as a priority through legislation.
The list is consistent with what he says Romero Barcelo in his lengthy editorial in the Caribbean Business this week, where passionately argues that although the role of government is to provide public safety, education, health, energy, water, and stuff, those services can pass into private hands because "private enterprise whenever service can Provide a public service more Efficiently and at a lower cost to the public, Should we allow private enterprise to do it. They, in turn, will Provide the jobs. "Inside me, a voice alarm (the angel or the devil of Tom, Jerry cat?) Tells me things like what about profit? When, in the history of this country, perhaps of any, it has been a better health service, water or turning to private security, contrary to public PROFIT need to exist? But promised to read his mind open, read to believe, so I spend column page Romero and keep reading others in the Caribbean Business.
Miro, for example, the list of those invited to the conference held in the Conqueror. They go in the cover story of Caribbean Business, and many. Some names are familiar to me. Sift a little. Just a little. And I find things that keep me from believing in PPP solutions. Meeting, for example, Fluor Corp, the primerito of the guests from the published list on page 21 and a Fortune 500 company, and one of the largest contractors in the "reconstruction" of Iraq and emergency interventions New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Not a good record-both processes were strongly criticized in the international press. In Iraq, for example, the reconstruction was assigned (often without any auction) to companies like Fluor, Halliburton and others, instead of using the much cheaper and displaced Iraqi contractors, thus contributing to the destruction of what remained of Iraqi middle class, educated middle class, secular and willing to work in the reconstruction of their country, a class that I can have been used rather than displaced, humiliated and offended.
In Katrina, we know what happened - the hurricane caused 1,090 deaths in New Orleans and the subsequent handling of the disaster was not only bad, but expensive: the government guys all went to private hands as Carnival, Fluor, and BKR ... Together with organizations such as Bechtel, Chevron, Fluor formed, certainly a roundtable affair after Katrina, to complain to the government as victims of unfair competition by "non profits" who insisted on getting to New Orleans to make Free what they wanted to do for profit ...
And speaking of Bechtel, also appears in the list of special guests. Bechtel What do we know? We know who founded (along with Pepsi and 6 companies) a think tank in the United States that generated a documentary, PBS, to explain and support the use of free-market policies to solve all kinds of problems and social services. We also know, and this is more recent, in 1998, Bechtel reported 12.6 billion in profits, 2.4 of them in Latin America. One of his most important projects was the privatization of water distribution in Bolivia . Under his guidance, the water rose 300% in price for Bolivians - inhabitants of one of the world's poorest countries. But what else gives, we know that water is a human right . The fact is that the Bolivians were tired, were thrown into the street, and demanded that he take off the contract to Bechtel, which incidentally has had similar contracts to manage water in Manila.
Bechtel also won contracts in Iraq for about 2.3 billion, after taking part in a group (like think tanks, these individuals) who devoted himself to influence public opinion through news columns and written by authors in their payroll, as G. Shultz, to promote the war in Iraq (war waiting to take tremendous profits) as a war "necessary". For example, such Shultz wrote in the Washington Post in 2002 that war was imminent because "if there was a rattlesnake in your backyard, do not bitten you expect to then attack self-defense."
Bechtel was also desatre Katrina where the government charged youth (ie youth of citizenship) to provide some trailers for refugees. Speaking of how the private is not necessarily better: In Cuba, where there is no government service is privatized, despite having 90% under water a large city, in six hurricanes (including Katrina) have killed only 16 people . You hate to Cuba all that he pleases-there's a lot to hate there, but that is not the subject of this post. The point is that I find it increasingly clear that there are certain things private hands, by definition, tend to do worse, not better, because contrary to the public, they have to kids, many kids, to its shareholders, to survive . Companies and private corporations obey not the logic of quality of life and the common good in that appeal on the website of the Authority for PPPs, but the logic of profit constantly increasing. Bechtel, recently criticized by, among other things, have family ties to Bin Laden and illegal logging in the Congo, Louisiana won the contract to build housing for refugees without auction, because it is an emergency. The contracts also were criticized so expensive and left out of the process to potential local applicants. Just like in Iraq.
I could go on. The original notes for this entry include other characters, such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. But let us summarize: This is my problem with apepés - I recall a pattern of recent decades, a pattern masterfully described by Naomi Klein in her book , see a pattern that I feared when I started noticing reach ( and I commented on this blog) frequent use of metaphors that allude to "disaster". The pattern, called by Klein "complex mess" is more or less like this: political disaster occurs (such as a coup, like Chile or Iraq), financial (such as fiscal collapse of the Asian "tigers") and natural (as Katrina or the tsunami in Asia), and then the government, preferably recessed in advance to become "small and agile," states that there is "emergency", and proceeds to sell the needs of the population (now called "opportunities" ) to the highest bidder or bidder ... friend ... or best bidder conectao ... anyway.
Curious the name of the place they chose to meet - The Conqueror. Curious because American leftists circles usually refer to requeteneoliberales globalizing processes of the past decades as "the second conquest." In the first, the Europeans took natural resources. In this second, corporations take public goods (mis) managed by the states.
They tell me that those who know more than I, that an investor (an individual, a group, a company) before investing in an idea is fixed in the doers of the same: how are they? What record do they have? As a country, each representing an investment APP ours, people. That is, in this case Puerto Rico is also an investor, and even within the most capitalist logics, has every right to pass judgment on the character of those who want to invest in an alliance with them.
How are they? Record what they have?
* Puerto Rico Daily Sun, May 8, 2009. Une in a single narrative several issues discussed before here on the blog.
A few years ago I was driving through the center of the island with my family, a road-trip style summer vacation. Feeling thirsty, We decided to stop at a grocery store. The kids wanted soda water the grown ups. The owner sold us the former cheerfully, but refused to charge us for the Latter. I felt funny, I said, charging money for water. We left his store with some soda cans, chips, a couple of free plastic water bottles, and a conversation topic for the rest of the trip.
The grocery store owner's discomfort with selling water came to mind as I read a recent headline in the Belfast Telegraph (April16th), about the mass suicide of 1500 farmers in the Indian state of Chattisgarh, driven to unbearable debt by Insufficient or failed crops. The cycle That drove them to debt and Malthus Their death Involved falling water levels, At least partially due to large megaprojects: such as dams, que Affect the movement and circulation of water, the delicate ecosystems around water sources, and the locations and demographics of the human Populations living near them.
The newspaper cites a spokesperson for the Organic Farming Association of India, Stating That "farmers' suicides are Increasing due to a vicious circle created by money lenders. They lure farmers to take money but When the crops fail, They are left with no option other than death. "But farmers dead 1500 is a lot of dead people. The equivalent, says blogger Malika Chopra, of the passengers inside four jumbo jets. The sheer number of bodies That means this is not a phenomenon That can be dismissed as the fault of the farmers, or even the lenders. It is the kind of number and urgently Necessarily That points to large-scale, structural factors.
Some of These factors may very well be related to lending practices, but not Those of Individuals. According To Vandana Shiva, a respected Indian scholar-activist and author of Numerous books and articles, the benefits of the large dams built in post-colonial India are far outweighed by Their ecological and social costs. Most of These dams, like other mega projects, are built with money from loans provided by major Financial Institutions: such as the World Bank. While These loans May be requested to Improve the economic health of develop developing countries, oftentimes lending Institutions require a portion of the funds to be used for the kind of infrastructure development That May Facilitate additional investments from multinational corporations.
Dams are used to redirect water to corporate owned, large agricultural land holdings. But small farmers Also need water. In fact, all living things need water. Over 60% of our human bodies are water. As recently as March, however it, water was denied status as a basic human right by the United Nations. Corporations profiting from water sales (especially bottled water) lobbied intensely for this to happen.
These corporations do not share the unease of the grocery store owner who would rather give us the liquid in Spite of having Previously paid for it himself. A plastic water bottle in Puerto Rico over one dollar and costs nearing two in some fast food establishments - much more than the cost of the equivalent amount of gasoline. The processing of the plastic used for packaging the bottled water we purchase entails, in turn, the pollution and waste of a lot more water. And so our desire for the freshest water possible is part of a cycle That renders drinkable water more scarce and its drinker, more privileged. This sort of Unsustainability characterizes the production process of most of it the goods we consume today.
Incredibly, the environmental crisis, precipitated by the production cycles render That water scarce in the first place can be used to sell bottled water. A popular brand in an elegant (and expensive) plastic bottle donates five cents of each bottle sold to humanitarian water programs That bring water to Populations with no access to it. Their website is beautiful and makes the viewer thirsty for this particular "ethical" drink. : The world-wide water crisis, is a big part of Their marketing and Attributed to causes outside of human (and corporate) action: such as geography and climate.
The Vision That drove the quest for the declaration of water as a human right water is One That sees as outside the realm of the market, rendering it sacred Malthus, a shared resource of immeasurable value. In contrast, the dominant vision sees water as a commodity to be Purchased, sold and priced ACCORDING not to the logic of need but to the logic of marketing and the maximization of profit. The needs of Those without purchasing power are relegated, at best, to the marginal realm of charity (as long as charity can boost sales.)
The dead farmers had neither power nor purchasing Deemed They were charity cases. They only had the dignity of Their work and Their Responsibility towards Their Families. Ironically, the United Nations Recognizes Their basic human right to work - but failed to protect Their access to the water That Would have made Their Work (and Their Lives) possible.
[Edited to add strip - it was just too perfect.]
The Mendez family, Puerto Ricans in Holyoke, Mass., has joined the army. The mother to the Reserve, the children of 23 and 20 years to "Army". The reason? Do not get stable employment in the ailing U.S. economy. "In fact, the military has Become an employer of last resort for the Mendez family, reflecting a national trend Toward higher enlistment rates in the midst of a severe recession," said the Puerto Rico Daily Sun on Tuesday March 10.
As a result of the economic crisis, more and more people choose to join the army to get a salary . Rio in troubled recruiters. This phenomenon is not limited to the United States (and by extension Puerto Rico), but appears in other parts of the world (click here to see a European example, courtesy of Hannibal Y.). The question is: If the recruits enter the military because rampant unemployment does not offer many options and recruiters offer quick money, can we truly say that the army is "voluntary"? Is not financial need a subtle form of conscription? It is no coincidence that recruiters visit schools with much higher levels of poverty, and that the signals of $ $ $ and phrases like "enlistment bonuses" and "money for college" are a feature so prevalent in the signs advertising the army as option life.
Nor is the recruitment of unemployed citizens curious the only connection between the army as an institution and the current economic crisis. Take for example the case of huge submarines manufactured by companies such as General Dynamics, the military contractor. The submarines, whose prices are around two million and a half dollars, create dozens of jobs each, and this ability, probably added attraction in troubled times.
"While Generally weapons of war are strategic EVALUATED on Their Strengths and Weaknesses, defense contractors Also aim to offer products That are recession-resistant. So it is not surprising That in a year of high unemployment and no-growth defense budgets, makers of the Virginia-class subs and other defense systems are playing up Their abitur to help restore some buoyancy to the sinking U.S. economy. "
In good times, perhaps the production of appliances so obviously designed to destroy, kill and wage war on a large scale would cause some itching moral citizens of the country that builds. But when the economy is bad we tend to look the other way. Before doing so, however, we address the frustration for a moment, blinking: There is something fundamentally broken, morally murky in a political-economic situation in which the loopholes that allow some economic survival are predicated on the destruction in other parts.
Photo: General Dynamics, taken from commondreams.org.
For a related post on this blog, click here .Print