Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Venezuela By The Numbers

Venezuela is a country for which I have great pity.  Up until the early 90's it was a flourishing democracy.  Their leader, Hugo Chavez, since being elected in 1998 has decimated this nation by:

  • Almost bankrupting the country and most of its citizens
  • Assaulting Venezuela's democracy by enabling legislation to rule by decree and removing constitutional term limits designed to protect against tyrants like him
  • Interfering with and adversely affecting countries in the region by supporting leaders who are employing similar tactics to himself in destroying democracy - Ortega, Morales & Correa
  • Using oil revenues Venezuela desperately needs to support and maintain members' participation in his Alba alliance, a poorly disguised attempt at colonization of the region.
  • Forging alliances with other rogue & repressive regimes in the world such as the vicious Khomeini / Ahmadinejad regime in Iran.
  • Continuing an irrational and unsubstantiated assault on the free & democratic world by spreading overt hatred of Americans.  His lies go so far as blaming the US for causing the recent earthquake in Haiti in order to conquer that country.

I have had many requests for facts that demonstrate...

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Top World Events of 2009 - My Pick

Here we are at the end of 2009.  This year had its share of events, elections, news stories and conflicts.  I have sifted through the year's events and selected four events that I believe had the most impact on the global stage.  Here they are, in chronological order:

Inauguration of Barack Obama - January 20, 2009
UPI POY 2009 - Inauguration















After 8 years of the Bush Administration, the pendulum has swung and America has chosen a leader on the other side of the political spectrum.  President Obama has promised a very different approach to foreign affairs and the US role in the world. I am going to stop here.  This is one area in which...

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Glossary of Political Terms - My Perspective


As I continue my tour of the World, certain terms have been (or will be) coming up regularly.  To assist with perspective, I have listed each term and a short definition.  This is by no means an Oxford Dictionary approach but simply how I interpret these items.  Let me know if there are any others terms you would like me to define. Enjoy:















Alba -  An organization of Latin American & Caribbean countries defined as a leftist socialist trade bloc and development program.  This concept actually represents Venezuela's Hugo Chavez's attempt to undermine free trade in the America's, create economic dependency on Venezuelan oil money and effectively colonize these countries through this dependency.  With the removal or prevention of open trade, member countries will not fully develop their ability to compete globally and will be forced to rely on "Sugar Daddy Hugo".  We all know nothing in life is for free.  Current members include:...

Friday, December 18, 2009

One Month at The World Affairs Guide

It is official, this blog is one month old. Forgive the cliché but I cannot believe how fast this time has gone by. First and foremost I would like to thank all of you, my readers. Your visits, comments and emails have been appreciated and highly valued.

This experience has well exceeded any expectations I had going in. My visitor base consists of individuals from 20 different countries spanning six continents, including members of many well known political and military institutions.

I look forward to continuing to provide you with engaging content on the many countries and issues around the World. My vision for this blog continues to be the facilitation of interactive dialog so please don't hesitate to participate. If there are any issues you would like me to explore, I encourage you to click the contact me box and let me know. All messages will be answered.

Thank you again!

World Affairs Guy

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Copenhagen - Protesters or Hooligans?




During my regular dose of the nightly news this evening, coverage of Copenhagen and the protests brought to mind something that has bothered me for years. Where is the line line drawn between the democratic right to free demonstration and criminal hooliganism? This is an issue where I have a very strong view of where that line exists and cannot even begin to understand those that support the other side of that line.

Being a big proponent of freedom, democracy and free speech, I believe any group has the right to publically and openly demonstrate its opposition to governments, policies, issues and whatever else is troubling them. The only area where I believe free speech needs to be censored is regarding any expression that promotes hatred or violence towards an ethnic group. The major question here is what constitutes an acceptable demonstration?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Turkey - Bridge between Islam and the West



After some time looking at Honduras and its constitutional crisis, I have decided to examine another example of a country where the constitution has generated controversy: Turkey. Although I believe Turkey has proven to be a success in bridging Islam and the West, I want to be clear that Turkey is not a country without its faults. Its refusal to accept responsibility for the Armenian genocide during World War 1 is deplorable. Also, Turkey's suppression and attempted forced assimilation of its Kurdish citizens and their culture is inexcusable.

Notwithstanding these two issues, Turkey represents an Islamic country that is a modern secular democracy, fully inclusive of woman's political rights. This country's secular constitution was instituted in the 1920s and 1930s by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of Turkey's republic from the remnants of the Ottoman Empire. Atatürk is the father of this nation and his legacy is still in full force today.

Monday, December 7, 2009

New Title - The World Affairs Guide

After some long and hard deliberation, I have chosen to rename my blog to:
The World Affairs Guide

I am confident this new title accurately reflects my objectives in creating this blog, which include:

- To introduce my readers to world issues on a country by country basis
- Encourage and foster open and civil debate on these issues
- Provide opinion on these issues and current events

I look forward to your continued readership as I move forward on this journey. If you have any suggestions, comments or feedback, I encourage you to contact me by clicking on the "contact me" box to the right. All messages will be answered.

Thank You Greatly,

World Affairs Guy

Sunday, December 6, 2009

NEWS FLASH ------ IRAN IS MOVING TO BLOCK DECEMBER 7th STUDENT PROTESTS --------

Riots following Iranian election results in Tehran


It is with much sadness that I inform you that Iran is rapidly moving towards another brutal and vicious attempt to silence any opposition to its controlling regime. December 7th, National Students Day, traditionally has been a day for students to remember the slaying of three of their kin by the security forces of Shah Pavlevi, the leader who was overthrown in the Islamic Revolution in 1979 that installed the current regime.

Of course, this type of demonstration is only permissible when applied to past regimes that fit the "evil" category. This point is underscored by the following preemptive moves by the regime:

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Netherlands - Difficult Decisions


In response to a recent comment from a reader, I am going to provide a brief discussion of this Northwestern European country. Before I get into the main issue I want to discuss, I feel compelled to clarify something that I am sure has confused many geography students over the years (it confused the heck out of me!): The name of this country. The correct name is The Netherlands NOT Holland. Holland consists of two of this country's provinces (out of 12!), called North Holland and South Holland. The provinces of Holland encompass the Country's three major cities, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. This may be why the whole country is attributed that name, but I am sure the other 10 provincial residents do not appreciate that.

Now that I have that off my chest, I will move on. Although this country has a long and rich history, I have chosen to focus my discussion on a tough choice this country is facing.

Monday, November 30, 2009

OPINION - Honduran Election Result / Brazil Concern


As promised in my post yesterday, I am going to discuss the results of yesterday's Honduran election. Here are the facts:

a) The winner was Porfirio Lobo, of the opposition National Party of Honduras. Mr. Lobo won by a large margin with approximately 56% of the vote. Note: Zelaya won the previous Presidential election with 49.9% of the vote.

b) Zelaya's bid to have voters boycott the election was broadly rejected by voters, with voter turnout estimated at 60%. Note: Voter turnout from the previous vote in 2005, when Zelaya was elected was significantly lower at 46%.

c) As of this post, there is no evidence of irregularities or vote rigging. General opinion is that this election was free and fair.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

OPINION - Honduras Holds Post Zelaya Presidential Vote

Hondurans rally against President Manuel Zelaya


Although I didn't plan on posting today, this piece of news reminded me of an issue in which I would very much like to air my opinion and solicit yours. This whole issue of the ousting of president Zelaya in Honduras and the world reaction bothers me.

While I am an ardent proponent of democracy, this is one of a very small set of instances in which I unequivocally support the military of Honduras. I cannot understand why the world is rallying against the interim government? Here is my assessment of the situation:

Friday, November 27, 2009

Zimbabwe - The Tyrant

Mourners Grieve Slain Wife Of Harare Opposition Leader

This is another one of the world's sad stories. A country, prior to 2000 that was widely considered the bread basket of Africa with a vibrant agricultural sector. Now, the country is still plagued with widespread starvation, poverty and hyperinflation. I could spend hours rhyming off numerous statistics and facts illustrating the steep decline of this country but I am afraid I would lose you in the detail. To summarize the decline, here we have a country that in the 80's & 90's experienced average annual GDP growth of 4%-5%, to an annual drop that escalated to almost 20% in 2003.

What caused this sudden sharp destruction of a success story? Another one of the world's horrendous regimes, Robert Mugabe & his ZANU-PF party. In addition to widespread corruption, this regime committed two primary acts that obliterated its economy:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Nicaragua - What a tragedy


After all the strife, civil war, dictatorship and communist rule, it is such a terrible shame that this country has ended up in the situation it is in today. Nicaragua is a country dear to my heart as I was recently there to study Spanish and learn about the culture. Nicaraguans are a wonderful, warm, kind and hospitable people. They have an amazing ability to throughly enjoy life in the midst of a tough situation. Here is a brief synopsis of their recent history to provide some context.

I will start with the revolution of 1979....

Monday, November 23, 2009

--------NEWS FLASH: BRAZIL'S PRESIDENT WELCOMES IRANIAN LEADER--------


I cannot let this piece of news go by without providing some commentary! How can Brazil, a free and democratic country, with a booming economy welcome this despot? This action legitimizes the Iranian regime's recent brutal suppression of free and democratic principals so desired by the Iranian population. To condone negotiations, over the development of nuclear capabilities, with a regime that openly threatens its neighbors and global stability, is at a minimum, reckless. Brazil is one of the world's leading emerging economies and needs to start playing the part.

Brazil is not:
a/ A Latin American revolutionary regime stuck in the cold war of the 1980's (Ortega's Nicaragua)
b/ A country led by a power hungry showman who is exercising an aggressive campaign of suppressing opposition views, slowly transitioning a democracy into a dictatorship (Chavez's Venezuela)
I will not even mention Morales in Bolivia.

Is Brazil's president, Lula da Silva, that hungry for Iranian oil? I truly don't believe this policy reflects the feeling of the Brazilian people? Please, give me some rationale for this move as I am lost!

Poland - A Great Success Story

Poland Joins European Union

For a country that has undergone so much adversity over the years, its people should take great pride in all that has been accomplished in such a short period of time. The current success of this nation never ceases to amaze me.

This overview begins in 1795 when The Polish nation was almost eradicated from the face of the map. In this year Poland was partitioned between Russia, Prussia (now part of modern Germany) and Austria. As the years moved forward, the Polish nation became a dream among a group of nationalists in their host countries. This all changed after World War I in 1918, when Poland was reconstituted by the allies at then US President Woodrow Wilson's initiative under his "14 points" plan. Unfortunately, this autonomy was short lived when in 1939, both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union invaded Poland, each taking huge swaths of the country under their rule.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Stay Tuned

Still researching for my next post. Thank you so much for your patience, the book will start rolling again soon. Check out a great story on 60 minutes this evening :

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/11/19/60minutes/main5712199.shtml?tag=currentVideoInfo;segmentUtilities

Thanks!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Stay tuned for a change of tone

I have been experiencing terrible computer problems with, of all companies, Norton! As a result, I will not be able to post a new country today. Please stay tuned as the next country I am going to visit will be a positive story. For those of you learning about the world through my blog, I want to ensure you know that all is not lost in the world. There are a significant number of countries that have chosen paths to democracy, peace and prosperity. I could list them off, but I prefer continuing my country by country tour so that you have my rationale for why each one has chosen the right path. If you have any questions or are interested in any countries I have yet to cover, please don't hesitate to contact me at worldaffairsguy@gmail.com or leave a comment.

I hope you all are enjoying your weekend

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sudan - Rouge Nation

Sudanese Rebel Groups Arm Themselves As Peace Process Falters

The fiercely savage practices of the people of this nation is not a new phenomena. A gross example of this was in 1885, during the siege and barbarian overthrow of British Khartoum by the local population, lead by the Mahdi (their leader). When the Mahdi army overtook the city, almost all were brutally tortured and slaughtered. The head of defense of Khartoum, British war hero Charles (Chinese) Gordon, surrendered to the invaders. The response: His head was cutoff, delivered to the Mahdi and placed between the branches of a tree where children threw stones at it and scavengers slowly ate it.

I have used this example to illustrate the mentality the world is dealing with in attempting to stop the crisis in Darfur. This crisis consists of the Sudanese government...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

North Korea - Stalinism that never ends


I have now decided to provide my view on a country by country basis. Today, the country of choice is North Korea. This is a country that completely baffles me. There is no rhyme or reason to the insanity of this place. The great leader, Kim Jong Il, lives a lavish lifestyle, watches American TV, drinks the finest wines. While this is not unusual behavior for a dictator of this type, the isolation of his country, the size of the parades he throws in his honor, the level of suffering & starvation in his country, is almost second to none. This is a "bizzaro" world, where citizens of democratic and free societies would be completely unable to make any sense of what is going on. He has invested significant amounts of the country's limited resources in...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Iran - Oppression & Misinformation at its best


Now I really feel like getting down to business and expressing myself. This is a subject in which I have a huge interest. I do not have an Iranian background, but what is happening there is shocking to say the least.

How can the world sit back and allow the people of this country, so rich in history and civilization, to be oppressed in a way reminiscent of Nazi Germany. Shooting their own people. Imposing archaic laws on a young population, bursting at the seems to express themselves. Blatantly ignoring the will of its own population, then brutally suppressing all peaceful demonstrations on this. How can we solve this problem? What is the debate for the other side? I am open minded but have not found any legitimate evidence to support the outrageous claims of the establishment. If someone wants to sway me, please go ahead, I am listening.

I understand geopolitical and economic rationale, but it is time certain countries, those knowledgeable on this subject know who I am referring too, take a principled approach. I would be glad to elaborate or discuss details if anyone wants to further discuss.

My First Entry

Well, I have wanted to do this for a long long time. I am completely intrigued by the ability to express myself around openly and receive true and honest feedback. Please forgive me if my first few posts sound scattered as I slowly narrow down my thoughts and topic. I have traveled abroad, and have a large knowledge of international affairs / travel / and the world in which I live. I will start with this but I do not know where I will end but I am very excited about the journey. So please stay tuned and I look forward to your comments / feedback on my thoughts.