Chavez, who Imus referred to as the fourth Dixie Chick, was introduced at the podium by actor Danny Glover. At the church Chavez again disrespected President Bush and insulted all Americans, calling the leader of the free world “devil,” “alcoholic,” and “sick man.”
Chavez's impolitic and rude exercise of free speech, a right not enjoyed by the citizens of Venezuela, has resulted in calls to boycott Citgo, the U.S. subsidiary of Venezuela's state-owned oil company.
Living, and voting, in Connecticut I have a more parochial response. I want Greenwich millionaire and Democratic anti-war senatorial candidate Ned Lamont to disassociate himself from the Chavez-hugging Danny Glover. The Lamont website continues to post a news article about Glover campaigning for Lamont. Just as Chavez is free to make a very impolite speech, Danny Glover is free to embrace the Caracas crackpot. Lamont is likewise free to cling to Glover's support, but if he wants to be a U.S. Senator he needs to disassociate himself from the actor who introduces and calls friend the leftist leader who makes such outlandish comments against our president.
Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Nicaragua condemn the plan to build hundreds of miles of triple-layered fencing along parts of the U.S. - Mexican border. The countries claim saying the fence would not stop illegal immigration:
"The position of Mexico and the other countries is that walls will not make a difference in terms of the solution to the migration problem," said Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez.
[. . .]
Guatemalan Foreign Minister Jorge Briz said major immigration reform in the United States was the only way to stop the wave of people heading northward.
"All of us are looking for a comprehensive migratory regulation so that millions of Latin Americans can continue working in and supporting the United States economy," Briz said.
[. . .]
Honduran Foreign Minister Milton Jimenez said he expected several South American and Caribbean countries to join Mexico and the Central Americans in issuing a joint declaration on the matter soon.
In December, the U.S. House approved a bill to build a fence about twice as long as the one approved by the Senate. The House plan sparked a wave of criticism from Latin American leaders, with Mexican President Vicente Fox comparing such a barrier to the Berlin Wall.
Fox [the Mexican President] reiterated his criticisms on Thursday.
"Building walls, constructing barriers on the border does not offer an efficient solution in a relationship of friends, neighbors and partners," Fox said in the border city of Tijuana. "We will go on defending the rights of our countrymen without rest or respite. With passion we will demand the full respect of their human rights."
The Associated Press reports Mexicans say it will take more than a fence to keep them out of the United States:
"We'll go under it, we'll go over it, we'll go through the air, the sea or the earth, but they're never going to stop us from crossing," said Jesus Santana, a Tijuana truck driver who was caught trying to cross and deported.
This is a common attitude among deportees. Martin Doriane, who has surveyed returning migrants for the last four years, said at least 95 percent of migrants caught and deported say they'll try again. A main reason is because they've sold everything they own in Mexico to pay to be smuggled in to the U.S.:
"They say, 'I had a roof and a frying pan in Mexico, but I sold both to come north, and went into debt, so what do I have to return to?'" Doraine said.
As long as most Mexicans accept illegal immigration as a fact of life they can't imagine changing, we will need to improve efforts to control the border. I wish we didn't need a barrier along the Mexican border. It looks bad. It's easily stigmatized as racist. Moreover, a barrier works. The construction of about 10 miles of steel and concrete barriers up to 15 feet high in San Diego has reduced illegal crossings in that sector by about 95 percent since 1992. Perhaps the illegal just relocate there crossing points, but as they have fewer options the Border Patrol's job becomes more feasible.
The wall should be substantial and effective, like Israel's 25 foot high wall, not one the illegal aliens have no problem crossing.
The stereotype of "The Ugly American" - loud, arrogant, ill-dressed, ill-mannered and lacking respect for other cultures - is one of the root causes of anti-Americanism.
Keith Reinhard, founder of the non-profit Business for Diplomatic Action (BDA), is trying to change the perception of American's as loud, arrogant and completely self-absorbed by distributing the "World Citizen's Guide" to corporate travelers. The Guide for corporate executives follows more detailed tips for U.S. students traveling abroad to counter the behavioral patterns that perpetuate the ugly American stereotype:
Look. Listen. Learn.
Think big. Act small. Be humble.
Live, eat and play local.
Use your hands. Watch your feet.
Leave the clichés at home.
Be proud, not arrogant.
Keep religion private.
Celebrate our diversity.
Become a student again.
Try the language.
Refrain from lecturing.
Dialogue instead of monologue.
Check the atlas.
Agree to disagree respectfully.
Talk about something besides politics.
Be safety conscious, not fearful.
Dress for respect.
Know some global sports trivia.
Keep your word.
Show your best side.
Be a traveler, not a tourist.
An estimated 60 million Americans travel abroad each year. All of them are potential ambassadors who might win or loose the hearts and minds of their host countries. The suggestions contained in the World Citizen's Guide certainly can't hurt, but these suggestions will not change the ugly American anytime soon. A number of the suggestions might induce more civil discussions on the internet.
It's bad enough that Mexico interferes in the internal affairs of the U.S. by encouraging illegal immigration and even supporting demonstrations in the U.S. supporting rights for illegal aliens, but to boycott American businesses is going too far.
MEXICO CITY, Mexico (AP) -- "The Great American Boycott" is spreading south of the border, as activists call for Mexicans to boycott U.S. businesses on May 1.
The protest is timed to coincide with a May 1 boycott of work and shopping in the United States that also has been dubbed "A Day Without Immigrants." The boycott, which grew out of huge pro-migrant marches across the United States, is designed to pressure Congress to legalize millions of undocumented people.
Mexican unions, political and community groups, newspaper columnists and even some Mexican government offices have joined the call in recent days.
"Remember, nothing gringo on May 1," advises one of the many e-mails being circulated among Internet users in Mexico.
"On May 1, people shouldn't buy anything from the interminable list of American businesses in Mexico," reads another. "That means no Dunkin' Donuts, no McDonald's, Burger King, Starbucks, Sears, Krispy Kreme or Wal-Mart."
Mexicans are biting the hand that feeds them a little too hard. As I have posted before, Mexicans think they have an inalienable right to migrate to the U.S.:
Mexico's economy, society and political system are built around the assumption that migration and amnesties for undocumented migrants will continue — and that the $20 billion they send home every year will keep coming, and almost certainly grow.
In fact, the government is counting on continued cash from a Mexican-born U.S. population it predicts will rise from 11 million to between 17.9 million and 20.4 million by 2030.
[. . .]
President Vicente Fox is one of many Mexican who considers the migrants "heroes," because they send money to their impoverished home villages, and in some cases risk death walking into America in pitiless desert sun.
The American Chamber of Commerce in Mexico has warned that by tying the Mexican "Nothing Gringo" campaign to the May 1 "Day Without Immigrants" boycott in the United States Mexicans and the orginizers of the demonstration supporting rights for illegal aliens are risking a backlash.
The Chamber of Commerce is right. Many will see the Nothing Gringo boycott of America businesses for what it is - blatant anti-Americanism. I certainly do.
UPDATE: It has been suggested that an appropriate response would be a Cinco de Mayo boycott.
The Associated Press reports the European Union's antiterrorism coordinator says investigations into reports that US agents shipped prisoners through European airports to secret detention centers have produced no evidence of illegal CIA activities:
''We've heard all kinds of allegations, impressions; we've heard also refutations. It's up to your committee to weigh if they are true. It does not appear to be proven beyond reasonable doubt," he said. ''There has not been, to my knowledge, evidence that these illegal renditions have taken place."
[. . .]
De Vries told the committee no EU-US agreement authorized secret renditions of terror suspects, that hundreds of CIA flights did not occur over Europe as reported by various media organizations, and that he has no news of European countries using intelligence obtained under torture.
The New York Times reminds us that "many European nations were outraged after an article in The Washington Post in November cited unidentified intelligence officials as saying that the C.I.A. had maintained detention centers for terrorism suspects in eight countries, including some in Eastern Europe.
The story earned the Washington Post's Dana Priest a Pulitzer Prize.
In addition to the international uproar caused by Priest's article, government officials have said it did significant damage to relationships between the U.S. and allied intelligence agencies. You likely recall that because of Priest's article, in December Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had to remind our European allies that the United State does not violate allies' sovereignty or break international law, and that Europeans that their governments are also fighting against terrorists who have bombed commuters in Madrid and London.
It is ironic that the European Union official announces there is no evidence to support the allegations of illegal CIA activities just as the a CIA officer is fired for leaking information NBC News reported pertained to stories on the CIA’s rumored secret prisons in Eastern Europe and was allegedly provided to Dana Priest.
Some bloggers, such as Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters and Rick Moran at Right Wing Nuthouse, are wondering whether the CIA European detention center story may have been a sting designed to identify the leaker.
The magazine reports that the organizers were told that any chance there might’ve been for the United States to sign on to the Kyoto global-warming protocol would be scuttled if they allowed Bill Clinton to speak:
Bush officials informed organizers of their intention to pull out of the new Kyoto deal late Thursday afternoon, soon after news leaked that Clinton was scheduled to speak, the source said.
“It came through loud and clear from the Bush people—they wouldn’t sign the deal if Clinton were allowed to speak.” Clinton spokesman Jay Carson confirmed the behind the dustup took place and that the former president had decided not to go out of fear of harming the negotiations, but Carson declined to comment further.
Clinton did end up speaking at the conference, attacking the Bush administration as "flat wrong" in claiming that reducing greenhouse gas emissions to fight global warming would damage the U.S. economy.
Mr. Clinton seems to forget that it is his fault the U.S. takes such a beating over the Kyoto Accords. It was President Clinton who directed his vice president, Al Gore, sign the accord despite the Senate's advice that the treaty should not be signed. Prior to Gore's signing the Kyoto Accords, the Byrd-Hagel Resolution was passed by the Senate 95-0.
It is so tiresome to see story after story attacking the Bush administration on global warming, when it is clear that there was a bipartisan consensus opposed to the Kyoto Treaty.
The Bush administration doesn't ignore global warming, it deals with climate issues on a bilateral or regional basis, and favors voluntary approaches. Last summer The United States, Australia, China, India and South Korea announced the creation of the Asia-Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate, a regional pact to combat greenhouse gas emissions by developing environmentally friendly energy technology.
Clinton's interference at the U.N. Climate conference, like the signing of the Kyoto Accords against the Senate's advice, will only continue to harm the U.S. standing on environmental issues. The former president should restrain himself and stop acting as an impediment to the nation's foreign policy.
According to the Associated Press, ex-president Clinton will make surprise visit to the U.N. climate conference to rally the "pro-Kyoto" forces.
Clinton's presence at the conference in an "unofficial capacity" and to "rally the 'pro-Kyoto' forces," can only harm the U.S. standing on global warming.
President Clinton, championed the Kyoto Protocol and had his vice president, Al Gore, sign the accord despite the Senate's advice that the treaty should not be signed.
It is so tiresome to see story after story attacking the Bush administration on global warming, when it is clear that there is a bipartisan consensus opposed to the Kyoto Treaty.
The Bush administration prefers to deal with climate issues on a bilateral or regional basis, not through global negotiations, and favors voluntary approaches. Last summer The United States, Australia, China, India and South Korea announced the creation of the Asia-Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate, a regional pact to combat greenhouse gas emissions by developing environmentally friendly energy technology.
Clinton's interference at the U.N. Climate conference, like the signing of the Kyoto accord against the Senate's advice, will only continue to harm the U.S. standing on environmental issues.
The Associated Press reports that a U.S. congressional delegation to Venezuela was not permitted to leave the plane at the country's main airport and left.
The delegation on the plane intended to meet with Venezuelan Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel and other government officials.
Hyde's office issued this press release:
A high-level delegation headed by International Relations Committee Chairman Henry J. Hyde and Ranking Democratic Member Tom Lantos was refused entry into Venezuela by government officials after the delegation had been held onboard their aircraft and harassed by customs officials for two hours at Caracas' Simon Bolivar International Airport.
The delegation's itinerary, composition and scheduled meetings had been shared with Venezuelan officials several weeks prior to the delegation's arrival from Washington, including a meeting with President Hugo Chavez.
The delegation departed Venezuela after government officials refused to guarantee that the delegation would be allowed to disembark and carry out its planned schedule.
The bipartisan delegation comprised of Chairman Hyde, Ranking Democratic Member Lantos, Representatives Watt, Faleomavaega, Watson, and Fortuno. The delegation members expressed their profound disappointment in the Venezuelan Government's capricious and unexplained decision and actions given that the purpose of the mission was to seek ways to reduce strains in the increasingly troubled relationship between the United States and Venezuela.
According to the Associated Press, Jose Cabello, president of the airport, denied that Venezuelan authorities turned back the U.S. delegation:
"They didn't contact Venezuelan authorities" at the airport, Cabello told the state-run TV channel.
[. . .]
"We understand they went to Aruba. There was no problem," he said.
A series of red mushroom clouds over western Europe show that Soviet nuclear weapons strikes would have been launched at Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and Belgium if Nato had struck first. Red clouds are drawn over the then German capital, Bonn, and other key German cities such as the financial centre of Frankfurt, Cologne, Stuttgart, Munich and the strategically important northern port of Hamburg. Brussels, the political headquarters of Nato, is also targeted. Blue mushroom clouds, representing the expected Nato nuclear strikes, are drawn over cities in the eastern bloc, including Warsaw and the then Czechoslovakian capital, Prague. France would have escaped attack, possibly because it is not a member of Nato's integrated structure. Britain, which has always been at the heart of Nato, would also have been spared, suggesting Moscow wanted to stop at the Rhine to avoid overstretching its forces. The exercise, entitled Seven Days to the River Rhine, indicated Warsaw Pact forces aimed to reach the Franco-German border within a week of a Nato attack.
Standing next to the fading map in Warsaw yesterday, Radoslaw Sikorski, the Polish defence minister, said: "The objective of the exercise on this map is to take over most of western Europe - all of Germany, Belgium and Denmark."
[. . .]
"This map is a moving and shattering personal experience," Mr Sikorski said of the exercise, which estimated that 2 million Polish civilians would have been killed. "It shows that the Polish army was being used to participate in an operation that would have resulted in the nuclear annihilation of our country."