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The Americas

Carlos the Jackal

 ‘‘A professional revolutionary’’, that’s what Ilich Ramirez Sanchez called himself. Others would name him world’s most infamous terrorist until 9/11.  But most of the people know him as Carlos the Jackal. Named after Lenin, Sanchez was born in Venezuela’s capital Caracas in 1949. Despite his mother’s wishes to raise their firstborn child as a Christian, his father, a true Marxist, ... Read More »

Haiti: After the Earthquake

On the 12th of January 2010 an earthquake of the magnitude 7.0 has rocked the state of Haiti to its core. In less than a minute Haiti was broken apart. A nation and its people suffered devastating destruction. The world responded to the crisis promising to put Haiti back again, better than before. According to the United Nations the earthquake ... Read More »

The Mountain That Eats Men

Until recently, Bolivian tourist brochures mostly focused on the highest capital in the world (La Paz) the salt planes of Uyuni.  Today, one can ‘experience’ the hellish conditions deep in the ‘mountain that eats men’, making the mines the newest must-see attraction of Bolivia. This men-eating mountain in Potosí is also named Cerro Richo (Rich Mountain), derived from the exorbitant ... Read More »

The Unnoticed War of 1864

Under the shades of the American civil war, another conflict took place a bit more south. Paraguay was facing Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. What the hell did Paraguay do to anger the entire region? We have to go back to 1842. Carlos Antonio López came to power and started a massive industrialization. He imported European experts to build modern infrastructure ... Read More »

World’s Poorest President

The lifestyles of political leaders are often far removed from those of their electorate. There is a clear exception to this rule. This is Jose Mujica, the president of Uruguay, who lives on a quiet farm and gives away most of his earnings to charity. A ramshackle farm is the home of the Uruguayan president and his wife. Only two ... Read More »

Looking Down the Fiscal Cliff

607,000,000,000 (607 billion) – a gigantic number. The United States faces budget cuts of this magnitude on New Year’s Eve if the Obama Administration and the Congress will not be able to reach a solution on Governmental austerity measures this year. The background: With the Budget Control Act of 2011, President Obama and the Republican-dominated House has set up a ... Read More »

Playing Telecom Monopoly

Carlos Slim Helu is the richest man in the world. He owns almost all telecom companies (and a lot of other big chains) in South America. After buying his Carso Global Telecom into the North American telecom world, he now shifted his focus to Europe. Will the European telecom companies fall to Slim’s monopoly? For years, Mexico has been criticised ... Read More »

A Lost War

The drug war in Mexico: 35,000 casualties, the biggest law suit ever to the ICC and a shocking amount of human rights abuses. A story of systematic failure. There are two sides to the war on drugs: Firstly, the attempt to supress trade and consumption of hard drugs is a quasi-impossible undertaking. Secondly, as long as drugs are illegal, the ... Read More »

Pauline Marois’ Parti Québécois: The Separatist Dream

“We want a country and we will have it.” According to Pauline Marois, the newly elected prime minister of Québéc, Canada, there is no doubt that she will lead the French-speaking region to independency. But how realistic is that? It is clear that some substantial obstacles have to be overcome before the Québécois flag can be risen. Separatist and nationalist ... Read More »

Conservative Stronghold on a Red Continent

Colombia can without a doubt be labeled as the black sheep of the South-American family. The internal struggle against the communistic rebel group FARC and negative tensions with left-wing neighboring countries,  shows a rather conservative tendency. Ever since political parties have emerged, the conservative and liberal parties have monopolized the Colombian political field. This can be traced back to the ... Read More »