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Victor Jara Singer of Hope

This is a poem by Carlos Muñoz, El Diantre, which I put music to. Muñoz captured the popular feelings of many Chileans regarding Victor Jara and he summarizes those feelings on his introduction:

Yesterday you sang for me
To give me hope
Your songs gave me strength
Today I sing for you.

To play the song click here.

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From Chile to Guantanamo: A Survivor of Torture Speaks Out

Interview by Sofia Jarrin for the "Boston Underground" - Winter 2007-2008

This January (2008) marks the sixth anniversary of the first arrival of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, yet Guantanamo is not the first island known for the unlawful abuse and torture of detainees. Island Dawson on the southern tip of Chile is known for its inhospitable, freezing weather, and for many Chileans is also the location of a concentration camp where Pinochet ordered the detention and torture of hundreds of political prisoners.

Sergio Reyes, a Boston resident and activist, was 19 years old when he was abducted from his home in Punta Arenas, faced a mock execution in front of his mother, was regularly beaten, electrocuted, and suffered from simulated drowning. Between 1973 and 1976, he was a political prisoner in a forced labor camp at the now infamous Dawson Island.

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Victor Jara in YouTube

August 10, 2007.- Sometimes capitalism creates non-traditional media that revolutionize the dissemination of ideas. The fundamental reason for this almost always has to do with profit making. That is the case of a project to publish low-resolution non-commercial video, which in few years has grown in geometrical progression: YouTube. This project started in San Bruno, California early in 2005 headed by Steve Chen, Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim. In one year alone this succesfull project caught the attention of Google Inc. which bought the company at a price of $1.65 millions in October 2006.

Inevitably, this type of public media leaves the door open for the participation of progressive people, competing with all the consumerist trash. That is how today we can find some old videos of our dear Victor Jara. You can also find new renditions of his songs.

To see Victor Jara in YouTube click here

For a translation of his song "Te Recuerdo Amanda" click on the [+] below.

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Bolivia: From Pre-Revolution to General Elections

As we meet this morning of December 18, 2005 (*), the people of Bolivia are attempting to find an outlet through the ballot to a sustained crisis that has shaken the country up for the last three years. Nearly 3.5 million voters out of a population of 8.5 millions will decide today among 6 candidates to the Presidency and, for the first time, for Governorships to the 9 Departments of Bolivia. These elections are general elections and therefore also senators and congressmen will be elected.

According to the polls, the leading candidates are Evo Morales from the Movement Toward Socialism (Spanish acronym, “MAS” for Movimiento al Socialismo) with about 40% of support. Jorge Quiroga of the neoliberal coalition Democratic and Social Power (with the Spanish acronym “Podemos” for Poder Democratic y Social) is expected to obtain about 27% of the vote. The third preference goes to businessman Samuel Doria Medina of National Unity, with about 9% of the vote.

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 Chile: Presidential Elections 2017 - What's in it for the People?

On November 17, 2017, Chile will hold its 7th presidential election since the civilian-military dictatorship of Pinochet gave way to capitalist democracy in 1989. The capitalist democratic system left behind by Pinochet is tightly controlled by the superstructure of the system (constitution, congress -with designated senators and all, armed forces, courts, media, etc.). The first two elected presidents were members of the Christian Democratic Party, Patricio Aylwin and Eduardo Frei, Jr. They were followed by two Socialist Party member, Ricardo Lagos and Michelle Bachelet. The fifth president was a member of a right-wing party, National Renewal, Sebastian Pinera. Finally, in 2013 Michele Bachelet was reelected.

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Find and replace paragraph mark in Libre Office Write

As it is often the case, converts from MS Office to Libre Office find that some actions they used to do easily in Word are not the same in Writer. Many give up and switch back to the MS product. A case in point is the simple process of finding (searching in Word) a paragraph character to replace it with something else.

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How to plan for early retirement: Don't do what I did

As I begin the day countdown for my early retirement, I realize that I have taken a life-changing decision. Things are lining up reasonably well, although making statements like this one can be reversed quickly by those sudden slaps in the face that life is always ready to give us.

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Solving UTF 8 issues with international characters on PHP7

An Internet seach for "problems with UTF 8 and international characters", generates 10th of thousand hits. This is where I was when trying to solve the problem of the infamous replacement code chracter . I reached out to technical support from my web host, whitout success. I was told over and over again that I needed to update my scripts to new standards, and that was the extent of their support. I chatted, called, checked useless knowledge docs, and nothing. My host, 1and1, came out though with what we can call a "business" solution: they would maintain the old php5 version... for an additional monthly fee. After, thousands of trial an error attempts, I was able to make it work. No matter how much I defined that the character set I was going to be working with was UTF 8 in my scripts, the browsers (all of them!) just didn't want to comply. I will not explain more here. I wrote a 2-page paper that ruled my many conversions to this new standard. These steps worked for me. If they do the trick for you also, happy to share.

Here is the document. No charge! :)

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Second Trip to Chalatenango, April 29 - May 2, 2016

More than two weeks had gone by before I was able to write a report on this second trip to Chalatenango, El Salvador. The delay was not only determined by other obligations and preoccupations, but was more than anything a psychological pause, trying to absorb what happened during those 4 days in El Salvador. Last year, 2015, Vielka Bolaños, Horacio's widow, Leopoldo Luna, comrade at arms of Horacio, and I, friend of youth and struggle in Chile of Horacio, were in the same area from March 21 through the March 28.

To read the full report click here.

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Leaving testimony of the struggle of a Chilean internationalist who died in El Salvador in 1981

This April 30, 2016, we will inaugurate a historical marker in the small community of El Jicaro, in Chalatenango, El Salvador. For nearly two years a group of friends, comrades and relatives of the Chilean Sergio Mancilla Caro, have been working to recover his history. Mancilla took on the nom de guerre “Horacio”. This is the only name that his comrades knew him by. Mancilla was killed in combat on October 5, 1981 in La Quebrada del Zope, during an army ambush.

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