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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

To boycott or not to boycott Israeli products and services

Posted by fracardi on January 11, 2009

During these weeks of horrible events in Gaza, many voices raised to boycott Israeli products and services. As much as I’m shocked by the atrocities of this attack, I don’t think that to boycott product and services from Israel is a good idea.

Doing this, we would damage only specific companies and specific persons of that nation, probably many of them already not agreeing on how things are managed by their government. Boycotts and embargos are very unfocused weapons, rarely work. This case wouldn’t be an exception.

As often, instead of being against someone, it’s much more effective to support the ones who are doing something to make things better. In the case of Gaza war, we may for example donate money to ONGs helping the civilian population in Gaza, as the Red Cross, or to organizations asking for an immediate halt to this war, as Amnesty International.


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Censura na Internet: paralelo entre Brasil e Italia

Posted by fracardi on November 19, 2008

Enquanto no Brasil a discussão sobre a Lei Azeredo esta tomando fogo (já 125mil assinaturas contra o projeto, aqui), na Itália uma proposta de lei que parecia ter desaparecido, a Levi-Prodi, volta a angustiar os internautas italianos (aqui).

O projeto de lei Levi-Prodi nasceu da clara vontade dos legisladores de limitar a liberdade de expressão, ameaçando os blogs do reato de difamação.  Como? Impondo a quem desenvolve atividades editoriais na Internet a inscrição ao “Registro degli operatori di comunicazione”. Sendo que a grande maioria dos blogs de uma certa notoriedade usa Google Adsense, todos estes blogs ficariam com essa obrigação, com implicações abrumadoras a nível burocrático e legal, que impediriam de fato a existência desses mesmos blogs.

A Lei Azeredo ataca de um lado diferente. Foca na limitação dos cyber-reatos. Mas acabaria indo longe demais, limitando a livre troca de informação entre usuários e imporia aos provedores de acesso um papel policial. Aqui mais detalhes, explicados pela amiga Caru.

Apesar das claras diferenças entre os dois projeto, tem um interessante paralelos entre as duas situações. Nos dois casos, uma classe politica construída no mundo do mass media (TV sobre todo)  percebe a ameaça da Internet e tenta limitar a explosiva forca democrática que esta somente agora começando a incidir na vida politica nacional. E’ o mesmo pano de fundo.

Nos dois países se estão lutando batalhas fundamentais para o futuro da Internet. Todos aqueles que lutam pela liberdade de expressão e pela democracia sabem por que lado torcer.

Atualização dia 22 de novembro

A proposta de lei “Levi” fui retirada, porem apareceu um outro projeto de lei “Cassinelli“, esta vez proposta por um deputado do partido de Berlusconi. Analise do impacto desta proposta aqui. Os tempos dessa proposta são muito suspeitos.

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Censorship on the Internet

Posted by fracardi on May 27, 2007

It’s very interesting to take note on which states are censoring Internet and understand how the blogosphere and, more in general, the net “civil society” is reacting.

A very interesting case is the recent censorship of YouTube in Morocco. The apparent reason is the publishing on YouTube of some movies slandering the King of Morocco. Even more interesting:

a) Only the main DSL provider (partially owned by Morocco state) is censoring YouTube;

b) No official reasons for this blocking is being provided by Maroc Telecom to their users;

c) The Moroccan blogosphere is strongly reacting

In my opinion, blocking sites without giving any reason is unacceptable and draw a very threatening shadow on the freedom of expression rights in that specific country.

If you want to know more on this have a look at the “Reporter sans frontieres” site (

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The return of the Latin America Idiot

Posted by fracardi on May 12, 2007

Fantastic post from Silvio Meira on “the return of the Latin America Idiot”. Especially enlightening is the following paragraph, from an Anthony Daniels’ article

Man is born rich, but almost everywhere is poor

It is to the elucidation of this paradox that many of the finest minds of Latin America have been devoted for nearly a century. And the best answer they have been able to give is that most men are poor because a few men are rich. And, by the same token, those few men are rich because most men are poor. On this view, wealth is a form of institutionalized plunder. Nothing had to be —or remains to be—discovered, invented, or developed. The wealth of the world has been the same since the beginning of time and will remain the same until the end of time. Hence your slice of the economic cake, both personal and international, necessarily decreases the size of mine, and thus poverty is always someone else’s fault. This means that the wealth of Europe and America was erected on a foundation of cheap bananas.

Echoes of Chavez, Lula, Kirchner (and his wife, my God) here, isn’t it?

The worst is that:

The Latin American Idiot has his counterpart outside the region. Indeed, the academic study of Latin America in both American and European universities is dominated by such counterparts. And most foreign journalists who are interested in Latin America share the Idiot’s world view.

In my circle here in Madrid I’m trying my best to explain that Lula is not the best Prime Minister for Brasil, but more simply a decent politician with a strong sense of survival, but lack of vision. The European press, especially from left circles, still tends to downplay the corruption and the inability to focus on the key issues (like heavily invest in education and information technology) of the Lula’s government.

I love Brasil, and I would like to see better political leaders. They are absolutely needed in a country with enormous potential, but unbereable differences among the layers of its population.

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Fears of China and its (our) future

Posted by fracardi on April 7, 2007

In this very interesting video-post, Martin Varsavsky points out that Western countries, instead of fearing Chinese lack of civic liberties and its escalating military power, should be much more worried of the ecological impact and of the huge inequalities of the current Chinese economical model. He argues also that the world would be a better place if Western countries will convince / help China to adopt the socio-democratic model of Europe and Japan, instead of the capitalistic US one.

I totally agree. Everyone visiting China could immediately realize that China is today an iper-capitalistic country, with an awesome (and ecologically and socially scaring) freedom for business. No socialist features appear in this society model, as one should expect from a country that still declares itself communist.

However, it is in my opinion impossible to disconnect the building of a socially and ecologically-oriented society from the rise of civic and political liberties. I don’t see how the Chinese Communist party could start adopting social and ecological measures without a clear pressure from the Chinese public opinion. At the end, who can systematically argue on the building of a new dam or the respect of pollution rules in mainland China? Who can teach to 1,3 billion Chinese that they should start adopting differentiated collecting of rubbish or limit the use of their cars? Western countries are just starting doing after 200 hundreds of industrial revolution .Very few countries, US the least, have the moral authority to stand-up.

That’s why I don’t see China adopting, let’s say, a Swedish model, at least until the GDP per capita will grow to 10-15k US$. That’s a very long way to go.

Am I wrong? I hope so, because if not, the future of the current Earth ecosystem has very little chances to survive during the next 100 years.

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