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As we announced in the last edition, Politics is the focal point of this edition. At this hour of tiredness and deception, including abandonment on the part of many, we want to insist on the importance of political commitment for each and every human being.

The list of the most 8 important martyrial anniversaries of , the announcement of the prizes won in the contests of last year, and the announcement of new ten! The section on JUDGING brings together the perspectives of the most qualified specialists from the Continent and further afield judging politics from the widest spectrum of viewpoints permitted by the size of this agenda. The Agenda concludes with its habitual final section: The Agenda will probably have as its theme another exclamation-invitation: Long Live Social Utopia!

At this time when so many are declaring that ideologies are dead and utopias are considered a thing of the past, we reclaim their continued relevance, since, without them, full human life and dignified social life are impossible. Perhaps the utopias of past times will change their name, or, perhaps, the passage of time will allow them to transform themselves and adopt a different face. But we declare that the great utopias of the past decades have not died, no matter the name by which they are called. Rather, they continue being, in essence, what the best of those who preceded us struggled for.

We want to continue planting, with fidelity, in the fields which they opened up for us. We await your commentaries, suggestions, and even criticisms, so that you can help us plan the next condition. The texts are always brief and agile, presented under the pedagogical concept of one page, formatted so that they can be directly photocopied and distributed as work material in schools, group meetings, adult literacy programs, and literature tables.

They can also be published in the bulletins of organizations or in local magazines. The format of the texts is dictated by an economic criterion which possibly sacrifices esthetics in the form of white spaces and illustrations in favor of a greater volume of message. This also allows us to keep a low price so the Agenda is more accessible. Ecumenicism This agenda is dictated by a total ecumenicism, not a remainder ecumeicism. Because of this, we do not eliminate what is only Catholic or only Protestant, but we unite the two.

Thus, in the list of the Saints, the Protestant and Catholic commemorations have both been included. When they do not coincide, the Protestant commemoration is in italics. For example, the Apostle Peter is celebrated by the Catholic Church on February 22 the Chair of Peter , and for the Protestant Churches on January 18 the Confession of Peter ; the differences can be distinguished typographically. The Agenda is aconfessional, and, above all, macroecumenical.

The world of common references, beliefs, values, and utopias among peoples and men and women of good will which Christians call the Reign is shared by all who are partners in this humble, serving, brotherly, and sisterly search. A Non-Profit Work In many countries, this agenda is edited by popular and nonprofit organizations that use the money received from the sale of the agenda to support their work for popular service and solidarity. These centers ensure the non-profit character of each edition. In all cases, the Agenda Latinoamericana as it is, in its central coordination, is also a non-profit initiative.

It was born and developed without help from any agency. The money generated by the agenda, after adequately compensating the authors who write in its pages, is dedicated to works of popular alternative communication and international solidarity. Servicios Koinonia, permanently maintained, constantly improved, and freely accessible around the world, the Tiempo Axial Collection, and some of the prizes financed by the Agenda are the most well-known.

This is a collective work. Because of this, it has gotten to where it is today. We continue to gladly receive suggestions, materials, texts, documents, and new bibliographic material as we enter into the process of creating the Agenda. We welcome and will make a space in these pages for those entities that want to officer their service to the Continent by sponsoring a prize or contest to stimulate any aspect of our continental consciousness. In this way, it will continue being a collective work, a community patrimony, an annual anthology of the memory and hope of our spiritual Continent.

As long as it is not used to make a profit, you may freely print and distribute copies. Local as well as on-line printers can produce professionally bound versions at a low cost. We also seek your help in the translation of this Agenda for future years. Please contact us at You need not have prior experience, only a good command of both Spanish and English and a willingness to translate a two page article.

Please contact us by March 31, if you are interested.


Everything is political, although politics isn t everything. Outside of politics there is no salvation. The simple people in our regions of the interior of Brazil talk about politics, a priori and a posteriori, as an evil: So where are we? Politics yes or politics no? In this World Latin American Agenda for , after talking about democracy in the Agenda, we believe that it is more than appropriate to talk about politics. It is necessary to recognize the deception that politics causes in practically all countries.

It creates an attitude of distrust, of scorn to the point of indignation towards politics. What are the causes? Unfortunately, it is easy to name them: The collective experience, in almost all countries, but especially in the Third World, is a dance of centuries that masks the same pseudo-politics, based on power, profit, and privilege. Politics has been made into a business, the recourse of the elites who keep perpetuating themselves always the same people, openly right-wing, and consecrated to the status quo.

As the joke goes, Let s stop trying to accomplish political change with politics! Let s accept politics for what it s good for: This politics has to die. Worldwide it is already a dead politics for the society that wants to live humanely and construct an authentically democratic, participatory, and humanizing future, free of the inequalities that cry to the heavens.

The economy grows, but simultaneously so does inequality. Structural adjustment plans, forced upon poor countries by current politics, have failed, but still they demand much suffering, misery, and even blood. The current process of globalization, writes Stiglitz in his book Making Globalization Work, is provoking destabilizing results as much between countries as within countries. It creates wealth, but there are too many countries and people that do not share its benefits It has been opportunely affirmed that this inequality assassinates. It is necessary to come together to engage in multiple processes in different places and in different ways that are at the service of equitable globalization, which shares increases in wellbeing and conquers misery.

It is essential that engaging in politics becomes a basic exercise of citizenship. Citizenship is the political recognition of human rights. Because we are humanity, we are society. The Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben argues that [t]he separation between the human and the political that we are now experiencing is the extreme phase of the rift between the rights of the human being and the rights of the citizen. Our Agenda surveys the history of politics. It confronts the exercise of current politics with the demands of human rights, citizenship, cultures, the role of the laity, inter-religious dialogue, ecology, and communications media.

Current politics has in its hands the manipulation of public opinion and the colonization of subjectivities. For the majority of humanity, it is a politics that has to die, and that is already a dead politics. However, politics, the other politics, cannot die, precisely because humanity cannot live without it. Politics is the organization of human life, the process of society. Politics is more than a dimension it embraces all dimensions of social life. In our Agenda, by denouncing this iniquitous politics, we vindicate true politics: This politics renovates traditional institutions, many of them rotten and unjust, and supports new institutions.

It works for the political formation of citizens. It suggests attitudes, processes, and campaigns, and it seeks solutions. We all know that agenda means what we need to do.

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The goal of this Agenda, therefore, is to assist us in thinking about what we must do so that politics lives resurrected and distant from the whitewashed tombs and that it be a human and humanizing politics. Following Max Weber, we want to distinguish between politics as a profession and politics as a vocation. Rubem Alves has written, in a memorable article entitled On Politics and Gardening: Of all vocations, politics is the most noble It is necessary to dream while moving forward.

We want to and should be politicians, that is, practice politics. Totally committed and hopeful, we come together, men and women and at every moment more and more women are entering different spheres of politics to enter into this great mobilization of goals, forums, campaigns, and achievements. We demand, loftily dreaming, that politics be an exercise of love, the daily celebration of a coming together that is truly human. We demand a brotherly and sisterly politics, a daily prayer to Humanity, and the best worship of the living God.

We want to be politicians and to practice politics, without neutrality and without even-handed hypocrisy. To be in favor of life or in favor of death. Every day I see with more clarity that this is the choice we have to make. No possible neutrality exists.

We either serve life or we are complicit in the deaths of many human beings. Here our faith is revealed: Asesinado brutalmente frente a por lo menos 15 mil testigos. Dirigente estudiantil de la AEU en Guatemala. Yamilet Sequiera Cuarte, catequista, Nicaragua. Estaban reunidos en Benjamin Constant, AM, Brasil, esperando la ayuda solicitada a la Funai ante las amenazas del maderero. Fueron baleados y sus cuerpos tirados a una zanja. Jorge Eduardo Serrano, jesuita, Colombia: Asesinado por los latifundistas.

El concurso queda convocado de nuevo. Se puede participar redactando un ensayo, estudio, proyecto Muchos Estados son consecuencia de guerras en las que los vencedores sometieron a los pueblos vencidos y en ocasiones se los repartieron. Enviar antes del 31 de marzo de a: Actualmente es responsable del Centro de Pastoral Mons. Colaborador y amigo de Mons. En estilo de ensayo. A, Managua, Nicaragua, tel.: Puede concursar toda persona que sintonice con las Causas de la Patria Grande. Convocatoria oficial completa en: Se puede utilizar cualquier idioma de aquellos en los que es publicada la agenda: Some presidents advantage of globalization in order to overthrow the Nevertheless, there is a very clear signal.

It means power of the State or to put it at the service of their something. It is unlikely that the voters will change. These economic forces created gigantic conglomerations that States were unable to resist. The Elites In the world, and above all in the Asian world, the The traditional social elites the heirs of the conquistadors who today are land owners and owners of State is being reborn and transformed into the great motor of the economy, controlling the economy instead the media and many other goods do not want true of turning it over to these large corporations.

On December 4, , the most important Chinese company, possible with the United States. Chile is the most rep- independence. Their goal is the most intimate union Petrochina, surpassed Shell in the stock markets of resentative example of this. It is a symbol. The States are the future of their countries as being a colonial future, again beginning to dominate the energy sector, principally the petroleum and natural gas sectors. The ten that an alliance with the United States is the best way maintaining their traditional position.

They believe nations that make up OPEC now control more than half to maintain their privileges. They want their countries of world production, and the old Anglo-Saxon corporations, which were the kings of petroleum Exxon, Shell, cultural products and minerals. Le Monde Diplomatique, March , p. In Russia, In Chile, industry has nearly died, and the elites are the State regained control of oil and gas. They prefer to import This has also occurred in Latin America. The State complex industrial products. Known reserves are being depleted scientific research and technology is not prioritized.

The consequence of this colonialist option is that and all producers are looking for new reserves in every This contrasts sharply with what Asian countries have country of the world. The Asians are implementing a done. The Latin American elites do not seem to mind policy of exploration in the entire world. They keep public The success of the Asians in the Far East should education at the lowest level possible, since they know serve as a warning to other countries.

Why are Asians that they will not need many well-educated people. There, the Technology will come from large foreign corporations. State never permitted the economy to dominate politics, as occurred in Latin America. There, the State of independence, and they never have been national- The Latin American elites have never been in favor remained strong and did not allow corporations to ists. Their goal is their personal or family fortune, acquire power capable of neutralizing the power of the never the growth of their countries. State, as occurred in Latin America. Today, more and This is a cultural problem.

It deals with the culture more Latin Americans are looking towards Asians and of the elites, a controlling phenomenon since the sixteenth century. It was the Jesuits in the reducciones beginning to ask questions Because of this, the elites the owners of lands and of slaves succeeded in expelling them. The indigenous peoples returned to their ancestral conditions, leaving them the defenseless victims of the landowners. Moreover, the poor education in public schools is a systematic policy of the elites, who want the poor to remain poor and not to develop. All of their speeches are deceitful because they do the opposite of what they say.

If they wanted public education on the level of South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, and India, they could do it easily. But they do not want to spend money on this. In their speeches, they never forget to proclaim the priority of education, but in practice they impede the improvement of public education. How will it be possible to awaken in them patriotic sentiments and concern for the good of the nation? This is the great challenge. The great force of the elites is the supremacy of the United States, the entire power of the United States that dominates the world, politically, militarily, economically, and culturally.

Although it is starting to show signs of weakness, it still holds impressive power. Because of this, because of the barbarities of George Bush, the potency of the United States inspires fear and nobody wants to confront it directly. Only North Korea and Iran have risked challenging it, since they know that they have potentially powerful allies like China. The necessity of importing energy is one of the weaknesses of the United States.

It tries to guarantee secure reserves, but it knows that its precarious position depends on its immense military power. In all cases, Latin American elites have maintained a firm alliance with the United States up to the present day. The Resistance from Popular Movements In the past few years, the elites have encountered a growing resistance to their colonialist policies. This is because Lula opposed it. As compensation, several governments have accepted [individual] free trade agreements.

Chile was the first, then the Central American countries, and now there is great pressure on the rest of the countries. The fact that the United States has avoided taking military action against Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador demonstrates that it does not feel so sure of itself. It recognizes that limits to its power have appeared. Will this be sufficient to open the eyes of the elites? It has tried to involve Latin American countries in its antiterrorist campaign.

It succeeded in convincing the president of Columbia because of the special circumstances there: It has been able to impose on Ecuador the military base in Manta, an object of many popular protests. In any case, any reverse in the place of the United States in the world will debilitate Latin American elites and will open up a space for nationalist and popular movements in Latin America. The Organization of the Masses If the elites lose power, what will be the political future of Latin America?

Popular movements exist and there is feeling of rebellion in the popular masses, which has become evident in recent elections. However, the large popular masses are not organized. The political parties have no capacity to lead popular movements. The question is this: At the moment, we have at least two examples: At the least at the time of this writing, the situation is not clear. They are personalities compromised by previous governments which lost legitimacy in the eyes of the masses because they did not prove themselves capable of implementing the programs they announced in their speeches.

The defenders of the current system cry out: Will populism be reborn in Latin America? Without a doubt there will be some analogies to the classic populism of the twentieth century. And there is no doubt that this has some validity. But circumstances have changed. But, in the first place, charismatic leaders are going to concentrate more on the power of the State, which has the power to change structures, especially the redistribution of true powers in the nation.

They are not going to declare themselves populist. They are going to maintain the forms of what we currently call democracy. Currently, all of the countries of the world have to establish these structures, since they serve as a certificate of good conduct in the United Nations. But the new governments are going to take power away from inefficient structures. In the history of Latin America, the so-called democratic system elections, political parties, national congress, independent judiciary Only populist leaders have been able to change the social situation.

When the system has been shown to be incapable of giving a response to a full and deep popular movement, the door opens for a popular leader to emerge who will be able to depend the support of the people in order to govern. Politics Is Dead What is in crisis is the current political system. The regime of assemblies and congresses of representatives does not function.

It does not bring about any results because there are two circumstances which limit the effectiveness of representatives. In the first place, deputies and senators increasingly represent the large companies that finance them and their campaigns so that that the deputies or senators defend the interests of the companies.

They are not representatives of the people, but representatives of a company. Today, companies do not want social reform. They only want more free markets. For this same reason, the assemblies are conservative, even if their deputies are called communists, socialists, or even revolutionaries.

As soon as they enter the assembly, they are all conservative. Recently the president of the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil, Mr. Aldo Rebelo, a member of the Communist Party of Brazil who emerged from the guerrillas in the time of the military dictatorships declared tranquilly that he did not see any problem in clearing the Amazon in order to plant soy A famous Communist defending the interests of capitalism with total generosity It is a 24 symbol of what happens in the assemblies. In the second place, from the first day, new deputies cannot forget that, in just a few years, they will want to be reelected and that they will have to win votes.

Everything they are going to do now will be part of their electoral campaign. They are not interested in the projects for which they will vote. They are interested in what the voters will think, and these voters look to short term projects. To be a deputy or senator is similar to being a public official: It is necessary to avoid positions that may jeopardize reelection.

Because of this, only short term projects that will show immediate effects are proposed. No long term project is possible because they do not guarantee anything for the next elections. TV is influential in the measure in which it gives coverage to a candidate. The important thing is that a person appear. In order not to offend anybody, the deputy will say the worst trivialities in the world. Additionally, everyone is going to say the same thing. All social changes are unfavorable to the elites, who are the most powerful voters.

There are exceptions, but, as a general rule, the majority of representatives respond to this model. Some complain of the corruption in assemblies of congress It is not corruption. It is the norm, it is the part of the structure of the system. Because of this, each time we see a larger rejection of the congresses that paralyze all change. Any change in Latin America signifies a diminution the privileges of the elites. They always have a sufficient number of representatives to make any social change impossible. All political parties are equal.

All have the same theoretical platform, and none put it into practice, because it is just words. Parties are a necessary institution for those who want to enter into competition. Each candidate chooses the party which will provide the most possibilities. There is talk of reforming political parties and the political process The economic forces are not interested in this. Charismatic Leaders This system cannot give any response to the problems of education, health, public housing The door is open for a popular charismatic leader.

The bureaucratic machine also impedes changes. Its inertia is great.

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If the functionaries do not want to act, the State does not have any power. Because of this, a charismatic leader will introduce into the system strong personalities who will demolish traditional formulas. The same is true of the judiciary: It mercilessly punishes poor delinquents, but it always finds a way so that the rich can escape from the consequences of their crimes. Who can possibly intervene in the judiciary? Only a president with strong popular support.

During the past decades, the popular masses put up with this inertia. They believed that, after the regimes of military dictatorship, a popular government would come. What happened was exactly the opposite: The moment has arrived when the people are beginning to say: A popular leader cannot be improvised. The leader will have very different origins depending on the country.

Sometimes a leader will not appear for many years. The Brazilian case is typical. In the elections, the masses in Brazil thought that Lula would be this leader and that he would make the hoped-for changes to give the bases a new social contract. He could count on popular support in order to oppose the traditional elites. But he did not want this role.

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On the contrary, he reinforced the power of the great economic forces. The masses cannot oppose him. They continue hoping against all hope. The changes are postponed. From where can a leader capable of enjoying the same legitimacy among the people emerge? We do not know. What we know is that there is a world tendency that has different manifestations in each country.

There was a time of military governments. Later came another epoch, when power was handed over to large financial groups. In each country, this had different manifestations, but the general tendency was present in all countries. In Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador, popular participation is a fundamental element. There is a strong renovation of politics with the participation of the large masses. Something similar will happen in other countries. The people will feel that they are not useless and incapable and that they should not leave all power to the traditional elites.

There is going to be a renovation of politics. The people are going to demonstrate that it is possible to control the activities of economic forces, that the States can form alliances to create a common economy much more independent of the great financial conglomerates. The most urgent thing is the restoration of the power of the State. How do we avoid authoritarianism? Well, this will be the next the next challenge. Today the job is different: The elites, who have never respected the human rights or the equality of citizens proclaimed in their democratic constitutions, will raise a ruckus.

They will declare themselves defenders of democracy, as has happened in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador. Suddenly, they will discover their democratic vocation. But they will no longer be able to deceive us. The elites have never wanted to apply the norms of democracy. They have always ignored them in order to exercise a de facto authoritarianism. They accepted constitutions because of international pressure, because they wanted to be recognized by the Western world as democratic. But they never had the intention of applying the norms of a democratic constitution. It is clear that a society directed by a government that has the support of the masses needs intellectuals and technicians in order to advance the mission of the State.

Eventually, the children of the poor world will become these new intellectuals and technicians. But in this time of transitions, the assistance of those born into the bourgeoisie society will be needed.

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They must desire to convert themselves and work for the formation of a new society. These people exist, but they do not yet do anything because they are awaiting an opportunity. They will take up this challenge when a leader emerges who is capable and therefore receives legitimacy because of his or her competency. Latin American society is entering into motion.

It seems that the United States is on the decline. The traditional elites are losing prestige because they are being revealed as totally inefficient. They are not capable of promoting development in the way that the Asians are. The rest depends on local circumstances. But one thing is clear: Although it is certain that this phenomenon, this attitude, is present across the continent, it varies in emphasis according to region.

These emphases depend upon the history and institutional development of each country and the strength of each country s political system, but they also contain some universal characteristics. Instead of dislike of politics, perhaps we had better speak of dissatisfaction with politics. Therefore there is a segment of the population that maintains an interest in politics. There is also a rotation that implies the arrival of new generations and the departure of older generations. From within this cycle, it is likely that politics will become more esteemed. Additionally, it is important to consider special moments in the life of each country, such as electoral processes that more forcefully link symbolic capital with political capital.

Latin America is the most unequal continent in the world, where poverty and indigence are very obvious. This scenario is what produces a good deal of the disenchantment: But this is not the only aspect. We could say that politics enjoys different levels of esteem and that its discredit also has to do with a crisis of representation.

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This has to do with the form in which flesh and blood politicians and parties carry out their work. In any case, in the countries in which the political systems are more accepted, it is still true that there is a certain negative feeling about politics. The maturity and stability of party systems and democratic institutions are some of the elements that are present where politics are viewed more favorably. The problems of the exercise of political power are varied. Among them we find the functioning of these ghettoized systems, trapped by their own logic of the accumulation of power, losing sight of the ultimate end of constructing the common good.

When political systems are prisoners to this logic, they move away from an understanding of the issues of daily life that are the most important for the life of the population. Corruption is another phenomenon present in the scenario. Access to political power frequently generates opportunities for illicit enrichment or traffic in influence. This should worry the entire political system. All this is dangerous because the exercise of politics is essential for democracy. The more weak, doubted, removed from the majority, and corrupt those who exercise power and their institutions become, the weaker and more banal democracy itself becomes.

This provides fertile ground for authoritarianism and messianism. Three aspects of politics can help us understand this phenomenon its exercise, its efficacy, and its institutions. The report adds that, apart from a few ups and downs, this statistic did not change between and This casts doubt on the actual existence of dissatisfaction with politics.

If, over ten years, this percentage has remained the same, we do not see evidence of a decline in satisfaction related to politics. In a complex world, in which different aspects of social life are changing rapidly, it is necessary to look anew at representation, which cannot be seen in the same way as it was at the time of the birth of the liberal states. The reaction against politics that we are seeing in our societies and the lack of a feeling of connection to democratic institutions are visible signs of the necessity of reframing the political exercise.

The way in which public institutions carry out their mission creates a favorable or negative impression of politics. The perception of corruption is influenced by both the media and personal experience. Because of this, it is difficult to determine the exact situation in each country using the perception of the population. The low confidence in the process of reduction of corruption is part of the loss of confidence in politics, as well as the democratic system as a whole.

This percentage is unchanged since This lack of change suggests that the weak point of the political system, of democratic politics, is representation. Here is where we find one of the key points, which seems to be that the citizens do not feel properly represented by those that are called to politics precisely to represent them. A central point here is the exercise of representation. Some authors talk about the metamorphosis of Also the credibility of the democratic system depends on its ground rules and concrete practice. If the electoral systems are not believable, it is understandable that its products are neither believable nor interesting.

If we study the credibility of the elections in general in the region during the decade from to , we see that we are confronted with a rather discouraging panorama. Clean elections or fraudulent elections? Some data that come from the empirical investigation allow us to better understand the perception that we Latin Americans have of politics. The region is not homogenous and this can be easily appreciated. In any case, to a greater or lesser degree, the dissatisfaction with politics clearly appears in three different aspects: The greatest problem, however, is poor representation and the necessity of reframing forms of inclusive representation.

This exercise must produce clear solutions to the situation of poverty in which much of the population of this region of the world lives. There is much to do on the way to constructing a coexistence that uses politics as a tool and path. The website is in English and Spanish. Nevertheless the meaning of these initiatives is not the same in every case. These regional blocs respond to different philosophies. We can speak about four primary models. The first model focuses on economic and political integration which occurs within a capitalist center of a triad the United States, Europe, Japan.

The second model consists of a sharing that occurs within a capitalistic center. In this sense the European Union is clearly in competition with the capitalist center of the United States and is also an example of this model. A third model is seen in the establishment of a multi-polar world, not only within the center of the capitalist world but also on its fringes.

These projects have a certain anti-imperialist character because they do not arise from the logic of capitalism. A fourth model seeks integration on a foundation that is different from that of market competition. In this case the exchange serves regional needs and fosters solidarity. There are various types of these economic-political groups. The first type is called free trade zones which are established by treaty free trade treaties. Here there is an attempt to diminish and eventually eliminate trade restrictions between two or more countries. In many cases where mutual interests are not equal despite certain advantages for some sectors of the weaker economy, free trade treaties often function as treaties between the shark and the sardines.

This is very clear when speaking about Central America. Another example is seen in the case of common markets. Lastly, we can mention initiatives geared toward economic, political, social and cultural integration that are able to establish a political union such as the European Union. All these initiatives are processes that follow reasons that can be very different. Everything depends on the powers that integrate them.

In many cases we are dealing with economic reasons, for example the free trade treaties and the common markets. Other cases arise as a political plan with an economic foundation and cultural objectives: There also exist reasons that are more cultural, for example, the Arab Common Market or the Maghreb Market. We see various examples of all of this on the different continents. In in Latin America there were two initiatives: After some difficult times, a new dynamic was devel-. In Asia there are two principal initiatives. Various regional organizations have been created in Africa.

All these institutions attempt to diminish custom taxes and facilitate mutual trade. NAPED the African Organization for Economic Development was designed with a vision of integration into neo-liberal globalization and this initiative also emphasized the dependence of the Continent on central capitalism. In the Arab world, the Arab Common Market, created in , has never had any real impact.

UMA the Maghreb Union was born in and brought together Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, and Tunis and attempted to establish a customs union and create mixed businesses. In Europe, the European Union was established by twenty-seven countries. It began with a common market in Now it not only refers to a free trade zone but also a situation of economic and monetary integration with social and cultural dimensions. The plan for a constitutional treaty was rejected by France and Holland partly because of its neo-liberal character and its dependence on the United States for matters of defense.

It is not easy to create a political union for Europe and its democratic and social effects are still very real. The new plans in Latin America arise from initiatives undertaken by the new political regimes. In the first place we speak about ALBA which proposes to establish exchanges that are based on each country s respective need, exchanges that do not have to pass through the international economic system, in particular the banks and institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Their objectives are not only economical, but also educational literacy campaigns , health operation miracle, the attempt to cure eye diseases on the continent in collaboration with two nations: Cuba and Venezuela and cultural.

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  4. At the present time the plan brings together four nations with the hope that in the future other nations will come on board. This initiative is accompanied by others with a perspective of hemispheric integration, for example, Petro-Caribe, an initiative established between Venezuela and eleven nations of the Caribbean to facilitate access to oil; Petro-Sur which brings together Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina in matters dealing with the production of gasoline as well as the refining and distributions of gasoline and the distribution of gas and gas products by pipelines.

    The establishment of a Southern Bank is also being planned. President Evo Morales has proposed a Latin American Association to deal with social objectives such as housing, nutrition, employment, health, etc. The cultural plan functions through Tele Sur with the collaboration of several countries of the Continent.

    All of these plans have an anti-imperialist aspect and represent a departure from the logic of capitalist economy. It suffices find themselves with little room for maneuvering when to keep in mind that the US, a country that today confronted with the dominating mechanisms of the proclaims itself the great exporter of democracy, market. The Latin American democracies for instance, is, at the same time, the most imperialist nation on have had little power, taking into account their servility towards international financial institutions. This is also true with the developed and centralized countries, some with old democracies of is without even talking about corruption, favoritism, over two- hundred years.

    They also find themselves nepotism, patronage, and spurious alliances for suspect fundamentally divided by the same contradiction: The reason for this is that, from a today practiced on national and international levels political point of view, they succeed in maintaining the has converted itself in a kind of institutional support appearance of a democracy with parties, free elections, for the worldwide economy and its neoliberal philosophy. Support, in other words, for an unjust and asym- parliament, etc. However, from the economic point of view, at each moment they find themselves more subordinated to the dictatorship of the total market, at excluding.

    Moreover, this is not at all a new idea. The metric world order, simultaneously concentrating and present hegemonically financial and globalized.

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    It succeeded on the level of political relations, David Landes in his book The Unbound Prometheus, not and, in some cases, socio-cultural relations. But it did to quote the line of analysis in the Marxist literature. Thus, the bureaucrats of the financial market the true political dominion of individuals, corporations, and groups with and economic fate of the distinctive peoples.

    It hides a great financial power continued unaltered. Political dynasties have of goods! So writes Bertrand Russell in his History of constitute negative examples of what historically is about the practice of democracy. To the contrary, they Western Philosophy. Political institutions and judicial decisions. Democracy in its most original 30 Translated by Stefaan Deschrijver. Hence, where can we actually encounter irrefutable traces of effective democratic praxis?

    Another Politics and Democracy Are Possible Above all, a simplistic and ingenious dualism must be avoided that completely discredits all liberal parliamentary institutions, claiming that popular initiatives are the only spaces for democracy. The positive and negative elements of democracy are not as neatly delineated as we would like, but are mixed, intertwined, and continuously shifting.

    What we can observe is that truly democratic experiences today tend to emigrate from parliamentary mechanisms towards channels of popular participation. Four observations in that regard merit our attention: The system of representation of three powers in democratic regimes legislative, judicial, and executive is now entirely unbalanced and discredited. The dominant sectors of society have institutionalized a vicious circle in which economic power buys the key positions of the political power, which in turn, through legislation, guarantees perpetual dominion of these sectors over all other sectors.

    The National Congress is transformed into a negotiation room where a large portion of politicians are more interested in projects to maintain their power than in projects for the nation. Elected by popular groups, congressional representatives often completely ignore the basic necessities of these people, in exchange for personal, family, or class benefits. The chain of representation is interrupted, and the needy population remains abandoned, which becomes an even more serious matter because of the chronic corruption of public institutions.

    The distance between the problems that afflict the population, on one hand, and the projects discussed in the House and Senate, on the other, never was greater. The discredit of the representative system has brought to the fore the so-called direct or participative democracy. Experiments such as plebiscites, signature collections, and law proposals that come from the grassroots or from town meetings, among others, show the possibility of new ways of participation in the decisions related to the destiny of the country.

    This is the origin of the question asked by the many sectors of the population of how to create new channels, new mechanisms, and new instruments of control for the res publica. How can the population guide and control more closely the three powers of institutionalized democracy? The Participative Budgeting initiative of some Brazilian towns and the creation of popular councils exemplify the possibility of progress and growth of the space for people participation. In synthesis, the lesson is to dedicate less energy to the parliamentary path and traditional politics, and to reinforce mechanisms of organized civilian society.

    In reality, the debate about participatory or direct democracy already has a long history in many Latin American countries. Innumerable social movements, non- governmental organizations NGOs , and popular associations, in their daily praxis, are ready for the direct exercise of democracy. This exercise can be verified, for example, in the tradition of Ecclesial Base Communities CEBs and in many student and trade union movements. Although not without problems, tension, and conflicts, decisions in these spaces tend to be taken using a democratic praxis that is already quite solidified.

    Planning, programming, and permanent evaluation are realized jointly, in meetings and assemblies where everybody is called to participate freely. It is true that in some of these environments the viruses of authoritarianism, personalism, productivism and consumerism, centralism and other isms still cause serious negative consequences. Yet, what we seek to highlight is the free and direct exercise of citizenship as a common practice, a new emancipatory practice, to use the expression of Boaventura Souza Santos in Por los caminos de Alice.

    The continual exercise of democratic praxis in turn creates new democratic relations. We know how recalcitrant the old liberal democracy is, under pressure of the laws of the market: To the extent that the exercise of an effective democratic praxis is consolidated, the equality between persons also grows, independent of gender, profession, race, creed, etc. It is clear that this holds true for and sometimes especially for the daily exercise of social movements, pastoral work, and people initiatives, where machista, authoritarian, and individualistic attitudes often appear.

    It is the first gesture and warlike, as it is to rise up against such a hegemony. It is political to reproduce the conservative of curiosity and autonomy in the face of the preexisting world into which we arrive. Instead, I from the point of view of an emancipated pedagogy, am referring to the moment in which an individual the way in which domination looks to perpetuate begins to relate to the community. The individual, itself, while at the same time searching for new understandings.

    In doing From this perspective, to be human means to put projects. The individual can become assimilated as a so, we either reproduce the culture that oppresses son or daughter, just as a woman can become a mother and a man a father. An individual becomes a human our own lives, we promote collective and individual and disciplines our bodies, ideas, and desires, or, with being when she is recognized by the community into liberation, in anticipation of a coming reign of liberty which she is born.

    It is within this community that in our world. This also means that we take a position she creates and shares an identity and culture. We can reproduce a predatory and disintegrating logic that is signified by the It is in this everyday life that political gestures are created that organize these relationships. They are concept of exploitation, or we can challenge our experiences of subordination or of freedom, of competition or cooperation, of obedience or rebelliousness.

    It is the already-evident risks of nature s destruction or world in which we are born and live. We must avoid belonging to an invaded people, like those who are accept that it will soon be uninhabitable for the human species. It is the indignation of those who, in the heart of the In recent years, certain factors have converged United States, reject membership in its hegemonic to create the current disorganization of politics in culture.

    It is the experience of those born in the heart popular, working-class movements. Its loss of legitimacy is such that it becomes politically convenient of Our America, tyrannized by the plunder and genocide of colonial as well as neocolonial forces. Or it is to fill ballots with artists, professional athletes, and the alienation of those who find their identity in the comedians who try to convince us that they aren t mirror with the oppressors.

    Assimilating into society is different for a woman Several factors are significant here, such as the failure and for a man, for a heterosexual or transvestite person, for a lesbian or gay, for a white, black, or indig- mutilation of entire generations of fighters for social of revolutionary attempts of the 60s and 70s; the enous person. We may or may not be aware of that moment Bertold Brecht named political literacy.

    In addition, the policies of NGOs It is just as political to accept the domestication committed too many resources to training, attempting to support new social movements the move- that those in power use to generate fictional homogenization, built around a dominant culture that is ments were given this title to differentiate them both bourgeois, imperialist, racist, xenophobic, patriarchal, in theory and practice from other historical popular 32 Translated by Mike McMahon. The current trend of neoliberal politics has forced these movements to come together to seek survival on a day-to-day basis, establishing a culture of pragmatism and immediacy.

    An ideological process was created that depoliticized such movements, while at the same time causing the monopolization of the exercise of political power in the reduced circles of global power and local power. The personal is political, as so many feminists have stated over the years. Perhaps the moment that Latin America is now living will allow us to not only recover from the political dimensions of resistance, but also to create a deepening of knowledge. Such a deepening will come about through experiencing the links between birth, growing, and even death.

    It will not come about through a passive acceptance of what nature has determined, but instead through active cultural gestures of freedom. The everyday affirmations of autonomy involving individuals and communities will be the driving forces behind their own history. High to Low Avg. Available for download now. El cardenal del diablo Spanish Edition. En octubre mueren las esperas Spanish Edition Jan 01, Cuando te buscan los recuerdos Spanish Edition Jan 01, El solitario de ojos centellantes Spanish Edition Jan 01, Provide feedback about this page.

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