Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Should Bonaire Worry About Chavez?

Thursday, March 8th, 2007

The timing is interesting. A few weeks ago I got a notice from the U.S. Consulate on the neighboring island of Curaçao requesting that I register on a U.S. State Department web site:

If you are an American citizen living or traveling in Aruba or the Netherlands Antilles, the U.S. State Department and the Consulate General in Curaçao strongly encourage you to register your trip on the State Department’s travel registration website at https://travelregistration.state.gov/.

Since then I have seen a number of blogs run by military strategists discuss the possible invasion of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao by Venezuelan dictator and madman President Hugo Chavez.

The various blogs are:

Strategy Page – The Dutch Defend Their World Empire

The Dignified Rant – Dutch Treat

Strategy Page – Might Venezuela Looks for Justice

Pito’s Blog – What Would Happen If Venezuela Invaded Curacao

In reviewing the above blogs, it appears the primary source for this topic of Venezuela invading the ABC islands stems from the Strategy Page web site. But I find this particular quote chilling:

But for the last two years, Venezuelan officials, including the country’s demagogic president, Hugo Chavez, have made numerous public statements about the “reunification” of the islands of the Dutch West Indies (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao) with Venezuela.

The reality is that Venezuela is only 50 miles from Bonaire, and they could invade and take over the island in mere hours. The other reality is that such hostilities would probably give the West a great excuse to remove Chavez from power. But Chavez, at least from where I sit, is a cowboy – a socialist cowboy with far too much oil money in his hands – and thus capable of most anything the rest of us would consider crazy.

Bonaire’s change of status from being part of the Netherlands Antilles to being a remote municipality of The Netherlands, scheduled for December 15, 2008, can’t come soon enough for my taste, assuming that at the very least it serves as a further deterrent to Chavez’s purported desire to reunify the islands with Venezuela. However, the blogs I list above stress Holland’s inability to respond militarily to any incursion, so as an American living abroad, I can only hope that my registering with the State Department as requested will make sure the U.S. military knows where to find me should Chavez decide he wants to claim the ABCs for his own.

Registering your trip allows Embassies and Consulates abroad to send you newsletters and time-sensitive travel warnings and public announcements specific to the areas in which you will be traveling or living.  The information you provide also makes it easier for them to contact you in case of emergency, or to contact your family or friends in the United States in the event of an emergency abroad.  Registration will also allow residents of Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles to receive notification when the vice consul will be on your island.

But still, the timing of the registration request is curious. Maybe the U.S. Consulate over in Curaçao knows something we don’t?

The Wiki Presidency

Thursday, March 8th, 2007

I attended an interesting conference a few weeks ago at which a number of people whom I respect shared their advice for presidential candidates in the 2008 U.S. presidential election. The conference ended with a drop in visit by New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (himself a candidate for President, running on the Democratic ticket.

Other discussions at that conference included ones dealing with the impact of electronic communications on print media, and my aging brain slowly put together all sorts of disparate pieces. The result of my ruminations was a question: “Can the people of the U.S. elect a President with the same tools and principles used in the new Internet?” These tools include things like wikis, blogs, YouTube, Flickr, MySpace, and more.

The more I have thought about this idea, the more I have come to the realization that just as there has been a shift from physical media to electronic media, there will ultimately be a similar shift in campaigning. And thus was born the concept that I call the Wiki Presidency.

I’ve started a new blog at http://wikipresidency.blogspot.com/ to discuss and explore the Wiki Presidency, and hope that you’ll join me there and become involved in getting campaign financing abuse and partisanship out of the presidential campaign process, while bringing the ideas and energy of real people into the process.