Archive for April 12th, 2003

Huge Explosion, police blames the opposition

April 12, 2003

Huge explosion this moring at 2:45 AM in the Teleport building where the OAS-mediated negotiations are taking place. Hours after the explosion the investigative police blames coup plotters for the explosion because the “modus operandi” is the same as the bombs in the Spanish and Colombian Embassies. Now, as far as anybody knows, nobody has been charged or accused of causing those explosions, so the quickness of the investigative police is truly amazing and has absolutely no basis. Alejandro Armas of the opposition negotiating team rejects the accusation . So does Alejandro Martin who says that only those that don’t want an agreement would benefit from the explosion. Some are calling for the removal of the Head of the investigative police. What is true is that whenever Chavez criticizes something a bomb appears…..Who benefits from any delays? Only Chavez and his Government. You be the judge.

Chavez blasts negotaition table, the same day it reaches agreement

April 12, 2003

On the same day the negotiation table reached an agreement which apparently puts limits to the dates for the recall referendum as well as saying it will have international supervision, Hugo Chavez actually questioned the effectiveness of the negotiation process, saying that the opposition was represented by coup plotters. So is the agreement worth anything? Nobody really knows. Note that the Vice-President is part of the negotiation process.

Two Headlines: Castro kills three, Bolivian praises Venezuelan following Cuba

April 12, 2003

Two headlines in Venezuela’s daily El Nacional:

Castro’s firing squad kills three hijackers of ferry (Front page and page B-10)

The three were found guilty of hijacking the ferry, there were no injured or harmed or killed, eight others were found guilty and face prison terms from two years to life. Interesting how quiet the US media is about this (except Miami papers, of course). There were only nine days between the hijacking and the sentencing, demonstrating its political nature. Where are all the Human Rights organization’s today?

Evo Morales: Venezuela is in the process of becomeing a second Cuba (Front page and page A-5)

Now, don’t get Mr. Morales wrong, he is actually very happy about this. As Head of Bolivias’ coca growers, he is delighted that we are going towards the Cuban model. According to him, this is wonderful, even if poor people are doing worse. In fact, in his rampant ignorance he says that in Bolivia GDP is growing, but he can’t see how people are doing better. Well, here GDP is shrinking but we can actually see how people are doing worse, but that is irrelevant to him. As a matter of fact, critical poverty under Chavez has become worse than Iraq’s! But you know, I must be a technocrat that only thinks of stupid numbers.  Let’s grow more coca! Mr. Morales was invited to “celebrate” the anniversary of the Miraflores Massacre, which to him was “the people defending the Chavez Government” somehow.

So, after reading the front page, should I be estatic that my country is becoming a second Cuba? What does Mr. Morales have in his brain? Coca? Derivatives of Coca? If we are becoming Cuba, it is clear who has the weapons: The Government, not the opposition……


New camera, new pictures

April 12, 2003

Tolumnia species, can’t find which one          Phal. Balban’s Kaleidoscope

Laelia Lobata                                                     Ctna. Why Not

Playing with my new camera, still trying to figure out how best to take close up macro pictures. Lot’s of fun!

Is linking illegal?

April 12, 2003


received the following e-mail a couple of days ago:


 You are using our image with out permission on your website.  We have a
 $2,000.00 copyright infringement fee that is automatic when you violate
 our copyrights!  Please give me your mailing address so I can send you
 the bill.  Once you pay the bill you can continue to use our photo on
 your website for the rest of this year, but as it stands, its been up
 for quite a while now.  Please send me your updated mailing address or
 we can find that with our lawyers.  If we need to hire our lawyers to
 collect this fee its going to be much more then the $2,000.00 (in order
 to pay the lawyers).   Your choice.
 Jimmy Dorantes
 Director and CEO of Latin Focus ((c)L.F.)


I obviously did not like it. In particular the tone was not only not very nice, but it also sounded almost like a scam, maybe you send thousands like this and some people will actually send the money in. A second reason was the fact that it did not even mention the image that I had used. Third, what is this “automatic copyright infringement fee”?.


So I replied and an answer came back pointing to an approximate location where this image was. It turns out I was not “using” the image; I was linking to their image on their website. The image itself indicated that they had a copyright on it. Thus, I was being threatened for linking. After a little research I have discovered a number of things:


Linking is considered to be legal as no case has said that direct linking to the source is illegal. This reference is perhaps the most complete I found to the issue and within my limited understanding it appears to conclude that  it is legal  “because the linking party is not doing anything that seems to involve a direct manipulation of the copyrighted materials at all” . In fact, the ACLU has aided in cases against linking because it considers it to be part of free speech. So, I could probably get free legal counsel.


-In one case linking was declared illegal if you linked to what was considered an illegal copy of the software to decode DVD’s. Similarly, some organizations have asked people to remove hyperlinks to illegal sites or illegally copied material, such as the case of a terrorist site and the University of California in San Diego.


-There is one case in Denmark where a Court ruled the practice of “Deep linking” illegal. The decision basically said you could link to the main page of a site but not specific items. I remembered that I still have a bank account in Denmark, from the time I was a visiting Prof. there in the eighties. Last I saw it had five bucks in it, so I guess they could sue me there.


-It is also interesting to consider the fact that my website is not for profit. I do not even have a Pay Pal link. Maybe I could declare The Devil’s Excrement under Chapter 11. In fact, if you say my time does not count, I am down forty bucks with this site so far. Well spent, but I certainly have not profited in any way from the linking to the image. Even if I had, I wonder if I could argue that I would only have to pay them the fraction of clicks on the link to their site divided by all the clicks ever made to my site. Given that it is not the most visited part of my website, it would be a miniscule amount anyway, even if mine was a well-visited, for profit site.


-I also found opinions on the web that if someone does not want his/her site linked it, it should say it on the home page explicitly and prominently. However, others disagree on this and this site has the policies of some companies. In any case, the only warning in the Latin Focus page (home page under warnings, no deep linking involved) is, as of today:


No images may used for other websites or published in any way, medium or media without written permission and appropriate fees paid to Latin Focus for each use


Notice it says you can’t use it in your website, but it does not say you should not link to their site.


-Prof. David Dorkin has a web site about the topic and I love this quote from him: “Linking policies demonstrate ignorance”


-There are other interesting possibilities. Venezuela has exchange controls, not a single dollar has been given out for essential imports in the last 80 days by the Government. Even if I lost the suit, how could I pay them? How much will the money at the official rate be worth by the end of the process? Will they sue here? Do they know the justice system does not work here? Ummm…..maybe I could get Daintily Dirty to send them a pair of panties and that will settle it……

The anti-coup?

April 12, 2003

For a year we have been hearing that Hugo Cahvez never wanted to resign, that he almost did so under duress. That he never signed anything. That he was kidnapped by some military officers. Well, today the Attorney General, former Chavez’ Vice-President Isaias Rodriguez, provided a “new” version. Surprisingly, the Attorney General says that Chavez wanted to resign but four Generals opposed it. According to Rodriguez, Chavez imposed his conditions on his resignation but the four Generals did not approve. Now this revised version of history is quite different from the “coup” that the world has been convinced took place. In fact, it disagrees with the version provided by Chavez himself today. If four Generals opposed his resigantion, then these Generals were the “anti-coup”. One should also ask: Why was Chavez ready to resign? Guilt? Given that there is testimony of how Chavez had planned to defend himslef using the bolivarians cricles, this points out once again towards a central role by Chavez himself in the shootings that took place a year ago.

Note: Yes, one could consider what Pedro Cramona did the next a day a coup, it did violate the Constitution, but it is as much of a coup as Chavez’ resigantion was one. Under the law, he left the Presidency and resigned.