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2012 Presidential Elections: Venezuela

This is the eighth in a series of posts on the numerous presidential elections this year. The  first seven posts were on the elections in Taiwan, Russia, Senegal, France, Egypt, Paraguay (not technically an election), and Mexico. I think I missed one in the last month or two; let me know.

Hugo Chávez won the presidential election in Venezuela precisely two weeks ago. If he finishes his new term in 2019, he will have been in power 20 years.

This is good news for those who approve of Chavez' authoritarian regime and the political and social consequences of his Bolivarian Revolution, as well as those who credit him with giving the country low gas prices and building new, free clinics and other infrastructure.

This is bad news for those who suspect election irregularities or intimidation of voters (not to mention outright fantasy) by the Chávez administration (not just in this but in his past presidential victories as well) and who see only societal decline and economic disaster as a result of his trying to take over the country.


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Movie Review: A Better Life - Part 2

This is the second part of a two-part review of A Better Life. The first part dealt more with the background issue of illegal immigration, whereas this part focuses more on the movie itself.

In the movie, neither the undocumented immigrants (representative of all the undocumented, but particularly those with upright motives) nor the police (representative of the legal system, including courts, prisons, and immigration) is entirely at fault. Both are stuck in an imperfect, human system.

The viewer is led to sympathize with the undocumented man, an honest landscaper who wants nothing but to work hard so that his one son can have a better life. He’s away from home; his wife left him when his son was little; he has next to nothing; when he does acquire something (a lawn business and pickup with equipment) it gets stolen from him. And yet, the movie does not excuse what he does wrong nor does it try to show him as a man victimized and ruined by the consequences of his actions.

Apart fr…


Read this in English.





今週初めて黒澤明の『隠し砦の三悪人』という映画を見ました。この三悪人とは、だれですか? 三船敏郎が演じる真壁六郎太(まかべろくたろう)と二人の百姓です。この3人の登場人物の関係はとても面白くて、全ての人間の弱さも愛される性質も示します。