Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother’s Day, Hondurans Missing After Gang/Police Encounters, Search for Honduran “Ciudad Blanca,” Translation Challenges, Cuba’s Ladies in White Awarded Havel Prize, “Queen of Cuba,” More Kids’ Gun Deaths, Boston Bomber, Benghazi, Duvalier and Rios Montt in the Docket

Above is my photo taken yesterday, Mother’s Day, with my 5-year-old great-grandson De’Andre, in front of my house. Oswaldo Otero, a Cuban carpenter whose arrival in this country I facilitated years ago, sent me a Facebook greeting on Mother’s Day, saying he will always remember me on special days because, “thanks to you, I’m in this marvelous country.”

I love it when an interpretation client asks me whether I am from Honduras, as one did just this week!

AP IMPACT: Honduran criminals missing after arrest
May 13, 2013

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) — At least five times in the last few months, members of a Honduras street gang were killed or went missing just after run-ins with the U.S.-supported national police, The Associated Press has determined, feeding accusations that they were victims of federal death squads. In a country with the highest homicide rate in the world and where only a fraction of crimes are prosecuted, the victims' families say the police are literally getting away with murder.

The accusations create a dilemma for the United States, which has given an estimated $30 million in aid to Honduran law enforcement in the last two years: The police are essential to fighting crime in a country that has become a haven for drug-runners.

I would refer readers to an article in the May 6 issue of the New Yorker, “The El Dorado Machine,” about a rumored, mythical but perhaps real, ancient . Arial Mayan “Ciudad Blanca” (“White City”) hidden in the jungles of the eastern Mosquitia of Hondurassurveillance has proved promising, but the ruins of the city have not been found. Since the 1930s, searches have been underway. Some aerial photos appear promising, but intact ruins have not yet materialized. Maybe the jungle and looters have pretty much obliterated any site that may have once existed.

Reluctantly, I still do written medical translations as well as live interpretations, which I much prefer. The two are very different animals. Here below is just one paragraph from a recently translated medical record about a woman from Uruguay with Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, what Jackie Kenney died of. Patients seem to come here when the best private care (really quite sophisticated) in their own country fails them, though often their cases seem so advanced, I fear they will not find success with their last-ditch efforts here either. But do physicians really have to use such esoteric language? Is it done to protect their professional guild? This time I also found in the literature and was able to copy a commonly used medical symbol that had eluded me before, the μ, however that is pronounced and whatever it means. If any reader knows, please let me know via e-mail (address above).

Myelogram (Bone Marrow Cytology)

A puncture was taken of bone marrow at the EIPSI level for a myelogram IF and BNO.
Marrow was obtained, rich, polymorphic, with megakaryocytes present. G/E relation = 2 to 1

A series of myeloides are observed, all of them in a good stage of maturation. Lympho-plasmocyte sector-- represented by 15 %, with lymphocytes and plasmocytes of mature appearance.In the samples obtained, no cells of extra-hematopoyetic origin are observed.

In summary: Bone marrow with cytomorphology, within normal limits.

News Item: The 2013 Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent Awarded to Ali Ferzat, Park Sang Hak, and the Ladies in White

NEW YORK (May 3, 2012)- The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) today announced the recipients of the Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent. The 2013 laureates are: Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat, North Korean democracy activist Park Sang Hak, and Cuban civil society group the Ladies in White—represented by their leader Berta Soler. They will be honored at a ceremony during the 2013 Oslo Freedom Forum in Norway on May 15.

An initiative of New York-based HRF, the Havel Prize for Creative Dissent was founded with the enthusiastic endorsement of Dagmar Havlová, widow of the late poet, playwright, and statesman Václav Havel.

The Washington Post Magazine for April 21, 2013 has an article entitled “The Queen of Cuba” about Ana Montes, a Cuban mole working for 17 years inside the US Defense Department, finally discovered and now serving 25 years in prison. She was connected with the “Wasp” network to which the Cuban Five, considered heroes in Cuba, belonged. Four of the Five are still in prison. One who was released on parole a year and half ago, Rene Gonzalez, a dual citizen born in Chicago, was allowed by a judge to attend his father’s memorial service, but decided to stay in Cuba and renounce his US citizenship. The Cuban government had been trying to exchange the “Five Heroes” for imprisoned USAID contractor Alan Gross.

In Kentucky, a 5-year-old boy, given a “kids’” rifle as a gift, used it to kill his 2-year-old sister. The rifle, a miniature version marketed specifically to children, nevertheless was not a toy and proved lethal. Another small boy subsenquently shot and killed himself with a gun he found.

Independent of my general opposition to the death penalty, I think it would be a tactical mistake to seek the death penalty for the surviving Boston bomber because of his youth, the influence of his more radicalized older brother, and the fact that he would then become a martyr whose death jihadists around the world would feel obliged to avenge. (However, if indeed, he and his brother were involved in a 2011 triple murder now being investigated, that would provide more pressure for the death penalty, though I thought Massachusetts had abolished it.)

As for the Benghazi hearings, no one has hinted, as I have heard people here who knew Ambassador Stevens do privately, that he was not overly cautious about his own safety. Why else, on the 9/11 anniversary, would he go to a consulate, less well guarded than the embassy, on that sensitive day? Of course, the ambassador is the highest authority in his posted country, so who is going to question his decisions? And now, with the ambassador having become a martyr, no one is likely to raise that point. There is also the question, with the push to reduce taxes and federal spending, how much to invest in security for overseas posts, especially in outlying consulates. During the last few years, the State Department and foreign aid budgets have been drastically cut (including the Peace Corps), so, what do budget hawks expect? Hillary Clinton, and her possible presidential aspirations, seems the obvious target of these hearings.

Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier has found himself facing belated charges in Haiti after spending 25 years in exile in France and General Efraín Ríos Montt was put on trial in Guatemala, both of them for serious abuses occurring decades ago. Amnesty International hailed the general’s conviction for crimes against humanity for his role in the deaths of over 1,700, mostly indigenous, individuals, and the disappearance of many others. These efforts offer worthy precedents for Cuba, although the Castro dictatorship’s crimes were of much longer duration, involved many more, and continue right up to the present day.

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