Chile From Within

El Mercurio is in the Google Earth GIS (SIG) Mapping Business!

Posted in chile, Corruption, monopoly, Pinochet, technology by tomasdinges on November 19, 2007

Europa Technologies, TeleAtlas, DMapas/El Mercurio, NASA. Sound familiar maybe? For users of Google Earth (GE) these are the organizations that show up on the first page of the Google Earth global view. Rotate the globe and depending upon the image or frame the company responsible for that image changes. Sometimes instead of TeleAtlas, its Digital Globe, or Terrametrics, for example. Zoom into another level of closeness and one finds yourself in a world brought to you by a whole different level of companies or organizations.

Google Earth front Page
The globe in front of your eyes. All the geographical and cartographical richness that we depend upon, or fawn over for our travel fantasies, or fly with like when we dreamed we flew, roofers who make estimates for customers and business data, geo-tracking, for example, brought to you by these folks. They must be pretty important people to be involved with such an awe-inspiring and occassionally fearsome initiative as Google Earth.

What they all do, and how they do it, I’m not exactly sure. There is a Google Earth bulletin board you can seek out more information.

Europa Technologies, according to a bulletin board post by Warren Vick for Google Earth folks, is a “Supplier of places, airports, coastlines and borders data to GE.” In other places it is listed as “first level administrative border information.”

Terrametrics does, “pure uncompressed NASA source data lineage,” basically the global satellite imagery for Google Earth to a resolution of 15 meters per pixel.

DMapas/EL MERCURIO does, well, I don’t know…they provide “Map Data.” What is “Map Data” in Google Earth world? Wait, is this Grupo de Empresas El Mercurio? Is this the newspaper we love to hate for its control over the media environment in Chile getting into the GIS and mapping business? Is this the owner of La Segunda, Las Ultimas Noticias and almost all of the regional newspapers in Chile, the home of Hermogenes Perez de Arce, and Agustin Edwards. Is this the company of newspapers who were willing participants in the propaganda efforts of the conservative Chile before and after the coup by Pinochet?

Yes. What does it mean for the quality of information that DMapas is providing?

El Mercurio was famously known in the Sixties for having been the subject of a saying that is still regularly cited today. “El Mercurio miente.” The newspaper was known for documenting and speaking for the interests of the powerful and wealthy in Chile. Up to this day despite its presence in the Grupo de Diarios de las Americas, a prestigious association of 11 newspapers throughout Latin America (and Spain) it is still accused of having a conservative ideological drive to its coverage of news and politics. See its Wikipedia entry.

For good reason, people have credibility issues with El Mercurio. Is there a reason why we should question the legitimacy and quality of their mapping info, through their company, DMapas?

Will they engage in ommission, or commission, of places and names, doing something like cartographical revisionism. Is there a way to subvert google earth with ideology and control over content, like newspapers have historically been used. Is Web 2.0 subject to poisoning? See this recent Wall Street Journal article on activists using Google Earth for data mapping for an example of the positive uses of what I mean.

Below, a known malady in Chilean society. I’ve heard statistics that Chile is the number three consumer of Coca-Cola per capita in the world. This image below is found a few miles outside of the northernmost large city of Chile, Arica and was done in 1986 to commemorate 100 years of Coca-Cola. Ahhh, the liberty, the carbonation, the red and the white, the wave, the iconic imagery, the cocaine, the salt, the high fructose corn-syrup, the citric acid, the decadent rot, now rampant through Latin America, in my refrigerator and on my desk.

Los Pinochos ( Pinochet Family ) y Cia get nailed…

Posted in chile, Chile military, Corruption, mierda, Pinochet, Santiago, Viva Chile by tomasdinges on October 4, 2007

So, long time coming. Even in ashes, Pinochet indicted. His inner, “iron,” circle, may feel effects of judicial decision.

The older folks, Ambrosio Rodriguez, and Lucia Hiriart de Pinochet, are in hospitals with declarations of illness.

Lets decipher the quick AP story of an hour or so ago. My comments in italics.

Pinochet Relatives Indicted in Chile

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — The widow and five children of dictator Augusto Pinochet were among 23 people indicted Thursday on corruption charges, a judge said.

Judge Carlos Cerda said he ordered the detention of the 23 relatives and former associates of Pinochet because of “solid indications that they had participated in the misuse of fiscal funds” during Pinochet’s 1973-90 dictatorship.

The investigating judge, kind of like a judge and prosecutor, makes direct reference, in the 60 page decision, to the juggling of funds totaling around 23 million dollars that passed through bank accounts around the world, including Riggs Bank in Washington DC. This bank and the accounts held by Pinochet were investigated by the US Senate Investigative Commission in 2004, as part of an effort by the entity to check up on Patriot Act provisions which were supposed to crack down on the financial mechanisms which supported terrorism, and included within that figures like dictators.

The money is said to have come from a slush fund controlled by the military, and presumably was siphoned from over the years of the dicatorship. As a result, says the text, as I am citing from the La Nacion article on these events, they can get serious sentences and fines for essentially robbing from the state:

“un grupo de personas que durante años tuvo a su cargo fondos de gastos reservados pertenecientes al erario nacional, en depósito, los sustrajo, conducta sancionada por los artículos 233 N 3 y 238 inciso segundo del Código Penal, con la pena de presidio mayor en su grado medio, multa, inhabilitación absoluta temporal e inhabilitación absoluta perpetua para cargos y oficios públicos”

Pinochet’s widow Lucia Hiriart, two of his children and several other suspects had already been arrested, police director Arturo Herrera said.

Cerda was to decide whether to keep them detained during trial.

Those indicted included at least three retired army generals — Jorge Ballerino, Guillermo Garin and Hector Letelier — and other lower-ranking officers.

Ballerino and Garin were close confidents to Pinochet who served as his military attache’s in the United States during the dictatorship and played visibly documented roles in the manipulation of funds in the United States. In this case they were specifically accused of facilitating purchases of properties and moving money in and out of bank accounts in the Washington DC, New York City, Miami and the Virgin Islands.

Hector Guillermo Letelier Skinner is a retired colonel who was the economic brainchild in Pinochet’s military circle. He oversaw the privatization of state industries as a one-time head of the Corfo in the eighties, was head of the FAMAE, the government military munitions purchaser, the guy who helped create the first offshore corporations, called Belview, in the British Virgin Islands, to deposit the Pinochet funds. He also was the Latin American representative for an organization called Compulex, which, between 2001 and 2004, tried to lend more than $460 million dollars in funds from European banks to various consumers around the world. Most borrowers did not get their money, despite having paid up front fees of 1-2% of the loan amount, which varied from $500,000 dollars – $22 million dollars. It smelled like a money laundering scheme, but was never proven. But, Letelier was found guilty of illegally selling arms to Croatia, violating a UN-embargo set in place during the civil war in Yugoslavia.

Also indicted were Pinochet’s longtime secretary, Monica Ananias, and one of his lawyers, Ambrosio Rodriguez.

The identity of Monica Ananias was for a longtime a mystery, but it was revealed during the course of various investigations that she was the money-handler and would sign for receipt of CASH from bank’s in Chile, where the money referred to in the judge’s decision would finally end up.

Pinochet died in December 2006 at age 91 while under indictment on human rights and corruption charges.

Due to his death, the judge will not try Augusto Pinochet in absentia. (Sobresee su caso.)

For a more detailed understanding of the people on the inner circle who have been put in jail go to El Mercurio’s list .

The following information is found on La Nacion’s article on this issue. They would probably have the best coverage and sources on this, except for maybe El Mercurio, because they have an interest in defending the interests of the hands that feed them and have fed them. I think there coverage will be more interesting about what will happen in the future with the case, while La Nacion will give a better understanding of what got them there in the first place.

Below is the schematic used by Judge Cerda, who coincidently will be in Washington DC on Saturday to receive the Peter and Patricia Gruber Prize for their “Justice Prize.”

It tracks in flows and out flows of Pinochet money during his dictatorship, from 1973 to 1989, when he was the Commander in Chief, or head of the military, from 1989-1998, and when he receded into civilian life.

Below are some of the initial commentaries being bandied about on the La Nacion, a government newspaper’s website.

Las opiniones vertidas en esta sección son de exclusiva responsabilidad de quienes las emiten y no representan necesariamente la línea editorial de
04/10/2007 – 12:45:58
Vereis vosotros ahora que la familia Pinochet se hará la enferma, que quieren arresto domiciliario , pero el dinero no aparecerá jamás….
Si no están en la cárcel, la Justicia no se cumple.. y se volverán a reir de Chile entero!
Recuerden lo que os digo!Es dificil suponer que estaran mas de dos dias en cárcel y bien!Hector Corces
InglaterraHector Corces
04/10/2007 – 12:43:27
Los mas traidores a la patria han sido los pinochet, carcel para todos ellos….Jose Luis
Pta Arenas
04/10/2007 – 12:42:46
Se los puede encarcelar a todos, pero el legado está ahí, firme como nunca: despolitización permanete de los sectores populares y una corrupción naturalizada que afecta a toda la clase política (nepotismo, amiguismo, proyección de la casta, robo, explotación, suma y sigue) La genialidad de Pinochet: gansterizar la política de punta a punta, por supuesto con honrosas excepciones. A la lista del clan Pinochet habria que añadir la SOFOFA.J.Urbina
04/10/2007 – 12:40:29
Ahora veremos si la justicia combate la delincuencia, como reclama el 100 por ciento de la población. Realmente, no como se ha hecho hasta ahora , que a las cárceles ingresan delincuentes sociales de poca monta.gregorius
04/10/2007 – 12:39:25
Cuesta entender la estupidez humana. Según la investigación del juez Cerda, Pinochet tenía un ingreso de $ 2.146.473.111 libre de todo cuestionamiento judicial ¿Para que más? Además, de genocida de su propio pueblo, la mediocridad ambiciosa, le estaría incorporando la categoría de ladrón que resulta insorportable e indefendible aún para sus más acérrimos partidarios.Nelson
Viña del Mar, Chile
04/10/2007 – 12:37:34
Por un lado que bueno que por fin se deje bien claro que son una manga de ladrones y aprovechados.Pero por otra parte, Pinochet (que se debe estar calcinando lentamente en el infierno) siempre sale de nuevo en la sopa. Este finao tiene el don de seguir siempre importunando, si no esto es lo otro.Ni muerto nos deja tranquilos.MITO
04/10/2007 – 12:33:44
04/10/2007 – 12:33:27
Asi debe pagar La Familia de Augusto Vito Pinochet Corleone y sus discípulos parásitos, cafiches y asesinos.Eduardo
04/10/2007 – 12:30:25
“LA JUTTICIA TARDA, PERO LLEGA”. Es posible que esa frase se cumpla esta vez. Pero lo dudo. Los acusados pueden apelar muchas veces y tratar de engañar, haciéndose los enfermos o buscando cualquier pretexto, como lo hizo el jefe de la pandilla.
Ojalá, que se los condene y no sólo po esos delitos, sino por tantos otros delitos que lamentablemente nunca se van a poder demostrar.
¡Vivan los valientes jueces, como el señor Cerda!NESTOR CH
04/10/2007 – 12:25:49
NO canten victoria, recuerden que va a la Corte Suprema, mi pesimismo indica que “todo quedará en nada”, han habido muchos ladrones que gozan de buena salud, debido a que en la Corte Suprema se “arregla la carga”, salen por prescripción, problemas administrativos o de salud. Esto hará feliz a la gente por un tiempo como el Loto. Si piensan que la Justicia ha cambiado, solo quiero decirles, se equivocan. Recuerden a Rolf Luder ex Ministro de Pinochet.

Microsoft signs agreement of voluntary software and technology consulting collaboration with Chilean Government

Posted in Chile culture, Corruption, fuente abierta, microsoft, mierda, monopoly, open source, technology, Viva Chile by tomasdinges on August 6, 2007

And Chileans go crazy…well some of them. This is a clash of generations, of conceptions of democracy, of class and of course monopoly and emerging markets.

On first glance, the agreement, signed on May 9th, 2007, provides an official platform of voluntary cooperation between Microsoft Chile and the Chilean government to provide software licenses (in perpetuity), knowledge and training to areas of Chilean civil society ranging from internet tracking technology for cybercrime detectives to Municipal Governments to Small and Medium Businesses.

Bachelet as MicrosoftIt is interestingly enough the first time of seeing this sort of critical discussion, organization, anger, resentment and anti-imperialistic-like attitude from the normally “receptive” (sedated) Chilean public. But, it is not the first time that public policy, or decisions with potential impact on many, has been created and implemented by a few and behind the closed doors of the elitist democracy of Chile in the 1990’s and 2000’s. Transantiago, the country’s highway concessions and the Celulosa Arauco (President’s Lagos and Frei, respectively) express approval come to mind. The surprise is that it comes with populist Socialist president Michelle Bachelet who has shown sensitivity to citizen demands.

It was apparently signed with no previous consultation with the public and outed in Congress by documents acquired in June by Senator Alejandro Navarro, a controversial and increasingly celebrated (Las Tejas, August 30th) Senador “Discolo” who has had his finger on citizen’s issues, from former Chilean soldiers trapped in indentured servitude by military contractors in Iraq to environmental abuses to technology issues. But, he is also known for directly plagiarizing a Wikipedia entry on nanotechnology for a legal brief submitted to the Chilean Congress.

The implications of the agreement are being debated now in the Chilean blogosfera and in Chilean print. I wonder what “gobierno ciudadano” means now for the President Michelle Bachelet and the minister who signed the agreement, her Minister of Economy, Alejandro Ferreiro. Here is their press release trying to calm the waters of malinformation. Microsoft has actually had interviews with bloggers to clear things up, which has added greatly to the discussion.

I quote from El FrancoTirador’s, interview, a blog whose comment lists on these posts frequently have hundreds of comments.

3.2) ¿De quién fue la idea originalmente? (Whose idea was this originally?)

“Del Gobierno, que ya tenía planes de avanzar en la creación de una “identidad digital”, afirma Martín. “It was the Government’s, who had already been planning the creation of a “digital identity,” affirmed Martín Karich, chief of public relations for Microsoft Chile.

3.3) ¿Qué gana Microsoft ofreciendo este servicio? (What does Microsoft gain by offering this service?)

“Aunque a veces me trae problemas decirlo, lo que hacemos es expandir el mercado. Se crean más usuarios”, asinceró José Antonio Barriga. “Although on occasion it brings me problems upon saying it, what we do with this is expand the market. It creates more users,” stated Jose Antonio Barriga, National Director of Technology (Microsoft)

According to a read of the 9 page agreement, and official M’soft statements almost 3 months after the official signing, the decision to go with Microsoft does not obligate the Chilean government to go with Microsoft, but facilitates and encourages its usage. The Chilean government structure becomes the host for Microsoft and its various products and creates govt and industry (Msoft) collaborations. For example, there are 8 points in the agreement in which the Chilean government is to provide financing for tech initiatives co-sponsored with Msoft.

Bloggers in Chile have decried the decision as being made my 40 year olds who did not grow up with technology and thus do not understand the real implications of this Microsoft decision. El FrancoTirador (The Sniper, or Sharpshooter) put it like this, “How to explain to your folks that the agreement with Microsoft is bad for Chile” Others simply point to a total lack of open discussion or debate on the issue.

While it seems that this is a valid opportunity to make a big jump in improving software and gaining technological literacy across broad various sectors of society, I wonder if the Chilean government actually held intelligent deliberation on this topic. They are reported to have a open source policies in the works before this agreement.

But, did they seriously consider the legions of municipal and national governments big and small around the world which are evaluating and mostly “migrating” to open-source software, from Haryana, India to the national government of Brazil (go Lula!) to the United States Department of Transportation, which decided in March 2007 to “place a moratorium on all in-house computer upgrades to Microsoft’s new Windows Vista operating system, as well as Internet Explorer 7 and Office 2007,” according to internal documents secured by the tech online magazine Information Week?

El Diablo en Los Detalles cites a published opinion from the Que Pasa magazine in a more comprehensive discussion:

El Dr. Osorio insiste en que el acuerdo no implica que el Estado este obligado a usar productos Microsoft. Este punto hay que concederlo, porque nadie le está poniendo una pistola en la cabeza a nadie. Por supuesto (y esto el autor debe saberlo bien), el asunto es más sutil: si una pequeña municipalidad tiene que elegir una solución para un portal en la red, y el Gobierno esta promocionando un producto de Microsoft: ¿Esta seriamente el Dr. Osorio sugiriendo que la dicha Municipalidad no usará esa solución?. Lo mismo aplica a otros puntos del acuerdo.

The El Mercurio internet site and corresponding blog has an interesting discussion here.

Truth Happens, a tech blog of the open-source software house Redhat is monitoring the issue in English.

Movimiento Liberacion Digital is an organization angrily set up to monitor this agreement:

El Movimiento de Liberación Digital es un proyecto chileno, sin fines de lucro, que surge como respuesta a la incómoda sorpresa que significó descubrir el acuerdo firmado por el Ministerio de Economía de Chile junto a Microsoft Corporation el 9 de Mayo de 2007. Una iniciativa conjunta de un masivo grupo de internautas, que se sostiene en base a un esquema de trabajo colaborativo y voluntario, y que responde a la urgente necesidad de alertar, de informar, y denunciar aquellas decisiones que ponen en riesgo el desarrollo tecnológico de nuestro país…

…Nuestra misión es ser partícipes del proceso de toma de decisiones en materia de tecnología de Chile.

Global Voices Online has made their customary summary of some of the internet reactions, and has interesting commentary by Chileans.

Here is a brief look at the agreement:
El interés de Microsoft Corporation y Microsoft Chile, manifestado permanentemente a través de sus personeros, en el sentido de contribuir al desarrollo económico local a través de diversos programas sociales y herramientas tecnológicas que se ponen al servicio de la ciudadanía.

El Incremento de eficiencia que tienen las alianzas publico privadas como motor de generación de mejores oportunidades y alternativas en la búsqueda de soluciones tecnologías concretas a problemas en materias de inclusión digital, educación, Seguridad informática, Seguridad personal en la red y demás que se abordan en el presente acuerdo.

En consideración a lo anterior el Ministerio de Economía, por una parte y Microsoft Chile y Microsoft Corporation, por la Otra, han convenido el siguiente acuerdo de colaboración

For example:

c) Municipio Digital

c.1.- Microsoft se compromete a entregar el uso no exclusivo del código fuente de su solución de desarrollo de portales municipales y los aceleradores para la personalización de los mismos, para que los gobiernos locales puedan desarrollar portales que les permitan relacionarse con la Comunidad.

c.4.­ Microsoft conjuntamente con socios comerciales de desarrollo de aplicaciones, se compromete a desarrollar una serie de aplicaciones para modernizar tecnológicamente a los municipios, que incluyan aplicaciones financieros-contables, dirección de obras, tránsito, recaudaciones, salud y educación, Microsoft se compromete a contar con al menos dos soluciones y socios comerciales, de forma de tener alternativas de proveedores.

They cite The School of the Future, as an innovative example.

Duncan MacVicar, posted one of many great commentary on the El Mercurio site. My emphasis.

Respondiendo al comentario de Miguel Carrasco A.

Su comentario solo coloca una arrogante serie de siglas de cursillo rápido de e-business para ejecutivos, sin dar fundamento alguno, intentando insinuar que quienes se oponen a este acuerdo son solo gente ignorante.

Solo quisiera recordarle algunas cosas:

No subestime a nuestros jóvenes. Muchos de los que han alzado la voz son pioneros en la cultura digital, y por ende, saben como decisiones como esta afectarán el desarrollo tecnológico local, que debe ser abierto y dominado por las pymes.
– Microsoft no es la única compañia que es capaz de ofrecer plataformas de e-goverment. Noruega lo hace con software libre, Alemania también. En realidad, Brazil, toda Europa y Asia. ( )
– Microsoft no merece ningún trato especial para obtener 15 millones de clientes sin licitación alguna. Esto fue un compadreo.

Y ya sabemos lo que viene contra el software libre: terror y desinformación, utilizando temas como la propiedad intelectual, impuestos, etc, para convencer a la gente que no entiende. En vez de generar tecnología local y fomentar la creatividad e investigación.

La decisión es una verguenza. Y la campaña desinformativa de la ACTI (que por coincidencia tiene en su directorio al Gerente de Microsoft) lo es aún más.

Posteado por:
Duncan Mac-Vicar P. (Julio 24, 2007 02:59 PM)

Commentary by Miguel Carrasco A.

A aquellos que están en contra de este acuerdo….saben algo de:
Sociedad de la Información..??
antes de dar una opinión sin fundamentos…..favor informarse un poco más….!!!

Posteado por:
Miguel Carrasco A (Julio 24, 2007 02:24 PM)