Archive for the ‘ Life in Central America ’ Category

The Deportees Taking our Calls

The New Yorker

This is an good example of online journalism.

Its about Salvadorans who have been deported from the States,  for a variety of reason – many of them for crime-related offenses. Which are minor offenses in the States, but quickly become serious crimes, back in their home country – that they can hardly remember.

Where they now work in Call Centers – because they can speak English, that they learned when living in the barrios of Los Angeles.

Poor Mexico!

So far from God,  and so close to America!

I can remember Mexico City in the late Forties – when it was still a delightful (and inexpensive) place for Americans to visit.

Back then, Mexicans could easily enter the States and work here, as long as they wanted – which was usually not too long. They quickly got homesick, and went back – taking their money with them.

The New York Review reviews Paint the Revolution: Mexican Modernism, 1910-1950 here is a quote from that, written in 1936:

The consciousness of Mexico today is a chaos in which the new forces of an entire world are seething

My girl friend back in Silicon Valley in the Nineties, was a Mexican born in Montana – where her father worked as an agricultural laborer. Her family left Mexico to save their lives – and also in search of work.

My parents, and many other Americans, retired in Mexico, in the Seventies – but didn’t stay too long. Mexico was not as nice as it had been, and they moved to the Texas border area – where they could still enjoy Mexican culture, without the violence.

Two members of Costa Rica’s ruling party convicted of fraud

Tico Times

Costa Rica has always been afflicted with corruption – as all Latin American countries have. It was part of the culture they inherited from 15th Century Spain and Portugal.

But the amount of corruption in Costa Rica has been relatively low, compared to Nicaragua to its north – and Panama to its south. Panama especially, with its rampant corruption documented in the Panama Papers.

This article restored my faith in Costa Rica – and in its courts. But I think I will stay away from the Central Metropolitan Area (commonly referred to as San Jose). I lived there for five years – and was very glad to get out of there.

Business Made People Bad

My life in Silicon Valley, back in the Nineties, was the worst I could imagine – and made an indelible impression on me. Ever since then I have been asking myself “Why (or How) did this happen?”

I was the only one asking this question – no one else could see a problem at all. Everyone was making plenty of money – and any pervasive craziness could easily be ignored – if you really wanted to.

Companies were coming and going like mushrooms on a manure pile – and staggering amounts of money were being wasted. Housing prices were going through the roof. Everything was wonderful!

Except for one thing – people we being treated like dirt!

This was not a stable situation – and sure enough, the boom turned into a bust. Any culture that destroys its people, destroys itself.

Business had to change itself.

I watched this happening from safe distance – from Costa Rica. This, in many ways, is just an economic extension of the States – but it still likes people – and is the best country in Central America. The others, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama – are in very bad shape.

From here, with my laptop, and a fast Internet connection – I can watch American Business trying to reorganize itself so it could function successfully in the Information Economy. And make itself more people-friendly.

It is being urged to do this by MIT – that has been very business-oriented – but also sees that Business must change.

Software Development has also changed for the better – and become more people-friendly itself.

But on my last trip back to the States, I could see these changes had not soaked into the Americans I watched – hurrying back and forth as though the Devil was after them – which, no doubt he was.

Panama: The Hidden Trillions

NY Review

Costa Rica, where I live, is sandwiched between Nicaragua to the north – and Panama to the south. I have traveled in both places – and I thank my lucky stars, that I don’t live in either one of them.

But I know people who are going to Panama to make their fortune. Corruption, for them, is a golden opportunity.

This was true, much earlier, in the American Canal Zone. Where lots of Americans made lots of money – much more than they would have made back home. My friend Jerry was one of them. He knew Noriega personally – before he ended up in an American prison.

Jerry was a friend who gradually lost his mind, after he had lost his money – like many of my friends – and ended up being taken care of by one of his daughters.

Panama is now part of the corrupt global banking that is described so well in this article – that reviews six books. The extent of this corruption – many trillions of dollars – is unbelievable.

People Can No Longer Control Their World

This may strike you as a strange thing to worry about – why should I care about the rest of the world? I finally have my own little world working, why worry about the rest? But, for whatever the reason – I do worry anyway.

I probably started asking this the moment I was born – it only seemed reasonable to ask why? Why was I here, in this strange place, and not somewhere else?

But the most important question, by far – was “Why wasn’t the world taking care of me?” I knew the world was supposed to take care of me – why wasn’t it?

I wanted to throw myself on the floor, and scream at the top of my lungs. I actually did this once, in a group therapy session – but nobody got the message. The message was too big for them to get.

The message was, to put it simply “The world cannot take care of anybody, and doesn’t want to. It is too busy doing other things.”

Give that a moment to sink in – the world was not interested in the people in it! The world I am referring to was the American world of the last century – that I had the bad luck to be born into.

When I moved to Costa Rica, I discovered that the people down here, do take care of their small children – and love doing this. When they become older, and adolescents, and start looking for a job – the situation changes – they become a problem. Costa Rica, still a Catholic country, has had a population boom. They like having children – but don’t know what to do with them, once they grow up.

The Costa Rican economy is part of the Global economy – that has the same problem – too many people, and nowhere for them to go, in case of troubles – which seem to be getting worse.

The problem is simple – there are too many of us! And this situation is going to get worse, before it gets better – if that ever happens.

But that is not all – the big problem is much worse – people have solved their problems by not thinking about them – and indeed – making sure that no one can think about them. They can say, truthfully “We don’t see any problems!”

If the world is full of people killing other people – that’s not a problem.

Objective Reality

The great discovery of the Scientific Revolution and the Industrial Revolution was Objective Reality – the realization that our beliefs about the world were not necessarily the way the world actually was. There was Objective time and space – that we could utilize to our advantage.

This probably makes no sense to you – but I can illustrate it with an example. Latin America was not much affected by the Industrial Revolution – that is why it is so poor. In the North, calendars are common – any office has a large one on its wall, with the events for day clearly marked. Their schedule is organized around the Calendar – the direct representation of Objective Reality. Latinos do not use calendars very much. They make them uncomfortable – they prefer a more flexible time – a representation of Subject Reality.

The North uses Objective space – any location there can be described by two coordinates – in practical terms, a street name and a building number. Latino directions, by contrast, are a long series of instructions – starting with a landmark, any local person can recognize. This is inefficient, to say the least – but Latinos will have no other. That is their way.

But Subjective Reality still exists – and is much more common. This is part of our Language ability – which consists of many languages, each developed for a particular time and space. It is part of the Business world – the most important part of our world, by far. Each company has its own culture, and everyone associated with that company has to conform to its way of doing things.

They strongly resist any attempts at standardization – even as they recognize their importance. This is completely inconsistent – but an inconsistency they can easily overlook.

They can be objective when it suits them – and subjective when it suits them.