July 22, 2007 [LINK / comment]

Airline disaster in Brazil

The crash of an Airbus airliner at Sao Paulo's Conganhas airport on Tuesday night was the worst air disaster in Brazil's history. BBC has a video clip of the tragic accident in which over 200 people died. President da Silva declared three days of national mourning. Conganhas is the smaller of the two main airports in Brazil's biggest city, comparable to New York's LaGuardia or Washington's Reagan National. It is aging and cramped, with hardly any margin for safety at the end of the runways. A few months ago there was a midair air collision over the Amazon jungle that brought to light the problems in Brazil's air traffic control systems. They tried to blame the American pilots, who were detained for a while.

Venezuela's RCTV returns

Two months after going off the air because Hugo Chavez refused (on bogus political grounds) to grant them a renewed broadcast license, Radio Caracas Television is beginning its new life as a cable and satellite media company. About 30 percent of Venezuelan homes either have cable TV access or a satellite dish, so the opposition to Chavez will still have a significant voice, although a muted one. See BBC.

Cuban emigration

This is almost too funny to be true: Cuba tried to portray U.S. scrutiny of visa applications by Cubans seeking to enter the U.S. as part of an effort to overthrow the Cuban government. Well! See CNN.com. As almost everyone knows, the previous two big waves of Cuban emigration to the United States (the 1980 Mariel boatlift and the mid-1990s crisis) were both contrived by Castro to defuse internal social tensions. Indeed, if it weren't for past U.S. humanitarian gestures, bending the rules on immigration for the benefit of the victims of Marxism, the communist regime in Havana might not have survived all these years!