A look into: The Lord of the Shadows, a non-authorized biography of Alvaro Uribe Velez

By Nathaly Duran

This book co-written by Joseph Contreras, regional editor for Newsweek, Latin America, and Fernado Garavito, a Colombian journalist forced to leave his country as result of constant death threats, draws connections between then presidential candidate Alvaro Uribe Velez and Colombia’s Drug Cartels and Paramilitary Groups.

This “non-authorized biography” is written with one solely purpose, to alert the country about the narco-paramilitary past of Alvaro Uribe Velez. In the first paragraph of the book the reader is taken back in time to 1981, the year in which Alvaro Uribe Velez was appointed Director of Aeronautica Civil. Aeronautica is the government agency responsible for granting permits to fly in and out of the country. Previously to Alvaro Uribe Velez the Director of Aeronautica Civil was his father Fernando Uribe Senior, who was killed twenty days after taking office, followed by the assassination of Colonel Osiris de J. Maldonado ,COO of Aeronautica, both crimes were attributed to the Mafia. Alvaro Uribe Velez remained in office 28 months without suffering any damages.

According to the book, during Uribe Velez’s time in office at Aeronautica, the agency granted flight permits to Colombia’s most famous drug cartel leaders , inlcuding: Jaime Cardona, Carlos Lehder, Pablo Escobar, and Jorge Ochoa, all of them identified by the U.S. authorities as leader of the drug cartels. A year after Alvaro Uribe’s retirement from Aeronautica, the Minister of Justice and the National Drug Council ordered Aeronautica the suspension of all flights of air-crafts that belonged to drug traffickers. The lists added up a total of 57 air-crafts, among these were 12 helicopters, 26 planes, and 4 airplanes.

The book addresses that during the mid 1990’s Alvaro Uribe promoted the creation of the group “Convivir”, which later became what is currently know as the Paramilitary Groups. In later chapters it is mentioned that in a 1991 document, declassified as secret by the U.S. National Security Archive of the Department of Defense, Alvaro Uribe is number 82 in list of most dangerous drug personalities in the U.S.

It is obvious that the agenda of the authors of this book is to show Alvaro Uribe’s darkest side and to link him to the corrupt world of drug trafficking, but it should be mentioned that the whole book is told by citing newspapers reports, classified documents, and popular known facts.

Contreras, Joseph and Garavito, Fernando. (2002). “El Señor de las Sombras, Biografia no autorizada de Alvaro Uribe Velez.” Retrieved February 20, 2011 from the Fazendomedia website:

Published in: on March 24, 2011 at 2:15 pm  Comments (1)  

A Review of “A Woman in Charge” by Carl Bernstein

By: Joeli Prieto

Carl Bernstein’s A Woman in Charge is a national best seller, which tells the story of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s life. In the book Bernstein begins the story with Hillary’s childhood and continues telling the story of her life from there. Through out the book he speaks about things from Hillary’s life that shaped the woman and politician she is today.

In the first chapter of the book, Bernstein focuses on Clinton’s childhood and the personalities of her mother and father. Many of the descriptions of Clinton’s parents came from her brothers, Tony Rodham and Hugh Rodham Jr. Clinton’s father was described to be a tough and abusive individual. Being that those descriptions came from family members, makes Bernstein’s accounts unbiased. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s closest childhood friend also attributed to descriptions of Clinton’s upbringing.

As the story continued Bernstein speaks about Clinton’s days in college. in this chapter, former secretary of labor, Robert Reich shares stories about attending Wellesley College with Hillary.

Bernstein’s view on the life of Hillary Rodham Clinton seems to be very unbiased. He credits most of the information in the book to old childhood friends of Clinton and people who have been in her life through out the years. There are times when his descriptions of Clinton appear to release some of his personal opinions of her , but for the most part he keeps the story neutral and doesn’t give his opinion.

Published in: on March 24, 2011 at 12:50 pm  Comments (1)  

The Obama Syndrome Review

by: Ana Milanes

In the Obama Syndrome, 2010, Tariq Ali establishes the impending doom Obama faced since Bush’s bailouts and the outcomes of war were present when he took office.

In ‘An Unprecedented Historical Event”, Ali presents the idea of Obama followers having the false illusion that he could undo what was done. Ali seems to be defending the helplessness of a president coming into a complicated situation and then flips the switch into a personal dislike. Ali analyzes a speech made by Obama about Reverend Jeremy Wright, a man with slave-owner views, claiming the analysis is overall uncreative and obvious.

In the next chapter “President of Can’t” he makes the bold claim that there were “no fundamental breaks in foreign policy” between the Bush and Obama terms. Obama’s occupation in Japan, Ali feels, is unnecessary and costly for the United States. The only credit he awards the president is the vanishing of “American imperial dominion”. Obama’s phrase “This is God’s vision” leaves Ali wondering why God would reveal to him his vision. He wraps up by making a comparison to Woodrow Wilson, on ‘one hand he’s a moral Christian, and on the other he has armies invading Russia, Mexico and Haiti’.

In the later portion of the book, Ali questions whether Obama keeps his own hidden agenda. He points to facts that could very well be coincidence and suggests they may be something else. His laid back ideals don’t take him far in the military realm, leaving him to make wrong choices according to the author. His basic critique is that the president was elected because of an advantageous situation, being recent president let down and his overall personal charm.

Ali, Tariq. The Omaba Syndrome: Surrender at Home, War Abroad. London [u.a.: Verso, 2010. Print.

Published in: on March 24, 2011 at 9:48 am  Comments (1)  

Andrew Sullivan’s Conservative Soul: How We Lost It, How to Get It Back? Review

By Amelia Gutierrez

With passion, carefulness and courage, Andrew Sullivan releases years of built up frustration with the Bush administration, the Republican Party and the idea of conservatism in his novel “Conservative Soul: How We Lost It, How to Get It Back?”. Sullivan speaks after decades of pondering the disappointing choices and changes the Republican Party has made throughout the years. Sullivan, who considered himself a conservative, writes that the idea of conservatism is now in “eclipse” and the policies and philosophy the Republican Party stands for today has become the reason for his detachment to the party.

Sullivan focuses his novel on the Bush administration and how it has helped distance the Republican Party from the very conservative principles that the party rooted from. Sullivan gives readers his views on what conservatism is and provides detailed reasons about why he feels this way and what can be done to steer the Republican Party back to its original beliefs.

With an objective approach, Sullivan writes with true concern of losing the “conservative principles” completely if conservatives continue with the current path of new conservatism. In the chapters The Fundamentalist Psyche and The Theo-Conservative Project, Sullivan explains with great detail what the fundamentalism and conservatism mean, the significance of them, and why they are both “indispensable to understanding the radically new policies of bush administration, domestically and abroad”.

For Sullivan, the mind-set of a fundamentalist is “a fearful insistence on a faith in all its particulars, and an equally clear sense of those who are saved and those who are not”. He brings up the most recognized religious argument “natural law” as an explanation to the change of conservatism in the past years, because of the challenge it has imposed to the “fragile pluralism and secularism” of today’s West.

Sullivan’s powerful and highly opinionated novel is his plea for the far right to rescue conservatism by scrutinizing the roots of the Bush administration psychologically and philosophically. Some will or already view Sullivan as a hypocrite for supporting the Bush administration and then repudiating it, while others view him as a courageous political figure for realizing the wrong-doings of the Bush movement.

Published in: on March 24, 2011 at 6:29 am  Comments (1)  

Review: State of Denial, Chapters 1-11

By: Jonathan Simmons

Bob Woodward’s State of Denial is a detailed account of the Bush administration’s conduct during and preceding the Iraq War.  Though Woodward’s tone is largely dispassionate, the facts reported, and the manner in which Woodward selects and presents his information, add up to a clear indictment of the administration.

The unflattering portrait Woodward presents of figures in the administration derives largely from the words of his sources, and the manner in which he positions them in the text. Woodward’s opening chapter, for example, closes by saying that Richard Armitage “told … Powell that he was not sure Governor Bush understood the implications of the United States as a world power.”

Woodward’s critique of Donald Rumsfeld is particularly damning, and again, Woodward makes his case largely through the words of his sources, as when he paraphrases Marine Commandant General James Jones: “Rumsfeld’s self-importance and arrogance infected everything, Jones concluded.”

There are a few places where Woodward makes statements that come off as opinion, though they may essentially summarize facts presented earlier in the text. In chapter five, for instance, Woodward writes, “Rumsfeld’s micromanaging was almost comic.” Chapter two ends with the words, “… despite all the tutoring, Bush had no plan for foreign affairs. He held no ‘so-help-me-God’ convictions.”

Woodward’s political leanings are made clear in State of Denial, which cannot be called an unbiased account of the Bush administration. But Woodward’s case against the administration is supported by careful research, and the harshest words against the administration to be found in the text come not from Woodward, but from his sources. State of Denial may not qualify as objective – indeed, it may be one-sided –  but such is the quality of Woodward’s reporting that it would be difficult to argue that it is not factual.

Published in: on March 24, 2011 at 2:32 am  Comments (1)  

Andrew Sullivan’s The Conservative Soul: How We Lost It, How To Get It Back

Tattered Cover Book Store. Retrieved March 24, 2011.

Political commentator Andrew Sullivan, in an impassioned tone, attempts to draw the attention of American’s to how far we have come from our roots in his book, The Conservative Soul: How We Lost It, How To Get It Back.

We often hear of the failures of past governments, yet some of us seem convinced that certain structures only need a bit of tweaking before we get it just right. Sullivan, in his first chapter, quotes the words of Edmund Burke, for he too was a man who wanted to “remind his fellow humans that society is complicated, that its structure develops not by accident but by evolution, that even the most flawed bonds that tie countless individuals are not to be casually severed for the sake of an inchoate idea of perfection.”

Sullivan points out that during this particular fast-paced era we’re moving through, “the meaning of family, of marriage, of health, of sex, of faith, are now things we cannot simply take for granted as a shared understanding. ” It’s almost as if we’re starting from scratch, discarding the future, and figuring it out as we go along, without regard from the experience of the past that should inform our decisions.

In his attempt to make a case for true conservatism, he presents his aim in a clear, easily accessible, and heartfelt way. In a sociopolitical climate where the conservatism of Burke seems to be spoken of only behind closed doors, Sullivan brings back the ideals that make up the very foundation and culture of this country’s history. The goal of every society should be to flourish and aspire to virtuousness, yet we couldn’t be farther from that end. We need a culture that will be able to, “direct and uplift” us to a single worthy goal.

Published in: on March 24, 2011 at 12:30 am  Comments (2)  

Carl Bernstein On Hilary Clinton

By: Ashley Williams

In The Carl Bernstein’s Book ” A woman in Charge” Bernstein gives a look into the upbringing and life of Senator Hilary Clinoton and former first lady. He takes a look into the relationship between Hilary and her Husband Bill and her being the backbone of the family, and there for him since the day they met. He takes a look into her family with her stern authoritarian father to her nurturing mother. Bernstein does an objective job on explaining the life and time of Hilary and probably is one of the best biographies of Hilary Clinton to date.

Bernstein narrates facts that close friends to Hillary have provided him so readers can see the perspective of people who have known her directly. In the book we see how her political inclinations started at home, having fierce debates with her father on numerous occasions.

He takes a look into her courage to run for senate of new york during a trying time in her life and marriage, that was on display in front of the world. Despite his feelings on Bill and Hillary he stays as neutral as possible by showing a glimpse of Hilary good and bad.

From Reading this book you can come to understand why she does and thinks the things she does and why. As a faithful wife Hillary said it: “I am stronger than he is. I am better than he is. Therefore, I can stay with him because it’s my biblical duty to love the sinner, and to help to try to overcome his defects of character. His sins are of weakness not of malice.”

Hilary is a strong woman with a structured upbringing and strong foundation that has made her the strong powerful woman she is today and Carl Bernstein gives us a glimpse of this in his book.

Published in: on March 24, 2011 at 12:29 am  Comments (1)  

Objectivity on Hillary Clinton

By: Paige Johnsen

Carl Bernstein’s, “A Woman in Charge,” is a credible source on the life of Hillary Clinton, but displayed through his biased perception of the Clintons.

Bernstein published the novel in 2007.  He is better known for his award winning Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 1973 for publishing the Pentagon Papers in the Washington Post during President Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal.

In “A Woman in Charge,” Bernstein opens the prologue with a descriptive visual of Hillary Clinton, devoted to her man since the day they met in 1970.  Bernstein sets the scene, it’s 1999 and she must make her most difficult decision yet.

The prior year, President Bill Clinton was charged with perjury and obstruction of justice, but this novel is not about the Lewinsky affair; it is a detailed insight to the slowly growing power of Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton made a huge gamble when deciding to be the first first lady to run for president or for United States Senate from the state of New York.

“If a common theme exists, it is that Hillary Clinton, who has been ‘first partner’ and then ‘first lady,’ and often the iron fist of their joint success, now aims, with her husband’s collaboration, to become the ultimate woman in charge,” said Kevin Phillips, a Washington Post reporter.”

Bernstein celebrates the Clintons and says they’ve been “shaping history” since Bill Clinton’s presidency.

Bernstein says, “…she played the United States Senate like a flute, charming her colleagues on both sides of the aisle…”

Bernstein places Hillary Clinton on a pedestal, continually praising her for her philanthropy and burying Bill Clinton deep in the background. 

The novel is written in a respected manner and represents Hillary Clinton as a highly appealing person to the extent of constant admiration, which he does not write with subtly.

Published in: on March 22, 2011 at 3:10 am  Leave a Comment