Fidel Castro is not Augusto Pinochet

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By Alejandro Guevara Onofre

Since 1960 Fidel and Raul Castro have send a sinister example to Third World nations. The number of countries which democratically governed and respect human rights is decreasing since 2004.Today there are many dictatorships: Thailand, Venezuela, Zimbabwe…

Miss Chile,Jenny Purtho Arap, was eliminated in the first round at the Miss Universe Pageant on July 26, 1982, in Lima, Peru´s capital city. Certainly, she, a girl with charming personality and beautiful eyes, was the big favourite by the international journalism. I think that Chile should have been crowned Miss Universe in my country.I believe that she was robbed of title for political reasons.

One of the major problems which Chilean dictatorship had to face was the international boycott campaign.From 1973 to 1989 Chile suffered international sanctions. Different from Cuba, many countries did not have diplomatic relations with Augusto Ramon Pinochet Ugarte, who ruled from 1973 to 1990. Many Chileans did not get VISA, an example was Claudio Arrau, one of the best pianists in the history. The same history of Israel, Taiwan, Rhodesia (currently Zimbabwe) and South Africa (Apartheid).

Ironically, The People`s Republic of China and Romania recognized the Chilean dictatorship. Under the leadership of Mao Tse-tung and Jiang Qing, First Lady of the Chinese Revolution, China and Chile had maintained good diplomatic relations.However, Pinochet Ugarte was harshly attacked by the USSR, Cuba, East Germany, Mexico, Sweden, Italy and Norway.

In 1980 Ferdinand Marcos, dictator of Philippines, invited Augusto Pinochet to come to his country.On March, 1980, he left Santiago de Chile for Philippines and made transit stops in Fidji,an ex British colony, and Tahiti.When Augusto Pinochet arrived Suva, the capital city of Fiji, a small country in the South Pacific, some human rights activists were waiting for him.There were protests against Chilean dictator´s visit.His tour had already begun when the tour was cancelled abruptly at the last moment by the dictatorship Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos.

1976: In the Davis Cup final match , the Chileans lost to Italy, but the team from Chile had a particularly difficult tournament. In Rome, a group of people blocked the entrance to stadium before the match between Chile and Italy, chanting: “Pinochet is a dictator”…”He is a genocide”…Pinochet is Hitler”…and “Pinochet is the worst dictator in the history”.Certainly, Chile´s participation again became an issue.

Many famous people went to Festival Internacional de la Canción Viña del Mar, but they were criticized by human rights activists and journalists. Camilo Sesto, Spanish singer, was called “Camilochet”. In July 1978, the Mexican government objected to the presence of Miss Chile , Marianne Muller, in the Miss Universe Pageant beauty in Acapulco, Mexico.Another example:Jorge Luis Borges was considered one of the best writers in the 20th Centur.He was nominated several times for the Nobel Prize for Literature, but Borges was never awarded the Noble Prize by Swedish Academy.Why? In 1976 Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges visited Chile. Cuba would have wanted to have a writer like him…

The Chilean dictator Augusto Jose Ramon Pinochet never was accepted by the Latin America Community and Third World countries.Pinochet became notorious for human rights abuses and corruption. From 1973 to 1989, more than 3,000 Chileans were killed by Pinochet`s Secret Police Force. His autocratic and anti-communism style of rule earned him many enemies.

In comparison to Augusto Pinochet and Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina, Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz , whose father was a Spanish immigrant, is not famous like dictator… He is called “Third World spokesman” Why? Unfortunately people that don´t know Cuba very much think that Castro is a “good man”. Honestly, he never has been compared to Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier, former dictator of Haiti, and Charles Taylord. “The student always surpass the teacher” is my favourite slogan. In my opinion, I think that Castro´s Communist dictatorship is worse than the former Chilean. Dictatorship.

Cuba is one of the few nations in the world in which a family controls the government. From 1960 to 2006 Fidel Castro was President of the Council of State and Council of Ministers, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba…Currently, Raul Castro Ruz, Fidel´s brother, is the Head of State.They claim that Cuba has the most highest human development rate in the Third world and that Cubans live better in the Island than in South Korea, Singapoore, Taiwan and India.During Cold War, Cuba received more money per capita than the Socialist Republic of Ethiopia, one of the most poorest nations on Earth.

The country`s resources are used to build Olympic projects devised by dictator`s megalomania. Cuba has one of the most highest suicide rates in the world and the Island has the highest number of abortions in Latin America in relation to its population.Ironically, the standard of human development is going down. Ultimately the prostitution is increasing alarmingly in the Island. The dictatorship restricts such liberties as freedom speech and freedom of the press. Under the socialism, the government has imposed sharp restrictions on artists who criticize the dictatorial system. Reports Without Borders considers Cuba one of the “15 enemies of the Internet”. More than 300 artists and writers have defected since 1960: Jose Manuel Carbonell (poet), Lydia Cabrera( writer), Ernesto Caparros (photographer), Ernesto Lecuona(pianist), Guillermo Cabrera Infante (writer), Enrique Labrador (writer), Jesus Diaz (film maker) Nestor Almendros (film maker) and Jorge Esquivel (dancer).

Cuba`s dictatorship was one of the firsts states in the world that prohibited homosexuality. The general gays rights situation under Cuban Revolution was catastrophic during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.Many gays were jailed, tortured and exiled by Castro´s “Olympic Paradise”…Reynaldo Arenas, a gay writer, was imprisoned several times because of his longtime opposition to Cuban rule.After release, Arenas wrote his autobiography, with the title “Antes que caiga la noche” (Before night falls).

The Cuban Secret Police is extensively used by Fidel and Raul Castro to suppress and disrupt pro-democratics movements. However, a number of protests against human rights violation are organized by Las Damas de Blanco. Las Damas de Blanco have been compared to Las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo (Argentina), who fought against the dictator Jorge Rafael Videla.
Unfortunately, some Third World democracies support the Cuban government for economical reasons. Cuba has sent more than 6,000 doctors, coaches, technicians and teachers around the world. Furthermore there are 15,000 foreign students in the Island.

I would like to finish my essay “Fidel Castro is not Augusto Pinochet” with my favourite personal motto: “Only oppression should fear the full exercise of freedom” by Jose Marti.

Alzota, Julio. “Hoy en el Perú surgirá la más bella del Universo”, La Prensa, Lima, 26 de julio 1982.

-Bonilla, Juan José-Payan, Miguel-López, José-Villalba, Susana. Diccionario Mundial de Actores, Ediciones JC, Madrid, 1998

-Caputo, Robert. “Ethiopia Revolution in Ancient Empire”; National Geographic, Washington DC, may 1983

-Diccionario de Literatura Cubana (tomos I y II), Editorial Letras Cubanas, La Habana, 1980

-Diccionario Sopena de Literatura de Literatura (tomo I), Editorial Ramón Sopena, Barcelona, 1991

-Documental: El Caso Pinochet /Chile/ 2001

-Encyclopaedia Británica Book of The Year 1977, 1981, 1984, Encyclopaedia Britannica. Chicago

-Freedom in the World. The Annual Survey of Political Rights and Civil Liberties 1992-93, Freedom House, 1993

-Gasparini, Juan. Mujeres de Dictadores, Ediciones Península, Barcelona, 2002

-Grondona, Mariano. “La otra Cuba”, Visión, Miami, diciembre de 1993

-Guevara Onofre, Alejandro. “Crisis de Supervivencia en Cuba”, Diario El Peruano, Lima, 25 de agosto de 1992

-Guía del Mundo 1993-94, Instituto del Tercer Mundo, Montevideo, 1992

-Guzmán, Patricio. Documental: La Batalla de Chile (II)/Chile/ 1977

-Huntington, Samuel. The Third Wave. Democratization in the Latre Twentieth Century, University Oklahoma Press, Norman, 1991

-Informatodo 1970, Editorial Reader´s Digest, México, 1969

-Informe sobre Desarrollo Humano 1991-2006, PNUD, New York

-Jorge, Antonio. The Cuban Economy: Dependency and Development, University of Miami, Miami, 1989

-Lande, Carl. “The Return of People Power in The Philippines”, Journal of Democracy, Washington DC, January 2001

-Miller, Nicola. Soviet Relations with Latin America 1959-1987, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1989

-Roca, Ana. “Charlemos con Reinaldo Arenas: un escritor en el exilio”, Americas, Washington DC, septiembre de 1981

-Roca, Sergio. Socialist Cuba: Past Interpretations and Future Challenges, Westview Press, London

-Rodriguez Elizondo, José. Crisis y Renovación de las Izquierdas, Editorial Andres Bello, Santiago, 1995
-Suchlicke, Jaime. The Cuban Military Under Castro, University of Miami, Miami, 1989

-Taufic, Camilo. Chile en la Hoguera, Ediciones Corregidor, Buenos Aires,1974

-The World Almanac and Book of Facts 1975-2006, The World Almanac Books, New York, New Jersey

-Vargas Llosa, Mario. “El Lenguaje de la Pasión”, Peisa, Lima, 2000

-Zandrox. “Una de ellas puede ser Miss Universo”, Extra, Lima, 26 de julio 1982

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The REAL Cost Of Living On A Narrowboat

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Do you want to live on a narrowboat because you think it’s a low cost alternative to living in a house? Living on a narrowboat is a fantastic lifestyle choice but the cost is possibly a little more than you expected. In this article ALL of the costs are detailed and explained.

Below, I have detailed the general narrowboat costs that you will incur followed by some specific costs that I have faced since moving onto narrowboat James in April 2010.


Your narrowboat will probably be your largest financial investment after your dry land home. If you want a brand new narrowboat designed and fitted out to your own specifications you can pay in excess of £100,000. You will be able to pick up a decent second hand boat of about 60′ suitable for living aboard for about £40,000.

The majority of narrowboat owners have a boat in addition to a house. Some though fund the cost of their boat from the sale of their house. Whichever way you choose to fund your boast purchase, make sure you include any monthly finance repayment amounts in your calculations.

I provide a link to the very best place to research narrowboat prices and specifications in this article on my web site . Last time I looked, there were eight hundred narrowboats for sale.


Insurance for your boat is a legal requirement. You can find a list of narrowboat insurers on the site. Please note that your intention to live on your narrowboat and the age of the boat will have an impact on the insurance cost so must be declared.


Your car needs an MOT both as a legal requirement and as a regular check to make sure that it is safe to use. Your narrowboat needs a Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) Certificate when it is four years old and every four years after that. Again, tHere’s some very good information about the examination, the likely cost and what you need to do to prepare for it on my site.


You have to buy a British Waterways license if your narrowboat uses the canals of England and Wales. The fee is dependant on the length of your boat. At the time of writing (November 2010), the annual fee for 62′ long James is £804.48 with an £80 discount for prompt payment. You also need to pay a fee to use the rivers that connect some of the canals (e.g. the Thames). British Waterways is responsible for river Avon, Soar, Ouse, Severn and Ure. The Environment Agency controls river Thames, Medway, Nene, Great Ouse, Ancholme, Glen, Welland and Stour. British Waterways offer their Gold License which allows you to travel on all the waterways controlled by British Waterways and the Enviroment Agency. The 2010 fee for a 62′ narrowboat is £967 for payment in full or £1,039 if paid by direct debit installments. You can find more details about British Waterways licenses here


River Canal Rescue offer breakdown cover for boat owners. They offer three levels of cover; bronze, silver and gold ranging in cost from £55 to £160 a year.

Bronze cover simply registers your boat on their database. You pay additional fees for call outs and for towing you to the closest marina if they can’t easily repair your boat. Silver and Gold membership give you additional services and benefits such as an annual engine inspection (rather than a service).

It’s essential cover for you if you don’t like to get too close to your engine or if your craft is a little long in the tooth.


Mooring fees vary enormously but you can get an idea of the likely fees by the mooring location and the facilities on offer. A bankside mooring with no water or electricity is going to cost far less than a spacious mooring in a picturesque marina with all mod cons. At Calcutt Boats the fee for the older Locks marina is roughly £2,090 for a 60′ boat. In the newer more spacious Meadows marina the standard piers are £2,300 or £2,683 for the 70′ moorings.

Mooring fees are usually based on a single advance payment. There are often options to pay quarterly or monthly but they ill cost you more. Please note that many marinas also charge an additional amount for “high usage” so make sure you check the small print before you commit yourself.


I don’t use diesel heating so don’t have any first hand experience. Work colleague and fellow moorer Anthony on his posh boat Second Sister does. He claims that he uses an average of 1/4 litre per hour over a 24 hour period or six litres per day. Diesel for heating is currently 78p per litre at Calcutt Boats.


I don’t get out much so use very little propulsion duel. I am reliably informed though that, when cruising, you will use 1 – 1.5 litres of diesel per hour. Propulsion diesel is currently about £1.30 per litre

Please note that when you pay for your diesel, you will be asked to sign a declaration. Not all boats have separate tanks for propulsion and heating so the boatyard doesn’t know which part of your boat will use the fuel. Propulsion and heating diesel are identical but attract different levels of duty. The accepted split is 60% propulsion, 40% heating. So, if you put 100 litres into your tank, you will be charged 60 litres at the propulsion rate (about £1.30 per litre) and 40 litres at the heating rate (78p per litre). However, some boatyards allow you to declare a different split. In theory, you can declare 100% for heating and pay for all of your fuel at the lower rate. In case of a government inspection though you need to be able to justify it.


Every two to three years you will need to take your boat out of the water to “black” the hull. Blacking is a term used for the process of applying several coats of bitumen or other coal tar based paint to prevent rust. You can paint the hull yourself or ask a boatyard to do it for you. Either way, your boat will need to be removed from the water so that the work can be done. You should budget £400 – £500 for both removing your boat and having the work done for you.


Just like your car, your boat needs to be serviced. And just like your car, the cost of those services can vary enormously. Here at Calcutt Boats, the cost of a service ranges from £60 – £160 plus parts.


The costs detailed below are real costs. Every narrowboat related expense has been recorded by me since moving aboard narrowboat James. Each narrowboat’s day to day running costs will vary depending on the boat’s age, condition and equipment on board and equipment usage so let me tell you a little about James.

In boating terms, James is an old girl. Built in 1975 with a steel hull and composite top, she’s 62′ long and has seen better days. James hadn’t been used more than two or three times in the previous ten years before I started to live on board full time in April 2010. Consequently she was in need of some TLC and was very damp.

Because she hadn’t been used or maintained for such a long time, the windows and roof vents leaked and there was water seeping into the boat through the skin. The solid fuel stove (which heats four radiators along one side), had a cracked glass plate and leaks in the flu.

All of the above meant that keeping warm and dry was a problem. The stove has now been refurbished and the windows and roof vents sealed. I think that there’s still a leak somewhere on the roof channelling water behind the cladding, which ends up under the floor of the rear cabin. Consequently I need to run a dehumidifier pretty much full time to combat the damp.

As I said, every boat has differing factors which will impact on the running and maintenance costs. In addition to the boat’s age and the condition, the type of equipment used and how much it is used will also play a part.


Whoever designed the heating on James liked to cover all available options. In addition to the solid fuel stove, there are four radiators – powered by the stove – plus gas heaters and an electric radiator. I also have a Dimplex greenhouse heater and a 1200w halogen heater for emergencies. There is a Paloma gas powered “on demand” heater which supplies an unlimited amount of scalding hot water.


The hob, oven and grill are all gas and are powered by two 13kg Propane cylinders. The two cylinders do me for about two months.


How much time you spend on board will have a direct impact on your fuel consumption, as will your eating and cooking habits. The costs I have listed below are based on the following…

On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday I get up at 05:15, shower, have a quick breakfast of tea and toast and work on the web site until 07:30. From October onwards the stove is burning coal twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. Overnight and when I’m away from the boat I have the stove turned down as low as possible to ensure that it’s still alight when I return. The maximum period is between ten and eleven hours. I come back to the boat for lunch and a cup of coffee, then return after work just after 5:30 and generally stay there for the evening.

I use the gas for a shower every day, three or four kettle boils, toast in the morning, grilled meat or fish four times a week and a roast of some kind once a week. I don’t ever use the gas fires because they produce “wet” heat which contributes to the damp.

My electricity is provided via a metered shore supply which charges the boat batteries for lighting. The shore power also allows me to charge my laptop/phone/electric razor, listen to the radio (I don’t have a television), power two Dimplex Coldwatcher 500w heaters (on all the time) and run a 620w dehumidifier for two hours a day.

There’s a graph in this article on my site that shows the actual costs incurred for gas, coal and electricity since moving onto James in April 2010. The costs are updated on the graph at the end of each month.


Your stove will burn either wood or coal. Personally, I steer clear of wood. It’s more bulky than coal so needs more storage space than I have available. My stove is also on the small side so I would struggle to fit logs in.

I use coal. I’ve tried a number of different brands and types but the ones I’ve stuck with is Pureheat. Pureheat is a manufactured smokeless fuel sold in 25kg bags of goose egg sized ovals. Pureheat produces more heat than wood or housecoal, burns away to a powder so doesn’t clog up the grate (and put the fire out) and is less messy. A bag of Pureheat usually lasts me just under three days although in December with so many sub -zero days and ridiculously cold nights, I was using a bag every two days. The cheapest supplier I can find charges £9.50 a bag.


My gas consumption has remained pretty steady over the last ten months. I only use gas for cooking and to supply hot water dish and body washing so the cold weather doesn’t alter the amount I use. One 13kg cylinder lasts me a month and costs about £22


My electricity costs dipped to just about zero in July. It was the only month as far as I can remember when I didn’t have to plug either heaters or dehumidifer in. I was also away from the boat for a week. The electricity costs appear to be very high for December. However, although December was very, very cold most of the reason for the increase is because I was away for ten days. I didn’t want there to be the slightest chance of the electricity running out so I put extra on the meter before I left. I then didn’t buy any more until 10th January (the graph shows May 2010 – April 2011)


Mobile of course. Reception varies wildly when you’re on the cut. I have very poor reception with Three on my mooring. I can only make and receive calls from one spot halfway between the dining and the seating area. I just about get a signal there. I tend not to use a phone much anyway (no friends) so my mobile phone cost is about £15 per month.


A connection to the internet is one of life’s essentials as far as I’m concerned. I update the web site daily, send out newsletters, stream TV programmes from BBC Iplayer and the ITV and channel 4 equivalents, tweet on @narrowboatlife and search for information.

I use a mobile broadband dongle from Three. They have a coverage checker on their web site and even though the site indicates that there is limited connectivity for my postcode, I rarely have a problem with my connection. Sometimes my broadband is a little slow but most of the time I can stream TV programmes and films. Three offer pay as you go top ups of 500MB for a day or 1GB, 3GB and 7GB for a month. I use the best value 7GB top up which usually lasts me the full month (I’ve just checked on my current usage. I’ve actually used 6.5GB in twenty days. I know that is is unusually high and is because I’ve watched a few data hungry films.)

So now you know what it costs to live on a narrowboat. At least, you know what it costs me to live on one. I’m sure that many narrowboat owners with newer, better insulated boats will pay less than me for heating fuel and electricity. But they will have paid more than me for their narroboat.

I hope you find this guide useful – and I hope the costs haven’t put you off. I love living on a narrowboat. I hope you do too.

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