Article 2: OBAMACARE Vs TRUMPCARE

( Source: evcnoticias.files.wordpress.com,2016)

The last 5th of May, the chamber of representatives of the United States of America met to vote the project to revoke and replace the US healthcare reform law, approved by the democrats in 2010 and promoted by Barack Obama.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, popularly known as the Obamacare, is a US healthcare reform law that expands and improves access to care to all the Americans, helping all those who cannot face great costs of medical care and providing health insurance to millions of people.

Considered one of the most ambitious reforms of the last decades and a great achievement in the presidency of Barack Obama, it may not be more than a failed project due to the desire of Republicans to derogate Obamacare and replace it with another policy.

The result of the encounter concluded with the victory of the Republican Party winning with 217 votes in favor and 213 votes against, with the very small difference of only 4 votes.

Since Trump arrived to the White House last January, one of the most polemical promises of his campaign was to substitute this project initiated by the past president, and since then, the republicans have focused on ending it, starting a war between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party.

Obama, annoyed, has begun to show in his first major political speech after the end of his presidency, his indignation by attacking all those who support the substitution of Obamacare, knowing all the damage that this would provoke among the weak, less economically privileged people, those who are in favour of the policy made by Obama.

Obama, a fervent advocate of universal health care access, said in a conference in Washington on the anniversary of Obamacare: “We finally declared that in America, healthcare is not a privilege for a few, but right for everybody”, defending all the citizens, especially those with more difficulties to pay the high rates.

On the other hand, Republicans have said that ending Obamacare and starting the “Trumpcare”, term elaborated by the newspaper ABC to refer to the reform promoted by the new president of the United States, does not mean leaving the millions of Americans benefited currently by Obamacare without medical care. Coordination between Secretary Tom Price and Republican leadership in the legislation will be essential to know what will happen and what policy will replace the Obamacare, maybe in the very near future.

The main difference between the Obama healthcare policy and the policy that Trump wants to do, supported by citizens with more resources, is that the actual president is looking to remove Medicaid (insurance health programme of the United States government), which provides medical coverage for people with low incomes, families and children, the elderly and people with disabilities.

Harvard Medical School and Cambridge Health studies found that 45.000 Americans die each year from lack of medical insurance. One way or another, regardless of who is in charge of the country, both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party should leave behind their differences to agree and develop a health policy that protects the health of all US citizens.

 

 

 

Escalating riots in Brazil between police and drug dealers

Last Sunday the military police from the 16º Battalion of Rio de Janeiro was attacked by drug dealers from the favela “Comando Vermelho”. The reason behind this attack was because in this section of Rio, drug dealers pay the police to keep out from their business. In fact,last Tuesday morning the BOPE (Brigada de Operaçoes Policiais Especiais) took their territory back by entering into a scenario of war.

According to the Official Study on Firearms of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in 2007 there were approximately 875 million of firearms all around the world of which just the 3% belongs to Law Enforcement bodies while the biggest majority (74%) it is owned by civil society and for military resources it is 23% of the total of firearms.

bopde

Fuente: elperiodistadigital.com

 

 

The data regarding firearms and the illegal trafficking has not been updated since 2007, which is a remarkable issue. In fact, the latest data collected by the Official Study on Firearms by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime are extremely outdated. Being the United Nations as worried as they claim to be regarding terrorism and being the main organ that deals with international peace and security, it is difficult to believe these claims, given the lack of current figures.

 

Favelas, frequently linked to the city of Rio de Janeiro, are one of the poorest neighbourhood of Brazil and nowadays mafias take advantage of this fact to carry out illegal acts such as weapons and drugs trafficking. Last years several killings happened in the area mainly committed by mafia members in order to expand its influence, with illegal firearms.

 

Fuente ABC Color

Surprisingly, for western society, police is involved in this mafia environment. Brazilian police is corrupted and Brazilians do not trust national security forces. According to Amnesty International, Brazil´s National Police is responsible for about 13% and 21% of murders in Rio including many other illegal acts.This is shown in last report made by Transparency International where Brazil holds the 79th position out of 176. This report takes into account the perception of corruption in the country

The results from this operation took 45 drug dealers into jail with around 32 machineguns apprehended. The estimated value of these weapons is around 1 million euros and most of the arsenal apprehended used to belong to the American government. The police has communicated that 100% of these weapons come from U.S and Russia.

Truthfully, It is seem to be that during the last decades huge efforts had been done regarding the reduction of firearms trafficking.  Both, international and national measures has been developed as for example the creation of different international organizations as the previous one mentioned (UNODC), or the development of  a more effective control of customs thanks to the support of the World Custom Organization. Others like the Brazilian government, according to La Nación, in 2011 announced the increasing security measures to fight the firearms trafficking.However, it has not reached the government expectations.Therefore this issue is still on the checklist from Governments and International Organizations.

Mike Pence’s Asia-Pacific Tour

 

What at first glance seemed like a formal visit, to solve a small discontent over the breach of an agreement, really had a greater background. In many newspapers, they showed the meeting between the two representatives, where a simplistic approach was made to the visit of the US Vice President (Mike Pence) to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (Australia). 

This is about the visit of Mr. Pence, as a matter of implication and commitment on the part of the US, to resolve the Australian complaints, on the problems produced by the pact signed by former President Barack Obama two years ago. This is about the relocation in the USA, of about 1250 migrants who are in centers in the island of Papu Manus (Australia) and it was not until April 2017, when the US through its vice president (Mike Pence), took those complaints into account and decided to take appropriate action.

The moment chosen by Mr. Pence, it could be said, is the result of the great telephone clashes filtered in different media, in the last weeks between Trump and Turnbull (among other great leaders). Here is a glimpse of the need for the US to iron out alliances with its allied countries, as Trump is once again unable to conduct a foreign policy with education, respect and consistency over others. But this has been the main theme of the visit, and there is a phrase that sums it up very well: “A winning car must be backed by a great driver, team of mechanics, tires … but it will never be the best. M. Schumacher, “with this I want to show the great need that the US has to keep all its possible Asia-Pacific allies holding hands, in case it needs any of them in a possible conflict.”

Pence toured Asia-Pacific for 10 days in April, stopping in different countries (South Korea, Japan, Indonesia and Australia). Where he had high level meetings with very clear purposes, which are no other than to strengthen security relations. Due to two very notable causes, such as North Korea’s continuity in the missile test and the increase in Chinese military pressure in certain areas with its neighbors. For example, this week the US, has sent a very specific defense vessel, with the excuse that they were to test with the Australian Army. Although his most transcendent and provocative visit has been to South Korea. Where he dealt with senior leaders on various issues, but the main one was North Korea. Both countries are in a moment of high tension where both are boasting about their possible power.

And to conclude, take a small reflection, on a reality visible to all the population that has read a little about the bad forms, even on some unpleasant occasions of Donald Trump. Do you think that a nation like the US should be acting with the North Korean conflict, in the way it is doing? Do you think it is necessary to act like a rooster in a pen?

Article North America: Trump’s first 100 days of presidency … Failure or success?

U.S. President Donald Trump arrives in West Palm Beach, Florida, on March 3, 2017.

(Nicholas Kamm, AFP/Getty Images,U.S. President Donald Trump arrives in West Palm Beach, Florida, on March 3, 2017)

As usual, when a new president arrives to the White House, the media focus on analyzing his first 100 days of presidency in order to grade presidents according to their achievements and failures related to foreign policy and national affairs. And once they have that evaluation it is common for the media to compare those first months of presidency with the first ones of some other previous presidents who have gone through the White House.

This year the analysis will have more impact and repercussion than before, this is because the figure of Donald Trump, the new president, is kind of polemic and unpredictable, perhaps because his trajectory or because his declarations in con- ferences and meetings at national and worldwide level.

The trajectory of Donald Trump is very peculiar, because he worked during a long stage of entrepreneur and with certain appearances in reality shows. These are two of the most important factors for Donald Trump to be a different presi- dent nowadays, for good or for bad.

If we look back and focus on the period of time since Trump was named presi- dent, we can see that Trump won a large number of followers thanks to the con- troversial promises that he made, such as the construction of a wall between Mexico and the United States and restrictions on Muslim access to the country. As we see reflected in the newspaper “The Republic”, approximately 60% of those promises have not been fulfilled.

Other promises that he could not fulfill yet are: canceling payments to climate change programs, deporting more than two million illegal immigrants, and the promise of decentralize the education and push for its privatization.

Following the analysis process, we also have to include his part of the program that was achieved, as well as:announce the intention to renegotiate or withdraw from the North American free Trade agreement with Mexico and Canada, announce the withdrawal of the Transpacific association agreement, suspend the immigration of regions prone to terrorism or decrece the reconstruction of the Army.

As we can see many of the measures that the president has promised to carry out are very ambitious, difficult to meet or require large periods of time to be carried out. However, not everything has been failures and Trump has managed to fulfill in these few days many of his promises.

As a conclusion, we can say that Trump and his administration face a serious problem but in spite of the pessimistic comments directed to the performances of Trump and its party, the failures of these months are not as devastating as some may think. As CNN says “Trump will be low on the rank list. If he wants to be part of the pantheon of productive presidents, there is no way to make this case convincingly”.

But anyway, these first 100 days are just a very small part of his trajectory as the president of the USA and only the future and just the future will show us what is next.

Category: North America, Donald Trump,  american elections

Venezuela marching towards a civil war

Caracas, April 23/2017 the situation in Venezuela has been escalating since Saturday. Around 24 people were killed during these protests. It´s been three weeks of hard social movements from both sides, mainly triggered by National Assembly removal of power in favor of the Supreme Court.

Supporters of Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro demonstrate as opposition activists march towards the Catholic Church's episcopal seats nationwide, in Caracas, on April 22, 2017.

Source: AFP, BBC NEWS

 

These actions of dissolving the National Assembly were a low blow towards the political opposition of Maduro and democratic movements of Venezuela. The protests took place through a “silence march” honoring those killed in the past anti-government protests. During these protests the city of Caracas has turned into a war scenario, a 47 years old woman was killed by the impact of a frozen plastic bottle of water and there has been more that 13 deaths according to BBC News.

President Nicolas Maduro has uncovered his true political ambition by assassinating congressman and main representatives of the opposition, especially with the use of alleged paramilitary groups. His latest political movement has been the dissolution of the National Assembly because he did not agree with the signing of the “Democratic Letter” which would restrict his power.

The letter called “La Carta Democrática” or Democratic Letter is a document created by the Organización de Estados Americanos (OEA) to encourage and promote democracy over its members. The Secretary General (SG), Luis Almagro, can apply article 20 of the letter if there is any doubt about representative democracy standards: human rights, separation of power and freedom of expression. Several Latin American countries have suffered the power of the letter such as Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Nicaragua For instance; Fujimori was sentenced to prison for several human rights violations during its mandate in Peru (1990-2000).

The SG states, based on the reports made, that there is: a humanitarian crisis, no separation of power and violations of human rights. In fact this report, which is supposed to be unbiased, is said to be influenced by Maduro´s opposition according to pro-government supporters.

Source: Organización de Estados Americanos

The idea of applying article 20 implies a future investigation of Maduro´s regime, which is not willing to be under investigation, this is the reason why the Supreme Court took over the legislative power. There was three days of uncertainty but finally the legislative power returned to the National Assembly. Nevertheless, the protest did not come to an end.

Molotov bomb attacks from civilians towards public institutions, state personnel, private business men… The opposition leaders demands that Maduro´s administration must accept their demands because having “political prisoner’s” is a clear picture of how Venezuela has become a dictatorship.

The only way of ending this protest is celebrating new regional and national elections. These elections are arranged to 2018 but Venezuelans cannot stand this situation. There is a lack of supply not only within Venezuela’s territory but in the international sphere.

CHINA AMONG FURS

Today we will interview Julio Suarez Garcia, whose role is the European Director, and member of the Board of Directors of the company Saga Furs. But what exactly is Saga Furs? Saga Furs is a Finnish company listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange. It is a fur auction house. Its customers are farmers from all over Europe and the United States and buyers from various markets, of which the main one is the Chinese market. This last is the reason why we interview Julio, and is that despite being a European company, practically all of its market is concentrated in China as Julio tells us. China is its main market. They sell approximately 85 of their skins to that market, they have clients at different levels of the value chain in the Chinese market. From brokers to manufacturers and retailers.

The question we ask is why China and not another Asian country? Or why leave Europe when the skins business also works here? Well Saga Furs with China mainly because the consumption of leather garments is very high. That means that there are large centers of production of garments that have to supply the raw material in auction houses like ours. The main benefit lies in the large size of the market and in the great economic development that the country has undergone in recent years. This development fits well with products such as fur garments, which sell well in expanding economies such as China.

But not all are benefits, China imposes certain barriers especially those who come from the outside. The regulations regarding the establishment of foreign companies in China are very rigid, making it difficult to establish in that country. “Apart from the import tariffs that apply to the skins we sell, the main concern is the risk of changing regulations that may happen from one day to another.” But tariffs and tariffs are not the only barrier, the differences Cultural and the different approaches to “doing business” have also been a challenge that they have had to face by hiring staff from their own country, which in the long run is beneficial, but at first was not so much.

We are also interested in knowing the way in which business affects the fact that they are made in China, because nothing has to do with the way of doing business in Finland, the home of this company,than in China. “The culture is very different. When it comes to doing business, Chinese entrepreneurs seldom say NO. ” Hence the great difficulty faced by Saga Furs in evaluating the success of a business for the commitment acquired in a meeting. That is why until you do not see with your own eyes the final result, success is not guaranteed

We asked Julio about the origins of Saga Furs in China and we were surprised to know that Saga was a pioneer in the world of fashion in China. They made the first western fashion show in the Forbidden City of Beijing in the mid-80’s, a milestone not only in the world of fur, but in general, to get a fashion show in such a place. Then the country has changed a lot. Especially in big cities. Shanghai, Beijing or Shenzhen are big cities that nothing has to envy New York or London. Nevertheless the rural interior of the country continues quite behind in the social evolution.

In China you can perfectly see the two sides of the coin, one day you are in a city full of all kinds of technology and the next day you go through a depressed rural area where they barely have to feed their cattle and thus subside.

But this colossus of fur is not slowed down in China, Saga also has, outside its office in Beijing and Hong Kong, delegation in South Korea, more specifically in Seoul. Korea is a very different market, much closer to the European way of operating since it has followed a much more “westernized” mode of development.

“Saga is continuing its expansion in Asia, and we will continue to expand our presence in China, due not only to the current relevance of the market, but also to the potential that it represents.”

 

We thank Julio Suarez for his time and dedication in answering our questions, it has been an honor to know more closely a great company like Saga Furs and its operation in the Asian continent.

ECONOMY BETWEEN SPAIN AND GERMANY

Markus Kemper is the Sub-director of the German Trade Chamber in Spain (Deutsche Handelskammer für Spanien or AHK Spanien) and his almost seventeen years of experience working for the German government have helped hundreds of German companies to establish, grow and develop in Spain. This delegation represents the German economy in Spain and is the main service for German and Spanish companies. It offers services oriented to the promotion of German foreign trade and its scope of action ranges from emerging companies to renewable energies and energy efficiency. The German Trade Chamber is a great support for the German govern when specific information on legal aspects are required or when it comes to taking the first steps in the Spanish market.

The good relationship and communication between countries is fundamental for Mr. Kemper to succeed on his work, so he answered “critical” when I asked him about how the current situation of the EU could be considered. He affirmed that the spirit is more of dissolution than union and insisted that the situation is not to be quiet, “any unitary movement is beneficial” however he does not hesitate to affirm that most of the European countries are currently growing and that this has not always been like this.

Spain is the country on the European union that grows the most”. Mr. Kemper explained that since the beginning of the crisis the German investment in Spain has increased considerably. He stressed the close relationship of both countries in some industries such as the automobile industry where Spain and Germany share interests and space for decades as well as in the metallurgical or banking sector. In fact, during the last years, the decline of Spanish economic areas such as the Manufactures (The loss of power in manufactures sector is an almost general European phenomenon.) or Building sector has had a reflection on the German economy and vice versa, so the economic interdependence o both countries is real.

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*Foto with Mr. Markus Kemper in the German Trade Chamber’s hall.

The explanations Mr. Kemper gave to the questions were quite brief but so concise and well structured that somehow you just wanted to know everything about the complex European economic system and all its secrets and curiosities. Sudden questions were constantly appearing while Mr. Kemper was explaining and one of it led directly to a small chat aside the interview about the desire to know what are the main differences between German and Spanish companies and why they have so different productivity results. He answered every small doubt and half smiling explained that what years have allowed him to prove is that in general the difference is mainly cultural. Mr. Kemper explained that Spain has a serious problem of productivity growth shared with Italy and other, mainly southern, European countries. “The work productivity in Spain is lower than the European average”, the problem is that the annual growth rate of labor productivity in Spain or Italy is constantly one point lower than the German when the capabilities and the market competitive capacity they have are nearly the same.

We came together to the conclusion that Spain has amazing potential but doesn’t work as hard as it should. Other reasons could be the reduction in 70% of the business services offered by the state since 2012, which leaves small and medium-sized enterprises unprotected and struggling to compete in the European market, or in many other cases, the owners of the companies are the culprits ignoring the true potential of their businesses and therefore do not take measures that fit their real needs. Mr. Kemper in convinced that Spanish people is not truly concerned about Spain’s huge and highly competitive market. “The service sector for example or the hostelry industry is more powerful in Spain than in Germany.

When you talk to a person like Mr.   Kemper asking about unemployment, one of the most serious problems in Spain seems to be obligatory. He is convinced that it is undoubtedly one of the most important aspects to work out, so on this subject, Mr. Kemper said that the German Trade Chamber for Spain, apart from advising companies on all aspects about the education field, can presume to have stood out for its involvement and commitment in Dual-Education helping more that 2.000 young students to enter to the labor market with the “best equipment”, something that as Mr. Kemper says has also benefited German companies, one of the most important foreign employment sources in Spain.

Talking to Marcus Kemper was a good experience and certainly a beginning class of economy. One of those conversations that ends giving you a great sensation of having learned some new valuable things. Our meeting helped me as well to realize that Spain has to advance in many things and to work lot of things out but also that it is certainly a country that can proudly contemplate the work carried out during the last years and look to the future with optimism, taking advantage of its incredible potential. I undoubtly recommend visiting the German Trade Chamber and enjoying a wonderful building that host a huge amount of conferences, seminars, expositions and talks about infinite different themes and that precisely this year celebrates its 100th anniversary.