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October 01, 2012 - Image 6

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6A - Monday, October 1, 2012

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

6A - Monday, October 1, 2012 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

U.S.-based Venezuelans
forced to vote in New Orleans

Seth Lynn, director of the Center for Second Service at George Washington University, with Darren Phelps and Mark Kennedy.
Man Iraq, han VeS
cho " d ose 'SeConds ervice~

Strong connection a National Guardsman.
between militar They are people like former
Marine tank commander Nick
service and public Popaditch, who lost his right
eye during the April 2004 Battle
office of Fallujah in Iraq, and who is
now the Republican nominee in
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The California's 53rd Congressional
link between U.S. military service District.
and running for office is as old "Iwaslookingatmygovernment
as the republic itself. It started and I wasn't happy with it," says
with George Washington, who ' the ex-gunnery sergeant, who cuts
famously wrote that, "When we a striking figure on the campaign
assumed the Soldier, we did not trail with his shaved head and
lay aside the Citizen." black eye patch. "So rather than
During the long wars in complain, I decided to run myself.
Afghanistan and Iraq, hundreds I thought I could do a better job,
of thousands of veterans have and I still feel that way."
come home and laid aside their After back-to-back wars, there
uniforms. But not all have opted to are more recent combat veterans
simply blend back into civilian life. in the United States today than at
Many have chosen to run for any time since Vietnam.
public office. But the number of former
Several dozen veterans - military members in public office
some of them from earlier wars has been declining for years. In
- are vying for U.S. House and 1969, nearly 90 percent of all U.S.
Senate seats this year. And many House and Senate seats were
others are seeking state and held by people who'd served
local offices across the country. in uniform. Today, says the
Men and women, Republicans Congressional Research Service,
and Democrats, they ranke from it's about 20 percent. And for
well-known hopefuls such as the first time in decades, none of
congressional candidate Tammy the major party candidates for
Duckworth in Illinois, , who president and vice president has
became a double amputee when been in the military.
her National Guard helicopter was Seth Lynn thinks that's one of
shot down in Iraq, toArizonastate the problems with our political
House contender Mark Cardenas, system these days, and he's
a25-year-old Iraq vet who remains working to change that.

Lynn, a Naval Academy
graduatewhospentsixyears inthe
Marines, helped found Veterans
Campaign to train former service
members interested in running for
He notes that as the number
of veterans on Capitol Hill has
dropped,there has been "analmost
parallel decrease in America's
confidence in Congress."
"I'm not saying that the two are
necessarily a causal relationship,"
says Lynn. "But I do think that
there is that ability to put your
country before yourself, but also
to work together across party
lines, that Americans want
more that just isn't happening in
There is a natural ebb and flow
to this nexus between military
and public service.
When World War II ended,
16 million men and women had
served in uniform around the
globe, and as a result postwar
politicians were often veterans.
The pool of veterans grew smaller
in followingyears, especially since
the end of the military draft in
The all-volunteer military
engenders a sense of duty and
"selflessness" that Lynn and
others feel has been sorely lacking,
in the political arena. He sees
this quality as a motivation for
veteran-candidates today.

Residents make
costly trip to cast
votes at consulate
MIAMI(AP) - By bus and car,
commercial flight and charter,
U.S.-based Venezuelans are trav-
eling en masse to New Orleans
in the coming days, spending
hundreds of dollars and in some
cases more than a day of their
time to cast a vote in their coun-
try's presidential election.
The government of President
Hugo Chavez earlier this year
closed the country's consulate in
Miami, where most Venezuelans
living in the U.S. have cast bal-
lots in the past. It later said vot-
ers would have to travel to New
Orleans if they want to partici-
pate on Oct. 7.
It's a hardship in terms of time
and money for many potential
voters. But some, especiallythose
who want to stop Chavez from
being re-elected after 13 years in
power, are determined to make
the trip anyway.
Carolina Guevara, a 21-year-
old college student, plans to take
the 15-hour bus ride from Miami
to New Orleans, an 870-mile trek.
"We want to demonstrate to
the government that even if they
put obstacles in our path, we will,
practice our right to vote," said
Guevara, who hopes to return to
Venezuela after completing her
political science studies at Miami
Dade College.
The Venezuelan government
closed its Miami mission after
the State Department expelled
consul Livia Acosta amid an
investigation into recordings
that seemed ts implicate her in
an Iranian plot for a cyber-attack
against the U.S..
The closure affected nearly
20,000 Venezuelan voters living
in Florida, Georgia, North Caro-
lina and South Carolina who had
registered to vote at the Miami
consulate. Most Venezuelan vot-
ers in the United States live in the
Miami area and the vast majority
of those are critical of the Chavez
After the Miami mission
closed, Venezuelan election offi-
cials said that voters registered
there would have to cast bal-

lots in New Orleans, where the
next-nearest consulate is located.
Venezuelan opposition leaders
accused the government of try-
ing to disenfranchise voters, a
charge officials denied.
"They tried to do everything
possible to prevent us from vot-
ing," said Gisela Parra, a former
judge who left Venezuela in 2005
after being accused of conspiring
against Chavez. "The pressure
was such that they had to open
a voting center far away, in New
Orleans. It's like punishing us."
Parra, who plans to volunteer
at the New Orleans voting cen-
ter, said Venezuelan electoral
officials "had the obligation" to
make another Miami location
But Tibisay Lucena, president
of Venezuela's Elections Council,
countered that voters registered
in Miami "were relocated using
the same criteria used inside the
country, telling them to go to the
nearest polling station."
About 15,800 Venezuelans in
the U.S. voted in their country's
Dec. 2006 presidential election,
three-quarters of them in Miami.
Of the 10,800 Venezuelans vot-
ingin Florida, 98 percent castbal-
lots for the opposition candidate
and 2 percent for Chavez. Thirty-
four percent of registered voters
did not participate, according to
figures from Venezuela's Elec-
tions Council.
Most Venezuelans in the U.S.
are professionals or business-
people who left their country
after Chavez became president
in 1999. The number of Venezu-
elans in the U.S. burgeoned from
91,500 in 2000 to 215,000 in
2010, according to the 2010 Cen-
sus, with 57 percent of them liv-
ing in Florida.
Numerous groups surfaced to
assist U.S.-based Venezuelan vot-
ers, with information distributed
on the Internet and social media,
as well as at coffee shops and
bookstores frequented by Ven-
The groups include Voto Joven
and Voto Donde Sea, comprised
mostly of young people, and the
Mesa de la Unidad Democrati-
ca, or Democratic Unity Table,
a coalition of political parties
backing opposition presidential
candidate Henrique Capriles.

Beatriz Olavarria, who leadsa
commission created by the oppo-
sition alliance to distribute voter
information and mobilize observ-
ers, said she hopes at least half of
the voters registered in Miami
will cast ballots in New Orleans.
"Something tells me that many
people will. get on board at the
last minute," she said.
Olavarria, who has volun-
teered in Miami during past
Venezuelan elections, created
the website www.Miami7octu-
bre.com, to provide information
about the New Orleans vote.
The group's major push now
is figuring out how to get regis-
tered voters to the Louisiana city,
where balloting will be held in
a convention center. Opposition
members complain that voting
will not occur inside the mission
itself, but Lucena, the electoral
council president, said "the rules
state that the polling center must
be as near as possible to a consul-
In most cases, traveling from
here to New Orleans to vote
would require at least one night
away from home.
With travel costs a major
obstacle for many potential vot-
ers, financial adviser Andres
Casanova and his childhood
friend Andres Morrison are col-
lecting donations to pay for char-
ter planes to ferry Venezuelans to
New Orleans.
So far, they have received
almost $355,700 in donations,
enough to pay for trips for 1,100
voters. But far more people - as
many as 3,000 - have registered
on the organization's website,
www.aerovotar.com , for seats
assigned on a first-come, first-
served basis.
Voto Donde Sea, meanwhile, is
collecting donations to subsidize
bus fares for voters, said group
leader Vanessa Duran.
Milagros and Fernando Nunez
Noda are renting a car with
another couple to make the trip
from Miami.
"We're going no matter what,"
said Nunez Noda, a journalist
and businessman.
"It's like they threw down
a challenge," he said of the
government's decision to move
the balloting to New Orleans.
"We will prove our strength."

Gas drillin
Call: #734-418-4115
Email:dailydisplay@gmail.com Hydro-fracking
reduces Russia's hold
1 SL on European gas

g boom rattles Russia


RELEASE DATE- Monday, October 1, 2012
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Kremlin is watching, European
nations are rebelling, and some
suspect Moscow is secretly bank-
rolling a campaign to derail the
West's strategic plans.
It's not some Cold War movie;
it's about the U.S. boom in natu-
ral gas drilling, and the political
implications are enormous.
Like falling dominoes, the
drilling process called hydraulic
fracturing, or fracking, is shaking
up world energy markets from
Washington to Moscow to Bei-
jing. Some predict what was once
unthinkable: that the U.S. won't
need to import natural gas in the
near future, and that Russia could
be the big loser.
"This is where everything is
being turned on its head," said
Fiona Hill, an expert on Russia at
the Brookings Institution, a think
tank in Washington. "Their days
of dominating the European gas
markets are gone."
Any nations that trade in ener-
gy could potentially gain or lose.
"The relative fortunes of the
United States, Russia, and China
- and their ability to exert influ-
ence in the world - are tied in no
small measure to globalgas devel-
opments," Harvard University's
Kennedy School of Government
concluded in a report this sum-
The story began to unfold a few
years ago, as advances in drilling
opened up vast reserves of gas
buried in deep shale rock, such
as the Marcellus formation in
Pennsylvania and the Barnett, in
Experts had been predicting
that the U.S. was running out of

natural gas, but then shale gas
began to flood the market, and
prices plunged. -
Russia had been exporting vast
quantities to Europe and other
countries for about $10 per unit,
but the current price in the U.S. is
now about $3 for the same quan-
tity. That kind of math got the
attention of energy companies,
and politicians, around the world.
Some European governments
began to envision a future with
less Russian natural gas. In 2009,
Russia had cut off gas shipments
via Ukraine for nearly two weeks
amid a price and payment dis-
pute, and more than 15 European
countries were sent scrambling to
find alternative sources of energy.
The financial stakes are huge.
Russia's Gazprom energy corpo-
ration, which is state-controlled,
had $44 billion in profits last year.
Gazprom, based in Moscow, is the
world's largest producer of natu-
ral gas and exports much of it to
other countries.
Butlastmonth Gazprom halted
plans to develop a new arctic gas
field, saying it couldn't justify
the investment now, and its most
recent financial report showed
profits had dropped by almost 25
.The U.S. presidential cam-
paigns have already addressed
the strategic potential.
A campaign position paper for
Republican Mitt Romney said he
"will pursue policies that work
to decrease the reliance of Euro-
pean nations on Russian sources
of energy."
In early September, President
Barack Obama said the U.S. could
"develop a hundred-year supply
of natural gas that's rightbeneath
our feet," which would "cut our
oil imports in half by 2020 and
support more than 600,000 new
jobs in natural gas alone."
Poland's Ministry of the Envi-
ronment wrote in a statement to
The Associated Press that "an

increased production of natu-
ral gas from shale formations in
Europe will limit the import via
pipelines from Algeria and Rus-
The issue has reached the
highest levels of the Kremlin, too.
Hill, of the Brookings think
tank, heard President Vladimir
Putin speak in late 2011 at a Mos-
cow gathering of academics and
media. She said in a blog post that
"the only time I thought that he
became truly engaged was when
he wanted to explain to us how
dangerous fracking was."
But one top Gazprom execu-
tive said shale gas will actu-
ally hglp the country in the long
run. Sergei Komlev, the head of
export contracts and pricing,
acknowledged the recent disrup-
tions but predicted that the U.S.
fuels wouldn't make their way to
Europe on any important scale.
"Although we heard that the
motive of these activities was to
decrease dependence of certain
countries on Gazprom gas, the
end results of these efforts will be
utterly favorable to us," Komlev
wrote in an email to the AP. "The
reason for remaining tranquil is
that we do not expect the cur-
rently abnormally low prices in
the USA to last for long."
In other words, if the market-
place for natural gas expands,
Russia will have even more
potential customers because it
has tremendous reserves.
Komlev even thanked the U.S.
for taking the role of "shale gas
global lobbyist" and said Gaz-
prom believes natural gas is more
environmentally friendly than
other fossil fuels.
"Gazprom group generally
views shale gas as a great gift to
the industry," he wrote. When
natural gas prices rise, "it will
make the U.S. plans to become a
major gas exporter questionable."
Whether exports happen
involves a dizzying mix of math,

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