Thursday, December 28, 2006

Paco Ignacio Taibo II’s Some Clouds

I read Paco Ignacio Taibo II’s Some Clouds, a detective novel that takes place in Mexico City. He’s the same author who recently co-wrote a novel with Subcomandante Marcos, though I haven’t read that one yet.

The book was very short, and it was unfortunate he didn’t develop the characters a little bit more. Nonetheless, it was a good read, and his depiction of Mexico City is very much like Raymond Chandler’s 1940s Los Angeles, as he obviously loves the city even while probing its seamy side. There is a lot of commentary woven into the story, and the following is an excerpt from a character’s dialogue that I found especially compelling. I might just use it in class as a concise explanation of corruption's deep roots.

The cops in this town are as big a cesspool as they are because there’s big money involved. You know what happens to the lowly motorcycle cop who puts the bite on you for three hundred pesos because you ran a stoplight? At the end of the day he has to kick back fifteen hundred or two grand to his sergeant for letting him work the good intersections, and if he doesn’t, he’ll be out sweeping streets or directing traffic, left to eat shit. The guy has to pay for the maintenance on his own bike, because if he takes it to the shop at the station they’ll steal everything down to the spark plugs and, boom, the guy’s back on the streets again, on foot. And he starts every day with eight liters of gas instead of the twelve he’s allotted, because his major and his chief skimmed off the other four. He pays into a pension plan that doesn’t exist, and a life insurance pool that doesn’t exist either. His sergeant kicks back twenty-five grand to the district chief, who runs hot license plates on the side and takes a bite out of the phony pension fund. You know how the commanders call roll at the start of each day at district headquarters? With an envelope in their hand. Officer so-and-so reporting for duty, and there goes the money into the envelope. The district commander must take in half a million pesos every day. He’s got two officers and all they do is collect money…That’s the system, not a measly three hundred peso bribe…You have to take a step back to be able to see the system (pp.140-141).


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The newest threat to Cuba... rock climbing, and the Cuban government is cracking down. According to the government, rock climbers are just foreigners who go to isolated areas to take drugs and spy on Cuba's efforts to protect itself in case of a U.S. invasion, and as such represent a bad influence on pure-minded, red-blooded, Castro-loving citizens. Therefore, they are making people get special permits to go rock climbing, but a park ranger admitted he did not, in fact, know how to obtain said permit.

Has a government ever been undermined or perhaps even overthrown by a small group of sports enthusiasts? I don't recall any coups led by skateboarders or bowlers, but I could be wrong.


Monday, December 25, 2006

Feliz Navidad, Happy Holidays, etc.

I hope everyone (students included!) is having a nice break. I'm with family and friends for the holidays so blogging will remain a bit light.

However, I was pleased to see this NYT story about the potential for immigration reform. The question of why Democrats aren't making a bigger deal of their behind the scenes efforts is a very interesting one, which I'll have to chew over a bit. This story may simply be a trial balloon, to see the reaction before getting to the nitty gritty. If there is a firestorm, or at least enough opposition to make newly elected Democrats nervous, then there is no guarantee of anything being passed.

I liked the idea that they might deny funding for the ridiculous fence proposal recently passed. At the very least, it suggests there is the possibility of something more bold than what we've been seeing for the past year and more. There are many hurdles, however, and the article does a nice job of explaining them.


Friday, December 22, 2006

Not staying the course in Cuba

Raul Castro says he will listen to different points of view, without saying what that actually means. It could well mean that he will not "stay the course" and perhaps will create a commission to let him know how to stay the course without seeming to. In addition, he made clear he is the decider:

''The first principle in constructing any armed forces is the sole command. But that doesn't mean that we cannot discuss,'' he said. ``That way we reach decisions, and I'm talking about big decisions.''

So, in fact, he is the "big decider." I am also guessing that he believes the Cuban revolution is winning, or at the very least it is not winning or losing.


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Santa Claus is an illegal immigrant

Via Vivir Latino: a website critical of local laws aimed at immigration in Hazleton, Pennsylvania notes that Santa is in fact an illegal immigrant. The same, in fact, is true of Superman. As such, they set a very bad example for the law abiding.

Really, they are stealing two jobs that Americans could take. If we just enforced our laws, then someone here could build their own sleigh, get their own reindeer, and maybe even some American elves. Alaska is just as good as the North Pole.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Coca salad

Peruvian President Alan García says he thinks coca would be really good in salad, tasty and nutritious. He also revealed that at the Government Palace, a top Peruvian chef offered up some tamales and pies made with coca flour, topped off by a coca liqueur. He did not indicate whether he then worked all night.

Around the same time, Evo Morales announced plans to increase the acreage of legal coca. It will go from 29,700 acres to 49,400 acres (out of a total of 62,800 acres being grown in the country).

This all comes on the heels of a spat between Colombia and Ecuador, because the former is spraying herbicides right up to the border, and Ecuador is not happy with the potential side effects. The article does not note whether the planes are being piloted by U.S. citizens, which is often the case.

Taken together, these incidents suggest a substantive and broad reaction against U.S. drug policy, with the obvious exception of Colombia. That policy can be characterized as “spray, send troops, and sprinkle in some crop substitution.” Note that the policy is not “get Americans to stop snorting cocaine.”

Are we going to hit some sort of breaking point? Consensus for U.S. policy, which was always shaky, might be crumbling apart completely. The U.S. will get out whatever sticks it has, which are not unsubstantial (e.g. perhaps refusing to extend the trade preferences with Bolivia when they come up in six months) but exactly how much leverage does the Bush administration have?


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Chávez's new party

The Venezuelan government has announced that all pro-government political parties will be wrapped up into a single Unified Socialist Party of Venezuela.

In a speech Friday, Chavez said Venezuela needs a governing party that is "at the service of the revolution and the people _ not at the service of the political parties." He said parties will be free not to join if they wish.

I'm still trying to figure this one out. Parties are bad, and so the party should not be at the services of the parties, but rather should be a dominant party over all other parties, which is good. Maybe it's just the political equivalent of Sauron's ring.

Carlos Azpurua, a member of the Fatherland For All party, said he strongly supports forming a single party but believes its leadership should be chosen at a grassroots level.

Yeah, that'll happen.


Monday, December 18, 2006

J. Patrice McSherry's Predatory States

I had mentioned Patrice McSherry’s book (Predatory States: Operation Condor and Covert War in Latin America) in my post on Pinochet’s death, and here’s a review. I’ve put the book on my list on the right side of the blog.

John Dinges wrote a very good book about Operation Condor, the covert organization of South American military governments meant to share intelligence and detain/torture/murder each other’s citizens. But this book goes further in two main ways.

First, it provides a conceptual framework that brings out the formal nature of Operation Condor and South American repression more generally. She goes to great lengths to demonstrate how this was not simply a matter of dictatorships killing people; rather, it represented a coherent plan, formulated across South America and with help from the United States, to create a parastatal repressive structure (and it includes analysis of how the structure was applied in Central America as well). It was carefully planned, plotted, and executed on an international level with all the proper paperwork (which, ultimately, is why so much information is coming out).

Second, the book’s attention to detail is impressive. I kept thinking it could be used in a court somewhere, as she gathers information from her own research in Paraguayan archives, personal interviews, newspaper citations from numerous countries, and a walth of secondary sources. There is more out there, held secretly in U.S. and Latin American archives, and with any luck it will come to light more over time (especially as protagonists like Pinochet die).


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Immigration Policy

There’s a very good Washington Post Op-Ed by Tamar Jacoby, who recently wrote a Foreign Affairs article on immigration. Her argument is that immigration laws are so dysfunctional that companies are even being punished for trying to comply. It focuses on Swift, a meat processor. So, for example:

When job applicants started showing up with what the company suspected were false papers, it tried inquiring into their backgrounds -- only to be sued for discrimination by the Justice Department.

Later, Swift complained about problems with the process of verifying social security numbers, and then was promptly raided. Complaining just brings you to the attention of the federal government, and makes you a target.

Our nudge-nudge, wink-wink immigration system -- unrealistic laws, all but ignored on the ground -- must be replaced by a law enforcement regime that works: more honest quotas, enforced to the letter, including in the workplace. Raids such as those that took place this week would be justified in the context of an immigration overhaul of the kind proposed by the president and passed by the Senate last spring.

I think this is well stated. When you look at phenomena as disparate as local governments targeting immigrants, groups like the Minute Men, illegal immigrants dying in the Arizona desert, English-only movements, or even huge pro-immigrant rallies, they all have one common denominator: the utter failure of the U.S. Congress to craft a credible policy on immigration. A Republican controlled Congress (or at least House) wouldn’t do so, and so far there is no sign that a Democratic controlled Congress will either. I will be happy to say I’m wrong if the leadership actually rolls up its sleeves and works on it.


Saturday, December 16, 2006

Venezuelan diplomacy

From the Chilean paper La Tercera: the Venezuelan ambassador to Bolivia announced that if the government of Evo Morales were threatened, Venezuela would have the option to invade in accord with their recent military agreement. This had the unfortunate effect of prompting the Bolivian armed forces commander in chief to remind everyone that the Bolivian military had the right to intervene in internal affairs, and could do so quite nicely on its own, thank you.


Friday, December 15, 2006

New levels of absurdity

Thanks to my brother for pointing out this story from NPR (including audio) about the Golden State Fence Company, which helped to build the fence between San Diego and Tijuana. Turns out that the company is loaded with illegal immigrants, and so was fined by the government, while two executives may face jail time. In other words, the fence intended to keep out illegal immigrants was built by illegal immigrants.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

President Calderón and immigration

The Mexican government has often been criticized for hypocrisy with regard to immigration. On the one hand, it demands rights for its workers from the United States. On the other, Central Americans are routinely abused and harassed as they make their way north to the United States. Mexican laws are also highly discriminatory toward non-natives.

That is why it’s refreshing to hear President Calderón address the issue directly. From a speech he just gave:

"Just as we demand respect for the human rights of our countrymen, we have the ethical and legal responsibility to respect the human rights and the dignity of those who come from Central and South America and who cross our southern border," Calderon said during the presentation of human rights awards to several Mexican activists.

"Migrants from Central and South America who cross through our national territory also suffer abuses, extortion and are victims of crime, many times with the complicity of authorities."

We’ll see whether he puts his money where his mouth is. This also reminds me of the deafening silence on the part of the Democratic Party on immigration. It’s easy to criticize Iraq, but immigration requires sticking your neck out a bit.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Captain Augusto Pinochet

One of the many controversies swirling around Chile at the moment centers on army Captain Augusto Pinochet, grandson of the former dictator, also known as Augusto III. Even though he is active duty, he let loose insults against the government, the courts, and anyone critical of the dictatorship. This even got the attention of President Bachelet, who indicated that the army should respond. Another report suggests that Captain Pinochet was already planning to leave the army when he made the comments. We can only hope.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Pinochet's death and criminal investigations

Interesting juxtaposition of articles about how investigations will continue after Pinochet’s death. The Miami Herald raises the possibility that the U.S. government will release more information now that he’s dead, especially about the murders of Charles Horman, Frank Teruggi (both portrayed in the movie “Missing”) and Ronni Moffitt, who was car bombed in DC. That article provides good background on the cases.

Meanwhile, the NYT offers the possibility that Chilean officers will also talk more now that Pinochet is gone. I find this entirely plausible. He was an intimidating figure, “mi general,” and a hero for saving his country, especially to younger officers. Speaking against him would never be easy, but now will be easier. Faced with this opening to save their own skins, they may take it. I wonder if the army may also be more willing to give people up and thereby "cleanse" itself in a post-Pinochet world.


Monday, December 11, 2006

U.S. government response

The White House had only a brief statement about Pinochet's death:

"Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship in Chile represented one of most difficult periods in that nation's history," White House spokesman Tony Fratto said after the death of the Chilean dictator at 91.

"Our thoughts today are with the victims of his reign and their families. We commend the people of Chile for building a society based on freedom, the rule of law, and respect for human rights," he said.

It isn't surprising, of course, that there is no mention of how the U.S. actively encouraged repression. Indeed, the architect of U.S. policy toward Chile and other dictatorships, Henry Kissinger, has been an advisor to President Bush on Iraq. Depressing.


Sunday, December 10, 2006

The end of Pinochet

I promised my thoughts on Pinochet, and so here they are.

Pinochet and his supporters were adamant that he was different, that he did not take power for power’s sake, but rather to save the country from civil war and a Soviet/Cuban-backed takeover of the country. As a graduate student interviewing Chilean military officers in the 1990s I learned the importance of language. It was a “pronunciamiento,” not a “golpe.” It was a “regimen militar,” not a “dictadura.” This was true not only of the army, but the navy and air force as well.

Then and later I always got the clear impression that they respected Pinochet, not in a messianic sense, but rather from a respect for leadership and leading by example. Unlike the Somozas, Stroessners, and myriad others, Pinochet worked for the nation, not for his own selfish interests. Chile had faced a dire situation, and Pinochet had been forthright in addressing it. Plus, he had respected the results of the 1988 plebiscite and stepped down.

The Riggs Bank scandal punctured the image of selflessness, as we now know he stole over $20 million and funneled it into personal bank accounts. Continued work on Operation Condor (I am almost finished with an excellent book by Patrice McSherry on that topic, which is definitive, and I will review it on the blog in due time) shows he led an international effort not only to murder, but also to institutionalize murder. This makes it difficult to keep up the simple “he saved the country” argument, because no matter what you thought of Chilean politics on September 10, 1973, the next day he got a system going to terrorize the population, and even to kill many innocent people. It was done consciously, bureaucratically, and efficiently.

Therefore, his only “accomplishment” would be the restructuring of the Chilean economy, which began several years after the coup. This is the trickiest of his legacies. Chile now has the most dynamic and successful economy in Latin America. A reminder—we are talking in comparative terms. This does not mean Chile has solved the problems of poverty and inequality, or that it is a model that can be followed within the rules of democracy. But it did happen under his rule.

It also happened on the backs of workers, who were mercilessly crushed. It happened on the backs of the poor, as low income neighborhoods were commonly targeted for security sweeps. It created deep wounds that are not healed, and won’t ever be healed. No one can deny the economic stability, but neither can you deny the heavy costs associated with it.

Chileans pride themselves on being exceptions to Latin American rules. Chilean political history has Portales, Balmaceda, Arturo Alessandri (and Jorge, also a president but far less notable), Grove, Allende, Aylwin, among many more, and even Bachelet will fill those ranks of key political figures. They all had their weaknesses (some more extreme than others) but none were an embarrassment to the country. Pinochet is different. For all the rhetoric, he was not much different from other Latin American dictators who died in ignominy. He ruled by fiat (here I will note Robert Barros’ well-researched book on the ways in which the junta blocked him from time to time) he ordered people to be killed only because he did not like their politics, he enriched himself at the expense of the country, and put simply, he was a brute (while putting other brutes in positions of authority) and did considerable damage to Chile.

He will always be prominent in Chilean history, but I think almost entirely in a negative light. There isn’t much to mourn.

For LASA 2007, I am writing a paper on Chilean civil-military relations as part of a Chile panel I helped organize, so in particular I’ll be following the army to see how his death affects its relationship with the government and with society (which I think will improve, though not without complication). It’s a topic worthy of its own discussion.


Holy crap he's actually dead

Augusto Pinochet died today. I've worked so much on analyzing civil-military relations in Chile, living there and talking to people, including some who worked very closely with him, that I can't just give a quick assessment. I will blog about it soon. There is no doubt, however, that everyone--maybe even especially the army--is better off with him gone.

How fitting, though definitely weird, that I just wrote this morning about the plans for how to deal with his death.


Dealing with Pinochet

A long-standing question is suddenly pressing in Chile: how should the government deal with Pinochet’s death? President Bachelet has made clear that he will not receive the honors of a former head of state, but instead there will be the ceremony for a former military commander in chief. As Defense Minister, she had already laid the groundwork for that in negotiations with then-army commander Juan Emilio Cheyre. The army accepted that, and I think the current commander in chief, Oscar Izurieta, has no interest in generating any more controversy than he has to.

This decision also reflects public opinion, as 55% of Chileans do not think he should get an ex-president’s funeral, while 51% agree with the ex-commander funeral, though 32% “disagree or disagree strongly” even with that decision. Only 45% think President Bachelet should attend, and 72% do not think it should be a national day of mourning.

Yet that’s not even the end of it. The Pinochet family has indicated he will be cremated, and so there is the question of where his remains should go. No one wants them in a public place, where they will become a shrine both for those who hate him and those who love him. That last category is shrinking. In the article, a source in the Ministry of Defense notes what really has become conventional wisdom, namely that the Riggs Bank scandal, whereby Pinochet clearly took millions from the Treasury, was decisive in eroding support for him.


Saturday, December 09, 2006

The populism debate continues

The debate about populism continues over at Fruits and Votes, where Matthew Shugart analyzes the concept to determine who qualifies and who doesn’t, and ultimately whether the label is useful at all. This is really one of the more intellectually satisfying aspects of blogging, as we take an interesting and highly relevant political issue and debate it, even across different blogs.


Friday, December 08, 2006

Trade deal

A few weeks ago, I had mentioned the debate in Congress over the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act, and why it made sense to extend it (it expires December 31). Although presidents like Evo Morales wanted a two year extension, and President Bush wanted one, Senate and House negotiators agreed to six months. However, it needs to pass the Senate, where it might founder because of Haiti.

The Senate opposes a deal with Haiti that would give Haitian garments privileged access to the U.S. market. The domestic politics involved are clear. But let’s stop pretending that we really believe free trade is the way to help alleviate poverty, if we refuse to sign a deal with the poorest country in the hemisphere.


Thursday, December 07, 2006


I've been participating in an interesting discussion in the comments on a post at Bloggings by Boz about populism. It centers on how to define populism and neopopulism, and then what Latin American political leaders should be labeled as one or the other, or as neither. So, for example, is Daniel Ortega a populist of some stripe?

"Neo" is being applied to so many labels, and it seems that "leftist" is the only one that remains the same. Neoliberal, neopopulist, neofascist, neoconservative, etc. It does make me wonder whether the "neo" helps us analytically, or just makes everything more confusing.

Nonetheless, the debate itself is useful to the extent that it helps us get beyond the left/right dichotomy that is currently being applied to governments in the region, at least by the media and politicians.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Padres sign Maddux

The Padres signed Greg Maddux to a one year contract with incentives according to how many innings he pitches. I really like this deal--Maddux is 41 but is still solid, and I think is a good veteran to have. I also hope that spending this money will put the kibosh on the rumors that the Padres were interested in Barry Bonds. It seems that he is cruising around the winter meetings, but has no takers yet.



Since Pinochet's trip to the hospital came just after new charges against him, there is much talk in Chile (here is an English version) that the heart attack was faked. As a result, the doctors even talked to the press to explain why his recovery has been so rapid, and to give details about his daily schedule.

He does have a history of falling ill right when the courts are breathing down his neck, much like grandmothers of students seem to die right around exam time in universities.


The military and respect in Latin America

Via Tim’s El Salvador blog, a poll of Salvadorans reveals something that is widespread in Latin America, yet not much remarked upon. Despite a fairly recent history in most countries of some combination of military dictatorship, repression, and human rights abuses, the armed forces remain one of the most respected institutions. In El Salvador, it came in fourth behind the Catholic Church, the evangelical Church, and local government (alcaldías). Latinbarometer results show the same across the region.

There are a number of different possible (and probably intertwined) reasons. The most pessimistic would be that the military isn’t exactly popular, but other institutions are just worse. In El Salvador, this is plausible. The most optimistic would be that the military has been successful in re-establishing trust. In Chile, for example, the army has worked very hard to shed its image as a closed institution, set apart from society.

In addition, it may be that people blame individual soldiers rather than the institution itself for human rights abuses. As long as there is some measure of accountability (e.g. trials) for the worst offenders, then the armed forces as a whole are not viewed in a bad light.

Finally, the military may be viewed with favor largely because it is so well organized, especially compared to other state institutions. When there is a natural disaster, the army generally moves quickly, and responds more effectively than other parts of the government.

This would be a great research topic, but would require extensive polling.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Israeli weighs in on Venezuela

In a speech, a member of the Israeli parliament referred to Hugo Chávez as a "senior member of the axis of evil." This is not necessarily surprising, since Chávez has cozied up to Iran and Syria, while also criticizing Israel very sharply. However, Chávez loves such outlandish statements, and they make him more popular. Funny thing is, they never stop coming either.

Meanwhile, the U.S. made only indirect mention of the election, and refused to speak Chávez's name (in other words, "he who shall not be named").

''We look forward to having the opportunity to work with the Venezuelan government on issues of mutual interest,'' State Department press officer Eric Watnik said. [Presumably in the most boring monotone as well]


Monday, December 04, 2006

Thoughts on the Venezuelan election

Hugo Chávez won re-election handily, around 61-38, and Rosales conceded. His term is 6 years, and unless the constitution is reformed (definitely a possibility) he cannot run again. Here are some thoughts on the election:

--despite all the controversy over the reliability of polls, most said Chávez would win by a significant margin. Boz has some of the last poll numbers.

--despite the speculation (including on my part) that the losing side would claim fraud, Rosales conceded and the election seems to have been clean.

--I tend to agree with Ka, who thinks this may have marked the end of the old opposition, the last vestiges of the old political guard. It was in fact the decay of AD and COPEI that gave rise to Chávez in the first place, so it is appropriate that his rise may be the sign of their own last breath. A reborn opposition will need a coherent message that goes beyond criticizing Chávez and promising debit cards for the poor.

--with the exception of the NYT, reporting from the U.S. media about Venezuela is really poor. Today’s Miami Herald offers up a terribly written piece that even blames Chávez for high oil prices.

--the fact that not only did Chávez win big, but also legitimately (yes, there has been intimidation of state workers, no doubt, but I have yet to see any major complaints about the voting process itself) means that the U.S. government needs to accept his existence and keep its collective mouth shut. Criticism makes him stronger.

--this big win means Chávez will strengthen his control over state institutions, which will likely erode accountability even further. I wonder what Venezuelan politics will look like after these six years.


Sunday, December 03, 2006

Pinochet had a heart attack

Just in from CNN. His lungs are also filling up with fluid. Especially since he is 91 and already in poor health, I will be surprised if he lives very much longer.

This one line from the CNN story really rankled me:

Leftists have accused him of ordering the torture and death of thousands of leftists during his regime.

This makes it sound like a small group of ideologically-driven people are trying to hang something on him, as opposed to massive evidence that is disputed by only the most hard core of supporters.


Saturday, December 02, 2006

Venezuela election tomorrow

In anticipation of tomorrow’s election in Venezuela, the NYT reports on the rise in crime in the country (up 67%) after President Chávez took office, and the extremely high rate of gun-related deaths. The piece is obviously highly critical, though it would’ve been useful at least to get a pro-Chávez opinion of the phenomenon. The Washington Post discusses the government’s heavy-handed tactics with state workers and the media.

In addition, Slate has a story on race in Venezuela, and more specifically the growing Afro-Venezuelan movement. Particularly relevant for the election is that the Bolivarian revolution doesn’t really include blacks, but the opposition is seen as out of touch and racist:

On Globovision, the country's main 24-hour news network, which essentially represents opposition to Chávez, guests have repeatedly referred to the president, who is of mixed indigenous and black origin, as a "monkey."

So the choice is generally to vote for Chávez because they empathize with him, and at least he has some connection to the poor and dispossessed.

The opposition may call fraud, there may be riots, but it seems there is something else at work, something rather depressing. Although Venezuela faces some serious problems, Rosales still seems only the “non-Chávez” candidate. How many people will vote for him because they believe in his vision for the country? So there are blocs of voters who could possibly be swayed, who don’t like the direction the country is taking, but instead they may vote for Chávez, because he has something in common with them, whereas they don’t connect at all to Rosales.

Marc Cooper also has a nice analysis of Chávez and the election.


Friday, December 01, 2006

Center for Development in Central America

Yesterday I neglected to give a plug to the Center for Development in Central America, which came to UNCC and a representative spoke to my Latin American Politics class on Wednesday. It is a very cool non-profit that focuses mostly on micro-enterprise projects in rural Nicaragua, with an emphasis on community development.

Part of their work involves production of a wide variety of things for sale/export, and so they set up a table in the university bookstore with all sorts of items for sale. One of the things I bought was a pound of Nicaraguan coffee grown by a local cooperative (and I am drinking it as I write). They worked to fulfill the requirements of being labeled “organic” and then looked to niche markets in the U.S.

Poverty in Nicaragua can seem so crushing, and what I really liked was the commitment to doing one project at a time, community by community, and not letting the big picture overwhelm them.


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