Wednesday, September 12, 2007

'Ecuador: President Correa Unveils His Blog'

'Ecuador: President Correa Unveils His Blog'
by Eduardo Avila

The curiosity behind President Rafael Correa's preview of the creation of his personal blog finally subsided, when the head of state unveiled his new means of communication with the people of Ecuador.  The introduction of his personal blog [ES] was made through a video uploaded on YouTube (with English sub-titles)  Standing in front of a virtual background, Correa invited the people to become actively involved in the construction of the Constituent Assembly through the social networking. However, as Christian Espinosa of Cobertura Digital [ES] writes that Correa created the blog to counteract, in his own words, "the perverse manipulations of the traditional media."

English sub-titles from Correa video:
Dear cyber-friends, Rafael Correa, President of the Republic of Ecuador greets you. You use the Internet as source and media for information and communication.  And you have found in the web 2.0 a democratic instrument to express yourselves without the normal restrictions and perverse manipulations that traditional mass media tends to apply.  To all of you, digital citizens that are in the same path with this citizenship project for a new, mass democratic and fairer country, I invite you to actively participate in the process of creating the new Constitution using the networks you have created. It's time to collaborate to join our minds, our capacities, let's use the complete range of technologies that Internet offers us to meet us and discuss the goals and the objectives that all the Ecuadorians have set for this historical and critical moment of our Country!
Ecuadorian bloggers react to the news with a bit of humor, skepticism, and optimism.

Gabby Corsalas wonders whether the subject matter will match other bloggers.  She writes that "Rafico now has his own blog" at De Todo Un Poco [ES]:
 Leí esta mañana que el Presidente Rafael Correa ya tiene su blog, es decir ya pertenece a los nuestros, pero me pregunto ¿qué tanto de blog tendrá? Nos contará que soñó anoche, que hizo al levantarse por la mañana, si se sintió frustrado al no ir al Beers & Blog o por lo contrario, nos compartirá la "ira" de no poder ejecutar sus ofrecimientos de campaña, y/o/u, será un ventana a la calle en el que nos contará "de todo un poco"…
I read this morning that President Rafael Correa now has his blog, which means that he now belongs to us, but I ask myself, "how much of a blog will it be?"  Will he tell us what he dreamt about last night, what he did when he woke up, that he felt frustrated to not have attended Beers and Blog or will it be the opposite, and share the "frustration" of not being to implement his campaign promises, and/or will it be a window out to the street where he will talk about "a little bit of everything"...
However, some think that it will hardly be a blog written by Correa himself.  Cronicacero [ES] has his own doubts about the blog's actual author and writes:
Con tanto viaje, con tanta reunión, con tanto problema y líos que resolver... ¿tendrá tiempo para un blog? Lo siento... sí, lo sé, siempre yo perverso, siempre dudando. Pero deben permitirme esa licencia. Aplaudo si la intensión es honesta y nace precisamente del mismo señor presidente Rafael Correa. Dudo mucho que él vaya a ser quien suscriba lo que en su blog allí se escribe. Pero es oficial, aparentemente el presidente Correa tiene su espacio en la blogosfera. Insisto, permitirme dudar.
 With so much traveling, with so many meetings, with so many problems to solve.... will he have time for a blog?   I'm sorry...yes, I know I am always cynical and always doubting.  But you should permit me that.  I am applaud it if the intention is honest and arises from the same President Rafael Correa.  I doubt very much that he will be the one that writes in the blog.  However, it is official, apparently President Correa has his own space in the blogosphere.  I insist, allow me to doubt.
The blogger at Saturn Attacks [ES] also holds doubts, but also questions the real motives behind this leap into the blogosphere.
¿Este blog se convertirá solo en un medio de propaganda por estas elecciones? ¿El Ciudadano Presidente Rafael Correa es quien en verdad escribirá en este blog? ¿Y será el mismo quien responda? ¿Es esta una puerta abierta para la comunicación mandatario - mandantes?
Will this blog become a means of propaganda for these elections?  Will the Citizen President Rafael Correa be the one who actually write in this blog?  Will he be the one that actually responds? Will this be an open door for communication between the President and his constituents?
Pablo Pérez Cahuenas of iPab [ES] is hopeful that the internet can be a tool for change.
Pero bueno Mr. Raphael esta haciendo el blog para construir una asamblea mejor, opinar sobre este gran proyecto que hablabamos mucho antes, como él mismo dice nosotros los Cyber-Amigos(porque no somos Cyber-Compañeros?), tenemos que usar el internet para poder crear un país mejor.
 Mr. Raphael is writing on the blog to create a better assembly, provide his opinion about this large project that we had been talking about, and as he calls us his Cyber-Friends (how come not Cyber-Companions?), we must use the internet to create a better country.
Finally at El blog de Palulo [ES], there is wonder what comes next and is looking forward to the information presented on Correa's blog.
 También el presidente de los ecuatorianos ha sacado su blog no tan personal, en donde incentiva a la blogósfera a unirse al cambio. Luego de darse a conocer en hi5 y en toda red social existente (¿ya llegaría a Facebook?) también pasa a ser un Ciudadano 2.0. Como siempre estaremos pendientes de las propuestas virtuales y reales.
The President of Ecuador published his not-so-personal blog, where he challenges the blogosphere to unite for change.  After making himself known in a Hi5 account and to the entire existing social network (is Facebook next?) he also becomes a Citizen 2.0. We are always on the lookout for the virtual and real proposals.
Special thanks to Christian Espinosa for help with the links.

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Rodrigo González Fernández
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telefono: 5839786
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'Japan: Protecting the Kyoto Cityscape'

'Japan: Protecting the Kyoto Cityscape'
by Hanako Tokita

While many countries around the world are struggling to tackle Kyoto at home, the city the environmental accord was named after is caught up in its own struggle. The capital of Japan for over 1,000 years (794-1868), Kyoto was once a picturesque ancient city surrounded by mountains. Today it is a major tourist destination, attracting about 47 million visitors every year, with a set of historic locations listed as World Heritage sites. At the same time, Kyoto is one of the major economic centers in the west of Japan. The economic boom in the 1980s and 1990s accelerated modern development in Kyoto, which turned the city into a big jumble of tall concrete buildings, glaring neon signs and rooftop advertisements. To clean up its negative image, the city of Kyoto recently passed a bill to introduce an ordinance protecting its cityscape and views. As the bylaw came into effect on September 1, raising some controversy, bloggers from Kyoto and elsewhere expressed various concerns and opinions.

Photo: Flickr user Jameswy Wang

One blogger writes:


Well, anyway, I totally support the new landscape bylaw. I would like to help by all means. Kyoto is a city which has a lot of tourists, and if the city becomes much cleaner, there will be even more tourists. In other words, "if the city is cleaned up, then there is money to be made". To put it in extreme terms, "beautification of the city = money making". Kyoto is the only place where this kind of scheme can be applied.

On the other hand, this blogger writes:

I think it's understandable in the case of Kyoto, a tourist city, but if this measure gets implemented in other cities, then I think it will prevent city development...
I am worried that this may be welcomed by people in regional cities who don't like change.

Controversial Kyoto Station

Fuji-chan Film is sceptical about the new bylaw.


While I think the regulation came too late, I don't think you can do much by regulating some part of the city landscape. That's because the ugliness of the present landscape is made up of not only the neon signs and electric wires, but also Kyoto Station and Kyoto Tower as well as the pachinko places in the Shijo area and a combination of other elements.
The kind of areas that tourists think of as "Kyoto" are very scarce, so wouldn't be more realistic to pinpoint and protect temples and other historical architecture?
Because the city scape of Kyoto is largely made up of buildings that are reminiscent of the Showa era, which you see everywhere in Japan, the landscape policy seems to be a waste as these things will be protected as a result.

A pagoda with Kyoto Tower in the background
Photo: Courtesy of Chisaki Inoue

This blogger shares his/her experience and view.



Whenever I show my friends around Kyoto, they always say that rooftop signs and tall buildings are in the way when they try to take pictures.
Indeed, I can imagine that it could be a turnoff to see drab objects in pictures of historical buildings and landscapes.
As a historical tourist city that Japan boasts about, I think it should mimic at least one thing that other historic cities in the world do.

"I can see the Daimonjiyaki from my veranda,"
residents of high-rise condominiums boast.
As a result of these high-rise condos, how many people have lost the view of the Daimonjiyaki?

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Rodrigo González Fernández
Renato Sánchez 3586
telefono: 5839786
Escribanos, consúltenos, opine