March 1, 2019.    My Writing... by Peter Howard.             Catalonia                          Catalonia is a region of northeastern Spain that is as distinctly different from Spain as it is from Europe.  It has a history that goes back thousands of years. In fact, documented archeological evidence of human habitation of Catalonia goes back 200,000 years.This history has given Catalonian people a rich culture in all aspects.In agriculture, olives, olive oil, grapes, and wheat were grown and shipped as far away as Rome in the 1st century AD.It’s culture, especially art and artists, have flourished for centuries. Catalonia this century has produced 3 profoundly exceptional artists. Salvador Dali, Juan Miro, and Pablo Picasso were all Catalonian and fiercely proud of it., and each of these artists produced work as distinct as the region they come from yet as different from each other as is possible.Now in New York City an exhibit illustrates the brilliance of one of those artists.“Joan Miró: Birth of the World” has opened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and it is a great chance to see the work of this great Catalan painter. It will be on view until June 15

February 28, 2019
My Writing... by Peter Howard
"The Oil effect on Venezuela" With the collapse of world oil prices and mismanagement by the government of Venezuela thousands of children are beginning to suffer terribly.The world price of oil was riding high back in 2014 holding at over $100 per barrel. In April oil hit a peak of 127 per barrel. It was all downhill from there. In January of 2016 the price per barrel dropped to $35.70.The effect on Venezuela has been disastrous.Today, hundreds of thousands of people have slipped into poverty and hunger rates have soared. Starvation is a distinct possibility for thousands.Store shelves are empty, baby supplies like diapers, bottles and formula have disappeared.Some parents can no longer bear it and they are doing the unthinkable---abandoning their young children. In all likelihood this situation will continue until the price of oil rises and demand for oil export rises with it. Juan Pablo Perez Alfonzo a prominent Venezuelan diplomat, politician and statesman is considered a hero in Venezuela. Years ago, he warned his countryman of the dangers of an oil-based economy. "Ten years from now, twenty years from now, you will see, oil will bring us ruin.”

February 23, 2019
My Writing... by Peter Howard
"Historical Parallels "
"Never stand begging for that which you have the power to earn." --Miguel de Cervantes. Are there parallels between what is going on in Venezuela today and what went on in America 200 years ago? 1776 is synonymous with freedom in the history the United States of America. But a free America, unencumbered by colonial adhesion to Britain didn’t start until 40 years later in January of 1816 when the Treaty of Ghent established and defined borders between American and British territories. Venezuela today is showing the difficulty of democracy. Democracy is a contentious process--- messy and confusing. But the disaster of dictatorship is certainly not what the Venezuelan want. So perhaps what is going on today is the final shedding of colonialism along with the firm rejection of authoritarianism, and, like America in 1816, Venezuela is reaching for the essence of representative governing. We all can only hope.

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