It will have to be a Communist before you leave this house

"It will have to be a Communist before you leave this house," Vicky's mother said to me when I entered his house for a weekend in Paysandu, Uruguay. He was referring to her husband, who is a member of the party Frente Amplio in Uruguay. He was also tortured.

There are three political parties here in Uruguay: Frente Amplio (Broad Front), Blanco and Colorado. Blanco and Colorado are like our Republicans and Democrats, the two giants that the power of change from election to election. The Broad Front has always been the little engine that could. If Ralph Nader were here, would certainly be the Frente Amplio.

And it might be annoyed that the Frente Amplio won the last elections. Why should I be upset about this? Well once again become the front-runner, can not complain about what others do everything. People now complain about how (or not) things.

After completing an online questionnaire politics. I was young and wanted to participate in the political process, but I do not think Republicans or Democrats matched my beliefs. In this questionnaire, fill all their political beliefs and then says that political parties are. Well, after filling the form, I told my team I was part of the Natural Law Party.

The Natural Law Party? Who are they? My team was making things up? I had only Republicans, Democrats, and all those who follow Ralph Nader. But no, there are many more.

Then I said I was part of natural law for my team, I found some websites and read about it. All that seemed to speak of arms was, weapons and more weapons. Charlton Heston would feel at home ... and need a comfortable place to call home after his interview with Michael Moore in Bowling for Columbine.

My computer must have been playing tricks on me. All I remember saying in the questionnaire was that I was for Arms Control and now puts me at a party where my friends have future weapons arsenals and would probably have to move to Montana.

So I decided to resign my membership of the Natural Law, and vote for someone who could actually win an election, and that someone would be Ralph Nader. Ralph Nader has some wonderful ideas, but are not presented in the best package, which is a shame because I think we have other political parties in the process.

Like the Broad Front in Uruguay. Frente Amplio, the little engine that could not be kept chugging, with the election after the election, and then met with the appropriate packaging in the form of a doctor named Vazquez. To the surprise of many, who ousted the heavy two-party system and won national elections in 2004.

Vicky's father, who would like me to be a communist, a founding member of Frente Amplio party. And, as mentioned, he was tortured. He was tortured during the dictatorship in Uruguay, which lasted between 1973 and 1985. During the dictatorship, anyone who disagreed with the government rounded up and taken away, and most of those taken were killed.

I've never met anyone who has been tortured and I felt strangely privileged to be able to meet the father of Vicky. He is very open about their beliefs and experiences. His words and his wounds tell a similar story, that one will suffer if they do not die in the pursuit of their beliefs. I think with pride of our ancestors in America, which fought a similar fight for life we ??are allowed to drive.

But to the surprise, Vicky's father is not a big fan of the United States. (In your refrigerator, which has a sign saying terrorist # 1 with a picture of Osama Bin Laden and terrorism 2, with a picture of you-know-who.) His ideals tend more toward a shared collective Communist capitalist environment spirit. However, I liked that, despite our divergent points of view, we were able to have an open discussion of our differences.

I imagine life through his policies. It is a world where everyone has work, health, education, a roof over their heads, food for their families, bar-b-question with family and friends on the weekends. It is a world every one wants but everyone has different ideas of how.

When I asked why he thought that Communism had failed throughout the world, said that still exists in Cuba. "Cuba," he said, "is an example that other countries should follow."

"But," he replied, "Cuba does not have elections or allow people to speak freely about their beliefs." I thought this would be a very important issue for him since he had been tortured for speaking their beliefs. But it was not. And I asked him to explain this to me.

"In Uruguay," he said, "80% of people who were against the dictatorship. If most people are against the idea, the idea is wrong. However, in Cuba, 80% of the population of Fidel ... "

I was quite surprised, if not totally surprised, that basically supports the torture and repression of the opposition in Cuba, since he himself was tortured. When thinking about this later, has been a little more: he was tortured for his belief in communism and, by not supporting these ideals now, does not justify the torture he endured for 2 years.

Tortured for two years. Tortured for two years for their political beliefs.

How does this happen? How does a dictatorship happen in a country that used to be democratic? And how did it end?

Nobody here seems to have an answer for this. Apathy? "Maybe." Complacency? "Probably." There is no definitive answer given to me.

I follow U.S. news Uruguay policy via Internet. I watched the CNN coverage of the Republican and Democratic debates. And I've talked with many Uruguayans about it. Many of them are aware of the candidates (and all of them as Barack). In our discussions, we talk about the political process in America.

Almost everyone was surprised to find that only 30-40% of Americans vote. "How can that be?" They ask. "People do not care? Everybody here votes!"

Everyone in Uruguay due to its compulsory voting. You receive a fine if they do not vote. And, as people do not like about your money, your vote.

I mistakenly mentioned that "sometimes the votes do not matter and what some people do not bother."

"How can one vote matter?" simply ask.

Well, then explain to our electoral college system and it is possible that someone could win the popular vote but not win the presidency, just as Al Gore / George Bush debacle.

"That's stupid!" they say. I agree.

I recently got sick. Getting sick in a foreign country is not fun. However, in Uruguay, do not need a prescription for medicine. If you are a prozac pill popper / Paxil / Zoloft, you will love this place. You just entered the pharmacy and tell them what you like.

I did not need a pharmacy but I needed time and 24. Since I had a stomach virus, the weather was the only cure, but I needed something to do. I needed some good American television. However, unless you have cable (I) do not find any English language television. So I went to the Internet, and you know what I was looking for ... 24!

My friend Brian at work was introduced to the series 24. At first I resisted because I had a full plate with Entourage, the Sopranos, American Idol, and football on Sundays. I did not want to lose another hour a week on television. But I saw an episode and was hooked. It was my Zoloft.

So while I was sick in Uruguay, I wanted to see a little 24. Jack Bauer is a stallion at all, among the great triumvirate of action hero Jack Bauer, Jason Bourne and James Bond. Note any overlap with the names? Hmmm ...

In season 2 of 24, which takes place just after 9 / 11 (when we had the good will of the civilized world with us), terrorist suspects put a nuclear bomb in the United States with the intention of establishing in Los Angeles. Jack, of course, saves the day and deflect the bomb in the Nevada desert, where the victims are kept to a minimum.

There is a clamor for revenge. Who would dare do this to us? A recording is discovered that involves three Islamic countries. This record suggests that these countries sponsored and paid by this terrorist organization, "second wave" to explode the nuclear bomb.

All were set in motion a swift and decisive retaliation. The planes are in the air ready to let the bombs fly. But wait. Jack Bauer has found that this recording is probably a fake. He is in the process of obtaining evidence to verify this.

The president, who is the first black president, is being pressured from all sides to attack, attack, attack. Nobody wants to wait for more evidence. The recordings have been verified ... going to attack.

The president does not want to start a war, a war that could become a Third World War, more than what could be false information. But Mr. President, we will lose the element of surprise and more American lives if they do not attack immediately. The President decided to wait for information from Jack Bauer. He hopes to ensure that our information is correct. He does not want to go to war under false pretenses, you do not want to attack other countries that did nothing for us.

The President decides to wait, to make an informed decision. And of course he was right.

No one agreed with the President's decision to wait for more information. It was not a popular decision. A political dissent, especially when it comes to war, not win the election many. It takes strength, courage and conviction ... and also the ability to read.

Barack Obama voted against the war in Iraq. Despite all the pressure to vote for him, voted against it. He thought it was the wrong thing to do. He believed this for many reasons, but chief among them actually read the document that was provided to all those in government. I'm surprised that most government officials are simply "informed" about these issues, choosing not to read in its entirety. To vote "yes" in a war after receiving a version of Cliffs Notes Why should we go to war.

I was against the war in Iraq. I wrote this letter to George Bush before the war. In trying to find the email address from the White House, had a unique experience. Whitehouse visited. com to find the email address, but I found were naked women in compromising positions (which has changed since then, sorry). After a few hours, I continued my search, only to discover that the address is actually

Whatever anyone's opinion on the war now is: good, bad or indifferent-one thing is clear: We, the American people, they lied about the reasons for going to war. There was no imminent threat from Iraq. There were no weapons of mass destruction, let alone a delivery mechanism to get here.

You know what happens when David Goliath attacks? Everybody Hates Goliath.

A little David, Cuba, Goliath just introduced a great opportunity, an opportunity to rise above the arrogance, conceit and pride. The resignation of Fidel Castro provided the U.S. with the opportunity for the first time in 50 years to start a healing process in our relations with Cuba. His brother, Raul Castro, who took office a few days later, has shown signs of being more socially, economically and politically open. Could there be a better time to have a discussion?

But Goliath was adamant desire to have even a conversation.

Goliath: ... "This is the same system, the same faces and the same policies that led to the miseries of Cuba in the first place the U.S. is isolating the Cuban regime to improve relations, what needs to change is not the U.S. What must change is Cuba. "

We tried to change Cuba in the past, as we did in many countries, with secrecy and subterfuge in the form of the CIA. This did not work. It did not work in Cuba, the Middle East, and the regions of South America where he has visited recently.

The person who tortured the father of my friend Vicky. Do you know where he learned his skills? You guessed it ... the CIA. They have a long history of silence here in South America that supports not only torture but many of the dictatorships.

This reminds me of Tom Hanks's character in Charlie Wilson's War. With the help of the CIA, which had used covert action to successfully avoid a Soviet takeover of Afghanistan. However, what began as a successful campaign to defeat the Soviets, ended after many years with many of the Afghan warriors pointing their weapons, weapons supplied by us, in us.