Quote of the week

[Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] possesses, however, few of his predecessor’s resources, lacking not just oil revenue but Chávez’s surplus of charisma, humour and political skill. Maduro, unable to end the crisis, has increasingly sided with the privileged classes against the masses; his security forces are regularly dispatched into barrios to repress militants under the guise of fighting crime. Having lost its majority in Congress, the government, fearing it can’t win at the polls the way Chávez did, cancelled gubernatorial elections that had been set for December last year (though they now appear to be on again). Maduro has convened an assembly to write a new constitution, supposedly with the objective of institutionalising the power of social movements, though it is unlikely to lessen the country’s polarisation.

Greg Grandin
London Review of Books
23 June 2010

MSF Soccer game for HIV awareness

9 days left!

HALFTIME – A SOCCER MATCH WITH A GOAL

Dear Friend,

The eyes of the world are fixed on South Africa and we are sure you have felt the anticipation and excitement of the 2010 FIFA World Cup since the kick-off last week. Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has decided to take this opportunity to draw attention to the HIV/AIDS crisis facing over 22 million people in sub-Saharan Africa.

MSF South Africa invites you to join us in HalfTime, a soccer match with a goal!

On 2 July 2010, in Johannesburg people living with HIV and MSF staff from several countries in Southern Africa are coming together to play a special soccer match against HIV/AIDS. This will take the form of a one day 5-a-side tournament that seeks to show that Halftime is no time to quit funding for anti-retroviral drugs.

Why HalfTime?

Think of the battle against HIV/AIDS as a deciding football match played between people living with HIV and the HIV virus itself…

The scores are tied in a draw at 1 all. HIV can still win the match if the funding for life saving ARV’s, which will help people to stay well enough to play the second half of the game of life, is stopped.

MSF provides antiretroviral treatment to over 140,000 people in 30 countries around the world and in the last 18 months we have observed international donors after years of commitment now capping, reducing or withdrawing their funding for antiretroviral drugs (ARVs). Our programmes are having to cut back on the number of people they put on ARV’s . This may mean that millions of people are at risk of dying unnecessarily.

Visit our new blog Extra-Time which presents an alternative view on World Cup from the perspective of HIV/Aids people and MSF field workers.

The MSF coach is working on the match tactics, so remember to keep an eye out for the next email on 29 June which will reveal the strategy for this deciding game!

Best regards,

Liz Thompson
General Director
MSF South Africa
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