Hugo Chavez

In 1984, I spent several months in Nicaragua, trying to write several articles on the war between the U.S.-backed contras and the Sandinistas. I had been ostensibly sent there by the magazine Mother Jones, but the article–on Americans living there and working for the Sandinistas–was never published, for reasons I cannot remember. In any event, the experience was incredibly memorable, an endless series of eye-opening adventures. I went there with an open mind, but left with a depressing impression, as if history were a kind of revolving door in which we are all trapped. What I mean is the following:

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Corners

In almost all board games–chess, go (wei chi), backgammon, etc. –the corners spell defeat and death. In each game, the corners are configured differently, but as someone who plays them all, I know the feeling that first hits me in the gut as I sense that I am finding myself trapped in a corner. My pulse increases, my emotions get tugged at (anger, frustration, impatience) and often I end up making mistakes that aggravate the situation. The key in the end is to minimize the damage and regain control of the center. But the real key lies in the mind

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