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    Wednesday, May 31, 2006

    China | Travel Cost Issues

    I should be making my luggage to leave to China right now but instead I am becoming to feel a little bit of frustration and desesperation...

    The thing is that I had budget a ticket of about 1200-1500 USD. I was getting 1000 USD from a sponsor I "fundraising" the rest...

    But thanks to the World Cup and the free market tickets prices raised to heaven...

    Regular ones are around USD3000, so If I have that kind of money I could get there tomorrow. If a look for and I am lucky I may find a free space in USD2500...

    I am talking with my sponsor during this week but still I can not pressure...

    Time to think Transiberian.... :)


    Thursday, May 25, 2006

    Team Work | Planning

    This year I had "issues" due to misunderstanding on how to use planning tools and manage teams.

    A plan is a tool to increase efectivity, efficiency and productivity; and to improve communications within team stakeholders


    Do you need a plan for everything you do?
    -No! If the action will satisfy the functional unit core needs in a productive way... Do it!

    The Team and the Plan
    The Plan takes a major role when managing a team. It coordinates actions and timing, besides it builds an accountability system and, in the best cases, it becomes a motivational tool.

    Is it required to build the plan with the team?
    -It is advisable, not required.

    Is it required to transmit the plan to the team?
    -YES! Since the first day the team must have a clear vision on how pieces will fall together. If the plan is done, you must sell it; if not, you must build it with the team. Or -even if it sounds unproductive- build the plan to make the plan...


    For those of you who don't know me that well...

    I am very structured, I avoid doing things that doesn't add value.

    If you ever get to be in the same team than me, you can expect questions like: why are we doing this? How are we impacting our goal? Can we skip it? Isn't it a cheaper way to do it? ...

    I am just looking for sense, then simplicity.

    A nice person I met in AXLDS told me that she was impressed with my "insecurity" :) From my perspective, everything can be challenged and, at the right timing, I am willing to do so.

    I am not a reader, neither a meditational person but from time to time I do research on certain issues.

    Visit the Goldratt Institute to learn about the Theory of Constraints (ToC), read The Goal for its aplication on general management, Critical Chain on Project Management and The Haystack Syndrome on classifying information.

    Reference from Harvard Business Review on Critical Chain:
    "This book is valuable to two main audiences: project managers and senior managers...useful for dealing with one of the most difficult and pressing management challenges: developing highly innovated new products." "Eli Goldratt's first novel,The Goal, shook up the factory floor...Goldratt essentially adds a discipline for understanding what drives project performance and therefore what the focus of a project manager's attention should be."


    People movement

    End of Terms in AIESEC equals People Movement

    When the terms are ending, people in AIESEC moves where the opportunities are, just like in migration.

    Some move up in the structure, others go horizontal, a few repeat, many go in exchange... We just keep having fun.

    Some others, simply finish their cycle and follow their dreams somewhere else.

    I want to wish my AIESEC Friends the best for the incoming year.

    I have a thought for all of you:
    • Honor the people that gave you the opportunity to move on by giving always your best
    • Be sure that by the end of the year, you leave behind more people and more opportunites than you found :)
    And for those who missed it, visit Stefan's Blog and his good bye.

    Enjoy your life
    That's the best opportunity you will always be granted

    Tuesday, May 23, 2006

    MC CAS 05-06 | Closing a chapter

    An exchange of e-mails and chats with Ruth Bertens (former MCP Costa Rica), during the last months of my traineeship in Romania helped me decide to ran for MCVP PD in AIESEC CAS.

    I just couldn't quit AIESEC and not bringing back a little of the opportunities I received from AIESEC Romania. My willing to be in the MC were so strong that I actually decided not to run for VP Exchange, where I think I have better skills, in order to cover a position nobody wanted in CAS - VP People Development.

    It was so funny because at that time I nearly new nothing about PD, I remember long talks with Rada (VP PD Cluj Napoca), Stefan, Gabi, Lucki of course, and Pode about PD. I studied as hard as I study for an exam :)

    I got elected after missing the interview due to a Conference in Poland ;) Good I had no competition!

    What was about to come was not close to any of my expectations.

    A team of 6 people from 4 different countries, very diverse AIESEC experience, personalities and wishes.

    Today when we are almost done I can only remember with happiness our term.

    And the reason is simple. I did what I felt with all my passion. Sometimes I failed, sometimes I didn't. Ah! sometimes Maga wanted to kill me too :)

    The people in CAS is very special, very professional and motivated but furthermore good people, the kind of people we need to go beyond our own limits.

    But I want to thank the MC for never giving up. It was hard and I know some of you were taking to the extreme, an extreme I am not sure I could overcome. I just wanted you to know that I am aware of that and I admire your determination and courage, I admire you.

    ThanX CAS!
    NikoLight 4 Ever!

    MC CAS 05-06 at Panama Bay

    Kike (Mex), Sarah (USA), Coyo (PAN), Wanda (PAN), Juan (CR) and Maga (CR)

    Wednesday, May 17, 2006

    Fair Trade - Translation Disclaimer

    "The fair trade movement, also known as the trade justice movement, promotes the use of labour, environmental and social standards for the production of commodities, particularly those exported from the Third and Second Worlds to the First World. " - Check the dispute on the neutrality of this definition here

    After reading Adam's comment I was a little concerned about the concept of Fair Trade. So, I did some research and realized that translating Fair for Justo in this specific case is very very tricky.


    • Fair Trade (1) basically means poor and developing countries raising their production standards to compite with industrialized countries
    • Fair Trade (2) as I tried to translate it, refers to trade where standards promote equal opportunties for organizations in different countries to compite.


    • Fair Trade (1) - All organizations who wants to enter the Global Markets must be ISO 9001, 14000 and 26000 certified
    • Fair Trade (2) - Technology Transfer will be supported to increase the competitiveness of organizations in developing and poor countries.

    More on trade soon...

    Don't worry, I know where I am heading. I just want to state some opinions before going back to the random posts :)

    ThinGs I believe

    The last 3 post were on issues negatively affecting Sustainable Development (SD) worldwide that I consider very relevant: water, trade, unequality.

    You may think I am crazy leaving Energy out of the picture... Well, I did it because I believe this issue will be solved in the short term, specially after all this crazyness with USA and the Gulf countries.

    Back to my issues.

    I believe the most social and economical challenges we are facing today are due to unequality of opportunities.

    Your luck as human being basically depends on which country are you born and raised, not neccesarily to your efforts and capabilities.

    Therefore, in order to promote SD we must reduce the opportunities gap between countries increasing where we have the least. Since we live in a mostly capitalistic world, we must encourage opportunities to generate economic wealth closely supported by opportunties to generate social wealth.

    And here is where Unfair Trade is playing a major role.

    Trade is a economic wealth distributor. But It behaves as a pipe, you can open it and distribute wealth; or you can close it an accumulate wealth. The world major challenge is that we are calling the close pipe Free Trade Agreements... crazy!

    So, in order to generate opportunities to generate economic wealth we need fair trade.

    Naturally, this strategy will not offer results in the short term. Therefore, actions to combate extreme needs are required. And here comes the water issue.

    Contaminated water, or the complete lack of it, generates many other extreme conditions like hunger and epidemics. It is not the only issue to solve in the short term but it is the most impacting and easy to solve.


    Facilitating the generation of opportunties in developing countries through fair trade and satisfaction of inmediate needs has the potential to reduce the development gaps between countries.

    Tuesday, May 16, 2006

    Fair Play - Fair Trade!

    "The world’s highest trade barriers are erected against some of its poorest countries: on average the trade barriers faced by developing countries exporting to rich countries are three to four times higher than those faced by rich countries when they trade with each other. Perverse graduation in trade policy extends to other areas."
    Agriculture is a special concern: 2/3 of people living with less than US$ 1 per day live & work in rural areas

    "The basic problem to be addressed in the WTO negotiations on agriculture can be summarized in three words: rich country subsidies."

    Human Development Report 2005

    Inequality matters

    "Socioeconomical gaps reflect unequal opportunity—people held back because of their gender, group identity, wealth or location. Such inequalities are unjust. They are also economically wasteful and socially destabilizing. Overcoming the structural forces that create and perpetuate extreme inequality is one of the most efficient routes for overcoming extreme poverty, enhancing the welfare of society and accelerating progress towards the Millenium Development Goals."

    Human Development Report 2005

    Key actions

    1. Cooperation - Satisfy inmediate needs. Increase quantity and quality.
    2. Trade - Source of wealth. Needs to be fare with wealth distribution.
    3. Security - It is distracting attention and generating more inmediate needs.

    Sunday, May 14, 2006


    Simply put - the lack of safe drinking water is the primary cause of disease in the world today. Everyday almost 40,000 people die from causes directly related to contaminated water. And for those who survive, without good health, there is little chance for a normal and productive life. A surprising statistic to many is that contaminated water causes 80% of the health problems throughout the world.

    Organizations around the world have been joining efforts to face this issue but many of them have failed. Here are the most common reasons:
    • Improper equipment;
    • Personnel not properly trained to start;
    • No follow-on training for new personnel;
    • Inadequate logistical re-supply; or
    • A combination of the above.

    ThinK Water.

    Piensa en el Agua.

    Hay mucho, pero tenemos poco

    On Friday evening I went for a coffee with a group of friends and we were chatting about many random things.

    One of the conversations ended up in a discussio about giving and receiving presents and the pressure for young couples to give B-day presents, X-Mas presents, Monthlyversary presents, San Valentines' presents and any other type of scheduled present...

    In my personal opinion, there is only 1 thing I would ask my friends and It is also the most valuable thing I can give them... Time.

    Really..., time! :)

    Spend the whole day together: walking around, driving around, watching tv, cooking... even cleaning. Talking, sharing. Time together is the best thing a person can receive but It is also the hardest one to get.

    So, if at any given point, you hear that I am saving my time for you, it is because I am trying to give the best I can.

    And if you have see me uraño y sin motivo and sometimes even jealous of the time we spend together, it is because... :)

    Friday, May 12, 2006

    Juan Valdez drinks Costa Rican Coffee

    *** Breaking News ***
    Juan Valdez drinks Costa Rican Coffee!

    For those that don't get the joke the thing is the "Juan Valdez" is a brand of the Colombian Coffee.

    Costa Rica and Colombia are some kind of competitiors in the coffee market.

    Some funny mae-guy made some branded shirts: "Juan Valdez Drinks Costa Rican Coffee" :)

    The Colombians are now pissed at the major Costa Rica coffee producer Britt...

    And I am just making fun :)

    But there is an important conclution:

    Coffee drinkers are better lovers!

    Thursday, May 11, 2006

    Bob Marley's Memorial

    Well, Bob Marley died in May 11th, 1981.

    Today in Costa Rica many Clubs have memorials..., more like parties, but still nice things to attend. I am a bit upset since I won't be able to go. But well, I still have the music!!!

    Go beyond the icon, try finding out why He is so great:
    "As Bob Marley rose to international prominence as the first musical super star from the Third World, he has thrown into the center of a raising political malestrom of violence, conspirancy and greed"

    Wednesday, May 10, 2006

    Tayrona - My Last Colombian Adventure


    After 21 Days of Conference in Colombia -AXLDS Premeeting (3), AXLDS (8), SSPM (3), LDS Premeeting (1) and LDS (6) - I really needed to take some time to rest.

    It was Wednesday night and I had to flight on Saturday morning from Barranquilla to Costa Rica.

    I had two options:
    1. Stay in Barranquilla chillin the city in Easter Week,
    2. Or going to Tyrona National Park with some Colombian MC members (Caro, Felipe, Sergio, Jenn, Martis and Iván), some members from LC Santa Marta, a Romanian Trainee :), Rita & Cía.
    After a convincing speech from Sergio and Felipe about the dreamt beaches, naked girls, contact with nature and cheap hamacs, I decided to joined! :)

    Many thinGs happen there, some good, some not worth to mention... :)

    But the memories stayed with the bathroom where we spend the niGht!

    Yes, we did spend the night in the bathroom.

    And we party like hell, it was so cool. We had PCs but not electricity, so the only way to make it happened was singing... "Hoy es noche de sexo...", "Chuuuuupa la mazorca!", and other LDS Classics unplugged. It got so crazy that we were dancing the music we were singing :)

    For the memory of the Tayrona Bathroom!

    Gracias a la vida!!!!

    Tuesday, May 09, 2006

    Newies and Issue Based eXPeriences

    In the last few weeks I have been focusing on supporting the LCs recruitments and aligning their efforst to be able to provide a platform for the Issue Based eXPeriences.

    The Issue Based eXPeriences is a new set of opportunities that we are giving to AIESECers to develop themselves

    It is based on a simple concept:
    1. There are critical aspects for each community to develop in a sustainable way
    2. There are strategies that focus on positively impacting those critical aspects
    3. AIESEC XP can be shaped to happen around this strategies and therefore provide a leadership able to create a postive impact on society
    Which advantages are we seeing?
    1. Alignment between Vision, Role, CW and Execution of AIESEC
    2. Membership motivation
    3. More clear and exciting JDs
    4. Easier to position AIESEC among stakeholders
    1. Attitude towards change from oldies - Solved! :)
    2. LC Structures - Finally we are moving towards projects! No + Focus on Activities! :)
    3. Alignment with LC Plans - Done!
    4. Understanding the importance of Core Work (AIESEC XP) and the Supporting Systems (PD, X, F, IS...) - Still in process
    5. Increasing relevance of Coaching, Project Management and Mentorship - At CASGO!

    Honestly, I see a lot of opportunties for AIESEC Central America South. After visiting all the LCs and having the chance to chat with the newies, finding out their passions and the vision of AIESEC they already have and I feel very confident about what happened this year.

    Something big is happening and I am sure the elected MC will have some good time in a few months from now when the newies start delivering results :)

    ...1 more thinG left to Say..

    Sunday, May 07, 2006

    Sicker | Networking also heals!

    Well, friday night was bad.

    I was coughing so badly that my parents couldn't sleep anymore. We were thinking that it was the injections doing their thing... And they were doing their thing, the wrong thing!

    By Saturday afternoon I was very bad, so we decided to go to another Doctor. The problem was that I haven't visited a real Doctor since I was a kid... So my mum called the Pediatrician :) He said He was sorry bad I was too old for him now :)

    Therefore, we went to a Clinic where I usually go when I have broken fingers, knees or ancles :) And in the door I met and old friend of my brother who happens to be a Doctor now... So he checked me.

    He did it good!

    Seriously, I have never been checked like yesterday. I think He was a little scared when he saw my face that He just wanted to be sure...

    After tests, X-Rays and some asthmatic threatments, He realized what I really have.

    Apparently, I have being sick for a few months now. That's why my Costa Ricans friends are always annoying me with the "You are always sick! Maybe you don't want to go out with us!"

    The story started after I came back from Romania in March last year, when I got sick for over a month just after going to Mal País Beach. Then in July when Lucki came and again in rainy October. For a week in Romania after NPS. In January after COCAS. In April after Colombia. And now in May, after LC Coaching in Panama...

    The problem was that "flema" got dried in my "Bronquios" at some piont during the sequence of colds. So, every time a little infection would attack me and I would have soft asthma attacks... And the Doctor I was visiting before was healing the infections but not lung problems.

    On friday, what happened was that I got an injection with Aínes (NSAIDS) and really made the whole thing worst.

    Now, for the next 15 days I have to take extra care of myself. Meaning:
    • Pills cocktail
    • Vitamin C
    • Inhalations (some recommended me marihuana tea or rubbing it against the chest...)
    • Not getting wet in the rain (yes, rainy season is arriving...)
    • No sports :( and others...
    • Potential delayed to trip to Beijing until the Doctor says I am ready (maybe until 2nd week of June..., not sure yet)
    For life:
    • No smoking :)
    • No Aínes (NSAIDS)
    • Taking care of colds and flu (Translation: no more futbol on rainy days, no more sleeping in wet floors, no more 10hrs trip under snow, no + chicken ;)...)
    • Adding a whole point for Health in my 10 thinGs before leaving the PlayGround
    Something I always thought I will always have

    Do you think you are indestructible?

    Saturday, May 06, 2006

    10 thinGs I want to do before leaving the PlayGround - 1st Draft

    This is the first draft of the 10 thinGs:
    1. Having, together with friends of developing countries, my own responsible, global and profitable business 3 years
    2. Taking my parents wherever they would like to go 5 years
    3. Getting happily married - I guess I need a girlfriend first :) Less than 5-10 years
    4. Visiting with my wife our 5 favourite places in the world Less than 15 years
    5. Having children and living close to a big mass of water (lake, sea, ocean, not rivers) Less than 15 years
    6. Letting my children enjoy their grandparents and the extended family Since they are born
    7. Getting my children into sports, arts or other special activities they like and sharing it with them When they turn around 6-7
    8. Becoming a investor on young socialentreprenurs in Latin America 15 to 20 years
    9. Becoming a teacher in a public university and writing articles on responsible business 20 years
    10. Having the chance to personally thank the people that let me see life from the perspectives i like As I realized it :)

    This list will be shape with time... but I hope it is a good start :)

    I will leave you with a person that I got to know in Colombia that make me wonder even harder about these 1o thinGs

    Pedro Cadena - Founder of AIESEC in Latin America

    At the end of his speech he said: "Remembering those first days of AIESEC and having the opportuntity of seeing you (AXLDS Delegates) I have to say that I am a happy man, thank you."

    Late phone calls and sick

    Late last night, I heard my cell phone ringing

    I thought: "Hmmm, strange since I don't think any of my male friends would call me in the middle of the night and, most important, I don't have a girlfriend right now..."

    I imagined it was one of the VP PDs asking for those late reflective chats...

    After I managed to wake up and answer the phone a thiny voice came from the other side of the world..., it was..., the Chinese Supplier!!! :)

    She called at 1.30m pm in China, meaning 1.30am in Costa Rica, asking me if I checked the email she sent... Funny...

    Anyways, I did check it. We are still negotiating prices... but things are moving alright.

    On the other hand, I am so sick!

    I went to the Dr and got two injections from her young assitant :). I feel like crap. I hear in sorround system, it hurts to breath, my legs feel weak, I sweat like crazy, but I can only be thankful to be at home and having something that will go away in a few days...

    Thursday, May 04, 2006

    I have an addiction!

    This internet crap is killing me...

    Not matter what I am doing when I stop to take a break I start wasting my time on this thing...

    Now look what I found out..., my leadership style...

    It could be worst, It could be George W Bush... :)

    Wednesday, May 03, 2006


    Sometimes I'm so stupid...

    Exchanging ideas and experiences on Role Modeling with a very special friend I came to realize something very simple that made me feel very stupid.

    I have based my development on hooking on Role Models. So I find a person I admire, I analyze it (I think Gabi W still remembers my interpretation of her) and then I incorporate to myself the features of that person that got my attention. I am very satisfied with the results but they lead to forsee something very important.

    There is a moment in life when you are called to be the Role Model
    Somehow I didn't want to hear the call so I terrible failed. My apologies. I think I learnt.
    Now I am going to China to do my best supporting as many aiesecers as possible to reach their passions :) and then I will think about coming back :)
    It feels great to learn something new :)

    Papillons y otras cosas en inglés

    Today I can post about many thinGs

    I can post about the trip from Panama and the funny eXchange students we met in the bus
    I can post about me being sick all the time
    I can post about the little kitten that broke in my house to stay
    I can post about all those newies that have no idea I exist but I can tell you how they are
    I can post about a very important friend I got back in contact with :)
    I can post about burocracy, university and my graduation delayed for some paper work
    I can post about the police young man that sat with me in the bus from Panama who choose Police School over University
    I can post about ended dreams :(

    I can post and post and post...

    And that makes me happy. It means my life is moving and maybe I should think about the "Ten thinGs I will do before leaving the PlayGround"

    I leave you with a remarkable motivational quote of the Elected MCVP PD in CAS:
    "Some leaders are so bad that they actually motivate you"

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