Archive for September 24th, 2002

Venezuela; A rough day

September 24, 2002

Another rough day in Venezuela:


-Press groups warn of verbal and physical attacks to reporters by President Chavez and his supporters.


-What is effectively an illegal demonstartion is called for Thursday afternoon  at 4PM by the opposition coordinating commission. (The Governor of the State says he will give permission to the demonstartion, but clearly this is somewhat gray given the decree issued by the Government a week earlier) 


-S&P downgrades all Venezuelan debt a notch. This includes sovereign, private, banking and PDVSA’s debt as being downgraded.


-US Ambassador to Venezuela says jokingly that the energy that runs the country is rumors not oil.


-Lawyer denounces to the Attorney General the violation of Human Rights that took place when the National Guard attacked the demonstartion last Thursday.


Any good news? Yes, the price of oil went up.


 

Venezuela on a collision course

September 24, 2002

Two weeks ago the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez came back from Johannesburg and on his way back stopped at Havana, Cuba in what was then called a”technical stop” which turned out to be a nine hour meeting with Fidel Castro. Since then the President has been extremely aggresive indicating that he obviously cooked up a plan at that meeting which is now being executed. It si unclear what type of confrontation Chavez is looking for, what is clear is that if he wins this round, I may not be able to continue writing freely in this blog. Here are the things Chavez has done since he came back ten days ago:


-Attacked the private banking sector calling it a “wonderful” idea for people to remove their deposits from private banks and taking them to Government owned banks.


-Attacked the media calling the “garbage:”, saying the media has no ethics.


-Issued a decree declaring certain areas of Caracas around military bases, security areas. This was done the day before an authorize demonstartion was to take place in teh city enar a military base. A peaceful, legal demonstartion was violently repressed by the National Guard using tear gas and small pellets. The demonstartion was composed mostly of middle aged women.


-The Government’s attorney announced that it had drafted a decree expropriating any companies that join a general strike that is being called. by the private sector and worker’s unions,for the beginning of October.


Thus, the country is on a collision course. It is clear (to me at least) that if the military takes sides, that side will win the confrontation. What is not clear is if the President will get rid of all the military that oppose him before the showdown takes place.


 

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