Archive for December 13th, 2002

A dog’s protest

December 13, 2002

 


A picture named dog.jpg


 


 


“Negro” Sabater continues sending great pictures, I can’t put them all on, because the page would get very heavy. I liked this one of the dog with a sign that says: Even if you don’t believe it, we also say: ” Chavez leave now, we don’t want you here. You make more piles of shit than we do”

Article by Antonio Guzman Blanco on Oil and Venezuela

December 13, 2002


The Petroleum Situation in Venezuela – The US must take a long-term view


Antonio Guzman-Blanco


December 13, 2002


 


PDVSA employees have now burned their bridges; they will not falter, they will prevail.  Most probably, the government will not succeed in neutralizing the massive strike that began on December 2, and its effects on the economy.  It might take some time, but the PDVSA strike should ultimately rid us of Chavez.  Let’s not forget that the general strike that led to Milosevic’s departure lasted 11 days and the strike that rid Chile of Allende, lasted several weeks.  This government has a habit of putting a façade of normalcy on the direst situations; on April 11, both Chavez and Rangel were calmly and cynically saying “la situación en el país es de absoluta normalidad” (the situation in the country is absolutely normal), and we all know how April 11 ended.


 


However, before Chavez is gone, an ugly scene will probably materialize.  Chavez is hell-bent on producing violent conflicts and bloodshed in order to justify an even more savage repression.  He is doing this because he figures that violence will benefit him either way:  If he is successful in wiping out the opposition, he will entrench himself in power.  If he is perceived as having resigned as a result of violence, he can go back to his same old tune that says that he was the “victim of coupsters”.  On the other hand, if resigns peacefully, he believes that he will be perceived as a quitter and therefore, will be politically dead.


 


To this end, Hugo Chavez’ regime is actively involved in promoting state-sponsored terrorism.  He maintains close ties to the regimes in Libya, Iran and Iraq, and to international Marxist / drug trafficking, guerrilla terrorist organizations, who operate freely in Venezuela, have been inducted covertly into the military and who support his “revolution” (see article “Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’ ties to Terrorism” for further details).


 


Hugo Chavez is a threat to the security of the entire American continent.  His economic policies are destructive and only exacerbate poverty and the social tensions that go along wit it.  He is intent on establishing a Castro-Communist regime in Venezuela and extending it to the rest of Latin America – the entire US back yard.


 


His continuance in power will only derail the strategic interests of the United States.


 


At this time, it is very important for the US and Venezuela, that the US take a long term view of events in the Venezuelan petroleum industry.  Let us hope that the US doesn’t make the shortsighted mistake of backing Chavez in order to ensure a stable flow of oil (as Stratfor suggests).  It should be clear by now to the US, after TWO oil strikes within eight months, that Chavez can’t guarantee the supply of oil to the US, even if he intends to fulfill his obligations  (a doubtful proposition at best, given his track record of lies and broken promises and commitments).  As long as Chavez remains in power, oil strikes will be a recurring event.  The US is better off by backing a business-friendly, capitalistic government, whose strategic interests include strengthening, not destroying PDVSA, increasing production and getting out of OPEC.  Chavez represents the exact opposite.


 


 

Descifrado reports on assasin’s bank accounts

December 13, 2002

Online newspaper Descifrado (needs password) is reporting that confessed gunman Joao de Goveia had a single bank account at Banco Provincial in Caracas with its highest deposit being 2.5 million Bs. (less that $2,000) and no deposit or withdrawal higher than Bs. 1 million (less than $800). Moreover, the man has not used the account since Dec. 31st. of last year. Clearly, somebody was supporting him, killing the “crazy, lone gunman” theory the Government is trying to sell.


Note added: The Head of the investigative police has now reported that clearly other guns were fired at Altamira Square last Friday, killing, once and for all, the crazy gunman theory carefully delineated by the President of Venezuela on his Sunday radio program.

US calls for Venezuelan elections, S&P downgrades country’s debt

December 13, 2002

In one week, we have felt the change in the covergae by the media and foreign Governments about what is happening in Venezuela, so the message is getting there. Today The White House called for elections in Venezuela as a way of resolving the crisis in the strongest statement by the US Government since Chavez became President.


Separately, S&P downgrade the country’s sovereign rating to CCC+, meaning its is vulnerable unless condition improve. S&P blamed the strike for the downgrade, the Government continues to call the strike a failure.

US calls for Venezuelan elections, S&P downgrades country’s debt

December 13, 2002

In one week, we have felt the change in the covergae by the media and foreign Governments about what is happening in Venezuela, so the message is getting there. Today The White House called for elections in Venezuela as a way of resolving the crisis in the strongest statement by the US Government since Chavez became President.


Separately, S&P downgrade the country’s sovereign rating to CCC+, meaning its is vulnerable unless condition improve. S&P blamed the strike for the downgrade, the Government continues to call the strike a failure.

US calls for Venezuelan elections, S&P downgrades country’s debt

December 13, 2002

In one week, we have felt the change in the covergae by the media and foreign Governments about what is happening in Venezuela, so the message is getting there. Today The White House called for elections in Venezuela as a way of resolving the crisis in the strongest statement by the US Government since Chavez became President.


Separately, S&P downgrade the country’s sovereign rating to CCC+, meaning its is vulnerable unless condition improve. S&P blamed the strike for the downgrade, the Government continues to call the strike a failure.

US calls for Venezuelan elections, S&P downgrades country’s debt

December 13, 2002

In one week, we have felt the change in the covergae by the media and foreign Governments about what is happening in Venezuela, so the message is getting there. Today The White House called for elections in Venezuela as a way of resolving the crisis in the strongest statement by the US Government since Chavez became President.


Separately, S&P downgrade the country’s sovereign rating to CCC+, meaning its is vulnerable unless condition improve. S&P blamed the strike for the downgrade, the Government continues to call the strike a failure.

From The Economist: Very accurate article

December 13, 2002

The rights and wrongs of Chavez


Dec 12th 2002
From The Economist print edition




An elected leader, but one who has lost his legitimacy












 


PORTS, airports and banks are barely functioning, troops have been called out to pump petrol, strike-bound oil tankers lie at anchor, and exports have all but ceased. As a general strike called by opponents of President Hugo Chavez continued for a second week, Venezuela was grinding to a halt. The opposition says the strike will continue until Mr Chavez either resigns or agrees to an election early next year. So far, the president has seemed unmoved. He was elected in 1998, and again for a six-year term under his own constitution in 2000. In April, he survived an opposition-inspired coup (which the United States was lamentably slow to condemn). This strike, he says, is merely another coup attempt.


The chaos in Venezuela is more than a little local difficulty. It has already claimed several lives, and worse violence could follow. As the world’s fifth-largest oil exporter, and a neighbour of violence-torn Colombia, Venezuela’s woes matter to outsiders. But what should outsiders do? Normally, the answer would be nothing. Mr Chavez is democratically elected, whereas some of his opponents showed in April that they are not democrats. Shouldn’t an elected president be free to govern as he pleases?


This is an over-simple reading of events. For Mr Chavez, a former army officer and coup plotter, has begun to rule in a way that undermines his own legitimacy. Though his “Bolivarian revolution” has been marked chiefly by devastating incompetence, not illegality, he has concentrated power in his own hands and those of his cronies, while hurling bombast and threats at his opponents. This penchant for government by permanent confrontation has reaped its predictable reward. Even before the strike, the economy was set to shrink by 6% this year. Unemployment was 17% and inflation rising. Meanwhile, Mr Chavez’s efforts to turn the army into an instrument of “revolution” have divided and politicised it.


The result has been to earn the president the opposition of almost every organised group in the country and, according to opinion polls, more than 70% of Venezuelans (including many of his former supporters among the poor). It is a travesty to compare Mr Chavez with Chile’s elected socialist, Salvador Allende, and the opposition with General Pinochet, as his apologists would have it. The truth is that, as opposition has grown, Mr Chavez has started to disregard his constitution. For example, he seized control of the Caracas police, and his legislators voted to sack a supreme court judge. Gunmen who may be inspired by the government have fired on demonstrators and pro-Chavez mobs have trashed media offices.


A second reason for Mr Chavez to agree to an early vote is his own proud claim that Venezuela is a “participatory democracy” in which sovereignty resides with the people. To this end, he masterminded a constitution that allows a “consultative” referendum on matters of “national transcendence” at any time. In accordance with this, the opposition has gathered the necessary signatures for an immediate referendum on the president’s rule. Mr Chavez has manoeuvred to block this.


Now the opposition is unlikely to settle for anything less than a fresh election. Having made his country ungovernable, Mr Chavez should call one. For weeks, the Organisation of American States has been trying to mediate an “electoral solution” to Venezuela’s stand-off. Its efforts deserve wholehearted support—from Latin America as well as the United States. The alternative might be a bloodbath.

Chavez and Terrorism by Francisco Castillo

December 13, 2002

 


This article was written by Attorney Francisco Castillo, it speaks for itself


 


Chavez and Terrorism


 


Francisco Castillo



 


The Venezuelan situation is once again the focus of international attention as a result of the events which took place at Plaza Francia in Altamira on December 6, 2002.


 


The United Nations has not yet accepted a single definition of terrorism, but there is a consensus that terrorism is a method that produces anxiety about repetitive actions of violence, is carried out by (semi-) clandestine individuals, groups or states (the actors), for reasons which can be idiosyncratic, criminal or political, and where – unlike murder – the direct targets of this violence are not the main targets.  As a general rule, the immediate human victims of the violence are chosen at random (targets of opportunity) or selectively (representative or symbolic targets) from a specific population, for the purpose of sending a message.  Communication processes which are based on threat and violence, between the terrorist organization, the victims (who are in danger) and the main targets, are used in order to manipulate the main target (the audience), thus turning it into the target of terror, target of demands or target of attention, depending on whether the objective being sought is intimidation, coercion or propaganda (Schmid, 1988, United Nations Office for Drugs and Crimes).


 


It is clear that the actions of Joao Gouveia, who was caught flagrante delecto and who confessed to having shot against a group of citizens, can and should be defined as a terrorist action, because, although he stated that his main target was Venezuelan television, specifically Globovision, indicating that this station had kidnapped and raped him, he attacked several other innocent people in order to achieve his objective.  Little does it matter whether his action is individual or belongs to a group known as the “circles of terror”; in both instances, it would be defined as terrorism because his victims were chosen in one sense, at random, among those present at Plaza Francia, and in another sense, selectively, because they were precisely, people who were taking part in a peaceful protest against the current government.


 


Extremely significant evidence has surfaced, linking terrorist Joao Gouveia to groups who sympathize with the National Government and most specifically, to Mayor Freddy Bernal; however, instead of making a clear cut and firm condemnation of terrorism and ordering an exhaustive investigation of these presumed relationships, Lieutenant Colonel  Hugo Chavez Frias, acting as President of the Republic, has dedicated himself to defending the terrorist and confessed assassin Gouveia, and even suggested some exculpatory hypotheses, based on psychiatric reasons and on grounds of mental insanity.


 


On Sunday December 8, during his weekly radio program “Alo Presidente”, while the funerals of the victims were taking place, much to the delight of the cabinet ministers present, he used a family tale for the purpose of jocularly casting doubts on the intellectual authorship of the terrorist acts, thus eluding his responsibility as a Head of State, in condemning all acts of terrorism!  In prior statements he defined as “patriots” those armed individuals who were caught on an amateur video film in the areas surrounding PDVSA – La Campińa, and concluded by saying that the film was “doctored” or that the person who appeared in the video couldn’t possibly be that “gentleman” Gouveia, because at the time he was on a flight from Lisbon.


 


The High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations, Sergio Vieira de Mello, has clearly declared that States have, not only the right, but also the obligation to condemn terrorism, in order to protect themselves and their populations, in a manner that respects human rights and the right to due process.  Joao Gouveia’s right to due process, as well as his human rights, must be protected, however, he must also be tried.  It is imperative that an impartial and exhaustive investigation, lead to the imposition of the legal sanctions which apply, not only to he who was detained flagrante delecto, but to all those who participated with him in this act of terrorism and, that these terrorist groups or “circles of terror” be disarmed in order to ensure the safety of the civilian population.  If this terrorist has links to the government, we are in the presence of one of the gravest situations that one could imagine:  state-sponsored terrorism.


 


However, regardless of whether there is proof of a link between terrorist Gouveia and the Government, we have yet to see a clear-cut, overwhelming statement by the President, as Head of State, condemning this act of terrorism, nor have we seen any announcement concerning an investigation, nor steps being taken for the purpose of disarming those who were seen in the amateur video, in the areas surrounding PDVSA – La Campińa, and who can also be described as terrorists.


 


Actually, quite the opposite is true; the “circles of terror” continue to be viewed complacently by the highest government officials; During the evening of December 9, while the Minister of the Interior and Justice spoke of peace, the media was being surrounded and intimidated by individuals wearing ski masks and hoods (typical terrorist behavior); in major cities of the interior, things went even further as television and radio stations and newspaper printing shops were attacked and destroyed.   The following day, the Vice President was saying “those who advocate the departure of President Chavez are coupsters and terrorists, who use that kind of language in order to terrorize the population, but there is an overwhelming response by the people of Venezuela, who expressed themselves, for example, Monday night, all over the country”; such is the government’s double and contradictory discourse which fuels the continuous actions of the “circles of terror”.


 


The government has failed to speak out or take action in the face of the events which took place on September 11, 2001.  The same applies to the many excesses and misdeeds which have been carried out by the “circles of terror”.  These inactions place the government of Hugo Chavez Frias squarely against the international community, who has declared war on terrorism, no matter where it comes from.

Another pretty face asking for peace

December 13, 2002

A picture named dove.jpg


Courtesy of Oscar Sabater

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