Today was Miami’s day for protest as Venezuelans make their demonstartions international. According to the Miami Herald 60,000 people attended. (sent in by Juan Carlos)
Archive for January 18th, 2003
This is General Acostas Carles laughing and dancing in his fancy home as protesters banged pots outside his house. General Carles said that the Guard were defending themsleves yesterday and sent kisses to all the women, mocking them. He is acting like what he is, a cynic, he was not under the influence yesterday, he is just such an asshole.
Hugo Chavez disregarded today the Panamaco and Polar confiscations, saying traitors are the ones that remove food (soda, beer?) from the people and are now spredaing the lies accross the world. I guess I am in that camp, all the pictures below are just lies. You are warned!
Pablo sent in this photo (and more in the Pictures section) of the protest in New York City on Thursday while Hugo Cahvez was at the UN it was cold!!!
While in Ecuador, Hugo Chavez changed, once again, not only radicalizing the actions of his Government and his statements, but for once, screwing up international relations, which has been the strength of the Chavez administration in the current crisis. After giving signs that he was ready to negotiate the possibility of a Constitutional amendment, Chavez took a more aggressive stance which may have been the result of the apparent rebuff he suffered when the composition of the “Groups of Friends of Venezuela” turned out to be nothing like what the Venezuelan President had expected.
While Chavez wanted Cuba, Algiers, Russia France and Brazil to be part of the group, in the end only Brazil was included. Moreover, Chavez attempted to block the US from being in the group, but Brazil‘s new President Lula Da Silva boasted that he had actually convinced Chavez to have the US be part of the group. Recall that the group was originally Brazil’s idea and in its conception was meant to be a group of Chavez’ friends to help in negotiations which the US quickly shifted to a group of friends of the Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Cesar Gaviria, who has been in Venezuela for over two months attempting to mediate between the opposition and the Government.
In NY, while meeting with the Secretary General of the UN, Chavez attempted to disqualify Cesar Gaviria, saying that Gaviria was acting as an individual and not as an OAS representative. Gaviria was quick to reply to this when, in a very diplomatic fashion, he suggested he was not aware of Chavez’ statements but proceeded to give the number of the OAS resolution that sent him to Venezuela, and reminding that the opposition’s Democratic Coordinator had also invited him to Venezuela. The next day, while “welcoming” the Group of Friends, the Government began invoking sovereignty, balance and saying the group could not be close to new members. In his Friday State of the Union address, Chávez said he would be leaving for Brazil that evening to talk to the Brazilian President about the composition of the group of friends. Brazilian newspapers report that this not only came as s surprise to the Foreign Ministry, but also something of an embarrassment since the group had already been agreed upon. Today, President Lula reportedly told Chavez that the composition of the group could not be changed and it was not desirable to change it, a clear defeat for the President.
An even more intriguing aspect was the arrival of former President Carter to Venezuela. Carter, who played a somewhat suspect role in negotiation in June, in which he seemed to be siding with Chavez, arrived to go fishing with Gustavo Cisneros. Cisneros, who presides one of the largest conglomerates in the country, was accused last Sunday by Chávez of talking part in the April events, calling him “the biggest coupster” in Venezuela. Upon his arrival Carter said he was going fishing with his friends and would meet with Gaviria and Chavez next Monday.
While Chávez was giving the State of the Union address, one of his most notorious allies in the National Guard, General Acosta Carlez, gave the spectacle that I reported on yesterday. The action was not only absolutely illegal for a large number of reasons, but the attitude of the General, burping for the camera and ordering people thrown out of their plants was absolutely disgraceful. To make matters even worse, the company’s workers were hit with the side of long metal swords (which I would call machetes, but I guess anglosaxons have a more ominous image of what a machete is, in Spanish they are called peinillas) which have an edge and protestors outside the plant were repressed aggressively. The scenes of women being thrown to the ground and in “fight” position against machete wielding National Guardsmen have by now traveled across the world. Curiously, the first company that the General went to confiscate goods was the Panamco warehouse. Panamco is a US company that manufactures Coke and other drinks in a number of Latin American countries. Interestingly, Panamco will become a Mexican company when its acquisition by Mexican FEMSA closes in the next few months. Internationally, it was reported as a Coca Cola plant, which only helped damage even further the image of the country. More damage was done by the fact that Gaviria was forced to suspend the negotiations on Friday.
Chavez also tried to divide the opposition saying that he had talked intelligently to two opposition members that were not trying to overthrow as if trying to make them more legitimate than the Democratic Coordinator. (Curiously, these two men, Eduardo Fernandez and Teodoro Petkoff, are more representative of the Fourth Republic that Chavez has attacked so much than those that are part of the Democratic Coordinator). But today, Fernandez appeared in a press conference supporting the Democratic Coordinator and their positions for a way out of the political crisis.
From Brazil, Chavez said he was ready to quit the negotiating table because it was full of plotters against his Government. At the same time, he said the confiscation of water, soda and beer by General Carlez was absolutely legal, which it is not. But while Venezuelans saw all this as a threat to their private property and future, it appears to me that what has happened is that Hugo Chavez has been losing the battle of international opinion which, up to now he had been able to manipulate at will to his advantage, selling himself as the democrat that he is not.
From the Tyromaniac
They didn’t open the plants, they just stole the products that were waiting for delivery. By the way, wasn’t this just an Oil Strike? All the success the government had with that argument is gone. Gone is also the pretention that we live in Democracy and Freedom. There is no right to private property, despite what the constitution says. Torture has become obvious and public, despite what the constitution says. The picture shows the beginning of what I saw on TV. A National Guard, machete in hand, running away from a martial arts trained woman half his size. That’s s why this revolution will fail. There is a lot of cowardice in its ways and a lot of courage (moral and otherwise) on the other (no military) side…