Archive for June 15th, 2003

Daniel on everyday life in this crisis

June 15, 2003

Daniel provides his description of everyday life in a city of the interior of Venezuela in the current crisis.

Daniel on everyday life in this crisis

June 15, 2003

Daniel provides his description of everyday life in a city of the interior of Venezuela in the current crisis.

Sunday morning digressions on Venezuelan politics

June 15, 2003

-Scary to read the descriptions of how, hours after the opposition demonstrations were over, a group of apparently very young Chavez supporters invaded the nearby Hospital looking for the injured police official that was supposedly there. The stories, both in El Nacional (page A-7) and El Universal are absolutely surreal. The protesters used tear gas and held the medical staff hostage for hours. The next day, pro-Chavez protesters threatened the reporters from all the major TV station that had come to tape their destruction of the police module as well as COPEI’s headquarters in Petare. The other day I showed the picture of the protesters knowcking down the police module from the outside, here is the best picture I could find of how it was destroyed. This is from the inside of the module looking out. Note all walls were knocked down.



-My brother points out that by not allowing it and making all the noise, the Government guaranteed the success of the Petarazo. After all, it was not an opposition event, but a COPEI event. Now, COPEI status politically is marginally at best, but many people went just to go against the Government.


-Also hard to understand why the Government simply does not take advantage of the Court’s decision to hire back oil workers, handpick those that PDVSA needs and offer severance packages for the rest. Oil worker’s salaries have not been increased since the currency stood at Bs. 700 to the US$, most workers don’t want to go back anyway and PDVSA still has huge problems in the refineries and in the fields. Venezuela can’t export gasoline because of quality problems and the best oil fields are being killed by overproduction due to lack of personnel. The Court’s decision would have saved face politically and the Government could have proclaimed that they obey the law and the Courts. The reality is that Venezuela’s laws are overprotective of the workers and they were precisely designed (and ratified in the Chavez Constitution) to prevent massive firings like those that PDVSA did in January and February. Eventually, PDVSA will have to pay the workers back salaries with interest and hire them back anyway. Financially and politically it would have made sense to do what I suggest.


-The Podemos party (formerly MAS-pro-Chavez) split in two less than a year after it was created. The new party will be called “Vamos”, has three Deputies and held a huge event to launch it yesterday. Unfortunately, too many people from Chavez’ MVR showed up creating confusion about what it meant. I guess divide and conquer does work.


-Just to clarify a couple of e-mails I have received. The approval of the minutes of the National Assembly needs a majority. Majority in the Assembly is 83 votes. The pro-Chavez votes were 82, the opposition had 79 and three abstained. This can not be interpreted as a tie, approval was simply defeated. In order to bring it up again you have to modify the minutes, not bring it up to vote over and over until it is approved. No?

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