Archive for June 29th, 2003

How not to run a company (or a country)

June 29, 2003

Imagine this:


-On Friday I see the financials of PDVSA as estimated by a local economist. He projects a loss of close to US$ 1 billion.


-Accounts Receivable at PDVSA as of May 15th. are reported to be US$ 566 million


-The Venezuelan Central Bank registers oil revenues ay US$ 4.3 billion for the first quarter. The real number was US$2.14 billion.


-The Minister of Finance says on June 21st. that to remove exchange controls, “the flow of foreign currency from PDVSA has to stabilize“.


-The President of PDVSA says today that PDVSA’s financial will be handed in to the US Securities and Exchange Commission by July 15th.. They are due tomorrow. (PDVSA has debt registered in the US).


So what does the Government do? PDVSA paid the Government a dividend of Bs. 915 billion for the first quarter of the year. I definitely hope that is well explained in the financials to the SEC. But how will these people explain to their children what they have done?

History repeated in Carabobo

June 29, 2003

Events should be remembered. That is one of the reasons for this blog, to provide the documentation to the events and abuses of the Chavez era. Pedro Llorens in today’s El Nacional (page A-9) reminds us of one such interesting case. When Hugo Chavez denied access to the Governor of Carabobo this week to the parade celebrating the 182rd. Anniversary of the last battle for Venezuela‘s independence in the battlefield of the same name, it was not the first time a President had given orders not to allow someone in that parade. In fact, it was the second time. The first one? In 1994, during the celebration of 173rd. anniversary, then President Rafael Caldera denied access to the parade to none other than recently pardoned coup plotter Hugo Chavez himself. Chavez had no rank or position at the time, but Caldera gave orders not to allow him in, because he suspected Chavez was trying to overthrow his Government. An irate Chavez said then: “For the first time in these so-called democratic Governments, which are so only in appearance, a President of the Republic, dares give orders like this one…I think the main destabilizers in the country were in there with the President, which are the political sectors that have committed treason against the hopes of the people”. As the Spanish saying goes :”The fish die through their own mouth”.

A look at the attack on Marta Colomina

June 29, 2003

When an attack like the one perpetrated on reporter and TV personality occurs, I try to be careful about what I say. In a rational world, it would be stupid for the pro-Chavez forces to commit such an act. But revolutionaries are not rational, so one has to step out of the rational world. It was not rational in Guatemala, El Salvador or Nicaragua, why should it be here? Obviously, an attack like that makes the Government look bad, so one could easily say that the opposition did it, just to get back at the Chávez administration.


The problem is that the pattern is always the same. An attack occurs. The Government may or not condemn it. The Government blames the opposition or says it is irresponsible to blame the pro-Chavez forces. The Government says the investigation is very advanced and it will make some people in the opposition look bad. Weeks, months and even years go by and no investigation is presented, nobody is charged. We move to the next case.


It was only in February that Government officials and Chavez himself claimed the investigation on the bombings of the Spanish and Colombian embassies was very advanced and it will show the true face of the opposition. Nothing ever came out of those. Hundreds of attacks on reporters have gone unpunished. (Yes, hundreds, the OAS has certified them)


The problem is that these are not simple attacks by thugs, even though they seem incompetent. The attacks on the Embassies were made with C-5 explosive which is highly controlled and contains identifying chemicals to be able to trace it. In the Colomina attack, the weapons were Styer assault guns which are sold to Governments only and are not readily available. Thus, what the Government is showing is simply its incompetence, but what else is new?


 


Clearly, the attack was not meant to kill, but intimidate. That has been the pattern in all of the attacks against reporters. The Government has not only done nothing to investigate, but has also failed to follow the precautionary measures issued by the OAS Human Rights commission. Thus, there is incompetence and negligence. The Government is not simply not assuming its role, it actually is being irresponsible when it is slow to condemn and when it does it, it blames the opposition. That is not what governing in a democracy is all about. We may know it, but they simply have no clue.

A look at the attack on Marta Colomina

June 29, 2003

When an attack like the one perpetrated on reporter and TV personality occurs, I try to be careful about what I say. In a rational world, it would be stupid for the pro-Chavez forces to commit such an act. But revolutionaries are not rational, so one has to step out of the rational world. It was not rational in Guatemala, El Salvador or Nicaragua, why should it be here? Obviously, an attack like that makes the Government look bad, so one could easily say that the opposition did it, just to get back at the Chávez administration.


The problem is that the pattern is always the same. An attack occurs. The Government may or not condemn it. The Government blames the opposition or says it is irresponsible to blame the pro-Chavez forces. The Government says the investigation is very advanced and it will make some people in the opposition look bad. Weeks, months and even years go by and no investigation is presented, nobody is charged. We move to the next case.


It was only in February that Government officials and Chavez himself claimed the investigation on the bombings of the Spanish and Colombian embassies was very advanced and it will show the true face of the opposition. Nothing ever came out of those. Hundreds of attacks on reporters have gone unpunished. (Yes, hundreds, the OAS has certified them)


The problem is that these are not simple attacks by thugs, even though they seem incompetent. The attacks on the Embassies were made with C-5 explosive which is highly controlled and contains identifying chemicals to be able to trace it. In the Colomina attack, the weapons were Styer assault guns which are sold to Governments only and are not readily available. Thus, what the Government is showing is simply its incompetence, but what else is new?


 


Clearly, the attack was not meant to kill, but intimidate. That has been the pattern in all of the attacks against reporters. The Government has not only done nothing to investigate, but has also failed to follow the precautionary measures issued by the OAS Human Rights commission. Thus, there is incompetence and negligence. The Government is not simply not assuming its role, it actually is being irresponsible when it is slow to condemn and when it does it, it blames the opposition. That is not what governing in a democracy is all about. We may know it, but they simply have no clue.

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