Archive for June, 2003

Lawless and Disorder

June 28, 2003

One of the resaons people voted for Hugo Chavez was that he fooled them into believing that because he was a former military official, law and order would be a priority. In particular, people thought Chavez would fight crime earnestly. Well, it seems to be exactly the opposite, not only is crime at its worst, but there is rampant impunity as witnessed by what happened tonight. Last night, a military officer was drunk and was jailed by the Metropolitan police. Well, tonight the military police  (English version) from the Army decided to free their mate and went in shooting at the metropolitan police to do it. The police shot back at them. Fortunately nobody was hurt, even if the truck from the military police now has a few bullet holes. So even those that are supposed to enforce law and order, simply bypass it.

Fraud in the making?

June 27, 2003

The Head of the Electoral Commission (CNE) said yesterday that of the 600,000 ID cards issued in the last six months, which are required to vote in Venezuela, 200,000 of them had been objected to by the CNE’s workers. He also added that his Commision is having difficulties supervsing the issuing of ID cards as established by law. In fact, he added that there are instructions by Government officials from the Ministry of Interior of Justice not to allow the CNE workers to participate in the process and there are severe difficulties to do so. Fraud in the making?

Two opposition events without violence

June 27, 2003

On the positive side, the opposition held rallies in Vargas state and in the city of Valera. In both cases there was no violence. This is the first time this has happened in a long time. Change of strategy?

Attempt against reporter, Government silent

June 27, 2003

For the second time this week, there was an attack on the car of a personality associated with the anti-Chavez opposition. On Wednesday, it was an explosive device which blew the car of the Governor of Miranda state, who happens to be one of the two leading opposition candidates. Today, which happens to be “Reporter’s Day” in Venezuela, there was an attempt against reporter and TV personality Marta Colomina. Mrs. Colomina has been a strong critic of the Chavez administration from the beginning and it is one of the reporters that the OAS Commission on Human Rights issued precautionary measures, which the Government never followed. Essentially, eight armed men attacked her car with a “huge” Molotov bomb made up of a three feet high water bottle which was broken against her car and an attempt was made to light it as her bodyguard put the car in reverse to get away.


What I find absolutely incredible about the attack is that 14 hours after it occurred, the Government has said nothing about, including condemning it ( I don’t want to get into who organized the attack). In fact, only the Minister of Infrastructure has said something in his infinite cynicism: “people are losing their rating, people don’t believe them”, suggesting apparently that Mrs. Colomina set the attack up herself. Minister Cabello immediately said that neither the Government nor its supporters were behind the attack. Usually an investigation by the authorities would be needed to reach such a conclusion, but obviously, there is no authority or organized Government in this country.

More Democracy, later….

June 26, 2003

 One of the biggest criticisms that Chvez made of the post 1958 era in Venezuela, was that political parties were closed, with little democracy. Despite this, Chvez’ own political party, Movimiento Quinta Repblica (MVR), simply copied the Stalinist model of other Venezuelan parties. It is only today, five years after it was founded that some democracy will reach MVR, until you look at the details. It turns out that the 321 delegates of the party to be elected on Sunday are only 34.2% of the total number of delegates, the remainder coming from the natural leadership of the party as defined by the leadership itself. Thus, Stalinist policies live in MVR and democracy will come one day, but not now, later….

Corporate policy is above democracy

June 26, 2003

 According to the Head of Petroleos de Venezuela, Ali Rodriguez, having participated in the petition drive in February, known as “El Firmazo” , in which the opposition gathered signatures for recall referenda, may be in violation of company regulations. Thus, in one stroke, Rodriguez is saying that Constitutional rights may be below corporate rights, in a clear indication that fascists have no clue about democracy and its rights are all about.

Corporate policy is above democracy

June 26, 2003

 According to the Head of Petroleos de Venezuela, Ali Rodriguez, having participated in the petition drive in February, known as “El Firmazo” , in which the opposition gathered signatures for recall referenda, may be in violation of company regulations. Thus, in one stroke, Rodriguez is saying that Constitutional rights may be below corporate rights, in a clear indication that fascists have no clue about democracy and its rights are all about.

48 hour summary: Some laughs, some worries

June 25, 2003

While I was annoyed at not being able to post for two days, nothing earth shattering really happened in these last forty eight hours, except for some more acts by the Government showing its lack of democratic spirit, but what else is new? In brief, this is what I would have posted about at length, had I been able to:


-General Alfonso Martinez, the highest ranking General of the National Guard was retired on direct orders from President Chavez. Martinez refused in April 2002 to send troops to the streets, joined the dissident military in October and was detained illegally on Dec. 27th. To me, this General was as dignified as anyone can be. His background was even more modest than Chavez, but he rose to General, was articulate, well educated and certainly knew about being a soldier and serving the people. I still remember how impressed I was with him the day he testified in Congress in July 2002. At that time, for once, I respected our military and found some value in that organization. Perhaps nothing proves the General’s dignity better than his words on hearing about his retirement: “I regret nothing. By refusing to obey orders, I avoided a massacre, it was worth it”. By the way, for those that love to accuse the opposition of a “coup” in April 2002, General Alfonso Martinez went to tell then President Carmona, that he could not obey his government because it was not legitimate.


-Yesterday was the Anniversary of the Carabobo battle, the last one of Venezuela‘s independence. As usual, there was a military parade in the same place where the battle took place in the state with the same name. The Governor of Carabobo was not allowed into the parade “under superior orders”. Maybe he should not allow Chavez into his state. Would not be right? Right?


-As Chavez was delivering one of his usual aggressive and lengthy speeches the sound of his mandatory nationwide address began to have problems. The nationwide transmission (all radio and TV channels have to carry it) was suspended. As usual, the perfect Chavez Government tried to find someone to blame, jailing the workers of private TV stations who were at a nearby transmission tower. Note that only the audio failed, while these towers carry the full signal and you could not interfere with only the audio. They were later released, but the damage was done. Chavez was outraged and proceeded to fire his dear Minister of Information, blaming her. I am sorry to see her go; she was so incompetent that I would have liked her to continue in her position hurting the Government. 


-Ali Rodriguez Araque, President of PDVSA said that PDVSA is not politicized. We all laughed.


-As Chavez has called the Andean pact “obsolete” and “not that useful”, Minister of Foreign Relations Chaderton tried to save the day today saying that Venezuela entering Mercosur in now way diminishes the role of the Andean pact. Another laugh.


-It was unclear whether the National Assembly could find a consensus candidate to preside the Electoral Board. There was a lot of internal bickering within the opposition. Some feel they have not been taken into account. Others do not like that people outside those nominated originally are being considered. Meanwhile, one of the leading candidates said there had been a plot to overthrow the Government, adding nobody has approached him about the CNE job. The Government denied this had happened or it was possible.


-Opposition political party Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS), scheduled a rally on Friday. For a change, Chavez’ MVR decided this week to hold a rally of their own two blocks away. What else is new? There will be violence, the oppsoition will be accused. We’ve seen that same movie before.

June 24, 2003

For some reason I don’t understand I can’t post to my blog at this time, unless I do it by e-mail

June 24, 2003

For some reason I don’t understand I can’t post to my blog at this time, unless I do it by e-mail

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