Archive for July 21st, 2003

Of Bullies and Clowns

July 21, 2003

 


While the Chief bully, the President, did not speak on Sunday (Was he afraid that the Sunday demonstration would overshadow his program?) it was definitely a week for bullies, old and new, to threaten, intimidate and speak out in matters that are certainly beyond their competence. At the same time, some of the usual clowns also spoke up, leaving another trace in their long trail of incompetence and poor service to the nation. Here are the winners:


 


Bully #1. The prize as the top bully for the week has to go to the Head of the Tactical Command of the Revolution Francisco Ameliach. Ameliach actually threatened the Supreme Court with removing the magistrates if they “dared” name the new Electoral Board. This obviously made the news, but nobody seems to have pointed out a small problem with this threat: In order to remove the Justices the National Assembly requires two thirds majority, given that Chavez’ MVR can barely get a 50% majority one has to wonder how he plans to make his threat work?


 


Bully #2. Gen. Garcia Carneiro appointed himself as Supreme Court, Electoral Board and Chavez puppet, all at once, to let the country “know” that there will not be a referendum this year, even going as far as naming the reasons as described here yesterday. But like all ignorant bullies Gen. Garcia Carneiro spoke, in his ignorance, as if there is no CNE right now. The current CNE can do all of the duties of the Electoral Board, except hold an election. Thus, the legal timeframe (90 days) has to be respected once the current CNE accepts the petition with the valid signatures. So, bully for him. As if this were not enough, another bully, the US State Department issued a statement criticizing Garcia Carneiro’s words, and saying that hey hope that both the Government and the opposition respect the agreements signed under the supervision of the OAS and the Carter Center.


 


Bully #3. Diosdado Cabello, the Minister of Infrastructure and former Vice-President said on Sunday in a local newspaper that it the Government had to prevent the recall referendum. Now, according to Webster’s to prevent means:


 


      To intercept; to hinder; to frustrate; to stop; to thwart.


 


Now, excuse me if I don’t understand something, can a democratic Government even attempt to or even think of intercepting, hindering, frustrating or thwarting an election that is a right guaranteed by the Constitution?. Somehow it sounds to me like a violation of all of the citizens’ rights as well as democratic principles. Can I dare call this totalitarian behavior? What’s next? The Government will hinder any attempt to have an election in 2006? Makes you wonder, no?


 


Clown #1. That sorry character called the People’s Ombudsman German Mundarain has reached the levels of the ridiculous if not the pathetic. Has anybody explained to him that his job is to defend the people? Mr. Mundarain does little but come out defending the Government, going as far as defending a bill that has not even been approved by the National Assembly two weeks ago severely criticized by Human Rights Watch. Well, today Mr. Mundarain went to the Supreme Court to defend the right of the National Assembly to select the Electoral Board. Now, last I heard, the Assembly can not only defend itself, but if it is a matter of law, it should be the Attorney General or the Government’s lawyer that argues in front of the Court. But how is the People’s Ombudsman defending the rights of the Venezuelans when we can not have elections because the Assembly ahs not selected the Electoral Board? How is it his business to work on this, while workers get shot by the National Guard, people’s rights to protest are violated daily and an insolent General pretends to interfere with our most basic rights? Does he understand his job or was he selected for that position because he was that sad and immoral character that he has proven to be?


 


Clown #2. In contrast to Clown #1, the comptroller Clodosvaldo Russian at least has the ability to maintain a low profile while corruption is rampant and shameful financial transactions are carried out at the highest levels of Government without him saying anything. But he did reach the level of being a clown when he was asked over the weekend whether corruption had increased in Venezuela. His answer? He said he did not know because he did not have a corruptometer. Now, Mr Russian (Yes, he is called Mr. Ruffian by many) happens to be the man in charge of controlling that funds are spent properly and that they are not diverted for anything but their original objective. If he has no corruptometer, maybe he should be thinking about getting one, because what it would show would shock the world that still thinks there is a sort of revolution going on in Venezuela.  


 


Clown #3. The President of PDVSA said today that there is a plan to sabotage the oil industry initiated last week when a bomb exploded at the PDVSA-Chuao building. Now, I would like him to explain to me how the opposition managed to place a bomb in that building that is heavily guarded by pro-Chavez former military and where security measures are quite heavy, to say the least. Moreover, with all the closed-circuit TV cameras in that building, how come the Government has not “shown” to us the faces of the opposition terrorists that so easily managed to begin this plot to sabotage the oil industry? Ditto for the Colombian and Spanish Consulates and all of those bombs blamed on the opposition.


 


The truth is that this is a revolution of bullies and clowns led by the Chief Jester/Bully who somehow failed to appear in public this weekend. But his day of reckoning is fast approaching.

Of Bullies and Clowns

July 21, 2003

 


While the Chief bully, the President, did not speak on Sunday (Was he afraid that the Sunday demonstration would overshadow his program?) it was definitely a week for bullies, old and new, to threaten, intimidate and speak out in matters that are certainly beyond their competence. At the same time, some of the usual clowns also spoke up, leaving another trace in their long trail of incompetence and poor service to the nation. Here are the winners:


 


Bully #1. The prize as the top bully for the week has to go to the Head of the Tactical Command of the Revolution Francisco Ameliach. Ameliach actually threatened the Supreme Court with removing the magistrates if they “dared” name the new Electoral Board. This obviously made the news, but nobody seems to have pointed out a small problem with this threat: In order to remove the Justices the National Assembly requires two thirds majority, given that Chavez’ MVR can barely get a 50% majority one has to wonder how he plans to make his threat work?


 


Bully #2. Gen. Garcia Carneiro appointed himself as Supreme Court, Electoral Board and Chavez puppet, all at once, to let the country “know” that there will not be a referendum this year, even going as far as naming the reasons as described here yesterday. But like all ignorant bullies Gen. Garcia Carneiro spoke, in his ignorance, as if there is no CNE right now. The current CNE can do all of the duties of the Electoral Board, except hold an election. Thus, the legal timeframe (90 days) has to be respected once the current CNE accepts the petition with the valid signatures. So, bully for him. As if this were not enough, another bully, the US State Department issued a statement criticizing Garcia Carneiro’s words, and saying that hey hope that both the Government and the opposition respect the agreements signed under the supervision of the OAS and the Carter Center.


 


Bully #3. Diosdado Cabello, the Minister of Infrastructure and former Vice-President said on Sunday in a local newspaper that it the Government had to prevent the recall referendum. Now, according to Webster’s to prevent means:


 


      To intercept; to hinder; to frustrate; to stop; to thwart.


 


Now, excuse me if I don’t understand something, can a democratic Government even attempt to or even think of intercepting, hindering, frustrating or thwarting an election that is a right guaranteed by the Constitution?. Somehow it sounds to me like a violation of all of the citizens’ rights as well as democratic principles. Can I dare call this totalitarian behavior? What’s next? The Government will hinder any attempt to have an election in 2006? Makes you wonder, no?


 


Clown #1. That sorry character called the People’s Ombudsman German Mundarain has reached the levels of the ridiculous if not the pathetic. Has anybody explained to him that his job is to defend the people? Mr. Mundarain does little but come out defending the Government, going as far as defending a bill that has not even been approved by the National Assembly two weeks ago severely criticized by Human Rights Watch. Well, today Mr. Mundarain went to the Supreme Court to defend the right of the National Assembly to select the Electoral Board. Now, last I heard, the Assembly can not only defend itself, but if it is a matter of law, it should be the Attorney General or the Government’s lawyer that argues in front of the Court. But how is the People’s Ombudsman defending the rights of the Venezuelans when we can not have elections because the Assembly ahs not selected the Electoral Board? How is it his business to work on this, while workers get shot by the National Guard, people’s rights to protest are violated daily and an insolent General pretends to interfere with our most basic rights? Does he understand his job or was he selected for that position because he was that sad and immoral character that he has proven to be?


 


Clown #2. In contrast to Clown #1, the comptroller Clodosvaldo Russian at least has the ability to maintain a low profile while corruption is rampant and shameful financial transactions are carried out at the highest levels of Government without him saying anything. But he did reach the level of being a clown when he was asked over the weekend whether corruption had increased in Venezuela. His answer? He said he did not know because he did not have a corruptometer. Now, Mr Russian (Yes, he is called Mr. Ruffian by many) happens to be the man in charge of controlling that funds are spent properly and that they are not diverted for anything but their original objective. If he has no corruptometer, maybe he should be thinking about getting one, because what it would show would shock the world that still thinks there is a sort of revolution going on in Venezuela.  


 


Clown #3. The President of PDVSA said today that there is a plan to sabotage the oil industry initiated last week when a bomb exploded at the PDVSA-Chuao building. Now, I would like him to explain to me how the opposition managed to place a bomb in that building that is heavily guarded by pro-Chavez former military and where security measures are quite heavy, to say the least. Moreover, with all the closed-circuit TV cameras in that building, how come the Government has not “shown” to us the faces of the opposition terrorists that so easily managed to begin this plot to sabotage the oil industry? Ditto for the Colombian and Spanish Consulates and all of those bombs blamed on the opposition.


 


The truth is that this is a revolution of bullies and clowns led by the Chief Jester/Bully who somehow failed to appear in public this weekend. But his day of reckoning is fast approaching.

FT on the debt buyback

July 21, 2003

 


The Financial Times has an article on Venezuela today, about the debt repurchase.


 


In the Financial Times Andy Webb talks about the debt buyback. I particularly liked the subtle way in which he suggests that there may have been something improper in the sale by a Government bank of precisely the same debt instruments that are being repurchased now (front running in financial terms):


 


“About $411m worth of the type of bonds targeted in the repurchase, DCBs and Flirbs, were bought in March and April through two privately owned brokerages – New York-based Global Partners Group, which used a credit line from Lehman Brothers, and Multiplicas, a local broker tied to Venezuelan bank Banesco.


The bonds were sold by Venezuelan state development bank Bandes in exchange for promissory notes issued by the ministry.


Bond prices were at a heavy discount earlier this year, and their holders stand to make a sizeable gain if tendered in the buy- back.”

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