Archive for August, 2003

A revolution of and by liars

August 26, 2003

 


For months we have been hearing about how the country was producing over 3 million barrels of oil a day under the revolutionary PDVSA and how those 18,000 fired workers were not needed and how international reserves were recovering. Any doubters were always criticized as sore losers who did not know better. Whenever any international agency suggested Venezuela or PDVSA were producing less than the 3 million barrel figure, the Vice-President or the Minister of Energy or the President of PDVSA would give a press conference and say that there was obviously a political motivation in the announcements and that Venezuela had indeed been producing 3.2 million barrels of oil a day ever since late March of this year. The former workers of PDVSA under their umbrella organization “Gente del Petroleo” have been saying all along that this was not true. But then, peculiar things began happening, the Central Bank said it could not publish numbers until PDVSA gave it numbers, that the numbers did not add up, then Chavez said that the country was producing 2.3 million barrels of oil in a Freudian slip or excess talking by him. Finally, the Wall Street Journal wrote an article confirming that production indeed was at best 2.5 millions barrels of oil a day.


 


To put things in perspective, before the December strike, the country was producing roughly 2.8 million barrels of oil a day. Now here in this link you will find the smoking gun of the big lie by the Chavez administration, the presentation by PDVSA Western Manager Felix Rodriguez to the Board of Directors of the company on the real status of production in the west. Among other pearls it says:


 


-A continuous decline in crude oil production due to the absence of generation/rehabilitation of wells/optimization and maintenance of the installations (loss of 560 million barrels of oil a day). Now, let’s stop right here. If the country was producing 2.8 million and your remove 560 million barrels it will be difficult to produce 3 million barrels of oil a day, no? What liars!


-The process of extracting LNG continuous to be limited due to the unstable operation of 2 of the six plants….


-The volume and quality of gas to the internal market remains limited to the lack of gas (50%)


-The Olefin II plant continues to operate at between 50-60% of its capacity since there is no ethane.


 


Wow! This is the “Revolutionary PDVSA” that was working normally according to all the big liars!!! This is a revolution? This is the destruction of PDVSA for the pseudo revolution’s sake. What a shame!


 


The rest of the presentation simply quantifies the first slide, until, you get to the last slide where it says that 2 of the 23 drills are down, but 21 of the 22 subsurface machines were not working.


 


The question is: Should we then believe the fiscal numbers?

A revolution of and by liars

August 26, 2003

 


For months we have been hearing about how the country was producing over 3 million barrels of oil a day under the revolutionary PDVSA and how those 18,000 fired workers were not needed and how international reserves were recovering. Any doubters were always criticized as sore losers who did not know better. Whenever any international agency suggested Venezuela or PDVSA were producing less than the 3 million barrel figure, the Vice-President or the Minister of Energy or the President of PDVSA would give a press conference and say that there was obviously a political motivation in the announcements and that Venezuela had indeed been producing 3.2 million barrels of oil a day ever since late March of this year. The former workers of PDVSA under their umbrella organization “Gente del Petroleo” have been saying all along that this was not true. But then, peculiar things began happening, the Central Bank said it could not publish numbers until PDVSA gave it numbers, that the numbers did not add up, then Chavez said that the country was producing 2.3 million barrels of oil in a Freudian slip or excess talking by him. Finally, the Wall Street Journal wrote an article confirming that production indeed was at best 2.5 millions barrels of oil a day.


 


To put things in perspective, before the December strike, the country was producing roughly 2.8 million barrels of oil a day. Now here in this link you will find the smoking gun of the big lie by the Chavez administration, the presentation by PDVSA Western Manager Felix Rodriguez to the Board of Directors of the company on the real status of production in the west. Among other pearls it says:


 


-A continuous decline in crude oil production due to the absence of generation/rehabilitation of wells/optimization and maintenance of the installations (loss of 560 million barrels of oil a day). Now, let’s stop right here. If the country was producing 2.8 million and your remove 560 million barrels it will be difficult to produce 3 million barrels of oil a day, no? What liars!


-The process of extracting LNG continuous to be limited due to the unstable operation of 2 of the six plants….


-The volume and quality of gas to the internal market remains limited to the lack of gas (50%)


-The Olefin II plant continues to operate at between 50-60% of its capacity since there is no ethane.


 


Wow! This is the “Revolutionary PDVSA” that was working normally according to all the big liars!!! This is a revolution? This is the destruction of PDVSA for the pseudo revolution’s sake. What a shame!


 


The rest of the presentation simply quantifies the first slide, until, you get to the last slide where it says that 2 of the 23 drills are down, but 21 of the 22 subsurface machines were not working.


 


The question is: Should we then believe the fiscal numbers?

Participatory Democracy

August 26, 2003


 


Hugo Chavez can’t run a country, but he has usually been pretty shrewd about politics and political strategy. Thus, it was somewhat of a surprise when on Saturday he announced that he had already chosen his candidates for Governors in the 2004 regional elections. It appears as if Chavez simply improvised, thinking that third would be a good strategy to distract attention away from the recall referendum. But the strategy or improvisation appears to have backfired. To begin with Chavez proposed the Mayor of Maracaibo Martino, to run against current Governor Rosales. However, Martino declined the next day, saying that he was happy where he was. The truth is that while Rosales’ popularity has been soaring and is currently at a 69% approval rating, Martino’s has declined mainly due to his association with Chavez. Chavez MVR even had to send a delegation to Maracaibo to talk to Martino and Chavez said on TV that Martino had changed his mind at the same time Martino himself was reiterating, once again, that he was not interested in being Governor. But perhaps it was worse in other regions. Chavez announced the candidacies of some of his closest associates in some cases to the Governorships of states that they are not even from. This has actually created a feeling of uncertainty in the regions, where others who have been loyal to Chavez had been planning to run next year. Meanwhile, Chavez thought that the opposition would pick up the ball and start talking elections, but it is clear that the opposition has realized that it gains nothing by replying to everything Chavez says. Thus, Chavez issue has become a non-issue in a scant three days. A different take is that of Tal Cual Editor Teodoro Petkoff, who focuses more on the fact that, once again, Chavez has forgotten about the promises and beliefs that took him to the Presidency and made him so popular. This is Petkoff’s take:


 


Participatory Democracy by Simon Bocanegra a.k.a Teodoro Petkoff


 


It is not even worth wondering about those candidacies that Chavez launched at his rally on Saturday. It is just bullshit, directed at artificially creating an electoral climate, different from the recall referendum


 


But this mini-reporter is going to look at it form a different point of  view. That of the singular “democratic” criteria of the President. In none of the states for which Chavez announced candidacies was the opinion of the members of MVR even polled, nor that of the allied parties. He even said it “This is MY cock”, “This is MY candidate”. This is called “participative democracy”.



I participate that I do what I want. In MVR there is no group of insiders, what there is, is the will of a single person that imposes, without any discussion, without even the fiction of a democratic debate, over a submissive collective (and perhaps a collective ashamed of the role it is playing) which everyone expects will obey. However, if in the National Directorate of MVR the majority are robots; we only have to wait a little bit to see the reaction of the militants in the regional states. That those candidates that Chavez proposed are accepted just like that will be more difficult that climbing a palm tree on your back,
 


You will see the messy fights they will have.


 

Court names new CNE

August 25, 2003

The Constitutional Hall of the Venezuelan Supreme Court named tonight by a unanimous vote the five principal members of the Comision Nacional Electoral (CNE). The members are: Oscar Bataglini González, Jorge Rodríguez, Francisco Carrasquero, Sobeida Mejía y Ezequiel Zamora. Bataglini was proposed by Chavez’ MVR, Francisco Carrasquero (President) is a former member of the Court and President of a private University in Zulia State and Dean of Law at University of Zulia. Carrasquero was a member of Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) and is considered to be a serious lawyer. Ezequiel Zamora was a member of the CNE, he is consiered to be a technical person and was proposed by the CNE’s workers.  Zamora was a member of the CNE for a number of years way before Chavez was President. Sobeida Mejia was proposed by Accion Democractica and Jorge Rodriguez was proposed by Chavez’ MVR. Thus, the CNE appears to be a balanced Board with Francisco Carrasquero being the “neutral” card. (thisis no way to improve a democracy). The Court also named a “Council of Political Participation” composed of Teodoro Petkoff (former Minsiter of Planning) Carlos Delgado Chapellin (former President of the CNE), Hernando Grisanti (Penal lawyer, author of many texts, I am not sure about his politics) and Guillermo Garcia Ponce who presides MVR’s Tactical Command of the Revolution.


All I can say is that for six months Venezuelans have not had the right to vote. The Supreme Court took away that right in February and it was restored tonight by the same Court. Let’s see if the new CNE allows us to vote or whether this is nothing but more manipulation of this battered democracy.

Exaggeration

August 25, 2003

This picture is an exaggeration, but very cute….



How insecure is Caracas? Judge for yourself…

Another picture, of our reality, our marches and Chavez’.

August 25, 2003


I said that Chavez march on Saturday was large, but certainly smaller than the opposition march. I did not want to say much more than that since, at this point, I think that all that really matters is that we have a referendum and count each other. Obviously, if Chavez were as popular as he thinks, it would be to his advantage to have the referendum take place. By winning it, he could truly say, for once, that he had a mandate for his revolution. But he knows he does not. He never has. When people voted for him in 1998, they were voting for a change, not a revolution. He promised to eradicate corruption, reduce crime and improve the lot of the poor. He has done neither. Instead he set the country in a path of hate and his fake revolution, without any content, where holding on to political life and protecting your corrupt friends is now the main objective. That is why opposition marches are larger. Proof is above. This is a picture of one of the six opposition marches on Wednesday of last week. This was not the largest of the six. You can see how big it was. If you look carefully way back at your right there are still people there flowing in from the right. This march lasted more than two hours very much just like that. But what is interesting is that in the newspaper pictures you can see that Chavez’ rally thinned out once you got beyond the Museum of Science. The picture above, static like that, has more people than in Chavez’ rally. But this is irrelevant anyway, let’s have a referendum and let’s see where the millions of Chavistas are. If they win, we shut up, if we win, the revolution is dead. That is the problem, Chavez does not want his personal dream to be over, but his personal dream is a nightmare to over 80% of the Venezuela population. Unfortunately for him, for the other 20%, close to five years later is still only a hope and nothing tangible yet, despite billions of dollars in oil income, despite controlling the whole economic and the whole political system (Except the Central Bank and the opposition). As simple as that.  

Another picture, of our reality, our marches and Chavez’.

August 25, 2003


I said that Chavez march on Saturday was large, but certainly smaller than the opposition march. I did not want to say much more than that since, at this point, I think that all that really matters is that we have a referendum and count each other. Obviously, if Chavez were as popular as he thinks, it would be to his advantage to have the referendum take place. By winning it, he could truly say, for once, that he had a mandate for his revolution. But he knows he does not. He never has. When people voted for him in 1998, they were voting for a change, not a revolution. He promised to eradicate corruption, reduce crime and improve the lot of the poor. He has done neither. Instead he set the country in a path of hate and his fake revolution, without any content, where holding on to political life and protecting your corrupt friends is now the main objective. That is why opposition marches are larger. Proof is above. This is a picture of one of the six opposition marches on Wednesday of last week. This was not the largest of the six. You can see how big it was. If you look carefully way back at your right there are still people there flowing in from the right. This march lasted more than two hours very much just like that. But what is interesting is that in the newspaper pictures you can see that Chavez’ rally thinned out once you got beyond the Museum of Science. The picture above, static like that, has more people than in Chavez’ rally. But this is irrelevant anyway, let’s have a referendum and let’s see where the millions of Chavistas are. If they win, we shut up, if we win, the revolution is dead. That is the problem, Chavez does not want his personal dream to be over, but his personal dream is a nightmare to over 80% of the Venezuela population. Unfortunately for him, for the other 20%, close to five years later is still only a hope and nothing tangible yet, despite billions of dollars in oil income, despite controlling the whole economic and the whole political system (Except the Central Bank and the opposition). As simple as that.  

Big Chavista rally

August 23, 2003

Definitely a large march by Chavez’ supporters, but not larger than the opposition’s. Interesting how the “oligarchs” in the opposition have to walk to their rallies, while Government paid buses pick up Chavistas where they live. I saw it in the barrio next to my house. Reportedly they were also paid to go Bs. 100,000, but I have not been able to find anyone that can confirm this. Chavez announced a number of names of “pure” Chavistas that will run for Governors next year. Among them, he said that Diosdado Cabello will run for Governor of Miranda State. I would like to see Diosdado run agaisnt Enrique Mendoza in an election, but hope by that time Mendoza will be President of the country….

Two new species bloom

August 23, 2003


Spectacular Cattleya Loddigesi Tony Boss    Cattleya Jenmani Castro x Rose note the slight flaring  

An ignorant Minister of Health

August 23, 2003

The Minister of Health demonstrated her ignorance today when she said, in reference to the Court’s decision on the Cuban medical doctors: ” No decision by a Court can be above the right to health and life”.This is simply ignorance.  First of all, it is precisely the Courts that decide in issues of conflicts between rights, not Minsiters. Second, the right to work of unemployed Venezuelan workers is being violated and that is also a right established by the Constitution. Third, there is a law regulating who can practice medicine, precisely to protect the rights to health and life of those being treated, otherwise anyone can claim they have some training that they do not. Venezuelan medical doctors are, in general, better trained than the Cuban ones. For decades anyone wanting to practice medicine in Venezuela had to pass an equivalency program in order to treat patients directly. Finally, it is incredible to me how the Venezuelan Government discriminates against its own citizens in the interest of ideology.

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