Archive for October, 2003

Efficiency, violence and dictatorships

October 31, 2003

Descifrado publishes a report which quotes a source that agrees in every detail with my brother’s Alfredo views on the fact that Dictatorships need to be efficient:


“The Government has no way of implementing a violent plan, says an analyst that prefers to remain anonymous, beacuse this implies organization and capabilities. Those who are afraid of a Chavez dictatorship have to be reminded that dictatorships have to be more efficient than democracies, because they need more capability of control, a capability that this Government can not execute. If you can not even manage a hospital , how are they going to manage the strictness that a dictaorship implies? Least of all in this time of information technology, whose control is essential to maintain a dictatorial regime……”. Hope they are right, although I already believe I live in a veiled dictatorship.

Efficiency, violence and dictatorships

October 31, 2003

Descifrado publishes a report which quotes a source that agrees in every detail with my brother’s Alfredo views on the fact that Dictatorships need to be efficient:


“The Government has no way of implementing a violent plan, says an analyst that prefers to remain anonymous, beacuse this implies organization and capabilities. Those who are afraid of a Chavez dictatorship have to be reminded that dictatorships have to be more efficient than democracies, because they need more capability of control, a capability that this Government can not execute. If you can not even manage a hospital , how are they going to manage the strictness that a dictaorship implies? Least of all in this time of information technology, whose control is essential to maintain a dictatorial regime……”. Hope they are right, although I already believe I live in a veiled dictatorship.

International Observers allowed by CNE

October 31, 2003

Up to yesterday the Government and Chavez’ MVR were opposing the possibility of international observers being present during the petition drive to collect signatures for the President’s recall, but today the Electoral Council approved (CNE) the participation of international observers. According to the President of the CNE as many as 11,780 observers will come to Venezuela representing the OAS, the PNUD and the Carter Center. Now, this may seem insignificant, but I believe this may be the most important news to come out of the CNE in the last two months…….

Powell and Noriega speak out on Venezuela

October 31, 2003

While Venezuelan media is reporting that Secretary General Colin Powell spoke out on the issue of the CIA’s presence in Venezuela, I have only been able to find reports of the Undersecretary Robert Noriega making some of  the same statements attributed to Powell, except for the part about the accusations being absurd. (If anyone finds a link please post in comments)

International press and the Venezuelan oil industry

October 31, 2003

Two interesting articles on the Venezuealn oil industry in the Financial Times and the Houston Chronicles. The first (by subscription) talks about how some analysts view Venezuela as a lower risk oil investment when compared to Russia as renationalization of the oil industry appears remote (I agree, but Venezuela never ceases to surprise me):


“In Venezuela, the long-term risk is probably less,” says Amy Myers Jaffe, the Wallace Wilson Fellow for Energy Studies at Rice University’s Baker Institute. “Chances are that they will not renationalise.”


The second one, taks about the damaging effect of current policies on the oil company PDVSA and how activity has been reduced significantly:


“I used to repair 200 to 300 pumps per month, but I haven’t been called to service anything since February,” said one contractor, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Buyers complain of high water content of crudes, and contractors report high sand presence in wells and constant problems maintaining well pressure. “


But I found the part about how the country is trying to inflate its oil production figures to be the most tragic. Maybe if I did not live here I might even find it to be funny:


“Furthermore, Venezuelan authorities now insist on including upgraded synthetic crude as part of petroleum production figures, whereas Venezuela previously categorized synthetic crude as bitumen and therefore not part of quotas. While Venezuela used to understate its production figures, now it is doing its best to inflate them. “

Economy shrinks by only 8-9%

October 29, 2003

The Venezuelan economy shrank in the third quarter by 8-9% of GDP according to the Minister of Finance. According to the Government PDVSA is up to speed and the opposition did not stage any strikes or boycotts during the quarter or the previous ones. So how come it shrank? Maybe because they are using Chavez’ profound economic statement said two weeks ago while I was away “You don’t need economic growth to improve the life of the poor”. It shows…..

Another flimsy accusation against the CIA

October 29, 2003


Chavista Deputies presented a video today at a press conference showing a “CIA plane” arriving at Valencia airport South of Caracas with two armed CIA “agents” on board who were quickly driven away by representatives from the Governor’s office. Nothing was said as to what exactly these two men were doing, planning or whether it was dangerous. No proof was presented as to their identity or how it was determined that they were CIA agents. However, the two Deputies said that they had presented their information to US authorities. Interestingly enough, the US Ambassador to Venezuela, who tends to be too diplomatic at times, responded promptly by saying that he had received no information on the matter and even joked about saying “as you say in Spanish this is simply pure “paja” (the best translation for bullshit), suggesting the two Deputies had an overactive imagination. While I am sure the CIA is active in Venezuela, it is not clear to me what threat these guys represent to the country, what they are plotting or even if they are CIA. They could at least have looked into who owns the airplane (call letters L202HG) or what their names were. I still think Maxwell Smart and C.H.A.O.S. are also involved.

Human Rights Watch denies Venpres press release

October 28, 2003

Human Rights Watch which last year exhibited quite a bit of sympathy for Chavez’ Government has by now realized that Chavez is no Allende and his policies are more akin to those of Chilean General Pinochet. The human rights organization had to deny the press release by Government news Agency Venpres saying that the organizations representative had said that Venezuela enjoys a full democarcy and freedom of expression. Mr. Vivancos was assumed to be sympathetic to Chavez given his Chilean past in which his family suffered the effects of the Pinochet Dictatorship. By now, HRW and Mr. Vivancos seemed to have realized what a big msitake they made last year.

CNE mysteriously cancels recall of Mayors and Governors

October 28, 2003

I had never understood why the Chavistas had decided to introduce petiotions for recall referenda for opposition Governors and Mayors. It simply did not make sense, given their minute possibility of success, other than possibly overburden the CNE with work to introduce petitions for a recall of officials that would likely have resigned from office by the time the referenda took place. The reason was simple, regional elections have to take place in June and Venezuelan law requires candidates to resign from office if they want to campaign openly.


It also made little sense from many points of view to have the petition drives for these regional positions to take place a week ahead of that for the Presidential recall. Basically, if it was a success, this would drive fear in the opposition making teh presidential recall petition more succesful and if it was a failure it would give more determination to the opposition.


But a new mystery was unveiled yesterday, when the CNE decided unanimously to cancel the regional petition drives for the positions of Governors and Mayors. Some argue that this favors Chavez’ MVR because they were going to have a hard time gathering the required signatures. However, now they will gather them only for the positions of Deputies, the least likely to awaken passions among those seeking the recall. Thus they are certainly to ahve a very small attendance now, giving a very poor image of MVR’s popularity.Thus, in a single stroke, the petition drives promoted by Chavez’ MVR have been made even more difficult.


All these decisions appear, at first sight, to hurt Chavez’ MVR, but if we did not understand their original intention, we do not understand why they are cancelling it now…….

Some comments on events in my absence

October 28, 2003

I was actually not gone so much, but when I got back my DSL system would not work and it took until today to fix it. I don’t want to give whole blurb on what happened while I was gone but I did want to make some comments:


-Our illustrious outlaw Hugo Chavez said in his nationwide address Sunday before last that those that sign in the petition drive to ask for his recall referendum “will not be forgotten” . This is one of the most shameful attempts by Chavez to pressure people into not participating in the signing of the petition, particularly public employees. This proves in an unequivocal manner than Chavez has no shame, scruples and is just a bully that is attempting to scare people by threatening their livelihood. Shame! Shame! Shame!


-Some Deputies from Chavez’ party showed a video reportedly of CIA agents discussing in June how to boycott the “Reafirmazo” that will take place in November. What makes the charges most laughable, is that in June the opposition had the required signatures to request the recall referendum which was turned down arguing technical reasons. Thus, the only way the “CIA” agents coudl have been planning that is if the current Head of the CNE, who had not been named at the time, was a CIA agent and knew in advance that the petition will be turned down. I get the feeling that the video was one of Maxwell Smart plotting against C.H.A.O.S.


Had a great vacation by the way!

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