Archive for October, 2003

Taking a break…..

October 15, 2003

I will be here for the next ten days, if you want to get in touch with me, please do not call, visit. I will update remotely if necessary and if the electricity does not go out at my home.


Dates fixed for petition drive

October 15, 2003

The Consejo Nacional Electoral fixed the dates for the gathering of the petitions today. Curiously, it fixed Nov. 21st to 24th. to get those to recall Governors and Deputies and Nov. 28th. to Dec. 1st. for the most important one, the Presidential recall. Another trick to delay one more week? I am not sure, but now Chavez has until late Novembert to do something to stop us or else the display will be oviouds stay tuned.

Another delay due to over regulation

October 14, 2003


 


The effects of over regulating the petition drive for signatures for the recall referenda is being felt already. One month after the more than three million signatures were rejected by the Consejo Nacional Electoral on technicalities, we are still nowhere close to being able to gather them again. As told today by one of the members of the CNE, it will be at least another month before the petition drive can even take place. The reason is simply bureaucracy. If the gathering of the signatures had been the responsibility of the opposition, we would have done it two weeks ago. However, now we have the “design” of the forms to get the signatures, the forms “need” bar-coding, they “have” to be printed by the Government and they have to be “controlled” by the CNE. Thus add another month to the long drawn out process.


Of course these very important issues are being considered, while others are being put aside, like the fact that the voting has to be automated. I am sure that they will find a way to postpone the actual recall even longer if we ever get to that point (I doubt it). These people have no scruples and no belief in democracy; they have kidnapped the system without saying it explicitly. Look for more excuses to postpone the petition drive knows as the “Reafirmazo”, if we gather the signatures the signal to the world will be very clear, Chavez can not afford to lbe whipped in an election.

Flimsy accusations on bombings

October 14, 2003

The irresponsability of the Chavez adminsitration is such that for the last two days, the Head of the investigative police and the Minister of Justice have been making accusations against opposition personalities without exhibiting a single iota of proof. In both cases they accuse the Head of Security of Altamira Square, where dissenting military have been for almsot a year, as well as two of the Generals from that group, of placing the bombs at La Carlota airport and Fuerte Tiuna two weeks ago. The Minisster even said that seven people had been detained. But curiously, the prosecutor in the case said afterwards that he had no knowledge of anyone in detention for the case, as required by law. Thus, the infamous Minister who told Venezuela in April 2002 that Chavez had resigned, appears to be saying he has detained people illegally. In his usual confusing ways, the Minister then said that those in jail were not directly realted to these cases, but older ones, as if it would make any difference……

Long live Sitting Bull!

October 14, 2003

Watching Hugo Chavez in his weekly TV program can be surreal. I usually can’t stand it so that I simply watch the recap later on TV of the most “significant” things he said. Sometimes as I watch, I am not sure whether I am seeing the real thing or a parody of our President. It is not easy to transmit the style to those that have never seen Hugo Chavez in action. A week ago it really seemed like a parody as Chavez spoke and sang Christmas songs laughing at the opposition. I thought hard about trying to convey what I had seen, but did not think it would get through. This Sunday I had the same feeling, this is impossible to explain, convey or communicate. But I will simply reproduce what Chavez said on October 12th., what US citizens call “Columbus Day” and we had called “Day of Races” until Hugo Chavez changed the name to “Day of indigenous resistance”. Here is my recap:


He said Columbus reaching the Americas, unleashed a genocide which lasted 150 years in the hands of conquistadors who were worse than Hitler. He called what happened the worst genocide in the history of mankind. He said the conquistadors, be it Spanish, Portuguese or British, killed one native every ten minutes for 150 years, exterminating 97 million people. He saluted Sitting Bull explaining the story of Custer and the screamed Long live Sitting Bull! (Toro Sentado in Spanish)


Now, this was all carefully prepared and staged (the numbers had to be given to him prior to the program) and there were massacres and abuses that nobody can question in the conquest of the Americas. But Chavez sounded like he was talking about the present. Venezuela was probably one of the countries with the smallest population and the most backward natives of the region, but he made it sound like ity all happened right here and he actually personally suffered from it and without it our native population would have developed a better country. But when he said Long live Sitting Bull!, it became so theatrical and infantile that is was simply absurd. Like so much in this country……..

Will they listen when Condolezza speaks?

October 13, 2003

While Hugo Chavez critized countries and international organizations for meddling in Venezuela’s affairs, this does not seem to stop US National Security Advisor Conodolezza Rice from speaking out today, according to El Universal:


US national security adviser Condolezza Rice backed OAS efforts to solve the political crisis in Venezuela and said that the U.S. is determined to see a “peaceful referendum” in Venezuela, news agency Dpa reported.

The adviser of President George W. Bush referred to the Venezuelan crisis in a speech delivered in teleconference at the 59th IAPA General Assembly, currently held in Chicago.

Rice said that Bush’ administration still has “differences” with Chávez’ government.


Well, hopefully when Condolezza speaks, soem people will listen…..


(Thanks Russel for the news)

A very funny clip

October 13, 2003

Dave sent this link from this very clever page, whomever came up with the page was very clever and the person who composed this particular version, was also very clever and funny.

Four critical weeks

October 12, 2003

 



I am now convinced that the next four weeks will be critical in defining the country’s and Chavez’ future. While it will be difficult for the opposition, given the regulations approved, to obtain the four million signatures it wants, the Government feels quite threatened by it. Simply put, if the “Reafirmazo” (re-signing in Spanish) is widely successful and a number of signatures close to the number required to recall Chavez is gathered, the event itself might turn out to be the recall referendum, making the real event three months later simply moot. Chavez will simply become a lame-duck President. The world will know he no longer has the popularity or the mandate that he claims to have. Any attempt between that day and the actual recall date to stop the vote will be seen both here and abroad as a totally undemocratic act. In fact, the new regulations, by making it difficult to gather all of the required signatures,in some sense will also make it more difficult to question the results of the Reafirmazo. Delaying tactics simply become much harder to implement, given the deatiled regulations isued by the CNE. Each signature will be accompanied by the fingerprint of the person; each form will have a code, so that their origin and source will be known. This will make any delaying tactic by the Chavez administration much more difficult to implement. Thus, either the Reafirmazo is stopped or the Chavez administration will lose most of its ability to govern, even before the actual recall referendum takes place.


            The Chavez administration, with his actions, may be showing signs that it knows the signing of the forms may become a trap and it has now becomen more significant that the recall itself. Its actions in the last two weeks indicate a change in strategy. Obviously a more radical course is being developed, both locally and internationally. The once all-important international opinion seems to be less critical. The Chavez administration has not only told the US not to meddle in the internal affairs of the country, but it told the same to the OAS. The difference is clear; Venezuela has signed the OAS treaties that regulate human rights in the Americas. The Venezuelan Constitution explicitly says that such treaties are binding. Thus, the Chavez administration is beginning to play a dangerous game by acting this way and threatening not to obey the OAS’ orders on human rights. But this is likely the game Chavez wants to play. By appealing to nationalism, stirring the opposition into rash action and creating local incidents, the administration may want to generate reactions that will “force it” to postpone the Reafirmazo arguing that the conditions to carry it out at this time are not present at this time. If this happens, it is difficult to even guess where the country is headed……

Four critical weeks

October 12, 2003

 



I am now convinced that the next four weeks will be critical in defining the country’s and Chavez’ future. While it will be difficult for the opposition, given the regulations approved, to obtain the four million signatures it wants, the Government feels quite threatened by it. Simply put, if the “Reafirmazo” (re-signing in Spanish) is widely successful and a number of signatures close to the number required to recall Chavez is gathered, the event itself might turn out to be the recall referendum, making the real event three months later simply moot. Chavez will simply become a lame-duck President. The world will know he no longer has the popularity or the mandate that he claims to have. Any attempt between that day and the actual recall date to stop the vote will be seen both here and abroad as a totally undemocratic act. In fact, the new regulations, by making it difficult to gather all of the required signatures,in some sense will also make it more difficult to question the results of the Reafirmazo. Delaying tactics simply become much harder to implement, given the deatiled regulations isued by the CNE. Each signature will be accompanied by the fingerprint of the person; each form will have a code, so that their origin and source will be known. This will make any delaying tactic by the Chavez administration much more difficult to implement. Thus, either the Reafirmazo is stopped or the Chavez administration will lose most of its ability to govern, even before the actual recall referendum takes place.


            The Chavez administration, with his actions, may be showing signs that it knows the signing of the forms may become a trap and it has now becomen more significant that the recall itself. Its actions in the last two weeks indicate a change in strategy. Obviously a more radical course is being developed, both locally and internationally. The once all-important international opinion seems to be less critical. The Chavez administration has not only told the US not to meddle in the internal affairs of the country, but it told the same to the OAS. The difference is clear; Venezuela has signed the OAS treaties that regulate human rights in the Americas. The Venezuelan Constitution explicitly says that such treaties are binding. Thus, the Chavez administration is beginning to play a dangerous game by acting this way and threatening not to obey the OAS’ orders on human rights. But this is likely the game Chavez wants to play. By appealing to nationalism, stirring the opposition into rash action and creating local incidents, the administration may want to generate reactions that will “force it” to postpone the Reafirmazo arguing that the conditions to carry it out at this time are not present at this time. If this happens, it is difficult to even guess where the country is headed……

The contrasts of underdevelopment

October 12, 2003


JG sends in this picture taken in Coro. Under the sign Medical Department, prices are given for Polar Beer, normal and Ice……These are the contrasts of underdevelopment

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