Archive for January 11th, 2004

Joining the Internet revolution from Cuba

January 11, 2004

 


According to this report in Cuba, in order to join the “other” revolution, you have to go to the free markets and get foreign currency. Cuban citizens will no longer be allowed to use the Internet using the state phone system which is paid in the local currency, pesos. Instead, they will have to access the Web buying a card which can only be purchased in US dollars. Thus, Cuban citizens will have to find dollars to surf the web. This means that they will have to join those parts of the Cuban economy which pay in US$, if they want to participate in two revolutions at once. Maybe turn a few tricks, participate in the black market or sell illegal goods. Interesting way to promote the market economy.

Interesting statistics from the Venezuelan Central bank

January 11, 2004

 


I found this table in the year end report by the Venezuelan Central Bank. I am not even sure why it is there, it pretends to show that only after 1999 did the index of human development go up, but it was only the overvaluation of the currency that led to the GDP per capita to go up briefly and thus that index, an effect lost once the currency was devalued. Anyway, what I found interesting is that this table quantitatively shows that the forty years of democracy was not the failure that it is made out to be the President (which I knew, but I did not know these “officials numbers”), so that publishing the details all the way back to 1960 was, at least, politically incorrect of the Central bank President (Who was appointed by Chavez):


 


Year     Life Expectancy           Literacy rate    Percentage in school GDP per capita


                  (years)                          (%)                     (%)                   (US dollars)


 


1950            55.19                          50.96                    27.59                   2520


1960            58.06                          63.30                    45.26                   3896


1970            63.85                          75.92                    49,87                   4074


1980            67.70                          84.73                    58.23                   5349


1990            71.20                          90.90                    62.31                   5192


2000            73.34                          90.90                    64.12                   3477

Interesting statistics from the Venezuelan Central bank

January 11, 2004

 


I found this table in the year end report by the Venezuelan Central Bank. I am not even sure why it is there, it pretends to show that only after 1999 did the index of human development go up, but it was only the overvaluation of the currency that led to the GDP per capita to go up briefly and thus that index, an effect lost once the currency was devalued. Anyway, what I found interesting is that this table quantitatively shows that the forty years of democracy was not the failure that it is made out to be the President (which I knew, but I did not know these “officials numbers”), so that publishing the details all the way back to 1960 was, at least, politically incorrect of the Central bank President (Who was appointed by Chavez):


 


Year     Life Expectancy           Literacy rate    Percentage in school GDP per capita


                  (years)                          (%)                     (%)                   (US dollars)


 


1950            55.19                          50.96                    27.59                   2520


1960            58.06                          63.30                    45.26                   3896


1970            63.85                          75.92                    49,87                   4074


1980            67.70                          84.73                    58.23                   5349


1990            71.20                          90.90                    62.31                   5192


2000            73.34                          90.90                    64.12                   3477

A virtual political coup d’etat in Iran

January 11, 2004

 


Unfortunately, there is always someone that is doing worse than us as witnessed by the fact that in Iran 2033 of the 8200 candidates have been barred from participating in the upcoming parliamentary elections. Hope this is the beginning of the end for those religious fanatics that rule that country.

A virtual political coup d’etat in Iran

January 11, 2004

 


Unfortunately, there is always someone that is doing worse than us as witnessed by the fact that in Iran 2033 of the 8200 candidates have been barred from participating in the upcoming parliamentary elections. Hope this is the beginning of the end for those religious fanatics that rule that country.

We need more democracy, not less!

January 11, 2004

 


I am quite bothered by this article in today’s El Universal.  Essentially it says that the political parties that are part of the Coordinadora Democrática want to continue choosing candidates and blocking the path of true democracy in Venezuela. According to the article, some parties want to have the local parties discuss a unity candidate for all Governorships and Mayoral races and only if a consensus can not be reached then resort to primaries. I am strongly against this methodology; it should be exactly the opposite: We should have primaries for all races and only if only one candidate is presented will there be no primary.


 


The Coordinadora Democrática has the chance to truly establish democracy in Venezuela from the bottom up and it should not miss the chance to show what a true democracy should function like.  Sadly, in the 1998 Presidential election, NOT ONE candidate was chosen in a primary, all of them were either people who were candidates and then looked for parties to support them (Chavez, Irene, Salas Romer) or people selected in smoke-filled rooms by their parties. I still remember with fondness in 1993 when the Social Christian party COPEI decided to hold a primary to elect Eduardo Fernandez as its candidate. They opened the primary to everyone and lo and behold, Oswaldo Alvarez Paz won running away. (I never liked COPEI, but I voted in that primary because I thought Eduardo Fernandez should not be a candidate again) To me that was one of the few truly democratic processes of the last twenty years in Venezuela. If the Coordinadora decided to hold primaries, for example, on March 15th. for all the races which will take place on July 25th. it will be giving Venezuelans part of the democracy everyone has been promising, but nobody has delivered. Otherwise, it will be once again, more of the same. With this precedent, primaries will become a way of life and all parties (including MVR, Chavez had promised it, but has not even delivered it internally!) will be forced to use them in the future.

We need more democracy, not less!

January 11, 2004

 


I am quite bothered by this article in today’s El Universal.  Essentially it says that the political parties that are part of the Coordinadora Democrática want to continue choosing candidates and blocking the path of true democracy in Venezuela. According to the article, some parties want to have the local parties discuss a unity candidate for all Governorships and Mayoral races and only if a consensus can not be reached then resort to primaries. I am strongly against this methodology; it should be exactly the opposite: We should have primaries for all races and only if only one candidate is presented will there be no primary.


 


The Coordinadora Democrática has the chance to truly establish democracy in Venezuela from the bottom up and it should not miss the chance to show what a true democracy should function like.  Sadly, in the 1998 Presidential election, NOT ONE candidate was chosen in a primary, all of them were either people who were candidates and then looked for parties to support them (Chavez, Irene, Salas Romer) or people selected in smoke-filled rooms by their parties. I still remember with fondness in 1993 when the Social Christian party COPEI decided to hold a primary to elect Eduardo Fernandez as its candidate. They opened the primary to everyone and lo and behold, Oswaldo Alvarez Paz won running away. (I never liked COPEI, but I voted in that primary because I thought Eduardo Fernandez should not be a candidate again) To me that was one of the few truly democratic processes of the last twenty years in Venezuela. If the Coordinadora decided to hold primaries, for example, on March 15th. for all the races which will take place on July 25th. it will be giving Venezuelans part of the democracy everyone has been promising, but nobody has delivered. Otherwise, it will be once again, more of the same. With this precedent, primaries will become a way of life and all parties (including MVR, Chavez had promised it, but has not even delivered it internally!) will be forced to use them in the future.

In the Orchids section a spectacular plant

January 11, 2004

I have posted in the orchid section pictures of one of the most spectacular orchid plants there is, you should go take a look, it is simply unbelievable.

Spectacular Grammatophyllum Scriptum

January 11, 2004





This spectacular Grammatophyllum Scriptum has just finished flowering all five shoots that it grew this time. Each of these growths has between 70 and 80 flowers about one and a half inches in size. The plant is originally from Papua Nueva Gunea, has little scent and I find that it loves the sun. As it has grown I had to move it from the orchid room to its fringes where the sun hits it more and the results are incredibe. The plant has been with me for about seven years and I bought it as a small seedling. This is not the largest of the species. There is an even larger one called Speciosum or Papuuanum which can be taller than peple. I have had one of those for ten years. its huge, outside the orchid room in full sun (too big), but has never flowered. From top to bottom: Top Left: My brother in law standing like a Harvard Botanist next to the plant. He is there simply for scale purposes. Top right: The full plant with its five shoots. Next four pictures concentrate on a single branch showing it closer and closer until you see a single flower. Finally, an interesting picture I took by looking up the long shoot is shown in the bottom. This is simply spectacular.


 

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