Archive for April 2nd, 2004

Good news, good news, bad news, good news

April 2, 2004

 


According to Greenberg, Quinlan, Rosner, Hugo Chavez’ popularity is down to 36%, mostly due to his efforts to block the possibility of a recall referendum. The poll says that 64% of those polled want the referendum to take place. Similarly, only 40% of Venezuelans now approve of the job being done by the Electoral Board.


 


Greenberg, Quinlan, Rosner is one of the main pollsters used by the US Democratic party. They have been polling in Venezuela for about a year, financed by private groups.  


 


This is the good news, the good news/bad news is that next week is Easter week or Holy week here in Caracas. Everybody, including polticians from both sides will go on vacation and this time around I will go on vacation too. I have an Amazon care package of books ready as well as a chair reserved on a solitary beach. I will have Internet access, if something happens I will post remotely. Hope it is very quiet here.

Good news, good news, bad news, good news

April 2, 2004

 


According to Greenberg, Quinlan, Rosner, Hugo Chavez’ popularity is down to 36%, mostly due to his efforts to block the possibility of a recall referendum. The poll says that 64% of those polled want the referendum to take place. Similarly, only 40% of Venezuelans now approve of the job being done by the Electoral Board.


 


Greenberg, Quinlan, Rosner is one of the main pollsters used by the US Democratic party. They have been polling in Venezuela for about a year, financed by private groups.  


 


This is the good news, the good news/bad news is that next week is Easter week or Holy week here in Caracas. Everybody, including polticians from both sides will go on vacation and this time around I will go on vacation too. I have an Amazon care package of books ready as well as a chair reserved on a solitary beach. I will have Internet access, if something happens I will post remotely. Hope it is very quiet here.

Latest horror of torture and human rights

April 2, 2004

Imagine this:


Some soldiers are in a cellblock, apparently via a cigarette butt; a mattress catches fire, and in the ensuing fire four soldiers suffer severe burns.


 


That is the official version…now; here is what the accusations are from family members, lawyers and human rights groups:


 


The soldiers had been punished with jail time because their sergeant discovered that they had actually signed the petition against President Hugo Chávez. The sergeant is being accused of spraying some sort of flammable liquid in the cell.


 


A Congressman from the Zulia legislature claims a forensic doctor that saw the soldiers told him it was impossible for the soldiers to be burned so badly accidentally. However General Wilfredo Silva (the same one that says Juan Carlos Zambrano was not tortured) said the soldiers were in the cell for an unspecified disciplinary sanction and they were smoking.


 


However the father of one of the soldiers, who is a fireman, says that the cell was burned on purpose, His wife says his son was the victim of constant psychological pressures.


 


Meanwhile, nobody knows where all the soldiers are… and the Vice-President says they did not sign.…but their lawyer says they did.

El Universal’s Anniversary Edition

April 2, 2004

Today local daily El Universal had its Anniversary edition. Its main topic is the control that the Government has over institutions and how they came about. I recommend it, as it has many interviews with lawyers, economists and politicians some of which are quite enlightening.


Some highlights:


 


Former Comptroller Eduardo Roche Lander on corruption and the Comptroller’s office:


 


“Employees of the Comptroller’s Office are rotated each month, so that none of them can complete their work”


 


“In the whole period of the current comptroller, not once has he presented the reports required by law to the National Assembly”


 


“In that report he (The comptroller) exonerated all the Government workers who falsified bills, endorsed checks and managed in discretionary fashion public funds”


 


“The President violated the law in the case of the Macroeconomic stabilization fund (FIEM)”


 


“More than twelve military facilities were immersed in corruption in the Plan Bolivar 2000 project”


 


“The extraction of Bs. 2.2 trillion from the FIEM led a group of Venezuelans to sue against the president. Later an additional credit of Bs. 3 trillion to increase the fund was requested, the funds never arrived”


 


Venezuela hands over 80 thousand barrels of oil a day to Cuba and the island does not pay a cent fro it”


 


“The discretionary policy applied at Banco Industrial de Venezuela, the People’s Bank and the women’s bank show the lack of control which weakens the credibility of institutions”


 


Former Head of the Electoral Council Carlos Delgado Chapellin:


 


On being part of the advisory council to the CNE: “We recommended that the CNE do not make up those absurd regulations for the recall petition”


 


“Once I realized that that the CNE was not impartial, that it was building all sorts of obstacles to the will of the electors, I withdrew from the Board”


 


“The CNE I presided had the peculiar characteristic that the Government would always lose the elections”


 


Former Head of the Economic Office of the National Assembly Francisco Rodriguez:


 


“The participation of the private sector gets worse, when the State, besides being a great importer, places products at prices even below production costs, forcing producers or distributors, or commerce to work without earnings, or at a loss. The intention of selling items cheaply should be praised, especially when they are essential items and low income people, but that takes out the space of sector which help to dynamize the economy.”


 


“What the Government wants is for international reserves to be handed over to it”


 


Lawyer Roman Duque Corredor:


 


“There are obvious cases of violations of human rights, not fulfilling public services, no security for citizens, and the People’s Ombudsman has not shown up suggesting possible solutions or denouncing responsibilities”


 


“During the events of February 27th. and days afterwards, when there were evident violations of human rights, the Peoples’ Ombudsman disappeared”


 


On public services and the People’s Ombudsman:” He has not proposed the improvement of a single one. Has he been to the identification office? What does he do when a citizen is denied a passport or ID card because he signed the petition? Have they visited any jail, any hospital to see how they work?”


 


“He has done nothing when Deputy Luis Tazcon has a web page with the data of the petition. He has done nothing when the CNE says that citizens acted with bad faith when they signed the petition.”


 


Economist Gustavo Garcia:


 


“The Government is attacking the symptoms and not the causes, the structural reasons that generated capital outflows, like political instability, economic uncertainty and fiscal deficits financed via monetary means haven’t been solved at all”


 


“In the middle of a great recession inflation was 27%, but if you look at wholesale sale prices, inflation in them reflects 48%”


 


“The Government traps deposits with a tourniquet, devalues, generates inflation and then issues debt. What it is de facto doing, is expropriating the savings of depositors, you have an inflation rate of 30 to 40% and saving rates don’t reach 10%, you can’t buy dollars and the black market dollar increases in price.”


 


There is much more in this edition, quite interesting.

El Universal’s Anniversary Edition

April 2, 2004

Today local daily El Universal had its Anniversary edition. Its main topic is the control that the Government has over institutions and how they came about. I recommend it, as it has many interviews with lawyers, economists and politicians some of which are quite enlightening.


Some highlights:


 


Former Comptroller Eduardo Roche Lander on corruption and the Comptroller’s office:


 


“Employees of the Comptroller’s Office are rotated each month, so that none of them can complete their work”


 


“In the whole period of the current comptroller, not once has he presented the reports required by law to the National Assembly”


 


“In that report he (The comptroller) exonerated all the Government workers who falsified bills, endorsed checks and managed in discretionary fashion public funds”


 


“The President violated the law in the case of the Macroeconomic stabilization fund (FIEM)”


 


“More than twelve military facilities were immersed in corruption in the Plan Bolivar 2000 project”


 


“The extraction of Bs. 2.2 trillion from the FIEM led a group of Venezuelans to sue against the president. Later an additional credit of Bs. 3 trillion to increase the fund was requested, the funds never arrived”


 


Venezuela hands over 80 thousand barrels of oil a day to Cuba and the island does not pay a cent fro it”


 


“The discretionary policy applied at Banco Industrial de Venezuela, the People’s Bank and the women’s bank show the lack of control which weakens the credibility of institutions”


 


Former Head of the Electoral Council Carlos Delgado Chapellin:


 


On being part of the advisory council to the CNE: “We recommended that the CNE do not make up those absurd regulations for the recall petition”


 


“Once I realized that that the CNE was not impartial, that it was building all sorts of obstacles to the will of the electors, I withdrew from the Board”


 


“The CNE I presided had the peculiar characteristic that the Government would always lose the elections”


 


Former Head of the Economic Office of the National Assembly Francisco Rodriguez:


 


“The participation of the private sector gets worse, when the State, besides being a great importer, places products at prices even below production costs, forcing producers or distributors, or commerce to work without earnings, or at a loss. The intention of selling items cheaply should be praised, especially when they are essential items and low income people, but that takes out the space of sector which help to dynamize the economy.”


 


“What the Government wants is for international reserves to be handed over to it”


 


Lawyer Roman Duque Corredor:


 


“There are obvious cases of violations of human rights, not fulfilling public services, no security for citizens, and the People’s Ombudsman has not shown up suggesting possible solutions or denouncing responsibilities”


 


“During the events of February 27th. and days afterwards, when there were evident violations of human rights, the Peoples’ Ombudsman disappeared”


 


On public services and the People’s Ombudsman:” He has not proposed the improvement of a single one. Has he been to the identification office? What does he do when a citizen is denied a passport or ID card because he signed the petition? Have they visited any jail, any hospital to see how they work?”


 


“He has done nothing when Deputy Luis Tazcon has a web page with the data of the petition. He has done nothing when the CNE says that citizens acted with bad faith when they signed the petition.”


 


Economist Gustavo Garcia:


 


“The Government is attacking the symptoms and not the causes, the structural reasons that generated capital outflows, like political instability, economic uncertainty and fiscal deficits financed via monetary means haven’t been solved at all”


 


“In the middle of a great recession inflation was 27%, but if you look at wholesale sale prices, inflation in them reflects 48%”


 


“The Government traps deposits with a tourniquet, devalues, generates inflation and then issues debt. What it is de facto doing, is expropriating the savings of depositors, you have an inflation rate of 30 to 40% and saving rates don’t reach 10%, you can’t buy dollars and the black market dollar increases in price.”


 


There is much more in this edition, quite interesting.

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