Archive for May 25th, 2004

Seniat charges on by Juan Uslar

May 25, 2004

Wish I had written the following article by Juan Uslar in Tal Cual today, it reflects exactly my feelings in the last few days as the tax office, Seniat, has been raiding various companies looking for tax evasion. Until people pay their taxes and the law is followed, the country will not develop properly. Yes, this is something good the Government is doing. There, I’ve said it! Even if the tactics sometimes are sensationalistic and the money is later spent inefficiently, but in the end it is a vicious circle…


 


Seniat charges on by Juan Uslar


 


During the last few months and particularly in recent weeks, there has been a display of activity on the part of Seniat (tax office) like nothing ever seen in Venezuela.


 


This has manifested itself by a wave of store closings, both small and large, which presumably have incurred in faults either in the detail or form, with respect to current tax legislation. Add to that that the director of Seniat is also teaming up with the Social Security administration and INCE (The training institute), among others. This has created a wave of panic in a country where tax issues were usually settled using “alternative” means.


 


I think that this was going to happen sooner or later, either with this Government or the next one. Moreover, it is unfortunate that they have had to resort to terror tactics such as compulsive shutdown widely shown on the media to provide “incentives” to all tax payers to comply with the law as soon as possible. It is impossible to close the fiscal gap in a country where the revenue goals coming from the productive sectors are not met.


A different topic, and that is why I touch upon it separately, is what is done with that money afterwards. Indeed, there has never been a more widespread image of waste and lack of direction with the schemes of public expenditures like there is today. One gets the impression that all of the revenues will go to finance expenses that in no way will back the competitiveness of companies or the inhabitants of the country. An INCE (training Institute) which teaches neither arts nor trades. A Social Security system that guarantees nothing except the lack of attention. A government that guarantees neither security, nor defense, nor health, nor education. Then, what for? But leave on to Caesar what is Caesar’s. All of these obligations that they are calling for are within the law and the regulations. Texts that were approved with the participation of those that have an interest in it, that is possibly correct, but that does not mean they are not legal. Another one of the multiple manifestations of our customary laziness. After all, we could always fix it without paying so much…Now we are in the worst of all possible worlds.


 


The conclusion I reach is that Seniat is doing what it has to do, whether we like it or not. If we all did the same thing, I am sure we would begin, very concretely, to fix this country. We have to take care of it. 

Seniat charges on by Juan Uslar

May 25, 2004

Wish I had written the following article by Juan Uslar in Tal Cual today, it reflects exactly my feelings in the last few days as the tax office, Seniat, has been raiding various companies looking for tax evasion. Until people pay their taxes and the law is followed, the country will not develop properly. Yes, this is something good the Government is doing. There, I’ve said it! Even if the tactics sometimes are sensationalistic and the money is later spent inefficiently, but in the end it is a vicious circle…


 


Seniat charges on by Juan Uslar


 


During the last few months and particularly in recent weeks, there has been a display of activity on the part of Seniat (tax office) like nothing ever seen in Venezuela.


 


This has manifested itself by a wave of store closings, both small and large, which presumably have incurred in faults either in the detail or form, with respect to current tax legislation. Add to that that the director of Seniat is also teaming up with the Social Security administration and INCE (The training institute), among others. This has created a wave of panic in a country where tax issues were usually settled using “alternative” means.


 


I think that this was going to happen sooner or later, either with this Government or the next one. Moreover, it is unfortunate that they have had to resort to terror tactics such as compulsive shutdown widely shown on the media to provide “incentives” to all tax payers to comply with the law as soon as possible. It is impossible to close the fiscal gap in a country where the revenue goals coming from the productive sectors are not met.


A different topic, and that is why I touch upon it separately, is what is done with that money afterwards. Indeed, there has never been a more widespread image of waste and lack of direction with the schemes of public expenditures like there is today. One gets the impression that all of the revenues will go to finance expenses that in no way will back the competitiveness of companies or the inhabitants of the country. An INCE (training Institute) which teaches neither arts nor trades. A Social Security system that guarantees nothing except the lack of attention. A government that guarantees neither security, nor defense, nor health, nor education. Then, what for? But leave on to Caesar what is Caesar’s. All of these obligations that they are calling for are within the law and the regulations. Texts that were approved with the participation of those that have an interest in it, that is possibly correct, but that does not mean they are not legal. Another one of the multiple manifestations of our customary laziness. After all, we could always fix it without paying so much…Now we are in the worst of all possible worlds.


 


The conclusion I reach is that Seniat is doing what it has to do, whether we like it or not. If we all did the same thing, I am sure we would begin, very concretely, to fix this country. We have to take care of it. 

A Government that does not trust its own people

May 25, 2004

I took this story right out of Descifrado, its author, Juan Carlos Zapata, usually has very good information, thus I can not confirm it, but I trust the source. The story is so amazing that I thought it was worth translating. What I fail to understand is why in a country with thousands of unemployed competent engineers, the Government ahs to use a Cuban company for this. The answer may be that they don’t trust anyone. 


 


The great investment made by the Government in updating the technical equipment, transmission and repeaters of Radio Nacional de Venezuela (RNV), during the months of February and March, may be ready to be wasted. The Cuban technicians from the Cosmotel company, which handled the purchase of the telecom equipment, did not get it right with the choice of equipment that was acquired in Spain and the US. There are 37 repeaters of RNV’s signal that are distributed across the country and do not work properly.


 


“The Cuban geniuses ordered the purchase of equipment that only works 100% of its capacity in cold and temperate climate and temperatures. In Zulia and the East the equipment stop working all the time because heat affects them. The only state where they have worked is Merida for obvious reasons (it’s cooler there!). As an alternate solution, Cosmotel proposed the purchase of air conditioning equipment so that the investment is not lost. Only because of the air conditioning it is two hundred thousand dollars more than what ahs been spent, said to Descifrado a Venezuelan engineer who had warned of the inconvenience of the offer by Cosmotel.


 


This technical crisis generated a severe reprimand to the officials in charge of contracting Cosmotel. High Government officials ordered the Director of RN Helena Salcedo and her technical team, an urgent trip to Cuba to attempt to solve the problem and activate the warranty of the equipment which includes the replacement of those that are damaged in a period that does not exceed a year from the time of installation. Salcedo will return at the end of this week. 

A Government that does not trust its own people

May 25, 2004

I took this story right out of Descifrado, its author, Juan Carlos Zapata, usually has very good information, thus I can not confirm it, but I trust the source. The story is so amazing that I thought it was worth translating. What I fail to understand is why in a country with thousands of unemployed competent engineers, the Government ahs to use a Cuban company for this. The answer may be that they don’t trust anyone. 


 


The great investment made by the Government in updating the technical equipment, transmission and repeaters of Radio Nacional de Venezuela (RNV), during the months of February and March, may be ready to be wasted. The Cuban technicians from the Cosmotel company, which handled the purchase of the telecom equipment, did not get it right with the choice of equipment that was acquired in Spain and the US. There are 37 repeaters of RNV’s signal that are distributed across the country and do not work properly.


 


“The Cuban geniuses ordered the purchase of equipment that only works 100% of its capacity in cold and temperate climate and temperatures. In Zulia and the East the equipment stop working all the time because heat affects them. The only state where they have worked is Merida for obvious reasons (it’s cooler there!). As an alternate solution, Cosmotel proposed the purchase of air conditioning equipment so that the investment is not lost. Only because of the air conditioning it is two hundred thousand dollars more than what ahs been spent, said to Descifrado a Venezuelan engineer who had warned of the inconvenience of the offer by Cosmotel.


 


This technical crisis generated a severe reprimand to the officials in charge of contracting Cosmotel. High Government officials ordered the Director of RN Helena Salcedo and her technical team, an urgent trip to Cuba to attempt to solve the problem and activate the warranty of the equipment which includes the replacement of those that are damaged in a period that does not exceed a year from the time of installation. Salcedo will return at the end of this week. 

And a step back for culture

May 25, 2004

According to today’s Tal Cual, The Venezuelan body in charge of culture CONAC approved 30 million bolivars (about $7,000 at the official rate of exchange) to web page aporrea to execute a project called “Program for the stimulus of radio phonic productions”. Aporrea has no projects of this nature, which was quickly explained away by someone at CONAC saying according to Tal Cual: “The name of the project was used to encompass alternative community media, among them, web pages”.


 Such progressive people!

A big step (back) for freedom of the press

May 25, 2004

 


Curious, how in a country where nobody is ever convicted for defamation, one of the three harshest critics of the Government, reporter Ibeyise Pacheco is found guilty of defamation against a Colonel and given nine months in prison. She will appeal.


 


If the same criteria were applied to the President, he would also be found guilty, as every weekend he makes accusations against his enemies which are never proven.

And for the next trick…

May 25, 2004

 


No sooner had the CNE (yesterday) approved the possibility of having the opposition have information centers near the locations where the people would go to ratify their signatures next weekend that the almost invisible Director of the CNE Oscar Battaglini informed the press that they will not be allowed. According to him, the Armed Forces has “confidential intelligence” that these centers could be the source of conflicts and confrontations.


 


The Coordinadora Democrática criticized the decision saying “They have begun to change the rules of the game” but they said they will carry out the project with 260,000 volunteers that will help people know whether they have to ratify their signature or not and where they have to do it.


 


Clearly, the order not to allow the information centers came from above as the Government becomes increasingly nervous that the opposition will get the required signatures despite the large number of tricks that have been used. The Government is simply terrified of the logistics prepared by the opposition to maximize the number of validated signatures.


 


The latest tricks besides not allowing these centers are: i) People are not only being told that they will be fired if they don’t withdraw their signature, but they are being told they have to find four more people to ratify their signature. ii) The CNE continues to show advertising that asks people to go and withdraw their signature, an act which is only legal if someone else signed for you.


 


It also makes you wonder if the quality of the military intelligence is as good as that which has been used to investigate the paramilitary force captured two weeks ago. Despite numerous detentions and raids, the Government has not been able to find any evidence against any opposition members. We all still wonder how 100 Colombian men managed to go from the border to Caracas without being detected. To make the matter even more hilarious, this unarmed force of under twenty one rural workers is being accused of destabilizing the Government and threatening Chavez’ life. With intelligence like that, this country is simply doomed.

And for the next trick…

May 25, 2004

 


No sooner had the CNE (yesterday) approved the possibility of having the opposition have information centers near the locations where the people would go to ratify their signatures next weekend that the almost invisible Director of the CNE Oscar Battaglini informed the press that they will not be allowed. According to him, the Armed Forces has “confidential intelligence” that these centers could be the source of conflicts and confrontations.


 


The Coordinadora Democrática criticized the decision saying “They have begun to change the rules of the game” but they said they will carry out the project with 260,000 volunteers that will help people know whether they have to ratify their signature or not and where they have to do it.


 


Clearly, the order not to allow the information centers came from above as the Government becomes increasingly nervous that the opposition will get the required signatures despite the large number of tricks that have been used. The Government is simply terrified of the logistics prepared by the opposition to maximize the number of validated signatures.


 


The latest tricks besides not allowing these centers are: i) People are not only being told that they will be fired if they don’t withdraw their signature, but they are being told they have to find four more people to ratify their signature. ii) The CNE continues to show advertising that asks people to go and withdraw their signature, an act which is only legal if someone else signed for you.


 


It also makes you wonder if the quality of the military intelligence is as good as that which has been used to investigate the paramilitary force captured two weeks ago. Despite numerous detentions and raids, the Government has not been able to find any evidence against any opposition members. We all still wonder how 100 Colombian men managed to go from the border to Caracas without being detected. To make the matter even more hilarious, this unarmed force of under twenty one rural workers is being accused of destabilizing the Government and threatening Chavez’ life. With intelligence like that, this country is simply doomed.

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