Archive for July 1st, 2004

Cria Cuervos

July 1, 2004

 


Reportedly, there is a lot of infighting within Chavez’ MVR. The failure by the Chavistas to stop the recall referendum has created important differences among the various factions in the Chavismo. Some want the Government to be tougher, others want to follow the rules and others…are simply fed up.


 


Such cracks in the wall are typical of regimes that have total control of a political system and are a necessary but not sufficient prerequisite for its downfall.  One such crack, which has been making a lot of noise lately, is MVR/Podemos (former?) Deputy Roger Rondon. Rondon was one of those unknown political figures that rode on Chavez’ coattails to the National Assembly. He had been the loyal soldier until recently when, supposedly fed up with the control by the Patria para Todos (PPT) party over PDVSA as well as the numerous cases of corruption in the Venezuelan oil industry. After making corruption and nepotism charges against the Minister of Energy and Mines Rafael Ramirez, Rondon was removed from his position as Chairman of the Energy and Mines Committee of the National Assembly.


 


Rondon was certainly unhappy. He not only reiterated the charges against Ramirez, including hiring half his family in the oil industry, but also denounced that MVR Deputy Luis Tascon had confessed that the Government had planted the paramilitary uniforms thus creating the now forgotten scandal of the paramilitary force purportedly organized by the opposition. According to Rondon, Tascon even boasted that this was proof of the efficiency of the Chavista team in dominating the media.


 


Tascon was not happy either and showed a note from Rondon yesterday asking someone from PDVSA to give a hand to an acquaintance of his who owns a gas station.


 


Rondon responded in kind today, making what are probably the most explosive charges, this time against General Raul Baduel, the man who supposedly saved Chavez’ presidency in April 2002. Rondon showed today a letter written by the General quite a while ago, to then President of PDVSA Roberto Mandini. In it, Baduel, who was then Chavez private secretary, recommended to Mandini to consider the company Hertech for contracts related to the Jose project. Rondon said in his statement that the letter said that Baduel was following instructions from the President, but he was careful enough to clarify that he could not say Chavez knew of this. Since that letter, Hertech has been awarded contracts at Jose for over US$ 70 million.


 


In this same press conference, Rondon claimed that graphological examination of the note proved that it was not written by him and took advantage of the occasion to take a potshot at MVR Deputy Nicolas Maduro accusing him of owning 400 cabs of obscure origin. To close, Rondon said that from now on he will vote his conscience in the National Assembly.


 


Thus, an obscure politician whose only claim to fame was supporting Chavez, becomes a problem for Chavez and his supporters. We will likely see more evidence and charges from Rodnon given his former influential position in the National Assembly. As we say in Spanish:


 


“Cria cuervos y te sacaran los ojos” “Breed crows and they will pick your eyes”

Cria Cuervos

July 1, 2004

 


Reportedly, there is a lot of infighting within Chavez’ MVR. The failure by the Chavistas to stop the recall referendum has created important differences among the various factions in the Chavismo. Some want the Government to be tougher, others want to follow the rules and others…are simply fed up.


 


Such cracks in the wall are typical of regimes that have total control of a political system and are a necessary but not sufficient prerequisite for its downfall.  One such crack, which has been making a lot of noise lately, is MVR/Podemos (former?) Deputy Roger Rondon. Rondon was one of those unknown political figures that rode on Chavez’ coattails to the National Assembly. He had been the loyal soldier until recently when, supposedly fed up with the control by the Patria para Todos (PPT) party over PDVSA as well as the numerous cases of corruption in the Venezuelan oil industry. After making corruption and nepotism charges against the Minister of Energy and Mines Rafael Ramirez, Rondon was removed from his position as Chairman of the Energy and Mines Committee of the National Assembly.


 


Rondon was certainly unhappy. He not only reiterated the charges against Ramirez, including hiring half his family in the oil industry, but also denounced that MVR Deputy Luis Tascon had confessed that the Government had planted the paramilitary uniforms thus creating the now forgotten scandal of the paramilitary force purportedly organized by the opposition. According to Rondon, Tascon even boasted that this was proof of the efficiency of the Chavista team in dominating the media.


 


Tascon was not happy either and showed a note from Rondon yesterday asking someone from PDVSA to give a hand to an acquaintance of his who owns a gas station.


 


Rondon responded in kind today, making what are probably the most explosive charges, this time against General Raul Baduel, the man who supposedly saved Chavez’ presidency in April 2002. Rondon showed today a letter written by the General quite a while ago, to then President of PDVSA Roberto Mandini. In it, Baduel, who was then Chavez private secretary, recommended to Mandini to consider the company Hertech for contracts related to the Jose project. Rondon said in his statement that the letter said that Baduel was following instructions from the President, but he was careful enough to clarify that he could not say Chavez knew of this. Since that letter, Hertech has been awarded contracts at Jose for over US$ 70 million.


 


In this same press conference, Rondon claimed that graphological examination of the note proved that it was not written by him and took advantage of the occasion to take a potshot at MVR Deputy Nicolas Maduro accusing him of owning 400 cabs of obscure origin. To close, Rondon said that from now on he will vote his conscience in the National Assembly.


 


Thus, an obscure politician whose only claim to fame was supporting Chavez, becomes a problem for Chavez and his supporters. We will likely see more evidence and charges from Rodnon given his former influential position in the National Assembly. As we say in Spanish:


 


“Cria cuervos y te sacaran los ojos” “Breed crows and they will pick your eyes”

Cria Cuervos

July 1, 2004

 


Reportedly, there is a lot of infighting within Chavez’ MVR. The failure by the Chavistas to stop the recall referendum has created important differences among the various factions in the Chavismo. Some want the Government to be tougher, others want to follow the rules and others…are simply fed up.


 


Such cracks in the wall are typical of regimes that have total control of a political system and are a necessary but not sufficient prerequisite for its downfall.  One such crack, which has been making a lot of noise lately, is MVR/Podemos (former?) Deputy Roger Rondon. Rondon was one of those unknown political figures that rode on Chavez’ coattails to the National Assembly. He had been the loyal soldier until recently when, supposedly fed up with the control by the Patria para Todos (PPT) party over PDVSA as well as the numerous cases of corruption in the Venezuelan oil industry. After making corruption and nepotism charges against the Minister of Energy and Mines Rafael Ramirez, Rondon was removed from his position as Chairman of the Energy and Mines Committee of the National Assembly.


 


Rondon was certainly unhappy. He not only reiterated the charges against Ramirez, including hiring half his family in the oil industry, but also denounced that MVR Deputy Luis Tascon had confessed that the Government had planted the paramilitary uniforms thus creating the now forgotten scandal of the paramilitary force purportedly organized by the opposition. According to Rondon, Tascon even boasted that this was proof of the efficiency of the Chavista team in dominating the media.


 


Tascon was not happy either and showed a note from Rondon yesterday asking someone from PDVSA to give a hand to an acquaintance of his who owns a gas station.


 


Rondon responded in kind today, making what are probably the most explosive charges, this time against General Raul Baduel, the man who supposedly saved Chavez’ presidency in April 2002. Rondon showed today a letter written by the General quite a while ago, to then President of PDVSA Roberto Mandini. In it, Baduel, who was then Chavez private secretary, recommended to Mandini to consider the company Hertech for contracts related to the Jose project. Rondon said in his statement that the letter said that Baduel was following instructions from the President, but he was careful enough to clarify that he could not say Chavez knew of this. Since that letter, Hertech has been awarded contracts at Jose for over US$ 70 million.


 


In this same press conference, Rondon claimed that graphological examination of the note proved that it was not written by him and took advantage of the occasion to take a potshot at MVR Deputy Nicolas Maduro accusing him of owning 400 cabs of obscure origin. To close, Rondon said that from now on he will vote his conscience in the National Assembly.


 


Thus, an obscure politician whose only claim to fame was supporting Chavez, becomes a problem for Chavez and his supporters. We will likely see more evidence and charges from Rodnon given his former influential position in the National Assembly. As we say in Spanish:


 


“Cria cuervos y te sacaran los ojos” “Breed crows and they will pick your eyes”

Invitation to a concert

July 1, 2004

Guadalupe sends this invitation to a concert



The Democratic Coordinator and tthe glorious people of Venezuela  present: Fugue in “Si” minor by Hugo Chavez and his corrupt combo. August 15th. Price of admittance: A resounding “Si”

The Head of the Electoral Board should resign if he is nominated to the Supreme Court

July 1, 2004

And speaking of true colors, I was totally flabbergasted by the news that the President of the Consejo Nacional Electoral, Francisco Carrasquero, was either proposed or has proposed himself for Justice of the Supreme Court to fill the twelve new positions in that Court. He is President of an Electoral Board that will be making critical decisions in the next few weeks which will require his independence and impartiality. Thus, there seems to be a big conflict of interest to allow his nomiantion when one side in the electoral dispute holds the majority required to name him to that Court. Will this influence his decisions? Nobody knows, but it certainly places him unnecessarily in a position where there is the possibility of strong conflicts of interest. At best, Mr. Carrasquero has shown, once again, to lack the common sense and balance required for the position he holds. I believe he should resign from his current post if his name will be considered during the periods in which he will be make decisions that may affect the outcome of the recall referendum and a possible Presidential election. That is the only honorable thing for him to do.

Letter from Human Rights Watch to Hugo Chavez

July 1, 2004

I was extremely critical of the superficial positions taken by Human Rights Watch on the Chavez Governemnt in 2002, but I guess by now they have seen the true colors of this revolution as witnessed by the translation below of the Letter from Jose Miguel Vivanco of Human Rights watch to Hugo Chavez:


Your Excellency
Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías
Presidente de la República
República Bolivariana de Venezuela
Palacio de Miraflores
CaracasVENEZUELA


 


De mi mayor consideración,


 


I have the honor of addressing your Excellency to express my profound concern by the reply of your Government to a report by Human Rights match about the threats against the independence of the judicial power in Venezuela that we presented a few days ago in Caracas. Instead of responding to the contents of that report, high Government officials resorted to a series of charges without foundation and absurd accusations against my person and the organization that I represent.


 


Our report entitled “Manipulating the rule of law: The independence of the judicial power threatened in Venezuela”, examines the serious risks that affect the independence of the judicial power in Venezuela and its consequences on the rule of law. Specifically, it describes our concerns over the new law of the Supreme Court which was enacted last month. This law allows for a simple majority of the National Assembly to pack it with its supporters as well as purging the Court, undermining in this way the independence of the judicial system by jeans that violate fundamental principles of the Venezuelan Constitution and international human rights law. The report emphasizes that the political occupation of the Supreme Court will aggravate even more the lack of independence of judges, most of which do not enjoy any stability in their positions. 


 


On the other hand, the report expresses that Venezuela is still on time to save the independence of the judicial system and with that end it recommends urgent measures that your Excellency and your supporters in the National Assembly should adopt to avoid a grave and irreparable harm to one of the powers of the state. Concretely, we believe that it is fundamental that the implementation of the new bill be postponed and that those articles that allow for the political control of the highest court of justice in Venezuela be voided.


We offered the opportunity to discuss our conclusions and recommendations directly to your Excellency and your main Ministers and listen to your points of view about this important matter. Because of this, before traveling to Venezuela we requested meetings with the Vice-President of Venezuela Jose Vicente Rangel, the Minister of the Interior and Justice, Lucas Rincon Romero, the Foreign Minister, Jesús Arnaldo Perez and your Excellency. Unfortunately, only the Foreign Minister accepted to meet with us, but cancelled the meeting hours before the time set for it.


 


The Foreign Minister, on top of that, pointed out that we had not traveled to Venezuela to “have a dialogue, but to make groundless accusations”. Nevertheless, it was him that cancelled the meeting that we had established to discuss our report. In the mean time, Vice President Rangel, who also abstained himself from establishing a dialog with Human Rights Watch, and even without knowing the contents of our report, responded with insults and qualifications such as “mercenaries at the service of imperial powers” and “spokesmen for the Government of George Bush” even reaching the point of inventing connections with the intelligence services of Pinochet.


 


The groundless charges by the Vice President against human Rights Watch and I, in the sense that we represent the interest of the Government of the United States have to amaze anyone with elementary information about developments at the international level. For more than 20 years Human Rights Watch has been one of the most rigorous critics of US policies that affect the protection of human rights. Since George Bush became President we have produced 27 reports which document human rights violations, compared with two reports on Venezuela that have been published in the same period of time. These reports about the US, among other matters, criticize the current Government for the treatment to the prisoners of war and presumed terrorists detained in Guantanamo and other part of the world. At the time, also we criticized the statements by the Bush administration when he made your Excellency responsible for the coup in April 2002.


 


The most recent accusations of your Vice President against me, about the supposed links with the police of general Pinochet, are equally infamous. For more than 20 years I have actively participated in initiatives to take to Justice Mr. Pinochet and members of his security services for the atrocities committed during the military dictatorship. Mi compromise in the defense e of human rights in Chile and the hemisphere is a matter in the public domain.


 


The offenses of the Vice-President not only reflect, in the best of cases, a profound ignorant on his part, but gravely affect the credibility of your own Government in front of the international community. I hope your Excellency Hill publicly repudiate these statements and recommend to him that he abstain from making similar accusations in the future.


 


We trust that your Excellency and the more reasonable members of your Government opt for taking care in a responsible and effective manner our grave charges that we have made in our report and that you adopt measures in the short term to avoid the political control over the judicial power.  In that respect, I would like to reiterate our disposition to establish a respectful and constructive dialogue with the authorities of your Excellency’s Government.


 


Respectfully,


 


José Miguel Vivanco


HRW

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