Archive for August 13th, 2004

Government promotes Si vote today

August 13, 2004

While campaigning ended last night, there were still some ads on VTV during the day for the NO vote, confirming that the CNE could care less. But the Government did its bit in promoting the Si vote when it basically showed the country for one hour and live, why the Chavez Government needs to be revoked.


At about 1 PM four employees of CONATEL, the telecom regulator showed up at Globovision, for what was called a “routine” visit by Conatel engineers. Routine visits are done by appointment, but anything is possible in this revolution. The Government officials began inspecting the TV station and were supposedly checking the frequency of transmissions, but clearly knew little about microwave and such things.


 


While all of this was taking place, other officials began showing up at the other three Caracas TV stations, Televen, RCTV and Venevision. Imagine four simultaneous “routine” visits to the four main private TV stations in the country.


 


The officials kept asking questions of how things worked, asking for things they could not ask for without a warrant and all of this was being seeing by most Venezuelans as these four stations have a rating of more than 80% of the Venezuelan audience.


 


Curiously no inspection was being carried out at the Government’s TV station VTV. Perhaps the funniest moment was when a reporter asked the President of Globovision if CONATEL had returned the microwave equipment taken from that station eight months ago, to which he replied that no, they had not, but he was hopeful that on Monday the new President Jose Vicente Rangel would order CONATEL to return it.


 


After about an hour of this harassment, all four teams from CONATEL got phone calls and they all suddenly left without an explanation or even filling the paperwork required from an inspection whether routine or not. A Director of CONATEL said that he ordered the procedures stopped because they could not create a “media show” with the routine inspections. However, the show was on, the international media had already gone to the stations and in one of them an interview with a CNE Director was interrupted by the inspection.


 


To top it all off, the Minister of Information and Telecommunications, Jesse Chacon came on TV (forcing all TV channels to carry the statement), to say that this was routine and it was to insure that there was enough bandwidth for international could carry the news of the recall referendum. Of course, he gave no explanation of why no inspection was carried out at the official TV station VTV.


 


All in all, good advertising for the Si vote, more harassment by the Government, but both Venezuela and the world were watching. Thank You Jesse!

Not the words of a true Democrat

August 13, 2004

From today’s Reuters, statements by Minister of Energy and Mines Rafael Ramirez, not exactly the words expected from a true democrat.


 


   CARACAS, Venezuela, Aug 13 (Reuters) – Venezuelan oil workers would refuse to accept the defeat of President Hugo Chavez in Sunday’s recall referendum on his rule, Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez said Friday.


   Ramirez did not make clear what the oil workers would do if Chavez loses the vote. The South American country is the world’s No. 5 oil exporter and a top supplier to the U.S. market.


   “Nobody will accept it. If Venezuela enters into a period of instability, well, I don’t see prices having any limit,” Ramirez told reporters.


   “There is no way he will be defeated. There is no way the people would accept it, including our oil workers,” he said.


   Oil prices hovered near record highs on Friday partly due to fears that the vote could end in violence and supply disruptions in Venezuela.


   Venezuelans will go to the polls Sunday to decide whether Chavez, a leftist former army officer, should end his presidency. He has predicted an easy victory, but the vote could be close.


   Elections for a new president would be held in 30 days if Chavez loses the recall.


   The oil-rich nation has been rattled by more than two years of political unrest since Chavez survived a brief coup in April 2002. Oil prices spiked during an opposition strike at the start of last year that temporarily cut off Venezuelan crude production and shipments.


   Chavez, elected in 1998, fired more than 18,000 employees at state oil firm PDVSA for taking part in the strike and replaced them with loyal workers as the government fought to recover production.


   Foes accuse Chavez of increasing authoritarian rule and failing to fulfill promises to combat poverty and corruption, but he says his social reforms have helped better distribute the country’s huge oil wealth.


((Reporting by Matthew Robinson, editing by Walter Bagley; writing Patrick Markey, Caracas newsroom, Reuters)

Not the words of a true Democrat

August 13, 2004

From today’s Reuters, statements by Minister of Energy and Mines Rafael Ramirez, not exactly the words expected from a true democrat.


 


   CARACAS, Venezuela, Aug 13 (Reuters) – Venezuelan oil workers would refuse to accept the defeat of President Hugo Chavez in Sunday’s recall referendum on his rule, Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez said Friday.


   Ramirez did not make clear what the oil workers would do if Chavez loses the vote. The South American country is the world’s No. 5 oil exporter and a top supplier to the U.S. market.


   “Nobody will accept it. If Venezuela enters into a period of instability, well, I don’t see prices having any limit,” Ramirez told reporters.


   “There is no way he will be defeated. There is no way the people would accept it, including our oil workers,” he said.


   Oil prices hovered near record highs on Friday partly due to fears that the vote could end in violence and supply disruptions in Venezuela.


   Venezuelans will go to the polls Sunday to decide whether Chavez, a leftist former army officer, should end his presidency. He has predicted an easy victory, but the vote could be close.


   Elections for a new president would be held in 30 days if Chavez loses the recall.


   The oil-rich nation has been rattled by more than two years of political unrest since Chavez survived a brief coup in April 2002. Oil prices spiked during an opposition strike at the start of last year that temporarily cut off Venezuelan crude production and shipments.


   Chavez, elected in 1998, fired more than 18,000 employees at state oil firm PDVSA for taking part in the strike and replaced them with loyal workers as the government fought to recover production.


   Foes accuse Chavez of increasing authoritarian rule and failing to fulfill promises to combat poverty and corruption, but he says his social reforms have helped better distribute the country’s huge oil wealth.


((Reporting by Matthew Robinson, editing by Walter Bagley; writing Patrick Markey, Caracas newsroom, Reuters)

Not the words of a true Democrat

August 13, 2004

From today’s Reuters, statements by Minister of Energy and Mines Rafael Ramirez, not exactly the words expected from a true democrat.


 


   CARACAS, Venezuela, Aug 13 (Reuters) – Venezuelan oil workers would refuse to accept the defeat of President Hugo Chavez in Sunday’s recall referendum on his rule, Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez said Friday.


   Ramirez did not make clear what the oil workers would do if Chavez loses the vote. The South American country is the world’s No. 5 oil exporter and a top supplier to the U.S. market.


   “Nobody will accept it. If Venezuela enters into a period of instability, well, I don’t see prices having any limit,” Ramirez told reporters.


   “There is no way he will be defeated. There is no way the people would accept it, including our oil workers,” he said.


   Oil prices hovered near record highs on Friday partly due to fears that the vote could end in violence and supply disruptions in Venezuela.


   Venezuelans will go to the polls Sunday to decide whether Chavez, a leftist former army officer, should end his presidency. He has predicted an easy victory, but the vote could be close.


   Elections for a new president would be held in 30 days if Chavez loses the recall.


   The oil-rich nation has been rattled by more than two years of political unrest since Chavez survived a brief coup in April 2002. Oil prices spiked during an opposition strike at the start of last year that temporarily cut off Venezuelan crude production and shipments.


   Chavez, elected in 1998, fired more than 18,000 employees at state oil firm PDVSA for taking part in the strike and replaced them with loyal workers as the government fought to recover production.


   Foes accuse Chavez of increasing authoritarian rule and failing to fulfill promises to combat poverty and corruption, but he says his social reforms have helped better distribute the country’s huge oil wealth.


((Reporting by Matthew Robinson, editing by Walter Bagley; writing Patrick Markey, Caracas newsroom, Reuters)

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