Archive for November 14th, 2004

A week for good news

November 14, 2004

I will become like the new Venezuelan media for one day and will only report a bunch of good news that I have heard recently, to insure the Government does not pressure me or apply the new media bill (The “muzzle” bill) to my blogging concession:


–The best news of the day is that Chavez will no longer hold his Sunday radio program due to a new strategy and new image to deepen the revolution. It will be missed; we will no longer be able to listen to the illustrious leader rant for five or six hours every Sunday. We do hope he will make up for it somehow.


–And then there is the announcement by Vice-President Rangel that in 40 days the Government will unveil a plan to fight poverty. This is really good news that almost 2,190 days to the day after assuming power for the first time, Chavez will unveil a plan to fight poverty. Let us hope it is not like any of the six employment plans that have been announced in the last five years.


 


–Then, there is the resignation of one of the most ineffective Ministers of Chavez’ Cabinet, Roger Capella. Capella was the Minister of Health and was forced to resign after the nurses of Chavez’ favorite program Barrio Adentro went on strike because they have not been paid since July. Capella, who has been the subject of extensive discussions in this blog because of his non-qualification to be Minister of Health, was unfairly treated. After all, all he was doing is treating these new programs the same way that the whole health care system is treated, salaries are not paid, there is no money for drugs and supplies and equipment is never fixed. The news is good if Chavez can find someone better for the job, which should not be too hard. By the way, the nurses are still on strike. 

A week for good news

November 14, 2004

I will become like the new Venezuelan media for one day and will only report a bunch of good news that I have heard recently, to insure the Government does not pressure me or apply the new media bill (The “muzzle” bill) to my blogging concession:


–The best news of the day is that Chavez will no longer hold his Sunday radio program due to a new strategy and new image to deepen the revolution. It will be missed; we will no longer be able to listen to the illustrious leader rant for five or six hours every Sunday. We do hope he will make up for it somehow.


–And then there is the announcement by Vice-President Rangel that in 40 days the Government will unveil a plan to fight poverty. This is really good news that almost 2,190 days to the day after assuming power for the first time, Chavez will unveil a plan to fight poverty. Let us hope it is not like any of the six employment plans that have been announced in the last five years.


 


–Then, there is the resignation of one of the most ineffective Ministers of Chavez’ Cabinet, Roger Capella. Capella was the Minister of Health and was forced to resign after the nurses of Chavez’ favorite program Barrio Adentro went on strike because they have not been paid since July. Capella, who has been the subject of extensive discussions in this blog because of his non-qualification to be Minister of Health, was unfairly treated. After all, all he was doing is treating these new programs the same way that the whole health care system is treated, salaries are not paid, there is no money for drugs and supplies and equipment is never fixed. The news is good if Chavez can find someone better for the job, which should not be too hard. By the way, the nurses are still on strike. 

Are there really no untouchables?

November 14, 2004

For the second time in one week the President of the Supreme Court has said that there are no untouchables in Venezuela. He first said it in reference to the persecution of the Sumate leaders and reiterated it again on Thursday in reference to reporter Napoleon Bravo who on live radio compared the Supreme Court to a brothel. I wrote a few days ago that it was rather curious that all of the cases that are being handled with efficiency are against opposition members, but the same does not happen with cases against Government members such as those accused of corruption, clear violation of rights of other or of the law. I was going to write again about this, but this Editorial by Tal Cual Editor Teodoro Petkoff expresses some of my feelings very clearly:


Iván Rincón, President of the Supreme Court has declared that in Venezuela there are no “untouchables” referring to the possibility that any person, no matter his or her rank, can be brought to justice if it commits a crime. Healthy and good. In application of this doctrine, then, the Supreme Court has accused of defamation reporter Napoleón Bravo, because, a little over two months ago, he had supposedly compared the highest court to a brothel. Now the whole country awaits the next step by the integral Justice Rincón, true incarnation of public justice and civil courage, which should be to accuse of defamation citizen Hugo Chávez Frías who affirmed in certain occasion that the Justices that absolved the military officers of April 11th. “Had no morals” and that they “had screwed up” using the word shit to express it. Moreover, as if this was not enough, he accused them of being professional negotiators that are “always getting drunk in the bars of Caracas”. On top of that, he ordered his followers to launch an assault on the Supreme Court. Next to this Napoleon could pass for Hans Christian Andersen. But I am sure that Ivan Rincon, Cabrerita (another Justice of the Constitutional Hall) and the other leaders of Justice that work at the Supreme Court will have no qualm to charge the President.


 


Here, it was said by the wise maracucho jurists, nobody is untouchable. We can only hope that it does not take place on April Fool’s day.

World Figures urge Chavez to stop persecuting civilian groups

November 14, 2004

A group of well known international politicians and academics has sent a letter to President Chávez expressing their concern over the persecution of civic groups calling it a danger to democracy.  The letter expresses its concern that these groups are being persecuted for attempting to exercise their rights and specifically mentions Sumate as part of it:


“We are aware of the situation affecting the representatives of Sumate, a civil organization that promotes and defends the political rights of Venezuelan citizens, who are being subject to a judicial process for receiving international financing for executing a program of citizen education to let them know the mechanisms of political and citizen participation”.


 


“To try and punish non-Government organizations for receiving financing directed towards strengthening democracy is a violation of the Interamerican democratic Charter and of the Warsaw Declaration of the Community of Democracies. We should remind you that the Venezuelan Government signed for years ago the Warsaw Declaration together with more than one hundred countries”


 


“As democrats of the world, we plead to you to intervene to reconsider both the judicial process against the leaders of Sumate as well as the legislative project to reform the penal code that aims to make it a crime to receive international democratic aid.”


 


The letter, which was also sent to the President of the Supreme Court, was signed, among others by Vaclav Havel, Madeleine Albright, Bernard Aronson, Theodore Sorensen and Sen. John McCain. While the effort is certainly appreciated, like other international efforts it will likely have little effect on what is happening with these cases.

World Figures urge Chavez to stop persecuting civilian groups

November 14, 2004

A group of well known international politicians and academics has sent a letter to President Chávez expressing their concern over the persecution of civic groups calling it a danger to democracy.  The letter expresses its concern that these groups are being persecuted for attempting to exercise their rights and specifically mentions Sumate as part of it:


“We are aware of the situation affecting the representatives of Sumate, a civil organization that promotes and defends the political rights of Venezuelan citizens, who are being subject to a judicial process for receiving international financing for executing a program of citizen education to let them know the mechanisms of political and citizen participation”.


 


“To try and punish non-Government organizations for receiving financing directed towards strengthening democracy is a violation of the Interamerican democratic Charter and of the Warsaw Declaration of the Community of Democracies. We should remind you that the Venezuelan Government signed for years ago the Warsaw Declaration together with more than one hundred countries”


 


“As democrats of the world, we plead to you to intervene to reconsider both the judicial process against the leaders of Sumate as well as the legislative project to reform the penal code that aims to make it a crime to receive international democratic aid.”


 


The letter, which was also sent to the President of the Supreme Court, was signed, among others by Vaclav Havel, Madeleine Albright, Bernard Aronson, Theodore Sorensen and Sen. John McCain. While the effort is certainly appreciated, like other international efforts it will likely have little effect on what is happening with these cases.

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