Archive for December 6th, 2004

Petkoff on Nobrega’s departure

December 6, 2004

Now that one has to apply self-censorship, it is good to quote an article that says essentially whta I would have said, Petkoff on Nobrega’s departurre and good riddance to Nobrega!


Did he leave, did they make him leave, or was it the other way around? by Teodoro Petkoff


Without pain and without much glory, almost as a side story, in a speech that had a different purpose, Tobias Nobrega was kicked out of the Ministry of Finance.


 


But, was he really kicked out or he forced his way out?


Because it is difficult to imagine how Nobrega could commit the ingenuity of announcing the date of the next devaluation. You never do that and least of all on the part of the Minister that manages the money. Did he do it on purpose? It is not harebrained to think so. He knew he was condemned and that is why his closest collaborators had already left. It is said that Giordani, who had been after him since a while back, had proof of the manipulations made from the Finance Ministry. A number of foreign banks complained of the assignation by finger pointing (nobreguiano) of the last bond issue, the assignment of which was anything but an auction. Of the previous bond issues, there were many tales floating around. In Tal Cual we occupied our rime with some of them. Nobody paid us any attention, of course. The purchase of buildings by the ministry left a long tail of treachery that was punctually noted by this evening paper. Nobody paid attention to us. On top of that, it is obvious that for the foreign exchange speculators; Nobrega’s infidelity from New York made it possible for them to milk a beautiful profit. Retirement fund? But Chávez can not complain: He had the Minister of Finance that he deserved.

Petkoff on Nobrega’s departure

December 6, 2004

Now that one has to apply self-censorship, it is good to quote an article that says essentially whta I would have said, Petkoff on Nobrega’s departurre and good riddance to Nobrega!


Did he leave, did they make him leave, or was it the other way around? by Teodoro Petkoff


Without pain and without much glory, almost as a side story, in a speech that had a different purpose, Tobias Nobrega was kicked out of the Ministry of Finance.


 


But, was he really kicked out or he forced his way out?


Because it is difficult to imagine how Nobrega could commit the ingenuity of announcing the date of the next devaluation. You never do that and least of all on the part of the Minister that manages the money. Did he do it on purpose? It is not harebrained to think so. He knew he was condemned and that is why his closest collaborators had already left. It is said that Giordani, who had been after him since a while back, had proof of the manipulations made from the Finance Ministry. A number of foreign banks complained of the assignation by finger pointing (nobreguiano) of the last bond issue, the assignment of which was anything but an auction. Of the previous bond issues, there were many tales floating around. In Tal Cual we occupied our rime with some of them. Nobody paid us any attention, of course. The purchase of buildings by the ministry left a long tail of treachery that was punctually noted by this evening paper. Nobody paid attention to us. On top of that, it is obvious that for the foreign exchange speculators; Nobrega’s infidelity from New York made it possible for them to milk a beautiful profit. Retirement fund? But Chávez can not complain: He had the Minister of Finance that he deserved.

Weil on Santa and reality

December 6, 2004

This kid Weil is really a genius, how does he get this out of the box ideas?



Dear Santa: Bring me a bike next year, it is dangerous to visti Venezuela now, many people are killed and are put in jail. Bless me and I love you. pedrito.

New , or is it old Minister of Finance? A remembrance

December 6, 2004

So the Government named Nelson Merentes to be the new (old) Minister of Finance. Incredible! Merentes was already been Minister of Finance, but I digress.


Nelson Merentes is a Mathematician with a Ph.D. from Hungary. Never knew or was interested in anything related to finances. But he was very interested in politics and backed Chavez early on, going to visit Chavez in the Yare prison with the rest of the so called Garibaldi group, a bunch of mostly mediocre academics from Universidad Central de Venezuela. In fact, Merentes was the first person I knew who was educated but was radically pro-Chavez.


 


Merentes was a founder of Chavez MBR-2000 movement and campaigned strongly in his favor. So much, that Chavez trusted him with his advice on how to promote the pro-Chavez candidates to the Constituent Assembly which violated the principle of minority representation by electing 96% (96 out of 100) members who were pro-Chavez. The story goes that Merentes did not come up with it, but asked a friend from the University to design it.


 


Merentes was not a candidate for the Assembly, but was appointed by Chavez to the so called “Congresillo” a transition institution with no legal basis whatsoever that ruled Venezuela for the almost five months between the end of the Constituent Assembly and the election of the new Congress. I remember Chavez’ brother defending the “Congresillo” because all of its members had been elected to the Constituent Assembly, but the only one I knew personally, Merentes, had not been. But I digress again.


 


Merentes began approving expenses in the “Congresillo” beyond the budget to the point that then Minister of the Interior Miquilena had to stop some of them.


 


The reason Merentes had not accepted any public positions up to that point was that he only wanted one job: The Presidency of his Alma Mater Universidad Central de Venezuela (UCV) an elected position. He ran after the “Congresillo” was over in a three men race for a runoff. He did not even make it to the second round, getting less than 10% of the vote.


 


A few weeks after, Merentes was appointed Vice-Minister of Finance. We all understood that the Vice-Minister had been removed, but no. Using revolutionary logic, the Ministry of Finance now had two Vice-Ministers, the same way that US companies have dozens of Vice-Presidents. I still wondered what Merentes was doing in Finance, I am that dumb, I believe in order and knowledge and such stupid concepts.


 


Months later Merentes was appointed Minister of Finance, where he was involved in the scandal of the FIEM, the Macroeconomic stabilization fund, whose “funds’ simply disappeared, but we are only talking about something like 2 to 6 US billion dollars according to the Economic Office of the National Assembly. The opposition tried to charge Chávez for the dissapearnec, but Merentes, ever the loyal soldier, took responsibility and  like the April 11th. truth commission, nothing was ever investigated anyway.


From there Merentes was demoted to Minister of Science and Technology and the Minister for Social development and then President of Bandes the Bank for social development that holds US$ 1.6 billion in fund from PDVSA. Thus, Merentes always find himself running institutions with a billion US dollars there or here.


 


And now, he apparently will run both. In truth, it is likely that Giordani at Planning will be running the show. Giordani, who is also not an economist, believes in a strong Bolivar, which he thinks is simply holding the currency strong, but ahs yet to understand it requires fiscal discipline.  This led to the 2002 crisis and devaluation. He also thinks the North Korean economy is healthy. But that is really digressing from the point.


 


Thus, a new Giordani dominated, Merentes executed era begins. Expect little devaluations, no more bond issues in dollars and inconsistent policies. Jeez, I seem to be missing Nobrega, who never attacked the structural problems, but really knew how to solve the short term ones. And I will not digress into his ethics either.

New , or is it old Minister of Finance? A remembrance

December 6, 2004

So the Government named Nelson Merentes to be the new (old) Minister of Finance. Incredible! Merentes was already been Minister of Finance, but I digress.


Nelson Merentes is a Mathematician with a Ph.D. from Hungary. Never knew or was interested in anything related to finances. But he was very interested in politics and backed Chavez early on, going to visit Chavez in the Yare prison with the rest of the so called Garibaldi group, a bunch of mostly mediocre academics from Universidad Central de Venezuela. In fact, Merentes was the first person I knew who was educated but was radically pro-Chavez.


 


Merentes was a founder of Chavez MBR-2000 movement and campaigned strongly in his favor. So much, that Chavez trusted him with his advice on how to promote the pro-Chavez candidates to the Constituent Assembly which violated the principle of minority representation by electing 96% (96 out of 100) members who were pro-Chavez. The story goes that Merentes did not come up with it, but asked a friend from the University to design it.


 


Merentes was not a candidate for the Assembly, but was appointed by Chavez to the so called “Congresillo” a transition institution with no legal basis whatsoever that ruled Venezuela for the almost five months between the end of the Constituent Assembly and the election of the new Congress. I remember Chavez’ brother defending the “Congresillo” because all of its members had been elected to the Constituent Assembly, but the only one I knew personally, Merentes, had not been. But I digress again.


 


Merentes began approving expenses in the “Congresillo” beyond the budget to the point that then Minister of the Interior Miquilena had to stop some of them.


 


The reason Merentes had not accepted any public positions up to that point was that he only wanted one job: The Presidency of his Alma Mater Universidad Central de Venezuela (UCV) an elected position. He ran after the “Congresillo” was over in a three men race for a runoff. He did not even make it to the second round, getting less than 10% of the vote.


 


A few weeks after, Merentes was appointed Vice-Minister of Finance. We all understood that the Vice-Minister had been removed, but no. Using revolutionary logic, the Ministry of Finance now had two Vice-Ministers, the same way that US companies have dozens of Vice-Presidents. I still wondered what Merentes was doing in Finance, I am that dumb, I believe in order and knowledge and such stupid concepts.


 


Months later Merentes was appointed Minister of Finance, where he was involved in the scandal of the FIEM, the Macroeconomic stabilization fund, whose “funds’ simply disappeared, but we are only talking about something like 2 to 6 US billion dollars according to the Economic Office of the National Assembly. The opposition tried to charge Chávez for the dissapearnec, but Merentes, ever the loyal soldier, took responsibility and  like the April 11th. truth commission, nothing was ever investigated anyway.


From there Merentes was demoted to Minister of Science and Technology and the Minister for Social development and then President of Bandes the Bank for social development that holds US$ 1.6 billion in fund from PDVSA. Thus, Merentes always find himself running institutions with a billion US dollars there or here.


 


And now, he apparently will run both. In truth, it is likely that Giordani at Planning will be running the show. Giordani, who is also not an economist, believes in a strong Bolivar, which he thinks is simply holding the currency strong, but ahs yet to understand it requires fiscal discipline.  This led to the 2002 crisis and devaluation. He also thinks the North Korean economy is healthy. But that is really digressing from the point.


 


Thus, a new Giordani dominated, Merentes executed era begins. Expect little devaluations, no more bond issues in dollars and inconsistent policies. Jeez, I seem to be missing Nobrega, who never attacked the structural problems, but really knew how to solve the short term ones. And I will not digress into his ethics either.

When a terrorist runs the show

December 6, 2004

       The Government is clearly on a full frontal attack against the media. Only today we heard:


 


-The Minister of Information said that the Cabinet “evaluated” the promotion of destabilization by the media, citing his former employer RCTV and local newspaper El Nacional as promoters of destabilization who are “minimizing” the case making it look like the Government is violating human rights.  Well, asked Antonio Lopez, or his parents what they think about this. Or the Guevara brothers. Or the last person who made a phone call to Antonio Lopez. It appears the right to silence people for political gain is above any other right.


 


-Chavez himself came on and said that with the “Muzzle” bill, that goes into effect today, “mediatic terrorism is over”.  According to Chavez ‘We have to start stopping the media terrorism that kidnaps our freedom; we have to start democratizing the media”. E added that the media can no longer be at the service of “mafias, elites, people without country and at the service of imperialism, remember the coup, the media war and the oil sabotage”. “We have defeated the oligarchic coalition, imperialist, mediatic, thanks to the people of Venezuela.


 


This from a guy who did not condemn the September 11th. attacks until weeks later?


 


Or the guy who approves a raid on a school just at the time when 1,500 kids are showing up for classes?


 


Or who led a coup in which more than 200 people, mostly innocent civilians were killed?


 


Or who spent four years advocating in favor of the violent overthrow of the Government until someone convinced him he could win the election?


 


Or who has threatened the opposition with his “Armed Government” Sunday after Sunday for the last six year?


 


Or the man who wrote essentiallya love letter to a terrorist


 


The terrorist is definitely running the show now.

When a terrorist runs the show

December 6, 2004

       The Government is clearly on a full frontal attack against the media. Only today we heard:


 


-The Minister of Information said that the Cabinet “evaluated” the promotion of destabilization by the media, citing his former employer RCTV and local newspaper El Nacional as promoters of destabilization who are “minimizing” the case making it look like the Government is violating human rights.  Well, asked Antonio Lopez, or his parents what they think about this. Or the Guevara brothers. Or the last person who made a phone call to Antonio Lopez. It appears the right to silence people for political gain is above any other right.


 


-Chavez himself came on and said that with the “Muzzle” bill, that goes into effect today, “mediatic terrorism is over”.  According to Chavez ‘We have to start stopping the media terrorism that kidnaps our freedom; we have to start democratizing the media”. E added that the media can no longer be at the service of “mafias, elites, people without country and at the service of imperialism, remember the coup, the media war and the oil sabotage”. “We have defeated the oligarchic coalition, imperialist, mediatic, thanks to the people of Venezuela.


 


This from a guy who did not condemn the September 11th. attacks until weeks later?


 


Or the guy who approves a raid on a school just at the time when 1,500 kids are showing up for classes?


 


Or who led a coup in which more than 200 people, mostly innocent civilians were killed?


 


Or who spent four years advocating in favor of the violent overthrow of the Government until someone convinced him he could win the election?


 


Or who has threatened the opposition with his “Armed Government” Sunday after Sunday for the last six year?


 


Or the man who wrote essentiallya love letter to a terrorist


 


The terrorist is definitely running the show now.

When a terrorist runs the show

December 6, 2004

       The Government is clearly on a full frontal attack against the media. Only today we heard:


 


-The Minister of Information said that the Cabinet “evaluated” the promotion of destabilization by the media, citing his former employer RCTV and local newspaper El Nacional as promoters of destabilization who are “minimizing” the case making it look like the Government is violating human rights.  Well, asked Antonio Lopez, or his parents what they think about this. Or the Guevara brothers. Or the last person who made a phone call to Antonio Lopez. It appears the right to silence people for political gain is above any other right.


 


-Chavez himself came on and said that with the “Muzzle” bill, that goes into effect today, “mediatic terrorism is over”.  According to Chavez ‘We have to start stopping the media terrorism that kidnaps our freedom; we have to start democratizing the media”. E added that the media can no longer be at the service of “mafias, elites, people without country and at the service of imperialism, remember the coup, the media war and the oil sabotage”. “We have defeated the oligarchic coalition, imperialist, mediatic, thanks to the people of Venezuela.


 


This from a guy who did not condemn the September 11th. attacks until weeks later?


 


Or the guy who approves a raid on a school just at the time when 1,500 kids are showing up for classes?


 


Or who led a coup in which more than 200 people, mostly innocent civilians were killed?


 


Or who spent four years advocating in favor of the violent overthrow of the Government until someone convinced him he could win the election?


 


Or who has threatened the opposition with his “Armed Government” Sunday after Sunday for the last six year?


 


Or the man who wrote essentiallya love letter to a terrorist


 


The terrorist is definitely running the show now.

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