Archive for December 19th, 2004

And from our own Ministry of Science and Technology

December 19, 2004

You have to love the naiveté of the people at the Ministry of Science and Technology, few of which have ever been involved with either. According to today’s Inside Telecom column in El Universal by Victor Suarez, the Ministry has various ambitious projects in the drawing board:


-The Bolivarian PC: The Ministry is drawing up a “national Hardware Plan” which includes a project to assemble in Venezuela 20,000 of the 150,000 PC’s that the government plans to acquire in 2005. Since there are no local components for it, it will all be imported and the computer will be called the “Computador Popular Bolivariano” or Compubol. The plan is to eventually assemble up to a million units.


 


According to the report, representatives from the Ministry have talked to Intel and AMD, but the motherboards are too expensive. Thus, they are now in contact with Indian and Chinese manufacturers who obviously use the same microprocessors.


 


I have to wonder what the competitive advantage these people find in Venezuela is. It is not salaries as Venezuelan salaries are low, but now low enough and the laws are too protective of workers. It is not technology, as Venezuela has zero, as in zip, technology to contribute to such a project, we don’t even make video tubes.


 


What will be gained from this? Experience in manufacturing? This was already tried by the private sector who found that it moves too fast to be competitive and there are few competitive advantages. Can Venezuela produce a PC cheaper than then $200 PC Wal-Mart sells? I doubt it. But even if it could, I would let the private sector do it anyway.


 


-Informatics goals for 2010: The Ministry has also established some goals for Venezuela’s informatics infrastructure by 2010. I will not argue the details of the goals, they are all highly desirable. My question is they realistic?


 


Just one of them shows how unrealistic these goals are:


 


-To have (by 2010) a highly developed internet commerce system


 


Well, the company I work for owns one of the most successful e-tailers in Venezuela. It ahs been opened for five years. It will be closing on Christmas day. Why? Many reasons but among them, lack of purchasing power by Venezuelans, lack of penetration of the Internet, lack of penetration of the banking system, lack of penetration of credit and debit cards and no economies of scale. Once again, if the private sector can’t, can the Government? Doubt it.

And from our own Ministry of Science and Technology

December 19, 2004

You have to love the naiveté of the people at the Ministry of Science and Technology, few of which have ever been involved with either. According to today’s Inside Telecom column in El Universal by Victor Suarez, the Ministry has various ambitious projects in the drawing board:


-The Bolivarian PC: The Ministry is drawing up a “national Hardware Plan” which includes a project to assemble in Venezuela 20,000 of the 150,000 PC’s that the government plans to acquire in 2005. Since there are no local components for it, it will all be imported and the computer will be called the “Computador Popular Bolivariano” or Compubol. The plan is to eventually assemble up to a million units.


 


According to the report, representatives from the Ministry have talked to Intel and AMD, but the motherboards are too expensive. Thus, they are now in contact with Indian and Chinese manufacturers who obviously use the same microprocessors.


 


I have to wonder what the competitive advantage these people find in Venezuela is. It is not salaries as Venezuelan salaries are low, but now low enough and the laws are too protective of workers. It is not technology, as Venezuela has zero, as in zip, technology to contribute to such a project, we don’t even make video tubes.


 


What will be gained from this? Experience in manufacturing? This was already tried by the private sector who found that it moves too fast to be competitive and there are few competitive advantages. Can Venezuela produce a PC cheaper than then $200 PC Wal-Mart sells? I doubt it. But even if it could, I would let the private sector do it anyway.


 


-Informatics goals for 2010: The Ministry has also established some goals for Venezuela’s informatics infrastructure by 2010. I will not argue the details of the goals, they are all highly desirable. My question is they realistic?


 


Just one of them shows how unrealistic these goals are:


 


-To have (by 2010) a highly developed internet commerce system


 


Well, the company I work for owns one of the most successful e-tailers in Venezuela. It ahs been opened for five years. It will be closing on Christmas day. Why? Many reasons but among them, lack of purchasing power by Venezuelans, lack of penetration of the Internet, lack of penetration of the banking system, lack of penetration of credit and debit cards and no economies of scale. Once again, if the private sector can’t, can the Government? Doubt it.

And from our own Ministry of Science and Technology

December 19, 2004

You have to love the naiveté of the people at the Ministry of Science and Technology, few of which have ever been involved with either. According to today’s Inside Telecom column in El Universal by Victor Suarez, the Ministry has various ambitious projects in the drawing board:


-The Bolivarian PC: The Ministry is drawing up a “national Hardware Plan” which includes a project to assemble in Venezuela 20,000 of the 150,000 PC’s that the government plans to acquire in 2005. Since there are no local components for it, it will all be imported and the computer will be called the “Computador Popular Bolivariano” or Compubol. The plan is to eventually assemble up to a million units.


 


According to the report, representatives from the Ministry have talked to Intel and AMD, but the motherboards are too expensive. Thus, they are now in contact with Indian and Chinese manufacturers who obviously use the same microprocessors.


 


I have to wonder what the competitive advantage these people find in Venezuela is. It is not salaries as Venezuelan salaries are low, but now low enough and the laws are too protective of workers. It is not technology, as Venezuela has zero, as in zip, technology to contribute to such a project, we don’t even make video tubes.


 


What will be gained from this? Experience in manufacturing? This was already tried by the private sector who found that it moves too fast to be competitive and there are few competitive advantages. Can Venezuela produce a PC cheaper than then $200 PC Wal-Mart sells? I doubt it. But even if it could, I would let the private sector do it anyway.


 


-Informatics goals for 2010: The Ministry has also established some goals for Venezuela’s informatics infrastructure by 2010. I will not argue the details of the goals, they are all highly desirable. My question is they realistic?


 


Just one of them shows how unrealistic these goals are:


 


-To have (by 2010) a highly developed internet commerce system


 


Well, the company I work for owns one of the most successful e-tailers in Venezuela. It ahs been opened for five years. It will be closing on Christmas day. Why? Many reasons but among them, lack of purchasing power by Venezuelans, lack of penetration of the Internet, lack of penetration of the banking system, lack of penetration of credit and debit cards and no economies of scale. Once again, if the private sector can’t, can the Government? Doubt it.

Venezuelan military to acquire even more weapons

December 19, 2004

Via this site or the news, I learn that the Venezuelan Government will acquire 100,000 AK-103 and AK-104 assault rifles from the Russians and license the manufacturing of another 200,000.


While the discussion seems to center around the US or Russia difference and whether the guns are the rights one or not, I am simply flabbergasted that this Government will spend some US$ 300 million to acquire more guns and this price does not even include the bullets!


 


Imagine a country where only twelve million Venezuelans are above 18, whose military already has more than half a million assault rifles and they plan to add another 300,000 to “modernize” the Armed Forces. We are talking almost one assault rifle for every ten adult Venezuelans!


 


There are two very sad aspects about this. First of all, those guns will end up killing only Venezuelans. Second, this revolution that claims to feel so much for the poor continues to spend inordinate amounts of money in weapons. Another Chávez promise down the drain. Chavez had promised when campaigning in 1998 that he would divert big military spending from the military to the people.


 


While many view this as a political issue, to me it’s economic. For decades, the Venezuelan military has spent inordinate amounts of money on expensive weapons projects that have only been useful to intimidate civilians and help grown men play games. This from Governments, past and present, that never assumed their proper role of giving good services to their people. How I envy the Costa Rican model! No military, only police…

Venezuelan military to acquire even more weapons

December 19, 2004

Via this site or the news, I learn that the Venezuelan Government will acquire 100,000 AK-103 and AK-104 assault rifles from the Russians and license the manufacturing of another 200,000.


While the discussion seems to center around the US or Russia difference and whether the guns are the rights one or not, I am simply flabbergasted that this Government will spend some US$ 300 million to acquire more guns and this price does not even include the bullets!


 


Imagine a country where only twelve million Venezuelans are above 18, whose military already has more than half a million assault rifles and they plan to add another 300,000 to “modernize” the Armed Forces. We are talking almost one assault rifle for every ten adult Venezuelans!


 


There are two very sad aspects about this. First of all, those guns will end up killing only Venezuelans. Second, this revolution that claims to feel so much for the poor continues to spend inordinate amounts of money in weapons. Another Chávez promise down the drain. Chavez had promised when campaigning in 1998 that he would divert big military spending from the military to the people.


 


While many view this as a political issue, to me it’s economic. For decades, the Venezuelan military has spent inordinate amounts of money on expensive weapons projects that have only been useful to intimidate civilians and help grown men play games. This from Governments, past and present, that never assumed their proper role of giving good services to their people. How I envy the Costa Rican model! No military, only police…

Manuel Caballero on “Excellent Credentials”

December 19, 2004

Manuel Caballero writes an article in today’s El Universal in which he describes some of the credentials of those that were recently appointed to the Supreme Court called “Excellent Credentials” in which he basically reveals not the credentials but the lack of credentials. I will no translate it all, but I loved how he closed it”


Since I don’t want to have problems with the new Bolivarian Justice, I will limit myself to give here in the same order (as the article) the initials of these three new jewels of our Judiciary: Francisco Carrasquero, Omar Mora Diaz and Luis Velasquez Alvaray.


 


Postcriptum: Before closing this, I would like to point something out that is at the same time a declaration of principles. Up to now, I have been willing to sign at the bottom of texts which can be incriminatory by the Government’s Justice system. This time I will not do it with those that call the current Supreme Court a brothel, and thus accuse Ivan Rincon of being a pimp. I will not accompany the reporter accused of such an insult. No: such a parallel is an infamy. Those beings that inhabit the maison closes have already been hit, offended by words and acts, despised and on op of that, badly paid. Do not include me so that to all f those disgraces which are generally a product of misery, I would go and to add to that humiliation such an insulting comparison. 

Manuel Caballero on “Excellent Credentials”

December 19, 2004

Manuel Caballero writes an article in today’s El Universal in which he describes some of the credentials of those that were recently appointed to the Supreme Court called “Excellent Credentials” in which he basically reveals not the credentials but the lack of credentials. I will no translate it all, but I loved how he closed it”


Since I don’t want to have problems with the new Bolivarian Justice, I will limit myself to give here in the same order (as the article) the initials of these three new jewels of our Judiciary: Francisco Carrasquero, Omar Mora Diaz and Luis Velasquez Alvaray.


 


Postcriptum: Before closing this, I would like to point something out that is at the same time a declaration of principles. Up to now, I have been willing to sign at the bottom of texts which can be incriminatory by the Government’s Justice system. This time I will not do it with those that call the current Supreme Court a brothel, and thus accuse Ivan Rincon of being a pimp. I will not accompany the reporter accused of such an insult. No: such a parallel is an infamy. Those beings that inhabit the maison closes have already been hit, offended by words and acts, despised and on op of that, badly paid. Do not include me so that to all f those disgraces which are generally a product of misery, I would go and to add to that humiliation such an insulting comparison. 

Governor decrees “intervention” of private farms

December 19, 2004

There is lots of concern over the decree by the Governor of Cojedes state Johnny (no misspelling) Yanez Rangel ordering the “intervention of all urban, rural or lands with agricultural vocation, public or private, which are presumably not in use or under the regimen of large estates, which are in conflict of ownership and or with distribution problems”


In this first decree, the regional Government intervenes 16 farms, belonging to private individuals, foreign and local companies, politicians and retired military. It also extends the intervention to other extensions of land that are later determined to be covered by the decree according to technical studies.


 


The legal counsel for the state backed the decree with this senseless statement:


 


“Property is going to be respected, the term intervention may be strong, but the intention is to establish order, under no scenario is this an expropriation, what we are looking for is for win-win situation”


 


Anyone understand that statement? I certainly don’t.


 


Separately, the Governor himself said:


 


“What we are looking for is to end anarchy…the idea is to coordinate and find out about the lands and define which ones are agricultural, and which ones are private or public…the land not in use in private hands must be used, if not, we will expropriate them…we are intervening 120 Hectares, we will study the condition in which they are today and will apply legal regulations, to make them produce, sustained under the framework of endogenous development”


 


In 2001, Chavez had approved under the framework of an enabling law, a land Bill that allowed the Government to expropriate land that was not being used and regulating the use of land. However, the law itself said that it could not begin to be enforced until a national land registry of farm land was completed and it gave the power to implement the law to the Institute for Lands. That law did not give regional Governors the power to implement the Bill.


 


There are conflicting reports about the purpose of the decree. To some, it is trial balloons to have Chavze implement similar interventions nationwide. to others, it is a dispute between the use of land for raising cattle or for agriculture. Finally, others say that the Cojedes Government has been trying to start a sugar processing plant and needs the land being intervened in order to carry out his project that has been planned jointly with Cuban “experts”.

City Councilman continues to link Government figures to Anderson murder

December 19, 2004

City councilman Carlos Herrera appears in both today’s El Nacional and El Universal saying essentially the same thing about what I wondered about in my last post. His statements show that he keeps pointing to the Vice-Presidency and individuals in the finance sector for responsibility for the death of Prosecutor Danilo Anderson. Herrera was Anderson’s best friend. They also show that the investigation is not following up all of the leads and there is an important Government rift about the case. Let’s see:


In El Nacional Herrera says:


 


“The Attorney General/Prosecutor has to know that there are lots of people that are near him that are conspiring behind his back…”


 


Anderson adds that in different occasions he has been willing to collaborate with authorities telling them what he knows, but there are groups that are not interested in that he does it. He says the investigative police has yet to interview him or ask him about what he has denounced.


 


He said that while the Vice-President said his statements were garbage, he is glad the Attorney General has found them useful. 


 


In El Universal he calls on the Attorney general to meet with him on Monday because he has things that he can not say publicly, because people would start running. “If I say what I know, they will never catch the intellectual authors of the murder because they would leave the country”.


 


He added that the Carmona decree was signed by only three bankers, thus it is not that difficult to investigate.


 


Separately, Anderson’s girlfriend says in today’s newspapers, that the Vice-president called Anderson more than twenty times the week before his death and an additional twenty calls from Rangel’s’ assistants, adding that Rangel was pressuring Anderson.


 


Both Herrera and his girlfriend suggest that he was killed for prosecuting some people for being in the Presidential Palace on April 12th. While the cases are reported as people being prosecuted for rebellion for signing the decree that Carmona issued that day, among those that are being prosecuted are people who were at the Presidential Palace and did not sign the decree, but either signed the attendance sheets at the entrance or have been seen in videos as being present at the palace.  Coincidentally, the first 40 of those Anderson had charged with rebellion, can no longer leave the country according to a decision by a Court yesterday. This includes Maria Corina Machado the Head of Sumate, who now has been charge for two separate crimes.


 


The Supreme Court ruled in August 2003 that five Generals involved with Chávez’ brief departure in April 2002 could not be charged with rebellion because no weapons were used. In order for the Chavez Government to succeed with the prosecution of the 400 people that went to the Presidential Palace in April 12th., that decision needs to be overturned. Despite the fact that Supreme Court decisions can not be overturned, the Attorney General has asked that Court, now firmly packed by Chavistas, to overturn the case. The Court ahs accepted the case.


 


The only reason for doing this is to simply get rid of about 400 opposition leaders with one stroke. Besides going o jail, if any pf these people are found guilty they will not be eligible to hold public office for life.

City Councilman continues to link Government figures to Anderson murder

December 19, 2004

City councilman Carlos Herrera appears in both today’s El Nacional and El Universal saying essentially the same thing about what I wondered about in my last post. His statements show that he keeps pointing to the Vice-Presidency and individuals in the finance sector for responsibility for the death of Prosecutor Danilo Anderson. Herrera was Anderson’s best friend. They also show that the investigation is not following up all of the leads and there is an important Government rift about the case. Let’s see:


In El Nacional Herrera says:


 


“The Attorney General/Prosecutor has to know that there are lots of people that are near him that are conspiring behind his back…”


 


Anderson adds that in different occasions he has been willing to collaborate with authorities telling them what he knows, but there are groups that are not interested in that he does it. He says the investigative police has yet to interview him or ask him about what he has denounced.


 


He said that while the Vice-President said his statements were garbage, he is glad the Attorney General has found them useful. 


 


In El Universal he calls on the Attorney general to meet with him on Monday because he has things that he can not say publicly, because people would start running. “If I say what I know, they will never catch the intellectual authors of the murder because they would leave the country”.


 


He added that the Carmona decree was signed by only three bankers, thus it is not that difficult to investigate.


 


Separately, Anderson’s girlfriend says in today’s newspapers, that the Vice-president called Anderson more than twenty times the week before his death and an additional twenty calls from Rangel’s’ assistants, adding that Rangel was pressuring Anderson.


 


Both Herrera and his girlfriend suggest that he was killed for prosecuting some people for being in the Presidential Palace on April 12th. While the cases are reported as people being prosecuted for rebellion for signing the decree that Carmona issued that day, among those that are being prosecuted are people who were at the Presidential Palace and did not sign the decree, but either signed the attendance sheets at the entrance or have been seen in videos as being present at the palace.  Coincidentally, the first 40 of those Anderson had charged with rebellion, can no longer leave the country according to a decision by a Court yesterday. This includes Maria Corina Machado the Head of Sumate, who now has been charge for two separate crimes.


 


The Supreme Court ruled in August 2003 that five Generals involved with Chávez’ brief departure in April 2002 could not be charged with rebellion because no weapons were used. In order for the Chavez Government to succeed with the prosecution of the 400 people that went to the Presidential Palace in April 12th., that decision needs to be overturned. Despite the fact that Supreme Court decisions can not be overturned, the Attorney General has asked that Court, now firmly packed by Chavistas, to overturn the case. The Court ahs accepted the case.


 


The only reason for doing this is to simply get rid of about 400 opposition leaders with one stroke. Besides going o jail, if any pf these people are found guilty they will not be eligible to hold public office for life.

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