Archive for January 28th, 2005

Reporter Patricia Poleo’s house gets raided by police looking for her sources of information

January 28, 2005

Only in Venezuela does the home of a reporter get raided by the police the day after the Human Rights Commission of the Organization of American States issues a precautionary measure ordering a Government to protect the same reporter.


But we have gotten used to such paradoxes in the revolution. Neither Venezuelan nor international law will stop the illegalities and abuses of the revolution against reporters or anyone else who dares challenge the “truth” according to the Government. Today it was the turn of Nuevo Pais reporter Patricia Poleo, whose home was raided by the investigative police by orders of Prosecutor Alejandro Castillo. Castillo has been after the reporter since the assassination of Prosecutor Danilo Anderson, since Poleo has been consistently exposing information which is leaked to her by sources close to the investigation.


 


Today’s search by the heavily armed cops was made to try to find evidence that would compromise those sources. Initially, the cops tried to take “evidence” independent of whether it had to do or not with the Anderson case, but her lawyers stopped them form taking anything unrelated. In any case, the law in Venezuela protects sources and the raid was illegal given that its only objective was to find out who Poleo’s sources are.


 


Curiously, Poleo mentions in her column today that on January 10th. she was called to testify by the same prosecutor, because her information was “too precise”. According to Poleo in that same column, there are internal conflicts within the police from day one, due to the murders of Antonio Castillo and Juan Carlos Sanchez and the irregular way in which the Guevara brothers were detained.


 


Poleo says that the cops also got mad at the hero treatment given to the murdered prosecutor, given what they knew about his illegal activities blackmailing those charged with rebellion for going to the Presidential Palace on April 12th. 2002. Poleo clearly has very good sources close to the investigation, in today’s column she even gives the telephone numbers of those people called, using Antonio Lopez’ telephone, after he had been killed. Most of the numbers are Cuban telephone numbers.


 


Poleo has been harassed repeatedly by the Chavez Government, with the OAS ordering precautionary measures for her protection a total of four times. Obviously the Chavez Government has never complied with these requests. Another bad day for democracy.

Venezuela says no payment is due on oil warrants

January 28, 2005

Ten days ago, S&P cut Venezuela’s debt rating to selective default over a missing debt payment on the so called oil warrants issued in 1990 with the PAR and DCB bonds, as reported here in this blog. The Government apparently was taken by surprise by the downgrade as nobody seemed to remember that it had to be made. Some blamed the new Minister of Finance, but in reality, the payment was due October 31st. way before Minister Merentes took the position. Despite this, Merentes blamed PDVSA, saying the company had not been able to provide the data required in order to calculate what the amount of the payment should be.


At the time, the Government said that S&P rushed to downgrade the country and that Venezuela was ready to pay the roughly US$ 30 million due and would create a trust at the payment agency with that amount until it had calculated how much money needed to be paid for each warrant. It also said it would pay interest on the money owed when paid.


 


Well, today the Government said that its preliminary calculation indicates that no payment needs to be made. According to the Ministry of Finance, no payment needs to be made because the average price of the Venezuelan oil basket for the period was below that of the reference price established by the original prospectus of the Brady bonds. The Government claims that S&P and others made the mistake of using the average price of the Venezuelan oil basket without subtracting shipping and insurance from it. Others say that S&P is right and the Government does owe the money.


 


In the end, this is simply creating unnecessary confusion in the country’s debt markets and projecting an image of disorganization that is not good for the country. Until the issue is cleared up, it will likely block the country from tapping international markets. The 2005 budget includes issuing debt in US currency and euros.

Venezuela says no payment is due on oil warrants

January 28, 2005

Ten days ago, S&P cut Venezuela’s debt rating to selective default over a missing debt payment on the so called oil warrants issued in 1990 with the PAR and DCB bonds, as reported here in this blog. The Government apparently was taken by surprise by the downgrade as nobody seemed to remember that it had to be made. Some blamed the new Minister of Finance, but in reality, the payment was due October 31st. way before Minister Merentes took the position. Despite this, Merentes blamed PDVSA, saying the company had not been able to provide the data required in order to calculate what the amount of the payment should be.


At the time, the Government said that S&P rushed to downgrade the country and that Venezuela was ready to pay the roughly US$ 30 million due and would create a trust at the payment agency with that amount until it had calculated how much money needed to be paid for each warrant. It also said it would pay interest on the money owed when paid.


 


Well, today the Government said that its preliminary calculation indicates that no payment needs to be made. According to the Ministry of Finance, no payment needs to be made because the average price of the Venezuelan oil basket for the period was below that of the reference price established by the original prospectus of the Brady bonds. The Government claims that S&P and others made the mistake of using the average price of the Venezuelan oil basket without subtracting shipping and insurance from it. Others say that S&P is right and the Government does owe the money.


 


In the end, this is simply creating unnecessary confusion in the country’s debt markets and projecting an image of disorganization that is not good for the country. Until the issue is cleared up, it will likely block the country from tapping international markets. The 2005 budget includes issuing debt in US currency and euros.

Colombia and Venezuela put conflict behind, for now

January 28, 2005

The Government’s of Venezuela and Colombia announced tonight that the crisis between the two countries had been “overcome”. The communiqué by the Colombian Government simply says that they will use established means of communication to fight terrorism, but fails to provide the apology that Chavez said was needed in order to consider the matter ended. The Venezuelan Government did not issue any communiqué but said it was quite satisfied with the one fro Colombia.

Colombia and Venezuela put conflict behind, for now

January 28, 2005

The Government’s of Venezuela and Colombia announced tonight that the crisis between the two countries had been “overcome”. The communiqué by the Colombian Government simply says that they will use established means of communication to fight terrorism, but fails to provide the apology that Chavez said was needed in order to consider the matter ended. The Venezuelan Government did not issue any communiqué but said it was quite satisfied with the one fro Colombia.

Weils’ Genius srikes again

January 28, 2005

A picture named weil1.jpg

Who is the Attorney General talking to?

January 28, 2005

One of the peculiar things of the Chavez administration is how often its members act more as if they were members of the opposition, making charges against the Government, rather than assuming their responsibilities as Government officials.


Case in point are the statements made by Attorney General/Prosecutor Isaias Rodriguez yesterday and today about the role of the police in the Anderson investigation. The “Fiscal General” or “Ministerio Publico” is a combination of the roles played in many countries by both the Attorney General and the Prosecutor. According to Article 285 of the Venezuelan Constitution, the “Fiscal” is in charge of guaranteeing the respect of the rights in all judicial processes, guaranteeing the rule of law and prosecuting all cases.


 


Thus, when the “Fiscal comes out publicly to say today that “the police are interfering with the investigation in the Anderson case” or “it seems as if the police want to favor those charged with the assassination of Anderson”, who is he talking to? Who is he accusing? He is the person responsible by constitutional mandate for administering justice in Venezuela, he should not be making accusations, and he should be announcing investigations to find who is doing this. Instead, he talks as if a sinister or mysterious force is responsible for blocking the investigation (the opposition?), which is simply ludicrous given that this Government has now been in charge of the investigative police for six years.


 


Maybe the problem is that the Prosecutors office spends too much time trying to find reasons to charge the opposition with crimes, such as the 400 people who are being charged with rebellion for going to the Presidential Palace on April 11th. and signing the infamous Carmona decree. Of course, they are all well known members of the opposition and the Prosecutor’s office has selectively excluded people like General Lucas Rincon, who said Chávez had resigned, or those like Ivan Rincon, President of the Supreme Court or Governor Yanez of Cojedes state, who either publicly accepted the Carmona Government or even volunteered to lead it.


 


Instead of denouncing, Isaias Rodriguez should simply do his job, assume his responsibility and realize that the buck stops at his office and nobody else’s. He should be impartially investigating cases and getting rid of the scum in the police forces and in his own office. While he continues to say that the press has condemned Danilo Anderson, he has never explained why he never initiated an investigation before Anderson was killed, on the charges made to his office by banker Maza Tirado that he was being offered a deal by which if he paid US$ 300,000 to a lawyer, his case could be magically dropped by the dead prosecutor.


 


Meanwhile in Madrid, Judge Garson, who does do his job, has now provided more information on the illegal payments to Chavez’ campaign by Spanish banks (Illegal for them to give it under Spanish law, illegal for Chavez and his party to receive under Venezuelan law). The total is now up to US$ 3.3 million paid to a company managed by Luis Miquilena, converted to Bolivars and deposited in an account at Banco Union. The judge has even provided the number of that account in which only two people could sign: Luis Miquilena and Hugo Chavez. I guess in that case, our distinguished Fiscal can not come out outraged and say that his own office is interfering with the investigation to protect the accused. But that is exactly what is going on.


 


Oh, the revolution!

Who is the Attorney General talking to?

January 28, 2005

One of the peculiar things of the Chavez administration is how often its members act more as if they were members of the opposition, making charges against the Government, rather than assuming their responsibilities as Government officials.


Case in point are the statements made by Attorney General/Prosecutor Isaias Rodriguez yesterday and today about the role of the police in the Anderson investigation. The “Fiscal General” or “Ministerio Publico” is a combination of the roles played in many countries by both the Attorney General and the Prosecutor. According to Article 285 of the Venezuelan Constitution, the “Fiscal” is in charge of guaranteeing the respect of the rights in all judicial processes, guaranteeing the rule of law and prosecuting all cases.


 


Thus, when the “Fiscal comes out publicly to say today that “the police are interfering with the investigation in the Anderson case” or “it seems as if the police want to favor those charged with the assassination of Anderson”, who is he talking to? Who is he accusing? He is the person responsible by constitutional mandate for administering justice in Venezuela, he should not be making accusations, and he should be announcing investigations to find who is doing this. Instead, he talks as if a sinister or mysterious force is responsible for blocking the investigation (the opposition?), which is simply ludicrous given that this Government has now been in charge of the investigative police for six years.


 


Maybe the problem is that the Prosecutors office spends too much time trying to find reasons to charge the opposition with crimes, such as the 400 people who are being charged with rebellion for going to the Presidential Palace on April 11th. and signing the infamous Carmona decree. Of course, they are all well known members of the opposition and the Prosecutor’s office has selectively excluded people like General Lucas Rincon, who said Chávez had resigned, or those like Ivan Rincon, President of the Supreme Court or Governor Yanez of Cojedes state, who either publicly accepted the Carmona Government or even volunteered to lead it.


 


Instead of denouncing, Isaias Rodriguez should simply do his job, assume his responsibility and realize that the buck stops at his office and nobody else’s. He should be impartially investigating cases and getting rid of the scum in the police forces and in his own office. While he continues to say that the press has condemned Danilo Anderson, he has never explained why he never initiated an investigation before Anderson was killed, on the charges made to his office by banker Maza Tirado that he was being offered a deal by which if he paid US$ 300,000 to a lawyer, his case could be magically dropped by the dead prosecutor.


 


Meanwhile in Madrid, Judge Garson, who does do his job, has now provided more information on the illegal payments to Chavez’ campaign by Spanish banks (Illegal for them to give it under Spanish law, illegal for Chavez and his party to receive under Venezuelan law). The total is now up to US$ 3.3 million paid to a company managed by Luis Miquilena, converted to Bolivars and deposited in an account at Banco Union. The judge has even provided the number of that account in which only two people could sign: Luis Miquilena and Hugo Chavez. I guess in that case, our distinguished Fiscal can not come out outraged and say that his own office is interfering with the investigation to protect the accused. But that is exactly what is going on.


 


Oh, the revolution!

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