Archive for January, 2005

One dollar by Trino Márquez

January 29, 2005

Good article in Analitica by Trino Marquez


One dollar by Trino Márquez


When Cayo Caesar Augustus Germanico, better known as Calígula, designated his horse as Consul, he did it with the express intention of degrading the Roman Senate, along with the political class that had sunk together with the Emperor, in the marsh of corruption and the immorality.  The purest and simple scorn was what that mentally weak personality, turned tyrant, distilled.  In the modern world “emperors” like Jean Beadle Bokassa or Haile Salassie, lacked the needed insolence to reach the extremes of Caligula, even if they approached him.  Bocassa did not have enough designating himself lifetime President of the Centro-African Republic, but in 1976 he proclaimed himself “Emperor”, surrounded by pomp that hit in the face one of the most miserable people in the world. Salassie, King of Kings of Ethiopia, used to have fun throwing succulent stakes at his tigers, while his people died of hunger. Each despot has a particular style of demonstrating his absolute disdain for his fellow men. Presidents elected via popular vote, and obligated by circumstances to meet in electoral contests every once in a while, also have their style which identifies them.


The rally last Sunday in Avenida Bolivar was the postmodern equivalent of the designation of Caligula’s horse as Consul. It is no longer enough to force public institutions to submit themselves to the orders of the Chief of State. It is not sufficient to give them orders, via the media, to the President of the Supreme Court or the Attorney General, or to place in the Electoral Board four unconditionals to the “process”. In the new phase of the pretty revolution the President of the Republic feels obligated to show the leftists of the world, especially those in Latin America, that he is capable of laughing, up to the point of ridicule, of the President of the US and his Secretary of State, that illiterate called Condoleezza Rice. 


The mocking of Mrs. Rice did not have the touch of humor and irony that the great statesmen usually exhibit.  Winston Churchill was famous by the whip that he unloaded on his adversaries.  Caustic language that perforated the skin of the enemy, but maintained the respect. With the ladies, not even with the petal of a rose. He would trash Hitler up to the point of turning him into nothing; however, he would not even attack that mass murderer at the personal level. He did not do it for consideration with that reincarnation of evil, but for respect to the audience meeting at the Parliament and the British people that would listen to him on the radio. What Chavez did with Mrs. Rice is not so much an affront to a lady that occupies a high position in a foreign country, but an insult to the intelligence and dignity of Venezuelan women. Machismo, bragging and the militaristic style of Chávez’ words do not offend the Foreign Minister of the most powerful nature of the world. Eagles do not hunt flies. But it does demonstrate the decomposition of power in Venezuela and the handing over and submission of the institutions to a personalistic President who assumes himself to be above the laws, the institutions, morals and good manners.


Placing himself in that plane of superiority he launches his one dollar bet to Bush: Let’s see who stays more time governing, challenging the US President. People, in fact, think Chavez will stay more time at the Miraflores Palace than Bush at the White House. What the man from Barinas should not forget is that since 1779, every four years in the country from the north there has been a transmission of power in peaceful form, In the US there has never been a military coup, a coup attempt, a scare that has placed in danger constitutional continuity. The same can not be said of Venezuela. Chavez himself was the main actor in one in 1992. We all hope that no early surprise will ever take place again here, but in this region of the world, one never knows.


Another interesting point is that Bush was reelected after being selected candidate in primary elections in which he had to face other candidates from the Republican Party, certainly weak ones, but who dared compete with the person that governs from the White House, We can not say the same here in Venezuela. Democracy is seriously wounded both in the country, as well as well as within MVR itself. As far as I know, Hugo Chavez already is the candidate of officialdom for the elections in December 2006, without any organization of democratic participation choosing him. The leader (caudillo) does not even concern himself with keeping appearances. He accuses Bush the tyrant, but he does not ask his party’s grassroots about any of the decisions he makes, least of all those related to the democratic dynamics of political parties, despite the fact that the Law of Parties and Political Participation obligates the selection of presidential candidates in elections that can not go beyond two levels in the selection of the candidate. He chose the candidates for Governor from MVR with the same dictatorial style. Even this type of legality irritates the sensitive skin of the autocrat.


The superiority of the advanced democracies consists in that their leaders are elected so that they fulfill, during a certain period of time, the responsibilities established in the Constitution. Those societies do not bet, nor look for a Messiah. They are happy to nominate Government officials that obey and make obey the laws. AD and COPEI sunk, because they thought power was eternal and that with it you could commit any folly.

One dollar by Trino Márquez

January 29, 2005

Good article in Analitica by Trino Marquez


One dollar by Trino Márquez


When Cayo Caesar Augustus Germanico, better known as Calígula, designated his horse as Consul, he did it with the express intention of degrading the Roman Senate, along with the political class that had sunk together with the Emperor, in the marsh of corruption and the immorality.  The purest and simple scorn was what that mentally weak personality, turned tyrant, distilled.  In the modern world “emperors” like Jean Beadle Bokassa or Haile Salassie, lacked the needed insolence to reach the extremes of Caligula, even if they approached him.  Bocassa did not have enough designating himself lifetime President of the Centro-African Republic, but in 1976 he proclaimed himself “Emperor”, surrounded by pomp that hit in the face one of the most miserable people in the world. Salassie, King of Kings of Ethiopia, used to have fun throwing succulent stakes at his tigers, while his people died of hunger. Each despot has a particular style of demonstrating his absolute disdain for his fellow men. Presidents elected via popular vote, and obligated by circumstances to meet in electoral contests every once in a while, also have their style which identifies them.


The rally last Sunday in Avenida Bolivar was the postmodern equivalent of the designation of Caligula’s horse as Consul. It is no longer enough to force public institutions to submit themselves to the orders of the Chief of State. It is not sufficient to give them orders, via the media, to the President of the Supreme Court or the Attorney General, or to place in the Electoral Board four unconditionals to the “process”. In the new phase of the pretty revolution the President of the Republic feels obligated to show the leftists of the world, especially those in Latin America, that he is capable of laughing, up to the point of ridicule, of the President of the US and his Secretary of State, that illiterate called Condoleezza Rice. 


The mocking of Mrs. Rice did not have the touch of humor and irony that the great statesmen usually exhibit.  Winston Churchill was famous by the whip that he unloaded on his adversaries.  Caustic language that perforated the skin of the enemy, but maintained the respect. With the ladies, not even with the petal of a rose. He would trash Hitler up to the point of turning him into nothing; however, he would not even attack that mass murderer at the personal level. He did not do it for consideration with that reincarnation of evil, but for respect to the audience meeting at the Parliament and the British people that would listen to him on the radio. What Chavez did with Mrs. Rice is not so much an affront to a lady that occupies a high position in a foreign country, but an insult to the intelligence and dignity of Venezuelan women. Machismo, bragging and the militaristic style of Chávez’ words do not offend the Foreign Minister of the most powerful nature of the world. Eagles do not hunt flies. But it does demonstrate the decomposition of power in Venezuela and the handing over and submission of the institutions to a personalistic President who assumes himself to be above the laws, the institutions, morals and good manners.


Placing himself in that plane of superiority he launches his one dollar bet to Bush: Let’s see who stays more time governing, challenging the US President. People, in fact, think Chavez will stay more time at the Miraflores Palace than Bush at the White House. What the man from Barinas should not forget is that since 1779, every four years in the country from the north there has been a transmission of power in peaceful form, In the US there has never been a military coup, a coup attempt, a scare that has placed in danger constitutional continuity. The same can not be said of Venezuela. Chavez himself was the main actor in one in 1992. We all hope that no early surprise will ever take place again here, but in this region of the world, one never knows.


Another interesting point is that Bush was reelected after being selected candidate in primary elections in which he had to face other candidates from the Republican Party, certainly weak ones, but who dared compete with the person that governs from the White House, We can not say the same here in Venezuela. Democracy is seriously wounded both in the country, as well as well as within MVR itself. As far as I know, Hugo Chavez already is the candidate of officialdom for the elections in December 2006, without any organization of democratic participation choosing him. The leader (caudillo) does not even concern himself with keeping appearances. He accuses Bush the tyrant, but he does not ask his party’s grassroots about any of the decisions he makes, least of all those related to the democratic dynamics of political parties, despite the fact that the Law of Parties and Political Participation obligates the selection of presidential candidates in elections that can not go beyond two levels in the selection of the candidate. He chose the candidates for Governor from MVR with the same dictatorial style. Even this type of legality irritates the sensitive skin of the autocrat.


The superiority of the advanced democracies consists in that their leaders are elected so that they fulfill, during a certain period of time, the responsibilities established in the Constitution. Those societies do not bet, nor look for a Messiah. They are happy to nominate Government officials that obey and make obey the laws. AD and COPEI sunk, because they thought power was eternal and that with it you could commit any folly.

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!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 11,578 other followers