Archive for February 22nd, 2005

Live from Norway! Chavez’ paranoia and singing Generals!

February 22, 2005

And if you have not visited Stig’s website to hear Chavez accusing the US of trying to assassinate him or the singing Generals, please do, just click here and enjoy (or be ashamed!)(You can try here too)

Carter Center: Stay Home!

February 22, 2005

I second Daniel’s post. Venezuelans would prefer at this time if the Carter Center stayed away from our country. The role the Center played in the recall referendum, before and after it, left a very bitter taste in all of those like me, who are certain that the outcome was fraudulent. The category on the left called rr Studies is a testimony to the superficiality of the “studies” promoted by the Carter Center to explain away the possibility of fraud in the recall vote. Carter and the Carter Center did not demand that the CNE do the “hot audits” on August 16th. that had been agreed on and agreed to terms that were unacceptable in the audits carried out afterwards. There are lies in the reports from the Carter Center, such as that the boxes containing the ballots never left their sight.


Thus, Venezuelans in the opposition think the Carter Center failed them completely by being superficial and actually helped in eliminating those “elements of balance and equilibrium” that it is asking for in its communiqué tonight. The time to act was then, not now. By now, the total control of the political structure in this country is in the hands of Chavez and his cohorts and there is nothing that the Carter Center can do. The current Electoral Board is by now composed of four pro-Chavez members out of five and we did not hear from the Carter Center when this was imposed using less than democratic means. There is no chance for a fair election in Venezuela anymore and this was all accomplished under the supervision of the Carter Center.


 


So please, help make elections fair in the US, but leave us alone, we would have done better without you last time! I never trusted the Carter Center, but many did, including too many leaders of our sorry opposition leadership and it is because of that that we are where we are today!


 


Stay away!

Carter Center: Stay Home!

February 22, 2005

I second Daniel’s post. Venezuelans would prefer at this time if the Carter Center stayed away from our country. The role the Center played in the recall referendum, before and after it, left a very bitter taste in all of those like me, who are certain that the outcome was fraudulent. The category on the left called rr Studies is a testimony to the superficiality of the “studies” promoted by the Carter Center to explain away the possibility of fraud in the recall vote. Carter and the Carter Center did not demand that the CNE do the “hot audits” on August 16th. that had been agreed on and agreed to terms that were unacceptable in the audits carried out afterwards. There are lies in the reports from the Carter Center, such as that the boxes containing the ballots never left their sight.


Thus, Venezuelans in the opposition think the Carter Center failed them completely by being superficial and actually helped in eliminating those “elements of balance and equilibrium” that it is asking for in its communiqué tonight. The time to act was then, not now. By now, the total control of the political structure in this country is in the hands of Chavez and his cohorts and there is nothing that the Carter Center can do. The current Electoral Board is by now composed of four pro-Chavez members out of five and we did not hear from the Carter Center when this was imposed using less than democratic means. There is no chance for a fair election in Venezuela anymore and this was all accomplished under the supervision of the Carter Center.


 


So please, help make elections fair in the US, but leave us alone, we would have done better without you last time! I never trusted the Carter Center, but many did, including too many leaders of our sorry opposition leadership and it is because of that that we are where we are today!


 


Stay away!

Media offensive against Venezuela or replicating the Chavista script?

February 22, 2005

The Venezuelan Ministry of Information has started an aggressive campaign to demonstrate that the US media has started a media war against Venezuela. What is perhaps most remarkable about the reaction by Minister Izarra and his Ministry is that you could simply apply all of the charges he makes to the style of the Venezuelan Government during the last few years. In producing this document, it appears as if they may be more upset at someone stealing their playbook, than anything else. As first pointed out by Quico in the comments this morning when he rightly questioned my other choice for “Quote of the day” Minister Izarra actually said yesterday:


“We analyzed what is the use of pseudo reporting techniques to lie, advance half truths, confuse, exaggerate, fake sources, distort facts, and unfairly utilize anonymity”


 


Hey! Sounds like something out of the Chavista playbook! Izarra is the leading expert on it, nothing to analyze really, just jealousy! They may even think they invented these techniques by now!


 


In fact, the reason why I did not use any of this as “Quote of the Day” was that the whole thing is quote long and complicated and a story on itself, with dozens of quotes.  How about this, for example:


 


“This new attack appears to be oriented at delegitimizing the democratic efforts being advanced by the people and the Government to democratically propel the changes towards the political, economic and social change of our country”


 


I particularly like the use of “the people” before the Government and the use of “economic progress” in the text. How is that for lying or for talking about something they could care less about!


 


But I particularly like the part about “Reiteration” the so called “Goebbels effect” by which things are repeated over and over until they believe it is true. Hey! Isn’t that what Chavismo is all about? Maybe Izarra could do similar studies about the lies of this Government on the four top priorities in Chavez’s campaign in 1998: Poverty, crime, corruption and participative democracy.


 


But there are so many others, like the lie by the US saying that there is an autocracy here. After all, autocracy means absolute and controlling power, supremacy. Apparently Izarra was too principled in April 2002, but left those same principles at the private TV station he used to work at, the moment he left it.  Chavez IS an autocrat and to pretend to say that someone is falsely accusing him of that is idiotic or as Goebbelian as the charges he is trying to deflect. In fact, as idiotic as saying the US is trying to kill Chavez, but that is another article and story altogether.


 


Then there are the “false” charges that Chavez is protecting terrorism (We forgot Rodrigo Granda or the Bolivarian Congress already!) or starting an arms race. How could anyone accuse the Venezuelan Government of that, when it has “only” committed US$ 2 billion in the last two months, to buy weapons as people go hungry and are now homeless by the floods? Naw! This is all in Bush’s or Dr. Rice’s head, a silly paranoia which has no basis on reality!


 


Then there is that absurd charge by Fox News, that Hugo Chavez loaded the Supreme Court or jailed Capriles Radonsky or has control over the oil profits of the country. Naw! False! False! False! Just read how Bandes “disappeared” US$ 2 billion from the Governments coffers and accounting and nobody knows where it may be. Control? Naw!


 


Note how everything is done in chunks of US$ 2 billion at a time.


 


The whole defense is almost sophomoric, the quotes so correct that they may make you laugh, saying that they are criticizing them unfairly. But this is no laughing matter. This is what Venezuelans have been facing during the last few years. From the illegality of the Constituent Assembly and its election to the cheating at the recall referendum, it is the Chavistas that have been experts at manipulating external opinion and promoting the lies of this fake revolution.  They now try to apply their style to the wide coverage of Chavez’ behavior in the last few months by the foreign press. They know the techniques by heart, they are experts!

Media offensive against Venezuela or replicating the Chavista script?

February 22, 2005

The Venezuelan Ministry of Information has started an aggressive campaign to demonstrate that the US media has started a media war against Venezuela. What is perhaps most remarkable about the reaction by Minister Izarra and his Ministry is that you could simply apply all of the charges he makes to the style of the Venezuelan Government during the last few years. In producing this document, it appears as if they may be more upset at someone stealing their playbook, than anything else. As first pointed out by Quico in the comments this morning when he rightly questioned my other choice for “Quote of the day” Minister Izarra actually said yesterday:


“We analyzed what is the use of pseudo reporting techniques to lie, advance half truths, confuse, exaggerate, fake sources, distort facts, and unfairly utilize anonymity”


 


Hey! Sounds like something out of the Chavista playbook! Izarra is the leading expert on it, nothing to analyze really, just jealousy! They may even think they invented these techniques by now!


 


In fact, the reason why I did not use any of this as “Quote of the Day” was that the whole thing is quote long and complicated and a story on itself, with dozens of quotes.  How about this, for example:


 


“This new attack appears to be oriented at delegitimizing the democratic efforts being advanced by the people and the Government to democratically propel the changes towards the political, economic and social change of our country”


 


I particularly like the use of “the people” before the Government and the use of “economic progress” in the text. How is that for lying or for talking about something they could care less about!


 


But I particularly like the part about “Reiteration” the so called “Goebbels effect” by which things are repeated over and over until they believe it is true. Hey! Isn’t that what Chavismo is all about? Maybe Izarra could do similar studies about the lies of this Government on the four top priorities in Chavez’s campaign in 1998: Poverty, crime, corruption and participative democracy.


 


But there are so many others, like the lie by the US saying that there is an autocracy here. After all, autocracy means absolute and controlling power, supremacy. Apparently Izarra was too principled in April 2002, but left those same principles at the private TV station he used to work at, the moment he left it.  Chavez IS an autocrat and to pretend to say that someone is falsely accusing him of that is idiotic or as Goebbelian as the charges he is trying to deflect. In fact, as idiotic as saying the US is trying to kill Chavez, but that is another article and story altogether.


 


Then there are the “false” charges that Chavez is protecting terrorism (We forgot Rodrigo Granda or the Bolivarian Congress already!) or starting an arms race. How could anyone accuse the Venezuelan Government of that, when it has “only” committed US$ 2 billion in the last two months, to buy weapons as people go hungry and are now homeless by the floods? Naw! This is all in Bush’s or Dr. Rice’s head, a silly paranoia which has no basis on reality!


 


Then there is that absurd charge by Fox News, that Hugo Chavez loaded the Supreme Court or jailed Capriles Radonsky or has control over the oil profits of the country. Naw! False! False! False! Just read how Bandes “disappeared” US$ 2 billion from the Governments coffers and accounting and nobody knows where it may be. Control? Naw!


 


Note how everything is done in chunks of US$ 2 billion at a time.


 


The whole defense is almost sophomoric, the quotes so correct that they may make you laugh, saying that they are criticizing them unfairly. But this is no laughing matter. This is what Venezuelans have been facing during the last few years. From the illegality of the Constituent Assembly and its election to the cheating at the recall referendum, it is the Chavistas that have been experts at manipulating external opinion and promoting the lies of this fake revolution.  They now try to apply their style to the wide coverage of Chavez’ behavior in the last few months by the foreign press. They know the techniques by heart, they are experts!

The Silence of the media or when the left meets the right in Venezuela

February 22, 2005

If anyone thought the gag law and the changes of the Penal Code would have no effect, one needs to go no further than recent events to know, to learn, that Venezuela is currently living under a very subtle form of censorship. The media is being extremely careful of not publishing or not showing anything that may offend the revolutionary sensibility of this fraudulent Government.


Two cases come to mind: One, there have been reports that the number of dead people during the recent flooding was much higher than it has been reported. I have talked to well known reporters who understand that the number of dead people is over 300, but they have no way of proving it, as the Government is not providing any data on this issue and since all of the disaster areas are being guarded by the military it is not easy to have real  numbers of information. The second case most people don’t even have any idea about is what happened at Universidad de Oriente, which has yet to appear in any of the media. But first some background.


In Venezuela, universities are “autonomous”. The concept implies that they make their own decisions and the police can not enter campuses. Throughout the years, the biggest scandals of the “IVth. Republic” occurred whenever a Government violated this concept and the police went into any University. The left and the press would raise hell and there would be demonstrations for days about the issue.


 


Well, last week, the campus of the Universidad de Oriente in Eastern Venezuela was raided by the joint action of the police of Sucre state in a joint raid by the municipal and state police with the military and the National Guard.


 


It all began when two groups pf students were protesting within the University how bad the dining facilities currently are at the University as well as the increase in the transporation fares. The protesters were bombarded by stones from the Mayor’s office and the two groups (From what I understand, they were both pro-Chavez) had a battle which lasted until the cops and soldiers arrived.


 


The raid was not precisely nice, students and Professors were taken away at gunpoint, laboratories were damaged, workers and students were mistreated. There have been no classes since then, there are daily protests etc…


 


Bit none of this appears in the news, as the media is concerned that talking about this or showing it on TV may be interpreted under the gag law as an attempt to create uncertainty in the population. What all of this proves is how close the extreme right and the extreme left of the world really are. Those sending in the cops and troops were supposed to be left-wingers only six years ago, who would have cried foul if a raid like this had taken place and even more if the media had not reported it. But today, these people are “authorities” running this fake revolution in which even their own supporters are having their rights violated and their actions repressed in the interest of the common “good”.  Sound familiar? Pinochet would be so proud of them!

The Silence of the media or when the left meets the right in Venezuela

February 22, 2005

If anyone thought the gag law and the changes of the Penal Code would have no effect, one needs to go no further than recent events to know, to learn, that Venezuela is currently living under a very subtle form of censorship. The media is being extremely careful of not publishing or not showing anything that may offend the revolutionary sensibility of this fraudulent Government.


Two cases come to mind: One, there have been reports that the number of dead people during the recent flooding was much higher than it has been reported. I have talked to well known reporters who understand that the number of dead people is over 300, but they have no way of proving it, as the Government is not providing any data on this issue and since all of the disaster areas are being guarded by the military it is not easy to have real  numbers of information. The second case most people don’t even have any idea about is what happened at Universidad de Oriente, which has yet to appear in any of the media. But first some background.


In Venezuela, universities are “autonomous”. The concept implies that they make their own decisions and the police can not enter campuses. Throughout the years, the biggest scandals of the “IVth. Republic” occurred whenever a Government violated this concept and the police went into any University. The left and the press would raise hell and there would be demonstrations for days about the issue.


 


Well, last week, the campus of the Universidad de Oriente in Eastern Venezuela was raided by the joint action of the police of Sucre state in a joint raid by the municipal and state police with the military and the National Guard.


 


It all began when two groups pf students were protesting within the University how bad the dining facilities currently are at the University as well as the increase in the transporation fares. The protesters were bombarded by stones from the Mayor’s office and the two groups (From what I understand, they were both pro-Chavez) had a battle which lasted until the cops and soldiers arrived.


 


The raid was not precisely nice, students and Professors were taken away at gunpoint, laboratories were damaged, workers and students were mistreated. There have been no classes since then, there are daily protests etc…


 


Bit none of this appears in the news, as the media is concerned that talking about this or showing it on TV may be interpreted under the gag law as an attempt to create uncertainty in the population. What all of this proves is how close the extreme right and the extreme left of the world really are. Those sending in the cops and troops were supposed to be left-wingers only six years ago, who would have cried foul if a raid like this had taken place and even more if the media had not reported it. But today, these people are “authorities” running this fake revolution in which even their own supporters are having their rights violated and their actions repressed in the interest of the common “good”.  Sound familiar? Pinochet would be so proud of them!

A Government which is not auditable and the story of the Gallo Pelon by Gustavo Garcia

February 22, 2005

Gustavo Garcia is an Economist, who was the first Head of the Economic Office of the National Assembly, and who is always digging for financial information and probably is one of the best people in terms of understanding the numbers of PDVSA and the country. Garcia yesterday’s El Universal wrote the Op-Ed article below about the lack of transparency in the Government’s financial numbers. Today in an interview, he points out the billion dollar size discrepancies in the Government’s numbers and in the case of Bandes he asks: If a development bank imports, what is the sense of having it? What is it developing? The question is more than rhetoric, the implications of the Bandes not selling its foreign currency to the Central Bank is not only one of legality, but one of a possible huge source of corruption and manipulation. We are talking about US$ 2 billion managed outside of the country’s regular institutions. Why? What are they using these funds for? What are they hiding?  Are they in US$? Were they changed into local currency via the parallel market? Too many unanswered questions about accountability and transparency are raised by this.  


For those that don’t know the story of the Gallo Pelon is a story that always goes back to the beginning, no matter what you may say, which Garcia says is like the web page of the Finance Ministry:


 


A Government which is not auditable and the story of the Gallo Pelon by Gustavo Garcia


 


It should not surprise us that we will likely never know the amount of funds invested in Vargas after the 1999 tragedy: this is a Government that does not provide accounting and more recently, does not publish information about the amount of funds available and effectively spent, despite the legal and constitutional mandate to do so. Although this practice has been occurring for a few years, since 2003 it has aggravated to extremes. For example, the ministries are obligated to present their yearly memoirs, which by tradition in Venezuela, would include all of the statistics relevant to the sector, as well as the funds received from the national budget and the amounts spent from each budget item.


 


Many ministries have abandoned this practice for a few years and the few that still do it, have excluded the statistical information for each sector and the data about the resources assigned. The autonomous institutes and state companies are equally obligated to do the same. Nevertheless, PDVSA stopped publishing its financial statements since 2002 and the Ministry of Energy and Oil has done the same thing with respect to the statistical information refereeing to the hydrocarbons sector.


Previously, the web page of these two institutions contained abundant and relevant financial and statistical informationabout the sector, which has been completely eliminated. This impossibility is still attributed to the strike. Then one may ask: What type of recovery of PDVSA is the Government speaking of when  they are not even capable of collecting and publishing statistical and financial information about the sector which can be trusted?


The Government has not published its financials since 2003. The Onapre (National Budget Office) has not published numbers about expenditures agreed upon in 2004 and its respective financial execution. The Central Bank has not published the details about the composition of the monetary base since the end of 2004, which it used to do regularly in its bulletin of weekly indicators. I have been able to find out, that at the end of 2004 there was a sizable movement of funds in the Treasury account in the Central Bank towards various public organizations with the objective of using them in 2005 outside of the formal budget. That is why the publication of the monetary base shows every week empty columns and there will surely leave an empty space in the weekly sequence of that information.


By the way, the Central Bank reports in the movements of foreign currency in 2004, that it bought and sold very small amounts of US dollars from Bandes, while PDVSA and the Executive branch point out that the oil company transferred to that institution some US$ 2 billion. Where are they or what have  they spent these dollars on, that did not go through the Central Bank? Bandes has not published financial information since 2003.


The best monument to the lack of transparency is earned by the Ministry of Finance, which has not published any information about the financial execution of the budget and the state of public debt since 2004. That statistical information used to be in the recent past in its web page. Why don’t you test it dear reader. Open http://www.mf.gov.ve and try to find the statistical information about the budget or public debt that is offered in that page and you will play with your computer the old story of the “gallo pelón”, since when you attempt to open the information it will simply bring you back, once again, to the home page. 

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