Archive for April 21st, 2005

Privileges and auctoritas at IBIC

April 21, 2005

I left science 14 years ago (Yes, three Governments ago!) because I did
not think the path that the Venezuelan Government was pushing science into made
much sense or had much future for me or for Venezuela. Things have gotten worse, much worse, as
this article by Jaime Requena, infamous for his Requena Files on the
left, tells us in this very good (and sad!) article, which appeared in
El Nacional yesterday.

Privileges
and auctoritas at IBIC
by Jaime Requena

A
few days
ago in a newspaper interview, the Vice-Minister of Planning and
Development of
the Ministry of Science, architect Luis Marcano, delineated the public
policies
that will serve as reference for the scientific research and technology
projects that will be carried out in the country, specially at IVIC.
According
to his evaluation, that institution does not fulfill a social function,
thus, one has the intuition, it must be reformed. Of special concern
for the high official are the
alarming “privileges” that the researches enjoy, which, one as the
intuition, must be
eliminated. Without any details, the Vice Minister turned into a state
of
suspicion not only what many have demonstrated are important and
significant
contributions to knowledge, but also to the way and manner in which
that
knowledge is generated; what sociologists call the ethos of IVIC.

If the
ministerial admonition implies promoting the hiring of new talent and stopping
the loss of brains ; providing labs with equipment and consumption goods;
renovating the wounded and incomplete library; updating salaries at levels of misery; or
establishing a plan for the acquisition of essential goods, like vehicles or
housing using very soft loans like those the Banco Industrial gives the
military, then we welcome the pruning and let’s devote ourselves to rewrite the
Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy (DRAE); to endure deficiencies would come to be a synonym to enjoying prerogatives.

However,
if the admonition is directed at eliminating the fundamental characteristics of
the social contract of IVIC, which has been the search, without obstacles nor limitations,
of new knowledge that defy imagination; the free play of ideas without
discrimination for reasons of sex, age, convictions or social origin; or the
evaluation of personnel by his academic peers and on the basis of quantifiable
merits, strictly professional and intellectual, then let’s continue rewriting
the DRAE, because ethical values would be the same as privileges. We should also
then be prepared to write the obituary for science in Venezuela.

To
straighten out battered IVIC one would require a diagnosis, a plan and
leadership. The diagnose was already made through the dogmatic statements. As for
the plan of reorganization, it must be clandestine since nothing has been made
public, while the auctoritas of the
institutional leadership are open to question. Indeed, besides the legitimacy
of the Director who occupies the position-he was overwhelmingly rejected by his
colleagues during the consultation for his nomination-it is fitting to question
if he, together with his Sub Director, would be disposed to show the way to
the subordinates and immolate fertile scientific careers developed at the
institution during the last forty years.

As the
authorities of IVIC, they would be in charge of ordering the scientific
personnel under their charge, so that they stop researching on what they have
been doing and begin working on subjects chosen by the politburo, to provide
technical support to initiatives which are the object of presidential whim.
They would have to leave aside their studies about the quantum deformation of
Hamiltonian systems (sic) or the molecular structure of the head of the myosin
of the muscles of the tarantula (sic) to devote themselves to explore, elbow to
elbow with their subordinates how to prepare telita cheese for export,
primordial requirement of the Mama Carabobo Mision, the reevaluation of babandi, of
immediate necessity for the dysfunctional beneficiaries of the mission chief
General Cipriano Castro or fantasize about the new applications for malojillo
poultice, advanced party for the magic recipe book of the babalaos
(Santeria priests) of the Mision Orisha (a
faith).

Even if
the silence of the authorities of the institute about the lucubrations and
opinions of the Vice Minister indicate conformity, to set about the process of
transformation will provide them with the opportunity of showing their
commitment, giving an inescapable example. Regrettably, I fear very much that
so much party discipline and professional largesse, that could even reach
almost quasi heroic levels, will not carry to a happy ending the conversion of
what used to be the best research center south of the Rio Grande, into the
revolutionary Instituto Bolivariano de Investigaciones Cientificas.
I don’t see a future to explore the course of a science like the one the
Vice-Minister encourages: pseudo, given that it is new, parochial, because it
is endogenous, and populist, instead of social.

Two cynics come out of the woods again today

April 21, 2005

It was a day for the cynics to come out of the woods today:

(picture of Adolfo Tascon courtesy of Noticiero Digital, thanks Ed!)

1) Deputy Luis (alias Adolph) Tascon came out
and said that his infamous list was actually purchased for “thousands
of dollars” from an executive of ONG Sumate. This is actually quite
good, as it gives more material for the Prosecutor to investigate. For
example Tascon could explain to us why:

-He didn’t say anything about this before, as was his duty.

-Why he participated in acquiring what was clearly illegal property, as was his duty.

-Why
didn’t he denounce a “thousand dollar transaction” in a country where
it is illegal today to carry out such a transaction as well as being
illegal to hold “thousands of dollars”, as was his duty.

-Why he went ahead and posted it anyway and used it in the way he did, despite knowing its obscure and illegal origin.

Tascon’s
immunity as a Deputy of the National Assembly should be removed, so
that all of these crimes committed by him and others can be
fully investigated.

2) The other cynic that showed his face was the People’s Ombudsman who said
that it was a defaming to accuse an “institution of human rights” like
the one he presides. It turns out that someone that worked in his
office accused him today of firing her for signing against Chavez. I
loved his “human righties” answer: “No, I fired her because, I could
and no law protected her!”. You have to love this guy. He would not
recognize a human right he ever saw one, he always argues law (if he is
not traveling), but he comes out to defend the indefensible.

Where was German Mundarain, the People’s Ombudsman on April 11th, 12th.
2002? Where was he when the human rights were violated in dozens of
marches, people getting killed and injured? Where was he when the
Tascon list was openly used to fire and abuse people? Where was he when
kids were violently kicked out of their homes by the National Guard?
When Jose Vilas was shot in the back by the National Guard? When
soldiers were burned and burned and burned alive in their cells?

Human Rights? Defamation? Give me a break, German!

Venezuela: A new laboratory for Marxism and Marxist experiments?

April 21, 2005


Apologists
for the nature of the Chavez revolution should carefully read this link
and the three accompanying ones, where Marxist activities and proselytizing are
described in detail and in plain language. In the first link Chavez’s brother
and intellectual alter ego, his brother Adan, declares himself a Marxist and
calling to reclaim Marxism in the revolution in the same way they have
reclaimed the ideas of others (Did not know Zamora had any ideas!). He also
describes his brother’s recent intellectual “evolution”. Combine that with Chavez’
militarism and you get a clear picture of what type of ideological potpourri these
guys have, which bodes badly for Venezuela. At least Adan does not
go as far as his brother in calling the family poor. He is asked if he came
from a humble background, which he answers affirmatively and then proceeds to say
how his parents are both retired schoolteachers from Barinas. Two
schoolteachers salaries in Barinas in the 70’s placed the Chavez family
squarely in the middle class of Venezuelans and not the “poor” that
Chavez always claims.

The interview
also reveals how Chavez has always lied about why he joined the military. One
of those explanations (there are a few different ones) has always been that since he came from a poor family, he
could not attend the university. But his eldest brother Adan did! I guess he
came from the poor side of the brothers.

The other
three links show how Venezuela
has become a hotbed for the spread of the type of Marxist ideas that have
proven to fail everywhere. I particularly found the existence of a talk about “Workers’
control, Venepal shows the way” to be short of hilarious. The company is being
subsidized by the Government. It is already in trouble. What a farce! An what a tragedy for Venezuela!

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