Archive for August, 2005

CNE book for download (3.7 MB)

August 24, 2005

For those that feel a need and a desire to browse through the masterpiece of book by CNE Director Jorge Rodriguez, here is the link to the full book
(Warning: it is a 3.7 MB Acrobat download), including the infamous pie
chart in which the SI wins the recall vote on page 118. Anyone finding
something interesting, please comment in this post or send your post
via the little envelope at the bottom of the page. I will only get to
read the whole book over the weekend!

(Thanks Ed!)

Finding my political calling

August 23, 2005

Maybe I do belong to a political party after all (from lgf 1n 2002, via Instapundit):

What bloggers are more than anything, I think, is anti-idiot. That
makes life tough for Noam Chomsky, Cornel West, and the Revs. Falwell,
Robertson, Jackson, & Sharpton, for reasons that transcend
traditional partisanship and ideology.

Who would have thought, anti-idiotarian after all these years!

Much ado about Robertson

August 23, 2005


Yesterday when I first heard of what Pat Robertson had said about the US needing to kill Chavez, I did not
even think of writing about it, after all, Mr. Robertson has said sillier and
crazier things than that. For example, he is the author of such wisdom as:

“Feminism is a socialist, anti-family, political movement that encourages
women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy
capitalism and become lesbians”

Hey!
look at the density of wisdom in that sentence! You have to be
amazed that any brain could cook all of that up in a single sentence.
All this
time I thought it was Osama (or Robertoson, who seems to spout similar
philosophies!) that was the main threat to the world and it turns out
to be
Feminism!

But
let’s look at it closely, it says I am a socialist (which I am not)
because I am in favor of feminism, but goes against the same man he
wants
killed, who has demonstrated to be a true machista, so there are
inconsistencies right
there, to say nothing of the killing of the children (of which neither
me nor Chavez is in agreement with), mentions witchcraft which
Chavez does appear to be intrigued with at the Santero level. As to lesbianism, it is one
subject that Chavez has never addressed in the last 40,000 hours he has
spoken to Venezuelans in nationwide adresses,
so I could not tell you even if he has an opinion on it.

Then, of course, there will be the Venezuelan politicians who will say that
Robertson is just like Bush, because they come from the same country and speak the same evil language, when in
fact, Robertson is as far away from Bush as he can, if not look at what he
thinks about the US State Department:

“If I could just get a nuclear device inside Foggy Bottom, I think that’s
the answer”

Wow! Talk about being in agreement with Chavez! He actually proposes nuking
Condoleezza, a somewhat stronger action than what Chavez said the US Secretary
State needed
, but the feeling towards her does appear to be mutual.

I actually thought that Chavez and Pat (Am I allowed to call him Pat?)
had more in common, so the proposal does take me somewhat by surprise. After
all, Chavez in his spiritual evolution during the last seven years actually
went through an evangelist phase, which took everyone by surprise, but lasted only a few months
until he declared himself a catholic, right before he said he was a Maoist. He
is, of course, now a XXIst Century Socialist, which even the coiner of that
term now questions. Although they claim being a XXIst Century Socialist is not akin
to being an evangelist or a Catholic, but I really have to wonder.

In any case, I wonder who told Robertson to say what he said, he does
have some important connections up there, wasn’t he the one that said that
Satan told him that Jesus was playing him for a sucker? Chavez wished Fidel would talk to him with such frankness!

In the end, Chavez should be grateful to Robertson, not because of then
noise that he will be able to make with the statement, but because Robertson after
all, proved that Chavez is not a communist, as I remind everyone regularly in this blog,
when Robertson stated clearly and unequivocally:

“Communism is the brainchild of German Jewish intellectuals”

Chavez after all, is neither of the three (or four!).

What I do have to take seriously is the suggestion that Robertson needs
to be jailed for saying what he said. First, there is no gag law in the US like here (see previous post). Second,
Robertson did not say he would do it, he asked the US Government to do it for him.
Finally, it is not illegal to say what he said, after all Chavez has said much
worse things, for which he would then should be jailed for, in the spirit of mutual reciprocity.

Bloggers have their radio programs censored by the revolution.

August 22, 2005

Andreina and Rodolfo
are feeling the weight of censorship by the revolution, each in their
own way. Both are active in radio broadcasting, where their work has
been the subject of both indirect and direct censorhip. In the case of Andreina, whose blog is quite entertaining, she has a radio program in Barquisimeto. In her own words as I learned from Ventehinker’s webiste
(rated R), she had a sexologist regularly in her radio program and ever since
the the gag law came into effect, they began being more careful about
what they talked about. Three weeks ago, she decided to give up that
section of her program to be on the safe side, which is obviously not
the same as being on the side of safer sex. Despite this, she got this
week a notice that she was fined US$ 280, under the gag law, for the comments about sex in
her program. As she says in her post, if she does not use the word
condom on the air, will there be fewer unwanted pregnancies in
Venezuela?

The second case I learn about via the blogosphere is that of Rodolfo, as told by Fran en Gotas. Rodolfo
had a radio program in the “youth” frequency of the Government’s Radio
Nacional de Venezuela. Unfortunately, Rodolfo made the mistake of
writing two negative posts about the “revolution” here and here,
one about how he is told not to talk about certain topics on the air and the other
about who he thought would get the job of Minister of Information.
Well, somebody did not like what he wrote and Rodolfo, who is not
Chavista, and his producer, who is, are now off the air for his
transgression of the rule “don’t criticize the process”. Interesting
how left-wing authoritarian Governments in the end act much like the
right-wing authoritarian Governments they love to criticize. They both
hate it when you talk about sex or when you criticize their politcs!

Two things are very interesting about these two cases. The two people
affected by the censorship of the Government are broadcasters and
bloggers at the same time. But more interestingly, if it were not for
the blogosphere, we would not know about it. Hopefully, other bloggers
will help spread their stories and show our support for both of them
and their rights.

I wonder if I could get a job at any of these radio stations?

Recent Venezuelan factoids

August 21, 2005

–GDP in Venezuela was up 11.2% in the second quarter of 2005 thanks to
heavy spending by the Government, However, oil GDP was barely up 1.5%
in the quarter, despite the fact that it is measured versus the same
quarter a year ago, when the average price of oil averaged just below
$40 a barrel.

–The number of Deputies to be elected to the National Assembly in December is determined on the basis of projections of
population by the National Institute ofr Statistics, rather than actual
census numbers. Curiously, Miranda and Carabobo states both lost a
Deputy. Theses two states are among the top three in which the
opposition has strength (The other one is Zulia). This is teh first
time in decades that either state grows slower than the country, execpt
the other times it was a census, these time it is projections.

–Since 1998, when Chavez became President or later, infant mortality
is up 16%, death by malnutrition is up 40%, malaria is up 50%.

–The “popular car” that will cost around US$ 6,000-8.000 will be
exempt from the Value Added Tax (VAT). Another subsidy by the poor, who
could never afford one of these. Gas, by the way, is still US$ 0.19 per
gallon.

–Imports in the second quarter were up 52.2% making everyone wonder
whatever happened to the “endogenous” development. By the way, the
Government’s food program Mercal, imports 70% of its products. Go
figure!

Onwards the pretty robolution

August 21, 2005

You have to love the pretty robolution and how fast it brings people
out of poverty. Certain people. Such is the case of former Lieutenant
Arne Chacon. Chacon, who participated in the attempted coup of 1992 and
happens to be brother of the Minister of the Interior and Justice Jesse
Chacon is now President of Baninvest, an investment bank that he
recently purchased with a group of friends and of which he is an
investor. The new owners are asking that the bank be turned into a
universal bank.

Up to the early 90′s in Venezuela, regulators did not allow banks to
act as financial agents in all fields. Thus, a commercial bank could
not give out mortgages and banks could not invest in projects
themselves. For these activities, you had to get an additional license
and have that license act as a savings and loans for mortgages and an
investment bank for investments. With time, the Supeintendent of Banks,
began allowing banks to become “Universal” and perform all activities.
After the financial crisis of 1994, the Superintendency decided that it
would not issue new banking licenses, but there were many around either
as mortgage banks or investment banks, which have been sold by its
owners to others that wanted to turn them into commercial or universal banks.
The last price I heard for one of
these licenses was US$ 15 million, with the premium coming from their
scarcity. So you have to wonder where the
money came from to buy this one in particular. Additionally the law
states that you have to
have banking experience in order to be on the Board of Directors of a
bank. Does Chacon have it?

Asked about thiis the Superintendent of Banks “guaranteed” that they
would check where the funds came from to buy the bank and the whole
transaction would be examined “in depth”. Yeah, sure.

The August enigma by Brunilde Sansň

August 19, 2005

My good friend Bruni, whom I “met” via this blog ( We have never
seen each other live!), wrote this wonderful post in her website in Spanish
about her experiences with the Recall Referendum and its aftermath.
Talking to her, the idea came up of translating it, I am not sure who
suggested it, and I offered my blog to post it in that language. I
think it is a wonderful story as told from her point of view, even if
the ending is not what we all wished for. I am honored to have it
become part of my blog.

The August enigma

By
Brunilde Sansň


(The
original story appeared in Spanish in Cuentos
Intrascendentes
)

I dedicate this unimportant tale to
all those that, in spite of the pitfalls, passionately used their knowledge,
their means and their free time in a restless search for the truth.

This is a story
that many Venezuelans lived on different ways.
Some with anguish, others with joy, others with stress and others with
surprise, but definitively, nobody with indifference. It is the story of another one of the riddles
[1,2 ] that the Venezuelans have lived during the government of Chávez. This is my story.

I am truly
amazed that the Venezuelans elected a caudillo, a putchist, a populist as a President. I never had to vote for him , but I would
never have voted for him anyways. My
idea of a country, with strong and democratic
institutions, has nothing to do with the autocratic, clumsy and myopic
conception that the obscure lieutenant colonel Chávez began to sell to the Venezuelans on February 4, 1992 when he accepted the defeat on TV after his
failed coup d’état.

I never had to pronounce myself about Chávez
because I have been living abroad for
many years. I never had to deal with the destruction of the
institutions, with the chavista divisionism, nor with the hatreds or the daily
wearing down that the Chavismo introduced in the country. I never had to watch “Alo Presidente”. Chávez was five flying hours away from my
life, and although I suffered of stellar tantrums when reading the news or talking with friends, I knew that
I was so far away from the Chavism that, in practice, I did not have to live
it.


I followed the “firmazos” (signature collection) and the trickiness
and swings of the signature verifications. I prepared myself for any result in
the Recall Referendum. My impression was
that everything was possible and that I had to be ready for the possibility of
a Chávez victory. But nothing could prepare me to which came
later.


My brother,
who lives in California,
had come with his wife and their baby for a few days of vacation with me. By pure chance, his stay coincided with the
Referendum.


I have two
brothers. One is a lawyer that is quite
funny and amusing. The other is a very
serious and strict professor of statistics.
Luck wanted that it was the statistician the one that accompanied me during the Referendum. I have always been amazed about the turns of
life. If my brother had chosen another branch of mathematics when he decided
his career, perhaps my perception of the Venezuelan situation nowadays would be
different.


We pleasantly
spent the Referendum day. In the dining room
of my house, we installed our laptops and followed the news from heroic
bloggers that were posting on-line from the voting centers. We also checked the
mails from our Venezuelan friends. All reported monumental waiting lines, some
had taken up to 9 hours to vote. The
news were good, exits polls seemed to clearly favor the opposition. Before going to bed we watched on the web a
press conference of the members of the opposition alliance “Coordinadora
Democrática”. They were all smiles and had difficulty containing their joy,
they implied that they had won, and easily. We also saw Jorge Rodriguez, from
the CNE, giving declarations. He looked tired and serious. He had the body language and the expression
of somebody that has been defeated.


We went to
sleep but first we reminded ourselves that we should not celebrate yet because,
with Chávez, one never knows.


We were
goat mouth.


At six
a.m. my husband woke us up with the incredible news that Chávez had won with
exactly the opposite of the votes that were being predicted. We then
read the stunning declarations given by Carrasquero, the president of the CNE, and
followed all news that CNN could present.
We later called some friends who confirmed the situation. They were scared because of the magnitude of what
was happening. We could imagine how unclear
the situation was in Caracas
at that time.


We began
then to systematically call all those that could provide us with information and
data. We wanted to know the truth. We
made no less than forty international calls in a few hours. It was not an easy task. I had cancelled my local long-distance
service provider account a week before and now we had to dial seven extra
digits every time we made a long-distance call. My brother loudly complained about my bad timing every single time he dialed, but in the end, we
were able to contact statisticians, engineers, computer scientists,
mathematicians and physics friends, all those that we thought could give us information or send data to
us. The idea was to collect the data to
analyze how large was really the discrepancy between exits polls and the official
results.


Finally,
my brother was sent the data of the exit
polls from Súmate and Primero Justicia.
The dining room of my house became then a true computing center. My brother and my sister-in-law (also a Statistics
Professor), seated in front of their laptops and meticulously analyzed the data
collected from the exits polls. They
intensely worked whole days, for several days, despite the little baby that was
crawling from the living room to the dining room and that cried sometimes to
complain for being always among uncles and cousins.


My husband
took care of checking up news on the Internet.
I made telephone calls, checked my mail and prepared fast meals, in the style
of a boot camp. My children played with
the baby, made errands or were asked to go fetch reference books. Because of my engineering background, I was
able to understand the results that my brother and my sister-in-law were
obtaining. In most of the voting centers,
there was a significant discrepancy between the exit poll results and the
results published by the CNE, and that, for all the states. The differences could not be explained by factors
such as the selection of the voting centers.
My brother and my sister-in-law, with the professional rigour that
characterizes both of them, repeated each analysis meticulously several times
to make sure that there were no errors.
The study that shows such discrepancies, appears in the report that I
include below as a reference [ 3 ].


As for me, I had heard that there was going to
be an audit based on a random sampling of boxes. The word “random” always rings an alarm
in my mind. Those that work with
stochastic simulations, know that randomness is an ephemeral concept that many
people do not quite grasp. A random
number generator is simply a formula that can be programmed. The formula
produces a sequence of numbers that are generated from a seed. If the seed does not change, the outcome of
the program will be the same sequence.
Random generators have a period after which the sequence of numbers is
repeated. That is why they are usually called pseudorandom generators. A good generator is distinguished from a bad
one based on the length of the period and on how predictable are the numbers
being generated. It is well known that many commercial generators, like the one
in Excel, are far from being random.


When I knew
of the audit, I tried to alert on the issues of the randomness of the ballot box numbers that were going to be
generated. To whom? To whoever I thought should be alerted: I
wrote mails, I made phone calls, I made posts in Venezuelan blogs. My
colleagues made fun of me on that issue.
How was I going to think that the Carter Center
was not aware of that?


I had my
doubts. To my knowledge, the Carter Center’s
experience was in manual elections and is led mainly by social scientists. This was a problem of mathematics and
computer science. I know computer
scientists that often forget about the importance of the seed when they have to
generate a random number.


I wanted to know what program they were going
to use and how they were going to choose the seed.


My worries
were useless. The opposition decided not
to participate in the audit, that the Center Carter and the O.A.S. carried out
with only the presence of CNE personnel.


During the
days that followed, the scientific world related to Venezuela entered a state of
effervescence. Several academics around
the world began to produce studies on different aspects of the results obtained
by the CNE. Many of those studies were thoroughly explained and analyzed in [ 4
]. As for me, I mainly wanted to know
how the seed of the generation in the last audit had been chosen. I wrote to the Carter Center
and I received a cold but courteous answer indicating that since the opposition
was not present in the audit and they considered themselves to be only observers,
the seed had been chosen by the CNE.


I could not believe it. The only guarantee that Venezuelans had to
make sure that the audit was indeed random, fell into the hands of the very institution
whose transparency was in doubt!


I got infuriated with all the actors: with the opposition for not being present,
with the Carter Center and the O.A.S. for letting that happen and with the CNE
for accepting to have a leading role, when what was needed from them was to
show their credibility.


Some time
later, I read in the Carter
Center report that even
the computer and the program used in the audit came from the CNE. Also, in an
email of one of the people involved with the audit, it was explained that the
CNE program had to be used because the input data was not ready in the format
required to use the Carter
Center’s Excel based
program. Some techies on the web cried out then that as everything had been run
on the CNE’s computer, there was not even the need to know the seed beforehand
since a script could have simulated that the program was running and could have
produced as an output a pre-established sequence. As for me, I was rather scandalized
that the Carter Center could even consider using an
Excel program, that is one of the worse in matters of random generation.


The idea
that crossed my mind then was the realization of how naďf can we be when facing
well-known institutions and how, little by little, that naivety is
disappearing. It reminded me of the time, when I was a little
girl, when I used to think that technology
was an invincible thing, created by infallible geniuses. Now that I know the limitations of people,
systems, calculations and models, I ask myself, whenever I get into an
airplane, how many errors were left in the design software and if the
reliability experts really used a good seed when they ran the program to
generate catastrophic events.


I no longer
have blind confidences, my motto is now “The Devil is in the
details”.


In the
days that followed, we saw with frustration and astonishment that the Center
Carter and the O.A.S. accepted as finals the results of the audit and that the
international community and the international press hurried, without asking any
further questions, to spread the good news of the victory of Chávez.


At the end
of one week of intense work, we all decided to go to St.Lambert, a municipality
located South of the island
of Montreal. It is a yuppie area, totally away from the cosmopolitan
interests of a city like Montreal. We had lunch in an pleasant terrace and we
decided to forget about Chávez, statistics and random numbers. We had already lost our family vacations in
contacting, alerting, studying and compiling data and we thought we could spend
a single day of relaxation. We took some
pictures as tourists and slowly walked from the restaurant to the main street that,
by chance, was closed for the town’s summer party. It was a languid party because there were not
many people around. Hardly two clowns
and a kiosk with music tried to animate the few that were present and that
were taking advantage of an end-of-summer sunny day.


The music was not very good, but it animated a
little. Suddenly we stopped in
disbelief. The kiosk singer began to
sing notes that we recognized immediately although the song was distorted by
the incongruous Jazz type adaptation and the foreign accent of the singer. Astonished, we heard, as in a fair far far
away from Venezuela and in an atmosphere also far away from cosmopolitan Montreal that the loudspeakers were screaming: “Yoooo, nací en esta rivera del Arauca
vibrador..”, it was the “Alma Llanera”, Venezuela’s informal national
anthem. We waited for the song to finish
and then we asked the singer why he had chosen that song.


“Because I like it”, was his simple
answer.


With
superstition and optimism, I interpreted that as a positive sign. When I got back home, I rushed to my email to
verify if there were some encouraging news.


I was mistaken. In spite of the skepticism of the Venezuelan
people concerning the Referendum results, the CNE never opened the ballot
boxes, and the international observers never forced it to do it either. To me,
that was the most suspicious fact of all. It seemed to me unprecedented that,
from a human point of view, faced with the mathematical and technical
lucubrations of tens of statisticians,
engineers, physicists and computer scientists, the CNE directors did not take
advantage of the opportunity to open the boxes and shut us all up.


If I had
been in the board of the CNE, I would
have relished opening every single box and show every single vote to the army
of nerds whose sophisticated models were showing discrepancies in the results.
Frankly, I am still astonished that the directors of the CNE refused themselves
such a satisfaction.


And, from
the institutional point of view, not opening the boxes was the most dangerous
gesture for democracy: a democratic
institution in charge of the elections of a country must, before anything,
provide the population with the certainty that the system works and that is
right and transparent. By refusing to go
beyond the audit in spite of the strong doubts that weighed on the results, the
CNE sealed forever the box that contains the solution of the August enigma and
condemned the Venezuelan people to a perpetual doubt on the validity of their
democracy and their electoral system.


Everything was not negative. The experience made me appreciate the
efficiency and the dedication of Venezuelans of great talent who put their knowledge,
their reputation, their abilities and their time in the passionate search for an
answer to the enigma of August.


So this is
how, after a year of analysis, readings and memories, I have decided to embody
my memory in this true story that ends with the Alma Llanera.

Unfortunately
for democracy in Venezuela,
it is a story that, for the time being, has just become an unimportant tale.

[1] S. La
Fuente and A. Mesa. “El acertijo de Abril.- Relato periodístico de la breve
caida de Hugo Chávez”.


[2] F.
Toro. “Venezuela’s 2002 Coup Revisited: The Evidence Two Years On” .


[3] R.
Prado and B.Sansň, “The 2004 Presidential Recall Discrepancias Between Exit
Polls and Oficial Results”. Technical
report, AMS-2004-6.


[4] M. Octavio,
“Venezuela Referendum Studies”. The Devil’s Excrement blog.

More on the lies of The Revolution will not be televised

August 18, 2005

Below I have added in yesterday’s post
some new pictures and text now that I understand better what I was sent
and I was seeing. But since many of you may not read that post again, I
thought I would make a special post of these two pictures, which in my
mind show the unethical behavior of the two Irish cinematographers who
made “The Revolution will not be televised”. You see, they have tried
to defend themselves in interviews about the inaccuracies by saying
nobody is perfect, blah, blah, blah. But, I am now convinced that they
were hired after the fact and given the material they produced by The
Venezuelan Government. I say this, because of the lies, their claim
they
were here doing the taping themselves, which has proven to be another
lie and the
fact that there are like three versions of the documentary floating
around, something uncommon for a low budget documentary. This was
certainly all financed by the Venezuelan Governmet.Thus the slant.

To the point. Below you will find the same image as in the post last
night, taken from “The revolution will not be televised”. This is the
famous image that has “convinced” people abroad that there was no march
going under the Puente El Llaguno when the Chavistas were caught
shooting from that bridge. Well, as shown below, the timeline was
altered in that movie to make their point. But what is worse, and even
more unethical, is that the frame on the right below, shows the identical frame from the original
movie. But see, they are quite different, because on the left, in the
frame from “The Revolution will not be televised” the frame was
“clipped” in order to be able to make the point they wanted to make.

On
the top left is a frame from the movie as shown everywhere, notice the
white parallel line close to the top. However, in the original movie
which is on the right, which the makers of “X-Ray of a lie” managed to
get a hold of, the field of view is much larger. In fact, it is so much
larger that it actually shows the police water cannon vehicle that was
at the front of the march. On the right what you see is that there are two parallel
lines, corresponding to two different streets which cut across Ave.
Baralt, of which only one as shown in the Irish movie. And right there,
on the second line, sitting on the middle of the street you see the
police vehicle coveniently “dissapeared” in order to make the point in
the movie that there was no march under the bridge. Of course not!
People were seeking refuge two blocks away behind the police water
vehicle as they were being shot at from the bridge! I blow up the
second street here so you can see the shadow of the vehicle in the
middle of the street and I hope to get better pictures soon:

But I am also told, in the original movie there is a guy shooting on
the right, which was conveniently erased from the Irish movie! Goebbels
and Stalin woudl have ben proud of the ability of the Irish
cinematographers to change history!

Thus, the Irish moviemakers did not only modify the timeline,
something they could have been fooled about, but they changed the
actual field of view and erased features from the video that would have
made it impossible for them to make the point they were trying to
prove. This is beyond unethical, this is outright lying, manipulative
and shows that these people have no scruples.

Almighty Head of the CNE screws up big time!

August 18, 2005

This picture is not real, but it comes close, the whole story so
sordid and stupid that it shows what type of people are leading us
these days. It is a composite of a graph in a book written by the man
on the right Jorge Rodriguez, President of the CNE and a picture of the
public presentation of said book.

Last week, the President of the Electoral Board Jorge
Rodriguez presented “his” book on the recall referendum. That is where
the picture comes from. However, the book had a “slight” problem, it
had the pie chart shown in the figure behind him on page 118. If you
look closely, the pie chart shows the “Si”, the option to recall Chavez actually
winning (in yellow) and the “No”, the option not to redall, losing, by
exactly the opposite of the official result. The colors are even right,
with the Excel pie chart showing the red associated with Chavez”
movement. The story had been going
around for a couple of days, but after distributing hundreds of copies
of the book someone noticed the “slight” mistake and they started
getting the books back. Supposedly Chavez was enraged that this could
even happen and he demanded that all copies of the book be collected.
Newspaper “El Nuevo Pais” got as hold of the copy and today published
this composition of the pie chart and the presentation to really drive the
point home.

Now, if you asked me, I would have said this was the work of a
“mano peluda”
(hairy hand), the term used here in Venezuela when somebody quietly
plays such a dirty trick on someone. However, as a friend just pointed
out to me the ersults shown are not exactly the inverse of the results
of the recall vote, but are actually different. This rules out putting
the blame on the printer, like both the Head of the CNE and a Chavista leader have intended
to do today. This is not a printing error, the data is simply worng,
so, at least, it left the CNE like that. The official results of
the recall vote by the CNE are shown here, which leads you to wonder where the data even came from? Dirty trick or secret message?

But the point is also that the book
should have never been distributed with errors, coming on top of
that from an institution that has been questioned by its superficiality
and imprecision in the last few months, while it has always been
claimed to be doing a good job. The book should have been profread, the
same way that election results should be checked for consistency. But
even the data on the CNE website from the
local elections two weeks was posted with the wrong numbers, but nobody
noticed for days at that badly run institution. Can we even trust them
if they rae not cheating? I am not so sure.

But the story gets worse, it just turns out that this book which was
presented as a book by Jorge Rodriguez and not an institutional book,
was actually, completely financed by the CNE,
as was its public presentation, with the single approval of its high
handed Presidentt. This should not be very surprising, given that he
has chosen
electoral systems worth hundreds of millions of dollars and approved
their purchase in the past, much like he did not allow anyone into the
computer room where the recall votes were counted last year and he
intereprets
the law regularly as he pleases, despite being a shrink and not a
lawyer. Such is the state of independent
institutions in Venezuela today, run by individuals servile to the
President who act with arrogance, without any scruples and only
superficially check even their own work, as long as the final result
fits their
purpose. Except that in this case, it didn’t!

Revisiting The Revolution will not be televised

August 17, 2005


Note: This post was modified on Aug 18th. to add to it

It
may seem strange to be revisiting that fraudulent movie “The Revolution
will not be televised” after such a long time after its release. A
number of different things have conspired to makeme do it. First and
foremost, I never thought when it first came out that such a parody of
a documentary could have the impact it had. Second, at the time it came
out, I did not have the pictures to show explicitly what we all saw and
were witnesses to on April 11th. that is so distorted in
that dishonest documentary. Third, a reader asked about it today and I
realized that I did not have, as I do in so many other topics, a link
to my own blog to prove a point. After all, that was one reason for
this blog, to document the lying, the abuses and the excesses of this
Government, not only with words, but also with pictures and links. One
day I am sure it will be an important document of this tragic era.
Fourth, one person that was involved in debunking the film passed away
a couple of days ago. Finally, thanks to a reader, one of the authors
of the documentary “X-rays of a lie”, Wolfgang Schalk, placed a comment
in the post preceding this one and offered to send some pictures which
he kindly did with wonderful efficiency. Thus, I thought I would use
those pictures, his own comments to them and what I know about that
day, to write this somewhat long post about April 11th., the documentary and how “X-rays of a lie” showed how unethical the authors of that documentary were.

By way of introduction, April 11th.
may be a mystery to those living abroad, but not the hundreds of
thousands of Venezuelans who lived history that day, whether they
stayed home or went to the demonstration that turned into a march,
which ended with the tragic death of 20 Venezuelans as well as more
than 150 people injured.


For a detailed description, Francisco Toro has the best reconstruction of that day on the web right here.
To make a long story short, after four days of demonstrations, a huge
crowd gathered in the East of Caracas and was taken to downtown Caracas
to demand the resignation of President Chavez after weeks of political
crisis, which Chavez later claimed was set off on purpose. Chavez had a
few thousand of his supporters surround his palace and as the march
progressed, shooting began against the peaceful protesters. The march
was peaceful; there were more women than men, older people as well as
children and even pets in some cases. It was not agressive or armed, it
topped one million people from all sectors of Venezuelan society. Yes,
a large majority fo them were middle class, but there were people from
all walks of life.

The
marchers did not know that minutes before the shooting began, President
Chavez went on nationwide TV, barring the broadcasting of the marchers
and the ensuing horror. TV stations decided that rather than obey the
order for the “cadena” showing Chavez, they would split the screen in
two, showing the confusion, blood and death of what was taking place
outside. Chavez spoke for over two hours. As people were being shot,
killed and injured, Chavez rambled on, in his usual style. Like Neroh
in burning Rome. After about two hours he announced he was shutting
down the TV signals of all private TV stations. He apparently was not
aware of the split screen all channels were using, he thought he was
the only one on, so he thought people had not seen much. He did know,
as he was kept informed in writing, of the tally of deaths and injured
right outside.

That
evening TV stations went back on the air and few people knew what was
going on at the Presidential Palace or with the military, but did they
see the video the Chavista city councilmen from Libertador openly
shooting at the path of the march from Puente El LLaguno. Around 3 AM
Chavez’ highest raking military officer and Head of the Chiefs of
Staff, Lucas Rincon, came on TV surrounded by the Chiefs of Staff and
announced to the country the infamous words: “The President was asked
to resign …and he accepted”.


Thus
ended what later became the first stage of what later became known as
the “coup”. Lucas Rincon was pro-Chavez, close to him, which gave
credibility to the announcement that he had resigned. (Later he served
as Minister of Defense for Chavez and Minister of Justice after
retiring). To this day, his role that day has never been explained.


The
movie “The revolution will not be televised” purported to show these
hours as a huge fake conspiracy to unseat Chavez. It distorted facts
and events, and worst of all, ignored many, in order to make many
points serve their story line. In fact, I do believe that Chavez did
resign in shame over the day’s events and there were many “coups”
afterwards as different personalities and groups jockeyed for power.
But that is not what the movie aims to show.

As
an example, below you will find on the left the image of what the movie
used as characteristic of the people on the stage set up in front of
the Presidential Palace. These were Chavez’ supporters shown singing,
relaxed and peaceful.

The
truth is that this image was taped on a different day, at a different
event as the true image of that stage onApril 11th. is shown on the top
right. Note that the words on the sign on the right have nothing to do
with those on the left part. The image at right show the real platform
installed that day in front of Miraflores.
Similarly,
in the image below, the movie purports to show Minister of Education
Isturiz and the Mayor of the Libertador District of Caracas laughing
and singing, but the second picture on the right shows an image from
Bernal on April 11th dressed completely different and
Isturiz with suit and tie on the background. Clearly the authors of the
movie used scenes from different moments to show people in a light
convenient to the point they wanted to make. Manipulating images to
serve their purposes.

The scenes from the shooting from Puente El LLaguno were also manipulated as shown below:

In
the words of Wolfgang Schalk: “To prove that the “LLaguno gunmen” did
not shoot anybody, the authors used the image from a different time,
after the march was over, with a commentary that there was nobody to
shoot at in the Baralt Ave. (The street that goes underneath the
LLaguno Bridge). The shadow of the buildings produced by the sun gives
us the approximate time of day. (West is on the right of the page). On
the right were you see the gunmen fire, the shadow of the buildings is
very near them because it is much later, around 4:30 pm.”This is blown
up in the picture below:

But there are more ways to prove the manipualtion of the timeline.
Below on the left is a picture of people carrying Erasmo Sanchez after
he was shot dead on Puente El LLaguno at 4:40 PM, the secne was taken
from the film by Alfonso Fernandez, with which he won the Principe de
Asturias award) that shot the gunmen shooting form El Llaguno bridge at
4:30 PM. Well, from the movie you can see the bloodstain on the El
LLaguno bridge, from Mr. Sanchez’ wounds. (On the left side between the
two swirly vertical lines which are actually on the sidewalk). The
blood takes about an hour to dry and starts being opaque like in the
picture rather than shiny, indicating these frames were taken an hour
later.

The same can be inferred from the shadows of these two people
shooting from the bridge below. From the angle of the shadow
(approximately 15 degrees) it can be determined knowing the time of
year and location that 15 degrees corresponds to slightly after 5:30
PM.

But it gets worse.Below you will find the same image as above, taken
from “The revolution will not be televised”. This is the famous image
that has “convinced” people abroad that there was no march going under
the Puente El Llaguno when the Chavistas were caught shooting from that
bridge. Well, as shown above, the timeline was altered in that movie to
make their point. But what is worse, and even more unethical, is that
the frame on the right below, shows the identical frame from the original
movie. But see, they are quite different, because on the left, in the
frame from “The Revolution will not be televised” the frame was
“clipped” in order to be able to make the point they wanted to make.

On the top left is a frame from the movie as shown everywhere,
notice the white parallel line close to the top. However, in the
original movie which is on the right, which the makers of “X-Ray of a
lie” managed to get a hold of, the field of view is much larger. In
fact, it is so much larger that it actually shows the police water
cannon vehicle that was at the front of the march. On the right what
you see is that there are two parallel
lines, corresponding to two different streets which cut across Ave.
Baralt, of which only one as shown in the Irish movie. And right there,
on the second line, sitting on the middle of the street you see the
police vehicle coveniently “dissapeared” in order to make the point in
the movie that there was no march under the bridge. Of course not!
People were seeking refuge two blocks away behind the police water
vehicle as they were being shot at from the bridge! I blow up the
second street here so you can see the shadow of the vehicle sitting in
the middle of the street and I hope to get better pictures soon:

But I am also told, in the original movie there is a guy shooting on
the right, which was conveniently erased from the Irish movie! Goebbels
and Stalin woudl have ben proud of the ability of the Irish
cinematographers to change history!

Conveniently,
the image below is shown in the infamous movie, in which Chavista
Deputy Juan Barreto is shown speaking and then on the right the movie
shows a TV screen with snow, as if Barreto was cut off and the
Government’s TV channel was taken off the air by someone in the
opposition. This actually never happened, the people appointed by
Chavez to run “VTV” the Government’s TV channel, cut off the
transmission themselves and abandoned the facilities for over an hour.
At that time a private TV channel went into VTV and showed all of the
facilities completely empty and abandoned

Showing the
above was ironic, given that they curiously failed to show the
following images of how Chavez minutes before the shootings began,
forced all TV stations to broadcast what is called a “cadena” of him
talking to the nation. He did this for two hours, but TV stations began
splitting the image in two carrying the horror that was going on until
as you can see on the image on the right, Chavez ordered all private TV
stations off the air.

Imagine
the cold blood of Chavez doing this, that is why he was asked to resign
and everyone thought it was reasonable to ask him and him to accept. He
was ashamed, he could not live with what he did and caused. But
apparently the remorse did not last long, in part because too many
strange events took place in the following day as people tried to grab
power. But nothing can erase Chavez’ responsibility for that day.

Below
on the left and right are pictures of the TV broadcast of the
announcemnet of Chavze’ resignation read by Lucas Ricnon on the left,
surrounded by the hierarchy of the Venezuelan military on the right.
These are also scenes curosuly left out of the Irish movie, despite the
fact that they suggest and imply that Chavez did resign, even if he
later denied doing it. But, once again, it did not fit the plot of the
movie, whichw as to show this perverse conspirancy to overthrow Chavez.

There
are many other details, like using for the documentary images of
Chavez’ supporters from the year 2000, at the height of his popularity
in order to show the support for him, or showing tanks mobilized by
Chavez himself against the people implying they were part of the coup against
Chavez instead, implying the opposition march was armed, showing scenes
from events that took place three months later, when Chavez’ Bolivarian
circles were threatening residential areas and showing people meeting
to see how they would defend themselves, but were presented as meeting
organizing the “attack” on the Presidential Palace on April 11th..
Finally
two facts should be pointed out. The main “witness” against the private
TV channels shown in the movies is none other than Andres Izarra, who
is presented as a sort of an impartial observer. Izarra became in fact
“marketer” of the movie as he was sent to the US to be the Communications Officer of the Venezuelan Embassy, where he helped created the Venezuelan Information Office (VIO) a propaganda and lobbying group for the Venezuelan Government in the US. He was later named Minister of Information and more recently President of Chavez’ international TV channel Telesur.

Additionally, the authors of the documentary tell a romantic tale of “just happening” to be here that day taping the documentarythemselves,
but as the image from that film shows below, you can see the image of
the person actually taping the movie in a mirror and is neither of the
authors of the documentary as claimed. In fact it is a short, sort of
overweight Venezuelan. There are many more indicators that it was in
fact footage from the Government that was turned over to the Irish
cinematographoers to work with.

All
of this simply shows why we always took this documentary to be a joke,
but did not appreciate the power of the resources of the Government in
making it become the “truth” for those far from the events of that
tragic day.

As
in many other cases, the “smoking gun” is simply the lack of interest
on the part of the Government to establish the “truth” commission to
investigate the events that day. Much like in the recall vote, where
opening the boxes and counting the ballots would have made the results
absolutely transparant, it was the Government’s Deputies in the
National Assembly who blocked the commission which would have shown the
true events to the world in clear fashion. If the Government truly
believed in the “coup” idea it would have worked to their advantage to
set it up. They actually stopped it, abusing their majority in the
National Assembly. I still hope one day it will be done and we will
know the truth.

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