Archive for November 20th, 2005

Picture of yesterday’s pro-Chavez march

November 20, 2005

Somehow Daniel posted
this picture of the march yesterday, but posted it on such small scale
that it did not show how small it was, more people showed up at the
end, but hey Patricia Poleo before she was charged was gathering as
many people as this, every single Saturday. Without paying anyone to show up! The picture is the best one
the Agencia Bolivariana de Noticias could find!

The forgotten man in the accusation by the President of the Assembly

November 20, 2005


I did not write
much
about the statements by the President of the National Assembly Nicolas
Maduro, charging that The President of TV station Globovision was at a meeting
with banker Nelson Mezerhane, where they attempted to bribe the judge in the
case to the tune of US$ 3 million. The charge seemed preposterous because
Mezerhane had turned himself at noon on the same day that Maduro had charged
the meeting had taken place in the evening. Moreover, the President of
Globovision was at a meeting at the station with some 200 people organizing the
sale of ads for the 2006 season. When a reporter asked Maduro about the fact
that Mezerhane was in jail that night, he was certainly taken by surprise.

But lost
in the shuffle and the noise, was the fact the accusation was broader than this.
What Maduro had actually said was that Mezerhane, the President of Globovision and Tobias
Carrero
were reportedly at this meeting.

Who is
Carrero? Well, that is where it gets interesting:

Tobias
Carrero is the owner of one of the largest insurance companies in the nation,
Multinacional De Seguros, as well as hotels, radio stations and newspapers. Carrero
was in fact, the main financer of Chavez’ Presidential campaign. Carrero is
from Chavez’ Barinas state and went to the same high school as Chavez. Chavez
went around Venezuela in Carrero’s car, had offices at Multinacional de Seguros
during the campaign and Carrero and Luis Miquilena were in charge of collecting
funds for the campaign including the infamous illegal campaign contributions by
Spanish bank BBVA and Santander to the tune of a few million dollars.

Once Chavez
won, Carrero’s empire blossomed as the Government contracted with his insurance
company and awarded him licenses to radio stations without competitive bidding.
Lawyers from Carrero’s companies were named to the Supreme Court after the
Constituent Assembly (and are still there, dominating the Constitutional Hall).
Carrero has seldom appeared with Chavez in public and has kept a low profile,
but I doubt they are no longer close.

The
question is then why did Maduro included Carrero in the accusation, given that Carrero is close to Chavez? Moreover,
why has the media played down this inclusion, deciding instead to simply ignore
it? It certainly sounds like this was a political move on Maduro’s part,
including Chavez’ financial buddy for a specific reason. The question is why? And why is
the media ignoring it? Simply Fear?

Economists ask Comptroller to investigate why Government issues so much debt

November 20, 2005

A while back I wrote this long post
on the corruption racket in Venezuela with
official deposits in the private commercial banking system. Basically,
28.6% of all the country’s monetary liquidity is owned by
the Government and deposited in private banks, which makes no sense,
since the
Government issues bonds in local currency in order to get liquidity to
pay
Government institutions. But then, these same institutions simply turn
around
and deposit the funds in private banks getting interest, and the banks
use those funds to buy the more
Government debt at higher interest rates. The amount is simply
staggering, it was US$ 6.76 billion when I
wrote the article. This means that the Government is getting financing
that it
simply does not need in huge amounts. While people don’t say much
publicly
about this, there is a simple explanation for it: corruption, these
deposits move around on the basis of commisions paid by some private
banks to attract them.

Well, last week two economists who used to work at the Central
Bank decided to do something about it and went to the Comptroller’s Office and asked him to investigate the “equity
damage” for the country, implied in the Government issuing debt without needing it. This
essentially asks the Comptroller to investigate, without specifically telling
him where the source of corruption is, let him figure it out!

According to the two economists, the Ministry of Finance issued
new debt in the amount of Bs. 9.9 trillion (US$ 4.8 billion) in 2004 and 2005, despite the fact that the
Government did not need to issue any debt, as it had almost twice that amount deposited in the
private banking system.

Thus, these two economists ask:” If the Government has such
a high surplus, why does it need to issue debt?” They claim the
Government paid Bs. 1.34 trillion (US$ 640 million) in the last two years
in unncessary interest. Moreover, the damage will continue as
most of this debt is medium term and additional unnecessary interest will need
to be paid before it matures. They ask the Comptroller to investigate the reasoning behind all this, which would lead to
what I posted about in August.

The only question is whether we will ever hear anything from
the comptroller; after all he has not acted in previous cases of blatant
corruption as he is an integral part of the support system for the “robolucion”

More species!

November 20, 2005

Yesterday one of the local orchid society’s had its meeting at the
Botanical Garden and held a “FEstival of Latin American Orchids” and
there was a very nice talk by Dr. Garcia Esquivel about some Latin
American species. I took the three orchids I posted last week and this
one above. On the left you can see what a nice bunch of flowers this
Catlleya Nobilior from Brazil has, there are six in flower and
three buds (two not shown). On the right a close up of one of the
flowers.

This is not the time of year for Venezuela’s Cattleya
Lueddemanniana, but these two plants appear not to know this. Note how
much better the one on the left is. Dark lip, well shaped, flat petals.
There is even a hint of flaring on the petals. Love it!

The militaristic and non-democratic side of the Bolivarian revolution exposed in detail

November 20, 2005


Last week,
a document which had been circulating via the Internet was actually posted in
its entirety at this web
address
. The document entitled “Pensamiento Militar Venezolano” or “Venezuelan
Military Thinking” looked too elaborate to be a fake, but doubts lingered in
some circles. Well, today a number of those that were linked to the creation of
the document, including a retired General, Gral. Muller Rojas, and the Minister
of Defense, Gral Maniglia, were asked about it in local newspaper El Nacional (page-A5).
The first one said that the document is an earlier version that is missing the
last chapter and goes on to describe that what is missing is a historical
recount of the thinking of Venezuela’s
forefathers. The second one considers it unlikely that it is the “true”
document , as only one person of those involved in writing the document has an
electronic copy. But Gral. Muller Rojas is supposed to be the coordinator and
seems to have vouched for its veracity, which is downright scary.

As
described in PMBcomments
in Chapter V of the document, the military defines its views and their role in
Venezuelan political life in a very confrontational manner, defending the
historical and geographical heritage of Venezuela as originally “developed
by the forefathers of the homeland”. The whole document is based on a perverse
view of ideological differences in terms of military confrontation, conflicts
and war, defining the US as
the enemy, envisioning provoking the US
into invading Venezuela
in order to develop a demoralizing war of insurgency against that country. It
presents a romantic view of Venezuelan’s ability to use creativity and ingenuity
to defend their homeland, as well as their idealized solidarity to help defend “that
peripheral world, condemned to exclusion by Darwinian policies advanced by the
neoconservative forces”. Moreover, the
document even includes a justification for military action against those that
oppose the Government locally, viewed as a “fifth column”, who simply wants to
defend the “Empire” and the ideas of “Free Markets”.

This
document defines a scary outlook of the role of Venezuela as military
interms of confrontations, where instead of using ideas (even if claims science and
technology are integral part of the weapons for the upcoming battle), force and tactics will be used to
impose on others the “only correct” ideas, those of their leader Hugo Chavez expouses,
whatever they may be now or evolve into in the future.

In the next
few days this document should continue hitting the news with force and showing
the true face of this not so pretty revolution, whose main goal is to promote the
image and increase the power of autocratic Hugo Chavez. Maybe its veracity will begin to be denied. For those supporting Hugo
Chavez, here and abroad, they will have to face an important decision in the upcoming
days if the document is defended by the Government: Do they fall on the side of
an autocratic, corrupt, incompetent, fascist, militaristic, warmongering and
non-democratic revolution, or do they defend the most basic rights of human
beings? The choice is clear.

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