Archive for December 7th, 2005

The caring revolution part II

December 7, 2005

The Minister of Science and Technology decided
(needs password) that personnel at all of the institutions that are part
of it should receive a bonus of 35% of six months salary for the following
(also needs password, I can’t get in) employees: administrative,
ranking and “high level”, the “high level” will receive an additional
bonuses of 100% of six months, which applies in the case of IVIC to the
Director and Vice-Director on top of the 35%
already described. Additionally, the members of the Board of IVIC will
receive Bs. 180,000 or roughly half a minimum monthly salary for each weekly
meeting they attend.(This includews the two gusy who got the 135% too)

What about the “obreros”, the laborers who drive, clean, garden, do
maintanance, carpentry, plumbing and the like at IVIC? Well, in the
caring revolution, they get nothing, zilch, zero, no bonus
as the new and encroached Bolivarian oligarchy can only think of
themselves. Whatever happened to distributing the wealth in the
revolution?

The caring revolution part I

December 7, 2005

So next week’s meeting of the World Trade Organization in Hong Kong
poses a real problem for a Government that has little faith in free
trade. But no matter, the caring revolution will send at last count 106
delegates to the meeting, of which maybe three or four according to my
sources actually speak English. While at the plenary sessions there
will be translations, the technical sessions are in English and that is
where the real work and progress is made in negotiations. Contrast this
delegation with the US one, composed of no more than three dozen
diplomats, experts in the subject. I must speak well of the Minister
though, the original delegation topped 130, which he has been relentlessly trimming to the current level..

Thus, the caring “boliborgeois”, go around the world as tourists in
their role as the new oligarchs, while the poor are still where they
were seven years ago.

The Dictator in Caracas in the WSJ

December 7, 2005

Wal Street Journal Editorial today:

The Dictator in Caracas

After last week’s editorial about his oil-for-influence campaign
aimed at the U.S. Congress, several readers objected to our description of
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez as a “dictator.” Let’s hope these forgiving
souls paid attention to Sunday’s congressional elections in that country.

Mr. Chávez’s party or parties sympathetic to his Bolivarian
revolution won all 167 seats in the country’s unicameral congress. Every single
seat. But that Saddam-like sweep was only possible because most Venezuelans
decided not to participate. Even the government admits to an abstention rate of
greater than 75%. While it’s true the opposition boycotted, it did so knowing
how the government had cheated to win the August 2004 recall referendum.

The Chávez transgressions in 2004 included the use of voting
machines in which software was not reviewed, refusal to allow auditing of the
voting registry, not guaranteeing the secrecy of the vote, and using the list of
Venezuelans who had signed the recall petition to threaten the livelihoods of
government employees and contractors. Overseeing it all was a
government-appointed electoral council, which did what it could to outlaw
competition. The European Union was so appalled that it refused even to monitor
the 2004 vote.The EU and Organization of American States did show up this
weekend. But suspicions were heightened before Sunday’s vote when a technician
showed foreign monitors that the fingerprint tracking machines used at the polls
could be used to identify how individuals voted. In a country where the
government owns the means of production (mostly oil), Venezuelans fear that
voting wrong could cost them their jobs.

The government agreed to pull the fingerprint scanners, but the
damage was done. Venezuelans went on electoral strike. Mr. Chávez demanded that
government workers go to the polls, but to little avail. Venezuelans seem to
think they live in a dictatorship. The only issue is whether the rest of the
world, especially the OAS, will have the nerve to admit it.

Bloggers tonight on Open Source

December 7, 2005

So tonight at 7 PM EST (I think) you will get to hear me and Daniel Duquenal
follow the Venezuelan Ambassador to the US and Prof. Daniel Hellinger
discuss Venezuelan politics. Not many of you will see this or be able
to tune in, but I thought I would keep you posted.

I undersatnd you can listen to it here.

Devil and vcrisis nominated to 2005 Weblog Awards

December 7, 2005


In
the next couple of days I will figure out how to put the ad in this page, but
this blog together with vcrisis has been
nominated for the 2005
Weblog Awards
in the Best Latino, Caribbean, or South American Blog category. Daniel won last year, he will not be eligible this year, making
life easier for Alek and me this time around. Thanks to whoever nominated us
and hopefully you will feel it is worthwhile to go and and vote in this
particular election, where there is no CNE involvement
:-)

Observers blast electoral process, cite numerous illegalities

December 7, 2005


It is
quite hard to win an argument with the Chavistas. After the recall vote they
would always resort to the argument that the international observers had given
their approval to the process and thus all charges of cheating and treachery
were simply sour grapes on the part of the opposition. This time around, not
only was it discovered that the voting machines did something they were not
supposed to do, raising questions about the secrecy of the votes in the recall vote, but both the OAS
and the EU,
question even the legality of the process and the reaction is typical: While
the Head of the National Assembly called
the observers drunks,
the President of the CNE graciously called them
liars, while the Foreign Minister questioned why
the bombs the day before the election
were not mentioned in the reports,
forgetting that every single bomb in the last seven years has been blamed on the
opposition, but not one case has been proven, despite the fact that most of the
explosives found are typically military and as far as we know the opposition is
as far removed form the military as anyone can be.

In fact,
the Head of the Electoral Board continued acting in the same partial way that
the observers accused him of today,
as Mr. Rodriguez
saw his job in possible jeopardy by the recommendation of both observer
groups, saying he would not twist his arm, not understanding that he
was suppsoed to be fair and balanced to both sides and not the one
sided bias he always exhibited. In fact the EU suggest the new CNE
should have “professionals of prestige and
independence, that may enjoy the trust of all sectors”, a dramatically
strong critique of
Mr. Rodríguez and his cohorts.

I would
leave some details of the statements and comments by the EU and OAS to others here
and here, so as not to extend
myself too much, but one thing is clear: The usual diplomatic observers noted
quite a number of irregularities and illegalities in the process, questioning
its validity even if they later used the word transparency and tried to praise
the CNE in its accommodations to the opposition complaints. The fact is, that
each and every one of the “concessions” of the CNE were requested by the opposition
from the beginning, via the technical recommendations of Sumate. But even in
the end, and as ratified by the observers, for example, the agreements and the
law that says that polling stations close at 4 PM if no voters were present
were violated in flagrant fashion by the CNE. And this was only one of many
illegalities committed in the process that in any country with the rule of law would
imply that the Courts would force the Electoral Board to repeat the elections
under better conditions.

The EU observers
noted, among many different things the following:

-Wide
sectors of Venezuelan society simply do not trust the CNE


-The legal
framework is inconsistent and even contradictory


-The
Government created a mechanism of fear in the Maisanta database


-The
Government used public transportation to mobilize voters


-Government
officials campaigned in violation of the law


-The
possibility of compromising the secrecy of the vote was found, the EU thins its
remote, but it used to be impossible two weeks ago.


-It
questioned the legality of the Electoral Board and the contradictions in naming
it


-It questions
the violation the spirit of the Constitution with the use of the morochas or
twins.


-It
accuses media on both sides of being partisan, but it acknowledges that state
media does not give access to all citizens, while private media gave more access
to pro-Government views!


-Voter
assistance questions the secrecy of the vote during the voting process


-There was
illegal campaign by Government forces near voting centers


-Some
people were coerced into signing and stamping their fingerprint as “proof” that
they had voted and for whom.


-Voting hours
were extended illegally!


-The
Electoral Registry should be independently audited (Another forgotten promise)

The OAS is
equally drastic, while shorter, as detailed by Daniel and PMBcomments.

What is
clear to me is that both groups of observers without explicitly saying it were questioning
the legality of the vote that took place on Sunday, from illegal abuse of
power, to extended hours, to a questionable CNE board; the observers basically
said this process doe not fit the expected standards for an electoral process.

So
far
Chavez, has not attacked the observers, but even if he questioned
abstention,
he seemed to gloating once again about his damaged popularity and once
again
promised the failed mirage of his 10 million voters. If he fails to
note what
happened on Sunday, he may not even get 10% of that. The opposition did
not score
a victory at the illegal elections on Sunday, but Chavismo certainly
suffered a
defeat and the reports by the observers underscore that this happened
despite the numerous violations of the law by the Government and the
use of massive state resources.

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