Archive for March 21st, 2006

The Chavez administration puts its money where its beliefs are

March 21, 2006


The Chavez

-In a tribute
to the guiding principles that illuminate and guide its daily actions.

-As a reaffirmation
of the belief that there is only one true form of Government for all of the
people of Venezuela
and the world.

-As a way
of sending an unequivocal signal to the world as to where it stands on freedom,
democracy and human rights.

-In a demonstration
of the intelligence with which it handles it public relations as a way of
expressing its love for its fellow inhabitants of the Continent of Simon

-As evidence of its sensibility to the desires, dreams and ambitions of the people of Latin America

-And as an
expression of its desire to use the oil money of the people, for the people, by
the people as efficiently, productive and respectfully as possible, announces with pride that
it has decided that:

It will finance
costs of restoring the one time home
of that illustrious fighter for
democracy, former Argentinean Dictator Juan Domingo Peron,
who patiently stood at the side of the leftwing forces of the world. Or was it
the right? Who stole from the people hands over fists, allowing him to live in
exile for decades in the best style that his people never came close to or ever
dreamed of. Who was the clearest expression of the militaristic, populistic and
fascist autocrat that Venezuelans should learn to admire and love (and get
accustomed to!). And as a tribute to, his up to now, unprecedented ability to
truly damage and undermine a country for decades with his type of divisive populism
and ignorant policies.

Hugo Chavez, Caracas March 18th. 2006

Agriculture, corruption and inefficiency

March 21, 2006

Carlos Machado Allison is
an old friend who I had the pleasure of working with at one particularly
exciting part of my life when we believed we could move mountains with no
resources. Since then, he moved on to IESA, where he studies Venezuelan
agriculture. I have translated articles by him before; this one in today’s El Universal
is particularly sharp, especially in describing the contradictions in policy
within the Chávez administration.

corruption and inefficiency
by Carlos Machado Allison

President, the chain of events that is destroying the basis of agricultural
activity and the morale of the producers, is it part of the revolutionary
design? Or as they say in the streets, your subordinates don’t inform you?
Could it all be the fault of the executive Vice-President who leads the
Cabinet? A reporter in the back and forth of his profession, responded to a
Deputy indicating that what the Comptrolling Committee of the Assembly was
doing, referring to the case of the sugar plant, was not an act of heroics, but
was a natural obligation, but later, she evaded the answer when she found out
about the presidential responsibility in the scandal.

the laws, the properties and presidential promise, a certain celebrity has said
that the revolution is above the laws, but under them there is a systematic
destruction of values, principles, traditions and symbols. Now they will
initiate procedures and someone will be accused. The scandal is too evident.
Change prisoners for votes, a good electoral strategy. As a politician, twenty
points, as administrator you have flunked.

it public knowledge that some trucks with food destined to the “mercales”
(Government food markets) were not arriving at their destination? Didn’t they
tell you about contaminated flour, lost grain and adultered milk? Don’t you
know that many loans ended up in phantom co-ops? Didn’t you know that the
tomato processing plant, the textile factory in Cojedes and the sugar plant
near Sabaneta, were not running? Can you really believe that you can create 100,000
cooperatives and that a fraction of them will not become a field for

Don’t you know that the “Zamoran”
rural farms, promoted invaders and the like, produce next to nothing? It is difficult
to think that you were ignorant of the morosity of the Bank of the People or the
Bank for Women, that on top of everything published no financials. Or that the Industrial
Bank was not doing well. Even then, you approved the creation of an
Agricultural Bank and another for the communities that, for sure, will give out
loans that will never be repaid? Don’t you remember that, at the times of the
IVth., a number of times public agricultural banks were shut down because of
corruption and inefficiency?

Your Cabinet approved the
Caaez (sugar plant), designed and oriented by Cubans, despite the history of Government
owned sugar plants. Don’t you know that Cuba is the most inefficient
producer of sugarcane in the word? Don’t you know that the silos were
privatized for inefficiency and corruption when they belonged to the State?
Don’t you remember the scandals of Corpomercadeo and Mersifrica (predecessors
of Mercal)? Didn’t you win the elections promising to end corruption and to
make the country an agricultural emporium? Don’t you know that each point of
Governmental intervention in the agro-food chain is a focus for potential

Did you know that
agricultural financing increased by 45% in 2005 and agricultural production
only by 3%? That agricultural exports reached their lowest historical point and
imports the highest one? Do you ignore that PDVSA, which belongs to all of us,
will inject Bs. 1.5 trillion to the agricultural sector (Bs. 55 thousand per
poor person in the country) so that part of it will have the same destiny as
that of the sugar plant? Have you been told about the inexistent supplies at
the agricultural schools?

The Ministers of Agriculture
and Foodstuffs have come face to face with each other because you ordered one
of them, to make the country self sustaining and the other one, to import
everything so that inflation in food prices does not go up. They will fail
because there is no logic, nor sense, in agro-food policy, repeating the errors
of the past: Exactly the same that at the end of the IVth.
Mr. President, I think
that you do know what is happening and are thus responsible.


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