Archive for October 22nd, 2006

We still have time by Laureano Marquez

October 22, 2006


And I can’t help but translate last
Friday’s
hilariously depressing article by Laureano Marquez in Tal Cual and combine it with today’s Weil cartoon:



We still have time
by Laureano Marquez in Tal Cual

That position in the Security Council is of interest
to all of us, pro-Government or opposition. One of the things that may
contribute in Venezuela
changing, is that nobody has any doubts about where we stand and what we are. For that, an important
position at the UN is vital. There is a lot that can be done there for the
cause. That is why I see no reason for dismay and crybabies, given that we
have electoral methods and strategies which have been sufficiently proven
locally.

Venezuela still
has time to win if it is capable, in the four days left before the vote is
resumed, to put in practice the same procedures that have worked so well at
home. Time is running out and what needs to be done is there to be seen:

—Install Smartmatic voting machines for the next round of the vote

—Place fingerprint capturing machines at the entrance to where the vote
is taking place and promote lines of 12 or more hours so that the ambassadors
get bored to death and leave the shit like that and don’t vote

—Place the Bolivarian circles of New
York at the gates of the UN so that they insult and
throw rocks at any ambassador that is suspected of voting against us. Little by
little their morals will be undermined up to the point that they will resign.

—Simultaneously, threaten the people at CNN so they do not make transmissions.
Sabotage their communications and kidnap their microwave transmitters.

— At this point (second day of the suspension), Tascon would be
installed with his laptop in the Great Apple, with his list perfectly
elaborated with all of the officials that should be fired and their history of
voting in similar previous events.

—On the diplomatic front, Guatemala and their candidate have
to be disqualified and accused of bribing other countries, of buying votes and
of blocking the vote. That is, of what we ourselves are doing.

—At the same time, start a plan to distribute money and bring a
briefcase full of cash, before each round of voting.

—If done right, even the US will end up voting for us. Money
kills anything as is clearly demonstrated by local politics.

—When the moment to count the votes arrives, the entrance to the tantalization
room should be restricted and the manual counting of the ballots should be
blocked.

—The results will be made known around four in the morning, when Carter
can barely stay awake

If this simple advice is followed, in four days the destiny of the world
will be in our hands and then they will know what we are capable of…

Ja, ja, ja, ja, ja, ja, ja, ja, ja, ja, ja, ja, ja, ja, ja, ja, ja, ja,
ja, ja, ja, ja, ja, ja, ja… ja, ja, ja, ja, ja, ja, ja, ja, ja, ja, ja, ja,
ja, ja, ja, ja, ja, ja, ja, ja, ja, ja, ja, ja!

El Caminante: Thank you President Chavez for these dignified homes

October 22, 2006

Bruni sends the link to this excellemt post in “El Caminante’s blog” which I had to translate because it represents so well in very graphic form the lies and self delusions of the revolution.

On
the left, you have a picture of a barrio that has been above the La
Planicie tunnels in the West of Caracas for decades (The tunnels were built by Luis Herrera
who was President from 1978 to 1993 and the barrio was already there even
before they were built). All that has changed in those barrios is that the houses
“improve” in the sense that a cardboard wall gets improved to brick or the
houses get painted or an additional floor is added, but teh barrios have no services other than electricity (privately provided)) In fact, I remember that one Government, maybe
Lusinchi’s, painted them all white, like his party’s color, to make it
look better. Well, that seems to be the only change, execpt that now
they have been painted in various colors. On the right, there is a
close up of the barrio and you can see that the greenish house is made
of cardboard and that these homes are nothing to be proud of. Well, the
sign says “Thank you President Chavez for these dignified homes”.

I
guess I don’t have to say much more. This is simply another delusion
and rip off by the revolution. Below the pictures the translation of
Fernando’s post in “El Caminante”

“Thank you President
Chavez for these dignified homes”….yes, that is what the banner
placed in front of those shacks retouched with paint says, seeing those
images a few questions come to my mind. How far does the shamelessness
of the Government reach? Does the Government consider that painting
some shacks makes them dignified homes? Does the Government think that
the majority of us Venezuelans are idiots?

And I say the
majority because without any doubt there are some Chavistas that think
that this is an example of a dignified home, there surely exist people
who are waiting for the Government to half paint their shack to go
running and give Chavez thanks for this incalculable show of love,
there exists in this country people who have spent 8 years living in
misery and seeing how the Governments screws them even more into that misery,
they care very little, they are the ones that completely swallow the
speech that to be rich is bad and Bush is the devil. They are the
people who deny themsleves progress, whose social resentment makes them
wish that the son of the doctor becomes a sweeper.

Although it is
true that the fault of capitalism is the unequal distribution of
wealth, the virtue of regimes like that of Fidel or Chavez is the
egalitarian distribution of misery.

Numeric Sunday: Looking at some revolutionary numbers

October 22, 2006


Let’s have a look at some of the corruption and deceit in the revolution, but tonight in a quantitative manner:

—-The Venezuelan Government buys Argentinean bonds from
that Government and sells them to local banks and financial institutions at an “implied”
exchange rate of Bs. 2350. The Bonds are sold and those dollars are sold in the
parallel swap market. Who gets the bonds? Those institutions friendly to the
Government who are willing to pay the intermediary for the Government part of
the gain. In order to please larger and more serious banks, about 20% is given
without any commission as long as those more “serious” banks sell the bonds to
a final client.

Thus, of the US$ 3.5 billion about 700 million were sold
without a commission, leaving US$ 2.8 billion. Since the average price of the
parallel market has been around Bs. 2675 since the Argentinean bonds have been
sold, the total “gain” by intermediaries and those that pay the commissions has
been Bs. 910 billion or US$ 423 million.

Hard to find a bigger rip off in Venezuela’s
history.

—Official Deposits, or deposits from official Government
institutions represent approximately 26% of all deposits in the Venezuelan
banking system. Total deposits in the banking system are of the order of US$ 18
billion. Thus, official deposits are approximately US$ 4.86 billion. Most of
these official deposits move around the banking system based on who pays a
commission to the “intermediary” Spread have come down, so it is no longer the
nice business it used to be as they get “only” a 3% commission. This comes out
to US$ 145 million if all deposits move based on corruption which is not the
case, but the bulk does, so we are talking about a US$ 100 million racket.

This used to be bigger than the first one, but as spreads came
down, they were not getting rich as fast, so they invented the first one. Reportedly,
the same people run both.

—-This one is “small” comparatively speaking, but is proof
of how pervasive corruption is in the revolution. At the National Housing
Council, they have been helping those that lose their homes by lending them the
money to buy another one. People are given between Bs. 40 million (US$ 18,604)
and Bs. 120 million (US$ 55,183) at preferential interest rates. Well,
unfortunately someone set up a
racket
within the institute and as many as 1,000 families who had their
credit approved were ripped off, the check was issued and someone else cashed
it. If we assume the average check is for Bs. 80 million (39,208), then we are
talking about a clean US$ 39 million rip off in an institution that on top of
that has failed to do its job for eight years.

The people involved are truly screwed: They owe the money;
they have to pay the financing until the issue is resolved and they still have
no home.

—Last Wednesday our esteemed Minister of Finance
presented the 2007 national budget. His talk was an exercise in either deceit
or ignorance, depending on whether he believes what he said or was purposely
trying to lie. My bet is it was 80% ignorance.

Among other jewels, Merentes said that the era of
devaluations is over. He also stated that there is a “small” problem with
inflation but every state policy is aimed at attacking it. Well, the problem is
not small; in fact, they had to force interest rates to come down 18 percentage
points to drop inflation from 18% to 10% and now are back to 16% by the end of
the year. Unfortunately, they can’t drop rates 18% again because they are so
low now. Additionally, except for the Central Bank, that has been absorbing
liquidity, but has no more capacity to do so, not one policy has been
implemented to fight inflation.

In any case, the numeric part of his speech has to do with
the fact that Merentes proudly announced that the budget had a lot of latitude
in it because the budget was made assuming an average price for the Venezuelan
oil basket of US$ 29 per barrel.

Unfortunately, Venezuela has been producing
only 2.53 million barrels a day, while the budget assumes 3.5 million barrels a
day, 400 thousand barrels above what the Government says is total production.

So, let’s compare numbers. 29 dollars a barrel in the
budget with 3.5 million barrels a day is equivalent to US$ 101 million a day in
oil income.

In order to have US$ 101 million in oil income, with the production that
IEA says we have, the average price of the Venezuelan oil basket would have to
be above US$ 40.11 dollars per barrel.

However, Venezuela
just this week announced that it will take a production cut of 138 thousand
barrels a day, as part of the one million barrel a day cut by OPEC. This would lower
production to 2.392 barrels of oil per day, which requires producing US$ 101
million a day, an average price of US$ 42.43 per barrel.

Problem is that in the last three years, the final budget
has been, on the average 25% higher than the proposed budget. This would
require 25% more per barrel in order to maintain the budget or US$ 50.9 per
barrel.

Unfortunately, on Friday the barrel of oil for the Venezuelan oil basket closed at US$ 49.95, so that Merente’s words use of “ample room”, “comfortable cushion” and all those nice
words he used, only exist in his own imagination.

So, prepare yourself…

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