Archive for April 4th, 2007

And while we were off the air…in the land of the robolution

April 4, 2007

Many things happened while I was off the air, some, like the PDVSA bonds, I
will write about later, but I can’t help but put my two cents into the following
stories:

—Former Governor Lapi escapes from jail: Daniel has covered this in detail here,
here
or here,
but the case it’s truly a reflection of the lowlifes of this robolution. He is
first called a coward for escaping from a jail in a jail system that is famous
for deaths among inmates and riots; with close to a death per day in the country’s
jail system. A couple of days before Lapi’s escape, eight people were killed in
a jail riot where he was being held and a grenade exploded within the jail. Of
course, he has been in jail for misuse of funds for a year, but the Prosecutor
has yet to bring him to trial, in violation of the laws. Moreover, all of his
injunctions at the Supreme Court have not been heard by that Court, which is also
illegal since there is a limit to how long they have to decide on them. Despite
this travesty of Justice, the Head of the Supreme Court publicly speaks on a
case she might have to rule later, saying that here is another crime committed
by the former Governor. Even more unethical is the fact that she happens to be from
the same state of Yaracuy where they have been political enemies for
years. How is that for political hate! But the laugher has to be that the Government jails 49 people who
work at the jail for helping the former Governor escape. This seems to suggest
that they have no clue who helped Lapi. In a country where three people can’t
keep a secret, a conspiracy of 49 is unheard of. Gimme a break!

—Improvised prohibition or dry laws: Here is the Government which for eight
years has shown its total disregard for human life, allowing homicides to
triple in that period and all of a sudden they become fundamentalists and
prohibit public drinking everyday after 5 PM for the whole of the Easter
vacation. (Kathy has
covered
this in detail) This was so improvised, that it was announced the day
before the vacation was to begin, catching bars, restaurants and discos off
guard, they already had stocked up for the holidays, particularly in resort areas where
Venezuelans congregate for the holidays. (Imagine a disco with fruit punch!) Even funnier, it is all blamed on
capitalism which puts “profit ahead of human life”, as if the badly maintained
roads and highways of Venezuela,
which are responsible for a good fraction of all accidents, were maintained by
extraterrestrials and not by the Chavez Government itself. And then there is of
course the problem of wishing it won’t make it so: enforcement. Last night I
looked out my window to the barrio next to my building and the corner store was
selling beer en force and the people drinking it, under the watchful eyes of
the police, who would not dare interfere with the fun of their own neighbors.

—Giving away assets of FOGADE: And then there was the biggest improviser of
them all, Hugo Chavez, asking that FOGADE, the institution that guarantees the
deposits of the banking system, give away all of its properties to the
“people”. Way to go Hugo! Take the “people’s” guarantees to
give to some other “people”. As long as you sound like you are a good guy, who
cares if the “people” are the same or not? This is part of the
Government by witticism that Fabre talked about. The properties of FOGADE were
acquired in the 1994-95 financial crises in exchange for the depositor’s money
and have been sold slowly to strengthen the weak equity of FOGADE. Why not just
give the all the money away too? Who needs a guarantee for deposits? Nothing can go
wrong in the revolution, Hugo won’t allow it. Yeah, sure!

—RCTV: And how about funny guy Jesse Chacon the Minister of Communications
appearing on TV and saying how RCTV had submitted its renewal under the new Broadcasting
Bill in 2002 on time and providing legal ammunition for that station to argue
its case? Of course, in his world with no logic, the conclusion of his speech
was that the license had to be revoked because they felt like it.

More on PDVSA and RCTV later as I catch up.

La Pobreza de Cabeza by Luís Pedro Espańa

April 4, 2007

I have a few posts backed up, I will release them over the next two days. Here is the first on poverty by the person that I believe understands the subject best in this country.

The Poverty
of his head
(Really a pun on the fact that the Minister of Finance’s name is
Head in Spanish) by Luís Pedro Espańa

Let’s
clarify at once that the title has nothing to do with what some believe to be a
type of poverty. We want to refer to what was the intervention of Rodrigo
Cabezas, Minister of Finance, at the annual meeting of the IDB in Guatemala on
March 20th… There, the Minister of Finance pointed out that
poverty was reduced in three years from 80.1% to 39.4% and established a goal
of “zero” poverty for 2021.

These
numbers correspond to those calculated by the National Institute for Statistics
(INE). According to the last published numbers (1st. semester 2006)
poverty was at 44.5%. Those presented by Cabezas at IDB, are supposed to refer
to preliminary numbers for the second semester of last year. Thus, for Cabezas’
count, during 2006 the rhythm of reduction of poverty in Venezuela was
almost 5 percentage points (a reduction in one semester of 250,000 poor homes!)
thus the Minister was being overly cautious with his estimates of “zero”
poverty in 14 years. At this “rhytm of winners” Dr. Cabezas, your goal should
be reached in 2011.

If
the estimates of poverty of the Minister of Finance were true, and not simply
an instrument for propaganda, then, simply, the problems of Venezuela would be
over in very little time, which would leave the Government, sociologists and
philanthropists without any other occupation than that of exporting the
Bolivarian revolution to planetary dimensions.

The
statistics of INE, those used by the Minister are not false, it is only that
the Government uses them in a false way. The point is not whether less than 40%
of the Venezuelan homes have 1.2 US$ per person per day to eat, or if they have
US$ 2.5 per day for the rest of their needs. Obviously not, because on top of
that it is not enough, one thing is the norm to interpret reality, the other to
make reality the norm. Understand, with Bs 4,000 per day, you don’t eat and
another Bs. 4,000 are not enough to live on. The reality of poverty is much
more complex that the poverty line and reducing it to this statistical
indicator, no matter how true, is a lie, is a fallacy.

The
truth is that today more than half of Venezuelans, more or less the same as ten
years ago, 57% to be exact, are dragging a deficit of capacity to forge
themselves a dignified lifestyle. With an average income of Bs. 800.000 per
month a month, there is no way for the families to compensate their immense
deficit in education, health, housing and transportation. No matter how much
family income has increased, that is not sufficient to live without stopping
being poor. If the Government tackled the problem of poverty in that maner, it
is probable that it will disappear, but only in its head.

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