Archive for September, 2007

Not a great day for democracy and rights in Venezuela

September 30, 2007

—The Government expropriated the camp at Canaima,
the national park which had been run by a private company for decades.
The Government ignores and injunction by a Superior Court. Just wait a
few weeks and maybe it will be as bad as the cable car has gotten n the
short time it has been in the hands of the Government (They shut it
down for the next ten days).

—Chavez threatened to take over private hospitals,
saying he does not understand why Doctors charge and want to make money,
they should be like soldiers. I guess he has not looked at Generals’
salaries lately; they make more than Professors and medical doctors.
Why does the public sector pay for private coverage if private hospitals are so bad and run by such
bad people?

—And the autocrat also threatened private schools,
that if they do not use the “official” books, they will be
nationalized. Next: Universities, according to the Minister of Higher
Education in el Nacional who claims University Presidents (called
Rectors) have “kidnapped” university autonomy. Funny, they have all
been elected by the Professors and students and not one Chavista has
been elected, I call that democracy, he calls it kidnapping.

—And a large banner posted by an opposition group (below)
on the side of a local highway was confiscated by the Metropolitan
Police. No charges have been made against the banner which had a quote
from none other than Liberator Simon Bolivar who said: “The
continuation of the authority in the same individual frequently has
been the end of democratic Governments” in reference to Chavez’
proposal to be reelected indefinitely. I guess only Chavistas can quote
Simon Bolivar or use banners with his subversive thinking.

—Chavez also said Hummer’s should not get CADIVI dollars, but that is discriminatory, it only affects his supporters!!!

A picture is worth more than 10,000 words #34: Oil prices do not corralate with oil income

September 30, 2007

This graph, ripped off from Santander Investments, shows the low correlation between the Venezuelan oil basket and oil revenues as reported by the Venezuelan Central Bank (less than 0.25 according to Santander). This is a clear example of the lack of transparency and the lack of credinility of the numbers thew Government publishes. Imagine after the Central Bank is no longer ‘independent”!!!

Say NO! to the Constitutional reform

September 29, 2007
Thanks Feathers!

Last week I had suggested that given the outrageous promises and
offers coming from autocrat Hugo Chavez, it just meant that the numbers
in his private polls were not looking very good. Not that I think that
he may lose in the referendum on the Constitution, but when you adjust
abstention in a poll and the numbers change dramatically, you start to
worry. And that is probably what the numbers are saying, that with high
abstention, the reform passes, but if too many people decide to go to
the polls things could get touchy for the autocrat.
 \u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>That something is up was confirmed yesterday, as, despite Chavez’ earlier demand \u003ca href\u003d\”http://www.noticias24.com/actualidad/?p\u003d7896\” target\u003d\”_blank\” onclick\u003d\”return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)\”\>that not one comma be changed\u003c/a\> in the reform document he pulled in his now historical and orgasmic all nighter of non democratic inspiration, which was quickly followed by two swift approvals by the National Assembly of the three required, now all of a sudden the President of the Assembly is willing to change Art. 115, one of the most controversial, in order to reduce both criticisms and fears by the voters. \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>The new Art. 115, which has been analyzed extensively \u003ca href\u003d\”http://daniel-venezuela.blogspot.com/2007/09/chavez-new-constitution-article-115.html\” target\u003d\”_blank\” onclick\u003d\”return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)\”\>in Daniels’ blog\u003c/a\>, essentially removed the ability of people to “dispose” of their property, a word that was remove from the new article 115, while only leaving the right to use the property, while at the same time restricting it dramatically. Quoting from Daniel’s blog:\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>“Also, since private property is restricted to “user and consumer goods and legitimately acquired means of production” it includes neither land (unless it were a “legally acquired means of production”) nor intellectual property, unproductive land and real estate (even the land one lives on) and personally produced works of art could never constitute one’s own private property.”\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>The initial reaction by pro-Chavez legislators was the staunch defense of the new article. The defense was silly, mostly based on the extremely weak argument that “The basic rights of private property would remain to be defined in the commercial code, so there is nothing to worry about”. This became the “word” sent down from the higher ups and as many as four Deputies of the National Assembly, used the same phrase, give and take one word, in their staunch defense of the changes in Art. 115.”,1]
);

//–>

That something is up was confirmed yesterday, as, despite Chavez’ earlier demand that not one comma be changed
in the reform document he pulled in his now historical and orgasmic all
nighter of non democratic inspiration, which was quickly followed by
two swift approvals by the National Assembly of the three required, now
all of a sudden the President of the Assembly is willing to change Art.
115, one of the most controversial, in order to reduce both criticisms
and fears by the voters.

The new Art. 115, which has been analyzed extensively in Daniels’ blog,
essentially removed the ability of people to “dispose” of their
property, a word that was remove from the new article 115, while only
leaving the right to use the property, while at the same time
restricting it dramatically. Quoting from Daniel’s blog:

“Also,
since private property is restricted to “user and consumer goods and
legitimately acquired means of production” it includes neither land
(unless it were a “legally acquired means of production”) nor
intellectual property, unproductive land and real estate (even the land
one lives on) and personally produced works of art could never
constitute one’s own private property.”

The
initial reaction by pro-Chavez legislators was the staunch defense of
the new article. The defense was silly, mostly based on the extremely
weak argument that “The basic rights of private property would remain
to be defined in the commercial code, so there is nothing to worry
about”. This became the “word” sent down from the higher ups and as
many as four Deputies of the National Assembly, used the same phrase,
give and take one word, in their staunch defense of the changes in Art.
115.

\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>The problem is that this argument is not only weak, but is outright stupid. First, the commercial code could still have it defined in it, but if the new Constitution limited the definition it would be essentially trivial to have the Constitutional Hall of the Supreme Court declare the Commercial Code unconstitutional. But even more ominous, one should not forget that the Code itself will be changed once the new Constitution is approved by way of a decree under the Enabling Bill. In the words of Chavez: “ The code is over one hundred years old and we have to adapt it to a socialist economy”. What better adaptation could there have been than to also remove wide private property rights from the Code? This is precisely what has unnerved so many.\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>While we don’t know what private polls are telling the President, we do know that various aspects of the reform lack the support of the majority and this is not limited to the indefinite reelection of the President, the main (and only?) driver of the reform. In fact, in the latest Hinterlaces poll, 57% of the people backed political party Podemos for standing up against the proposed reform, with only 21% disagreeing with it and 62% disagreeing with Chavez accusation that doing this represented an act of treason as Chavez charged. The same poll yielded that 47% of those polled was against the reform, with 37% backing it. Clearly some of the people are no longer being fooled by the intentions of the autocrat.\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>The Government did not help itself this week either, when it distributed apartments to poor people in the “Alba de Caracas” buildings, but those assigned the apartments were not given title to the apartments, as has been the tradition in these cases, but rather just the right to use it. There is actually a reason for this, as the Government does not want people to turn around and sell the apartments. This actually has a simple solution, attach a mortgage to the property with a symbolic low monthly payment, which would stop anyone from selling it unless the mortgage is paid up. “,1]
);

//–>

The
problem is that this argument is not only weak, but is outright stupid.
First, the commercial code could still have it defined in it, but if
the new Constitution limited the definition it would be essentially
trivial to have the Constitutional Hall of the Supreme Court declare
the Commercial Code unconstitutional. But even more ominous, one should
not forget that the Code itself will be changed once the new
Constitution is approved by way of a decree under the Enabling Bill. In
the words of Chavez: “ The code is over one hundred years old and we
have to adapt it to a socialist economy”. What better adaptation could
there have been than to also remove wide private property rights from
the Code? This is precisely what has unnerved so many.

While
we don’t know what private polls are telling the President, we do know
that various aspects of the reform lack the support of the majority and
this is not limited to the indefinite reelection of the President, the
main (and only?) driver of the reform. In fact, in the latest
Hinterlaces poll, 57% of the people backed political party Podemos for
standing up against the proposed reform, with only 21% disagreeing with
it and 62% disagreeing with Chavez accusation that doing this
represented an act of treason as Chavez charged. The same poll yielded
that 47% of those polled was against the reform, with 37% backing it.
Clearly some of the people are no longer being fooled by the intentions
of the autocrat.

The Government did not help
itself this week either, when it distributed apartments to poor people
in the “Alba de Caracas” buildings, but those assigned the apartments
were not given title to the apartments, as has been the tradition in
these cases, but rather just the right to use it. There is actually a
reason for this, as the Government does not want people to turn around
and sell the apartments. This actually has a simple solution, attach a
mortgage to the property with a symbolic low monthly payment, which
would stop anyone from selling it unless the mortgage is paid up.
 \u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>The only question is how far Chavez and his cohorts are willing to go in order to have the indefinite reelection approved. There are too many articles that can be attacked if an effective campaign against the proposed Constitutional reform were waged. As an example, there are at least eleven, yes \u003ci\>eleven\u003c/i\>\u003cspan style\u003d\”font-style:normal\”\> articles, that rather than the claimed “more power to the people”, actually concentrate even more power on the autocrat. This would be a simple message to send to the people in organized fashion. \u003c/span\>\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>The big question is whether the Government will be willing to gamble if the numbers were going against it and still go for a vote. While I doubt it, it would require the creation of a completely new strategy for the robolution given the wide-ranging legislative changes that Chavez wants to impose before July 2008 when the Enabling Bill expires. These changes were supposed to be framed within the new Constitution. Chavez needs these changes, but more and more Venezuelans are beginning to see the lack of accomplishments by the robolution as the signs of abuse and corruption become more evident daily.\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>The only question is whether the opposition will or not organize itself for this. So far, indications are that while there seems to be more unity, there is no common theme to stopping the reform. It is encouraging that no major political organization is asking for people to abstain, but more is needed to stop the reform.\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>The indications are that the opportunity is there; it is just a matter of doing it!\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>Simply put: Say NO! to the reform.\u003cspan\> \u003c/span\>\u003c/div\>\u003c/div\>”,0]
);

//–>

The
only question is how far Chavez and his cohorts are willing to go in
order to have the indefinite reelection approved. There are too many
articles that can be attacked if an effective campaign against the
proposed Constitutional reform were waged. As an example, there are at
least eleven, yes eleven
articles, that rather than the claimed “more power to the people”,
actually concentrate even more power on the autocrat. This would be a
simple message to send to the people in organized fashion.

The
big question is whether the Government will be willing to gamble if the
numbers were going against it and still go for a vote. While I doubt
it, it would require the creation of a completely new strategy for the
robolution given the wide-ranging legislative changes that Chavez wants
to impose before July 2008 when the Enabling Bill expires. These
changes were supposed to be framed within the new Constitution. Chavez
needs these changes, but more and more Venezuelans are beginning to see
the lack of accomplishments by the robolution as the signs of abuse and
corruption become more evident daily.

The only
question is whether the opposition will or not organize itself for
this. So far, indications are that while there seems to be more unity,
there is no common theme to stopping the reform. It is encouraging that
no major political organization is asking for people to abstain, but
more is needed to stop the reform.

The indications are that the opportunity is there; it is just a matter of doing it!

Simply put: Say NO! to the reform.

Carlos Fuentes responds to Venezuela´s Ambassador to Mexico

September 29, 2007

Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes gives a exquisite response
to the criticism of him by Venezuelan Ambassador to Mexico Roy
Chaderton, who called him a racist for being critical of Hugo Chavez:
 
“He proves that he is the faithful emissary of his master, who deserves the salary, but mistakes his function”
 
Adding
then that there are two buffoons in this continent, “one, the one from
Washington, is the most dangerous. The other, the one from Caracas is
the more ludicrous. Ambassador Chaderton demonstrates sadly, that he is
only the buffoon of the buffoon, the servile Rigoletto of the tropical
Cesar”
 
In closing Fuentes said: “In closing I wish the Ambassador a long life, even if in his case of this may sound like a curse”

News from the robolution and its friends

September 27, 2007
—The news of the day was that five were injured in protests by oil workers in Anzoategui state. These are “rojo-rojito” workers, who consider themselves the “saviors” of PDVSA. Twenty two were jailed, but PDVSA managed to get them freed.

—And even though Chavez did not go to the UN meeting in NY, the Venezuelan Government asked for visas
for 233 people to go to the UN meeting. France asked for only 26 and
Brazil only 21, but you know the robolution, you have to take advantage
of everything they give you…some shopping in the name of the “people” must have been in order.

—And we were
overjoyed with the visit of Iran’s President Mahmud Ahmadinejad; the
more time he spends away the better for Iranians,no? Particularly gays.
Oh! I forgot, there are no gays in Iran!!!

—And
how about funny man Nelson Kirchner, first he goes and says that
Chavez’ buddy Ahmadinejad has not helped in the investigation of
bombing of the synagogue in Buenos Aires. Then today he says that it is
the US that is financing the robolution. Jeez, and I thought he was a
friend.

—Oh yes, and Venezuela said today it
will increase oil production by 250,000 barrels in two years using a
new technique that can be applied to about 1,000 existing wells. An
additional 90,000 barrels will be obtained from the heavy crude
upgraders. In this way, the shortage of drilling rigs will be
compensated. Of course, two years ago, production was going to be
increased to 3.5 million barrels using the “new” drilling rigs that
were paid for and never arrived.

September 26, 2007

   

   

  

   

Nice pictures from Santos

September 26, 2007

Santos and Eduardo are in this wonderful competition, I have a set from each one, I will randomly start with Santos

Left¨Cymbidiella Rhodochylla from Africa. Right: Rhyncostilis

Left: Oncidium Papilio Right: I think thsi is a Macradenia, not sure which one.

Hugo Chavez on a roll in his fantasyland of projects, while spewing his ignorance and hate

September 26, 2007

One
really has to wonder as to what polls are telling the Government, as the
autocrat continued yesterday his foray into total fantasyland, this
time venturing with his imagination into the educational field with his new and improved Mision Alma Mater,
which he said will consist of 58 new universities, even if when he went
into the details, it turns out only 29 of them were actually “new”.
Chavez said he would create 14 new territorial universities, whatever
that means, and ten new “specialized” universities which will cover the
arts, languages, basic sciences, agricultural sciences, fiscal sciences
(??), economics, telematics, hydrocarbons, security and tourism. He
would also create the University of the South, to open the doors of kids
from Latin America and the Caribbean, a concept which I am sure
Brazilian, Argentineans, Chilean and Uruguayans will probably smirk at,
given the high quality of their universities. He would round the 29
“new” universities, with 4 technological institutes, which provide short
careers.

The rest will come from upgrading
“institutes” (he did not specify which ones) and technological
institutes to universities. Chavez offered to give Bs. 1.4 trillion for
this project to “build” these universities. Thus, the total amount
allocated will be US$ 12 million per university in the project, not
exactly a huge amount for an institution of higher learning.

But wait! While Chavez made it sound like this was a new venture, this “Mision” is actually a rehash of one with the same name and budget announced last November.
At the time, Chavez called the country’s universities “capitalists” and
said his system would be one of quality, at which point a girl got up
and basically told him that the unit of the Armed Forces University in
her state, which she attended, did not have much infrastructure,
including no library, and was overcrowded. Chavez got out of the
impasse by saying he would consolidate and improve what was available,
but the autocrat is not a man of execution and consolidation but a man
of empty promises.

\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>Because you have to wonder why Chavez had to announce this project and why little has happened since it was first announced over ten months ago. But hey, that is average in the robolution, fantastic hyperbole, incredible promises and no execution and results. As Chavez told his one time Minister of Finance (now jailed) in 2002 when the Minister told him there was no money for new announcements: “You don’t understand, I live off these announcements”.\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>But let’s look at some of the problems with this announcement. Besides the low budget, how is it going to be staffed? The problem facing higher education today in Venezuela is the dwindling number of students going for graduate degrees, as well as the brain drain among people with graduate degrees, which find few opportunities and low salaries. Yesterday, Benjamin Sharifker, Head of Simon Bolivar University, one of the best in the country if not the best, said that half of the openings they have go unfilled for lack of qualified candidates. So, how is Chavez going to fill the thousands of positions required to teach at all of these new or improved institutions if he can not even have his pet project, the Bolivarian University, function properly?\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>In fact, a friend of mine has been involved with one of the projects mentioned above. She is in charge of “building” a university for 1,200 students. Finding the land, designing the buildings and hiring the contractors. She has asked what careers there will be, how many, how many students per classroom, how many professors and what type of educational terms there will be. The only answer she has received is that the classrooms should have no more than 50 students. Some project, no?\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>Since he was fantasizing, Chavez repeated that Venezuela will become a nuclear country, because he has a unclear commission, but much like the Mision Alma Mater, you have to wonder how any nuclear project can be carried out with nuclear engineers and scientists. We have heard many times about that commission but we have yet to hear who is in it. Maybe in mathematical terms, it is simply an empty set.”,1]
);

//–>

Because
you have to wonder why Chavez had to announce this project again and why
little has happened since it was first announced over ten months ago.
But hey, that is average in the robolution, fantastic hyperbole,
incredible promises and no execution and results. As Chavez told his
one time Minister of Finance (now jailed) in 2002 when the Minister
told him there was no money for new announcements: “You don’t
understand, I live off these announcements”.

But
let’s look at some of the problems with this announcement. Besides the
low budget, how is it going to be staffed? The problem facing higher
education today in Venezuela is the dwindling number of students going
for graduate degrees, as well as the brain drain among people with
graduate degrees, which find few opportunities and low salaries.
Yesterday, Benjamin Sharifker, Head of Simon Bolivar University, one of
the best in the country if not the best, said that half of the openings
they have go unfilled for lack of qualified candidates. So, how is
Chavez going to fill the thousands of positions required to teach at
all of these new or improved institutions if he can not even have his
pet project, the Bolivarian University, function properly?

In
fact, a friend of mine has been involved with one of the projects
mentioned above. She is in charge of “building” a university for 1,200
students. Finding the land, designing the buildings and hiring the
contractors. She has asked what careers there will be, how many, how
many students per classroom, how many professors and what type of
educational terms there will be. The only answer she has received is
that the classrooms should have no more than 50 students. Some project,
no?

Since he was fantasizing, Chavez repeated
that Venezuela will become a nuclear country, because he has a nuclear
commission, but much like the Mision Alma Mater, you have to wonder how
any nuclear project can be carried out with nuclear engineers and
scientists. We have heard many times about that commission but we have
yet to hear who is in it. Maybe in mathematical terms, it is simply an
empty set.

\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>And at the end Chavez became the offensive individual that he has proven to be over and over during the lat eight years, when in his infinite ignorance and inferiority complex he criticized Venezuela’s premier research and development Institute IVIC. He called the research being carried out there as “not adjusted to reality”, ignoring its long history of excellence and accomplishment.\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>But does Chavez want reality? IVIC spawned during its years, INTEVEP, Venezuela’s oil research institute which Chavez cynically and unmercifully destroyed in very realistic fashion in 2003. It also spawned the Engineering Institute (nothing unrealistic about that name, no?), but more importantly, it set the standards of excellence for academia and research in Venezuela, which propagated throughout Venezuela’s academic system. \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>At one time, IVIC was the premier research institution in Venezuela and it has generated thousands of papers, which are immortal contributions to knowledge.\u003cspan\> \u003c/span\>It has also graduated hundreds of Masters and Ph.D.’s in basic sciences. And that is why they are called basic; they are not called “realistic”, because there is no such concept. Scientists work on areas of their interest and their research takes them to wherever it may go and many times it goes towards unimaginable areas that it’s original creators could not envision. That is what IVIC is suppose to do and did for decades until politics began getting in the way of excellence and Chavez’ ignorance simply shows that he thinks he understands what he is doing, but can’t even tell which way he has to switch his clock so that the sun rises earlier. \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>It is a measure of how primitive and backwards Venezuela’s Government has become, that Chavez dares to make this comment, suggesting that IVIC will also not survive the autocrat’s destructive powers as he continues to live in his fantasy and la-la land. \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>And it will be the country’s sad and irreparable loss…”,1]
);

//–>

And
at the end, Chavez became the offensive individual that he has proven to
be over and over during the lat eight years, when in his infinite
ignorance and inferiority complex he criticized Venezuela’s premier
research and development Institute IVIC. He called the research being
carried out there as “not adjusted to reality”, ignoring its long
history of excellence and accomplishment.

But
does Chavez want reality? IVIC spawned during its years, INTEVEP,
Venezuela’s oil research institute which Chavez cynically and
unmercifully destroyed in very realistic fashion in 2003. It also
spawned the Engineering Institute (nothing unrealistic about that name,
no?), but more importantly, it set the standards of excellence for
academia and research in Venezuela, which propagated throughout
Venezuela’s academic system.

At one time, IVIC
was the premier research institution in Venezuela and it has generated
thousands of papers, which are immortal contributions to knowledge. It
has also graduated hundreds of Masters and Ph.D.’s in basic sciences.
And that is why they are called basic; they are not called “realistic”,
because there is no such concept. Scientists work on areas of their
interest and their research takes them to wherever it may go and many
times it goes towards unimaginable areas that it’s original creators
could not envision. That is what IVIC is suppose to do and did for
decades until politics began getting in the way of excellence and
Chavez’ ignorance simply shows that he thinks he understands what he is
doing, but can’t even tell which way he has to switch his clock so that
the sun rises earlier.

It is a measure of how
primitive and backwards Venezuela’s Government has become, that Chavez
dares to make this comment, suggesting that IVIC will also not survive
the autocrat’s destructive powers as he continues to live in his
fantasy and la-la land.

And it will be the country’s sad and irreparable loss…\u003c/div\>”,0]
);
D(["ce"]);

//–>

OPEC says Emperor has no clothes, cuts Venezuela’s oil production quota by 753,000 barrels

September 25, 2007

Last week, OPEC quietly decided to formalize what everyone but a few fanatics know and as part of its 500,000 barrel a day increase in production, it actually decreased
Venezuela’s OPEC quota from 3.223 million barrels of oil a day to 2.470
million barrels of oil a day. There was no announcement related to
decision, it was simply slipped into the update of the quota tables ( you can see it here,
go to the Nov 07 column in page 2). Clearly this was a high level
decision at OPEC, which has been reporting similar levels of production
for the country in its monthly oil report and as a serious organization wanted to have consistent numbers..

The
decision confirms what analysts, OPEC and the IEA have been saying for
the last two years, while the irresponsible Venezuelan administration,
including Minister of Energy and Oil Rafael Ramirez and President Hugo
Chavez have been telling the country. This simply show the utter
contempt these people have towards the citizens of the country and how
far they are capable of extending their lies and deceit in the name of
their fraudulent political project.

The cynical Venezuelan Oil Minister immediately took issue
with OPEC’s decision saying from Houston that “there was confusion and
manipulation in this decision…because Venezuela’s quota is set at
11.5%” and requires a resolution by OPEC Ministers to be changed and
this has not happened. First time I hear that Venezuela’s quota is a
percentage and not a number of barrels per day. its Venezuelan production figures, even denying the claims that Venezuela has tried to resolve the situation. \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>The decision leaves Chavez the Emperor quite naked, as it can’t blame some obscure international plot to depose him for a decision that simply formalizes what is the reality: The country’s production has tumbled since 2003 and no evidence exists that the country is producing the levels claimed by the Venezuelan Government. Moreover, Government officials have been lying through their teeth about the true situation, together with their paid international cheerleaders.\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>As I reported recently, PDVSA’s most recent numbers presented the data in a different manner and showed some new inconsistencies with earlier data. Clearly, the most bothersome aspect of all this is that transparency has been lost in reporting the country’s numbers. This is the reason why, despite oil prices near all time highs, Venezuela’s debt is 25-30% below the highs attained in March of this year. This makes Venezuela less attractive to foreign investors which will require higher yields to invest in the country\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003c/div\>”,0]
);
D(["ce"]);

//–>IEA has long defended its Venezuelan production figures, even denying the claims that Venezuela has tried to resolve the situation.

The
decision leaves Chavez the Emperor quite naked, as it can’t blame some
obscure international plot to depose him for a decision that simply
formalizes what is the reality: The country’s production has tumbled
since 2003 and no evidence exists that the country is producing the
levels claimed by the Venezuelan Government. Moreover, Government
officials have been lying through their teeth about the true situation,
together with their paid international cheerleaders.

As
I reported recently, PDVSA’s most recent numbers presented the data in
a different manner and showed some new inconsistencies with earlier
data. Clearly, the most bothersome aspect of all this is that
transparency has been lost in reporting the country’s numbers from PDVSA, to the Ministry of Finance to the Central Bank. This is
the reason why, despite oil prices near all time highs, Venezuela’s
debt is 25-30% below the highs attained in March of this year. This
makes Venezuela less attractive to foreign investors which will require
higher yields to invest in the country.

Venezuela is a founding member of OPEC.

Lies, Alo Presidente and Hugo Chavez´ petrochemical folly

September 24, 2007

I am always amazed at both the ability of the
Chavez Government to lie, as well as its ability for hyperbole when
talking about economic projects. The first few years of Chavez’
presidency, you could tell he was frustrated with economic issues, he
did not know how to manage them, did not understand them and could not
control them, in contrast with social and political issues where he
could really understand what the people wanted and used it to his
advantage, blaming the previous forty years for all the problems.
Since
then, Chavez has learned that you can lie, exaggerate and make up
numbers on just about any subject, but it is precisely in social issues
where he has to walk a very fine line, because the people are not dumb.
You can’t fool people into believing there is no crime or it has not
increased, no inflation and he has stopped it, no shortages or a boom
in housing. Thus, Chavez avoids these subjects. Chavez never says “we
have built so many housing units…”, he knows that if he exaggerates,
some people will feel that they were left out, so it is better to say
“We will build so many thousand units…”. In a year, nobody will check
anyway 
Thus,
Chavez concentrates a lot of his time on economic projects which are
not easy to understand, even for himself, and for which there is little
accountability. This is in the end as effective as fighting Bush’
ghost, blaming the CIA for everything or calling the opposition
terrorists. The terms are ill defined and in contrast to the detail
into which he goes for historical facts, he usually barely stops to
explain, what exactly Bush’ ghost did, how the CIA accomplished
something or exactly what terrorist act the opposition committed in a
country with little terrorism. \u003cdiv style\u003d\”margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;min-height:14px\”\>\u003cbr\>\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv style\u003d\”margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px\”\>With time, Chavez has gained confidence on economic matters. He knows there is little accountability on them and he can just talk and talk and simply BS the population. Thus, Chavez can promise a gas pipeline through the South and if it is not built it is because the CIA or Bush’s ghost want to divide Latin America. Or he can promise to pay for half of 14 refineries and not one gets built, except for the one in Cuba, which Venezuela is paying for completely. Just yesterday Chavez was blaming the difficulties in working with Petrobras on the underlings,s saying he had to bypass them by dealing with Lula directly. The truth is that the underlings are professionals who have found PDVSA an unreliable partner and they have decided to go at it alone or the refinery may never get built. \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv style\u003d\”margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;min-height:14px\”\>\u003cbr\>\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv style\u003d\”margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px\”\>The worst art, is that Chavez gets away with it. He can say the most outrageous things and few reporters, pro- or against Chavez even question what he says or ask whatever happened to promises he has made in the past.\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv style\u003d\”margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;min-height:14px\”\>\u003cbr\>\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv style\u003d\”margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px\”\>But yesterday, this reached \u003ca href\u003d\”http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D8RRFPR00.htm\” target\u003d\”_blank\” onclick\u003d\”return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)\”\>\u003cfont color\u003d\”#000099\”\>absurd proportions\u003c/font\>\u003c/a\> when Chavez during his Sunday marathonic eight hour variety show Alo Presidente, kept a very straight face \u003ca href\u003d\”http://www.eluniversal.com/2007/09/23/eco_ava_chavez:-revolucion-p_23A1056477.shtml\” target\u003d\”_blank\” onclick\u003d\”return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)\”\>”,1]
);

//–>

With
time, Chavez has gained confidence on economic matters. He knows there
is little accountability on them and he can just talk and talk and
simply BS the population. Thus, Chavez can promise a gas pipeline
through the South and if it is not built it is because the CIA or
Bush’s ghost want to divide Latin America. Or he can promise to pay for
half of 14 refineries and not one gets built, except for the one in
Cuba, which Venezuela is paying for completely. Just yesterday Chavez
was blaming the difficulties in working with Petrobras on the
underlings,s saying he had to bypass them by dealing with Lula
directly. The truth is that the underlings are professionals who have
found PDVSA an unreliable partner and they have decided to go at it
alone or the refinery may never get built. 
The
worst art, is that Chavez gets away with it. He can say the most
outrageous things and few reporters, pro- or against Chavez even
question what he says or ask whatever happened to promises he has made
in the past.
But yesterday, this reached absurd proportions when Chavez during his Sunday marathonic eight hour variety show Alo Presidente, kept a very straight face when he announced\u003c/font\>\u003c/a\> a petrochemical revolution, which in its first stage between now and 2013:\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv style\u003d\”margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;min-height:14px\”\>\u003cbr\>\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv style\u003d\”margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px\”\>“…will generate 700,000 jobs, US$ 100 billion in revenues …and require US$ 20 billion in investment”\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv style\u003d\”margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;min-height:14px\”\>\u003cbr\>\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv style\u003d\”margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px\”\>Now, I have yet to see any criticism besides today’s Veneconomy Editorial of this statement. \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv style\u003d\”margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;min-height:14px\”\>\u003cbr\>\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv style\u003d\”margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px\”\>But let’s analyze it:\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv style\u003d\”margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;min-height:14px\”\>\u003cbr\>\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv style\u003d\”margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px\”\>First, the numbers are simply inconsistent among themselves:\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv style\u003d\”margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;min-height:14px\”\>\u003cbr\>\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv style\u003d\”margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px\”\>—No US$ 20 billion investment is capable of generating US$ 100 billion in revenues unless you have some form of unique product and certainly not with a commodity like petrochemicals, even if they have gone up in price recently\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv style\u003d\”margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;min-height:14px\”\>\u003cbr\>\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv style\u003d\”margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px\”\>—700,000 jobs is also an absurd number, none of the largest corporations in the world, with revenues many times larger than US$ 100 billion have so many employees. Juts think, Venezuela’s oil industry has 45,000 employees to generate less than US$ 100 billion in revenues.\u003c/div\>”,1]
);

//–>when he announced a petrochemical revolution, which in its first stage between now and 2013:

“…will generate 700,000 jobs, US$ 100 billion in revenues …and require US$ 20 billion in investment”
Now, I have yet to see any criticism besides today’s Veneconomy Editorial of this statement. 
But let’s analyze it:
First, the numbers are simply inconsistent among themselves:
—No
US$ 20 billion investment is capable of generating US$ 100 billion in
revenues unless you have some form of unique product and certainly not
with a commodity like petrochemicals, even if they have gone up in
price recently
—700,000
jobs is also an absurd number, none of the largest corporations in the
world, with revenues many times larger than US$ 100 billion have so
many employees. Juts think, Venezuela’s oil industry has 45,000
employees to generate less than US$ 100 billion in revenues.

\u003cbr\>\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv style\u003d\”margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px\”\>—Pequiven, Venezuela’s petrochemical company had revenues in 2004 of barely US$ 3 billion under its current management, know how and expertise, how will it grow to UD$ 100 billion, a factor of 33 i growth. Where will the engineers, competitive advantages and the like come from?\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv style\u003d\”margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;min-height:14px\”\>\u003cbr\>\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv style\u003d\”margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px\”\>—As an example, Dow Chemical, one of the largest petrochemical companies in the world, had sales in 2006 of about US$ 49 billion, it had 43 thousand employees and trades at a value of US$ 50 billion. \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv style\u003d\”margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;min-height:14px\”\>\u003cbr\>\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv style\u003d\”margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px\”\>—Of course, the common question has become: Where is the money going to come from? The Government has yet to pay for the Orinoco Oil belt companies it nationalized. PDVSA, our main source of income is not investing what it needs to keep up production and does not have the people required. So, where is the money going to come from? To say nothing of the raw materials required to produce the various chemicals. Natural Gas is limited, oil production is going down. What gives?\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv style\u003d\”margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;min-height:14px\”\>\u003cbr\>\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv style\u003d\”margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px\”\>The answer is that this announcement will be much like the dozens of others that Chavez mentions every Sunday. There will be no follow up, no project development and maybe, if we are optimistic, in 2013 Pequiven may have increased production of petrochemicals by 20-30% to US$ 4 billion.\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv style\u003d\”margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;min-height:14px\”\>”,1]
);

//–>

—Pequiven,
Venezuela’s petrochemical company had revenues in 2004 of barely US$ 3
billion under its current management, know how and expertise, how will
it grow to UD$ 100 billion, a factor of 33 i  growth. Where will the
engineers, competitive advantages and the like come from?
—As
an example, Dow Chemical, one of the largest petrochemical companies in
the world, had sales in 2006 of about US$ 49 billion, it had 43
thousand employees and trades at a value of US$ 50 billion. 
—Of
course, the common question has become: Where is the money going to
come from? The Government has yet to pay for the Orinoco Oil belt
companies it nationalized. PDVSA, our main source of income is not
investing what it needs to keep up production and does not have the
people required. So, where is the money going to come from? To say
nothing of the raw materials required to produce the various chemicals.
Natural Gas is limited, oil production is going down. What gives?
The
answer is that this announcement will be much like the dozens of others
that Chavez mentions every Sunday. There will be no follow up, no
project development and maybe, if we are optimistic, in 2013 Pequiven
may have increased production of petrochemicals by 20-30% to US$ 4
billion.
\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv style\u003d\”margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px\”\>At which time Chavez will announce in his Sunday variety show Alo Presidente that the second stage of the petrochemical revolution is about to begin and that it will generate two million jobs, US$ 200 billion in revenues and require inly US$ 20 billion in investment.\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv style\u003d\”margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;min-height:14px\”\>\u003cbr\>\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv style\u003d\”margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px\”\>And all of the members of the then Cabinet, the same faces just rotated in their positions within the Cabinet, will nod approvingly, smile and applaud the bright future Venezuela has in the hands of Hugo Chavez. \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv style\u003d\”margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px\”\>\u003cbr\>\u003c/div\>\u003c/div\>”,0]
);
D(["ce"]);

//–>

At
which time Chavez will announce in his Sunday variety show Alo
Presidente that the second stage of the petrochemical revolution is
about to begin and that it will generate two million jobs, US$ 200
billion in revenues and require inly US$ 20 billion in investment.
And
all of the members of the then Cabinet, the same faces just rotated in
their positions within the Cabinet, will nod approvingly, smile and
applaud the bright future Venezuela has in the hands of Hugo Chavez.

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