Archive for November, 2007

May have to go off the air a few days.

November 17, 2007

The charger to the computer to where my blog resides just shorted. I will try to fix it, if it does not work, I will have to reinstall the software in another computer. This implies that my blog has to upload all of the five years of content. I did this once and it took like four days for it to be done, so the upcoming long weekend in the US may be the best time to do it. Fortunately I had a backup made last night and I noticed it on time, I seldom do. If the problem is fixed I will erase this message.

I managed a temporary fix, but the electrical connection is being held together by an alligator clip, so it is a temporary solution…

Notes from around the bizarro robolution on a “normal” day

November 16, 2007

—Opposition students, the same ones that Chavez says are the kids of the rich, oligarchic and the like are leading
the student election at Universidad Central de Venezuela by almost a
five to one margin. We wish the middle class was that large!!!

A Bolivian Mayor disappeared
with US$ 45,000 from Chavez’ aid to that country. Either $45,000 is
more than I thought or $45,000 goes a long way in Bolivia. That money
may have been better spent here in Venezuela.

Note Added: The winning student opposition group called 100% opposition, appears tonight to have won ALL six seats of the student federation. By the way, this group was already a majority in that Board, including the Presidency. Thus, they seemed to have increased their popularity.

—PDVSA agreed to tender
for all of Cerro Negro’s bonds by the en of the year. Cerro Negro is a
heavy crude partnership PDVSA had with ExxonMobil and PDVSA will have
to pay capital, plus interest, plus a high premium of up to 14% for
doing this, just to satisfy the autocrat’s whims.

—Italy’s Parmalat sold its milk processing plant
to the Government of Venezuela for an undisclosed sum. The plant will
be run by one of these joint Government/Worker associations, which so
far have not done too well. But the more things fail under Government
intervention, the more the Government wants to intervene. According to the Minister of Foodstuffs,
the private sector has failed and thus the Government will have to
assume roles or spaces it never wanted. I guess this guy has not read
the proposed Constitutional Reform. Meanwhile and quote ironically, in
Belarus, they also blame Chavez for their milk shortage.

Vice-President Rodriguez says
that autonomous university authorities are concerned about the “parity”
of the vote proposed in the constitutional reform. Funny, he seems to
forget all of these authorities were elected, while not a single one of
the “Bolivarian” non-autonomous universities has elected authorities.
So, who is afraid of votes, parity and the like here?

—And while Daniel has shown
the picture below in his post today, I can’t help but comment for
completeness of my own blog on it. This is an article warning about
possible violence in today’s university elections at Universidad
Central de Venezuela. In the article, a pro-Chavez student is quoted as
saying that there is a fascist and coupster sector (opposition, of
course!), which is looking for violence and barricades. Then, the same picture I used last week
in my article on Chavista violence illustrates the article. The picture
corresponds to the pro-Chavez gunmen who shot at a peaceful group of
mostly women, protesting in Plaza Altamira on August 15th.
2004 and killed Ms. Maritza Ron. One of the points of my post was that
the Government could not come up with a gallery of violent opposition
groups, like I could easily do with pro-Chavez violent groups. I guess
the VEA article proves my point; they had to illustrate opposition
violence with a picture of their own. What a farce!

Venezuela: Oil, lies and simple math…

November 15, 2007

or why I am worried about the economy and so should be the Chavez Government

Yesterday, the Minister of Finance red jacket and all, held a press conference
to call the document issued by Fedecamaras “subversive”, because it
opposed the Constitutional reform. Cabezas proceeded then to tell us
how wonderful the economy is. I don’t know what bothered me most,
Cabezas attitude to a serious document, or the fact that the Minister
of Finance thinks everything in the economy is doing so well.

Because
I remember when Chavez staged his coup in 1992, one of the accusations
against the Government at the time by him and other involved in the
coup, was that it was focusing on macroeconomic numbers and not on the
realities.

And while Cabezas told us yesterday that the salaries of Venezuelans had gone up every year since
Chavez took over, he failed to tell us that inflation has been out of
control and that according to statistics from the Venezuelan Government
itself
, while salaries have gone up in Bolivars, in real terms,
Venezuelans are actually doing worse than in 1998 and they have been
running in place since 2002, despite oil prices shooting up a factor of
four in the period. So, if you are an economist like Cabezas you should
be concerned.

Then Cabezas told us about the
wonderful growth in the economy, but that is what you would expect from
the oil windfall the country has enjoyed in the last four years.

And
then today the Central Bank issues its report on the growth of the
economy and whether you are an economist or not it is quite scary.

First
the only good news, the Venezuela economy grew by 8.7% in the third
quarter of 2007 when compared with the same quarter in 2006, which is
the way in which such statistics are measured by the Central Bank. As I
said before, that is sort of what you expect.
Then,
you look into the numbers and find out that the non-oil sector grew by
9.7% and best sector was: the public sector! This grew by 12.8% and we
are told as if to sooth us that this only happened because the
Government nationalized CANTV and Electricidad de Caracas. Then you
read the fine print and find out that Communications grew a whopping
24.3%, commerce (yes, those wonderful imported things at the official
rate) grew by 18.4%, finance by 18% and construction, one of the
biggest drivers in the real economy barely grew by 4%. If that picture
is not worrisome to Cabezas he should have his name examined.

And then comes the shocker, the oil sector shrank, contracted or was reduced by 4.4%.

Now,
Minister Ramirez is telling us in his dual capacity as Minister of Oil
and President of PDVSA, that not only is oil production not declining,
but it is growing. Growing, because he says it is larger and he also
said that PDVSA has invested US$ 10 billion so far in 2007 to increase
production.

So, we are supposed to believe his
lies and those of his cheerleaders, but let’s look at one simple, very
simple number: the average price of the Venezuelan oil basket for the
last 21 months:
As you can see, oil
prices have been going up, in fact, the average price of the Venezuelan
oil basket in the third quarter this year was US$ 69.62 per barrel
according to PDVSA’s statistics and the same price in 2006 was US$
58.99 per barrel, an uncanny increase of exactly 18% year over year.
So, we are supposed to believe that the price of oil increased by 18%,
PDVSA invested US$ 10 billion in the first nine months of 2007 and oil
production increased, but somehow, magically or perversely, oil GDP
according to the Government controlled Central Bank shrank by 4.4%?

And
that is exactly why I am extremely worried, as Cabezas should be: This
growth is simply the result of increased Government spending and the
day the price of oil falls, it will be the day of reckoning. It is the
same oil boom and bust cycle, this time on steroids, It is in the end,
revisiting the Devil’s Excrement.

Maybe I should change the masthead of the blog by now:

For countries, easy wealth appears indeed to be the sure path to failure. Venezuela IS a clear example of that.

Chavez threatens Spanish investments over spat with the King. Is this now part of a larger plan?

November 14, 2007


From IBD, thanks. M!

The world got a good glimpse today of the Chavez Venezuelans have come to know and not precisely love, when despite calls by the Spanish Foreign Minister to normalize relations
between the two countries and put an end the verbal spat that began at the
Summit in Chile, Chavez turned around, asked for an apology from the
King and made vindictive threats against Spanish companies in
Venezuela.

The style was nothing new to
Venezuelans who have been treated this way for the last nine years, as
Chavez decides people are guilty by association or his enemies because they do not
take a stand that agrees fully with his positions. He then looks for
revenge in the form of either Government intervention, discrimination,
illegal treatment of those he has declared enemies and/or direct
revenge upon the persons or entities involved. It is in fact, the
history and style of the last nine years, from the discriminatory
Tascon/Chavez list, to the vindictive attitude towards opposition
leaders, former friends like General Uson or the most recent example
of calling his savior and former buddy General Baduel, a right winger and a
traitor.

Chavez first arrived in
Venezuela from Chile rsaying that he had not heard the King of Spain telling him to
shut up, making us wonder if he heard any of what Zapatero told him
about respect, the right to dissent and democratic attitudes. At the
time, Chavez added that the whole incident made him wonder if the King
of Spain actually knew about the “coup” in 2002, when Chavez left
office until Baduel rescued him.

Yesterday, Chavez showed he was actually quite irked,
boasting, in nouveau rich style, that Spain’s investment in Venezuela
were not indispensable, a sad statement given the state of poverty in
which so many Venezuelans live, which would be aided by any investment
as the Venezuelan state is incapable of going at it alone, as has been
shown over and over in the country’s history. Last night Chávez went
even further naming two Spanish banks by name (Which coincidentally
made multi-million illegal contributions to Chavez’ 1998 Presidential
campaign) as not needed by the country. He even included a call to investigate the
death of Simon Bolivar, a theory proposed by fascist and anti-Semitic
Argentinean “revolutionary theorist” Norberto Ceresole, a deceased
advisor to Chavez who claimed the Mason’s had killed Venezuela’s
Liberator.

Then today Chavez went all out,
demanding an apology from the King of Spain and threatening to get
vindictive and as retribution, take back properties nationalized by
earlier Governments and “put an eye” on Spanish companies operating in Venezuela.
Said
Chavez: “…Spanish companies will have to “We don’t want to damage them,
but at this moment I am subjecting the political, social and economic
relations with Spain under a profound revision…This means that Spanish
companies will have to begin to account for themselves…I am going to
put an eye on them to see what it is they are doing here… “Whatever has
been privatized can be taken back, we can take it back,” Chavez told
Reuters. “If the government of Spain or the state of Spain … start to
generate a conflict, things are not going to go well” Chavez also
called Spanish Primer Minister Zapatero “a fool”.

While
Venezuelans have been directly exposed over and over to this type of
behavior, Chavez has only used it against mostly US companies and
politicians in the past or Latin American Presidents who are not
aligned with his thinking. President Fox and Garcia of Mexico and Peru
suffered from his attacks, while you know who was called the devil at
the UN, while US companies were nationalized without so far receiving
any compensation for the joint ventures in the Orinoco Oil belt.There is simply no rule of law, just Chavez´ wishes, that is why he threatens some sort of special watch over Spanish companies as if they have been exempt from regular supervision because of their origin and thus, implying Venezuelan companies have indeed been watched over carefully. This is nothing new, as steel company Sidor, owned by Argentina´s Ternium was spared nationalization because of Chavez´close friendship with that country´s President.

But
what sets this apart is that the Socialist Government of Zapatero in
Spain and the Bachelet Government in Chile had been quite friendly and supportive of
Chavez and his political project since they were inaugurated in office.
But this changes the direction 180 degrees. In Chile, because Chileans felt
insulted by Chavez’ style upon arrival and his later charges that Chile
has made no social or economic progress and Spaniards because they feel
insulted by Chávez’ charges against Aznar in Chile and now against
Zapatero and the King.

Chavez’ threat today even
led some to believe that his reaction now may be part of a preconceived
plan. At least twice this year Chávez has threatened to nationalize the
banking system if they did not help in the development of his economic
and political project. It was always thought that the biggest stumbling
block to this would be his good relations with Spain and the strong
presence of that country in Venezuela’s financial system with three
very important institutions present: Banco Santander, Banco Bilbao y
Vizcaya and Banco Exterior. With the recent spat, Chavez could simply
say he nationalized the whole system and there were reasons of state for
doing so and it was not directed explicitly at the Spaniards.

In
fact, Chavez’ rush to approve the proposed Constitutional Reform is
related to all this. Last January, the National Assembly approved an
Enabling Bill, which allowed Chávez to legislate by decree for 18
months, which expires next year in June. A prerequisite for this was to
remove and add to the Constitution those limitations to the autocrat’s
political and economic project. Thus, the reform had to precede the
Executive branch decreeing the new laws. It may be no coincidence that
today Chavez happened to mention that he would issue one hundred laws by decree after the new Constitution is approved.

In
fact, I hope I have time in the near future to write about the fact
that Chávez is being given carte blanche to legislate by decree on
economic matters, under the proposed reform of the Constitution.

Thus,
the whole spat with Spain and its King has a lot to do with
Constitutional Reform. Chavez is not even worrying about Dec. 2nd.
he is sure he will win and he is thinking ahead to what he will do when
he has the new Constitution approved and it appears that removing the
Spanish banks from the picture may be an important part of his plans
for the economic and social future of Venezuela.

God help us!

Verbatim translation of a Presidential press release with my comments

November 13, 2007


Sometimes
things can get so bizarre in Venezuela
these days, that I feel I would do injustice to this press release by the Office of the Presidency that
I figured I should just translate the whole thing as if it was a Petkoff
Editorial or a good piece by someone else. However, I can’t help but make
comments about the things said in it, it is just impossible to resist!

“With a
biblical passage, the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo
Chavez, responded to King Juan Carlos de Borbon about the incident that too
place at the Iberoamerican summit and emphasized that if he shuts up “The
stones of the Latin American people that are disposed to be free of all
colonialism after 500 years of colonization would cry out””

Comment
#1: Why is it that after 500 years we continue to blame our problem on
colonization? Who is trying to colonize whom right now? Isn’t Chavez the only
leader trying to spread hi “word and wealth” around the region? Does Lula think
he is not independent? Or Bachelet? Or even Kirchner? Did Bolivar lose the war
of Independence?
I just don’t think so…We are colonized by the Devil’s Excrement: oil, we just
can’t live with it and its negative effects.

“Upon his
arrival in
Caracas from Chile, the Venezuelan President remembered that
biblical passage (Luke 19,38-40) that tells us about Jesus entering
Jerusalem. At that point
someone asked him to have the people acclaiming him to shut up, but Christ
said:” if these shall hold their peace, the stones will cry out””

Comment
#2: While the reporter focuses on the people crying out, it would seem to me
that Chavez saw the analogy being the fact that He, the anointed one is involved, just as Christ was.
Nothing more, nothing less. The rest is simply fluff.

“The
President revealed that he did not hear, nor see the King I his irate gesture
and that it was the Nicaraguan First Lady, Rosario Murillo who told him what
had happened. “I did not hear him. It was Daniel Ortega’s wife (who told me),
because they were closer. And they tell me that he said, “Why don’t you shut
up, coupster?”, but the last word was not heard.”

Comment
#3: Did you see the video
here
? Chavez is looking directly at Spain’s Prime Minister Zapatero and the
King sticks his head in the line of sight Chavez-Zapatero and says his now
infamous words. How could Chavez not see him or hear him? Or is the problem
that he never hears others or he is quite used to ignoring them because he is so full of himself? As for being a
coupster, which may be your favorite epithet, but you certainly are the only
proven coupster in Venezuela’s recent history. Because if Carmona staged a
coup, the proposed Constitutional reform is much worse. Just ask your buddy
Baduel.

“The
President added: when Juan Carlos de Borbon explodes in the face of the
expressions of an Indian, they are exploiting 500 years of imperial arrogance,
500 years of royalty, trampling and 500 years of a superiority complex”

Comment
#4: Wait, wait. You did not see, you did not hear, but now you say he
“exploded”. And who is the Indian? Hugo Chavez? For God’s sake, now he wants to
be Indian and black, rather than the standard Venezuelan (80%), very mixed. In fact, have you seen his parents? Neither of them looks either
Indian or very black to me. I smell an inferiority complex here for some
reason.

“He
said that, had he heard the explosion of the monarch at an opportune moment,
maybe he would have said: “I will not shut up, nor will I shut up, because
millions speak through my mouth, we are the children of Bolivar, those millions
that are the kids of Guicaipuro and Manuela, Jose Leonardo Chirinos, all of
those that the Spaniards assassinated here, cut their heads and ambushed. He
should be glad I did not hear him.”

Comment
#5: Thereis that Jesuschrist projection again. But, either you are Indian or black, but Bolivar was as white (and Spaniard) as they got, and oligarchic
as they come. And jeez, if you are going to go back 500 years with your
inferiority complex, maybe we should go back to Creation and complain to God,
that it was just our bad luck that he did not give you a good baseball pitching
arm so that you would have realized your true dream and we would be talking
about your multi-million dollar contract instead of your bad boy antics. 

New website with great presentations on our electoral problems past and present

November 13, 2007

Somebody sent me the link to this website devoted to the Venezuelan Electoral system. It is well done and there are over 20 presentations on the problems of our electoral system, including evidence of fraud, problems with the electoral registry and the like. A lot of the material complements or explains with voice and slides, some of the stuff found in my RR Models section. Unfortunately, it is only in Spanish.

Government sells US$ 1.5 billion in bonds at exchange rates at least twice the official rate

November 13, 2007
According to
the Government spokesmen, including the Minister of Finance, the
parallel foreign exchange market is either irrelevant or non-existent,
depending on whom you talk to. We are told that it is tiny, less than
5% of imports at times. Other times, we are told the Government does
not care what happens to it, because it is irrelevant.

But
reality says otherwise. When you don’t know whether something has been
purchased with official CADIVI dollars or not, there is room for profit
and when the foreign exchange office CADIVI is slow to approve funds,
importers are forced to go to the swap market, which is quite legal as
the swapping of securities is explicitly excluded from the exchange
control illegalities Bill.

But there is another
reality: The Government has either issued or sold to the market some
US$ 13.5 billion in securities so far this year, in order to keep this
“irrelevant” market down. This does not include the structure notes
sold to the local banks, because little is revealed as to who buys
them, how much and why some and not others. Now, to give you some
perspective US$ 13.5 billion represents 38% of what the foreign
exchange control office has approved so far this year. Of course, the
Government has sold all sorts of instruments, including bonds
denominated in dollars at the official rate of exchange, which are
hybrids and some, very few Bolivar denominated ones. But the dollar
fraction is at least 30% of it, to which you have to add the actual
swap market.

Now, the official rate of exchange
is Bs. 2,150 per US$, but these sales by the Government to help
maintain the parallel rate down are done at a rate above the official
rate and below the parallel swap rate.

Today,
the Government announced the allocation of its latest effort to fight
the “phantom” parallel market, a US$ 1.5 billion issue composed of two
Bolivar denominated bonds or Vebonos and a dollar denominated bond,
which matures in 2038 and has a 7% coupon. The bond was named Venezolano I, since it had no Argentinean component like three of the bonds sold in the last twelve months. For the first time ever, the
Government used an auction system, even if it had a slight twist.
Basically people could put in their orders at any price and they would
receive the bond with dollars valued at Bs. 2,150. People will turn
around tomorrow, sell the bonds and effectively they will be buying
dollars at a higher rate than the official one.

How much higher? Well,
the results of the “auction” are such that those that bid over 136% for
the bond will get 100% of the amount requested. At 136, the effective
price for each dollar obtained is roughly Bs. 5,400 per dollar. Thus the
Government is tacitly selling dollars at a rate, which is way over
twice the official rate of exchange. Those requesting between 122 and
125 got 20% and between 125 and 135.99 got 35%. Thus, at the lowest end
of the scale, people paid Bs. 4,500 per US$, still twice as much as the
official rate of exchange. The non-existent parallel market has been
around B. 6,200-6,300 lately.

Thus, the market that does not exist, that “mediatic” instrument
used by the opposition to destabilize, received a healthy dose of
foreign currency by the Government today and there are promises that
the Government will sell into it some US$ 600 million in the remainder
of the year.

Unfortunately, at best, this will
keep the swap market constant, due to the pent up demand, nerves and the high monetary liquidity, in this
virtual and supposedly non-existent market. Just the Government validating prices around the Bs. 5,500 level will set that as the ultimate lower floor for the time being.

If one side does not want to debate in a democracy, should the debate be cancelled?

November 12, 2007
Am I missing something?

In
order to promote a debate on the proposed Constitutional Reform, the
Electoral Board was planning to hold debates between those promoting
the NO vote (the opposition) to the reform and those promoting the YES
vote (Chavez and his cronies). However, those promoting the SI, meaning
Chavez and his people, did not show up to any of the meetings and never
replied as to who would “debate” for their side. The first debate was
scheduled to take place tonight, paid by the Electoral Board.

What does this mean?

–Nobody is in favor of the SI vote?

–They have nobody they trust to debate for them? How about the autocrat himself?

–Are they afraid?

–They don’t like to debate, they just obey the autocrat.

In any case, why is the solution to simply cancel the debates?

Does this make any sense?

The
NO side clearly has a position and is willing to defend it, if the
other side does not want to send someone; it seems to me the worst
possible thing to promote democracy is precisely to cancel the debate.
After all, the SI vote will use the Government’s resources and power to
promote its position, while the NO has few resources. Why should they
lose the opportunity to have people learn their position? I just don’t
get it.

But this is indeed a strange country
these days anyway; only yesterday I learned through former Minister of
Defense Baduel (curiously that part of the interview is not online)
that Chávez does not even attend Cabinet meetings. Baduel actually said
that Chavez was not present at a single one of the Cabinet meetings he attended during the year he was Minister.

Amazing,
no? At the end of the day we (as in the whole country) are in the hands
of Vice President Jorge Rodriguez whose only managing experience prior
to the Electoral Board was managing the office for student tickets of
the Metropolitan Mayor’s office. I guess that is not much better that
Chavez’, managing the commissary at one of the bases he was at.

And then we wonder where all the billions have gone? Why is everything such a mess?

The whole thing really gets harder and harder to understand every day.

So, back to the original question, why don’t they want to debate?

Is Chavez taking the King´s suggestion seriously?

Opinions welcomed…

The Hall of Shame of Violence in the Venezuelan Bolivarian revolution

November 11, 2007

It never ceases to amaze it when the supporters and cheerleaders of the robolution and their leader Hugo Chavez are capable of defending him on the face of the violence of the last week, as if Chavez did not have a bloody and violent past.

Only last Sunday, Chavez was talking about leaving no stone unturned as he led a million of his supporters through the middle class districts of the East of Caracas. Are these the words of a peaceful person? Or how about the new slogan of his revolution? Patria, Socialismo o Muerte (Fatherland, Socialism or Death) which does not exactly sound like the symbols of peace or coexistence. Only this week, he led a sing along in one of his rallies in which referring to his buddy, co-conspirator and former Minister of Defense Raul Baduel, who this week said Chavez proposed Constitutional reform was a coup, on with the whole stadium was chanting “Baduel, Traidor, te sale el paredon” (Baduel, traitor, the firing squad for you), not precisely a very peaceful and endearing term to refer to your former friend who saved your hide and your presidency only five years earlier.

Let’s make it very clear, we are talking about this guy:

On the left, Hugo Chavez in 1992, after leading a very bloody coup that left over one hundred people dead, many of them civilians and who until he realized he could win an election refused to participate in one. Some democrat, no? Well, the picture on the right is Hugo Chavez fourteen years later, caressing one of his new Kalashnikov rifles upon their arrival and I am not kidding, that day he said he felt touching the rifle, like you do with a new girlfriend.Sick mind, no?

Peaceful, he ain’t…

And yes, there have been deaths on both sides during demonstrations and marches, but last time I looked, when El Universal used to keep statistics, deaths were running at a nine to one ratio, with the opposition suffering the largest numbers in this tragedy. And things are so bad that over one hundred Venezuelans have died in political demonstrations in the last eight years. From both sides, they are all human beings and Venezuelans. And we always hear about the forty horrible years of the IVth. Republic, but somehow each and everyone of those that died in marches and demonstrations in those forty years has a place in Venezuela’s history. Those of us old enough to remember can recall the shock that first time a female student was killed in a protest by violent police in 1961, her name was Livia Gouverner and she was a member of the communist party. We were socked. And the name Jorge Rodriguez first came about not because of the fascist man who now occupies the Vice Presidency after being Head of the supposedly independent Electoral Board. No, we all remember the outrage when his father, Secretary General of the Liga Socialista was killed without mercy in 1976 by the cops. But there are so many dead these days that nobody remembers. They are vague memories and irrelevant to the outlaw Government of Hugo Chavez.

I remember Jose Vilas because I knew who he was and know a lot of people who knew him. But so many remain faceless on both sides, total impunity surrounding their deaths. And one should not forget that Government does have a much higher responsibility. They are responsible for safety, as well as for justice. But few of those responsible for the deaths of the last few years have been punished. In fact, few of the leads have been followed even when they were staring in the Government’s face.

Take for example the pictures below

Who can forget the infamous shooters of Puente El Llaguno?

On the left, the infamous shooters of Puente El LLaguno, most of them employees of the Libertador District, whose Mayor was caught on TV telling people to come down armed to defend the revolution. These guys were tried very fast and found innocent of any of the deaths that took place below, despite the video and the deaths. The picture on the right is the people marching below as these guys were shooting. Do you see any guns? No, there were not any. By the time that mayhem was done, there were 24 deaths, 16 were anti-Chavez, 8 were pro-Chavez, but that is irrelevant, they are all Venezuelans, what is relevant is that the Chavez dominated “truth” commission squashed any investigation. The numbers come from a book written by some reporters who tried to reconstruct all of the murders. The Government has never even began to do its job.

But curiously, while the Puente El LLaguno shooters above were quickly tried and found innocent, the cops leading the march below on the right near the “water whale” and their bosses are still in jail. They have yet to be tried, after five years in prison in violation of all Venezuelan laws. Such is the level of impunity in the revolution. By the way, the Government raised a monument to the shooters of Puente El Llaguno, they are heroes of the robolution.

But we can continue to this “Hall of Shame” of violence in the revolution.

Everyone seems to remember the general strike in 2002, but some forget it was supposed to be a three day strike, then, a man never known to use weapons walked into Altamira square and alone and in seconds managed to kill three and wound 22 with a Glock, loading it once. I was there, some of the pictures below are originals. It was terror, it was shock. The man was also tried very fast and as far as I know he still in jail, but nothing will ever change my mind that it was impossible for him to do it alone. By the way, two nights earlier the same man appears in a video of people unloading guns with he Mayor of Libertador at PDVSA. I don’t believe in coincidences!

Then recall the 2004 referendum, some people dared to go out and protest in the belief there was fraud. But the protests were quickly quenched when Mrs. Maritza Ron was killed at Altamira square. The whole thing was so visible, that not only did we see the gunmen up close (below left) but also from above (below right:

Yes, three shooters got off the cars with No signs on them (at the
time No is today’s Yes and Yes is No) and began shooting. Only the one
in the middle was ever caught and quickly tried. Curiously, his face was captured in the crowd at Danilo Anderson’s burial, at a time when he was supposed to be in jail. Impunity everywhere!

And then there are the marches, like the one to the CNE or the Supreme Court this week. The pattern is the same: Opposition asks for permit, permit is granted, Chavistas without permit gather to block the way, cops or National Guard gasses the opposition, never the pro-Chavez forces.

Below on the left, there is a group of Chavistas in Charallave in 2003, for God’s sake, you can even see cops there shooting at the marchers on this side. Two people died that day, it was, of course all blamed on the opposition. Or the picture on the right in Los Proceres, truly my baptism of fire. The opposition had the permit, the Chavistas had the guns, that day at least I can say we both got gassed, one of the few. But that same day I was shot at with real bullets, don’t think I am a real hero, when the cop told me to get down on the floor, I had no idea why he was telling me to do so. It was only afterwards when I realized what those phantom whizzing things going near my head were. That day, I did not see anyone on my side with weapons bigger than the panties the women pinned to the barbed wired, mocking the soldiers.

But this week, we are to believe we are the violent ones. It has been
the Chavistas calling for the intervention of Globovision and the
universities, so after a peaceful march to the TSJ, the Grupo Alexis Vive, one of Chavez’ fringe paramilitary groups, was at the university waiting for them, except the students were not intimidated and the cavalry in the form of police motorcycles and hooded men came to the rescue, bypassing the police barricades at every single entrance to the University.

Within an hour the Minister of the Interior was on TV blaming the opposition and official TV channel VTV was interviewing the “pacifist” students of the revolution. The ones that claim to be against all forms of violence and the like, but then…the same Bolivaraina “leader” Jose Feliz Valera is caught redhanded with a gun in his right hand:


giving new meaning to the word “pacifist”.. Ghandi would not have been very proud of them.

And thus, we have a Hall of Shame for the violent people of the revolution. They are armed, they are out of control and they have the tacit backing of the autocrat, while the dumb cheerleaders and supporters of the robolution and PSF’s rally around their peaceful leader, the same one that claims not to have heard the King telling him to shut up, because he never listens. The same one tjat does not attend Cabinet meetings, the same one that could care less if Venezuelan kids go without milk, because he has no clue that this is happening as he only tries to project and perpetuate himself in power.

There are many more pictures that could have gone into the Hall of Shame of the Violent revolution, like the day the Chavista march destroyed religious icons in Altamira Square with the Vice-President being present. Of course, the police did nothing. Or the day Chavez called the Supreme Court a “pile of shit”. inducing riots around the building where the Highest Court resides. But the point is, the violence has been so one sided that to even pretend they have nothing to do with it is stupid.

Chavez makes no effort to hide his intentions, he has said both publicly and privately that if his revolution is blocked, his weapons are nearby and he will take them up to move his revolution forward. So, to the apologists of the Bolivarian violent revolution, please go fool someone else, It is all in this blog, you have no pictures to show like the ones I have, because violence is on your side…

And we are supposed to believe Hugo Chavez is democratic, peaceful and non-violent…

Yeah, sure…

From eating its own, to shortages, to useless bickering, the Venezuelan robolution shows how empty and undemocratic it is

November 11, 2007

It
was quite a week. Baduel’s surprise announcement that he considered the
proposed Constitutional reform a coup, brought back Chavez’s praying
mantis effect in earnest as Chavez’ buddy, the man responsible for
Chávez coming back on April 2002, was suddenly called a traitor, right
winger, oligarch and a puppet of the US. Even Chavez led a sing-along
with his supporters at a rally, chanting ” Baduel, traitor, you deserve
the firing squad”, in another demonstration of who is the promoter of
hate and violence in Venezuela.

And
while we thought it would stop there, Chavez chief fascist, Deputy Luis
Tascon, the co-creator with Chavez of that list to discriminate
Venezuelans on the basis of their political beliefs, was thrown out of the newly created Socialist party PSUV, for expressing his support for the former General.

It
was in some sense remarkable that these two emblematic figures of
Chavismo would depart on the same week. But it shows how little
democracy there is in the way the country is being run, nobody is
allowed to question the democrat, nobody is allowed to go against him,
nobody is allowed to speak out against the autocrat, and if you do, you
are kicked out, accused of being right-winger, a traitor and a member
of the opposition. We have no king to tell Chavez to shut up; we have
no king to defend the dying democracy of our country.

And
while I welcome Baduel’s statement and agree with Tascon’s defense of
Baduel’s rights, I will not remove either from my list of people who
have played a significant role in the violation of the human rights of
the Venezuelan people. As such they will always be subject for
prosecution an in Tascon’s case, my blog can be used to build the case
against him when he is brought to trial. Baduel should also be charge
as he allowed for the abuses and crimes against Venezuelans to continue
while he was both a General and a Minister of Defense. When he came to
Chavez’ aid in 2002, he should have reestablished Constitutional order,
but not brought Chavez back. Chávez planned and was directly
responsible at that time for the deaths and injuries of over one
hundred Venezuelans and Baduel knew that Chavez, Deputies of the
National Assembly and the Prosecutor General had planned the attack on
unarmed marchers at the highest levels of power.

But he would have played no role then and somehow he feels he does now. God help us!

Meanwhile,
the oh so democratic Chavez Government has yet to respond to the
Electoral Boards call for debates on the proposed Constitutional reform
before the referendum on Dec. 2nd.
Thus, an already illegal reform, not discussed even within the National
Assembly when it was made, will remain under wraps if Chavez’ PSUV
party has its way. The Members of the Electoral Board have contacted
both William Lara, in his dual conflict of interest role of Minister of
Information and spokesman for Chavez’ PSUV and Vice President Jorge
Rodriguez. Neither has committed the Government to present someone to
debate during the first debate on Monday.

In
the face of this, the Electoral Board proposes a uniquely Chavista
solution: Let’s cancel the debate. Jeez, these guys are overflowing
with democratic concepts. If one side does not show up, the free
airtime an all TV stations that the CNE had offered should be provided
to the forces of democracy that are wiling to debate the illegal reform
with anyone.

Meanwhile,
the economy continues to show the strains of the misguided policies of
Chavez and his collaborators. The lack of milk in supermarket shelves
has already led to open fights and police intervention when milk trucks
have arrived at supermarkets. People’s hands are stamped when they
acquire milk at the Government’s Mercal markets and one can no longer
have coffee with milk at Restaurants and cafes. Only a “negrito” or
‘guayoyo” available, just when the Minister of Foodstuffs had said the
problem would be resolved. Not since the beginning of the supply
problems with milk began earlier in the years had the situation gotten
to be so critical.

And in its infinite wisdom, the Government sprung a new automotive policy on car companies starting on Jan. 1st.
Only companies with manufacturing capability will be allowed to import,
which makes some sense, but every car sold after that date will have to
have LNG capability. Look for cars to be scare now, but that will be
good for traffic.

And
then of course, Chavez did not win the simpatico of the year award upon
his arrival in Chile. First, he needlessly stated upon landing that
Bolivia should have access to the sea, a touchy subject which is really
none o his business. He has scolded others in the name of sovereignty
for much less. And even before he had his confrontation with his former
buddy Zapatero and the King, he criticized Chile for the lack of social
progress in that country. But Chile’s Foreign Minister challenged
Chavez’ in his ignorance, saying let anyone study what has been done in
Chile and all of Latin America and see if anyone can match the social
progress of that country.

And
the truth is nobody can. Chile has the best health care system in Latin
America, a booming economy and the best improvement in terms of social
inequality of any country in the region in the last twenty and/or ten
years. But that is the dirty secret that Chavez, Evo, Ortega and the
like don’t want to tell their “people”, how Chile used free markets and
tough policies to become the country that it is today. As Zapatero told
Chavez indirectly before the incident today, it is time to face
realities, to leave ideologies aside and do something to improve the
lot of the people. It is time to be practical, act democratically and
have a common effort of the State and the private sector to achieve
real results and prosperity for the people.

But
much like the local debate on the Constitutional reform, Chavez will
not take up this international one either. Not only does he have no
clue as to its reality, but he does not care. He is not a man of
democracy and debate; he is just an autocrat who cares little about his
people except for his own projection and power. That is why crime has
tripled since his ascent to the Presidency in 1998 and while health care
statistics have worsened in those same eight years, despite the
hullabaloo about some of the health related misiones. But don’t worry,
since epidemiology statistics are not improving Chavismo found a
wonderful way of solving the problem, last month it eliminated the 67-year-old Weekly Epidemiology Bulletin of the Minister of Health.

A typical brainless solution by the revolution.
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