Archive for August, 2008

Conviasa plane crashes, Government had been warned of problems…

August 31, 2008

We are sometimes accused of blaming Hugo Chavez for things he
supposedly has no control over, like the viaduct, where he was warned over and
over about the danger of it falling and Chavez said this was a media conspiracy…until
it fell.

Well, today we hear the sad news that a Venezuelan
Conviasa cargo flight crashed in Ecuador
with the all members of the crew
dying.

But on July 3d. Nelson Bocaranda in
his weekly rumor column said
:

CONVIASA. Sólo la bendición divina ha evitado accidentes
CONVIASA. Solo la bendición divina ha evitado accidentes en esta línea del
gobierno donde cualquier denuncia de los pilotos o el resto del personal se
paga con el despido inmediato y el ingreso a la lista de Tascón. Me traen los
documentos con el caso del avión Boeing B737-200 con siglas YV101T…

Which translates as:

CONVIASA: Only a divine blessing has avoided accidents in
CONVIASA this Government airline where any denunciation by the pilots or the
rest of the personnel is paid with an immediate firing and your inclusion in
the Tascon list. They bring me the documents of a Boeing B737-200 with registry
YV101T…

Well, I don’t know if the airplane is the same, but it is a
B737-200 that crashed in Ecuador and the news release says that it was its way
there for “maintenance”, adding another piece to this puzzle.

Recall the Government had to self-intervene Conviasa in May and so far the whole affair of running the airline ha been an expsensive disaster.

Who is responsible? This is another Chavez folly…

Maletagate case to be covered here in Spanish and English

August 30, 2008

I am still amazed at the absence in the local media, other than Noticiero Digital and blogs, of any mention of the document introduced by the Miami Prosecutor in the Maletagate trial. Amazed, because the document compromises two acting Governors who are Chavistas, at least two former Ministers of the Chavez administration as well as one of the most visible candidates in the upcoming regional elections, former Minister of Education Aristobulo Isturiz, the PSUV candidate to the Alcaldia Mayor of Caracas.

Amazed that such a significant case, involving such prominent figures can pass under the table. The amounts mentioned in the document that I linked to in my previous article from the case are simply staggering, not in the millions of dollars, but in the hundreds of millions of dollars. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Besides the silence of the press, there is of course no investigation of the charges locally by either the Prosecutor’s office or the National Assembly. Such is the level of immorality and indecency that Venezuelan politics has reached today.

I will be reporting on the case and will attempt, as time allows it, to translate all of the posts into Spanish and place them in the Spanish section of the blog El Excremento del Diablo. I will compile all of the posts in English in this section  and will provide a link in each article to the corresponding post in Spanish.

El juicio en Miami sobre el ¨Maletagate¨venezolano parte I: Antecedentes del acusado Duran

August 30, 2008


En ingles aqui. In English here.

En los proximal
días comenzara en Miami el
juicio de los amigos de Guido Antonini
en estas paginas seguiremos los detalles del mismo. (Este es
el primer reporte de esa serie)

Como
parte de este juicio, el Fiscal del caso, ha introducido este documento, detallando la
historia de corrupción de Carlos Kauffmann y Franklin Duran, como parte de la
evidencia introducida en contra de Duran, el único de los participantes que no
ha confesado su culpabilidad. Como Kauffmann ha recibido inmunidad del Fiscal,
esta claro que la información en el documento debe provenir de su testimonio.

El
documento detalla como Duran y Kaufmann se unieron en 1998 y comenzaron a tener
negocios en sociedad para trabajar con el Gobierno. El documento menciona el
Fondo Klin, del cual Duran y
Kauffmann tenían cada uno el 50% y que incluía un plazo fijo con plazo de doce años
en el Banco American Express y por la suma de $40 millones.

Además
de esto, ambos compraron Industrias Venoco a los fundadores de la Empresa, pagándolo
de contado (¿60 millones de dólares?) y comenzaron a trabajar de forma muy
cercana con PDVSA después de la huelga petrolera del 2002-2003. Curiosamente,
Pedro Carmona, “Carmona el Breve” la persona que se autonombro Presidente
temporalmente cuando Chávez salio de la Presidencia por tres días, bajo lo que
hoy es conocido como “el golpe”, trabajo en Industrias Venoco toda su vida.
Carmona dejo la compañía para ser Presidente de Fedecamaras, la Federación de
Cámaras de Comercio Venezolana.

El
documento contiene una serie de acusaciones muy especificas que involucran
esquemas de corrupción en Venezuela donde participan personas tanto al Gobierno
como del sector privado de Venezuela:

1.- Funcionarios
de la Guardia Nacional recibieron sobornos y canalizaron fondos hacia Duran y
Kauffmann. Estos últimos cobraron una Comisión de 10% para actuar como
testaferros de estos funcionarios.

2.
-Duran y Kauffmann le pagaron también sobornos a estos mismos funcionarios por
contractos de suministros que los mismos Duran y Kauffmann le vendían a la
Guardia Nacional.

3. -
Duran y Kauffmann le pagaron sobornos a funcionarios de la Guardia Nacional por
la venta de bonos emitidos por el Ministerio de Finanzas y que el Ministerio
uso para pagar deudas salariales y beneficios de los guardias.

4.
-Duran y Kauffmann le pagaron a funcionarios de la Gobernación de Cojedes por
colocar depósitos de ese Estado en ciertos bancos comerciales privados (Un
chanchullo que
ya describí aquí
hace mucho tiempo). Ellos recibieron por esto una comisión
anual del 10% de los cuales el 30% se le devolvía a los funcionarios del Estado
por su colaboración. Además de esto Duran y Kauffmann le manejaban estos fondos
de los sobornos a los mismos funcionarios.

Mi
comentario: Recuerden que el Gobernador de Cojedes es Jhony Yanes Rangel, quien
cuando el caso explotó, defendió que
Antonini
llevara la maleta llena de efectivo a Argentina como algo muy
normal que pasa todo los días en el mundo. Yanes dijo entonces que la detención
de Antonini era simplemente terrorismo por parte del Gobierno Norteamericano.
Recuerden igualmente que en esa época, el hoy preso Leocenis Garcia, demostró
en Reporte Diario de La Economía que Kauffmann había pagado
la estadía de Yanes Rangel en sus vacaciones en el lujoso Hotel Llao Llao en
Bariloche, Argentina. Yanes Rangel también se apareció en una protesta del
Chavismo frente a la Embajada Americana a defender a sus “amigos”, hoy detenidos,
diciendo que ellos eran unos emprendedores.

5. -Duran
y Kauffmann también sobornaron a funcionarios del Gobierno del estado Cojedes
por otorgarles proyectos de construcción en ese Estado.

6.
-Duran y Kauffmann estuvieron involucrados también en un esquema de sobornos a
altos funcionarios del Estado Vargas. Le dieron US$ 250,000 a un alto funcionario
de ese Estado y también lo “ayudaron” con las colocaciones bancarias de ese
Estado Todo el presupuesto de ese Estado fue colocado en un solo banco comercial
privado, por lo cual Duran y Kauffmann recibieron una comisión. Un porcentaje
de esa comisión fue devuelta a los mismo funcionarios del estado Vargas que
hicieron las colocaciones.

Mi Comentario:
Aunque el documento no menciona nombres , el Gobernador del Estado Vargas para
ese momento era Antonio Rodríguez, electo bajo el antiguo partido de Hugo Chávez
MVR. Parece bastante difícil que todo el presupuesto de un Estado sea colocado
en un solo banco privado sin que el Gobernador lo sepa y lo apruebe. Recuerden
que el Estado Vargas fue destruido por las lluvias en el 2000 y que aun hoy no
se ha podido recuperar de esa tragedia.

7. –También
en el estado Vargas, Duran y
Kauffmann consiguieron el contrato para proveer a los empleados del Estado de
seguro medico. De acuerdo a los documentos “se canalizaron millones de dólares
a una empresa de seguros”. Duran y Kauffmann recibieron una comisión del 20%
por traer el negocio y ellos a su vez pagaron una comisión de medio por ciento
a los funcionarios del Gobierno de Vargas.

8. –Duran
y Kauffmann recibieron US$ 30 millones del Estado Vargas y le devolvieron el
10% a dos altos funcionarios del Estado Vargas.

9.
-Duran y Kauffmann compraron un edificio en Caracas. El Ministerio de Finanzas
pagó US$ 9.5 millones por el. Duran y Kauffmann le pagaron a cuatro altos
funcionarios del Ministerio de Finanzas US$ 4.5 millones en sobornos.

Mi
Comentario: Este es el famoso caso del Edificio de Citibank (Pueden leer mas aquí y aquí) mediante el cual Duran y Kauffmann
compraron el Edificio de Citibank en el Centro de Caracas una semana y se
voltearon unas semanas después y se lo vendieron al Ministerio de Finanzas por
el doble. Debo aclarar que el antiguo Ministro de Finanzas de Chávez ,Tobías Nóbrega,
fue acusado por la Fiscalía venezolana en este caso hace un tiempo. Sin
embargo, no ha sido ni encarcelando, ni juzgado. (Y hasta donde se, no ha sido inhabilitado
de ser candidato por el contralor de la Republica)

10. –Duran
y Kauffmann colaboraron y conspiraron con el Ministerio de Finanzas en la restructuración
de la deuda de Venezuela y obtuvieron ganancias en exceso de US$ 100 millones y
en el proceso pagaron US$ 23.8 millones de dólares en sobornos.

Mi
comentario: Andy
Webb reporto esto
en el Financial Times y ya
yo antes lo había mencionado
en el 2003, ya que los que sabían que venia la
recompra ganaron montos fabulosos. Esta gente no sólo sabia que venia la
recompra de la deuda a precios mas altos, pero un Banco de desarrollo del
Gobierno, el Bandes, le vendió estos mismos instrumentos a muchos de estas
personas antes de la recompra. Por lo tanto Venezuela perdió dos veces. Todo esto ocurrió cuando el Ministerio
de Finanzas lo presidía Nelson Merentes. Merentes esta siendo mencionado para presidir
el Banco de Venezuela, una vez el mismo sea nacionalizado

11.
-Duran y Kauffmann estuvieron también involucrados en sobornos en el Ministerio
de Educación y arreglaron para que parte del presupuesto de dicho Ministerio se
mantuvieron en un banco especifico. Por esto recibieron una Comisión del 5 al
6%, la mitad de la cual fue a su vez pagada a los funcionarios del Ministerio. Lo
mismo hicieron con FOGADE el fondo que garantiza los depósitos de los bancos
hasta un cierto monto.

Mi
Comentario: El Ministro de Educación durante la mayor parte del tiempo en el
cual Duran y Kauffmann se dedicaron a estas actividades resulta ser nada mas y
nada menos que Aristóbulo Isturiz, el actual candidato del Chavismo a la Alcaldía
Mayor del Área Metropolitana de Caracas. Si Isturiz sabia o no de esto, no lo sabemos,
pero es difícil creer que una decisión de este tipo no fuera de su
conocimiento. Lo que todo esto demuestra claramente es que la corrupción llega
hasta lo mas alto del poder en Venezuela y Hugo Chávez lo tiene que saber. Por
cierto, el Presidente de FOGADE fur encontrado
culpable de corrupción
por la Asamblea Nacional y nunca fue acusado o
enviado a la cárcel. A pesar de eso, fue candidato a la Presidencia en el año
2006, sin que el Contralor lo impidiera.

12. y
13. Este punto contiene acusaciones vagas y poco especificas sobre sobornos en
PDVSA y en el sistema judicial venezolano.

Lo mas
importante de todo esto es que gracias al revisión accidental de una maleta que
llegaba a Argentina en un vuelo oficial de PDVSA, se encontró que la misma
tenia una gran cantidad de dinero en efectivo. A través de este caso, se
destapo una olla podrida de corrupción que suma cientos de millones de dólares,
lo cual involucra a solo dos personas.

¿ No
queda mas que preguntarse cuantas maletas adicionales habrán circulado por ahí
desde 1998 cuando Chávez fue elegido Presidente.? ¿O también podemos preguntar
cuantos otros Duran y Kauffmann hay por ahí que ni siquiera sabemos de ellos?

¿O
cuantos millardos de dólares han sido robados bajo la supervisión de Hugo
Chávez y sus “robolucionarios”? ¿Puede todo esto estar ocurriendo de verdad sin
que el Ser Supremo de Venezuela lo sepa?

Por lo
menos puedo decir con orgullo que Uds. Han podido leer muchos detalles de todo
esto antes de que ocurriera el caso de Miami en estas paginas. Yo ya estaba
hablando de algunos de estos casos hace mas de dos o tres años. Petkoff también
ha hablado en su periódico Tal Cual. El resto de los medios aun hoy, pareciera
evitar el tema simplemente por miedo. ¿Hay Libertad de Expresión en Venezuela? ¿No
pareciera verdad?

Con
este caso sabemos aun mas detalles conformando que la administración de Hugo Chávez
se ha convertido la mas grande cloaca de corrupción , no solo en la historia
venezolana, sino probamente en la historia de la Humanidad.

The Empire of Mediocrity by Elcides Rojas in El Universal

August 29, 2008

The Empire of Mediocrity by Elcides Rojas in
El Universal

For XXIst. Century Socialism, the worse things are, the
better. And it has only been ten years…

It is no only Latin America that will change its name,
according to one of the celestial inspiration of the leader of the
intercontinental revolution. It is, no more nor less, the same trick applied
during the last ten years in that titanic fight that occupies so much time of
the justice seeking military and neoliberal socialists.

For the revolution, as it is well known, it is much easier
to rebaptize than to build from scratch. The endless rant, the sack of insults,
the show, the pose, the colics and the eternal wars against the empire
certainly do not allow the invincible team to settle down and start up the
mission, promised so many times, of converting Venezuelan into a world
superpower.

It is very difficult for a leader of this pleasure seeking
communism to carry out the tidying up of Argentina’s finances, the reduction of
poverty in Haiti, the total literacy of Bolivia, the reduction of infant mortality
in Ecuador, the construction of thousands of housing units in Paraguay, the
improvement of the quality of life in Nicaragua, providing access to cheap fuel
to the poor in the US, and all of that without stopping that God giving task of
attacking with the success which with they do it, the mountain of problems that
drown local socialists.

Parque del Este is now Francisco De Miranda, Ince is now
called Inces, the old ministries of Gomez and Perez Jimenez are now the Popular
Power for whatever. The barrios squashed by garbage are now communal councils. The
small buses and vans are popular transportation units, companies are socialist
production units, and the outpatient units are called Barrio Adentro. The
corrupt are national heroes defamed by the right wing. The old bodegas or local
stores are Pdval or Mercal. The devalued Bolivar, isolated from the world, is
called the strong Bolivar. The military are the soldiers of communism or death.
The high schools built by Betancourt or Leoni are now Bolivarian. The companies
created by Carlos Andres Perez are now socialist enterprises. The buy and sell deals
done by the Government are called nationalizations. The sportsmen went from athletes
in high-level competitions to being moving billboards of  revolutionary improvisation. In Barinas,
nobody likes Bolivars or dollars they die for the oriental Turimiquires or the
Yaracuy Lionzas. The haciendas are now socialist endogenous developments and
they don’t produce mosquitoes, even if they are full of Cuban technicians. The
vans are now large vans, reporters are traitors to the motherland, and
opposition members are lackeys of the Empire. The banks, just imagine, are socialist
banks. The Colombian guerrillas went from allies to old-fashioned terrorists.
The poor are poorer, but organized in cells and communes for the poor.

And, of course, socialist mediocrity is treated as excellence.
The more the failures, the better the awards.

The Miami Venezuelan Maletagate trial part I: Case File “Prior bad acts by Defendant Duran”

August 28, 2008

We will follow the events in Miami where the trial of Antonini’s
associates is starting
(This will be the first of a series)

As part of the trial in Miami, the Prosecutor has introduced
this document, detailing the
corruption history of Carlos Kauffmann and Franklin Duran, as part of the
evidence to be introduced against Duran. Since Kauffmann has been granted
immunity, it is clear that the information comes from him.

The document details how Duran and Kaufmann joined up in
1998 and began conducting business with the Government as a partnership. The
document mentions the Klin Fund in which Duran and Kauffmann each had a 50%
share and which included a 12 year CD at the American Express Bank for US$ 40
million.

Additionally, they purchased Industrias Venoco from its
founders, paying cash for it (US$ 60 million?) and began working tightly with
the post-strike PDVSA. Curiously, Pedro Carmona, “Carmona the Brief “was the person
which was self appointed President briefly in 2002, when Chavez left office for
three days under what is now called “the coup” and he worked at Industrias
Venoco his whole life. He left the company to become President of Fedecamaras,
the association of Chambers of Commerce in Venezuela.

These are the specific accusations contained in the
document, which involve million dollar corruption schemes in Venezuela with
Government officials and the private sector:

1.- National Guard officials received kickbacks and
channeled the funds with Kaufmann and Duran. Kauffmann and Duran charge a 10%
fee apparently for fronting for these officials.

2. -Duran and Kauffmann paid kickbacks to these same
officials on contracts for supplies sold by them to the National Guard.

3. – Duran and Kauffmann paid kickbacks to officials in the
National Guard in relation to bonds issued by the Ministry of Finance to the
National Guard to pay old salary and benefit debts with them.

4. -Duran and Kauffmann paid Cojedes Government officials
for placing deposits of funds belonging to that State at particular private
commercial banks.(A racket I described long
ago here
) They received a 10% yearly fee for this, of which 30% was kicked
back to Cojedes State Government officials. Duran and Kauffmann managed the
kickbacks for these high Government officials.

My comment: Recall that the Governor of Cojedes is Jhony
Yanes Rangel, who when the case blew up, defended Antonini
bringing in
the suitcase into Argentina. Yanes said at the time that this
was just terror by the US Government. Recall also that at the time, a local
reporter showed that Kauffmann
had paid
for Yanes Rangel staying at the luxurious Llao Llao Hotel in
Bariloche , Argentina. Yanes Rangel also showed up at a protest in front of the
US Embassy, to defend his “friends”, who he said were entrepreneurs. Some of
these friends are now providing evidence to the US Government.

5. -Duran and Kauffmann also gave Cojedes Government
officials kickbacks on construction projects awarded to them by the Cojedes
Government.

6. -Duran and Kauffmann were involved in a kickback scheme
with high-level Vargas State Government officials. They gave US$ 250,000 to
this high level official and also “helped him” with his State’s deposits. In
fact, the State placed its budget at a single private commercial bank, for
which they received a finder’s fee. A percentage of that fee was kicked back to
these same Vargas officials.

My comment: No names are mentioned, but the Governor of
Vargas State for the period mentioned was Antonio Rodriguez, from Chavez’ MVR
party. It is extremely unlikely that all of the budget of the State would be
placed in a single bank without his knowledge. Recall Vargas was the State that
was destroyed in late 2000 by floods and has yet to recover despite Chavez’
promises.

7. -Also in Vargas State, Duran and Kauffmann provided
medical insurance coverage for the states employees. According to the document
“ millions of dollars were routed to an insurance company”. Duran and Kauffmann
received a 20% fee on the premiums as a finder’s fee and they in turn paid half
a percent to high Government officials.

8. -Duran and Kauffmann received US$ 30 million from Vargas State
and kickback ten percent to “two” high level Government officials.

9. -Duran and Kauffmann purchase a building in Caracas. The
Venezuelan Ministry of Finance paid them US$ 9.5 million for it. Duran and
Kauffmann paid four high level Ministry of Finance officials US$ 4.5 million in
kickbacks.

My comment: This is the infamous Citibank building case (you
can read about it here
or here),
whereby Duran and Kauffmann bought it one week and turned around and sold it to
the Ministry of Finance a couple of weeks later. I should clarify that former
Minister of Finance, under Hugo Chavez, Tobias Nobrega was indicted for this.
However he has not been jailed or tried. (And as far as I know not been banned
from running for office by the Comptroller.)

10. -Duran and Kauffmann colluded with the Ministry of
Finance to restructure debt and gained in excess of US$ 100 million in the
process and paid US$ 23.8 million in kickbacks.

My comment: Well, Andy
Webb reported
on these funny details of the Venezuelan debt buyback in
2003, from which those that had advanced knowledge made a lot of money. I
also reported this in detail
, noting that not only did they know about it,
but also a Venezuelan Government Bank, Bandes, sold these debt instruments to
those in the know ahead of the buyback. Thus, there was twice the corruption in
this case.

11. -Duran and Kauffmann were involved with a kickback
scheme at the Ministry of Education and arranged for part of the budget of that
Ministry to be kept at a certain bank. They received a 5-6% fee for this of
which 50% was kicked back to the officials. They did the same thing with the
FDIC Venezuelan equivalent, FOGADE.

My comment: Well, the Minister of Education for the larger
part of this period was none other than Aristobulo Isturiz, Chavez’ candidate
to become Mayor of the Metropolitan are of Caracas. Did he know about it? I
don’t now, but I doubt he didn’t. What this clearly shows is that corruption
reaches all the way to the top, as Chavez has to know about this. BTW the Head of Fogade was
found guilty
of corruption by the National Assembly, he was never jailed or
charged.

12. and 13. Vague unspecified charges of kickbacks in PDVSA
and the Judiciary.

The important point here is that thanks to the fortuitous
search of a suitcase arriving in an official PDVSA plane in Argentina, a
suitcase full of cash was discovered. Through this case, a whole pot of
corruption in the hundreds of millions of dollars has been uncovered, involving
just two guys.

How many more suitcases have flown around the world? How
many Durans and Kauffamns are there, that we just simply do not know about?

How many billions have been stolen under the very eyes of
Hugo Chavez and his “robolutionaries”. Can all this be happening without the
Supreme Being knowing about it?

I can proudly say, that you have read about a lot of this
before in these pages. I was already talking about some of this more than two two
or three years ago. Petkoff in Tal Cual also began talking about it. The rest
of the media, even today, appears to avoid the subject out of fear. Free press?
Sure.

We now know even more details, confirming that the Chavez
administration has become the biggest cesspool of corruption not only in
Venezuela’s history, but maybe probably in the planet’s history.

A priceless cartoon

August 28, 2008

Had to post this one: Ten years taking the gold….

                                 the black one…

Miami trial will confirm the depths of financial corruption under Hugo Chavez

August 27, 2008

Surprise, surprise, Kauffman and buddies have revealed
to US Prosecutors that they funneled payoffs and kickbacks to
Venezuelan officials in all sorts of deals. From payoffs to PDVSA to
commissions on Argentinean bonds and structured notes, all the way to
paying commissions Kauffman has detailed what you read in this blog
long time ago.

Kauffman was a well known intermediary both for
banking deposits and securities sold to friendly banks which paid
commissions, he obviously was paying off Government officials but this
is the first testimony by anyone involved confirming what we all knew
had to be happening. After all, how could Kauffman and Duran get so
rich, so fast to be able to buy Venoco in cash or have a $40 million
dollar, twelve year CD at the American Express Bank?

Because
Kauffman and three other were well known for their shenanigans in the
Venezuelan financial world in what is one of the biggest corruption
rackets ever.  I first wrote about structured notes in November 2005, about Argentinean bonds later that month, when Petkoff in Tal Cual detailed the same corruption racket I had written about.

The
last paragraph of the Bloomberg note also describes how Kauffman and
buddies also participated in the corruption racket with the banking
system which I wrote about here,
but PSF’s even dare suggest that is how banking systems operate
everywhere. Of course, they did not take the trouble to even begin to
understand what I was writing about.

Well, soon we will know
even more details, as the trial in Miami begins and some of the biggest
financial corruption scandals in the history of the planet are revealed
in exquisite detail, while Chavez and his Minister claim its is the
Empire making it all up.

But we all know it’s true, everyone in
Caracas knows the names and the multi million dollar corruption rackets. The international press has reported it, now
it will be told under sworn testimony by people who can’t possible
justify the wealth they have, revealing how naked the autocrat is and
how corruption is everywhere.

That is why it is called the robolution.

A robolutionary tragicomedy of lies and deceit by the Venezuelan Government in three or more acts

August 26, 2008

Act One: Tal
Cual reports
on August 19th. that the Government will submit a
new Telecommunications Law to the National Assembly.  The draft cited by Tal Cual gives Hugo Chavez the power to
suspend all “telecommunications transmissions”, whenever the stability of the
Nation is at risk. This is contained in Article 11, of the “Final Dispositions”
of the draft.

Act Two: Deputy Manuel Villalba of Chavez’ PSUV party and to
top it all off, President of the Media committee of the Venezuelan National
Assembly, appears in
Globovision
and denies not only the content, but even the existence of such
a draft.  Using the Chavista
language that we have grown accustomed to he says that those that promote such
news items like El Universal, El Nacional and Tal Cual “are trying to destabilize
the country, playing with fear and are disrespecting the intelligence of the
Venezuelan people”

But then there is the last and conclusive act:

Act Three: Minister of Telecommunications Socorro Hernandez
on the TV channel used to promote only Chavez paid by the taxpayers VTV, comes on and says that
the Bill does indeed exist and it will be submitted to the National assembly,
but “the versions that have circulated around (in the press) are drafts, but
are not the definitive version…”

Thus, Minister Hernandez is admitting that the drafts of the
Bill have contained articles allowing the President to cut off all information
to the Venezuelan population whenever he feels like it, i.e. allowing total
censorship. 

And here comes the hilarious part, the Minister says: “ the
law will be submitted to public consultation and I don’t think there are reasons for people to be anxious”

I guess the poor Minister must have been on vacation or at
the Olympics and missed the 26 Bills approved by her almighty boss, without consultation
and allowing unconstitutional actions as well as laws that contain articles rejected by the Venezuelan people in a
democratic referendum in December 2007
.

But it is sufficient to see how the matter has been handled
with the 26 Bills, the secrecy with which it has been handled, the President of
the relevant committee of the National Assembly did not know about it, to be
not anxious, but extremely anxious about the future of Venezuela’s
telecommunications as well as its democracy democracy.

Because when Governments lie, hide information and use all
forms of deceit it is because they are trying something that you know is either
illegal or violates international treaties. In the case of the Chavez Government
we have seen this over and over again.

These people should realize that one day, they will have to
pay for their crimes. Or steal a lot of money to live in exile. 

And that my friends, will be Act Four.

No more nationalizations in Venezuela…unless the revolution changes its mind

August 26, 2008

Wow! It
was only last Friday that Minister of Finance Ali Rodriguez said, with that
voice of his which is moderate and low, far from being strident or radical:
“The government doesn’t have any plans to nationalize more companies”.

If you believed it, you
probably just forgot that this is a revolution with random thoughts and no
coordination.

Because it only took like
24 hours before the Venezuelan National Assembly showed that one hand of the
Government has no clue as to what the other is doing, when they announced the
passing of a Bill in the next few days to nationalize the distribution of
gasoline in the country. The Bill calls for the nationalization of the
wholesale distribution and transportation of gasoline and the transfer of all
gas stations under concession to communal councils. Thus, it seems as if both
wholesale and retail will be nationalized.

The law establishes a
period of sixty days for those affected to negotiate with the Government. You
know what that means, you have sixty days to accept what the Government offers
you or else. Because most of those 60 day terms have been used by the
Venezuelan Government to confiscate private property from its position of
strength. You can fight, but in the absence of an independent legal system, you
have little recourse but to accept the offer and leave.

And it will be interesting
to see what use these untested communal councils give to both the gas stations
and the proceeds from its sale. If it is anything like the confiscation of rice
last week from a private supermarket, then we know that a new and imaginative
source of corruption for the robolution has just been invented.

What else is new?

Or maybe the right
question is: Who will be next?

Rayma strike a chord

August 25, 2008

Rayma strike a chord with me in this cartoon. The guy on top says: “They are saying that they are stealing the country from us”. Then you can see his reaction or non-action in the bottom. This cartoon shows my feeling given the indifference of people to most of the Government’s actions

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