Archive for July, 2009

Regulating free speech in Venezuela, but will it apply to the Chavez Government?

July 30, 2009

(Este post en español aquí)

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Today, the General Prosecutor Luisa Ortega went to the National Assembly to propose in her words, for the State to “regulate freedom of speech”. I have so many problems with that sole sentence that I will simply use the text she presented to the National Assembly and ask her, figuratively speaking, if it is not the Government that she is part of and has been part of for almost ten years that is the biggest and most regular violator of all of the points she made  today. In her words, she proposes to penalize anyone or any media that :

“Whose actions or omissions damage the right to opportune information…”

The Chavez Government does not allow all of the media into some official acts, this limits and damages the right of Venezuelans to opportune information.

“…information which is true and impartial…”

Has the Prosecutor ever seen VTV? That is the most partial view of the news in the country, which acts not only as the spokesman for the Chavez Government, but for Chavez’ party PSUV, a totally partial view of the news, which includes lies and manipulations daily.

“which threatens the social peace….”

Has the General Prosecutor ever heard Chavez’ Sunday program Alo Presidente? Doesn’t Hugo Chavez attempt against the social peace of Venezuela when he reminds everyone that his revolution is armed? Doesn’t he violate social peace when he threatens to take over private property and claims that the State can take it over when it is justified. (This is also a lie according to the Venezuelan Constitution)

“the security and independence of the Nation….”

When the President of the Republic allows Cuban officials to run Venezuela’s intelligence services, Venezuela’s identification office and now its ports, isn’t he and the Government he presides going against the security and independence of the country? When Chavez attempts to involve Venezuela in the Honduran conflict, isn’t he threatening for personal use the security of Venezuela?

“…that generate the sensation of impunity…”

Doesn’t all of the anti-crime policies of the ten years and the intromission of politics in the Judicial system during the Chavez Government generate a “sensation of impunity”? Doesn’t the Anderson case investigated by none other than you, Luisa Ortega who promotes this Bill, “generate the sensation of impunity”?  Doesn’t the partial way in which opposition Governors and politicians are persecuted generate a “feeling of impunity?

“Anyone that divulges through the media a fake news item which affects public peace..”

When her predecessor accused the opposition of plotting Anderson’s murder, he affected public peace and was lying. When Chavez says Colombia is ready to invade us, he is lying and attempting against public peace. Is General Prosecutor Ortega ready to prosecute the President any time he lies on his Sunday TV program or any of the hundreds of his obligatory speeches and diatribes that the media is forced to broadcast?

“anything that causes a prejudice against the State…”

Does this mean that her office will prosecute whenever someone causes a prejudice from the State? Like Chavez taking over companies and reducing their value within a year of taking them over? Or Ramirez hiring more and more people to see if that way things get done?

and in closing, she says:

“anyone…that promotes hate”

Did the General prosecutor hear the statements made by Minister of Energy and Oil and President of PDVSA Rafael Ramirez in which he stated in no uncertain terms that he “hates the oligarchy and the opposition” and that anyone that does not join a socialist committee is “suspect of conspiring”

Doesn’t someone that openly says he hates 40% of the population promote hate? Does that mean that the General Prosecutor will stop Ramirez from saying such things in the media? Didn’t see you saying anything about that when he did and you were the General prosecutor, an independent power supposed to uphold and defend the law. Were you out of the country that week? Just being servile? Or simply a coward?

and when it comes to promoting hate by “race, religion, nationality, ideology or political affiliation”

Well, Ms. Ortega, I just don’t know where to start. Should I tell you to view the Hojilla TV program in the Government’s TV station? Or how about Chavez’ statements about Israel, Jewish people, Colombians, the Church, the US, black people, women, Condoleeza Rice…should I continue? Because Hugo Chavez can be right down sexist, racist and discriminatory. Do you remember the Tascon/Chavez list?

Do you really ever watch TV? Or do you spend your days only watching Globovision to see if you can catch them doing something? Do you ever watch Hugo Chavez, La Hojilla or VTV?

Or do you simply want to find a limit to gag, control and impose limits on the right of free speech of those that are not in agreement with the Government you are a part of?

By the way, you are supposed to be an independent power, but you ain’t!

The importance of having “contacts” in Venezuela: Get your Venezuelan passport!

July 29, 2009

(Este post en español aquí)

And how about this website that someone sent to me today where you can see this wonderful ad:

passport

This company has such good contacts, that for the meager sum of 19,000 euros, they can get you not only a Venezuelan passport (hard to get for real Venezuelans), but the Venezuelan nationality, all from the comfort of your own home!

Yes! This contact is so good, you don’t even have to come to Venezuela, speak Spanish or even know where Venezuela is, just go down to your nearest Venezuelan Embassy and the revolutionary contact will make sure your passport is there.

And Israel worries that the Venezuelan Government is giving Venezuelan passports away to the Iranian one, so that its citizens can percolate through Latin America without visa!

That’s why they call it the robolution!

Two points of view: Facts versus the revolution

July 29, 2009

(Este post en español aquí)

Fact: From Reuters today on why oil prices were down

“Oil dropped nearly 6 percent on Wednesday to near $63 a barrel in the biggest one-day slide since April after data showed a surge in U.S. crude inventories on higher imports and lower refinery activity.”

The revolution, also today in Reuters, on why oil prices will go up by the end of the year:

“We are still influenced by market instability, but that (price) projection is happening, and there will be a gradual recovery of oil,” Ramirez said.
We expect the strong fall in inventories to continue”

There you have it, facts versus ignorance…

Who is driving Zelaya around?

July 28, 2009

And if Maduro is here, who is driving Zelaya around?

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Chavez temper tantrum # 666: Hugo freezes Venezuela’s relations with Colombia

July 28, 2009

(Este post en español aquí)

It was typical Hugo Chavez, caught red handed providing Swedish rocket launchers to the FARC guerrillas, he reacts by attempting to distract locally, throwing a temper tantrum, faking being mad at Colombia for “making up” the story and decides to “freeze” for the nth. time relations between the two countries. I really have not counted, but how many times has Chavez thrown these type of tantrums, acting like an unruly little kid (or a madman, you choose) and threatening to upset relations with the country’s second most important trading partner.

The amazing thing is that it should really be the other way around, it was the Venezuelan President who was caught threatening Colombians, because so far there has been no explanations as to how the rocket launchers happened to appear at the FARC camp. It is Venezuela that has some explaining to do in this matter, Sweden’s Government does not allow in its contracts for Venezuela to sell or export the weapons and they were after all under the care of the Venezuelan military (No smirks allowed!). Thus, it is Colombia that has the right to be outraged as the Venezuelan Government through negligence or on purpose, allowed weapons to fall in the hands of the FARC that could be used against the citizens of that country.

But one does not manage diplomatic relations a la Chavez, throwing temper tantrums, otherwise most of the the civilized world would have ended relations with most of its neighbors over petty bickering and jealousies. Instead Chavez freezes relations and in his immense ignorance on economic matters, threatens to substitute Colombian imports and irresponsibly threatens to nationalize Colombian companies in Venezuela. Just because you don’t mess with Hugo Chavez, even if it was him that actually messed with you.

And his threat to “substitute” Colombian imports just shows the Hugocentric view of the economy as well as his ignorance on economic matters. It is not Hugo that imports products from Colombia. It its hundreds of Colombian companies that have taken advantage of Chavez’ destruction of Venezuela’s manufacturing sector in the last ten years, filling the void by setting up local subsidiaries and plants. This has been accompanied by national and multinationals moving to the more friendly business environment of Colombia and exporting form there. Thus, Chavez, facing the possibility of shortages already, is between a rock and a hard place, in that it will not be so easy to substitute Colombian imports and nationalizing Colombian companies in Venezuela is as harebrained as you can get, as most of them have a very strong dependence to the home office in Colombia, without which they could not produce much.

But “Yo no fui” (It wasn’t me) Chavez does not fool anyone anymore. Everyone, both here and abroad, knows what he is about. He wants to be the tough guy, but always backs down when push comes to shove or Fidel tells him to do it. By tonight, Fidel will be advising his parody to cool it off, as the world still remembers his threats to go to Honduras with Zelaya (which Fidel stopped) as well as the sordid images of Maduro reliving his days as a driver, taking Zelaya to the border.

And once again, Hugo’s temper tantrums distracts him him from the real problem at hand of solving the problems for the average Venezuelan. Neither poverty, nor crime nor the well being of the poor Venezuelan has improved in ten years of sordid and verbose rule by Hugo Chavez, despite the largest windfall in the country’s history. As the economy runs into trouble, all Hugo can think is how to reign in Honduras, fight Colombia and pick a fight with Obama, now that old GW is no longer in the picture.

The problem is his credibility both home and abroad is going down and he does not seem to have the mind or will to deal with either. He still wants to to be the enfant terrible of Latin America, but most people are realizing that he is becoming the short-fused temper baby of the region.

Interestingly, in the upcoming days we should see more and more of the evidence from Colombia and Sweden, which once again will show what a spoiled brat Chavez has become, forcing him to either back down from his threats today or to really deliver on them, in which case it will be his Government and the people that he claims to love that would be hurt. Given his rush to be the top dog in this fight, expect him to back down, sooner rather later, and change course, as his has done so many times in the last ten  years.

Venezuela’s rocket launchers found in the hands of FARC guerrillas

July 27, 2009

(Este post en español aquí)

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So, yesterday Colombia says that they have found rocket launchers sold by Europeans countries in the hands of the FARC. In fact, this had been around for a while before yesterdays announcement.

Colombia said in its press release that it had notified the countries selling the weapons and today Sweden, requested information from Venezuela as to how the SAAB racket launchers that General Rangel inspects in the picture above, could have ended up in the hands of the terrorist group.

Of course, the Venezuelan Government, caught red handed once again, helping the guerrilla group just refuses to acknowledge that this is the truth and Foreign Minister Maduro denounces it as a “brutal” campaign against Venezuela by Colombia. As usual, Maduro does not go to the crux of the matter, which is how the FARC got its hands on the rocket launchers. Because the Venezuelan Government has never reported that the weapons were missing.

But the Emperor has no clothes and there is too much evidence of Chavez’ support for the FARC, no matter what the Government and its cheer leading PSF’s may say. This is the typical Chavista behavior, first, deny everything, the “Yo no fui” (It was not me) attitude that we have seen so many times. Second, the “we are the victim” position and we are being attacked just because we are not liked for our political stance, and finally, even if there is serious evidence, never, ever address the evidence. The rocket launchers just “disappeared” and who says they were not stolen on purpose to make us look bad.

Maybe Insulza will look into it…yeah, yeah!!!

Edomix’s Popular Victory!

July 27, 2009

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War Venezuelan style by Laureano Márquez

July 27, 2009

(Este post en español aquí)

I started fantasizing with the idea of what would happen to us if, all of a sudden, we were involved in two war conflicts at the same time: An invasion of Honduras and a war with our Colombian brothers. The first thing we would have to negotiate with the latter is that they do not interrupt the commercial exchange which benefits both of us.

We would have schedules for battles and hours for trading things at the border. During cease fires, logically, Venezuela soliders would visit Cúcuta to buy leather jackets for their girlfriends, mothers and sisters.

Fuel demand for Colombian tanks would promote a black market in which our National Guard, for sure, would have active participation to sell gasoline to the Colombian military  with a surcharge.

Of course, when we start selling our gasoline to Colombia, it will start creating shortages, as it has ussually happened, on our side, so that our tanks will be stuck, we will lose the war, the Gulf and Zulia State, which will become Colombian and Carmona will be its Governor.

Meanwhile, our Air Force would begin an intense bombing over Tegucigalpa and the Government palace of Micheletti. Our troops would invade Honduras via Nicaragua and our ships would block the coasts.

Probably due to the confusion, our Armed Forces would take over Belize, because nobody knows it is there and would anex it to Honduras. Once this initial confusion is overcome we go in Honduras and restore Zelaya, hat and all. We would have to dissolve immediately the Honduran Congress and its Supreme Court.

The OAS would intervene. but Chaderton would say that the coup is justified this time around, he takes all of the arguments of the previous sessions and turns them around…Insulza becomes convinced that there are good coups and bad coups.

Because surely all Government officials, leaders of PSUV and Deputies of the National Assembly will be setting an example in the first line of fire, they neglect Caracas and the fascist and coupster opposition takes advantage of the situation and stages a coup against Chávez. He looks for help in Honduras and spends in a single day eighty thousand dollars in red shirts in devastated Tegucigalpa. Zelaya gets pissed becaus of the expenses and because he wants to be above him and boss him around. He decides to expell him from the country, but because Venezuelan troops are in Honduras, Chavez stages a coup against Zelaya, has him shot and stays as President of Honduras, he calls Micheletti as Vice Presidente, breaks relations with venezuela and expells all of its diplomatic personnel from that country, while he says he will not tolerate the intrevention of any foreign power  in that country, least of all Venezuela with its petro-checkbook.

Chaderton returns to the OAS and convinces Insulza that Zelaya had to be removed from power with the argumenst that Micheletti had before.

This story will continue…

When ships arriving carrying sugar becomes the news in Venezuela

July 26, 2009

(Este post está en español aquí)

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You know something is wrong in the Venezuelan economy, when the arrival of the ships carrying sugar is not only part of the news, but the Minister of Food feels like he has to make a big deal of it. Such are things under revolutionary Venezuela.

Because the shortages of sugar are essentially the Government’s fault. Recall that sugar was the first area where the revolution found the need to declare a priority. The Government first began bringing to Venezuela the same Cuban technicians who were responsible for the demise of the Cuban sugar industry. As if that was not enough, the Cuban Government sold us, like trinkets to the indians, their outdated sugar processing plants. For Hugo Chavez thsi was one of his first economic fixations, as Fidel took the money for the trinkets, child-Hugo told the world how self-sufficient we would become on sugar production.

But this was not enough, Chavez also had to go and start taking over the land where sugar cane is grown and divide it up and allow families to work small plots. Add to that the corruption surrounding the sugar processing plants (You may be wondering: Whatever happened to the US$ 500 million spent on CAEEZ,? Maybe by the end of the year it will be functional, only 5 years behind schedule) and you get the picture: Venezuela, despite the Chaves-cum-revolution in sugar, still produces only 60% of what we consume. Since by now the Government regulates and corners the importation of sugar, shortages are the norm, not the exception and they have been around since 2007. The reason is simple and it has become a vicious circle: With sugar under price controls, it is not interesting for everyone to compete with the Government in importing it. The Government and PDVSA buy and import it and then there is an over supply for a few months and then, the Government forgets it has to keep the flow coming, or forgets to pay for the last shipment. In a couple of months there are shortages, the Minsiter learns about them and the whole process begins again…

In fact, we are on the “high” on the milk cycle right now. PDVSA imported so much milk over a year ago, that the Government has reneged on contracts with Uruguayan producers and even has forgotten to pay them. The result is that right now nobody is worrying too much about importing milk. Wait a few months…

But the Minister of Food (or Feeding?) hails the arrival of 14,000 Tons of sugar last Wednesday  and says two more ships are coming, which he says proudly “will allow us to take care of possible shortages”

But, of course, it is not the Government’s fault. It’s your fault, or mine, or “the people” who have been hoarding it due to the “strong media campaign”. At least he admits at the end that there was that small matter of the Government not approving the foreign currency for importing sugar and you get the picture. There are shortages because we have all these stupid policies in place that delay and slow down everything. But don’t expect the revolution to admit that it is the bad policies that are to blame for the shoratges.

In the end, as absurd as it may seem, it is better for the Government to buy the stuff outright, than to start another grandiose and corrupt project which will cost the same but take years to generate the first Kilogram of sugar. I am sure somebody is pocketing some money bringing the sugar, but at least it gets here.

Of course, the problem is that this gets replicated in every sector that the Chavez administration wants to put its finger in and the way things are going, this will soon mean everything related to food in Venezuela.

And as the money gets short: Watch out, the arrival of every ship will be hailed not only by the Ministers but by the whole population, which will see each shortage at last over, a la Cuba, for at least a while, when the first sign of the ship is seeing over the horizon.

Washington planning to “checkmate” Hugo Chavez according to Heinz Dieterich

July 25, 2009

(Este post está en español aquí)

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According to a formerly influential Chavista theorist Heinz Dieterich, Washington is planning to “checkmate” Chavez and his revolution in 2010. Dieterich who has been critical lately of the revolution, but is no longer heard as much, has been saying this for over a year and continues to expand his theory as events develop.

According to Dieterich, the checkmate plan includes:

-Military coup against Chavez in Honduras (Jeez…)

-Lula and Mercosur are now on the side of the US

-Use Colombia to militarily weaken and attack Venezuela

Dieterich now says that what happened in Honduras is the second “military coup” against Chavez, the difference being that this one will weaken Chavez and lead him to an electoral defeat in 2010.

According to Dieterich, even Chavez’ “intellectuals” are telling the Venezuelan President that his model is incapable of stopping the advance of this “imperialist and oligarchic” project.

Dieterich says that the worsening of the President’s international position, the Uribe military advance, the incontrolable inflation and dysfunctional economic policy, the opposition electoral block which has 40% of the population and the media power of the “right” present the needed framework so that all conditions are there for the 2010 defeat.

Well, it would seem to me that just with the dysfunctional economy and 40% of the population, the stage would be set for a Chavez defeat, but somehow these guys always see a conspiracy somewhere (or want to blame it on something else) The problem is that this type of criticism is not taken well by Chavismo. Chavez already criticized the “intellectuals” that Dieterich refers to in his article and looking through the pages of aporrea to see if the original article was there, I only found an article in which the author wonders why Dieterich decided to start attacking Chavez and the revolution.

Dieterich closes by saying that just like in 2002 the Captain of the ship no longer wants to see the tip of the iceberg…

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