Archive for August, 2009

Ali Bla Bla by Teodoro Petkoff

August 25, 2009

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The Finance Minister recommends that to address the crisis, Venezuelans, among other things, must “develop a culture of savings”, as this weakness  constitutes one of the structural problems of our economy. Of course, Ali Rodriguez is quite correct in the diagnosis, but it would be nice if he could explain to us how to save in a country where the Government’s economic policy pushes for spending income rather than  savings and the families that manage some savings of their income, save , but in dollars or euros abroad. If Ali explained how to save under these conditions he would have achieved a feat equivalent to squaring the circle.

On the one hand, how to save in a country where the inflation rate is twice the interest rate banks pay savers? The maximum interest rate that banks pay for fixed-term deposits are 13.5% and 8% for savings accounts. The annualized inflation rate (July 2007-July 2008) is 26%. Exactly twice as much. So whomever puts their money in a fixed term deposit in one year it would have lost half its value. It is not that there is no culture of savings, but people are not stupid and will not save to lose money. But where does this inflation come from? Precisely the chavoeconomics.

The extremely high inflation rate in Venezuela is the result of government policy. ; The outrageous spending, recklessly executed based on the flood of petrodollars, the exchange policy, which discourages “endogenous” production  and favors imports, given the cheapness of the controlled dollar , but at the same time creating a parallel market where the exchange rate, higher than the controlled one, is referenced for overall economic activity to perpetual harassment operations of the productive sector, both manufacturing and agriculture, which together with the crushing weight of imports, decreased domestic supply of goods of all class, strongly encouraging;
repressed inflation by price controls, which erupt every now and then forcing the government to approve these brutal adjustments, in addition to the continuing political conflict and encouraged by Chacumbele by the volatility of the rules, pushing inflation to levels that double interest rates on deposits . No savings are possible. People tend to spend all their income as quickly as they can, so that the fast rising prices do not swallow their money, Thus, people can’t save and because they can’t save  there is no money for  “endogenous” investments. Whose fault is it? Additionally, anyone who can protect their income from inflation transforms their Bolivars into  dollars or euros in accounts abroad.

Even at the parallel rate for the dollar, it is more profitable to buy the green bills and take them out of the country rather than leave the Bs here. This, without mentioning  the appetite for the dollars at Bs.  2.15 which are easily satisfied by the various devices used to acquire them “legally”.

Since the introduction of exchange controls, 40 billion dollars have been saved … outside. Whose fault is it? That is why Ali will never be able to square the circle.

Weil hits the right spot of Chavez’ fascism

August 24, 2009

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Chavez imposes medal on Benavides for “terrorizing Venezuelans”

A day and a march: Staring right into the eyes of Chavez’ fascism

August 22, 2009

(Este post en español aquí)

It was in the end an ugly day. Not that it had to be like that, but it was. For me it was like watching a movie knowing how it would end, but I enjoyed the middle. It was not intuition, it was knowing that if the Government had set up the barricades that early in the morning and was manning them with all forces, it was because they intended to use tear gas no matter what.

So, I took my gas mask, which I don’t always do and even as I could not find it initially, made a point of looking for it and taking it along. Fortunately, I did not have to use it, as I had moved back a little when they began using the tear gas.

And they did, it was premeditated evil, it was fascism as everyone saw in the end. This Government has and gives no thoughts to human rights. Those that do not agree with it are the enemy and they are and will be treated as such. They deserve no consideration, whether young or old, male or female. It’s hate, it’s discrimination, it’s fanaticism at its worst, all for a worthless cause.

But we have to deal with and fight it. And we did and were successful. We showed our ability to have thousands show up even as the city is empty due to school vacation.

But going back to the beginning, our rights were not respected from the first moment. Despite the opposition requesting a permit to march first, a second request by Chavez’ PSUV to march on the same day was given priority and we were not allowed to march towards the National Assembly. That was the protest, to tell the Assembly that we would not put up with the illegal and unilateral approval of that education Bill. Instead, the Minister of the Interior and Justice, a man with a criminal record for acts during protests, approved the Chavista march near the Congress building, but we were only allowed to march to the end of Avenida Libertador.

It was the typical disorganized opposition march, concentrate at 9 AM (it seems it is being called earlier and earlier) and wait until there is a critical mass. It is as if people watch TV and when they see it growing they run for it, because all of a sudden it got really crowded and not even my tweets could get out through the congested network.

For perspective here is a picture from the back of the march in Avenuda Liberatdor. For those that don’t know it, it is a two level highway with two lanes on the upper side on each side and four underneath. For security reasons we are not allowed to march thru the underpass part which is what you see emptying the middle. But you can see the people flowing on all sides. When this picture was taken, there were people all the way down to the CANTV building where the National Guard and cops had set up the barricade early in the morning underneath the CANTV sign you see at the end.

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The march was quite cheerful, may old people, many students, political parties brought their contingents, but so you can see the atmosphere, the picture below was taken as we moved into Avenida Libertador. Clearly, this man had zero expectations of trouble and the cheerfulness and spirit of the march gave him no inkling of what was to come.

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And they were reminders every corner when we saw the cops

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And it got very crowded as we got to the overpass before CANTV as seen in the picture below:

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And then, as it began to sprinkle, the cops on the other side of the barricade began throwing rubber bullets and tear gas at the crowd. Globovision showed a video that I can’t find on the Internet but I am sure we will soon, where you can clearly see who shot first (You can see the video in this article and a similar one from VTV, the Government’s TV station from up close here, showing the same thing and this amateur video showing it very clear). And it was totally irresponsible to shoot straight into a crowd a couple of miles deep and dense and full of older people. You can see it here (not my picture)

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and you can see the brutal attack of the police by this violent woman:

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Even worse, later the cops went deep into where the crowd was, the area for which a permit had been granted and they threw so many tear gas canisters, that some of them went down into the subway system, where people were trapped and gassed and people of all ages fainted due to the irresponsible actions fo the police and the National Guard. This picture taken from this page, shows what was happening underneath, as the Comander of the National Guard gave his  by now infamous political speech, full of hate, discrimination and fascism, besides the fact that his behavior was illegal according to the National Guard code of behavior.

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and above ground this threatening opposition people were being gassed (picture by gbastidas):

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But, of course, it was all the oppositions fault, the leaders of it caused it and the Minister of the Interior asked for an investigation and the ineffable General Prosecutor already opened an investigation, which apparently reached a conclusion, since she says the Government will not allow “alterations of public order” as if she has decided who was guilty in generating today’s violence. Did she see the video of the National Guard Commander? That alone should have given her the prudence of not saying anything.

But all we did today was march cheerfully and happily in defense of our rights, only to find ourselves staring right into the eyes of the open fascism of the Chavez administration.

The revolutionary “privilege” of getting rid of the country’s best scientists

August 21, 2009

(Este post en español aquí)

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The mediocrity of the revolution has invaded all spaces of human activity in Venezuela. Nothing escapes the actions of the ignorant and resentful members of the Chavista bureaucracy, even if they are part of the academic world, where you would expect  better even from the most radical fanatics.

Their latest antic, for lack of a better word, is to decide to get rid of 27 of the most distinguished scientists in Venezuela who work at the Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Cientificas (IVIC), Venezuela’s former premier research center which is being turned into a Chavista fiefdom devoted to harebrained schemes, most of which have little to do with real scientific work or science.

Well, when the Minister of Science and Technology is Jesse Chacon, you could not expect anything else, no?

But let me go back to the beginning. At IVIC, they are thinking of doing away with the program that allows retired researchers to continue working there. Basically, since it is possible to retire so early in Venezuela, IVIC established some basic rules so that you could stay working there after retirement.

I have written before about Venezuela’s rules for retirement in academia. At universities you can retire after 25 years of service. At IVIC, it is a little “tougher” you can either retire at 60 or after 30 years of service. Service is defined as the first date at which your received a salary, so that people regularly retire at 50-55.

Why retire at all? Many reasons. First of all, in Venezuela if you retire, your pension pays no taxes. But more importantly, scientists retired in order to be freer to move around, visit other labs, institutions and the like.

So IVIC created some rules in order to regulate this. You had to prove you were publishing, you had responsibilities and you would just not disappear, wasting resources. IVIC currently has 27 researchers who are retired, but quite active. In fact, these guys are so active, that they represent roughly 25% of the researchers of IVIC, but produce around 70% of its publications.

But, there is always a but, most of these guys do not sympathize with Chavez and they embarrassed the Government by repeatedly voting against the Chavista candidate for Director, forcing Chavez to name as Director someone who had not obtained a majority and in some cases, received a ridiculously low number of votes.

So these brainiacs came up with a brilliant scheme: Eliminate the program of having retired researchers remain active. Then, in one swipe, they could get rid of them, fewer votes against and use the resources for their hair brained schemes, most of which have little to do with real scientific work.

And the reasoning behind this, according to the mediocre scientist that currently poses as IVIC’s Director and goes by the name of Angel Viloria is that to do research for the Government is a privilege and extending that privilege would go against the “spirit” of the Vth. Republic, whatever the hell that means.

Unfortunately these people are so crass, that they do not even care about appearances and they made this “wise” decision when considering the case of Reinaldo DiPolo. Reinaldo, whom I know quite well for too many reasons beyond this article, is Venezuela’s most cited scientist. Period. Citations is when your work gets cited by other publications in your field. While the absolute number of citations varies from field to field, anyone with hundreds of citations lifetime is quite good no matter what field you are talking about. Well, Reinaldo was in the hundreds twenty years ago and even though I have not checked recently, I am sure that he is still either number one or number two for a scientist working in Venezuela and his citations run in the thousands. I could talk about what he has done, awards and honors he has received and the like, but you get the picture.**

Reinaldo retired in 1997 and has continued working since then, publishing 39 research articles in well known international journals, since he retired twelve years ago. That would be a great productivity for someone in the peak of his “active” research career.

But Reinaldo is not a Chavista sympathizer. And since you can not attack his academic credentials, they argue that he has enjoyed this “privilege” of doing good science for Venezuela for too long. Morover they claim, he does not follow well the IVIC daily schedule which is a no-no, even if you are someone as accomplished, famous and world known as Reinaldo.

Thus, the revolutionary solution is to wipe out this over privileged class of people who dared to abuse their position by being productive and world class scientists. Thus, they turned it out around and it is the revolution that will have the “privilege” of getting rid of them, shutting down their labs even if there is nobody to follow up in their line of work, but they will free space and funds for them to do whatever misconceptions they have about what science is or should be.

And if you get rid of the best in Reinaldo, you have to throw in the other 27 retired scientists who are active and get rid of them all.  Thus it becomes the ultra privilege of getting rid of some of Venezuela’s most respected and accomplished scientists.

Of course, there are a couple of Chavista-friendly people in the bunch, like Maximo Garcia Sucre and Raul Padron,  both of whom are retired and active but are members of the Board of IVIC that is making these decisions, but you can be sure that exceptions will be created for them, so that they can enjoy like good revolutionaries and oligarchs the privilege of remaining active and that of getting rid of those that are certainly more accomplished that them.

Because these new born revolutionaries have taken advantage of the same privileges, abusing them, and justifying their work for years, except that now they have seen the light and everything they defended before like the long term value of basic science or the defense of excellence is now a thing of their silly past. They have joined forces with the ignorant mob that thinks or promotes that buying a satellite from the Chinese is science, that having Internet access is science, that buying a turnkey cell phone factory to manufacture a phallicly named subsidized obsolete phone is also science.

They are the new tropical Lysenkos, backed by the same type of militaristic and mediocre know it alls that destroyed Venezuela’s premier oil research center, while they cheered. And these little Lysenkos wannabes have thrown overboard everything they believed in to enjoy the temporary perks and privileges of the fake Chavista revolution.

But history will know very well how to judge them…and it will not be pretty.

** A reader was nice enough to take the trouble and look up DiPolo’s citations and found that his 186 publications have been cited 2,321 times for an average of 12.48 per publication. The current IVIC Director has 12 publications cited 21 times, Garcia Sucre has 20 publication cited 44 times and Padron 91 publications cited 497 times. You can be the judge.

The sequence of events that Chavismo cynically dared call a “provocation” by reporters attacked by rojo, rojito thugs

August 18, 2009

(Este post en español aquí)

Yesterday, Chavez’ PSUV party held its weekly meeting and the outcome could not have been more cynical and proof of the lack of scruples and disregard for human rights Chavismo has for the citizens of Venezuela.

First, the Minister of Finance and member of the Board of PSUV (only in Venezuela!) said the attack on the 12 reporters was “provoked” and that the reporters were acting as citizens, not as reporters.

Huh?

We will get to the provocation later, but the Minister (and Board member of Chavez’ party) seems to be saying than in this country with no law and order, and Government it is OK to beat up anyone you see in the street exposing and protesting a point of view you don’t agree with.

Because it seems that time after time, it just so happens that it is always the anti-Chavez (not opposition, as we will see later) point of view that gets beaten up. Funny, no?

And the Secretary general pf the Communist party (El Nacional) seemed to agree when he said “we are at war” (Yeah, but who has the weapons?) and “protesting has its risks”

Again, the risks are only associated only with opposing Chavez, it is always opposition marches (with permits) that get gassed and attacked, but somehow Chavista protesters (without permits most of the time) are always free to do so and when an anti-Chavez march is nearby, the police always seems to be protecting them.

But let’s go back to the so called provocation by reporters from the Cadena Capriles, a mostly pro-Chavez (or servile) media outlet which consists of a number of very popular newspapers. These guys were walking peacefully and certainly not very threatening (note the guy on the right, his name is Marco Ruiz and he was injured:

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Do these guys and gals look “provoking” or threatening” to you?

Then, the Chavistas intercept them:

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Do these guys look like they are “provoking”? On the contrary, they are holding their hands up, while the Chavistas (mostly workers from a Chavez-financed TV station Avila TV) certainly look like they are ready, not for a fight, but to attack.

And they do, as can be seen in the third picture:

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where a guy that I don’t think is Marco Ruiz is attacked and hit on the head (Recall 12 reporters of those marching in the first picture were injured in the attack, no Chavistas were hurt, interesting, no?)

Then, there is this sequence to be published by Cadena Capriles tomorrow in the newspapers, where you see Marco Ruiz after being beaten with a bat (nice people! This is what Ali Rodriguez seems to approve of)is down on the floor and anther reporter from his paper (Cesar Batiz) comes to his rescue:

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In the last picture even a street vendor (Cap and red shirt), with more morals and ethics that Chavez’ PSUV Board members, intervenes and steos in between the Chavistas and the injured reporter.

There you have it, an outlaw Government who could care little for human rights or the rights of anyone that disagrees with them and justifies an attack on innocent people, because the Government they preside and participate in, is incapable of providing the safety and defending the most basic rights of the Venezuelan citizens.

And they dare call this a revolution!

The Bolibourgeois in Action by Teodoro Petkoff

August 18, 2009

(Este post en español aquí)

In the world of banking and insurance, there have been  tectonic movements that are transforming the profile of the financial sector. The actors are some of the most notorious boliburgueses.

Pedro Torres Ciliberto is one of the names that sounds the most in these negotiations, along with Ricardo Fernandez Barrueco. Torres Ciliberto, “Perucho” to his friends, including his very intimate buddy Jose Vicente Rangel, bought Baninvest  ten years ago, a small investment bank based in San Cristobal. He then appointed to the executive presidency of this bank, Arne Chacon, a retired lieutenant, the brother of Jesse Chacón.

Now, Perucho Torres  acquired Banco Real, and appointed as executive chairman Arne Chacon, who was replaced by Carlos Santaella at Bankinvest. This bank will be devoted to microfinance, which was in fact praised for Chacumbele in one of its TV programs, but never informed us of where the money comes from for these costly transactions that do not stop there. Soon after Banco Real took the reigns of Helm Bank.

Torres Ciiberto then bought the old insurance company “La Previsora” and appointed Ramon Eduardo Tello as chairman of the company. Then he put his hands on insurance company “Los Andes”, perhaps opening the way for the merger of the two insurers. He did not stop there, as Perucho Torres recently bought the majority shareholders in Central Banco Universal, Lara’s flagship financial institution, and also recently acquired Mi Banco, with which Perucho manages  1.6% of  the total deposits in the financial sector.

On the other hand, the insurance companies managed by Perucho Torres today handle about 12% of all insurance policies, including those of several state enterprises and institutions of the central government as well as regional ones.

Ricardo Fernandez Barrueco, one of the most powerful boliburgueses also invades the banking system. He purchased Confederado, Banpro and Bolívar Banco and recently bougth Banco Canarias.

With this, the so-called Tsar or King of Mercal, owns 5.1% of the banking system, which is no small thing when one considers that the country’s largest bank, Banesco, controls 15%. Although you can not add apples and oranges, between Fernández and Torres Ciliberto they now own about 10% of the banking system.

Ricardo Fernández, very young, by the way, began to grow and diversify himself in the wake of the oil strike, when he placed his huge network of trucks, one of the largest in South America, serving the government to distribute food.

He owns two industrial groups Proarepa and Pronutrico, large producers of corn flour and providers of Mercal. He acquired 40% of Monaca, one of the one hundred largest companies in Venezuela, which mills wheat. Fernandez Barrueco has also internationalized himself and now owns a tuna processing plant in Ecuador and eight tuna ships with foreign flags.

The tuna business is not new. In Sucre State he has a number of companies that freeze tuna.

While these things happen, in what Marx called the “structure” of society, a mother giving birth asks Chavez to help her get a place to give birth. Twenty-first century socialism advances at the beat of the drums and at a victorious pace.

The curious case of Chavez giving Antigua US$ 50 million in aid

August 16, 2009

(Este post en español aquí)

Scrooge McDuck in the money

And I can’t help but be surprised by Chavez’ generosity in giving the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, infamous for hosting Sir Allen Stanford and his Ponzi bank for so  many years, to the detriment of so many middle class Venezuelans. We all know Chavez likes to throw around his influence around, but Antigua getting US$ 50 million is simply too fishy to pass up.

First of all, it seems overly generous. Second, Venezuelans getting ripped off by Stanford was due in large part to the Venezuela’s Government laxity in allowing Stanford International Bank to operate at will in Venezuela.  In fact, it was the Chavez administration that authorized Stanford to acquire a local banking license that allowed its operations to get respectability and grow in Venezuela. Despite this, the Venezuelan Government has not assumed any responsibility in the swindle and there were clearly ties that were simply too close for comfort between Stanford International bank, the local Stanford Bank and the Chavez administration.

But last but not least, there were persistent rumors that the Venezuelan Government sent two jet planes to the island of Antigua as Stanford International Bankwas unraveling. Clearly, there was no hope of recovering the money owned by robolutionaries, but at that early stage, all they wanted, including apparently Chavez’ own brother, was to have their names erased from the database. Reportedly even the man in charge of dirty tricks, General Carvajal went to the small Caribbean island in one of those planes.

So, a few months later Chavez gives Antigua and Barbuda US$ 50 million, more than it has ever given Haiti, a country that truly needs it. Hard to believe there is no connection between “favors” received and this payoff by rich uncle Scrooge Mac Hugo.

The philosophy that they want to use to take Venezuela back into the XIXth. Century

August 16, 2009

(Este post en español aquí)

hsc0519lThere is an interview today in El Nacional page A-5 (by subscripition only) with Maria de Queipo, President of the Education Committee of the Venezuelan National Assembly. There isn’t much to the interview, except for the usual Chavista slogans and platitudes. But there was one phrase that struck me, why the educational sector does not know about education and the law has the communal councils run things:

“Popular wisdom outstrips academic knowledge”

That’s it! It is knowledge that seems to be being accused of being responsible for the ills of the people, it is knowledge that has not been able to solve the problems of the people. Thus, we are going to try using popular wisdom to do it.

A philosophy that will take Venezuela back to the XIXth. Century if we let them. In the era of knowledge and technology, Chavismo wants popular wisdom to rule education and in the end, Venezuela. Funny, Chavismo has been in power for ten years and little has been accomplished, but they fail to notice this, this ignorance will take Venezuela into the dark ages.

Scary, no?

Only Hugo Chavez is allowed to stage a coup in Venezuela

August 15, 2009

(Este post en español aquí)

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For at least seven of the last ten years, universities have represented the biggest frustration for Hugo Chavez. Except for some small victories during his first three years in power, Venezuelan universities whose authorities are elected in elections, have rejected Hugo Chavez over and over.

And it is getting worse. Chavista backed candidates seem to get fewer votes in elections for either authorities or student body leaders. Who can forget the new President of the Central Bank, Nelson Merentes, getting whipped when he ran for the only office he ever aspired to as President (Rector) of Universidad Central de Venezuela? He did not even manage to go to the second round, coming in third of the two possible candidates that went to the second round and he was the only one that represented Chavismo.

And university elections are fairly open affairs, Professors vote and so do students and in some cases even employees. But it does not matter Chavismo loses time after time.

Which in the end is the sole driver behind the recently and unconstitutionally approved Educational Law. Sure they took advantage of it to impose more control over the educational system, but the goal, the main driver was simple: take control of the only place where ideas can be discussed freely in Venezuela, the only institution where you can criticize someone without being censored, ostracized or banished, no matter which side you are on: The Venezuelan truly autonomous universities.

And despite the lack of transparency in the way the law was approved, how the ultimate end was hidden behind the noise, the treachery and the under the table approval, this just happens to be Hugo Chavez’ latest coup.

Because anytime the opposition says or does anything the Government in unison accuses of staging a coup, in a country where it is clearly Hugo Chavez the only person allowed to stage one. And the Venezuelan President does not hide it, he openly says it:

“Chavez calls on to take apart the structures of power in the universities…we should not recognize any authority which does not originate in a legitimate process”

Funny, I don’t recall any of the pro-Chavez candidates ever saying that they were participating or defeated in an illegitimate process. They all participated and graciously acknowledged they had lost. What else can you say when the opposite side gets over 80% of the votes as has recurrently happened in all the elections in Venezuelan universities?

The difference is that Chavez has no scruples whatsoever to violate the law and the Constitution and lie in the process. He is the Master Coupster, starting in 1992 (twice), the 1999 referendum, the “Congresillo” in 2000, the PDVSA trap (2002), the 2004 referendum, the 2008 enabling Bill, the shutdown of RCTV and radio stations and this year’s referendum (among others). Chavez has staged all these armed an unarmed coups, no scruples, whatever it takes and the new Education Law is just the last one.

It’s just the way of Dictators and the doublespeak of fascists. The world has seen it before.

A day for open fascism by the Chavez Government and its supporters…

August 13, 2009

(Este post en español aquí)

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Perhaps nothing can summarize today better than the sequence of pictures above showing reporters from Cadena Capriles marching peacefully near the building that houses the company they work for as seen on the top left panel, they are intercepted by a bunch of Chavista supporters and beaten up without mercy. As many as twelve reporters were injured in the attack. Curiously, some of those hurt work for pro-Chavez newspaper Ultimas Noticias. And this attack is being reported by Chavista media as “twelve employees of Cadena Capriles”, skipping the all important fact that these were reports. Fascism was very much alive and in full force deployment in Venezuela today!

And those pictures are simply a continuation of a day of abuse of power and discrimination by Chavista authorities, as the new Education Bill, the “stealth” version introduced by Chavez between the first and second discussion in the National Assembly. Because a completely different project had been discussed for months in the National Assembly and actually approved in its first discussion. As established in the Venezuelan Constitution, that same project had to come a second time for fine tuning and discussion and to everyone’s surprise, a dramatically different document was introduced.

And while part of those protesting were objecting the proposed law, other were simply asking that the new Bill be discussed further, so that some points could be changed. I saw in the oppo media, pro-Chavez teachers who were simply asking that the project be discussed further because while it had what they considered to be positive points, others were inadequate in their opinion. And while the Minister of Education told the world we could go to the Supreme Court to change those aspects that blatantly violate the Constitution, the Chavista Deputies proceeded to open the discussion for the sceond approval, rejecting any delay.

And you have to wonder when all of the Presidents of Venezuela’s most important universities object the Law of Education and show up to protest.

And a student led demonstration had received the permits to go to the National Assembly today and they were quickly intercepted by Chavista thugs brought by buses which were all parked in front of PDVSA. And no sooner had the marchers arrived to within three blocks of the National Assembly, that the cops started gassing them without mercy, followed by the water truck, the so called “whale”, which was used together with the tear gas all afternoon.

Then came the attack on the reporters, some discussion in the Assembly thanks to the Podemos Deputies who are no longer supporting the regime and then they withdrew and the Bill is being  approved as we write.

Thus, today we witnessed fascist act after fascist act, by a Chavismo no longer under control and without any pretense of democracy. The “people” that were brought in by the gigantic PDVSA resources supposedly were there to support a Bill that restricts their rights, castrates universities and imposes a single view in all education matters.

A terrible day when the regime went for a totalitarian grab on the educational front, the only Government funded area of the country, where Chavismo had received defeat after defeat in all electoral processes for the last few years. It was as symbolic as it could get, open fascism, no discussion no democracy, no respect for anyone, whether pro or against.

It was indeed a sad day…

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