Another look at how Chavismo tries to “manage” food imports and distribution

June 27, 2010

(Milk packages with expired dates on them)

Both El Nacional (page A-6 by subscription) and El Universal have articles today about the failure of the Government’s food import policy. The amazing thing is that some of the data used by both newspapers  is taken right our of reports by the Government, and in the case of PDVAL it is from a recent PDVAl report.

According to the PDVAL report, in 2008 PDVAL imported 597,000 Tons of food, which triples its distribution capacity. Thus, the 120,000 Tons of spoiled food represents about 20% of what was imported in 2008, not an insignificant amount as the Dictator would like you to believe.

According to the report, the amount of food purchased was not decided by PDVAL, but was an order by Cenbal, the National Center For Feeding Balance, an organization I have never heard of, but which reports to the Vice-Presidency of the country. Cenbal is composed of representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, Commerce, and you guessed it, Cuban advisors, who now seem to have shifted from advising on how to produce food on how to import it.

Cenbal itself imported, via various mechanisms a total of 1.7 million Tons of food. The idea, was to import the food to guarantee supply and even sell it to the private sector, something that was never done. The report also says that it was the Cubans that advised PDVAL on how much to buy, the scheduling and the permissions needed for items. Most of the food imported via PDVSA’s Bariven import company was bought via competitive bidding, except when it was purchased using Government to Government agreements. (Think Argentina and China)

The report says that the bottleneck for all these imports was simply the ports which were unprepared for this magnitude of imports .Similarly, it blames the tax office, the lack of storage facilities and the delays in obtaining permits for the problems. So much for trying to blame the private sector!

Clearly the Government’s strategy was to import so much food to guarantee that there would be no shortages, but nobody was taking into account how much could actually be brought in into the country within a time period and the Government’s buerocracy was itself to blame for the problems.

The article in El Universal looks at the evolution of food imports and food production in the last few years. It concludes we have gone from importing 70 dollars per inhabitant a year to US$ 392 per inhabitant per year, which represents the need of importing US$ 14.3 billion per year in food. Thus, all of the BS about sovereignty, endogenous development and the like was Mr. Chavez BS.

Then the article gives examples, such as the fact that the country imports 90% of the black beans we eat, half the meat and  70% of the rice. Up to 2003, Venezuela was self-sufficient in meat, importing about 1% of its needs, but then the Chavez administration began regulating prices and local producers could not compete with the cheap Government imports.In 1998, Venezuela produced 407,000 Tons of meat, which is now down to 269,000 Tons with imports reaching 395,000 Tons.

In milk, the story is not too different. In 1998, 67% was local production, today 67% is imported. In 2008 and 2009, imports were over 100% of consumption, which also explains some of the problems with the putrid food.

While all this happens, report El Nacional, the Comptroller, contradicts himself day after day. First he said that he was investigating the food imports for the last two years. Then he said he was doing t, but did not know that some of the food was going bad, but it turns out that in his own report t the National Assembly, the Comptroller reports the containers of spoiled or expired food. It turns out that it is  cheaper to buy food about to expire and that may be part of the problem. The Comptroller reports even food packages with two expiration dates in the same package, suggesting tampering.

There you have it, Chavez knows how incompetent and inefficient his Government is that he manages the country trying to import too much, distributing too much and spening too much in the hope that there wll not be shortages and his popularity does not decline.

But in the end we have the same story: waste, corruption and inefficiency dominate and we Venezuelans pay for the Dictator’s follies.

67 Responses to “Another look at how Chavismo tries to “manage” food imports and distribution”

  1. bruni Says:

    What a mess! It is such a mess that one does not know where to start. Not in my wildest nightmares I would have thought of such a huge mess.

    Everything is wrong: the creation of MERCAL, of PDVAL, the assignement of PDVAL to PDVSA (!!!!), the economic impact on local production, the mismanaged logistics..and now the Cuban intervention…

    Does anybody advise the goverment on operational planning, queuing theory, operations research? Do they know that they need a server that is faster than the arrivals…

  2. chema Says:

    Excellent article. Keep up the good work

  3. Roger Says:

    “The income from Oil has discouraged us from trying to do with less and arriving at solutions through hard work. That is why we have a line of ships at our harbors, loaded with goods; we think we can solve our problems by buying outside.” Juan Pablo Perez Alfonzo from the August 1976 issue of National Geographic 35 years and several oil busts to provide motivation and not one thing has been solved.

  4. Johnny Says:

    All this shows is the abject failure of central planning, which mean substituting the collective wisdom of consumers, merchants and producers to meet the needs of the people, with those decisions of faceless bureaucrats who spend the taxpayers money in whatever they decide is best. This has never worked and never will because the sum of individual decisions is staggering and ever changing, but for some ideological decision, and even though it has always failed, we keep trying central planning again and again. As the Romans said “Errare humanus est, perseverare autem diabolicum” even they knew better over 2000 years ago.

    This is what happens always when Ideology Political reasons trumps Science. Science is a continuum of propositions and refutations over the centuries, and this is the way we advance to more predictive and therefore more valid (scientific) theories about our universe in any of its activities. At one time DOGMA got in the way of the Physical Sciences (think Gallieo) and this was resolved, but in the case of Social Science ( think Economics) this issue has not been resolved.

    Newspersons and politicians, still give equal weight to propositions that do not work vs those that work better. This is known as relativism and is practiced in daily news to an incredible degree to the obfuscation of the populace that is led to believe that a wrong can make a right.


  5. Chávez wants the country to be food dependent and that’s a reason for confiscations of agro and animal producing facilities. Chavez knows the new revolutionaries in charge of those farms and ranches will never produce like their real owners. Once Venezuelans depend on food imported by the government it can impose the” ration cards ” like in Cuba. Once the governments controls your stomach it controls your mind.

  6. deananash Says:

    Javier is correct, it’s all about control. I expect Chavez to allow all those dissatisfied with his stewardship to simply leave the country – empty handed, of course.

    When the chance comes, JUMP QUICKLY. Better to start with nothing but freedom than to remain in prison with nothing but Chavez. Don’t trust me, ask any rational Cuban.

  7. Bill Simpson in Slidell Says:

    As the Russians and Chinese finally discovered, trying to manage an economy from the top down is like trying to count ants in an ant nest. The constant change is rather difficult to manage. Sooner or later, the government is forced to quit trying. Hopefully for the citizens of Venezuela, it will be sooner. But I fear that the abundance of natural resources in Venezuela over which the government now has control, could delay that day for far too long. The trend certainly doesn’t look good.

  8. jsb Says:

    “Javier is correct, it’s all about control.” I disagree. I think these people believe socialism will distribute food better than the private sector. It is a religion for them. Facts don’t matter. History does not matter.

  9. A_Antonio Says:

    It is funny that this Military Regime, should have some formation, at least an idea about logistic or planning.

    Planning a distribution of food is not so far different that distribute supplies to an army in the front.

    So, if our military member fails so soundly and “odorly” in logistic and planning, you can guest the outcome of a war against Colombia or against anybody.

  10. ECG Says:

    Human nature is complicated. I doubt the motivations here are purely power, or control, or ideology. It’s something somewhere in the middle and different for each actor. I have no doubt that most people in government are moved by a combination of ideology and power. This is more dangerous.

  11. loroferoz Says:

    Johnny, you hit the nail twice:

    “…but for some ideological decision, and even though it has always failed, we keep trying central planning again and again.”

    Central planning, (or for that matter most other planning) is bad enough on it’s own because it cannot account for reality, just try to force it.

    But it’s even sadder, because they don’t even TRY to do honest planning. Ideological and political decisions take control. Where “political” means, in any political system you care to mention, even the liberal-democratic kind, that money and economic efficiency don’t matter. Which is like saying that energy (velocity and height) don’t matter while flying a plane.

    “Newspersons and politicians, still give equal weight to propositions that do not work vs those that work better. This is known as relativism and is practiced in daily news to an incredible degree to the obfuscation of the populace that is led to believe that a wrong can make a right.”

    Which is JUST like giving equal time to “perpetual motion”, “magicks” and thermodynamics. No matter how much you wish or believe or conjure with all your will you can’t make a vehicle move without energy input.

    If an effort should be made in education, it should be made in economic education. Disabusing people that economic dogma that goes against evidence and even against common sense can ever ever work. Or that laws that try to impose rigid, unreal standards upon human interaction can actually be enforced.

  12. LuisF Says:

    I refuse to beleive this is the reuslt of incompetence.

    I have maintained for a couple of years now, since the failed paro nacional of 2002-2003, and even before, with the absurd response to the Vargas tragedy in 99, that this regime is not incompetent, but draw on destroying internal resistance (think private sector, media, profesional military, goverment institutions, private citizens, el populacho, etc.) to exert total control and keep itself in power.

    Chavez is just a puppet whose job is to continually distract, while the puppetmaster(s) embezzle and destroy the internal resistance.

    A sad experrience for a beautiful country.
    LuisF

  13. firepigette Says:

    Luis F

    i 100 % AGREE

  14. m_astera Says:

    “Chavez is just a puppet whose job is to continually distract, while the puppetmaster(s) embezzle and destroy the internal resistance.”

    I agree with this to the extent that Chavez will not and would not remain in power one day longer than those who are really running the world wish him to. As soon as he stops serving their purposes, he is toast.

    Next question: Who are the puppet-masters, and more specifically, who in Venezuela is really pulling Chavez’ strings?

  15. amieres Says:

    According to Damian Prat the PDVAL report says that CENBAL set their:
    – imports target at 1,751,000 TM,
    – PDVAL imported 639,000 TM
    – but only distributed: 191,000 TM.
    – Which leaves 448,000 TM of food unaccounted for!

    http://www.codigovenezuela.com/2010/06/analisis-de-damianprat-el-sorprendente-informe-de-pdval-a-chavez/

  16. Roy Says:

    To LuisF, et al:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor

    Please read the above link that defines Occam’s Razor.

    “When competing hypotheses are equal in other respects, the principle recommends selection of the hypothesis that introduces the fewest assumptions and postulates the fewest entities while still sufficiently answering the question.”

    It is often paraphrased as “The simplest explanation is most often the correct one.”

    My point is, why would you look for a massive conspiracy, when simple incompetence of the type one would expect from a bureaucracy staffed purely on the basis of loyalty and cronyism provides a simple and adequate explanation?

    Johnny,

    Well said! I agree completely with your comment.

    Unfortunately the battle against human ignorance and superstition must be fought continuously. Most people continue to believe what they want to in face of all reason and experience.

  17. bruni Says:

    JSB,

    ideology has a lot to do with it, but that is precisely why it leads to incompetence.

    First, Ch put aside competent people because they disagree with his regime but this has also led competent people to now put themselves aside because they do not want to be associated with it.

    Do you think that Miguel would accept running PDVAL, or the BCV under Chávez? I don’t think so (Miguel correct me if I am wrong). He is extremely competent and I think he will be able to do a great job, but I don’t think he never ever would like to be associated with this goverment…and, essentially, the most competent and the brightest in the country are in the same position.

  18. Robert Says:

    Off topic but did I read correctly today that the banking oversight has outlined offshore banking from Venezuela? Not sure how they’d enforce that but but it said “banking with low fees and low transparency would not be allowed from Venezuela.” If this is true, they must be desperate to stop capital flight.

  19. firepigette Says:

    Roy,

    The reason for the conspiracy ‘theory” is that some of us Know what is behind Chavismo, therefore it is not a theory, and believe me they ain’t stupid.

  20. concerned Says:

    There is too much money involved to not have at least a little conspiracy.

    But I agree with Roy in that for the most part there is rampant incompetence from the top down to the street vendors. I am not saying that they are stupid, but coming from someone immersed in the middle of the madness, I will politely say that there are far too many people thrust into positions that they are not qualified for or have no experience in.

  21. PB Says:

    With bigger problems you need a bigger villain to blame!

    When do you think Chaves will declare war on a neighbour?

  22. firepigette Says:

    Concerned..

    incompetence has always been a factor in Venezuela.Chavismo worsens it because it operates even less on the level of meritocracy.Infrastructure has weakened and on all levels people are functioning on a low level.

    However in ESSENCE, and in PURPOSE, this not only does not matter , but it adds to the chaos factor so needed in order to then justify whatever drastic measures then need to be taken to gain more control over things.It weakens resistance to Chavez because people have to fight outwards conditions.

    Th biggest factor that allows this to happen however is not only the sneaky sociopathic” intelligence” of those advising Chavez, but the overwhelming tendency of many Venezuelans to naivety.

  23. Kolya Says:

    Roy wrote:

    “why would you look for a massive conspiracy, when simple incompetence of the type one would expect from a bureaucracy staffed purely on the basis of loyalty and cronyism provides a simple and adequate explanation?”

    Well said, Roy.

    It’s a no-brainer that the desire to stay in power is Chavez’s primary motivator–even if the story he tells himself is very different. I have no doubt that he’s often manipulated and deceived by others, but him being someone’s mere puppet? Come on, folks! If it is clear that he’s a puppet, who is the puppet muster?

    Some unscrupulous individuals benefited even behind the backs from evil people such as Stalin, Hitler and Saddam. Ruthless tyrants can be fooled and deceived. And they know it, that’s whey they tend to be so paranoid. To be fooled and deceived, though, is not the same as being a puppet under the control of a puppet master (or masters.)

    m astera wrote:

    “Chavez will not and would not remain in power one day longer than those who are really running the world wish him to. As soon as he stops serving their purposes, he is toast.”

    Out of curiosity, who do you think “are really running the world”?

  24. Roberto N Says:

    To add to Kolya’s point, Chavez and his cadre had plotted this very course YEARS before they executed it. There is no puppet master, there is just a guy who got lucky and his band of cronies.

    Personally, I have always believed that Chavez got lucky because he happened to get face time on TV when he got arrested. “Por ahora” resonated widely and allowed him to assume the face of the “revolution”. I don’t for a minute believe he was the one chosen to lead after the overthrow.

    It’s highly likely that the real story will only come out years from now, when he is consigned to the dustbin of history.

  25. Kepler Says:

    Kolya,
    :-)
    Good question.

  26. firepigette Says:

    For those naive folks out there:

    The ‘puppet master’ is the world wide 21st century SOCIALIST revolution and mutual allies.For any one who has friends in this movement it is obvious….they are all over Venezuela and they come right out and say that Chavez is expedient.The revolution will go on.They don’t mind teaming up with FARC, drugs lords or any other evil system to fuel their ambitions.

    It is a fusion of mutual interests.

    One of the reasons we have not been able to get rid of Chavez has to do with the fact that most naive Venezuelans do not and never have seen what is right in front of our faces.

    Same old story decade after decade.

    And for those of you who are trying to capitalize on Venezuelans so called reconstruction will deserve what they get in due time.

  27. Roy Says:

    Kolya,

    Thanks!

    Firepigette,

    I agree with your statement that, “It is a fusion of mutual interests.” That does not require a conspiracy or a “puppet master”.

  28. firepigette Says:

    Roy,

    ‘puppet master’ is a metaphorical description for the motivation or force behind something.

    It depends on what you call a conspiracy…there are some people who every time you talk about something being behind the obvious they accuse you of creating conspiracy theories…..

    zzzzzzzzz such boring and obvious memes

    What I find weird is how so many people think it is JUST Chavez and that Chavez is lucky.11 years of luck…yes sireee.LOL

    A conspiracy is a secret agreement to collaborate towards a goal.Chavez denies most of his connections so he pretty much fits the bill.Just look at the list of accusations made by the SPANISH JUDGE against Chavez, the FARC and the ETA which are all denied by him.

    But the point is not if you call it a conspiracy or not, nor if you refer to puppet masters..these are just a pejorative ploys to discredit those who see behind the obvious.

    The point is,that there are world wide trends that tie into Chavez, collaborate, and create a situation that will be damn hard to get rid of, especially with the kind of naive thinking that cannot work ‘dot to dot’ puzzles.

  29. Kolya Says:

    “A fusion of mutual interests” and “puppet master” are two very different things. For example, the market system works because of fusions of mutual interests, but the market has no puppet master. Heck, even the Marxists during the heyday of Communism had no puppet master despite the best attempts of the Comintern.

    In any event, I assume that this statement:

    “The ‘puppet master’ is the world wide 21st century SOCIALIST revolution and mutual allies.”

    was written tongue-in-cheek and not meant to be taken seriously.

    Roy, you will probably enjoy the following review of “Voodoo Histories,” a book about conspiracies:

    http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/non-fiction/article6197929.ece

  30. Kolya Says:

    “What I find weird is how so many people think it is JUST Chavez and that Chavez is lucky.11 years of luck…yes sireee.LOL”

    But who claims that it is JUST Chavez and that it is simply a matter of luck that he’s still in power? What I found (at least in this thread) is that people are denying that Chavez is a mere puppet that will lose power the moment his master (or masters) decide it’s time for him to go. Nobody, though, has denied that Chavez got (and gets) help from others and even that he’s often manipulated by others.

    For good or ill, individuals do matter in history. Luck, chance and opportunity are major factors, but it is up to the particular individual to exploit those factors. It was not inevitable that Lenin, Hitler, Fidel or Chavez came to power. Alas, the fact that it was precisely these individuals (with their particular qualities, quirks and psychology) who came to power that made a huge difference.

  31. Kepler Says:

    Vamos, Astera, who are running the world? Dilo, dilo! :-)

  32. Roy Says:

    Kolya,

    I read the review of “Voodoo Histories” and the next time I get out of here, I just might look for it in the book store, even though I have read other books on the subject.

    Another factor in the human vulnerability to these mass delusions is that we are naturally good at “pattern recognition” and extrapolating meaning with insufficient data. In fact, we are so good at it, that we tend to see and assign higher meaning to patterns that simple chance can account for. Even the most rational of us have superstitious quirks, like a “lucky shirt”, or such. Knowing this about ourselves is important, so we don’t delude ourselves when the decisions are important and the stakes are high.

  33. m_astera Says:

    Who is running the world?

    IF there is a group of entrenched interests who fit the following criteria:

    They have financed both sides of every major war since the French Revolution

    They paid Karl Marx’s rent and expenses while he wrote Das Kapital

    They financed the Bolshevik revolution

    A little country known for banking that they control in central Europe remained untouched in WWII

    They have controlling interest in every major central bank in the western world

    They set up and own the Federal Reserve bank in the US, the BIS, and the IMF

    As i said, IF there is such a group, then they would be the ones I would say are controlling the world. If there is not such a group, then the events of the past 220 years are just the random events of history, as you were taught in school.

  34. m_astera Says:

    Note that if such a group exists, can you see how it would be to their advantage, even a necessity, to keep the false dynamic of a conflict between capitalism and communism going? This hypothetical group WOULD be making its money from both sides of every conflict. If the communist ideology collapsed they would need to find another one. Perhaps Muslim terrorism would work.

  35. Roy Says:

    m_astera,

    It appears you don’t want to just come out and tell us who is “running the world”, and prefer to give us riddles instead. Why not just tell us directly?

    However, from the clues provided, it appears you are referring to either Rothchilds Bank, or an international banking cartel of some sort. This conspiracy was fueled recently by various messages circulating on the internet that claimed that the Federal Reserve Bank and all major central banks of the world are “owned” or “controlled” by 10 banks, most with Jewish antecedents.

    You and other readers may read the following website which debunks this urban legend: http://webskeptic.wikidot.com/federal-reserve-ownership

    It sounds like the straight scoop to me, and passes my “Does this make sense?” tests. However, those who are inclined to believe in the conspiracy can always claim that it is just more propaganda from the Conspirators.

    Each and every one of us must decide for ourselves.

  36. amieres Says:

    Here is part of the PDVAL report to Chavez:
    http://www.noticierodigital.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=9557078#9557078

    Roy
    This is what you were refering to:

    The Pattern Behind Self Deception

  37. Kolya Says:

    Roy and Amieres, thanks for the interesting (and amusing) stuff.

  38. m_astera Says:

    Roy-

    First of all, I wasn’t replying to you. I asked the question who is the puppet master. Kepler and Kolya turned the question back to me, so I answered more or less. I honestly don’t know who, specifically, controls the various institutions I mentioned. I spent a couple of years helping a friend in Poland research the subject, and what we found strong documentation for were all of the points I listed.

    Anyone who had the slightest bit of curiosity could spend a little time typing the points I made into a search engine and decide if there was anything there of value. Obviously you are not one with the that sort of curiosity, as you already know everything you need to know.

    But I do have a question for you. Could you explain to me the difference between you and the chavistas other than ideology and which system and government you unquestioningly support?

    The link you posted is about as objective as if I questioned a chavista and they sent me to a chavista site for the answer.

    Do you happen to know who funded Lenin and Trotsky? I didn’t think so. And I doubt that you wish to know.

    Cheers-
    Michael

  39. Roy Says:

    amieres,

    Correct. I condensed what I wrote in that one paragraph from reading of several different sources and personal experience. Michael Shermer does a nice job of explaining it in a way that makes it accessible to anyone.

    Not that it will change anyone’s mind… :)

  40. firepigette Says:

    Amieres

    interesting video.

    What can be added is that the tendency to see patterns in most cases is hampered by not seeing what is actually happening in the here and now.The patterns many people ” see” in their minds are patterns that have occurred in the past which is why most people will look for past precedents, and when they don’t see them occurring in the present they have trouble seeing what the pattern is that is actually occurring in the present.

    These same people often ridicule those whose vision is more ” alive” and present so to speak.

    Those who could not see patterns occurring in the present time were the unfortunate ones who refused to believe the depth of the horror in Nazi Germany and did not leave until it was too late.

  41. firepigette Says:

    Roy,

    People can err on both sides.It is very difficult for the human brain to correctly process information in the present moment and most tend to live in past patterns, whether they see too many connections as in paranoia, or whether they see to little as in denial.

  42. Kepler Says:

    What Firepigette is saying is that her patterns are real, yours are not.

    Regarding Jews: I think that is a dangerous claim. What does exist are interest groups very much linked due to some ethnic reason.

    The Israelis were selling weapons and training to both the government of Sri Lanka AND the Tamil rebels for many years…without either side, of course, knowing about the others. Former Mossad Viktor Ostrowsky was seen as an anti-Semite because he wrote about this.
    Israel’s export of weapons makes up a higher percentage of GDP than any other country. A Jewish killing unarmed Palestinians is a “deranged settler” and a Palestinian doing the same is a terrorist.
    Talk about that and you are an anti-Semite…by the way, Arabs are more Semites than the average Jews.

    Now, on the other side, it seems to me Astera is almost seeing either side of any major confrontation part of a Jewish conspiracy, from the Reich giving money to Lenin to Marx against the capitalists. And that is just loony.

  43. firepigette Says:

    Actually what Kepler is saying is that his patterns are real and others are not.This is the human condition by the way.

    What I object to is that some people are consistently putting down MAstera without any proof that he is wrong, and they are doing so while repeatedly failing at second guessing Chavez.

    I disagree with M Astera but I think he has the right to makes his claim, and perhaps he is correct about it.

    I find some of you obnoxious and childish in the way you look for approval and gang up on others…mostly very obtuse arguments as well.

  44. firepigette Says:

    Another note:

    If Venezuelans had had success in getting Chavez out of office, they could be credited with having made realistic choices, but this is not the case.Venezuelans have been way too naive about seeing reality and continue to this day to do so.

    If Venezuelans were free, then one could argue the case for a neutral and innocent stance.As the contrary situation exists, what is needed is sufficient humility to admit wrong ideas and choices and change course.

    So far the stance against the Chavez argument has been way too wishy washy and neutral, and most people continually confuse neutrality with objectivity.

    Those who are living in denial think they are going to make a mint in the reconstruction and somehow effortlessly get Chavez out of office through the worsening of financial situations etc etc….when Chavez leaves we could be facing even worse choices.

  45. m_astera Says:

    Thank you, Firepigette. No one has yet challenged anything I have written based on their own research or presented any documents contradicting my conclusions. Calling me a loon or linking to a debunking/skeptic site that would take all of two minutes to find do not count.

    I’m not sure what the reference to the Reich funding Lenin and Trotsky is supposed to mean, Kepler. Do a search for Lenin Trotsky New York Berlin. Someone paid those po’boys way to Moscow on a train with a whole lot of gold.

    The Jew thing that perennially crops up? Let’s forget that, or rather consider it camouflage or a red herring. GW Bush’s grandfather Prescott was indicted by congress under the trading with the enemy act in WWII; he was hardly a Jew. And if the cabal I’m referring to are calling themselves Jews, well, they don’t follow the ten commandments, that’s for sure. Try “Jewish” pscychopaths and megalomaniacs, and they aren’t all Jews or even close to it.

    I’m a careful researcher. It’s because I am careful that my website is #1 on google in several categories, my book has 5 stars on Amazon, and I spend most of my days answering email questions. I don’t read some hare-brained crap on the internet and believe it; I believe nothing until I have a preponderance of solid evidence, and I don’t post any conclusions unless I can back them up.

    So, when I write that I spent years researching the group that I wrote about above, it’s because I did, and I came to the conclusions listed. What is one to do when they deduce the incredible, that all of the wars for the past 220 years have been started and funded by the same group, along with the ideologies and propaganda for each side? Some might just shut up about it out of fear, but that’s not my style.

    I’m saying, flat out, that both the rise of communism (starting with the French Revolution) AND the rise of capitalism (starting with the Industrial Revolution in England) were funded and orchestrated by the same group for their own purposes, and that continues today. Nothing like owning both teams in the final match of the World Cup. How can you lose?

    If anyone wishes to dispute documented facts, and can show conclusively where I am mistaken, I welcome that. I don’t care about being right, I care about the truth.

    How is this relevant to Venezuela? As I said at the beginning, Esteban is a puppet and will remain in power only as long as he remains a useful idiot. Same goes for Castro and for Obama.

  46. Kepler Says:

    Astera,

    Lenin pretended not to even touch Germans, he kept himself in his wagon all the way from Switzerland through Germany, it was his followers who had to deal with the Germans…but Lenin accepted Germany’s help and the very Kaiser followed the whole issue. The Germans wanted to concentrate their forces on the West.

    The payment was done through German bankers in Moscow, where Germans had always had a large presence. Once Lenin got to Petrograd, he started to get what would be equivalent to several hundreds of millions of euros now, enough to carry out the best campaign in an impoverished nation and enough to pay quite some thugs. As soon as Lenin took over and expelled the Kerenskii goverment, he declared peace with Germany.

    As for Marx: was dandy Engels part of this group?

    Sorry, Miguel. This is OT. Anyway, perhaps if it is a problem, I can get the answer to that on my gmail account.

  47. Kolya Says:

    As far as I know nobody has denied Astera’s right to express his ideas. And Astera may well be a very intelligent and highly educated person. This does not mean that his ideas about a secret group of puppet masters that is over 220 years old and whose puppets, among others, are Chavez, Obama and Castro are not kooky.

    Firepig wrote:

    “So far the stance against the Chavez argument has been way too wishy washy and neutral, and most people continually confuse neutrality with objectivity.”

    Frankly, I’m not at all sure of what you are trying to say. The vast majority of commenters in blogs such this one, Daniel’s and Quico & Juan’s are clearly and solidly anti-Chavez. In any event, since you are so against wishy-washiness, what is it that you advocate? Be specific.

    “Those who are living in denial think they are going to make a mint in the reconstruction and somehow effortlessly get Chavez out of office through the worsening of financial situations etc etc…”

    Firepig, once again, can you be specific? Who are you talking about? Can you name a few names? Who lives in denial and thinks that they are going to make a lot of money reconstructing Venezuela when Chavez effortlessly gets out of office?

  48. Roy Says:

    Firepigette,

    You said, “zzzzzzzzz such boring and obvious memes” in response to my comments.

    Then you say, “I find some of you obnoxious and childish…”

    The whole point of debate is not just “sharing” so we can all feel good, but putting your ideas out there and defending them. If we can’t defend our ideas with facts and logic in this forum, maybe they really aren’t worth anything.

    Sometimes I think of this and other blogs as a proving ground to “beta test” my own ideas and thoughts. Yes, it can be rough, sometimes. But, it is supposed to be that way. The real world is even rougher on ideas than we are.

  49. Kepler Says:

    Firepigette,
    Can you be specific o vas a seguir hablando paja?

  50. firepigette Says:

    Roy,

    First of all I dislike the way some people,including you have sometimes started out a comment by saying ” sigh sigh” or such a thing is laughable etc….and I really dislike several people attempting to put down one single person.The first time I saw that on Quico’s blog I was shocked .It seemed so childish.Like middle school or something.

    I said the zzzzzzzzzz to show you how it sounds to be insulting instead of arguing( just plain stupid really).I also find it rather arrogant and confusing when people who obviously know nothing about psychological concepts pretend to insinuate that someone might be paranoid and ridicule their beliefs and call their thoughts ‘conspiracy theories’ when they really have little clue of the psychological dynamics involved.It would be like me telling Miguel that he is wrong about finances.You cannot know if M Astera is wrong or right.You can only know if you agree or not.There is a big difference

    One thing is to defend your concepts and another thing is to CHEAT by playing rough and ganging up on someone with your friends which is something both Kepler and Kolya often do.If you recall the day I quibbled with you when you were already in an argument with some else, I apologized.
    The ganging up style is popular over on Caracas Chronicles and on Oil Wars…some people even use rating techniques to lower some people’s images but this behavior has never been much of an integral part of THIS blog.That is why you rarely saw me joining in the chorus when people picked on PSFS….though I have noticed there are quite a few who revel in using others as a punching bag.

    Being direct and honest is what is needed, not ganging up .Ganging up is rough.If you think you need to be rough just because you think most people are rough in this world then you lower your standards to the lowest common denominator.

    I have no hard feelings towards you, but I do think that there is a wrong attempt by some to use unfair advantages, much like politicians do, that takes away from the debate of ideas and throws the interchanges into ” how do we work together to get more leverage”

    When people love ideas more than politics it just doesn’t work this way.

  51. m_astera Says:

    Kepler, and all-

    The problem one runs into researching this sort of thing, as anyone who has tried will quickly find out, is that there is very little useful info to be found from “mainstream” sources. One can’t look under the streetlight where the light is good, one needs to go scrabble around in the bushes in the dark. Discernment is needed, both to sort the rubbish from the valid history and also to know when something that is “officially” called rubbish has more truth than some would wish to be known.

    What happened with the book that I was helping my Polish friend write was that after the Ms was complete, she could not get a publisher to touch it, despite the fact that she has published a number of successful books in Poland, fiction and non-fiction. One publisher who wanted to publish the book told her that they would take it on, but only if she excised all of the chapters that referenced this controversial subject. She refused and the book remains unpublished two years later.

    The original focus of her work was the North American Indian chief Tecumseh; the subject of banking and control of the financial and political system came into the picture because of the time period when Tecumseh was active, the War of 1812. Nathan Rothschild came into the story as a prominent banker in London who loaned the money to pay Wellington’s troops in the campaign against Napoleon in 1815 and one clue led to another, going back to Adam Weishaupt in the 1770s and forward to the Bolshevik Revolution and the Hitler era.

    It’s very unlikely that Karl Marx would have written or published Das Kapital without the financial support of the Engels family fortune. Friedrich Engels was also Marx’s go-to person for in-depth knowledge of the capitalist-industrialist model, and Engels edited volume 3 of Das Kapital after Marx’s death.

    A good question and one I don’t have a solid answer to is who owned the German banks that financed Lenin and the Bolsheviks.

  52. Kolya Says:

    For someone who claims to be direct, Firepig, you are incredibly evasive. In this thread, for instance, I asked you at least three direct questions. I asked you those questions after directly quoting your own words. It’s amusing that you accuse others of being wishy-washy and then squirrel away from answering direct questions in a straightforward no-nonsense manner.

    As to Astera’s assertion that Chavez, Obama and Castro are puppets of the same master, well, yes, I cannot prove that he is incorrect. I also cannot disprove that you and Chavez were once secret lovers. And you cannot disprove that I’m a 150 kilogram hermaphrodite born in Burkina Faso.

    One last thing: you are very fond of the appeal to authority fallacy. And the authoritative source is your own supposedly superior knowledge of psychology and human nature. Bunk.

  53. Kepler Says:

    Astera, about the Germans and the Bolsheviki: I don’t remember names as what I read was just “on the side” on the main topic and not for an investigation.

    One of the sources was a rather general book by Dutch Geert Mak, not a specialist one, but with all sources. Another was an interview in the Süddeutsche Zeitung with the grandson of a famous German banker working in Moscow during WW 1. I will try to find the names and references.

    Sure, Engels financed Marx all way through and got him out of the mess several times. Now: are you telling me Engels was part of the Rotschild group?
    To me, Engels was just the first and best example of the Gauche Caviar. I know a couple of them in Berlin, actually (although I think their initial zeal has been changing more and more towards the Autonom-burgeois side as they grow old :-)

    There are some references in the German Wikipedia about Lenin and the Germans:

    http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lenin#cite_note-30

    With Google tools you can get an idea.

  54. firepigette Says:

    Kolya,

    Sorry you are not on my list of people that I answer at beck and call.Being direct when we say something and evading comments that are designed to ” play around” are 2 different ball games Kolya.

  55. Kolya Says:

    Firepig, your game was uncovered. You are an habladora de paja who when challenged to answer direct questions (based on your own words) responds cowardly by either slinking away or writing non-responsive vacuous bromides. Adios.

  56. m_astera Says:

    Kepler-

    I’m not saying Engels was the pawn of the financiers. The strongest point I could “prove” there is that the fruits of the capitalist/industrialist system were used to support the writing of the book that challenged the system. Later the communist movement was used by the financiers to destabilize and take over Russia.

    Marx’s income was a minor item on my list above. The important point is that both capitalism and communism as ideologies and political tools were/are supported and used to gain control of resources, treasure, and government power by the same group of financiers.

    I’m pretty sure that Lenin and the Bolsheviks being funded by German bankers came as news to most readers here. Note that there is no response from them though, as if pretending they either already knew that or that “it isn’t important” as the chavistas say.

    Kolya-

    Reductio ad absurdum is a lame tactic. Guess you are too lazy to do any research or lack the ability to debate evidence. Chavista tactics: denial, avoidance, ridicule.

    Neither science nor history are democratic pursuits; the majority opinion on either is worthless. It doesn’t matter how large a majority believe that the earth goes around the sun or that Simon Bolivar was a communist; only the demonstrable facts count.

    Taking pride in thinking just like the majority and believing what you have been told to believe, what is “allowed”, while attacking and ridiculing anyone who disagrees? How like a herd animal. When those directing the herd send it in a different direction I’m sure you will be right in the center of the mass, and proud of it.

  57. Kolya Says:

    For what is worth, I doubt that the fact that Lenin was helped by the Germans (while Russia and Germany were at war with each other) came as a surprise to many people. That’s a well known fact that not even the Marxists deny. To the Germans it made perfect sense to help Lenin. From giving him money to providing him with that famous sealed train. By fomenting revolution in Russia the Germans were weakening one of their main enemies. Lenin, on the other hand, didn’t care about being a traitor to Russia, since he was an Internationalist who didn’t feel any loyalty to any particular nation. What is still in dispute is the extent of funds he received from the Germans (although it’s evident he did get a significant amount), the exact role of Parvus, and so on.

    But none of the above is evidence that Lenin and then Castro and now Chavez and Obama are the puppets of some secret group that goes back to over 220 years ago–a cabal that is also somehow responsible for the French Revolution. This is kooky stuff and reminds of the old Judeo-Masonic Conspiracy. I’m sure you can find believers in this conspiracy in every single country of the world. From what I have witnessed myself, I can say that back in the late 1980s and early 1990s a significant minority of Russians believed in it (some of them, I’m sure, still believe in it.) I don’t know if Astera believes in something similar to the Judeo-Masonic Conspiracy, but, frankly, some of what he wrote reminds me of it.

  58. m_astera Says:

    S. Korea rejects N. Korea’s call for joint inquiry into sinking

    From CNN, July 1, 2010

    United Nations (CNN) — North Korea has called for a joint investigation with South Korea into the sinking of a South Korean navy vessel last March, but the proposal was quickly rejected by Seoul.

    In a letter to the president of the United Nations Security Council, the North Korean ambassador rejected the results of a U.S.-South Korean inquiry into the events of March 26, when the Cheonan went down in contested waters. That inquiry determined that the vessel sank because of a North Korean torpedo. Some 46 sailors died when the ship went down.

    North Korean Ambassador Sin Son Ho insisted in the letter that his country had nothing to do with the incident.

    Sin offered to send North Korea’s own investigative team from its National Defense Commission. He went on to suggest that North and South Korea should work together on a joint investigation of the incident and asked for high-level military talks on the subject.

    But South Korean Ambassador Park In-kook was quick to dismiss the suggestions. He sent his own letter to the president of the Security Council, expressing confidence in the results of the investigation conducted by the United States and South Korea.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/asiapcf/07/01/un.koreas.letters/?fbid=N7QGAx_OMCu

  59. m_astera Says:

    Kolya-

    I will never understand the pride some people take in regurgitating the pablum they have been fed while refusing to look at any other sources of information.

    Seemingly the enemies of your chosen ideology, such as the Cuban or Venezuelan governments, are capable of lying, subterfuge, and conspiracies but those you support are not and never have been.

    Well, you have shown what sort of discernment you are capable of, as well as your mental limitations and laziness. Anything that disagrees with what you are allowed to think must not be investigated, only denied or ridiculed along with some made-up justification for why “your side” are good and right and true. I have no interest in convincing you of anything and never have had any.

  60. m_astera Says:

    For those other than Kolya who might have an interest in the financing of the Russian revolution(s).
    WARNING! Not Politically Correct Mainstream Pablum WARNING!

    http://www.modernhistoryproject.org/mhp/ArticleDisplay.php?Article=NoneDare04

  61. Kolya Says:

    “Seemingly the enemies of your chosen ideology, such as the Cuban or Venezuelan governments, are capable of lying, subterfuge, and conspiracies but those you support are not and never have been.”

    Wrong, Astera, wrong.

    I’m solidly anti-communist and pro-liberal democracies, but, alas, there are no clean hands in this business. Liberal-democratic countries (the US included) committed their share of lying, killings, conspiracies, and a long list of other abhorrent things. Considering our imperfect world as it is, though, which system was (and is) better to the world and to its respective citizens? This is a no-brainer: liberal democracies were (and are) much superior. Who knows, maybe a better system will eventually be developed. Perhaps, with plenty of ups and downs, mankind will eventually muddle through to something much better. But, then, maybe not. I don’t know.

    None of this, however, has anything to do with the type of 220-year old conspiracy you are peddling (once again, it reminds me of the kooky Judeo-Masonic conspiracies I heard about.)

  62. Kolya Says:

    I just checked the Modern History Project site (www.modernhistoryproject.org). Wow. Just wow.

    Astera that site is not only kooky, but it’s also an abhorrent, anti-semitic and poisonous rumor mill.

    Quotes from two of the “news” stories of in that site:

    (1)
    “President Obama has put in place a reform apparatus reviving the euthanasia of Hitler’s Germany in 1939, that began the genocide there. The apparatus here is to deny medical care to elderly, chronically-ill, and poor people, and thus save, as the President said, $2-3 trillion, by taking lives considered ‘not worthy to be lived,’ as the Nazi doctors said.” …” Do Americans really want a Jewish (or a Humanist) “bio-ethics” panel sitting in judgement over their own life and death?”

    (2)
    “We have no way to verify whether this story is true, but it contains many juicy details and the source (Wayne Madsen) is usually reliable.
    “President Obama and his chief of staff Rahm Emanuel are lifetime members of the same gay [homosexual] bath house in uptown Chicago, according to informed sources in Chicago’s gay community, as well as veteran political sources in the city. The bath house, Man’s Country, caters to older white men and it has been in business for some 30 years…
    In 2006, after Obama became the junior senator from Illinois, WMR’s sources in the Congressional Black Caucus reported that there were persistent rumors of gay trysts between Obama and then-GOP Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee. The allegations at the time seemed unbelievable…” “

  63. tannin Says:

    M-astera is indeed a nasty piece of work.
    He fancies himself vey special indeed; he, almost alone, understands ‘what’s really happening’, and that goes back over 300 years.
    Well, seeing as he knows who is behind capitalism, and capitalism extends back as far as we have any records, even on clay tablets, he obviously knows ‘who’ has been running the world for at least 5000 years, and who, no doubt, has been on both sides of every war over the last 5000 years or more.
    M-astera, first and foremost, you’re an idiot, a fool, a egocentric maniac; you are also an an anti semitic douche bag who has nothing to offer this planet; i suggest you leave.

  64. m_astera Says:

    Once again, all I get is ad hominem and straw men. Never a discussion of the salient points.

    Did I say I agreed with everything on the site I linked to? Should I assume that you agree with everything on every site you read?

    What part of the historical discussion taken from a 1970s book did you disagree with? Which documented quotes? The ones from Carroll Quigley or Oswald Spengler? Let me guess, you didn’t bother to read the page I linked to; instead you went looking for something to bash. I really have no idea what else is on the modern history project site, I went looking for the excerpts from “None Dare Call It Conspiracy” in order to provide some background on the Bolshevik Revolution and who funded it, and that was the first hit. Who knows? Maybe I do agree with much of what’s there. I haven’t read any of it though, other than that one page.

    Anti-semite? WTF? I like Arabs just fine; are they not semitic peoples? Probably more so than Ashkhenazi Khazars, don’t you think?

    That anti-semitic crap doesn’t faze me. Talk about worn-out overused bullshit.

    Such lame attacks, and never an attempt to address a single salient point.

    Kolya-

    How’s that liberal democracy thing working out in the US these days, where official figures show that the bottom 40% of the population owns less than 1% of the wealth? Is there that much discrepancy in Venezuela?

    As for the two things that I guess you managed to read at the MHP site while looking for something to attack me about rather than addressing what I linked to, just how do you know that they are not true? Is there any evidence to back them up? Or do you simply reject, out of hand, anything that doesn’t fit what you would like to believe?

    I started this by saying that Castro, Chavez, and Obama are all puppets. Yesterday, as evidence, I linked to a book extract with alleged facts and actual quotes from history. Has there been any factual refutation of either my original hypothesis or the evidence I have presented? No.

    If this were a moderated debate, who would be the losers? Probably those who refused to stay on topic, who had no counterarguments, who resorted to calling names, who put words in the opponent’s mouth that weren’t said, who jumped to conclusions without evidence for such conclusions, and who set up their own straw men to knock down.

    This is no different than trying to debate religious fundamentalists. Unless someone reading here is capable of rational debate, I’m through wasting my time.

  65. Kolya Says:

    Astera, liberal democracies have their problems, but whether it is Denmark, the US or Australia, I would say that in terms of quality of life and freedom they have managed MUCH better than the Soviet Union, Cuba and, now, Venezuela.

    Also, you know very well that when people talk about being anti-semitic they mean that they are anti-Jews. Technically it is not the most accurate usage, but it’s just like talk about anti-Americanism means being anti-US, and not also being anti-Venezuela and anti-Brazil. That site you linked to is an anti-Jewish site that spews a lot of venom.

    In any event, although I don’t care either way, I have to inform you that the Khazar hypothesis (Koestler was probably the best known proponent) has been shown to be wrong (including research genetic research.) I know of at least one Jewish friend who was bummed out by this, since he rather liked the idea that he was a descendant of Khazars.

    Your last words, Astera, were: “I’m through wasting my time.”

    Thanks!

  66. firepigette Says:

    To those involved in name calling and insulting I only have a wondeful old Argentine expression to add :

    “Como dijo Dona Peralta
    el que se va
    No hace falta”

  67. m_astera Says:

    Again, no discussion of any salient points, just another couple of straw men that have zero to do with the subject.

    What ARE you people so afraid of?

    If you cannot look at the origins of Hugo’s ideology, or why he remains in power, then you deserve him.


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