Archive for February, 2012

Chavismo Media Manipulation Not The Same Since Hugo Has Been Sick

February 29, 2012

(One of the many allegoric images circulated by Chavismo in the last two weeks)

The day Hugo Chavez shouted “Viva Chavez!” during his farewell procession down to the airport to leave for Cuba, you knew he had reached a new level of megalomania and irrationality. And this happens to be important, because it appears as if the genius behind Chavismo manipulation and use of the media was none other than the autocrat himself.

Because ever since Chavez got sick, the quality and the impact of media manipulation by the regime seems to have deteriorated and in the last few weeks has been totally off the mark, at a time that it is most needed.

It all began with the opposition primaries.(Which thanks God took place before Chavez’ relapse that prompted his trip to Cuba.) First Chavismo decided to lower expectations for the vote to ridiculously low levels. When I heard opposition people talking about maybe a million votes in the primary, I knew someone had drunk the Chavista Kool Aid. To me, defeat was a million and a half, even though I did not think three million was doable. But Chavistas really played it down, from saying there would not be a million voters, to suggesting the primary would not even take place. Thus, when three million votes were reached, Chavismo was truly caught leaning the other way, wondering what had happened.

And rather than play it down, Chavismo took the cue from the Generals and began questioning the veracity of the vote, which had been run by the Chavista Electoral Board, which did not like the questioning and went to extremes to defend their integrity. Come on! They can bend the rules, but not for the opposition. But maybe the winds of change are blowing and behind covering is going to become a national sport soon, no?

And just when this was leading the headlines, Chavez decided to reveal he was sick again. Despite his assurances to the faithful that he was cancer-free, not a single cancer cell in his body and ready to live for twenty years, Hugo had known since January that things were not fine.

And Hugo decided to call his tumor a “lesion” (An injury, for those that do not speak Spanish), using that funny doublespeak with respect to his ailment. And according to VP Jaua, the “lesion” was removed, but, how can you remove surgically a “lesion” without creating another one?

Just wondering…

To say nothing of Cabello and Izarra laughing at Bocaranda for telling us Chavez was not only in Cuba, but was going to need an operation soon. As Cabello and Izarra helped prop up Bocaranda’s reputation with their tweets, Chavez went on nationwide TV to tells us they were out of the loop, but Bocaranda, somehow wasn’t. Diosdado must not have been happy.

Then, at some point, it seemed Chavismo was ready to regroup, Chavez appointed a single spokesman for his illness (Spokeswoman actually) Minister of Health Sader. She was due to give us a report on Monday, but Monday came and went and nothing…We have yet to hear from her.

Once again, Chavez is too busy taking care of himself and Minister Sader has been overruled by those that want to show they have power.

Then VP Jaua read some prepared text in the middle of his speech at the National Assembly. He never said who wrote it, but he read it all, down to the “La Habana, Cuba” written at the bottom of the piece of paper he had been given (or ordered) to read.

And while we are still waiting for the person Chavez anointed to be the spokeswoman for the illness, the Minister for Communes (Of all people) tells us that the Government is being clear and transparent and that VP Jaua is the only spokesperson for the illness and, of course, blames the media for the confusion.

Who authorized her to say anything?

Meanwhile, all we know is that Chavez is in “good physical shape”, but we guess that Jaua or anyone, would have said that before the “procedure” that Chavez underwent in Havana. As to the”procedure”, it must have been rather simple, it took after all, only an hour and half, barely time to open and take a look, let alone to take a tumor or a “lesion” or even a hemorrhoid out.

So, we still don’t know, but the secrecy speaks louder than words. Things have barely changed since last summer. The predictions of Navarrete are behind schedule by maybe one only month. The country’s bonds have soared day after day, as if someone knows something about the upcoming and inevitable political change.

And Chavismo can do little to change the feeling that somethings is not right. Their leader is not around and he clearly played a definitive role in setting the stage and the discussion.

No more.

As for yours truly, I have not changed my predictions. To those that read the comments, I said long ago my late April birthday was a key time reference. I will continue to stick my neck out with that. Now more than ever. Worst case, I will be wrong by a few weeks.

I have done worse.

PDVSA To Privatize Part Of A Unit???

February 28, 2012

Venezuela now belongs to everyone* *Certain conditions apply

Currently traveling in wonderful Uruguay and between travel and meetings, have had no time to post (or think) but I can’t pass this Setty discovery that among the many agreements signed by Chavez last week with the Chinese Government, there is one to sell shares of a PDVSA unit in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

This Guistiesque-sounding project is incredibly bizarre and the timing is even more puzzling as one of the accusations has been that the opposition wants to privatize PDVSA, but now the revolution, in the name of Sovereignty seems to be ready to do just that, even if the name or nature of the unit is a mystery. Thus, this would remove the issue for the upcoming campaign. Even better, the opposition could replicate this with all units in the future and say Chavez opened the way.

Is that weird or what?

Or was this simply an agreement worked out by the underlings and not checked with anyone? I mean, why not place it in the local exchange and sell the unit to its rightful owners: Venezuelans. Or does Chavismo simply want to sell the country before they leave?

In 1998, there was a project to sell 10% of each of the oil fields sold in the “Apertura” by the Caldera Government to Venezuelan investors, it was called EPIC for Entidades Petroleras de Inversion Colectiva, which was scrapped by the new Chavista administration under the ideological leadership of Jorge Giordani. The rest, as they say, is history. And now this incredibly weird and hard to believe turn to try to do the same, but in Hong Kong.

As weird as it gets….kudos to Setty for reporting it!

Constitutional Hall Of Venezuela’s Supreme Court, Puts “Ego” above “Constitution”

February 23, 2012

Today the Constitutional Hall of the Venezuelan Supreme Court fined the Head of the Electoral Commission of the MUD, which organized the opposition primaries, for failing to obey the order from the Hall, not to burn the electoral notebooks from February 12th.

Which simply goes to show that the Hall puts “ego” above “Constitution”, because it has done nothing about the fact that Hugo Chavez violated and  regularly violates Art. 235 of the Venezuelan Constitution, when he leaves the country without permission for more than five days, which Chavez did regularly last year and now violates Art. 234 when he leaves for an indefinite absence without being replaced by the Vice-President.

Of course, the buffoons at the Hall would be too scared to fine Chavez or ask that he follow the Constitution, he makes all decisions for them, but please, nobody dare play with their egos disobeying a silly order from them.

What fools!

Chavismo: Changing History One Webpage At A Time

February 23, 2012

Well, as expected, there were no apologies, no announcements. Chavismo punishes those that oppose them, but is lenient with its supporters, whether they are crooks or fascists reporters. As you can see below, when you look up the article in Radio Nacional de Venezuela attacking Capriles because of his Jewish ancestry called “The Enemy is Zionism” by Adal Hernandez, which I wrote about, it has now been removed. (Glad I saved a copy!)

No matter that the logo of Radio Nacional de Venezuela is “With truth in front!”, it just says that they can’t find the file.

No apology to Mr. Capriles, no apologies to those that have been insulted directly by the article, no apologies to those Venezuelans offended by its contents. Like in most fascist Dictatorships, history was changed, removing the page and I am sure that Adal Hernandez will receive some sort of promotion for a job well done, he was just too public about it.

The revolution has no shame!

The original here:

Chavez Changes Strategy, Opposition Should Be Vigilant

February 22, 2012

While many act surprised over the latest news that Chavez needs another operation, the Devil is not. This is what I had been expecting and it is happening later, rather than when doctors that I have talked to with have suggested. As a matter of fact, I was preparing to write various electoral scenarios, including a “more likely” one in which Chavez deteriorates between now and the October election. That is the scenario now.

And things will change for both the opposition and Chavez. Capriles should stay on course and focused, but there should be multiple plans B, because there are many possibilities to derail this election, if and when Chavez were to be incapacitated.

What is clear is that the medical news had to be rather bad for Chavez to change his strategy all of a sudden. The strategy from day one has been to tell the country after the fact and hide the precise diagnosis. Clearly, this has to be because if we were told what it was that was found last year in June by the doctors who operated the Venezuelan President, we would have had a very clear picture that his life span would be quite limited.

Thus, it is my belief that what was found in Cuba, which is clearly not news, as it coincides which many press reports from even a few weeks ago, including El Pais, O Globo, Veja, Robert Noriega and Bocaranda, has to be more than a simple “lesion” (injury or damage) the curious word used by the Venezuelan President.

The news simply derails the attempt to project a “healthy” Chavez. He will have to go under the knife for a complex gastrointestinal procedure that is likely to sideline him for a while. These procedures are quite difficult, recovery is not easy and Chavez has been taking many drugs in the last few months. Recall the first operation almost killed him. The expectations can’t be very good for such a dramatic change of strategy to take place.

Will he also anoint a possible successor as Vice-President? That would be a dramatic signal.

It was quite funny to have Diosdado Cabello, President of the National Assembly and William Izarra, Minister of Information, denying the President was sick, barely hours before the President decided to give the news from Barinas. Were they out of the loop? Unlikely. More likely they were out of the “new” loop, they had not been told of the change in strategy.

With a young Capriles going around Venezuela (He spent the weekend checking out the beaches in a bathing suit, as Venezuelans vacationed during Carnival) and having obtained a strong mandate, there will be a strong contrast with a recovering Chavez, who will likely be out of the limelight for a while after being operated and whose recovery carries a lot of uncertainty.

But there are pitfalls and traps along the way. From no rules of what happens if a candidate becomes incapacitated late in the election, to the non-democratic nucleus of Chavismo, there are many dangers in the way to the election.

The opposition should continue its strategy, but should be very watchful of the pitfalls and the treachery. They have to remember that Chavismo has little democratic roots, that the Cubans and the Generals have a lot to lose, that Chavismo is expert at having the Supreme Court rule their way when things are not well defined.

And until the October 7th. election takes place, there are very few rules in place. Watch out!

Chavez Announces He Has Another Tumor And Needs To Be Operated

February 21, 2012

All the rumors have been confirmed, Chavez has another tumor “in the same place” and has to be operated. He came out to “deny” the rumors by confirming that they were all true.

(Devil is at the beach)

No Politics on Carnival Monday, Just a Miami Herald Cartoon

February 20, 2012

Such a polite and respectful President!

A Brief Glimpse Into The Mind Of The Venezuelan Autocrat

February 18, 2012

Sometimes Hugo Chavez’ mind betrays him. This has been happening a lot this week as he has spent the while week trying to deal with the three million voters in lat Sunday’s primary and Capriles not reacting to his insults.

But if you want to really glimpse into Chavez’s mind, just look at one episode two days ago. Chavez said literally that the CNE accepting the conditions for the opposition primary with the Mesa de Unidad “Violates some law”, referring in particular to the fact that no fingerprint machines would be used and the notebooks would be destroyed.

This is Chavez defining his autocratic mind. In just such a simple sentence, he is first of all interfering with the Electoral Board, which is an independent institution. He is also meddling onto matters of the opposition that should not be of his concern. But finally, is that thought: It has to violate some law, which reflects the spirit of so much he has done in the last thirteen years, if the law is not the way he wants it, lets’ change it. Give me an enabling law, a decree, a ill in The Assembly or a decision by the Supreme Court that says what I want.

And to make sure he is interfering, the next day he confirms it, he talked the the President of the Electoral Board, calling her to point out the weaknesses in the “our political system”

Weaknesses?

How come this was not a weakness when PSUV held its own primary and the same agreement was reahed with the Electoral and Board and Cilia Flores personally told the world that the Voting notebooks would be destroyed. And they were…

And somewhere else, I can’t find the link, Chavez actually said this happened because he was sick with cancer and was not around to notice the detail. Thus, in one single swoop, he is indispensable, he would have interfered with an independent power and he would have forced the CNE to follow his rules.

That is truly how the mind of the sorry autocrat that rules Venezuela works. Hopefully, this will no longer be the case soon.

Some Of The Flaws In The Case Of Venezuela’s Supreme Court Decision to Order The Voting Notebooks Preserved

February 16, 2012

–Why did the Court give top priority to this injunction over others waiting?

–The candidate requesting the material be preserved did not argue that there were any irregularities.But he did say the “voting notebooks” were a fundamental proof of the results. The CNE has never used or considered the notebooks to be proof of anything and the Supreme Court has said that the proof s in the actas and machines..

–It was well-known and announced by both MUD and the CNE that the “voting notebooks” would be destroyed.

–The voting notebooks only contain the name, ID numbers, fingerprint and signature of the voter, they are not used in a recount. For that one uses the actas and the voting machines. These were not destroyed, only the notebooks because they contain the identity of those that voted and are thus pro-opposition.

–A similar injunction in a 2008 internal election of Chavismo’s party PSUV was rejected because it would violate confidentiality.

–The case was considered as one of protecting the “diffuse and collective” interests of the people, but it was only one candidate that introduced it, it would have been enough to order only the material from those polling stations to be preserved. At the same time, you could violate the “diffuse and collective” interests of 3 million voters, to preserve the interest of a single person, which is really what the case is all about.

–The party bringing the injunction to the Court did not express any inconformity with the results on Sunday and his lawyer happens to be a member of Chavez’ PSUV party.

–Burning the “voting notebooks” in no way violates candidates Velasquez’ political rights as he argued. In fact, the primaries are a private agreement, Mr. Velasquez can still register to be a candidate if he feels like it.Additionally, Velasquez accepted the rules when he registered to run, they included no fingerprint machines, optional use of the ink and the burning of the notebooks.

–Strange that the decision is from the Constitutional Hall of the Court, not the Electoral hall as it should be.

–The decision was not even reviewed, it had errors on the date twice as if it was made in 2011. Was it ready before Sunday?

–Bocaranda on Monday night knew the decision was coming and wrote about it for his Monday column, this was just hours after Velazquez introduced his injunction.

Clearly, the Government wanted to induce fear in voters for the October election, creating another Tascon/Chavez-like fascist list. It was all manipulated and ordered from above once the three million avalanche became known.

This time, the smarts were on the side of the opposition, while Chavez’ mediocre buddies in the Supreme Court handled the matter badly from a legal point of view.

That’s what happens when you don’t believe in “meritocracies”…like Chavez explicitly said yesterday: “Meritocracy will never return to Pdvsa”.

Hugo, don’t be so sure, tic, tac, tic, tac.

Chavismo’s Attack On Capriles And The Opposition Begins With Force

February 14, 2012

We all knew it was not going to be an easy road, but Chavismo has started its attack on Capriles and the opposition with  force. I did not have time to blog about the Supreme Court’s decision to order that the voting notebooks should be preserved, while the Mesa de Unidad (MUD) had promised the people they would be destroyed. Fortunately, there was a leak somewhere, as Bocaranda wrote about it this morning the possibility in his Runrunes and the MUD ordered the notebooks incinerated before the decision was announced. We note the same Supreme Court ruled in 2009, in a case of a Chavista candidate, that the voting notebooks are confidential and could not be handed out. But consistency is not a characteristic of this Court, which just follows orders. (Neither is precision, the decision has the wrong year on it!)

And in a second, very disturbing development, above I post the complete page of an article published in the webpage of the Government’s radio station, written by a reporter that goes by the name of Adal Hernandez. This so-called reporter, was present at Monday’s press conference by Capriles, asking questions in a very aggressive tone. But instead of writing about what Capriles said or the answers to his questions, he launches this attack on the opposition candidate. Just in case the article disappears from the webpage of radion Nacional in the upcoming days, I have included the URL in the picture. This article is certainly despicable and indicates the type of fanaticism and disregard for others that is present within Chavismo and working for the Government. That it is allowed to continue is absolutely reprehensible. I have translated the first few paragraphs, so that those that don’t speak Spanish can get an idea of the type of hate and extremism that is present in this Government and tolerated (and paid!) by it:

The Enemy is Zionism by Adal Hernandez

Capriles Radonski, son of Henrique Capriles Garcia, a descendant of a family of Sephardic Jews of Curacao, and Cristina Monica Radonski Bochenek, a Russian-Polish Jewish woman. Both families are linked to the country’s business oligarchy, among which are counted from media such as Cadena Capriles, entertainment industries and corporations as Cinex, to services and real estate.

Capriles participated in several courses in Europe and, of course, in the imperialism of the US, more specifically at Columbia University in New York. He worked for some time in the private sector at the firms firms Nevett & Mezquita Abogados and Hoet, Pelaez Castillo & Duque. Both firms linked to the interests of the Zionist bourgeoisie.

He was part of the paramilitary and fascist sect called Tradition, Family and Property, where religious rites were practiced and perverse crimes were planned, selective of all that does not represent the Aryan race and the high national Venezuelan bourgeoisie. This organization was directed by Alejandro Pena Esclusa, a confessed CIA agent.

In 1998, he was elected deputy for COPEI, the Social Christian Party, the son of a religious fascist organization linked to the Spanish Phalanx called Opus Dei, which came to Venezuela to take root in the early 50s of the twentieth century.

Capriles actively participated in the bourgeois coup of 2002, against the Bolivarian revolution, where he and his Baruta police, punished the revolutionary people in a fascist onslaught, which was however short-lived, but that showed what  the bourgeoisie can do to defend their interests. On April 12, 2002, with a group of enraged thugs, he led the assault on the embassy of Cuba, violating all international norms and endangering the lives of people who were in Cuban sovereign airspace . In December 2006, the Zionist was acquitted by a court of appeals.

To understand the candidate who embodies the interests of the Venezuelan oligarchy and the transnational one, Capriles it is important to know what is Zionism, an Israeli ideology that he covertly represents .

Zionism is hiding behind a religious and nationalist discourse

There you have it, Chavismo is on the offensive and has taken its gloves off, while Chavez has yet to resurface after Sunday’s primary, perhaps to distance himself from this relentless attack. However, I suspect this whole thing will backfire, and will only convince those that will vote only for Chavez come October.

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