Funny how easy it is to fool the international media, if I look in Google News I find at least six references to the Venezuelan Navy retaking the tanker “Pilin Leon” which its crew achored in the navigation channel of Lake Maracaibo. Well my friends, I just heard on TV the Captain of the Pilin Leon saying that he talked to the Navy and he talked to his crew and they are staying put. Nothing has changed on the status of the tanker. Nice going AP, keep talking to the Governemnt news agency for your reports!!!
Archive for December 5th, 2002
In a bizarre twist, the Government who has claimed that it will not go back to the negotiation until the general strike is over, announced that given the “failure” (its a resounding success!!) of the strike, it will go back to the negotiation table. The statement by the Government, which was highly critical of the opposition was read with the Secretary General of the OAS in the background. Mr. Gaviria did not look too happy with the wording of the Government’s statement.
The french organization Reporters sans frontiŤres condenmed today the agressions against the reporters that took place on Tuesady and asked the Government to investigate and identify those responsible for the agression. Robert Menard said that for the Government to tolerate the impunity would be to show that they are accomplices to these acts who also said that the Government would have to send clear signals on the matter.
The Democratic Coordinating Committe just announced that the general strike will continue tomorrow, denounced the campaign of terror that the Government is developing, announced that will look for an electoral solution and annnounced that there will be peaceful street actions all weekend.
The city and the country were tense as the Government essentially has completely militarized the headquarters of PDVSA. Groups of Chavez’ supporters have surrounded the building since 2 AM and now completely suround it. This basically stops the contingency plan as nobody has access to the PDVSA headquarters. Many rumors of possible attempts on Altamira Square, where dissident military have been for over a month. The opposition march that was to go from PDVSA-Chuao to its headquarters has not started as there are fears that there could be violence.
Separately, the merchant marine claims that all tankers have ceased operations, while threats that the tankers that are blocking the navigation channel of Lake Maracaibo would be taken over by the military have yet to materialize. Reportedly, the military has refused to follow the order.
In the end the oposition march did not take place for fears of violence and they simply stayed put at the starting place of the march. The dissident military in Altamira Square claim the Government wants to justify taking action and declaring a state of emergency.
Hugo Chavez is right now on nationwide TV saying the strike is a failure. Funny, if everything is so normal, why do it at this time when everyone is “working” and not tonight when people can watch.
There have been many reports that the oil industry is running out of steam with fewer shipments and technical problems at refineries due to the lack of personnel. To complicate matters even further the crew of oil tanker “Pilin Leon” decided tonight to join the strike and anchor right in the navigation channel of Lake Maracaibo where the largest fraction of Venezuela’s oil production is located. The crew claims that by now five other ships have joined them, while the Ministry of Defense has activated the “Alcatraz Plan” to gain control of the ships. The action by the naval officers is in my opinion, excessive, but it is one more example to the explosive situation facing Venezuela.
Meanwhile, in an upper middle class neighborhood of Caracas, pot-bangers went to the home of the Commander of the National Guard where they were met by excessive use of force, once again. Things may be getting out of hand, when this is happening over and over again. Once again, the Guard was overstepping the bounds of what may be considered reasonable as they are using chemicals to repress people as it was the most natural thing in the world. Clearly, the leaders of these Guards do not even know what human righst are about. I certainly hope Human Rights organizations pay attention, but somehow I am very skeptical. The last few months have proven to me that we Venezuelans have to solve our problems on our own, as these international organizations have too many vested interests to really say what they think.