Observations focused on the problems of an underdeveloped country, Venezuela, with some serendipity about the world (orchids, techs, science, investments, politics) at large. A famous Venezuelan, Juan Pablo Perez Alfonzo, referred to oil as the devil's excrement. For countries, easy wealth appears indeed to be the sure path to failure. Venezuela might be a clear example of that.
Santos and Eduardo are in this wonderful competition, I have a set from each one, I will randomly start with Santos
Left¨Cymbidiella Rhodochylla from Africa. Right: Rhyncostilis
Left: Oncidium Papilio Right: I think thsi is a Macradenia, not sure which one.
really has to wonder as to what polls are telling the Government, as the
autocrat continued yesterday his foray into total fantasyland, this
time venturing with his imagination into the educational field with his new and improved Mision Alma Mater,
which he said will consist of 58 new universities, even if when he went
into the details, it turns out only 29 of them were actually “new”.
Chavez said he would create 14 new territorial universities, whatever
that means, and ten new “specialized” universities which will cover the
arts, languages, basic sciences, agricultural sciences, fiscal sciences
(??), economics, telematics, hydrocarbons, security and tourism. He
would also create the University of the South, to open the doors of kids
from Latin America and the Caribbean, a concept which I am sure
Brazilian, Argentineans, Chilean and Uruguayans will probably smirk at,
given the high quality of their universities. He would round the 29
“new” universities, with 4 technological institutes, which provide short
\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>Because you have to wonder why Chavez had to announce this project and why little has happened since it was first announced over ten months ago. But hey, that is average in the robolution, fantastic hyperbole, incredible promises and no execution and results. As Chavez told his one time Minister of Finance (now jailed) in 2002 when the Minister told him there was no money for new announcements: “You don’t understand, I live off these announcements”.\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>But let’s look at some of the problems with this announcement. Besides the low budget, how is it going to be staffed? The problem facing higher education today in Venezuela is the dwindling number of students going for graduate degrees, as well as the brain drain among people with graduate degrees, which find few opportunities and low salaries. Yesterday, Benjamin Sharifker, Head of Simon Bolivar University, one of the best in the country if not the best, said that half of the openings they have go unfilled for lack of qualified candidates. So, how is Chavez going to fill the thousands of positions required to teach at all of these new or improved institutions if he can not even have his pet project, the Bolivarian University, function properly?\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>In fact, a friend of mine has been involved with one of the projects mentioned above. She is in charge of “building” a university for 1,200 students. Finding the land, designing the buildings and hiring the contractors. She has asked what careers there will be, how many, how many students per classroom, how many professors and what type of educational terms there will be. The only answer she has received is that the classrooms should have no more than 50 students. Some project, no?\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>Since he was fantasizing, Chavez repeated that Venezuela will become a nuclear country, because he has a unclear commission, but much like the Mision Alma Mater, you have to wonder how any nuclear project can be carried out with nuclear engineers and scientists. We have heard many times about that commission but we have yet to hear who is in it. Maybe in mathematical terms, it is simply an empty set.”,1]
\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>And at the end Chavez became the offensive individual that he has proven to be over and over during the lat eight years, when in his infinite ignorance and inferiority complex he criticized Venezuela’s premier research and development Institute IVIC. He called the research being carried out there as “not adjusted to reality”, ignoring its long history of excellence and accomplishment.\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>But does Chavez want reality? IVIC spawned during its years, INTEVEP, Venezuela’s oil research institute which Chavez cynically and unmercifully destroyed in very realistic fashion in 2003. It also spawned the Engineering Institute (nothing unrealistic about that name, no?), but more importantly, it set the standards of excellence for academia and research in Venezuela, which propagated throughout Venezuela’s academic system. \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>At one time, IVIC was the premier research institution in Venezuela and it has generated thousands of papers, which are immortal contributions to knowledge.\u003cspan\> \u003c/span\>It has also graduated hundreds of Masters and Ph.D.’s in basic sciences. And that is why they are called basic; they are not called “realistic”, because there is no such concept. Scientists work on areas of their interest and their research takes them to wherever it may go and many times it goes towards unimaginable areas that it’s original creators could not envision. That is what IVIC is suppose to do and did for decades until politics began getting in the way of excellence and Chavez’ ignorance simply shows that he thinks he understands what he is doing, but can’t even tell which way he has to switch his clock so that the sun rises earlier. \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>It is a measure of how primitive and backwards Venezuela’s Government has become, that Chavez dares to make this comment, suggesting that IVIC will also not survive the autocrat’s destructive powers as he continues to live in his fantasy and la-la land. \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>And it will be the country’s sad and irreparable loss…”,1]