Archive for October 19th, 2002

New Westin Hotel in New York: Too Latin?

October 19, 2002

Interesting article in the NYT on the new Westin Hotel in Times Square:

“The Westin is too Latin. It’s Almodóvar. A building on the edge of a nervous breakdown. Over the edge, even. One might see that arc of light as a gauge of urban anxiety level”

Sounds very cool to me….. 

Former Chavez Defense Minister: Chavez wanted to take over Congress

October 19, 2002

Since we are on the subject of Chavez’ respect for the Constitution and democracy, Chavez former Minister of Defense, retired General Raul Salazar, says in this week’s, Quinto Dia, that the President wanted to take over the Venezuelan Congress in 1999, but he stopped it. He also says some people approached him about a coup before Chavez’ inauguration and he also opposed it.

Another fantasy: Norway to invest US$10 billion in Venezuela

October 19, 2002

According to the Government press agency Venpres, the Minister of Energy and Mines said that Norway will invest US$ 10 billion in the Venezuelan oil industry. This is the only place where this was said while Chavez visited that country. Now according to the second quarter presentation of the Norwegian oil company Statoil, it plans to invest 23 billion Norwegian crowns in the full year. That is less than US$ 3 billion, thus it would seem surprising to me that even in let’s say 5 years, Norway’s state company would invest US$ 2 billion per year in Venezuela.

Hugo Chavez interview in the Manchester Guardian: Half-truths or fantasies?

October 19, 2002


Interview/Article with Hugo Chavez in the Manchester Guardian yesterday. A few interesting innacuracies by our President:


-He claims he joined the military because he wanted to become an engineer. Interesting, he has always told Venezuelans that he did it to become a baseball player.

-Chavez always claims to have been poor. Both his parents were Government school teachers while he was growing up. Let me assure people that a family in Venezuela in the 70’s with the salary of two elementary school teachers was far from being poor, more so in the small town of Sabaneta where Chavez grew up. Salaries are/were uniform across the country and is much cheaper to live in a place like Sabaneta than Caracas. A family with two such salaries would have been (is) middle class even in Caracas. I guess it would sound worse if he said he was middle class. His older brother Adan went to the University, so his excuse is part of the Chavez lore that he has made up as he went along.

-The opposition is no small group as witnessed by Oct. 10th.’s march of 1.2 million people in a city of less than five million.

-There were no massive protests in April. There was widespread looting because there was no police in the streets. Chavez came back because the military decided to.

-The Constitution respected by the Chavez Government? See my article below with 22 very specific and documented cases of violations of the Constitution. Chavez called a recent decision by the Supreme Court “the shit the Court took”. He personally orders intelligence police to detain people. This is done without following the law. Chavez issues decrees to stop legal rallies against him.Court decisions use the concept of “supraconstitutionallity”. Should I continue?

-Long-delayed land reform. What does that mean? The biggest land owner in the country is the State, who owns half the territory of the country. 80% of Venezuelans live in cities. Chavez passed a Law that allows the Government to take away private land. Is that democratic? It certainly is not Constitutional as the Constitution guarantees the right to private property. Moreover, it says the Government may regulate what people grow in their land.


One thing did please me about the article, while Mr. Chavez and most people and newspapers always talk about the 80% of Venezuelans that live below the poverty line, this article actually quotes the correct (and shameful nevertheless!!) value of sixty-some percent (67%, up significantly since Chavez became President)