Archive for November 23rd, 2002

New Superconductors

November 23, 2002

Can’t help but going back to my former scientific research  field as it was reported a few days ago that a Plutonium compund at 18.5 K (about -255 Centigrades). This is exciting because is a new class of compounds and a fairly high temperature for “classical” superconductivity and thsu there is likely to be others that are maybe at even higher temperatures. At the beginning of the year another new class of compounds was found to superconduct at 38 K (-235 C) in a very simple Magnesium Boron compound. Glad my former friends and colleagues are living exciting times in superconductivity.

Tough times ahead or easy ride?

November 23, 2002

My brother asks why I have barely talked about the indefinite General Strike called for December 2nd. The reason is simple, I believe Dec. 2nd. is a long way away and many things may happen before then, for better or for worse. Thus my brief mention two days ago that the Government had gained a repreive by having the strike postponed for one week.

The truth is that the combination of the Gaviria mediated dialogue with the submission of 2 million signatures to request the referendum has put the Government in a very tough position. By sitting down to talk, it is being exposed in front of international opinion for what we knew they are, a double-talking, cynical administration capable of twisting the truth and the law to remarkable extremes. Moreover, it has also shown the divisions in the line of power, it was clear that most of the members of the Government’s negotiation team had no idea about the planned intervention of the Metropolitan police. Aditionally, it is also clear that while they would like to look for an alternative electoral solution, they are not allowed to even begin talking about it. Thus, time is working against the administration. If the Electoral Commission (CNE) rules the referendum valid and there is no interference with the CNE this week, the strike would be called off and all efforts will be focused on the referendum. Such is the beauty of the threat for the strike, if the referendum request is blocked, the strike will be a resounding success, if not it will be cancelled. At the same time, by postponing the strike a week, the opposition has shown to Gaviria it is willing to given in a little, while the Chavez administration has not yielded on anything. On the contrary, it has interfered with the negotiations with its actions.

Separately there is the issue of the Supreme Court ruling on the injunction requested by Caracas’ opposition mayors against the intervention of the Metropolitan police.  If the Court were to rule that there is no evidence of illegality in the intervention, this will simply fuel the will of the for a time well in the future or rule in favor of the opposition, dealing a sharp setback to the radicals in the Chavez administartion and his ability to govern.

There is an additional option, the possibility that, as usual, Chavez will do something that will confront even more, leading the country closer to the boiling point.

Clearly, tensions will ease dramatically if the referendum is allowed to proceed this week, as it should. It is not a recall referendum, it asks that the President voluntarily resign, thus it can’t possible collide with the Constitution as a Chavez resignation is a perfectly legal act.  What is most interesting is that an electoral solution could not be negotiated anyway as the request of a specific referendum by 2 million people can not be changed at will by either party. Only a  negotiation leading first to the resignation of the President would make the referendum request unnecessary.

Curious interpretation of how justice works

November 23, 2002

Lost in all the noise of the Venezuelan conflict, were the words of Hugo Chavez’ brother Adan Chavez who presides the National Institute for Land. The statements appears in today’s El Nacional (page E-10, the paper has gone to this weird format that does not allow direct link to stories) and shows the degree of ignorance or perversity as to how the justice system works, anywhere.

Mr. Chavez says that he will ask the National Assembly to include in the new Land bill those articles declared unconstitutional by the Venezuelan Supreme Court this week. Says Mr. Chavez: “The Parliament as an autonomous institution has the right to do it”, adding “these articles (the two declared unconstitutional by the Court) have nothing unconstitutional about them, on the contrary, what they seek is to provide order and bring justice to Venezuela’s farm areas” and he continues ” with all the respect that the Supreme Court deserves….I have to say they made a mistake again and with legal technicisms have justified the unjsutifiable”.

Such are the ways of the Chavez revolution, they are always right no matter what happens, and the Supreme Court, which they named, is just an institution that interprets, but they can change the interpretation at will, because they are the revolution.