Archive for December 11th, 2002

Tal Cual dennounces negligence in massacre investigation

December 11, 2002

Caracas’ afternoon newspaper Tal Cual carries today a number of interesting stories on the massacre at Plaza Altamira, I will summarize mostly what the front page editorial says:

Petkoff, Tal Cual’ Editor, suggests there is something strange going on in the investigation. Tal Cual points out that the assasin that was captured already confessed, but the police have been negligent at investigating the man’s past life. It points out that the newspaper found out a lot about the man’s life by visiting places he lived, where the police have yet to go. It also notes that the asassin had a lifestyle, including guns and cars, beyond his salary as a waiter.

While the Government has accused the opposition of hiring the gunman, it has yet to explain how one person managed to kill three and injure 28 by himself. Chavez himself showed the man’s passport on his Sunday TV program, which had a stamp indicating the man arrived from Portugal the morning of the shootings. However,  a Portuguese newspaper reports the man has not been in that country for six months. In any case, the President can not interfere in such an investigation, for him to have the passport is not only a conflict of interest, but it also indicates how easily it would be to simply stamp it too!!

One of the saddest things is that much like in April, Venezuelans are not even scandalized by such a situation. Since Chavez controls all powers, there is no outcry from the Attorney General to investigate the shootings, much like what happened in April. The same can be said about the National Assembly, where decency among Chavez’ Deputies appears to be a word that only exists in the dictionary. And we wait, as Chavez says, right now, on TV that he feels very good. About what? What a cynic! What a criminal!

Things getting better, things getting worse

December 11, 2002

Gasoline supplies in Caracas were improving, at the same time that they were getting worse in some parts of the country. The Government managed to take over a ship, but it has yet to move or reach port. Some ships that were docked left filled with crude, but they had been filled before the strike stopped the wells. Oil production continues to drop at this time. In Maracaibo there are still 800,000 barrels of crude waiting for shipment but no way to ship it out. Only 2 of the 28 drills in Zulia State remain functioning. Two barges in lake Maracaibo carrying sludge from oil wells overturned as they were being handled by temporary replacemnets. Two boats transporting PDVSA personnel collided and a russian tanker had to anchor and it is in a dangerours position, due to the inexperience of the pilot. The Curacao refinery has shutdown due to the lack of crude to process.

Meanwhile, finance authorities were trying to solve the problem with low inventories in cash to distribute to banks, as Venezuelans began hoarding bills given the uncertainty ahead. Banks are opening only half days and there are huge lunes at those offices that actually manage to open.

Chavez and his Government continue to call the strike “sabotage” and refuse to give in into any of the demands of the opposition for elections. His former comrade in arms Francisco Arias Cardenas, who joined him in the ’92 coup, has called on him to hold elections in the first quarter of 2003.

Who reports from Venezuela for the BBC?

December 11, 2002

This is from the BBC about the violence two nights ago:

“The decision by the Venezuelan president’s supporters and opponents to attack each other’s media outlets highlights the key role played by the media in the ongoing crisis.

Mr Chavez’s opponents were reported to have fired shots at the building of state-run Venezolana de Television in Caracas on Monday.

At the same time, his supporters surrounded the offices of private television channel Globovision in the western state of Zulia, seen as staunchly opposed to the leftist-populist president, well into the small hours of Tuesday”

Now, as far as I know there is no proof that there was an attack on VTV (the Government’s TV station), this was said by the Vice-President after Chavez’ supporters attacked media outlets across the country. Shots were only mentioned the next day, but no evidence has been shown to the media of this. I went by VTV after the attack on Globovision and except for a family group pot-banging half a block away, did not see much there. Chavez’ supporters did not surround Globovision in Zulia State, they actually took it over and destroyed furniture and equipment. The Caracas Globovision was surrounded and shot at, which somehow did not make it into the report, as well as the presence of Deputies from Chavez’ party (some trying to calm the crowd, others not). BBC makes no mention of the Maracay TV station which was also ransacked. Why does the BBC reporter do such a terrible job? This is extremely biased to put the violence of the Chavistas on equal footing with the opposition two nights ago.

Democratic coordinating committe in Washington

December 11, 2002

A delegation from the Democratic Coordinator, which groups the opposition, is in Washington today to attempt to address the Council of the Organization of American States. Such a procedure is not included in the Charter of the OAS as only Governments and its representative’s may address the Council. The Democratic Coordinator wants the OAS to invoke the OAS Charter against the Chavez Government citing the numeours violations of the democratic principles in the Charter. Invoking the Charter carries only moral penalties and the country loses its vote unntil the sanction is removed.