Archive for January 26th, 2003

Chavez’ amigos are not so friendly

January 26, 2003

When Hugo Chavez accepted the idea from Brazil’s President to create a “Grupo de Amigos” to help in the negotiations with the opposition, what he thought he was doing was finding a respectable way of by-passing the pesky Secretary Genral of the OAS, Cesar Gaviria. In this way, a group of diplomtas friendly to his “revolucion” with a sprinkle of respresentatives from respectable countries, would come to Caracas and replace Gaviria in brokering the negotiations. But it was not to be, when Chavez showed up for the inauguration of the new President of Ecuador, what he found was that a Group of Amigos had already been formed without his input and, not only were they not as friendly as he expected, but appeared to be a Club de Amigos of Cesar Gaviria and not of Hugo Chavez. Chavez pannicked, went to talk to Koffi Ana at the UN, but made no progress. Then he went to talk to Lula Da Silva who not only refused to expand the group, but when Chavez said it may be expanded in the future, Brazil’s Foreign Minister Amorin simply replied “Only God knows the future”.

What Chavez did not know is how similar groups have functioned in Nicaragua and El Salvador. But now he does. After the Friday meeting in Washington, the “amigos” picked the Brazilian Foreign Minister Amorin, probably the “friendliest” Government to Chavez’ as their Coordinator. Amorin announced that the Vice-Ministers of all six countries would be in Caracas by today or tomorrow, much like what happened in in the Central American cases. Moreover, Amorin said that this was an urgent problem, not of months, but of a week at most. Thus, The Vice-Chancellors will arrive, together with the teams of advisors, negotiators and diplomats to apply a full court press on the Venezuelan Government. This is not the friendship that Hugo Chavez was looking for. He wanted to gain time, only time. This ahs been Chavez’ strategy all long since he began losing his popularity, gain time, divide the opposition, change subjects and begin gaining time again.

The question is what will happen when he starts feeling the international pressure right in his own backyard. To some, he will negotiate, to others he will just leave the negotiations and declare himself above the law. In either case, both scenarios appear to indicate that a resolution of the crisis is close at hand. In the first case, there will be peace. In the second, is anybody’s guess. But we shall soon find out.

From Caracas Chronicles on Chavez’ thugs

January 26, 2003

Francisco Toro writes today about Chavez’ plan to shut out the media and has this paragraph that I thought was quite eloquent:

Of course, the government has become so thuggish that that’s not particularly hard. The proliferation of amateur videos showing chavista activists attacking opposition gatherings, often shooting guns into opposition crowds, is the most striking example. Those videos are for real, as are the reams of self-destructive presidential statements, the burping generals, the footage of soldiers beating on opposition activsts, or any of the long list of moronic own-goals the government has been scoring in plain view of the TV cameras. You don’t need some sort of sophisticated media dirty tricks lab to make the government look thuggish on TV, as the chavistas would have it. No, you just have to put a camera in front of them and hit record.

As I tell everyone that is so critical of the opposition, there is no equivalent footage that you can blame on the opposition……

Some more posters, night and daily ones.

January 26, 2003

Military hens do not cackle, they belch                  Long live the revolution, in hell!

The stree is ours, not a step back!

Protest continues past the 24 hours plan

January 26, 2003

Well, the twenty four hours are up, but the people are still out there en force. What now? I think it will be dangerous to extend it as an act of Civil Disobedience indefinetly, the effort and resources required are simply huge. They are talking about five more hours, what if people don’t leave?

(Permit has been extended to 11 PM tonight)