Archive for February 6th, 2003

Life of Pi and Venezuela

February 6, 2003

I have been reading the delightful and imaginative book “Life of Pi” by Yann Martel. It is about an Indian called Piscine (Pi) whose parents run a zoo in India. As they get ready to emigrate to Canada, there is this paragraph which reminds me of the thoughts of many Venezuelans these days, even if the zoo example is not the one they use. I guess it resonated with my more somber mood this week:

To prosper, a zoo needs parliamentary government, democratic elections, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of association, rule of law and everything else enshhrined in India’s Constitution. Impossible to enjoy animals otherwise. Long-term, bad politics is bad for business.

People move because of the wear and tear of anxiety. Because of the gnawing feeling that no matter how hard they work their efforts will yield nothing, that what they build up in one year will be torn down in one day by others. Because of the impression that  the future is blocked up, that they might do all right but not their children. Because of the feeling that nothing will change, that happiness and prosperity are possible only somewhere else.

Chavez the micromanager barely understands his own numbers

February 6, 2003


Hugo Chavez was on TV last night, his usual self, all the problems with the economy are the result of the efforts of the opposition. But, what really amazed me is that he showed graphs which are either false or he simply has no clue about what he was saying. He said that the Venezuelan economy was recovering in the third quarter of 2002, GDP growing by 5.5%, in reality, GDP contracted the first three quarters of 2002, and in that infamous third quarter it actually shrank, but less than the previous quarter. He also said inflation was slowing down, which is false and that unemployment had been contracting, also untrue. Long live the virtual revolution!

Good article by Priscilla West

February 6, 2003

Another good article by Priscilla West in the Christian Science Monitor, particularly her description of the evolution in time of people’s reaction to Chavez. (Sent by Alex)