Archive for March 31st, 2003

Four new polls out on Chavez popularity

March 31, 2003


I received reports today on four different nationwide polls, all of them reaching very similar  and fairly consistent conclusions. Among the highlights:


-Hugo Chavez would resoundly lose a recall referendum in August.


-Hugo Chavez has a chance to win an election in which three candidates participate (Chavez plus two more).


-Hugo Chavez would lose an election one on one with any of the major leaders of the opposition.


-Hugo Chavez is rejected by a majority of the population across all social strata. Clearly, the higher the strata the higher the rejection levels, but even in the lowest social levels, 50 percent-plus of the population rejects him.


-Venezuelan society is highly polarized, with 50-plus percept considering itself anti-Chavez and 30-plus percent being pro-Chavez, with less than three to six percent not taking either side.


-The population rejects anything that has to do with the major political parties of the past.


-Unemployment and crime are considered to be the top two problems by the population. The first of these is not fully blamed on Chavez, while the second one definitely is.

All fundamentalists are indeed alike

March 31, 2003


It is quite remarkable how fundamentalists sound alike no matter what the topic. In Baghdad Iraqi Foreign Minsiter Naji Sabri says that “We are determined with God’s help to give the ultimate defeat to the aggressors”, while in Caracas Minister of Planning Felipe Perez tell Venezuelans to read the Bible, specifically Psalm 130. He says “One has to read the Bible and pray to God to get out of the economic crisis”. (Reported Diario de La Economia, page 1. I guess that is why the fate of both is sealed, you need to do other things in order to run a country or defeat someone in a war, besides praying.

Arias Cardenas: Government resists electoral solutions

March 31, 2003


Francisco Arias Cardenas, who was one of the for leaders of the1992 failed coup with Hugo Chavez, said today that the Government is resisting an electoral solution to the political crisis. Arias said that his approach to get closer to the Government was meant to create from within the Government an atmosphere that would lead to an electoral solution to the Venezuelan crisis. He said he was looking for a proposal “ to come out from there, ……we made the effort for this….but it is impossible, we are convinced there is no possibility”. Arias Cardenas had been accused of getting closer to Chavez as a way of serving as interim President after a recall referendum or if elections were to be called by Chavez. While Chavez and Arias Cardenas used to be very close, Arias split from Chavez a year and a half after Chavez’ first election to the Presidency and was the opposition  candidate when Chavez ran once again for President after the new Constitution was approved in 2000.

Miami Herald article on Venezuela

March 31, 2003


Scott sends in this link from an article from today’s Miami Herald. Fairly accurate in its descriptions, I would not have started it with the example from the hospital since this problem might have occurred last year anyway. But the rest gives a fairly accurate perspective about the difficulties facing companies due to the exchange controls imposed in January and he fact that the Exchange Controls offices has yet to hand out a single dollar for industrial and commercial imports. Despites this, President Chavez actually congratulated the members of the exchange control office for the “great job” they were doing during his Sunday nationwide program. “Alo Presidente”. (Chavez also said ‘Private property is not sacred”…but can’t find a link)