Archive for April 20th, 2003

Powell vs. Chaderton: How to twist the truth

April 20, 2003

Upon my return I find that U.S.A. Secretary of State Powell made a very simple statement “Chavez can show his democratic vocation with the recall referendum”. To me, a very bland and true statement. To the Venezuelan Government, a violent reaction such as an MVR Deputy saying “Powell is not well informed”. But I am truly amazed at our Foreign Minister who said: ” The truth is being hidden from Powell, the recall referendum is in the Constitution and was put in there by the Government.”

This is true, but the opposition, through a violation of the previous Constitution only has four seats out of a hundred in the Constitutional Assembly, despite obtaining 33% of the vote. This violated the right to minority representation guaranteed by the previous Constitution. Now, as far as I remember these four people did not object to the recall referendum, so what is Mr. Chaderton saying? Moreover, the consultative referendum is also in the Constitution and despite the fact that the opposition fullfilled all the requirements for it, it was not held. Finally. Hugo Chavez himself, using a very vulgar expression, told the opposition that there would not be a referendum and appointed himself to a job that is not his, when he said that the signatures already collected for the recall referendum were “chimbas”. Chimba is local slang for something which is fake through dirty means. So perhaps Mr. Powell is better informed than Mr. Chaderton would like him to be.

Revisiting the SARS graph: Infection rate slows, death rate accelerates

April 20, 2003

I continue to puzzle at the SARS epidemic. Here is the updated plot I of what I posted on April 4th. Two weeks have gone by and now the number of deaths has accelerated but the number of cases continues to grow lineraly, not much like a classical epidemic. It appears to me that either the measures to stop its spread are outstanding or that this is being blown out of proportion. 3,500 cases in six weeks does not seem to be that earth shaking and the death rate is so far about 5%. At this rate of infection in one year there will be roughly 24,000 cases if you extrapolate the current infection slope. The number of deaths would be 1,200 if it follows the current slope but the death rate is definitely accelerating.

Note added: This graph updates automatically from the WHO data, it now looks like the number of cases is also beginning to accelerate……

Cuban intellectuals defend human rights violations

April 20, 2003


Incredible how the language of Cuban intellectuals is the same as that of the Chavez administration, they defend the recent crackdown saying ”the distance, the disinformation and the traumas of failed socialist experiences”. It is not a problem of distance or disinformation, 75 members of the opposition were jailed and sentenced to up to 28 year in prison, and 42 of them were part of the Varela project, the most significant opposition project in Cuba in the last 40 years. The Varela project delivered over 11,000 signatures in a petition to the Assembly in Cuba and by now has grown to over 30,000. With the crackdown the project is simply halted. You have to love how the Libyan-led United Nations Human Rights Commission has failed to condemn the crackdown. Additionally, once again Jimmy Carter fell for the charm of Fidel Castro much like he did with Hugo Chavez. He is simply a na´ve fool with a Nobel Peace Prize!


Note added: I also learned that Venezuela was the only Latin American country to vote against the motion to censor Cuba on Human Rights at the United Nations. Not unexpected, but I am definitely ashamed of this.