Archive for May, 2003

Cuba’s most famous writer on the Cuban regime

May 4, 2003

Today’s El Nacional (can’t link to it, can’t read without subscription) has a very interesting article with Cuba’s most famous writer Guillermo Cabrera Infante. Cabrera, who backed the revolution the first few years, has some interesting thoughts on Cuba:

-On the Cubans shot to death for hijacking a ferry: The youngest one was 21. All of them were born during the Government of Fidel Castro. Were they candidates to become the “new man”? One also has to add they were all black.

-On the embargo: Castro can do business with 168 countries! There is only a commercial embargo with the United States

-On Castro: Castro is not communist. Castro is a castrist.

-On what a Cuban writer told an English reporter: I am afraid if Castro falls. They are going to drag me through the streets. My neighbors will. The hate me because I have a PC, a typewriter and a sattelite dish. On top of that Fidel visits me!

-On the European left and the myth of the Cuban revolution: They are stubborn because they deny the evidence. When one is wrong one has to recognize the error.


Magnificent Laelia Purpurata

May 4, 2003

One of my favorite orchids, the magnificent Laelia Purpurata from Brazil is beginning to flower. Nice!

Bic Mac Index: Bolivar 40% undervalued

May 3, 2003

The Economist just came out with its usual Bic Mac index for currencies (via PostPolitics). The Venezuelan currency the Bolivar is reported to be 15% undervalued, except that they are using the official rate, which essentially does not exist. After 100 days of currency controls not a single importer has been given foreign currency at the official rate. Thus, using the parallel rate of Bs. 2300 per US dollar the currency is 40% undervalued. Way to go Hugo!

The intolerant Minister

May 3, 2003


Minister of Interior and Justice Lucas Rincon, infamous for his statement April 11th, 2002 “The President has resigned” , when he was the highest ranking member of the Venezuelan Armed Forces, showed his intolerance today when he called the opposition Mayors of Chacao and Baruta “vagabonds” adding “if it were for me, I would jail them”. The Minister was upset because the two Majors said that the level of insecurity was the fault of the Ministry, as well as saying that the Ministry does not even talk to the Mayors to attempt to solve problems such as the closing of a Caracas highway after the march on Thursday. Such tolerance!

Contradictions and confusion over murderer of opposition marcher

May 3, 2003

The Chavez Government continues to attempt to downplay the death of an opposition marcher during Thursday’s demonstration. Minister of the Interior and Justice Lucas Rincon of “The President has resigned fame” said that the death was fortuitous and not political. However, there have been contradictions in the Government’s statements. From trying to say it was a personal dispute to the Head of the Intelligence police saying the killer had been drinking which lead to a discussion. However, the main prosecutor in the case said this was a personal problem between the suspect and the union worker that died. The same prosecutor suggested the person murdered was a shark loan, which his family denies. He also has said this was a problem over control of the union, later saying it was a discussion over some losses at the credit union of construction workers’ union.

The Government has failed to explain how this was not political if the suspect is Head of one of Chavezís Bolivarian circles, is a well-known Chavez supporter according to neighbors and was taped in a video presented by opposition Deputy Gerardo Blyde hanging around the end-point of the march, a scene of which is shown here:

The man on the far right is Manuel Arias “el Pollo”, the suspect who is seen awaiting the arrival of the march with other reportedly Chavez supporters. Given that there was a pro-Chavez march at the same time; one has to wonder what these characters were doing there and if this was not premeditated. Despite this, Vice President Rangel said that the opposition was “necrophilic”, using these deaths to create scandals against the Government.

Lost in the shuffle was the fact that the prosecutor assigned to the case is Danilo Anderson, the environmental prosecutor chosen by the Attorney General to investigate the deaths of April 11th. 2002 of which all pro-Chavez supporters have been exonerated and freed. The Democratic Coordinator has asked the Attorney General “if he has any shame left” to remove Mr. Anderson from the case. The construction union had a similar request.

Maruja sends in posters and pictures of the march

May 1, 2003

Corn Bread (Harina Pan) is a national symbol  you can’t eliminate it    Marisabel: History will not absolve you, complicity is also a crime

Another unemployed one                                          Inflation comparisons

Simplistic solution                                                    The country’s problems

Head of Intelligence police says it was nothing more than a discussion

May 1, 2003

The Head of the intelligence police just came on TV and said that the death was nothing more than a discussion between two people and one ended up shooting at the other one, contradicting what various witnesses have said about a motorcycle showing up and one person shooting. The Head of the intelligence police , called DISIP, then said that this was just the opposition trying to increase hate within the population much like the case of the explosions at embassies. Asked by the reporter then what he could say about those explsions which took place two months ago he said something like ” I can’t say much because this is in legal proceeding and part of the summary, however, when we reveal what we know the world will know what type of opposition Hugo Chavez is facing”. How ethical, no?

It looks like history will be changed, once again, as we watch……It would be interesting for him to explain to us then if the opposition is to blame for everything, how come the whole downtown area has now been taken over by Chavez’ supporters who are now rioting with covered faces, armed and blocking traffic, very close to where the murders took place. These people are better than Goebbles!:

Note added: Union Radio is now reporting that the intelligence police car that took the assasin away had plate numbers 21534. Of Course, the Director of the Intelligence Police Miguel Rodriguez, alias “Goebbels” has already denied that this ever happened and the police car does not exist.

Opposition groups are now also blocking a local highway in protest. They are not armed.

Posters from the march

May 1, 2003

An anti-communist group                                          Through the mouth dies the fish “If people ask me….leave now!”

The true devil, get rid of him                      Enough deaths, enough unemployment, enough bla! bla!

Eclectic Sign: Long live diversity!            I am not a coupster nor terrorist, I have a Bachelors in business and a Doctorate in unemployment thanks to the robolucion

Different neighborhoods tells Chavez they don’t like him

Pictures from today’s march

May 1, 2003

A women’s Group                                                            The Malriologist complain

unemployed says the sign                          women for freedom

University Professors ask the Government for their salaries     Stilts? Not sure what they were doing

The Bandera Roja group, the country’s most radical group

Some pictures from another tragic march

May 1, 2003

Before the shootings I took some pictures of the marchers. Above left, the leaders of the Federation of Unions CTV with the union’s flag. Above right an older man with a sign that said “At 69 I fight for you and for them too”. Maruja M. also sent a whole bunch of pictures of the march and the posters which you can see in those sections.