Archive for June 25th, 2003

48 hour summary: Some laughs, some worries

June 25, 2003

While I was annoyed at not being able to post for two days, nothing earth shattering really happened in these last forty eight hours, except for some more acts by the Government showing its lack of democratic spirit, but what else is new? In brief, this is what I would have posted about at length, had I been able to:

-General Alfonso Martinez, the highest ranking General of the National Guard was retired on direct orders from President Chavez. Martinez refused in April 2002 to send troops to the streets, joined the dissident military in October and was detained illegally on Dec. 27th. To me, this General was as dignified as anyone can be. His background was even more modest than Chavez, but he rose to General, was articulate, well educated and certainly knew about being a soldier and serving the people. I still remember how impressed I was with him the day he testified in Congress in July 2002. At that time, for once, I respected our military and found some value in that organization. Perhaps nothing proves the General’s dignity better than his words on hearing about his retirement: “I regret nothing. By refusing to obey orders, I avoided a massacre, it was worth it”. By the way, for those that love to accuse the opposition of a “coup” in April 2002, General Alfonso Martinez went to tell then President Carmona, that he could not obey his government because it was not legitimate.

-Yesterday was the Anniversary of the Carabobo battle, the last one of Venezuela‘s independence. As usual, there was a military parade in the same place where the battle took place in the state with the same name. The Governor of Carabobo was not allowed into the parade “under superior orders”. Maybe he should not allow Chavez into his state. Would not be right? Right?

-As Chavez was delivering one of his usual aggressive and lengthy speeches the sound of his mandatory nationwide address began to have problems. The nationwide transmission (all radio and TV channels have to carry it) was suspended. As usual, the perfect Chavez Government tried to find someone to blame, jailing the workers of private TV stations who were at a nearby transmission tower. Note that only the audio failed, while these towers carry the full signal and you could not interfere with only the audio. They were later released, but the damage was done. Chavez was outraged and proceeded to fire his dear Minister of Information, blaming her. I am sorry to see her go; she was so incompetent that I would have liked her to continue in her position hurting the Government. 

-Ali Rodriguez Araque, President of PDVSA said that PDVSA is not politicized. We all laughed.

-As Chavez has called the Andean pact “obsolete” and “not that useful”, Minister of Foreign Relations Chaderton tried to save the day today saying that Venezuela entering Mercosur in now way diminishes the role of the Andean pact. Another laugh.

-It was unclear whether the National Assembly could find a consensus candidate to preside the Electoral Board. There was a lot of internal bickering within the opposition. Some feel they have not been taken into account. Others do not like that people outside those nominated originally are being considered. Meanwhile, one of the leading candidates said there had been a plot to overthrow the Government, adding nobody has approached him about the CNE job. The Government denied this had happened or it was possible.

-Opposition political party Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS), scheduled a rally on Friday. For a change, Chavez’ MVR decided this week to hold a rally of their own two blocks away. What else is new? There will be violence, the oppsoition will be accused. We’ve seen that same movie before.