Archive for December 10th, 2003

Union proposes Petkoff as candidate

December 10, 2003

Former Chavez comrade in the 1992 coup, Presidential candidate (against Chavez!) and former Governor of Zulia state Francisco Arias Cardenas of the party Union, proposed today that former Minister of Planning and Presidential candidate for Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) Teodoro Petkoff (Editor of Tal Cual) should be the opposition candidate for the transition after the recall referendum. Petkoff, an economist, did a very good job under very difficult economic circumstances during the last years of the Caldera Government. Petkoff speaks bluntly and is not charismatic, but he would appeal to both the pro-Chavez and anti-Chavez forces in the country. He would seem to be an ideal choice, thus he will unlikely be nominated. Petkoff applied very simple common sense rules during his tenure in planning, but if I had to name one Minister that I agreed the most with in the last twenty years, it would have to be him. Personally, I think that if the opposition manages a consensus around him, it could precipitate a Chavez resignation. Petkoff has been critical of both the Government and the opposition and has had an important influence in some of Chavez’ decisions, such as changing the economic Cabinet after April 2002. The idea makes so much sense that it is unlikely to be adopted in the best Macondo style of our country.

In today’s editorial, as an example, Petkoff points out how it would be impossible to commit fraud in the petition dirve on the scale that Chavez and his collaborators want to claim. He points out each possible type of cheating, noting how it would be impossible to do under the current rules or would simply be an illegal signature. There can be no duplicate signatures, no fake forms or no illegal signatures, thus, he states, to try to find fraud is silly and this argument will collapse as the CNE checks the sigantures. As pointed out here before, the process was made so complicated, that it is almots impossible to cheat,  so the ball is in the Government’s court. And in one month it will be, the question is what will they say then. No matter what anyone may think 3.6 million signatures are simply too many…

Falcon legislature asks that workers be hired back

December 10, 2003

While accusations have flown back and forth between the Government and the opposition on pressures to sign or not to sign, the most relevant case to date was that of the Governor of Falcon state who kicked out sixty employees for signing against Hugo Chavez. This would not be news, except that the Legislative Assembly of that state voted unanimously today to censor the Governor and ask him to hire back the fired workers. Obviously, both pro and anti Chavez workers voted in favor of this resolution. Some interpret this as fairness, others simply say that some pro-Chavez politicians want to make sure they land on the correct side after the recall vote. (Note that there is a presidential decree in effect since June that prohibits firings, dumb decree, but who cares anyway)

Poll on why people signed for Chavez’ recall

December 10, 2003

Interesting poll in today’s Tal Cual asking people what weighed the most in signing to recall Hugo Chavez. The main reason, for which 55.25% of the more than six thousand people polled responded was the economic crisis. Surprisingly (at least to me) was the second reason: 41.69% said that the division and high polarization of Venezuelan Society was the important factor. 3.06% said that they wanted Chavez to go away, with his nationwide addresses, so they could watch their soap operas and baseball games in peace. Clearly “the poor” know where reality lies.