Archive for January 17th, 2004

Meeting some local bloggers!

January 17, 2004

Last Thursday night as I was going to bed right before 1 AM, I went looking for my cell phone and found a two hour old SMS message from Susana, who was visiting from Maracaibo (West of  Caracas), telling me a bunch of bloggers were at a nearby brewery, so off I went, how could I resist it!. It was quite neat to meet this group of bloggers, all of them obviously younger than me, had a great time meeting and talking with them and finding so much spirit, curiosity and initiative in this group of young people. Above, a picture for the record from the meeting, from left to right Novato with his girlfriend, a friend, Hugo from qtpd (who hosts a bunch of people from what I can gather), Susana and Fran en Gotas. Ricardo from Cronica Aburrida, arrived even later than me after finishing work at his newspaper and is not in the picture.

And three more weird ones for the record

January 17, 2004

This one may not sound so weird:

-The Venezuelan Minister of Education, Culture and Sports said that US culture goes around eliminating and overhelming others, denoucing the perverse effects of globalization.

That’s not so bad, he is entitled to his opinion.

-Isturiz said this on his way back from his trip to Iran, where he signed two agreements, one cultural and the other one with the movie industry that will translate into coproduction of movies. “Iran is a cinematographic powerhouse and we are interested in exploiting that experience, regretting that most Venezuelans don’t know the movies that come out of Iran, where most films are from the US”. (It is tempting to make so many jokes about possible titles for Iranian movies using the word Mullah in the title, but I do have respect for Iranians and will abstain)

Now, that is a little weird. It is hard to believe that a country with censorhip, fundamental  religilious values and state control over everything can currently produce such good movies. But even if they did, what type of priority is that for a country with the educational and cultural problmes Venezuela has. Mr. Isturiz spent the beginning of the week taking Danny Glover around, then he went to Iran and had time in London to make this statement, before arriving here last night. He does not appear to be that busy.

– Arriving in Caracas today, Minister Isturiz said that Chavez’ position as a Latin American leader was consolidated at the Monterey Summit.

Now, that is really weird. The guy did not meet with a single leader from another country, refused to sign the final proclamation and said it was a waste of time. And this consolidates his Latin American leadership? I think, quoting Mr. Ituriz’ comment once referring to Mr. Chavez, that this time the Minister did smoke an eggroll.

Another bizarre story

January 17, 2004

I was going to write about two separate events in Venezuela which characterize how bizarre and difficult to explain things are, but Francisco’s excellent post on one them has made the job easier. Francisco explains quite well the bizarre attack by an urban guerilla group of a police post near dowtown Caracas in which three cops were hurt. What’sincredible is that these groups attacking the cops are pro-Chavez….

A second event of similar bizarre nature took place yesterday in the East of venezuela at PDVSA’ headquarters in the city of Maturin:

A group of people took over the Headquarters to request the removal of the General Manager and the Production Manage, both pro-Chavez, who had fired the two leaders of the pro-Chavez union. Thus, this is a Chavista versus Chavista fight. What is even more interesting is the reason for firing the leaders of the union: They had denounced to th regional media last Tuesday that due to an error in operations, PDVSA had lost US$ 30 million. The group, one of Chavez’ Bolivarian Circles, is still there and refusesto move until the union leaders are reinstated or the Managers fired. In the words of one of the leaders of the Bolivarian Circle :” We will not accept that these two unon leaders identified with the revolution are removed by these managers of PDVSA that think that tehy can do whatever they want”.  Thus, now you have three groups in the conflict: The Mangers of PDVSA, in theory a private company, the union and the Bolivarian circles. What is more remarkable is that if they were right, it is the union leaders that are correct in this case and the PDVSA managers, by now used to act with impunity are violating their basic right to free speech in order to protect themselves. Bizarre, mad, complex? I really dont knwo which word to use to describe what is going on anymore.

General Baduell sends a message

January 17, 2004

Yesterday General Raul Baduell was sworn in as General Commander of the Army. Baduell is best known for the fact that it was him almost single handedly that brought Chavez back in April 2002 back to the Presidential Palace. Baduell remains at this time somewhat of a mystery. Periodically he makes statements to the press that seem to come out of nowhere and that are interpreted as warnings. Yesterday was no different when Baduell said he would act against any attempt to revert Constitutional order and that the National Army of Venezuela has to honor its name “of Venezuela“. Once again, Baduell seems to be sending a message that the Constitution has to be respected even if some believe that by being promoted Baduell is now less powerful since he no longer commands any troops. While Baduell statements are positive, one should not forget that he is known to have political aspirations of his own; reportedly he has told friends that if Chávez can be President, so can he. Unfortunately, little is really known about Baduell’s politics. What little is known about him as a person shows him as a self-centered individual, who loves action and has an interest in Asian martial arts and religion.

Baduell replaces General Garcia Carneiro who on Monday will be sworn in as Minister of Defense. Garcia Carniro is definitely not liked by the opposition for a number of reasons. First of all, at least three Generals testified that Garcia Carneiro was among the Generals that refused to recognize Chavez as President in April 2002. In fact, these Generals say that Garcia Carneiro was one of the leaders against Chavez that day. He has changed a lot since, becoming a Chavez defender on all fronts. He is truly mistrusted by the opposition not only because of his style and unequivocal defense of Chavez, but because of his statements last year that there would not be a recall referendum against Chavez. After a controversial interview in which he said, before the Supreme Court had said anything, that there could not be a recall referendum because the electoral authorities were not valid. He later clarified that he meant there would not be a referendum in 2003, but added that in any case the opposition would not be able to gather sufficient signatures against President Chavez anyway. Not precisely impartial words coming from such a high ranking military.

Brazil denies alliance against US

January 17, 2004

Upon his arrival from Mexico via Cuba, President Hugo Cahvez announced a new alignement against the US foprmed by Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela. It did not take very long for the Brazilian Foreign Minsitry to deny it saying that US-Brazilian relations have never been better and that a trilateral metting among the three countries will take place but its contents would be different than discussing what Chavez said. Given that Chavez did not meet with either President in Mexico, nobody had believed him anyway.

US warns of possible threats to its interests in Venezuela

January 17, 2004

The US Governemnt has just issued a warning of possible threats agaisnt American interests in Caracas between tomorrow and next Tuesday according to the Associated Press. Reuters is a little bit more specific saying the Embassies of Spain, Britain and the US have received information that a “radical group” my attack them with firebombs. No more details are available right now.

Some new flowering

January 17, 2004

Things are starting to pick up now. From top to bootom: Top Left: Another nice Cattleya Aclandie from Brazil, these have a very strong aroma. Top Right: Lc. Lulu Hot Pink. Middle Left Some type of Oncidium Hybdrid, probably Odontocidium. Next to it another Cattelya Aclandie in a pair which is not that common. BottoM; Bulnohllum corolliferum is what the label says, the book says its name should be Cirrhopetalum cutissi, but when I read the description of Cutissi, it says the labeklum is bright yellow, which I dont see. Anyway, these flowers are tiny, smallert than a peanut. What you see is the sepals, the rest of the flower is very small in the center. There are thousnads of these, no scent.

Juan Ramon send in his pictures

January 17, 2004

Juan Ramon just sent in these beatiful pictures of some of his orchids (together with the spectacular picture I posted in the home page of a bird inside an Araguaney tree). From top left: Cattleya Aclandie Rio Clarox self, one of the best shaped Cat. Aclandie there is, not too large but perfect in shape. From Brazil. Top right: A very nice Cattleya Walkeriana also from Brazil  this is the typical flower of this species. Middle left: Cattleya Trianae, note the flaring on the petals. Middle Right: A Beautiful Oncidium Orthostates. Bottom left: Psychopsis Papilium from Venezuela, previosuly known and Oncidium Papilio. Bottom Right: Rossioglossum Grande from the Andes. Enjoy!