Archive for February 28th, 2005

February 28, 2005

I was going to write about this, but hey, Petkoff can say it so much better!

Misiòn Bullshit  by Teodoro Petkoff – Tal Cual

In a new episode of delirium tremens (even if we know the man does not drink, because in his case that becomes un aggravating circumstance, because everyone knows that if you are drunk “it does not count”), Chávez promised that his Government will build between this year and 2006 , 200 hundred thousand housing units. In other words, the goal is to build twice as many housing units than those that have been built in the previous six years. How much we wish that this would be true, but given the background, there are not many reasons for optimism. Between 1999 and August 2004, the Government of the human revolution, concerned about the status of the poor, with Chavez ashamed of having to live in La Casona, while millions of his fellow countrymen who are poor had to live in shacks, built a meager 100,569 houses, which gives you an average of 16,000 per year. That number, more than squalid, miserable, contrasts with what the Governments prior to Chavez accomplished. In the five years of CAP-2-Velasquez, a total of 313 thousand housing units were built by the Government: an average of 62,000 a year. In the Government of Caldera, the Government built 341,666: 68 thousand per year. Thus, these Governments that Chavez has launched thousand of insults against them, built in five years each, three times more housing units than Chavez has in his six years.



Perhaps nothing undresses more eloquently the marathon of bullshit that we have been forced to listen to during these six years, that the sorry failure of the housing policies of the”revolution.” Obviously, with bullshit you can’t even built shacks made of mud. Now, once again the promise rises again: 80 thousand houses this year and 120 thousand the next one. It would really be a miracle.

The same way it would have been a miracle that unemployment had dropped from the 19% that the Instituto Nacional de Estadística (INE) registered for January 2004 to the 5% predicted by “Merlin Chavez” for December of last year. That was going to be the magic result of the Misiòn Vuelvan Caras. Well, the INE has just given out the unemployment numbers for January 2005: 15.3%, less than the same month a year earlier but the same as the average for all of 2004. The faces of the poor continue to be turned towards the pole of hopelessness and poverty.


Of course, it would have been impossible to have a different result. Each year some 400 thousand Venezuelans go into the labor markets. A productive system like ours, where both private and public investment are reduced to its lowest historical levels, does not have the capacity to absorb the hungry mass of young people that reaches working age. The economic policy of Chavismo “ni lava ni presta la batea” (neither washes nor lends the washbasin). If there is no investment, there will be no creation of new jobs-to say it with that expression, which is not used much today, but very graphical. If there is no investment to create jobs, unemployment can not go down. But since people have to live, the only option is to make do with the streets, informality and crime. That is, a social deterioration that does not cease and which can not be hidden.


The President says, referring to the prior 40 years of democracy that with poverty there could not be democracy. Said in 1999, it was a complete program for hope.. Six years later, it is simply pure bullshit.

The Carter Center at the center of controversies

February 28, 2005

Well, it used to be that the Carter Center would arrive in Venezuela and everyone would try to meet with them. It wasn’t that way this time as reported by Daniel in his blog. But it seems to have been worse than that. As reported by Descifrado today, the visit by Ms. McCoy did not go very well, she was shunned by many actors, including opposition parties (except Primero Justicia), Chavez own party MVR. But even worse, according to Descifrado, there was supposed to be a breakfast on Friday between the Carter Center and representatives of the media. Unfortunately for the CC Directors, only one Board member form one TV channels showed up at the meeting. Thus, the supervision of Venezuelan elections and attempts by the Carter Center to mediate in the Venezuelan crisis, end with a whimper, rather than with the bang they expected.

Meanwhile, another scandal was banging at the Carter family elsewhere, as wife Rosalynn is now being linked by the N.Y Post to the oil for food program and donations to Iraq, via her Foundation Friendship Force. I guess that is the problem with all these activities, you need money to run them and in searching for funding you are either careless or compromise your principles in order to get them. 


Letter from a pro-Government humorist to Zapata by Claudio Nazoa

February 28, 2005

This will be a night of translations, a few interesting articles that I thought I should bring to people’s attentions. Pedro Leon Zapata is an artist and cartoonist that has now published his daily cartoon for forty years, usually with political undertones. His friends have been celebrating his 40 year anniversary with tributes and testimonials to both his paintings and his cartoons. Today, humorist Claudio Nazoa paid his tribute with this piece in today’s El Nacional, in which he writes as a Chavista cartoonist paying tribute to Zapata. It is funny, but it is also very serious at the same time.


Letter from a pro-Government humorist to Zapata by Claudio Nazoa


Sr. Zapata:


If this Government were from COPEI or AD, these testimonials on your 40th.anniversary of your cartoons would be well deserved.


Sr. Zapata, let’s agree that you paint and draw well, but that gives you no right to not recognize that this is also a pretty revolution.


Sr. Zapata, our Commander in Chief, our dear leader, our unique an unquestionable guide, our almost God, was right when he showed one of your drawing saying “Zapata, how much were you paid for this?”


Unfortunately Sr. Zapata, we have learned that you get paid by the daily El Nacional to criticize the Government. What a foolish thing to do! Do what we do, we also get paid, but only by the Government.


Do you remember Sr. Zapata when at the auditorium at Central University all of the humorists and intellectuals would criticize the people from AD and COPEI? Those were the good times Sr. Zapata! Particularly because the people from AD and COPEI would later hire us without asking why we were criticizing them; moreover, they were so dumb that they had no AD circles or COPEI circles, to go kick our butt after the events or to go around the city destroying murals, sculptures, historical monuments, religious images and any work of art of the kind that rich people like.


Do you remember Sr. Zapata, when we were all left-wing? In that I belive we continue to agree. We both continue to be left-wing, with the only difference being that I, being left-wing, back this rightwing Government that looks leftwing from abroad.


Sr. Zapata, you now paint us with frog faces pulling a rope (Pulling a rope means sucking up to someone in Spanish). Yes, you are right, let’s recognize we suck up to them and tell all. But we are part of the revolution! That is the difference Sr. Zapata, you have not realized that we are in a revolution and that those things that we did not like about the AD or COPEI people, are now considered good. Look around you.


Little kids no longer drink milk, but they drink gasoline at traffic lights so that you give them a tip; poverty is higher every day. The indians, like hungry automata, invade the cities. Corruption can be seen in the RV’s  of Government leaders and officials. Never have human rights been abused so much in the prisons and hospitals of Venezuela. To get an ID card or a passport is no longer like it was in the previous ominous 40 years. It is now impossible for everyone!


Sr. Zapata., wake up! What good is the love your friends claim they have for you? Come with us, join us in sucking up to the Government and we promise that we will give you plastic surgery, so that so that when you support what can’t be supported, not even a single wrinkle will be visible in your face.


Come on Mr. Zapata! Forget about poetry. You have to recognize that, as a man, you feel vindicated in that a true macho man, capable of giving any women what they deserve now is now our leader.


In closing, I have to confess I envy you Sr. Zapata, that extraordinary brain that during 40 years, while many of us lived off scholarships, donations, cultural attaches of embassies, heads of the Cultural Office, “consulting” to Ministries, cultural representations to any world Congress that was held, you, like now, worked night and day, to reveal that the king was naked.


The king has been naked for 46 years Sr. Zapata, but now we are accomplices and we are afraid to say it.