Archive for March 9th, 2005

Only in Venezuela: How politics could disqualify Venezuela from the World Soccer Cup

March 9, 2005

Venezuela does not have a soccer tradition. In fact, it has never even
come close to qualifying for the World Soccer Cup. Despite the Italian
and Spanish immigration of the 40,’s and 50’s, Venezuela has remained a
baseball country, due to the influence (and organization!) of the
American oil companies in the oil fields. Venezuelean soccer had improved
a little bit, but it was not until a coach named Richard Paez took over
about four or five years ago, that Venezuela really began improving.

In fact, the team improved so much that this is the first time that the
Venezuelan team has not been eliminated this early in the
qualifying year, with surprising victories against Paraguay and Uruguay.
Venezuela, for the first time ever has a chance, but….

The problem is politics,
even if this does not involve the Government at all, except that the
Supreme Court is involved. Basically, two groups are fighting for
control of the Venezuelan Soccer (Futbol) Federation. The 20 year old
President of the Federation saw his rule threatened and the Board
issued electoral rules that were not approved by all the members of the
Federation. Those opposing the current President went to the Courts and
the Electoral Hall (!) of the Venezuelan Supreme Court suspended the
elections. The problem is the FIFA has given the country until March
19th. to elect its new authorities. If it does not, Venezuela will not
be eligible to participate in the World Cup and the dream will be
shattered. This is because FIFA has rules that prohibits local
federations from resolving their conflicts via the Courts. The
Constitutional Court will hear arguments on the 12th. and if elections
are not held before the 19th. the two World Cup matches against Colombia and Bolivia that will take
place before the end of the month will be forfeited.

I have said it before, bunch of amateurs!

Self-censorship or change of heart?

March 9, 2005

A reader and friend sends this in, wonderring if this was self-censorship or a simple change of mind. On the left you have the cover of the “printed” edition of El Nacional which appeared in the website of that newspaper. The main healine is a fairly scandalous one in which General Baduell, the same one that said the military movements the other night were routine, says that the Inspector General of the Armed Forces is investigating the troop movements. This was later replaced by a milder vesrion on the right, in which it was switched with the news of the statements by the Attornety General of the “perverse” inflirtation of the country’s police at all levels. The second one was the one that appeared in the actual printed edition. Given that the muzzle law came into effect yesterday, one can only wonder if the Editor thought the first version was “too strong” given the new law, or if he simply had a change of heart. I guess we will never know.

Deus ex machina from the Prosecutor

March 9, 2005

Attorney General/Prosecutor Isaias Rodriguez appealed yesterday to his
literary background and produced in the best stylie of literary
“deus ex machina” a dramatic development in the Danilo
Anderson case, when prosecutors went to the beach apartment
of the parents of lawyer Antonion Castillo, searched it and found an
arsenal of weapons. According to Rodriguez, there was enough C-4 to
blow up “all of Venezuela” and they also found , anti-tank mines, home
made explosives, weapons and police uniforms from the Chacao

Interesting, three months after Castillo was killed, they search this
apartment without any witnesses or lawyers (which violates the law) and
find all of the evidence to prove Castillo was involved in Anderson’s
murder. This after months of no evidence of anything that linked
Castillo to Anderson, while all testimony indicate money was involved.
How convenient! This really gives a new meaning to the term Deus ex
Machina!. At the same time the Prosecutor says they now have “precise
evidence” about the intellectual authors of the crime. I think I
remember hearing the exact same thing in late November. Hope we can
learn about it soon and not hear in June that they know exactly who may
have done it.