Archive for April 2nd, 2005

A spectacular local orchid show

April 2, 2005

Today was one of the three yearly orchid exhibits we have in
Caracas. Except that last year, for one reason or another we had none,
so I welcome that this is the second one already in 2005, with the
third one talking place in late September. This one was organized by
the Sociedad de Ciencias Naturales, the oldest of the three.

Venezuela has been blessed with a huge variety of orchids, including
spectacular Cattleyas. Because we see them regularly, sometimes we lose
the perspective of what a wonderful and valuable thing we have. What I
saw today is difficult to see anywhere in the world. It was truly a
beautiful spectacle of variety, quality and beauty. At this time of the
year, Cattleya Mossiae, Venezuela’s national flower, is the most
prevalent one. Today we saw an incredible variety of these flowers,
particularly dozens of the rare alba and semi-alba varieties, and very good ones at
that, as you can see below. Cattleya Mossiae grew in the mountains
around Caracas. European collectors are said to have taken millions
from the mountains and exported them. You see few of them in the
mountain, but there are many that have been made and preserved in the
laboratory by crossing and cloning. This one was one of those rare
occasions when a show takes place at a time that people (except me!)
have very high quality flowering.

I enjoyed the contrast with the exhibit in Dijon and here. I could
observe, contemplate and capture with my camera any flower I wanted in
relative peace, without any crowds at 9 AM, when I went to the show.
Natural lighting was good, even if it provided some challenges with
shadows and bright spots. Below, a small sample of the wonderful show

Three groups of flowers by both private and commercail collectors

Another group of flowers Gaskellianas and Mossiaes Cattleya Mossiae galore!

Three spectacular Cat. Mossiae. The one on the right won the most prizes for these plants.

More spectacular Catlleya Mossiae semi alba

Cattleya Mossiae Cattleya Gaskelliana Cattleya Leddemaniana coerulea


Irresponsible Government official promotes war and hate against the US

April 2, 2005

I find the
statements by the head of the Land Institute Eliecer Otaiza to be extremely
offensive. This is no way to lead a country and to promote hate and resentment
against anyone is irresponsible and racist. No Government official should be
allowed to promote hate against any nation, racial or social group. This is the
way to destroy a country not build it. Governments should promote harmony and
civilized behavior, not savagery. This is verbatim what
Otaiza said in the interview in local weekly Quinto Dia

Q. Are you getting ready for a war?

A. The first thing we have to recognize is that when you go to war, you have to
begin to hate the opponent. You can not go to war loving the person.
Effectively, the bonds we have with the United States,
political, historical are too closely joined, but we have to prepare ourselves
to begin to see the gringos as enemies, and that would be the first preparation
for combat.
Q. We have to hate the gringos? We have to prepare the people so that they hate
the gringos?

A. If we are going to war we can not do it by saying we are friends. We are
going to war to shot each other, not to embrace each other. Then, the first
preparation is to understand that you have an enemy, the second, that it will
be a prolonged war, of at least seven, eight, nine years and that it will be a
war of resistance, where the gringos may end in two days all of the war
equipment we have. It is a very cruel situation for us, and we understand that
the whole country and maybe the whole continent will be involved.

Q. Do you think the country will embark in an adventure like this one?

A. The problem is not whether we will embark in it or not, the problem is where
we are.

This guy is absolutely crazy, nuts, irresponsible and I am ashamed that he
holds an important office in my country. Not only that, but previously he was
Head of intelligence and Head of the Trade Educational Institute (INCE). He now
leads the land institute (INTI), the same one that has been expropriating land
in the last few months.

Although I know it is useless, as a civilized Venezuelan I request that the
Venezuelan Government fire Mr. Otaiza for his irresponsible and immoral

Debate among revolutionaries

April 2, 2005

Socorro in yesterday’s El Nacional has the interesting story of the documentary
producers who made the film “Another way is possible…in Venezuela”
three years ago. The documentary turned out to be very popular so that the Cultural
office (CONAC) of the Chavez administration brought them back for a second
documentary. Except that…

This time around
the movie makers worked for more than the nine days spent in 2002 and stayed
two months going around the country without in Socorro’s words “the commissars
of the revolution pointing out what they had to film, and brought the images
they found: a poor country, backwards, full of contradictions, of postponed
aspirations, of evidence of corruption, that is, ready for a change.”

The movie,
entitled “Our oil and other tales” was shown for the first time On Feb. 23d. and
again on March 4th. According to Socorro, the Minister of Culture almost
stopped the second presentation. What is interesting according to Socorro is
that the showing took place because other Chavistas demanded it shouting “revolution
within the revolution” at the showing.

This has
reportedly led to a controversy around the film between pro-Chavez’ groups. It also
led to a firm response on the part of the filmmakers who wrote a firm open
letter to the Minister of Culture. That letter says in part:

“A novel and
open process of change like the one taking place in Venezuela can not just occur in linear
fashion. We dare say this with some authority having captured it in our earlier
film “Another way is possible…” that has gone around the world contributing to an
important source of international backing for this process….It should be
evident that in this path nothing, nor anybody, should be exempt of the social
comptrolling and the critical capability of the people. As Socorro says “What a
pity that that such statements have not been expressed by Venezuelan intellectuals
that believe in the “process”

The film
apparently paints a bleak and black picture of Venezuela:” There is a tone of
sadness and misery throughout it. The film concludes that the Government and
Chavez are responsible for a variety of calamities and have betrayed the
process of transformation. “

concludes by saying: “If all revolutionaries would repudiate the cult of
personality and would promote the accountability of power (which implies the
separation of powers) and would point out how malignant any form of apology for
the Government and its hegemony can be, I would assure you that I would not be
insulted with the qualifier of “squalid”. I would be on their side.”

As usual,
well said Mrs. Socorro!