Archive for May 22nd, 2005

Loose Ends

May 22, 2005

I have been doing many things and lots of things have been happening, but I did not have the energy to write on them or it was not worth it. So here are the loose ends I might have written about if things were not so discouraging or if the stories were clearer but you should know about them:


1)      PDVSA tried to give “new” numbers on how much it has handed out to the Central Bank. They are different from earlier ones, simply introduce additional confusion and represent a confession that the law is being violated. But the law seems to be irrelevant by now.

2)      The judge that had issued an injunction and reversed herself two days later was removed by the Judiciary Inspector. Every time a judge rules differently than what the Government ones, they are removed. In this case, I still don’t see what got the Government mad if a new law was coming into effect at anytime that would have removed the effects of the injunction. To keep appearances, she was removed for a different case.

3)      Chavez wants to use Iranian solar technology. Does he know anything about all of the work done in Venezuela in the field? Does he know the landing lights in Margarita airport have solar panels since the 80’s?

4)      We were promised PDVSA’s audited 2003 financials again, this time for June. Should we believe it?

5)      Chavez called former Spanish Premier Jose Maria Aznar a fascist. The President of Aznar’s party called Chavez dumb and “disiquilibrated”.

6)      Interesting interview with a pro-Chavez Professor who was fired recently after being in the Government for six years as Head of the higher education sector. Best quotes: “You can not give a degree to compensate a social deficiency…If there is something elitists and exclusive it is Cuban universities, that is why they are advanced in areas like health…There is a sector that believes that quality (in education) is a bourgeois concept…None of those programs has started”

7)      The Interamerican Human Rights Commission says Venezuela does not comply with Human Rights treaties alleging sovereignty.

8)      While the land grab by the Government continues in Venezuela with expropriations and no land ownership will ever (by law!) be given to individuals, Chacao Mayor Leopoldo Lopez presented in Chicago his project that gave land, so far, to the inhabitants of two large barrios in that municipality of Caracas.

9)      Through conversations I learn that while the Government is pushing cooperatives, workers in a cooperative can not form a union and get none of the labor benefits under Venezuela’s tough Labor laws.

10)  Lots of noise asking the Government to say something on the murder of Prosecutor Danilo Anderson or calls for the removal of the Prosecutors.


Equality under the Constitution, but not the law

May 22, 2005

I have been surprised by how little has been said about the fact that the new Penal Code maintains the discrimination against women when it comes t adultery, the new Code was rewritten, but should have been written to comply with all aspects of the new Constitution.

The new Venezuelan Constitution guarantees equality to men and women in its Article 21 which says: “All persons are equal under the law”. Not content with that, it continues in part 1 and 2 of that article:


  1. Discriminations based on race, sex, creed or social conditions will not be allowed…
  2. The law guarantees the legal and administrative conditions so that this equality under the law is real and effective…


Sounds pretty strong, no? Well, the recently approved penal Code keeps treating women and men quite differently and seems to reflect the machista society we live in. For example:


Article 394. The woman that commits adultery will be punished with prison of six months to three years. The same penalty will be applied to the coauthor of the adultery.


Notice that it does not say “and vice versa” at the end. It really says this is the punishment for women who commit adultery and if a woman commits it, the man she did it with will be subject to punishment. But it does not say it is a crime for a man to commit adultery.


That this is the case actually becomes quite clear in the next article of the law:


Article 395. The husband that maintains a concubine in the conjugal home, out of it, if the fact is well known, will be punished with prison of three to eighteen months. The punishment will produce de facto the loss of marital power. The concubine will be punished with prison of three months to a year.


So, these two articles together say. A married woman who commits adultery will be punished and so will her partner in committing the crime. For a man to commit a crime, the woman has to live in then home of the man or she has to maintain her in notorious fashion. Outrageous discrimination, no? Where are women and feminist groups? Where was the Attorney General? Where was the Cabinet’s lawyer (Who is woman)?


That this was the intent of the legislator is clearly expressed in Article 398, where it says that these crimes will be exempt from punishment when:


  1. In the case of the accusation by the husband, when the woman can prove that the husband had committed the crime specified in Art. 395, or had forced or exposed his wife to prostitution or incited or favored corruption.
  2. In the case of the accusation by the woman, when the husband proves that she too committed the crime described in Article 394.


To top it all off, if the accusing partner dies during the process or during prison, the punishment ends, possibly inducing all sorts of interesting criminal intrigues.


So my friends, if you are a married woman there is not much you can do. If you are a man, single or married, beware of married woman. And if you are a married man, don’t have a notorious concubine, or be very discreet. But single women or one night stands are really OK.


Women groups should take notice, no?