Archive for May 28th, 2005

Emotions defy logic in aviation decision against the US

May 28, 2005

Last week, the National Assembly approved the Tourism Law, a bill aimed at promoting tourism in Venezuela. Among other things, the Bill compels banks to devote a fixed amount of their loan portfolio to tourism projects. This amount will be set at between 2% and 7% of the loan portfolio of private commercial banks and 12% of that of Government owned banks.

While I disagree with forcing banks to devote a fixed percentage of their loans to a particular area (with this, compulsory lending goes up to 35% of the portfolio), I can not disagree with the goal of turning Venezuela into an attractive tourist destination.


But what is being done with one hand appears to be destroyed by the other. In a strange interpretation of reciprocity, the National Civil Aviation Institute suspended the initiation of flights by American Airlines affiliate American Eagle to Margarita Island in Eastern Venezuela. The reason? The US’ FAA lowered the category of Venezuela’s aviation many years ago, because it did not satisfy the technical and training requirements of that Administration. The main impact of lowering Venezuela’s category is that no new Venezuela airline can begin flying to the US until the minimum requirements are again satisfied. It has been eight years (before Chavez!) since Venezuela was lowered in category and in that time the country has failed to pass the requirements to have the higher category reinstated. Because of that, American Eagle, will not be able to begin its flights between San Juan, Puerto Rico and the island of Margarita.


Who do you think loses with this political decision? I would bet if it were any country other than the US, no retaliation would be made. In fact, Panama decided not to extradite Posada Carriles to Venezuela four years ago and nothing happened between the two countries. other silly emotional decision that damages the country’s credibility.


Venezuela has yet to request Posada extradition

May 28, 2005

Yesterday there was some confusion when the US Government rejected the request by Venezuela to arrest Posada Capriles, essentially the US Government said that Venezuela had not supported the case and reiterated that Venezuela had yet to request the extradition of Posada Capriles. Some newswires carried the news as “US rejects extradition” and too many loudmouths of the Chavez administration criticized the action.

But today the situation is quite clear. First, there is the press release by the Venezuelan Embassy in the US, which leaves no doubt as to the status of the request and makes quite clear that despite all of the noise, protests and criticisms, Venezuela has yet to request the extradition:


1.- The Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Washington, D.C. received this afternoon a diplomatic note from the U.S. Department of State concerning the request for preventative arrest with the purpose of extradition of Mr. Luis Posada Carriles. This request, which U.S. authorities have denied, was presented when clear evidence emerged that Mr. Posada was in the United States. The request for Mr. Posada’s arrest was a preventative nature, made while the Government of Venezuela compiled the necessary documentary and legal documentation necessary for a formal extradition request.

2.- According to the note sent to the Embassy of Venezuela, the denial of the request for preventative detention does not prevent Venezuela from formally requesting extradition of Mr. Posada, a Venezuela citizen, pursuant to the Extradition Treaty in force between the two countries.


Even today the Vice-president says that the extradition request “still stands”, despite the fact that it has yet to exist. Just part of the charade, when he was prompted by the reporters about the fact that no request existed he said that the request has 700 pages and the Venezuelan Government ahs two months to present it. In fact, the Vice-Minister of Interior Relations said today that it will not be until Tuesday when the formal extradition request is presented by the Venezuelan Government.


I have been told by a good source that Chavez said in private that he did not want Posada Carriles extradited to Venezuela. According to this report Chavez said something like “I don’t want that old man here, imagine he may die and I would be blamed for it”. Thus, like so much of this Government this is just hot air for political gain, nothing else. I still think the US should extradite Posada to Venezuela, but I am not sure whether they will or not.

Three Species and a hybrid

May 28, 2005

Wonderful laelia Purpurata Delicata from Brazil, there are seven flowers in this bunch. Close up of one of them.

Rare alba form of Shomburkia Thomsoniana from Jamaica    Dendrobium Pololo, the plant was too large to move for picture.

No lese majesty for Chief Justice Mora

May 28, 2005

One could only watch the sorry spectacle in awe. The Supreme head of injustice in Venezuela, denouncing the loss of his Mickey Mouse rights, outraged at the insult to the majesty of the institution he claims to represent. Decrying the fact that the dignity of his institution had been attempted against. Asking for explanations for what is essentially irrelevant for the affairs of state. Talking about morals and ethics and calling himself an honorable person.

But where was selfless and immoral Mora when the rights of thousands of Venezuelans were being violated by the same unethical and amoral Government, which he supports with adoration, was destroying the lives of truly honorable citizens and their families, eliminating the only livelihood or destroying the civil service careers of normal citizens whose only crime was to exercise their constitutional right to request the recall of the President? Or why didn’t he hold a press conference to denounce how the rights of dozens of poor citizens of the state of Guarico had been violated, as they were violemtly exterminated and eliminated, under orders of the Governor of that state, who is still backed and supported by his adored leader? These were truly members of the “pueblo” he and his leader claim to love and work for and it is a political party, rather than the Justice system who is deciding the fate of the case. More Venezuelans than Posada Carriles ever killed in his lifetime have been killed in the state of Guarico by its own Government, but has Mr. Mora signed any order against the Governor of that state, or anyone for that matter?


Is a simple email grave enough to upset him, but the daily death of a Venezuelan in prison goes by unnoticed by him? This, while various Government offices and the same judicial system he presides over forgets the thousands of men and women without sentencing, without lawyers, sometimes even without formal charges, who live in infrahuman conditions in Venezuelan prisons, without anyone taking responsibility for it? And what of the immoral removal of judges at all levels anytime a decision is made by one of them, which goes against the whims, moods and wishes of the supreme leader?


Mr. Mora wants the US Embassy to treat him with courtesy. I want Mr. Mora as the impersonator of the Chief of Justice in Venezuela to have that same courtesy and respect he demands for our beleaguered and battered Constitution. I want him to go out and hold a press conference with the same outrage, intensity and passion, every time the basic and fundamental principles that are supposed to be guaranteed by our Constitution are trampled over and violated by this fake revolutionary Government.


Morals, ethics and majesty are big words. They should be handled with care. Particularly by those who have the power, who have the ability to affect the course of events. When the highest Court of the land is simply placed at the service of a man and his ideas and not of the Constitution, there is no morality or ethics to defend. As for Majesty with a capital M, a Court that has had no respect for the Majesty of the Law, has no majesty that can be respected. There has not been lese majesty in the case of Justice Mora and the Court he represents; only when dignity is restored to that body, could such a crime be committed.