Archive for June, 2005

Go Figure

June 16, 2005

Rangel says it is the opposition that is trying to kill Chavez.

Then, why is he worried?


Good News!

June 15, 2005

Good News: The Carter Center will not observe the upcoming elections. Bring on the EU!

Parade cancellation: The more that is explained, the more implausible it gets

June 14, 2005

Chavez confirmed

that the military parade of June 24th. was cancelled for security
reasons. According to the President, the Army detected a plan to kill
him during teh parade. He
added that this is not the first time that the parade is cancelled,
which I do not recall ever being cancelled. Chavez even said that we
have too many parades. This from the
same man that loves to play soldier, wear uniforms and hold parades as he
did during the first few years in office, when
he was not afraid to go out in public.

Well, the June 24th. parade takes place in Campo Carabobo, some 30 Kms. away from the city of Valencia, and it is a monument built in remembrance of the last
battle for the independence of Venezuelawhich
took place right there. Now, this is the most unlikely place to attempt
an assasination.
It is essentially a park with monuments, mostly open air, explicitly
delineated which could be easily sealed
and surrounded by military a couple of days before. And nothing should
happen to teh President or those participating in the parade. You can
see pictures of
Campo Carabobo here
or here.

Of course, all of the above is true unless those trying to kill Chavez
will be
the same ones that are participating in the parade. Unless they are
themselves members of his beloved military, which nobody has said.
There are many problems within the military today. Some groups are
upset over the
cubanization of Venezuela,
others at the levels of corruption reached out and within the military, others at how PDVSA has been
weakened to what they think is dangerous levels and even some others at the destruction of the
military institution and the attempt to create alternate parallel structures like the
reserves. In fact, rumors are going around that over half of the officers in
the Chiefs of Staff course have resigned because of the imposition of Fidel
Castro as the Godfather/sponsor of their graduating class by Chavez himself.
This out of no more than fifty members, the cream of the crop of each year’s
military class. By resigning, you destroy your military career, you will never
go above the level of Lieutenant and you will likely be retired anyway.

You can do so much positive spinning of the news. But the stories are
too implausible to be believable. This is very dangerous, there are
some real nuts (Yes, even more than the current ones, believe it or
not!) in the Venezuelan military. Very scary indeed!

Here and there…

June 14, 2005

is normal” and “the press has to be more responsible” says the Government in
trying to deny unrest within the military, but the Head of the Unified Command
of the Army (CUFAN), goes
to Bolivar State
to talk to the National Guardsmen of the garrison that was
“disappeared” on Chavez’ orders. The problem seems to have been extortion by
the Guardsmen of the miner in the region. The Army came in and brutally took
over the garrison which is what has led to the protest by National Guardsmen across
the country. It is a true story, no matter how much the Government wants to
deny it.

Venezuela complains about the extradition of Posada Carriles from the US to
Venezuela (Which it has
yet to request
while its leaders accuse
the US of delaying it), narco-guerrilla FARC leader Jose Maria Corredor “El
Boyaco”, escapes from jail in the Headquarters of the intelligence police. The
Minister of Justice has said that
he received help form intelligence police member that aided in the escape. The US
requested the extradition of “El Boyaco” to that country last year and in
December the Venezuelan Supreme Court approved the extradition, but the Chavez administration
had not extradited him because he could receive a sentence of more than thirty
years in jail, the longest possible term in Venezuela.

–A sub
committee of the National Assembly continued its investigation of CITGO
Petroleum. The auditor for the company said that the company had
too many “black boxes”. Meanwhile, the former Vice-President of CITGO, Captain Antonio
gave his testimony
in which he gave a picture which in general conflicts
with the official view about the company. Rivero said that Citgo has
paid over US$ 2 billion
in dividends to PDVSA since 1998. He defended
keeping the company as a strategic investment and compared it to the problems Mexico has
placing its heavy oils because it does not have its own refining capacity. He also
described a policy of funding
travel by Deputies
from Chávez’ party out of Citgo, as well as jet
setting by Citgo and PDVSA executives and their relatives
in PDVSA’s jets.
(Didn’t Chavez say his first day in office he was going to get rid of these
jets?). Rivero defended
the profitability
of Citgo, which contrasts with the words of his mentor,
Hugo Chávez, as well as Minister Ramirez.

–Is it really International Bloggers day today, or just an excuse to party?

Very active day for rumors and facts surrounding the military

June 13, 2005

Today, local newspaper El Nacional reported
“the professional troop” which is composed of the soldiers from Sergeant
down of the ninth command of the national guard in Amazonas State had taken
over the command center as a way of giving support to the national guardsmen of
the CORE-8 in Bolivar State which had been deactivated and who claimed they
have been abused and humiliated by the Army.

According to the report the troop even burned down a vehicle
before the army took over by assault the command center yesterday. The same
report said that a deadline had been given for the reactivation of the CORE-8
command of the National Guard. The same report says that similar actions are
being planned in Bolivar state and in Anzoategui state the troop is already in
control of the command of that state.

The report was denied
almost immediately
y the Minister of Information saying this was once again
a “mediatic” attack on the army and the oil industry.

Later this afternoon, the Minister of Defense defended
the role played by the National Guard in protecting the country and recogned the fact
that that military body “fulfills the parameters of discipline and obedience”
and that the discipline problems observed in CORE 8 were only present there. He
called on the media to stop the campaign against the National Guard.Garcia Carneiro also said that the Army recommended the
cancellation of the traditional June 24th. military parade in Campo
Carabobo because of the possibility of an attempt on Chavez’ life and “above all
one has to preserve the life of the Chief of State”.

All of this happens as Chavez confirmed yesterday that the
sponsor or Godfather of the current graduating class for the Chiefs of Staff
course will be none other than Fidel Castro, the same one that used to send
guerillas to kill Venezuelan soldiers not that long ago.

Are we to believe everything is norma, when a full National Guard comamnd is deactivated and taken over by the Army?

Aren’t they ashamed of not being able to protect Chavez at a
National monument with restricted access?

Or are they afraid that a member of the military parade
would be the one attempting to kill Chavez?

Are we to believe the graduating class decided to name
Castro or did the order come from above?

Are we to believe that the Venezuelan military has no
Venezuelan they admire to choose as their sposnor for their graduation?.

Are we to believe that this is not all related?

Another democratic right bites the dust

June 12, 2005

Among the
many innovations of the 2001 Bolivarian Constitution, was the possibility of
introducing legal bills by citizens if a certain number of signatures were
gathered. The bill would be introduced by a group of citizens and the National
Assembly would be obligated to consider it and discuss it during the first
period of sessions after the Bill was introduced. If it was not discussed, then
Article 205
of the Constitution says that the Bill would simply be
considered in a referendum during the next election.

Well, in November
2002, ONG Queremos Elegir (We want to elect) submitted a reform of the “Citizens
Power Bill
” for consideration by the National Assembly. The Bill was never discussed
so that Article 205 would apply. But nothing has been done on it. Thus,
Queremos Elegir met one month ago with the Head of the Electoral Board (CNE) to
inquire about the peculiar fact that another referendum, that of a Constituent
Assembly for the Metropolitan area of Caracas,
was approved in only one month.

was very polite and said that first he had to check whether the Bill had or not
been considered (which he has not done after one month) and the truth is nothing
has happened since the visit.

Easy, under this reform, the members of the “Citizens Power” the
General-Prosecutor, the People’s Ombudsman and Mr. Rodriguez himself
would have
to resign and new members selected by the National Assembly. So, the
much ballyhooed “participative democracy” can be put on hold whenever
it is convenient to those
that proposed it to begin with.

another “right” of the revolution bites the dust in the face of political and
personal reality.

Oh! The
pretty revolution!

Flowering winding down

June 12, 2005

Flowering is winding down except for the Laelia Purpuratas which are still going strong

Above left Phalemopsis Ruby Dark, one of the darkest I know. Above left: Potinara Hoku Gem Freckles

Laelia Purpurata Werkhausery I love the purple “Nazarene” color in these flowers

Another nice Purpurata delicata with lots of nice flowers.

Quiz to prove if you are a true Chavista

June 11, 2005

If you want to assume a high official position you have to be able to
answer these ten questions according to the official line, just in case
a reporter should ask you. That is, you have to be able to lie through yout

–Why was
it illegal for Sumate to receive $30,000 from the National Endowment for Democracy
but not for Chavez’s presidential campaign to receive US$ 1.5 million from
Spanish Bank BBVA?

–Why have
they charged a couple of hundred people for rebellion for going to the
Presidential Palace on April 12th. 2002 and not charged General
Lucas Rincon for announcing to the country that the President had resigned?

–Why is
poverty up in Venezuela
since Chavez took power seven years ago?

–Why is
children malnutrition up since Chavez took over seven years ago?

–If oil
production is at normal levels, how come oil GDP is going down despite higher prices?

–Why isn’t
anyone in jail for corruption since Chavez took over seven years ago?

are the US$ 3 billion missing from the Macroeconomic Stabilization Fund?

–Why has
this Government been unable to build as many houses in any of the past six years, as the previous Governments
were able to in any given year?

–How many
attempts have there been on Chavez’ life?

–Why was
Danilo Anderson assassinated?

Silly Putty parliamentary regulations by Simon Bocanegra

June 10, 2005

And today Petkoff comments on the fact that VP Rangel approved the illegal procedure at the National Assembly:

Silly Putty
parliamentary regulations
by Simon Bocanegra in Tal Cual

statement by VP Rangel, validating the designation of a parliamentary commission
that “would evaluate” the report by the Interior Policy Commission about
Manuitt reveals that this is an order from above. Dirt has to be thrown on the
Manuitt case. Order form the boss. You can bet that that evaluating commission will
find one of two things: 1) It will declare that the report from the Interior
Policy Commission (CPI) is a piece of junk and should not be presented to the full
Assembly, with which the investigation dies; 2) extend it in time until it dies
from exhaustion and the case falls out of the political and media radar. Why
didn’t they do what the regulations say, which is to bring the report by the CPI
to the full plenary session of the Assembly, so that it decides on the matter? Obviously
because they fear that debate for the things that may be aired in it and
because Chavista institutionality is like silly putty, then they simply
liquidated it by means of abuse and arbitrarity. In this way, the possibility
of verifying if there exists or not responsibility of the Governor in the extremely
grave cases of human rights violations occurred in Guarico have been sacrificed
for cheap political reasons , in the selfish altar of party convenience. The “reasons
of Party” are above the citizens and their rights.

The Sacrifices of a leader

June 10, 2005

Humorist Laureano Marquez writes a very funny and cynical piece in today’s Tal Cual Editorial

The Sacrifices of a leader by Laureano marquez

If it was for me, I would live in a shack…nice!, no running water,
carrying my can of water from the bottom of the hill and going up in a
Jeep, with my office under a very hot sheet of zinc, dirt floor and
rope soled sandals. But because they want to kill me, I feel forced to
protect myself, to remain in this repugnant palace walking over very
expensive rugs and sleeping in air conditioned rooms…I don’t know how I
can stand it. Bathrooms with ceramic tile, hot water and expensive
porcelains. It’s so disgusting I am that close to vomiting every time I
take a shower.

have to move around in a car with 500 bodyguards, sacrificing the dream
of my life: To go around in a run down VW beetle without brakes, but,
because of the conspirators, I have to go around the way you see me.

you think I like to go around in an armored limo in which I can stretch
my legs and even lay down for a while and take a nap, with a
refrigerator with cold water to refresh myself alter the hot contact
with you, my people, and little bottles of Evian water to wash my
hands, just in case imperialism has hired some old lady to give me a
magni-infection? No, I detest this shit, but I have to go around like
this for security. Each time I give up a piece of pork rind with hairs, I
am not thinking about bad cholesterol, but what would happen to the
people if I get a heart attack, because I imagine that you all know
that pork rind is a CIA strategy to screw our people.

would love to carry a Casio with a plastic band on my wrist, those that
street vendors sell batteries for in El Silencio. But since the
attempts on my life began, I have been forced to carry a Vacheron
Constantin whose precision allows me to know the exact time of a
possible attempt on my life.

mechanism, sensitive to my pulse, helps my bodyguards know, at certain
times of doubt, if I am still alive. It has a mini sphere in one of the
quadrants that allows me to know the exact time in Washington D.C., where our biggest enemy lives and a pure leather band that avoids allergies or poisoning via the epidermis.

Do you think that I like these suits of high French couture? The truth? I
find them repugnant… What I feel is repulsive, those suits that have an
implacable line, the perfect adjustment to the shoulders, tight fit
around that waist that styles the figure and the wide and flirting lapel.

And let’s not talk about the silk Italian ties, so soft…

a pain in the b…, my friend. My dream is to go around with khaki pants
and a white t shirt. But of course. Since they want to attempt against
my life , I feel obligated to carry these expensive suits, because it
is a demand of the company that makes the bullet proof
vests, that told me: “With Monte Cristo (a local brand) it is going to
be noticeable, It’s like the gold cuff links: F….Can’t they tie these
things with string? I tell them.

No, my security advisers tell me, because those they claim they have a GPS to know my exact location in case I am kidnapped.

And let’s not talk about the food. That
is truly a sacrifice. There is nothing I like more that a plate of
pasta with ketchup and a Pepsi wetted in casaba bread and an avocado
arepa at 2 AM. But we had to hire cooks of our highest trust and those
guys don’t know how to prepare that shit, only foreign dishes, salmon
fume, entrecote, escargots.

How I miss my salads with Corona Vinegar and Vatel oil, not this shit that what it has is olives and balsamic acetto from Modena, to prevent possible poisonings.

of these sufferings and many others that I don’t want to tell you
about, but I prefer iif they remain forgotten, with the humility that
characterizes me, I do it for you. And I take care of my life not for
me, I am just a twig in the wind, what do I matter and the sacrifice
that I do to withstand the sacrifices I have described?
Nothing! Absolutely
nothing. I resist all of these sufferings stoically for you, my people,
so that you can maintain that revolutionary lifestyle that I, sadly,
can not have.