Archive for August 3rd, 2005

What I don’t have time to blog about

August 3, 2005

Lots of
things happening and not enough time to blog all of them in detail:

: For two years we have been told the country is producing 3.3 million
barrels of oil a day, but in Sunday’s release of the financials of PDVSA, it
clearly says that production in 2003 was 2.7 million barrels per day. Of these,
1.8 million were produced by PDVSA and 429 thousand by the partnerships in

scene of the week
: The Minister of Information and new President
of Telesur was complaining that with all of the extra hours at the official TV
channel VTV, the budget would not last the year. Funny, I thought he was the
boss of the Head of VTV. Has she been fired? No. Wonder how long the Telesur
budget will last. Nobody is reponsible for the circus, that is why the clowns go wild.

the needy
: Venezuela will subsidize
oil exports to poor Uruguay.
That country will purchase up to six shipments of 900,000 barrels paying 67% up
front and the rest financed with very low interest rates. Funny, Venezuela
a GDP per capita of $4,000 per inhabitant will help out those poor
who have a GDP per capita of $12,600. Did I mention that Venezuela will
issue a bond in US$ at not such a low interest rate in the next couple
of weeks?

time and money
: Caracas under piles of garbage
but the Mayor of the Metropolitan District came out today with his third spread
in the newspapers explaining why he wants to change the name of Caracas and the
anniversary of its founding. In a four page spread in Caracas’ most important dailies, the Mayor
explained the reasons, correcting the orthographic mistakes of the previous
ads. Hopefully those doing the research on the history of the city will not be
the same ones that don’t know how to spell. Obviously, the taxpayers pay for
these ads.

. Yes, Venezuelans now have ten million cell phones in their hands in the
latest statistics by telecom regulator CONATEL. Amazing for a country of 25
million where half the population is under 18. I still remember a telecom exec
explaining to me in the mid-90’s why it would never go above 5 million in the
next decade. I heard the same about Internet users three years ago. I did
mention the cell phone anecdote too.

: The Electoral Hall of the Supreme Court denied tonight the
injunction requested by opposition groups against the electoral registry, in
the face of the election next Sunday. Of course, the registry is perfect as
claimed by the Head of the Electoral Board, if not ask “Henri Charriere” better
known as “Papillon, still
registered to vote
after being dead for only 32 years.

legality approved
: The Electoral Board announced today, only three days before
the election, that the UVE party is legal. Hey! It is illegal to campaign since
Sunday, but you can legalize a party fielding thousands of candidates three days
before an election. Makes sense, no?. UVE is just
an electoral trick
by Chavez’
MVR party created as front to clearly violate the Venezuelan Constitution. The party
simply does not exist. Another day. Another trick. Do I hear the word
democracy? The word Justice? We will have to appeal this one to the Celestial
Hall of the Supreme Court.


August 3, 2005

MINFRA is the Ministry of Infrastructure. Today Teodoro Petkoff blasts
the Government, saying things similar to some that I have raised, but in his
sometimes more blunt and much better style. He entitles it as MINFRACASO,
making a play on the name of the Ministry and FRACASO which means failure in

by Teodoro Petkoff in Tal Cual

The mega hole in Paracotos, in the Central Highway of the country, has
served to corroborate dramatically the every day more frequent complaints by
Chavez about the inefficiency of his own Government. All of a sudden, as if it
were the blow up of a picture, the country has perceived with one stroke, that
in the administration of daily life, the Government screws up daily.

A country that used to gloat of having the most important asphalt road
network of the continent, lives today the frightening deterioration of many of
those highways. Holes, failures of the edges, landslides, fallen bridges,
sections that remain unfinished, are the testimony to the lack of attention and
negligence that now have lasted more then six years. The Minister of Infrastructure,
Colonel Carrizales, admitted today that they have been careless about maintenance.

It was inevitable, we add. That Ministry was dismantled. Civil Servants with
years of experience were fired and replaced by people with no qualifications,
many coming from the Armed Forces and there we have the results. An organization
that can’t handle its load.

The Government
spends its time and money in organizing international meetings, in Congresses
for “revolutionary” tourism, in costly youth festivals, while Vargas state, for
example, languishes since almost six years ago, a victim now, more than of the
landslides, of the monumental incapacity of those who had to take care of them.
Vargas has been the permanent warning that disasters like the one in the Central
highway were foreseen. Disasters not caused by nature, but by the incapacity of
those that should prevent them. That the Government expresses its solidarity
with countries hit by natural tragedies can not be objected, the terrible thing
is it can not also express its solidarity with its own people. It donates millions
of dollars to an African country but has not been able to rebuild the sewers of
the miniscule town of Camuri Grande, in the Central Coast, destroyed by the rains in February.

better proof of the incapacity of the Ministry of Infrastructure that the East Tower
of Parque Central, where, ironically, it had its headquarters? There it is,
that giant monolith, destroyed by the fire, the promises of recovering it in a
few months now forgotten.

Up to now,
the skillful trick of marking distance with his incapable Ministers. has worked
well for the President. When you hear him reprimand the Minister of
Infrastructure (“Carrizales, I came by and from Maracaibo
to Coro, that
road is horrible”), people think that Chávez is concerned for the state of the
roads, but there it is, that useless Minister, he does nothing. But it so
happens that at least five people have been through the top position in that Ministry,
without any improvement in how it works, in such a way that it gives way to the
following question:

Could it
be that the mother of all incapacities is in the Presidential Palace of

A post I am proud of, linked for that same cause

August 3, 2005

I thought
that today was the three year anniversary of my blog and was planning to
celebrate it with a post about it and tell you how happy I was to find out
today this
to my page on a page named Justice for Linda,
sponsored by the International Planned Parenthood
Federation’s Western Hemisphere Region
to support the case of Linda
Loaiza. It turns out the anniversary of the blog is Saturday, but it does not
change my satisfaction at being linked to promote Linda Loaiza’s cause.
The link is to this post
I wrote explaining the case and why it bothered me so much about what
it meant in the context of my country. I was quite mad
that day at the case, at the Government and at our joke of a Judicial
system. Somehow being upset leads to good posts. If that post in any
way contributes to Linda
Loaiza’s cause, the three years minus two days of blogging would have
definitely worth it.

Please help!

Caldera Infante is back in the ethical revolution

August 3, 2005

It is now official, the man who was removed as head of Fogade for
suspected curruption, investigated by Congress, who admitted using
Government property and airplanes for personal use, but never charged is now the General Secretary of Carabobo State.

Kudos to the Chavista workers of that Governorship who protested the nomination.

Another step forward for corruption under the revolution.