Archive for August 6th, 2005

New Hardware

August 6, 2005

Have been playing with a new camera and here is the first output, on
the left Slc. Jungle Gem. On the right a spectacular Catltleya
Jenamanii from Venezuela.

Hay que votar and botar

August 6, 2005

A little sense of humor always helps, here is Weil with his usual sharpness doing a play on words, in Spanish “vote” is votar and throw away is “botar”. The cartoon says “You have to throw away” , refererring to the CNE into the garbage. You have to vote too!

Three devilish years

August 6, 2005

Today is
the third year anniversary of this blog. I don’t want to make a big deal of it,
but I want to note it because it has been a surprising trajectory. I began the
blog out of curiosity for this new technology and I thought that I could write
interesting articles about the distortions in the Venezuelan economy and other
topics of my own interest. Well, while I do tend write often about economic
matters, political events have led the blog into a very unexpected territory. It
has been fun and it has been painful, the latter mostly because we seem to be
even further behind the ideal Venezuela
that I think we could have and I wish we had. But it has been fun, because by blogging I feel I
do something daily to fight this autocratic Government that has destroyed
Venezuelan institutions in the name of a personal project with no plan other
than the promotion of its leader..

At the
same time, the blog has had remarkable unexpected consequences. I have made good
friends all over. Some I have met, others have become remarkably close friends
despite their virtuality. Through the readers and the friends that I have
made, I have learned a lot about people, about new ideas, received book recommendations and, in
general, have received advice and suggestions that I think have improved the
blog as well as its writer.

forward I will continue keeping this journal of this terrible times for my
country. It is simply a duty that I gladly assumed and will continueto assume, as long as
I feel it is necessary and I have the freedom to do it. Thanks for reading me!

To vote or not to vote

August 6, 2005

To vote or
not to vote, that is the question that many Venezuelans have pondered during
the last few months. Today, many still remain undecided as to what they will do
next Sunday. Curiously, even within the Chavismo, there is a movement towards
abstention, in protest for the way the candidates were handpicked by the

Within the
opposition, many view abstention as an act of protest against an Electoral
power who is so aligned with the Government that it not only allowed the violation
of the law, but has violated it itself repeatedly in the last year. By allowing
the “morochas” or twins, it will allow Chavez’ party to obtain more
representation on the city councils next Sunday, than the Constitution allows or they deserve.
This will allow Chavismo to have a large majority even in the cities and towns
where political forces are balanced. Even worse, it will give Chavismo a simple
majority in municipalities, where opposing forces are larger.

There are
other tricks ready. People who do not exist will vote, conveniently registered
in municipalities where their vote is needed. Others have been transferred to
other districts without them knowing it, despite the fact that these transfers
were done after the time limit allowed for such transfers.

And then
there is the fact that they will fingerprint voters as an excuse to insure that
you have not voted before, supposedly checking with a huge database where it will
compare your fingerprint to all of those that have voted before you that day. Then
I ask in my naviete: Why do they also dip my finger in indelible ink to show
that I have voted?

 The fingerprint machines continue to bother me intensely and immensely. There
is something behind them that drives their utilization. For this election alone,
the CNE purchased another US$ 20 million in fingerprint capturing machines. Why?
Clearly, the biggest suspicion is that somehow the voting machines and the
fingerprint machines will keep track of the order in which you voted, allowing
the Government to know exactly which way you voted. We will all be “tagged” politically,
as friend or foe, and one day it will come to haunt all of us in the opposition. Perverse? Have you ever heard of the Tascon list? Of course, others take a
more cynical position, wondering what commissions the CNE Directors received
for purchasing the equipment.

Sunday I will go and vote. Why? Because I believe in activism. I don’t
believe in staying home as a form of protest. It’s too comfortable, too
easy. If someone had planned some form of
active protest that would have surely shown that the large majority was
then I may have considered participating in it. But I doubt that I
would not have gone and vote anyway.

am a
democrat. I believe in democracy and all that goes with it. Good and bad. Democracy
is more than elections, even if the Chavistas seem to want to sell the
idea that elections is all there is to democracy. Democracy begins with
elections, that is why I can’t justify not going. If I
am going to say my vote was stolen, I have to vote first! I respect
those that
will not be voting, it is their right. It is not “impregnated by
spirit of coups” as suggested by our Vice President. In fact, Hugo Chavez spent
the years 1994-1997 advocating abstention, because one could not trust the electoral
system, at the time led by democratic bodies with all parties having political
representation in it. In fact, he was elected under that system that supposedly
did not work and was unfair.

I also
feel I have a duty to support the Mayor of the municipality I live in. He works
very hard. He does a good job.  By not voting I will endanger his ability to
execute and thus provide me with all of the services that my municipality gives
me. How would I feel if a city councilman from his party lost by one vote?

Yes, we
will be cheated. Yes, votes will disappear. Yes, we will be underrepresented. But one has to fight, even if your
vote is swiped. Even if your choice is silenced. Even if your name is blacklisted. There is nothing to do but
fight. So, I will go and vote.