Archive for September, 2005

Venezuelan Government reneges on agreement, expropriates Polar plant

September 26, 2005

The Chavez Government is so cynical and false that it can agree on something one week and turn around and change its mind the week after. It just did this today, going back on everything that it had agreed on with the owners of the Polar plant (Remavenca) on Barinas state.

The whole story began on August 31st., when a plant owned by the Polar group was “intervened”by a military force led by the Minister of Agriculture himself. Of course, the concept of “intervention” simply does not exist in Venezuela’s jurisprudence, but the Chavez administration does not even care about the form, what it can not get legally it can get by force. And it can be very scary to have a military battalion take over your property in a country where one no longer knows where the Government begins and the military ends.

The Polar group protested the interventions and went to the Supreme Court asking for an injunction on the matter. The Court has yet to reply, in clear violation of the law. The group also went to the National Assembly and also met with the Vice-President to show that the plant was operational and had been certified as such by the Government itself. The Minister of Agriculture himself announced on September 16th. that the impasse “had been overcome” and while there were delays in having the military leave the facilities as agreed, they were returned to their rightful owners.

Well, today, the Governor of Barinas state signed a decree expropriating the same plant, arguing social interest and public usefulness. The cynicism went even further than that as the Minister of Agriculture, who was present during the reading of the decree, later said that the act by the Governor of Barinas state and its legislature was “an independent decision”. Yes, we are supposed to believe in pur naviety and stupidty that, when the Governor of Barinas state is none other than Chavez’ own father Hugo de Los Reyes Chavez, who does nothing but what the autocrat himself tells him. Yeah, right!

As I said when I first reported in this case, the Law of The Jungle is now the prevailing system of Justice in Venezuela these days. The Government has been trying to intimidate everyone using the military to intervene farms and plants and attempt to get some form of agreement out of the owners. This does not always work, so it resorts then to others mechanisms. In this case, this is what the law says except the law states, except that there has to be compensation first.

But we are beyond that. By now Chavez is out of control and doing whatever he pleases in the name of social justice. But there is no such thing in Venezuela. All we have is an autocrat who is completely out of control, abusing his powers and reneging on agreements in the name of a non-existent independence between the executive power and regional Governments, which Chavez has never respected anyway. But the goal has been achieved; take away the plant form Polar. You can be sure it will be dismantled and there will be nothing there in a couple of years. This revolution only destroys, it does not know how to build or even use the most basic infrastructure.

For some reason Chavez is accelerating the process of taking over private property and he could care less about the law. This is not a random event; it is clearly a planned strategy in the face of a lower popularity and widespread protests. The only question may be who is next, or maybe better, are you next and are you doing anyhing about it?


September 25, 2005

You have to admire Carlos Azpurua. The military has surrounded his farm
La Marquesea. Chavez himself went there today to hold his program and
almost announced some form of agreement with Azpurua. But nothing
doing according
to Azpurua late today, who is sticking to his guns and remianing in his
farm. Azpurua thanked Chavez for his words, but reiterated that his
farm is private property. He said he would study the President’s
proposal and sort of sent Chavez a challenge when he said that he
believed the President when he said that he would no run over anyone.
He also said any agreement would need to pay him and his partners, of
which there are six, to receive compensation first.

Venezuela needs more fighting men of principles like Carlos Azpurua.
Others would shut up, hide or run (In fact, many do everyday, preferring to make a buck quietly!). He is
standing by his principles and ethics and his own well being is at
stake. I hope, but doubt, that Chavez will stick to his words. I fear
there will be blood in La Marquesea.

Hugo sows fears by Teodoro Petkoff

September 25, 2005

Typically Teodoro Petkoff does not write his Editorial on
Fridays unless something important requires it. This Friday he did, here it is.

Hugo sows fears
by Teodoro Petkoff in Tal Cual

To those that we expropriate the land from, maybe I will
give them a paper: In 2030 collect from Chvez. Perhaps the President intended
to make a (bad) joke with this idea, but there is no doubt that his subconscious
gave him away letting out a repressed wish. Deep inside, one may believe he
wants to confiscate and not expropriate. In fact, when he refers to the payment
for the properties to be expropriated he let out, almost inadvertently, that they
will be paid when they can and as they can. Chavez has no clue of the wasps nest
that he is stirring. Among the strongest feelings that move human beings is that
of ownership.

It is as much or even more powerful than love. That is why
everything that has to with it has to be handled with extreme care, in
particular by Governments. When Chavez leaves doubts as to whether there will be
or not indemnization for the owners of lands or factories, that is, that
they can be confiscated, snatched from their owners, and in second place he is
clearly violating the Constitution and the laws, where confiscation is expressly
prohibited. Thus the fears that today permeate down to the most humble of the inhabitants
of the popular barrios, to say nothing of the middle class.

The application of the Land Bill, with the unnecessary
military deployment and with prepotent and aggressive language, given the impression
that they are acting outside of the law itself, has done nothing but generate
in the country and atmosphere of fear about the future of property in general. To
make matters worse, the last statements by the President about the empty lots
in the cities, of which they have to be watchful in order to expropriate them
supposedly to build housing, are increasing the sense of anxiety in all sector of
society. Chvez, with that ultraleftist infantilism, is promoting even more uncertainty
that, among other things, conspires openly against job creation and the fight against
poverty. In a country where nobody knows what to expect in the future and where
even coop members are asked to forget about making money, it is impossible to create
new jobs because nobody is going to invest a cent if they dont know what may
happen to their investment.

The result will be more poverty.

What there is pertinent in the elimination of large farm estates
or the creation of new form of economic and social organization, advanced however,
setting aside the search for possible agreements, produces a trauma which is more
psychological than political and will stumble with resistance from those
that have little, who only owning a small home property, may feel however, that
the Government may take it away from them.

Some may think that he is just putting the rich in their rightful
place, but others may believe that things will just not stop there and you start
by militarily intervening Polar and you may end confiscating and nationalizing kiosks
where newspaper are sold. In social and political life, reality matters much less
than what people perceive of it. That is why so many revolutionary intentions have utterly failed.

September 25, 2005

Chavez attack on the La Marquesea farm is not simply a
. Whenyou compare that farm to
many of the larger properties, it is a fairly active farm which does not reach the
10,000 hectares that the Government had targeted for expropriation and had all
of the certifications required as an active farm.

But you
see, Chavez is emotionally linked to the La Marquesea farm through his great
grandfather Pedro Perez Delgado Maisanta. I was going to write about it today
and some of the details were published by Agustin
Blanco Muoz in todays El Universal
and I will add others.

was a farm hand at La Marquesea and became the second in command of guerilla
leader Jose de Jesus Gonzalez El Agachado, who was one of the followers of
Ezequiel Zamora, another Chavez idol. The other well known follower of El
Agachado was Joaquin Crespo, who helps open the way for Cipriano Castros
election as President. It is Castro who names Maisanta as Military and Civil
Chief of Chavez home town of Sabaneta
and gives him right to the farm where he used to work, La Marquesea. Thus,
Chavez great grandfather was the supposed owner of that farm early in this century.

Cipriano Castro is overthrown by Gomez, Maisanta quickly changes sides and
becomes part of Gomez military. But in 1914 Maisanta joins a coup attempt
against Gomez and joins the guerrilla. Gomez expropriated La Marquesea from
Maisanta at that time. Maisanta spent years in the guerrillas until he was
captured and died in jail. Supposedly he was one of those that died because
they were unwittingly fed ground glass daily in their food.

to Chavez long time girlfriend Herma Marksman, who was with Chavez until a year
and a half after the 1992 coup attempt, Chvez always talked about getting back
the La Marquesea farm, because those lands belonged to his great grandfather.
Chavez also talked about rescuing the image of his grandfather who appears in
the history books as a cattle robber, bloody guerrilla leader who would change sides
whenever necessary. Marksman says that Chavez believed that Maisanta was a
fighter for the weak and not the mean and bloody character that historians says
he was.

Now, the
owners of La Marquesea claim they purchased the farm from the Government after
that date and Chavez has suggested that his great grandfather owned the land. But
the truth is that since 1821, when all lands were expropriated by the
Venezuelan Government, there is no transfer of the land until the Azpurua family
bought it from the Government. Maisantas ownership was characteristic of the
time, Castro just gave it to him without any transfer of property.

write this as Chavez is broadcasting his Sunday program from la
people not to allow hate to be brought into their lives, when the only
one that
is full of hate and hang ups is the President himself, who clings to a
past for
this country and himself that will never return. Venezuela is no longer
the rural country of Maisanta or Chavez’ childhood and few of the
87% of its inhabitants who live in cities have no interest in
returning to the land.

Hugo the XIVth. legislates again

September 24, 2005

Well, Chavez the XIVth., the Pluto King of Little Venice was legislating again (by susbcription) yesterday when he gave us this new piece of his wisdom:

“All land is the property of the state..those that have title have “some rights”…”

Whatever happened to Article 115 of the Constitution which clearly states:
“The right to porperty is guaranteed. All persons have the right to
use, enjoy, make the most of and dipose of their property. Property
would be subject to the conditions, restrictions and obligations that
the law establishes with the public good or general interest as its
end. Only for reasons of public interest or social use by a firm
sentence and opportune payment of compensentation can the expropriation
of any type of property be declared.”

To me it sounds like it is the other way around, you own the land and the state may have the right to expropriate under certain conditions.. But hey, he is the law!

IBD blasts Jimmy Carter!

September 23, 2005

I must say it gives me a sense of satisfaction when the press in the US
blasts Jimmy Carter, more so if they remind him of his system failure
in the Venezuelan recall vote, as well as his flirting with
totalitarian leaders over the years. An excerpt from the Editorial in Investor’s Business Daily:

“But then we’ve known that. Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize
winner, has traveled abroad for years as an official observer,
habitually legitimizing the elections of dictators and other unsavory
characters, most recently Hugo Chavez last year in Venezuela.”

I just love it!

The Chavez praying mantis effect is alive and well!

September 23, 2005

If you think Chavez is tough and intolerant with his
enemies, he has always been worse when it comes time to get back at his friends
and staunch supporters Chavez is not only intolerant, a trait from his military
background, but simply has to have absolute and total loyalty, which has led me
to coin the term the Chavez praying mantis effect, he simply eats his own,
once they have done the job for him. There is a long list of those that have been
eaten by Chavez of which Miquilena, Arias Cardenas, Urdaneta, Uson and Rosendo
are just but a few.

This week the effect was back and with a vengeance, demonstrating
that Chavez ahs no loyalties than to himself and that he is as intolerant and ruthless
as they get.

While there were incidents involving Luis Tascon, promoter
and executor of the infamous Tascon fascist list, Lina Ron, the fiery and aggressive
communal leader who has defended Chavze at every step and union leader Ramon
Machuca for joining a protest against Chavez, no case has had the resonance and
impact of TV announcer Walter Martinez, which Tal Cual has dubbed Waltergate.

is a veteran TV reporter and announcer who sided with Chvez in 1998 and had
become prominent in the Government TV station VTV. Martinez has been a rapid promoter of the revolution
and Chavez via his program Dossier. Everything was fine and dandy until this
week Martinez charged
that there were too many people betting at Chavismo without Chvez and that he
had proof that there were Government officials who wore red berets in order to make
a buck. This did not set well with the Minister of Information and
Communication Pimentel who took him off the air and reportedly was told that he
would not go back on the air until he provided the proof.

This has led to rallies in favor of Martinez outside the TV stations
headquarters, graffiti in his support all over the walls of the station and constant
crowds and chanting almost every hour of the day. Two TV announcers from the TV
channel were removed from their jobs fir refusing to read a communiqu asking Martinez to make his accusations to the Prosecutors
office and Martinez
also had to stop his radio program. But Martinez,
who says he is a solider of the revolution, did not get the backing he expected
from the President. Showing how much the President pays attention to the minutiae
of politics, the President himself called a TV program where he attacked Martinez rather than defend
him. Chavez defended Martinez
suspension saying people have to be humble and not let themselves be driven by
their effort to be protagonists. With that, it was clear that Martinez was dispensable. You just dont accuse
this pure revolution of corruption. Chavez will do nothing against it because
it helps him achieve his political goals.

Thus, the soldier of the revolution awaiting for
orders from the Supreme being found today himself without support, victim of
the revolution and the corruption that surrounds it and may be eating it from

Savage Socialism by Teodoro Petkoff

September 23, 2005

Socialism by Teodoro Petkoff in Tal Cual

Chavez placed in orbit his concept of socialism for the XXIst. Century, after
a number of years of his frenetic political relationship with Cuba, he could
not help but awaken in some Venezuelans-including many of his supporters among
the common people-the strong apprehension that his idea about the matter approximates
to what exists in Cuba. When the everyday Venezuelan hears the word socialism
he inevitably associates the term with Cuba
and with the USSR and not
with Sweden.
Nobody knows better the negative weight of the anti-communist prejudices than
the democratic people on the left and how much it costs to dissipate the
equating that many people make between totalitarian dictatorships like the
soviet and the Cuban ones and socialism. .

if in a game of word associations you say socialism, the other responds
without thinking Cuba.
And Cuba,
with its long life-time dictatorship, which has already lasted 46 years and
with its overwhelming economic and social failure, no longer gets anyone enthusiastic
about it. Nobody in good mental health, unless he is a fanatic that does not reason,
could look to Cuba
for a project for social change of an advanced nature. In fact, Chavez himself has
been forced, once in a while, to say that neither the USSR nor Cuba are models to be copied. But
words can do little in the face of facts and what is being perceived is that
the relationship with the island is so close that it seems that it is in Cuba that Chavez
is thinking when he speaks of socialism.

But as if
this was not enough, in his most recent speeches he is adding fuel to the fire,
when he gets involved in the rugged paths of socio-economic digressions. As if
the famous polemic in Cuba, between moral incentives and material incentives
for the workers, as mechanisms to stimulate production, had not been resolved
by reality, in favor of those like, against those like Che Guevara, held that
need for the second option. Chavez now pretends that members of coops forget
about earnings, because production can not become part of the mercantile
bloodstream but that earnings have to be devoted to pay society back, even
with donations. If these criteria whose ingenious faith matches well the ignorance
that they are impregnated with, imposed themselves, coops would go straight to
bankruptcy and the ruin of its members.

Chavez complains about collective bargaining and of those union leaders that
are looking for a few bucks as well as the exaggerated salary demands of the
state companies, he suggests the idea (of which Lenin laughed at in his time)
that the working class, that is revolutionary in itself, can not have contradictions
with his state employer and that in the name of the revolution, unions should
represent the state and not the workers. XXIst Century socialism supposes
then, as far as we can see, the elimination of autonomous unions and the
absolute subordination of the workers movement to the designs of the state, the
Government and the party. That is the way it was in the USSR that is the way it is in Cuba and, is that what Chavez is proposing for Venezuela?

There are reasons
to be concerned. Will the pro-Chavez union leaders of the UNT reflect on this?

The words of a fascist President

September 22, 2005

Hugo Chavez today:

“For those that do not want to collaborate, we will apply the law and we will take everything away from them”

Can it be any clearer than that?

Huguito, the Pluto King of Little Venice

September 21, 2005

the XIVth., The Pluto King of Little Venice and adjacent territories, continued
proving that his rule shines across all powers as he continued to legislate, rule,
govern, meddle, pontificate, lie and change his mind about any issue that his
meandering mind may like.

Huguitos topic for the week was his continued attack on private property,
profits, capitalism and in general the promotion of monastic values which, he
of course does not practice. Flying in his US$ 85 million Airbus, wearing Lanvin
suits, Cartier watches and Disney underwear, Huguito called for his
co-management social companies to be non-profit, told workers that that they
should not aspire to be rich and that having two of anything was bad. All of
this from the 100 suit man, including a dozen military uniforms with ranks he
never achieved and the three dozen fancy watch man. But hey, we have exceptions
in XXIst. Century Socialism, particularly if we are talking about the all-wise,
all-wavering, egotist, fascist, autocrat, the Pluto King himself.

scolded the Mayors for not expropriating urban lands, forgetting that
he has
yet to eliminate the right to private property in the Constitution. Oh
yes! He does not control two thirds of the assembly yet, but wait till
December, Jorgito the snake will take care of that. And he said
that he would cancel mining concessions issued in previous Governments,
immediately said that the Government would operate the Las Cristinas
gold mine,
a concession graciously awarded to Canadian concern Crystallex, you
guessed it,
under Huguitos Government itself. But this is what is so wonderful
about the
Pluto King. You never know when he will wake up with a wonderful new,
and better idea to screw an enemy, or a friend for that matter. His
only true
friend and trusted confidant is the Pluto King himself. And his economy ignorance and improvisation is unlimited.

And since
he had not attacked the gringos since leaving the Bronx, sans two Cuban-adopted Venezuelan bodyguards who decided to try
their luck in Bushs land, he blasted Verizon-controlled-phone-company CANTV
warning that if they did not pay retired workers what the Supreme Court had
ordered, he would apply to them the acid and sword of the law, no matter how
powerful they thought they were. Of course, the Supreme Court has made no such
ruling, it simply ruled in the workers favor and asked a lower Court to
establish damages. Moreover, CANTV may yet appeal the decision. But you see,
for Huguito or you may call him Pluto, these are just the details, the law
moves too slow, even if it rules the way he wants. He is after all, the law. He
is the King, He is Huguito, the Pluto King of Little Venice.