Archive for October 25th, 2005

The Venezuelan (or is it Cuban?) Ministry of Information

October 25, 2005

And how about those guys at the Ministry of Communications? In the
interest of nationalism and sovereingty they sent around this e-mail
yestrerday to some reporters inviting them to a press conference by
none other than the Cuban Ambassador! I guess by now it has become the
Venezuelan/Cuban Ministry of Information.

Aren’t they nice! Note that not only did they provide the invitations,
but at the bottom you can see that you can even RSVP at the Ministry
itself! I guess the Cuban Embassy is too busy shipping our oil to Cuba,
supervising the 20,000 Cuban medical Doctors so they don’t escape and
spying on us to bother with these little details. Thus, they call their
inferior colleagues to do their dirty work for them. BTW, the press
conference was mostly to blast the President of some country up north whose name is Jorge or something like that.

Here is the text of the invitation:

Estimados Colegas

A continuación les enviamos convocatoria emitida por la Embajada de Cuba en Venezuela.






HORA : 10:00 AM

NOTA: Por favor confirmar asistencia a

Ministerio de Comunicación e Información

Dirección de Medios Internacionales

How Chavez’ revolution lies and cheats

October 25, 2005

Scene #1
: Sunday in Alo Presidente none other than President Hugo Chavez
that conversations were very advanced to reach an agreement with Agropecuaria
Agroflora, the Corporation that holds the Vestey Holdings in Venezuela.
According to Chavez Agroflora would hand
part of the more than 300 thousand hectares of farmland the company
owns. In fact, Chavez said that there was a meeting to define what those areas

Next day, my friend Alek Boyd looked into the matter in London and found out
that no agreement has been reached and in fact few conversations have taken
place. Moreover, today Vestey said that they are still fighting in the Courts
to defend their rights, but have reached no agreement on the matter (Tal Cual page 12).

Scene #2: The former President of the National Assembly said
that if the Supreme Court bans the so called “Morochas”
“twins” by which Chavez’ party MVR will get more positions for the
Assembly by registering a fake political party and field candidates by name for
one and by slate for the other one, then, they will field candidates on their
own recognizance rather than any political party and ordering their supporters
to vote for them.

I see, he is saying: “If we are not allowed to cheat one way, we will find
another way of bypassing the law and the Constitution and take advantage of our
majority as well as our funding”. Walks, like one, looks like one…

Scene # 3: Last night Hugo Chávez himself went haywire, saying
that he was considering
steel company Sidor if they did
not do what he wanted. Sidor was privatized in the 90’s after decades
losses and sold to a consortium of Argentinian, Mexican and Venezuelan
companies. Basically, Sidor exports part of its steel production but
Chavez wants
them to sell mostly in Venezuela
even if prices are lower. Chavez left no doubt about his intentions: “I am
tired of talking, if we don’t reach an agreement within a week, we will issue a

Tonight the President of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce said
as he left a meeting with Chavez
: “The Executive guarantees respect
for private property”. Hello? Who did he meet with? Did he read the papers today? Can he trusts these guys? Is this guy stupid?

You can read more scenes here
or here,
where Chavez told a reporter in response to a question about Tascon’s list:
“That’s totally false. Those who say that are the very people who were
trying to demonize my government. We have a fully democratic country.”

Oh yeah! I made up everything I put
but wait! Didn’t Chavez himself tell Tascon to put away the list?
Didn’t Chavez himself authorize
to get the list of those that signed against him?

So much for demonizing, we all know where the professional liars and cheaters
are…and let’s not talk about the fascists!

The healthcare crisis in Venezuela: Oil money, where art thou? by Maritza Ramirez de Agena

October 25, 2005

This article sent to me by a reader of my blog, speaks for itself aboout the state of the healthcare crisis in Venezuela

Oil money, where art thou? by Maritza Ramirez de Agena

in the oil rich Venezuela
have no medicine!” These were the words of a Norwegian reporter from TV2, who
visited Vargas Hospital
in Venezuela.

persistent reporter and his crew managed, after three days of resistance by
President Chavez’s bodyguards, to get close enough to the president during a
public event, where he promptly said: Mr. President “I visited a hospital with
a lack of medicine, I don’t understand that”.

Chavez’s response reflected clearly not only his incompetence; but also a
premeditated attempt to lie about the chaotic situation faced by the health
care institutions in Venezuela:
“I do not know to what you are referring… What hospital did you visit? Well,
what is important for you to know is that independently of what you found in a
particular site, my government has developed a strategic plan that has been
already put into place… you know, social programs… for example…”

reporter proceeded to explain that the president started talking about
something else, and turned away allowing his bodyguards to finally push, the
TV2 Norwegian news crew, away from President Chavez.

Venezuelans, in my opinion, the vast majority of my fellow citizens, are in a
survival mode while the president spends millions of dollars on worldwide
tours; helping the victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans (while Vargas’
“reconstruction” is still in blue print, if so) and financing the spread of his
“social revolution” in South and Central America. Meanwhile his own
people are dying in hospitals because of a lack of resources.

Not long
ago, my family called me from Venezuela
to inform me that one of my cousins was seriously ill. Apparently, she had a
brain aneurysm. To confirm the diagnosis, my cousin and her closest family
members had to make arrangements to travel to a different state, because the
hospital in Merida city, did not count with the medical equipment necessary to
perform the CT Angiography (a noninvasive way of seeing brain blood vessels), required
by the neurologist.

When my
cousin got the CT angiography, she returned to Merida where the neurologist confirmed she,
indeed, had a brain aneurysm. She had to undergo surgery. Unfortunately,
she could not be operated on immediately, as it is required in such critical
situations; she had to wait indefinitely — while hospitalized– for her turn
to use the surgery room. One, two and up to three months can pass by while a
Venezuelan citizen awaits for his/her chance to receive the appropriate medical
treatment because of lack of surgical materials, medicines, medical equipment
and ultimately the lack of availability of beds and surgical rooms due to high

weeks of anguish, frustration and desperation, my cousin went to the surgical
room. Unfortunately, my cousin’s operation had been delayed so long that
her brain blood vessel was under too much stress. She died of a brain
hemorrhage during the surgical procedure. She leaves behind two children and a
family who will never understand why in oil rich Venezuela, a country where there is
supposedly a “strategic plan” to save us all; she could not do anything but to
wait for her death on a hospital bed.

Chavez said to the TV2 reporter that his government had a “strategic plan”,
when asked why there were no medicines in the hospital the reported visited. I
am thinking, well, it is possible that the only two hospitals with lack of
medicine and resources are the “Hospital Universitario de Merida”, where my
cousin died, and the hospital visited by the TV2 reporter. The other
possibility is that the “strategic plan” conceived by the Chavez administration
has taken SIX YEARS to be designed and implemented… Six years to send the
hospitals around the country the necessary budget for them to function
properly. Let us see, there is no excuse uh? Skyrocketing oil prices! Would not
it be great if the president did a “tour” of the hospitals around the country,
instead of going to so many exotic places?

hospitals cannot satisfy the high demand of low- income citizens that cannot
afford private clinics. Is not this ironic? So much love for the poor,
proclaimed by Chavez, and they are the ones abandoned to their luck in the
“free Venezuelan hospitals”.

As the
doctor interviewed by the TV2 reporter said:

“Someone (else) is keeping the money,
because it is obvious the money is coming to Venezuela”.

Those Right Wing Chavistas!

October 25, 2005

Talking about
right wing Chavistas may sound oxymoronic, but it is a testimony to the
confusing state of Venezuelan politics today, that in a recent poll aimed at
measuring the values of the Venezuelan electorate by Liderazgo y Vision, 47% of those
that support Chavez either directly or via other parties like Podemos, spouse
values which have been repeatedly called or defined by the press as right wing. But
let’s start at the beginning.

The poll
was aimed at measuring values of the electorate. In fact, it sounds almost like
a marketing poll for politicians. The first interesting fact is that a large
percentage of the Venezuelan electorate feels that nobody out there represents
them and would like a new party (Francisco Toro has been talking about the Nini’s
which may or not necessarily be this segment of people. The Nini’s are more
closely defined as those that simply don’t care about politics, but you should also
read that discussion here,
and here).
In the poll, 36.6% of the population sympathizes with the right, which
remarkably is the best defined group of all, as only 17.4% think they are left
wing, 8.7% considers itself center right and 5.4% think they are center left. Clearly,
the biggest problem is that 31.7% of the population has no clue as to how to
define themselves.

difficulty is that while the press has focused on the right wing aspect of it
with all of its connotations, what the polls shows is slightly different than
that. The values that are considered right wing maybe more closely defined as
conservative. These Venezuelans are nationalistic, militaristic, in favor of
law and order and defenders of the country’s sovereignty. Thus, part of Chavez’
speech resonates well with them. What was staggering in my mind is the huge
percentage of pro-Chavez people that this represents.

I have not been able to find the detailed numbers of this poll, but it would
appear as if of those Venezuelans that consider themselves conservative, a
majority of them are supporters of President Chavez. I say this, because the
poll indicates that of those that think that new political parties are needed (45.2%
of those polled), 38.4% believe that it should be a “right wing” party. It would
also be interesting to see the gender differences among those polled as men
tend to be more conservative and pro-military than women.

What this
shows is how complex, and in my opinion, little understood the Venezuelan
electorate is. People did not vote in 1998 for Chavez’s revolution as he defines
it today, they voted in the hope of changing the system, making it better, more
efficient, less crime and improving the standard of living. While Chavez has
failed to deliver on any of these, the authoritarian and militaristic style
definitely resonates with a large segment of the population. Incredibly the
poll indicates that fighting poverty is not among the top priorities of the
population, in fact, economic development is the main priority according to the

the higher the economic level and education level the more likely that a Venezuelan
will define himself or herself as being leftwing. Thus, the poor tend to be
more right wing than the well to do. However, there seems to be little
conception of what “left” or “right” mean in terms of an economic model for the

As a
Venezuelan, what probably bothers me the most about this poll, which is
consistent with values measured decades ago, is that there is still the
yearning for some form of authoritarian and military figure to lead us. It is the
tragedy of Venezuela in
particular and Latin America
in general that these values remain there under the surface, despite the
repeated failure of the military to solve the problems of any country and all
of the damage that they have done to our region.

I don’t
claim to understand all of what this poll means or implies, as I said, I have
not been able to see but pieces of the data. In fact, I have started this post
like four times in the last two weeks and was never happy with the outcome. But
I think the results of the polls are important and need to be discussed and understood
and thus needed to be presented here in some fashion. What is clear to me is that there is a
large segment of the Venezuelan population that spouses fairly conservative
values (not right wing!) which may be thought of as arising form nationalistic ideals. Remarkably, a larger fraction of them appears
to support Chavez than oppose him, despite his left wing message.

Makes you
think, no?