Archive for January, 2006

Cindy Sheehan : Who do you think you are kissing?

January 28, 2006

I really could care less if Cindy Sheehan is fighting the war or is agaisnt Bush, but it seems naive, disingenous and silly to come to Venezuela to speak against “militarism” at the World Social Forum, in a country run by an autocratic former military officer, coup plotter, who has over half his Government run by former or active military officers ( also see here, here and here) and is spending billions in weapons, while claiming to be fighting poverty. I mean, who does she think she is kissing?

The enemy of your enemy is not necessarily your friend.

A grotesque and disgraceful display by the Supreme Court Justices

January 27, 2006

If there was ever a scene that stunned me and shamed me, was to see today the tape of the opening of the Supreme Court sessions for the Judicial year 2006 which took place two days ago. President Chavez was in attendance, the President of the Supreme Court gave a speech in which he spoke of Justice and independence. The Hall was packed with Justices and the employees of the Court. Then the session ended and the Justices in their solemn robes proceeded to show why this revolution is absolutely grotesque and immoral and why everything that was expressed during the session is as fake and empty as the revolution itself

The Justices got up and started in a chorus to sing the Chavista chant “Uh Ah Chavez no se va” (Uh Ah Chavez is not leaving)

The picture of the exact moment when this happened is shown above. I have never been so ashamed, stunned, amazed in my life. That the men who are in charge of administering Justice in my country could stoop so low, could be so servile to the man, to the so called revolution, that they could be so afraid, so scared that they would suck up to him by putting on such a unethical display of emotions is simply disgraceful. They should all resign effective immediately after that shameful show of disrespect to Justice and to all Venezuelans.

(P.S. You can read about it in Tal Cual or Noticiero Digital)


January 26, 2006

Caracas has some hidden places that make it an interesting and cosmopolitan city. One of them is the “Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Caracas Sofía Imber
(MACCSI) that has a remarkable collection of modern art that can be
compared to that of larger and richer cities around the world.

The newcomer is pleasantly surprised to find such an incredible congregation of excellent pieces in an artistic oasis in the middle of Caracas. The Museum was an object of pride among Venezuelans and represented what Venezuelans were able to achieve when they left politics aside and followed only a criteria of excellence and knowledge.

When such an achievement happens in an unlikely society, it is very often because someone was behind it. That someone in this case is Sofia Imber, a well known journalist and art patron that put all her soul and positive stubbornness into creating and maintaining a first class International Museum.

Sofía Imber was the Museum director for many years, and during the tenure of many governments. Four years ago, however, she was kicked out of the Museum by the Chavista government. At that time, she learned she had been fired on TV.

Two days ago we learned that the MACCSI will lose its “SI”: the government has decided to remove the name of the founder, Sofía Imber, from the official name of the Museum.

Why? Why four years after removing Sofia Imber from her post does the government decide to remove her name? Wouldn’t have been more natural to remove it four years ago? Why now? What has Sofia been doing that insulted the government so much?

Well, Sofia has been signing a letter and, in Chavez’s Venezuela, signing your name has become a risky event.

Sofia, who also happens to be jewish, signed the letter repudiating Chavez’s recent anti-semitic remarks.

As this ghost blogger reported, the letter, signed by hundreds of well known personalities, professors and intellectuals, enraged the government so much that they did not lost any time in writing an offensive attack against all that had signed in the official MCI page. The government states, among other things, that the letter is a product of a Bush campaign, that the signatories are intellectually dishonest and that they are lying to delegitimize the government of Venezuela and “justify a military intervention in the country”.

The readers can judge by themselves if any of those statements are present in the letter that was published and that I include here:

So today in Tal Cual there is an interview with Sofia Imber where she says that she was not surprised of the government move, that she had been expecting that to happen. To the question of why now, she answered that it was because she just signed the protest letter against Chavez anti-semitic remarks.

I can see that Sofia and I had the same interpretation of the events and so has PAM-CHITO from Notitarde:

To finish this ghost blogging piece, I will leave you with today’s caricature of Pedro Leon Zapata, who is another Venezuelan institution and happens to be the last signatory of the letter:

It says:

“The Museum, for the time being (*), does not have a name, but we have an alternate route (**). To Tattoo a number in its arm! ”

Jorge Arena

Distinguished Ghost Blogger

(*) Reference to the famous “Por ahora” used by lieutenant colonel Chavez when he appeared on TV after the failed coup of February 4, 1992.

(**) Reference to the lack of an alternative route for the viaduct that links Caracas with its port and airport and failed a few weeks ago due to neglect.

Laughing at CENSORSHIP

January 26, 2006

Laughing at CENSORSHIP: Left: Chavista on the left: Think about it, what future could this country have if we allo everybody to go around telling the truth. Cartoon on the right: A caricature of Dicttaor Marcos Perez Jimenez: I never liked to be at war with the media nor violate their right to inform, that is why I eliminated them.

XXIst. Century Viaduct

January 26, 2006

Chavez’ hot air, or is it gas?

January 25, 2006

This simply goes to show how Chavez is simply full of gas:

President Hugo Chavez says the pipeline is a central part of his
efforts to reduce dependence on the United States and its pressure for
free market policies known as the Washington Consensus.

It’s “the beginning of the South American consensus,” Chavez has said. “This pipeline is vital for us.”

Roberto Smeraldi of the Friends of the Earth-Brazil said the short timetable seemed unworkable.

government like Brazil’s can’t do similar studies for projects covering
(310 miles) after 10 years of discussion, and now they are going to
manage in-depth studies for a (5,000-mile) project in six months?” he

Venezuelan leader estimated the pipeline would cost $20 billion to $25
billion, but Smeraldi said strict adherence to Brazil’s tough
environmental laws would double the cost.

also questioned the economic wisdom of the plan, especially after
Brazil’s government-run oil company announced it would invest $18
billion to develop the country’s natural gas fields.

Brazil and Argentina have gas fields large enough to cover their own
domestic demands. I don’t see why they would like to undertake this
hugely costly project, with money they don’t have, not to mention
environment costs,” said Norman Gall, executive director of the Fernand
Braudel Institute of World Economy.”

What our cynical VP used to say about attempts at CENSORSHIP only eight years ago

January 25, 2006

I had to
translate and post this great quote from the Editorial in today’s Tal Cual from none other than now Vice-President
Jose Vicente Rangel, the Chief cynic of the Chavez administration. The same man
who spent his life as a reporter criticizing corruption and any attempt,
however small, to violate the right of free speech and now is completely silent
on both and has cozied up with the same military he used to blast and call the
most corrupt sector of Venezuelan society.

This was
what he said about censorship in another era, seemingly long ago, when he was
far from the power he never achieved via the ballot box, but that he is so
close to now. This is the same cynic who in April 12th. 2002 said he would go
back quietly to being a reporter. Definitely a very pitiful figure of this fake
revolution. The same man that was twice the Presidential candidate of the
Venezuelan left, the defender of the democracy, of human rights, of freedom of
speech. Today on the side of the same censorship he once blasted:

Veracity of

The topic is
on the table.

It is broached
systematically by the Government in a way that has to be qualified as suspicious.
Why? Because Governments whenever they treat the question of information and
when it has to do with freedom of speech, do it in an interested way. With
purposes that are not quite clear. They proclaim, constantly, that freedom of
speech is being respected, but in practice there are omissions, suspicious
pressures and manipulations of various sorts. When is it the Executive branch
that affects freedom of information? When is it the Judicial branch? When are
there connections between one and the other and when are the hostile tendencies
towards freedom of speech intertwined?

José Vicente
Rangel on July 27 th. 1997 in El Universal

Paradoxes of the revolution

January 25, 2006

–One of
the police officials accused of the forced disappearances in Guarico state is
now a Deputy of the National Assembly and will join the Human Rights Committee
of that legislative body.

–It is
unfair to say Hugo Chavez spends money only abroad; he just approved US$ 46
million in funds to overhaul and arm the country’s submarines, which will
clearly benefit the ___________ population. (Fill in your choice)

for maintenance of the viaduct disappeared from the national budget in 1999, Chavez’
first year in office, according to Sunday’s El Nacional.

went down 2.1% to 8.9% last year, thanks to two miracles: First, not a single
Venezuelan started looking for a job for the first time in his/her life in
2005, down from some 400,000 new job seekers per year in the previous years.
Second, 228 thousand Venezuelans gave up looking for a job. Do I foresee zero
unemployment in Venezuela
in a few years?

–In the
upcoming Caribbean Baseball Series, Venezuelan teams will be discriminated
against as foreign teams will be able to advertise alcoholic drinks but the
local team will not, according to the decree published in January 6th.
2006 in the Official Gazette. Whatever happened to Art. 21 of the Chavez-promoted

Venezuelan banks continue to make money hand over fist, the largest state-owned
bank, Banco Industrial de Venezuela, lost BS. 12.6 billion in the second half
of 2005. Don’t worry, its Board is taking appropriate measures to reverse this,
it will open a branch in Bolivia
in the next quarter.

XXIst. Century CENSORSHIP by Teodoro Petkoff

January 24, 2006

     XXI st. CENTURY


XXIst. Century CENSORSHIP by
Teodoro Petkoff in Tal Cual

Today we woke up with a concrete
measure of censorship for the written press, radio and television.

A judge, at the request of the
Prosecutor, has forbidden the publication of any information about the Anderson trial and, on
top of that, any information about the “private life” of the ineffable “star
witness”, Geovanny Vasquez De Armas. At the same time it appointed CONATEL as
the executing arm of the censorship measure when it ordered the opening of
“administrative procedures” not only against the “radio electric” media (which
are the ones in its scope) but also against the written press (with which
Conatel has nothing to do with)

About the “star witness” the
judge prohibits the “publication, diffusion or exposing” of information that
“make reference to the named witness” in particular with information relating
to his “private life”. This really is the last straw. The information published
about Mr. Vasquez De Armas does not referee
to his “private life” but precisely they refer to his public life. According to
the information provided by official Colombian organizations this man is a
hoodlum. Although this part of his private life does not disqualify him as a
witness, because, in principle, crook and all he could be telling the truth,
however, the information published refers to the peculiar nature of his criminal
specialty: identity theft and the forgery of documents, which, could obviously
make his testimony questionable. When the media inform about this aspect of the
“public life” of the “star” they are doing nothing but fill in the omissions of
the Prosecutor’s Office, that was obligated to give the data about the
mentioned subject and, in particular, to let us know that not only he is not a
psychiatrist but that he has been detained a few time in Colombia for the
crimes mentioned. On top of that, as if this were not enough, last week
information was published, verifiable at that, which would demonstrate that the
“star witness” could not have participated in the meeting in Panama where supposedly the “intellectual
authors” would have planned the assassination of Anderson,
because on that same date he was in jail in Riohacha, Colombia.
Should a media source that has that information, of the highest interest for the
public, which ahs the right to be informed, abstain from publishing it because
it would be in the singular interpretation of the Prosecutor0s Office
“obstruction of justice”?

It seems to us that obstruction
of justice is precisely to use, what according to the data originating in Colombia, would
be nothing but lies of the “star” to obtain the judicial sentences that the
Prosecutor wants.

Isaias Rodriguez has, so far
gotten away with it. He has managed to “protect” with censorship the infinite
number of stupid missteps committed by the Prosecutor’s office, including his
won, in the investigation of Anderson’s
assassination. He has managed that the trial proceeds from now, in secret and
that the testimony of a compulsive liar may not be questioned.

But this goes beyond the Anderson case.

This must be confronted with full
decision because this vicissitude seems too much like a general trial for the
censorship on freedom of speech.

Judge imposes CENSORSHIP on Venezuelan media

January 23, 2006

A Judge imposed censorhip on the Venezuelan media today as ordered from above by the autocrats. The order by the judge forbids “any type of publication, diffusion or exhibition of the files of the case relating to the terrorist attempt in which Danilo Anderson lost his life, as well as those that make reference to the private life of the witness Vasquez de Armas…because it is the job of the state to protect his dignity as a human being, his honor, his decorum, intimacy and physical integrity, since it corresponds to the State to guarantee the the good process of the judiciary process which has as its goal determining the materialand intellectual authorship of the terrorsit attempt that ended the life of Danilo Anderson”

This is called pure censorship, what they are trying to protect is that the “super-witness” is a criminal, with a track record for impersonating and suplanting others and who was in a Colombian jail when he claims the meeting to discuss the Anderson murder took place. None of these charges has been refuted by the PRoscutor’s office as the media has dug them up. What the judge is trying to protect is the crummy and sloppy job the Prosecutor has done in the case, where he invented evidence and created a witness whose credibility leaves a lot to be desired while he has failed to investigate leads suggesting there was an extortion ring surrounding Anderson and some of the same prosecutors involved in this case.

Another very sad day for what is left of Venezuela’s democracy, we have a new Pedro Estrada. What is next?