Archive for April, 2006

A depressing panorama in Peru

April 30, 2006

You have
to feel sorry for Peru,
having to choose between Alan Garcia or Ollanta Humala. In fact, Chavez seems
to be a hybrid between the two: Humala is a former military populist who uses a confrontational style; Alan
Garcia is a populist social democrat. Garcia allowed corruption to be rampant
during his term in office while he innovated in economic matters to levels that
almost drove Peru
to bankruptcy, disregarding all economic knowledge. He thought he knew better.
Sound familiar? Maybe that is why Chavez dislikes him so much, they are so
similar. Chavez now criticizes
Toledo for
siding with Garcia, but all Toledo
was doing was asking Chavez to stay out of Peru’s
Presidential race.  Curiously while Peru recalled its Ambassador, Venezuela
announced it will not do the same. This is obvious; Chavez and Humala need a
conduit for Venezuela’s
help in the Peruvian Presidential race. Jorge Rodriguez has been advising
Humala, now that he is an “expert” on electoral shenanigans.

Chavez seems to be extending abroad the style in which he has treated his
fellow countrymen. It is the same confrontational style, disregarding civilized
concepts of coexistence and diplomacy.  Alan Garcia seems to be snapping back at Chavez
at every turn, suggesting to me that his advisors think that he will gain form
this.  I think he will, given the image that Humala has within Peru and the fact that over 70% of the voters are looking for whom to vote. Garcia said Chavez was hypocritical as he mantained very good relations with the US.

Petkoff also got into the argument,
challenging Chavez to break relations with the US and not to threaten smaller
countries, saying this is typical behavior of a bully. 

All in
all, a very depressing scenario for our neighbor Peru, only Fujimori seems to be
missing from the picture to make matters even worse. (But some of his formers
advisors seems to be floating around Humala). Come election day, it will just be a matter of which of the two candidates can destroy Peru faster. If experience counts, Garcia has the upper hand. If not, Humala leads.

What a depressing choice!

Back after vacation with a few hybrids

April 30, 2006

Since I was on vacation, I had not posted pictures of flowers in quite a while, flowering is starting to pick up now. This time, a rare three hybrids and two specieas


Catlleya Lulu Hot Pink, very fragrant flowers. This plant flowers man times a year in spectacular bunches. On the right Cattleya Labiata Suavisima from Brazil

Two “moder: Phalenopsis that I picked up at the World Orchid Conference in Dijon, They are both called Phalenopsis Di Dii, the one on the left is the “Prince” variety, while the one on the right is “Fragance”

Encyclia Cochleata from Mexico and the Caribbean. This is a very large form of that plant.

We all lose all! By Claudio Nazoa

April 29, 2006

Claudio Nazoa is a humorist, but this week, he changed his tune and wrote a serious article:

We all
lose all!
By Claudio Nazoa

Could I
live like the Cubans do in their land, without any privilege to aspire to, like
owning a home, a car or simply accessing the Internet/

article is dedicated to all Venezuelans without which side they are on being of
importance, thus I ask that you please red it carefully, specialty those people
that for any motive back the Government.

God will allow the hand of providence to illuminate me and allow the ides to
flow clearly, precisely and removed of prejudices and hate.

I will
never forget the scene in The Last Emperor in which the monarch, already old
and turned into a gardener by the Chinese cultural revolution, sees a group of
prisoners dressed in gray go by him with a sign hanging from their neck in which
you could read the crime committed by each. Crimes like believing in a
different religion, owning books different than the red book, kissing in public
or owning a typewriter. Anything that was not adoring Mao Tse-tung was a
sufficient reason to be jailed and publicly humiliated.

In the movie, the emperor turns his face timidly towards a mob of
fanatics that were scolding and hitting the unfortunate that were tied up. Imagine
his surprise when he recognized among those detained the main henchman from the
time he was jailed, humiliated and removed of the minimal rights that a human
being may have.

The couple of seconds that the Exchange of looks between the last emperor and
his old tortured henchman takes could take place soon between Venezuelans if we
don’t unite, not against the Government, but in favor of ourselves.

I would like that in an act of objectivity and sincerity the people that back
the Government meditate seriously what is happening. The call is for those that
are homes that own a small farm, a beach house or an apartment through their
own work and effort.

The call is for the workers that have good jobs in serious companies,
for the farm workers that work with responsible bosses and for some
intellectuals and artists that in good faith back the Government. Be sincere
with yourself, ask yourself the following question and answer it intimately without
commenting it with anyone: Could you live like Cubans do in their land, without
any form of privilege, like aspiring to won a home, a car or simply have access
to the Internet?

Revolutions don’t forgive, remember what happen to the actors of the French
one, don’t forget Stalin, Pol Pot in Cambodia,
Kim Il Sung in North Korea,
Mao Tse Tung and his wife in China,
the Ceausescu couple in Rumania,
all of those criminals assassinated more people than Hitler. Revolutions are
like black widows, spiders that kill their consort alter they use it to

Those that persecute today will also be persecuted. Those that suck up
and squeal tomorrow will call us to tell us they did not know what was

We are still on time. The first thing is not to be indifferent to the
attacks that others suffer. Do not give up or lose your enthusiasm. Don’t shut
up. Don’t be afraid. Think that we have had a country that committed many
errors and many shameless people governed us but it was a country where we all
fit, or not?

On the personal side, coming from the left, I always worked with the Governments
of Accion Democratic and COPEI. They never asked me if I had voted for their candidates
or if I had signed against them. It was a time of adversaries but not of

All of those that today exclude others and plan hate in the cultural area lived
very well during the horrendous years of Accion Democratica and COPEI: they
bought homes, their cars, they traveled representing Venezuela and sent their
kids on Government scholarships to study abroad, some even worked as cultural
representatives at the embassies.

There is little time, but there is still time. Let’s not lie to
ourselves, it is difficult, but we can still do something.

A small light has shined. Most of the opposition parties are united. Maybe
it is not what many people wanted. But when the Titanic was sinking did the people
that were about to drown mind if the boat in which they were going to save themselves
was white, green or pink? I think it is time to back ourselves. Let’s forget
the nonsense of abstention

Let’s go back to the streets with optimism, faith and without fear, because if
not we will all lose all!…Even them, when they fall in disgrace and are no longer

Think about it, so that what happened to the Last
Emperor does not happen to us.

The wisdom of Isaias Rodriguez:

April 28, 2006

(Zapata on on the General Prosecutor: Could it be because I have different taste or because I am opposition that I don’t like the men that for the Government are so called “good looking”?)

The wisdom of Isaias Rodriguez:

“The murderer was about 26, good looking…”

Ummm, that really complicates the investigation now.

“I will fire whoever leaked the artist’s rendition of the suspect to the press”

Of course he has to be fired, if you release the drawings, the suspects may be caught; we like to keep them secret for their protection…

“90% of what I said was true”

I agree, he said five different things, four of which were not true and we don’t know about the other one, that’s just about 90% within Isaias’ logic”

“The media (muzzle) law applies to the media, not to me”

I see, the media can not broadcast everything including things that may be too strong (like sexual images) for kids, but they are supposed to broadcast him talking about those same things. Revolutionary logic is truly remarkable: The man responsible for upholding the law is above the law!

The fight against corruption and incompetence is nowhere to be seen

April 28, 2006

Corruption is so rampant in Venezuela that the SEC caught a US company paying PDVSA employees some US$ 348,000 in commissions. The company admitted that it had made the payments. Of course, nothing has been done on this end, because if someone were to be accused or fired the lid of the whole cesspool could become undone.

And speaking of corruption, how about the Cabinet’s lawyer Marisol Plaza who was fired while I was away. The reason? She gave a legal opinion two years ago that the infamous Bandagro bonds, which have never been recognized by any Venezuelan Government since they started floating around twenty years ago, were legitimate. This decision was later reversed, but is now the bases for a suit asking for the Government to pay US$ 1.3 billion for them. Reportedly, someone fed her the wrong information on purpose. Other say she was paid to give that opinion. If the Republic loses, will she just get a slap in the hand of fired for her incompetence

Diary of a Kamikaze by Laureano Marquez

April 28, 2006

Laureano Marquez makes fun of Chavez’ threat to burn the oil fields in today’s Tal Cual with his usual keen sense of humor:

Diary of a Kamikaze by Laureano Marquez

Day ONE: The invasion is imminent. Training begins tomorrow. The buddies have organized a farewell party.

The party was truly good.

We danced until late hours of the night and hit the drinks hard to prepare are souls for the destiny awaiting us.

The boss guaranteed that in the afterlife the party will continue and then we will have ten unopened bottles of 18 year old Scotch each. At the end of the meeting, Yefelson, John Fisyerald, Washinton Rodriguez and myself burned the US flag to get our attitude ready.

Day TWO: Today we did not go to training.

Day THREE: Today we took matters seriously.

We had a problem with the clothing because the co-op that makes the endogenous vests in which we were going to place the explosives stole the money and did not make them. The commander of the squadron says it does not matter that we can tie the sticks with masking tape directly on our bellies and we can put on a poncho from the Andes so as not to be noticed. The problem is that I have to do the El Palito refinery and I am not going to get into that heat bath with an Andean poncho on.

Day FOUR: The explosives technicians have yet to bring us the sticks. In any case, today we did a general practice run and we cut a number of brooms stocks, which we cut into little sticks to simulate the stuff. The feeling was truly uncomfortable.

Day FIVE: At last the explosives arrived (among them many Bin Ladens) withthe ponchos

Because the gringos should only find ashes we started burning the country with forest fires taking advantage of the heat wave.

Day SIX: Today we had a false alarm of the invasion because a pigeon activated the anti-aircraft system. We almost burned the oil fields.

Thanks God that most of us overslept and that for the few that did go, the explosives did not work.

Day SEVEN:The time is coming…they will bite the dust in defeat. The whole team is ready and operative, but we have had three days with no food in the camp. We did not meet today. If we get no food tomorrow, we are going to block the access to the oil wells and if they throw the Guard at us, we are going to use the explosives and apply to them the Plan “Leveled Earth”. I am starting to believe that the National Guard is controlled by the CIA.

Day EIGHT:Today they brought us hamburgers from McDonald’s. they were really good.

We are staring to think that even if they blow up the oil wells, the McDonald’s should remain standing. Since we had little else to do, after eating, we played sandlot baseball.

Day NINE: Since it does not look like the gringos will arrive today, we went to the river to make a fish stew. Just in case, we took all the equipment. The Governor of Miranda arrived in a surprise visit and Yefelson almost blew him up, because he thought he was a gringo with his blue eyes.

Thanks God he was eating and he does not let a plate of fish stew out of hid hands even for the homeland.

Day TEN: Today is the day. We went to the beach to wait for them. We were there until ten A.M. and they did not come. I think they are now afraid of us, because they saw us via satellite and they thought we were serious about the whole thing. I am glad we brought the dominoes and a cooler full of beers to kill time, which is also a gringo invention.

Financial Times reports Venezuela oil deal with Russia

April 28, 2006

And the beat goes on at the revolution as reported in today’s Financial
times (Of course, everything is fine at PDVSA and oil production is
booming according to the Government):

Venezuela buys Russian oil to avoid defaults

Venezuela, the world’s fifth-largest oil exporter, has struck a $2bn
deal to buy about 100,000 barrels a day of crude oil from Russia until
the end of the year.

Venezuela has been forced to turn to an outside source to avoid
defaulting on contracts with “clients” and “third parties” as it faces a
shortfall in production, according to a person familiar with the deal.
Venezuela could incur penalties if it fails to meet its supply

New CNE named

April 28, 2006

So we have a new Electoral Board (CNE) which at this times looks like three people that lean towards the Government and two that do not. I guess we could not have expected any different. However, I do not like at all that Tibisay Lucena is part of it. You can be for or against someone but that does not mean you will act according to what you are told, violate people’s rights and the law. Tibisay Lucena did all that in the last few years voting the party line at all times, she should not be there.I am glad Battaglini was not there. In my mind he was a perverse character, always operating in the shadows, but defending what he did at all times. He lobbied hard to repeat. Good Riddance.

Vicente Diaz, in theory one of the members who is not pro-Chavez, has already said the law should be fullfilled and all votes should be counted and the manual count contrasted with the electronic one. Good for him. I will not give the backgrounds of each member, I am sure you will find pages on that by the end of the day all over the place. Since I am an optimist, this CNE has to be better than the old one, at least two unethical people have been removed from it. However, I am not happy by the praise by the CNE’s new President German Yepez for the old CNE.

Investigative police contradicts General Prosecutor on priest’s death

April 26, 2006

After some
remarks at a press conference expressly held for that purpose yesterday by Venezuelan General Prosecutor Isaias
Rodriguez, giving out contradictory, premature and imprudent information about the
case of the priest found dead in a Hotel in Caracas, The Head of the Investigative
Police Marcos Chavez has
just given
a press conference totally discrediting Isaias Rodriguez, as if
this was possible.

The press
conference was held to announce the detention of the man who supposedly murdered
the priest, who was the secretary of the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference. The
version of the investigative police is diametrically opposite to the sexual
innuendo and details contained in the General Prosecutor’s press conference yesterday,
despite Rodriguez’ assurances that he wanted to be very clear and all of the information
he was divulging had “been confirmed” and he was speaking out in order to stop
the “mediated matrix” that was being created by the media.

The Head
of the investigative police in contrast with Rodriguez said today that the main
theory at this time for the homicide was robbery by the suspect captured this
afternoon. Moreover, the same pharmaceutical product that the Prosecutor said
was “known to be used for sexual enhancement” was said by Marcos Chavez to have
been used to sedate the priest (Slight difference!). He also said that it was
the suspected murderer who checked into the hotel, while the Prosecutor General
said it was the priest himself.

again, we see the world of politics and lies in which this sad character of the
revolution lives in without shame. Isaias Rodriguez has done nothing but manipulate
and lie in his position, skirting the responsibilities imposed on him. He has
not been independent and has repeatedly gone after political cases, persecuting
his enemies and protecting the supporters of the revolution. This case will change
nothing; Rodriguez is safe in his position to abuse and violate the rights of
all Venezuelans, as he serves the immoral revolution without question in what
is supposed to be an independent power.

Just to prove the point, the Prosecutor General, once again, immediately sought an interview over the radio and said “that 90% of what he said was true” as if this was a mathematical game and not the search for the truth in enforcing the law. Ninety percent just does not cut it when you hold his position and publicly bickering, talking and discussing cases is totally inappropiate. Moreover, his main point yesterday was that the murder was being blamed on the crime wave sweeping the country, which was not the case, but the police today is ratifying the accusation by the church that it was a robbery.

yesterday, Rodriguez had said that he will try to prosecute potential
Presidential candidate Manuel Rosales, which was quickly dealt by Rosales today
: “ They are getting scared very quickly…the only elements to follow a
case against me is that I have defeated Chavez a few times and I will continue
defeating him”, making Rodriguez today’s main punching bag in Venezuela.

Caption contest in celebration of of one million page reads

April 26, 2006

This picture of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was taken during his Sunday reality/variety show “Alo Presidente” last Sunday which he transmitted from one of the headquarters of the Government’s popular market Mercal. It speaks for itself. I would like to open a contest, to thank all of my faithfull readers as I approach the one million page-read mark, for the best caption to the picture below which answers the question:

Why does Hugo Chavez have a bag of powdered milk on his head in the picture?

As Chief blogger, I appoint ghost blogger Jorge Arena as the judge for the best caption. The prize: Your choice of any book in the New York Times best seller non-fiction or fiction list.

While my entry is invalid, I start the contest with:

“It fell from the sky on his head and he did not even notice it.”

A picture named lechazo.jpg

(Note: This is not photoshopped, this is a real picture)