Archive for July 26th, 2006

I pass on El Conde, there are no magic solutions

July 26, 2006

I was going to avoid talking about the candidacy of El Conde del Guacharo, but many people have written to me asking what I think and there has been some comments below on it. My answer is simple: I pass. This guy is Chavez without the military uniform. Same style. Same promises. Is he good? Yes, he is an entertainer and he has assumed that role well, but there are no magic solutions and I just can’t have hope that he will be a good President. No matter what people suggest and say, I am sorry, I just don’t believe this man is qualified; the same way I did not believe Hugo Chavez was qualified. Nothing he has said convinces me that I am wrong. Businessman? There are hundreds of better and more succesful ones. Humble origins? There are hundreds of better qualified people of humble origins. They may not be entertainers, but they have more experience and sense of what needs to be done and who can do it. Take out the fiery retoric and he is Chavez redux.

I think his candidacy is an unnecessary distraction. I will not take him seriously. One clown as President is enough for my taste during our lifetime, even of this one does not have a military uniform…I simply pass…

Chavez and Lukashenko: It takes one, to know one

July 26, 2006

Even though I am late to the game, I can’t help but comment on our
illustrious President visit to Belarus.
In my opinion, there was never a Chavez visit that could be as justified as this
one. Think about it. Chavez has more affinity with Lukashenko than with Fidel,
Gadafi, Mugabe or any of the autocrat/dictators that our esteemed President has
visited in the last seven plus years of the silly Bolivarian revolution.

And it showed. He congratulated Lukashenko for neutralizing the
opposition, for those that do not follow Belarusian affairs, this “neutralization” has consisted
of brutal attacks on peaceful demonstrations,
jailing of opposition leaders and the manipulation of elections to guarantee
that results will not go against the autocrat. Sound familiar? In fact, Chavez
called these protests a “new imperial format” and said he was ready to
neutralize them in Venezuela,
because “they are attempting them in Venezuela”. You have all been

Given the common track record we can obviate such details such as trade
between the two countries being of the order of the cost of the trip. The
difficulty of significantly increasing it, since Belarus’ energetic needs can easily
be supplied by its neighbor at more competitive prices.

But there are other hidden affinities. The Belarusian President could
not have said it better referring to Chavez: “
are versed not only in the economy of Venezuela
but in the Belarus
economy as well, you know military science, the military-industrial complex, and
this impresses me very much”.Well, we may not be so impressed with Chavez’
understanding of the Venezuelan economy, but he is definitely a man of war, a
man of weapons, a true military autocrat.

Lukashenko is a man with interesting opinions, such as saying that
Hitler’s policies “weren’t all that bad for Germany”, although he never
explained which part of the policies he was referring to, but stay tuned, he
may explain it someday. He is also a man of weapons, like his Venezuelan
counterpart, remembered for giving his country’s tennis players pistols as a
gift as they elft the country to represent it in the Davies Cup. Fortunately,
they did not bring them to their matches.

But perhaps Chavez’ true reason behind the trip was to learn more about
referenda in Belarus.
You see, Lukashenko has led a parallel life to Chavez’, without the need for so
many elections or a Constituent Assembly. He went the shorter route, simply
holding a referendum to extend his term from 5 to seven years in 1999 and another in 2004 to eliminate
the two term limitation on the presidential term. Maybe Chávez wanted to know
how this was executed or simply how Lukashenko has handled not giving a damn
about those appearances that Chavez seems to worry about so much, after all, Lukashenko
has no relationships with the European Union, belongs to the anti-Bush bashing
club and could care less about international opinion, except that for that of
his nearest neighbor Russia. Chavez could use some tricks from his book as he
becomes Venezuela’s
lifetime President.

The similarities go much farther than all this. Lukashenko also yearns
for an agricultural country, for the days of Governments that imposed “more
discipline”, the glory days of military achievements. He has looked for
military alliances in his region, talking about a “Slavic NATO”. The parallels
are simply uncanny.

Hopefully both autocrats will not last until they die, as they currently
plan. Hopefully, the forces of democracy will remove these autocrats from their
positions. Unfortunately, it does not look like this will happen in either
place anytime soon. But clearly, it takes an autocrat to know another one.