Archive for August 8th, 2006

Surprise me!

August 8, 2006

In what is to me a surprisng decision, mostly by its how soon they announced it, the CNE has decided that Governor Manuel Rosales does not have to resign from his position in order to be a candidate in the upcoming Presidential election. No decision on the fingerprint machines was announced.

Sumate’s trial by headlines and Joey “Mac” Albornoz

August 8, 2006

In the
best tradition of the witch hunts of
the 50’s in the US, Deputy Jose “Sherlock” Albornoz is quickly turning into Joe “Mac” Albornoz
McCarthy with his trial by headline of NGO Sumate.

In the beginning according to Joey Albornoz, it was that Sumate had violated the foreign exchange illegalities
law by changing dollars and not being registered in Cadivi (The foreign
exchange office). This was plastered all over the headlines, except there were
two problems: One, you don’t register with CADIVI to receive dollars, the
dollars are simply sent to a local bank which proceeds to exchange them to
Bolivars via teh Central Bank. Two, There is no violation of any law if you either changed it before
the law went into effect, or use alternate mechanisms such as security swaps or
CANTV ADR’s which are perfectly legal.

Well, it
turns out that Sumate actually
through the banking system, as demonstrated by its Directors and
confirmed by the Superintendent of Banks. Separately, Sumate presented
its contributions from the National Endowment for Democracy, which are public
and listed in the website of that bi-partisan foundation, from the Canadian
Embassy (Mr. Danger’s neighbor?) and from the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. Sumate
also said that they had received money for a project that was returned.

Then last
week the Directors of Sumate showed up to testify on the source of the funds,
but Joey “Mac” Albornoz, did not want to talk to them, he wanted to talk to the
accountant of Sumate. Well, he had not invited him and he happens to be a
volunteer who is not even in the payroll of Sumate. A new invitation was forwarded
with the guy’s name and he showed up today to testify and said that Sumate has
no accounts in US dollars
, that it all came in the form of Bolivars from
the banks. He also mentioned a project to study the Electoral registry that
never panned out because of the lack of data, which was funded by the Health
and Human Services Department of the US Government and that the money was
returned even before this investigation began.

this, Joey “Mac” Albornoz continued making his best imitation of McCarthy and
Tascon, when
he said
that “Sumate did receive dollars”. Yes it did, but there was
nothing illegal about it. He made a big deal about the returned money, called
the US
Ambassador a liar. Even funnier was saying that the money was returned to a
company called “USdisburning” Office, which is nothing but the way the US
Agency for International Development disburses funds, via the US Disbursement Office, not exactly a

even insisted that there was a “presumption” of a foreign exchange illegality, which
simply shows he can’t tell up from down or is a huge liar, so as not to use a coarser sentence. Receiving dollars to a local bank is not illegal. The bank converts them at the official rate and you have Bolivars. As long as they have a legal origin and are used for a legal purpose, nothing significant has happened. Banks do this everyday.

But we all
know this is simply a witch hunt, another one in a long string of witch hunts
from the same people who considered million dollar illegal contributions from
Spanish banks to Chavez’ 1998 Presidential campaign “unimportant” or similar
million dollar illegal contributions from
the same banks to Chavez’ 2000 Presidential campaign, while he still was
President, “insignificant”. The difference is that you can’t touch Chavez and
those contributions were actually proven to have occured in Spanish Courts. In the Venezuelan Courts,
they never got anywhere and were ignored by characters such as Joey “Mac” Albornoz.
Curiously, no sector has benefited the
most form the Chavez largesse’s and corruption than the financial system, of
which the Spanish banks are two of the three largest. Curious, no?

50 million blogs

August 8, 2006

There are now over 50 million blogs
as the blogosphere continues to double every six months. Remarkably blogs in Spanish are only 3% of all blogs, barely edging blogs in Italian, despite the much larger Spanish speaking population.