Archive for August 20th, 2006

Did the miltary aid Ortega escape?

August 20, 2006

Many people have suggested that union leader Carlos Ortega and the Farias’ brothers had military aid to escape from the Ramo Verde jail. They certainly did, I used to live close to Ramo Verde in Los Teques and my wife even used to jog there many, many years ago. I tried looking for an image in Google Earth, but unfortunately resolution goes down right outside Los Teques and I can not use any image to aid you, but picture this:

The main access gate to Ramo Verde is about 3-4 Kms. from the main bulding, but the road does not even reach the main buidling, it ends about 600 meters from it. To get into the second floor where Ortega supposedly was “visiting” the Farias’, playing dominoes (all night by the way), you have to go through five gates with metal bars and then there is the gate to the cell. Each of the five gates is supposed to have a National Guardsman next to it.

Add to this, the fact that these guys apparently escaped at midnight, but it was not until around 10:30 AM that the escape was discovered. I mean, these are the guys that are supposed to be ready for an assymetrical war with the US and they can’t even count and keep track of prisoners?

Of course, the Government keeps playing the bribe card, which somehow seems wrong as it reminds everyone that it is corruption that has blossomed in this Government. I get the feeling that the Government is now trying to weasle out of this, by talking about “politicians” having paid the bribe.This was suggested by Isaias Rodriguez on Friday and is repeated tonight by Minister of the Interior and Justice Jesse Chacon. But it is a vague accusation, no names as usual, but we do know that 14 of their precious and “well prepared and trained” military officers and personnel are in jail for letting Ortega go, in what can only be described as a widespread conspiracy.

No matter what they may say, it is always the military that has proven to be the most corrupt institution in Venezuela’s history. But somehow, I think there is a more ulterior message involved, whether the Government wants to get it or not. Either Ortega or the Farias’ brothers created a lot of sympathy within the military. Ortega was found guilty of “rebellion” , a term that can only be applied whene there are weapons involved, but revolutionary justice does not care for those little details.But clearly, the military is not as unified behind Chavze as the Government wants us to believe.

Or did they escape like this!

An honest mistake you can still find the pictures elsewhere

August 20, 2006

By mistake I just posted some orchid pictures (without even a story!) on the main section and actually left them on quite a while and quite a few people saw them. I have now moved them to their rightful section right here. Sorry for the mistake, but take a break and enjoy them!.

Book plug: Venezuela An agreement to reach development

August 20, 2006

Anyone that cares about understanding Venezuela and its problems should buy the book :”Venezuela: An agreement to reach development” a book which is a compilation of a bunch of academics who have been meeting for years to talk about these issues. The books has twelve authors, but in truth it is a collaboration of experts in a wide variety of fields. The book is a proposal with no intended political bias, it proposes solutions and suggests that we need a national agreemnet on some of them, which in itself goes counter to the style of this Governmnet which believes it knows it all.

I have read about half the book and I am impressed, these people know what they are talking about and have specific solutions to problems. I have laso learned a lot from reading it. It is filled with interesting data, most of it well known, but some of it new to me (Did you know that from age 14 to 15 school attendanec drops from 75.5% of the students of that age to only 21.85%?). The book also takes a look at the misiones and its impact.

The book does not cover everything, but is roughly divided in three broad sections: Social Policies, the economy and production and institutional reforms. I was particulraly struck by the fact that the conclusions on the economy of whta happened in the seventies, seemed to apply tomwhat is happening today: high oil prices are creating high Government spending, but private investment is not catching up and it si private investement the one that can create jobs. Except this time investment is even less.

I am more than half way through the book and recommend it to anyone interested in our problems. The book shows we have the experts, we just need Government to listen to them and not improvise. You can find it in most bookstores. There is also a website, which I have had little time to explore

(I would like to thank Marino Gonzalez, who wrote a great chapter on health, for giving me and autographing a copy of the book, I m honored that he took the time to do it!)

Mostly hybrids.

August 20, 2006

I have neglected taking pictures of my orchids for the last few weeks. There is a good reason, I actually repot every single plant I have every two years in what becomes a marathon of repotting. It is a lot of work, as I own close to a couple of thousand plants. I am 80% done by now (I started three weeks ago) and today I repotted my Grammatophylum Speciosum, the largest orchid plant in nature. My plant is so big that I actually fell handling it, cut my finger while removing it from its old pot and had troubles lifting the plant into its new pot, my screams to my wife went unheard. That should give you an idea. But there were some flowers, not too many as usual in August and I found some time to take pictures of them:

Top left: Cat. Lulu Hot Pink, a frequent visitor to this page. On the right, its descendant Cat. Lulu “Hot Pink” x Cat Maui Plum. definitely like orchids with spots.

Top Left: Laelia (now Sophronitis) Purpurata. Thsi is a late bloomer, it is oen of my better plant but two weeks ago woudl have been better. Top Right: Blc. Ronal Hauserman, one of the most spectacular hybrids I know. The flowers are huge, almost six inches in diameter. This plant has about nine flowers and it came from a plant I brought from Hawaii many years ago which was two inches in size. Today I have three plants and they flower at least twice a year.