Archive for October 10th, 2006

Negros and love in Chavez’ campaign

October 10, 2006

So far, Hugo
Chavez’ campaign has been somewhat weird and inconsistent. First, it was the “statesman”
look, jetting around the world solving everyone’s problems. Then came the
campaign jingles, which sounded more like martial music than anything else. This
was followed by a new “mellower” Chavez, which two days later remembered the
weapons he wants to give to the people to defend the revolution. Since then,
Chavez has been mostly reactive, snapping back at Rosales’ accusations and announcements,
rather than setting his own agenda, like we had grown accustomed to. Even Chavez’s slogan “Bravo Pueblo” sounds like the name of an oppsostion party. And one that promotes abstention, to make it even worse. Whoever thought of that one should be fired. Immediately. But those in the camapign don’t read my blog.

it is a different Chavez that shows up, saying he feels the pain and aches, because the
image for Rosales’ debit card is “racist” because it is called “Mi Negra”. In that
same statement Chavez calls on the most repulsive, racist and divisive TV program, which is shown on state TV, called “La Hojilla”
which spews hate daily, to show these ads. I listen to this and have to wonder
what my cousin AM must thing of this. See, AM was always called “El Negro” in
our family. It was so linked to him that when my youngest brother was baptized
and AM was named his godfather, my little brother acquired the same nickname at
his Baptism. “El Negro” became his name and to this day many use it. Yes, neither of them was completely white, but who cared?

And I can’t
help but wonder what Chavez’ Minister of Education El “Negro” Isturiz thinks of
all this. Or how about legendary historic figure and heroe of our independence “Negro Primero
, Paez’ second in command would think about this. And isn’t one of Chavez’ “misiones” called “Negra Hipolita”?
So what is the fuzz all about? Why is his “Negra” namesake mision ok, but Rosales Mi Negra card racist? Why does Chavez have an exclusive? Doesn’t Chavez
drink during his Alo Presidente the same “negrito” (small black coffee) I do, which he reportedly also drinks all day. What does he call it? Small black coffee? Yeah sure!

This is
simply Hugo Chavez the divisive figure, the rewriter of Venezuela’s
history, the man that wants to separate us into the “good” guys and the “bad”
guys. But good or bad is just a matter of whetehr you are with him or agaisnt him. This is the same man that wants to arm all Venezuelans.

But just
as I can’t understand what is going on, from the man that has always run
political campaigns with exquisite timing and execution, we get this mushy
stuff, the “new”, “improved”, “looking for love” Hugo Chavez in this ad that
appeared in most of the country’s newspapers today (This one from page B18 in El Nacional):

A pensive looking Hugo Chavez, looks towards infinity and
in the ad says:

Message of love for the people of My Venezuela

Always, I did everything for love

For love towards the tree, the river, I became a painter

For the love of knowledge, of studying, I left my dear
hometown, to study

For the love of sports, I became a baseball player

For the love of the homeland I became a soldier

For the love of the people, I made myself President, you
made me President

I have governed for these years for love

For love, we made Barrio Adentro

For love, Mision Robinso

For love, we made Mercal have done all for love

There is a lot more to do. I need more time.

I need your vote

Your vote for love.

By now you must be like me, saying :”For the love of God, please stop it! I can’t
stand it! Where did all this mush come from?”

Well, it turns out that all of the above is true, just add the
word “Chavez” or “of Chavez” everywhere after the word love and the puky ad becomes the truth.

It is all done for the love of Hugo.Nobody else.

(Please if anyone has any info on Chavez the painter, please drop me a note, I had not heard that one before. Will we now see the collected works of Hugo suddenly resurface?)

Venezuelan Diplomacy: Stepping on everyone’s toes

October 10, 2006

continued acting rather undiplomatically,
for a country that is trying to get elected to the UN Security Council. After the incident
with Venezuela’s Ambassador
to Chile last week, which
forced his exit, the Chavez administration continued creating conflict around South America in the last three days and apparently there
are no plans to stop.

At the
center of this new friction is Venezuela’s
cozy relationship with Bolivia’s
Evo Morales. Former Minister of Housing
Julio Montes said
in Bolivia, where
he is now Venezuela’s
Ambassador, that our country was ready to defend “with its own blood” the
revolution led by Morales. Montes was quite clear and explicit when he said :”
If for any reason this pretty Bolivarian revolution were threatened and they
asked for our blood and our lives, we would be here” said the incompetent
Montes who was a complete failure in his previous position and was thus rewarded
for his lack of accomplishment with the Bolivian position.

Now, while
Montes may have been referring to defend the revolution from outside
interfernce, he was not explicit and the statement sounded like direct meddling
in that country’s internal affairs. In fact, the Bolivian opposition asked the
Government today to declare Montes not welcome in that country in the belief
that Montes was implying that if the recent political crisis (among a dozen of them)
with the miners killed in that country in any way threatened Morales’ stay in
power, Venezuela was ready to intervene there by sending soldiers or even
civilian citizens to defend the current Government.

at this time Evo Morales may have enough crises to deal with, to have Chavez say
that he is sure that Morales will not declare the Venezuelan Ambassador
not welcome in that country. Chavez certainly overextended himself with tonight’s
defense of Morales and his revolution as well as the attacks on the Bolivian opposition,
calling them oligarchs as if he was dealing with local politics. This is clearly
interfeering with someone else’s internal affairs, no matter how close he may
be to Morales. In fact, he makes Morales look bad, by implying that he somehow
sets Evo’s agenda. Even worse, both Chavez and Foreign Minister Maduro, defended
what Montes said, saying that indeed Venezuelans back Morales’ revolution and should
be ready to bleed for it

All of
this may seem like a simple misunderstanding form afar, but the problem is the
background leading to all this. Chavez has not only been openly supporting
Morales, but hundreds of Venezuelan advisors are in that country. In fact, before a recent visit by Morales to Chile, it was Venezuelan security personnel that
checked the Foreign Ministry in Santiago
for bugs.

nothing has upset that neighborhood more than the recent mutual defense treaty
signed between the two countries. The
treaty calls
for cooperation, mutual aid, donations and “credit lines”, but
everyone knows who has the money in this relationship. The treaty itself could
be thought of as innocuous and just a mutual desire to help, but there is much
more to it.

First of
all, it has been a tradition in South America
that military treaties are always multi-country and never bi-lateral, so as not
to raise suspicions of the pact being against a third country. Second, the
Venezuelan Government has already pledged US$ 49 million to build the first two
of as many as twenty military bases, mostly along the borders of Bolivia. And it
will be the Venezuelan military that will build these bases. Just as a reminder,
Bolivia is not only land locked
but it shares borders with Peru,
Paraguay, Brazil, Argentina
and Chile.
While Argentina is not a
problem, of the other four countries Venezuela was
counting on getting at least three votes for the UN Security Council, a vote
which takes place in two weeks.

are not too happy now and a Chilean newspaper says that the local Paraguayan
press claims that Morales is getting ready to attack Paraguay. You see, that common
border between the two countries also shares ethnicity common to them and Morales has in the past talked about unifying it all.

Peru, according to the same article, considers the
cooperation between Venezuela
and Bolivia “atypical”, thinking it is an interference with the affairs of another country and
expressing its surprise that Bolivia
accepts that interference from Venezuela.

But the
whole affair is now threatening Chile’s
vote for Venezuela
for the Security Council, which President Bachelet clearly wants to cast, but Venezuelan
seems to be trying to scare away.

Chilean opposition, still reeling over the statements by the now departed
Venezuelan Ambassador, has
both the Minister of Foreign Relations and the Minister of Defense to
testify tomorrow in Congress about the Bolivian-Venezuelan treaty. Chile considers that this treaty is simply a way
for Chavez to export his revolution and belives that this may threaten Chile’s new Government disposition to at least
discuss the possibility of opening a way to the sea for Bolivia.

Thus, Venezuela
continues to send mix signals and step on everyone’s toes. Today, the
Venezuelan Foreign Minister joined
the world’s condemnation of North Korea’s
nuclear test, after the Security Council unanimously had done it, clearly
siding with the majority on an issue that people thought Venezuela would back North Korea’s rights to join the
nuclear club. But at the same time, it failed
to back
the unanimous decision to elect a South Korean to be the new
Secretary General of the UN, while calling for more democracy within that institution.

Most local
foreign relations analysts believe that between Chavez’ “devil” statements at
the UN in September and these new conflicts between countries that a month ago
were sure to vote for Venezuela,
have placed the country’s election to the Security Council in peril. Guatemala may not win, but a third alternative
may be found that would satisfy most countries more than electing a conflictive
Fortunately for the opposition’s candidate, this is time away from the campaign
for the autocrat and he may in the end lose face by losing, while gaining
little locally by winning. In fact, were some of these countries publicly
withdraw their vote from Venezuela,
it would be a terrible loss for our current Government.

All in all
the typical random, incompetent and unprofessional behavior of those in charge of
our diplomacy. Led by the autocrat, they continue to make the country look bad,step
on everyone’s toes, while the world learns more and more about the intolerance,
undemocratic and disrespectful style of Chavez towards those that do not agree
with him.