Archive for April 21st, 2007

News from the revolution

April 21, 2007

Always something going on in the revolution, even when all
the leaders are busy in Margarita:

–Minister of Finance Cabezas held a press conference to
announce with great pride that Venezuela had cancelled all of its debts with
the World Bank.

Well, it was only US$ 53 million left, a meager 0.5% of what
the Government wants to obtain in new debt this year. World Bank debt is
actually quite good as it just does not go into a general pot but is earmarked
for specific projects. Just out of memory I recall some 5,000 day care centers
built in the mid 90’s with World Bank funds, the project to modernize the tax
authority SENIAT, a project fro better management of the National Parks, a
project to create the economic office of the old Congress (since canned) and a
project to reduce poverty.

–And there is so much freedom of speech in Venezuela that
the police and the Bolivarian Circles stop the showing of the movie “La Fiesta del Chivo” on April 9th.
at the Universidad Nacional Experimental del Tachira and not one of the major
newspapers or broadcasting stations has the guts (I wanted to use a different
word) to report it.

Jeez, I wonder why they are bothered by a movie about an
autocratic Dictator, who develops a cult of his personality, creates a single
political party and destroys all semblance of institutionality in the Dominican
Republic? I really can’t see the parallel!

–Best phrase at the Margarita Energy Summit: That of the
Minister of Agriculture from Uruguay on Chavez’ proposal to create a regional
energetic union in Latin America “es una discussion boluda…estamos discutiendo
pavadas”, which loosely translated means “This is a stupid discussion…we are
discussing silly stuff”

I guess some of our regional neighbors are not as dumb as we
think sometimes. I hear Uruguay’ s Parliament’s will issue a condemnation of
the closing of TV station RCTV similar to that of the Chilean Senate. According
to the ever cynical Minister
of Communications
, there is now an international media conspiracy against Venezuela
now on this issue. Using his perverse logic the fact that there was a
demonstration today against the arbitrary shutdown of RCTV, demonstrates there
is freedom of speech on Venezuela. Goebbels would have been proud of him combining a number of his
in such a compact form.

–And the latest bright idea by the revolution is price
control for the private health care system, clinics and hospitals.

I guess the more controls fail; the more they want to impose
them on all areas of the economy. I am not even quite sure why the
Superintendent of Taxes makes
announcements about this
and talks about inflation he should work and speak
on tax matters.

–The Penal hall of the Venezuelan Supreme Court voided the
decision to let go the 29 prison workers accused of allowing former Governor
Lapi to escape from jail.

Funny how they voided the first decision and ignored the
obviously illegal second decision by the replacement judge…

–Today some sectors of the opposition took to the streets with a
to the TV stations headquarters, to protest the promised shutdown of

Despite threats that it would be violent by the Minister of
Interior and Justice, who is charge of security and justice in the country,
people did turn out today and it was peaceful. It was not the best of dates as
Thursday was holiday and many people took the long vacation, which we call
“Puente” (Bridge) in Venezuela.

–And you can read everything about the collusion between Venevision and VTV here in Quico’s blog.

I don’t believe everyone has a price, but I am constantly surprised by how many people do.