Archive for July 18th, 2007

RCTV uncontrolled broadcasts drive Government to attempt to control TV subscription services

July 18, 2007

And soon after RCTV began broadcasting via cable and satellite, the Government realized what a monster it had unleashed even if it has limited reach by subscription. You see, RCTV is broadcasting its signals without any Government control or supervision from abroad as part of satellite broadcasting and it would no longer have to broadcast either Chavez’ boring “cadenas” or the so called “institutional speeches. Thus, RCTV, which was widely popular befoe it was illegally shutdown by the Government would gain an additional advantage.

Thus, the Chavista dictator/autocrat in his infinite wisdom has decided that all broadcast systems by subscription whether cable or satellite shoudl be forced to carry both Chavez cadenas as well as the Government’s institutional messages, in another attempt to control information and impose censorship at will whenever it is necessary.

Except that implementing this is not as simple. In the satellite systems, these are not signals broadcast solely for Venezuela, that one could simply replace with the Government’s feeds. Most satellite systems are broadcast to wide regions of Latin America under contract to local distributors. These contracts in themselves, have clauses imposing that these programs can not be changed, broadcast in part or be limited by the distributors. Finally, at least by satellite, it is nt technologically feasible to do this selectively.

The Government had already forced these broadcast systems by subscription to carry a special channel with Chavez cadenas and institutional messages, but what is being proposed nos is extremely difficult to implement and if the Government insists it will likely mean that these subscription system will have to reduce programming by 80%.

The truth is that even if limited RCTV’s return this week using subscription services has been a resounding success, with long lines of people signing up for both cable and satellite services as these systems made special offers to those that can least afford it. Thus, the Government faces the threat of having a revived RCTV which is no longer under its control and would have the added advantage of not broadcasting Government speeches, military parades and Chavez’ long and boring tirades.

The cool thing is that even if the Government insisted, there are technological solutions to it. You can just buy a Direct TV card from for example, Puerto Rico, insert it into your box and you will see that country’s programming, bypassing Chavez, the national anthem and all the political crap.

Of course, the Government will not tolerate RCTV broadcasts free of control and limitations, where those speaking will be able to openly criticize and detail all of its abusive actions, including but not limited to freedom of speech issues. In some sense RCTV will have wider latitude and freedom than before to report the daily events and abuses by the autocrat and his cronies.

Ironically, the Government has somehow created the monster itself with its action against RCTV and now is looking for ways to stop it.

What else can you expect from the autocrat?

Tascon/Chavez fascist list alive and well at Sincor

July 18, 2007

I have written extensiely about the fascist Tascon/Chavez list, which has been used extensively by the Chavze Government to discriminate Venezuelans according to their political preferences. The list has been used repeatedly by the Government to fire, deny contracts and benefits and only delusional fanatics of the autocrat/dictator continue going around denyin its use for political purposes.

While some Venezuelans thought teh use of the list ended with Chavez’ public recognition of its use and existence when he said on a Sunday Alo President quite a while ago, all evidence point to the opposite: The list is alive and well and continues to be used without scruples as not even the autocrat can now contain the hate and tools for hate he unleashed on those Venezuelans that are against his abuses.

The latest example is documented in today’s Tal Cual, when we are told about how four young engineers of heavy crude partnership Sincor were fired this week without explanation. Sincor is one of the projects in which PDVSA forced a 60% majrity on its partners on June 26th. and the company is now running the project.

The four engineers, whose names are Andrés Pieve, Laura Atencio, Nataly Barcia Durán and Zully Álvarez were simply called and told they were no longer working at Sincor.

Of curse, by now Chavista readers are saying they were probably fired for incompetence, bad manners or whatever and nobody can prove they were fired for opposing Chavez’ autocracy. Except that Tal Cual got hold of a carefully elaborated list in which each employee of Sincor is judged according to whether they signed for the consultative referendum, for the recall vote or had their signature repaired. This list is shown here including the names of those fired. An elaborate system of X’s next to each name and each referenda was placed next to each person’s name to determine whether they were “apt’ to continue working in the country’s oil industry. The four fired recently are clearly marked with a V and they all signed against Chavez, failing to pass the loyalty grade. None of those considered “apt” has been fired and those not yet fired with X’s next to their name are sure that they will soon join their co-workers in the ranks of the unemployed.

And some fools will continue in denial, much like Germany during Hitler or when the McCarthy list was being used in the US to blacklist and discriminate. And when it is all over, they will also claim they did not know, but we will know better

The fake reform by Marino Gonzalez

July 18, 2007

I have been meaning to write about the issue of the new planning bill which centralizes all decisions in the country in the President’s hands, but it is a complex topic that I am still studying, but Marino Gonzalez who usually writes about health issues in Tal Cual, clealry saw the meaning of the new Bill and wrote this very clear and succint article on the topic in today’s Tal Cual

The fake reform by Marino Gonzalez in Tal Cual

It was clear that the discussion about the changes to the 1999 Constitution would not be characterized by its openness or consensus

It was evident that a Government that has diminished the democratic capacity of the country would not use the channels that the Constitution itself established to approve those changes.

The control of the National Assembly and the rest of public powers are simply manifestations that the project backed by the Government will be the only option that would be presented to the country. As if this were not enough, the Government proceeded to convoke the creation of a new party for the revolution and to make the “adjustments” needed within the Armed Forces.

In the first few months of the year some sectors, including some from within the Government pointed out that if any of the changes affected the first ten articles of the Constitution, a National Constituent Assembly would need to be convoked.

The Government replied that it did not touch them: the changes would not involve the first ten articles of the Constitution. Those backing the Government could sleep well: there would be no National Constituent Assembly.

It was thus that the “Presidential Council for the Reform of the Constitution” was named. It was composed of representatives of all public powers, among them the President of the National Assembly and the Supreme Court. It was an attempt in vain to make constitutional change appear distant from the will of the Executive power.

As the months have gone by the citizens have learned through the media that the changes proposed are simply awaiting the approval of President Chávez to be sent to a supposed “discussion” in the National Assembly.

It is also supposed that in this discussion all sectors of national life will participate. And that later, as it is established in the “current” Constitution, the citizens will go to a referendum to approve or reject the proponed reform.

For all Venezuelans it is already clear that all of the above has been a complete farce elaborated by the Government with the servile approval of all of the powers of the State. It is too obvious that the changes that they want to make are those dictated by president Chavez. The rest of the people will have to accept the authoritarian will. It is also evident that the constitutional reform aims to a central goal: increase the power of the presidency of the Republic and end the principle of alterability.

The biggest demonstration of this great farce is the constitutional change that has already take place. Protected under the special powers given by the National Assembly via the Enabling Bill, President Chavez, in his Cabinet meeting, has issued a Decree/Law that eliminates one of the first ten articles of the 1999 Constitution.

That Decree/law, Number 5384 to be more specific, published in the Official gazette on June 22nd. of this year, named Organic law for the Creation of the Central Commission for Planning, establishes that the structure of the sate is a centralized one. That the planning of all entities of the public administration will be exercised through the direction decided by that Commission. That the same centralized planning will also affect all of the Governments of states and municipalities, as well as all of the civilian societies of the state and the actors from the private sector.

All of this is being done in order “to transit towards a socialist model for society, which will insure satisfying the needs of human beings”. Besides that, it leaves in the hands of the President of the Republic the approval of the “strategic directions, policies and plans whether regional, by sector or international” for the country (Article 7). In other words, the only organization of the administration of the Sate that approves the plans is the maximum instance of the Executive Power.

This is probably one of the most centralizing acts of political power in the history of Venezuela.

Thus, the Constitutional change in Venezuela has already been consummated. Venezuela has ceased to be a federal decentralized state without the Constitution needing to be changed.

Without millions of Venezuelans expressing their opinion.

Which all goes to show that the current Government is disrespectful of both the forms and appearances of a democracy. Thus, it is all a complete farce.