What I (fortunately?) missed reading about while I was away

September 16, 2007

–Minister of Finance Cabezas said that the decision to stop lending operations was the Central Bank’s and had nothing to do with Chavez saying that that the Central bank should stop lending to the banks and concentrate on the people.

Yeah, sure!

–My read on the polls is not only that most people are against the Constitutional reform, but that most people care little about it and are asking what teh reform does to them.

—The National Assembly approved Chavez’ proposed Constitutional reform for the second time (three are needed). Political Party Podemos abstained, which in Chavez’ concept of democracy earned it being declared an outcast party and now part of the opposition.

And some people still think Chavez is a democrat…

—And how about Chavez’ grandstanding on the Colombian hostage issue? He is willing to meet and talk with Marulanda, but does not even talk to anyone in the Venezuelan opposition and has never done anything among the more than 70 Venezuelans currently kidnapped.

—And after four years of exchange controls, the Government is concerned about fraudulent requests for foreign currency for travel. Only 20% of passports issued recently have been used to travel, but the foreign exchange control office requires a passport to approve the US$ 5,000 quota for travel.

—The Government plans to make the State’s banking system competitive with the private sector.

I heard that eight years ago…

—ExxonMobil went to arbitration on the expropriation of its Cerro Negro heavy crude oil project, despite Minsiter Ramirez’ claim that an agreement was “close”.

—President Chavez said that he will “gassify” the country, invest US$ 18 billion in the sector but has yet to say where all the gas will come from. Most Venezuelan natural gas is associated with oil production. Since production is down, then how will this grandiose project work?

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