Archive for February 24th, 2008

If its basic building blocks don’t work, Venezuela will not survive as a Republic

February 24, 2008

I wanted to write about the CNE claiming that it had completed reporting the results from the December referendum, but Quico covered very well the most salient points. The most important point, is the bunch of BS coming out of the mouth of the President of the CNE Tibisay Lucena. Lucena lied and told the worng numbers with a straight face, lying about the numbers. The truth is that the CNE has not told us what happened on Dec. 2nd. beyond telling us the No won.

But we have yet to find out what the true margin of victory was, let alone its geographical distribution. This may seem like we are being picky, but it’s not. It is extremely important to know these results, because in November there will be regional elections to elect Governors and Mayors. We have not trusted results in the past and the fact that we have yet to eb told exactly how the NO won in December gives us little confidence going forward. And we need it.

We need it because Chavze can not afford a big loss in November, so that he will be pulling all of the stops, numerical, electronic and whatever he may need to make it look like his victory.

And that is why knowing the December results in detail is so important. We still don’t know what happened in 6% of the polls. In a referendum that 6% may seem irrelevant, but in a regional election it may be five times the margin of victory in a particular state.

But for those of us that live here, por ahora, the problem with the electoral results is symptomatic of what we have to put up with day after day. There is simply nobody to appeal to to force the CNE to publish the final results, the same way there is nobody to appeal to when Rafael Ramirez lies about the country’s oil production or Diosdado Cabello says Luis Tascon helped a banker with drug connections. In any reasonably organized country with rule of law, a Governor of the largest state in the country and identified with the Government saying such a thing would become a scandal, mobilize the judicial branch and immediately force Prosecutors to act.

In Venezuela, nothing happens, the same way nothing happens because the Electoral Board does not comply with its mandate or even what the law states.

Because in the end there is no justification for it. Each vote should have been counted in December. Each person that went to vote deserves the respect of having its vote not only counted, but also reported. But the person in charge of the voting process dismisses them without care, disregarding their rights.

A country has to be very sick when this is happening. But i just so happens that those in charge of the system are precisely the ones allowing this to happen.

This is not being picky, it’s the defense of the basic rights of the Venezuelan people and the need to have the essential building blocks of a society work, if Venezuela is to survive as a Republic.

Some Australian tropicool Dendrobiums and some species

February 24, 2008

About two years ago, I bought some Australian “tropicool” Dendrobiums from Duno Orchids in flasks and some plants. Only oe of them had flowered, but all of a sudden I have five in bloom and I love them! Below three of them:

On the left above De. Burgundy Cream x Dendrobium Aussie Quest. On the right Dendrobium Danang

On the left Dendrobium Brinawa Charm x Dendrobium Vivid. On the right, Cattleya Lueddemanniana (Maruja x Pto. Cruz), a sort of funny shaped on really spread out and the back sepal sort of leaning back.

Above a firts bloom of Cattleya Jenmanii Gerd x Claudia, I thought this plant was not doing well and look at thos beauties! Coerulea Jenmaniis seldo ahve a great shape. Very delicate!

Growing Cattleya Loddigessi on cork in Caracas

February 24, 2008

I have always liked Cattleya Loddigessi from Brazil. I find it very beautiful and delicate. However, the ones I had were not doing very well. Basically, the plants flowered erratically, did not have many roots and the leaves would dehydrate like in the picture below on the left. I had them potted in fir bark with charcoal like all my Cattleyas. This seemed to happen to other people in Caracas, so I decided to experiment and took a small plant and tied it to cork instead of having it in a pot with fir bark. The results were immediate and incredible. On the ight below, you can see the first plant that I did this to about a year and a half ago, which has four flowers. In fact, I ahve had four of the Cattleya Loddigessi flower in the last month. I never had such results with the plants in pots.

Below left, you can see the roots at the base of the plant and see how vigorous the plants have rooted on the cork. On the right you can see the whole plant and how the last five leads have grown two and three times the size of the original ones when I tied it to the cork. The leaves no longer dehydrate in te back and the one I show above was from a plant that was already in trouble. I have now moved all my plants to cork and they are thriving.

Above I show two close ups of the bug plant above, one (right) with the sun hitting from behind.You can see how delicate this flower is and how well shaped they are.

This is a different Cattleya Loddigessi, also on cork and doing very well. This is a much smaller plant that I placed on the cork after the initial experiment worked.

While some people say Brazilian species have this problem because they are not repotted at the right time, my feeling is that they do not have in Caracas the humidity they have in their natural habitat and they do not like having the roots wet. On the cork the roots dry fats and I have more humidity than usual in my orchid room than most people.