Archive for March 5th, 2008

As you all were looking towards the border…

March 5, 2008

And while you were all looking towards the Colombian border:

—The Venezuelan Central Bank proved it no longer has any independence by deciding to create a new methodology for measuring the CPI and eliminating the calculation of the old one. The immediate effect was for inflation to drop significantly under the new measure with the CPI coming at 2.2%, which nobody knows what it means. We are also told that even a newer version of the CPI will be released in April.

—President Chavez showed us his personal revisionist vision of Venezuelan history when he said that “there had never been massive vaccination campaigns before his Government”. This contrasts with numbers released by the Panamerican Health Organization which says that coverage in most vaccines has actually gone down during the revolution, with polio coverage going from 85% to 73% and tuberculosis from 91% to 85%. I guess they have a new way of measuring “coverage” under the revolution.

—Six buses were burned
in protests by the workers of steel company Sidor in Bolivar State. The National Guard angered the workers and a battle between the two lasted for a couple of hours.

—At the University of the Andes the opposition coalition defeated the pro-Government coalition by almost a five to one margin, this means that the opposition group will hold 72% of the positions of the Student Union, with two females holding the top two positions at that organization.

—In the Maletagate case a second one of the men charged, Carlos Kauffman, changed his plea to guilty, while the Prosecutor in the case revealed that another one of the men accused, Franklin Duran, was taped talking to not only the Head of the Venezuelan Intelligence Police (DISIP), t additionally to the Vice-Minister of the Interior and Justice.

—Much the money dissipated by the Venezuelan Government in the last few weeks trying to lower the implicit swap market parallel rate appeared to have been mostly wasted when the Venezuela/Colombia conflict drove the rate up to levels near those of two weeks ago, before settling somewhat at the end of today.

Media Show by Teodoro Petkoff

March 5, 2008

(Left: Son take care of yourself at the border. Don’t worry mother I will write daily. Right: If you can send milk, chicken and egs…)

As the Military Chief of Staffs finally announces the beginning of the troop mobilization to protect the FARC in Venezuela, Petkoff blasts Chavez and his cronies for their irresponsible behavior. The border appears closed to commercial traffic such as trucks today, which in the end only hurts Venezuelans. By now, this is a proxy war of the “fourth generation” type by the US, which is using Colombia as a peon to attack Venezuela. Funny, Colombia went a mile into Ecuador, not Venezuela, it was that country’s sovereignty which was violated, not ours. The fear is, of course, that the FARC has camps in Venezuela and it is likely that both Ivan Marques and Marulanda are in Venezuela in these camps. After all, it was Chavez’ phone call that gave Reyes away. If the Colombia Government dared to come in and kill them, the FARC would be mortally wounded. That is the only “principle” Hugo Chavez and his cronies are defending: The survival of a bloody and inhumane group which has made life for Colombians a tragedy for decades.

Media Show by Teodoro Petkoff in Tal Cual

That the Chief of State of a country sing., dances, insults or threatens people on TV may be a source of laughter or censured, according to your pint of view, but it definitely is nor offensive nor transcendental. What had never happened and can not be backed is to declare whole nations in alert, troops are ordered mobilize and to practically place the country at the edge of war, via Chavez’ TV program “Alo, President”. This time, Chávez went too far. To make such a decision and start dancing “hip hop” in front of the cameras does nothing but demonstrate a supreme irresponsibility on the part of the person that governs us.

The former Minister of Defense Raul Baduel is right, when he points out that Chavez pretense when he to involve us in a matter which concerns us all directly and provokes the Colombian Government to react to the verbal attacks and the threats of war, is nothing but staging a media show.

The President pretends to turn the Colombian Government into the “enemy” because he desperately needs to appeal to nationalism to distract the attention of Venezuelan with respect to the true and urgent internal problems and he is trying to gather wills around him, as a figure of power.

But that formula, as Baduel said, will not work. First, because Chavez is no longer the messianic leader of other epochs who the masses followed blindly. Second. Because the idea that Colombia, the closest brother of our neighboring countries, can be a real threat and a potential aggressor has been discarded, after the Colombian Government ratified that it will stick to peaceful means and announced that it will not mobilize any troops.

This Messianic career to promote by force a conflict was joined by Foreign Minister Nicola Maduro, who from the national Assembly denounced that the operation staged on the weekend by Colombia against the FARC on Ecuadorian soil had been prepared to take place on Venezuelan soil in September 2007.

That’s same night the Minister of the Interior, Ramón Rodriguez Chacin, presented his buffoon like story of the laptop computer left by the assassins of Wilber Varela (a.k.a. as Jabon) next to his corpse, so that Venezuelan authorities could, one month later, denounce the drug connections of Colombian officers. Such a clownish act, can only be conceived in the head of Rodriguez Chacin, an official with “impeccable operational and military” credentials since the massacre of El Amparo and who in political matters is virtually functionally illiterate. Chávez meanwhile, watches from the gallery the show he staged and is keeping a prudent silence.