Three weeks in which the country seemed to be running in place

May 10, 2008

Returning to Venezuela after three weeks of traveling, I find that very little has changed since I left. The scandals, stupidity and headlines seem to be variations of the same theme. After all, how much proof do we need that Chavez and his cronies are simply involved in an ideological project with no content and whose only objective is control of the country without benefiting the population in the name of socialism?

The headlines from abroad tells us that the data contained in Reyes’ computer proves that Chavez had a close relationship with the FARC. Is there a surprise there? Only the imbecile cheerleaders of the revolution still try to claim the data is false. One really does not need much proof to know how tight Chavez was and is with the FARC. Have people forgotten the FARC’s Foreign Minister Rodrigo Granda? Granda lived in Venezuela under a different name in total opulence, using papers provided to him by the Chavez Government. He even registered to vote! And when he first came to Venezuela he was provided full VIP protocol service at the airport, ordered by none other than the current Minister of the Interior. If Huguito disagreed with this actions, why was Chacin, who also had a second identity a turbulent past and a few million dollars under his name when he left the Ministry, brought back to the position last year?

And it was Chacin that was caught live during the hstage handover calling the FARC guerrillas “comrades” and telling them to keep it up, “we support your fight”. And Chavez did all but cry when he found out that Raul Reues had been killed, calling him a hero and the like.

And then of course, people seem to have forgotten that General Gonzalez Gonzalez fall out of favor with Chavez came about when he told Chavez about the FARC camps within the borders of Venezuela and Chavez did nothing. Did we really need to know more?

The material found in Reyes’ camp simply confirms the details and it has provided data that has led to arrests and captures, so it is absolutely idiotic to even suggest the data was faked by the CIA. If you argue that, you have to suggest that the presence of FARC leader Ivan Marquez at the Miraflores Palace, a man wanted internationally for murder, drug trafficking and terrorists acts, was also a CIA plot, which would then imply Chavez is CIA, as absurd a suggestion as saying FARC has not helped the FARC and has no ties to them.

Meanwhile, the members of the Electoral Board CNE, none of which are lawyers, do not even consult with their legal counsel to rule 4-1 that all decisions by the comptroller finding wrongdoing by an Government official, bans them from running in the regional elections. What a great tool! A person appointed by you single handedly decides there are crimes without a court mediating in the process and bans anyone the Government from running. Never mind that the Constitution says otherwise. But who gives a damn about the Constitution anyway. Mugabe would be proud of them, he never thought of doing something like that!

And then there is Hugo going to Court against his former wife claiming that he is not given the proper rights to be with his daughter. Never mind that he does not pay the alimony established by the Court or that he has had more important things to do on significant days for the same daughter, he has to make the point that his ex-wife can not oppose him. After all, which Court will rule against Chavez in a country where women are always favored in these cases? He is after all, the archetypical irresponsible Venezuelan father.

And as Chavez decreed the nationalization of Sidor, a majority of the country went dark in a clear indication of the inability of the Government to even sustain functioning institutions. But did Chavez get the message? No way, he is not a thinking person just a rabid ideologue.

And the Government sold US$ 4 billion to lower the parallel swap rate, which moved down a bit, but the country’s bonds moved even more as foreign investors are wary of Venezuela’s risk, even with oil at US$ 120. It makes no sense for the country’s bonds to yield close to 11% for the long term issues or even more ridiculous, the 2010 issue which yields close to 9%. Public employees got a 30% minimum salary increase which will cost in the words of the Minister of Planning only 3 percentage points of inflation. Sure, this money will have no impact on the swap exchange rate as more money flows into the economy. But Minister El Troudi is no economist, as it should be, given the disregard for economic principles by the revolution.

And it was no surprise what happened at Venezuela’s largest University, Universidad Central. There were four candidates, only one pro-Government, the winner got about 2,000 votes, while the Chavista candidate, who was born a revolutionary under the name Lenin, got 531 votes, down from about 600 when Minister Merentes ran in 2002. Incredible from a University that cheered Chavez’ victory in 1998.

And Chavez and his Minister of Defense denounced the secessionist movements that want Zulia state to split from Venezuela much like Santa Cruz voted last Sunday. Except that no one has been able to find what the proposal is, who is making it and who supports it. It must be an ultrasecret CIA movement.

Which shows that not much canged in the last three weeks in Venezuela…which is unusual when I travel…

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