Archive for December 27th, 2008

A random collection of facts and thoughts about Venezuela from the last few days

December 27, 2008

—How about the Italian moviemakers that came to Venezuela to
make a sympathetic movie about Hugo Chavez, saw reality and made a
critical movie that they almost could not get out of the country?  The Threat (La Menaccia) is now winning awards and being watched all over the world as the fake message of the robolution spreads.
—And I read Enrique Krauze’ book “El Poder y el Delirio
(The Power and the Delirium) in which the Mexican historian looks at
who is Hugo Chavez? A very readable book about our autocrat which
Krauze wrote after coming to Venezuela a few times to research it. I
did not learn much I did not know about Chavez, but it is a well
informed book about Chavez and how he came about due in part of the
many errors of other Caudillos like him, like Rafael Caldera and Carlos
Andres Perez. Perhaps my biggest surprise is how the figure of Romulo
Betancourt has gained over time, as the left that fought him now
recognizes the important role he played in establishing the democracy
in Venezuela that Chavez is trying to destroy. It also looks at the
bloody history of Venezuela as well as how Simon Bolivar has been
distorted by the current President. Highly recommendable. 
someone reminds me that while Chavez wants to convert the Sambil
shopping center in La Candelaria into a hospital or university, not far
from that same spot, stands “La Torre de David“,
30-plus story building which the Government took over in 2004 as part
of the financial crisis and which lies there unused and deteriorating,
while the Government pretends to take over a shopping center legally
built under its own nose and approved 100% by Chavista officials. It is
so easy to destroy and so difficult to build for this Government!
—And speaking of destroying, after doing that to the Venezuelan economy, subsidizing cheap imports via exchange controls, today Chavez wants to
diversify the economy, to “reduce the country’s dependence on oil”.
Jeez, you could have fooled me Hugo, after you have done exactly the
opposite for ten years. In fact, you claim among other things that you
want to increase production of goods for export and you mention cement
as an example. In May of last year you announced the
nationalization of Cemex  and other cement producing companies, because
they were exporting cement to make money. The companies were taken over
and the Government has yet to pay for them
clarifying a previous post on the reelection referendum on Dec. 22nd.,
Article 64 of the Venezuelan Constitution says everyone 18 years old
has the right to vote in an election. This means that the Electoral
Registry has to be opened to allow all voters to register for the
referendum. Separately, the law also says that the registry has to
close 90 day before the election and has to be opened for at least 30
days. This means that even if the registry was opened on Jan. 5th., it
would remain open for thirty days (February 5th.) and the election
could ot take place until 90 days later at the earliest, which would
imply May at the earliest if the law and the Constitution were to be