Archive for January 28th, 2009

First serious poll after referendum proposal changed: Yes ahead by a small margin

January 28, 2009

In the first serious poll to come out after Chavez decided to include all elected positions in his indefinite reelection proposal, Datanalisis reports that the pro-Chavez Yes vote is slightly ahead by a margin close to the margin of error. According to this poll, if the vote were held today, the Si would get 51.5% versus 48% for the NO. The poll was made between January 13 and 18th. before the recent repression to student protests and Chavez’ threats against the students.

The bad news is that the opposition seems to have squandered its 17% lead in only one month by the lack of  a focused campaign, while Chavez has used all of the resources of the State to promote his position. Unfortunately in polls, one has to watch the trend and the trend is right now very unfavorable to the NO vote and the opposition.

My concern is not that Chavez will be eligible for reelection, I really don’t think he has a chance if oil prices stay down for a while, but the fact that a win will propell him to move forward with his project and the deepening of the economic and moral destruction of our country.

Economic tales from the Venezuelan revolution

January 28, 2009
  • PDVSA is late in making payments to suppliers and companies that provide services to it. Sorry, I should say PDVSA is very late in making payments to suppliers and companies that provide services to it. How late? So late, that PDVSA today seized a drilling rig owned by ENSCO, after ENSCO decided to stop drilling unless PDVSA paid it the money it is owed.
  • In the first 23 days of the year CADIVI, the foreign exchange control office had paid up US$ 839 million for travelers credit cards almost a quarter of what it paid in 2008 when the travel quota per person was twice as large. Clearly, Venezuelans have become quite adept at playing markets and arbitrage. Oligarco Burguesito lives on!
  • And how about funny man Rodolfo Sanz, President of CVG saying that the aluminum companies are almost collapsed. According to Sanz rhe companies are obsolete, have huge debt with suppliers and need about US$ 3 billion to save them. What is the main problem? That the price of aluminum has fallen 66% and the stuff is being sold below cost. Well, in July 2008 the price of a Ton hit an all time high and we never heard Mr. Sanz talk about investing or anythig like that, no?
  • And another one of the famous Chavez announcements came to nothing, as Brazil’s Petrobras says it will go alone if PDVSA does not participate as it becomes increasingly clear that PDVSA is not that interested in the project.
  • And the shortages of coffee, sugar, milk and toilet paper are of course blamed on a conspiracy to sabotage the upcoming referendum vote. If rather than blaming it on conspiracies they worried about why this is happening maybe they could ease the problem. Additionally, maybe since the whole Government is working on the referendum, nobody is paying attention to unimportant things like importing food. Brace yourself, it will only get worse. I can live without coffee, sugar and milk, but toilet paper? No way…

As Petkoff politely asks for equal treatment under the Law, the military snaps back at him

January 28, 2009

So, Teodoro Petkoff writes an Editorial in Tal Cual asking General Gonzalez Gonzalez, who is in charge of the military operation surrounding the upcoming referendum vote, to please insure that everyone is treated the same way and we get a vitriolic press conference, not only insulting Petkoff, but proving Petkoff’s point that the Venezuelan Armed Forces are indeed part of Chavez’ PSUV party and not at the service of country.

Someone certainly seems nervous about the upcoming vote and it clearly is not the Tal Cual Director…

Because Petkoff’s request are not only reasonable and were made in a very polite tone, but are based on behavior seen in election after election on the part of the armed forces: Military personnel interfering with decisions with the laws ascribes to civilians.

Here are some of the main points Petkoff noted:

“It corresponds to you, General Gonzalez, to stop soldiers and officials from acting in any way contrary the duties that the Constitution and the laws impose on them to guarantee that all Venezuelans feel that the men in uniform that are present at the electoral centers are there to preserve public order and not to involve themselves in any way in what are electoral activities”

And then Petkoff cites examples which are well known to all (I was stopped, machine gun in hand by a soldier from entering a voting center in the 2004 referendum to witness the vote count as established by law):

“There have been officials who have pretended (and in some cases managed to) review the credentials of witnesses (coincidentally, it is always those of the opposition witnesses) and decide to allow access or not to the voting place. There have been officials who have forced electoral polls in which there were no voters in line to remain open beyond the legal time for closing them”

“Even worse, there have been cases in which polls that had been closed because there were no voters, have been forcibly opened by some military officials so that pro-Chavez voters transported in Government vehicles could vote after closing time…We hope you put an end to this”

“We as Venezuelans would like you to be the guarantor of the behavior of ALL of the officials under your command…We are not asking you to give us any preference but that the Armed Forces guarantee equality under the law”

These are all reasonable requests, said respectfully and all of the cases Petkoff cites have been documented and even proven by live TV over the last few votes. Thus, you can’t help but wonder why these guys are so nervous and edgy that the Vie-President of Venezuela holds a press conference with General Gonzalez Gonzalez (a mistake in itself, the General is independent of the Government) and blast Petkoff with insults:

said the General:

“We have seen through this newspaper, this pamphlet how they once again they have pretended to attack (??) the Armed Forces, pretended once again to manipulate them and going beyond this, to manipulate the strategic operational commander”

“They have pretended to attack through this junky paper, pseudo newspaper, which I read very little because when we review it we see lies, manipulations and a whole bunch of things, it is a communication vehicle which is at the service of treason and those without a homeland, who don’t love this country and do not dream of structuring it as it is defined in our Constitution, those are the ones that read that newspaper and use to hurt institutions as honorable and respectable as the Armed Forces…let history, this revolution and this process advance”

and the Vice-President asserted once again that the motto of the Armed Forces is “Homeland, Socialism or Death”, which is also something a democratic majority of Venezuelans objected to in 2007 with their votes.

Well, while Petkoff was simply asking for equality for all, the General immediately places him as a traitor (as well as anyone that reads his paper) and as far as I know, neither socialism, nor the “process” nor the revolution are in any way part of the Venezuelan Constitution. Despite the General’s partiality, a majority of Venezuelans, those he considers traitors and without a homeland, actually rejected that any part of that Chavista BS be part of the Venezuelan Constitution in the referendum in 2007. Which by the way, is being violated by holding the vote again on a question already considered, hiding behind an obtuse question the true meaning of the referendum.

Who is the real traitor to the Constitution and the laws of Venezuela, General Gonzalez Gonzalez? You that steps on it or those of us who defend it (Or try to!)

It is the General who is a traitor for not respecting the democratic wishes of the people, whatever they were or may be in the future. It is the General who shows his partiality by appearing at a press conference in the Vice-Presidents office, insulting the intelligence of all Venezuelans who have seen the behavior Petkoff is asking him to stop in the upcoming vote.

But the real question is whether the General is nervous because he knows that things are not looking up for his partiality or because the behavior denounced by Petkoff in his editorial today, are part of the bag of tricks he and Chavez and his cronies are preparing, should the electorate decide to vote on the side of treason. Because his conduct today was certainly not that of a man planning to follow the law and be impartial in an electoral process in which he will be in charge of the logistics but not the actual process of voting.

Which like so many things going on today makes me worry. The Government keeps parading its polls showing the indefinite reelection is ahead, but serious polls show the opposite (yes, reduced, but from a 20% lead o a 10-12% lead), while the fake pollsters of the revolution can’t even agree on the numbers.

So, beware, if the General nerves are on the edge, so should yours, because the revolution has no scruples, but we traitors do.