Archive for February 24th, 2009

And now the conspiracy theory on Stanford: It is all a US plot against Antigua banking

February 24, 2009

Former Antigua Prime Minister Lester Bird now brings up the US conspiracy theory on the Stanford International Bank story:

“However, the former prime minister contended that the charges against Sir Allen and his Stanford companies were part of a US plot to break Antigua and Barbuda’s offshore financial services sector.

“All these people do not want us to have offshore financial services and Stanford has done such an exponential job in developing money… and these guys decide that he’s giving too much profit,” Bird said.”

The best part is that he even attempts to suggest that supervision may have been lax since he left power in 2004, despite the SEC allegations that Stanford’s investment results were funny since at last 1995-1996. He also says “other banks” are paying even higher interest rates than SIB.

Oh baby!

The wonderful world of TVES, the Chavista “public service television”

February 24, 2009

There has been a controversy in the last few days surrounding TVES, the “public service” TV station that replaced RCTV when Chavez personally decided to cancel that station’s concession.

The controversy is about corruption and that is what those involved are bickering about, but to me the corruption is not the most significant issue, but once again the ability of Chavismo to destroy in the name of the revolution, only to replace it by something which in the end is more anti-revolutionary than what was there before.

Essentially, recall that RCTV was replaced by TVES under the argument that we needed more “socially responsible” television and that RCTV imported programming. The Supreme Court went as far as confiscationg, yes confisctaing, RCTV’s equipment, because the whole thing was so improvised that the Chavez Government had no way of starting a new TV station without stealing the equipment from its rightful owners in the name of the robolution. To this day, TVES has not even tried to buy its own equipment because it knows that the servile Supreme Court will not reverse the ruling.

A former manager of TVES under the new revolutionary management, made a bunch of accusations of what was happening while he was there under the leadership of Lil Rodriguez from May 2007 to November 2008. According to him, contracts were signed paying huge overcharges, even using official exchange foreign currency rate to pay back PDVSA and the President of the TV station having a permanent hotel room at a fancy hotel in Caracas, despite the fact that she lives in a house in Urbanizacion Miranda at the edge of the East of the city (Of course, she argues it is in Guarenas, further East, to distract attention). This arrangement alone cost some US$ 90,000 for a year and a half.

But what is really incredible is how little “social responsability” there was at TVES while Trapiello was there. He said that while the regulators went after the other private TV stations for violations of all sorts of rues and regulations, at TVES they did what they wanted. This includes the fact that this “sociallly responsible” revolutionary broadcast ony 20% of programs produced in Venezuela with the balance imported from Argetina, Mexico and the US. Among the main shows at TVES was none other than Ally McBeal, a show I like, but has very little to do with the revolution, as far as I know.

Trapiello also said TVES did not fulfill the quota of programs produced by independet producers, as well as censorship and discrimination. As an example he said TVES does not show Venezuelan basketball because one of the teams belongs to a relative of opposition Governor Henrique Capriles, but it does show NBA games. He also noted that he was asked to remove from a documentary on Venezuelan cinema all references to a TV personality, Orlando Urdaneta, who supposedly participated in the 2002 events which led to Chavez briefly leaving the Government.

Incredibly none of the pro-Chavez or Government TV stations carried the press conference or the news of what Trapiello was accusing TVES of, but carried the response by the current President of TVES, who only talked about corruption and ignored the other charges.

Thus, another case of destroying something just to satisfy Chavez’ whims. RCTV used to produce and export soap operas and produce Venezuelan made programs which TVES fails to do. Moreover, almost two years have gone by and TVES is as unprepared as ever to do its job.

BTW TVES ratings are low, below 1%, without a single one of its programs havng a rating larger than 1%

You’ve got to love the revolution!