Archive for January 29th, 2010

Venezuela without Esteban by Laureano Marquez in Tal Cual

January 29, 2010

Reader Deanna took a stab at translating Laureano Marquez’ article in Tal Cual which is here in Spanish (see previous post), not bad at all!. Thanks! For those that don’t speak Spanish, here it is:

Venezuela without Esteban by Laureano Marquez in Tal Cual

A Venezuela without Esteban is difficult to imagine, but all the scientists agree in pointing out that the day when the President will leave the government is nearer everyday and they have made a documentary for the History Channel which will relate how Venezuela will be when the Head of State is no longer…

…FIRST DAY WITHOUT ESTEBAN: People can’t really believe it and they begin to live in a state of confusión.  Pro-former government armed groups destroy all that’s left of the country (which fortunately was very Little)…

Some who are already completely crazy continue applauding in Miraflores  and screaming UH AH…Martha Colomina and Miguel Angel Rodriguez take the plaza Bolivar with a group of motorcyclists and surround Lina Ron…Venevision declares itself furiously anti-Chavez.

…FIRST MONTH WITHOUT ESTEBAN: Some people have not reacted yet, thinking that he will return at any moment.  People stop buying dollars like crazy.  Most of the militant members of PSUV say that they never imagined that the government did all those atrocities that were beginning to be uncovered and that they didn’t know…Humanitarian aid arrives in the country…

…SIX MONTHS WITHOUT ESTEBAN: …Nicaragua and Cuba claim their monthly allowances before the Court of The Have.  The first investors arrive in the country.  The Chavista deputies begin to notice that the laws they had approved are really antidemocratic because now they are being applied to them, and they contribute in the effort to change them.  All the political prisoners who had been judged arbitrarily or detained without trial are now free.  Esteban continues living in Cuba with the excuse that without him “in Venezuela no one lives” and tries singing in the Tropicana.

…TEN YEARS WITHOUT ESTEBAN:…The first signs of economic reactivation begin to appear.  There are now foreign investors with more confidence.  Venezuela’s international image begins to improve and after two periods of political alternability without trouble, the people begin to believe in the solidity of democracy.  Venezuelans who left the country during  the government of Esteban begin to return “en masse” attracted by this good international image and by the reform of social security which guarantees a decent health system for all citizens.  Sugar can again be found in the supermarkets.

…TWENTY YEARS WITHOUT ESTEBAN:…Fidel Castro dies officially and Raul asks Esteban to leave Cuba.  Esteban returns to the country.  Jose Vicente Rangel denounces in his Sunday program the corruption of his government and gives the names of those who bécame rich except one.  The ex-president goes for an audition in Venevision to lead Sabado Sensacional, which to this day is still without a Master of Ceremonies, but the channel portrays him negatively (¿)(le pinta una del tamaño de la colina) and denounces the atrocities of his government and the repugnant complicity of some people.  Esteban dedicates himself to the family estates in Barinas, in the middle of constant protests from his workers for better salaries and capitalist exploitation.

…ONE HUNDRED YEARS WITHOUT ESTEBAN:…The end of the Venezuelan 20th century and the beginning of the 21st is now only a bad memory.  The period is studied as an example of what should not be done with a country.  Many historians say that Venezuela entered the 21st century when Esteban lost his power.  People are surprised to see the videos of how he ruled the country, how he treated the citizens and his own ministers.  Many believe that it is a joke from the oldest comic show of Venezuelan television, Radio Rochela, which is again on the air in open telepathic signal.

The ex-president goes for an audition in Venevision to lead Sabado Sensacional, which to this day is still without a Master of Ceremonies, but the channel portrays him negatively (¿)(le pinta una del tamaño de la colina) and denounces the atrocities of his government and the repugnant complicity of some people.  Esteban dedicates himself to the family estates in Barinas, in the middle of constant protests from his workers for better salaries and capitalist exploitation.

Oh my, Chavez’s (or is it Esteban’s?) skin is getting really thin

January 29, 2010

Today Tal Cual published it’s usual Friday “Serious Humor” column by Laureano Marquez, which was entitled “Venezuela Sin Esteban. Tonight the Ministry of Information and Communication announced that it would ask the Prosecutor to open an investigation and sanction the newspaper for the Editorial.

In a clear sign that Chavez and his cronies are really getting edgy and thin skinned. The Ministry said that:

“The newspaper committed a flagrant violation of the Constitution and the laws, publishing a text which is and aggression and a disrespect to Venezuela’s democracy”

“The text is a flagrant invitation to not recognize Constitutional order and an an attempt to incite violence as a way to get rid of the Government by means different than elections…it is an invitation to a coup plan, genocide and terrorist, which is masked with the use of humor. Nevertheless it was published in the front page of this newspaper, in a place devoted to Editorials. All of this is added to the permanent criminalization that the coupster media executes against the security agencies of the State, as a strategy to incite violence and incite war”

Over the years I have translated many articles, but I simply find it next to impossible to translate this one (If anyone tries I will publish it). Thus, for those that speak Spanish I have placed it here, not only for your enjoyment, but also because I am sure that at some point the Prosecutor’s office or the corresponding Judge will order Tal Cual to remove the article from it’s web page.

RCTV goes to Supreme Court, will they ever hear back?

January 29, 2010

For those that like to argue that RCTV was shut down because the law said so, let me remind you that the company went to the Supreme Court in 2007 to contest the shutdown of its air wave concession and has yet to hear from any of the suits and injunctions that have been brought to in fron of the Highest Court of the land since then. Some “Justice”, no?

Which brings us to the curent case, in which PSF’s and fanatics also parrot all the stuff about the “Law” and “legality” in a country in which this is quite rare, if it exists at all.

And yesterday RCTV Internacional’s lawyers went to the Supreme Court once again to appeal the decision by CONATEL, not that they necessarily expect an answer, given the recent history of the biased Supreme Court (controlled?)

The legal argument is quite simple if you are willing to take the time, even my favorite PSF’s and trolls should be able to understand them, if they bother to read them, which I doubt:

First of all, the “Law” did not include any provisions for cable and satellite operators. These are regulations created “a posteriori” by the regulator that defined what is a national broadcaster or not. As you know, they said that if a company produces more than 70% of its content, it is consider “National” and has to carry Chávez long and boring speeches whenever he feels he has to tells us something, however inmaterial.

This arbitrary regulation was decreed on December 22nd. 2009.  Because Art. 24 of the Venezuelan Constitution says very clearly: No legalislative disposition can have a retroactive effect, then, this became the law or the regulation only on that date,not earlier. It would be illegal to apply it earlier.

But RCTV Internacional was shut down on Jan. 23d. based on Conatel’s evaluation on the 90 days prior to the shut down, despite the fact that since Dec. 22nd. RCTV Internacional has broadcast less than the 70% of its programming made in Venezuela, in order to be considered an international cable or satellite channel and thus not be required (by LAW!) to broadcast Chávez’ “Cadenas”.

In fact, despite the claim by the Minister of Telecommunications that RCTV has not gone to the regulator, on Jan. 13th. RCTV laywers handed in 5 boxes of documentation showing that RCTV has adjusted its programming, so as not to be considered a national broadcaster.

But Chavismo is not known for its respect of its own Constitution or the Law, just for the fanatical parroting of the official line (As given by the Dictator) without any thought or interpretation.

The question is whether we will ever hear or not from the Supreme Court. Call me skeptical, but I doubt it, not as long as Chávez controls the destinty of all of its members.

The Devil’s Excrement at work at the micro level in Brazil

January 29, 2010

People who study countries that suffer from an abundance of resources, whether you call it The Dutch Disease, The Devil’s Excrement or the curse of abundant resources, spend a lot of time trying to compare countries which sometimes have many social, cultural or even religious differences that lead some to question whether a comparison is appropriate. A couple of Professors at the London School of Economics have done a very ingenious study in Brazil, which appears to show that The Devil’s Excrement is at work at a more micro level in a single country, where cultural and social differences are limited.

What they did was go to Brazil where municipalities apparently benefit directly from their oil wealth (I was not aware of this), creating municipalities with different levels of oil income, but despite these they do not show any significant differences with other municipal characteristics.

What is available on-line does not talk much about methodology, but the authors conclude that oil production has no impact on non-oil activities and more remarkably, when onshore oil contributes to the economy of the municipality, the manufacturing sector shrinks and the service sector expands in that municipality (Sound Familiar?)

While the authors do find that richer municipalities spend more and build more infrastructure, when they look at actual quality of life increases, there are few. For example, there are minimal increases in household income, but this has nothing to do with increased population, for example.

However, the study finds where some of this money may have gone, such as the homes of municipal worker houses increasing in size, more news about corruption cases from the municipality, a higher number of Federal poliec actions in the area and anecdotal cases of corruption involving the Mayors of oil rich areas.

The authors also find that other sources of revenues do have a larger impact and less “missing money”.The only thing I was not clear about is how municipalities with more infrastructure thanks to oil don’t ahev a higher standard of living, but overall I found the paper and many of the references aboyt Venezuela’s disease, quite interesting. I hope you do too.

I guess the curse is hard to get rid off. Maybe this is our solution as a country and I am not kidding.