Archive for November, 2010

Who is afraid of the irrelevant Wikileaks?

November 30, 2010

So, through the magic of the bad, evil world of wikileaks we have learned so far the following:

-Some French diplomat says Chavez is crazy

What else is new? Even Edmundo Chirinos was saying that like in 2000

-Cuban intelligence officers compete with Venezuelan intelligence services for Hugo’s attention.

Well, duh, we have known about that for years. In fact, anyone that believes that the words Venezuelan intelligence services can all be used at the same time is out of touch.

-Venezuela’s Embassy sends a cable saying that medical services have deteriorated.

Jeez, replace medical with any word and you got a correct statement.

-Brazil’s Defense Minister all but acknowledged the presence of the FARC in Venezuela, except that admitting that would “ruin Brazil’s ability to mediate”

Wow! FARC in Venezuela! Who would have thought that? Those Brazilians are really clever. Do you mean they vacation in Venezuela? Or do you want videos proving it?

-The US is trying to isolate Venezuela.

You are kidding me? I thought Venezuela was trying to undermine the US openly, then isn’t that called fair play? Didn’t we know about it? Nothing new, that’s like saying Castro wants to end capitalism. Oh? You mean Hugo wants to do that too?

-Israel wants to blow Iran out of the water…

Change Israel for Iran and what else is new? It’s love at first blast, no?

So, so far, not much of interest, after all, who cares about Cristina and her mental state before or after Nestor’s death? Maybe now its more interesting. I am still falling sleep.

But if you ask for Hillary’s resignation Hugo, you should have resigned long ago, like you should have never been sworn in, just for being so out of touch. Do you know it’s raining?…

The revolution gives away Hato Piñero to the Lybians, after stealing it in the name of its fake socialism

November 29, 2010

I was going to write about the fact that the Chavez Government stole Hato Piñero from its rightful owners, only to give it away to the Lybians for God knows what reason. But then I saw this Editorial in Sunday’s El Nacional and decided it was just best to translate it.

The Sad revolution, Editorial from El Nacional

Libya in Cojedes

Just about three years ago, the President traveled to Cojedes, and among his innumerable promises (you can’t deny the the richness of his imagination), he told the people of the area that the expropriation of Hato Piñero would take place ” with the objective of forming a unit of socialist development unit ” The revolutionary leader added: “We will place a large development center for the people of Cojedes and all the people of Venezuela and its products will not be to enrich minorities, because that is capitalism. The meat, food, animals, vegetables, milk, cheese, corn and everything will be produced here will provide cheap food and goods for the people of Venezuela. ”

The President, addressing the state’s governor, said, “Continue following down that road, Theodore. Hit hard the large farm estates and  the capitalist speculators, always in defense of the people” He added that “the national government is committed to the recovery of businesses and estates and houses of leisure abandoned to consolidate projects in order to conform the socialist economy.”

That was in the midst of the campaign for the constitutional referendum in 2007. Chavez traveled around the country expropriating and promising villas and castles. Hato Piñero, a farming unit located between the municipalities of Pao  and Girardot, in the southeastern state of Cojedes, had special connotations because it was sheltering large areas and preserved several species. It was one of the rare places in Venezuela, intimately connected with our history and traditions.

Three years later, there is no such socialist development nor is Hato Piñero being devoted to  the enjoyment of the people of Cojedes. The decline replaced the splendor of nature that was preserved with passion with the care of the species that make their habitat there. Then after such demagoguery came the surprise filtered, incidentally, when the commitments signed with the Arab Socialist Republic of Libya, the country ruled for half a century by Colonel Gaddafi were revealed. It just so happens that Hato Piñero has been negotiated with Libya to develop it. (We Venezuelans are useless).

This is more serious than people realize when they see these stories lost among so many that overwhelm and confuse. We are an open country and we have no discrimination. But for those familiar with the ideas of Colonel Gaddafi criticized for his worldwide sponsorship of causes incompatible with freedom, and familiar with  his doctrine of the Green Book, the handing out of Hato Piñero to Libya generates all sorts of anguish. Gaddafi will install in the 75,000 hectares a Lybian colony, and, when Venezuelans awaken, we will find an irreversible fait accompli. Grave. Very grave.

Venezuela and Chavez rank low on wikileak files

November 28, 2010

Hugo Chavez is not going to be very happy when he sees this graph (click on it to see it larger) showing the relative unimportance of Venezuela in terms of material in the wikileaks files taken from US Embassy cables. The dark blue bar shows the number of messages relating to Venezuela, a quarter of those from Iran. In fact, the juiciest stuff so far comes not from the US, but from France as French diplomat Levitte calls Hugo crazy and suggesting Chavez is turning Venezuela into Zimbabwe. I wonder if Levitte knows Zimbabwe does not have oil.

There is also some stuff about Palestinian connections to Chavez and Venezuela, but nothing major. Hugo will be mighty mad that he ranks so low on importance on the US’ radar. Maybe he will pick a fight with France now.

Alek Boyd catches Piedad Cordoba lying and other interesting facts

November 27, 2010

Alek Boyd has been hitting hard lately with his relentless digging, catching a few lies by pro-Chavez foreigners or pseud-foreigners. His latest coup is being able to prove that Colombian Senator Piedad Cordoba has been lying when she says that she has never received money from the Venezuelan Government for political activities. Recall that Colombian police said they found a document about such funding in the papers of dead guerrilla leader “Mon-Joy”

What Alek did was go through the extensive documents he has on the Venezuelan Information Office (VIO) obtained as public documents from the US Department of Justice. And what he found is shown in this table, which shows that the Venezuelan Information Office helped Cordoba obtain at least ten separate meetings for lobbying for Cordoba on both Colombia and human rights, clearly an activity “funded” and supported by the Venezuelan Government, however indirectly.

Boyd has been on a great streak, showing and questioning the story of “la novia de Venezuela” Eva Golinger, whose cedula number does not jive with her story and her lies and violations of US laws, as well as showing how lawyer Marino Alvarado, of human rights organization PROVEA, who has been defending former ETA member Arturo Cubillas, received his Venezuela nationality in 2005 under Chavez.

Way to go Alek!

Chavez’ “Muzzle” media law to be extended to the control of the Internet

November 25, 2010

Today we get the news that the Government wants to extend the so called “Muzzle Law” to the Internet. While some have reported this as a “rumor”, this is not simply a rumor as this document clearly shows. It is a proposal made to the Venezuelan Vice-President Elias Jaua by the country’s telecom commission CONATEL and aims to:

“Have the State protect collective interests, particularly those of kids and adolescents, as receptors of messages via…electronic media, through resounding measures that would allow the control by these actors for the effective compliance with the laws”

later the document adds:

“Inclusion of electronic media as part of the Law; Due to the fact that this service has turned, thanks to the policies of the Bolivarian Government, in one of the main forms of communication which are received by the collective in general. basically without regulation in terms of content, which requires that the Government insure that it may be “apt” especially to kids and adolescents, because currently content is transmitted with apologies for crime which attempt against the peace, security and citizen education, it is necessary to establish responsibilities for those that issue these measures, because of the consequences it may have, as well as the adoption of immediate measures that allow for the withdrawal of such content”

Of course, this is nothing new, it just formalizes the intent of the Government to penalize the use of the Internet in any way it wants, punishing those responsible and forcing for the withdrawal of such messages.

The content is clear, while it aims at protecting kids and young people, making it sound as if the Government wants to control inapropiate content, it later includes messages that attempt against the peace and security as well as theeducation of citizens. i.e, anything the Government finds offensive.

Of course, to enforce these laws, the Government will have to be able to block content coming from abroad, since it will not be able to to force “the withdrawal of such content” and give way to all sorts of controls by the Government over the Internet.

This is simply an extension and formalization of previous actions, as offensive tweets by Venezuelan twitters have already been persecuted, showing clearly that the Government can pinpoint who and where tweets using cell phones originate (All cases so far have been those associated with cellphones, no land lines). Thus, this would become a more formal excuse to block sites, content and scare and persecute and prosecute content depending on Chavez’ whims.

Nothing new, just more of the same. Less democracy, more censorship, more totalitarianism by a Government that believes only in that and has a total disregard for people’s rights and democracy.

Can the Venezuelan oil industry survive another decade under Chavez?

November 22, 2010

A reader was kind enough to send me a report by Raymond James, a well respected regional broker in the US. Here is the conclusion, to a report entitled: “Muchos Problemas: Can the Venezuelan Oil Industry Survive Another Decade of Chavez?”:

“Venezuela’s 40% oil production decline since 2000 – nearly the world’s worst track record – is a story of politically motivated mismanagement on a grand scale. Chavez, in power since 1998, is poised to win re-election in 2012, and with term limits abolished, there is no end in sight to his virulently anti-business energy policy. We project a 2% production decline in 2011, with flattish production thereafter. PdVSA’s production targets of 5 MMbpd by 2015 and 6.5 MMbpd by 2020 are good for comic relief, but nothing else in our view. It would take a policy shift of drastic proportions to turn around PdVSA, and under Chavez that just ain’t happening. From a big picture standpoint, production declines in Venezuela put further downward pressure on OPEC’s already limited excess production capacity – a key element of our structurally bullish long-term stance on oil.”

I only disagree with “poised to win in 2012” we shall see…

Thanks to the anonymous reader.

Carlos Rangel: Twenty Years later his ideas are still the right ones (In Spanish)

November 22, 2010

More democracy, less Government, can it be simpler than that?

Civilized “revolutionary” cops rip chairs at stadium to hit band members and spectators

November 21, 2010

Today at a soccer match in Caracas, the cops (Policia Metropolitana), began ripping off the seats off the stadium and hitting people with them. You can also see some instruments from the band flying in the air. You have to love these revolutionary cops, so gentle, so caring of “the people”. Close ups here.

Such nice esbirros!

When sensible people are made too look like fools by the Chavez revolution

November 21, 2010

I always wonder when I learn about an academic, particular one trained in hard sciences, supports and is part of the disorder and disarray associated with the Chavez Government. Case in point is Francisco Garces (above), the current Minister of Transportation and former President of the seismology foundation Funvisis. I mean, Dr. Garces finished his Ph.D. in France in 2008 in something like methods for identifying damages in structures by measuring their vibrational modes.

Thus, I can understand Dr. Garces accepting to be Head of Funvisis, right up his ally, because somehow he supports Chavez or the principles of his revolution. In fact, he did a fairly credible job in Funvisis, had to appear in public during the earthquakes in the last two years and explained things well.More importantly, he was there, showing his face.

But since Dr. Garces not only comes from a world where things are structured, but his own “boss” Carlos Genatios left the Chavez administration disappointed at what he found: What could possibly prompt Dr. Garces to accept his new position, where he has looked like a fool (I mean, do you really have to put on that orange hat, well, at least it is not red, no?). Because Dr. Garces is trying to defend the result of corruption in the Metro (subway) system that he is in charge of. He knows, and his French buddies at the local Embassy I am sure have told him so, that the maintenance contract won by the Spanish should have never been awarded. But Dr. Garces has said nothing about it in order to “defend” the Chavez revolution.

I think he is going about it backwards. If he really is aligned with this sorry revolution, he should tell Chavez that he will denounce those responsible and go do it. And if Chavez says no, then Dr. Garces should simply resign. It is the only honest option.

While I am no Civil Engineer, Dr. Garces is, you can’t help but wonder about the most recent problem Dr. Garces is facing, when the Metro to Los Teques was halted last week, because a retention wall gave way and the landslide blocked the path of the train. This Metro line is less than three years old. I would think that building a retaining wall like that requires studying the terrain, the topology and the seismics of the site and building and anchoring a retaining wall that would last decades and that the probability that it would fall should be  simply very small. I am sure they build something two or three times larger than what is really needed.

But the damn wall collapsed! No subway for four days, at least! This is simply unacceptable.

But so far Dr. Garces has said nothing about this. I hope he does. Because if he tries to cover it up, he will be doing a disfavor to the revolution and to himself. As long as impunity rules and nothing gets investigated, corruption, shoddy work and incompetence will rule and people like Dr. Garces will never be able to do a credible job. The corrupt and incompetent and unethical will continue ruling at the expense of those that should be running things.

In my mind, Dr. Garces would be better off in Funvisis, or better yet, developing his scientific career, which never got off the ground.

The way he is acting, he is just wasting his time and ruining his reputation.

The twenty two attemps on Hugo Chavez’ life

November 20, 2010

(You! Assassin, opposition, counter revolutionary, with that Bazooka and all those weapons they wanted to kill me!)

Thanks to out friend Kepler, who has kept close record of it, Hugo Chavez has cried “murder” on his life a total of twenty two times.

Twenty two times in which our farcical President claims either an attempt, a close attempt or a plot to kill him. This time around it is even funnier because the claim is that opposition groups have gathered US$ 100 million to have him killed. He claims to have “reliable” information of this and even mentions that the President of Globovision Guillermo Machado is one of the people involved.

The problem is that none of this cases has ever found any one guilty, nobody has been tried and, Chavez never seems to formalize his claims to the Prosecutor. The closest he ever came to this, was when a man from El Salvador was deported to Cuba, the funny thing is that he left heavily guarded from Caracas in one plane and arrived without even handcuffs in Havana in a different one. (The opposition was also accused in that case, nobody was ever charged)

But think about it. US$ 100 million? Jeez, if it were true, he would be dead in the water. In a country where people pay a few thousand Bolivars to kill someone, the number is so outrageously high, it is clear he made it up on the fly.

It is all part of his egotistical mind. He has to call attention to him. He is copying Fidel’s playbook in every respect. Except Cuba is a mess and nobody has believe Fidel in a couple of deacdes when he claimed the US was about to invade Cuba or kill him and in that case, there were some real attempts long ago.

It’s all part of the show, he wants Zuluaga extradited not on this, but on hoarding cars, a strange criminal charge anywhere in the world but in crazy Chavez land. But to the public, the constant announcements are confusing and nobody ever remembers the exact details. To the pro-Chavez rank and file, Zuluaga is guilty as charged, Chavez says so and there has to be a reason why he left the country and the Government wants him. Period.

It’s all smoke and mirrors. Cheap propaganda that works somehow, except people start ignoring it. I hope it’s true that you can’t all the fool people, all the time and all that, it’s now almost twelve years and counting.