The Chinese Sell Trinkets To The Chavista “intelligentsia”

May 23, 2011

Almost thirty years ago, I joined a group of brilliant and wonderful Venezuelan engineers and scientists (and friends!) to start an engineering research institute. We had a budget of maybe US$ 10 million per year ($20 million at the top!, sometimes zero on January 1st), but somehow we were ambitious (and naive?) enough to think we could do so much.

And we did.

We not only did the “classical” areas, electronics, systems, control, metallurgy, but we also created, because it was needed, a digital image processing center. This center became a showcase for what we could do, remote sensing, image processing, agriculture, soils, the works. This all resonated with the Government and the projects began to flow. The institution still exists, it even sports as its symbol the Panare basked weaved by indians (shown above) which we chose at the time as a symbol of “local” technology. They no longer pay the international domain name (, you can only access it via the .ve link, probably to save ten bucks a year in a country with exchange controls.

The center  for digital image processing still exists, you can read about it here, you can read all of the applications. Since the mid-eighties this has been available in Venezuela for anyone to use, contract, whatever. The knowledge is there. In fact, one of the Presidents of the Institute came from that project. These are projects that required high power computing and computer techniques to process and understand images. The cost is in the brains and the computers. The images? They are accessible, you can buy them from the French (At the time we used to buy them from the Spot satellite in France, I am not sure how that has evolved) or the Americans, but I guess that’s verboten for the revolution.

But today I learn that this work was for naught. Because the Minister of Science and Technology tells us that Venezuela is buying a second satellite from the Chinese for US$ 405 million. And wow! Imagine! We will be able to tell how much soil we have that can be planted, something we could tell in the 80’s with no satellite, just Venezuelans working very hard on a shoestring.

I guess the Chinese are now selling trinkets to the Chavista “intellingentsia”.

Imagine the dialogue:

Ok, you have now borrowed US$ Y billion from us (Y as in Yuan!). Here is a list, what do you need.

Satellite, says Menendez, who happens to be a geographer, which in Venezuela is not necessarily a very scientific profession, least of all him. Because he is an expert on “The Geometry of Power” and has few, if any, scientific accomplishments or credntials. So, he says, having no monetary scale to compare with:

“I’ll take it”

and Venezuela has bought itself a remote sensing satellite with C and Ku and Ka  band capabilities for “only” US$ 405 million, from the same people (colonizers?) that sold it the crappy telecom satellite that is still faulty.

But for a million a year, you could buy all of the images you want and use the other US$ 404 million in training people and buying the real tools of remote sensing.

But much like Cristopohorus Colombus, the Chinese have found their ignorant Bolivarian crowd to sell their worthless trinkets to, they have money, they have no clue, a great deal…

…if you are Chinese.

I think the satellite should be called Chiguire Bipolar!

Or better, Ignorant Chavista! They deserve it!

12 Responses to “The Chinese Sell Trinkets To The Chavista “intelligentsia””

  1. freeblog Says:

    An all ’round amazingly written blog post

  2. E H Says:

    you mean chavez is paying for a spy satellite. they can spy on him and he’s spaying for it. good business for thechinese.

  3. Paul Esqueda Says:

    Thank you so much Miguel for bringing back memories of CPDI. We were way ahead of our times in all our endeavors at the Instituto de Ingenieria. I know that those that were with us then aare doing great works thanks to the training and experiences at II

  4. Roy Says:

    I don’t want to sound paranoid, but another satellite would make sense if it were part of the command and control system for the intermediate range missiles that Die Welt reports Iran is building a base for on the Paraguana peninsula.

  5. albionoldboy Says:

    That satellite is to support Iran, the Chinese what to have their cake and eat it, do business with Wall Mart and take Iran’s money through Chavez.

    When war breaks out with Iran and the US, it will have dual use, looking at plants and planes is the same for a satellite but it will belong to Venezuela safe from attack.

    Thats what they think, but the US will probably spike it before that happens.

  6. moctavio Says:

    Yes, why import them from Portugal? Why not make them in Venezuela?

  7. A_Antonio Says:

    MO, do you have some thinking about the promise to gift 3 millions Computers “Canaima” next year?

  8. moctavio Says:


    We used to buy all of Venezuela in all of the bands, nothing hidden there.

  9. Kepler Says:

    Miguel, tienes que escribir esto en cristiano. Yo no puedo ahora, pero ¡alguien tiene que hacerlo!
    Tu imagen es la que me ha venido vez tras vez cuando veo lo que hacen los milicos: unos amerindios dandoles oro a los europeos a cambio de pedazos de vidrio roto.

  10. Roger Says:

    If you buy remote imaging data they will not sell you sensitive information. For that you need your own satellite. Brazil has their own.Thats how they track down illegal tree cutters and burners and such. Sounds like a request from Mr Paranoid to me!

  11. m_astera Says:

    A fool and his money are soon parted. Give that fool someone else’s money to spend and see how fast it goes.

  12. chiguire Says:

    Some wise old man once said, “you get the government that you deserve!” Pues, el lo ha dicho porque mas save el diable por viejo que por diablo.

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