A friend and reader sent me an email today and reminded me that my blog has been around one of these days for all of nine years. I checked and indeed it was born on Aug. 4th. 2002, exactly nine years ago today. Which makes me feel, when I think about it, like the picture above…
I thought this would be short and sweet, a two to three year project, which turned into a nine year night job…and counting…
But hey! See that tree at the end of the road, there is still hope! And I happen to be very stubborn and tenacious (Yes, I was born in late April). So, I will be around for a while.
Here is that first post:
Banana Republics 101 Part I
Most people who live in or are from underdeveloped countries take offense when anyone refers to their own or, for that matter, any other country, as a Banana Republic. The term originated in the Central American countries were the United Fruit Co. operated, but has come to signify countries which may not even qualify to be called countries because of the way they are run. I do feel like I live in one, when I try to explain to my friends from abroad any of the following:
-For the first time in ten years Venezuela has economists in both the Minisitry of Finance and the Ministry of Planning. In the past, we have had a Mathematician, a Sociologist, an Urban Planner and an engineer, to cite a few. (Not true anymore in 2011, thyey got rid of the Economists, brought back the Mathematician and Urban Planner)
-Venezuela is part of OPEC, where it gets together with its most important competitors to decide how much each country should produce per day. Interestengly enough, Venezuela is the OPEC country, other than Iraq for different reasons, that has reduced its production the most in the last thirty years. Despite this, few Venezuelans are convinced we should split from OPEC. Thats ok with me, but don’t you think we should even discuss it? (Still the case in 2011)
-There were mudslides in the coastal zones near Caracas in Dec. 1999. Estimates are that close to 40,000 people died. The US Army Core of Engineers offered to rebuild the coastal highway (for free!!) an send ships to Venezuela. The Government refused to accept the aid and the ships turned back. To this day, three years later, the highway has yet to be completed. (Parts of it were rebuilt, some are a mess today in 2011)
-We say we live in a democracy. Despite this, only one candidate in the last ten years was elected in a primary of his party. He lost. (Still the case in 2011)
-There were riots this week in Caracas. Government supporters rioted for two days, shot people, blocked streets and created chaos in the city. The Government announced today that it had asked the Attorney General to investigate the abuses of the police when they used tear gas from a helicopter. The President has banned the flying of police helicopters over the city. There has been no call to investigate the rioters, where they got their weapons or who leads them. (Nothing ever gets investigated in 2011, except to screw the opposition)
Hate to see what a Banana Republic would be like…..