Archive for September, 2012

Hugo Chavez: “As You Know, I Can No Longer Walk”

September 15, 2012

An emotional and weeping  Chavez confesses that he can no longer walk at a rally in Apure. Slip of the tongue or once again appealing to pity?


Bolivarian Mango Peel

September 14, 2012

You have to give it to the Chavistas, they are masters at manipulating public opinion and the media. They denounce a Bs. 40,000 cash donation by a Bolivarian contractor to a Capriles supporter and sooner than you can say “Concha ‘e mango”, everyone starts slipping on it from the press, to social media to blogs.

I mean, this is the country where a Deputy asked where US$ 19 billion went and nothing happened.

-Where a suitcase with US$ 800,000 arrived in Argentina in a plane full of PDVSA people and nothing happened.

-Where US$ 100 million were spent on 10,000 housing units made in Uruguay and only 11 were built.

-Where the President of BBVA Spain was removed for giving Chavez a US$ 1 million illegal donation (in both countries) and nothing happened.

-Where PDVSA gave US$ 500 million to a flight by night hedge fund run by their buddies and nothing happened.

-Where PDVSA would sell dollars to the same fund at the official rate of exchange and nothing happened.

-Where billions of bonds were sold and we never knew how they were assigned and who got them.

-Where the robolution created hundred millionaires every two or three months and nothing happened.

-Where Government officials on US$ 5000 salaries moved into million dollar homes and drove hundred thousand dollar cars and nothing happened.

Sorry, I will move to the side and not step on it…No me j…

A Day In The Life Of The Venezuelan Opposition Candidate

September 12, 2012

Most days, the Capriles campaign tries not to pre-announce where they are going, in order to avoid Chavista thugs from trying to boycott the opposition campaign. This can not be done when he is going to a large city, where preparations are more complex, particularly in terms of security. A couple of weeks ago, Chavistas closed the Ciudad Bolivar airport to stop him from holding a rally that took place anyway. Today, it was Puerto Cabello´s turn.

From the early hours of the morning Chavista bands were blocking the roads and the airport, some arriving in Government owned vehicles. This is a picture of the main road to Puerto Cabello from the airport:

Is not a great picture, but you can see the red shirts blocking the road. this was not accidental, one of the Chavista organizers had tweeted it early in the morning:

“Today at 7 AM, in front of the Bartolome Salom airport the working people of Puerto Cabello say “no” to the fascist who sucks up to the Empire” said @denniscandanga, shown on the right pane as he participated in the violent actions of the day today.

And here is the picture of the airport:

where you can see how violent they got, and there is more in the following picture, where you see some action by the pro-Chavez thugs in the highway leading to the airport:

Of course, it was the property of the Capriles campaign that was damaged. This is what was left of the sound truck:

This is the truck that suffered less damage, the other one was not so lucky:

shown burning in the above picture and then later after it had been incinerated:

But it did not matter, candidate Capriles pressed on, arriving in Puerto Cabello by boat:

And holding the planned rally, which I am sure was much larger than expected as news of the aggression spread around Puerto Cabello (Although a third day of blackouts I am sure helped):

Of course, as Daniel reports, after the events, Government media said the injured were Chavistas and the aggressors were the opposition in the upside down world of Chavismo.

But Capriles did not let himself be intimidated, he pressed on and had a very successful day.

Just a day in the life of the opposition candidate in Venezuela.

(Who is the fascist here?)

Is There Blogging Life After Chavez?

September 11, 2012

I have always wondered what would happen, were Chavez to lose, to my blogging. Would I lose the drive to blog often? Would there be enough material to blog on? While I have always seen a possible Chavez departure as a likely end to my blogging, the more I think about it, the more I come to the conclusion that I will continue.

The reason is simple. I don’t want a better Venezuela, I want the best possible Venezuela. But it is clear that the effects of the devil’s excrement will simply not go away with a change in Government and I will continue to have a lot to write about (and criticize!). Of course, Chavez represents the worst effects of the devils’ excrement, he put high power steroids into its effects by his ignorance and belief that you can invent a new economic model out of the blue. But it does not look like all the effects of the devil’s excrement will go away with a new Government.

While I support Capriles and I am sure that his Government will be orders of magnitude better than Chavez’, the pressures on him will be enormous and it is not clear to me that he has a clear line of thinking on economic matters. And while oil can cover up the mistakes in economic decision-making, we will not have the best country possible unless we impose a rational economic system in Venezuela. Capriles’ Chief economic adviser said it well today, when he said “We don’t have a grave financial problem, we have a management problem”

But I think it was absolutely irresponsible for Capriles to say last night in his presentation of his first 100 days that he would increase the minimum salary and index it to inflation. The first part I agree with, but to build inflation into the economy via indexation is playing with fire. It has not worked anywhere and as it happens when you impose such artificial rules into the economy (Chavez has imposed dozens of them), they are easy to implement, but almost impossible to remove.

And it is irresponsible for Capriles to say that, because he either means it or he does not. If he does, he will create a new economic distortion that Venezuelans will pay for for many years. If he does not mean it, then he should not say it. Period. I know that he wants to get rid of Chavez, but over promising may be the surest way to not be successful once he is in office.

Once Capriles is in office, he is going to have to deal with the myriad of distortions imposed by 14 years of ignorance and improvisation. He can not start by adding to the foolishness, there is simply too much that needs to be done and fixed.

And you can be sure that I will be here blogging if Capriles wins on October 7th. In fact, there will probably be less incentive to blog if Chavez wins, he is simply too repetitive. But you can be sure that I will be here stirring up the discussions on the economy and criticizing what I don’t like if Capriles is President. We do need the best Venezuela we can make and it is possible with rational and coherent economic policies.

So, it does look like there is certainly life for this blogger after Chavez. But let’s get the job of electing Capriles done first. There will be plenty of time to criticize him later, if he does not do what needs to be done.

Venezuela and Mercosur: In Through The Backdoor, Out Through The Front Door?

September 10, 2012

(A la vivora a la vivora de la mar, por aqui no podran pasar)

Well, the ever diplomatic Brazilians seem to have realized what a screw up it was to allow Venezuela through the back door into Mercosur and now they are holding meetings to allow Venezuela to exit Mercosur via the front door. None other than Brazil’s Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota (Chavez would love to have a Minister with that last name!) said that there have been three meetings to reevaluate the rushed decision by the President’s of Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay to trample over Paraguay’s rights and allow Venezuela into Mercosur following absolutely illegal procedures.

The decision creates a legal problem once Paraguay holds elections next year and could also be a problem if there is a change in Government in the upcoming Venezuelan election. Thus, the Foreign Minister appears to be promoting some sort of resolution to a possible legal contradiction.

It will be interesting to see if a decision is reached before October 7th. or not. A rocky period right after the election will ratify the concerns of the Paraguayan Senate, which ratified its decision against Venezuela’s entry into Mercosur in early August based on the fact that they do not believe the Chavez administration conforms to the Mercosur’s democratic charter. The Venezuelan press curiously decided to ignore that new decision by the Paraguayan senators.

Will they have to photoshop the picture above if the decision by the three irresponsible President’s is revoked?

Stay tuned!

The Strange Case Of The Fast Rise (And Drop!) Of A Venezuelan Revolutionary Diplomat

September 9, 2012

Interesting that the New York Times picked up the story of Venezuela withdrawing diplomatic immunity for Dwight Sagaray, the diplomat who is being charged in Kenya of murdering the Venezuelan Ambassador to that country.

The story is one 0f those strange stories of the Chavez revolution. Sagaray, a lawyer, was teaching English in Caracas as recent as 2008, then appears teaching maritime law a local university in 2009 and holds a position in the Labor Ministry soon after that  and just like that, via a mysterious process, is named First Secretary of the embassy in Kenya. A minor position, but as the article notes, it used to be you had to be a career diplomat to reach even that position in what is for Venezuela a minor Embassy. But somehow Sagaray managed it, sponsored by someone who has yet to be identified.

The Venezuelan Ambassador at the time, left the post earlier this year, accused of sexual harassment and Mr. Sagaray all of a sudden was the top diplomat in Kenya, even moving in into the Amabassador’s residence. Only in Chavez’ revolution do people rise so fast.

But the drop came soon after that, as a career diplomat was named Ambassador and she came and began fighting with Mr. Sagaray. There are stories about diplomatic pouches arriving directly to Sagaray, but it is only innuendo so far. Then, on July 26th., two weeks after arriving in the country, the Ambassador was killed and Kenyan police accused Sagaray. Within 24 hours, the Venezuelan Government, which has always defended its officials accused abroad, removed immunity from Sagaray. This was done so fast, that it is amazing that it was done solely because there had been little time to gather all facts.

Unless, of course, the new Ambassador had been named to intervene into something that was happening at the Embassy in Kenya, with the tragic result of the Ambassador´s death. Of course, the Venezuelan Government has said very little, but it is interesting that that angle had barely been noted by the local press.

Like so many other cases, Sagaray’s rise and fall under the revolution was just as swift as his drop. The surprise and mystery in his case is why he was left without protection so fast. The Government obviously knows, but will the full story ever be known?

Chavez’ Ever Morphing Petrorinoco Investment Instrument

September 6, 2012

Remember the Petrorinoco bonds that Chavez said would be used to pay Bs. 40 billion in debt the Government has with public sector workers? Above is the picture of the “bond” Chavez showed in national TV (That’s his hand). However after handing out less than Bs. 1 billion and after failing to issue an official gazette with the conditions of the “bond”, not much was heard again and the electoral promise of handing out billions seemed to die away.

Another failed promise of the fake revolution?

Well, we still don’t know. We now hear from another non-financial expert of the Cabinet (Chavez is the other one) Minister of Higher Education Yadira Córdova that the “bonds” are not going to be quite bonds.

According to Mrs. Córdova (or is it Dr. Córdova?) the investment instrument to be used in paying the public workers can be better defined as “A system or certificate of payment with defined financial characteristics” and that they will have a trust backing it.

To clarify the ever morphing financial instrument, whose main purpose seems to try to obtain votes, Dr./Mrs. Córdova added: “The subject of severance pay is complicated and you can not generate an obligation without it being in the budget”

At this point, you are all lost, so is she. This is not an “obligation”. This is the law, which the Government has bypassed for 14 years, while the private sector can’t miss a payment because the Government raises hell. But the Chavernment is the Chavernment and they are in a world where the rule of law can be suspended at their will. But even worse, is the fact that a bond is precisely that, a promise of payment with a financial instrument, backed by the Government, a trust or whatever. Chavez’ Government did it before and they were called Vebonos.

In closing, the Minister put the nail in the coffin by saying: “There is not a definite date for payment of the labor debt”

Oh Yadira, public workers know that, they haven’t been paid in fourteen years, do you think they believe you one month before the election that you will pay this time?

In the end, using Hugo’s words, the Petrorinoco, is simply part of the show. And as an infamous aspiring little Dictator of Venezuela once said: “The show must go on”

And it does…

VENEZUELAN FACEBOOK WARRIORS: “Optimism rises for Venezuelan bloggers” by Virginia Lampke

September 5, 2012

Faithful reader and internet friend Virginia asked me to allow her to contribute her thoughts to my blog. Enjoy!

I started blogging on the social networks, along with hundreds of other bloggers, sparked from my heartache for my homeland, Venezuela.  At less than 40 days until one of the most important elections of Venezuela’s history; I pause to reflect on all of the people, who every day thru the aid of platforms like Facebook, have helped fight the communist regime of Hugo Chavez.

Throughout the past years, we have released videos, articles, and posters that document the failure of the Chavez regime.   In the past thirteen years that Chavez has ruled as a dictatorial tyrant, he has turned Venezuela into a country with one of the worst crime rates in South America. Venezuela has also witnessed one of the highest inflation rates in Latin America, a huge external debt, a rampant housing deficit, and other socio-economic problems which include high unemployment, poor public services, and food shortages. But, despite the adversity, we have held true to our struggle for freedom of expression which is on the verge of being extinguished in Venezuela.

Just as social networks contributed largely to the Arab Spring movement, our blogging contributions have been equally important to opposing the Chavez regime.  This was witnessed in the success of the opposition primary elections in February 2012. The winning candidate, a young lawyer Henrique Capriles Radonski, received 62.2% of the vote.  The campaign for the presidency of Venezuela began on July 1 2012. A relentless Capriles Radonski has already toured more than 200 towns in less than 2 months of campaigning.   Each rally has brought together thousands of Venezuelans in favor of his pragmatic proposals.  Based on the outpouring of support for Capriles, there is no doubt that the Venezuelan people are looking for a change.  Our efforts thru Facebook have definitely impacted and have helped to ignite the courage of the Venezuelans and to create a matrix of positive public opinion against the dictator.

I feel, without a doubt, that most people, who have been active contributors on the social networks, have personally affected the fight to end the Chavez regime. We all, through our never ending blogging for the freedom of our Venezuelan people, have helped to turn the tides toward a more just and democratic government.

Some of our blogging community is living out of our native country Venezuela, but we are united by our spirit of freedom and democracy.   This spirit is being reborn and carried forward by the heart of our candidate Henrique Capriles, and also by the hands of our Facebook bloggers.

We have personally tried to make known the reasons why Hugo Chavez is a threat to the Venezuelan people and to world peace.  We have talked untiringly on such issues as Chavez’s alleged relations with The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the closure of the Venezuelan Consulate in Miami due to the alleged plan of a cyber-attack to the U.S., the shipment of Diesel to Syria’s Assad government, the building of drones with Iran’s help, and the German newspaper report that alleges Iran was building a mid-range missile launch site on the Paraguana Peninsula in Venezuela.

We are aware, that there is fear for a considerable part of the Venezuelan population, of losing some of their government welfare benefits obtained by the social programs called “Missions”.  Capriles has stated that he will continue to improve these projects because they constitute an “achievement of the people”. There is also a fear in the public sector by pro-Chavez supporters that if Capriles wins the election, they may lose their jobs.  Capriles, being sensitive to this fear, has further re-assured the public by saying that he will not lay off anyone due to their political allegiance.

It is remarkable that Capriles has never lost an election.  This was witnessed when he ran for various offices in Venezuela such as congressman, mayor, and governor.  His success in being elected as president of Venezuela is expected by all.  This especially holds true for those who have created a fraternity and a force through their social networks and in sharing their dreams and ideals of democracy and freedom for our homeland.

In closing, I feel that our social networking thru platforms like Facebook, have helped to ignite the passion of the Venezuelan population. The neighborhoods, once controlled by the Chavez propaganda machine, are becoming more and more supportive of Capriles.  We expect a historical turn out by the voting populous at the October 7, 2012 election and a triumphant victory by Henrique Capriles.  If it is necessary, we will defend our historical vote by any diplomatic and peaceful means necessary in order to see that justice and liberty prevail. In the meantime, we urge all of the political bloggers, to continue to be steadfast in their crusade against the tyrannical Chavez regime and to keep the opposition candle burning.

Virginia Lampke is a political blogger and human rights activist.  She is a native of Maracaibo, Venezuela, and subsequently became a United States Citizen residing in Seattle, Washington.  She continues her crusade to raise awareness of the socio-economic inequalities and political oppression in her native Venezuela.

It Takes A Week For The Venezuelan Government To Confirm An Old Report Of A Massacre

September 2, 2012

I have known about the possible massacre of a tribe of Yanomami indians for at least two weeks. The report was that some Brazilian gold diggers, or “garimpeiros” had killed 80 indians. A reader (VJ) even noted that in Chavismo circles, the garimpeiros were said to be all work of the US Government and its mercenaries to destabilize Chavez. But what is truly appalling, is to have the Minister of Defense say that he sort of had heard about it, but is not sure, but by next week, he should have confirmation. Because it is now that they sent someone to check it out. It takes the Venezuelan Government one week (plus whatever time has elapsed already) to learn about its citizens being massacred. Some Minister of “Defense”

Then comes the threats, if it is found to be false, he will take legal measures against those that claimed this was true.

And I ask: What if it is found to be true? Will he assume responsibility and resign?

Can he sue all the other liars in Government for us?

The Show Must Go On: So Says Chavez Of His Fake Revolution

September 1, 2012

I know, I know, Juan and Quico showed it, Daniel showed it, why bother?

Simple, it is another goodt example of the fake revolution. It confirms Chavez “The show mus go on” expression. It is all a show, greenhouses with huge signs in front. Chavez calling the land golden. Saying “This is socialism”. Inaugurating it on national TV. Saying this is how you build a revolution from the ground up:

Inside, nothing, dirt and overgrown bushes, no production, no greens, no corn, no pimentos.

Like the revolution, all fake.

The show must go on! Because that is all Chavez knows how to do, perform a show!