Posts Tagged ‘Venezuela’

Lots of People And Lines to Vote In El Trigal, Valencia In The Opposition Primary

February 12, 2012

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Despite The Cold, People in Montreal Showed Up To Vote In Opposition Primary

February 12, 2012

Despite the cold, seventeen below in Montreal (I imagine is Centigrades!) people in Montreal had to line up (Inside!) to vote:

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And Yes! There Are Lines In Caracas Too, At The Opposition Primaries

February 12, 2012

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Colegios  Madre Matilde (Top and Bottom) and San Ignacio (Middle):

Opposition Primaries Under Way in Australia

February 11, 2012

Well, the opposition primaries already started with the centers in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide receiving voters and some of them already counting!

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Who The Devil Should One Vote For In The Venezuela Opposition Primary?

February 10, 2012

I have always believed in the concept of primaries. Political parties in Venezuela have been for too long vehicles for the man in charge to promote himself. If there was something that did not work in the Fourth Republic, it was that part of the democratic process. In fact, it was tried a few times, once, with Luis Beltran Prieto in 1968 winning, the result was not liked because Prieto represented the left wing of Accion Democratica. The result was not respected, the party divided and Gonzalo Barrios became AD’s  candidate. The second time in 1993, Oswaldo Alvarez Paz surprisingly beat Eduardo Fernandez, who had set up the primary to be anointed, only to see the people reject him. Alvarez Paz thought he was unbeatable, not understanding Fernandez had lost, he had not really won.  Because he did not agree with Carlos Andres Perez’ impeachment, Alvarez Paz left the country to rest, he was out of sight and Caldera came back to Venezuela, grabbed the limelight and won the Presidential election against Paz, one of the two politicians he had groomed to succeed him. The other was Fernandez.

After this, the primary process at any political level was seldom used, leading to political parties where all decisions are made at the top,which stops new and young faces from rising. Remarkably, the 2000 Constitution says that anyone running for political office has to be elected by the rank and file, but like so many things in Venezuela, this has been ignored by the Courts and the politicians.

But primaries are good, because they force candidates to define themselves, allow anyone that can find some funding to run and have your ideas exposed to everyone and candidates have to work hard to meet the people,walk the streets and campaign. In time, some rise, some drop in popularity, forcing decisions on the candidates that define the race. It is a natural selection process which also allows unknowns to be recognized, setting themselves up for a future race.

While I certainly hope the primary process has helped the opposition, there is still a long way to go for it to be considered a success, but I think it has worked rather well, even if the candidates have avoided strong confrontations with each other. Diego Arria had his voice heard, once, in that wants to see Chavez pay for his human rights violations and the second time in placing the focus on the difficulties that an opposition Government is going to have. Maria Corina Machado managed to get some respect with her direct confrontations with Chavez and showing she knows the numbers. Pablo Medina had his pro-union stance heard and fought to the end, gaining a visibility and respect from the opposition that he had never had. Finally, Leopoldo Lopez was allowed to register, but his campaign never gained the traction required. He withdrew and took the risky option of backing one of the other candidates, redefining the race.

I liked Lopez the most. I liked how he went and set up a national network, I like his intuition, his long term thinking, his broader economic vision, his knowledge, his experience and his direct questions. But still, I have more radical economic views than him, in terms of proposing change. And, of course, he is not a candidate any more.

I liked Diego Arria’s decision to run on principles and stay that course. That is how you build political ideas in a country. Remarkably, Arria seems to understand that “other” Venezuela, the rural one that votes for Chavez, better than the other candidates. That came through a couple of times in the debates, but Arria did not define things beyond his main goal, otherwise I could have said I would vote for him. (I actually can’t vote, still registered in Venezuela, where I plan to be next October 7th. for the presidential election)

Then there is Maria Corina Machado. Great race, great words, truly shook up Chavez with her words and managed to shine in the debates. However, she has little managerial experience (Please don’t bring up Sumate), little national structure and to me, she did not try to create much beyond herself.

Which leaves the two Governors, Henrique Capriles and Pablo Perez. In both cases, I disliked the fact that they ran as if they were running for reelection. They talked about satisfying the needs of the population, solving problems and providing services, but neither of them ever gave even much of a hint of the vision they had for the country and the few words devoted to it were not exactly aligned with my thinking. You can promise jobs, but please tell me how you will go about it, Venezuela is complex and requires many types of new jobs.

Pablo Perez was to me a disappointment. He is not only stiff, but he is not that articulate and even his delivery is faulty. In the debate I watched live, I scored him almost at the same level as Pablo Medina, which tells you he did not excite me at all.

Henrique Capriles was also stiff, but was more articulate, more precise. Still concentrated too much on the solving problems for the people without telling me much about his vision for the country. He made statements about the economy that I did not like. But he has experience managing a difficult municipality and a difficult state. The tempo and strategy of his campaign has been exquisite. And while I don’t agree with his less confrontational style with Chavez, it seems to work rather well. I wish it did not, but it certainly does and his political intuition has worked rather well.

And here, I will insert a personal note. I have many friends who are involved in Capriles’ campaign. They are all competent, devoted, hard working and I am sure many of them will occupy positions in a Capriles administration. That alone gives me some comfort in the future of a possible Capriles presidency. BTW, they all tell me Capriles is much, much better in person. Never met him.

But more importantly, at least to me, is that it is time for a new generation to take control and run the country in a more modern way. Capriles and Lopez backing him represent that. The old political parties, the cogollos and those that trapped the country in the Cuarta into an impossible path, should move aside.

And even more critically, we need a strong mandate on Sunday and I will vote to try to give it to Capriles. I think he will win, win big too. Pablo Perez could have beaten Capriles two months ago using his voting structure to get out the vote, but Leopoldo’s own structure tipped the balance strongly on Capriles side. Pablo Perez will not be close, Maria Corina will not do well. Those are my predictions.

Then comes the harder part, the winner has to beat Chavez. And I also believe that Capriles is the better prepared candidate to defeat the Autocrat. The soft style seems to work, even if I don’t understand why. If I was interested in politics, that would not be my style at all. Maybe that is why I am not, nor could be a politician.  It is  a long campaign between now in February and then in October, but the stage seems to be set.

So, now you know how the Devil would vote, even if you don’t have any idea who the Devil you would vote for. Whatever your choice is, go do it, in the end that may be the most important thing. If the opposition gets 1.5 million plus voters, it will scare the daylights out of Chavez, forcing him to change strategies and by now we all know he is better at setting the debate than reacting to it.

Please, go and vote!

Minister For Women Offers Herself To Be Stoned by Ahmadineyad by Chigüire Bipolar

January 9, 2012

I wanted to write something about the grotesque visit to Venezuela by the the small man from Iran, but felt that I had little to add to the sad spectacle of Chavez calling the Iranian Dictator someone Venezuelans are supposed to have common ground with. But then I read this satire by the always hilarious and poignant Chigüire Bipolar and figured translating that post to English would tell very simply how absurd and incongruous the whole spectacle of the sick-fat man from Caracas hugging and praising the tiny-intolerant man from Teheran. Thanks to the Chigüire for the permission to do so.

Minister for Women Offers Herself to be lapidated by Ahmadineyad by Chigüire Bipolar

Yesterday, President Hugo Chavez gathered his ministers to request from them that they make feel at home his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The occasion was used by the Minister for the People’s Power for Women, Nancy Perez, to volunteer to be stoned by the distinguished visitor.

“Good afternoon, colleagues, my name is Nancy Perez and I am Minister for Women. Yes, just what you are hearing, I am not pulling your leg. You mean, you did not know there was a Ministry of Women! You never received the Official Gazette? ” said Minister Perez, as a way to break the ice. “Well, seriously, as a representative of Venezuelan women, for me personally it would be an honor to offer myself so that such a distinguished visitor may bury me in the ground up to my neck and stone me to his full pleasure. He can throw acid in my face, he can order me  to wear a veil if he likes it, you know what they say:Eyes that can’t see, heart that stops beating because they beat the shit out of it” commented the Minister while she pointed out the parts of her face where it hurts the least to be hit with sharp stones.

“The Iranian president can also whip me if I bend down and he can see my thong, he can have all my skirts destroyed, as well as my low cut blouses and my open sandals.  If gentleman Mahmud is Chavez’ distinguished visitor, then Venezuelan women become obedient and submissive, the way President Ahmadinejad likes it” said Perez, moments before calling the CH store in Sambil to ask if by any chance they had any red burkas.

After convincing his 55 colleagues that her ministry was not a joke, Minister Pérez ended her speech: “Our ministry, responsible for ensuring the dignity of women and gender equality, is pleased to receive this champion of the struggle for the rights of the macho, the male, the man and the boy. We declare our joy throughout the country, and therefore encourage women of our country not to leave their homes during the visit of the Iranian President, to remain silent in front of their husbands and boyfriends and indulge them in everything. Yes, everything. Even if it is degrading, disgusting and violates their rights. And please, do not come out with your revealing clothes, lest they awaken the libido of some representative from Iran and we may have to cut your little hands. The occasion demands it”

The muzzled statue in front of CONATEL

August 6, 2009

(Este post en español aquí)


I could not find any excuse to write a post and use the picture above, so here it goes the picture is simply too good and too symbolic to pass up. As a person I respect a lot told me once, if you want to be a Dictator, you have to run an efficient operation. But Chavismo is the furthest thing from being efficient, as hundreds of military officers have been thrown in to run things above their heads and everything goes up to the Autocrat to be approved.

So, as CONATEL has become the center of attention in the last few days, with daily protests in front of the telecom regulator which shut down 34 radio stations last Friday and everyone expects the promised 206 additional ones to be shut down at any time, you have to wonder how a bunch of students got through the guards and put on this handkerchief around its mouth indicating that the lady has been muzzled. Hats off to the students! and Thanks God Chavez has no clue on how to run an efficient Government.

A translation of the proposed “Special Bill Against Media Crimes” (CDM)

August 1, 2009

(Este post en español aquí) (French translation here)

This is a liberal translation of the proposed “Special Bill against Media Crimes”

Art. 1 It is the object of this Bill to prevent and sanction the actions or omissions displayed through the media that may constitute a crime: this with the purpose of obtaining the equilibrium and the harmony among the right of free expression and to opportune, true and impartial information and the right to internal security of the citizens, according to what is contained in the Venezuelan Constitution, its laws and treaties and agreements.

Art. 2 The concept of Media. For the purposes of this Bill media is understood as any media outlet capable of transmitting, divulging or propagating, in stable and periodic fashion, texts, sounds or images destined to the public, whatever the support or instrument used.

Art. 3 The following people may incur in the crimes contemplated of the present Bill

A. The owners and any other person who has a an executive position in media, be it print, television, radio, whether public or private.

B. Independent National Producers, reporters, commentators, speakers, artists and any other person that expresses himself or herself via any media, whether print, television, radio or of any other nature.

Art. 4 Definition of media crimes. Media crimes are made up of the actions and omissions that affect the right for true, opportune and impartial information, which attempt against social peace, the security or independence of the State, the public’s mental health or morals, that generate the feeling of impunity or insecurity and that are made via the media.

Art. 5 Divulging false news. Any person that divulges through the media false news which cause a grave alteration of public peace, panic in the population, or induce anxiety, which has altered public order, that has caused damage to the interests of the State, will be punsihed with prison from two to four years.

The same penalty will be applied to the person in charge of the media through which it was expressed.

Art. 6 Manipulation of the News. Any person that manipulates or distorts the news, generating a false perecption of the facts or creating a matrix of opinion in society, only if this damages social peace, national security, public order, mental health or public morals, will be punished with a prison term from two to four years.

The same penalty will be applied to the person in charge of the media through which it was expressed.

Art. 7. Refusing to reveal information. The Director, manager, editor or person responsible for the media that refuses to reveal the identity of the author of the program or print article published under a pseudonym or in anonymous fashion, when the Prosecutors Office has requested it, will be punished with a prison term of six months to two years.

Art. 8 The owners, Directors or those responsible of media outlets that use them to threaten intimidate, coerce or in any way create fear in others, will be punished with a prison term from one to three years.

Art. 9. Voluntary omission of providing information. The owners or those responsible for media outlets that in a voluntary or unjustified way refuse to inform over facts or situations who by withdrawing the information attempt against the right to information consecrated in the Venezuelan Constitution will be sanctioned with a prison term from two to four years.

Art. 10 Instigation. Anyone who by any media outlet, publishes or transmits material with the purpose of promoting war, violence, or the hate between inhabitants or collectives, by reason of race, sex, religion. nationality, ideology or political militancy will be sanctioned with a prison term from two to four years.

The same penalty will be applied to the person in charge of the media through which it was expressed.

Art. 11 Creating obstacles for the activities of the media. Any person that difficults, or blocks, by coercion, violence, threat, deceit or bribe, the free functioning of any media outlet, whether public or private, affecting the right to true, opportune and impartial information which all citizens have, will be punished with a prison term from one to three years.

Art. 12 Exemption from Responsibility. Those responsible for media outlets will not commit any of the crimes contemplated above for comments made by those people that accidentally participate in live transmissions which include public participation, as long as those making the statements are warned that they could be in violation of the laws.

Those responsible for media outlets will also be exempt from the law with respect to the opinions issued by Deputies of the National Assembly acting as such according to the Venezuelan Constitution.

Art. 13 If a person responsible for a media outlet is condemned through a firm sentence for committing a media crime, he or she will be suspended during the duration of the prison term and will be barred to have an executive position in a different media outlet.

If it were an independent national producer as an additional sanction, his certificate as such will be revoked.

Art. 14 The judge will order that the firm sentence, in a case related to a media crime be published once, paid by the person sentenced, in a preferential location in the Editorial page of a print medium or broadcast at prime time in the media outlet in which the crime was committed, within sevne days after the sentencing. This publication will be made without comments, notes  or any other type of expression.

There are two other transient or technical articles in the proposed Bill.

As Government shuts down 34 radio stations, it accuses the ultra-right of twitter campaign

August 1, 2009

(Este post en español aquí)


Last night, renewed Chavez henchman Diosdado Cabello, in his campaign to become Chavez’ Raul, shut down the first 34 of a total of 240 radio station which the Government plans to shut down over the next few days. The announcement was not a surprise, henchman Disdado himself had advanced it three weeks ago, but somehow people still have an absurd level of wishful thinking, believing that a fascist and dictatorial Government without scruples would somehow not dare to carry out its threats.

The excuse for the shutdown was a “census” of the country’s radio licenses and the invention of a novel concept, not backed by any legislation, that the death of the owner of a radio concession somehow extinguishes the right of the descendants to inherit the concession Thus, concessions in the hands of families for almost fifty years, where the original owner has been deceased for almost two decades in some cases, were forced to shut down in another dark and sad day in Venezuela’s dying democracy.

Even before the stations had been informed of the shutdown, officials began arriving at the stations as the Minister of Infrastructure Diosdado Cabello announced it as usual on a Friday night, attempting to deflect protests, while the ever present Hugo Chavez was nowhere to be seen in a cowardly attitude which is repeated every time a tough and controversial measure like this one is taken.

As protesters took to the streets, they also began a very loud and intense via social networks, which had its highest levels in twitter, in a country taken over by blackberry fever. And as the noise and intensity grew, the Government began blaming the “ultra-right” for the “mediatic caampaign in Twitter, suggesting that “subversive messages such as a “Promote the twitter CNB (one of the stations shutdown) copy in your messages #freemediave, that way we will give it a high ranking among those talked about in the web”, in reference to #FreeMediave a twitter hashtag created by Venezuelans even before today’s protests as the Government continues imposing new limitations on freedom of speech.

In concluding the article states that twitter has become a new way of creating “terror” as people can obtain real time information but this is “pregnant” with the vices “proper to the Internet, such as the lack of precision, the absence of a source which implies or what confirming the facts implies”

In fact, what Venezuelans who love the Internet did today was propagate the sad truth that Venezuela is certainly a Dictatorship and that freedom of expression is severely threatened by the militaristic and facist Government of Hugo Chavez.

The importance of having “contacts” in Venezuela: Get your Venezuelan passport!

July 29, 2009

(Este post en español aquí)

And how about this website that someone sent to me today where you can see this wonderful ad:


This company has such good contacts, that for the meager sum of 19,000 euros, they can get you not only a Venezuelan passport (hard to get for real Venezuelans), but the Venezuelan nationality, all from the comfort of your own home!

Yes! This contact is so good, you don’t even have to come to Venezuela, speak Spanish or even know where Venezuela is, just go down to your nearest Venezuelan Embassy and the revolutionary contact will make sure your passport is there.

And Israel worries that the Venezuelan Government is giving Venezuelan passports away to the Iranian one, so that its citizens can percolate through Latin America without visa!

That’s why they call it the robolution!