Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Notes from the road: China, the NYT, Banda Aceh and Colombia

I have a few minutes and a free access so why not drop for a hello?

I am traveling through the East Coast. The first observation that I wish to share is that I did not buy the New York Times. There was a time when arriving at any US airport from overseas I would buy the NYT before leaving it. I did miss it so much. But times have changed and after reading so many "interpretations" and strange observations on Venezuela by the Forero team, I really do not know if I can trust even the art section of the NYT.

Thus I am looking for something else. I have not drop to USA today but the Wall Street Journal is more appealing, at least I can look forward for an O'Grady article. No such luck this morning. But still two interesting articles. One was the effect of the China textile industry on the US and CAFTA (Central America) negotiations. While Chavez wants to open Venezuela wide open to China (or to anyone that would take him away from the US even if these "substitutes will probably supply themselves with US technology to provide Venezuela with goods).

Another article was on the skyrocketing prices in North Sumatra, a drive due to the incredible amount of money sent by relief agencies. And I was reminded of Chavez launching a relief effort from Venezuela. I surely will chose other ways than a Chavez initiative to help the Tsunami victims. After all, Chavez administration ill manages so much that who knows what money will eventually reach Indonesia. Second I am sure it would be sent as Bolivarian money. And third, one has to look at the irony of a Chavez asking everyone to put "un bolivar para la Indonesia" when he refused US help for our own Vargas disaster in 1999. I have low tolerance for hypocrisy.

In one of my activities this week I have to deal with many people from Colombia. I cannot tell you how awkward it is. Because Venezuelans look like fools outside of our apoplectic Venezuelan opinion. Colombians feel sorry for us when according to Chavez we should be outraged. Stupid jokes such as pretending not to talk to Colombians because we could be arrested for betrayal to the fatherland circulate. Other Latin that I meet are almost equally as consternated by the antics of Chavez. And of course, how can one explain Venezuela in a rational manner?

On the good side since Venezuela is not even a blip on the US press I have no need to "explain" the Rice affair to my US business partners. A small consolation not to have to discuss the embarrassment of Sunday words by Chavez.

But I must confess something. It is nice to be out of that mad house for a few days. And to see that I have left the blog in good hands, even if some do not agree. But there is no way to please all.

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