Thursday, October 11, 2007

Manipulation, blackmail and punishment for Alejandro Sanz: the shape of things to come

This past few days we have witnessed a few stellar moments that are quite telling of the government that will come into office in January 2008, once the new constitution is approved. And it ain't pretty. The reason why we are seeing such strange displays is simply due to one single fact: the polls for the "reforma" approval are not as good as what they should be. Thus quickly the government must take measures to shore up support. But along the way some of its talibanic members lose a sense of perspective and reveal the true values of what lays behind the offerings, such as trying to buy the gay vote or punishing Alejandro Sanz.

The need to go shopping for votes

First, as I wrote this morning, there is not enough cash in hand. So, in addition to screw us with a new but badly disguised sales tax the government also will add new taxes on luxury items, booze and smokes. It is funny because these luxury items will not affect much people like me but will certainly affect much more the nouveau bolibourgeois riche. What is even more funny is that a shocked government who cannot understand where it went so wrong says that these taxes will not affect inflation. But I am sure they do not care as long as additional cash comes in to pay for the required votes. In fact I am prepared to say that the government has decided to stop the pretense of its fight against inflation because simply put it is more important for them to have Chavez as a president for life. After that is gained, who cares whether there is inflation on Venezuela!!!!

Cuando nadie me ve
puedo ser o no ser cuando nadie me ve
pongo el mundo al revés

New constitutional changes

It seems that apparently the 6 hours work week is not enough to generate a wild enthusiasm in the population. It seems also that the promise of universal health coverage for all is not very convincing either. After all, this was already implied in 1999 and in 8 years Chavez has done nothing to increase benefits, preferring much to rely on cash payments through "misiones". Well managed entitlements are not the favorite way for populists to win votes.

So Silly Flowers, 'scuse me, Cilia Flores, the head of the National Assembly (N.A.) has decided (was told?) that she would include new carrots at the end of the stick. So we get now promises of including voting age at 16 (how this will induce the 18+ to vote is a logic that escapes me) and equal rights for gay people.

There are many things wrong in this. For example, it is probably not legal for her to attach new article modifications to the ones offered by Chavez. After having claimed that all 33 changes must be voted in block and that any alterations to the proposed changes could only be made by Chavez, suddenly we are hearing possible modifications in certain articles by Chavez himself, when not by the N.A.!!! Reading the constitution it seems that any new addition must be processed apart, with the same delays as the N.A. is following this time for the original proposal of August 15. This would mean that either the announced December 9 referendum would have to be postponed, or two referenda should be held, or the current constitution should be violated again. We are not talking small matters here: for example one of the proposals would require that the number of signatures required to call for recall elections or for popular initiatives would be increased by 10% to 30% of registered voters!!! That is, we are talking of restrictions of civil rights!!!! That cannot casually be dismissed as a second thought in the current "reforma"!

But let's look at the inclusion of gay rights as the supreme hypocrisy of the government. In 1999 this issue was brought forward, accompanied with at least limited decriminalization of abortion. Then, the homophobic military that chavismo is could not accept women to be in control of their bodies or for maricones y cachaperas to love who they wanted. Now, when the numbers are tight, suddenly someone got the idea to buy the gay vote by giving them equal rights.

Why was not legislation passed during these last 8 years? That was the excuse advanced then, that all rights were guaranteed and that simple laws would be enough to supply any deficiency for a given minority. I do not know about what gays in Venezuela feel about this but as far as I am concerned I do not know what good it is to be able to love whomever one wants if for that you are watched over by your local "consejo comunal", if you do not get protection against gay bashing when the judicial system will protect any chavista force that abuses its power, if your freedom of information is done with and gay life does not appear in VTV, if repressed homosexuals such as Barreto can decide over your future, and more, much more... Gay rights are irrelevant when basic human rights are compromised under a socialist authoritarian regime. Go and read Reinaldo Arenas accounts of gay life in Cuba to convince yourself.

Vale... que a lo mejor me lo merezco
bueno... pero mi voz no te la vendo
puerta... y lo que opinen de nosotros...
léeme lo labios, yo no estoy en venta

Alejandro Sanz all but forbidden in Venezuela

Alejandro Sanz is a "cantautor" from Spain who is one of the top singers and composers in Spanish these days, and one of my favorites. Not only his early success are still heard in the radio, but he has shown an extraordinary ability to keep evolving when not reinventing himself while retaining his basic artistic thread. His lyrics are quite extraordinary on occasion. And he is certainly more creative, more productive, more brilliant than any pseudo artistic garbage coming from the bolivarian mess. In fact, we should be so lucky that he still wants to visit his fans in Venezuela.

Unfortunately poor Alejandro had the bad idea in 2004 to say that if 3 million people were to sign up for him to stop singing he would oblige. The clear reference to Chavez trying to dodge the Recall Election was not missed and it infuriated chavista fanatics. Some tried to launch an on line petition to collect those 3 million signatures to shut up Sanz, but we never heard about the outcome of that drive, though since then Sanz popped out a few more CDs, including an MTV unplugged.

Well, Sanz bravely wanted to come back and his representatives in Venezuela booked the Poliedro, the only indoor arena big enough to receive Sanz. The Poliedro also receives another local star, Chavez, who holds there quite often the meetings he needs to stage to project an impression of strength. A wall of red shirted paid for assistance certainly looks impressive on TV. What we do not know is whether Chavez political meetings are paying for the rental of the Poliedro though we are sure that the state foots the bill, whichever that one is.

As luck as it, the Poliedro has recently been given as an endowment of sort to the Chavez created university, the UBV. The person in charge now of deciding who can play at the Poliedro is the University minister, currently an UCV professor, Luis Acuña. And as the good sycophant that they all become once they decide to serve Chavez, he has decided not to rent the Poliedro to Sanz, provoking apparently the end of Sanz visit until a distant future singing tours are carefully timed affairs that cannot be changed at the local potentate caprice. Note: other programed concerts have not been canceled, only the Sanz one, long booked, is gone off schedule. Thus the revolution avenged itself!

So here we have it, the new police thought that will control access to public arenas, paid at all tax payer expenses, for all people in Venezuela that are now reduced only to artists that at the very least do not express their opinion on Chavez. All duly reported by Reuters, for example, and others. Ah! Socialist freedom! Socialist inquiring minds! Socialist art! We are eagerly awaiting their further development once the "reforma" is approved!

Ya lo sé, que corazón que no ve
es corazón que no siente,
o corazón que te miente amor.
Dar solamente aquello que te sobra

nunca fue compartir, sino dar limosna, amor.

-The end-

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