Saturday, January 30, 2010

For those who can write two sentences in French

I have decided to try to take back my occasional participation in the lefty AGORAVOX forum (sticker to my posts there on the right side of this page). So if at least a couple of you were kind enough to register at Agoravox and leave a friendly note... I get there the nastiest beatings, but their silliness makes them rather quite amusing although my poor Mother is horrified. English language PSF are not only in general better behaved but they do write better arguments even though most of the time unsustainable. Then again limiting their posting by refusing the usage name calling and insults does help, does it not? :) At my recent Agoravox article name calling and discrediting the article for even a simple orthographical error is the norm.  but that is OK, I have survived enough PSF onslaught to let it slip by unheard.

Torture in Venezuela

How many forms of torture can you count on this picture that is hitting the stands this morning in El Universal?


I count at least three: the fingers in the eyes, the breaking wrist and the humiliation of having to hold tight to your own clothes.  And who knows how many others we can count, starting with the image of this armored cops and whatever they did to this kid.  Amnesty International is taking notice.  The numbers of government expressing their concern keeps growing.

More images right now and for a few days in the photo gallery of the English section of El Universal.  Look on the lower right side, no links, it is java.

There you have it, the lovely bolivarian revolution has reached midnight and the ugly terror and repression filled fascist pumpkin is coming back to life.

Note on further censorship: the bolivarian revolution has absolutely no sense of humor.  Even imagining as a joke what would a post Chavez era be, gets you a stinging communique from Propaganda Ministry.  the Tal Cual humor editorial of Laureano Marquez this Friday, translated at Miguel's blog, will be used to prosecute him and Tal Cual because according to the women in charge of Chavez "communication", Blanca Eekhout, Elena Salcedo, and Vanessa Davies, it is an open appeal at insurrection.

Vanessa, que tan bajo has caido......... Las otras no tienen vida, pero tu, tu no deberias meterte en esto. Das pena ajena!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

iPad perfect for reading news about Venezuela!

In the presentation today of their new gadget iPad the Apple folks showed how the New York Time reads.  And believe it or not the news from the immediate source of repression in Venezuela appeared: the closing of RCTV!!!!! You can see it on the right side, about the middle. (hat tip PMB)

I think the Spanish inquisition one was gold plated

I have grown hoarse from the many times that I tried to explain people that Chavez and his movement are a reactionary movement, whose only model is the caudillos that bled the country to death in the XIX century. Well, the picture below will explain it better than the gazillions words I used.



This is the latest tool used by Venezuela's Nazional Guard to repress the student movment this week.
(hat tip Miguel)

Human Rights Organizations of the world, please?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I love me a state of the union.....

It really does not matter whether the president is a Republican or a Democrat, I am always fascinated by the late January ritual in Washington, the State of the Union. Obama first real one fulfills my simplistic expectations of a brief love feast between irreconcilable enemies. All the usual cliches and paraphernalia are present, but this year I was sensitive to two in particular.

Chavismo in disarray?

[Updated] I have been receiving phone calls with all sorts of concerns, people afraid that Chavez is preparing some undercover action, stirring deliberately the current protest for some evil purpose.  Maybe, but it seems that the genie is escaping the bottle.

With the second closing of RCTV Chavez has started a movement of unexpected intensity, and one it does not seem to be able to control, one for which his only answer is repression, something which at this stage is highly counterproductive.  This is not a triumphant chavismo, it is a cornered one, afraid, scared and ready for useless violence.  You know, like the rabid dog of old times.... Though rabies might also be making a come back in Venezuela along other infectious diseases that the Chavez health care system fails to counter.  But I digress...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Update: another student dead and more reactions

I woke this morning with the news of the deliberate assassination (?) of a Merida student by a pro Chavez Tupamaro group.  Now every side is happy, they all have their martyr.  On TV the tension is mounting about today possible events.  Cops everywhere in Plaza Venezuela but the students are too fast for them.

Monday, January 25, 2010

A day of violence in Venezuela as the second closing of RCTV brings stronger reactions than the firts one

Chavez must be livid tonight.  Or perhaps ecstatic.  With bi-polar personalities one never knows.

The hurried up second closing of RCTV Saturday at midnight has provoked a major reaction in the country.  Between Sunday and today all the usual suspects gave their condemnation to yet another arbitrary and, let's not be afraid of words, dictatorial measure.  But the most unexpected reaction came form the student movement who rioted (after provocation from the police in most instances) in Caracas, in Valencia, in Merida and in Zulia (and other places to a lesser extent).  Harsh repression took place.  Eventually seven students were injured and one killed.  And it will not stop as already the student movement has called for more actions for tomorrow.  In a moment of stunning candor the inept interior minister Tareck el Aissami noted in his usual "the Empire from the North is behind everything" speech that there was no noted political figure behind the student near uprising.  In other words, the government is absolutely unable to note the spontaneity of the protest due to such an unfair action as closing RCTV as we in the opposition know full well that even if the leadership wanted such a day it could not do it as fast and as complete.  Unbelievable to be so out of touch!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A January 23 harsh on democracy: RCTV out again and Globovision is the last network in Venezuela to present the opposition views, the rest are pro Chavez or "neutral", that is, silent.

It cannot be lost on the Venezuelan observer that the commemoration of January 23 1958, the date we thought marked the end of our last time under a dictatorship would be the date chosen by our new dictatorship to limit the reach of cable TV and start the process of forcing it to transmit for free all the propaganda of the regime.

Friday, January 22, 2010

A new worthy march for the 23 de enero, with reader participation

Tomorrow once again we celebrate and commemorate the end of our latest old style directorship, the one of Perez Jimenez. Unfortunately, once again we need to hit the streets in protest as we are now under a new style of dictatorship perhaps but a dictatorship nevertheless. Or what else can we call a regime where the president decides to expropriate a supermarket chain and under its order a legislative parliament votes the necessary law within 4 working days?

Caracas tomorrow will hold two marches.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Poll result

The first poll using the blogger feature now closed automatically after 6 days with 189 answers.

Chavez incredibly cheap pettiness on the US role in Haiti

One of the most amazing things to be heard in Caracas these days are the stupid, small minded, bitter, resentful words Chavez directs at the US rescue and help effort towards Haiti.  We have heard it all, even that the earthquake in Haiti was planned by the US so as to take over Haiti.  Weil cartoon in Tal Cual today says it all, almost:


1) The role of the US taking advantage of the Haiti tragedy is disgusting and an aberration.
2) They have taken control of the airport and the presidential palace!
3) (I wish I could have done the same)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

PSF trashing in Brazil

For those who can read some Portuguese do not miss this trashing of Weisbrot in Brazil.  Hat tip Milonga.

Scott Brown versus Obama. Really?

Allow me to indulge in a non-Venezuelan (almost!) post.



I have written often to my US detractors, from either side, that one of the things I admired the most about the U.S. political system was its ability at some point to correct its excesses, to find ways to return to more centered positions when a political group loses its ways and purpose.  

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The EXITO nullity debacle

Before I get into discussing the seizure of EXITO stores by chavista goons today I thought that it would be good to add a sense of perspective. The major stockholder of the CATIVEN group which holds EXITO and CADA is the Casino group of France. They declared today that losing the EXITO stores would simply not affect their balance sheets because the Venezuelan operation represents about 1% of its turnover and almost zero profit. So here, at home, we have been anguishing over the EXITO takeover, watching workers fighting it out among themselves, thinking for ourselves it was a big deal, wondering how it will affect our access to increasingly scarce and expensive items, when in fact EXITO is almost irrelevant for its owner.

I cannot think of a better example to illustrate how irrelevant Venezuela is becoming in a globalized economy. Imagine what we will represent in 5 years from now if Chavez does not leave office. No more than a mediocre occasional oil supplier?

The CNE drops the new electoral circumscriptions

[UPDATED] Tibisay Lucena was announcing the new electoral districts a little while ago.  Of course, so far the CNE page carries nothing though journalists were promised CDs. As expected, Maracaibo and Caracas were gerrymandered to favor chavismo. And as usual I must remind folks that the only way to win an election in Venezuela is to go and vote and stay to make sure that every is counted as it shoudl be. If the opposition does not manage to do that even if district are gerrymandered in their favor they will lose!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Weil returns with the electric rationing

Weil was on vacation but he returns, as biting as ever at exposing the Orwellian double speak of the regime.  The cartoon below is Chavez in front of his infamous logo "Venezuela now belongs to all" stating that rationing will go "absolutely" for everyone excepted Caracas.  Note the machine gun on the side.......


Chavez keeps rolling toward his own self created abyss

So Chavez today decided that the Franco-Colombian distribution group EXITO should be nationalized because, see, they increased prices as soon as the devaluation was announced.  Yeah, right...  What is the truth here?  Very simple:

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Chile ends an era

The result of Chile's second round vote today was not a surprise: Sebastian Piñera won, narrowly but clearly (a little over 3% margin).  The surprise is that he was leading very early in the campaign, winning convincingly the first round to the point that his margin of victory today was rather short.  The biggest surprise though is how a prosperous Chile, ruled by a successful coalition for 20 years, decided to send home, thank you very much for your trouble, those people that allowed them to join the OECD. We can suppose that at the end of the campaign enough Chileans felt ingrateful and guilty enough and thus returned to the losing "Concertacion" to make sure the defeat would not be humiliating.


There are reasons to explain how a government whose president has currently an amazing 70 to 80% favorable ratings could not transfer them to its candidate.

Idiocies

The international idiot brigade never sleeps, even when there is a tragedy like the one in Haiti.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Chavez reacts! Same old, same old....

So this is the situation:

- You have had to devaluate your currency 100%
- You cannot reliably provide electricity to your country
- Your first two plans to ration electricity have failed miserably, and covered you in ridicule
- For the first time in years your poll numbers have crossed the 50% mark, down
- You preside an administration that fudges data and applies freely price controls and yet you had to admit a 27% inflation
- Since now more than half of your imports will be at 100% more Bolivares you can expect inflation to reach 50%
- Your country is described as a dead beat as repeated requests for payment remain without reply
- The crime in your country is so bad that now folks are robbed by gangs that take over a whole car in Caracas subway in between stops
- Every where you read that matters are going to get worse, that your henchmen are incompetent vicious nincompoops
- You need to go to give your state of the union address

What to do, oh what to do!?!?

Very simple:

Friday, January 15, 2010

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Caracas es Caracas y lo demás monte y culebra

I am not sure whether I got this right, and this late, but it seems that the suspension of electrical rationing is ONLY in Caracas.  If this is indeed true then we are in front of a MAJOR political mistake of Chavez.  So far through Google news I do find that indeed, from AFP to Tribuna Latina, Chavez has said last night, HE SAID!, that Caracas was off but the rationing continues elsewhere in Venezuela!

With this Chavez demonstrates that his regime has become as Caracas centered as the "ancien regime" to which, AFTER ELEVEN (11) YEARS IN OFFICE, he still tries to pin all of his very own mistakes and incompetence.

A cornered regime, bereft of ideas and talent. Or something else?

The title of this post is in fact deliberately misleading because it would be too easy to describe the regime as such based on a simple reading of last night brutal 180º turn on electricity shortages.

Just as it happened with the shopping malls shut down to save electricity, the application of the new electricity rationing plan did not even last 48 hours. True, it was so stupid, so harebrained a scheme that we all knew that its application could not last long.  But barely 24 hours?

Something stinks here.  Let's speculate at some of the possible reasons.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Economic poll: how much will GDP fall the first quarter of 2010 in Venezuela

I have contemplated in horror how the new rationing program for electricity has started today.  I see disaster at the end of the road if there is not a prompt reevaluation of the design.

But, as I am waiting for my blackout coming up in a few minutes, I have no energy to write on what should be obvious to all with half a brain.  Not to mention that I already wrote a summary that looks every minute more and more definitive.  Instead, taking advantage of that blogger feature to which I have now access, I tried my first poll.  Please, visit the right side and check in your prediction.

A minute for Haiti

If there is a country, at least in the Americas, that seems to be cursed it is Haiti which as you all know by now has been struck by a devastating earthquake. At this point it does not matter that the Haitian natural disasters are made worse through grinding poverty: hurricanes are worse there than any place in the Caribbean as poverty as done away with the once lush forest so people can cook delicacies such as dirt cookies. Sometimes one even wonders if the UN should not go back to the former Society of Nations system to create "mandates" over countries, to have them ruled for a decade or two by a group of foreign powers just to put some order, rebuild the basic infrastructure and create some jobs. Haiti today is the kind of place on earth where you cannot come up with any economical system that seems it could work out there.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

An idiotic electricity rationing

The hard  pressed chavista administration has decided to ration electricity supply.  As usual improvisation, lack of consultation with the concerned parts, political segregation, lack of information for the public, absolute ignorance of the consequences of such cuts are the norm, just as with the previous failed rationing of shopping centers!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Venezuelan devaluation and Giordani for dummies!

[UPDATED] The devaluation of last Friday will be a major problem for Venezuela, but then again it should not be that bad.  That is, if the government indeed had found the economic wisdom it has so lacked for the past 11 years.  Unfortunately reading planning minister Giordani words on the Sunday paper tells us that they still do not get it.

First, of course, I need once again to reintroduce Giordani, Chavez economic guru, who has been directly or indirectly associated to the Chavez economic policies since he took over in 1999.  As such, Giordani IS THE RESPONSIBLE for most of bad decisions taken.  By most I mean somewhere around 90%, not just half plus 1. Let's not forget that Chavez is a lout, a cheap soldier who might be a great politician but has neither the education or the instinct for economics. It has been Giordani's role all along to tell him what should be done to manage a modern economy. But then again Giordani was never interested in modern states economics, stuck somewhere in the socialo-communist models of the 60ies... You can find a previous portrait of Giordani misfit status that I wrote here. This is the minster who was in charge just before the devaluations of 2002 and 2003, and the corrupt currency exchange control plays of 2005 through 2009.

So what did the dear man said Sunday? Taken from El Universal:

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Miguel Octavio is front page in El Nacional





As a consequence of the Friday devaluation, newspapers are running in circles trying to find people back from vacation to interview and comment on the economic implications.  Fortunately Miguel is at work and thus he made it to the front page of El Nacional, first edition (1).  Not to diminish his input, there were other noted analysts that the journalist could track down, but the fact of the matter is that through his blog and his job Miguel is becoming quite noticed and thus deserving of this spot.

Cuban doctors defect from Venezuela, or when even Cuban supervisors fall to Venezuelan corruption practices

Least the devaluation news would not be enough to illustrate how fast Venezuela is falling apart.

Friday, January 08, 2010

A stealth devaluation for nothing with a cowardly display by Chavez

Tonight Chavez in a single address through VTV announced the long awaited devaluation.  I friend called me to tell me the news, I kept watching my movie unperturbed...

See, Chavez who calls for cadenas on the stupidest of motives this time was ashamed enough to announce devaluation sans cadena.  In his propaganda goals Chavez has no problem to force simultaneous transmission on ALL TV and radio outlets, for as long as he pleases, for as often as he pleases.  That is the cadena.  But to announce that we were losing half of our savings, half of our incomes, half of our property, he does that cowardly, at the end of the long Venezuelan holiday of late December early January, on a Friday night, only on the state networks.

I think this is the real news tonight, a reminder of what a coward Chavez is.The devaluation?  We were wondering how come it had not happened yet.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The reality behind Venezuelan electricity shortages: a further drop in GDP (and more problems)

Yesterday's front pages carried the news that shopping malls had their schedule curtailed to save electricity.  We had cute stories of people standing in line to wait for the mall to open, or people complaining that there was no more late movies for them to catch.  But all of this quaintness hides a major problem for Venezuela: the electricity production drop, long announced and never dealt with by the government, too busy to solve other country's electricity problem, is set to aggravate our economic problems for years.

The first thing we need to understand is that for a government that has made minimization of problems and outright lies a state policy, to recognize that indeed we need to cut down energy consumption by 20% can only mean that in fact we should cut it down considerably more.  Who will suffer the cuts the most?  All of us because of the implied drop in production that this implies.  Let's look at the direct implications for a few sectors.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Servility

From my recovery quarters I am reading finally "La Fiesta del Chivo", the great novel of Vargas Llosa about the last  day of Dominican dictator Trujillo and the consequences his 31 years rule had over the psyche of his countrymen.  Consequences that still scar the country.

Today the Venezuelan Nazional Assembly decided to examine the possibility of aggression from Colombia to Venezuela. Truly, such a promptitude in taking Chavez' line (dated December 28)  would be worth to mention in that book. One can never cease to be impressed at how the Nazional Assembly (and others from the high court tot he nation's attorney) bend backwards to see who will accommodate the whims and idiocies of Chavez the fastest.  Certainly, I am sure that if Colombia were to detect the exact location in Venezuela of the FARC head and feel that a quick military operation would capture him, I think it would be very difficult for Uribe to resist the temptation.  What could Chavez do?  Declare war? Stop sending oil to the US?  Finally we could say! Colombia would finally force coherence between Chavez words and actions....

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Intelligent life forms missing the start of the year lead you to scary conclusions

As my recovery improves I started reading the papers again.  Fortunately this time of the year papers are thin, less news and advertisement.  Unfortunately this "light" version allows for a clearer view of the idiocies and bad news reported (never mind about the not very bright staff left to report during this holiday season).

Friday, January 01, 2010

May you all have the best possible 2010!

A new year just started. It will be the year of the "metal tiger" in February which apparently has all sorts of implications. The last time there was a "metal tiger " year, I read it was 1950 and that year Delgado Chalbaud was assassinated, Perez Jimenez started his rise to absolute power. We are thus promised plenty of drama this year. Another horoscope says that there will be surprises in the legislative election. Imagine that.....

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