Sunday, July 31, 2011

Chavismo's strategy. Well, sort of.....

As slowly but surely I get back into the disaster mentality I thought that to clear up my mind further I should let you know what my thoughts are.  Maybe someone can let me know whether I am getting it....?

There is a method in the madness of chavismo.  That is, to explain the hits and runs that we have been witnessing last week we need to understand that there was already a well planned strategy to block the opposition form reaching power in 2012 (by all means, legal or not), that has suddenly found itself complicated by Chavez disease.  Thus, the distinct possibility that Chavez might be dead, or unable to assume the campaign the way he should, have lighted a few fuses inside chavismo.  We can divide the reactions according to two set of people: those who think that chavismo will remain in office and those who are not so sure of that factoid.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The aggiornamento of little Red Riding Hood

And thus I am back to the “tierra de gracia” just to find me even more confused than when I left. It seems that a mix of bad polls, better polls through sickness, a new found respect for mortality have played havoc with the regime line and a major mutation is taking place. Or is it?

First, before I enter into the few details I am able to grasp so far, it is important to remember that all of Chavez electoral campaigns have been bipolar. That is, there was a period of “Mr. Nice Guy loves you” followed presto by a “you better vote for me or else”. No matter what the result was, the days that followed the election saw a radicalization of the regime either to cash in the victory or to drive the point that an electoral defeat in no way diminished Chavez power.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

En la sección "se cuenta y no se cree"

¡A carajazos con Azocar!
(ACTUALIZADO) Por fin micomandantepresidente decidió cumplir y creó un ministerio para los servicios penitenciarios (¿MinPoPoSeP?).  Y, agárrense bien, nombró a Iris Valera como ministra, la mas malandra de todos en la Asamblea Nacional, la que se cae a coñazo limpio con cualquiera que le pise el cayo.  Pues bien, este que escribe aquí piensa que de repente el nombramiento no es ni tan malo.  Total la Iris ya se comporta como un "pran" cualquiera y si existe un cargo público que ella pueda entender y ejercer, ese es el de carcelera.  Reconozcamos que en el pasado ella fue una de las pocas chavistas que se preocupó por la situación de las cárceles, y seguramente está mucho mas comprometida con el mejoramiento del infierno carcelario que su jefe.

Y yo que nunca creí que iba a conseguir como escribir algo positivo sobre la Varela.....

PD: Parece que tambien Primero Justicia esta de acuerdo conmigo en que la Varela no es necesariamente una mala idea para ese anti-cambur (via JN)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Farewell fish

Another memorable one
It is not that food is great in France, there is also that rather immaterial aspect of it, how easy it is the relation of great food with the "garçon", the guests, and the scenery.  That is, you can get great meals in natural settings without any sense of the extraordinary, as it you were expected to have great dishes everyday of your life as a matter of fact. As my departure was nearing it was time to start farewells, and to experience this again, far from the affectations of multi-starred joints, or the ignorance of the Caracas "mesonero" who even in fancy joints has little idea of what s/he is serving.

I was treated for dinner date at a famous local eatery, Chez H., specialized in fishy stuff, something that we are rather deprived in Venezuela where fish is deeply fried in the vain hope of hiding the dubious freshness of the creature.  Let's just say that in Venezuela today I only eat fish at Urrutia or when in Margarita.

Know thy words!

There is cute test floating around which aims at telling you how many words you do know in English.  Through an extrapolation of easy to more difficult words.  My result is:

Which is quite good for a foreigner, someone who truly learned English in his very late teens and who left for the states for a few years in his mid twenties.  Needless to say that I am off the scale for non native speakers and that I would be in the top 5% if I were accounted as a native speaker.  Now, before you think that I am bragging, having been in academia for a decade and a half in the US, and having my reading 80% in English for the last 25 years give me an advantage.....  but of course, I prefer to stress the "non native" for my daily ego boost.  Now, at a grammar test I might not do so well, as readers often point out obligingly  :)

Cada día nos trae mas pruebas de la idiotez e hipocresía del regimen chavista

Viajando uno se sienta de vez en cuando a leer noticias de Venezuela.  Pues bien, la colección que les ofrezco abajo es como para no regresar mas nunca por la pena ajena...

Empecemos por el rodilla en tierra frente a micomandantepresidente por los cadetes de quien sabe donde.  Total, todos tienen que hacerlo por que sino se friegan y no se gradúan.  Con un click del meñique agranden la foto y observen los detalles:

-Un Chavez regocijado, gozando una bola arrodillando a esos muchachos en pleitesía, justo regresando de Cuba, para que todos sepan quien es el mandón aquí.
- Un Maduro que no sabe que pensar y un Ramirez arrodillado en su mente, atención fija a cualquier pestañeo de Hugo I
-  Y un oficial militar que mira en frente y alto, a lo lejos, para pretender que no se entera de tamaña humillación

En verdad hay fotos que dicen más que pesados libros de análisis histórico-políticos......




Prosigamos con este aporte de Prensa Latina, objetivamente escrita desde la Habana donde ya reposa la firma electrónica de Chavez para que los Castro firmen cual decreto se les antoje.  Una propaganda tan burda y cursi que uno tiene que admirarla de una manera perversa.  Los detalles hablan mas que el conjunto:

- El Bolivar es benevolente en su mirada, los ojos casi húmedos de la emoción mirando a su hijo
- En cambio micomandantepresidente es recio, en blanco y negro, sin cuartel para los malucos
- Y no puede faltar, obviamente, la superposición en primer plano de la única escena heroica rescatable de la debacle del 13 de abril: cuatro guardias palurdos sobre el techo de Miraflores por encima de Carabobo

¡Dios mio!......

Para terminar no dejemos de observar la rápida condena del gobierno revolucionario contra los atentados de Oslo.  Claro está que todavía no aparece la condena a los pre-genocidios de Gadafi en Libia o de Assad en Siria.  Es bien sabido de todos que un fundamentalista cristiano es mucho mas pior que genocidas musulmanes que tiran bombas contra su pueblo.  Con esto el glorioso embuste bolivariano recibe la palma de oro a la mas descarada hipocresía del mes de julio.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A glorious Tour

The 2011 edition was almost perfect.  It had everything: suspense, heroes, drama.  And it had many firsts which make it particularly special.

Cadel Evans surrounded by the Schleck brothers
It had the first Australian to win it, and for that matter, the first southern hemisphere biker to win it.

For the first time it had two brothers in the final podium, the brave Schleck brothers of tiny Luxembourg.

It had a long overdue French hero for a Tour with Thomas Voelcker who managed to hold the yellow Jersey for ten days straight.

It had five interesting stories for the five top runners.  Besides the 4 above mentioned, the 5th position was last year champ Contador who after winning the Italian Giro earlier this year shows that last year he would have won with or without drugs (I think he did not use and I hope a final court ruling due soon will settle that nasty affair once and for all).

But best of all, since I mention Contador, for the first time in years drugs were not the headlines.

After this Year tour the Tour de France is back on track, ready to offer us prime fun in the future.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

From Oklahoma to Oslo


The type of terrorism which devastated Norway yesterday must be searched in Oklahoma almost two decades ago.  The constant negative ranting of some media (Murdoch?) and some politicians (Chavez?) eventually give rise to crazies like those who did these attacks in the name of race or pseudo Christian principles or who knows what... Terrorism is terrorism and having as a first reflex to look for the Islamist connection is not the best move (Aznar?).

No country deserves a terrorist attack whatsoever.  But when we look at what happened in Norway which is almost an ideal democratic working welfare society one has to pause and wonder....  From Baghdad to Oslo are we suffering from a mere statistical increase in terrorism or are we truly creating it?

My heart goes to Norway which for some reason is the country where one of the three top per capita readers  come to this blog.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Vin, this is what´s for lunch

It is easy to forget how intimate is the relationship between the French and wine, to the point that wine is making its way more and more into the "aperitif" hour at the expense of horrors such as Pastis.  After all, French wine production keeps improving and so French people do feel like drinking more of it.

Every year new fashions start and some stick.  One that is developing is the Bordeaux "clairet" which is not a rosé, God forbid!  I suppose Clairet is a throw back to older times when the British called clairet the wine they got from Bordeaux.  Or some of it anyway, but what did they know?  The thing is that clairet is a great invention for summer, and in Bordeaux much better than those generic rosé that harass our taste buds.

But when serious fare is at stake for lunch, like lamb chops, we revert to nature and nothing less than a great Pomerol will do (or course  my very unbiased opinion).  It comes with accumulated dirt from a real "cave" which even dusted off leaves marks on the label.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Le hideout à la française

You have to give it to the French for most original an secluded hide outs for small cottages with all the comforts of life.

El Chigüire nails it: Adan Chavez to be named "designated driver

Elias Jaua, the man that Chavez left in charge, sort of, made a maiden speech of sorts where he was visibly VERY drunk.  Either that or his brain aneurysm was bursting....  The video has been circulating for a couple of days already but the interpretation of Chigüire bipolar was best to report here.  do not miss it even if you do not speak Spanish: the slurry is easy to catch.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Le French vélo

This is my old bike, the one I had when in college in France, too many years ago to dare confess the number of decades.  Since I left France and entrusted her to my relatives it has managed to survive, though a tad rusty with faulty brakes that should be changed outright.  Yet, I still find her, somehow not giving up on me.



Weather has been terrible lately, something some of you may have guessed since I keep posting.  But rain in France is soft and if you do not mind hiding under the slightly jutting roof of a closed fish store, you might survive the humidity and keep riding a few minutes later, until the next squall.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Le French non-crime wave

What is wrong with this picture?



Chavez leaves Venezuela for Cuba and deliberately tightens the colonial link

As any serious commentator expected all along, Chavez left for Cuba to continue his cancer treatment (we only know he will undergo chemotherapy but we do not know for what type of cancer, for how long, how advanced is the metastasis, etc, etc...).

The reason why Cuba was the ONLY choice for Chavez is several fold:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Le panier de French plums

Ha!  Summer goodness!



Since there is no "where is Waldoniel" this year (sorry AIO) maybe we can have a prize for whomever can identify the three fruits in French and in English.  A big smooch if you manage both (PS: "plums" is not enough...)  And yes, what you see in the background is low tide, so yes, I am also into fishy stuff....

Reforzando los controles coloniales sobre Venezuela

Cuba está muy preocupada por su avanzada colonial en América del Sur. Las cosas no van bien allí. El Virrey se enfermo justo cuando la colonia está teniendo serias dificultades en mandar los debidos cheques mensuales a la metrópoli imperial, La Habana. Así, había que tomar medidas antes de los indígenas se vuelven aun más inquietos de lo que ya son.

En primer lugar, el virrey tiene que ser estrictamente manejado. Sus dolencias no se pueden dar a conocer a todos y cada uno. Sus viajes de salud tendrán que ser en La Habana donde es más fácil ocultar los efectos secundarios de la quimioterapia. El problema es que los amos no han encontrado aún a alguien de confianza para que lo sustituya, o con la habilidad política suficiente para asegurarse de que los regalos sigan llegando, y para asegurarse de que los nativos sigan creyendo que todavía son una nación independiente.

Tightening the colonial control over Venezuela

Cuba is very worried about its colonial outpost in South America.  Things are not going well there.  The Viceroy is ailing just as the province is having serious difficulties in providing the monthly stipends due to the imperial metropolis, Havana.  Thus measures had to be taken before the natives become more restless than what they already are.

First, the Viceroy needs to be controlled tightly.  His ailments cannot be let known by all and any.  His planned health trips have to take place in Havana where it is easier to hide the side effects of chemotherapy.  The problem is that the masters have not found yet someone reliable enough to replace him, or politically skillful enough to make sure that the stipends keep coming, and to make sure that the natives keep believing they are an independent nation.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Brasil o cuba para la quimioterapia. ¿Y Venezuela?

¡Ay Hugo!  Bastante has jodido a Venezuela que no puedes tratarte ni siquiera en tus super CDI cubanos que nos clavaste.  Déjame ver si entiendo bien el asunto.

Le Bastille Day that nobody calls that here

I have not been in France for a July 14 for so many decades that I dare not count.  I think it was probably during my last college year when my siblings came over to spend summer here after I graduated.  Since then I have avoided France in Summer, the more so that my relatives happen to live in beach resort areas which become hellish in July and August.  France is best from me late spring or early fall though I do not mind it at all in winter.

Then again, after today I might have to reconsider some, or at least plan for vacations finishing on, say, July 15.

Cronicas Beatas (Chavez is a born again Catholic)

Do not miss Bruni's post over Chavez going from Catholic Church excoriator in chief to what we call in french "grenouille de benitier" (baptismal font frog).  What a difference a well placed cancer makes...  And if you do not speak Spanish you can use google translator, and regardless of google, comparing the videos of Chavez taking communion or cursing the church is self explanatory...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Venezuela circa 2016?

You may want to read the Economist article below of a road trip in Zimbabwe, between Harare and Bulawayo. Then think that my regular road trips between San Felipe and Caracas are looking more and more like those road trips in Zimbabwe, time extension included, except that I do not get to drive past the estates of Chavez familiy.....

http://www.economist.com/blogs/baobab/2011/07/travelling-through-zimbabwe&fsrc=nwl

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Le bowl de cheries

Life can be a bowl of cherries.

Granted, it does not happen that often but it can happen.  It does not need to be a the Ritz Carlton of Maui, it does have to happen in the splendors of Alaska's wilderness.

But a real bowl of French cherries, in season, next to a chaise on a balcony overlooking a small resort town street, with your kindle at hand, on a very mild summer afternoon....  well, it does not get better than that.

The more so if it has been 2 decades since I was last time in summer in France.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mapping for Venezuela

Maps are have power, and give it to those who know how to use them.  Thus we must welcome and mightily praise the initiative from Christian Font, Dorothy Kronick and Javier Rodriguez Rivas to design, for whatever reason pushed them, an electoral map of Venezuelan electoral results since 1998.

For sure, there are still plenty of bugs in that map such as pesky borders that do not match, or perhaps the wish to incorporate too many details rather than separate the type of maps altogether.  For example I would have preferred a plain national map for the country at states levels, and a set of 20 something individual maps for each state which could carry all the data.  But I suppose that for any cartographer the temptation of trying to encompass everything in a single map for visual effect is irresistible.  Unfortunately for Venezuela it is impossible to achieve because the population unbalance, and the political polarization make whatever electoral victory visually unsatisfying if it does carry at the very least a 30% of the rural districts.  Then again since I am one of the lone voices that specializes in the Venezuelan Poduncks voting patterns I might be biased in my comments because of my needs.

Thus we have now a new tool that is bound to get better with time and that will save people like me a tremendous amount of grief while building up excel sheets.  Although I have a few minor points of disagreement with the way data is calculated (wisely based on ESDATA among other things) the general patterns are clearly set and allow to anyone with minimal interests in Chavismo electoral history (besides fraud, vote buying and the like) to see how the electoral landscape of a country can evolve under populism.  As an example on how this can be used, and its limitations, I have picked up the electoral picture of Yaracuy, my home state, in 1998 and 2010.

With this map we have the general frustration that I experience whenever I see such type of maps: WHY, O WHY?

Chavez familiy time

With a hat tip to P.B. I cannot resit posting this little video of a convalescing Chavez (?) surrounded by his family (in particular his Mommy dearest).  You do not need to understand Spanish to get the pathos, the depression of Chavez and the personality cult that surrounds him to the point of posting on the web such a silly and even inappropriate video, titled in all simplicity "Chavez family encounter".

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

¿Y para esto nos hicimos independientes hace 200 años?

Fuera del país, me alegro haber optado no estar en Venezuela para este 5 de julio fecha tan memorable pero donde parece nos alcanza el destino de la suprema mediocridad.  Con esta portada del Correo del Orinoco, también conocido como el panfleto chavista de Vanessa Davies y la Eva Golinger, me permito preguntar si en verdad valió la pena hacer esa guerra de independencia hace 200 años.  ¿Para que?  ¿Para que un gobierno se de el lujo de pagar por la publicación de semejante barbaridad en la portada?


¿Desde cuando las fuerzas armadas de un país tienen que ser leales a un presidente, repetirlo a cada rato?  ¿Y que de la república?  ¿De la nación?

¡Que vergüenza!

¡Que vergüenza tan grande en la semana que hubiese debido ser la de la unión de todos los venezolanos para regocijarnos de nuestro ser!

 ¡Que bajo hemos caído!

No solamente somos una dictadura militar, pero padecemos de una afligida de mal gusto extraordinario.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Break time

I had scheduled long a go a break for this July to attend to some family obligations.  Thus I will be out of the country through July.  I am not planning to follow closely what happens inside Venezuela, regardless the recent decrepitude of Chavez.  So, what's wrong with this picture?

Followers