Monday, October 31, 2011

And off we go for the Unidad primaries: first evaluation

UPDATED twice

With the endorsement of Pablo Perez by AD and the one today of Proyecto Venezuela to Leopoldo Lopez we can see the final pieces falling into places as next week we will have the formal signing up of candidates.  There are 10 in total though it is quite possible that a couple more may drop by then.  The last endorsement to be made of any importance is the one from COPEI.  But as it was the case with AD, their endorsement might come too late to make a big difference.  In the case of PVzl, even if a smaller party,  there is the advantage of all but delivering the state to Leopoldo something that neither AD or COPEI can do at this time for any state even if they may deliver more votes over all.  You may think this unremarkable but think about the other primaries at stake, for governors and mayors, and that way you may realize that PVzl may have decided to share Carabobo with Voluntad Popular and force out anyone else there.  Leopoldo may not win in the end but the gamble to control all of Carabobo is worth taking in their eyes.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Yet another bolivarian fraud in Guadalajara

One keeps counting them these days.  But there is one that must have hurt at Miraflores.  A lot. 

Demagoguery in Aragua: another day of economy wrecking for Chavez

Chavez needs to show that he is cured, that he is in charge.  What better than to go to next door state Aragua (short ride in copter) to expropriate a few farms and make job promises that cannot possibly held, not here, not in Brussels, not in D.C.

14.000 hectares (35.000 acres) of farmland expropriated, and Agroflora

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Aristobulo Isturiz: currency exchange control (CADIVI) is a political decision

Some times we can rely on loud mouthed chavista to candidly confirm what we were all saying but they were denying.  Today we got representative of Caracas, the very erratic Aristobulo Isturiz, who told us from the National Assembly the following:
El control de cambio se lo van a calar hasta construir el socialismo, el control de cambio para nosotros es político, si lo quitamos, nos tumban
Currency exchange controls you are going to get screwed with them until we build socialism. Currency control is for us political, if we remove it, we are ousted.
Most of the vulgar colloquialism is lost in translation but I trust you get the idea.

A few days ago there was a vivacious debate between my two esteemed competition, on one side Miguel abrogating the immediate removal of currency controls on February 2013, and on the other side  Juan Cristobal defending the position of his candidate to keep them.  I participated briefly in both threads because I was not in full agreement with either one.  But briefly also because my point was different and I had to wait for today's Aristobulo's tirade to find my final words on the subject.

See, Miguel comes from the financial world, and Juan Cristobal from the consulting one, but neither one is busy in the debilitating everyday battle of form filling to obtain precious dollars at the preferential rate.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cara'e palo Saltrón

La verdad es que hay que ser bien cara dura para defender el régimen de Caracas ante la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, y cara de palo para hacerlo como Germán Saltrón.  Es que el hombre no suelta, arremete, y se pierde en paranoia.  No se sabe si está molesto porque perdió estrepitosamente su caso contra Leopoldo ante la Corte o si se trata unicamente de paranoia en necesidad de tratamiento, pero el tipo se lució esta semana.  Hasta uno tiene que preguntarse si el tipo vive en Venezuela.

La reunión de esta semana se centraba sobre la libertad de prensa en el hemisferio, particularmente sobre el caso Ecuatoriano (otro que copia y mejora el guion original chavista).  El caso es que el Germán se puso bravo, acuso la CIDH de no ser imparcial y ademas soltó esta perla:

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Special request: when Facebook is an a-hole

My sentiments toward Facebook were never very strong (I even scheduled permanent erasing of the page associated to my blog).  However there is no denying that it is a source of info for many people.  But also a source of grief.

Some of you might remember La Gringa in Honduras, a US resident there that holds a blog which was courageously supporting the guys that ousted Zelaya, and who now is criticizing the violence in Honduras and the drug trafficking (something that the guys in charge do not seem that concerned with as they are more interested in getting back on the summitry circuit).  In other words she is doing her conscientious blogger job, telling it as she sees it, may her chips fall wherever they please.  Well, it seems that some people are already trying to shut her up and managed to have Facebook shut her page because she does not want to reveal her identity to them, even if that woudl put her at risk.  Bloggers and twitterers have found death in Northern Mexico and that thing is creeping down south, maybe reaching Venezuela any time soon.

I must thus plead with you to sign this petition that is addressed to Facebook so they are not these ass-holes that they seem to become more and more.  Bloggers and their readers UNITE!.  Note: La Gringa assures me that she is not even the one who started that petition but one of her readers.

And makes that three plus scores for Leopoldo Lopez today

I had not read the NYT yet and just before going to bed there is yet another great article about the fight of Leopoldo Lopez, by Simon Romero. 

So let's see, the business is covered by The Economist, the political intellectual side by the NYT, the diplomatic by the Carter Center. Next?

The fallout of Luisa Estella idiotic ruling and chavismo inability to come to grips with international reality is costing much more than I was myself expecting....  Someone inside chavismo gotta get fired on that mess.  How clueless can one be and how blinded by personal hatred to commit such a mistake?

Leopoldo Lopez scores two big points today

Home late tonight I finally can catch up and I am pleasantly surprised by two big wins for Leopoldo Lopez showing that the ruling of Luisa Estella is not holding water outside of Venezuela (not that it is holding much inside the country for that matter).

The first win might not be that big a priori because it is an article in The Economist.  Besides the magazine taking the points I wrote (not that they read me, I would not be so pretentious, but they are the ones that make the most sense, including their appreciation on Leopoldo's chances) it also speculates on the possibility that dissension within chavismo might be reaching the TSJ who is thinking that maybe they better start getting ready for a transition as peaceful as possible.

Now, this is a great piece and of great importance because The Economist is an important opinion maker and reaches people that would never read on Leopoldo Lopez travails at this point in the campaign if it were not for The Economist.  That The Economist has published such a piece is a witness on how the screwed up judicial system of Venezuela is finally impressing people outside, and investors.  Bad economic days ahead of Venezuela is the immediate forecast as even fewer people will be willing to invest scarce money now that Europe is about to forget about a big chunk of the Greek debt (and other debts as a consequence).

Friday, October 21, 2011

Of martyrs and burning bridges

Casually surfing during my breakfast I stopped at Spain's state TV, TVE.  They may have been focused on the latest announcement of ETA deposing its armed struggle unilaterally but they still had time to trash Chavez.  In Spain the state TV always has round tables of 3-4 journalists coming from both sides of the political spectra.  This morning they were all considering Chavez words on Qaddafi yesterday a disgrace.  Even though they had debated before whether Qaddafi should have been sent to trial or shot outright.  TVE puts a video of Chavez.

Indeed one must wonder about Chavez yesterday at Church stating that Qaddafi had been murdered by the empire and its European allies, that he was a martyr, that he will long be revered, that it was not over because there a "pueblo" in Libya with dignity.  I suppose that no one showed Chavez the video I put in my blog yesterday about said dignity.

The anti Lopez campaign in state media (or think about that as Globovision is threatened with closing)

In a fit of duty I do visit on occasion the very uninformative pages of the Chavez media.  That is, the state media that is paid a tax payer expense to promote only the point of view of the state, that is Chavez and his personality cult.  But one needs to look at those pages on occasion because one needs to be reminded regularly on how the sick mind of these people work.  My objective was to find a good example on how Chavez defended today Qaddafi (some people never learn).  But I found better, a note from the National Radio of Venezuela (our BBC if you will) with this outrageous attack on Leopoldo Lopez, as far from any journalistic ethos as you may ever find in the genre.  In fact it is so bad, such a hack job in an official site that I felt compelled to take a screen shot to save it in case someone realizes what a disgrace that is and erase it..

Click to enlarge and enjoy the full effect
I have circled in red (of course) the choice items described below:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Another friend of Chavez in trouble

Welcome to La Paz!
Finally the march of the natives from the Amazon protesting capitalists roads across their land has reached La Paz and the alleged bastion of Evo Morales gave them a hero's welcome.  Poor Evo, he cannot increase the price of gas, he cannot have his judges ratified as he wishes and now his base, the native people of Boliva are abandoning him.  I wonder what curse he suffers from.....

One less tyrant: Qaddafi dead

UPDATED WITH VIDEO OF QADDAFI LAST MOMENTS
Or so it seems even though Reuters keep posting that he has been captured.  But the consensus seems that he is dead; and good riddance.  Yes, good riddance because in his case a trial would have been nearly useless.  After all the violence he created in Libya through his stubbornness no "peaceful" outcome was possible anymore.  Where would have the trial been held?  In Tripoli?  The Hague?  Where would "objectivity" been possible?  Trials of war criminals in the Hague do not seem to bring much peace to their country of origin.

The issue here is that there is an imaginary line of violence and sectarianism that cannot be crossed.  If it is crossed then peaceful resolution becomes useless and execution becomes the only option.  Period.  True, it is worth to send to trial those who "followed orders" because such Nuremberg like trials do serve a pedagogic purpose in their country of origin as they illustrate the different tools the regime used to rule and oppress.  But for the supreme evil, the one that started it all, there is no trial worthwhile pushing because support for that person had become an act of faith.  Does anyone thinks that a Hitler trial would have avoided skin heads and assorted neo-nazi movements?  Saddam legal hanging brought peace to Iraq?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

When atheists pray

Cellophane?
Oh dear....  We learned that Chavez is coming back from Cuba tomorrow after a check up of sorts.  If it were not bad enough that once again we are told that Venezuelan doctors are not good enough for Chavez and that he alone benefits from free care in Cuba at our tax payer expenses, including flights and feed of his numerous suite, he let us know that he is going to a local sanctuary for prayers and to "pagar una promesa" pay a promise.  This is more interesting than what you may think at first glance.

When FTA hurt you smack in your plexus

If you have any doubt that Colombia's perseverance in finally getting its FTA with the US you just need to read some of the words of a delirious Fidel today, quoted here in AFP.
"Veo con claridad, Hugo -le dije- que la Revolución Bolivariana en brevísimo tiempo puede crear empleo, no solo para los venezolanos sino también para sus hermanos colombianos, un pueblo laborioso, que junto a ustedes luchó por la independencia de América, un 40% del cual vive en la pobreza y una parte importante en estado de pobreza crítica"
I see with clarity, Hugo -I told him- that the Bolivarian Revolution in the briefest of time can create jobs, not only for Venezuelans but also for their Colombian brothers, a hard working people, who together with you fought for the independence of America, a 40%  that still live in poverty and a big chunk in critical poverty.
Let's not get carried away by comments on the obvious such as the bolibanana revolution sinking fast to the point of employment beating insecurity as the concern of Venezuelan people.  No, what is interesting here is Fidel trying to revive the troubles between Colombia and Venezuela (via FARC?), Fidel upset at the FTA and pressing for the reunification of Colombia and Venezuela presumably under the leadership of a mummified Chavez...

I am sure that the Casa de Nariño wince was actually audible....



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Reppressingly yours

[UPDATED] Really, the Venezuelan government is panicking.  To say the least these past weeks have brought only bad news besides the succession war inside chavismo.  The IACHR ruling, the criticism at the UN HR assembly in Geneva, the bad economic news, the protests and more protests from a very dissatisfied el pueblo, the jail situation that seems to be getting worse in spite of a special ministry created for that, etc, etc....  So like a spoiled brat it is starting to kick the table and say that it will not play anymore.  And at the same time the said brat starts kicking the house pets just to show that it can still do some harm, albeit useless if not altogether counterproductive.

Yesterday it was Leopoldo Lopez who got screwed.  Today it is Globovision who is fined for, hold tight, 7.5% of its gross income for 2010.

The day Leopoldo Lopez lost his presidential bid?

UPDATED Leopoldo Lopez has, in my very humble opinion, made a major mistake today.  His reply to yesterday TSJ sentence plays straight into Chavez hands.  Leopoldo simply states that the TSJ has validated his rights to run and he will do so, ignoring the second part that he may not be able to take office if he wins.



Leopoldo López 
Ayer el TSJ tambien ratifico mis derechos politicos. Asi que voy a presentarme como candidato a la Presidencia de la Republica

I think his timing is wrong and could cost him the primaries making his fight irrelevant in the end.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Medical malpractice or succession wars?

Readers know that I have refused to indulge in useless Chavez cancer guessing.  But the issues keep raising more and more and Chavez has become that lady that protesteth too much.  The latest installment in the saga is so weird that I had to report on it in spite of my better judgment.

The thing is that there is that Dr. Navarrete, a surgeon in a private clinic in Caracas with a respectable resumé.  The guy was called, which is normal, to form the regular presidential team.  That was pre 2002 and he was the lone chavista in the team according to him (was he the implied leader?  he does not tell).  From these years he retained many items.  (Three that marked me).

What is next for Leopoldo Lopez and La Unidad?

The first thing we need to understand when considering the atrocious ruling of the Venezuelan high court, TSJ, is that it is a political decision, designed to weaken in any possible way the opposition effort at unseating Chavez.  Thus we should not lose ourselves in nitpicking, detail debate and angels' sex, etc... and focus on what really matters.

Venezuela slaps the international system: the IACHR ruling will not be accepted

So Chavez decided that his fear of Leopoldo Lopez was more than whatever international consequences he would face if he did not follow the ruling of the Inter American Court on Human Rights, IACHR.  Today the Venezuelan high court, TSJ, decided to ignore the IACHR ruling on the same grounds that it used a few moths ago at San Jose, grounds that were deemed not acceptable by the IACHR.

For those late in the game the IACHR ruled, in a proceeding that involved the Venezuelan state at every level, that Leopoldo Lopez (and hundreds with him) could not be barred from running for office on a mere administrative sanction, that for that a crime had to be committed and that such crime had to be sanctioned by a court of justice, not some bureaucrat following orders from above.  For the TSJ to use the arguments it presented at the trial to dismiss the ruling is, to say the least, childish and will not impress jurists of the world whatsoever: if you agree to participate in a trial you also agree to abide by the ruling.  Period.

It is too early to figure out the far reaching implications of this ruling of the TSJ which, besides being unconstitutional, places Venezuela squarely on the position to have to break its hemispheric treaties, namely the treaties of membership with the OAS and Mercosur for starters.

Evo Morales gets his first electoral defeat but manages his coup d'etat

All for Evo's MAS
[UPDATED] An election sometimes is more than an election.  Evo Morales who has been sailing more or less straight ahead since 2005 suffered his first real electoral set back.  And yet he won what he wanted to win.  How come?

In the socialism of the XXI century we have merely an updated version of a totalitarian communism of the XX century, adapted to an age of mass media where Gulags and massacres cannot be used as convenient ways to dispose of those who annoy you.  The word has changed more than what you think the day that CNN was waiting for the marines ashore in Somalia over a decade ago.  So Chavez and his 1998 advisers, then perfected by his 2003 Cuban ones, found a way to avoid the Gulag ritual: take over the judicial system.  With a judicial system controlled for all practical purposes by the executive no law suit against the state may prosper and human rights can be easily trampled as no court will redress abuses.  True, you cannot avoid all that unpleasantness of people protesting and the press plastering over all the regime's abuses, but they all remain words, just words, no real consequences for the regime except for an occasional momentary step back.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Socialist primaries in France: conclusion

To remind us how lousy the CNE in Venezuela is, the socialist primaries in France barely concluded and Le Monde has already a graphic up with the winner in each French department.  73% already counted, Aubry already conceding and appearing in public with Hollande.

Thus we can gather yet more lessons for the coming primary in Venezuela, the one of La Unidad in February 2012:

Free gas for the rich

Hint, hint: move to Venezuela
El Universal carries a piece of news which is simply hair raising: the governemt has started delivering gas to service stations and stopped charging for it.  That is right, service stations now get a full truck of gas and do not pay for it.  And what is best, the sales prices of that full truck of gasoline is barely enough to cover their expenses for "selling" that gas to customers.

Wrap your mind around that for a minute...

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Indignation over indignados and Wall Street

Finding mental respite is difficult these days.  Even if you limit yourself to newspaper and twitter (I only follow 30 something folks, deliberately) idiocy manages to track you down.

I would be more sympathetic to the "down with Wall Street" or their ancestors, the Indignados, if they showed a little bit more of realism, of desire to build something, of not looking like frustrated kids that cannot afford to change their cell phone to the latest  IPhone.  But let's look at the most "famous" ones, those of La Puerta del Sol in Madrid on May 15.  Where are they today, what have they achieved?  Nothing, zilch, just aimless revolt.  I mean, they have a golden opportunity to do something, something perfect for people who claim that they want more "participative" democracy: Spain is voting in general elections next month.  Have they endorsed anyone?  Have they bargained with a small party so that they could show their strength through them like Quebec voters did in the latest Canadian elections?  No, nothing, just aimless criticism that draws crowds, for sure, but that is it.

Friday, October 14, 2011

A quickie electoral round up

When you combine bad internet services and concern at your government trying to screw your business on the flimsiest of grounds, you stay one week without posting. But things are advancing and sooner than I expected it is time for a mini primary vote round up.  In no particular order.

Capriles makes his official launch

Monday, October 10, 2011

Of primaries and other evils

The French Socialist party held primaries yesterday to decide on its presidential candidate for next year election.  And may this serve as an eye opening for the Unidad MUD....

Saturday, October 08, 2011

And so there were still a few left

Today the first official drop out from the Unidad primary campaign happened.  He was never a favorite and could not even convince his own political party COPEI to support him, even though they had no one better placed, and certainly not "El Tigre", Eduardo Fernandez.  Osvaldo Alvarez Paz time came and went in 1993 when he came fourth in the election when he could have come first had Caldera not decided to wreck his party that did not want him anymore.  Thus easing the way for an "adventure" five years later, which sure enough came.

I kind of like the man even though he had no chance.  His personal fortitude unfortunately had a whiff of olden days and they could not work out with a country electorate who seems desperate to get an efficient Chavez, just as if that was possible in the collapsed narcostate that the new president will inherit in February 2013.  Alvarez Paz could not promise that and thus he suffered in the polls, recognizing this tonight very candidly at Alo Ciudadano.  Not only at the polls, but the campaign money is scarce and focused by the political decision made by the donors that the next president of Venezuela has to be significantly younger than Chavez, and consequently must not have run for presidential office ever until this year.  Which pretty much will kill soon enough Arria in addition of Fernandez.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Welcome to the Bolibanana Republic of Venezuela

The proud flag of the Bolibanana Republic of Venezuela
Long time readers of this blog might remember that on occasion I have qualified the Chavez regime as a reactionary regime.  In Venezuelan standards a reactionary regime means looking back at our military past of caudillos who imposed their will at, well, will.  This vision of a past that was never quite what the reactionaries of today think it was, but it includes a mythical Arcadia of coffee, cocoa and banana plantations that kept everyone happy.  Needless to say that even if that vision had a kernel of reality, it was applied to a country which did not reach the 2 million people and such a vision could not satisfy today's country of 30 million people, while being possibly the most urbanized of Latin America.

Well, I was wrong in stressing that the military caudillo was the motor of the reaction: it has now an agrarian component, when our beloved bloated leader wants us to become a banana plantation for Russia, a reactionary tzarist empire in the making if you ask me.

Hugo Chávez: un bandolero que ademas es idiota y desgraciado

Pues por fin se reveló oficialmente porque Chávez robó los terrenos productivos del Sur del Lago.  Para dárselos a los Rusos.  Así, no mas.

17 BsF.
Chávez robó las fincas productivas del Sur del Lago, las que nos daban leche, plátanos y carne, para dársela a los rusos, para que siembren plátano, para que se coman topochos en Novosibirsk.  Allí va la soberanía alimentaria.  Allí va la variedad de la comida nuestra.  Allí va la soberanía, punto.

“Ya tenemos el terreno al Sur del Lago de Maracaibo" dijo así, como que si con el no fuera, como si se lo hubiese ganado en la lotería, como si hubiese levantado unas piedras.

¿Cual será el próximo robo de Chávez?  ¿La próxima afrenta a la soberanía nacional?  ¿Quitarle las producciones de flores de Yaracuy para dársela a los rusos también?  ¿Es que nadie lo va decir en primera plana?  ¿Habrá quien se lo recuerde al país?

Pero ademas de bandolero y desgraciado el tercio como que es idiota: va a poner a competir el Cocuy con la Vodka, como si se pudiese distilar suficiente Cocuy para la sed de los rusos.  Si no hay ni suficiente Cocuy bueno para Venezuela....

¡Es que ...que...  me dan ganas de llorar cuando veo en manos de que psicópata hemos caído!  Pásame una botella de Cocuy, mientras haiga.....

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Lo miserable de Chávez

En una semana cuando regresaban los restos de un ex presidente cuestionado aunque perdonado por el voto popular (fue electo senador del Táchira en 1998) esto fue lo que hubiese debido pasar y lo que pasó en realidad.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Men who really, truly, changed our world

Steve Jobs is dead today.

And contrary to what some would have us believe in Venezuela about a certain president,  Steve Jobs changed our world for good, in both sense of the expression.  And he dies younger than that certain president who changed stuff for the worse, in all senses.

The Original sin (Why Venezuela cannot make it to democracy Eden?)

UPDATED

With the return of Carlos Andres Perez remains to Venezuela as I type this note, and the uttering of yet more intemperate words from Chavez today I was struck by an idea, or rather a perspective on Venezuelan history that the indulgent reader may forgive me.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Keller gives the first poll where Chavez loses decisively

My once upon a time favorite pollster, Alfredo Keller, came back to the forefront by giving the first poll that states that Chavez alleged high numbers are mere sympathy for the sick man, but that on the voting ring he loses by more than 10% against an opposition unity candidate.  He also states that Capriles is ahead for the primaries but that Perez is going up and that Maria Corina strong anti crime platform is starting to bring her dividends. With three more months of primary campaign left the situation seems to be more fluid than what it was a month ago where the coronation of Capriles was assumed and made salivate more than one PJ member.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Finally the US gets its act together on something: FTA for Colombia and Panama

Well, hopefully.

Obama finally sent to the Senate today three free trade agreements, two of them for Latin America: Colombia and Panama.  The first good thing he has done in a long time, and let's hope that it will become the first good thing Republicans will do in a long time by approving it.  Because if you ask me, the GOP House and White House Dem have been lately rather an embarrassment even though the GOP candidates believing in creationism and such shit scare me infinitely more than the wishy-washy White House.  Now we will see if serious people can break free of the blackmailing from AFL-CIO cum Tea Partiers and get down to real productive business.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

That censorship bent of chavismo

A Twitter logo used by a few...
On occasion chavismo loves to remind us how it is dead set to someday turn off all the voices from people who disagree with them.  The latest attack is on Twitter where a group self called N33 has been hacking all sorts of twitter accounts from opposition figures.  This is not pretty game like we see on occasion in other countries where a political twitter account is as often hacked as the one from some celebrity.  In Venezuela, as far as I know, the only twitter accounts that have been hacked are those from opposition politicians and now well known OpEd columnists. the latest victim being one of my very favorites, Milagros Socorro.

Of course, nothing will be done against that situation, and those people who worked hard at building a large fellowship will lose it all , including possibly some of their best one liners.  Nothing will be done not because it is impossible (at the very least after a few days Twitter will suspend the hacked accounts though I do not know whehter the original owner can recover them).  It is impossible because the law in Venezuela will not do anything against it because chavismo takes pride in such attack on freedom of expression and any declaration from any prosecutor is only a pro-forma.  A convenient pro-forma is seen from outside people who think it is a child's game, without serious consequences. 

Followers