Monday, April 30, 2012

Laborious Labor Law Load from Chavez who never held a real job in his life

[UPDATED] What keeps us abuzz all these days is the promised new labor law.  There is no mystery, Chavez is using it to distribute goodies for his reelection but the consequences may be devastating.  Not that it matters for the regime, they have no intention of fulfilling it anyway inside the public sector.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Fin de règne à Caracas: Chavez last days (we think)

I have used that French expression already twice for titles of this blog and I hope that the third time is a charm.  If anything the French are right, "fin de règne" are long, protracted affairs because the ones leaving do not know how to leave and the ones supposed to come have no idea how to do the deed, assuming they exist.  Thus not only it turns out I am allowed to borrow my own past title but I can also borrow a picture from that post which was more premonitory than what anyone would have expected then.

One way to simplify what I already described two years ago is that "fin de regne" are about the degradation of power without any clear option coming.  That is why 1776 and 1789 would not qualify but the earlies 1710'ies in France of even 1846-1848 in Europe qualify.  They all sensed that power was waning but nobody was quite sure what to do about it.  Fin de regne are not necessarily followed by revolutions or civil war but quite often one of both do happen then.  Even Myanmar today does not qualify as fin de regne as Aung San Su Kyi is willing to take power and the generals are trying to find a scheme to preserve in their hands the real power.  A fin de regne in the XX century as democracy is knocking at the door is a rather rare occurrence, happening in some African countries (Houphouët Boigny in Ivory Coast or even Mubarak in Egypt until the Tunisia uprising brought a sudden change, still ongoing as no one really was ready to pick up the pieces).

Friday, April 27, 2012

Sunday, April 22, 2012

France: a more undecided result than what many may think.

And by writing the title I do not mean to say that Sarkozy has a chance to win the second round two weeks from today, but that the margin of victory for Hollande is far from certain and the result of the legislative elections in late May are quite up in the air, with a possible socialist landslide that will be absolutely meaningless.  In short, today's vote is far, very far, from yielding a government that will be able to tackle some of the badly needed reforms for France's welfare state to survive in some recognizable form.

And of course this post is also a wonderful excuse to look at the fabulous electoral maps that only the French seem able to do, and Liberation best of all for the past couple of decades.



The first map we are looking at is the general result  for France, AND its overseas territories.  At this point, barely 8 hours after polls have closed, the only ones missing are the embassies (the grey dot in the bottom).  For the record France still uses paper ballots and yet within an hour of polls closing the results were clear and everyone had acknowledged them.  Though in all fairness, before the Paris metro area results percolated.  Since then, the initial hysteria of Le Pen at 20% and Hollande beating Sarkozy by 4 points have receded.  Le Pen is at midnight still at a scary 18 points and Sarkozy is losing now by "only" 1.5 point. And Melenchon is less ridiculous than 4 hours ago.

Required week-end blog reading

Do not miss the articles of this week end by Caracas Gringo about Aponte, Roger Noriega, and narcotics generals gunned down.  Or something of the sort, my head is still spinning.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The 2012 French election post

Dream team?
Next Saturday I will be headed to the French embassy to vote (we vote a day earlier than in France so as not to influence the result over there on Sunday...yeah, right!).  A nice moment for me because contrary to my votes in Venezuela those in France will be counted, the winner will win.  But I digress already.

Contrary to 2007 I am late in writing about French elections even though this time around my vote has been decided long ago: I will vote for Sarkozy this time, having overcome my misgivings on the man.  In 2007 I went for Segolène Royal. Flip flopping?  No, I vote for the candidate more than for the political affiliation of that one; and for the record, were I to be allowed to vote in the US in November Obama is my current choice.

I have chosen Sarkozy for several reasons but the main one because I think he has gotten an unfair bad rap. Even Moises Naim whose analytic acumen I appreciate compared him in El Pais to Berlusconi and South American re-electionists that shall remain nameless when in reality Sarkozy pushed for a constitutional amendment to limit French presidential mandates to ONLY two consecutive terms.  That is right, Sarkozy was elected in a Constitution that allowed him to run as often as he wanted and the amendment he managed to pass limited him to one single, immediate, reelection.  No Cleveland for him.  As he probably will be losing the second round ballot in two weeks we are likely watching his very last weeks in office.

The murine judicial system of Venezuela: Aponte Aponte fesses up to Chavez dictating sentences

Preoccupied with some health issues of close relatives I missed tonight's confession of Aponte Aponte, the fired judge of Chavez now talking back to his ex-master(S). But it does not really matter: to summarize it, he is just confirming what we have known all along, that important judicial decisions are not decided by courts but by political hacks at Miraflores palace, when not Chavez himself. And this at regular Friday meeting at the vice president's offices.  You can see it below if you wish and understand Spanish and care for the gory details.


Entrevista completa a exmagistrado Aponte Aponte... por Globovision

The real questions are elsewhere, since he merely confirms what we all knew/suspected.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Monday, April 16, 2012

Una vision petrolera notable

Para los que en verdad estén interesados en el futuro de la industria petrolera venezolana les aconsejo leer el estudio en tres partes (1, 2, y 3.) de Gustavo Coronel sobre la increíblemente mediocre memoria y cuento de PDVSA y sus propias propuestas a futuro.  Que estén de acuerdo con él no es el punto, pero con dificultad conseguirán una visión mas coherente de nuestro gran problema económico nacional.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Of rats and sinking ships: Aponte in Costa Rica

A little over a year ago I was writing about "justice" Aponte Aponte, promising him history's judgement.  This one came faster than expected as Aponte has now fled the country, and from Costa Rica promises to deliver to the DEA and other US agencies all sorts of compromising documents, presumably so that the US does not try to arrest him.  Let's resume briefly that latest affair that illustrates so well the stench emanating form the decaying Chavez regime.

Eladio Aponte Aponte made his career in the military justice system which like military music is not what it is supposed to be.  From there, when Chavez needed safe folks in his packing of the judicial system a few years ago, he jumped into the presidency of the penal chamber of the high court, TSJ.  Once in place obligingly he made sure that many political opponents would find their rightly undeserved punishment.

So far so good, you may say, par for the regime.  But that was not enough for the man.  When Makled, noted narco-businessman of the regime, was finally caught in Colombia we learned among other things that Aponte had issued him security and clearance badges even though by then the unsavory relationships of Makled were more than rumored.  Translation: Aponte was into just more than punishing opposition folks, he was into the narcobusiness.  I suppose that the regime thought that sending to the public opinion scaffold Aponte would be a token big enough to pacify international agencies fighting drug trafficking.  After all, many figures of the regime have opted for the well rewarded silence, or even light jail with silence.  Amen of an easy embassy job in a far, far away galaxy.  Aponte was disbarred a few weeks ago and did not even take the chance to go to the National Assembly to defend himself (the National Assembly in Venezuela names and removes justices under certain conditions).

Today we have learned that he not only has left the country, but that he is in talks with the FBI et al.  Times are changing my friends, and self-immolation for the micomandantepresidente is becoming a "how many of them I can take down with me".

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Memo-carta a los chavistas: Memorias de abril

Ya que Jose Vicente y la AVN están interesados en mi blog me permito escribirles hoy en su aciaga semana.

Pues si, han sido 10 años y todavía estamos en lo mismo.  No hubo comisión de la verdad, no hubo investigación independiente, nada.  Pura palabrería y fraguar mitos, forjando mitos como se forjan estafas. "Bahía de Cochinos" nunca será el abril del 2002, por más que traten.

Si no hubiese sido por la obsesión en medios estatales que a veces tolero unos escasos minutos ni me hubiese acordado de la fecha.  Total, en mis peleas con CADIVI, SENIAT y quien mas para poder trabajar, o buscando atención medica para mis viejos, ¿quien tiene tiempo para ustedes?  Pero viendo los shows mediáticos que están montando me di cuenta de algo: ya abril se ha vuelto irrelevante para el país.  Por mas que ustedes griten ya convencieron hace tiempo los que iban a convencer.  No habrá mas conversos.  Y la oposición ya tiene tiempo que dejo de preocuparse por los que se creen la bazofia oficial de abril: con fanáticos religiosos uno no se mete, sea un testigo de Jehova, un Mullah Iraní o personeros como Mari Pili de payasita de cumpleaños frente a la embajada cubana, trancando el trafico ya congestionado de la sufrida Chuao.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Camila Vallejo y Jose Vicente Rangel: generaciones distintas, un mismo fraude.

El otro día la afamada lideresa del estudiantado chileno, ese que reclama por una educación "gratis y de calidad", viajo a Cuba a ver a Fidel, peregrinación obligatoria de cualquier wanna-be líder de la izquierda arcaica de nuestro continente.  Yoani Sanchez, que sí es una resistente de verdad en condiciones que la pobre Camila no puede ni imaginarse en su glamoroso Santiago con un Internet y Twitter velocícimos para organizar protestas, le pidió visita, para que conozca el otro lado de la moneda en Cuba donde si la educación es gratis hay serias dudas en cuanto a la calidad.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Maundy Thursday Carnival in Barinas

It looks like things may not be going well for Chavez.  Returning from his latest zapping in Havana (he stops by in  Caracas to insult and threaten folks in between radiotherapy sessions) he went straight ahead to his home state of Barinas where a special mass was held late afternoon for his well being.  A mass, of course, he presided: why need the help of a catholic priest when you are good enough to ask for life extension yourself.  I am not sure at what scale/stage number of denial and grief he is but tonight it was the bargain phase, when he asked Jesus to give him more life even if that one would be marked by intgense personal physical suffering.  We are Maundy Thursday after all..... and I suppose it was in good taste to offer to suffer more than Christ himself.
If you understand Spanish it is worthwhile to watch the excerpt from El Universal (sorry, cannot embed it).  In it you will hear Chavez asking for Christ crown so he can bleed to, and for 100 crosses to bear and what not....  If you have the stomach for it you can try theTelesur version of more than 20 minutes....  And to supplement the high level of grotesque do not miss the Venezuelan news agency, ABN, making it a piece of news that chavistas twitterers made a tag that trended#ChávezTeAmamos "chavez we love you"
Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, the more so in the realm of the grotesque...
Added later, after finding it in Youtube:

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