Friday, November 30, 2012

Diego Arria's memoir

Diego Arria published a little bit before the October presidential vote a memoir of his life, past and recent, which also doubles as a memorandum about Venezuela's today. I was asked to review it but there was so much to write before October 7 and so much depression since that I did not read the book even though it had been sent to me courteously on a PDF form before it was released. Eventually I preferred to go and buy it and I am glad I did because reading this book this week is more profitable than at any reading I could have done before October 7.

Reading memoirs, and reviewing them, is always a little bit dicey. After all no one writes a memoir to delve on past mistakes. And when such mistakes must be faced, usually there are self serving motives or detailed explanations on how the other aspect of that person's life amply compensate the wrongs. In short, the real reason why one reads memoirs if for the gossipy aspect inevitably linked to them. It is thus fair to warn the reader: there is little gossip in Mr. Arria's memoir "La hora de la verdad". His life has certainly provided him with a wealth of gossip but we will have to wait for his real memoirs: this is a book from a man still determined to work as long as he can to bring something to his country.

Certainly, Diego Arria must start his book with a summary of his life, conveniently forgotten by the Chavez regime but also by most inside the opposition. His was a stellar career  in politics and international diplomacy and Mr. Arria has the merit to summarize it as briefly as possible in the first third of the book, a little bit like an extensive visiting card that gives him the credentials to write about the current situation of Venezuela. Yet we gather the "Arria Formula" used often in UN conflict resolution; or more importantly for today's Venezuela, we are remembered that in 1998 there were plenty of people that already saw the potential Chavez election as an oncoming catastrophe for Venezuela. Diego Arria reminds us that there were plenty of now forgotten debates then, such as the one he participated with Hiram Gaviria, then promoting Chavez election and now one of his opponents. Diego Arria had already enough experiences to know better but those were the days of Cassandras and he was one, ignored if not ridiculed but now so bitterly proven right. Still, we should note that Mr. Arria insists that his book is not a "I told you so".

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The signs are piling, the end is near (?)

UPDATED

I know, I know, wishful thinking of the demise of Chavez has made me step ahead of myself in the past. But this time around there is a different quality in the latest departure of Chavez for Cuba. Apparently he will be leaving for a short while to receive hyperbaric treatment. No explanation of course why he must receive such treatment, and no explanation as to why such treatment cannot be received in Venezuela. There is enough money in Chavez 2013 budget for his own personal expenses to build whatever hyperbaric chamber he wants wherever he wants it.

Of course, as usual I am not going to speculate what is his latest pain in the ass. What is noteworthy this time around are the circumstances.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The state races heat up

In spite of my stinky mood about upcoming local elections there was a silly poll, but by DATOS, that lifted a little bit my heavy heart. After all it was to be expected that the poor choice of chavista candidates and its ever reluctance to talk issues preferring to go towards a new "constituyente" had to exact a toll on chavismo.  I thus went back to an October 23 speculation/gut feeling table to which I added the Datos polls and a poll for Aragua, then I came up with a new gut feeling.  Explanations follow.

But before we survey let's remember that the opposition is going with a great handicap: the recent reelection of Chavez which in theory should benefit his side. To this we must add the debilitating settling of scores for the defeat and the knowledge that chavismo has a more powerful electoral machinery than we suspected it had. In this regard, any prediction for December 16 is hazardous and whatever you read below (or elsewhere for that matter) is equal parts reality and wishful thinking.

Let's start with the red states October 23, those that there is no doubt will go for Chavez though we are eagerly waiting to see if he repeats his October % there. Note: order of states is from the one with the most abstention on October 7 to the one with the least abstention, Merida.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Since about half of the hits to this blog come form the US of A I would be remiss not wishing you all a happy Thanksgiving.

Over the years since I left the US Thanksgiving has become one of my most cherished memories. I have considered many times to go back there for that week and enjoy it with my friends but the logistics of living here and the work calendar have made this simply impossible.  Nor can I ask my friends now to come and spend one thanksgiving of their lives with me here as I have stopped willingly to entertain any foreign friend or relative for the last 4 years. Too much trouble,  too much danger for them, to shameful for me to show them what a deteriorated country I live in.

Please, be thankful that no matter what you may think happens in the US, you have way more things to be thankful for than what we do in Venezuela. I, for one, will be thankful that there are still readers that care about Venezuela's fate.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The building up of a FARC/drug corridor in Venezuela

Miguel's text on Rodriguez Chacin candidacy for Guarico state forces me to finish this post I was pondering for a while. Miguel certainly describes well the character but he seems to have missed the bigger picture that is emerging.  For this I have drawn this very amateur map of what will Venezuela drug routes look like soon, and where the FARC will take temporarily refuge once the Havana talks between the Colombian government and the FARC conclude (1).


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Great Republican Hope...not

7 days or 7 eras, who's counting?
UPDATED

Oh dear....  Marco Rubio is one of the great Republican hopes for 2016 and yet he made a major blunder that basically bars him from ever receiving votes from people like me. Not that I vote in the US, mind you, but there are a lot of folks there who would love less taxes and a little bit more austerity in the US budget but could never entrust that task to someone that does not know the difference between 7 days and 7 eras, whatever "eras" mean....

Let's look at the actual quote from GQ who interviewed Marco Rubio, junior Florida Senator, already on any Veep GOP list.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Resetting the political counters

Writing has been erratic since October 7, besides the duty felt to try to analyze the results from my corner of the woods.  I do not seem to be able to get back on track, just as I expected it would happen on that nasty evening. But as weeks went by I realized also that my approach to many things was changing and that as long as I did not process it all I was not going to get any purpose in writing, except for the obvious incident such as the last post on how the mafiosi regime is plundering honest workers.  In other words, there is still stuff to write about but I have trouble to get motivated, or even to decide that what happens in the news is worth my time even to read about it, much less comment.

One thing that is becoming a pressing issue for me is to settle my accounts with the opposition leadership. In fact, I feel that as long as I do not make a clean break and explain clearly where I stand I will not be able to write again properly, not even if by January I decide what is the future of this blog.  It looks like the lack of integrity in others is forcing me to review my own ethical parameters, I suppose.

I suspect that many of us either writing blogs or staying at home or participating in political activities have this similar indecision about what to do next, at a personal level.  Nationally the objective remains clear for all of us: as long as Chavez is president of Venezuela there is no hope for either side. We will be vexed at every point, when not prosecuted, but the chavistas will not fare much better as the abject submission demanded on them will carry in the end a bigger price tag.

Today I have to write that I am breaking up with the current opposition platform,  that I will support no one in particular and that I will wait for a modern right wing movement to emerge until I decide to participate again. Accounting for these words will take a while to write up and this long post will not be enough.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The GREAT devaluation robbery coming to Venezuela

Devaluation of currency is acknowledged to be in general a way that governments have to pay their debts at the expense of the working people, from the big entrepreneur to the common man. Through a devaluation the government depreciates the holdings (savings, properties, etc,) of the people and use that depreciation to pay back the debt the government made due to its bad to irresponsible economic decisions. In the best of cases the government makes one single devaluation and pays as much of the debt as possible while it takes measures to make sure it does not happen again. But in the worst cases, like the Chavez regime, a devaluation is simply a stop gap measure to be used again and again so that the Venezuelan people, from the barrios to the Country Club pay the mismanagement and the corruption of the country.

As usual the ones who pay the most are the lower classes because the wealthier classes, those who have property, in general have the means to wait long enough until their property reevaluates and returns to its international prices. For example if you have a nice condo worth 100 units and is devaluated to 80 units, maybe in a couple of years you are back to 100 units or even more. But if you are the one renting the condo the only thing that will go up is your rent.

This time around the Chavez regime is introducing a new modality that we can only call a pre-devaluation procedure where it extortionates people who have significant amounts in "debts" overseas.  This has been looming in a rather terrifying way over most Venezuelan business in recent weeks.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

¡Hagamos Patria! o ¿Hagamos Listas?

Hay que reconocer que en eso de hacer campañas electorales, trampas, destruir reputaciones, etc, el chavismo es de lo mas eficiente. No le pidan luz, agua o trabajo, que pa'eso ni en broma.

Resulta que para "motivar" su base, el chavismo se lanzó en eso de ¡Hagamos Patria! que presuntamente es para nutrir una especie de constituyente disfrazada. Hay pagina web y hasta un twitter, @HagamosPATRIAve, bien activo con un logo interesante y creativo, reconozcamos.

Pero también hay una planilla que delata, desafortunadamente, todo lo que esta detrás de ese plan "constituyente". Es que al chavismo siempre se le ven las costuras....

Hagan click sobre la imagen y observen lo siguiente:


Como fue que Chávez perdió nuestro petroleo

Las noticias desde los EE.UU, el odiado imperio de los chavistas, no son buenas para Venezuela. Si siguen las cosas como van, de aquí a pocos años el petroleo venezolano podría volver a ser de uso médico como lo era en el siglo XVIII, para lavativas y purgantes.

Tomemos un articulo de prensa cualquiera estos días, como hoy en el Washington Post. Hay un gráfico que con mucho gusto me voy a tomar la molestia de traducir y explicar.



Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Preposterous pre constitutional pre posturing

The few faithful readers left to this blog would certainly not have been surprised last week when chavismo decided to start "talks" on constitutional programming for the 2013-2019 program of government which must undoubtedly lead to a new attempt at modifying the constitution of 1999.

In a text published on October 21 I explained as clearly as I could that chavismo had to seek a constitutional modification in order to avoid an election were Chavez going to croak before January 2017. amen of seeking to make the presidency hereditary within the Chavez family so as to avoid unpleasant succession wars. I really do not need to add anything to that previous post, except to make limited comments as to the timing and methods chosen by chavismo.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

4 more years! At the very least?

Well, there was an election with no surprise for me. Yes, truly, I never doubted Obama would be reelected, that the Senate would remain Democrat (well, I had some doubts 6 months ago about the senate but after the rape idiocies that was that), and that the house would remain Republican. yet I followed part of election night because I was wondering about how divided the US of A had become. Looking at the congressional map from the Washington Post, it is actually staggering: Democrats are basically pushed over the periphery and Republicans get all the in between. You cannot make up such stuff.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

¿Donde están los demócratas? (sugerencia: en el CNE no es)

Vice presidente de EE.UU. en la cola del voto
Aquí en Venezuela se nos quiere hacer creer que somos demócratas, que vivimos en una democracia. Pero este que escribe tiene cada día más dudas. Y esas dudas no han mejorado al ver como el vicepresidente de los infames Estados Unidos de Norteamérica, el Imperio mesmo, votó hoy.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

The joyless October 8, today

I was trying to figure a way to end the series on the October results and the new panorama for Venezuela. To understand some of the stuff that is going on these days in both sides of the spectrum, I do not know why but I started thinking about the sad Monday morning of October 8. And I got my ending.

That morning was sad for the Capriles voters, but it was not very joyful for the other crowd. Besides a few 10PM  fireworks from city hall in San Felipe, chavismo had no celebration except for a quick parade late in the afternoon.  And that was not an impromptu affair: I saw it when government vehicles bedecked in red Chavez paraphernalia were gathering at the entry of San Felipe. The caravan went around for maybe 15 minutes, blaring, honking, and that was that.

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