Saturday, December 10, 2005

Venezuela trashy entrance in the Mercosur

Today Venezuela was admitted in the Mercosur. Or was it? In fact it is admitted as a deliberating member, but not a voting one, and will be shortly presented with a list of all what it needs to do to become a full fledged member. My bet is that a transparent economy with free flowing capital will not be to Chavez liking. A trade block is a trade block, even if not a FTAA. But that story is yet to be written. Let's just concentrate today on how Chavez entered, or so he would have us believe, into the Mercosur as if they were waiting for him all these years to tell them what to do.

He signed anything that was put in front of him, in particular all sorts of new donations to Uruguay, a country that has a very significantly higher per capita income than Venezuela. Just as at home the most important highway of Venezuela is about to collapse and hospitals are as abandoned as they were a few weeks ago when a Norwegian TV crew visited. But Uruguay will get 17 million USD for one of its hospitals.

Then, Chavez brought his own personal problem in a very unseemly blackmail to his new colleagues. He must be smarting badly from the negative reports of the OAS and the EU, hurting to the point of accusing them of filing false reports and of being composed of people mostly from the "right wing". Just as most pro Chavez folks criticize this blogger when trying one form or another of character assassination. I wonder what the other countries attendees thought hearing such an unceremonious, vindictive and completely out of place speech. Consider that some of them perhaps did staff and pay for that OAS mission...

Of course Insulza replied promptly. He chose the institutional scene and reminded Chavez that he was the one asking for these observers. Me thinks that the rumored pre-pre-preliminary report was much harsher than what we saw and Chavez is simply attacking, trying to scare Insulza and the OAS before they dare go further in exposing all the irregularities that they saw, and, need I remind readers, are still seeing as they are in Venezuela all through this week and next. Basically the Chavez outburst was a reflection of his desire to see them out A.S.A.P. before they uncover even more chavista cheating.

The European commissioner for foreign affairs, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, was more direct and bluntly stated that the government could have done more to ensure a better election. Chavez knows where the wind is blowing and is starting to do damage control. The Mercosur outburst is in fact for home consumption, for some careful edited cadena soon to show the troops that Chavez is not scared (you got to love when people need to demonstrate that they are not scared J ). Chavez probably does not care what the Mercosur guys think of his misplaced histrionics, as he probably thinks he will be able to buy them out anyway. Thus thugs think .

This was the first day of Chavez as the gorilla in the porcelain shop. Or was that the elephant in a crystal one?

Brazil is smiling.

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