Saturday, February 27, 2010

Earthquake in Chile

An 8 something (.5? .8?) shook Central Chile.  TVN 24 from Chile tells us it was felt as an 8 in Santiago.  In other words, an order of magnitude more than the one of Haiti in January (though the length data is not clear).  Globovision shows continuous "cadena" with TVN 24 and we can see highways twisted, open ground, displaced roads, etc....  Plus the usual building damage.

And yet we have a clear sense that the government is taking action, that the situation is as much under control as it can be in such circumstances and that people in the street are shocked but not out of their wits.

Where democracy resides

It is not in Venezuela, it is in Colombia.

I just watched on TV the reading of the Colombian High Court ruling saying that the law to call for a referendum that would allow for a third election for Uribe is not valid because it did not follow the rules for its elaboration.  It is not a judgement on whether Uribe deserves reelection, just an observation that no matter what, a president is not above the law and he must follow the rules.  Now as I am typing this there is the Uribe reply, also on Globovision, which is a concession speech of sort, with his call to follow the rule of law and that he would work for Colombia no matter where he is.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cancun secrets

 No, this is not going to be about the spat between Uribe and Chavez, where Chavez was exposed and humiliated once again but where Uribe did not look too good either.  The surprise here was not Chavez trying to grab headlines, that is about the only thing he can do these days, for which he is willing to do anything, as silly as it might be.  No, the surprise was that a normally cool Uribe lost it.  Or did he?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Chavismo inner trouble might be major than expected: rats abandoning ships or democracy revival?

The day surprised me with the announcement that Henri Falcon, Lara State governor, decided to abandon Chavez party, the PSUV.  But he did not go to the opposition, he requested to enter to the PPT, a Chavez/PSUV junior coalition member, giving them a rather poisoned gift.  Timeo danaos et dona ferentes...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The radicalization of Chavez: a break or break?

It must be difficult to be Chavez today.  11 years of promises, of people buying, of exhausting B.S. and still you do not have the country on your side and your poll numbers are below 50% because some malcontents grumble about the lack of water, lack of light, lack of security, lack of food items at the store, high prices, lack of personal security....  From the comforts of Miraflores Palace where Chavez has grown fat and lazy and egomaniac, it is difficult to understand the growing restlessness, the unwillingness of too many to give him that blank check he so wishes for, to bring us to a Cuba like "mar de la felicidad", sea of happiness.  And yet, the dense fog of hubris does not stop reality to seep inside the mind of Chavez, and he sees that he cannot rely on anyone as even some of his alleged close followers are rumored to be reluctant to become mere Cuban colonial employees and prefer to resign.

Thus Chavez has launched himself into the only thing he knows how to do: divide the country, scare people, blackmail them, impose his word if not his will.  In short he is running again, in the campaign of his life because he knows that his entourage is only able to hire buses to ferry red shirts, if that much.  And because if he loses this one he will be out, from the hand of his own people.

Two recent events illustrate quite well this anxious Chavez.  A Friday before last he convoked a march of students to try to counter the very successful real student protest against his repression and terrible management of the country.  I was at my Chiropodist the following Saturday, dealing with an ingrown toe nail and reading Panorama waiting for my turn.  The shop owners are clever, they buy Panorama and El Universal for the customers waiting room.  Panorama, once the respected newspaper of Maracaibo, one of the only three papers able to give a run for their money to the Caracas ones, has become so pro-Chavez that it is embarrassing.  Witness this picture illustrating a quarter of the front page, of a Chavez brandishing with a black glove the Bolivar sword calling "his" students to arms.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The many facets of Chavez censorship machinery: to TV and radio add soon Internet

Chavismo might be lacking originality in pretty much everything, but we cannot deny that it is quite good at those fields that are essential to perpetuate the regime forever, censorship coming to mind today as several examples coincided thorough the day. In no particular order:

Internet under threat

Monday, February 15, 2010

Piñera to back Insulza for OAS chair. And what else did you expect?

Sebastian Piñera, president elect of Chile, has decided to back the reelection of discredited OAS Secretary Jose Miguel Insulza because "It is a State Policy", meaning that the only reason he backs him is that Insulza is from Chile and as a state, no matter how lousy Insulza is, a Chilean president cannot not back him up.

Some of my dear friends are shocked, but why are they that surprised even if the ethics of such support truly suck?

Ravell out of Globovision: the politics of survival under XXI century neo-totalitarianism?

Alberto Federico Ravell, director of the lone remaining opposition network, has been ousted of his job.  This modest blogger of course has no access to the juicy information that all crave when such an event takes place.  But historical precedent and logic can go along way in establishing at least a credible hypothesis of what might be going on.

Let's start by reviewing the single facts.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Veneconomy predicts cataclysm in Venezuela

The respected Veneconomy magazine has done its calculations over the real consequences of the electricity crisis that Chavez brought upon us in Venezuela. Yours truly had already said in 2009 that he anticipated a deepening of recession for the first two quarters of 2010. Veneconomy says he is wrong. GDP decrease will go on for the whole of 2010 AND 2011 at the very least.  Taken from Miguel blog (which will save you the semi cumbersome way to get to it in its page web, there is the summary paragraph.  Read and weep.

As a result, VenEconomy’s preliminary estimate is that the crisis will cost the na­tion the equivalent of 8% of GDP in 2010, plus another 6% in 2011 (assuming that Chávez is mistaken in saying that 2011 will be a worse year for the electricity sector than 2010), and a further 4% in 2012, for a total cumulative three-year contraction equivalent to 18% of GDP, for a total of some Bs.F.5,000 (in today’s bolívars) for every man, woman and child in Venezuela.

Friday, February 12, 2010

"Cubazuela" in French

I seem to never learn. So I translated Tuesday Petkoff editorial in French for Agoravox. Any help from the French speaking here is welcome. If anything to vote for the article and my comments.....

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The electricity mess of Chavez for dummies

Finally the Chavez administration has decided to act more decisively on the issue of the Guri damn running dry and shutting down most of the electric generation of Venezuela. Thus a punitive decree was issued where people who are unable to save a certain amount of electricity at home will be punished with amounts as high as twice their electricity bill. That is right, Chavez and his government screwed up big time but it is the consumer that will be punished as Chavez is unable to accept his part of responsibility in the crisis. True, were he to accept, it would bring additional political trouble, but the way he is proceeding could well bring an outright uprising which is what, after all is said and done, it seems he is seeking.

But I digress. The objective of this post is to go on the electric crisis history point by point for the reader to clear up the B.S., floating around (from the chavista propaganda to the anti Chavez one only too willing to exaggerate chavismo woes, something admittedly difficult to do).

Monday, February 08, 2010

Ramiro Valdes visit according to Teodoro Petkoff

I do not have time to translate this editorial of Tal Cual today. But Teodoro seems to be quite well informed, and intuitive, about Ramiro Valdes visit real objectives. A fascinating read where the main point would be that Fidel is getting scared that Chavez is losing control of the situation. Think about it:  it is not enough for Fidel to make sure Chavez is in office,  it is essential that the flow of money to Cuba keeps going on. Fidel is not about to lose his colony!  Use your Google translation toll if needed!

Confirmed! Chavez not only is better than Louis the XIV, but he is better than Bolivar!

In the truth is stranger than fiction category.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Ramiro Valdes as seen on El Chiguïre Bipolar

The rejection of Ramiro Valdes has been so strong, so fast, so complete that if chavismo had any hope to link such a rejection to a maneuver from the CIA, well, it is too late.  I know Ramiro is a desensitized hard core Fidel assassin but I wonder what he must think about it.  At least in Cuba he has never been exposed to such a universal and public rejection.  Heck! the rejection is so strong in the opposition that we can be sure that many within chavismo must also be rejecting his appointment as pro-consul for Venezuela.  Many  probably are running scared wondering whether Ramiro will hang them before he does hang the opposition.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Murderer Ramiro Valdes comes for the 18 years of Chavez bloody military coup

Today on my way back to San Felipe I had to dodge out dozens of dozens of buses parked anywhere around Los Ilustres, creating major traffic jams: Chavez had mandated all of his provincial subjects to show up red shirted in Caracas or else.  After the January 23 fiasco, today there was not going to be anything left to
improvisation.  Heck, even last night at the grocery store wait line the guy in front received a phone call to be told where to be at the march today with his coworkers....  A cadena also caught me on the road, par for the course.

And yet after 10 years Chavez still manages to raise eyebrows once again.  For example now there is an order of February 4th, which allows for the coup monger assassins of February 4 1992 to be honored with a medal put on them by Chavez.  Do they not feel the humiliation in the act as Chavez once again makes sure they know who is top dog?

Thursday, February 04, 2010

"You cannot take pictures in public parks"

I have been in Caracas these past few days, and repression and all I simply have had no time to to worry much about Chavez.  Or tire you with my worries.  Besides, repression is becoming such a matter of fact while Chavez celebrates his 11 years in power promising us 11 more years.  Unless a massive "Mision Valium" is in the offings, I doubt the country can last another 11 years under Chavez....

But luck always helps me, from the most unexpected places. My S.O. has this thing about visiting the few green areas left inside Caracas and I obliged last Sunday. We went to try to find out a small park tucked all the way in upper El Marques.  It was not easy but after trial and error we found the dead end street which lead us to Parque La Aguada, just separated from El Avila by the Cota 1000 highway.