Monday, July 19, 2010

Tour de France and silly land distribution schemes

Since Direct TV cut me off from the French TV world signal I have to rely on a trip to Caracas to watch some of the Tour this year.  And it is as magnificent as ever, the filming crew becoming better if possible.

For some strange reason this year I am more obsessed in trying to find a pothole, any pot hole, along the hundred of miles of road.  Living in Venezuela where you have now major potholes regularly in the middle of our main highway, the ARC, I just cannot understand why the French do not have a few here and there....

Also, what is the story with all those clean roads, garbage-less, trimmed grass?  And how do they have so many chateaux, of all sizes, of even questionable interest, so well kept when here we do not even bother in keeping up one of Bolivar's homes?  The lack of graffiti on every wall, the lack of iron bars on most windows also do bother me....

Seriously now.  I think that someone should show Chavez significant footage of the Tour de France so he can see by himself the reality of the French country side, with extraordinarily well kept fields, producing fields, everywhere, separated by neatly kept patches of wooden area, wooden areas that do not go up in flames whenever there is a slight drought.

Someone should tell Chavez that all of these fields are private property, inheritance to someone.  They should tell Chavez that the French Revolution was at least a revolution in the country side when the lands of the Church and Aristocracy were seized by the state and sold cheaply, as a property, to the masses of peasants that transformed France into an agricultural power to this day, only matched in efficiency or production by the US or the Dutch.  And probably unmatched in the overall quality of its farm products (and I am not talking only of wine and cheese here).

Someone should tell Chavez that instead of saying nonsense about the future of La Güaira he should instead have a hard look at the countryside of Venezuela today where he will find only increasing wasteland, burnt land, abandoned land, sub-productive land, crime, garbage, blackmail, ransom, potholes, potholes everywhere, an incredible amount of potholes that require anyone that still dares to work the country side to own a 4X4 vehicle or a small truck....

Someone should tell Chavez that France with half the land of Venezuela and way more than the double of its population feeds well its people and millions outside its borders.  Someone should tell Chavez that French food is rarely if ever found in thousand of rotting containers abandoned who knows where...

Someone should tell Chavez that actually the French government subsidizes some sectors so that they do not produce as much as they could.  Someone should tell Chavez that no French government reached power promising the end of private agrarian property.  That no French government ever seized productive small farms like La Carolina.  Instead, all French government, including the socialist ones, tried to find ways to help productive farms to improve their efficiency, productivity, variety of crops, etc...

And someone should tell Chavez that this is why France can organize magnificent road trips for world class bikers while the hoi polloi can wait for them on the side of the roads, having well furnished picnic baskets, seating under the shade of an old tree, or their umbrella, next to their car or motor home unconcerned that some thugs will come to rob, rape, maim, kill them.


  1. Island Canuck5:45 PM

    We are receiving daily coverage of the Tour de France at 9 AM every day on ESPN on DirecTV.

    Talking about holes in the road 6 young people died in Barcelona when they drove into a water filled pothole & lost control of their vehicle.

    After doing a tour through eastern Venezuela 2 years ago we had to replace all the motor & transmission mounts on our car.

  2. Boludo Tejano6:29 PM

    Good points. Unfortunately, as you well know, it would appear the only thing his inner circle tells him is "Si, mi comandante."

    I wonder if Baudel, after the Dec 2007 referendum, has been the only person to lay it on the line to Chavez. Is he the only one formerly close to Chavez who has been jailed ? Cause, effect...

    Which is why no one tells the emperor the real status of his apparel.

    At the end of the Chavez era, which may well be in several decades’ time, we will then get all this statements from his courtiers that they had tried to tell him this, tell him that.And maybe they had. Chavez is not one who takes no for an answer.

    So what else is new?

    Regarding Thugo taking advice from France on how to do agriculture [oh that he would], I am reminded of a golden oldie from Thugo:
    "I am only a soldier in that battle. Fidel is our president. If we had to name a president of the world with enough powers to set it right, it would be Fidel. I believe in a decade he would set the world right." [my translation]

    Here are the ratios of 2007 milk production to 1961 milk production, derived from UN_FAO_Statistics.
    South America 4.01
    Central America 4.37
    Cuba 1.39

    When the “president of the world” gets these results, it is a no-brainer what has happened to agriculture in Venezuela, as Thugo considers Fidel a good source of advice.

  3. Hello Daniel
    I can understad your feelings for the Tour, imagine a team of PVDSA
    cycling next year just like the team of Kazaghstan it would be on TVT also showing the roads and surroundings in good management on agriculture. But the French work for their cattle, grains,beetsugar,sunflowers and vegetables,grapes,they can provide the food for the population themselves, thanks to infrastucture
    on transport by road, train and ships. When will there be a TGV in Venezuela?
    They love their history and keep all monuments of the past in order.
    Thats what proud people do and pay taxes for bleu-blanc-rouge l'espoire de la fleurie.

  4. Yes, but France has one problem that overrides all of those benefits for Chavez: They change their leaders on a regular basis. That just isn't working for him.

    Like underwear, leaders of a country should be changed frequently... and for the same reason.

  5. Why omitting Brazil when comparing France to other agricultural powers? French agriculture is good, but nothing exceptional specially considering it's heavily subsided.

  6. 1. Le Tour de France is private, but supported by much under-the-table government spending because Le Tour is a 3-week long TV commercial for France.

    2. The route is known 2 years in advance and the government spends lots of money to create a perfect road surface.

    3. You will notice that you will always see images of gorgeous chateaux, but never a shot of les banlieues.

  7. Dave Barnes

    1) because of course no other major sporting event is subsidized by the local government or national government. for example the world cup in south africa was paid only from the sales of match tickets.....

    2) the route is know in advance but not all the details. the final route is decided about one year before. and even if it were 3 years in advance we are talking here of an average of 150 km per stage, for about 20 stages. that is a lot of miles to spruce up. the fact of the matter is that even the side roads you can glimpse on occasion look quite well tented, and in addition, i do drive in france on a regular basis and even the roads where the tour will never pass have a strange lack of potholes....

    3) there are the tour stages which are timed races. they are usually urban and they drive on occasion on city areas that are not so nice. by definitions chateaux are in the country side mostly (90%? more?) and the tour is a road trip so yes, you will see chateaux whether you like it or not. think instead at how many chateaux are there well kept.

    i do not understand such sour grapes and negativity. after all the vuelta or el giro are probably as nice to look at as the tour, with as many castellos or castillos.

    at any rate, your arguments do not diminish my point: venezuela roads suck and historical preservation suck and its slums are much, much worse than the ones in france.

  8. vitor roma

    yes1 i forgot! france is THE ONLY country that subsidizes agriculture!!!!!

    as for brazil. true, it is a growing one. but in productivity, quality and variety it is still quite far behind the Us, France and many other european countries. let's not confuse bulk with quality, though i am convinced that quality is coming fast to brazil too (note: by quality i include all, from environmental concern to the ability to make a good foie gras)

  9. @Daniel,

    Not sour grapes. Not at all.
    I love the tour.
    I love traveling in France.

    My point is that "the French" understand the Le Tour is a long commercial and they turn out their best.

    Please remember that my view is from the USA (roads/streets in Denver have lots of potholes relative to France) and not from Venezuela.

  10. dave barnes

    then you might want to promote a tour of colorado...:)

    now, winters are much harder in colorado and thus more potholes are formed because of the thaw a freeze repetitions. on this respect france as it somewhat easier. then again this week end i was watching the pyrennees and mende stages and the roads there also thaw and freeze in cycles.

    maybe it is the governor you need to change :)

  11. Do you have any information from/about Julia_1984? It is very asthonishing that all known channels as blog / twitter etc. are disturbed/closed at once, as if the person does not exist anymore. You have to watch each other, I think this is more than a notice / warning.
    Best regards Th.

  12. @Daniel,

    We will be changing our Governor in November as the current Governor, Bill Ritter, decided not to run for re-election.
    For lots more, surf to the blog:

    We used to have some great bike races in Colorado (Red Zinger was sponsored by Celestial Seasonings tea company), but there is not enough interest by the public.

  13. France has nicely paved roads, free of trash, no bars on the windows and a productive countryside because they stole their wealth from Haiti. ...or at least I'm sure that's the answer Chavistas would give you.

  14. jsb

    Oh goodie! Finally a reader that seems to understand what chavismo is all about!


  15. Boludo Tejano3:41 AM

    brunnets24, I don’t know what the lack of access to Julia’s online material means. I found it interesting that last week the US Government shut down 73,000 blogs . This was allegedly over copyright violations by several blogs in a host server.

    Julia’s blog, Antipatrioticvenezuelan, gives this message when you try to bring This blog is open to invited readers only.

    I do not know what this means for Julia’s blog, but there are two blogs out of Thugo’s reach that for some time have given the same message. Alex Beech , a one-time contributor to this blog, and A colombo-americana's perspective have now apparently limited access to their blogs. When you try to open up their URLs, you get this message: This blog is open to invited readers only. All three are female bloggers. I recall that Alex had been getting some nasty Chavista troll messages on her blog at one time, which I imagine is why she limited access to it. I once had an enjoyable online exchange with her on her blog . Here is one of Alex’s contributions to Venezuelan News and Views.

  16. What's incredible about Venezuela, Caracas in particular, is that the same old potholes are still there after God knows how many years!!! Lucky for me, they have been burned into my subconscious so I find that I'm able to dodge them pretty well!!

    That's Venezuela!!

    as for the roads in and the Tour de France... They are, with or without the Tour, top notch - although the imminent arrival of the Tour in any town in the countryside always means more money to keep them that way!


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