Thursday, January 27, 2011

Things that bother you even if far away

Yours truly is on a business trip out of Venezuela.  Busy as he is, there is no time to read the papers and he limits himself to Miguel's blog.   Well, one read about the dismal scene of Chavez threatening the president of Banco Provincial was enough to wreck my productive day.  In that truly deplorable scene, for a piece of paperwork Chavez is threatening (taking away?) the Banco Provincial of Venezuela.

I am not letting myself be ensnared by the details of the case: there is one item that is trtuly, truly distrubing me.  Chavez speaks over the phone with his unfortunate victim (on cadena?) and after a few threats the guy demands to be put on audio too so that the country knows what he is saying exactly to Chavez.  And Chavez refuses.  The country can only hear the words of Chavez and what Chavez choses to report from the victimized part.

If that is not the hallmark of a totalitarian dictator, then I do not know what is it.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The "23 de enero" goes international

Or at least it tried.

English language chavismo in the web on the decline

Out of idleness I decided to visit some of the English language sites in the web that support Chavez.  My last visit was to Venezuelanalysis sometime at the end of 2010.  The other sites?  Who knows, I forgot.....

And now Chavez promotes anarchy

As Aesop already said, the tongue is the worse.  And when it is attached to an incontinent Chavez the damages can be terrible.  In his Friday cadena Chavez said that his supporters should be looking for empty lots that could  be used to build refuges for the 130,000 homeless people left by the rain.  Sure enough, within hours, in the wee hours, well organized groups carried by state vehicles arrived at the Chacao townhall to seize some of the rare empty lots left there.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Los culpables de la dictadura: Eladio Aponte Aponte

El caso suyo se expone mas difícilmente porque su acción no es tan determinante y compleja en el establecimiento de la dictadura como la de sus compañeros de esta lista.  Pero usted si merece un lugar especial en esa lista porque usted representa lo que es la justicia en un sistema dictatorial: jueces serviles que no vacilan en emitir juicios que favorezcan al régimen, sin la mas mínima preocupación en cuanto a legalidad y derechos humanos.  Ya hay muchos como usted en Venezuela pero usted es preeminente porque desde la Sala de Casación Penal que usted preside usted da el ejemplo, o mas bien el mal ejemplo a seguir.

Ya no se cuentan sus pronunciamientos particularmente crueles e injustos cuando se trata de lo que ustedes consideran enemigos del régimen.  Se ve claramente en usted que la larga práctica de la justicia militar lo dejó amante de dichas dictaduras y adepto a sus métodos.  Debo confesar que la premura que exhibió en trasladar el juicio de Biago Pilieri a Caracas para juzgarlo por tercera vez, por la misma ofensa, con el claro objetivo de que esta vez si salga culpable a toda costa, deja pasmado a cualquiera con el asombro.

Pero no se preocupe, jueces en la historia que se comportaron como usted, condenando sin consideración alguna a gente inocente, o no, siempre terminan en el banquillo de los acusados.  El asunto, por si usted no lo sabe, ya no es si Pilieri u otros que usted condenó son inocentes o no.  El asunto es que el proceder suyo es el de una dictadura de tinte totalitario donde se condena a la gente que se necesita condenar por razones políticas.  Es esa mecánica material, esa des-humanización de la justicia, con el toque militarista de acatar sin chistar, que hace su crimen tan despreciable, tan vergonzoso, y tan merecedor del castigo que usted seguramente recibirá el día en que la justicia verdadera regrese a Venezuela.

If you do not support Chavez your verdict will be guilty, guilty, guilty!

If there is anyone that still thinks that there is a free and independent judicial system in Venezuela, please, shut up!  Do not offend our intelligence!

A few days ago I did explain the case of Biagio Pilieri, the sole opposition representative from Yaracuy, barred from sitting in the new national assembly AGAINST the constitutional provisions, and about to be judged for the third time for the very same offense even if the first two verdicts were not guilty.  But when the regime wants you in jail, it will get you in jail.

Today I must report of scathing evidence that underlines how corrupt the judicial system of Venezuela has become under Chavez.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The real Chavez is never far under the surface, even Cohn-Bendit knows that

It was not too long until the fake meek words of last Saturday were blown away.  Tonight as a matter of fact when Chavez announced that the enabling law would not be returned for revision at the National Assembly.  In one of his editorials Teodoro Petkoff was sort of looking at Chavez's Saturday performance as a possible sign of more flexibility; but tonight Chavez made sure to let us know that war is all that he has in mind and that the enabling law will be used, among other things, to destroy the rental market and private construction sector.  Considering the more than proven ineptness of the regime at building houses (amazingly also recognized in tonight's cadena by Chaevz himself) we can only suggest to newly married couples to learn to shack it up and tune it down at their parents home.  That, or learning to assemble zinc and cardboard shacks to shag.

Monday, January 17, 2011

With friends like these... A real conservative in Iran?

We, in the West, tend to focus too much on political appearances.  Not that I am trying to excuse Ahmadinejad (often reported in these pages as Ahmadinejerk), but at least he is showing more ideological consistency than Chavez does.  And he might be doing, at least on the economical aspects of his rule, more of the needed right stuff.

I wonder what Chavez will think of this New York Times article where it is clearly shown that if Iran and Venezuela share an anti US stand, totally irrational at least in the case of Venezuela, that is pretty much where the basic similarity ends.  The article explains to us that now that Ahmadinejerk/jad has defeated his opposition from both sides he has embarked in an economic plan to curtail a whole bunch of subsidies in Iran.  And he seems to be getting away with it, which is worrisome for the West as it can only strengthen the position of Iran at any nuclear negotiation table.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Something in tattered sheep clothing

no more clapping: the opposition is back
It is difficult to make sense of Chavez show yesterday.  I mean, it is often difficult to dig though the alluvial mass of Chavez speeches to figure out what he really means to say: swallowed in a sea of anecdotes from his life, drowned in an abundance of invectives against his foes, real or imaginary, swamped with irrelevant facts, or those you know are untrue, you never quite know how to manage your political compass.

But yesterday was something else.

Guess the country!

This sunny and warm country has been ruled by a family over more than a decade.  The regime speaks about the people and empowerment and modernization and gives lots of visible role to women.  Yet rampant corruption is reported at all levels and even more at the level of the presidential family and its entourage.  In fact through wikileaks the local US embassy reports how the president's family and entourage muscle they way into any private prosperous business.  Eventually popular protests became so strong that eventually the president was forced to flee the country for an Islamic country willing to hoist him.  Which country am I talking of?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Triple Jeopardy in Venezuela: my representative, Biagio Pilieri, will go on trial for the same offense a THIRD time

Preemptive statement: before you read this post you need to be aware that Biagio Pilieri is not my favorite person in Yaracuy, and that I voted for him last September because he was the unity candidate of the MUD.  And even if I were inclined to vote strictly on personality I would still have voted for him because the PSUV candidatures were way worse that Pilieri e.g.: (Braulio Alvarez, pleaaaaase....)

Thus this post is not in defense of Mr. Pilieri, though he deserves it, it is an illustration on how abject the judicial power of Venezuela has become.

Mr. Pilieri used to be the mayor of Chivacoa and he was defeated 6 years ago in the post recall election landslide when even Lapi, arguably one of the most efficient governors of Venezuela was barely defeated (he is currently living in exile, by the way).  Along Lapi went down the drain a lot of mayors and local elected officials, including Pilieri, who was not such a hot mayor even though he did build a new decent bus station.  In 2008 he failed to recover his seat and even got a lower percentage than in 2004.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

"double standards" are normal under dictatorships, get used to it

Two little items in the news got my attention.  In themselves they are not that great compared to other disasters made by chavismo, but they attracted my attention because they are each one in a way the demonstration that chavistas not only think of themselves above the law, but they are the right owners of that law to screw up anyone or anything that stands in their way.

A Jungian moment: Rafael Lopez Pedraza leaves us

Those of you that have read me for a long time might be aware of my interest for Jungian psychoanalysis and the sort.  And my dislike for Freudian stuff.  Well, it turns out that one noted Jungian was a Venezuelan, even though he was born in Cuba.

Rafael Lopez Pedraza died yesterday at 90.  He moved to Venezuela in 1949, way before Castro destroyed the island.  He soon became a Venezuelan citizen, in an era where intellectual elites had no problem moving around and were not carrying the silly nationalistic baggage.  If I had been able to pursue my Jungian interests I probably would have ended up meeting him at some point, as the most famous Jungian in Venezuela, author of several essential books on archetypes and more.

Who knows, maybe he would have signed my copy of one of his most famous books.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Chavez continues his steady transformation into a outright dictator: now he is a puritan for prohibition!

Today we got back on the attack mode against Polar.  Of course, we would.  The take over of Agroisleña is now clearly a fiasco, the one of Exito is becoming one in spite of retaining some of the French management.  And amen on having now to import cement from Cuba...  So Chavez needs new things to plunder until there is nothing left working in Venezuela.

King James Sunday

Although a scientist heathen, I got many years ago the habit of keeping one Bible on my night stand, and only one: the King James one.  Today I learned from the NYT  that this version is today 400 years old.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Chavismo is unable to escape its Manichean make up, or how to look at the world through red/green glasses

The National Assembly has gathered.  The opposotion is organizing itself.  There are several representatives of the opposition that stand alone in the new assembly, either because they run as independent supported or not by political parties, either because they run on their own local provincial party platform.  So, like any wise parliamentarian group, to have a little bit more weigh in at least organization matters of the assembly, they formed together the "independent group" consisting of 7 seats.  They also decided that for the first 6 months of its existence it will be led by Maria Corina Machado.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Yesterday's events as seen by Weil

Chavez/Emperor to Vader/Assembly: Destroy them!----Jedi/Oppo-reps: Let's save it!
Tal Cual is back on the street and thus Weil is back to regale us with some of the sharpest cartoons.  Today it is a Star War allegory on the brave opposition Jedi retaking the National Assembly for democracy.  Fabulous!

8 years and more than 3000 posts ago

Even though the first posts were written in December 2002, the blog came on line on January 6 2003.  More than 3000 posts, including about two hundred from other hands who brought great stuff and should thus be acknowledged.  And as always, if people did not read it, the blog would have stopped long ago.  It is thus a celebration of long time readers, even those who hate it.

Chavez is the only one that does not need to wear gloves to handle Simon Bolivar's sword

In a day rich in idiocies this one takes the cake in idiocy ,and sycophancy. In the CNN video below (In Spanish but trust me, you really do not need to understand Spanish to get it), Chavez receives the new president of the National Assembly, Soto Rojas, and offers him to handle the sword of Simon Bolivar. Why? Who cares in the bolibananian revolution. However one thing is certain from the video:  ONLY Chavez is allowed to handle the sword of Bolivar without gloves, not even the president of the National Assembly can do so. Then again in a perverse way I must agree partially with Chavez. After the speech of Soto Rojas at the taking of the gavel ceremony, if I really, really must chose between Chavez and Soto to handle the sword I still prefer Chavez.

I mean, are chavistas that clueless? Because Chavez on that is not clueless, he works at his deity status and he succeeds because these assholes are only too willing to let him succeed. The pathetic example of the lead of one of the powers of state submitting hismelf to Chavez, all but drooling, is just the latest one.   What gives? What is it? Special neuronal connection? Plain idiocy? Too much booze?

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Unbelievable!!!! Abject sycophancy at its best!

Three chavista representatives who force voted the University law are now saying that Chavez was right, that he listens to the people in vetoing the University Law!!!  I guess they admit that as representative they never listened to the people that they were supposed to represent....  This one goes for the annals of sycophancy!!!!

No cheap symbolism will be left unturned

So today it is the swearing in of the new assembly and chavismo is already displaying its sectarian nature, and I will update this post as needed.

A most undemocratic moment: a National Assembly passes the relay stick

There is so much wrong going on tomorrow National Assembly installation that one does not know where to begin with.  We are leaving a Nazional Assembly that has been screwing the country for 5 years and in exchange we will possibly get what could be called soon the non-assembly since it has very little to do for at least 18 months.  Let's try first with the incoming assembly and show how unrepresentative and how undemocratic this one is.

First it was elected under an obscene gerrymandering system coupled to an obscene electoral cheating before the election which made any real political campaign an uphill endeavor at best.  To make a long story short (read the tag 2010 elections for detailed explanations) we just need to look at the graph below.
Click to enlarge.  A partial summary of electoral inconsistencies in the September 2010 vote.

Two steps back to allow people to forget the 100 steps Chavez took forward

Since last September 26 Chavez has been in a blitz of new legislation of a clear totalitarian bent.  In fact most people consider that the what has happened in the past three months is a legal coup d'etat.  But I can admit that I am impressed with him: he has managed today to go back on two measures that he can use to present hismelf as a democrat and thus surely the other 98 steps he took must be democratic ones.  And I am sure that plenty of suckers will buy that!!!!  Allow me to explain.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

A Stalinist Dinosaur is visiting Caracas

The government has just passed a law that basically forbids any NGO to invite guest speakers such as Nobel Prize Mario Vargas Llosa.  But that will not stop the regime from inviting a Cuban vice-president, a dinosaur from the Stalinist past (and present?) of the island, so he can declare how wonderful is the enabling law voted last month.  When you see murderer Ramon Machado declaring in favor of something that has been rejected by a majority of the Venezuelan population you need to retreat to the "truth is stranger than fiction" to retain some of your sanity.

Writing about Venezuelan economy for Western Canada

There is my second article, about the devaluation, with quite a lot of editing.  My editor takes no BS, and he is probably right.  Oh well....  If you are in facebook or something, press that button, will you?  Pretty please?

Monday, January 03, 2011

The Chavez show in Brazil

Well, maybe Brazil inaugurated a new president yesterday but in chavistadom the news was of Hillary Clinton shaking hands with Chavez.
Amused Santos, eeked! Clinton, shocked Piñera and Trinidad's "payaso"

Now, a lot of tall tales seem to be sown here and there but form the picture above we can see a few clear things that cannot be hidden, at least to everyone that has a vague idea of what body language stands for.

Santos knows Chavez first hand and he knows how far in his clownishness this one will go to score a point valid at home (Santos also knows that Chavez does not care much anymore about points he may score for the foreign peanut gallery, too much trouble in Caracas to worry about that).  In other words, Santos "been there, done that, hated it" moment is in the past and he is checking out the other three guys.

Hillary is of course the Secretary of State and she has been kissing enough frogs for the past 2 years that she will kiss that one too.  But her face is a poem of surprise and disgust although she recomposes herself real quick.  I was impressed at how quick, by the way.  Whatever it is they say from the right, Hillary clearly looks like the entrapped one in this picture.

Piñera is in shock.  He cannot believe what is going on, and possibly the rudeness that came before the scene and that cameras may have missed.  He looks at the hands, wondering is Clinton will shake it after all.  She will, of course, she has been around the block but we can understand Piñera moment of doubt.

As for the "payaso" according to Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad (see wikileaks), he is doing his show, oblivious of any ridicule he may encounter.  After all he needs to prove to the world that it is the US that is threatening to break with Chavez and not the other way around.  This is of course solely for at home chavista consumption as outside of Venezuela the dice have rolled long ago.  So he sports a fixed smiling grimace that looks more like the spoiled brat that got away with a nasty trick than the responsible statesman that brought peace to two countries (though that faciès is better seen in other pictures that I will not bother posting).  The left can say whatever it wants, we know better now.

But of the four of them I am sure that Santos had the better moment, as in "see Hillary, I get no respect from you and your stupid democrats and trade unions blocking my FTA treaty with you.  That is what you get in return, bitch!  Deal with him too! Mwahahahahah!"

Sunday, January 02, 2011

The 2011 New Year post

It would be hypocrite for me to just wish plainly a Happy New Year when we all know that this would not be the case for those of us living in Venezuela.  Even if the new year wish of a majority of Venezuelans, that Chavez leaves office, were to take place in the next few days, the damage he has brought to the country is so profound that the year ahead would be very tough, no matter how elated the we could be at the  prospect of a recovery.

Thus, in all honesty, I can only wish a Happy New Year for those of you who live outside of Venezuela where mundane issues are still a balm.  For those of us inside Venezuela I can only wish, in all sincerity, that the coming year does not bring you any new degradation, any personal tragedy; because short of hitting the jackpot, it is as much as you can hope for the next year.

And not to sound as dark as I started, at least for us inside, next year we will be motivated because indeed we need to put an end to this regime before this regime puts an end on us.  The real wish for us is that we may have the strength to deal with what is in store.