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.

The first item is the PSUV trying to remove the parliamentary immunity of a newly elected MUD legislator from Zulia, namely the Cabimas district.  Apparently Hernan Aleman did a misappropriation of funds when he was mayor of Cabimas.  In Venezuelan language that does not mean he stole the money, that means that he spent some budgeted money for something else than what was originally budgeted.  That is, he took money to buy, say, police cars and used it to pay municipal employees because the regime did not send the funds it was supposed to send by law.  This "crime" in Venezuela is enough to have you barred from public office.  Ask Leopoldo Lopez who is rich from birth, who does not need to steal a penny from the treasury and who still got barred from running for who knows how many years, WITHOUT a trial and conviction, just because some comptroller somewhere reported that money was spent on Y instead of X during his tenure.

There are three problems with this story.

First, Aleman might be a thief, or not, but he deserves a fair trial.

Second, it was the Cabimas district that elected him, tired of chavismo wrecking the economy of the area when it confiscated the business of hundreds of PDVSA providers rather than pay them the due money.  Removing artificially Aleman from office is certainly not the sure way to recover the affection of the locals, and in fact, if partial elections were to be hold chavismo would probaly lose even more this time around.  Of course, unless the CNE allows for cheating.

Third, and most important.  We must note the speediness at investigating Aleman and trying to unseat him.  But the heavy dossier that has been submitted for investigation on the tenure of Diosdado Cabello as Miranda governor has remained gathering dust.  I can assure you, I can bet my life on it, that the dossier contains not only severe misappropriations but also plain robbery.  If Aleman is ousted, well, Diosdado should be in jail under a life sentence instead of sitting prettily in the new National Assembly (who I am afraid is fast on its ways to become a Nazional one...).  And let not get me started on Chavez own misappropriations!

The second item comes form an art blog that I follow, one of the very few blogs that I have in my blog roll on the side.  In her latest entry Lisa Blackmore confesses that she came late into the realization that Pastor Maldonado was going to make a demonstration of Formula 1 racing in Caracas.  Although her blog tries to stay away from politics she cannot help but be surprised that the regime, the socialist regime of Chavez is spending a declared 20 million dollars on sponsoring the jump to Formula 1, a "sport" that is elite second only to sailing, and I am not even sure of that one.  Let's just say that more people watch car racing than sailboats but cost wise I am pretty sure Formula 1 spends way more money.

Pastor comes even with a chavista rugged look of sorts......
Poor Lisa, being as aware as she is of the needs in the art scene of Venezuela, even at the low level of preservation of the rare masterpieces we have, seeing that 20 million are going to be blown away on a chavista kid just so that a bankrupt PDVSA can pretend to be a good company must be quite wrenching.  Because Pastor Maldonado, fresh from his minor league success has had no qualms embracing Chavez.  Either for interest, likely, or because he has been living outside the country for so long that he has no idea how vulgar his sport is in the eyes of many in Venezuela considering the sums involved by PDVSA, sums for the glory of Chavez more than for the glory of Maldonado.

There is another thing that I am willing to bet on: it is going to cost Venezuela more, way more than 20 million, if anything after you factor in all the chavistas that are going to travel at governmental expense to attend the Formula races that Pastor will run in. And I will let you speculate at ease on the real payment that the Williams house received when hiring Pastor.  For reasons that escape me, Formula 1 is well followed in Venezuela.  I do not get it, the mere noise of it is enough to make me run away from any TV set passing a car race.  As such it is, we must admit, a good move for chavismo propaganda because under the pretense that car drivers are athletes newspapers will have to cover those races and root for Pastor, just as they root for any Venezuelan, ANY, that makes it to any B team in the US....  A strange phenomenon that one, to root for Venezuelans overseas while we let languish the ones here...  But this is another story.

Fortunately Lisa has historical memory and she ends her post with the tale of our one before last dictator who paid a lot of money to have a Grand Prix race run in Caracas in 1957.  Indirectly demonstrating that at least under democracy Venezuelan government did not get shamefully involved in car racing the way dictators do.  And socialist dictators at that, unfucking believable!!!!

PS: Alek Boyd had a negative entry on that topic a few months back.  Contrary to me he likes car racing and yet he was equally outraged.


  1. Mike E.8:11 AM

    Follow the money
    Williams: financial problems
    Chavez / PDVSA: 20 mil "contribution"
    Maldonado: pay driver, financing Barichello's last year
    Nico H.: shaft, in spite finishing 14. of 27 drivers in 2010
    Good luck to Pastor (hey, don't be stupid), but you didn't get in their based on skill and skill only.

  2. If you can deal with HC you're gonna love Bernie E. He's a natural Venezuelan, perhaps he can be made an honorary citizen.

  3. First I will say that like Mr. Boyd, I am a die hard F1 fan.

    Second, I too am outraged by PDVSA's largesse. That money could certainly be spent elsewhere for greater good.

    Third, I believe Pastor Maldonado to be either A) a chavez sycophant or B) your average egotitst who realizes that he must kiss some ass and pretend to like Chavez to finance his F1 dream.

    Either way, Pastor, you are a scumbag.

    Now, Daniel, you must know that driving a modern F1 car, and even some of the lower race classes requires athletic skill that you cannot imagine. THis is no Sunday drive to La Colonia Tovar for bratwurst und bier. F1 drivers are subject to extremes of G Forces and temperatures well beyond everyday values. THe stamina and strength required hold up compared against many sports. THey may not look like they're working when they drive, but trust me, they do.

    I get you don't like racing, but let's call a spade a spade, compai!

  4. 1979 Boat People7:31 PM

    Venezuela State-Run Power Company Hurt By Large Unpaid Accounts


    Um...I thought in 21st Century Socialism Paradise, all citizens would get FREE handouts including energy from the goverment. No need to work for these basic stuffs.

  5. Roberto

    I beg to disagree: driving for a Sunday outing at Colonia Tovar is INFINITELY more dangerous than, say, the Monaco circuit....

    First you must deal with the infinite numbers of potholes where you can leave a tire

    Then, while you change you tire the odds of you being robbed bind are quite high around el Junquito.

    Then as you stand in line for hours to cross El Junquito you can get robbed again while stopped.

    Or more dangerous, you might be tempted to get some cachapa con chicharron con pelo and suffer a devastating intoxication.

    Assuming you make it to Colonia Tovar, and that one of your credit cards is left in your wallet, you can go bankrupt at Selva Negra or some other eatery.

    Then, in an effort to forget all the stress to go up to La Colonia you might drink more beer than what you should have, and having found an ATM that still works you decided to go down through El Jarillo, ignoring the ominous stomach grumbling coming from all the bratwurst you ingested.

    Finally, in El Jarillo drop, if you do not miss one of the innumerable turns trying to avoid yet another car size swallowing pothole and thus end up in the deep ravine 300 feet below, your passengers got so car sick that they have thrown over each other and soiled your car beyond hope.

    Colonia Tovar outing, a real sport!!!

  6. Daniel, some time ago (3.1) I wrote in my blog about the car race, but what I read there was about 12 million euros "some people said" and Chavez saying it was "a lot". In any case, I would love if someone could ask Chavez if he cannot spend those millions (whatever the exact figure is) on the public hospital of Valencia, which is collapsing. If you need operation gloves or medicine, you need to buy them from the street vendors.

    I don't know...I like mountaineering, but I would find it completely criminal if the government of a poor country - and Venezuela is poor- would pay X million to finance a couple of mountaneers...and here we are talking about financing an international commercial team.

  7. Anonymous11:33 PM

    Hi Daniel,

    I read somewhere its 180 Mio over the next 5 years that PdVSA will pay to Williams.
    And that amount sounds much more realistic to me in the F1...

    Best regards

  8. Daniel, the Colonia Tovar tale is making me laugh to tears!

    On the subject, I really don't like car racing, but hey I'm a woman! I find it terribly boring.. even my husband -who follows any sport but hockey- doesn't care for it.

    Pero si todos fuéramos iguales, el mundo sería muy aburrido.

    Having said that, I hate when people sell their souls to the dark side. If you need to do that for your dreams to come true, there's something really wrong about you. I call it 'dinero de sangre' and it should never be taken.

  9. Liz

    In spite of the awful spelling mistakes, it is nice on occasion to remind people that I do actually live in la desgraciada Tierra de Gracia....

  10. car racing..bore..............the smell is awful, the sound horrific, the cars are ugly and who care who wins?

    the money needs to go to basics

  11. When the Formula One vehicles are at rest, could they not be used to house those who lost their homes during the recent rains?

    If not, why not just invest in those homes directly?

  12. Tovar is great, and while I never experienced the full "adventure" that Daniel describes, I've got something to add to the list. I got lost once returning from there after dark. I missed a turn and ended up driving through some barrios. Went on for quite some time, and I eventually found myself in Los Teques. Yeah, pretty lost. Imagine that drive smelling what your passengers have spewed all over your back seat.

    Fortunately, I was familiar with Los Teques, recognized it and knew my way home. Otherwise I would have been in real trouble.

    Returning to the post, at least briefly, hypocrisy in chavismo? I'm shocked - SHOCKED - to hear such a thing. Really, I am. (This calls to mind a comment on a recent thread - if youthinks this commenter doth protest too much...you might be right.)

  13. I loved Colonia Tovar, the strawberries,candles, wild flowers and quaint inns alongside misty mountains.So many great memories of weekend retreats from the Caracas heat.

    But Daniel's description disturbed me.In my days it was safe.One time we took my mother -in- law to spend a week there at the Selva Negra.While sitting in an outdoor cafe, she arose suddenly to announce a visit to the ladies room... only to never return.

    We searched for her for hours, but never did we worry.We were only angry at her malacrianza.

    At last we found her in the church, with only the simple explanation that she 'felt like' going there." Me dio ganas :)".

    Today we would probably have been terrified that she had been assaulted, and would even be more terrified of calling the police.

  14. Yes, Daniel, driving to La Colonia can be an adventure too!

    You're forgetting to buy some peaches in el Jarillo, and avoiding the "parapenteros" on the way down to La Victoria.

    And, umm, Cachapa con Chicharron is actually quite good.

    Chicharron con pelo is quite another dish, mon ami. It seems it is only served at the "rent by the hour" lodgings, as opposed to road side stands.

    Aunque en la tierra de gracia, everything is possible!

  15. 1979 Boat People8:05 PM


    Venezuela Raises Oil Reserves, Chavez Says


    253B barrels of oil?

    Good for Venezuela. Chavez now have more oil to exchange for Cuba's cement.

  16. Hola,
    Reading recent blogs and comments, I can't help it but suggest this:
    Whatever sport, art etc. money would be spent, should it not go to the people first for what is needed, such as education, health care,basic needs of the people? Chavez and his team ought to start getting an education FIRST in how to run a country and promote input from experienced, cyvilized statesmen from around the world. There are countries that are successful and for the most part, its people are satisfied and content (complainers live in every country). Venezuela needs a kick from the bottom up, but surely not from Chavez! He's on the WRONG track.

  17. Charly1:38 AM

    Poor Maldonado, now that the Great Pavoso blessed him, sh*t is going to go flying in his professional life.


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