Monday, March 02, 2009

Russia admits financial mistakes, don't count on Venezuela

Russia's finance minister:

"I think the government should have been more conservative in its financial policy and save more money that it received from the high global oil prices," he said.

I did find this comment very strange:

Kudrin, who is also a deputy prime minister, said the financial crisis had set back the Russian economy by five years -- but added that the United States had fared even worse.
"We only retreated back five years," he said. "As far as I know, U.S. stock markets have fallen back 10 years."

He seems to be equating stock market performance with economic performance.

For Venezuela The Economist is forecasting GDP growth of -3% in 2009 and -5.4% in 2010 and an inflation rate well above 30% and government is ill prepared, hell they aren't even claiming responsibility.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Indefinite reelection vote

So Chavez won, it's not surprising considering all the money and abuse of power the state engaged in. Oh well, if he didn't win today it would have been six months or a year from now when he surly would have proposed the question again.

Like everyone else I am waiting for the results of todays voting. If I were to guess I would say it is going to be close, my gut feeling is that the SI is going to squeak out a win.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Happy Birthday

Today is the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of the publication On the Origin of Species"".

Sadly, still only about 40% of Americans believe in evolution.

It's also Lincoln's 200th birthday.

Two men that happened to have changed the world in two very different ways.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Chavez warns Obama part II

a slight retraction:

After reading/viewing some other material it seems as though Chavez, in customary fashion, is intent on upping the verbal confrontation, this time with the Obama.

"There is still time" for Obama to correct his views, the Venezuelan leader said, but he added: "No one should say that I threw the first stone at Obama. He threw it at me."

The Venezuelan leader said that Obama is following orders from dark forces inside "the empire," as he refers to the United States. "If he doesn't obey the orders of the empire, they'll kill him," Chávez said, without offering details or proof.

Washington Post

h/t Greg for the link

Monday, January 19, 2009

Chavez warns Obama

As expected Chavez has started to address Obama and begins to suggest that Obama is uninformed of events in Venezuela because the CIA and the people who are surrounding him.

Chávez consideró que con sus recientes críticas contra Venezuela Obama “está repitiendo lo mismo que Bush”, lo que, opinó, “es lamentable” porque hace que comience con mal pie la relación bilateral.

At multiple times Chavez says that "Venezuela is to be respected".

“Miren lo que comenzó diciendo (Obama), ¿Qué nos espera entonces? Seguir luchando. Ahora si él viene (Obama) a respetar a Venezuela, recibirá una respuesta respetuosa, si viene a dialogar, dialogaremos sin condiciones, con respeto, ¡porque este país y este pueblo se respeta señor Obama!”, expresó Chávez.

Click here to see the three available videos

Despite these warning I don't necessarily think US-Venezuelan relations are starting off on a bad foot, instead it seems both leaders are publicly stating what they expect from each other.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

How not to act in public, especially on camera

Below is a video got a lot of milage on the Chavez variety show but I thought I would comment on it.

First I would like to say the "reporter" working for Avila TV is unprofessional to say the least and it was obvious what his goal was, insult and get a reaction from Ravell or someone else in the opposition.

Now for the opposition, specifically Ravell (owner of globovision), I know he isn't a politician but he lacks tact, eloquence, maturity... Note to Ravell. Dude stay out of politics! His response to the "reporters" insult was saddening to say the least, to me it reinforces the idea in the viewers mind what Chavez has already claimed the opposition are, insulting, hot headed, full of anger, etc... So in effect the "reporter" was successful at his job.

Sigh, when will the opposition learn

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Palling around with the yankee

Chavez palling around with Oliver Stone. Look for the documentary soon!

BTW, didn't Chavez scold his followers for purchasing Hummers? Apparently as long as it's red and Chavez's Hummers or ok

Monday, January 05, 2009

Breaking news: Citgo Suspends Low-Income Heating Oil Program

From the NYT:

BOSTON (AP) -- Citgo has suspended its free heating oil program for low-income residents, Citizens Energy Chairman Joseph Kennedy announced Monday.

Kennedy said the Venezuelan government's Texas-based oil subsidiary cited falling oil prices and the world economic crisis for forcing the company to reevaluate all of its social programs, including the heating oil program aimed at 400,000 households in 16 states....

Of course I feel bad for these low income individuals since they are likely suffering disproportionally more from the economic downturn, but it goes to show one should not rely on the revolution, you'll become disillusioned with it.

On another note my first impression is that Chavez is realizing all these free gifts (oil, homes, surgeries, loans, etc..) are expensive with little benefit. With the looming financial crisis at home he is starting to make cuts, I just wonder if he is going to be asking for repayment of loans soon (i.e. Cuba).

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Venezuela: Sobering up to reality, but not just yet

After about 5 years of living large off of cheap petro-dollars who has time to deal with an impending financial crisis when your trying to be president for life.

From the Economist:

Many private-sector economists believe that, if the oil price levels out at somewhere close to the budgeted figure, the government will be able to muddle through until 2010. But the economy is already cooling rapidly. Even optimists predict growth of no more than 3%, higher inflation and a fiscal deficit of at least 3%. Some expect zero growth.

Keen to avoid measures that look like “neoliberal” austerity, the government is doing its best to disguise and delay the necessary fiscal and monetary steps.

Since much oil is presold, the recent plunge in its price will start to be felt in earnest only this month. That is when Venezuela will start to feel a cold draught from the slowdown in the world economy. But with so much hanging on the referendum result, the president will do his utmost to cushion the immediate impact. That will almost certainly include raiding the reserves to help balance the books.

It seems as though whatever the out come of the constitutional amendment the spring will be the start of hard times for Venezuelans.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Happy New Year

I've already broken my new years resolution of doing things on time. Happy New Year to all.

I'm looking forward to seeing what this year will bring to the political stage, with the new US administration and a Chavez administration that appears in decline.