Tuesday, May 31, 2005
As we can see the Venezuelan government is more concerned with spreading propagonda and making it than with actually spending its money on the maintance of PDVSA oil fields and with taking care of it citizens. It also shows the influence of the Chavez supporters and how they manipulate the left wing media.
Posted by KA at 10:33 PM
Monday, May 30, 2005
Update - Well Chavez finally appeared on Tv this afternoon. Apparently he was visiting family, so I guess we can all but the rumors to rest and have a good nights rest knowing that "El Supremo" is safe and sound.
Venezuela is a country of rumors, but most of the rumors are based on some facts. The big rumor circulating Venezuela is were is Chavez?
On saturday he was supposed to talk at a massive rally in Caracas. About 20,000 people attend, actually brought to Caracas. It is widely known that the government hands out free food, money and buses in people for the marches in support of Chavez. the government also makes the paraphernalia (T-shirts, poster boards etc..) Well it turns out Chavez never came to the rally, of which people were a little upset about. Then on Sunday his Tv program "Alo Presidente" was canceled the official statement was that it was to make time of the Brazil -Venezuela Volleyball game (BTW Brazil won). This caused rumors to spread like wild fire the rumors range from Chavez being wounded (shot), killed, to there was an attempted coup against him.
The minister of information today announced that Chavez is feeling well, he spent the weekend with his family, and is currently working in Miraflores. However, currently around 1pm Chavez supporters are outside of Miraflores demanding to see Chavez (at least for him to stand outside his balcony). From what I understand not even Lina Ron has been able to see him (one of Chavez's most radical supporters). We will see what de day brings us.
Posted by KA at 12:22 PM
I have been criticized for making the comparison between these two people more than once but I will say it again. Bush and Chavez are more similar than they are different, even if their ideology is vastly different. Bush has been proven to more of a divider than a uniter for the US population, he has conviction and once he makes up his mind he will not go back. This of course can be a good thing but also a bad thing. Bush caters very heavily to the religious right wing and seems unwilling to compromise on anything. Like Bush, Chavez has been a great dividing force for Venezuelans, he does not compromise, he has conviction, but unlike Bush, Chavez seems to cater to the far left, communists, and socialists. Oh and both seems to forget about this thing called the constitution and laws.
My main issue with the Bush administration and the "new" republicans is their desire to impose their Evangelical Christian beliefs on everyone and spread it everywhere including at school, media, laws, government. But Bush seems to forget that we have this little thing called the constitution and it specifically calls for "the separation of Church and State". As a scientist I find it reprehensible to see how the religious right have more say in how science is being taught than actual scientists. My case in point is the Kansas school boards likely decision to teach a form of creationism along with evolution in science class. Then we have Texas (Bush's home state) where the word evolution can not even be said in science class. Why don't religious people realize that science and religion are like oil and water they don't mix and never will. In short Bush doesn't believe in science, evolution is heresy, global warming needs more study, stem cell research won't work, and the environment well we will use "clean coal" - an oxymoron if I ever heard one, and my favorite is Bush's way of preventing forest fires "we will just cut down all the trees" - I kid you not! I do not know Chavez's official stance on science, but he has shown to not care for statistics or facts, his ideas and opinions, are fact enough, not much different that Bush I would say. Both though have not done much to support the scientific community.
The Bush White House and some republicans in congress have also resorted to publicly threaten "liberal" judges for making decisions that they do not agree with. This has resulted in Bush (religious) supporters having committed acts of violence against judges and other civilians, as if they had received a blessing from the all mighty leader that it is alright to disregard the law and commit a crime as long as it furthers the religious cause. This was a common threat approach for Chavez before he had his new judicial law passed, which allows him to get rid of judges at will.
The most unfortunate consequence of the current leaderships is their exclusion of the other voice and sector of society, and their almost antagonistic behavior to the other segment of society. While I dislike both individuals and think they share some of the same leadership traits, Chavez is still a far worse than Bush. Although if the US were in the same conditions (economically and socially) as Venezuela I think Bush would be more like Chavez. Regardless both have done harm to their countries and in my book will not leave a great legacy behind.
Posted by KA at 11:39 AM
Sunday, May 22, 2005
So today Chavez anounced that he wants to investigate nuclear energy (bomb?), and he stated that he will review the Venezuelan relationship with the USA over the Posada Carriles case.
First - Venezuela has no need for nuclear energy, 75% of it's energy needs come from hydroelectricity. There are currently two projects underway to increase this number the "Caruachi" and "Tocoma" projects. The "Caruachi" project is scheduled to be completed in 2006 and will produce 2, 280 MW. the "Tocoma" project is scheduled to be completed in 2010 and will produce 2,160 MW. By the way Venezuela actually exports energy to Brazil (Boa Vista) and Colombia, so what is the need for nuclear energy? Oh ya Venezuela also has oil.
On a related topic, at hydroelectric company EDELCA there appears to be some infighting among the EDELCA executive (an ex-military official, appointed by Chavez) and the heads of the Corporacion Venezolana de Guayana (also Chavez appointed). Oh the revolution.
Second - Today Chavez announced that he is considering reviewing the relations with the USA over Posada Carriles. While Chavez is right to some degree in asking to extradite Carriles, if he is, he will not have a fair trial in Venezuela. Especially after Venezuela and Cuba signed an agreement in December (22?) of 2004 giving both countries judicial precedent in each others countries. This includes Cuban police detaining Venezuelan or Cuban citizens in Venezuela and being tried in Cuba under Cuban laws. So were is the sovereignty Chavez talks about. So what is the US to do? My suggestion would for the US to send Carriles to an international court of law (ie. the Hague). This shows the US is committed about fighting terrorism and gives Carriles the best chance to a fair trial. It will also improve the US image in the Americas and in Venezuela and likely debilitate Chavez's image at home and abroad. So my suggestion is to the US give Carriles to an international court of law before it is to late!
As a side note Chavez is likely making a big deal abou the Carriles case since so many cases of corruption have been exposed in his governemnt and PDVSA is not doing very well. So what do you do? Simply change the subject to something that gives you the upper hand (ie. asking to extradite Posada Carriles to Venezuela).
Posted by KA at 9:27 PM
Sunday, May 15, 2005
During the past few months many cracks have been showing in Chavismo, and each day those cracks only seem to get bigger. For the most part the internal conflicts are not publicly addressed by "El Supremo" aka Chavez, but recently Chavez has made two public statements about his displeasure with things. The most public internal conflict was the spat between Bernal and Barreto, this spat was one of the incidences that required Chavez to publicly scold them. Around the same time the governor of Cojedes was being investigated for corruption, this caused other governors to release a statement in support and against the Chavez, this is funny because the governors were appointed by Chavez and are his "supporters". Luis Tascon with his famous Tascon list, used to blacklist non-Chavez supporters, has been kicked out of the MVR party, I guess Tascon has become a liability now. The most recent events this past week have been that one of Chavez's party PPT has been publicly attacking the governor of Bolivar state another Chavez appointee but of the MVR party. This has resulted in the national Assembly member William Lara (MVR) to ask the PPT respect the governor. On Saturday a public announcement was made by 500 Tupamaros (militants of the Chavez party who have been accused of inciting and conducting violence against the opposition) that they are separating themselves from the Tupamaro group because of ideological differences and because of internal fighting and that they politically infiltrated.
Today in San Cristobal the state of Tachira members of the Bolivarian circles were protesting and asking that the all of the regional committee members be expelled from the party, for their failure to bring unity to the party. By the way Tascon was the deputy for Tachira. About a month ago the internal elections of the MVR party also caused protests because they lacked transparency and the "winners" were appointed before hand. Of course Chavez today said this is all because the CIA along with the old political party AD had infiltrated his political parties. As long as the US keeps it's mouth shut and the venezuelan opposition keeps quiet the cracks will get bigger. Without an enemy (a vocal one) Chavez can not last long, combined with the corruption now being exposed especially within PDVSA.
Some random news:
It is confirmed - The Chavez government did in fact send around an email to EDELCA employees asking them to join his Revolutionary Reserve army - they had 24 hours to respond. As far as I know, no one joined.
The opposition is calling for a nationwide Cacerolazo Thursday at 8pm
The military and CONATEl raided and confiscated equipment of the 94.9 FM radio station (Chavez supporters) http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=13768
Argentine president left Brazil early because he was upset with Chavez's comments
Rumor is that the military (FAN) is not very happy with the state of the country, the question is can and will they do anything? I think at this point it is up to the people not the military.
Posted by KA at 9:01 PM
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
The Economist has just published a new forcast for Venezuela, over the years I have found that their forcasting is as unbiased and accurate as I can find (along with Stratfor's analysis).
May 11th 2005
From the Economist Intelligence Unit
Source: Country Forecast
The president, Hugo Chavez Frias, has emerged strengthened from the opposition’s attempts to remove him from office, and is the favourite to win the presidential election at end-2006. The weakening of the opposition has removed obstacles to policymaking, but with the political environment still polarised the risk of further political instability will be high. Fiscal profligacy will keep the public finances in deficit, despite firm oil prices. A drop in oil prices from 2006 will put pressure on oil earnings, with negative consequences for the public finances, but in light of electoral pressure the Economist Intelligence Unit does not expect fiscal retrenchment or a significant change in macroeconomic policy until after the forecast period ends. Efforts to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) to exploit Venezuela’s abundant energy reserves will continue, with the aim of maintaining fiscal oil revenue. Most non-oil FDI will continue to be put off by the uncertain legal and regulatory regimes, while domestic investment and profitability will be adversely affected by price and exchange controls. These will be maintained throughout the forecast period while little is done to encourage economic efficiency and private investment. Growth will slow markedly in 2005-06 as a result.
Key changes from last month
The pro-government parties are in the process of determining candidacies for the legislative poll in October, and tensions are rising as wrangling for position takes place. However, we do not expect this to impair the pro-government parties unduly, given the boost to their campaigns from windfall oil revenue.
Economic policy outlook
The government has revised the operating terms of the 32 operating service agreements in the oil sector, under which private oil companies operate PDVSA’s marginal fields on a fee basis. The revision will further undermine confidence in the sanctity of contracts.
A strong upward revision to our oil price forecast for 2005 has resulted in a revision to our forecast for the current-account surplus, which we now expect to reach 13.4% of GDP.
Posted by KA at 8:14 PM
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
A couple of interesting news to discuss:
1. Apparently a group of Chavistas were protesting (possibly some violence) in front of CONATEL. If I am not mistaken this agency is in charge of radio, TV, internet. Apparently because CONATEL did not give some of the local (chavista) radio stations a license in Caracas thus have shut them down. Oh well all I can say is that I hope the poor Chavistas start to learn what this government is all about. First it was the opposition now it will be them.
2. Today in Brazil there was a meeting among the heads of state of Arab and South American countries to discuss trade among other things. Of course Chavez was there, he can never miss a big event like this, and of course he had to have the spot light on him. Well Chavez just couldn't help himself once again being in front of the cameras, this time he denounced the US occupation of Iraqi immediately the Iraqi president ask Chavez to "revise" his opinion. Later on in the day Chavez made the same comment, again the Iraqi president asked Chavez to "revise" his comment and that later him and Chavez can sit down and have coffee and explain the situation there. According to the financial times Chavez received some of the strongest applause for his speech from the 33 members there, what can I say I guess US bashing is the trendy thing to do.
Posted by KA at 10:30 PM
Monday, May 09, 2005
So why is Bush making such a big deal about the 100,000 AK-47 weapons that are being bought by Chavez? Well there are a few true concerns about the purchase. First and foremost Chavez has proven to sympathize with the FARC, since he came to power he has given orders that prevent the Venezuelan army (FAN) to engage and prevent the entry of Colombian guerrillas into Venezuelan territory, thus giving them a safe haven. The FARC have identified and expressed support for Chavez and his Bolivarian revolution, since they share the same Marxist ideology. Obviously this is not good for the Colombian government that is trying to maintain a stable and peaceful democracy . So what ties are there? Well FARC members are routinely invited to Venezuelan government sponsored events, and you have Chavez appointed assemblymen stating that the FARC are not terrorists but fighters, would we say Osama Bin Ladin is not a terrorist? probably not. What is especially concerning is that FARC members have been caught with Venezuelan ID cards, thus they are nationalized and can enter Venezuela at will. Recently, Cuban doctors working in Venezuela, that had escaped from the Barrio Adentro Mission, have stated that they have been required to help FARC members that had been hurt in combat in Venezuelan territory.
So why are the weapons are a concern? well first of all the Venezuelan military is about 60,000, so why 100,000 weapons? By the way the Colombian govt. this week stated that their sources show that Chavez is actually purchasing 300,000 AK-47's. Chavez has also decided that he wants a 2 million person reserve army that takes direct orders from him, not the Venezuelan military, and he wants them armed. Moreover, the defense minister a couple of weeks ago stated that the old weapons that the AK-47's are supposed to replace will not be disposed of but kept for use, by whom? So we will now have about 400,000 military guns in Venezuela. As if this is were not a source of concern the AK-47, are to be an outdated model, the same used by the FARC. Curiously, the new ammunition manufacturing facility in Maracay, in Aragua state makes ammunition for the new AK-47 thus will need to be refitted so they can make ammunition for the old recently purchased guns. As a side note Venezuela has now been ranked as the country with the great number of deaths from guns in the world (source: from the UN it looked at 57 countries) it registered 22.15 homicides per 100,000 people while Japan had only 0.06 per 100,000.
The the obvious concern is that Chavez will be helping the FARC to overthrow the Colombian govt. Chavez has been active in destabilizing Latin American govts. most notably in Bolivia, Peru, and Honduras (possibly Ecuador as well). This week alone the Colombian authorities intercepted 8,000 gun cartridges manufactured in Venezuela and intercepted 985 Venezuelan military uniforms all destined to the Colombian guerrillas. But it is not just guns Chavez is buying but also ships from Izar (spanish company), planes from Brazil, helicopters and Mig's and/or the more capable Su-27 Flanker fighters from Russia. So why so many weapons? why the reserve army? All I have to say is that the US is right to be concerned but Latin American countries should be even more concerned.
If anyone has any doubts about what Chavez believes in, the direction Venezuela is heading, and Chavez's hope for Latin America, I suggest you read the interview of Adan Chavez (ambassador of Venezuela in Cuba and President Hugo Chavez's brother). Please note the relationship between Chavez, Marxism, and the "Hands off Venezuela" campaign.
Information taken form:
www.vcrisis.com (stratfor report)
Posted by KA at 1:04 AM
Thursday, May 05, 2005
I haven't been posting regularly since my computer has died and have been busy with schoola and work. But I have finished classes now and just bought a new computer so hopefully I will post more often now.
I would like to comment on a couple of things I have been reading around the web. The first is about PDVSA, this has been been widely writen about (see the links on the right), so I will only say that Chavez and the revolution got what it wanted. The second is an interview of Pedro Soto, for those of you who don't know who he is on Feb 4th 2002 he came on television at Altamira palza and publically resigned from his position as colonel in the avaiation. Soto was (I believe) the first military official to publicly state his displeasure with Chavez and and his government. For those of you spanish speakers you can read an his online (public) interview at noticierodigital.com. During the interview (http://encuentrodigital.noticierodigital.com/) someone asked about a newly formed opposition movement, the FF.AA.NN, las Fuerzas Aliadas Nacionales, and if they are real. According to Soto they are and that we should support them. I had read about them for about a month now and they have released 5 letters but I've been reluctant to believe of their existence, however, with Soto's claim and their web site (http://www.fuerzasaliadasnacionales.com/)it suggests that they do, but the question is will they actually do anything? BTW their color is blue and they have encouraged people to wear blue arm bands in a sign of support, not to sound critical but instead of picking out colors why don't they actually do something constructive like build a united opposition. However, at this point I'm willing to support anyone that can bring about a change for the better in Venezuela.
I hope to write something more complete and detailed this weekend, I should have the new computer tomorrow.
Posted by KA at 4:12 PM