Update 12 midnight Caracas time
Residentes in Venezuela have been having trouble accessing some online media outlets via the recently nationalized telephone and internet hosting company CANTV
> Media reports via online, TV, and radio have been less although protests have continued throughout the country. It is strong belived that the government curbed some of the reporting especially after the Chavez cadena from yesterday.
> In Maracay there was violence
Developing rumor/story 4:30 Caracas time
Currently the Minister of the Public has asked the director of Globovision and anchorman Leopoldo Castillo for questioning
Rumor is Various journalists, reporters, and politicians will be accused of ploting against Hugo Chavez Rumor is that they will be accused of taking money from the US government as was denounced by Eva Golinger and the program La Hojilla (remember yesterday Chavez gave La Hojilla free rein to make any statement they wanted).
Update 3:30pm Caracas time
> Protesting students in Valencia changed their march route in order to avoid any confrontation with pro-Chavez individuals that "were waiting for them"
Update 2:45pm Caracas time
> Student protests continue today throughout Venezuela against the closure of RCTV.
> Former presidential candidate and govenor of Zulia has suggested a national referendum be held to see if RCTV should remain on television.
> United States speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D) issued a statement:
He [Chavez] should reconsider this ill-advised decision
>Brazilian president is quoted as stating "In democracy, the only judge of the media is the public"
Senior National Assembly member Iris Valera calling for the take over of the East of Caracas
Part of Chavez's 1 hour long national cadena
The controversial Globovision commercial
Demonstrations in Venzuela
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Update 12 midnight Caracas time
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Tuesday May 29
Protests continue today in Venezuela against the governments closure of RCTV.
4 pm Caracas time
> Protests continue thoughout Venezuela, government officials are making rather threatening statements eluding to violence.
> There is a rumor that Globovision will be taken off the air for 72 hours for their coverage of the demonstrations and trying to incite violence.
3 pm Caracas time
> Government media outlets MINCI and VTV are not reporting student demonstrations that are taking place thorughout Venezuela in support of RCTV. Again highlighting the hypocirsy and media blackout that we are to expect in the future. The only demonstrations that the government is covering are those in favor of the governments closure of RCTV calling it a "huge march".
> Chavez during his "Cadena" called the student demonstrations a conspiricy against him and that he would personally command any fight against him like on april 13th. Chavez indicated to people in Catia, 23 Enero, Petare to be on alert against the conspiricy.
> Chavez accused the television station Globovision of fomenting violence. While telling the government run station program "La Hojilla" to say whatever they want without limits, since they have full liberty to say what they want.
Indicó que el mundo lo pudo ver gracias al programa "La Hojilla" que se transmite por el canal de televisión del Estado, VTV. "Mario Silva sigue adelante denunciando lo que tengas que denunciar, con plena libertad", dijo"
2 pm Caracas time
Chavez has finally appeared on television and radio on one of his "cadenas" taking over all radio and television stations (media blackout). He has been talking for about 1 hour now from the tiny coastal village of Los Caracas.
> Student protests are taking place in the states of Zulia, Lara, and Tachira.
1pm Caracas time
>Students at Venezuelas largest university (UCV) are marching to the OAS office in Caracas to hand a document for protection
> Protests are taking place in Nueva Esparta and Anzoaegui in support of RCTV
> Other student protests are taking place in Caracas and here
> Student protests are taking place in Valencia for the second day in support of RCTV
> Student protests are taking place in Maracay for the second day in support of RCTV
> Student protests are taking place for the second day in other major cities around Venezuela in support of RCTV
> Chilean president Bachelet called freedom of expression a golden rule
> Pro-Chavez students at Chavez created Universities are protesting in support of the RCTV closure and in Valencia
> Yesterday Venezuelan National Assembly member Jose Luis Pirela and the pro-govt. university (Universidad Bolivariana) were deported from Colombia for actively participating in Colombian politics. Pirela upon returning to Venezuela called Uribe the number one terrorist of Colombia
Here is an article from the Economist I think the last paragraph is very telling as to what we should expect from the Revolution.
May 29th 2007 | CARACAS
Venezuela's president pulls the plug on a critical TV station
IN THE ultra-modern, digital newsroom of Radio Caracas Televisión (RCTV), a message taped to a room-divider reads: “If you’re looking to buy consciences, ours are not for sale”. RCTV’s journalists are unable to broadcast their news programmes in the normal fashion since the channel was taken off the air just before midnight on Sunday May 27th. President Hugo Chávez decreed last December that there would be no more television concessions for what he calls “fascists” and “coup plotters”. His supporters argue that the concession expired on Sunday and was simply not renewed. The channel’s owners and staff, along with many human-rights organisations, see the move as revenge for their critical editorial line.
Channel 2, where RCTV had broadcast for more than half a century, is now home to a new government-run channel. Gone are Venezuelans’ favourite soap operas, the world’s longest-running comedy show, “Radio Rochela”, and a breakfast talk-show called “The Interview” that has earned its outspoken anti-Chávez host, Miguel Angel Rodríguez, a stream of insults and threats from sources supporting the president. Polls suggest that an overwhelming majority of Venezuelans oppose what they consider as interference with their choice of viewing.
On Sunday and Monday many took to the streets, and to the airwaves—or at least, those that are still open to dissenting voices. That means, primarily, Globovisión: the 24-hour news station is the only remaining anti-government channel. Students from Caracas’s main universities, and others across the country, braved tear-gas and plastic bullets from riot police. They were joined by journalists and, in a remarkable show of solidarity, by soap stars and news anchors from RCTV’s rival, Venevisión. Its boss, Gustavo Cisneros, caved in to government pressure several years ago and removed anti-Chávez commentary and news items from his station.
Mr Chávez won re-election last December, after nearly eight years in power, with more than 60% of the vote. Since then, he has taken a sharp turn to the left, in a bid to install in Venezuela what he calls a “21st century socialist” regime. But many of his own supporters oppose the closure of RCTV. The second-largest party in his parliamentary coalition, the social-democratic Podemos, refused to attend a recent session in support of the decision. Party sources say that not one of its legislators agrees with the closure of RCTV. International reaction has scarcely been more encouraging for Mr Chávez.
On Monday the European Union expressed concern that the non-renewal of the concession took place without any open competition for a successor. Germany called on the Venezuelan government to respect the principle of press freedom. Non-governmental organisations such as Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists have all condemned the move. Carlos Lauría of the CPJ called it “a predetermined and politically motivated effort to silence critical coverage [which] sets a chilling precedent.”
RCTV, along with Venezuela’s other TV channels, are not without blemish. In April 2002, when Mr Chávez was briefly ousted in a coup attempt, they blacked out news of protests that helped to restore him to power. And their role as behind-the-scenes power brokers has often distorted their coverage. But the government’s growing number of media outlets, both broadcast and print, pump out an unremitting diet of pro-Chávez propaganda, belittling and even slandering opposition figures on a daily basis. Moreover, the government holds all the regulatory powers, as well as controlling the Supreme Court, whose rulings seldom challenge its interests.
Has Mr Chávez made a significant miscalculation, which could affect his apparently firm grip on power? Enrique ter Horst, a lawyer and a former UN deputy high commissioner for human rights, says Mr Chávez remains strong but that, “he clearly overestimated his forces in this case”. The circumstances “open a new chapter” in the country’s political crisis.
Mr Chávez seems to have two options: a further crack-down on dissent, or to ease up on the revolutionary accelerator. A legal move on Monday to prosecute Globovisión for allegedly hinting that the president should be assassinated, by Venezuela’s information minister suggests that the government does not plan to climb-down. If so, tension is sure to rise.
Monday, May 28, 2007
So I have been reading around and apparently students from various Universities in Caracas have taken to the streets to demonstrate peacefully against the RCTV closure. Miguel has infromation on some of the situation including the Minister of Communication calling various media outlets (including CNN) of fomenting the demonstrations.
Update 8:00 pm Caracas time
>Seven student were wounded during peacefull protests in Valencia at the University of Carabobo when masked gunmen began firing at the protestors. Parts of Valencia have also taken to the streets protesting
>Students in the State of Aragua took to the streets to protest the closure of RCTV
Update 4:16 Caracas time
>Student protests against the closure of RCTV are repelled with tear gas in Caracas
>Minister of "Popular power [not making this up] for Communications and Information" is opening criticizing CNN for propaganda and trying to incite violence in Venezuela.
>Minister of "Popular power of Education" called the student demonstrations political, and it is an anti government campaign.
>Protesters in front of the daily newspaper El Carabobeño in support of RCTV, were injured when pro-Chavez demonstrators arrived and began throwing rocks and bottles
Sunday, May 27, 2007
It is now midnight in Venezuela and RCTV has now been closedby the Venezuelan government, to be more specific by Chavez. In addition, the military has now confiscated the transmission and microwaves that Radio Caracas de Television uses to now be used for the new government television stations TVES.
After 53 years of reporting and broadcasting RCTV has now been closed based on politics.
So from what I have been seeing on TV the demonstration in front of CONATEL, in Las Mercedes, the government telecommunications authority has been dispursed by force by the metropolitan police warning the demonstrators not to return or more force will be used. In the meantime the government officials call the demonstrations an attempt to overthrow the government and their role is to maintain public order against a small group of coup plotters. This is despite a peaceful demonstrations where no incidents occurred until the police began using tear gas and rubber bullets.
I was told that in Valencia earlier in the day the national guard fired (rubber?) bullets into the demonstrators that was taking place at "Redoma Guataparo" and some people were injured.
At this time things seem to be quiet.
Venezuelan, RCTV, and the OAS
Some people think that the case against the Venezuelan television station will end with its closure on Sunday night/ Monday morning. On the contrary the legal fight will go on for sometime. Below is an excerpt from some of the issues that will go on for years.
In 2002, a number of RCTV workers filed a complaint against the Venezuelan State with the Inter American Commission on Human Rights "in virtue of continued curtailment of freedom of expression resulting from a number of physical and moral assailment, serious attacks and aggressions perpetrated against reporters, other workers and officers of this news media, including threats by senior government officials to revoke or terminate the broadcast license for RCTV."
Avoiding closure Meanwhile, Marco Tulio Bruni Celli, former president of the Inter American Commission on Human Rights, believes the Court could grant precautionary measures to prevent RCTV from stopping operations.
Bruni Celli reminded that under article 63, Inter American Convention on Human Rights, "In cases of extreme gravity and urgency, and when necessary to avoid irreparable damage to persons, the Court shall adopt such provisional measures as it deems pertinent in matters it has under consideration."
Personally, I don't think the IACHR will not call for the suspension of RCTV closure based on article 63. Such a move would immediately cause Chavez to leave the OAS just as he said he would do about a month ago.
The saddest thing is that the secretary-general of the OAS Jose Miguel Insulza is not will to get the OAS involved in the RCTV issue instead he is willing to leave it to the Venezuelan courts. The same judges that Chavez appointed and courts he packed.
The NY Times published a nice article on the RCTV closure and how the "new private" stations are controlled by pro-Chavez individuals. You see what is going on in Venezuela is the replacement of anti-Chavez industrialists and capitalists with pro-Chavez ones using the force of the state.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
On Monday the nations oldest private television station will have it's public airwaves contract revoked without any legal proceedings taking place. Such action is taking place simply because Hugo Chavez wants RCTV closed, this despite ~80% of the population being against the closure.
Below is a short independently produced video demonstrating Chavez's verbal assault on the press during the past 8 years. Such verbal attacks have subsequently translated into physical attacks by Chavez supporters.
To learn more and sign a petition please visit the FREE RCTV campaign a project by Human Rights Foundation
Human Rights Watch press release
Amnesty International statements on human rights and the press in Venezuela
For some of us the closure of RCTV is just one more step to control the media in Venezuela. For years we have dealt with "Cadenas" of forced broadcasts over all television and radio stations, that can happen on multiple times in a week each being hours long. This is all in an effort to control what news is being broadcast and to prevent that which is unsavory to the government, such the Cadena broadcast on April 11, 2002 where the media was reporting the opposition demonstration.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
A recent poll conducted by Opinion Research Corporation shows how American view Iran, North Korea, Syria, and Venezuela. Below is the percentage who view them as an Ally, Friendly, Unfriendly, Enemy or unsure. In the case of Venezuela 50% see it in a positive light, 40% see it negatively, and 10% are unsure.
I find it a bit disturbing that 14% see Venezuela as an enemy, if anything it is unfriendly or less friendly than in the past. Personally, I would characterize the Venezuelan government as friendly/unfriendly, it surly is not a threat or an enemy. It is simply an authoritarian government that ironically needs the United States more than the US needs Venezuela.
Link originally accessed via VenezuelaToday
Posted by KA at 11:07 PM
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
In 2006 the National Science Foundation published their science and engineering Indicators for 2006. There is little mention of Latin America, especially Venezuela, although the NSF does conclude that there are several nations that have made tremendous technological advances over the past decade and are positioning themselves for further technological development to become high-tech exporters.
Based on the four indicators below and looking at 15 countries they conclude that Mexico and Argentina are trending upwards in technology development to become new high-technology exporters. Even though Brazil declined in 2003 vs. 1999, seeing in 2005 a higher score vs. 1999, it is still the best positioned of the Latin American countries scored for technology development and eventual export. Venezuela, the only other Latin American country scored, saw a similar decline in 2003 raising in 2005 but still the it had lowest (along with Indonesia) score among the 15 countries studied.
Leading indicators used to determine the potential for 15 countries surveyed to become more important exporters of high-technology products during the next 15 years
National orientation— evidence that a nation is taking action to become technologically competitive, as indicated by explicit or implicit national strategies involving cooperation between the public and private sectors.
Socioeconomic infrastructure— the social and economic institutions that support and maintain the physical, human, organizational, and economic resources essential to a modern, technology-based industrial nation. Indicators include the existence of dynamic capital markets, upward trends in capital formation, rising levels of foreign investment, and national investments in education.
Technological infrastructure— the social and economic institutions that contribute directly to a nation's ability to develop, produce, and market new technology. Indicators include the existence of a system for the protection of intellectual property rights, the extent to which R&D activities relate to industrial application, competency in high-technology manufacturing, and the capability to produce qualified scientists and engineers.
Productive capacity— the physical and human resources devoted to manufacturing products and the efficiency with which those resources are used. Indicators include the current level of high-technology production, the quality and productivity of the labor force including the presence of skilled labor, and the existence of innovative management practices.
Raw scores broken up into the 4 leading indicators
The NSF cites Venezuela specifically for its low score:
"Venezuela received the lowest composite score of the economies examined. It was rated low for all variables, but mostly suffered because it was considered the riskiest or least attractive site for foreign investment. Indonesia and Argentina also received consistently low scores on each variable, but mostly were affected by the very low expert ratings of their national strategies for high-technology development."
The graph below shows the number of science and engineering publication each country has published in the according years. Supporting the above information we can see that Brazil is the leading Latin American country for S&E publications growing at an exponential rate. In addition, Mexico and Argentina are also steadily increasing their number of publications although in a linear fashion. The remaining Latin American countries (ie. Venezuela) have remained fairly steady since 1988, although Chile since ~2000 has been increasing it publication rate.
The graph below is one that I find rather disturbing, showing the number of first university degrees by region comparing 1997 and 2002. North America, Asia, Europe and Africa all show an increase in first university degrees in engineering, natural sciences and social/behavioral sciences. Central and South America is the only region that had an overall decline in first university degrees primarily due to a sharp decrease in engineering degrees awarded.
In summary, Brazil seems to be the best positioned to lead Latin America in science and engineering, and technology development. Venezuela on the other hand lags far behind with little hope of catching up as stated by the NSF report: [Venezuela] suffered because it was considered the riskiest or least attractive site for foreign investment. Since foreign investment in Venezuela has steadily declined there is little hope of significant investment in science in technology or its transfer to economically profitable products for the domestic or international market.
The Venezuelan Ministry of Science and Technology have now mandated that companies above a specific income level will have to pay a certain percentage "tax" that will be used for science and technology development. While at first this may seem a good idea there are a couple of potential problems with it. 1) The "taxed" money could be used by the company to invest in its own technology development improving its own efficiency and productivity instead it is going to the government. 2) Government officials will be responsible for allocating money for technology and science development, this increases the probability of corruption, misallocation of funds, and funding non-economic profitable technology. However, if administered correctly this "tax" may help S&E technology development, but so far the Venezuelan government has shown little capability of running things efficiently or effectively.
Monday, May 07, 2007
I am currently in Albuquerque NM, home of the University of New Mexico and the fighting Lobos , and home to the ardent pro-Chavez blogger Justin Delacour and my idol!
I am literally within feet of his office. Should I say hi? invite him for coffee? perhaps dinner? What would I say?
HAHA, just kidding I have very little to say to him plus any debate, much less an intellectual one, would be futile.
Posted by KA at 3:41 PM
Friday, May 04, 2007
I'm still taking care of family issues but...
In the mean time I hope everyone is enjoying the self-isolation of Venezuela by Chavez claiming he is going to pullout of the IMF and world bank. Oh ya, don't forget his bashing and threat to pullout of the Organization of American States, but of course Insulza (president of the OAS) came out afterwards saying that the OAS has no intention to condem Venezuela for human rights abuses. I say grow a spine Insulza! This demonstrates how useless the OAS is, I do give credit to Chavez at least he is right when he said nothing would happen to Venezuela if it did pull out of the OAS. Oh ya, lets not forget how Carter is now all of a sudden worried about the deterioration of democracy in Venezuela. Maybe he should have worried before he accepted the $1 million dollars Chavez gave as a gift to the Carter Center or before Carter helped broker a deal between Gustavo Cisneros (owner of Venevision) and Chavez.