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151  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Special report: Pension scandal shakes up Venezuelan oil giant on: August 17, 2011, 07:54:38 AM
Half a billion dollars embezzled
Venezuela under Chavez has become "a moral cesspool."

Special report: Pension scandal shakes up Venezuelan oil giant
By Marianna Parraga and Daniel Wallis | Reuters – August 8, 2011

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela received an enviable honor last month: OPEC said it is sitting on the biggest reserves of crude oil in the world -- even more than Saudi Arabia.

But the Venezuelan oil industry is also sitting atop a well of trouble.

The South American nation has struggled to take advantage of its bonanza of expanding reserves. And a scandal over embezzled pension funds at state oil company PDVSA has renewed concerns about corruption and mismanagement.

Retired workers from the oil behemoth have taken to the streets in protest. Their beef: nearly half a billion dollars of pension fund money was lost after it was invested in what turned out to be a Madoff-style Ponzi scheme run by a U.S. financial advisor who was closely linked to President Hugo Chavez's government.

The fraud case centers on Francisco Illarramendi, a Connecticut hedge fund manager with joint U.S.-Venezuelan citizenship who used to work as a U.S.-based advisor to PDVSA and the Finance Ministry.

Several top executives at PDVSA have been axed since the scandal, which one former director of the company said proved Venezuela under Chavez had become "a moral cesspool."

Pensioners are not the only ones still wondering how such a large chunk of the firm's $2.5 billion pension fund was invested with Illarramendi in the first place.

The question cuts to the heart of the challenges facing PDVSA, one of Latin America's big three oil companies alongside Pemex of Mexico and Brazil's Petrobras.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries issued a report last month showing Venezuela surpassed Saudi Arabia as the largest holder of crude oil reserves in 2010.

PDVSA is ranked by Petroleum Intelligence Weekly as the world's fourth largest oil company thanks to its reserves, production, refining and sales capacity, and it has been transformed in recent years into the piggy-bank of Chavez's "21st Century Socialism."

The timing of the scandal is not good for Chavez: the charismatic, 57-year-old former coup leader underwent cancer surgery in Cuba in June and is fighting to recover his health to run for re-election next year. He needs every cent possible from PDVSA for the social projects that fuel his popularity.


The company does a lot more than pump Venezuela's vast oil reserves. Tapped constantly to replenish government coffers, PDVSA funds projects ranging from health and education to arts and Formula One motor racing. From painting homes to funding medical clinics staffed by Cuban doctors, the restoration of a Caracas shopping boulevard and even a victorious team at the Rio carnival, there's little that PDVSA doesn't do.

Jeffrey Davidow, a former U.S. ambassador to Venezuela who now heads the Institute of the Americas at the University of California, San Diego, points to the occasion when PDVSA senior executives turned down invitations to a regional energy conference at the last minute back in May, saying they were too busy because of PDVSA's leading role in the government's "Gran Mission Vivienda" project. It aims to build two million homes over the next seven years.

"In poorly-managed societies, national oil companies tend to be the most efficient organizations, so the government gives them more work to do, instead of letting them focus on being better oil companies," Davidow told industry executives in the ballroom at a luxurious La Jolla hotel.

That's the kind of criticism that Chavez, who has nationalized most of his country's oil sector since he was elected in 1999, says is rooted in a bankrupt "imperial Yankee" mind-set.

He purged perceived opponents from PDVSA's ranks in response to a crippling strike in 2002-2003 that slashed output, firing thousands of staff and replacing them with loyalists. Since then, the company has endured one controversy after another.

There was the "maleta-gate" affair in 2007, so-called after the Spanish word for suitcase, when a Venezuelan-American businessman was stopped at Buenos Aires airport carrying luggage stuffed with $800,000 in cash that U.S. prosecutors said came from PDVSA and was intended for Cristina Fernandez's presidential campaign in Argentina. Both Fernandez and Chavez denied the charge.

There have also been persistent allegations by industry experts and international energy organizations that Venezuela inflates its production statistics -- which PDVSA denies -- and a string of accidents, including the sinking of a gas exploration rig in the Caribbean last year and a huge fire at a giant oil storage terminal on an island not far away.

In a big blow to its domestic popularity, tens of thousands of tons of meat and milk bought by PDVSA's importer subsidiary, PDVAL, were left festering in shipping containers at the nation's main port last year, exacerbating shortages of staples on shop shelves. Opposition media quickly nicknamed the subsidiary "pudreval" in a play on the Spanish verb "to rot" - "pudrir".

In an apparent damage-limitation exercise after the pension scandal, five members of the PDVSA board were relieved of their duties in May, including the official who ran the pension fund. They were replaced by Chavez loyalists including the country's finance minister and foreign minister.

Gustavo Coronel, a former PDVSA director in the 1970s and later Venezuela's representative to anti-graft watchdog Transparency International, said the fraud had been going on right under the noses of the PDVSA board.

"What this scandal shows is that Venezuela has become a moral cesspool, not only restricted to the public sector but to the private sector as well," he wrote on his blog.

"Money is dancing like a devil in Venezuela, without control, without accountability. Those who are well connected with the regime have thrown the moral compass by the side Venezuelan justice will not move a finger. Fortunately, U.S. justice will."


U.S. investigators say Illarramendi, the majority owner of the Michael Kenwood Group LLC hedge fund, ran the Ponzi scheme from 2006 until February of this year, using deposits from new investors to repay old ones. He pleaded guilty in March to multiple counts of wire fraud, securities and investment advisor fraud, as well as conspiracy to obstruct justice and defraud the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He could face up to 70 years in prison.

By those outside the circles of power in Venezuela, Illarramendi was seen as one of the "Boli-Bourgeoisie" -- someone who was already wealthy but grew much richer thanks to the "Bolivarian Revolution," named by Chavez after the dashing 19th century South American independence hero Simon Bolivar. In one widely-circulated image, Illarramendi is seen overweight and balding, wearing a dark blue overcoat and clutching a blue briefcase as he left federal court in Bridgeport, Connecticut after pleading guilty.

An ex-Credit Suisse employee and Opus Dei member in his early 40s who lived in the United States for at least the last 10 years but traveled frequently to Venezuela, Illarramendi is on bail with a bond secured on four U.S. properties he owns.

He was close to PDVSA board members and Ministry of Finance officials, but is not thought to have known Chavez personally. The son of a minister in a previous Venezuelan government, Illarramendi did enjoy some perks -- including using a terminal at the capital's Maiquetia International Airport normally reserved for the president and his ministers, according to one source close to his business associates.

His sentencing date has not been set yet, but a receiver's report by the attorney designated to track down the cash is due in September. In June, SEC regulators said they found almost $230 million of the looted money in an offshore fund.

That was just part of the approximately $500 million Illarramendi received, about 90 percent of which was from the PDVSA pension fund, according to the SEC.

PDVSA has assured its former workers they have nothing to worry about, and that the money will be replaced. But what concerns some retirees are allegations the company may have broken its own rules for managing its pension fund, which should have provided for more oversight by pensioners.

A representative of the retirees should attend meetings where the use of the fund is discussed, but no pensioners have been called to attend such a meeting since 2002.

PDVSA's investment in capitalist U.S. markets may seem to be incongruous given the president's anti-West rhetoric, but the scale of such transfers is not known, and the investment options for such funds at home in Venezuela are sharply limited, not least by restrictive currency controls.

Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez told Reuters that Illarramendi only had an advisory role with PDVSA, and that it ended six years ago. So quite how he came to be managing such a big chunk of the pension fund is a hotly debated topic. Ramirez said the pension fund had been administered properly, and that the losses were of great concern to the company.

In July, PDVSA boosted pension payments to ex-employees by 800 bolivars a month, or about $188. The government also allocated nearly half the income from a new 2031 bond issue of $4.2 billion to the company's pension fund -- probably to replenish deposits lost in the scandal.

Still, ex-PDVSA worker Luis Villasmil says his monthly stipend barely meets the essentials for him, his wife, a diabetic son and a niece. One morning in April, he rose early and met several dozen other PDVSA retirees to march in protest to the company's local headquarters in Zulia, the decades-old heartland of Venezuela's oil production.

"I never thought we would be in this situation," the 65-year-old told Reuters with a sigh. "I think PDVSA should show solidarity with the retirees and pay their pensions whatever happens because it is responsible. But that's not the heart of the issue, which is to recover the money if possible."

Ramirez, who once proclaimed that PDVSA was "rojo rojito" (red) from top to bottom, says the firm's 90,000 staff have nothing to worry about. "Of course we are going to support the workers," he told Reuters in March. "We will not let them suffer because of this fraud. We have decided to replace it (the lost money) and to make ourselves part of the lawsuit (against Illarramendi)."


The latest scandal comes at a time when observers are focused on the future of PDVSA, given Chavez's uncertain health, next year's election and OPEC's announcement on reserves.

The producer group said in July that Venezuela leapfrogged Saudi Arabia last year to become the world's no.1 reserves holder with 296.5 billion barrels, up from 211.2 billion barrels the year before.

"It has been confirmed. We have 20 percent of the world's oil reserves ... we are a regional power, a world power," Chavez said during one typical recent TV appearance, scribbling lines all over a map to show where planned refineries and pipelines to the coast would be built.

The new reserves were mostly booked in the country's enormous Orinoco extra heavy belt, a remote region of dense forests, extraordinary plant life and rivers teeming with crocodiles and piranhas.

And there lies the rub. Not only is the Orinoco crude thick and tar-like, unlike Saudi oil which is predominantly light and sweet, it is also mostly found in rural areas that have little in the way of even basic infrastructure. It costs much more to produce and upgrade into lighter, more valuable crude.

So hopes now rest on a string of ambitious projects that Venezuela says will revitalize a declining oil sector, eventually adding maybe 2 million barrels per day (bpd) or more of new production to the country's current output of about 3 million bpd, while bringing in some $80 billion in investment.

The projects are mostly joint ventures with foreign partners including U.S. major Chevron, Spain's Repsol, Italy's Eni, Russian state giant Rosneft and China's CNPC, as well as a handful of smaller companies from countries such as Japan, Vietnam and Belarus. Even after the nationalizations of the past, investors clearly want a seat at the Orinoco oil table.

In June, Ramirez announced new funding for Orinoco projects this year of $5.5 billion through agreements with Chinese and Italian banks.

The question remains: will PDVSA have the operational capacity required as the lead company in each project, and will it be able to pay its share?

"Processing that extra heavy crude requires a lot of capital and equipment, and the climate is not good for that at the moment," said one regional energy consultant who has worked with PDVSA and asked not to be named.

There may be billions of barrels in the ground, but the pension scandal will only underline the risks going forward for foreign companies with billions of dollars at stake.

(Additional reporting by Emily Stephenson in Washington; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne, Claudia Parsons and Michael Williams)
152  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Analysis - Chavez seeks to contain voter angst over economy on: August 15, 2011, 11:00:28 AM
To solve the self-created foreign exchange problem, the Chavez government issues dollar denominated bonds that can be purchased with bolivars by the locals. There is a quota per account or per person that banks manage but their favored clients wind up with the bulk of the dollars. The "parallel" (black market) rate has been around Bs.F 8.50 per dollar. When the latest bond issue was announced, it was priced so that buyers would get an effective exchange rate 5.50 or so, below that black market rate but above the official rate. This paralyzed the black market for a couple of week until the bond buyer got theirs. Now that the bond rate is gone, the black market rate is back to Bs.F 8.50 per dollar.

It is "illegal" to even talk about exchange rates but the black market rates are published on the Internet.

Analysis - Chavez seeks to contain voter angst over economy
By Louise Egan

CARACAS | Mon Aug 15, 2011 3:35pm BST

(Reuters) - Venezuela's economy is plagued by shortages, high inflation and crippling currency controls, but a massive spending spree by President Hugo Chavez will likely keep an incipient recovery alive, at least until a 2012 vote.

Polls show support for the charismatic leftist leader has edged up since he announced in June he had cancer. But unless he can generate as much sympathy for his economic stewardship, his re-election bid could be at risk.

In the short term, Chavez can paper over underlying problems with subsidies, price controls and ramped-up spending on his flagship health and housing programs for the poor.

But eventually, falling oil production by the OPEC nation combined with mounting debt will make it harder to finance his socialist "revolution," analysts say, leading to sub-par growth and possibly another painful currency devaluation.

"We expect Venezuelan growth to lag behind the rest of Latin America over the coming years," said David Rees, emerging markets economist at Capital Economics in London.

"Of course Chavez, current health concerns aside, will try to pump the economy ahead of next year's presidential election with strong government spending."

Venezuela has the world's largest oil reserves, according to OPEC. Yet it was the last in Latin America to pull out of recession, returning to growth in the fourth quarter of 2010.

The recovery advanced at a healthy clip in the first half of this year and is on track for 4.5 percent annual growth, the U.N.'s regional economic body ECLAC predicts.

High oil prices and public spending are powering the expansion. Since taking office in 1999, Chavez has nationalized large swaths of the economy, scaring off foreign investors and slowing domestic manufacturing, farm and even oil production as companies are reluctant to bet on new projects.

The 57-year-old former soldier's illness has slowed him, but he has made an effort to show he remains in charge, displaying his characteristic flair during regular phone calls to state television programs. He has undergone two chemotherapy sessions in Cuba as Fidel Castro's guest and says he is recovering well.

Oil prices may continue to work in Chavez's favour, rallying since a sharp sell-off last week over the U.S. and European debt crises and fears of another global downturn.

"Even if we see a Lehmann-style sell-off like we saw in 2008 ... as long as oil stays above $70 (42.69 pounds) a barrel, they're in pretty good shape," said Russ Dallen, head of Caracas Capital Markets.


Perhaps the biggest wrench in the economy is the mind-boggling set of rules limiting the amount of foreign currency businesses can obtain. The result is a dollar drought that hangs like a curse over a country that imports 90 percent of its needs and where basic items like milk and cooking oil are in short supply.

Annual inflation hit 25.1 percent in July, the highest in the region, but may not constrain growth as long as Chavez' redistribution of oil wealth provides stimulus.

"The main thing that the government needs to do is to maintain adequate levels of aggregate demand, to maintain growth and increase employment. said Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Washington-based Centre for Economic Policy Research.

"This it can do through spending on public works projects, including housing," he said.

But the system puts huge strains on the bolivar currency, seen as substantially overvalued at the official rate of 4.3 to the dollar and 5.3 for the central bank's SITME rate.

Still, few believe the government will devalue the currency again anytime soon but rather will seek stop-gap measures to increase the dollar supply. It devalued the bolivar twice last year in an attempt to make local businesses more competitive.

"It's buying time, the postponement of tough policy adjustments until the post-electoral period," said Angel Garcia, analyst at local think-tank Econometrica.

It is all a far cry from the oil boom days of the 1970s when the bolivar was one of Latin America's strongest currencies, letting middle-class Venezuelans enjoy foreign travel and cheap shopping at plush Miami malls.

To soften the blow of price hikes and shortages, the government introduced more price controls last month and said it was boosting local production of goods like cement and food.

Dollar-denominated bonds are one way authorities try to supply dollars to businesses, which buy the notes in bolivars before selling them abroad for hard currency. The $4.2 billion sovereign bond issued in July, however, shut out much of the private sector.

The opposition says these are temporary measures that further distort an already dysfunctional economy and look to the 2012 ballot as their best chance of stopping Chavez and luring back investment.

"If there's a regime change in Venezuela, this country is wide open for investment and the turnaround will be incredible. It will be like a Wild West stampede," said Dallen.
153  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: August 14, 2011, 11:04:57 PM
Some people are speculating that it is this plane:

Honduras investiga si avioneta está en Belice

La coordinadora de fiscales en San Pedro Sula, Marlene Banegas, dijo hoy viernes que las investigaciones están en curso porque la aeronave encontrada en Belice es muy similar a la robada en Honduras, la única diferencia sería el color
154  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The mystery of the “Narco Avioneta” captured in Western Venezuela on: August 14, 2011, 10:27:22 PM
Earlier I posted (somewhere) that running Venezuela by now had very little to do with politics or ideology. It now revolves around who controls the drug trade. I think this article proves that I was right on target

The mystery of the “Narco Avioneta” captured in Western Venezuela
August 14, 2011

The bizarro world that Venezuela has become allows for everything, there are no longer surprises, least of all if our military is involved. The same military that has been talking openly about staging a coup, should Venezuelans choose a leader different than Chavez in the 2012 elections.

But the military does not seem to answer to anyone anymore in Chavezlandia. The latest bizarre episode already has a leading hashtag in Twitter: #narcoavioneta. You see, a small plane was captured in Falcon state full of drug, some 1,400 kilograms of cocaine was found in it.

Website has raised numerous (here, here, here) questions about this case, including the fact that it is supposedly not registered in Venezuela, despite having a registration number painted on it and freely and liberally flying around the country.

Now, I don’t know much about the case and its details, whether it was or not registered, where the drug was loaded onto it, whether the two people killed were involved or not.

What I do know, is that according to all reports, the plane took off from the La Carlota airport.

Now, it used to be, up to 2005, that private planes could fly in and out of the La Carlota military base in Caracas. This was stopped in 2005, unless, of course, you were a revolutionary or related to one, or had a connection to one, as I showed in 2006.

So, how could this supposedly unregistered plane, take off from the La Carlota military base, with or without drugs last Friday? Who allowed it? Who approved it? Who was involved?

Oh, I know, it was someone high up in the military, but like Makled and so many other cases, we will never know. No wonder these guys are so nervous that the Government could change in 2013 via the ballot box, who do you think will be fired first and investigated?

The same ones that protect and benefit from the mysterious “Narco Avioneta”. Bet on that!

La noticia en español
Aterrizó avioneta con una tonelada de droga en Falcón y tiroteo dejó 2 muertos y un herido
155  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Algunas consideraciones sobre tu muerte on: August 11, 2011, 01:14:44 PM
Carta abierta para Hugo Chávez Frias

Algunas consideraciones sobre tu muerte

Asunto: FW: EL UNIVERSAL martes 09-08-11

> >
> Algunas consideraciones sobre tu muerte
> martes 9 de agosto de 2011  09:50 AM
> No quiero que te marches de esta vida sin antes despedirnos, porque
> has hecho un mal inmenso a mucha gente, has arruinado a familias
> enteras, has obligado a legiones de compatriotas a emigrar a otras
> tierras, has vestido de luto a incontables hogares, a los que creías
> tus enemigos los perseguiste sin cuartel, los encerraste en ergástulas
> que no lo merece ni un animal, los insultaste, los humillaste, te
> burlaste de ellos, no sólo porque te creías poderoso, sino inmortal...
> porque el fin de los tiempos no era contigo.
> Pero llegó tu turno, los plazos se acaban, el término de tu contrato
> llega a su fin, tu "ciclo vital" se apaga poco a poco y no de la mejor
> manera; probablemente morirás en una cama, rodeado de tu familia,
> asustada, porque va a tener que rendir cuentas una vez que des tu
> último aliento, te vas de esta vida lleno de angustia y de miedo, allí
> van a estar los curas a quienes perseguiste e insultaste, los
> representantes de esa Iglesia que ultrajaste a placer, claro que te
> van a dar la extremaunción y los santos óleos, no una, sino muchas
> veces, pero tú y ellos saben que no servirá de nada, es sólo para
> calmar el pánico que hace presa a tu alma ante el momento que todo lo
> define.
> Mueres enfermo, padeciendo el desahucio, las complicaciones
> inmunológicas, los terribles efectos secundarios de las curas que
> prometieron alargar tu vida, tus órganos se irán apagando uno a uno,
> tus facultades van perdiendo el brillo que las caracterizaba, tus
> líquidos y efluvios son colectados en bolsas plásticas con ese hedor a
> muerte que tanto te repugna.
> Dime si en este momento, antes de que te apliquen una nueva inyección
> para calmar los dolores insoportables que padeces, vale la pena que me
> digas que no te pueden quitar lo bailado, ¡ah! los viajes por el
> mundo, los maravillosos palacios que te recibieron, las paradas
> militares en tu honor, las limousines, los títulos honorarios, los
> pisos de los hoteles cinco estrellas, las fastuosas cenas de Estado...
> dime ahora que vomitas la papilla de auyama que te tratan de dar las
> enfermeras, si era de eso de lo que se trataba la vida, pues ese
> brillo y el oropel ya no están entre los monitores y máquinas de
> resucitamiento que te rodean, esas marchas y aplausos ahora son tonos
> y alarmas de sensores que regulan tus signos vitales que se hacen más
> débiles.
> ¿Puedes escuchar al pueblo de tu país afuera de tu cuarto?... debe ser
> tu imaginación o los efectos de la morfina, no estás en tu patria,
> estás en otro lado, muy lejos, entre gente que no conoces... sí, estás
> muriendo en tu propio exilio, entre una banda de pilluelos a quienes
> les has tratado de entregar tu propio país, tus últimos momentos los
> pasarás entre chulos y estafadores, entre tu corte de aduladores que
> sólo te muestran afecto porque les dabas dinero y poder, todos te
> miran preocupados y con rabia, nunca dejaste que ninguno de ellos
> pudiera tener la oportunidad de sucederte, ahora los dejas al
> descampado y tu país al borde de una guerra, ¿Era eso lo que querías?
> ¿Fue ésa tu misión en esta vida?  Olvídate del cuento de los pobres,
> ahora hay más pobres que cuando llegaste al poder,  olvídate de
> justicia e igualdad cuando prácticamente le entregaste el país a una
> fuerza extranjera que ahora tendremos que desalojar a la fuerza y a
> costas de más vidas.
> Tengo la leve impresión que ahora sabes que te equivocaste, creíste en
> un cuento de camino y te creíste revolucionario, y por ser
> revolucionario... inmortal, convocaste a tu lado a los muertos, a tus
> héroes, a esos fantasmas que también creíste con vida, a Bolívar, al
> Che, a Fidel, al Marx que nunca conociste y que recomendabas su
> lectura... el andar con muertos te llevó a la magia y a los babalaos,
> te metiste a jurungar tumbas, y a ofrendarle a una corte de demonios y
> malos espíritus que ahora te acompañan... ¿Sientes su presencia en el
> cuarto? Vienen a cobrar, a recoger lo único que tenía valor en tu vida
> y que tan malamente apostaste por la oscuridad y el mal, tu alma.
> Bueno, me despido, solo quería que supieras que pasarás a la historia
> como un traidor y un cobarde, que no rectificaste cuando pudiste, te
> dejaste llevar por tu soberbia, por tus ideales, por tu ideología
> renunciando a los más preciado, a tu libertad y a la libertad de los
> otros, y la libertad nos hace humanos.
> Dios tenga piedad

Me llegó por email
156  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Damnificados protestaron trancando la Valle-Coche (Fotos) on: July 28, 2011, 07:32:47 AM
Damnificados protestaron trancando la Valle-Coche (Fotos)
julio 28, 2011 7:24 am

Este jueves en horas de la mañana, un grupo de damnificados trancó la Valle-Coche a fin de exigir soluciones ante su situación. La Policía Nacional Bolivariana y la Guardia Nacional disolvió la protesta con gas lacrimógeno.

Mas fotos
157  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Gustavo Coronel: Three Scenarios for Venezuela's Future on: July 21, 2011, 07:07:50 AM
Gustavo Coronel is quite knowledgeable about Venezuela having been a government bureaucrat and an employee of government owned enterprises most of his life.

While Gustavo Coronel is one of the "good guys" he still represents socialism in a country that has practically no private enterprise, now even less that when Colonel was in government. The entrepreneurs who wanted to survive under Chavez had to kowtow to him and in effect they cease to be legitimate businessmen becoming part of a government influenced Mafia.

In the best scenario Coronel paints, the new "liberal democratic" government that replaces Chavez quickly loses favor with the population as it is incapable of creating an instant gratification solution not only to the thirteen years of Chavez mismanagement but also to the previous forty years of corruption and populism that led to Chavez in the first place.

The one thing Coronel does not talk about is the emergence of a charismatic leader. Like it or not, if the country is run by faceless bureaucrats and lackluster politicians, chaos is even more likely. Think back to the darkest days of America and Britain. It was forceful leaders who energized the people to supreme effort and to supreme sacrifice. How do you do that with a "give me" culture when you have run out of gifts to give? Since 1958 Venezuelans have been trained not to work for a living but to beg for a living: government handouts everywhere, a.k.a. Socialism - Populism. So far, I have not seen an opposition leader capable of taking charge. The young are lacking in experience and the old -- the old guard ousted by Chavismo -- many of us don't want back in power. Catch-22!

The future looks uncertain, more than usual.

Denny Schlesinger

Gustavo Coronel: Three Scenarios for Venezuela's Future

With President Hugo Chavez already having had two emergency operations for cancer and having had to return to Cuba for chemotherapy, Venezuela expert Gustavo Coronel pontificates on what an ill Chavez means for Venezuela with three possible scenarios for the country's future.

By Gustavo Coronel

For the last five years I have been giving lectures and talks in about 20 cities of the U.S. -- including several think tanks and universities in Washington DC -- and in 10 Latin American countries, about the Venezuelan political and social situation and the impact of the Hugo Chavez regime on hemispheric stability, including U.S. national security. Rather than employing a scenario approach to the political future of the Hugo Chavez regime I have been "predicting" to my audiences that Hugo Chavez will not survive politically beyond his current term, if that much.

My "prediction" has been based on what I see as the significant weakening of Chavez's regime during this period of time, illustrated by the financial chaos experienced by his administration, the increasing collapse of national public services, the lack of food and other essentials in the markets, the intense disarray prevailing in the key state owned companies, PDVSA and CVG, (energy and raw materials sectors), the significant loss of domestic popularity due to reduced direct handouts to the poor, the noticeable internal power struggle within the government's party, the increasing loss of control over his Latin American allies, Correa, Kirchner and Lula/Roussef and the increasingly uncertain Cuban political situation.

Now a new and formidable challenge threatens Chavez: cancer. This health problem, recently detected, certainly could not have been predictable. In the best of cases it would probably render Chavez incapable of conducting the intense political activity he would require to be re-elected.

When all of these ingredients are analyzed, three main political/social scenarios for Venezuela suggest themselves for the short term.

   1.   Chavez either abandons the presidency in the next few months, or is defeated in December 2012, trying to be re-elected;
   2.   A military/revolutionary coup d'etat maintains chavismo, with or without Hugo Chavez, in power;
   3.   Hugo Chavez is "cured" and survives politically in good form, winning the 2012 presidential elections on the strength of his emotional link with much of the people.

Of course, there are many other possible scenarios but they might all be variations on one of the three mentioned above.

In the first scenario (45% probability) the medical condition of Hugo Chavez forces him to abandon his quest for a new term. This probably would mean that the presidential election is brought forward. Or, alternatively, he can run a campaign but would be defeated by the opposition candidate, given his uncertain medical condition and the continued deterioration of the country. A democratic, liberal government would take over and would introduce many policy changes in the country but it would have to face the enormous material and spiritual ruin left by 13 years of Chavez's disastrous regime.

In the second scenario (25% probability), Adan Chavez, the older brother of Hugo Chavez and the military officers connected with drug trafficking and the FARC, stage a successful coup d'etat in order to impose a military-socialist dictatorship in the country. This scenario could materialize in the short term but, most probably, it would not be long lasting due to the backlash generated at home and abroad.

In the third scenario (30% probability), Chavez wins a new term but both his health and the deterioration of the country become progressively worse. In this case his tenure would most probably be short-lived.

Paradoxically, the first scenario, where a democratic government replaces Chavez and he becomes the leader of the opposition would probably be the better one for him in the longer term. The new government would suffer severe loss of popularity due to the harsh economic and social measures they will have to take to put the country back on its feet. Because of this, the people, having a very short memory, would probably vote a relatively "healthy" Chavez back in power in 2017, just as they voted Carlos Andres Perez back into power in the 1990's, trying to recapture the "good old times" when money ran abundantly on the streets of Venezuela, corruption be damned.
158  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Fiesta en Venezuela por histórico triunfo en la Copa América on: July 17, 2011, 08:50:57 PM
Si ganamos al fútbol... ¿que coño importa Chávez?

Fiesta en Venezuela por histórico triunfo en la Copa América

Al terminar el encuentro, los aficionados saltaron y aplaudieron las palabras del defensor Gabriel Cichero, quien anotó el gol del triunfo: "Hoy Dios está con Venezuela".

En la Plaza Alfredo Sadel miles de gargantas gritaron gol!!

domingo 17 de julio de 2011  08:51 PM
Caracas. - Venezuela estalló hoy en una fiesta para celebrar el triunfo por 2-1 sobre Chile que le aseguró a la selección vinotinto un boleto inédito en las semifinales de la Copa América de fútbol.

Una lluvia de fuegos artificiales en Caracas antecedió caravanas de autos que recorrieron toda la ciudad, en una fiesta que se concentró principalmente en la urbanización residencial Las Mercedes, en el este de la capital, donde varias calles fueron cerradas para que miles de aficionados pudieran ver el partido en pantallas instaladas.

Al terminar el encuentro, los aficionados saltaron y aplaudieron las palabras del defensor Gabriel Cichero, quien anotó el gol del triunfo: "Hoy Dios está con Venezuela".

"Estoy seguro que hoy Venezuela es una fiesta", dijo y tuvo palabras críticas por "tantas burlas de los chilenos" hacia el conjunto venezolano.

Desde su convalecencia de Cuba, donde se trata por un cáncer, el presidente Hugo Chávez aplaudió el resultado que marca la mejor presentación de Venezuela en su historia en la Copa América.

"Gloria al bravo pueblo!!! ÑRindamos tributo supremo a nuestros muchachos de la gloriosa vinotinto! "Viva Venezuela!! Viviremos y Venceremos!", escribió Chávez en su cuenta de twitter.

En Las Mercedes, miles de aficionados siguieron el encuentro en los televisores y luego bailaron con grupos musicales que fueron llamados por la alcaldía local para que amenizaran la jornada.

La fiesta se repitió en el centro de la ciudad, con varias plazas repletas como centros de encuentro para las personas que querían ver el duelo.

Las caravanas de autos también recorrieron Caracas con un estruendo de bocinas que expresó la alegría del logro del equipo dirigido por César Farías.
159  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Venezuela Pol?tica on: July 17, 2011, 10:17:44 AM
?Que/Quien viene proximo?

¿Quien sabe? La situación es la siguiente:

Hugo Chavez le teme hasta a su sombra por lo cual no ha nombrado un sucesor. Por el contrario, divide no solo a sus adversarios sino también a sus aliados. Su guardia pretoriana no es venezolana sino cubana. Tiene mas fé en los hermanos Castro, a quienes compra con 100.000 barriles diarios de petróleo, que en cualquier camarada venezolano.

Yo no conozco bién la jeraquía chavista pero los dos nombres que mas suenan son su hermano Adán quien supuestamente es el capo de capos de la droga y Diosdado Cabello. Adán Chavez dió unas declaraciones diciendo que la revolución se iba mantener, si no a punta de votos, a punta de armas, o sea, milicianos.

La oposición sige luciendo debil. No hay un personaje carismático de lider sino, como siempre, muchos pretendientes. El ex gobernador del Zulia, Osvaldo Alvarez Paz, copeyano, supuestamente iba liderando las encuestas. Claro está, esto es un peligro para Chávez y lo condenaron a dos años de prisión por decir falsedades, lo que no es mas que una maniobra para salir de opositores peligrosos.

En Venezuela somos trés grupos: los chavista, la oposición (muy fragmentada) y los nini (ni el uno ni el otro). Si bién me considero anti-chavista, yo no votaría por un adeco o un copeyano quienes, al final de cuentas, son los autores intelectuales del chavismo. Fué su falta de visión, su corrupción, su falta de permitir a los jovenes acceso al poder, o sea, su demagogia, lo que permitió que surgiera un Chavez. Y para colmo, fué Cadera quien le dió el perdón y lo sacó de la carcel. ¡Que hijo de putada mas grande!

Lo que me parece risible es que muchos de la oposición le tengan mas miedo a un Chávez muerto que a un Chávez vivo. Se preocupan de quien se a quedar con el coroto (venezolanismo que significa "quien quedará en el poder"). Yo no lo sé pero para salir de Chávez hay que salir de Chávez. Si el cancer ayuda, ¡bienvenido sea!  Lo que la oposición debería estar haciendo es preparandose para todas la contingencias. La renuncia de Chavez en Abril del 2002 fracasó porque Carmona y su grupo llegaron a Miraflores sin la menor preparación y pusieron la cómica. Actuaron tan mal que los mismos militares que quitaron a Chávez lo volvieron a poner. Una oportunidad histórica perdida por falta de preparación.

Para la mayoría de nosotros, que tenemos una vida que vivir, por nuestra salud mental tenemos que desentendernos de los pormenores diarios de la política. Si tuvieramos una oposición que apoyar sería una cosa, pero nuestra oposición es mas risible que otra cosa. Lo dije hace nueve años, Chávez se queda en el poder hasta que se muera de viejo. Quizá el cancer se lo lleva primero.

160  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Chavez sale mañana para Cuba a seguir su tratamiento on: July 15, 2011, 09:34:01 PM
Discurso (leido) ante la Asamblea Nacional pidiento permiso para irse para Cuba a seguir su tratamiento:

161  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Venezuela Pol?tica on: July 10, 2011, 09:51:01 AM
Saludos Perro Astuto!

Mi pronóstico de hace nueve años (2002) está cada dia mas cerca de realizarse. Aquí la gente pensaba que lo iban a tumbar o que el Tio Sam lo iba a sacar. Haciendo un recuento de dictadores y caudillos, la historia nos cuenta que la mayoría de ellos muere de viejo en su propia cama. Eso es lo que le pronostiqué a Chávez ya que sacarlo a punta de votos es una quimera. Claro, yo no contaba con cancer pero esto solo acerca el final, no cambia la manera en que terminará el chavismo.

Aquí nadie sabe nada, son solo rumores y los que saben no sueltan prenda. Chávez tiene un cancer que supuestamente le fué extirpado. Parece que requiere quimioterápia. No se fía de los médicos venezolanos y por eso usa los servicios médicos de Cuba donde sus dos grandes beneficiados, a razón de 100,000 barriles de petróleo diario, velan por su seguridad. No hay claridad pero se nota que todo está muy bién orquestado. Por ejemplo, después de muchas mentiras, un abceso en la pelvis fué la historia original, sorpresivamente el vice presidente anuncia que el lunes 4 de julio iba a ser un día feriado. Todos en Venezuela quedaron atónitos. ¿Por que declarar el 4 de julio día de fiesta? En la madrugada del cuatro se supo la razón, para que el caudillo pudiera hacer una entrada triunfal en Caracas. Leyó un corto discurso en lugar de sus acostumbradas diatribas improvisades que duran horas. No hizo cambios en el gabinete. Se pronunció arrepentido lo que es solo una payasada mas en su afán de aferrarse al poder. En su estado debilitado Chávez no sabe si sus seguidores o sus adversarios presentan mayor peligro para el. El gobernador de Miranda, un supuesto adversario, le deseó pronta recuperación. ¡QUE IDIOTEZ! Pronto le sacaron caricaturas.

De todas formas, se regresó a Cuba para seguir su tratamiento.

162  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: June 27, 2011, 01:36:59 PM
But the patience of the masses will one day hit its limit. When it does, they ought to have the opportunity to direct their wrath at the architect of their misery.

Let's see...

It took the USSR 70 years and a weak government for it to collapse.
Castro is in power after more than 50 years of misery.
The Red Chinese Communist party is still in power after more than half a century
Gaddafi is in power after 43 years and is stalemating NATO

I wonder what the WSJ reporter smokes? It must be THE BEST SUFF. There are some prerequisites for dictators to fall. A weak government like Gorbachev's that does not have a stomach for killing civilians. Weapons in the hands of the oppressed. This can happen if the military turns coat as happened in some Balkan states after Tito. A foreign invasion like Iraq. Absent one or more of the above, the dictator is likely to die of natural causes while still in power.

The rest of the article is pretty good. I believe that if Chavez dies there will be wars of succession on the Chavista side and possibly in the oppo side as well. I have become convinced that the revolution is about the drug trade. Evo Morales is a "former" drug cartel capo. The Colombian FARC is about drug trade. Adan Chavez, Hugo's brother, is the reputed Venezuelan Drug Chief. Whoever gains power gains immense wealth and influence as well. The drug wars in Mexico point out that killing competitors, like the Mafia used to do (or still does) pays huge dividends. That's the motivation on the Chavista side for a war of succession. The Venezuela oppo has been highly fragmented each contender going after a piece of the pie that is not theirs for the taking. Only after multiple electoral failures did the oppo manage to come up with "unity" candidates who did OK. If they now perceive a less charismatic Chavista candidate, a candidate easier to defeat, they are likely to go back to fragmentation and lose again.

BTW, there are plenty Chavistas out there meaning that if the fighting spills to the streets, it could get really ugly.

Denny Schlesinger
163  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: October 26, 2010, 01:14:41 PM
Buying missiles is a great way to fight poverty... in Russia!
164  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Triangulo amoroso en el rescate de la mina chilena on: October 13, 2010, 12:25:36 PM
Triangulo amoroso en el rescate de la mina chilena

¡La vida real si que trae sorpresas! Un humorista sugirió que Yonny Barrios se cambie el nombre a "Yonny Salgo."

Hay que felicitar a los chilenos por su increible labor de rescate. ¡Viva Chile!

La esposa del "doctor" asegura que no verá su rescate porque "irá la otra"

Santiago de Chile, 13 oct (EFE).- La esposa de Yonny Barrios, el "doctor" del grupo de 33 mineros atrapados desde el pasado 5 de agosto en una mina de la región chilena de Atacama, aseguró hoy que no asistirá al rescate de su marido porque "irá la otra".

"Estoy contenta porque se salvó, es un milagro de Dios, pero yo no iré a ver el rescate. Él me lo pidió, pero resulta que también invitó a la otra señora y yo tengo decencia. La cosa es clara: ella o yo", indicó a los periodistas Marta Salinas, con la que Barrios estuvo casado 28 años.

Durante el encierro el trabajador de 50 años, que está en el número 21 en el orden para ser rescatados, Salinas protagonizó un fuerte altercado con la amante de su marido, Susana Valenzuela, con quien se encontró en el campamento "Esperanza", donde los familiares de los mineros los han esperado por 70 días.

"Ni por la tele lo voy a mirar, además que con las conversaciones por teléfono y las cartas que me ha enviado tengo claro que está bien y con eso me basta", añadió Marta, que reveló que la misma primera dama de Chile, Cecilia Morel, le dijo que no era mala su decisión de no ir y dejar que lo haga su nueva pareja.

Barrios es conocido entre sus compañeros como el "doctor" por sus conocimientos sobre primeros auxilios, adquiridos desde pequeño cuando ayudaba a su madre que padecía diabetes.

Durante el encierro, que hoy cumple 70 días, Barrios se encargó de poner inyecciones, redactar los informes médicos de sus compañeros y dárselos al equipo de rescate.

Barrios empezó a trabajar en la mina San José en 1985 y volvió después de la última reapertura.

El día del derrumbe no le tocaba trabajar, había terminado su turno, pero uno de los jefes ofreció hacer un turno doble y él aceptó.

165  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Cuba on: October 09, 2010, 12:23:46 PM
El 9 de octubre de 1967 el ejército de Bolivia nos hizo el gran favor de salir de esa alimaña. Según tengo entendido la CIA ayudó en descubrirlo y capturarlo. Los americanos quisieron llevarselo para los EEUU pero el presidente de Bolivia solo les concedió unas horas para interrogralo después de lo cual lo fusilarían. El pelotón de fusilamiento recibió ordenes de disparar del cuello para abajo para que se viera como una baja de combate.

Lo lamentable es que se haya vuelto mito y heroe de muchos adolecscentes mal informados.
166  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Che Guevarra on: October 09, 2010, 10:08:19 AM

Para Hugo Chávez, el Ché es un heroe revolucionario. Chávez obligó a las FFAA de Venezuela adoptar el lema cubano de "Patria, Socialismo o Muerte." Los venezolanos le contestamos, "Pana, amamos la vida!" A Chavez. al igual que al Ché, le gusta el hedor de la muerte.
167  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / @andreina on: October 03, 2010, 10:50:13 PM
Andreina Flores, la periodista quien le preguntó a Chávez sobre la salamandra electoral, pasó de tener unos cien segidores en Twitter a mas de 21.000 en apenas unos días.

168  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Un metro de silencio on: October 03, 2010, 02:16:03 PM
Luisa Elena Sucre es una amiga caraqueña, poeta y bloguera. Espero que disfruten esta nota:

Un metro de silencio

Miércoles 7:15 a.m. Espero los 8 minutos anunciados en brillantes puntos rojos LED al vagón de metro que me llevará a mi destino final, 10 estaciones hacia el oeste de la ciudad.

Unas 25 personas esperan como yo, los mismos y distintos 8 minutos, al mismo vagón, que multiplicará los destinos por cada uno de los viajeros.

Un silencio estruendoso se esparce por los metros cúbicos de la estación, como un halo fantasma que guarda lo no dicho en algún lugar difuso entre el corazón y la garganta de los presentes.

Llega el vagón, subimos… más adelante, en la siguiente estación, suben más almas que se van ubicando en los asientos libres o de pie… sumándose sorpresivamente al silencio que se había montado en la estación anterior.

No puedo creer que un vagón de metro, una mañana de septiembre en plenas venas de Caracas, casi lleno de gente, sea en ese instante como un gran templo subterráneo en donde cada quien (aun acompañado) calla con un recogimiento casi monástico.

Pienso en las incontables conversaciones interiores atrapadas en las cuadro paredes de los cráneos, en diálogos amistosos o polémicos entre las distintas partes disociadas que pueblan la psiquis humana… pienso en los combates a matar que están teniendo lugar en algunas cabezas de esos viajeros urbanos; pienso también en las posibilidades del sueño y la mente en blanco de algunos silentes químicamente puros que yacen sumergidos con sus escafandras lejos de la superficie movida o tormentosa de su mar.

Pienso en los que como yo, piensan en silencio en los silencios que hablan en un vagón de metro…

De pronto, decido buscar los dedos meñiques agarrados a barandas, sujetadores, libros, otras manos… me entrego a una expedición visual y acrobática en busca de la huella violeta* e indeleble que habla de un país que no guarda silencio ante las urnas electorales… y encuentro maravillada que todos los meñiques que alcancé a ver, estaban manchados de democracia, de voto, de voz alta…

El vagón se llenó de pronto de las voces de un pueblo que no guardó silencio cuando era necesario hablar.

Respiré profundamente mientras pude escuchar al fin lo que ese vagón me estaba diciendo a gritos.

169  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / How Chávez lost the popular vote -- and won by a landslide on: October 01, 2010, 01:54:44 PM
Please note that this editorial is not from some right wing pamphlet. It is The Washington Post no less.

How Chávez lost the popular vote -- and won by a landslide

Friday, October 1, 2010

HUGO CHÁVEZ must be feeling grateful to the number-crunchers who helped him redraw Venezuela's congressional districts. The strongman turned last weekend's National Assembly election into a referendum on himself; he inundated the country with propaganda via the state-controlled media and even refilled government food stores. The result was an unmistakable rebuff. On a day of heavy turnout, 52 percent of voters chose opposition parties, vs. 48 percent for Mr. Chávez's Socialists.

In a normal democratic country -- even in Venezuela itself up until this year -- that outcome would have produced something close to a tie between government and non-government deputies in the congress. Instead, thanks to the blatant gerrymandering he ordered, Mr. Chávez probably will have 98 seats, compared with 67 for the main opposition coalition and a small leftist party. That allowed the caudillo to claim victory in a news conference, during which he heaped abuse on a reporter who dared to ask about the discrepancy between votes and seats.

Mr. Chávez, however, didn't deliver the victory address he had planned from the balcony of the presidential palace -- an encouraging sign that he grasps the election's real implications. In addition to the popular repudiation, the result means that beginning in December, Mr. Chávez should no longer have the ability to rule by decree or to appoint supreme court justices and members of the electoral authority without the opposition's consent. He also faces the threat that his announced plan to rule Venezuela for at least another decade will be interrupted in 2012, when a presidential election is due that should be decided by majority vote.

There was good reason for Mr. Chávez's loss: Alone in Latin America, Venezuela is still deep in recession, and it leads the hemisphere in inflation and violent crime. A normal democratic leader might respond by correcting errant or highly unpopular policies, such as Mr. Chávez's steady nationalization of the economy or his import of Cuban advisers and intelligence operatives. His record, however, suggests that the president will merely step up his attacks on opposition leaders and journalists -- a number of whom have been imprisoned or driven into exile -- and seek to circumvent the new checks on his power.

Mr. Chávez's apologists will be pointing to the congressional vote as proof that he still leads a democracy. But in democracies, elections produce consequences in line with the results. In Mr. Chávez's Venezuela, they usually lead to less democracy.

170  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Venezuelan National Assembly Elections: Turning Back Totalitarian Dictatorship? on: October 01, 2010, 01:36:15 PM
Venezuelan National Assembly Elections: Turning Back Totalitarian Dictatorship?

Go to the original and read the comments!

Posted by José Kalosha Oct 1st 2010 at 5:23 am in Cuba, Latin America, Politics | Comments (36)

28 Sept, Wall Street Journal:
“Venezuela’s Chavez Loses Key Vote”; 28 Sept Guantanamo, Cuba, (Solvision)
“Fidel Castro Classifies the Venezuelan legislative elections as victories to the Bolivarian Revolution and its leader: Hugo Chavez.”

With the September, 2010, Venezuelan Congressional elections there is no middle ground- you either believe decisively Chavez won or you believe the Chavez Opposition won. The stark reality is Hugo Chavez’s grip on Venezuela has never been tighter. His goal is a totalitarian dictatorship.

Chavez has been Venezuelan president since 1998. Now he has tight control of the Venezuelan levers of power. In addition to the Presidency, Chavez controls the secret police, the military, the judiciary, the banking system, and increasing control of the media. He controls the 30 or 40 thousand Cubans, many DGI intelligence and military officers, he has stationed in Venezuela.

In 2005 the Opposition boycotted the perceived corrupt National Assembly election and Chavez received 149 seats out of 167 seats with the Opposition receiving 18 seats. In the current election Chavez’s Party, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), support in the Congress fell from 149 seats to 98 seats. He has lost the key two-thirds majority. He gerrymandered the election districts so he won majority of the seats, but most important, he lost the popular vote 48% for PSUV to 52% for the Opposition. The Opposition notes this is a great moral victory, but moral victories mean little to Chavez. Although he has lost the two-thirds majority, Chavez will continue to have the two-thirds majority for the next three months. In the “Lame Duck” secession he will pass as much of his Socialist Bolivarian agenda as possible. He will probably attempt to create his appointed Communal Councils, which will continue to reduce power of elected state and municipal bodies. He will try to rule by Decree, totally by passing the Congress. In 2008 when the Opposition won state and mayoral races, he stripped them of actual power by creating a new level of his appointed bureaucrats.

The Chavez model is the Castro Cuban Socialist/Communist Revolution. Chavez’s actual announced goal is to be a Ruler for Life, like his mentor Fidel Castro. What Chavez is enacting is a Cuban Economic Revolution in slow motion. The difference is that when Castro took power Che Guevara signed death certificates to shoot at least two thousand Cubans; Castro sent tens of thousands to prison; and he forced hundreds of thousands in exile. Venezuela is not Cuba. Chavez cannot apply the Che Guevara “Castro or Death” mandate. Castro expropriated all the sources of wealth in Cuba; consequently today, decades later, the Cuban economy has totally collapsed. Castro in late September announced he will fire 500,000 state employees, which is probably an under estimate. Sadly, many of these State employees only earned from 20 to 30 pesos a month. Yet Chavez is moving ahead to follow the Cuban economic model, which will result in a destroyed Venezuelan economy.

The Opposition views this election as the start of the 2012 Presidential Election. Chavez will also view this as a wake up call for his 2012 re-election. He will do everything possible to prevent the at least 18 national anti-Chavez political parties from uniting behind an effective presidential candidate. Currently there is no charismatic Opposition candidate who will be a certain or probable anti-Chavez victor.

What Venezuela can expect will be more political arrests; more business expropriation; increased corruption; increased public safety criminal violence; falling oil production; more virulent anti-US rhetoric; failing infrastructure; falling food production; and increased foreign debts defaults. He will continue to attack personally the Roman Catholic Cardinal. Currency and export controls will tighten and the black market will increase. Chavez has nationalized most of the oil industry, including firing thousands of PDVSA experienced employees, replacing them with inexperienced, but loyal employees. Opposition groups claim the Chavez regime is a conduit for a massive drug trade. Chavez gives support and safe haven to international terrorists groups, especially those fighting in Colombia. He has threatened war with Colombia. A great concern is his military build up including jet fighters, tanks, an AK-47 factory, etc. The Opposition notes that the Ahmadinejad regime in Iran and Chavez are closely linked after numerous personal visits to and from Tehran and Caracas. There may be as much as $30 billion in the Caracas-Tehran business Axis.  The Opposition asks the key issue- will Chavez seek nuclear weapons from Iran when Iran develops nuclear weapons in the near future?  For more details Google “Chavez nuclear weapons.” According to some sources, which Chavez denies, Venezuela is a source of uranium for Iran. Chavez repeated stated goal is a united Gran Colombia, which would include hegemony over Colombia, Panama, Trinidad, and Ecuador. Chavez is an active member of the Latin American radical support organization “Foro de Sao Paulo.”

Chavez for the present wants to project an international image as an elected populist. In reality Chavez is a danger to his nation; his neighboring nations; and the entire region. The September, 2010, National Assembly elections are a small bump in the road to a brutal Chavez totalitarian Bolivarian dictatorship. The Chavez goal is to destroy democracy and become a totalitarian Dictator for Life.
171  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Comunicado de RCN Radio sobre su corresponsal en Caracas on: September 29, 2010, 05:04:38 PM
Comunicado de RCN Radio sobre su corresponsal en Caracas

Por: RCN Radio

RCN Radio, manifiesta respaldo total al trabajo profesional de nuestra corresponsal en Caracas, Andreina Flórez. En el tiempo que lleva con nosotros nos ha dado muestras de rigurosidad, disciplina y compromiso periodístico.
El pasado lunes en la rueda de prensa que concedió el presidente de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, tras la jornada electoral, se presentó un incidente lamentable a raíz de una pregunta formulada por nuestra corresponsal.

Consideramos en RCN Radio que era una pregunta pertinente, interesante desde el punto de vista periodístico para nuestra audiencia y sin ningún objetivo distinto al de llevar la información puntual a nuestro oyentes.

Sin embargo, la pregunta generó una reacción exageradamente crítica por parte del presidente Hugo Chávez. Una situación que lamentamos y rechazamos.

Hoy se conoce además un comunicado del Ministerio del Poder Popular para la Comunicación y la Información en el cual se refieren a la pregunta formulada como “una interrogante tendenciosa de la periodista”.

No compartimos ese calificativo como tampoco los cuestionamientos a las motivaciones de nuestra corresponsal cuando se afirma que busca “generar la polémica fácil para adquirir notoriedad o alimentar ciertas agendas políticas”.

Esperamos que, como lo señala el Ministerio en su comunicado, Andreína Flórez sea tratada “como periodista” y “sin ningún tipo de restricciones a su labor”.

Por parte de RCN Radio, reiteramos, nuestra corresponsal tiene el respaldo para el desarrollo de su labor profesional con total rigor, como lo ha venido haciendo.
172  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / ¡Así se hizo el fraude electoral venezolano! on: September 29, 2010, 04:10:47 PM
¡Así se hizo el fraude electoral venezolano! | Salamandra, Gerrymandering

¡Así se hizo el fraude electoral venezolano! | Salamandra, Gerrymandering

Mucho se habla del fraude electoral que se cometió en Venezuela y como Hugo Chávez manipuló el sistema de votaciones para que el voto del PSUV valiera practicamente el doble, pero nadie logra explicar de forma detallada como se hizo, aprovechandose de este desconocimiento público, Chávez argumenta que en muchas partes del mundo se usa idéntico sistema, pero no es como dice Chávez, una cosa es un sistema electoral organizado en cirscunscripciones que beneficia a minorías específicas en su aplicación: étnicas, grupos migratorios, etc. (Gerrymandering positivo) y otra muy distinta es la aplicación del "Gerrymandering" a nivel total y con marcados fines políticos (Gerrymandering negativo).

Pero los fraudes electorales en Venezuela no son nada nuevos, se hacen a todo nivel y en todas las formas posibles, por ejemplo, según varias fuentes en Twitter, la sumatoria del conteo total de la votación Venezolana tuvo como resultado un precioso 106%.

Para mi sorpresa encontré que practicamente no existe información que denuncie el Gerrymandering Venezolano en la web, amén de ciertas páginas económicas o estadísticas especializadas, tuve que utilizar el programa Windows Media Capture para practicamente robarme (de hecho lo hice) una información en flash que debió ser transmitida de forma viral tanto por Youtube como por las redes sociales y que lamentablemente nunca se hizo:


Gerrymandering (pronúnciese yerrimándering) o guerrimandaje es un controvertido modo de redistribuir las circunscripciones electorales de un territorio para obtener ventaja, en especial en los lugares en los que se utiliza el sistema electoral mayoritario.

El gerrymandering puede también servir para favorecer o perjudicar a un determinado partido político o grupo étnico, lingüístico, religioso o social.

Origen del término

Proviene del nombre del gobernador de Massachusetts, Elbridge Gerry. En 1812, la legislatura de Massachusetts redibujó los límites de los distritos electorales para favorecer a los candidatos del partido republicano jeffersoniano. Los periodistas que observaban el nuevo mapa electoral se percataron de que uno de los nuevos distritos tenía la forma de una salamandra (en inglés: salamander), a la que pusieron por nombre Gerry-mander. El término tuvo éxito y en la actualidad se sigue utilizando en la jerga de la ciencia política.

Gerrymandering positivo

En Estados Unidos, hay lo que se ha llamado Gerrymandering afirmativo o positivo, la Ley del Derecho al Voto ha permitido en el pasado al Gobierno dibujar curiosos distritos con el exclusivo propósito de posibilitar mayorías negras, o de origen latino o asiático. Sin embargo, la manipulación del sistema electoral para proteger la representación de minorías raramente está libre de controversias.

En Argentina

En 2002 el ex presidente Carlos Menem hizo resurgir una idea que ya venía impulsando, sin éxito, desde su período en la presidencia: la creación de una nueva provincia, denominada Del Plata, formada por el Gran Buenos Aires y la Capital Federal. La propuesta, según explicaba él, tenía como fin dar más participación política a los habitantes de la región, pero la prensa y la opositora Unión Cívica Radical siempre la interpretaron como un intento de diluir el poder de la oposición en la nueva entidad política: los 3 millones de habitantes de la Capital (en su mayoría votantes de la UCR) se convertirían en minoría frente a los 8 millones de habitantes del Gran Buenos Aires (bastión del justicialismo). El objetivo real del proyecto era, por lo tanto, crear una nueva provincia gobernada por el PJ.

En Venezuela

El CNE venezolano recientemente presentó una nueva delimitación de los circuitos electorales que, sometida a análisis, muestra signos evidentes de seguir criterios políticos y no geográficos. Esta nueva organización de los circuitos electorales, hecha de manera acomodaticia y a conveniencia del gobierno, por un CNE subordinado al Ejecutivo, está dirigida a conceder ventaja electoral a la bancada oficialista, haciendo prácticamente imposible para la Unidad Democrática obtener mayoría de diputados en ninguna entidad federal.

Votaciones Venezolanas, inconstitucionales e ilegales

Contrario a lo que establece el Art. 186 de la Constitución de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela el CNE (Consejo nacional Electoral), se dedicó a modificar los circuitos electorales para favorecer la opción del partido oficialista:

Artículo 186. La Asamblea Nacional estará integrada por diputados y diputadas elegidos o elegidas en cada entidad federal por votación universal, directa, personalizada y secreta con representación proporcional, según una base poblacional del uno coma uno por ciento de la población total del país.

El origen de la palabra gerrymandering comienza con esta caricatura política elaborado por Gilbert Stuart in 1812. El nombre de la caricatura es The Gerrymander que fue un juego de palabras con el apellido del gobernador de Massachusetts, Elbridge Gerry y la segunda mitad de la palabra en inglés, salamander, lo que significa salamandra.

Estas elecciones en Venezuela fueron absolutamente incostitucionales e ilegales, tal parece que el señor Chávez es quien ignora (¡IGNORANTE!) su propia constitución.

173  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Caricatura de Weil on: September 28, 2010, 02:58:41 PM
radio francia y andreina flores vs. el Chavez

Haz click para verlo en grande

174  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela: Chavez fails to reach critical two-thirds majority on: September 28, 2010, 02:14:59 PM
Thank you Denny for firsthand accounts.  The whole Chavez story is very sad for the people.  I hope you will tell us what you think the U.S. can do to help; I assume it is nothing.  Here we seem to be headed down a similar road.  Now we have an uprising, the tea party, and maybe a shift in one body of congress.  After that I fear we will head further down the same road, what you call 21st century socialism, forced redistributionism and a dismantling of the freedoms and pillars that used to make this a great place.

The only thing I wish from America would be for Obama and various Democrats and Hollywood types to stop backing Chavez. Unfortunately, Socialism is a world wide movement. They don't deny it, on the contrary, that is one more way they seek power. Not only that, they have co-opted the UN

On 20 September the Socialist International held the annual meeting of its Presidium with the participation of Heads of State and Government at the United Nations Headquarters.

XXI Century Socialism is the official Chavez slogan for his movement. He has publicly called himself a Marxist.

Countries have to relearn forgotten principles. America in great measure has discarded the principles of the Founding Fathers but maybe through the Tea Party movement, a true grass roots movement, there will be a revival of these principles. Yes, there are a lot of similarities between Chavez and Obama. The one big difference is that Chavez was able to rewrite the Constitution and to rearrange all the forces in Venezuela so as to take absolute control of the country. He has also committed treason by letting Cuba run the place. He even forced the Armed Forces to adopt the Cuban slogan: "Patria, Socialism o Muerte"  (Homeland, Socialism or Death).

Denny Schlesinger

175  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Chávez se atraganta con su ley electoral on: September 28, 2010, 01:03:38 PM
Ya el mundo entero se está entrando de que Chavez es un tamposo porque sin trampa no gana. Lo mejor del caso es que fué una joven periodista venezolana, Andreina Flores, quien lo puso a balucear necedades porque respueta clara no hay otra sino "hice trampa para ganar."

Andreina Flores en twitter

Chávez se atraganta con su ley electoral

El presidente de Venezuela arremete contra quienes cuestionan por qué la oposición empató a votos y sin embargo consiguió 33 diputados menos

PABLO ORDAZ | Caracas 28/09/2010

Hugo Chávez está enfadado, muy enfadado. Los resultados electorales del domingo le han torcido el gesto. No tanto por la resurrección de la oposición -que logró 65 diputados de los 165 en juego-, ni siquiera porque los 98 obtenidos por su partido no son suficientes para legislar a su antojo, sino porque la forma de ganar, mediante una ley electoral diseñada a su medida hace solo un año, ha dejado al descubierto su particular manera de usar la democracia. El enfado de Chávez se desató en la tarde del lunes, ante una pregunta de una periodista venezolana.

Más que una pregunta, era "la" pregunta: "La diferencia entre los votos obtenidos por su partido, el Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela (PSUV), y los que ha logrado la Mesa de la Unidad Democrática (MUD) es de apenas 100.000. Y es difícil de entender que habiendo obtenido casi el mismo número de votos, la oposición haya alcanzado 37 escaños menos que el PSUV [finalmente sería de 33 la diferencia]. Me pregunto si se estaría confirmando la tesis de la oposición que sostiene que la redistribución de los circuitos electorales se hizo con la intención de favorecer al PSUV o que quizá el voto del PSUV vale por dos...". ¿Qué le respondió Chávez? Nada. No supo que responderle y, fiel a su estilo, arremetió contra ella.

La acusó de no conocer la Constitución, de pertenecer a un medio que difunde mentiras, de no prestar atención y formular "preguntas gelatinosas que no tienen fundamentación lógica", de vivir en la Luna, de manipular... Entre exabrupto y exabrupto -coreado por parte de los miembros de su gobierno y de los periodistas del régimen que le ríen las gracias-, Hugo Chávez intentaba responder, cambiaba papeles de sitio, se removía en su silla, agarraba un lápiz o invitaba a Andreína Flores, la periodista, a tomarse el café que le acababan de servir...

Pero el comandante presidente no hallaba una respuesta lógica... y al final decidió tirar por lo alto: acusó a quienes formulan esas preguntas de obedecer a oscuros intereses desestabilizadores que "lo que buscan es quitarle el petróleo a Venezuela para entregárselo a los yanquis...". Pero no respondió. Tal vez porque no había forma de hacerlo: con la ley anterior y estos mismos resultados, el PSUV y la Mesa de la Unidad hubiesen empatado a 80 diputados. Pero él reformó la ley de tal forma que en las zonas más proclives a su gestión un diputado valga menos votos que en las demarcaciones donde nunca ganó. El resultado no puede ser más claro: una victoria de 98 a 65 con el mismo número de votos.

Lo cierto es que el presidente, que estuvo 24 horas en silencio digiriendo en la intimidad el mal resultado, está dispuesto a utilizar los meses que le quedan hasta enero -fecha en que se constituirá la nueva Asamblea Nacional- para aprovechar la mayoría absoluta que todavía tiene. El jefe del comando Bolívar y diputado Aristóbulo Istúriz se lo advirtió así a la oposición: "Vamos a legislar hasta el último día, así que prepárense". Y Chávez, una vez se iba reponiendo del mal trago, desafiaba a la oposición a que convocara un referéndum para revocar su mandato: "Como son mayoría y ya yo cumplí tres años de este periodo, yo les hago un reto: ¡convoquen ya un revocatorio! ¿Para qué van a esperar dos años para sacarme? Dentro de dos años será más difícil, porque lo que viene es joropo, así que vayan comprando alpargatas".

176  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Un sistema electoral diseñado a medida salva al líder bolivariano on: September 28, 2010, 08:49:27 AM
Una exposición clara de la trampa electoral montada por Chavez y sus secuaces para robrase la elección de la Asamblea Nacional. Gracias a la valiente pregunta de la periodista Andreina Flores este abuso es ahora del conocimiento internacional. Como balbuceaba el idiota de Chávez quien fue cojido por sorpresa por una pregunta que debería haber esperado y para la cual se debería haber preparado.

Un sistema electoral diseñado a medida salva al líder bolivariano

Nueve Estados suman el 67% de la población pero eligen el 53% de los escaños

P. ORDAZ (ENVIADO ESPECIAL) - Caracas - 28/09/2010

Un voto no es igual a un voto en Venezuela. Hay votos y votos. Votos suculentos -los que recolecta Hugo Chávez en los barrios que le son propicios- y votos escuálidos, que es precisamente como llama el presidente a los miembros de la oposición. Si creen que esto es una invención de la prensa colonialista -así definió a este periódico el canciller venezolano, Nicolás Maduro-, tomen nota del siguiente dato: la oposición logró en Caracas el 47,8% de los votos frente al 47,7% que logró el Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela. Pues bien, de los siete diputados en juego, Chávez se llevó seis y la Mesa de la Unidad Democrática solo uno. ¿Que cómo es posible?

Pues cocinando, gracias al poder absoluto que la Asamblea Nacional le otorgaba a Hugo Chávez, una reglamentación electoral a la medida justa de sus necesidades. El chavismo reformó la ley del sufragio y participación política en diciembre de 2009. De tal reforma resultó que las regiones menos pobladas del país tienen ahora más representación en el Parlamento y cada uno de los diputados que se eligen allí cuestan menos votos que en los Estados más grandes.

Un ejemplo muy claro es Amazonas, un Estado pobre y despoblado, donde un diputado se elige con 20.000 votos. Sin embargo, en el Estado de Zulia, un Estado petrolero donde tradicionalmente ha ganado la oposición, se requieren unos 400.000 votos para ganar un escaño o curul. Además del cambio de proporcionalidad, la ley de Chávez también cambió el diseño de las circunscripciones electorales para favorecer al chavismo en número de diputados en aquellos lugares donde -al menos hasta ahora- eran más fuertes.

Hay muchos y muy llamativos ejemplos de que la ley del sufragio aprobada en 2009 es, más que un traje a medida, un chaleco antibalas para el poder de Chávez. Ahí están los casos de Mérida y de Miranda. En Mérida, el Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela se lleva cuatro de los seis diputados en juego, pese a que la lista de la Mesa de la Unidad Democrática tiene el 50,04% de los votos y la de Chávez el 48,7%. Y en Miranda, más de lo mismo: el comandante presidente -así lo llaman sus fieles- se lleva cinco de los 10 diputados, pese a que solo lograron el 41,4% de los votos frente al 57% que consiguió la oposición.

¿Más ejemplos? Los hay. En Carabobo, la lista de la oposición logra el 53,66% y la de Chávez tiene el 43,04%, pero pese a ganar por 10 puntos, el reparto de las demarcaciones electorales hace que de los 10 escaños, la oposición se lleva solo tres y Chávez seis, aunque faltan aún los datos de una circunscripción.

Hay todavía otro dato muy interesante: los nueve Estados del país donde se concentra el 67% de la población electoral del país (Anzoátegui, Aragua, Bolívar, Carabobo, Lara, Miranda, Táchira, Zulia y Distrito Capital, cinco de ellos gobernados por la oposición) eligen el 53% de los escaños (87 curules).

El sistema electoral garantizó a Chávez una victoria. A pesar de ello, tal vez el líder bolivariano sí tendrá que ir reformando su manera de dirigirse a la oposición. Los escuálidos demostraron el domingo que tienen músculos de acero.

177  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / RFI responde al presidente Hugo Chávez on: September 28, 2010, 08:34:09 AM
RFI responde al presidente Hugo Chávez

La dirección de Radio Francia Internacional rechaza los cuestionamientos vertidos por el mandatario venezolano a este medio y a su corresponsal en Caracas. Hugo Chávez criticó a RFI durante la reunión con la prensa extranjera, el 27 de septiembre en el Palacio de Miraflores.

Señor Presidente,
En la conferencia de prensa con los medios internacionales llevada a cabo el 27 de septiembre de 2010, la corresponsal del RFI en Caracas, Andreína Flores, le formuló una pregunta sobre la diferencia entre el número de votos y el de escaños obtenidos por la oposición durante las últimas elecciones en Venezuela.
En su respuesta, usted cuestionó a nuestra corresponsal Andreína Flores, quien trabaja para RFI desde hace varios años. Ella ha efectuado numerosos reportajes en Venezuela y en otros países de América Latina. RFI es garante de la calidad profesional y de la honestidad intelectual de su periodista.
RFI es particularmente rigurosa en cuanto al respeto estricto del código de ética periodística. En las preguntas formuladas, la Señora Flores no se ha apartado en ningún momento de estas reglas, y sigue contando con toda la confianza de su dirección.
Por otro lado, usted ha cuestionado la exactitud y la calidad de las informaciones difundidas por RFI, hablando de “mentiras”. Del mismo modo, ha asegurado que pidió en el pasado explicaciones a RFI y que no obtuvo respuesta.
Queremos precisarle que ningún pedido de este tipo, formulado por usted o su gobierno, ha llegado a RFI. Le recordamos que RFI es una radio internacional basada en París y que forma parte del sistema Audiovisual Exterior de Francia, un organismo público sometido a un código de ética que se aplica a todos sus programas y al que obedecen todos sus corresponsales en el mundo.
Nuestras informaciones relativas a Venezuela están destinadas a un público internacional. Si lo desea, Señor Presidente, RFI lo invita a expresarse ante sus micrófonos en el marco de una entrevista.

178  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Hugo Chavez balbuceando bobadas on: September 27, 2010, 11:53:19 PM
Este domingo 26 de septiembre fueron las elecciones de diputados para la Asamblea Nacional de Venezuela.

La periodista Andreína Flores le pregunta a Chavez como con una diferencia de apenas cien mil votos, el Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela, PSUV obtuvo 94 scaños y la oposición apenas 57. La pregunta venia con puntilla ya que desde mucho antes de la fecha electoral la oposición se habia quejado de la modificación de circuitos electorales. Es un secreto a voces que la modificación fué hecha con el propósito de dar ventaja al oficialismo.

La verdad es que la respusta de Chavez da pena, es incoherente, el tipo balubucea, titubea como alumno rezagado a la hora del examen. Mas abajo está el video para que lo vean y juzguen Uds. mismos.

El ‘mano a mano’ de Chávez con una periodista que le preguntó sobre las elecciones

Cómo se explica que con una diferencia de unos 100 mil votos, la oposición haya logrado 37 diputados menos que el oficialismo, fue la interrogante que la periodista venezolana Andreína Flores le planteó esta noche al presidente Hugo Chávez.

El Presidente consideró que la pregunta estaba “configurada de manera extraña” e incluso le dijo a la periodista que parece que “viviera en la luna”, ya que la respuesta está en la Constitución, por lo que preguntó si la conocía.

La profesional de la comunicación, de nacionalidad venezolana, contestó que sí conoce el contenido de la Carta Magna, pero que en todo caso, no reviste importancia que ella conozca el contenido pues finalmente en el momento del encuentro con los medios, el entrevistado es Chávez.

A esto, Chávez contestó molesto que cómo que “no tiene importancia para una venezolana conocer la Constitución de su propio país”.

El Presidente recordó que las elecciones de ayer fueron circuitales, por lo que por ejemplo, la cantidad de 110 diputados “no tiene nada que ver con la votación nacional”.

Le preguntó nuevamente a la periodista si conocía sobre eso, contestando la joven que sí. “Compatriota, ¿Por qué si tu sabes eso, haces la pregunta?”, espetó Chávez.

Ante los representantes de los medios internacionales, la joven le reiteró al Presidente que ella no ignoraba el tema.

“Yo no te estoy diciendo ignorante a tí, no manipules”, contestó Chávez visiblemente molesto.

Explicó el mandatario que las elecciones parlamentarias venezolanas están montadas en un método vigente en países como Francia.

“Es una elección que no tiene que ver con la cantidad de votos, pues se trata de circunscripciones”, indicó. Chávez tomó como ejemplo el estado Zulia, donde a pesar de lograr el 45% de la votación, el PSUV obtuvo 3 diputados, frente a los 12 sacados por la MUD.

No obstante, Chávez le dijo a Flores que confía en que su planteamiento sea honesto. “La verdad es lo que te pido que tú transmitas”.

Al progresar en su respuesta, Chávez notó que la periodista no estaba haciendo anotaciones, por lo que le dijo que él estaba haciendo un esfuerzo por responderle, así que incluso le ofreció un lápiz.

Ya visiblemente alterado, Chávez le dijo a la periodista que lo tenía “descolocado” y que empezaba entonces a “sospechar” de ella.

En ese momento, otro periodista internacional tomó la palabra para sugerir que la periodista Andreína Flores sirve a los intereses comerciales de una empresa.

El video

Noten la fecha!
Súmate fija posición sobre modificación de circuitos electorales
enero 20, 2010

179  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Gerrymandering: How to "legally" steal an election on: September 27, 2010, 10:32:13 AM
Chavismo brags about having the most modern electoral system in the world, it's all computers and telecommunications and the data arrives at the CNE just as soon as the voting stations are tallied. Even Iran can report results in two or three hours but it took the Venezuelan CNE about eight to give "partial" results. Think what you will, I think data massage, not even Chavistas can be this incompetent. Maybe I'm over estimating them.

The National Assembly seats 165 deputies. Anyway, with 52% of the popular vote the opposition only gets 62 seats vs. 94 for Chavismo which leaves 9 undecided. The frightening aspect of this balance is that Chavismo retains 2/3 majority which they can use to pass "major" laws (leyes organicas) which they have used to further the expansion of XXI Century Socialism.

Frankly, I tire of politics. I tire of TV. I haven't had a TV set in my home for about 17 years.  If you want to add days to your life, I recommend you get rid of yours, it frees up time to live a life and not waste away as a couch potato. These days I keep up with the news via the WWW and the email I get from a select group of friends. Since I'm not as up to date as I could or should be with our political parties I had to study the voting card to see what was happening.

Can you believe there were 56 political parties represented in my district? It's mind boggling that such a system could ever produce a working government except through hour long haggling in smoke filled back rooms where the pork is cut up and parceled out. How can anything good for the country come from that? The opposition through the so called "Unity Table" (Mesa de Unidad MUD) and primary elections, managed to pick a single set of candidates backed by well over 95% of the opposition parties. Considering the distorted results achieved through gerrymandering against a united front, think what the results would have been against a divided opposition. Curiously, it was Chavismo that was divided, one or two Chavista parties broke ranks and fielded their own candidates. But even that does not seem to have helped the opposition in the final tally.

Sorry for the over long introduction but some background was necessary. I studied the 56 cards trying to figure out who was what. The Chavista parties were easy enough to single out (and discard) but that still left about 40 opposition parties. Can you believe it, there is not a single right wing party in the whole lot! Miguel Octavio of The Devil's Excrement fame, a banker, is voting for Causa R because he likes their leader. Causa R (what's left of it) happens to be a left wing party born of the Labor Union movement. What the  heck is a banker doing backing the Labor Movement just because this party is currently opposed to Chavez?

Do you see the muddle we are in?

When Venezuelans go to the poll we are offered three choices:

XXI Century Socialism
XX Century Socialism
IXX Century Socialism

Hard to tell which is worse. We know the XXI Century Socialism is the Road to Ruin. IXX Century Socialism led to communism and the failed Soviet Union. F. A. Hayek famously called XX Century Socialism The Road to Serfdom. Has Venezuela gone mad? Maybe not.

When the land is not overly bountiful Man has to work to make a living. As societies grow in size, the work of individuals has be organized and no better way has been found than Adam Smith's "invisible hand" of the market and free markets imply capitalism. When the land is oversupplied with wealth, there is much less need of work, just reach up and grab a banana or drill down and find oil. Since no work is required, the mechanism of wages is not available to spread the wealth. Instead, you distribute the wealth through government programs and subsidies.  This is not what socialism was supposed to be but it is what socialism has become.

There are hundred of "reasons" to give people subsidies: because they are old, or young, or students, or pregnant, or invalid, or out of work, or sick, or any other reason you care to come up with. All of a sudden, healthcare and food are "human rights" which they were not when we had to work for them.

One can live in a socialistic society like Venezuela has been for decades provided that your economic freedom is not impaired, as long as government is willing to let a free market coexist with government run socialism. During the 40 years between General Marcos Perez Jimenez and Lieutenant Colonel Hugo Chavez we had eight more or less pragmatic socialist governments and life was mostly good, at least initially. Socialism or mismanagement eventually wore the economy down and social unrest brought our current despot to power. But the problem with Chavez is not that he is a socialist. The problem is that he is an idealist who thinks that only His way should be allowed. His inferiority complex is ruining my country!

Denny Schlesinger

Causa R

The Road to Serfdom: Fiftieth Anniversary Edition F. A. Hayek (Author), Milton Friedman (Introduction)
180  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: September 26, 2010, 09:08:37 AM
Miguel Octavio of the The Devil’s Excrement blog is on election duty and he is reporting live from his polling station via his cell phone. If you want a minute by minute update, follow him at:

A day in the life of an electoral worker in Venezuela
September 25, 2010
181  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / September 26, election day on: September 25, 2010, 12:38:30 PM
Tomorrow, September 26, is election day in Venezuela. We will be voting for members to the National Assembly, our version of Congress. After difficult and prolonged haggling, the opposition managed to agree on a unity slate. I wonder just effective this will be. In our system, half the candidates are elected by name, just like in the USA but the other half are elected by party list and I have no idea who might be on those lists. These lists could have a very strong dilutive effect on the results. In any case, this is the best chance we have had in a long time to take back the legislative body now controlled entirely by Chavez through his puppets.

The voting process is entirely mechanized and really well organized. We all have a national ID card. Enter your "Cédula" (the ID number) and you'll get all the info about your polling station.

You don't have a number to enter? Try this one:  22642082

The gentleman is Henry Castellanos Garzón alias "ROMAÑA." He will not  be voting tomorrow because he is dead! He was killed by the Colombian military in the recent raid that killed "Mono Jojoy" the second in command in the narco-terrorist FARC.

El abatido jefe de secuestros del 'Mono Jojoy' era militante del PSUV de Hugo Chávez

These are the Chavez allies!

Denny Schlesinger
182  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / El régimen venezolano se encamina a una implosión política y económica on: June 08, 2010, 12:21:37 PM
Diego Arria representante permanente ante la ONU
"El régimen venezolano se encamina a una implosión política y económica"
Luis Carías

(Foto José Félix Lara)

Los escenarios que se vaticinan para los próximos meses indican que el régimen está cercano a una implosión política y económica, situación que se evidencia con la aceleración de "sus arbitrariedades y abusos. Su premura en asaltar a empresas e instituciones, corrobora esta sensación" y el repudio nacional e internacional hacen que la imagen del Primer Mandatario venezolano se desmorone, "su colapso se le nota".

Diego Arria Salicetti, ex embajador de Venezuela (1991-1994) y representante permanente ante la Organización de Naciones Unidas (ONU), explicó que dicho colapso se siente en la aceleración de la ocupación del régimen cubano, "ni en los sueños más calurientos de Fidel pudo imaginarse que sin disparar un tiro controlaría al país (Venezuela) que en 1963 intentó tomar a la fuerza y que fue rechazado por lo que era una Fuerza Armada Nacional".

Esta situación, que califica de entrega de la soberanía a Cuba representa, a juicio de Arria, un delito de "traición a la Patria". En cualquier otra Nación que disponga de un mínimo nivel de instituciones democráticas, "el Presidente ya estaría destituido y cumpliendo su condena".

El entrevistado para el Foro de los Lunes cree indispensable que los ciudadanos continúen denunciando ante las autoridades judiciales, legislativas, contraloras o electorales las irregularidades o abusos que "comete el régimen".

Sin embargo aclara que esas medidas se emprenden en el entendido de no guardar ni la más mínima esperanza de que se haga justicia o de que los mecanismos actúen de manera eficiente, "pero debemos dejar constancia formal, no sólo para que sean reparados en un futuro lejano los daños causados, sino también para que los que detentan estos poderes sean advertidos de que algún día responderán por sus actos".

El ex presidente del Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU (1992-1993) asegura que para orientar al país hacia el futuro, se debe pasar por una etapa que tal vez le lleve tiempo asumir a los venezolanos, es decir, la reunificación, "sin la cual no hay estabilidad posible".

"Esto implica un esfuerzo de amplitud, tolerancia e inclusión. No debemos perder de vista que los fanáticos del régimen no son para nada representativos del universo venezolano, por lo que me niego a aceptar que podamos ser capaces de destilar tanto odio, desprecio y violencia por los demás", manifiesta Arria, quien destaca que esa vulgaridad encarnada en el Jefe de Estado representa un anti modelo de la identidad venezolana.

Vendados por el petróleo

El ex gobernador del Distrito Federal de Caracas en la mitad de los años 70´ explica en entrevista desde Europa que durante toda la semana estuvo denunciando en Ginebra, Francia y España al Presidente como "un triple coronado olímpico con medallas de oro en materia de desviación de la justicia, violación de derechos humanos y promoción del odio, la violencia y la división de los venezolanos", mientras destaca que los poderes venezolanos perdieron autonomía completamente.

Por ello comenta que durante muchos años, la actitud internacional estuvo sesgada y vendada por el atractivo que ofrece el crudo en el mercado internacional, lo cual impedía ver la realidad política, pero "he quedado estimulado al constatar que esa actitud ha cambiado radicalmente" y se comienza a ver con otros ojos lo que ocurre en Venezuela.

Arria comenzó su carrera política en el primer gobierno de Rafael Caldera (1969-1974) cuando fue nombrado presidente de la Corporación Nacional de Hoteles y Turismo, continuó en la cartera gubernamental con la llegada de Carlos Andrés Pérez en 1973 quien lo nombró gobernador central.

Por su historial político, no duda en afirmar que el mejor promotor para develar la realidad venezolana ha sido el Presidente venezolano con sus propias palabras dirigidas siempre en insultos hacia otros gobernantes. "Nadie se engaña con un régimen que con el pretexto de acabar con los capitalistas, destruye a los trabajadores y los disfraza de rojo". Aseguró que cuando los estudiantes salen a la calle, dichas manifestaciones son vistas en el mundo con atención.

Al estilo de los peores...

La actual situación que vive el país, le ofrece al ex Ministro de Información y Turismo la libertad para compararlo con dos sistemas que, a su juicio, son los ejemplos más cercanos al caso venezolano.

Zimbabue es el ejemplo "del despojo abusivo y arbitrario, de asaltos a fincas. Se promueve el enfrentamiento por parte de Robert Gabriel Mugabe contra los blancos creando una modalidad perversa de apartheid".

El otro caso es el de Milosevic en la antigua Yugoslavia que según relata estuvo marcada por el fanatismo y el odio hacia los disidentes, lo cual llevó a su líder al Tribunal Penal Internacional y ver al Jefe de Estado "aplaudir y estimular a niños del país a que se apropien de lo ajeno y a saquear, es un delito por el que deberá pagar", en referencia a lo ocurrido en su finca La Carolina en semanas pasadas.

Al parecer del ex candidato independiente a la Presidencia de Venezuela en 1978 cuando llegó en cuarto lugar, el video de 300 niños en una piscina por órdenes del Mandatario dejó escandalizados a todos los representantes internacionales y es una de las pruebas en su contra.

Lento pero seguro

La justicia internacional podrá no ser veloz, pero no perdona-según afirma- al tiempo que expone como algunos ejemplos -además de Slobodan Milosevic, quien murió durante su juicio- el de Charles Taylor en Sierra Leona, sometido actualmente a juicio en La Haya (Holanda) y Jean Kambanda, ex Primer Ministro de Rwanda durante el genocidio que le costó la condena a cadena perpetua.

También de Rwanda fueron condenados a cadena perpetua dos comunicadores sociales de Radio Mil Colinas por haber incitado al odio y la violencia, y Al Bashir de Sudán en juicio iniciado por la Corte Penal Internacional.

Con respecto al presidente Chávez dice que el expediente que viene acumulando al "envenenar" el alma nacional no necesitará recoger pruebas, pues ya es "un candidato natural de la justicia internacional" y se inhibió al utilizar la metáfora de "la espada de la justicia", pues actualmente es investigado por la Asamblea Nacional (AN) por emplearla durante su participación en un programa de televisión.

Sin embargo señala que la semana pasada, el Primer Mandatario se refirió al ex presidente de Pdval, Luis Enrique Pulido al indicar que "enfrentará la afilada espada de la justicia" y por tal frase "ya yo estaría preso".

¿Qué poderes?

El fundador del antiguo Diario de Caracas está seguro de que restablecer la paz en el país será imposible mientras continúe el actual Jefe de Estado en el poder. "Cada día se muestra más grosero y violento, destruyendo la base social y económica del país, despreciando al 70% de la población que lo adversa".

Eso sólo ocurrirá cuando los venezolanos en su inmensa plenitud vuelvan cara de la "cubanización que enfrenta el país" y decidan tener un mejor futuro, "muchos no saben que durante la guerra de independencia que se selló en Carabobo. España no tuvo más de 20 mil soldados, pero hoy Cuba tiene 60 mil agentes en el país".

El ex secretario asistente general de la ONU y embajador especial se negó a contestar sobre el Poder Judicial en el país, pues a -su juicio- éste no existe como institución para quienes disienten del Gobierno, y excluyó del grupo al Consejo Nacional Electoral convertido en el Ministerio de Propaganda del Gobierno.

Colección de opositores

Con respecto a la oposición política como contraparte o alternativa a lo que sucede en el país, advirtió que aún no se trata de una oposición real, sino de una colección de opositores que pierde la oportunidad de unificar al país constantemente por diatribas. "Recientemente se pudo crear una tarjeta única y con primarias para todos" pero nada de eso sucedió.

Por ello considera que la esperanza no puede basarse sólo en procesos electorales, pues a su juicio con la Ley de Comunas se intentará reemplazar a la Asamblea Nacional por un Parlamento Comunal, lo cual atentaría contra el sistema de elecciones directas, inclusive para designar al Presidente de la República que sería escogido por esa nueva Asamblea.

La salida

"El día que logremos que los venezolanos conozcan cómo han sido engañados y timados por el régimen más corrupto de la historia nacional verán la salida", pues quienes detentan el poder han utilizado las expectativas sociales y las esperanzas ciudadanos para "asaltar el patrimonio nacional".

Pero ello sólo se logrará cuando los ciudadanos creen consciencia ciudadana para progresar y tener un futuro prominente. "Ese día nos reunificaremos".

Arria también niega que lanzará su candidatura para las elecciones presidenciales entre risas tras razonar que la primera vez que lo hizo, "los dos grandes partidos me dieron una paliza, pero desde ese entonces advertía cuál sería su destino y se cumplió".

En aquél entonces, redactó un libro llamado Primero la Gente que también era el eslogan de su campaña política y rezaba entonces que muy pocos países en el mundo reúnen las condiciones que Venezuela tiene: la libertad y los recursos, que si se utilizaban con los criterios adecuados, se llegaría al siglo XXI en un país con prosperidad y estabilidad social "desgraciadamente sufrimos lo contrario".

Otro país

De aquí a 2012 -alerta Arria- el país como se conoce puede dejar de existir por ello nada se puede asegurar, "nunca hemos estado tan cercanos de perder nuestra soberanía que ya es una realidad, sino de perder los pocos espacios de libertades y derechos que nos quedan".

Tal razón, le lleva a aseverar que se debe activar el rescate del país, antes de que sea más tarde, "hemos llegado al momento de prepararnos para acometer la etapa de recuperar la libertad y el futuro que nos espera a todos los venezolanos": la post Chávez.

183  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: May 25, 2010, 07:34:49 AM
Who is buying the Venezuelan oil that is financing all this?

Uncle Sam and China. China is buying up resources all over the world as if there is no tomorrow. They need it to keep up the pace of their economic expansion and a bit of Red never did bother them.

From what I gather, with regard to Venezuela the US only seems to be worried about the drug trade and money laundering. The current US administration is ideologically aligned with world wide socialism, they only hit hard at true allies like Israel. Go figure. From the Arizona brouhaha it seems that the administration is more inclined to help your southern neighbors than American citizens.

With Obama in power America's enemies are rejoicing. Look at how Iran is thumbing its nose at America. The North Koreans happily sink a South Korean ship and test-fire missiles. Hamas and Hezbollah build up their rocket arsenals. Brazil and Venezuela have a nuclear deal with Iran. Never has America looked as weak as it does today, not for lack of military power but for lack of will, because the Democratic party is all in favor of UN style world government. You would be right back to taxation without representation.

Come November I hope you guys start  "kicking out the bums."

Denny Schlesinger
184  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / In Focus: Venezuela Militia on: May 22, 2010, 08:53:08 PM
Maybe it's this that has me depressed...

In Focus: Venezuela Militia
Posted May 10, 2010

A 54-year-old housewife fires a machine gun for the first time, lets loose a thunderous burst of gunfire and beams with satisfaction. A boot camp instructor shouts, “Kill those gringos!”

Thousands of civilian volunteers in olive-green fatigues train at a Venezuelan army base, where they learn to crawl under barbed wire, fire assault rifles and stalk enemies in combat. Known as the Bolivarian Militia, this spirited group of mostly working-class men and women – from students to retirees – are united by their militant support for President Hugo Chavez and their willingness to defend his government.

Chavez has repeatedly warned of potential threats: the United States, U.S.-allied Colombia and the Venezuelan “oligarchy,” as he labels opponents. He has called on recruits to be ready to lay down their lives if necessary to battle “any threat, foreign or domestic,” even though Venezuela has never fought a war against another nation.

The militia "is a personal army, a Praetorian Guard," said retired Rear Adm. Elias Buchszer, a Chavez opponent. He said despite Chavez's talk about repelling a U.S. invasion, the militia is really aimed at maintaining control, keeping him in power, and "making the country fear that if anything is done the militiamen are going to come out." A member of Venezuela's Bolivarian Militia takes cover during military training in Charallave, Venezuela. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

A member of Venezuela's Bolivarian Militia points her rifle during firing practice at a shooting range in Charallave, Venezuela. President Hugo Chavez has made a priority of building up the militia and has repeatedly warned of multiple potential threats: the United States, U.S.-allied Colombia and the Venezuelan "oligarchy," as he labels opponents. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

Members of Venezuela's Bolivarian Militia march during military training in Charallave, Venezuela. The militia is a practical tool for Chavez to engage his supporters, rally nationalist fervor and intimidate any opponents who might consider another coup like the one he survived in 2002. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

Most seem gung-ho for marching in the sun and getting their uniforms sweaty and dirty. Some cover their faces with black dust from the charred earth left by forest fires. They also enjoy the camaraderie, saying they spent one night hiking and watching a Chinese film. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

A member of Venezuela's Bolivarian Militia puts on lip stick before a swearing in ceremony led by Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez in Caracas. Members of the volunteer force range from the unemployed to electricians, bankers and social workers. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

As part of the training, members line up at a firing range aiming decades-old, Belgian-made FAL rifles at red bull's-eyes on paper targets 80 yards away. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

Instructors, including both experienced militia troops and army officers, say one objective is to ready the militia for a war of resistance against an occupying force. They allude to insurgents battling U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

Venezuela's Bolivarian Militia shouts slogans in support of President Hugo Chavez prior to their swearing in ceremony led by Chavez in Caracas. "We aren't here because anyone forced us to be. We're here because we're patriots," said Maria Henriquez, an unemployed 44-year-old who emerged covered with dust after crawling through a trench under barbed wire. As for Chavez, she said, "We'd give our lives for him." (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

Venezuela's Bolivarian Militia gather in the dust after firing an anti-tank canon during military training in Charallave, Venezuela. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

Members of Venezuela's Bolivarian Militia run during military training in Charallave, Venezuela. President Hugo Chavez has made a priority of building up the militia and has repeatedly warned of multiple potential threats: the United States, U.S.-allied Colombia and the Venezuelan "oligarchy," as he labels opponents. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

The militia practice reacting to an ambush in the forest, camouflaged with mud-smeared faces and with dry grass stuck in the collars of their uniforms. They crouch for cover behind a pig pen and fire blanks into an abandoned building in a mock raid on hostage-takers. Spent shells clink onto the concrete as shots echo through the building, and one man shouts "all clear!" (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

Members of Venezuela's Bolivarian Militia celebrate after an artillery exercise during military training in Charallave, Venezuela. Some who belong to the militia say Venezuelans have nothing to fear, that their only purpose is to protect the country and that their guns are locked away in military depots when not in use. They also carry out missions including standing guard at state-run markets, and say they would be prepared to respond in earthquakes or other disasters. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez salutes members of his Bolivarian Militia in Bolivar Avenue shortly before the group's swearing in ceremony in Caracas. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

Members of Venezuela's Bolivarian Militia shout in Spanish "Yes I swear" prior to their swearing in ceremony on Militia Day in Caracas. One of the militia's guiding principles is constantly drilled into the group as they salute in unison shouting: "Socialist homeland or death! We will be victorious!" (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

185  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: May 22, 2010, 04:54:44 PM

At some point one suspects that the laws of gravity and of supply and demand will re-assert themselves.  What do you think happens then?


I live two blocks from where I grew up. I used to walk to school. Yesterday I retraced my boyhood walk. It used to be a nice neighborhood. Now it's a bit run down and the sidewalks are now an open market. I bought some fruit and vegetables. The stalls are manned by urban poor. They don't look any different from what they looked like years ago except that you see many more red shirts. They are just as polite as ever, as if nothing were happening in Venezuela. Of course, I did not talk politics with anyone so I don't know what they might be thinking. My impression is that these people were doing what people all over the world do. They were busy surviving.

When I go on Twitter I think I'm meeting mostly middle class folks and so called political leaders. The Venezuelans on Twitter are bitterly opposed to Chavez. It's as if I lived in two different countries, the anti Chavez middle class and the urban poor who don't have time for politics, who are too busy surviving.

What happens when we run out of supplies? People will go on surviving as best they can because that's the only alternative. In Thailand, when the government finally had its fill of demonstrators, they used live ammo on their own people. 80 or 100 dead? Who cares. Bury them and life goes on. It seems to me that in many places life is not as sacred as it might be in America. Remember Stalin or Mao, how many million did they kill? I don't mention Hitler because he was not killing his own like Stalin or Mao did.

What I do believe is that dictators can only be removed by force. In Thailand the opposition didn't have enough force, they didn't manage to win the military to their side as the people of Rumania did to get rid of Nicolae Ceauşescu. In Venezuela, Perez Jimenez fled when the military stages a coup, a counter revolution. Most dictators die in bed of old age. The only thing they cannot do is go soft. That is the end for a dictator.

Chavez is now 55. If he lives to 80...

Denny Schlesinger
186  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Chavez decomisa 120 tonelads de alimentos de Polar on: May 20, 2010, 04:33:06 PM
Se ve que el gobierno está desesperado porque ya no tiene el poder de compra de aliments y le robó 120 toneladas a las Empresas Polar.

GNB decomisó 120 toneladas de alimentos de Polar

El comandante del Comando regional número 4, general Luis Bohorquez Soto, dijo que la mercancía se colocará en la red Mercal e Hipermercados Bicentenario. .

03:48 PM Caracas.- Efectivos de la Guardia Nacional Bolivariana (GNB) decomisaron este jueves 120 toneladas de alimentos de la cesta básica acaparados en galpones de Empresas Polar en Barquisimeto, estado Lara, informó el comandante del Comando regional número 4, general Luis Bohorquez Soto.

Señaló que en las instalaciones supervisadas se encontraron inconsistencias con el inventario, pues "las cantidades que ellos reflejaban ante las autoridades del Ministerio del Poder Popular para la Alimentación no corresponden con el inventario existente en el local".

De las 120 toneladas de alimentos, 91 son de harina de trigo, 12 de mantequilla, cinco de arroz y siete de mayonesa, así como 25 mil litros de aceite, indicó Bohorquez, según ABN.

En estos momentos, la mercancía se encuentra retenida de forma preventiva por la GNB y luego se colocará en la red Mercados de Alimentos (Mercal) e Hipermercados Bicentenario para garantizar que los alimentos lleguen al pueblo venezolano.

Este procedimiento forma parte de la lucha frontal que adelanta el Gobierno Nacional contra el acaparamiento y la especulación.

187  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: May 18, 2010, 07:26:12 AM

At some point one suspects that the laws of gravity and of supply and demand will re-assert themselves.  What do you think happens then?

Violent protest

But  Cubans have lived under Castro's dictatorship for over 50 years and I don't know how long North Korea has been going on.  Most dictators die of old age in their own bed. As long as a totalitarian regime is ruthless it can hold on forever. Only the weak fail.

People hate me for saying this but: All rights derive from the use or the threat of the use of force. Americans didn't get their freedom with a ballot box, it took a revolution and a war of independence. This is essentially what Diego Arria has been saying and it cost him his farm.

Denny Schlesinger
188  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hugo Chavez's Expropriation Binge on: May 17, 2010, 07:24:40 PM
Hugo Chavez's Expropriation Binge

Posted 07:06 PM ET

It was everybody into the pool after Hugo Chavez took over the ranch of a former U.N. Security Council president who's been critical of the dictator.

Socialism: After 12 years in power and $960 billion in oil earnings, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez is down to stealing private swimming pools to bring the good life to Venezuela's "poor." It's a new milestone on his road to ruin.

Acting like Robert Mugabe on cocaine, Venezuela's dictator went on a shopping spree over the weekend, confiscating one farm and industry after another.

First, a flour factory run by Mexican multinational Gruma was plundered, followed by the nationalization of a bauxite unit of U.S.-based NorPro. After that, a steel subsidiary of Luxembourg-based Tenaris called Matesi was taken, along with a group of transport companies.

Unsated, Chavez then announced — via Twitter — the takeover of the private University of Santa Ines in Barinas state. And for good measure, he launched new exchange controls, another form of expropriation.

One taking stood out, however — a 370-acre ranch in Yaracuy state that grows oranges and coffee and raises cattle with 38 shareholding farm workers. The scenic property on an otherwise desolate stretch of highway is owned by Diego Arria, Venezuela's former president of the U.N. Security Council. It's been in his family since 1852.

Arria had spoken out against Chavez, so Chavez got personal. "If he wants to farm now, he will have to topple Chavez, because this now belongs to the revolution," El Presidente pronounced.

Arria told IBD he's been pressured for two years with acts of vandalism and the kidnapping of farmhands. A month ago, Chavista Ministry of Culture operatives approached him in Norway, demanding that he quit criticizing the Chavez regime. If he didn't "play ball," he'd lose the ranch, Arria was warned. "But I never negotiate with thugs," he said.

Chavez's red-shirts finally acted over the weekend, opening the farm to "the masses" in a show of class warfare. Chavista leaders from the National Institute of Lands headed first to Arria's living quarters, rolling over his bed, pawing through his wife's clothing and desecrating a chapel dedicated to the Arrias' late daughter.

For their big photo spectacular, they hauled in 300 or 400 children to swim in Arria's swimming pool, ride the ranch horses and tour the main house — encouraging the kids to take "souvenirs." Chavez said it was all proof he was "socializing happiness."

In reality, the attack on Arria's farm was proof of Chavez's own failures. Unable to create any prosperity, even after 12 years in power and a trillion dollars in oil cash, Chavez still resorts to crude medieval plunder to bring any spoils to his supporters.

It would be logical to think Venezuela's oil earnings would be sufficient to build swimming pools for the children of Yaracuy. But Chavez's destruction of property rights and rule of law from these confiscations — now numbering 500 or so, have ended any prospect of prosperity coming to the country's poor.

Not a single expropriated property in Venezuela produces what it produced when it was privately owned. In a year Arria's ranch will be a wasteland, and Venezuela will find itself importing even more than the 76% of its food it now imports.

With disrespect for property rights goes disregard for human rights, as the confiscation of the Arria ranch attests.

189  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / PROPIETARIOS on: May 17, 2010, 02:11:34 AM
Este artículo lo pone a uno a pansar. Si nadie defiende la propieded ajena nadie defenderá la de uno.

domingo 16 de mayo de 2010

Uno no puede dejar de preguntarse porqué este régimen puede impunemente confiscar las propiedades de individualidades o de grupos que tienen pleno derecho al disfrute y disposición de sus bienes, sin que la ciudadanía proteste masiva y airadamente por el atraco.

La respuesta hay que buscarla en la reacción de algunos de los trabajadores de las empresas confiscadas y de los estudiantes de universidades privadas amenazadas de intervención. Veamos. Cuando el régimen confiscó a las empresas que le prestaban servicios a la industria petrolera en la Costa Oriental del Lago de Maracaibo, los sindicatos no protestaron porque el régimen había violado el derecho de propiedad de los legítimos dueños de esas empresas ¡No! Protestaron por la perdida de los puestos de trabajo. Todavía hoy, a meses del asalto, sindicatos y trabajadores lo único que reclaman es que PDVSA no los haya incorporado a su nómina.

Recordemos ahora el caso de la Polar en Barquisimeto. La mayoría de los sindicatos y los trabajadores han luchado por sus puestos pero, en más de una ocasión, han aclarado que no están defendiendo ni a la Polar ni a Lorenzo Mendoza (Aunque algunos pocos si lo han hecho) La pregunta es ¿porqué todos no defienden a los legítimos propietarios? ¿Por qué hasta un hombre que ha demostrado cierto coraje como Henry Falcón se siente obligado a decir que no defiende a la Polar? ¿Por qué Chávez cree que insulta a Falcón cuando lo “acusa” de defender a la Polar? Hace poco oí a un estudiante defendiendo a su universidad privada (estatizada vía twitter). Pero, también afirmó que no defendía a los propietarios sino que luchaba por su derecho a estudiar. ¿Por qué un joven se siente obligado a aclarar que no defiende a los propietarios de la universidad donde recibe, por lo que dice, adecuada instrucción?

Parece mentira que en pleno siglo XXI algunos trabajadores y estudiantes consideren a la propiedad privada como algo que no merece ser defendido. Peor aún, algo de lo cual hay que desligarse. Pretender que se puede defender el derecho al trabajo sin defender el de los propietarios es la demostración más palpable del daño moral que nos ha hecho el viejo complejo de la izquierda que demonizó a la propiedad privada. Que ensalzó el rol del Estado. Que le prohibió a los ciudadanos participar directamente en la explotación del petróleo, del hierro, oro y aluminio bajo el nefasto concepto de que esas eran empresas básicas. Una ideología que consagró que lo único nacional era lo que pertenecía al Estado y que convirtió a los propietarios de empresas en carne de cañón para la crítica antes y para la depredación ahora.

Mucho se habla de que debemos convertirnos en un país de propietarios. De acuerdo. Pero ¿con cuales razones vamos a defender lo nuestro si permitimos que se confisque lo ajeno? Además, este régimen no sólo confisca sino que no le da ni a los campesinos ni a los citadinos títulos de propiedad sobre las tierras o sobre las pocas viviendas que les otorga. Les permite el disfrute pero no su disposición. Sin el derecho a disponer, vender o hipotecar no existe propiedad. La incorporación de los más pobres a la sociedad productiva pasa por hacerlos propietarios de lo que hoy usufructan.

Ya es hora de que, como en el caso de la hacienda La Carolina y su propietario Diego Arria, apoyado públicamente por sus empleados, los ciudadanos, sindicatos, trabajadores y empresarios defiendan su propiedad, la de los vecinos, la de los dueños de la pulpería, la de los supermercados, la de los hacendados… y la de la Polar.

El Nacional. Publicado por Alberto Quirós Corradi en 09:58

190  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 25% for 2nd class citizens. 40% for the military. on: April 25, 2010, 04:53:31 PM
Chavez ordered a 25% across the board salary increase except for the military. They get 40%. Such is XXI Century Socialism. You buy whatever you need, not with your own money but with the country's resources. Venezuela is being run as if it were Chavez's private farm.
191  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: March 01, 2010, 11:24:53 AM
Shell and Creole (EXXON) operated two of the world's largest refineries in Aruba and Curaçao as a way to avoid taxation in the producing country (Venezuela) and in the consuming country (USA). When Venezuela changed it's tax law these tax havens lost their appeal and the refineries were shut down with serious impact on the islands' economies. Eventually PDVSA would reopen one of the refineries as a measure of good will to our neighbor. I seriously doubt if these refineries ever had any value except as tax havens.

Now oil is becoming a weapon and therein lies danger.

Denny Schlesinger
192  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Humor venezolano on: February 28, 2010, 11:36:42 AM
En una buseta:

"Qué me importa la inteligencia cubana, me arrecha lo bruto que es Chávez"

193  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cuba's Doctor Abuse on: February 25, 2010, 09:50:50 PM
Cuba's Doctor Abuse

Posted 06:47 PM ET

Health Care: Remember Cuba's vaunted medical missionaries — those who treated the poor abroad for nothing, supposedly out of selfless motives? A lawsuit shows they were nothing but a communist slave racket.

It ought to bear a few lessons for our own country as the role of doctors in the health care debate drags on.

Back in 1963, Cuban dictator Fidel Castro launched a much-praised initiative to share Cuba's medical doctors with the poor around the world. The idea, of course, was to appear to be acting on higher motives than the profit-driven doctors in free societies. It was small scale and propaganda-oriented.

But in 2003, Castro went big, and shipped 20,000 doctors and nurses to Venezuela's jungles and slums to treat the poor, doing the work "selfish" private-sector doctors wouldn't. Hugo Chavez touted this line and the mainstream media followed.

Now the ugly facts are getting out about what that really meant: indentured servitude to pay off the debts of a bankrupt regime.

This week, seven escaped doctors and a nurse filed a 139-page complaint in Miami under the RICO and Alien Tort acts describing just how Cuba's oil-for-doctors deal came to mean slavery.

The Cuban medics were forced to work seven days a week, under 60-patient daily quotas, in crime-riddled places with no freedom of movement. Cuban military guards known as "Committees of Health" acted as slave catchers to ensure they didn't flee.

Doctors earned about $180 a month, a salary so low many had to beg for food and water from Venezuelans until they could escape.

What they endured wasn't just bad conditions common inside Cuba. The doctors were instruments of a money-making racket to benefit the very Castro regime that has ruined Cuba's economy.

"They were told 'your work is more important to Cuba than even its sugar industry,'" their attorney, Leonardo Canton, told IBD.

That's because their labor was tied to an exchange: Castro took 100,000 barrels of oil each day from Venezuela's state oil company in exchange for uncompensated Cuban labor.

Most of the oil was then sold for hard currency, bringing in cash. Cuba also charged Venezuela $30 per patient visit, meaning a $1,000 daily haul per doctor. But the doctors never saw any of it.

In a situation like this, it's pretty obvious that when the state gets involved in medical care — telling doctors whom they can serve, what they can charge and what they can treat — it doesn't take long for slavery to result. The Cuban government has told other doctors, such as surgeon Hilda Molina, that her brain "is the property of the state" as reason to control her travel.

That ought to be lesson to those who seek to reform medical care in the U.S. on the backs of doctors. Free medical care is never free.

194  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Venezuela: Coup d’état a un gobernador opositor on: February 25, 2010, 07:56:59 PM
Venezuela: Coup d’état a un gobernador opositor
Publicado el 25-02-2010 en Actualidad, Noticia, Política y Sociedad, Venezuela | Sin comentario

Cada día el gobierno bolivariano es mas una caricatura de una democracia. Esta vez la “revolución” crea un Consejo Revolucionario de Gobierno paralelo al gobierno elegido por los votos del pueblo, al cual dicen respetar y obedecer.

Y por sí fuera poco para un par de días, el mismísimo presidente amenaza con desconocer a la Comisión Interamericana de los Derechos Humanos de la OEA (CIDH), por escribir un informe que no lo favorece.  Discurso que el presidente aderezó llamando “excremento” al presidente de la CIDH.

¿Manipulaciones para buscar excusas para declarar el estado de excepción y terminar de quitarse el disfraz? O simplemente es la soberbia del “iluminado” de turno que concibe al país como su pequeña hacienda llena de borregos. Que tristeza, como dijo el historiador Mario Briceño Iragorry “Venezuela llegó tarde al siglo XX”, ni hablar de cuando llegaremos al siglo XXI.

César Pérez Vivas asegura que le han dado un golpe de Estado al Táchira
El Universal
jueves 25 de febrero, 2010

 • Instalan consejo revolucionario de gobierno en Táchira

Caracas.- Para el gobernador del estado Táchira, César Pérez Vivas, la instalación de un Consejo Revolucionario de Gobierno “es un golpe de Estado, un claro desconocimiento de la voluntad popular y un acto abiertamente inconstitucional”.

“En la Constitución y las leyes no existe la posibilidad de instalar consejos revolucionarios paralelos al Consejo Legislativo”, dijo Pérez Vivas en entrevista a El Universal.

Se refirió a la decisión que tomó la Sala Electoral del Tribunal Supremo de Justicia de anular las actas de totalización del alcalde del municipio Sucre del estado Zulia y la calificó “de ilegal”.

“Las gobernaciones y alcaldías de oposición, estamos frente a un ataque permanente porque sencillamente no nos alineamos a las directrices del Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela de manera incondicional”, indicó.

Informó que la semana que viene denunciarán ante la Fiscalía General de la República, “el golpe de Estado que se está cometiendo contra el Táchira con la instalación de un Consejo paralelo y luego iremos a la Organización de Estados Americanos (OEA) y a la Corte Interamericana de los Derechos Humanos (CIDH) para reforzar el informe con esta denuncia”.

Resaltó que luego de ir a todas las instancias nacionales e internacionales enviarán un informe a varios gobiernos de América Latina para “informar de la conducta autoritaria que tiene el gobierno de Hugo Chávez Frías”.

Alicia De La Rosa

195  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Chavez rejects report citing rights violations on: February 25, 2010, 05:10:00 PM
In Venezuela there are no human rights and if Chavez has his way, there will be even less.

Chavez rejects report citing rights violations

AP – Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez speaks during a press conference at the Miraflores Palace in Caracas, …

By CHRISTOPHER TOOTHAKER, Associated Press Writer – 1 hr 8 mins ago

CARACAS, Venezuela – President Hugo Chavez said Thursday that Venezuela should boycott the Organization of American States' human rights body, saying the panel wrongly accused his government of political repression.

Chavez took issue with a report issued this week by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which cited widespread human rights violations in Venezuela. The socialist leader called the 300-page report "pure garbage" and described the commission's president, Santiago Canton, as "excrement."

"We should prepare to denounce the agreement in which Venezuela joined ... this terrible Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and leave it," Chavez said during a televised address.

Local rights activists applauded the account issued by the rights committee, saying it sheds light on widespread rights abuses.

The report released Wednesday at OAS headquarters in Washington complains of a lack of independence for Venezuela's judiciary, the closing of news media outlets that are critical of the government, and political discrimination and repression under Chavez.

"We don't recognize the commission as an impartial institution," said Gabriela Ramirez, the Venezuelan government's top rights guarantor. Ramirez said the report incorrectly concludes that "the Venezuelan state threatens democracy and human rights."

The report condemned the procedures for appointing and removing judges, saying the regulations "lack the safeguards necessary to prevent other branches of government from undermining the Supreme Court's independence."

Government opponents have long complained that the Supreme Court — whose members are appointed by the predominantly pro-Chavez National Assembly — has been packed with the president's allies, giving him nearly unlimited power. Chavez denies holding sway over justices.

The OAS commission also called attention to an increase in sanctions against news media, singling out the case of Globovision, a television news network that is fiercely critical of Chavez.

Globovision has been repeatedly fined for allegedly violating broadcast regulations, and Chavez has threatened to shutter the network.

"It is of particular concern," the rights commission said, "that in several of these cases, the investigations and administrative procedures began after the highest authorities of the state called on public agencies to take action against Globovision and other media outlets that are independent and critical of the government."

The report strongly condemned what it called "a trend toward the use of criminal charges to punish people exercising their right to demonstrate or protest against government policies," adding that more than 2,200 people have been indicted on criminal charges stemming from their participation in protests in recent years.

Carlos Correa, a leader of the Venezuelan human rights group Espacio Publico, welcomed the report. "It makes the violations that are occurring in Venezuela more visible" and should attract the attention of the international community, he said.

The report carries more weight than statements from independent rights watchdogs, because it "comes from an institution made up of the hemisphere's own states," Correa added.

196  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Chávez anuncia que Venezuela abandonará la CIDH on: February 25, 2010, 04:59:49 PM
En Venezuela no hay derechos humanos y ahora habrá menos aún.

Chávez anuncia que Venezuela abandonará la CIDH

04:48 PM Caracas.- El presidente de la República, Hugo Chávez, anunció hoy que Venezuela saldrá de la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH) después de que ese organismo denunció la intolerancia política, hostilidad frente a la oposición y la violencia contra sindicalistas, mujeres y campesinos en ese país.

Chávez dijo en conferencia de prensa que vamos a "prepararnos para denunciar el acuerdo a través del cual Venezuela se adscribió, o como se llame a esa nefasta Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos y salirnos de ahí pues. ¨Pa' qué? No vale la pena, es una mafia lo que hay ahí".

El gobernante fustigó duramente el informe que emitió en la víspera la CIDH sobre Venezuela, el cual dijo que "es pura basura" y luego al secretario del organismo interamericano Santiago Cantón lo llamó "excremento puro".

El gobernante sostuvo que la CIDH es un "cuerpo politizado" que es utilizado por "el imperio para agredir" a los gobiernos, destaca AP.

"Esta es la misma comisión que respaldó a Carmona aquí en el 2002, y es la amenaza permanente, el intento de aislarnos, pero ahí están los resultados, Venezuela será sede de la Cumbre de la Comunidad de Estados de Latinoamérica y el Caribe (Celac)", enfatizó.

El presidente de la República reiteró su convicción de que en un futuro cercano la Organización de Estados Americanos desaparecerá.

En su extenso informe Democracia y Derechos Humanos en Venezuela, emitido en la víspera por la CIDH en Washington y difundido por correo electrónico, se denunció "la impunidad en la que se encuentran los casos de violaciones a los derechos humanos".

La CIDH advirtió también la existencia de "un patrón de impunidad en los casos de violencia, que afecta de manera particular a los comunicadores sociales, los defensores de derechos humanos, los sindicalistas, las personas que participan en manifestaciones públicas, las personas privadas de su libertad, los campesinos, los pueblos indígenas y las mujeres".

197  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / El diálogo Uribe-Chávez -- ¡buenísssimo! on: February 25, 2010, 10:23:37 AM
Una fuente anónima envío hoy a nuestra sala de redacción la transcripción de pelea entre Álvaro Uribe y el Presidente Chávez, a continuación, el texto:

Comienza el almuerzo

Calderón: –¡Disfruten el almuerzo!

Chávez a Evo: –Me pasas la Ketchup.

Evo a Chávez: –La tiene Uribe, comandante.

Chávez a Evo: –Pídesela, que yo no le hablo.¡Es un vasallo del imperio!

Calderón a Chávez: –Hugo, estamos comiendo.

Uribe a todos: –Lo escuché y exijo una disculpa.

Chávez a todos: –No me disculpo. La revolución no se disculpa, ni descansa.

Leonel: –Comamos y buen apetito

Chávez a todos: –Apetito el del imperio (a media voz)

Uribe a Chávez: –No sea cansón, hermano. Tanto hablar del imperio y ¿quieres la Ketchup? Ven y quítamela

Chávez a Uribe: –Te voy a bloquear el postre.

Uribe a Chávez: –Hasta eso me quieres bloquear.

Chávez a Uribe: –A que me paro y te quito la salsa.

Uribe a Chávez: –A que no haces la vuelta.

Chávez a Uribe: –A que sí.

Uribe a Chávez: –A que no. Qué jartera.

Castro a Chávez: –Óyeme tú, Chávez, quédate tranquilo

Voz anónima: –Que nadie se meta. Esto se pone bueno

Chávez a Castro: –Si Fidel me lo pide, me voy.

Castro a Chávez: –Fidel dice que no caigas en la provocación

Chávez a Castro: –¿Seguro?

Castro a Chávez: –Seguro. Te lo pongo.

Fidel a Chávez: –Hugo, no caigas. Es una treta del imperio, ¿no lo ves?

Chávez a Fidel: –How are you, Fidel?

Fidel a Chávez: –No sigas, que esto lo filtrarán los medios de la derecha

Chávez a Fidel: –¿Y cuándo nos vemos, Fidel?

Fidel a Chávez: –Cuelga y véte ya.

Chávez a Fidel: –Ok.

Chávez a todos: –Me voy de aquí.

Uribe a Chávez: –¡Quédese, jetón!

Chávez a Chávez: –¡Vete al carajo!

Uribe a Chávez: –Sea varón.

Chávez a Uribe: –Vamos a arreglar esto afuera.

Uribe a Chávez: –Afuera no, porque los micrófonos están aquí

Chávez a Uribe: –¿Micrófonos?

Uribe a Chávez: –Micrófonos, desde lejos y a través de los micrófonos eres muy hombre.

El mesonero: Cállense.

Colaborador: David González

198  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Latin America on: January 31, 2010, 12:46:05 PM
Very interesting Capt.  In your opinion, what comes next?

I don't know.

In Latin America we have democracy the military willing. It is not democracy because for one it is contingent on military permission and when they do allow it, it is more party dictatorship than the will of the people. The clearest  sign are the opening words of our Constitution.  Yours says:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence,[1] promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

By contrast, our says

The Congress of the Republic of Venezuela ... in representation of the Venezuelan people, for whom it invokes the protection of  God Almighty...

The word "bolivariano" is missing because I'm quoting the constitution of 1961, our fourth one. Some countries change constitutions like some women change shoes. But it's not on a whim, the new constitution is always designed to cement the power of whoever happens to be in command. It might have been written in our name but not necessarily expressing our wishes as free people. One of our presidents stated publicly, while in office, that laws were like women, designed to be raped (violadas).

Party dictatorship is further implemented by the way the voting is organized. While some posts are voted on by name half of congress and other legislatures are elected by lists (down from 100% in 1958) giving the parties that make up the lists inordinate power taking away from the ordinary people the right to nominate the people who they think are best. By the time the voting comes around, the travesty has already taken place. Only recently have we come around to using primaries and they are not always used. Anyone who doubts the need and benefits of checks and balances should study Latin American politics. (My preferred system is gridlock so that no party can do too much damage. I'm an anarchist at heart, a right wing anarchist, not a socialist anarchist.)

Our protest and revolutions are also surreal. We protest Monday to Friday but spend the weekend at the beach. Our street protest ended just in time so that people could go and watch the baseball finals. I have heard this story, probably apocryphal:  "Once a revolution was attacking the presidential palace in Buenos Aires from the park across the street. This, of course, created a traffic snarl. Every once in a while the shooting would stop to let the cars go through. Once traffic was relieved, the shooting would continue."

Dictators, for the most part, are long lived, Fidel Castro holds the world's record for longest living dictator. The secret is getting the job early in life because most of them die of old age. Mussolini, Hitler, "Chapita" Trujillo and Saddam Hussein are the exceptions. Back in 2002, when people were optimistic that we would get rid of Chavez soon, I collected information about all the dictators that came to mind and history reveals that they have staying power. Recently I read an article about this issue. The conclusion was that any dictatorship that shows any signs of weakness is doomed but the really cruel ones survive the longest. I have yet to see weakness in Chavez's repression of the people. In addition to the police and the National Guard, Chavez has his personal Círculos Bolivarianos, the modern equivalent to Hitler's Brown Shirts, organized killers.

At one time I believed that the military would not allow a Chavez militia to displace them and there was a push-back but Chavez managed to purge the armed forces and they are now subservient to the Castros of Cuba. They have even adopted the Cuban slogan: "Patria, Socialismo o Muerte." Dying is not what most Venezuelans want to do.

Rómulo Betancourt, the first elected president after the fall of Perez Jimenez, knew that democracy's biggest enemy was the military. To fend them off he devised the "Bozal de Arepa" policy (arepa is the local cornmeal bread)

I'm getting hungry!

The idea was to buy them off. It worked until it stopped working, Chavez had bigger ambitions.

While there are cracks in the Chavista ranks, that does not mean the end of the regime. Dictators usually just purge the dissenters, who are either murdered, jailed, exiled or sidelined in some other way. The military has been taken over by Cuba so I don't see how they would revolt against Chavez any time soon. Peaceful protests do not remove dictators and neither do rigged elections. The National Electoral Council is firmly in Chavez's hands. Besides, the opposition is still fragmented with no true leader. We don't trust the pre-Chavez politicians who we blame for Chavez's ascent to power. The newer generation is not quite mature yet.

Crafty: I'm an optimist but I'm also a realist and the deck is stacked against the people.

Denny Schlesinger

199  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Venezuela in the Blogosphere on: January 30, 2010, 10:49:20 PM
This post is quite long and full of pictures so I did not copy it, just took an excerpt.

Chavez Removes the Mask: It Will Be Dictatorship or Freedom
A Political Meltdown in Venezuela?

Things are heating up in Venezuela in ways we have not seen before.  After revoking the broadcast license for independent television station RCTV in 2007, which removed it from the public airwaves in 2008, Hugo Chavez has now forced Venezuelan cable television services to cease providing the RCTV channel to their subscribers, along with numerous other stations he regards as threatening to his regime. This comes on the heels of his closure of some 150 radio stations who did not offer what he deems to be the proper level of support for his policies. Protests have sprouted up all over the country, though the strongest have been very large student-led demonstrations in Caracas and also in the western state of Merida, as police and national guard units have violently responded to what appears to verge on a mass uprising.  There have been at least two deaths thus far, but the situation threatens to take a turn for the worse, particularly in Merida, where a new phenomenon has emerged within the Venezuelan resistance.

Read the rest at:

200  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Venezuela Sin Esteban on: January 29, 2010, 07:37:47 PM
Miguel Octavio de El Excremento del Diablo dijo:

Today Tal Cual published it’s usual Friday “Serious Humor” column by Laureano Marquez, which was entitled “Venezuela Sin Esteban. Tonight the Ministry of Information and Communication announced that it would ask the Prosecutor to open an investigation and sanction the newspaper for the Editorial.

In a clear sign that Chavez and his cronies are really getting edgy and thin skinned the Ministry said that:

“The newspaper committed a flagrant violation of the Constitution and the laws, publishing a text which is and agression and a disrespect to Venezuela’s democracy”

“The text is a flagrant invitation to not recognize Constitutional order and an an attempt to incite violence as a way to get rid of the Government by means different than elections…it is an invitation to a coup plan, genocide and terrorist, which is masked with the use of humor. Nevertheless it was published in the fornt page of this newspaper, in a place devoted to Editorials. All of this is added to the permanent criminalization that the coupster media executes against the security agencies of the State, as a strategy to incite violence and incite war”

Over the years I have translated many articles, but I simply find it next to impossible to translate this one. Thus, for those that speak Spanish I have placed it here, not only for your enjoyment, but also because I am sure that at some point the Prosecutor’s office or the corresponding Judge will order Tal Cual to remove the article from it’s web page.

Venezuela Sin Esteban por Laureano Marquez en Tal Cual

Enero 30, 2010

Una Venezuela sin Esteban es difícil de imaginar, pero todos los científicos coinciden en señalar que el día en que el Presidente dejará el gobierno está cada vez más cercano y han realizado un documental para History CH en el que relatan cómo será Venezuela cuando el Jefe de Estado ya no esté…

…PRIMER DÍA SIN ESTEBAN: La gente realmente no puede creerlo y comienza a vivir un estado de confusión. Grupos armados pro gobierno (anterior) destruyen lo que queda del país (que afortunadamente era muy poco)…

Algunos ya completamente enloquecidos siguen aplaudiendo en Miraflores y gritando UH AH… Martha Colomina y Miguel Ángel Rodríguez toman la plaza Bolívar con un grupo de motorizados y cercan a Lina Ron… Venevisión se declara antichavista furibunda.

…PRIMER MES SIN ESTEBAN: Algunos todavía no reaccionan, pensando que va a regresar en cualquier momento. La gente comienza a dejar de comprar dólares como locos. El grueso de los militantes del PSUV dicen que nunca se imaginaron que el gobierno hacía las cosas que comienzan a descubrirse y que ellos no sabían… Llega al país ayuda humanitaria…

…SEIS MESES SIN ESTEBAN: …Nicaragua y Cuba reclaman sus mesadas ante la corte de La Haiga.

Llegan los primeros inversionistas. Los diputados chavistas comienzan a notar que las leyes que aprobaron antes son bastante antidemocráticas porque ahora se las aplican a ellos, y contribuyen a cambiarlas. Ya están libres todos los presos políticos juzgados arbitrariamente o detenidos sin juicio. Esteban sigue viviendo en Cuba con la excusa de que sin él “en Venezuela no hay quien viva” y se rebusca cantando en el Tropicana.

…Diez años sin Esteban:
…Comienzan a verse los primeros signos de reactivación económica. Ya hay inversionistas extranjeros que vuelven a confiar. La imagen internacional de Venezuela comienza a mejorar y luego de dos periodos de alternabilidad política sin traumas, la gente vuelve a creer en la solidez de la democracia. Los venezolanos que partieron del país durante el gobierno de Esteban, comienzan a regresar en masa atraídos por esta buena imagen internacional y por la reforma de la seguridad social que garantiza un sistema de salud decente a los ciudadanos. Se consigue nuevamente azúcar en los supermercados.

…Veinte años sin Esteban:
…Muere oficialmente Fidel Castro y Raúl le pide a Esteban que abandone Cuba. Esteban regresa al país. José Vicente Rangel denuncia en su programa dominical las corruptelas de su gobierno y da nombres de los que se enriquecieron, menos uno. El ex presidente hace audición en Venevisión para conducir Sábado Sensacional, que aún a la fecha sigue sin animador, pero el canal le pinta una del tamaño de la colina y denuncia las atrocidades de su gobierno y la repugnante complicidad de algunos. Esteban se dedica a las tierras familiares en Barinas, en medio de constantes protestas de sus trabajadores por mejoras salariales y explotación capitalista.

…Cien años sin Esteban:
…Del final del siglo XX venezolano y los inicios del XXI sólo queda ya un mal recuerdo. Se estudia el periodo como ejemplo de lo que no debe hacerse con un país. Muchos historiadores dicen que Venezuela entró al siglo XXI cuando Esteban dejó el poder. La gente ve con asombro los videos de cómo él se dirigía al país, de cómo trataba a los ciudadanos y a sus propios ministros. Muchos creen que se trata de una broma del programa cómico más antiguo de la televisión venezolana, Radio Rochela, que vuelve a estar nuevamente al aire en señal telepática abierta.

Esta entrada fue publicada el Enero 30, 2010 a 12:52 am

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