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201  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Chavismo Takes The Path Of Maximum Illegallity In Venezuela on: January 08, 2013, 07:27:43 PM
Why am I not surprised?

Chavismo Takes The Path Of Maximum Illegallity In Venezuela

January 8, 2013

Chavismo and the Venezuelan National Assembly have today decided to follow the path of maximum illegality when they announced that Hugo Chávez will not show up on Thursday and will be sworn in a some time in the future by the Venezuela Supreme Court. At the same time, the National Assembly approved that President Chávez can take an unlimited leave of absence, something that it is unconstitutional and illegal.

The whole show is a bizarre and unnecessary twist to the problem of what to do with Chávez’ inability to be sworn in due to his illness, as this is simply a break with the laws and the Constitution that is likely to have repercussions beyond what Chavismo apparently believes.

The whole sequence of events is bizarre to say the least:

-It all starts by a letter by Vice-President Maduro, the person with the largest conflict of interest in all this, as his tenure as Vice-President clearly ends on Jan. 10th. with Chávez’ six year term. Moreover, there is not even the pretense of having Chávez sign the letter. If Chávez is doing better and will be able to be sworn in sometime soon, why didn’t he even sign the letter? Maduro clearly has no legal right to make this request for the Venezuelan President.

-As if this was not enough the National Assembly approves a spurious resolution, giving Chávez an unlimited leave and without even following what the law requires for a President, which is a medical committee giving an opinion and the Assembly approving the recommendation of such a committee. Only the Supreme Court could approve that you can extend to Art. 233 of the Constitution a President-elect, but under no circumstance could the Court or the Assembly grant Chávez an unlimited leave.

-In the case of a temporal absence, the Vice-President would become President, but since Chávez has not been sworn in, it is absolutely unconstitutional for current Vice-President Nicolás Maduro to extend his Vice-Presidency into the next term. Since Chávez has not been sworn in yet, and it Maduro says he will not be for a while, then the only legal solution is for the President of the National Assembly to become President until the situation is resolved with the approval of the Venezuelan Supreme Court (Which may still happen before Jan. 10th.)

What is scary about this whole situation is that if it does extend into Jan. 10th. Chavismo (And not Chávez! We do not know his opinion!) will be taking the country on a path of piling up one illegality on top of the other. This could take years to unravel, as someone has to run the country, but all decisions after Jan. 10th. will lack any legality and could be challenged some day. This could have dire consequences for the stability of the country medium and long term. Moreover, once someone decides to bypass the Constitution, all sorts of demons are unleashed among all of those aspiring for power.

I wonder if those demons are what is already causing these bizarre situation.

The question remains why this path has been chosen. Either Chavismo does not want or does not trust Diosdado Cabello as President or Chavismo (and the Cubans) have decided to turn the country into a Dictatorship, the Constitution be damned. The question is in the former case is why would Diosdado follow Maduro on this?

And as one analyst asked me yesterday: Will these guys even hold elections if Chávez dies?

You have to start wondering…

For the last few days, I have believed that a Constitutional crisis would be avoided when push came to shove. Right now, I can only sit here and hope that the Supreme Court will say something tomorrow, before Venezuela is taken into an unknown path packed with instability.

After Jan. 10th. anyone that sides with Chavismo and this foolishness will be on the side of illegality and and a coup. Remarkably, not one person on the Chavismo side has yet raised a voice of concern.

They have less than two days to speak up or side with those breaking with Venezuela’s Constitution.
202  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Chavez's Health and Schrodinger's Cat on: January 07, 2013, 11:32:31 AM
Received by email

Chavez's Health and Schrodinger's Cat

It is not often that we get to discuss quantum mechanics in relation to Venezuela, although my colleague Miguel does have a PhD from Harvard in physics, so over the years sitting on a trading desk next to each other you get to speak about almost everything as the days roll on.  (By the way, did you know that Venezuela had an experimental nuclear reactor -- the first in Latin America -- fifty years ago?  That came to light in one of our riffs back in 2008 when Venezuela President Hugo Chavez was promising to build a nuclear reactor with Russia in oil-rich Zulia state. ) 
But I could have never foreseen that we would be able to allude to Austrian physicist Erwin Schrodinger in this missive.  Yet, Chavez has become Schrodinger's cat.  In that theoretical experiment (for you cat-lovers out there, no actual cats were injured), a cat is in a sealed box and may be alive or dead. Or both, in theoretical quantum mechanics.  Likewise, we don't know if Chavez is alive or dead. Some reports say Chavez is basically in a coma or being kept alive on life support. The government keeps saying that his situation is 'delicate' and that he will return 'sooner rather than later.' But the fact is that we have neither seen nor heard from Chavez in almost four weeks since December 10 and we don't know what his real situation is.  Nobody is letting us see inside the box in Cuba and everyone (including Chavez) is lying or obfuscating the truth.  And yet, people are trying to continue to rule in his name, even bending the Constitution to allow them to stay in power after the Constitutional term ends.  And worse, because Chavismo controls the legislature, the courts and all the other governing institutions of the country, there is no place for the Opposition to go to resolve it.   As Opposition Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma put it "Our President has been kidnapped" and we don't even have a "proof of life." This could get messy.

Russ Dallen
203  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The DIRTY TRICKS Continue on: January 05, 2013, 06:19:47 AM
The chavista Venezuelan Supreme Court is not an independent body. The court is populated with Chavez pupets and it acts like a rubber stamp. Now Maduro wants to use the rubber stamp to delay the swearing in of the president which it totally illegal.

I never doubted the dirty tricks were coming, the only unknown was the form they would take.

Chavez swearing-in can be delayed: Venezuelan VP

By Andrew Cawthorne and Deisy Buitrago | Reuters – 9 hrs ago

CARACAS (Reuters) - President Hugo Chavez's formal swearing-in for a new six-year term scheduled for January 10 can be postponed if he is unable to attend due to his battle to recover from cancer surgery, Venezuela's vice president said on Friday.

Nicolas Maduro's comments were the clearest indication yet that the Venezuelan government is preparing to delay the swearing-in while avoiding naming a replacement for Chavez or calling a new election in the South American OPEC nation.

In power since 1999, the 58-year-old socialist leader has not been seen in public for more than three weeks. Allies say he is in delicate condition after a fourth operation in two years for an undisclosed form of cancer in his pelvic area.

The political opposition argues that Chavez's presence on January 10 in Cuba - where there are rumors he may be dying - is tantamount to the president's stepping down.

But Maduro, waving a copy of the constitution during an interview with state TV, said there was no problem if Chavez was sworn in at a later date by the nation's top court.

"The interpretation being given is that the 2013-2019 constitutional period starts on January 10. In the case of President Chavez, he is a re-elected president and continues in his functions," he said.

"The formality of his swearing-in can be resolved in the Supreme Court at the time the court deems appropriate in coordination with the head of state."

In the increasing "Kremlinology"-style analysis of Venezuela's extraordinary political situation, that could be interpreted in different ways: that Maduro and other allies trust Chavez will recover eventually, or that they are buying time to cement succession plans before going into an election.

Despite his serious medical condition, there was no reason to declare Chavez's "complete absence" from office, Maduro said. Such a declaration would trigger a new vote within 30 days, according to Venezuela's charter.


Chavez was conscious and fighting to recover, said Maduro, who traveled to Havana to see his boss this week.

"We will have the Commander well again," he said.

Maduro, 50, whom Chavez named as his preferred successor should he be forced to leave office, said Venezuela's opposition had no right to go against the will of the people as expressed in the October 7 vote to re-elect the president.

"The president right now is president ... Don't mess with the people. Respect democracy."

Despite insisting Chavez remains president and there is hope for recovery, the government has acknowledged the gravity of his condition, saying he is having trouble breathing due to a "severe" respiratory infection.

Social networks are abuzz with rumors he is on life support or facing uncontrollable metastasis of his cancer.

Chavez's abrupt exit from the political scene would be a huge shock for Venezuela. His oil-financed socialism has made him a hero to the poor, while critics call him a dictator seeking to impose Cuban-style communism on Venezuelans.

Should Chavez leave office, a new election is likely to pitch former bus driver and union activist Maduro against opposition leader Henrique Capriles, the 40-year-old governor of Miranda state.

Capriles lost to Chavez in the October presidential election, but won an impressive 44 percent of the vote. Though past polls have shown him to be more popular than all of Chavez's allies, the equation is now different given Maduro has received the president's personal blessing - a factor likely to fire up Chavez's fanatical supporters.

His condition is being watched closely by Latin American allies that have benefited from his help, as well as investors attracted by Venezuela's lucrative and widely traded debt.

"The odds are growing that the country will soon undergo a possibly tumultuous transition," the U.S.-based think tank Stratfor said this week.

(Additional reporting by Marianna Parraga; editing by Christopher Wilson)
204  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: January 04, 2013, 12:20:51 PM
"When an elected President becomes permanently unavailable to serve prior to his inauguration, a new election … shall be held within 30 consecutive days.”

That is the crux of the matter. If Chavez can be sworn in Maduro becomes president. If not, chavistas have a good chance of losing the presidency. We fear that chavismo will go to any trickery to get Chavez sworn in, dead or alive.

Six days to go.

Denny Schlesinger
205  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Google: Chavez en coma on: January 04, 2013, 03:57:59 AM
Resultados búsquda "Chavez en coma"
206  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Hugo Chávez, en coma inducido on: January 04, 2013, 03:53:24 AM
Hugo Chávez, en coma inducido
Día 02/01/2013 - 03.46h

Fuentes consultadas por ABC aseguraron el lunes que se había programado una próxima desconexión

Hugo Chávez ha entrado en los últimos días en un coma inducido, con las constantes vitales muy debilitadas, mantenidas gracias a la asistencia artificial procurada el hospital de La Habana en el que fue internado. Fuentes consultadas por ABC aseguraron el lunes que se había programado una próxima desconexión de la asistencia artificial que prorroga la vida del presidente venezolano. Esa desconexión, con resultado previsible de fallecimiento, podía producirse en cualquier momento.

Las autoridades venezolanas aseguran que Chávez sigue con vida, aunque parecen estar preparando al país para la noticia de la muerte del líder bolivariano. Su yerno y ministro de Ciencia y Tecnología, Jorge Arreaza, dijo que Chávez había llegado al final del año «tranquilo y estable». Por su parte, el vicepresidente venezolano, Nicolás Maduro, indicó el domingo que su situación era «delicada».

Desde hace varios días, el estado de salud de Chávezse considera crítico, con sus funciones vitales asistidas artificialmente a raíz de la operación a la que fue sometido el 11 de diciembre debido al avanzado cáncer que padece y de las complicaciones del postoperatorio provadas por una infección.

Con fiebre constante, pérdida de conciencia y sin responder a los antibóticos, el presidente venezolano llegó a final de año en cuidados intensivos, sin ingerir nada sólido desde que fue operado hace tres semanas, con «ano contra natura» y alimentación intravenosa debido a la extracción de casi medio metro de intestino, de acuerdo con fuentes de inteligencia con acceso a su equipo médico. También sus funciones respiratorias se encontraban asistidas artificialmente tras la traqueotomía a la que fue sometido por una infección que motivó la retención de líquido en los pulmones. Ese cuadro se completa con insuficiencia renal.

En la operación llevada a cabo el día 11 para extirparle cuatro cultivos cancerígenos de pelvis e intestino, al presidente venezolano le fueron extraídos 43,4 centímetros de intestino delgado. Una biopsia llevada a cabo durante la cirugía también detectó células cancerígenas en las paredes internas del intestino y en la vejiga.

La operación, realizada por un equipo médico llegado expresamente de Rusia, con asistencia de médicos cubanos, también comprobó que la metástasis en hueso y médula espinal seguía progresando a paso constante. En condiciones normales esto hubiera requerido probablemente un próximo trasplante de médula, pero su estado ya tan deterioradono ha permitido más actuaciones.
207  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Death Watch Continues on: January 04, 2013, 03:48:12 AM
Spanish Newspaper Says Hugo Chávez Is In A Coma And On Life Support
Matthew Boesler    | Jan. 2, 2013, 10:58 AM | 3,177 | 8

Sources told Spanish newspaper ABC that Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez is in an induced coma and being kept alive on life support in a Cuban hospital following emergency cancer surgery on December 10.

UPI has more details from the report:

Sources told ABC Chávez was breathing through mechanical ventilation and being fed intravenously and rectally, and Russian doctors treating him said his kidneys were failing.

The doctors were considering ending the life support, the newspaper said.

However, Venezuelan Vice President Nicolás Maduro denied the report, saying that Chávez was in a conscious state.

Chávez recently named Maduro as his chosen successor should he be unable to serve his third term as president following his re-election in October. While Chávez has battled cancer for a while now, never has he taken the step of naming a successor, making the announcement significant.

Chávez is well known for his socialist government and economic policies. Investors have bid up both Venezuelan stocks and bonds this year (Venezuela was the world's best performing stock market in 2012) on hopes that the end of Chávez's rule in Venezuela will mean an end to those socialist policies and usher in a more business-friendly government.

Today, yields on Venezuelan government bonds are falling toward multi-year lows. The move reverses a climb upward in recent weeks after the Venezuelan government downplayed fears that Chávez's December 10 surgery didn't go well.

The yield on the Venezuelan 15-year government bond has fallen 40 basis points today.

Torino Capital CEO Jorge Piedrahita told Bloomberg News, "There is a clear correlation between the price of Venezuela’s debt and Chávez's health."

Today's report from ABC cites anonymous sources inside the hospital. Although it's been refuted by Maduro, it appears as if it's been enough to re-ignite investor speculation.

Read more:
208  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Death Watch Continues on: January 04, 2013, 03:38:03 AM
Yesterday I was struck by the headline: "The Post Chavez Era Is Here." In our highly regulated news industry, papers are not allowed to print what the government does not want people to see. If this headline was allowed it must mean that the government wants the people to get ready for a transition. Maduro, the bus driver turned vice president, has said that Chavez's condition was delicate. There are only six days to go to Chavez's inauguration. There has been talk about inaugurating Chavez on his sick bed in Havana, a truly preposterous idea but inline with Chavista opportunism.

This arrived by email:

Venezuela: Chavez In Coma - Report
January 2, 2013 | 0049 GMT

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's health continued to deteriorate Jan. 1, Colombia's Caracol Radio reported, citing a report from Spanish newspaper ABC. The report said Chavez is in a medically induced coma with weak vitals and that a biopsy during a Dec. 11 operation to extract 43.1 centimeters of his small intestine that left him unable to ingest solid food revealed cancerous cells in his intestinal wall and bladder. The report also said Chavez's cancer had spread to his spinal cord, the treatment of which requires a bone marrow transplant that he is unable to undergo because of respiratory complications.

Comments? Send them to
209  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Latin America on: December 29, 2012, 04:47:12 PM
Legalize drugs and be done with it. Did America learn nothing from Prohibition? Guess not!

Denny Schlesinger
210  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Latin America on: December 12, 2012, 08:34:49 AM
Correct me if I'm wrong. Crafty Dog was originally a New Yorker. Crafty Dog took up martial arts because he saw violence on the streets against helpless people due to poor law enforcement. Generalizing that New Yorkers are violent criminals is just as wrong as saying that Latin Americans are anti-American.

When STRAFOR sticks to geopolitics they do fine. When they stray to mass psychology they are talking a bunch of bull.

Talking about trading partners, when America outsources to China, is it a surprise that Latin American also trades more with China? Does that have to do with politics or with economics? Recently I have been seeing Chinese made cars and busses in Caracas. If a Chery is cheaper than a Chevy, what would you buy, all else being equal?
211  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Latin America on: December 12, 2012, 07:58:02 AM
This "anti-Americanism" idea is bogus. A lot of foreign visitors come to our marina. Many use it as a base to explore Venezuela. Then they write about their experiences and publish it on the web. I have collected their "cruising logs." Read for yourselves what visitors on the ground, not in some Washington think tank, have to say about it. I stopped collecting stories in 2008 because crime, unchecked by local law enforcement, has been on the rise thanks to Chavez's mismanagement and piss poor government. Some of you might recall how Rudy Giuliani cleaned up NYC. Were New Yorkers really different before and after Giuliani? Were 8 million New Yorkers crooks or was it just poor law enforcement prior to Giuliani?

What are sailors saying about Venezuela?
212  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Latin America on: December 12, 2012, 07:44:22 AM
Hard core anti Americanism in Latin America is bogus. We love MacDonalds, Levi's, iPads, Disneyland, rap and all that jazz. What the writer is missing is that a charismatic leader can sway the masses. Pit Bush II against Chavez and Bush is bush league.

Latin America does have a propensity for populism and clientelism  which keeps left of center parties in power most of the time but that is not anti Americanism. Out slogan is not "American go home, leave us alone" it's

American go home, leave us a loan
213  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: October 09, 2012, 11:41:06 AM
I wonder what to think of exit polls that showed Capriles leading narrowly.  I would think exit polls understate his support.  I didn't notice if we sent Jimmy Carter again to 'certify' the vote.

It should not be surprising because the vote is very polarized. Where I voted you can be sure it was 80% for Capriles. In other places surely it's 80% Chavez. In the US Republicans and Democrats might live side by side. Here adecos and copeyanos (people voting for the former two major parties) would also live side by side but not so for chavistas and anti-chavistas although the chavistas who have enriched themselves are moving out of the barrios and into the upscale neighborhoods.

I visited my beach condo two weeks ago. It's full of chavistas. I was told that the apartment sold to the local mayor fetched more than the owner thought she would get. Prices are back up to US$1,000 a square meter. They had been as low as $375 around 2004. Nothing has changed, only we have new "Amos del Valle."

If Jimmy Carter came likely he would be lynched -  the weasel. As far as I know there were no foreign observers, for all the good they did in the past, I certainly didn't miss them.

Denny Schlesinger
214  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / It's official, Venezuela lost. on: October 07, 2012, 10:10:11 PM
It's official, Venezuela lost.

Very high turnout, less than 20% abstention. First bulletin with about 90% of the votes counted:

Chavez 54.44%
Capriles 44.97%
Others 0.60%

Denny Schlesinger

Hugo Chávez Reelected With More Than One Million Votes

215  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Venezuela Politica on: October 07, 2012, 08:36:06 PM
El día estuvo tranquilo. La votación normal aunque pareciera que hubo "Operación Morrocoy" por parte del gobierno. La gente se quejó y vociferó "¡Queremos votar!" Cerca de las 11 AM dejaron parcialmente sin efecto el primer capta huellas que era el punto de tranca.

Ya son las 9:00 hora local y todavía no hay resultados. En el exterior están diciendo que Pariles ganó 53% a 47%. Hay una calma extraña en el ambiente. Como siempre muchs rumores.

Capriles está optimista:

Henrique Capriles R.Verified
Calma,cordura,paciencia!Hoy fue una jornada histórica,grandiosa,un pueblo que habló!Sabemos lo que pasó y debemos esperar!Que viva Vzla!

Denny Schlesinger
216  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Chavez's socialist rule at risk as Venezuelans vote on: October 07, 2012, 04:07:01 PM
It's 4:30 VE (local time) and the weather is holding up just fine which is good news as people won't need to flee the rain.

Chavez's socialist rule at risk as Venezuelans vote

By Daniel Wallis and Todd Benson | Reuters – 14 mins ago

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelans lined up for hours in searing tropical heat on Sunday to vote in the biggest electoral test yet to President Hugo Chavez's socialist rule from a young rival tapping into discontent over crime and cronyism.

Henrique Capriles, a centrist state governor, narrowed the gap with Chavez in final polls thanks to a vigorous campaign that generated widespread enthusiasm, giving the opposition its best chance in 14 years to unseat the popular president and take the reins of South America's leading oil exporter.

Chavez has used record oil revenue to support ideological allies around the world while preaching a fiercely anti-American line, so the election is being watched eagerly from the United States and Cuba to Belarus and Iran.

Thousands of Chavez supporters lined the streets to welcome him as he arrived at the school in a Caracas hillside slum where he cast his vote. Some handed him flowers, and one elderly woman serenaded the president with a folk song in his honor.

"Today is a day of joy, a day of democracy, a day for the fatherland," Chavez said, adding that a massive turnout meant that voting could take longer than expected.

In a show of vigor, Chavez - who underwent grueling cancer treatment in the past year - shadow-boxed with U.S. actor Danny Glover, who was on hand with some other celebrity fans of the Venezuelan leader to watch him vote.

In poor neighborhoods, where Chavez draws his most fervent following, supporters blew bugles and trumpets in a predawn wake-up call. In the run-down center of Caracas, red-clad loyalists shouted "Long live Chavez!" from the back of trucks.

Despite his remarkable comeback from cancer, Chavez, 58, could not match the energy of past campaigns - or the pace set by his 40-year-old basketball-loving opponent.

Capriles, who showed up to vote in his lucky shoes, struck a conciliatory tone, urging Venezuelans resolve their differences at the ballot box.

"Whatever the people decide today is sacred," he said to screaming applause from supporters. "To know how to win, you have to know how to lose."

In wealthy enclaves of the capital, Capriles supporters geared up for the vote by banging pots and pans overnight.

"Today I'm doing my bit to build a new Venezuela," said Francesca Pipoli, 26, walking to vote with two friends in the city's upscale Sebucan district. "Capriles for president!" all three sang in the street. "Henrique, marry me!" said one.

In the United States, Venezuelan expats flocked to New Orleans to vote - mostly for Capriles - after Chavez closed the country's consulate in Miami earlier this year.


Most well-known pollsters put Chavez in front. But two have Capriles just ahead, and his numbers have crept up in others.

Some worry that violence could break out if the result is contested. There are no formal international observers, but a delegation from the UNASUR group of South American nations is in Venezuela to "accompany" the vote.

Local groups are also monitoring the election and both sides say they trust the electronic, fingerprint voting system. The opposition deployed witnesses to all of the 13,810 polling centers, from tiny Amazon villages to tough Caracas slums.

In a politically polarized country where firearms are common and the murder rate is one of the world's highest, tensions have risen in recent weeks as both campaigns used harsh rhetoric. Three Capriles activists were shot and killed by alleged Chavez loyalists on September 29 at a campaign rally in rural Venezuela.

After voting, Chavez pledged to respect the election results and called on the opposition - who he suggested could cry foul if he comes out on top - to do the same. Some opposition activists fear Chavez could refuse to step down if he loses.

A Capriles victory would unseat the most vocal critic of the United States in Latin America, and could lead to new deals for oil companies in an OPEC nation that pumps about 3 million barrels a day and boasts the world's biggest crude reserves.


Capriles wants to copy Brazil's model of respect for private enterprise with strong social welfare programs if he is elected - but he would face big challenges from day one. For starters, he would not take office until January 2013, meaning Chavez loyalists could throw obstacles in the way of the transition.

He would also have to develop a plan to tackle high inflation, price distortions and an overvalued currency, while surely butting heads with the National Assembly, judiciary and state oil company PDVSA - all dominated by "Chavistas."

Another big task would be to figure out the real level of state finances. Last month, a Reuters investigation found that half of public investment went into a secretive off-budget fund that is controlled by Chavez and has no oversight by Congress.

The president has denounced his foes as traitors and told voters they plan to cancel his signature social "missions," which range from subsidized food stores to programs that build houses and pay cash stipends to poor women with children.

Tens of thousands of new homes have been handed over this year, often to tearful Chavez supporters at televised events.

If Chavez wins, he would likely consolidate state control over Venezuela's economy and continue backing leftist governments across Latin America such as communist-led Cuba, which receives Venezuelan oil at a discount.

Any recurrence of Chavez's cancer would be a big blow to his plans, however, and could give the opposition another chance.

Investors who have made Venezuela's bonds some of the most widely traded emerging market debt are on tenterhooks.

"There is a perception that a tight electoral outcome may trigger social and political unrest and market volatility," Goldman Sachs said in a research note.

Voting runs from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. (1030-2230 GMT), although polls will stay open later if there are still queues. Results are due any time starting late on Sunday evening.

The electoral authority says it will only announce the results once there is an "irreversible trend" and parties are barred from declaring victory in advance of that announcement. (To follow us on Twitter: @ReutersVzla) (For multimedia coverage, go to

(Additional reporting by Andrew Cawthorne, Deisy Buitrago, Mario Naranjo, Liamar Ramos and Girish Gupta; Editing by Doina Chiacu)
217  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Electoral Tourism In Caracas on: October 07, 2012, 01:52:30 PM
Electoral Tourism In Caracas (visit the link)
218  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Back from voting on: October 07, 2012, 01:42:54 PM
I walked  from Los Caobos to Altamira, a leisurely one and a half hour walk. There was a big turnout al all the polling stations I went past but one. Despite being "3a edad" (senior citizen) it took me from 9:30 to 12:00 noon (2.5 hours) to vote. They were applying "operación morrocy" (delaying tactics). Only four fingerprint machines (capta huella) were working and getting past them was snail paced. The actual voting was quite fast. Early on the picture of your candidate took a long time to show up and if you pressed the vote button before the picture was complete you vote was null. The notice spread quickly. For me the picture of the candidate appeared instantly. Earlier there were stories about the picture taking for ever.

The delay at the fingerprint machines was so bad that they had to allow people (at least senior citizens) to go past them but to do that you first had to find out the book and page where you are listed. There was only one set of lists and the crowding and shoving was quite disagreeable.

Why they had the fingerprint machines when you had to use a second fingerprint machine to vote is quite beyond me. Either bureaucratic stupidity or purposeful delaying tactics. During the several days leading up to Sunday it had rained and my gut feeling is that the government was trying to get the opposition to go home without voting. Today was a beautiful sunny day in Caracas. When the process got to be very slow people started chanting "we want to vote!" I'm not sure if that had any effect on the "authorities" but it did get me past the fingerprint machines.

Turnout was strong at all the polling stations I went past but one but that one never seems to have a lot of people. People were happy and determined to vote. I think we will have a good turnout.

Denny Schlesinger
219  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Como votar este domingo on: October 05, 2012, 07:39:27 PM
Vista este vínculo para qur te enteres.

No dejes de votar! La abstención es mala.
220  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Oligarchy of Money on: October 05, 2012, 12:33:30 PM
Would you build your capitalist marketing plan on a communist tract?

We did when we set up our management consulting business in Caracas. We had to decide who to market to. We identified three markets:

1.- Government
2.- Local subsidiaries of multinational companies
3.- Venezuelan private enterprise

We decided on the third group, but, ¿Who to attack first? We figured we should go after the most prominent business groups because, if we succeeded with them, it would be easy to sell to smaller groups. The next question was ¿Who are they?

The answer was provided by a notable communist professor of the Universidad Central de Venezuela (our main communist hatchery, like UC Berkeley?), Doming Alberto Rangel. His 1971 book "la oligarquía del dinero" (The Oligarchy of Money), mapped the then current Owners of the Valley:

 1.- Vollmer-Zuloaga (then the richest group in Latin America)
 2.- Mendoza (Old man died, group broke up)
 3.- Banco Unión (Bank group broke up)
 4.- Boulton
 5.- Polar (Going stronger than ever)
 6.- Delfino
 7.- Neuman
 8.- Phelps
 9.- Sosa Rodriguez
10.- Blohm
11.- Tamayo
12.- Dominguez

Several groups have disappeared and current powerhouses like Cisneros (not on the list) were just upstarts. Vollmer caved in to Chavez to survive.

La oligarquía del dinero by Doming Alberto Rangel

Denny Schlesinger

221  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: October 05, 2012, 10:48:18 AM
Moreover, he has set a precedent that will force future Venezuelan politicians to prioritize populism and income redistribution.

Not really. Populism has been the centerpiece of all governments since 1958. What has changed is that Chavez is more anti business than his predecessors. It has been a see-saw.

Rómulo Betancourt, the first democratic president, unlike Chávez, was a real communist, but a pragmatic politician. When he started out he put an end to the so called "white elephants" -- grandiose public projects by General Marcos Pérez Jiménez. He soon realized that oil is what brings in foreign exchange but being capital intensive it employs few people. Construction, on the other hand, is labor intensive. Being pragmatic, Betancourt soon started up new public infrastructure projects. It took Chavismo almost a decade to start working seriously on infrastructure projects.

With successive governments the labor laws were made ever more labor friendly until production faltered badly. Then the governments reversed gears. Same with price controls, CAP instituted them during his first government and eliminated them in his second. Raising the price of gas at the pump cost him his job.

I've said it before and I say it again, Venezuela has never had a right of center government since 1958 nor is it likely to have one in the visible future, not until the private productive capacity matches the fossil fuel wealth, an unlikely scenario considering that Venezuela has one of the largest oil deposits in the world for a relatively small population.

To get a better understanding of Venezuela, Stratfor should read Los Amos de Valley (The Owners of the Valley, the valley being where Caracas is located), a humorous novel based on history. Venezuela has always had an "elite" but one that changes over time. The original elite was composed of conquistadors. Over time old members disappeared and new ones rose. The new ones came from distant places, the USA, Germany, the Canary Islands, Lebanon, Bohemia. Venezuela is as much a melting pot as the USA. What has happened now is that Chavistas have displaced some of the incumbent Owners of the Valley.

There is no revolution in Venezuela, no matter how loudly Chávez claims one. All that has happened is a "coup d'etat" or as we like to say: "quítate tu pa' ponerme yo" (let me have your place). Chávez is just a question of time. He is charismatic any wily. But he is as mortal as the rest of us.

It's a fun read! Los amos del valle (Spanish Edition)  by Francisco J Herrera Luque (Author)

Denny Schlesinger
222  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Venezuela on: October 04, 2012, 04:50:50 PM
Received via email:

Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Venezuela
Presidential elections in Venezuela will be held this Sunday, October 7. While the electoral campaign to date has been generally peaceful, incidents of violence have occurred. Demonstrations by supporters of the two main candidates may occur in coming days, particularly in the vicinity of polling centers and traditional gathering points. In addition to previous guidance provided to U.S. citizens, we offer the following recommendations for Sunday October 7, and prudentially, for Monday, October 8:
Minimize being out in public.
Keep cellular telephones charged.
Where possible, avoid polling stations and other large public gatherings.
 We wish to remind U.S. citizens that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. American citizens are therefore urged to avoid the areas of demonstrations if possible, and to exercise caution if within the vicinity of any demonstrations. Since the timing and routes of marches and demonstrations are always subject to change, American citizens should monitor local media sources and the Embassy’s website, through the American Citizens’ “Demonstrations” link, for new developments.
Please review your emails for subsequent updates on the situation during the next few days.
For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found. Up to date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States, or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). To receive the latest security information American citizens traveling or residing overseas are encouraged to enroll in the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at
The U.S. Embassy in Caracas is located on Calle F con Calle Suapure, Lomas de Valle Arriba. The telephone number during business hours (8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) is (011) 58-212-975-6411. For after-hours emergencies use (011) 58-212-907-8400. The fax is (011) 58-212-907-8199. Please check the Embassy website for additional information at
223  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuelan elections this Sunday, Time to retire Chavez on: October 04, 2012, 04:43:49 PM
I don't know how Chavez could lose if he still controls the counting of votes, but let us hope...

He does and he doesn't. Each polling place is divided into "tables" depending on the number of voters assigned to the place. To vote you first check in then you vote on a voting machine which is connected to the CNE (Consejo Nacional Electoral) which is in charge of elections. That does give the government an advantage in that they can monitor the progress of the vote in real time. But the electronic results are not the official results. After you vote, the machine gives you a ticket with your choices printed on it. You deposit this ballot in a box. The vote is then manually counted at each table. Since there are members of most parties as witnesses at most tables, the opposition can easily tally the vote by sending the results by cell phone to the opposition headquarters. There are likely to be differences but they cannot be extreme. The opposition does need a resounding victory because if it is "too close to call" we'll lose.

The most recent trustworthy poll had Capriles wining by 3%. Pundits are hedging which is probably a good thing. Here is the latest:

Win or lose, Capriles may win in Venezuela

By Andres Oppenheimer

Anything is possible in Venezuela’s elections Sunday, but there is a good chance that opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski will do better than any of his predecessors in the polls, and that — win or lose — he will put President Hugo Chavez’s 14-year-old regime against the ropes.

There is a plausible scenario that even if Capriles loses by a narrow margin, a good showing in Sunday’s election will allow him to keep the opposition unified, and to become a viable alternative to a president who may have terminal cancer, and who has no successor who could beat Capriles.

Under Venezuela’s constitution, if the president dies within the first four years of his term, new elections must be held within 30 days. If Capriles emerged as a strong opposition leader from this election, he would have a good chance of becoming the next president before Chavez’s term expires.

Many analysts see change in the air. In a Sept. 26 report entitled “Now or in a little while,” Barclays bank told its clients that “even in the event of a Chavez victory, we think that given the signs of his weak health conditions, if not now, political change could come in just a little while.”

While Chavez looks better than a few months ago and says that he is free from cancer, there are serious doubts that he has fully recovered. There are some reasons to believe that he now looks better not because he is cured from cancer, but because he has interrupted his treatment.

A study of Chavez’s daily public appearances by ODH, a Venezuelan consulting firm, shows that the president’s average daily television appearances during the first three weeks of September were significantly shorter than during the same period in August, and also shorter than his public appearances during the same period before the 2006 elections.

That would be hard to explain unless Chavez is ill: It doesn’t make sense for him to reduce his public appearances in the final stretch of the campaign. And it doesn’t make sense for him to have campaigned much harder in 2006 — when he enjoyed a huge lead in the polls — than nowadays.

As for Sunday’s vote, Chavez enjoys a clear advantage thanks to a combination of slanted electoral rules, intimidation of opposition voters, massive use of government petrodollars and a virtual control of television time.

As Capriles told me in a recent interview, “this is a fight of David versus Goliath, where I’m running against all of the state’s resources” and “against a government that controls all the institutions, and plays dirty.” Still, Venezuelans are suffering from Latin America’s highest inflation levels, record crime rates, food shortages and power outages, and are eager for change, he said.

Several polls give Chavez a 10-point lead, although a recent poll by the respected Consultores 21 and others show Capriles winning by a 3 percent margin.

But most pollsters agree that they have never seen the Venezuelan opposition as energized as today. While in the 2006 presidential elections Chavez won 63 percent of the vote and opposition leader Manuel Rosales got 37 percent, most expect a much closer result on Sunday.

Barring a Capriles upset victory — much like happened in Chile in 1989 or in Nicaragua in 1990, where the opposition won despite facing equally unfair election conditions — he is likely to get closer to 50 percent of the vote. If he gets close to that, he will be seen by many as a president-in-waiting.

Skeptics say the “Capriles now-or-a-little-later” scenario is too optimistic, because Capriles has generated so much enthusiasm among his followers that a defeat on Sunday would demoralize them, paralyze the opposition and perhaps even divide it. Millions of anti-Chavez Venezuelans would conclude there was fraud, and that there is no hope for democratic change, the argument goes.

My opinion: I’m somewhat more optimistic. If Capriles gets close to 50 percent of the vote, he will play his cards well, and will not allow his political momentum to evaporate.

He is not likely to cry fraud if he loses by a margin that he can’t dispute, because doing so would encourage a widespread perception within the anti-Chavez movement that Venezuela’s elections are rigged, and that would lead many to stay at home for the December 16 governors’ elections, and for the April 2013 mayoral elections.

The odds are against Capriles, but he has better chances than any previous opposition leader to succeed Chavez. Win or lose on Sunday, he could still win in the end.

Read more here:
224  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Another refinery fire on: September 22, 2012, 11:36:27 AM
Lightning supposedly set ablaze two storage tanks in the El Palito refinery, the old Mobil Oil refinery. Mercifully no one was hurt.

That part of Venezuela has the most awesome electrical storms I have ever seen, the night lights up almost like day but with an erie blue amid terrifying crashes of thunder. But a properly protected installation should not fall victim to lightning and it hadn't for decades. I can only assume that it is part of the lack of maintenance on the part of our national oil company, PDVSA.

Crews extinguish fire at Venezuela's El Palito refinery

CARACAS (Reuters) - Firefighters extinguished a blaze in a fuel storage tank at Venezuela's El Palito refinery, state oil company PDVSA said on Saturday.

The fire was started by a lightning bolt during a storm Wednesday night, but the 146,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) El Palito facility continued operating. Two tanks were initially set alight, but the fire in one was put out within hours.

In a statement, PDVSA said the blaze in the second storage tank was completely extinguished late on Friday.

No one was hurt in Wednesday night's lightning strike.

The second refinery accident in a month has increased concerns about state oil company PDVSA's safety record and practices ahead of an October 7 presidential election.

In August, PDVSA halted almost all output at the country's biggest refinery, Amuay, for six days after a gas leak caused an explosion that killed 42 people.

PDVSA has suffered a string of accidents, outages and unplanned stoppages for maintenance across its refinery network in recent years, hurting the OPEC nation's vital fuel exports.

225  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Candidato vs. Candidato on: September 19, 2012, 12:17:54 PM
La elección presidencial es el próximo 7 de octubre. Las campañas están en pleno apogeo pero no los dos candidatos. La enfermedad de Chávez cada día lo merma mas. Esta tirita cómica lo dice todo:

Denny Schlesinger
226  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Chavez can no longer walkj on: September 15, 2012, 11:05:51 PM
Hugo Chavez: “As You Know, I Can No Longer Walk”
September 15, 2012

An emotional and weeping  Chavez confesses that he can no longer walk at a rally in Apure. Slip of the tongue or once again appealing to pity?
227  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / A Day In The Life Of The Venezuelan Opposition Candidate on: September 14, 2012, 08:23:04 AM
This article has lots of good pictures, I suggest you go read the original at:

A Day In The Life Of The Venezuelan Opposition Candidate

A Day In The Life Of The Venezuelan Opposition Candidate
September 12, 2012

Most days, the Capriles campaign tries not to pre-announce where they are going, in order to avoid Chavista thugs from trying to boycott the opposition campaign. This can not be done when he is going to a large city, where preparations are more complex, particularly in terms of security. A couple of weeks ago, Chavistas closed the Ciudad Bolivar airport to stop him from holding a rally that took place anyway. Today, it was Puerto Cabello´s turn.
From the early hours of the morning Chavista bands were blocking the roads and the airport, some arriving in Government owned vehicles. This is a picture of the main road to Puerto Cabello from the airport:

Is not a great picture, but you can see the red shirts blocking the road. this was not accidental, one of the Chavista organizers had tweeted it early in the morning:

“Today at 7 AM, in front of the Bartolome Salom airport the working people of Puerto Cabello say “no” to the fascist who sucks up to the Empire” said @denniscandanga, shown on the right pane as he participated in the violent actions of the day today.
And here is the picture of the airport:

where you can see how violent they got, and there is more in the following picture, where you see some action by the pro-Chavez thugs in the highway leading to the airport:

Of course, it was the property of the Capriles campaign that was damaged. This is what was left of the sound truck:

This is the truck that suffered less damage, the other one was not so lucky:

shown burning in the above picture and then later after it had been incinerated:

But it did not matter, candidate Capriles pressed on, arriving in Puerto Cabello by boat:

And holding the planned rally, which I am sure was much larger than expected as news of the aggression spread around Puerto Cabello (Although a third day of blackouts I am sure helped):

Of course, as Daniel reports, after the events, Government media said the injured were Chavistas and the aggressors were the opposition in the upside down world of Chavismo.

But Capriles did not let himself be intimidated, he pressed on and had a very successful day.

Just a day in the life of the opposition candidate in Venezuela.
(Who is the fascist here?)
228  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Death toll rises to 39 on: August 26, 2012, 06:21:46 AM
Many of the victims were national guard. Now they realize that the barracks were "too close" to dangerous installations. So much for planning!

Explosion kills 39 at Venezuela's biggest refinery
By Sailu Urribarri and Marianna Parraga | Reuters – 10 hrs ago

PARAGUANA/CARACAS, Venezuela (Reuters) - An explosion tore through Venezuela's biggest refinery on Saturday, killing at least 39 people, wounding dozens and halting operations at the facility in the worst accident to hit the OPEC nation's oil industry.

Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez told Reuters no production units at the Amuay refinery were affected and that there were no plans to halt exports, a sign that the incident will likely have little impact on fuel prices.

Photographs taken shortly after the pre-dawn blast showed wrecked vehicles, flattened fences and giant storage tanks buckling and crumpling as flames lit the night sky. A National Guard building in the area was shattered and officials said a 10-year-old child was among the dead.

A gas leak caused the explosion and most of those killed were National Guard troops who were providing security for the 645,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) facility, Ramirez said, adding that the fire was under control.

"There was a National Guard barracks near the explosion. ... The installation was too close to the operations," Ramirez told Reuters in an exclusive telephone interview, adding that production could resume at Amuay within two days at most.

"We need to boost production at other refineries and look for floating storage near the complex," he said.

The incident follows repeated accidents and outages during the last decade across installations run by state oil company PDVSA that have limited output and crimped expansion plans.

Amuay has partially shut operations at least twice this year due to a small fire and the failure of a cooling unit.

Those problems have spurred accusations of inept management by the government of President Hugo Chavez, who is running for re-election on October 7.

Acrimony over the explosion could spill over into an already bitter campaign, but s unlikely to overtake larger political concerns such as crime and the economy.

"I want to convey the deepest pain that I've felt in my heart and soul since I started to get information about this tragedy," Chavez said in phone call to state TV. He declared three days of mourning.


Venezuela has traditionally been a big supplier of fuel to the United States and the Caribbean, but refinery shutdowns have become so common that they rarely affect market prices.

Traders told Reuters the docks at the refinery were shut, and tankers were anchored offshore waiting. They said this would cause delays to some of the country's exports.

The explosion broke windows at homes in the area, a peninsula in the Caribbean sea in western Venezuela, as well as at Amuay's main administrative building.

The blast was also felt out at sea in the Paraguana bay, where some crew members on moored tankers were knocked off their feet by the shockwave, one shipping source said.

Ramirez said the fire that started after the explosion had only affected nine storage tanks holding mostly crude oil and some processed fuels including naphtha.

Officials said two tanks were still burning off residual fuel, and a Reuters witness at the scene said large black clouds of smoke still hung above the area.

Ramirez said existing fuel stocks around the country were sufficient to guarantee 10 days of exports and local sales. PDVSA has no plans to invoke force majeure, he said, which lets companies stop shipments due to accidents or extreme weather.

Amuay, together with a neighbouring facility, forms part of the Paraguana Refining Center, the second-biggest refinery complex in the world, with an overall capacity of 955,000 bpd.

In 2010, there was a massive fire at a PDVSA fuel terminal on the Caribbean island of Bonaire, then a blaze at a dock at the Paraguana complex that halted shipping for four days.

Also in 2010, a natural gas exploration rig, the Aban Pearl, sank in the Caribbean. All 95 workers were rescued safely.

(Additional reporting by Deisy Buitrago, Marianna Parraga and Andrew Cawthorne in Caracas; Writing by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Kieran Murray, Sandra Maler and Todd Eastham)

229  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: August 26, 2012, 06:03:08 AM
Glad to have you with us again CCCS.

Crafty Dog, if one were to pay attention continually to politics one would lose one's mined! My interest remains constant but my attention to detail (and reporting) waxes and wanes as events unfold, specially events that can change the direction of the country like a election.

BTW, the refinery explosion toll had risen to 24 dead and 80 wounded by noon yesterday.
230  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Refinery gas leak blast kills 7 on: August 25, 2012, 06:40:21 AM
In Venezuela we don't need terrorists to blow up things, we have our government that does it just as well. The lack of maintenance in many government run operations has been throughly documented over the years. Just a week ago a bridge on the main highway east of Caracas broke in two:

Not too long ago it was the electric infrastructure falling to pieces. There have been plenty warnings about the lack of maintenance and dire predictions of the consequences but they have fallen on deaf ears until the inevitable accident occurs. Then denial and crisis management kick in.

I just hope this is a wake-up call for our voters. We need to kick Chavez out come October 7th.

Blast rocks Venezuela's largest refinery, kills 7

By Sailu Urribarri | Reuters – 2 hrs 15 mins ago
2 hrs 34 mins ago

PARAGUANA, Venezuela (Reuters) - A large gas explosion shook Venezuela's biggest refinery, the 645,000-barrels-per-day Amuay facility, in the early hours of Saturday, killing seven people, authorities said.

Another 48 people were injured by the blast, which originated in a gas leak and caused damage both within the facility and to nearby houses, the local governor said.

Based in the west of the South American OPEC nation, Amuay is part of the Paraguana Refining Center, one of the biggest refinery complexes in the world with an overall capacity of 955,000 bpd.

"There was a gas leak," Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez told state TV. "A cloud of gas exploded ... it was a significant explosion, there are appreciable damages to infrastructure and houses opposite the refinery."

Emergency workers were at the scene, where smoke and flames could be seen over the facility.

Local Falcon state governor Stella Lugo said the situation was, however, under control several hours after the explosion at about 1 a.m. local time.

"There's no risk of another explosion," she told state TV. "Right now, we're attending to the injured."

Amuay is operated by state-owned PDVSA which has struggled with repeated refinery problems in recent years, affecting its production figures and ability to fulfil ambitious expansion plans.

Power faults, accidents and planned stoppages for maintenance have hit deliveries from South America's biggest oil exporter.

Ivan Freites, a union leader at PDVSA, said foam was being used to control the fire.

(Reporting by Sailu Urribarri and Deisy Buitrago; Writing by Andrew Cawthorne, Editing by Rosalind Russell)
231  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Chavez’ Nationwide Address Interrupted, As Guayana Workers Protest on: August 20, 2012, 10:11:18 PM
Venezuelan presidential election is on October 7,_2012

Tonight was bad news for Chavez.

Chavez’ Nationwide Address Interrupted, As Guayana Workers Protest

Tonight, Chavez nationwide address was interrupted when Guayana workers broke into the stage and started protesting. Chavez tried to go into the Hornest Nest, but it did not work well. Guayana workers are tired of promises. Is this a turning point in the campaign?

And this was the preamble to the protest: Mr. President, we haven’t had a collective contract for three years. And one more thing…!

232  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / London bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down. on: August 20, 2012, 12:31:41 PM
Venezuelan Infrastructure Suffers From Fourteen Years of Chavismo

August 19, 2012

Caracas has three main highways that take you out to the rest of the country. For a few hours this weekend, only one of them was available, the Autopista Regional del Centro. The other two, the Autopista de Oriente and the Caracas-La Guaira highway were closed for different reasons, making life difficult for those wishing or needing to travel.

The Autopista de Oriente was closed because the bridge at Cupira, about 130 Kms. East of Caracas, collapsed last week, as you can see in the picture above. The School of Engineers of Puerto La Cruz had been warning since 2009 that the bridge was in bad shape, but the warnings, much like those of the viaduct in the Caracas La Guaira highway a few years ago, were ignored by the Chavista Government. On top of that, you can see in the picture the large truck crane sitting in the middle of the bridge. There are reports that this truck crane, leased by the Government, weights almost twice as much as Venezuelan laws allow for a vehicle. Nobody stopped it and it was not complying with the regulations for a large vehicle circulating in a highway. This may have contributed to the collapse of the 40 year old bridge.

The consequences are felt everywhere. This is vacation season and an estimated 30,000 people scheduled to return from Margarita island by Ferry in the next couple of weeks will have troubles doing so, unless they take a 4 to 5 hour detour. Add commerce and supplies to the East and you can see that the picture is not pretty. The first day of the collapse the Government said it would have an alternate route ready in three days, but word now is that it will take around 15 days for the alternate route to be ready.

Meanwhile, the Caracas la Guaira highway was shut down yesterday for 14 hours (it was less than that in the end) so that the steel beam of the bridge of a new distributor in the Caracas La Guaira highway could be put in place. This was obviously needed, the information was unclear. At the beginning of the week, I thought it would affect me and I would have to sleep at a Hotel near the coast, as I had an afternoon flight out. But the hours were changed magically and it did not affect me, but it did many others departing and arriving from Maiquetia airport. You only had two alternatives, either sleep at a hotel down by the Coast, or take the old Carretera Vieja, which is extreme adventure tourism because of its decaying state, as well as the possibility of being mugged. You can see the new steel beam below:

But the more interesting thing is why this distributor is being built. The Distributor leads to Ciudad Caribia, a supposedly “socialist” city invented by Chavez on one of his Alo Presidentes. People are given the apartments, but they don’t own them. But the worst part is that thousands of apartments have been built but transportation to and from that new city is terrible. The plan is to have over 100,000 people live there by the year 2018. The problem is that the Caracas La Guaira highway is already overloaded and there are no plans for an alternate route to the 59 year old highway. (I know exactly how long it has been around, my mother always told us about going to see the highway the day it was opened, despite the fact that she was nine months pregnant and gave birth to my sister the next day)

But this is typical of the improvisation of Chavismo. Ciudad Caribia was rushed, without having proper infrastructure for it. People are very critical of it and construction quality has been bad, with building walls falling down months after the construction has been completed. This is not unique to Ciudad Caribia. All over the country buildings are rising, without any additional infrastructure being built. In order to rush the housing units to completion, all ordinances are bypassed, there is no planning and the result is that the quality of life is simply lowered for everyone. I guess that is what they mean by socialism.

Chavez no longer has the excuse of blaming the previous Government. Venezuelan democracy was reinstated in 1958 and Chavez has governed for 26% of those years. Moreover, he has had immense resources but has little to show in terms of infrastructure. In fact, even housing is a late project by Chavez, conceived last year as a way of buying votes ahead of the upcoming election. Chavez track record in housing is so dismal, that he has yet to better the average of the Caldera years in any given year, despite the fact that oil was in the low teens when Caldera was President.

But his track record in maintenance is even worse. Electric projects, highways and bridges have been neglected. Prior to Chavez there would be maintenance, even if few significant infrastructure projects were built.  But those in charge of maintaining the infrastructure were slowly replaced by loyalists, many military officers. Venezuelan infrastructure has suffered fourteen years of neglect under Chavismo.

You would think that this would impact the upcoming Presidential vote. The excuse of the previous Government is no longer valid. After 14 years, Chavez really has little to show, so he resorts to selling ideology rather than facts in his campaign. Hopefully for Venezuelans, it will not work this time.
233  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Latin America on: July 19, 2012, 08:08:05 AM
Henrique Capriles Radonski (HCR) (Capriles: Sephardic Jews from Curaçao, Radonski: Ashkenazi Jews from Poland)

Some may wonder why I pointed out the double Jewish roots of the opposition presidential candidate. Venezuela has been an open society since independence. In the days of the divine right of kings the Church was all powerful. To gain prestige and position you first had to bribe the church, which held the records, and then the monarch. While in the thirteen colonies the cry was "no taxation without representation," in the south people were just as tired of being exploited by the mother country. Just as some of the Founding Fathers were said to be deists, Simon Bolivar was said to be a Freemason.

The denomination with the longest history of objection to Freemasonry is the Roman Catholic Church. The objections raised by the Roman Catholic Church are based on the allegation that Masonry teaches a naturalistic deistic religion which is in conflict with Church doctrine.[72]

Be that as it may, several instances of public anti-church behavior by Bolivar have been recorded, the most famous one after the Caracas earthquake which a priest said was god's punishment for the independence movement: "Si la naturaleza se opone a nuestros designios, lucharemos contra ella y haremos que nos obedezca." If nature opposes our designs, we will fight against her and make her obey us. In any event, the Church's power over Venezuelan politics was broken over the years.

Bolivar needed all the help he could get to fight the Spanish. He offered slaves their freedom to joint the patriots. There are parallels in Europe where weak kings offered citizenship to minorities in exchange of allegiance to the throne. This is how Hungarian Jews gained citizenship (and assimilated). This is how the Seclers became the border guards in Romania. [As told to me by my Hungarian cousin and a Secler friend]

Chavez's class and racial warfare are an aberration in Venezuela. It gained a few ignorant or hothead followers but the population at large is as open as it always has been. Chavez has tried to play the religious angle against HCR to no avail. Compare that to the difficulty of electing a Catholic or a black president in the USA. Civil rights came to Venezuela a long time before they landed in the USA.

Denny Schlesinger
234  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Latin America on: July 19, 2012, 06:49:41 AM
Venezuela badly needs capital to develop the sour and heavy crude oil fields near the Orinoco River in the country's jungled interior....

Given the STRAFOR is supposed to know geography, I find it strange they don't know that the area where the Orinoco sand tars exist is grassland, not jungle. The jungle starts a long, long way further south:

Los Llanos:

In the following map, the Orinoco sand tars are marked by a blue line. Grassland is shaded light green and jungle darker green:

All possible successors are aware that Chavez has been popular with the poor and lower-middle class, a large percentage of the population. Thus, redistributive economic policies are likely to continue, even as they may pave the country's road to further ruin. In order to afford these programs Venezuela will have to reverse the trend of declining oil production. For that, the next government will have to reverse policies that make Venezuela a chancy investment. These changes will require not only guarantees to investors but also changing key factors in the labor market, risking unrest. Despite the challenge to Venezuela's domestic political structure, without these changes, Venezuela's future looks rather bleak and dangerous.

Dictators don't allow themselves to be voted out of power. While Chavez still has a large following many of his former allies have defected. The Bolivarian street thugs are seldom seen these days. While I certainly don't know the details, the power structure has changed. Chavez is still the top dog but his potential successors have been maneuvering to gain strength for the coming power struggle. Lower oil  prices and lower crude production are taking their toll. After more than a decade the opposition has finally learned it can only have a chance united. The opposition is now behind Henrique Capriles Radonski (HCR) (Capriles: Sephardic Jews from Curaçao, Radonski: Ashkenazi Jews from Poland) who has held elected office during all the Chavez years and has been generally a well liked success. He is not associated with the old 4th Republic AD/COPEI parties.

Polls now suggest that HCR and Chavez are tied in popularity. Whether Chavez steals the election or not is still to be seen but hopefully by now the opposition has gotten to know all the dirty tricks it can expect. Ideologically many of us are disappointed by HCR's political proposals, in effect continuing the populist economy. On the other hand, the pragmatists realize that this is needed to win the presidency. Over seventy years ago Joseph Schumpeter made a very acute observation: "Liberal democracy is not about governing but about getting elected."

But populism and socialism need not be anti-American. Pragmatic socialist governments can be quite effective and, let's face it, Venezuelans love all the American toys and goodies from McDonald's to Disneyland, Nike shoes, iPhones and much more.

Denny Schlesinger

235  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Chavez maricón del siglo XXI on: October 22, 2011, 03:04:28 PM
¡Tan bellos agarraditos de manos!

Jaime Bayly - Chavez maricón del siglo XXI

236  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 21st Century FAG on: October 22, 2011, 03:02:21 PM
Aren't they cute?

Jaime Bayly - chavez maricon del siglo XXI

237  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Hugo Chávez. Expectativa de vida: dos años on: October 19, 2011, 08:18:13 PM
Hugo Chávez. Expectativa de vida: dos años

Víctor Flores García

El mandatario pasó de problemas de triglicéridos y colesterol hace 20 años a una bipolaridad en tratamiento desde hace una década, y de ahí al agresivo tumor en la pelvis que exige quimioterapia y es de muy mal pronóstico.

El cáncer que padece el presidente Hugo Chávez ha conmocionado a Venezuela y a los aliados del mandatario. El médico que integró un equipo de galenos venezolanos en el Palacio de Miraflores para cuidar la salud del Presidente, antes de que éste confiara su vida sólo a médicos cubanos, aceptó conversar sobre el tema con M Semanal. El cirujano Salvador Navarrete Aulestia traza en esta entrevista el perfil del paciente Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías, y su diagnóstico no es bueno: el Presidente sufre de un agresivo tumor maligno de origen muscular alojado en la pelvis. La expectativa de vida en esos casos puede ser de hasta dos años.

Entre firmes secretos, varios presidentes latinoamericanos han padecido en los últimos años un deterioro en su salud durante el ejercicio del poder: Fidel Castro heredó su sillón presidencial a su hermano Raúl en Cuba cuando estuvo al borde de la muerte en 2006; Néstor Kirchner enfermó siendo presidente y murió el año pasado, y su viuda Cristina muestra cuadros depresivos al frente de Argentina; el presidente paraguayo, Fernando Lugo, tiene cáncer; el uruguayo Pepe Mujica, de 76 años, ha dicho que sufre de estrés; el presidente Mauricio Funes no oculta su gran afición por el tabaco, mientras que la presidenta brasileña Dilma Rousseff se recupera de un cáncer linfático; Vicente Fox fue operado de la columna en pleno mandato y el ex presidente peruano Alejandro Toledo padece alcoholismo.

Haber cuidado la salud del presidente no es el único mérito del cirujano Salvador Navarrete, especialista en laparoscopía formado en Venezuela, Francia, Estados Unidos y Cuba. Ha publicado una treintena de trabajos y videos científicos, y obtenido una serie de galardones; entre ellos el premio Sociedad Venezolana de Cirugía, el premio Cipriano Jiménez Macías y el premio Ricardo Baquero González, en diversas ediciones del Congreso Venezolano de Cirugía. Este es su testimonio.

VFG: ¿Cuál es el perfil de Hugo Chávez Frías como paciente de un médico de la Presidencia?

SN: El presidente Chávez es un hombre que ha sido tratado en el pasado por una enfermedad de tipo maníaco-depresiva conocida por sus biógrafos y por los médicos que lo hemos atendido. Este padecimiento ha sido manejado antes por un grupo de siquiatras, encabezados por el médico Edmundo Chirinos, quien ha sido condenado en 2010 a 20 años de cárcel por el asesinato de una paciente en 2008. Ese tratamiento médico mantiene al Presidente compensado en sus manifestaciones de estados mentales inestables que pasan de la euforia a la tristeza, estados en los que la personalidad se disocia y llega a tener episodios de pérdida de contacto con la realidad. Es una enfermedad muy frecuente en el mundo de hoy, calificada como trastorno bipolar. El presidente Chávez oscila entre estos polos, con más tendencia a la euforia, a la hiperactividad y a la manía.

VFG: ¿Cuándo fue su primer encuentro con el presidente Chávez como paciente?

SN: Yo lo tuve como paciente en el Palacio de Miraflores en marzo de 2002, en vísperas del golpe de Estado en su contra, porque él estaba muy angustiado. El ministro de la Secretaría de la Presidencia, Rafael Vargas, quien vivía en la residencia presidencial, nos pidió crear un reducido círculo de médicos venezolanos de confianza para tratar los padecimientos del Presidente, sometido a una intensa presión y desgaste físico.

VFG: ¿Cómo era el trabajo de ese equipo médico con la misión de atender a un Presidente en la mayor crisis política venezolana de la última década?

SN: Fue una experiencia muy intensa. Nos hizo miembros del personal de la mayor confianza adscritos al Palacio de Miraflores. Éramos tres médicos venezolanos, un cardiólogo, un gastroenterólogo y este servidor como cirujano del equipo. De los tres yo era el único con militancia política, como miembro de la Dirección Nacional Ampliada del Movimiento Quinta República (MVR), fundado por el presidente Chávez, como parte de la Dirección de Formación Ideológica, que fue un gran partido hasta su conversión en 2007 como núcleo del Partido Socialista Unificado de Venezuela (PSUV).


VFG: ¿Cuál fue la experiencia de ese grupo de médicos venezolanos ante un paciente en el poder bajo acoso permanente?

SN: Nosotros tres fuimos a evaluar al Presidente en varias oportunidades. En aquella ocasión, hace menos de 10 años, había que hacerle una endoscopia superior e inferior (introducción de una cámara por la boca y por el ano). Por esa razón llegamos todos para protegerlo, para que ese padecimiento no evolucionara, pero él no se dejó examinar. Hoy en día, que se ha descubierto el cáncer que padece, el Presidente dice en público que se arrepiente de su soberbia ante las recomendaciones médicas.

VFG: ¿Se trata entonces de un paciente renuente y escéptico?

SN: El Presidente es muy desconfiado, muy, muy desconfiado. Él pensaba que no se iba a enfermar nunca. En una de esas ocasiones, él y yo tuvimos una discusión importante, cuando le reclamé la falta de responsabilidad política por no dejarse atender de sus males y por no dejarnos hacer nuestro trabajo médico de preservar su salud.

VFG: ¿Hubo consecuencias?

SN: El Presidente nunca se enemistó conmigo. Ese episodio quedó allí, en el vacío, y se diluyó aún más con las posteriores tribulaciones del golpe de Estado. Desde entonces descubrí muchas cosas en el entorno del poder y abandoné la militancia política, pasé a los “cuarteles de invierno” como asesor el gobierno en el área de Salud; pero no me retiré completamente. Dos años después, el entonces ministro de Salud, Francisco Armada, me nombró su representante ministerial en la dirección del Hospital Universitario de Caracas, cargo que mantuve hasta julio de este año cuando, felizmente, después de haber renunciado dos veces, la ministra actual, que fue alumna mía, Eugenia Sader, aceptó mi retiró de un cargo que ocupé desde 2005 hasta julio de 2011, con una carta muy bonita de agradecimiento. Era un cargo público honorario muy interesante que me mantuvo activo en la dirección hospitalaria, no obstante que pasaron tres ministros ex militares no muy transparentes. Ahora me dedico plenamente a la actividad médica y académica.


VFG: ¿Qué tipo de persona resultó ser el Presidente en las auscultaciones médicas que se dejó hacer en aquella ocasión?

SN: Es un hombre muy, muy limpio, es notable que incluso se hace cuidar las uñas de las manos y los pies, eso es una cosa que llama muchísimo la atención en él, un militar. El Presidente tiene muy buena presencia y un magnetismo muy particular. Es un hombre que cuida muchísimo su aspecto personal, que siempre está arreglado, que no huele mal, pulcro, que se preocupa por estar físicamente en forma. Es un hombre de poder interesante, poco dado a la lectura sistemática, lee fragmentos que trata de atar en su imaginario ideológico, que puede oscilar de un bando a otro.

VFG: ¿Cuál fue la adicción más notable registrada en su expediente?

SN: Es un hombre que toma mucho café, muchísimo, consume un incontable número de tazas de café al día. Fuma en situaciones de tensión o por placer, en privado, nunca en público. Trabaja hasta altas horas de la noche todos los días, es noctámbulo, y hace que sus ministros trabajen a su mismo ritmo. Se levanta a las seis y media o siete de la mañana, con un promedio de sueño de unas tres o cuatro horas diarias, no más de eso, y duerme muy poco. Es un hombre fuerte, aunque ahora esté deforme por los efectos de la quimioterapia.

VFG: ¿Qué registros tiene la historia previa de la hoja clínica presidencial?

SN: No tiene operaciones ni antecedentes de cirugía. Tiene un antecedente de trastorno metabólico, llamada dislipidemia, es decir, colesterol y triglicéridos altos. Para aquel momento no se lo estaba tratando, manifestaba tendencia a la tensión arterial alta; pero no era hipertenso, apenas con unos cinco o seis kilos de más, con unos 82 kilos, no como ahora. Es hombre alto y fuerte, con 1.79, 1.80 de estatura.

VFG: ¿Cómo saltó ese paciente una década después a un cuadro clínico de un cáncer?

SN: El Presidente decidió cambiar de rumbo radicalmente meses después del golpe de Estado en su contra. Abandonó a todos los médicos venezolanos y se puso absolutamente en manos de los médicos cubanos. Hace un mes nos reunimos con gente muy cercana al Presidente y les dije lo mismo que le dije a él una vez en Miraflores, cuando fue mi paciente: que no hay conciencia del impacto político nacional del tema de la salud de Presidente. La respuesta de estas personas de su entorno fue la misma: que a él no se le puede decir nada sobre su salud, que no le hace caso a nadie, mucho menos a los venezolanos.

VFG: Hay mucha especulación sobre el tipo de cáncer que aqueja al Presidente, ni él mismo ni nadie lo ha dicho.

SN: Voy a ofrecer la información que tengo sobre esa base que usted me propone. El presidente Chávez tiene un tumor de la pelvis que se llama sarcoma. Esos son tumores retro-peritonales, del suelo de la pelvis. Desde el punto de vista embriológico pueden ser de tres tipos: del mesodermo, del ectodermo o del endodermo. La información que yo tengo de la familia es que él tiene un sarcoma, un tumor muy agresivo de muy mal pronóstico y estoy casi seguro que esa es la realidad. Por eso le están aplicando una quimioterapia tan agresiva, porque si fuera un cáncer de próstata, le pones hormonas y ya, ni te das cuenta que está tomando tratamiento.

VFG: ¿Está descartado entonces un tumor de próstata?

SN: No es un tumor de próstata. Es un tumor que está muy cerca de la próstata y que probablemente invadiendo su vejiga. O es un tumor que se origina en la vejiga y que está invadiendo la pelvis. En todo caso, es un tumor que se origina en la parte de abajo de la pelvis, que es considerada la región anatómica que está dentro de las caderas. Atrás de esa región están los músculos psoas ilíacos, que es el músculo que, insertándose en la columna lumbar, levanta el fémur hacia arriba. Es el músculo que permite levantar la rodilla estando sentado. Por eso pensamos que el tumor es de naturaleza muscular, que está alojado y originado allí; lo digo porque, antes de ser sometido a la intervención quirúrgica para extraer el tumor maligno del tamaño de una pelota de beisbol, el Presidente resintió un problema en la rodilla: un dolor referido. Por eso estamos casi seguros de que se trata de ese tipo de cáncer. Esa es un información que por el natural interés público la hemos ido integrando, construyendo poco a poco. Soy el cirujano de la familia y me reuní con otro de sus médicos (de la familia), compartimos la información disponible y coincidimos plenamente en este diagnóstico que estoy haciendo.

VFG: La pregunta inevitable que todo el mundo se hace es: ¿cuál es el rango de la expectativa de vida con el cuadro similar al del presidente Chávez?

SN: Nosotros pensamos que el pronóstico del presidente Chávez no es bueno. Y cuando digo que el pronóstico no es bueno significa que la expectativa de vida puede ser de hasta dos años. Esto explica la decisión de adelantar las elecciones.


VFG: ¿Un presidente enfermo es el resultado de dos décadas de estrés, desde el golpe de Estado que dio en 1992 hasta los 12 años que lleva en el poder?

SN: Los hombres en el poder son individuos que se creen poseídos por una fuerza sobrenatural. Para aspirar a la Presidencia de un país debes tener una condición emocional diferente a la mayoría de la gente, porque debes tener mucha ambición y mucho fuelle para poder quitarte tanta gente del camino y poder llegar a la toma del poder y preservarlo. Eso configura un estado psíquico y emocional muy particular. Tener los cojones para aspirar a dirigir un país de 50 millones de habitantes, o 30 o 20 millones, requiere de algo más que voluntad.

VFG: ¿Usted conoce a la familia del Presidente porque los ha operado como cirujano, hay una tendencia común a ciertas enfermedades?

SN: Ellos tienden a tener enfermedades vasculares por parte de los Chávez, de la rama paterna. Él sufrió un accidente cerebro-vascular. Y por parte de la madre, de los Frías, tienen la tendencia a tener tumores. Operé a su madre de un tumor benigno del cuello en 1999, junto con otro colega médico de la familia que aún frecuento. Y ahora es una mujer muy sana y muy fuerte. Pero el presidente Chávez era un hombre sano cuando lo examiné en el marco que llevó al golpe de Estado de 2002. Sólo padecía un problema con elevado colesterol y elevados triglicéridos, y un problema mental de conducta bipolar bajo tratamiento. Esa enfermedad alguien de la familia la debe tener, una antecesor, porque definitivamente el presidente Chávez la tiene, pero no sabemos de quién la heredó.

VFG: ¿Son cubanos también los médicos de la familia del Presidente?

SN: No, los médicos de la familia somos nosotros.

VFG: ¿Y por qué los cubanos y no los venezolanos ocupan ese lugar, se volvió desconfiado el Presidente?

SN: Absolutamente, el presidente Chávez no confía en nadie ahorita.

VFG: ¿En nadie?

SN: En nadie. En Venezuela el presidente Chávez no confía en nadie, sólo en los cubanos. De hecho, en el Hospital Militar hay actualmente un piso preparado por si le pasa algo al Presidente y todo el personal es absolutamente cubano. Ni siquiera los camilleros son venezolanos.

VFG: ¿Eso explica la versión imprecisa publicada por el Miami Herald sobre la hospitalización del presidente Chávez hace un par de semanas?

SN: Con certeza puedo decir que entre el domingo 25 y el lunes 26 de septiembre lo dializaron porque el riñón no estaba filtrando bien los medicamentos y él estaba sufriendo. El lunes, colegas médicos tuvieron que sacar una máquina de diálisis del Hospital Militar de Caracas hacia el Palacio de Miraflores.

VFG: Fue en su habitación del Palacio de Miraflores donde usted lo auscultó alguna vez. ¿Cómo es esa intimidad del Presidente de Venezuela?

SN: Es una habitación muy sencilla y ordenada, como es él. Con una biblioteca muy pequeña, con las lecturas que elige para el momento, todo muy pulcro; debo insistir en que es una persona muy meticulosa y limpia, ordenada, austera, así es él.

VFG: ¿Cuál es el escenario con Chávez enfermo en 2012?

SN: Ese escenario tiene dos opciones: uno con Chávez candidato y otro sin él. El Presidente puede morir y los militares tendrán que tomar el poder por un tiempo; o, si su enfermedad le impide ir como candidato, el oficialismo perdería las elecciones. Si llega en condiciones de salud aceptables para una campaña electoral, según información reciente, tiene más de 55 por ciento de aceptación en popularidad, pero como candidato Chávez registra 35 puntos, un candidato independiente que aún no tiene nombre recibiría el mismo 35 por ciento y el candidato opositor sólo 22 puntos. Esas son las consecuencias de la enfermedad del Presidente.

El médico venezolano Salvador Navarrete.

Médico cirujano, especialista en cirugía bariátrica y metabólica, egresado de la Facultad de Medicina, Escuela Luis Razetti, Universidad Central de Venezuela, en 1981. Posgrado realizado en el Hospital Universitario de Caracas, donde obtuvo el título de Especialista en Cirugía General.

Realizó su entrenamiento en Francia, Estados Unidos y Cuba, especializándose en cirugía laporoscópica. Asimismo, fue visitante asistente de la Unidad de Laparoscopia dirigida por el prestigioso doctor Moisés Jacobs en el Baptist Hospital de Miami.

Como especialista en cirugía de la obesidad, cuenta con una extensa participación como panelista y expositor en congresos y jornadas médicas realizadas en Venezuela, así como en Japón, Brasil, España, Estados Unidos y Perú, entre otros países.

El doctor Navarrete tiene más de una treintena de trabajos publicados y videos científicos, los cuales le han valido una serie de reconocimientos, entre ellos los siguientes: Premio Sociedad Venezolana de Cirugía, Premio Cipriano Jiménez Macías y Premio Ricardo Baquero González, entregados en diversas ediciones del Congreso Venezolano de Cirugía.

Ha sido jefe del Equipo Quirúrgico del Hospital Universitario de Caracas; jefe de Residentes del Servicio de Cirugía II y actualmente es jefe de la Unidad de Cirugía Endoscópica del Hospital Universitario de Caracas.

Su actividad como docente en la Escuela Luis Razetti de la Facultad de Medicina de la Universidad Central de Venezuela ha sido extensa, incluyendo Coordinador General del Posgrado de Cirugía General y Coordinador del Internado de Pregrado de Cirugía General de la Cátedra de Clínica y Terapéutica Quirúrgica B del Hospital Universitario de Caracas.

Actualmente es coordinador del Posgrado de Cirugía General del Hospital Universitario de Caracas y jefe de la Cátedra de Clínica y Terapéutica Quirúrgica B.

El doctor Navarrete comparte su actividad profesional entre el Hospital Universitario de Caracas, la Clínica El Avila y la Clínica Santa Sofía. Pertenece a numerosas sociedades científicas: fundador de la Sección de Cirugía Endoscópica y de la Sección de Cirugía Bariátrica integradas a la Sociedad Venezolana de Cirugía, así como fundador de la Sociedad Venezolana de Cirugía Bariátrica y Metabólica.

Es miembro de la Asociación Latinoamericana de Cirugía Endoscópica, The Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgens y de la Sociedad Española de Cirugía Laparoscópica, entre otras.

Llego via email

238  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / La desbandada chavista.... on: October 19, 2011, 07:58:29 PM
La desbandada chavista....

Desde su llegada a Cuba el domingo, 17 de octubre, el presidente venezolano, Hugo Chávez, ha empleado un tono muy optimista, e incluso religiosos cuando se habla de la evolución de su cáncer de misterioso.

En un mensaje publicado en su cuenta de Twitter el día que llegó a la isla, Chávez dijo que encendió Al día siguiente, de nuevo Twitter, diciendo que "una vela a Cristo y otros santos, con la promesa.": "Esperamos que con la fe en Dios . "

Sin embargo, pocos creen que Chávez es derrotar el cáncer, como él afirma. Esta incredulidad no se limita a Venezuela, sino que se extiende en el extranjero.

He aquí algunos ejemplos:
• El departamento de estado, funcionarios del Departamento encargados de supervisar los asuntos de Venezuela, ya están trabajando en una etapa post-chavismo. "Hay mucha preocupación sobre lo que sucederá en Venezuela después de Chávez ya no está en el poder", un ex funcionario de EE.UU. familiarizado con la situación me dijo en una reunión la semana pasada en Washington.

• El gobierno de Obama podría agregar a los funcionarios militares y más de Venezuela en la lista de la OFAC de personas que colaboran con narcoterrorismo antes de lo esperado, un hecho sin precedentes que pondrá más presión sobre Caracas.

• Miami se ha convertido en un punto caliente para los disidentes chavistas que están tratando de anticipar el caos que será el resultado de la progresiva debilidad del presidente venezolano. Los oficiales y funcionarios venezolanos ya han comenzado los contactos informales con agencias federales de EE.UU., a cambio de protección.

• La revelación más reciente - aprendió esta semana - que la esperanza de Chávez, la vida se mide en pocos meses, puesto que el gobierno de Caracas, en un dilema existencial que agrega combustible a las preguntas de fuego sobre la sucesión de Chávez, un tema crucial que amenaza el chavismo sí mismo.

Salvador Navarrete, un renombrado cirujano que fue el médico de cabecera de Chávez y su familia, y co-fundó el izquierdista Movimiento Quinta República (Movimiento Quinta República, MVR), junto con Chávez, reveló secretos delicados de salud acerca de la familia del presidente venezolano. Navarrete afirmó que cree que el cáncer de Chávez es tan agresivo que la vida del controvertido líder, no puede extenderse más allá de 2013.

En la entrevista, publicada por el semanario Milenio de México, Navarrete citó fuentes de primera mano, como otros médicos con acceso privilegiado a la historia clínica de Chávez, así como algunos de los parientes cercanos de Chávez. El pronóstico, todos están de acuerdo, es peor que el propio Chávez admitió públicamente, estimando que sólo puede tener 2 años de vida.

El informe del ex médico personal de Chávez coincide con otros informes de fuentes oficiales que tenía acceso, incluyendo un informe publicado el pasado mes de julio de internos entre altos funcionarios del Ministerio del Interior y Justicia.

El cáncer de Chávez está causando angustia significativa en los mercados internacionales, así como las declaraciones extrañas de los analistas en los EE.UU..

"El enfermo es él, el mejor para la deuda venezolana. Tan pervertido que pueda parecer, es una realidad ", dijo Enrique Alvarez, experto en deuda de América Latina de IDEAglobal de Nueva York, según Reuters.

La respuesta del gobierno de Chávez a esta difícil situación ha sido, por lo general, para empujar a fondo el acelerador.

El pasado lunes, la Corte Suprema de Venezuela - controlado por chavistas - dictaminó que el mandato de la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH) el restablecimiento de los derechos políticos del candidato opositor Leopoldo López era "inaplicable", ya que violan abiertamente los acuerdos firmados entre Venezuela y los CIDH.

El martes, la Comisión Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (Conatel) impuso una multa sin precedentes de $ 2.1 millones a Globovisión, el único canal privado independiente en el país. Globovisión, a menudo crítico con el gobierno, fue multado después de cubiertos y de difusión los detalles de una rebelión carcelaria en Venezuela, una historia que era perjudicial para la reputación ya manchada por el gobierno.

Los casos de Leopoldo López y Globovisión han sido denunciados en los organismos regionales como la Sociedad Interamericana de Prensa (SIP) y la Organización de Estados Americanos.
239  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Eva Golinger, Chavez dis-information mouthpiece, in NYC on: October 08, 2011, 07:42:31 PM
Is Chavez medding with the Empire?

Are foreign state employees agitating in New York?

To the embarrassment of the Left, it appears that protesters are being paid to protest on Wall Street. The presence of Eva Golinger is particularly notable.

Written by The Commentator on 7 October 2011 at 8am

Over the past several days, anarchists, anti-capitalists, environmentalists, communists, and probably several other varieties of left-wing crackpots have converged in small numbers on New York to protest against Wall Street.  

In the United States, these types of protests are common; to an extent, they’re welcome manifestations of democracy. To be sure, not everybody agrees with the messages portrayed on the streets of Manhattan today, but there is general consensus that it is the people’s right to protest peacefully.

But to the embarrassment of the left-wing Twitterati, details have emerged of cash passing hands from labour unions to protesters. That’s right; a protest supposedly organised against the capitalist system is being run on supply and demand.

But it’s not only trade unions funding pinko activists to kick up a stink.

The presence of Eva Golinger should also be noted. Ms. Golinger has said the aim of her group, the Venezuela FOI Info, is 'to save Chavez'. For this amongst other actions she has been referred to as a key Chavez propagandist.  According to Golinger’s own twitter feed, she has been actively participating in the operation #OccupyWallStreet (that's Twitter-talk for those unfamiliar) while feeding inaccuracies and untruths back to Venezuelan media – mainly through VTV, Venezuela’s state owned channel.  

As an editor of Correo del Orinoco, a Venezuelan state run newspaper, she is an employee of President Chavez. 

The irony, however, is not lost on the careful observer. In Venezuela, Ms. Golinger has made a name for herself by leading a virulent, if relatively unsuccessful attack against Venezuelan civil society organizations.  

She is on Venezuelan government TV several times a week naming Venezuelan citizens who have dared to advocate for human rights or democracy in their country. Her main scapegoats, it would seem, are the National Endowment for Democracy and the United States Agency for International Development; two U.S. government organisations that provide support to civil society in monitoring Venezuela’s democratic collapse; a collapse in which Ms. Golinger is, of course, actively involved. 

Ms. Golinger’s presence in New York is not illegal – although as an employee of the Government of Venezuela, technicalities could emerge regarding the Foreign Agent Registration Act. 

Be that as it may, for Ms. Golinger the inconsistencies are risible. Condemning civil society organizations who receive international cooperation in Venezuela – something that is a mainstream, accepted, common practice for NGO’s everywhere – while serving as an employee of the Government of Venezuela and participating in anti-government protests in New York serves to expose the double standard inherent in Caracas.

Thankfully, the world seems to be losing patience with the antics of Chavez and his “revolutionary” employees. And new revelations that Venezuela is, in fact, a narco-state serve to wrest what little legitimacy remained from the Venezuelan government.  

Add this to the fact that President Chavez appears to be critically ill, and a power struggle has erupted among his inner circle over succession and it would appear that Ms. Golinger should enjoy her last few moments in the sun.  

She may very well find herself shortly unemployed; looking to the US government, who she condemns at every turn, for a welfare check.   

You can follow The Commentator on Twitter at  @CommentatorIntl

240  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Este hilo on: September 29, 2011, 01:15:03 PM
ahora tiene mas que 100,000 "reads" (osea, ha sido leido mas que cien mil veces).  Muchas gracias a CaptainCCS por sus contribuciones.

Gracias Crafty Dog.

Es lamentable que la popularidad de este hilo se deba a la maldad de nuestros gobernantes, en especial a la de Hugo Chavez.

Denny Schlesinger
241  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Ya falta poco on: September 29, 2011, 01:11:23 PM
242  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Chavez rushed to hospital due to emergency kidney failure on: September 29, 2011, 07:26:19 AM
Chavez rushed to hospital due to emergency kidney failure:

Denny Schlesinger
243  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Chavez is terminally ill on: September 27, 2011, 07:10:45 AM
All the secrecy is falling away. The guy is not long for this world. I wonder what preparations the opposition has made. They better be prepared to battle the Chavistas. When Carmona and other oppo leaders arrived in Miraflores -- our White House -- in April 2002, they were CLUELESS. They acted so poorly that the military brought back Chavez. This time, when the opportunity comes, I hope they are better prepared to take the day. A military-drug-cartel dictatorship by brother Adan Chavez would be as bad as North Korea and even worse than Cuba.

From the same thread as above:

It’s a bit late in this thread, but nobody commented on this:

I believe it’s quite relevant since during this ceremony (mass actually), HCh received last rites from Monsignor Mario Moronta, while not exactly the ones for somebody that will die in the next 15 minutes (there are several within this sacrament), but last rites nevertheless, the type usually given to very sick people. So the NY official and pompous church prayer service was actually not the first one.

Now, Deanna commented towards the beginning of this thread “that some Venezuelan prelates (example Msgr. Mario Moronta)” support Chaves. I have information from a 100% reliable source that Mario Moronta does NOT support HCh, or in other words MM is not a Chavista. He also wrote an essay “Jesus was no socialist…), see:

They have known each other from before HCh was president and now Monsignor Moronta supports him in the function of a PRIEST which is his duty. And Chavez for some reason trusts him.

As a result of the absolution that goes with the application of this last rites or “Anointing of the Sick” sacrament, it was conditioned to him freeing some of the ill political prisoners, which he reluctantly did.

Denny Schlesinger
244  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hugo Chavez terminally ill on: September 25, 2011, 06:54:54 PM
Here is a comment by "JMA" who is supposed to be a medical doctor. His web posts sound credible but I don't know the guy from Adam:

JMA commented...

Up to some point in time, the changes that he underwent were perhaps not sufficient to really believe that he was very sick. But, Jesus! he now looks almost terminally ill.

The fact that worries me is that from this point on anything can happen to him. He could die suddenly from a myriad of acute complications that would be too long to post here, or from a longer protracted course lasting no more than several weeks or a few months. After seeing that photo, I have trouble believing that come December he will still be alive. If my above speculation proves correct, then the origin of his cancer does not matter anymore. I’ll bet his doctors would be now trying to avoid or treat the wide variety of complications caused by metastatic disease.

In light of these considerations, it may very well be possible that shortly the country is plunged into a severe crisis.

Denny Schlesinger
245  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hugo Chavez is very sick on: September 25, 2011, 06:48:00 PM
Rumor has it that Hugo Chavez is terminally ill with cancer. The rumors are based on published photographs which are then interpreted by people who pose as medical doctors or otherwise experts on the subject. On the web it's hard to know who is who so it has to be taken with a pinch of salt.

The linked blog entry has a recent picture of Chavez with Raul Castro. The blogger, Gustavo Coronel, is a well know and trusted fellow (he's not the one diagnosing Hugo's condition). Chavez certainly looks sick:

Denny Schlesinger
246  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Medical Evaluation of Hugo Chavez on: August 31, 2011, 08:05:02 PM
Medical Evaluation of Hugo Chavez:

What follows are comments about the health of Hugo Chavez. I don't know the qualifications of the writers but the picture they paint sounds plausibe. To look at the pictures, please visit The Devil's Excrement

JMA commented on Hugo Chavez' Physical Evolution part II, July 17th. to August 28th.


It is difficult to ascertain what is going on with the gorilla, because he gives too much contradictory information about his health. I even doubt that he had surgery. If he is really ill, he may be experiencing Hodgkin’s Lymphoma or an early stage of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. If chemotherapy is needed to treat these tumors, the regimen would include a steroid, which can cause cataracts, e.g.: decreased visual acuity. But, the other drugs in the regime can also cause ocular toxicity. Finally, if he used to wear contact lenses, then he had to stop using them to prevent an infection.

With the info that he has provided, it is very unlikely (if it is true that he has cancer) that he is experiencing any other type of malignancy. Based on what he has said and the treatment he is receiving, the only possible conclusion is that he has an advanced stage cancer.

Having said that, colon or rectal cancer seem pretty off the table. First, the surgery is really hard on the patient. If he had an abscess as he said or a rectal cancer, it would have most certainly required a colostomy. Let me tell you. When this happens to you, your life changes radically. I have seen it first hand in a most beloved family member. You LOSE weight, and I mean lots of it. The cancer’s chemical mediators, its feeding on the patient, and the anorexic effects of chemotherapy make sure that happens. Plus, if the Cubans extracted a tumor the size of a baseball, like he said, well, that is stage IV colon cancer, with metastases to peritoneum (only God can save you from that) and liver, for starters.

Renal cancer does not get treated with chemo. You take the mass out, and then give radiotherapy. They respond very nicely to it.

Bladder CA does not get steroids. Ever. So, you don’t get bloated like a pig.

Prostate CA: there is some blatant ignorant mumbling some words about it in an above comment. Suffice it to say that if you get into a stage in which you need chemo, you are basically dead. The pain from the bone metastases is unbearable almost all the time, and your bone marrow gets infiltrated so you have all kinds of blood disorders (like having leukemia). Pathologic fractures are less likely since these patients are bedridden. So, again, for the ignorant above, no, prostate CA does not produce osteoporosis, it’s osteomalacia with its attendant pathologic fractures if any, and, no, your height is not reduced, because as I said these patients stay in bed because of pain, avoid fractures of the vertebral spine, and thus its height is preserved. I have yet to meet a stage IV prostate cancer patient walking. That would indeed be a miracle.

So, for the reasons above, I will say that if the gorilla has anything it would be a Lymphoma. If it is Hodgkin’s disease, it is very treatable and he is likely to survive. If it is a NHL, his chances are not good, but still he may survive.

Finally, regarding his freaking eyes, a decreased visual acuity could be the result of malignancy, chemotherapy, or radiotherapy.

However, don’t ever underestimate the lengths to which a malignant narcissistic-psychopath would go to reach his goals. I know you don’t have to be versed on this, but let me tell you it is hair-raising knowledge. The books of Dr. Robert Hare come to mind. Read them, and your perception of life in this planet changes completely.

A very good night to all of you guys!


Roberto N commented on Hugo Chavez' Physical Evolution part II, July 17th. to August 28th.

For what it’s worth, I translated JMA’s comment by Franzel Delgado Senior into English because it was so interesting. Any mistakes in translation are mine.

Franzel Delgado Senior reaffirms that universal statistics demonstrate that the majority of sociopathic personalities, in which president Chavez is classified, come to a tragic end. The psychiatrist believes the president is biologically and irrevocably designed for conflict. “To pretend he will change is to wait for his eyes to change from brown to blue”

“I have no interest in disqualifying anyone. I simply believe that, without the contribution of psychiatry, it will not be possible to understand the complex scenario in which Venezuela has entered.”

The thesis of assasination is recurrent in president Chavez. Is there a psychological explanation for the fact that the president constantly refers to this in his discourse?

The president has, as does every human being, a personality configuration. This process that feeds the construction of the personality ends, on average, at age 21 in all people. After age 21, it is not modifiable. When the personality loads are well distributed, we can speak of a normal personality. But when this process of structuring happens inadequately and ends with unbalanced loads (many loads of one sort and few of others), then the personality configures itself pathologically. And this pathologic configuration is for life.

Is there a pathologic configuration in the case of the Head of State?

There are very clear characteristics that allow, without great difficulty, to pose a personality structure of a sociopathic and narcissistic type. Sociopathic personality disorders are defined in the universal classifications of psychiatry. These are people that are biologically designed to violate norms; they do not exercise loyalty; they do not act with truth; they have affective lives that are very unstable; there is no sensibility in their structures; there are no regrets; they always have to live in conflict; they cannot live in peace with others and are very manipulative.

And the narcissistic personality?

In the case of narcissism, the perception that the person has of him/herself is not real; it is exaggerated; it has the conviction of being unique; he or she is above the rest. Any bad action is possible to satisfy these narcissistic necessities of the personality. Because narcissists believe they are pre-destined for special situations, it is perfectly understandable that they could hold the fear that there are people interested in eliminating them. The fear of the President of that magnicide is absolutely justified. If we examine universal statistics, we find that a very significant proportion of people with sociopathic disorders end up dead. Because they are aggressive, conflictive, violate the rights of others and at some point in their life, someone gets even.

Can you classify the President’s personality even though he has not been your patient?

I cannot diagnose as a physician, because he has never been my patient, but we psychiatrists can aver that the observable behaviors of the President correspond to those types of personality disorders that I mention. Aside form those characteristics, I believe that Chavez is a person with a very basic intellect; a man with little culture; to go to bed Catholic and wake up Evangelical 8 hours later is a great example of this.

But intelligent

He could be intelligent. What happens is that sometimes a person’s intelligence fools you. For too long, international classifications showed that one of the characteristics of sociopathic personalities was intelligence. But, over time, this criterion was revised, because it began to be apparent that it wasn’t so much intelligence, but the ability to manipulate the others that made them appear to be intelligent. To believe that the President will change is to pretend that his brown eyes become blue.

But couldn’t he change even by some feat of genetic engineering?

You cannot act on personality. We cannot expect peace while Chavez is the president of Venezuela. It’s not that Chavez doesn’t want to be different, it’s that he can’t be different. He is designed biologically to do what he does. Not even if he wanted to could he be any different. While we fail to understand this, we will fail to understand why we are declaring war on the US, or why we are buying one hundred thousand rifles form Russia or why he destabilizes life and peace in Latinamerica.

The idea of magnicide is also mentioned recurrently by Fidel Castro, who keeps count the number of times the US has tried to assassinate him.

Chavez and Castro, although intellectually different (the first is the warrior, the second the oracle), must have similar personalities. To be a dictator for over 40 years, Castro must have, without doubt, a sociopathic structure. If there is no sociopathic structure, you cannot be a dictator because to be a dictator is to violate the rights of others, the disrespect of limits; conflictivity; cruelty. And that, a healthy personality cannot gloss over. No person that does not have a narcissistic component, that does not believe they are superior to others, can be dictator. Because, precisely, the dictator looks for power, for submission, to subjugate eternally.


JMA commented on Hugo Chavez' Physical Evolution part II, July 17th. to August 28th.

And, that is the point my dear friend: don’t ever underestimate what this guy would be capable to do. He would burn the whole country if he thought that was what was needed. But, don’t just take it from me, because I am not a psychiatrist. Here I will present you with some pearls from Dr. Franzel Delgado Senior, one of the best psychiatrists in Venezuela (My apologies for our non-Spanish speaking friends):

Franzel Delgado Sénior recuerda que las estadísticas universales demuestran que la mayoría de las personalidades sociopáticas, en cuya clasificación incluye al presidente Chávez, tienen un final trágico. El psiquiatra cree que el mandatario está biológica e irrevocablemente diseñado para el conflicto. “Pretender que cambie es como esperar que sus ojos pasen de marrones a azules”

‘Yo no tengo ningún interés en descalificar a nadie. Simplemente creo que, sin el aporte de la psiquiatría, no va a ser posible comprender el escenario tan complejo en el que ha entrado Venezuela.

La tesis del magnicidio es recurrente en el presidente Chávez. ¿Tiene alguna explicación psicológica el hecho de que el mandatario apele a esta constante en su discurso?

El Presidente tiene, como todo ser humano, una configuración de la personalidad. Ese proceso que nutre la construcción de la personalidad cierra, en promedio, a los 21 años en todas las personas. Y, después de los 21 años, no es modificable. Cuando las cargas de la personalidad están bien repartidas, podemos hablar de una personalidad normal. Pero cuando ese proceso de estructuración se produce de manera inadecuada y cierra con cargas desproporcionadas (muchas cargas de un tipo y pocas de otra), entonces la personalidad se configura patológicamente. Y esa configuración patológica es vitalicia.

¿Hay alguna configuración patológica en el caso del jefe de Estado?

Existen características muy claras que permiten, sin mayor dificultad, plantearse una estructura de personalidad de tipo sociopática y narcisista. Los trastornos de personalidad sociopáticos están definidos en las clasificaciones universales de la psiquiatría. Se trata de personas que están diseñadas biológicamente para violar las normas; no ejercen la lealtad; no actúan con la verdad; tienen vidas afectivas sumamente inestables; en su estructura no hay sensibilidad; no hay arrepentimientos; tienen que vivir permanentemente en el conflicto; no saben vivir en paz con los demás; y son muy manipuladoras.

¿Y la personalidad narcisista?

En el caso del narcisismo, la percepción que la persona tiene de sí misma está fuera de la realidad; es exagerada; tiene la convicción de ser única; se siente por encima de los demás. Cualquier mala acción es posible para satisfacer esas necesidades narcisistas de la personalidad. Como los narcisistas se creen predestinados para una situación muy especial, perfectamente es factible que puedan abrigar el temor de que hay gente interesada en eliminarlos. El temor del Presidente ante un magnicidio es absolutamente justificable. Si revisamos las estadísticas universales, encontramos que una proporción muy significativa de personas con trastornos sociopáticos termina muerta. Porque son agresivas, son conflictivas, violan los derechos de los demás, y, en algún momento de su vida, alguien les cobra.

¿Usted puede clasificar la personalidad del Presidente sin que él haya sido su paciente?

Yo no hago un diagnóstico como médico, porque él nunca ha sido mi paciente, pero los psiquiátras podemos precisar que las conductas observables del presidente de la república se corresponden con este tipo de trastornos de la personalidad que menciono. Aparte de estas características, creo que Chávez es una persona con un grado intelectual muy básico; un hombre con muy poca cultura; acostarse católico y despertarse a las 8 horas evangélico, es una muestra fehaciente de ello.

Pero inteligente.

Podría ser inteligente. Lo que pasa es que a veces la inteligencia de una persona engaña. Durante mucho tiempo, las clasificaciones internacionales señalaban que una de las características de las personalidades sociopáticas era la inteligencia. Pero, con el tiempo, ese criterio se revisó, porque se comenzó a percibir que no era tanto la inteligencia, sino la habilidad para manipular a los demás lo que los hacía aparecer como inteligentes. Esperar que el Presidente cambie es pretender que sus ojos marrones pasen a ser azules. No es posible.

¿Pero no podría cambiar ni siquiera apelando a un trabajo de ingeniería genética?

Sobre la personalidad no se puede actuar. Aquí no podemos esperar paz mientras el presidente de la República sea Chávez. Porque Chávez no es que no quiera ser distinto, es que no puede ser distinto. Biológicamente está diseñado para hacer lo que está haciendo. Y ni que él se lo propusiera pudiese ser distinto. Mientras no entendamos eso, no vamos a comprender por qué le estamos declarando la guerra a los Estados Unidos, o por qué un gobierno que habla de paz anda comprando cien mil fusiles a Rusia o porqué desajusta la vida y la paz en Latinoamérica.

La idea del magnicidio también la asoma recurrentemente Fidel Castro, quien ha inventariado la cantidad de veces que Estados Unidos habría intentado asesinarlo.

Chávez y Castro, aunque intelectualmente son diferentes (el primero es el guerrero y el segundo el oráculo), deben tener personalidades muy parecidas. Para ser un dictador durante más de cuarenta años, Castro debe tener, sin duda, una estructura sociopática. Si no hay una estructura sociopática, no se puede ejercer la dictadura, porque la dictadura es violación de los derechos de los demás; el irrespeto de los límites; conflictividad; es crueldad. Y eso una personalidad sana no lo puede cohonestar. Ninguna persona que no tenga un componente narcisista, creerse superior a los demás, puede ser dictador. Porque precisamente el dictador lo que busca es poder; sumisión; subyugar eternamente.

I hope this helps understand how his mind works, and what is he capable of.
247  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Aircraft used in drug trade on: August 18, 2011, 10:36:14 AM
November 15, 2010

High Profile Officials Detained in Cocaine Drug Bust/Plane Discovered in Southern Highway

- Press Release, Belize Police Department, Press Office - On Saturday, November 13, 2010 at about 2:00a.m. Independence Police (ISF) received information of an aircraft suspected to have landed somewhere in Bladden Village. As a result, ISF police proceeded to the area where a white van was seen coming through the area.

With the assistance of Belize Special Assignment Group (B-SAG), the van was intercepted at the San Juan Bus Stop. On board the van were the following persons: Renel Grant, a 33 year old Corporal of Police attached to Traffic Branch in Belize City, as driver; Nelson Middleton, a 39 year old  Corporal of Police  and Driver assigned to the Govenor General who is a resident of Camalote  Village; Lawrence  Humes, a 38 year old Sergeant of Police presently attach to Belmopan Police Station of #2 Grapefruit  Street in Belmopan; Jacinto Roches, a 42 year old Sergeant of Police attached to the Internal Affairs Desk in Belmopan and a resident of #22 Tangerine Street in Belmopan; and Harold Usher a 36 year old Boatman of the Customs Department from Finca Solana in Corozal Town.

All of the van passengers were detained and escorted to the Independence Police Station along with the van. At the station, a thorough search was conducted on the van resulting in the discovery of the following items: Several BDU’s with ADU markings, several wet clothing, 2 car size batteries Atlas brand, muddy jungle boots and tennis, can food, empty sausage cans, a licensed 9mm for Harold Usher. The said van has been processed by Scenes of crimes and Forensic. All items found have been labeled as exhibit.

ASP Alton Alvarez, Officer-in-charge for Independence Police sub formation, along with other police officers left en route to Bladden Village where between miles 56 and 57 they met BDF/B-SAG personnel. At the scene, they secured a white, twin engine, beech craft aircraft 300-FA 137; Black, Red and White in color with number N786B Super King Air 200. The aircraft was processed for finger prints. Also found at the scene was an Atlas brand car battery with 2 pieces of board that had three lights attached on both sides.

Further checks between miles 59 and 60 led to a small white container truck with VIN# JDAMEO8J2RGF75162 that contained twenty three, 17-gallons, plastic containers; three tank with about 500 gallons of aviation fuel and 3 fuel pumps. A total of 12 pine logs were also found in the area.

Searches by the police in the Hicatee Area about 5-10 yards inside some bushes led to the discovery of a GPS Garmin brand, a Iridium Satellite phone, four Hand Held radios, two RAYOVAC Flashlights, a Colt .223 semi-automatic rifle with Sr. No. 007865, a magazine containing five .56 rounds and 2 pairs of camouflage jackets. At around 5:00pm, as a result of further searches in the area conducted by Police, on a road at mile 65 near the Genus Saw Mill at about ¼ mile in led to the discovery of 80 Bails of suspected COCAINE and 17 loose packs of suspected Cocaine. The drugs have since been secured by a police and are being processed by Forensic personnel. ( (pictures by Patrick E. Jones/ PGTV)]


The above aircraft was "cloned" for the Venezuelan deal:

Venezuela’s Drug Plane; is it the same one from the Southern Highway?

On Saturday, media reports in South America linked a major drug bust in Venezuela to Belize. According to the newspaper, La Patilla, a Super King Air was busted with millions of dollars worth of cocaine. Several law enforcement officers were implicated in the bust and two of them were shot during the incident. But that is not where the only coincidence lies with the last year’s largest narco-trafficking bust in the Jewel. The newspaper was claiming that the plane, when its registration was checked on, linked to Belize. It claimed that the drug plane was the same one that landed on the Southern Highway in Belize on November tenth, 2010. The website furnished pictures of the Belize incident and also alleged the plane was sold to a company in Florida and consequently resold to owners in Venezuela. But News Five spoke to Belize Defense Force Chief of Staff who refutes the allegation.

Lieutenant Colonel David Jones, B.D.F. Chief of Staff David Jones

“What I can tell you from the time that aircraft was in the drug bust on the Southern Highway. From the time that aircraft was flown into the Philip Goldson and then subsequently held by the Belize Defence Force, we still have that aircraft. That aircraft is currently at our B.D.F. air wing. And it is going to remain there until we get further direction from our government. As far as to the reports, I don’t know where they got their information, but we still have that aircraft—it hasn’t move sicne and it’s not going to move now.”

Jose Sanchez

“What they did was that they linked it through information received from different websites that track VIN numbers and they were saying that the aircraft was exported from Belize to the U.S. and back to Venezuela. So it is not the same aircraft?”

Lieutenant Colonel David Jones

“It must be a different aircraft because we still have the aircraft we captured on the highway. We still have it in custody and it is going to remain there.”

Jose Sanchez

“The minister of police says that the aircraft will in the future belong to the B.D.F. for future use. Will it be part of your air wing?”

Lieutenant Colonel David Jones

“That has been in discussion that possibly it will go to the Belize Defence Force. If it does go to us, then it will be part of our air wing. But that hasn’t been finalized as yet with the government so we are not sure of that yet. But that is the plan if it does happen and of course the B.D.F. would love to have it at the air wing.”
248  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / El avión de las drogas es un clon on: August 18, 2011, 10:22:15 AM
miércoles 17 de agosto de 2011
El verdadero avión con siglas YV-2531 está en Belice, el del Ministro es un clon

El sábado pasado 13 de agosto, el Ministro Tarek El Aissami presentó y mostró desde Falcón un narcoavión Beech-300 con las siglas YV-2531, aunque el verdadero avión que una vez llevó el YV-2531 hace tiempo no está en Venezuela, está en Belice.

Los aviones son como los carros, tienen un número de serial de carrocería y llevan una placa a efectos de identificación pública; los aviones tienen también número de serial pero les pintan las siglas, pero así como a los carros le cambian la placas a los aviones le pintan nuevas siglas, pero en ambos casos sus número de serial no cambian, es como una huella digital.

Si le hacemos un seguimiento al avión Beech 300 con el Serial FA-137, mientras estuvo en los Estados Unidos llevaba las siglas N467JB y al llegar a Venezuela en el 2008 le asignaron las siglas YV-2531.

El asunto es que el avión con Serial FA-137 de acuerdo a Fuentes oficiales y de medios de comunicación de Belice, atterizó el pasado 13 de noviembre en una autopista de ese País y al no poder despegar de nuevo por fallas en una de las alas al momento de aterrizar lo abandonaron lleno de drogas. Para el momento de la captura el FA-137 llevaba las siglas N786B, número de identificación que no está vigente en los registros de la aviación de los Estados Unidos ( FAA ) y cuando lo ha estado no ha sido para un avión Beech 300, de manera que estamos en presencia de un cambio de siglas con pintura.

Esta semana, periodistas en Belice de la televisora Channel5 entrevistaron a un alto representante de las Fuerzas de Defensa de Belice ( BDF ),el Tte Coronel David Jones y este dijo que el avión se encuentra bajo supervisión gubernamental. ( Pulse sobre el link o la foto para ir a la página del canal 5 de TV de Belice ) En la entrevista el Alto Oficial indicó que el gobierno de Belice tiene las intenciones de quedrse con el mismo.

Quienes tomaron otro avión Beechcraft 300, igual al que aterizó en Belice, y les pintaron las siglas YV-2531 de un avión capturado en Belice, sabían lo que hacían y clonándolo permiten el regreso a cielos venezolanos del YV-2531.

249  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)
250  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.
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