Saturday, 26 November 2016

The old pseudo-revolutionary caudillo died. What now?

I do not celebrate or mourn Fidel Castro's death. The Castro dictatorship is still in place and so is the Castro-supported dictatorship in my home country.

I dislike personality cults. All of them. From any orientation. Even for people that impress me. I dislike particularly when people repeat falsehoods without checking out facts.

Even some who admitted that Castro was a dictator would say things like

- well, before Cuba was the US's brothel (and apparently now things are better seems to be the message)
- well, Cuba had big advances in education...look how it compares with the rest of the Caribbean and Central America! Even with the rest of Latin America.

A more nuanced, impartial view of Cuba before the caudillo can be read here.

Let's see what will happen with Cuba now, a nation that stopped being the US's brothel to become the EU's brothel and in the process of becoming an EU-USA brothel. Will Cubans finally be able to gain some dignity and take their country on the road to sustainable development?

The military castes everywhere will be against that.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Why the BBC World Service reports so clumsily about Venezuela?

This is not about "right versus left journalism". This is about basic journalism in the XXI century.

BBC wants to be seen as objective, so when there is a conflict somewhere in the world its journalists very ostensibly report that one side said this and the other said that. The thing is: that might be enough for primary school journalism but it takes more if you want to do proper analysis of what is happening in the world. At this moment the World Service is often acting exactly like the German tabloid magazine Focus, which many years ago wanted to compete against weekly Spiegel claiming to be "about facts, letting the reader make his or her own mind". 

You have to do more than give a summary of quotations for each side. You need to have a basic understanding of economics. You need to know about the country's history. If you keep reporting about countries without some understanding of how inflation happens, if you do not understand what money supply is, if you cannot explain what factors influence productivity and if you do not take the time to find out about how the trade balance of that country has evolved throughout decades, you should really focus on reporting about sports or fashion.

Let's first go to some examples of how BBC World fails when it comes to reporting about Venezuela.

Take this article from January 2016 and this one from yesterday, 28 October 2016. In both texts BBC states the opposition is a "centre-right movement".

If you do some basic homework you will find the main parties representing the opposition are:
1- Primero Justicia, a centre-right indeed...even if economically speaking it might as well be a Catholic "social democrat" because Venezuelans are used to that for decades
2- Acción Democrática, a centre-left party member of the Socialist International
3- UNT, a centre-left party member of the Socialist International
4- Voluntad Popular, a centre-left party member of the Socialist International
5- Causa Radical, a centre-left-left party - one I have voted for

And then there are a few other tiny groups, both social democrats and rather "liberal to centre right".

All in all it is a coalition of parties from left to right and if you make the effort and count the deputies representing each you will see no one group prevails.

What is so difficult to understand?

The BBC journalist who wrote the last article did not mention the government-friendly National Electoral Council has constantly changed the rules for the referendum. He does not mention the very public threats by government officials against anyone who would sign the petition for the referendum. He does not mention oil production in Venezuela has been dropping for years and that the opposition has been demanding an investigation of the main guy in charge of oil production because of the disappearance of 11 billion dollars, among other things.

The BBC journalist does not discuss the fact the government has kept several exchange rates in place with a highly overvalued local currency. He or she does not mention governors' elections have been postponed without any explanation and against what the constitution says. He or she does not say the government threatened to expropriate those shops that joined the strike.

The BBC journalist did not care to find out what social programmes were in place in Venezuela in the seventies, in the eighties, in the nineties. When you read BBC World Service you get the impression it was Chávez who introduced social programmes in Venezuela or that his programmes were more effective than previous ones.

The BBC World Service might be a bit better than FOX News or CNN...but not much, really. Sometimes it does a bad journalistic job because it is, after all, an extension of the Foreign Office. That has been the case when it misreported as it did during the Biafra war or during the Iraq War. Misreporting is part of their job sometimes - as with Biafra-. Sometimes it is just sloppiness. I think that is the case for Venezuela and some other countries in Latin America: BBC just keeps a bunch of journalists with a weak command of the Spanish language and who are not very keen on looking at charts - too much mathematics for them.

If you want to read new about Venezuela in English you'd better go to Reuters or Bloomberg or even lefty The Guardian.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Cómo se avanzará con el milagroso diálogo en Venezuela

Hoy parte de la oposición acordó con el astuto jefe de los Colectivos Chavistas, Rodríguez, un diálogo auspiciado por los pro-chavistas de UNASUR.

Hoy es 24 de octubre de 2016.

Veamos cómo progresará ese diálogo:

  • Se realiza el segundo encuentro entre la oposición y el gobierno (14 de abril de 2014)
  • Los demás encuentros se realizaron bajo puertas cerradas
Hay un proverbio escrito por primera vez hace más de 2500 años que dice: "como perro que vuelve a su vómito, así es el necio que vuelve a su necedad".

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Venezuela in Europe, Europe in Venezuela

Human rights in Venezuela are discussed right now here.

Maduro's ambassador was invited but didn't go.

A woman representative of the so-called "Víctimas de las Guarimbas", a pro-regime organisation, was able to speak, something the great majority of Venezuelans could not do in the media of the Venezuelan state.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Venezuelas Streit gegen die Militärdiktatur: September 2016

Der Nationalrat hat vor kurzem erklärt, dass die Opposition Unterschriften von 20% aller Wahlbeteiligten in jedem Bundesstaat sammeln muss, um ein Referendum zu beantragen. Das ist absolut verfassungswidrig: man braucht lediglich Unterschriften von 20% aller Wähler im Lande. So war es beim Referendum gegen Chávez im Jahr 2004. Das Regime aber ändert die Regeln und pfeifft auf die Verfassung. Sie weiss, dass in mehreren kleinen Regionen viele Menschen viel mehr Angst haben, zu unterschreiben. Die Regierenden haben immer wieder ganz unverschämt erklärt, dass Arbeiter bei öffentlichen Institutionen ihren Job verlieren werden, wenn sie für das Referendum unterzeichnen. Der Nationalrat hat auch schon gesagt, dass das Referendum erst im nächsten Jahr stattfinden kann, wodurch Maduro lediglich durch den Vizepräsidenten, einen anderen Chavista, ersetzt werden würde.

Eine der Vorsitzenden des Wahlrates hat darüber hinaus gesagt, man denke noch nicht an die Gouverneurwahlen, weil "das Land in einer Wirtschaftskrise steckt". Diese Gouverneurwahlen müssten eigentlich im Dezember dieses Jahres stattfinden.

Die Oppositionsparteien haben nun angekündigt, dass sie diese neue Regelung von 20% der Unterschriften pro Bundesstaat nicht akzeptieren werden und dass sie ab jetzt und bis zum 12.10 demonstrieren werden, damit die Regierung das Referendum dieses Jahr erlaubt.

Sie können mit Repression von den Militärs  und den anderen Schurken des Chavismus rechnen.

Hier die Daten:

Dezember: Gouverneurwahlen müssten stattfinden. Die Regierung sagt nichts davon.
10. Januar: Ab diesem Tag wird ein Referendum gegen Maduro zu nichts nutzen.
Ende des Jahres: Gemeindewahlen müssten stattfinden.
Dezember: Präsidentenwahlen finden spätestens dann statt.
2019: Januar. Maduros Regierung geht spätestens dann zu Ende.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Venezuela, Rusia, armas y más corrupción

Lenta informa sobre el juicio en Moscú al ex-senador ruso Sergey Popelnyujovym por fraude en el proyecto de la fábrica de kalashnikovs en Venezuela.

El caudillo Chávez había  firmado un contrato con los rusos en 2001 para que se construyera una fábrica de kalashnikovs en Venezuela que produjera unas 25000 armas anualmente. Popelnyujovym tenía amigos en la empresa estatal Rosoboronexport, de la que he escrito anteriormente, y consiguió a través de estos una participación en el proyecto.

Popelnyojovym, dicen ingenieros, trabajadores y contratistas, no les pagó durante meses. Estos trataron de reclamar las deudas, pero este los evitó. Al parecer, el diario Lenta escribió a la embajada rusa en Caracas y tampoco recibió respuesta de lo que pasaba. Los ingenieros finalmente se dirigieron al gobierno ruso. En 2015 miembros de Rosoboronexport decían que la culpa de los retrasos era de los venezolanos.

Finalmente, el juzgado de Tver detuvo a Popelnyujovin el 4 de junio de 2015. Desde aquel entonces este ha mantenido que la culpa de los retrasos es de los venezolanos y de Rosoboronexport y que se ha logrado construir casi toda la fábrica.

Entre los elementos que se discuten en el juicio es el papel de CAVIM, que habría recibido mil millones de rublos o más de 16 millones de euros en aquel entonces.

Pueden encontrar algo en castellano sobre este asunto aquí (de 2015) y aquí (marzo de 2016).

Sería interesante si la oposición venezolana distribuyese volantes a las personas que hacen filas para comprar comida con preguntas sobre el papel de CAVIM y de los militares en general en todos estos negocios.

Sería también interesante si nuestros diputados exigen de manera pública a los militares chavistas que expliquen qué es lo que está pasando en ese juicio y qué hay de las aseveraciones de Rosoboronexport y de Popelnyujovin.

Mientras este juicio prosigue y el hambre aumenta en Venezuela, el régimen chavista planifica nuevas compras de armas. Lenta cita al experto de armas Frolov, quien dice que pronto Venezuela comprará al menos una decena de Sujoy 30MK.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Switzerland and Chavismo's corruption

If you read French, you should take a look at this article summing up some of the corruption scandals related to Chavistas and Swiss banks.

Hats off to Swiss journalist Alexandra Ulmer.

One of the thugs holding power in Venezuela loves Swiss watches... ohter Chavistas love Swiss banking secrecy