Sunday, 15 January 2017

Venezuela auf Deutsch, ARD berichtet

Ein Freund hat mich auf eine Sendung des deutschen Fernsehens zu Venezuela aufmerksam gemacht.
Sie wird heute Sonntag um 19:20 ausgestrahlt.

Also, Leute:

SO / 19:20 / DAS ERSTE

Thursday, 12 January 2017

The most preposterous attacks from a Thug's State

It is quite amazing to see how the world doesn't react to this:

SEBIN, the Chavista secret police, detained opposition member Rodolfo González accusing him of having explosives and weapons in preparation for a coup. González was found dead in his jail in 2015...apparently he hanged himself.

August 2016
SEBIN claimed to have caught opposition leaders Yon Goichochea and Carlos Melo with explosives. Yon is recepient of the Milton Friedman prize.

January 2016

SEBIN detained National Assembly deputy Gílber Caro stating he was carrying explosives. It did the same with councilmen Jorge Luis González of the Primero de Justicia party and Roniel Farías of Popular Will in the Bolívar state.

The regime also put Baduel back in jail and it is running a mock investigation to neutralize Capriles, governor in the state of Miranda.

Who on Earth do they want to convince that opposition leaders - not just minor figures - are carrying around explosives?

I wonder what Chavismo's fans in Europe, people like Wagenknecht in Germany 
She wants people to recognise Erdogan is a dictator but won't say the same thing about Maduro because he is "lefty"

You just have to read in El País how he was financed by Chavismo for so long and how often he appeared in Venezuela's State media to tell Venezuelans how much better they had it than Spaniards

and Pablo Iglesias in Spain have to say about this.

There are over a hundred political prisoners in Venezuela now.

The minister of Interior in Venezuela is Néstor Reverol, a military indicted in a US court for drug trafficking.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Making the impossible in Venezuela

Lots of Venezuelans have been trying to get rid of a damaging regime since at least 1999. Time after time efforts failed.  Lots of opportunities were lost because the democratic forces let corrupt or undemocratic people take the lead or because there was no union or planning. Sometimes we were let down by countries we helped in the past. The longest oil price boom we saw in the last few decades enabled Chavismo to consolidate power until division of powers was completely over and the judiciary and electoral authorities became complete tools of the regime.

Now people are desperate but they are also tired. Probably up to two million Venezuelans have emigrated in the last decade...many were among the best qualified the country has. And yet we cannot stop. We need to make sure Venezuela does not turn into another Cuba, Somalia or worse.

It won't be easy. It won't be easy because even among those who have always realise what an aberration the Chavista ideas were, even those who saw the criminal or psychotic record of Chavista leaders and the psychological games played do not often recognise some key socioeconomic realities...things like the fact Venezuela was never really wealthy, not in a sustainable way. Most Venezuelans do not have an inkling of what political debates actually are...the closest they have seen are US debates, which are a particular thing.

Let's start. And let's see how some of those ideas can go into the Spanish Venezuelan sphere.

Chavista honchos have a lot to lose. They will do anything even if that involves all kinds of criminal acts in order to remain in power. A lot of people have discussed about the need to pardon these criminals like democratic forces did in South Africa or Chile. The thing is whether we are dealing with people that reason like the autocrats of South Africa and Chile or those of Zimbabwe and Cuba.

We also keep hearing about Chavista criminals who call US intelligence agencies and cut a deal in order to run away before total collapse, confess in the US and leave a life of obscure safety and no more tension. We have seen already dozens of these characters. Leaving the main criminals alone hasn't done so much much to change the game.

I won't go into the "what to do with the criminals" just yet. I am not sure, I have to own up. I do think we need to talk about what we must do now to get them out of power whether there is some "amnesty for criminals" or a stronger stance towards them.

Rodrigo Linares is one of those Venezuelan bloggers who try to be constructive and discuss peaceful resistance. He analysis in his last post the exaggerated optimism of a specific Venezuelan commentator and he briefly mentions at the end we need to target 2018's elections from now on. I do hope he goes into more detail about that...from now on and we are able to get the debate going in our language, Spanish.

Chavista honchos think ahead and have a plan B, C, D up to Z. The Venezuelan opposition leaders have been mostly thinking very short term or, in any case, in a not very clever way.

I believe we need to openly discuss - and explain to the whole world - how Chavistas will block anything, how exactly they will do. We need to be creative and think what Chavistas will produce...and then openly - just as openly as possible - say how those actions can be averted no matter what.

I will go into that in a post this week.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Comeremos Kalashnikov y los rusos manejarán toda nuestra información

El vicepresidente de Rusia y ante todo jefe de la industria militar, Dmitri Rogozin, declaró al diario ruso Kommersant que la fábrica de Kalashnikovs AK-103 en Venezuela, que tanto se había demorado, estará lista para 2019: las máquinas rusas están preparadas, todo está vigilado (sí, vigilado). Lo único que falta es que los venezolanos terminen de construir el edificio. Ya los rusos han elegido cuál será el contructor venezolano. Estas declaraciones se produjern en un encuentro con  Delcy Rodríguez, la ministra chavista para relaciones exteriores, hermana de Jorge Rodríguez, el comunista que controló el Consejo Nacional Electoral por tanto tiempo.

Rogozin también mencionó que Rusia terminará la construcción de dos centros para helicópteros rusos en Venezuela. Uno servirá para el entrenamiento de pilotos y el otro para el mantenimiento. Supongo que con esto tratarán de que no se caigan tantos.

Ahora viene lo mejor: el hombre declaró que Rusia está dispuesta a proporcionar chips para tarjetas bancarias y tarjetas de SIM y para colaborar "en la programación para la defensa contra ciberataques". Repitió la versión del chavismo: los bancos venezuela habrían sido víctimas hace poco de un ataque de hackers y - esto lo dice en primera persona del plural- "lo enfrentamos y vencimos". Por supuesto que esos supuestos ataques solo son una explicación chavista para ocultar que la infraestructura no sirve...y no sirve, entre otras cosas, porque en Venezuela nadie tiene idea de qué cuesta producir algo.

Ahora Rusia está "ofreciendo apoyo informático". Ya sabemos a dónde va a parar eso del software y programadores de Rusia.

Un par de detalles sobre este hombre: hace un tiempo declaró que la venta de Alaska a Estados Unidos no fue realizada de manera limpia y que Rusia tiene derecho a reclamar ese territorio. Rogozin también ha estado permanentemente involucrado en "ayudas" a Transnitria, un satélite ruso en la dividida Moldavia.

Otra de las cositas que dijo: que querría conducir de casa a su trabajo en un tanque GAZ-2975 Tigr para promover la industria rusa. Rogozin es uno de los hombres de Putin que no tiene permitido entrar en Estados Unidos o la Unión Europea. Algunas de las acciones o declaraciones de Rogozin serían clasificadas en un país normal como ultranacionalistas o sencillamente racistas.

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".