Thursday, 27 August 2009

Rule of Law in Venezuela

I have written a lot about crime in Venezuela. Here I present a map on perception of the real rule of law based on the World Bank data (as my last post).

Again, colours refer to what percentile group countries fall into.
Here Chile is undisputed in South America with regards to rule of law: even if far from perfect, there is such a thing as rule of law there. It is in the 75-90 percentile. Still, its values are below most Western European countries. Uruguay follows in the next group and it stands alone there. Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Argentina are the next. Here you see already very dysfunctional states, but sometimes judges can piss off governors, even heads of state, justice is done from time to time! Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay come in the next group, the 10-25 percentile. And last and least we have Venezuela, at the bottom of South America. As I calculated in one of my previous posts using basic maths and based on the candid figures of the minister of "Justice", a Venezuelan cop is over 150 times more likely to be a criminal than the average Venezuelan citizen. Russian cops thought no one could teach them anything.

The figures below, again, show the percentile rank, the change from the previous year and the standard error of statistical calculation.

ARGENTINA 32.1 -0.61 0.13
BOLIVIA 12.0 -1.12 0.14
BRAZIL 46.4 -0.30 0.13
CHILE 88.0 +1.25 0.13
COLOMBIA 37.8 -0.50 0.13
ECUADOR 9.1 -1.23 0.14
PARAGUAY 15.3 -1.03 0.15
PERU 25.8 -0.74 0.13
URUGUAY 65.6 +0.50 0.15
VENEZUELA 2.9 -1.59 0.13

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Do you see the pattern?

I made this wee map based on the data provided by the World Bank here.

Red, pink, orange, yellow and green show different scales of corruption control in South America. There was no data for the little countries in grey (basically Guyana and Surinam, the third dwarf is French Guyana).

Below you have the table with all the values. The coloured column is the corruption control as percentile rank for the year 2008. The next column represents the variation from the previous year and the last one the standard error.

I connect that with this: yesterday, Chavez rewarded the National guard who gave that disgraceful political speech after his men threw tear gas to the opposition. The message from the Fat Man in the Palace is clear: protect me, "El Pueblo", and I will be good to you.

At the same time Jesse Chacón, minister of Science and Technology, declared Venezuela is the country in Latin America that gives the highest percentage of its budget to science and technology. That is a joke blogger Miguel has written about (the latest post on that is here). Venezuelans can have fancy BlackBerries and wear the trendiest clothes on Earth (at least the better off or those trying to show off as if they were better off), but they are falling behind in real points and they are getting more out of touch by the day. The government shows numbers that have either no backup (literacy) or no real consequence (relative percentage of money without independently measurable results)

You can take the map above as showing the countries with the highest potential for development in South America. They are definitely the ones in green.












Tuesday, 25 August 2009

A Venezuelan to the Israeli government

Some Israelis, specially from the extreme right and conservative religious movements, are saying "how can you prevent us from building settlements in East Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria, it is our land, to prevent us from doing that while allowing everybody else is racism", "you are anti-Semite".

Not really. There are already people living in those places, tilling that land, it is not empty. They are being vacated from those houses and farms and their families had been living there for many generations, even since prehistorical times. The day Israel allows Palestinians, who have lived in the whole of Palestine continuously, to settle down in Nazareth and Beersheba, in Haifa and West Jerusalem, you can do some talking. Actually many of those Palestinians are former Jews who first converted to Christianity and them to Islam, as genetic analysis and history have shown. The vast majority did not come with the Islam expansion but were there. They have been there all along. Both groups have equal rights to live in the whole region in peace. The Israel government should abide by international laws. It is neither on a lower nor on a higher moral standard than anyone else. This is not Joshua II. Arab terrorists should stop attacking Israel and the Israel state should stop preventing Palestinians from settling in Israel or, if they don't want free settlement of Arabs in Tel Aviv or Beersheva, give up its settlements in West Jordan. Palestinians are as much descendants of the inhabitants of all that region (i.e. from Haifa to the West Jordan) as the Jews.

Some reading:
Attacks against Palestinians (2008 but still similar things are happening now)
Prime Minister Brown and settlements (this year)
Powel asking to stop settlements (in 2001 already)
You like reading the book of Joshua? So do I, but read this book.
And last but not least, Israeli settlements on Wikipedia, with different viewpoints.

Ps. The map above shows the settlements in 2006. Right now many more are there and the Palestinians have less and less land. I stand with Israel and Palestine.

Venezuela's Evils

We know about Hugo's countless speeches every week, where ministers and everybody looking for favours are forced to listen to his ranting and applaud for hours.

We have seen how the custom of long speeches among his mini-Mes in Venezuela and abroad is expanding.

In Venezuela those mini-Mes are mostly the new regional caudillos and other would-like-to-be caudillos like the infamous police officer who gave the speech you can watch on the link or the bosses of bureacrats as told in Caracas Chronicles.

You wonder: how can people endure all this?

Basically, it goes all over again to a couple of issues:

1) Venezuela is a petrostate, it has been importing almost everything and exporting almost only oil for decades now and the government has control of that oil

2) A large proportion of Venezuelans do believe in some form of cargo cult: they think the problem is about wealth distribution, not production, honesty, real education as opposed to degrees.

3) The leaders of the opposition in general - at the universities, in public offices, in parties - , as opposed to the average non-chavista, are mostly representatives of the former upper-class: the education law sucks? They express the worries of parents with children in private schools (who make up 20% of all pupils), of students and professors fearing a worsening of university conditions...all valid arguments, but they forget to talk about equally valid interests relevant for 80% of pupils, they forget to talk about quality, accountability, about new ideas

The economy will keep deteriorating. What will happen?
Don't think things will be over soon unless the opposition changes its strategy. Even if there are less and less petrodollars pouring in, the regime has other tools.


1) More expropriation of lands owned by opponents to the regime (not of the many lands owned by the new Boliburguesía)
2) More expropriation of houses and other buildings owned by regime opponents, rich and not so rich (not by the rich Boliburgueses)
3) The re-implementation of the already announced taxes on bank transactions
4) The infiltration of more and more companies with chavista union leaders who will lead workers to believe - for a time - they are taking over production means, when in reality they are just making production collapse (Venezuelan workers having no idea about how unproductive they are in comparison to the rest of the world)
5) More deals signed by the regime to pawn Venezuelan resources and future to Chinese, Brazilians or anyone ready to risk lending more money to Venezuela in expectation that oil prices will again raise to 2008 levels (something very probable, either due to Oil Peak, higher demand or about anything)

The last point is particularly worrying for all Venezuelans on a long term basis. Although the government initially was able to reduce foreign debt due to much higher oil prices, the situation is now reverting in a manner that could put us in worse difficulties than our debts in the eighties. Some of the deals the government has been signing are compromising Venezuela's very incomes. Above all: Venezuela's infrastructure is crumbling down.

The government is selling the new education law as a way to improve the chances of poor pupils to go to university. Until now state universities have been free but students coming from private schools have been overrepresented (about 50% when they are less than 20%). This is due to the fact that Venezuela's pre-university studies are too bad and last less than they should.

What nobody is telling, neither the government nor the opposition, is that the key to university success are schools were analytical thought, pluralism, creativity, planning and discipline are taught.

What nobody is telling, neither the government nor the opposition, is that we are running out of time to avoid a societal collapse in a few years due to ever-growing needs and ever-decreasing production and educational capabilities.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

People who do not like Chavez are not allowed to go to the city centre

No, at least not to march, not even to deliver a letter to the government, not to do anything official, anything even kitsch, as putting flowers at the Bolivar Square as Venezuelans used to do. The only way some oppo can even get close to the place and not be attacked is if he dresses up as a tourist and goes alone. If they do try to go there or perhaps even if they don't, but are just too close, they get tear-gas and bullets from the police...the same police I said before are 150 times more likely to be criminals than the average Venezuelan.
Blogger Miguel, who was there, reported it all here.

And if the opposition does not like it, they get the most obnoxious speech you
can imagine from someone who is supposed to be a police agent (here if you speak Spanish).

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Venezuelans on a crossroad

The first pie chart on the left shows the proportion of pupils in state (free) schools versus the ones in private schools in Venezuela. The proportion has been rather stable for ages: some 83% of Venezuelan children study in state schools. The current government has not changed that. That was the case when my parents grew up* and that is the case now. The children of the better off - the sons and daughters of the Boliburguesia and of the Ancien Regime - as well as the children of many professionals who just earn a bit more than the average and take extra jobs to make ends meet (like many friends I have), study in private schools orn semi-private schools like the ones run by priests and nuns.

As I wrote in the published post, even based on governmental data we can see the school enrollment without the misiones has actually dropped and even with the misiones it has stagnated and even decreased since 2007.

Now, the second pie shows the results to my little poll here. The question was: "did you (Venezuelan) study in state or private schools in Venezuela or in both?" There were 16 contributors. Even if this is a small figure, I am sure the proportion will hold if we were to extend the poll. 6 persons studied in both public and private schools (usually, it would be primary in a public school and secondary in a private school), 7 studied in private institutions only and 3 studied only in public institutions. What does this mean? The better-off Venezuelans are incredibly over-represented among the English speaking Venezuelans with Internet access. An overrepresentation in itself is not surprising, but the proportions are incredible. The real problem now is something else, though: the opposition is focussing the discussion on some of the interests of that group only without considering the interests of the rest, even the interests common to all of us.

We have seen how the government has pushed for an education reform that was not discussed in public and that was approved by the almost completely chavista National Assembly in just a couple of days of monologues.

Many NGOs involved in education, academics, the opposition in general and many others have asked for time to discuss things openly, to no avail. One of the curious things of this legislation is that it even goes into curtailing the freedom of speech. Because of that journalists from the rather chavista newspaper Ultimas Noticias went to distribute flyers in the capital and were violently attacked by chavista thugs. The president and "comandante" declared journalists provoked the attackers (with those flyers, I assume).

The opposition, after asking so many times for a discussion, is considering other ways of civil protest. Still, it is doing one thing wrong: it has lead the discussion center on the interests of people whose children are in private schools or people in universities, instead of focusing on issues that are at least as urgent for everybody. It does not matter a considerate amount of the poor are against chavez (out of my head: 41% in the poorest region of carabobo, the majority in the biggest slum in Venezuela) and a lot of multimillionaires are now part of the boliburguesía: the opposition is not turning the discussion to quality in basic education, to transparency and to accountability.

That is completely bonkers. Even if one can be personally affected by the government trying to interfere with private school, one should realise right now we need to garnish support from all Venezuelans to overturn that legislation and the only way we have a chance to succeed is if we see why it is wrong for all Venezuelans as well. Venezuelan pupils on average are the worst in Latin America and if we do not bring that discussion to the table, we will take once more the wrong road. Officialists are a minority now, but we will go on being a minority as well unless we present proposals for the absolute majority.

Ps. I think the situation in Venezuela is particularly dire as those Venezuelans who have seen other possibilities know mostly the US education system. Although the US has by far most of the best universities on Earth, its education system is below OECD standards. Here we could learn a bit about education in Europe.

*Well, it was the case once my dad was a teenager. The governments of AD built many schools in the forties. My dad started school under a mango tree, with one teacher for all children of the village.

here an article about about the law of education. Again, it is the head of the Venezuelan chamber for the Private Education (Cavep). What is the matter with the 80% of the population? "Well, not our business"?

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Journalists provoked attack on themselves, Chavez party says

That is what the PSUV, Hugo Chavez 's party said.
On one side they anounced they reject the physical attack on the journalists. On the other side they said the journalists, who were distributing flyers expressing their position about the new education law, which also affects freedom of speech, were provoking the attack on them by the TV Ávila (government) employees.

Chavez said "even if the journalists feel attacked they should not show those pictures" (about the attack) as there are "proofs" that some of the people were provoking.

Miguel has written more on this here.

What does the European Union say about that?

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Venezuela's police and thugs

Tarek El Aissami, minister of Inner Affairs and Justice (number 10 in 10 years of chavismo), said he had new plans to reform the police in Venezuela. You can read his declarations in the site of the Venezuelan (sigh) communist party here.

One of the most interesting things he said was that 20% of all crimes committed in Venezuela were perpetrated by the police forces themselves. He also declared there were some 40000 policemen and policewomen in Venezuela and we needed more. I think we all can agree on that: 40000 police agents for over 26577423 million people are too few (read in Spanish here).

Now, think of this: 20% of all crimes are committed by the cops. That means that 0.15 %of the Venezuelan population commits 20% of all crimes. The average cop is thus around 150 times more likely to be a criminal than the average Venezuelan citizen. Of course, I am counting here babies and elderly and the criminal distribution among both sets can be very different. Still...

Ps. Venezuela's murder rate went from 19 murders per 100000 inhabitants in 1998 to over 65 now. If you think Mexico is a failed state, you haven't seen anything.

Ps2: If you are Venezuelan and you went to school in Venezuela, please, answer to the poll on the right if you haven't done so yet. Thanks!

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Why Venezuela fails where others succeed or "State of Denial"

Last week the Chavez government approved a law of education they had just prepared a couple of days before and they discussed in the almost-all chavista National Assembly. University authorities and many parents' associations (from private schools only as parents of pupils at public schools haven't set up those kinds of organizations) asked the government repeatedly to allow for a public discussion of the law. The government did not pay attention. When the small dissedent group of deputies at the National Assembly took the floor in the farce Blitz-discussion that took place, they were booed and could not continue, so they had to leave. The government claimed the dissidents did not want to discuss anything.

The government says it wants to open up education for all and make universities accessible for everybody. The proportion of students coming from public schools does not correspond with the proportion of pupils in public schools. Worst still: it keeps getting worse.

In reality the government wants to take over control of the universities, which until now, even if free, have been autonomous and have been able to select to some extent the students they get. They also want to politize schools. Until now the government has not been able to gain any real election among students or professors.

What is happening? Here everything in a nutshell:

  1. Public schools in Venezuela have low standards but they keep getting worse
  2. Most private schools tend to be much better even if they are still bad for European standards. They are the choice now for anyone who can afford them, including such red Boliburgueses as the president himself and all possible high ranking officials
  3. Public - thus free - universities (which have existed for generations now) had to introduce tests and selection processes many decades ago to guarantee the people studying there should have at least some basic level (and still, the level was very low)
  4. Latin Americans in general have been in state of denial with regards to how good their education level is (see here for an interesting article by Andrés Oppenheimer), but more so Venezuelans
  5. The government finds it cannot get control universities and less and less schools
  6. The last open international evaluation tests Venezuelan pupils took part in were in 1995 andd 1998. In 1995 Venezuelan pupils came in place 41 out of 41 countries in "reading and comprehension". In 1998 Venezuela took part with 12 other Latin American countries in tests on reading and comprehension and maths. Venezuelan pupils got an average position for reading and comprehension among Latin Americans (although Latin Americans in general get bad levels internationally) and they took place 13 in maths, way below the second worst, Bolivia.

This is really like 2 + 2 = 5.
  1. High ranking officials back then found results very embarrassing, so they just buried them and almost no one in Venezuelan found out about them.
  2. Since chavismo is in power, the ministers of education have rejected to participate in open evaluation tests.
  3. Venezuela, together with Ecuador, Bolivia, Surinam and Guyana, are the only South American countries NOT TO TAKE PART in the PISA Programme of academic test.
  4. The Venezuelan government has simply ignored or rejected our pleads to let Venezuelan pupils take part in that programme.
  5. Teachers in Venezuela earn miserably and many are not qualified. They can only survive because of several jobs or because theirs is not the salary that keeps up the family. The ratio between the salary of a Venezuelan basic school teacher and a "socialist" deputy is by several degrees worse than that beween a teacher and a parliamentarian in developed countries. In fact, Venezuelan PSUV leaders, who claim to fight the oligarchy, earn salaries that are comparable to those in Germany, but without paying so many taxes, while the teachers in basic schools earn less than in Bulgaria.
  6. Venezuelan pre-university education is mostly learning by heart and preparing the homework with font 12 and 1 1/2 lines of separation, margin 2 cm, not about analysis.
  7. The government has a fetish with university titles: it thinks policemen and everybody else should get a university degree, but it does not ponder on the skills NEEDED to start university
  8. Venezuelan basic schooling has at least one year less than in most other countries
  9. The university community is rightly worried about the way chavez pretends to solve the fact few poor get to university as compared to their distribution in the total population but still they fail to
  • inform to the general public about the disastrous level of state schools, schools that are managed by the government, schools that are becoming worse and worse
  • do not point at how to solve the problem of education in general
Many Venezuelan professionals will say: "well, the picture was not so bleak before, we were making progress". Yes, some of us were, but the Venezuelan government could not provide good education, even decent education, for the vast majority and we were actually starting to lag behind in view of incredible birth rates and uncontrolled immigration (Europe's immigration now is nothing compared to immigration in Venezuela in the sixties to nineties).

An additional problem is that Venezuelans in general know little about other education systems but for the US. Even though the US has most of the best universities on Earth, US schools are on average way below OECD standards.

Here I present you some charts I created based on a report called "Diez años de educación según se constata en las Memorias y Cuenta de los ministerios de educación", by Luis Bravo Jáuregui, from the Universidad Central de Venezuela, my first alma mater.


The vast majority of Venezuelan pupils study in public (free) schools. That has been the cases since compulsory basic education was introduced in the XIX century. It has been like that since the governments started to invest in education in the thirsties and forties (my dad had to study under a mango tree first, then bike long distances to get to a secondary school, but things improved after that).

Here you can see total numbers of pupils (pre-university), including those who are "studying" in the misiones:

Here you see the numbers without the misiones:

As you can see, without the misiones, it is clear: pupils' enrollment has not improved (and this is not based on a baby boom being over)

An anecdote: I know a physician who works at a public hospital. He was filling in a form for a patient, a woman in her twenties, and asked if the woman was working or studying. The woman replied she was studying. My friend, curious, asked what (that was not part of the form). "Doctora, una misión". Yes, but what? Well, something there.

And the government hates transparency like wonder why.

So: Venezuelans in general are in a State of Denial. Without the government assuming its responsibility for improving the quality of basic education, instead of brainwashing, without an educated community making the general public aware of this, we have little chances of getting off our oil dependency and setting on the path of sustainable development.

Ps. If you are Venezuelan and had your basic and secondary studies in Venezuela, please, answer the poll on the right if you haven't done so yet.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Chavismo at work

This picture was taken on Thursday when Chávez fans attacked and wounded 12 journalists. The journalists were not even from the regime-critical El Nacional, but from Últimas Noticias, which has a rather sympathetic position towards the least until now.

Meanwhile, there are still some people who work as journalists and who write things like what Mr Rodrigo Orihuela wrote in this article in The Guardian.

Mr Orihuela says there that the Western and mostly English speaking press "does not get it" at all in Latin America. I must own up I am very cautious about a lot of topics in the press in general and more specifically in the US media. I think it helps to speak other languages and get the versions - left, right, centre - in German, in Dutch, in Russian. Now, Mr Orihuela says the Western (English, I suppose) media uses the term "populist" as an umbrella for everything without addressing "the fact that those "populist" leaders have tapped into a dormant feeling ignored until now by previous leaders. Even certain critics of Hugo Chávez and other "populists" are willing to admit this this." Indeed Chávez has known how to tap on the people's sentiments, but the questions that are raised are:

Does it mean that is not populism? Aren't populists always tapping into those feelings? Has the military of Barinas really satisfied those feelings? How? How did he finance his projects? Did the governments that preceeded him from 1985 to 1998 have the same income he could get from oil revenues? (which are the only meaningful export in a country that imports almost all the rest)
Is Mr Chávez respecting the rule of law? Those are questions that should not be put aside either, less you want to be as superficial and biased as, say, FOW NEWS.

Mr Orihuela says the West is being paternalistic by implying those who vote for the comandante don't know better. Mr Orihuela says they are voting intelligently. I wonder if he would say the same thing about those people when they voted twice for Carlos Andrés Pérez and twice for Rarael Caldera. Were they then intelligent? Even Mr chavez family were rapid pro-Copei supporters (Copei was the party of caldera). Would Mr Orihuela say the same thing about people voting for Bush Junior for a second time?

And: are there really so many Venezuelans who support Chavez now?

Fortunatelly, Mr Orihuela is not a regular journalist of that newspaper, but one of the free contributors, like Mr Gott, another Chávez apologist. The regular journalist of The Guardian is Rory Carrol, who can see beyond the simplistic Middle Earth attitude of extremists on either side of the political zoo.

PS. If you are Venezuelan and haven't answer to the poll on the right, please, take a look at it and answer if possible. I am preparing a post on education in Venezuela.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Venezuela: the parasite nation

Venezuela became a predominantly oil exporting country already in the thirties of the XX century. Unlike Norway, it was not an industrialized nation and its people had very low levels of education. Already back then, intellectual Arturo Úslar Pietri warned us about Venezuelans becoming just parasites of a petro-state. Few payed attention to him and those who did payed lip service to his words only. We became more and more dependent on petrol export and produced less and less things on our own.

The current government of Venezuela has brought our parasitism to new levels. Every month or so the Venezuelan government announces it has closed so many deals with another country. The semi-illiterate population does not realize what is behind those deals: it is all about selling oil to import more, it is always about Venezuela buying more.

Hugo Chávez threw a tantrum after the Colombian government denounced they had found Venezuelan-own Swedish weapons in possession of the terrorist organization FARC. The Venezuelan 1992-coupster decided to freeze relationships with Colombia and lo and behold, Argentina rushed in to offer replacing all those goods. This is very stupid and bad for Venezuela as Argentina is far away (remember South America is twice as big as Europe with European Russia included) and labor costs there are much higher than in Colombia.

Anyway, the most striking part of the whole deal for me is the fact that Venezuela and Argentina signed some 22 agreements and ALL THOSE AGREEMENTS are about Argentina exporting to Venezuela, nothing about Venezuela exporting to Argentina (here an article on that in Spanish).

The most worrying thing is that half the Venezuelan population does not have a clue about why this is bad. They think imports have to come, exporters are just some rich people and: who cares about those rich people? In reality the exporting sector in Venezuela - other than oil - is in tatters.

Chavez has no intention of helping Venezuelan exporters for a simple reason: the only way in which he can remain in power is if he maintains and strengthens the parasitic relationship between the Venezuelan people and the oil the state has always managed. If Venezuelan exporters had some clout, Chavez would lose some power.

We should all be aware: Argentina, Brazil and other countries are very happy with Venezuelans being the bunch of parasites they have become.

Ps. Today the national police dispersed a peaceful opposition march that had received permit to go to the National Assembly. So good for democracy in Venezuela

Ps2: If you are Venezuelan and haven't replied to the poll on the right, I would appreciate if you do so.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

A very special fish

The pictures you see here are of a very special animal that inhabits large extensions of South Ameria: the Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris, a.k.a. capibara or, in Venezuela, chigüire (pronounce cheeweerai).

Some of you may suspect something from the Latin name: it has to do a lot with water. Capibaras are the largest rodents on Earth and they are semi-aquatic: they are constantly swimming. The male pursuits the female and can mount it only when his lady stops swimming. So capibaras have evolved to become very good swimmers. Because they swim so well, they have, unlike more and more people these days, a very lean meat (not that I eat people, but one can imagine). Their meat tastes a bit like pork but better and healthier. You can get the meat in shops and supermarkets these days. We prepare the meat with different I salivating already?

One of the curiosities about capibaras is that Venezuelans and some others eat them particularly in Lent. The tradition says that the first Catholic missionaries asked for a dispensation from the Vaticcan in order to eat capibaras during Lent as they are most of the time swimming and must therefore be considered "fish".

More on capibaras in Wikipedia.

Ps. If you are Venezuelan and haven't answered the poll on the right, I would be very grateful if you could take a look

Monday, 10 August 2009

Education in Venezuela

I am preparing a new post on education in Venezuela and I need your help if you are Venezuelan and studied primary and/or secondary school in Venezuela.
Please, answer the poll I put on the right.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Moratinos: shame of Spain

Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs Moratinos, from the PSOE, declared, after signing juicy oil deals with the Venezuelan regime that "Spain trusts the Venezuela of the present and the future". He also said he thinks media in Venezuela is doing fine. Hello, was Moratinos really a social democrat? What is the matter with the current government of Spain? They critized so much the PPs links to right-winged regimes and now they do this?

Well, the Repsoil deal will bring just too much money for Spain so Moratinos decided, once more, to forget about human rights in Venezuela. Human rights are for people from Europe or North America only, apparently.

Bravo, Moratinos! You secured a lot of money for Spain...never mind democracy or social democracy in Venezuela...

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Sense and Sensibility or The European Union and Venezuelan corruption

Beginning in mid August Venezuela will lose the preferential access it has to the European Union based on the Generalised System of Preferences (SPG +). That was just now announced at the German Parliament (Bundestag) upon request from the Ecologist Party. The Venezuelan government, in spite of its promises, had not ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption. The European Union has thus decided to take back its decision from 9 December 2008 of adding Venezuela to the list of countries benefiting from the SPG +. Gabon, Nigeria and Pakistan also lost their preferential tariffs. The EU does not want to publish the decision about Venezuela in its official journal due to "reasons of political sensibility".

I wonder if the EU is afraid Chávez "freezes" commercial ties with it as he did with Colombia when Bogotá presented proofs Swedish weapons sold to Venezuela ended up in the hands of terrorist organisation FARC.

You can find the official sources (also with the words I put in red here) in the portal of the German Parliament (Bundestag) in German here (if you want to double check, try Google language tools)

Hat off Hans