Monday, 28 February 2011

Do Russians love Hugo?

Well, not specially. According to the Russian company Medialogija (Lenta dixit), the Venezuelan military caudillo ranks position 37 in the list of most popular world leaders. Hugo is thus much less popular than French president Nicolas Sarkozy (position 16), Kazakhastan dictator Nazarbaev (position 29) and Belorussian dictator Lukashenko (position 33). Position 1, 2, 3 and 4 are for Medvedev, Putin, Yanukovich and Obama.

Ouch, Hugo...that must hurt. You spent billions of dollars on Russian weapons and that is how they like you? You are giving them thousands and thousands of top land in Zulia for them to grow bananas and that is how they appreciate you? Well, on the other hand Russians voted Georgian Jossef Stalin the third greatest Russian of all times. Still: it must hurt.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Another view of regional preferences...and indifference

You can see here the list votes per state for 2010 elections, according to the Consejo Nacional Electoral. In the first chart you see total votes. Notice how the alternative forces clearly won in the most populated states. That is why the CNE had decided to do a little bit more of gerrymandering in those regions.





And look now at the second chart. Here you have the voting as percentage. You can see very clearly how abstention is the main "force" in many states. Abstention is clearly higher in almost every poorer district. There are many factors at play here: people are repelled by local caudillos that no one there really wanted, people there often think there is no hope whatever they do or they simply care less. Still, one that is often overseen by the top leaders of the alternative parties is that most people in those regions have no transportation means...unless it is a PDVSA bus mobilizing to vote for the military regime.

As I said in earlier posts, the opposition cannot just wait and wish people in those areas don't vote for the PSUV. The alternative forces have to go to those areas. Very unfortunately, some "national" party leaders are actually regional feudal lords (Táchira's governor, Carabobo's governor) and none seems to want to move his or her ass unless he/she is declared the national candidate. As usual in Venezuela, everybody wants to be the absolute leader and almost no one wants to do the hard work that is needed. Alternative forces do not seem to be studying the country's demographics. Most people do indeed live in cities, but "cities" does not mean Caracas, Maracaibo and Northern Valencia.

It is true alternative forces have very little financial resources and it is true Chávez thugs organise mobbing actions everywhere the alternative forces try to spread their message. Still, there is no way around this: the alternative forces must start now to set up networks everywhere in Venezuela. They need to do that on a clever basis. Parties need to merge when needed. They need to send not just "the annointed one", but teams with a common message and a programme. Journalists also have to start asking hard questions to the alternative "leaders". What is the reason for COPEI, Proyecto Venezuela and Convergencia, among other parties, to exist at the same time? What's the different apart from their caudillos? What are the ideological or programmatic differences between AD, UNT, Voluntad Popular and others?

Venezuela is no longer a democracy. It is an autocracy in a very similar way as Russia now. Leaders need to grow up. Most importantly, national teams with a clear message of pluralism and plans for sustainable development need to take hold.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Venezolanische Geschichte für Dummies (II)

I - II

Es ist wichtig, die geographischen Merkmale des Landes zu kennen, um die Entwicklung der Region seit Jahrtausenden zu verstehen. Ganz allgemein kann man folgende Gebiete unterscheiden:

  • Anden und Küstengebiet
Das Küstengebiet ist an sich sehr vielfältig. Im Westen -zB Guajira- und Corohalbinseln- ist das Klima oft sehr trocken. Im Zentrum und im Westen  befindet sich der Küstengebirgszug, eine Fortsetzung der Anden. Die Vegetation ist tropisch bzw subtropisch und die Pflanzenvielfalt riesig. Einige Küstengebiete waren ursprunglich  dichte Mangroven, die für menschliche Siedlung eine Herausforderung bildeten. Dazu gehören mehrere Regionen zwischen Puerto Cabello und Cupira, sowie das Orinoco-Delta. Andere Regionen bildeten vor allem Dschungel oder Wälder subtropischer Art.  Die Anden im Westen Venezuelas zeichnen sich durch verschiedene Klimazonen je nach Höhe. 
Ganz grob gesagt: die Anden und der Küstengebirgszug waren gut für die Entwicklung der Landwirtschaft. Allerdings hatte diese Region kaum Tiere, die gezüchtet werden und definitiv keine, die als Tragtiere fungieren konnten. Die Region ist aber so fruchtbar, dass früher Uramerikaner nur ein kleines Stück Land anpflanzen mussten, um genügend essen zu haben.


Diese Region wurde sehr gut von Humboldt beschrieben. Hier gibt es zwei sehr deutliche Jahreszeiten: eine Trockenzeit, die sehr lange dauert, und eine Regenzeit, die noch regnerischer ist als die der argentinischen Pampas. Die Llanos waren während des Tertiärs von Wasser bedeckt. Als das Wasser zurückging, blieb eine riesige Ebene, die sich von den Anden und vom nördlichen Gebirgszug bis zum Orinoco erstreckte. Unzählige Flüsse überqueren diese Region. Sie fliessen meistens vom Norden und Nordwesten zum Süden, zum Orinoco. Diese Flüsse werden zu richtigen Seen, wenn die Regenzeit kommt. Im Gegensatz zum Nilgebiet sind riesige Areale der Llanos überflutet. Während der Trockenzeit ist alles sehr trocken. Viele Tiere müssen im Schlamm kriechen, um etwas Wasser und Schutz gegen die Sonne zu finden. Der Boden ist extrem sauer und hat weniger Nährstoffe als andere Regionen. Ohne Bewässerungsanlage kann man während der Trockenzeit kaum etwas unternehmen.

Es war extrem unwahrscheinlich, dass Menschen in einer solchen Region jemals Landwirtschaft von sich selbst entwickeln würden. Es ist kein Wunder, dass die Uramerikaner, die bei Ankunft der Europäer da lebten, immer noch vorwiegend Jäger und Sammler waren, im Gegensatz zu denen, die in Bergen und Küstenregionen ohne Mangroven lebten. 

Es ist sehr wichtig, diese Region zu verstehen. Während man in Mexiko und Peru, aber auch in Teilen Kolumbiens grosse Regionen im Zentrum hatte, wo man leicht Landwirtschaft, selbst ohne Bewässerungsanlagen, betrieben konnte, war das in Venezuelas Mittel nicht der Fall. Als die Spanier in Mexiko ankamen, fanden sie grosse Siedlungsgebiete im Zentrum. In Venezuela waren nur die Regionen in der Nähe der Küste und in den Anden dicht besiedelt. Vor allem im Westen und im Zentrum der venezolanischen Llanos - wo Otomaken und Guamos lebten- führten die Bewohner ein karges Leben als Sammler und Jäger, die vor allem in der Regenzeit genug zu essen hatten.

  • Guayana und Amazonas
Diese Region, südlich vom Orinoco, ist extrem fruchtbar. Allerdings sind die Urwälder oft so dicht, dass die Besiedlung keine leichte Aufgabe war. Dazu ist die Bodenschicht mit Nährunstoffen sehr dünn.

Was wissen wir über die ersten Einwohner Venezuelas?

Friday, 25 February 2011

How to make a nation of beggars


Black beans, pinto beans, red beans, green beans: they all grow so easily we used to take them for granted in Venezuela before Chávez came to power. You could do nothing wrong if you were growing beans in Venezuela's fertile land. Now we are importing them from China. We are also importing cereals and vegetables from there. The military regime says it is making Venezuela more secure because it will store some of those imports.

This is absolutely mental. Venezuela importing beans from China is like Spain importing olives from Vietnam

Update: well, actually it is not: you need to wait years and years before your olive tree produces the first olives and olivie trees require particular soils and seasonal temperatures. You just have to wait weeks to see the beans grow and they grow very easily almost everywhere in Venezuela.

The military regime is also letting the Chinese and some Belorussians do the construction work in Venezuela. Why? Because now Venezuelans are incapable of doing that themselves. Productivity is lower than ever.

Weight-ligting and gun-tottering Juan Carlos Loyo, the minister for the "Popular Power for Agriculture and Land" said Venezuela imports no more than 30% of its food requirements. And cows lay eggs. He says Venezuela will now "export bananas". In reality the Chávez regime signed a deal in Russia early last year that would benefit Russian corporation JFC at the cost of Venezuela's private producers. Once Chávez came back to Venezuela, he expropiated the land Russians had an eye on already. So far for food independence. I wrote about that case in Spanish here.

Ecuador of all countries is exporting vehicles to Venezuela now. It used to be the other way around: Venezuela would import some parts, produce some others and assemble them for internal production and for export to some countries in the region. That was before Chávez came to power. The Veniran join venture between Iran and Venezuela to produce vehicles is one of the many forgotten stories of Chavismo.

The regime can still do all this because oil prices are at record levels. Only for some months in 2008 were they higher. And yet Venezuela's total debt in 2009 was 36.35% of its GDP when it was 32% in 2000. As a reference: the OPEC basket price was  $27.6 a barrel in 2000 and $61.01 in 2009. This year the OPEC barrel is giving on average $95.85.

If you read Spanish, check out El País's article for further details on how the regime is wasting the biggest oil boom in Venezuela's history.

Many have predicted the fall for years now but no one ever thought oil prices would keep rising this way. Still, once thing is sure: oil prices cannot keep increasing forever and Chavismo can get less and less for each petrodollar it receives. When the fall comes, it will be disastrous.

If you think the percentage of beggars is staggering in the US, wait until you see Venezuela now

Von Militär zu Militär: Wie die Chávez-Regierung Gaddafi unterstützt

Hahaha, ich scheisse auf Menschenrechte in Ländern, deren Regierungen mein Kommandant-Präsident verteidigt

Aussenminister Nicolas Maduro musste gestern vor der Nationalversammlung reden. Das ist die einzige Möglichkeit der alternativen Parteien, Minister zu befragen -Chávez ist davon ausgeschlossen-.

Die Opposition fragte, wie die Chávez-Regierung ihre Beziehungen zu Gaddafi erklären konnte. Gaddafis Freundschaft zu Chávez ist genauso bekannt wie die Berlusconis. Gaddafi hatte zB vor kurzem die höchste Auszeichnung Venezuelas von Chávez bekommen und Chávez hatte erklärt, Qaddafi sei Libyens Bolívar.

Maduro sagte nun, Al Qaeda-Gruppen seien für das Chaos verantwortlich und Libyen werde  von einem Bürgerkrieg bedroht. Maduro erklärte ferner, die Nachrichtenagenturen "des Imperiums" würden nur mit Vorurteilen informieren. Der  Aussenminister verglich die Berichterstattung der internationalen Medien jetzt mit der Berichterstattung während der 11.4.2002-Demos und des darauffolgenden Coups in Venezuela. Und dann fragte er, warum die Opposition nicht untersucht, wer Irak, Afganistan und Pakistan bombardiert, als ob das mit Venezuela zu tun hätte.

Chávez oder derjenige, der sein Twitter-Konto verwaltet, twitterte währenddessen folgendes:
"So ist das, Kanzler Nicolás, erteil den ultrarechten Yanki-Knechten noch mal eine Lektion. Es lebe Libyen und seine Unabhängigkeit. Gaddafi konfrontiert einen Bürgerkrieg"

Vamos Canciller Nicolás: dales otra lección a esa ultraderecha pitiyanqui! Viva Libia y su Independencia! Kadafi enfrenta una guerra civil!!"

Ihr könnt Daniels Bericht auf Englisch hier lesen. Ich bin lediglich mit einer Sache nicht einverstanden: Gadaffi verachtet die Menschenrechte, er ist aber meines Wissens und laut Experten wie Scholl-Latour und Robert Fisk gar nicht Al-Qaeda-nah. Gaddafi erwähnte diese Terrorgruppe schon, um Angst bei den Europäern einzujagen -vergeblich. Die europäischen Regierung scheinen nur zwei Sachen im Kopf zu haben: den Flüchtlingsstromm zu verhindern und die Erdölgeschäfte so bald wie möglich zu normalisieren. Das ist aber eine andere Geschichte.

Eins ist klar: Chávez bereitet sich vor für die Zeit, wenn das venezolanische Volk massal protestiert...Volk, das seines Erachtens nicht das Volk ist, denn das Volk ist nur, wer hinter ihm steht.

So wie Gadaffi hat Chávez einheimische - die milicias bolivarianas - und ausländische Söldner - die Kubaner der Sicherheitseinheiten-. Im Gegensatz zu Libyen kann Chávez Venezuela nie ganz abschotten. Das Land war allzu sehr mit dem Rest der Welt verbunden, als er an die Macht kam - dies ist etwas, was viele Ausländer gar nicht verstehen-. Diese milicias werden auch nicht so brutal sein wie die in Libyen jetzt. Und dennoch kann man schon erahnen, wie Chávez sich vorbereitet, um seine Macht zu verteidigen.


Klick hier, um die letzten AI-Berichte über Libyen zu lesen
Amnesty ist wahrscheinlich Chávez zufolge eine Abteilung der CIA

Hier für Robert Fisks Artikel in Libyen

Hier für Al-Jazeeras Bericht über Venezuela und Libyen


Thursday, 24 February 2011

Venezuelan tongues (II)

Imagine you burnt a Library of Alexandria every so many months. Well: that is the kind of information we are losing with the disappearance of so many languages all over the world.

A language is not just an alternative to express the same things. A language is a very complex system people use to shape universal and unique ideas, ideas that in turn reshape the system. A language is a world in itself. Take a look at this riveting video from The Guardian:

























Venezuela's main language by far is Spanish. That has been the case for probably 400 years now. Still, there are still many languages spoken by the First Nations. Most of them are under threat.

The present map shows the main native American languages still spoken today in Venezuela:

































The main language families are the Arawak family (Wayuu and Warekena, Kurripako and Piapoko) and the Caribe family (like Pemon, Yekuana, Yukpa and Panare). Pemon and Yekuana are like Spanish and French or perhaps Spanish and Romanian. Pemon and Arawak languages are as far apart to each other as possible. And then there are several languages that stand alone. They are like Basque: there is nothing around like them. One of them is Warao and another is Uruak.

Warao is a language still spoken by about 20000 to 30000 people in the Delta. Uruak is a language that is probably extint or about to become extint at this very moment. There are several other languages that are on the verge of extinction in Venezuela. Uruak and Sapé are some of them.

Some two years ago the Venezuelan government finally approved the creation of the Instituto Nacional de Idiomas Indígenas. It exists on paper alone. The laws on promotion of the native American languages have been implemented only so far. We need more than just letting children sing the national anthem in a couple of those languages or to finance for just some time a couple of programmes for children to learn to write some lists of words in their parents' language.

If the government or private organisations wanted to spend just some dozens of thousands of dollars -less than what you need for a fancy jeep-, there would be enough to save one Library of Alexandria and a lot of our unique cultural wealth. We have several Libraries of Alexandria in Venezuela and they are burning right now.


Ps. I have written a bit on native languages in Venezuela in Wikipedia and you can read some of it from here

Libya, Venezuela and the rest

Venezuela's regime goes on supporting Chávez's friend Muammar Gaddafi. Chávez had previously declared Gaddafi was the Simón Bolívar of Libya and he gave him the highest prize there is in Venezuela, the Orden del Libertador. Now you can see how the Venezuelan news agency keeps only reporting Gaddafi's side plus wha Fidel Castro says and some handpicked news on the European-US American reactions. "Telesur reveals campaign of desinformation about Libya", "contradictions within the EU towards Libya" and so on.

You don't read anything about Gaddafi's crimes, about the massacres, about Gaddafi threatening to kill people if they do not surrender. It makes you wonder if Hugo Chávez will also try to use Cuban intelligence people. Cuban security thugs have been in Venezuela for many years now.

Europe

William Hague, Britain's Foreign Secretary, was clumsy at best when he prematurely declared Gaddafi was on his way to Venezuela. He probably wanted to use the impressions public had on Gaddafi to remind them of Chávez.

Again, Europe is proving to be unprepared to deal with this kind of crisis. We hear Cameron saying it is naive to want to prevent weapons export to dictatorships. I want him to explain that statement is naive and his not shameful for Britain.

German Thomas de Maizière seems to be more worried about refugees than about anything else.


Just some of the key places now

Red: places that seem to be liberated from Gaddafi's regime
Green: places were fighting is going on



Some of the sources:
The Guardian
Al Jazeera
Spiegel

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

And Venezuela's military junta keeps supporting Gaddafi


Just read the state (i.e. Chávez) Agencia Bolivarian de Venezuela news:




Al Gaddafi: USA wants to do the same thing in Libya as in Iraq.
Al Gaddafi: Foreign Powers are behind protests in Libya
Libyan president invited media to tell the truth
Special UN session to discuss situation in Libya
Fidel Castro warns about inminent plan to invade Libya

And funnily the ABV site also has stuff like

Budget cuts trigger massive protests in the United States.

I used to read Soviet Pravda and Izvestia as a child as those were some of the few means I had in pre-Internet Venezuela for "contemporary" Russian. I think I never saw such a biased reporting in the Soviets' blatant propaganda papers as in Venezuela's state media and that says a lot.

The funny thing: Venezuela's "Information Ministry" claims they had no sources in Libya, but they do not use Al Jazeera sources here, which they were using -albeit selectively- for Egypt. And the Venezuelan government does not seem to have an idea about what Amnesty International has been saying for decades about the situation in Libya.

I know there are double standards everywhere, I know and I have openly rejected the hypocritical attitude everybody has carried out with Libya, but here we are talking about a new level. Daniel wrote some interesting thoughts about why Gaddafi is so desperate.

By the way: here from 3:32 and for a few seconds you will see Gaddafi's closest friends. Chávez is second to the right. That was during the one-week celebration of Gaddafi's 40 years in power.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Venezuela's brain drain versus "may they all go, we don't need them!"

Blogger Miguel announced he is leaving Venezuela. Miguel is a top physicist and a financial master. He is one of the few with a comprehensive understanding of what is wrong with Venezuela's economic, technological and social development. Most importantly, he is one of the very few who can honestly say what needs to be done.

He goes

  • because the military around Chávez and the pseudo-socialists and boliburgueses are destroying science, technology and Venezuela's economy and Miguel, who has been opposing this, wants after so many years to breathe freely,
  • because Venezuela has now, unlike in 1998, the by far highest murder rate of South America.
  • because the number of kidnappings keeps increasing and people like Miguel -unlike the Boliburgueses- do not have bodyguards, nor do they want to have bodyguards anyway.
  • because corruption has grown much worse than what it was 12 yeas ago
  • because now one cannot develop as a professional in Venezuela but only as a mediocre military boot-licker
  • because the ones to prosper are the military, the criminals and the importers of luxury goods, not the producers, and these last only as long as they go along with the military regime.

I have met many of the very best scientists, engineers, physicians of Venezuela. A lot of them have left the country. A lot of them are thinking to do the same. The military regime still keeps Fundayacucho, the programme for scholarships, but that programme as well as all the rest are so politicized that they have become a complete farce. At least in the Soviet Union there was an increase in the quality of education. Here we see its further degradation.

I have told this to some who are or were still Chávez-worshippers. They laugh and say: "well, they should all go away, they should go, we don't need them!" The guys don't understand they are also cutting the tree branch they are sitting on.

I wish Miguel a lot of happiness in his new homeland. I hope he keeps on blogging in the same incisive way he does now.

Between the Devil and the Deep blue sea, our Venezuelan blogging devil decided to take care of himself. I hope he and so many others who have been so useful to Venezuela will not very far away in the future have good reasons to cross back that sea, back to what once was and could still be the Land of Grace.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Informationsminister Izarra: "libyscher Führer in Tripolis"


Hugo Chávez erhielt im Jahre 2004 den Preis Gadaffi für Menschenrechte











Andrés Izarra, Chávez-Minister der "Volksmacht für die Information" und Sohn des Militärs Wiliam Izarra, schrieb gerade jetzt in Twitter:

"Telesur* berichtet nicht aus Libyen, weil es nicht kann. Medien der Rechten (sic) berichten nicht über Entlassenen von El Universal-Zeitung, weil sie nicht wollen"

Anscheinend hat die regierungskritische Zeitung El Universal, die in finanziellen Schwierigkeiten ist, Journalisten entlassen und darüber nicht gberichtet und Izarra denkt, das sei schlimm und nicht die Tatsache, dass die Regierungsfernsehsender über die Lage in Libyen so lange geschwiegen hätte.

Hier könnt Ihr ab 2:22 hören, als Izarra wie eine Hyäna lacht während der Vertreter einer NGO über die Mordrate in Venezuela redet.

Hier kann man die Seite des wichtigsten Regierungsfernsehsenders besuchen, wo die Chávez-Regierung einen Bericht der Gadaffi-Regierung vorlegt, nichts aber über die Ermordete erzählt.

Hier könnt Ihr lesen, wie Chávez im Dezember berichtete, er würde in Gadaffis Zelt übernachten, um den Flutopfern Venezuelas zu helfen.


*Telesur: Internationaler Fernsehsender der Militärregierung Venezuelas. In Wikipedia steht, es handelt sich um einen multistaatlichen TV-Satellitensender.

Hier auf Englisch






Welcher Regierungschef hat Gaddafi nicht umarmt?



















Aber niemand ihn so gelobt wie dieser

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Chávez und al-Gaddafi


Militärdiktator Chávez ist einer der besten Freunde vom libyschen Diktator al-Gaddafi.

Hier könnt Ihr sehen, als Chávez die höchste Auszeichnung Venezuelas, Orden del Libertador, an al-Gaddafi verleiht.

In den letzten Tage massakriert al-Gadaffi Leute, die gegen seine Diktatur protestieren.

Al-Gadaffi ist seit 1969 an der Macht. Chávez "nur" seit 1999.

Useful idiots werden immer noch ihre Augen zutun. Deutschland auch: 10% des in der Bundesrepublik verbrauchten Erdöls kommt aus Libyen.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Why the US does not learn

2006, since then many thousands have arrived to occupy more Palestinian land.




















Israeli troops occupied Palestinian land in the 1967 war. According to international law, you cannot longer annex land just by winning wars, whether the others started the war or you did it. Still, the government of Israel does not care for international law. It uses a conservative interpretation of parts of the Old Testament - parts written over 600 years B.C. whereby the whole of "Judea and Samaria" belong to the Jews. And apparently, the guys now coming in from Minsk and New York, Paris and Tel Aviv are more "Jewish" than most Arab speaking people who have been living in the West Jordan not for 100, 200, 400, or 1500 years, but who are mostly the descendants of the original inhabitants of that land.

60% of US population's think evolution is not true or are not sure, more than anywhere else in the Western World. A lot of the others do not believe that anymore, but are highly influenced by tradition and lobbyist groups. That influence has greatly increased since the sixties.

And that is what makes the US government now vetoed a United Nations resolution condemning the Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian land.

Genetically speaking I am probably more Jewish than the average Ari Beckstein occupying Ali Samir's land. I wonder: does religion trumps international law now? When? With what religion? Or what other base is there for such settlements then?

I did not have much hope about Obama with regards to the Middle East, but this is really very disappointing.

I try to analyze the biographis of "US intelligence specialists" and try to picture their knowledge about the region.

It is not good, but I am sure Islamic fundamentalists will profit a lot from US's incapacity to see the Middle East story is not about interpreting the Old Testament.

No country and no ethnic group is above international law. Not a single one.

Here more news in Al Jazeera
And here from my dear friends from Fox News


Thursday, 17 February 2011

Can someone ask Venezuela's autocrat something?

Corruption map














Venezuela's autocrat twitted the following:

"Of course, the squalid ones want a military like those at Altamira square. Long live the Bolivarian Army".

"Squalid" is the way the military regime and its followers refer to the opposition. He was referring to the deputies' rejection of military honcho Silva, who was going to talk to Parliament even if he had previously declared the military would not recognise a victory by the opposition in 2012. The military who were at the Altamira Square were some military who protested against Chávez.

The autocrat also wrote:

"Those gentlemen from the extreme right would like to have military like those at Altamira square. They won't come back!"

Questions: if we are the "extreme right", who is the "moderate right"? who is the "moderate left"? who is the "extreme left"? Is that other military coupster, Jesse Chacón, part of the moderate right, the moderate left or the extreme left? Jesse Chacón, mind, is the brother of yet another military, Arné Chacón, a guy who is in jail -at least that's what we were told and we hope he is there- for stealing hundreds of millions of dollars. Almost all Venezuelans knew for years about Arné Chacón's incredible fortune but for his brother, Jesse, who said he did not have anything to do with it.

Is Diosdado Cabello, another notorious Boliburgués, part of the extreme left, the moderate left, the moderate right or what?

And what about Hugo Chávez's clan itself? What about the Adrubal Chávez, Hugo's cousin, who was vice-president for PDVAL but was not made responsible for the Pudreval scandal? Is he also part of the extreme left, moderate left, moderate right?


Roberto Weil, one of the best cartoonists in Venezuela now


In this cartoon, the military caudillo says "Take and eat". It's rotten food, like the one
the boliburgueses were selling to the people last year.











Tuesday, 15 February 2011

How Venezuelans destroy their Land of Grace


















When Columbus arrived to Venezuelan coasts, he wrote he saw the Land of Grace. He thought he had arrived to Paradise. He visited what is known now as Delta, Paria and Margarita. Soon afterwards other Europeans got to the other similar places on the centre and western part of the country. We don't know what the first native Americans thought when they arrived to those places over 13000 years ago, but they probably thought in a similar way: this IS cool!

The place is definitely gorgeous, but we, the descendants of that melting pot that became Venezuela, are destroying that Land of Grace.

The maps you see here show municipio Silva (red) and Monseñor Iturriza (pink) in Falcón state and municipio Juan José Mora (red), in Carabobo.

















Between the first two municipios you have the national park of Morrocoy: lush flora, exotic fauna, the warmest waters of the Caribbean, chorals left and right, lots of little islands and white sand galore.

Unfortunately, there are towns within and next Morrocoy and those towns keep expanding. The children of those who were born there go on building and building in an area that is ecologically fragile. Why should they leave if there are no jobs for their skills elsewhere? The place is also chock-a-block with marinas for the rich and the military caste, who have their yachts all over the place. I have seen many yachts there that have nothing to envy to those of Europe's royals and Arab magnates. Most rubbish goes directly into the park. Several times a year, the park authorities have to carry out special "cleaning operations" to get rid of at least part of the rubbish. But you can only do so much once that rubissh is in.

Some years ago Chávez took the decision to make access to the park absolutely free. No comprehensive plan was undertaken to keep it tidy. Until then you had to pay a very small entrance fee, small even for a humble worker. Since then visitors' numbers have skyrocketed and people simply do not appreciate what they are visiting. The park's facilities collapse all the time.

On top of that, the whole coast from Puerto Cabello to Coro and beyond is now full with buildings that destroy what once was a beautiful landscape.

Municipio Juan José Mora is next to municipio Silva but in Carabobo state. There are some beautiful beaches there as well, but they are also going to pot because of the environmental degradation. The place is also home to El Palito Refinery, one of the largest oil refineries in South America. PDVSA, Venezuela's state oil company, also has petrochemical stations closeby. Lots of money is generated in that area and oil professionals have very high salaries there, compared to the general population.

And yet: you just have to get around and see what an environmental mess it is.

It is time for Venezuelans to wake up and decide to recover the land of Grace they have been destroying for so long.


My thanks go to David for providing the pictures.

Tucacas, just a few meters from the Morrocoy National Park


































Not far from a special reserve










A little bit to the North along Falcón's coast













Esta foto es mía y la coloqué en Commons. Ahora alguien quiere borrarla de allí. Por favor, no borrarlo.  Me hace perder el tiempo.































Morón, in Carabobo, very close to PDVSA

Monday, 14 February 2011

Bear with glasses




The spectacled bear or Tremarctos ornatus is a small bear native to South America. You can still find it in some areas of Venezuela's Andes, like in Mérida, not far from the dwindling glaciers I wrote about. It is very much under threat, though.

The first video below shows mostly scenes from Peru, but similar scenes can be seen in Venezuela. The Venezuelan Andes, though, is separated from the Venezuelan Amazon by the Llanos.
The second video, also about the spectacled bear, is narrated by Stephen Fry.





Sunday, 13 February 2011

Damenbinden und Venezuelas Wirtschaftspolitik


Always: eher selten




Blogger und Zeitungen haben es schon auf Englisch und Spanisch erklärt. Ich will aber, dass auch Deutschsprachige es wissen: jetzt gibt es Knappheit an Damenbinden. Freundinnen und Verwandte bestätigen, was ich überall lese: auch Damenbinden sind nun Mangelware. Die Situation ist schon seit Januar bemerkbar. Frauen müssen lange Zeit herumfahren, um irgendwo diese Produkte kaufen zu können, wenn überhaupt. Meisten können sie nur unbekannte Marke kaufen. Oft finden sie nur Tampone, deren Benutzung in Venezuela weniger verbreitet ist als in Europa. Die Lage ist schon kritisch und die Frauen sind sehr verärgert. Ich kann mir vorstellen, wie schwer diese Situation ist. Windeln sind auch knapp geworden.

Dies ist eine Folge der verworrenen Wirtschaftspolitik, die die Militärregierung betreibt. Alle diese Produkte werden jetzt importiert bzw können nur zu gebundenen Preisen verkauft werden und die Firmen haben kaum Dollars. Blogger Miguel hat auf Englisch sehr ausführlich erläutert, wie diese Regierung die Dollarknappheit konterkarieren will: sie verkauft wieder Dollarbonds unter sehr besonderen Bedingungen. Wie die Regierung dies tut ist ziemlich kompliziert. Wenn es Euch interessiert, sollt Ihr Miguels Post ganz lesen.

Venezolaner dürfen jetzt nicht einfach so auf dem Markt Dollars kaufen. Jeder - in Wirklichkeit der Besserverdienende - hat eine Quote Dollars pro Jahr für Tourismus. Nur so viel darf er jedes Jahr kaufen, das aber subventioniert, im Schwarzmarkt sind diese Dollars viel mehr wert. Sonst gibt es Quoten für Einfuhr aller Produkte. Und da es nie genug Dollars gibt und man viele Dollars nötig hat, um alles zu importieren, suchen die Firmen die Lösung bei Bonds, die sie dann für Dollars verkaufen können. Auch Profiteure, viele von ihnen regierungsnah, machen mit. Miguels Beispiel: ein Venezolaner (in Wirklichkeit ein reicher Venezolaner) zahlt Bs 4.3 per Dollar für ein $1000-Bond. Dieses Bond kann international für $700 ausgetauscht werden (der Unterschied entsteht durch das Risiko) und so kann der Venezolaner $700 bekommen. Am Ende hat er Bs6.14 pro Dollar bezahlt, was aber besser ist als nichts.

Die Regierung betreibt eine sehr gefährliche Politik. Sie verkauft immer wieder Bonds, weil sie immer knapp bei der Kasse ist. Die regierung verkauft diese Bonds unter sehr unterschiedlichen Bedingungen. Es gibt keine Transparenz. Die Märkte haben keine Ahnung, wie viele Bonds die venezolanische Regierung für ein bestimmtes Jahr verkaufen wird. Dadurch entsteht Unsicherheit.

Die Regierung will die nationale Währung, den Bolívar, nicht wieder entwerten, weil sie die Inflation nicht weiter steigen lassen will. Mit dieser Politik werden aber nur Firmen und sehr reiche Venezolaner begünstigt...auf Kosten aller Venezolaner. Und zwischendurch gibt es diese Knappheitsperioden. Die Regierung wird natürlich behaupten, alles hat mit dem Kapitalismus zu tun. Der wahre Grund für die Inflation ist die monetäre Liquidität und die stetig sinkende Produktivität in Venezuela. Es gibt einfach zu viel Geld im Umlauf für einheimische Produkte. All diese Enteignungen und Drohungen und launische Entscheidungen eines Militärs sind tödlich für die Wirtschaft.

Eins gibt es in Venezuela wie nirgendwo in Europa, selbst in Schottland nicht: Whisky und andere ausländische Stirituosen. Die kann man sehr leicht überall in der ganzen Republik finden.

Venezuelan political fighting, another perspective

Spiegel (through Reuters) shows a little bit more of the shameful row Venezuela's "National" Assembly saw last week.

In this video you can see how one of Chávez's parliamentarian thugs pushes the other PSUV deputy down the stairs throwing fists at the opposition politician.

Although Chávez's TV channel VTV claimed this was "an assault from the violent opposition", you can see how the former guerrilla and current head of the National Assembly, Fernando Soto Rojas, seems to be having a great time looking at the whole thing (click on the bottom left image).

Expect much more of this stuff. The extreme left, like the extreme right, has a long tradition enticing violence. Democratic people need to avoid provocations and be ready to document how attacks start.

And they will always say: "oh, we do want debate, it's you who do not want it". But not for nothing has the military regime refused critical TV channels to be there and film everything.

Not one in the 12 years has Hugo Chávez accepted to have an open, live debate with an opposition politician.

Attacks and all kind of provocations will come at every level of society. Almost two years ago I translated from Russian into Spanish this KGB document about how the Soviet Union's Secret Services trained a member of the Partido Comunista de Venezuela for conspiracy operations. That was not the first time they did it and it was not be the last one either. The Soviet Union is gone for good, but now Chávez's regime gets that kind of training from Cubans and Belorussians.














Soto Rojas has never renounced violence. He was member of the Liga Socialista, like the father of Libertador's current mayor, Rodríguez. Today the military - Chávez, Diosdado et alia- and the token communists in power - Soto Rojas, Rodríguez and the like- think they need to use extreme left tactics to remain in power.



Saturday, 12 February 2011

Waffen statt nachhaltiger Entwicklung



















Der "bolivarische" Verteidigungsminister, Carlos Mata Figueroa, ist wegen seiner unverschämten Ablehnung der Demokratie und des Pluralismus gut bekannt. Vor einigen Monaten hatte er das Amt als Verteidigungsminister angetreten, nachdem der vorige Minister wegen der von Chávez-Ministern extrem häufig verwendeten Ausrede von "Gesundheitsproblemen" zurückgetreten war.

Gestern erklärte er in der Nationalversammlung, er sei stolz darauf, wie die Chávez-Regierung das Geld für das Verteidigungministerium benutzt hat. Er behauptete, Venezuela sei das fünfte Land "in Südamerika oder Amerika (sic), was Militärausgaben angeht". Er sagte aber nicht, dass die USA, Kanada, Brasilien Mexiko ein viel grösseres BIP haben. Er sagte zwar, 40% des Haushalts sei für Sozialausgaben bestimmt. Er sagte aber nicht, dass in Wirklichkeit viel von diesem Geld an die Firmen der Boliburgueses zufliesst, Firmen, die in pudreval-ähnlichen Korruptionsfällen verwickelt sind.

"Wir sind ein Land, das bedroht wird, ein Land mit zahlreichen Erdöl- und Gasreserven", sagte der Militärbonzo. Das Land sei von "Imperien" bedroht, "sie wollen uns aufgrund dessen, was wir vertreten und unser Oberbefehlshaber hat das tausendmal gesagt: Venezuela muss echte Streitkräfte haben...nicht um anzugreifen, sondern, um sich zu verteidigen...[wir können] nicht ohne Waffen [sein], wie die gringos es wollen".

Er erklärte aber nicht, wie um Gottes willen die vielen russichen Panzer und U-Boote bei einem US-Angriff nützlich sein könnten. Er gab auch dazu, dass die Militärs in Venezuela von den Kubanern "Beratung" bekommen, was Sicherheit betrifft.

Ein paar Leute in El Dorado und in Putinland sind etwas reicher geworden. Und einige Bonzen auf der Castro-Insel sind beruhigt geworden.



Thursday, 10 February 2011

Venezuelan National Assembly in Action

This is what happens when a nation forgets or has never learnt the concepts of debate and democracy:

Business as usual from Venezuela's military regime

Apure, in the Llanos, where the top of the military junta comes from










Yesterday the national government announced the governor of Apure, military and former coup monger, Jesús Aguilarte Gámez, was stepping down "for health reasons". Yeah, sure, once again another bites the dust.

Hugo the First said two weeks ago, after vaguely mentioning open quarrels between Jesús Aguilarte and other politicos in Apures, that Jesús Aguilarte had to step down. There were rumours about too much corruption (which Hugo the First did not mention).



The Apure government now appointed another Llanos military honcho, Ramón Carrizales, as the new satrap. Carrizales has previously been, among other things, chair of a Transport Fund (2000-2004), minister of Infrastructure (2004-2006), minister of Housing (2007-2008) and Minister of Defence (2009).

This is the way the pseudo-revolution works: improvization, the military are the ones really in control of everything, Hugo constantly changes one functionary for the other. If one who has fallen out of grace remains faithful to the junta, he may be rewarded with a new job after a year or two. If one decides to criticize the Fat Man in the Palace, one can be sure to be prosecuted right away. As we say in Venezuela: as they all have straw asses, they all know they can be badly burnt.

Here I give you an updated Chavista Fauna mind map.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Melting away





















Here you see a recent picture of Pico Humboldt. At 4,940 metres above sea level, it is Venezuela's second highest peak. It has two of the 5 remaining glaciers in Venezuela, glaciers that are receding very fast. As you can see, there is very little snow now. The picture was taken this January. For those of you who don't know much about Venezuela's location: that place is at 8°33 North.

Below you have a picture of the Humboldt Peak taken in 2001. Although the angle is not the same, you can have an idea about the changes.

I love mountaineering and have been practicing it since I was a child. I have seen how glaciers have been disappearing in other places of the world. And yet I can't help for being particularly sorry for this one.

Climate change is a very complex phenomenon we are still trying to grasp. We do know we humans are speeding it up. You get the picture.

Ps. Thanks to David for the first picture.
Ps 2. And thanks to Alpha for correcting my error while typing the peak's height. I must have been very high when I wrote it.

Imagine the BBC


Imagine the BBC would broadcast only information that pleases the Tory party, pure propaganda. Imagine it would broadcast day after day the view of national issues only according to David Cameron's taste. Imagine the BBC site had several links to such things as "Cameron's Thoughts" but not a single one to the sites of opposition parties. Imagine it would only broadcast what the friends of Cameron's government abroad say.

Imagine the BBC had special programmes to ridicule the opposition parties' work at the British parliament. Imagine you could download videos from BBC where supporters of opposition parties were portrayed as selfish idiots and as criminals, but Tory's politicians would be portrayed as heroes. Think for a moment the BBC did not allow the opposition to give their opinion and only selected parts of their speeches were shown. Think for a m oment the BBC would show only once, some sort of TV Potemkin village: an interview with a couple of opposition politicians. Imagine the interviewer tried to grill those politicians while being very nice to politicians of the government's party.

Try so think how it would be if the BBC were the only one to have access to the discussions in the British Parliament and only the parts the BBC wants could be seen.

Picture how it would be if less than 30% of the UK's population could watch any other TV channel than the BBC channels. Imagine Internet coverage were 30%. Try to think what the implications would be if most people in Perth, in York, in most towns in Wales and in Scotland and in the Middlands only had BBC channels or other channels showing sports or films but no criticism towards the government.

That would be shocking, wouldn't it?

Well: that's Venezuela. Why doesn't BBC correspondent in Venezuela inform about that ?
Perhaps he doesn't know. Perhaps he thinks Venezuela's media is what he sees from his street in Caracas, perhaps he thinks everyone can watch Globovision in Venezuela and most can buy El Universal.


If you have a minute, here you can see the Venezolana de Televisión site.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Venezolanische Geschichte für Dummies (I)

Das Gebiet, das jetzt Venezuela heisst, war schon seit über 13000 Jahren von Menschen bewohnt. Eigentlich ist das nicht so anders als Deutschland: auch wenn Hominiden vor über 500000 Jahren Grillpartys in Heidelberg organisierten, sahen sie anders aus, als meine ehemaligen Komilitonnen in der Neckar-Metropole (dies war früher). Homo sapiens kamen nach Deutschland schon vor etwa 35000 Jahren, sie verliessen das Gebiet aber, um in Spanien oder Südfrankreich die Sonne zu geniessen. Der Trend hält immer noch, damals waren es aber absolut alle. Sie kamen nach Deutschland definitief zurück, als die ersten Ur-Venezolaner die Küste Südamerikas erforschten und die besten Strände der Südkaribik entdeckten. Ich habe schon in einem englischen Post auf diese Site hingewiesen.

Das in jener Site beschriebene Taima-Taima liegt im Norden Venezuelas und zwar etwa 20 Km östlich von der Langenge und von Coro.
















Teil meiner Vorfahren haben Mastodonten, Riesenzahnarme und andere Tiere der südamerikanischen Megafauna gejagt. Einige Jahrhunderte danach waren fast alle diese Tiere ausgestorben. Noch heutzutage streiten sich die Archäologen um die Gründe für die Aussterbewelle. Man geht davon aus, dass die grosse Klimaveränderung um 13000 B.C. der Hauptgrund war, viele Wissenschaftler gehen aber davon aus, dass die Menschen den Gnadenschuss gaben.

Bis zur Aussterbewelle gab es in Venezuela Riesenfaultiere wie dieses:


Noch heute spricht man bei uns über "Riesenfaultiere". Die sehen aber anders aus.




Fortsetzung...






Monday, 7 February 2011

Lack of principles

The US government -at least part of it- sends a "diplomat", Frank Wisner, to help get dictator Mubarak out of government in Egypt and the bloke turns out to say "President Mubarak's continued leadership is critical: it's his opportunity to write his own legacy". And then we find out Mr Wisner works for a law firm which is paid by Mr Mubarak.

Meanwhile, the Venezuelan military regime does not know exactly what to say about Mubarak. First they started to criticize Mubarak, then they became silent when they realised the Chinese were not happy about Mubarak going. They also felt puzzled Gadaffi is nervous as well. They probably thought they were doing the right thing. They would probably have done the opposite of whatever the US government would have done, had it done it early on.

Unfortunately, I can't link to the latest articles at the sites of the Venezuelan regime because their servers are down. Venezuela's Internet service has been going down the drain lately.

Venezuela imports from


Last year's Central Bank report about Venezuela's economy in 2009,shows most imports came from the USA, followed by Colombia and China. Very funny: the reports writes "Popular Republic of China includes province of Macao, Continental China, China Taiwan and Hongkong" - just in case the new Empire is reading-.

What does Venezuela import? Everything. Some of the main areas are: devices for telephony (read: BlackBerrys and others), "other kinds of machinery and pieces", pharmaceutical products, basic chemical products, medical products. There is also the rest post for others, which is unusually huge and shows the level of "transparency" in Venezuela: 17.84 billion dollars from the 37.15 Venezuela imported are classified as others. That is no detail for 48% of total imports. I reckon weapons are in that part as well as goodies for the Boliburguesía other than SUVs.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Venezuela, parasite nation




Source: BCV 2009 report



We haven't got the Central Bank of Venezuela's 2010 Economic report just yet. Things have changed since 2009 as oil prices are going up again. I will refer here to figures of 2008 from the 2009 report and not those of 2009 just because the military regime says 2009 was an exceptional year. So we assume 2008 is the "good year", as oil prices got to the highest levels then and as we are approaching the average of 2008 already now.

In the first graph you can see the scope of oil in the total exports for 2008. When Chávez came to power, non-oil exports accounted for more than 10% of our exports. Now they account for 6% of exports. Now: most of our non-oil exports are things like aluminium, iron and gold. What else do Venezuelans export within that 6% piece?

Below you see the different non-oil-non-iron export products for 2008. It was worse for 2009, so I decided to use 2008.

Oil prices have been higher, much higher since 2000 than what they were in the nineties but it suffices for them to stop growing fast enough for the Venezuelan economy to get into trouble.

Oil prices will remain high for years to come. Still, this generation will see a dramatic fuel source shift. What's going to happen to Venezuela then?

Meanwhile, the military men who killed many in 1992 in their bloody coup against a democratically elected government that was not up for re-election, celebrate themselves: the military honchos, now in their late fifties, claim the "heroic youth of 19 years ago" - i.e. themselves- are saving the nation.


Friday, 4 February 2011

The Venezuelan dictatorship and the European Union

Former guerrilla against democratic government and current head of the National Assembly, Fernando Soto Rojas, is preparing the "rules" according to which the alternative parties may ask questions to the ministers. And as for the president of Venezuela: he is beyond that. The commandant-president is like the Queen of England, but with power: he only has to give his report and not be questioned. Chávez did that last month and spoke for 7 hours.

Soto, like the great majority of Chávez honchos, comes from the conservative Llanos and has guerrilla training from Cuba. He has a strong caudillo mentality and has no idea what real debate is.

He said "I am taking a look at the regulations for the French, Swiss and US parliaments...so that you see that in few countries is there as much freedom as in Venezuela. For a minority deputy of the left to talk at the European Parliament a year has to pass of the 600 deputies (sic)". He said he will "distribute copies of the rules for people to judge in Venezuela".

The chuzpah.



Soto, on the right, was using violence to fight a dysfunctional -as the Mexican or Colombian states now- but democratic government where presidents could not be re-elected and people could speak out. He was trained in Cuba.









First of all: he does not talk about the time parliamentarians have anywhere but in the European Parliament, which is not a national parliament. He does not mention the regulations of the Swiss or French or US congresses he does not like, much less of most other congresses or assemblies in democratic countries where debates are more open and frequent.

Secondly: the "minority deputies" Soto mentions, the extreme left , do not represent 52% of the population as the Mesa de la Unidad and PPT do in Venezuela.















In reality those 35 extreme left deputies will have much more time to express their ideas than the deputies representing 52% of Venezuela's voters.

Secondly: in no democratic country is there a law regulating that deputies have to vote only as their party says. Last year the pro-military deputies of the PSUV introduced such a law, penalizing anyone who would go against his party. That law is completely anti-constitutional. Venezuela's 1999 constitution states that deputies are only subject to their conscience and it is almost verbatim what the German Grundgesetz says. The new law of 2010 is just trying to prevent any future dissension among PSUV deputies as has happened in the past.

Thirdly: Soto does not mention the fact that in the democratic world the only heads of government who have no time limit are those of parliamentary systems where they have to answer live to the opposition time after time after time. A strong presidency in a democratic country always has term limits.

Soto just picks up the tids and bits of regulations that he wants to show, specially to a population that has no clue about how regulations are outside their country. He does not say anything about the head of state in those countries, that in the US or in France the head of state cannot be elected indefinitely, that in Switzerland the presidency rotates every year and that unlike the EU parliament - which is not a state - deputies do have plenty of time not only to question ministers but to grill the head of state.

Soto already cancelled last week's parliamentary sessions because according to him there was nothing to talk about. It seems the representatives of 52% of the voters do not count.

The Chávez Supreme Court recently declared that those who accuse Chávez of bad faith can be prosecuted.

Expect more of this farce until Chávez is gone. Still, we need to challenge Chávez honchos to debate on fair terms. The Chávez military government won't accept it, but the population needs to know how naked the military regime is.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Mapping the mood in the capital

Here you have two maps showing the way Caracas people voted last September for the parliament. One dot represents 1000 votes. In the first picture you have green dots representing the votes for the military, pseudo-socialist party, PSUV. In the second picture you see blue dots representing the votes for the Mesa de la Unidad. I did not show the votes for PPT, which is also now against the military regime, nor votes for other minor parties, as they represent less than 1% of votes.

Western Caracas tends to have poorer and Eastern Caracas the poshest areas. Still, there is everything on both sides.











As you can see, the West is no longer a bastion of the military. Still, the democratic forces have to work more to penetrate in every street of the area. The military and left extremists will do anything to prevent this. They are experts in infiltration, sabotage and violence in general.

Democratic forces need to be prepared. Democratic forces need to promote pluralism and openness.



Das sind Experten: Ägypten und vieles mehr



Peter Scholl-Latour und Michael Lüders sprechen hier über die Situation in den vorwiegend muslimischen Ländern. Ich wünschte mir, man könnte solche Analyse auch auf Spanisch bzw auf Englisch hören.

Der Moderator stellt manchmal blöde Fragen, das Interview ist aber im allgemeinen sehr gut.

Ich frage mich: und wie wäre es, wenn die Proteste auch auf Libyen übergreifen könnten? Schön wäre es. Ich glaube aber nicht, dass das in den nächsten Jahren geschehen kann. Libyens Bevölkerung ist zu klein und sie war schon lange zu abgeschottet, als dass die Menschen dort sich trauen würden, gegen Khadaffis Schurken zu protestieren.

Wenn es den Ägyptern aber gelingen würde, langsam den Weg der Demokratie einzuschlagen, würde dies auch irgendwann das Ende der Diktatur in Libyen bedeuten.

Was kann Europa noch tun? In alternative Energien massiv investieren. Das wäre gut für Europa, für die Umwelt, aber auch für alle Erdölländer, die jetzt von Despoten regiert werden. Ein Problem stellt sich aber immer mehr: wer wird die Seltenen Erden liefern? Kasachstan etwa? Venezuela? Die Weltmacht China?


Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Useful idiots, Chávez, Iran, murder and torture




Chávez's useful idiots don't say anything about human right abuses in Iran









That Iranian government just hanged an Iranian-Dutch woman for "drug smuggling". The most likely reason is probably that she was protesting against the Mullah regime in last year's protests.

The Iranian regime has been hanging lots of people who protested against the Iranian dictatorship. And Chávez's useful idiots are not likely to have the cojones to criticize that. The reason is that Chávez's followers around the world

1) follow Chávez as a caudillo no matter what and do not follow their conscience and
2) blindly think "the friend of my friend is my friend and the enemy of my friend is my enemy"

If you want to read more information about human rights violations by one of Chávez's closest allies, take a look at Amnesty International's page on Iran.

Most people from the alternative forces in Venezuela do follow their own conscience, not what a foreign power or any regional or national "leader" tells them to do. So you will see most of us protesting against the death penality in the US or in China, against torture in Egypt or in Lybia. My previous post was definitely not the first one where I criticized the policies of the US or EU and I have seen also other posts in other oppo blogs with that attitude. We try to be as free as possible.

In this Chávez-financed newspaper, Eva Golinger, one of Chávez's propaganda workers, tells us about how the US helped to "organise the student networks against (sic) Venezuela, Cuba and Iran". She does not say anything about the tortures and hangings and oppression by Akhmadinejad's regime because basically, Chávez calls Akhmadinejad a friend and Chávez finances her newspaper.

I challenge you to show me sites of well-known Chávez's supporters openly criticizing Iran's handling of human rights.


The West's pathetic limping














When are the EU and the US going to understand they cannot longer bet on dictators to keep "balance" in the world? If they put pressure on Lukashenko, why on Earth are they not doing that on Mubarak? Because of the Muslim Brotherhood? Keep dreaming you are going to make things better by keeping up a dictator with Mubarak's track record. The longer dictators -of one or the other flavour and colour- are supported, the bigger the pressure the cooker will have.

If you want to fight Islamic extremism or any other extremism, you have to go full monty and be consistent. There is no simple solution and a change has a lot of dangers and it needs to be monitored not for a week or a month, but for years. And still, a real change must come and democracy now is needed.

And meanwhile Netanjahu and the Israeli right wingers are running telling everyone a sort of Hamas is going to get hold of Egypt.

Do you know what?



It smells fishy and it's not kosher





Yes, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups are a real danger (we remember Iran). But no, we cannot just keep the side of dictators. We need to look for other solutions. Mubarak won't be helpful. He had 30 years to do that.